« PredošláPokračovať »
"A STANDARD," must lay the foundation of more numerous contradictions and anomalies than at present exist in the language."
Webster's Octavo Dictionary, Webster's Duodecimo Dictionary, Webster's American Spelling Book, Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, are viewed and digested according to the rules laid down in the review of which we have been speaking; and Mr. Cobb, is much more uniform and consistent in his tone and style, than Dr. Webster, according to his showing, is in his rules and practice. The pamphlet concludes with ten pages of " specimens of Webster's orthography," arranged in parallel columns. We have no disposition to examine them; and we conclude, with the hope that this "Review" will be as beneficial to the. vernacular, as it will be injurious to Dr. Webster and his works.
History of Scituate, Massachusetts, from its first Settlement to 1831. By Samuel Deane.
This is a closely printed octavo of four hundred pages, containing a very minute, and, as far as we can judge, an accurate account of one of the earliest settlements of New-England. There is hardly any kind of literary labor requiring more diligence, and few, indeed, more useful than the study of local antiquities. It requires a peculiar taste, and, while much of its detail is to be found in books and records of no very inviting aspect, much of it, too, is only to be acquired by following with painful footsteps the uncertain light of tradition-catching from the faltering lips and decaying memories of the aged, accounts of their ancestors, and of their own youth, often most valuable in themselves, and leading the inquirer to new sources of knowledge. He who does all this well, leaving no points unasked, and few unsettled, is certainly deserving of high praise; and we do the author of this book but bare justice, when we say, to this praise he is certainly entitled. He begins with a well digested account of the town, going on with its settlement and progress, division of its lands, roads, bridges, and ferries, mills, rivers, brooks, harbor, fisheries, navigation, ship-building, agriculture, and manufactures. Then follows a minute account of its division into parishes, and full notices of its religious societies, and an excellent digest of its ecclesiastical history. The next head is education, then an account of the af
fairs of government as connected with those of the town, municipal regulations, charities, public grounds, bills of mortality, military affairs, conduct during the revolutionary war, and that of eighteen hundred and twelve. There is a short chapter on the Aborigines; followed by the topography of the town, its natural history, mineralogy, physical changes, manners and customs, witchcraft, lists of freemen, accounts of the United States census, ancient landmarks, and post-offices and roads. These heads form the first half of the book and we have recounted them, at the risk of being very tedious, because we could do most justice to the author by bringing at once before our readers the extensive outline which he had to fill up. The rest of the volume is taken up by what the writer calls family sketches, commencing with biographical notices of the first and second churches, and ending with an alphabetical series of notices of persons connected with the town. This last part must have required very great labor. We know not that there is any thing to object to in the general arrangement of the work, except that we think it might have been condensed into fewer heads. Ecclesiastical history, for instance, might have comprehended the details of the parishes, and of the lives of the ministers. Of the accuracy and diligence, with which the different divisions of the book have been filled up, it is difficult for a stranger to judge, but it certainly bears upon the face of it great marks of both.
We must now endeavor to collect a
few items which may be useful, or interesting to the general reader. The first appropriation by the town for free schools, in the year seventeen hundred, forms a gratifying contrast with the amount at present devoted to education. "The town desired James Torrey to teach children and youth to read and write, as the law requireth, and said Torrey consented to make tryall thereof awhile, on these conditions, that he be paid 20s. in money for each and every person sent to school, the parent or master engaging to pay fifteen shillings of the said twenty, the town having agreed to pay the other five shillings for each, and that those who send any children or youth to the school, shall provide books, pen, ink and paper, suitable for their learning aforesaid." The present appropriation for schools is two thousand dollars. In sixteen hundred seventy, the town passed an order which might be enforced to advantage
book he has rescued from oblivion, much that is interesting to their families, and to themselves.
