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and skilful teachers, and to introduce into the schools higher and higher' branches of knowledge, so that by a sure and silent power applied to the very foundations of society, our laws may cooperate with the spirit of the times, to raise up and educate a people, that shall grow purer, happier, and more enlightened with every succeeding generation. Until this be done, the legislature is guilty of an injury to the commonwealth, which is so much the more alarming, as its full extent cannot be known, until it is become irreparable, since measures that touch the moral and intellectual education of the whole community are to take effect in the next generation, rather than the present, and can be finally developed only by the changed character of the entire people. What our ancestors have done for us, by placing us in the midst of a land of schools and churches, we well know and feel. What we shall do for our posterity remains yet to be determined.
Art. XI.—MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES.
V, Sharks, 1.—The Canadian Review, ata Literary and Historical Journal.
No. I. July, 1824. pp. 232. Montreal. H. H. Cun
ningham. The first number of a periodical work with the above title has recently made its appearance in Canada. About thirty years ago, when the Duke de la Rochefoucault Laincourt travelled in America, he is said, in the introductory article of this journal, to have affirmed, that ó throughout all Canada there is no public library except in Quebec, and this is small and consists mostly of French books; no literary society exists in Canada, and not three men are known in the whole country to be engaged in literary pursuits ; excepting the Quebec Almanac, not a single book is printed in Canada. The editors do not deny the accuracy of this assertion, but they speak with just pride of the improvement since the time it was uttered. The progress of letters, if it has been slow, has nevertheless been constant; learning is patronised, and knowledge diffused ; libraries are multiplied, and literary attainments are valued, as elevating the character, and conferring distinction. The following facts are curious, as throwing some light on the present state of literature in Canada.
• There are nineteen newspapers published and circulated in the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada. Six of these are published twice a week, and some of the remainder issue supplements when any intelligence of importance arrives. Four of these papers are printed in Quebec, one of which is wholly in the French language, and another partly in French and partly in English. In the Government Official Gazette some translations into this language necessarily appear also. In Montreal, which only contains a population of twentyfive thousand at the utmost, seven papers are issued weekly with supplements, but one only of which is printed in French. In Brockville, in Upper Canada, there is only one weekly paper. In Kingston there are two; in York, one ; in Niagara, one; in Queenston, one. The township of Stanstead, in Lower Canada, fur. nishes another which amounts to the number we first stated. Previous to 1809 there were only four papers in both provinces.
Besides the libraries of the two principal Catholic Seminaries of Quebec and Montreal, and those of the various religious institutions in the province, there is in every town in Canada a number of public and private libraries, that would do credit to any country. The library of Montreal, which contains a very extensive collection of valuable books upon every subject connected with polite and useful literature, deserves to be particularly mentioned, on account of the liberality with which it is furnished with new publications, and the judicious manner in which it is regulated. The Quebec public library does not, we understand, contain such a numerous list of books, but it is, upon the whole, most respectable. The libraries of Kingston and York, in Upper Canada, also contain a most valuable collection of books. Besides these, circulating libraries are to be found in every town in the province, originally established by some respectable bookseller, and supported, as they generally are in England, by “ the reading public.” We shall suppose all these libraries to contain ten thousand volumes at the lowest calculation.'
This statement gives in some respects a favorable view of the condition and progress of intellectual culture in Canada. We could wish to have seen something said of the state of primary schools ; for, after all, every department of mental acquisition rests on these, as its only substantial basis. Libraries and newspapers will confer little solid advantage, in regard to refinement of taste and the increase of intelligence, unless the elements of learning are made accessible to the mass of the community. If we are to judge of the academies and schools from the following account of the two colleges, contained in the same article as the above extract, we must be contented with a melancholy and discouraging picture, and have no reason to be flattered with bright hopes, or to indulge high expectations. "Who,' says the writer, except the professors and students who attend them, know anything of the internal economy of the two extensive public seminaries of Quebec and Montreal ? They are both represented to have been founded for the education of youth through all its various departments, to the higher branches of philosophy and the mathematics; but who ever hears of their progress in these sciences, or in letters ? Who has ever heard of the prelections of the professors upon the important branches of education, of the notes and discussions of their pupils, or of the busy hum of an anxious and aspiring body of scholars? We sometimes, indeed, have the good fortune to see a solitary straggler of the latter turning