in more modern times. "If any person shall speake after silence is commanded without leave from any two of the moderators he shall forfeit 6d. for each offence." In sixteen ninety-six, every householder was required to kill and bring in six black-birds yearly, between the twelfth and last day of May. In seventeen twenty-eight, the town allowed as a bounty for each full-grown wild-cat killed within the town, 30s. and for each young one, 10s. In seventeen hundred seventy-nine, the town voted to support the poor of the town in one house, under an overseer. This arrangement, so different from the common one, of letting the poor to the lowest bidder, does them great credit. sixteen seventy, William Holmes's wife was accused for being a witch, and was discharged. Sixteen years afterwards, Mary Ingham was tried for the same crime, and acquitted. We were amused with an anecdote of Mr. Witherell, who was settled as minister of the second church in sixteen forty-five. " Mr. Bryant, having entered the church, after the services had commenced, and Mr. Witherell at the close of the prayer, thus addressed him: Neighbor Bryant, it is to your reproach that you have disturbed the worship by coming late, living as you do, within a mile of this place, and especially so, since here is goody Barstow, who has milked seven cows, made a cheese, and walked five miles to the house of God in good season." About sixteen forty-seven, there is an odd story of Francis Crooker, who desired in marriage Mary Gaunt, and petitioned the Court at Plymouth, who ordered "that if the said Crooker bring in to the Governor, a certificate under the hands of Mr. Chauncy, and some other approved physitian, that that disease, with which he is sometimes troubled, be not the falling sickness, that then he, the said Crooker, shall, in convenient time, have in marriage the said Mary Gaunt." This comes as near Johnson's notion of marriages being decreed by the Lord Chancellor, as any thing we have met with. In looking over the Family Sketches, we could not but notice, how many of our most distinguished families have originated in the town of Scituate. We are but too sensible that we have done our author but imperfect justice, in this slight notice of a book, which must have cost him so much time and labor. He is not, however, without his reward, for to his many just claims to the confidence and affection of his people, must be added as not the least, that in this
Poem, delivered before the Society of United Brothers, at Brown University, on the day preceding Commencement, September 6, 1631; with other poems. By N. P. Willis.
These poems, like most of the late productions of their author, cannot be read without exciting feelings of admiration for the genius displayed in them, and contempt for the prettinesses and affectations, both of thought and expression, by which this genins is degraded, and its charm well nigh lost. We think, however, that in the principal poem of this book, we see some proofs of a wish to return to the original simplicity and beauty, which first caused the author to be noticed. It is written without any very definite plan, at least, as far as we can find; the first part of it consisting of a general dissertation on the vanity of earthly things, rather in the style of Byron's or Pollock's worst lines-and the last is an attempt to instruct the "Society of United Brothers" by the author's own lessons of sad experience. There are many obscure conceits, where the author makes vain efforts to catch, or to express an idea, mixed with not a few beautiful descriptions. The following one of the infancy of the human mind, ere yet the things of earth have breathed their taint upon its purity struck us as very fine:
"Its infancy is full of hope and joy;
After this fine passage comes one endeavoring to express the effects of manhood on the human mind, part of which we defy any one to understand-but the author soon recovers his genius, and speaks nobly of the motion of the soul, when ambition first calls on her and she expands her wings in answer.
"It follows not with Fortune.
O, si sic omnia! We must pass over a few pages, and come to the rich fruits of Mr. Willis's long and mature experience. We hope with him that he has not suffered nor may teach in vain. He has learned that all knowledge is not nourishment, and he describes well the necessity of preserving our spirits pure, if we would preserve their power; a necessity, we fear, much oftener felt, than practised on. He has also unlearned contempt. These are the two great results of his life so far. We congratulate him, and hope the principles, he teaches to others, may at length exert some influence over himself. The latter part of his poem is no way equal to the first. Like all other egotis it is weakness.
The other poems in this book, we do not think very much of, except, indeed, the two scripture pieces: The Leper, and the Healing of the Daughter of Jairus These have both appeared before, though not altogether in their present shape. His beautiful lines on the "Picture of a Child tired of play" close the volume. We must not forget to rate the author on his careless versification, and occasional use of words that are not English. His longest poem is written in blank verse, as, indeed, are most of the others in this volume. We give the following as a few instances of his carelessness. Let him remember that an idea worth expressing at all, is worth expressing well, and that beautiful thoughts, like all other beauties, do themselves great injustice, by appearing ill dressed. "Learns strangely to detect the articulate air." "We have made idols of these perishing things."
"Fire and wind and water do its will."
"Earth has no secret from its delicate eye." "Curled with the iciness of a constant scorn." "And in the yearning tenderness of a child."
So much for versification; for the following words, there is no authority: "empery,' 66 unrest," "freshlier,' "misprison," "glinting." There are
a few passages very like nonsense, and a few others so dark, that we will not attempt to judge of them. What is meant by
"The sky to-night Is of a clearer blackness than is wont"? Or by
"We drink anew, and dream like Lucifer To mount upon our daring draught to heaven?"
"He was born Taller than he might walk beneath the stars"?
These may be called trifles, but, in truth, they are mistakes of which a man like our author should be ashamed, and we mention them because others, who have not his genius, may copy his faults. On the whole, we leave him as we began, with no feeling of unkindness, with respect too for his genius, and with our best advice, which, humble as it is, we hope he will not wholly despise, that he would at length remember that nothing worth doing in literature or science was ever done without great study, and that putting far away from him his idols of vanity and woman, he would humble and chasten his spirit, until he may be worthy to walk with "undying ones" of olden time. This we exhort him to do, because of this we think him capable.
The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, for the year 1832.
This is the third volume of this useful "Annual," or "Souvenir;" and, memorials or remembrancers, it is unlike its predecessors, but unlike other equalled in the amount, variety, and value of its contents, by any publication of this country. The first, which is the Astronomical department, der the direction of Mr. R. T. Paine, of Boston. The second department contains brief notices of the executive, legislative and judicial government of the United States, the intercourse with foreign nations, the disbursements, bank, mint, commerce, census, literary, medical, theological and legal seminaries, religious denominations, &c. &c.; to these are added, special notices of each state, with all the political and statistical information concerning it, which can possibly be interesting or useful to the foreign or the American reader. There are also notices of independent states upon this continent, the different countries of Europe, a chronicle of important events which have occurred within the year, and a list of the members of Congress.
It will be seen that this table of contents includes almost every thing necessary to compose an Encyclopædia Condensata." The department of Mr. Paine must attract particular attention, and the novice may well look with incredulity at the confident manner in which his scientific knowledge allows him to predict the course of every planet in its travels, to state the position of celestial bodies at any certain, or uncertain moment, and to follow the moon into her most secret boudoir behind the densest cloud. Profound astronomical knowledge alone, if it were possible so to possess it, would be an unfortunate gift to the mass of mankind, for it would subtract from their pleasures that of wonder; while admiration of the divine arrangement can become its substitute only among well-instructed and intelligent people. But as the evil has not befallen this generation, an argument against its prevalence is unnecessary.
Among the interesting celestial phenomena of the next year, will be the transit of Mercury, on the 5th of May, which, from the great precision with which the contact can be observed, and from its being visible throughout Europe, as well as in many parts of this continent, is of some importance in ascertaining longitudes. The eclipse of the sun, on the 27th of July, will be the second of a series of five large eclipses, to be visible within seven years; this is also important for the same purpose of determining longitude. The eclipse will be more considerable in the southern, than in the northern part of the Union. Encke's Comet will revisit the earth in the course of the year, and will be visible in South America, on the sixth of May, but not in the United States. Bila's Comet will be visible in this country for a considerable time. It will be nearest the earth, although at the distance of about fifty-one millions of miles, on the twenty-third of October, and will be brightest on the thirteenth of November, when it will pass the meridian about half-past four in the morning, and rise a little before ten in the evening.
Revolutionary War, a Medical Biography, and a Treatise on Bees, and other valuable works. It treats upon Ghosts, Witches, Omens, and various cases in which the imagination deludes the senses. It is a very interesting work for those whose taste is for anecdotes of this kind. The author, however, takes the reader behind the scenes, and shows him how slight a cause may raise a ghost to a guilty conscience, or make an omen to the superstitious. If, at this day of the world, there are any of this kind of superstitious temperament, let them read Doctor Thacher's essay, and they will find an easy way of accounting for what disturbs them. Philosophers, of late, are somewhat scrupulous on the nature of evidence, and are little inclined to believe what they cannot account for.
An Address delivered on the Dedication of the Cemetery at Mount Auburn, September 24, 1831, by Joseph Story. To which is added an Appendix, containing a Historical Notice and Description of the Place, with a list of the present Subscribers, and a Map of the Grounds.
We have a double purpose in view in devoting a page or two of this Magazine to the pamphlet before us. We wish to direct public attention to the project that is now in progress, of making a rural cemetery in the vicinity of Boston, with a hope that the favor with which it has been partially considered may be come more extensive; and we wish to gratify those of our readers, who may not have it in their power to purchase the Address of Judge Story, with one or two extracts from one of the most beautiful and pathetically simple productions that we have ever read.
It is unnecessary to offer any historical detail of the proceedings which led to the purchase of Mount Auburn; it will be sufficient to abridge from the appendix to Judge Story's Address, a description of its site, and the manner in which it is proposed to appropriate it.
The tract of land which has received the name of Mount Auburn, is situated on the southerly side of the main road leading from Cambridge to Watertown, and is partly within the limits of each of those towns. Its distance from Boston is about four miles. The place was formerly known by the name of Stone's Woods, the title to most of the land having remained in the family of Stone, from an early period after the settlement of the country. Within a few years, the hill and part of the woodland were offered for sale, and were purchased by George W. Brimmer, Esq. whose object was to prevent the destruction of the trees, and to preserve so beautiful a spot for some public or appropriate use. The purchase
which has now been made by the Horticultural Society, includes between seventy and eighty acres, extending from the road, nearly to the banks of Charles river. A portion of the land situated next to the road, and now under cultivation, is intended to constitute the Experimental Garden of the Horticultural Society. A long water-course extending between this tract and the interior woodland, forms a natural boundary, separating the two sections. The inner portion, which is set apart for the purposes of a Cemetery, is covered, throughout most of its extent, with a vigorous growth of forest trees, many of them of large size, and comprising an unusual variety of kinds. This tract is beautifully undulating in its surface, containing a number of bold eminences, steep acclivities, and deep shadowy valleys. A remarkable natural ridge with a level surface runs through the ground from south-east to north-west and has for many years been known as a secluded and favorite walk. The principal eminence, called Mount Auburn, in the plan, is one hundred and twenty-five feet above the level of Charles river, and commands from its summit one of the finest prospects which can be obtained in the environs of Boston. It is proposed to erect on the summit of Mount Auburn, a Tower, after some classic model, of sufficient height to rise above the tops of the surrounding trees. This will serve the double purpose of a landmark to identify the spot from a distance, and of an observatory commanding an uninterrupted view of the country around it. From the foot of this monument will be seen in detail the features of the landscape, as they are successively presented through the different vistas which have been opened among the trees; while from its summit, a magnificent and unbroken panorama, embracing one of the most delightful tracts in New-England, will be spread out beneath the eye. Not only the contiguous country, but the harbor and the bay of Boston, with their ships and islands, and, in a clear atmosphere, the distant mountains of Wachusett, and probably, even of Monadnock, will be comprehended within the range of
The grounds of the Cemetery have been laid out with intersecting avenues, so as to render every part of the wood accessible. These avenues are curved and variously winding in their course, so as to be adapted to the natural inequalities of the surface. By this arrangement, the greatest economy of the land is produced, combining at the same time the picturesque effect of landscape gardening. Over the more level portions, the avenues are made twenty feet wide, and are suitable for carriage roads. The more broken and precipitous parts are approached by footpaths, which are six feet in width. These passage-ways are to be smoothly gravelled, and planted on both sides with flowers and ornamental shrubs. Lots of ground, containing each three hundred square feet, are set off, as family burial places, at suitable distances on the sides of the avenues and paths. The perpetual right of inclosing and of using these lots, as places of sepulture, is conveyed to the purchasers of them, by the Horticultural Society. It is confidently expected that many of the proprietors will, without delay, proceed to erect upon their lots such monuments and appropriate structures, as will give to the place a part of the solemnity and beauty, which it is destined ultimately to ac quire.
It has been voted to procure, or construct, a receiving tomb in Boston, and another at Mount Auburn, at which, if desired, funerals may terminate, and in which the remains of the deceased may be deposited, until such time as the friends shall choose to direct their re
moval to the Cemetery; this period, however, not to exceed six months.
The principal entrance to Mount Auburn, will be through a lofty Egyptian gateway, which it is proposed to erect on the main road, at the commencement of the Central Avenue. Another entrance or gateway is provided on the cross road at the eastern foot of the hill. Whenever the funds of the corporation shall justify the expense, it is proposed that a small Grecian or Gothic Temple shall be erected on a conspicuous eastern eminence, which in reference to this allotment has received the prospective name of Temple Hill.
As the designation and conveyance of the lots requires that they should be described with reference to places bearing fixed appellations, it has been found necessary to give names to the avenues, foot-paths, hills, &c. The names which have been adopted, were suggested chiefly by natural objects and obvious associations.
The public religious consecration of this ground took place on the 24th of September. A temporary amphitheatre was fitted up with seats, in one of the deep valleys, (which has since been named Consecration Dell,) having a platform for the speakers at the bottom. An audience of nearly two thousand persons were seated among the trees. The services consisted of solemn instrumental music-an introductory Prayer by the Rev. Professor Ware-an original Hymn by the Rev. John Pierpont, sung by nearly the whole audiencean Address by the Hon. Judge Storyand a concluding Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Pierpont. An unclouded sun, and an atmosphere purified by the showers of the preceding night, combined to make the day one of the most beautiful ever experienced at that delightful season of the year. The perfect silence of the multitude enabled the several speakers to be heard with perfect distinctness at the remotest part of the amphitheatre. The effect produced by the music of the thousand voices which united in the hymn, as it swelled in chastened melody from the bottom and sides of the glen, and, like the spirit of devotion, found an echo in every heart, and pervaded the whole scene, we cannot attempt to describe. It is believed that in the course of a few years, when the hand of Taste shall have passed over the luxuriance of Nature, we may challenge the rivalry of the world to produce another such abiding place for the spirit of beauty. Mount Auburn has been but little known to the citizens of Boston; but it has now become holy ground,-a village of the quick and the silent, where Nature throws an air of cheerfulness over the labors of Death,-and will soon be a place of more general resort, both for ourselves and for strangers,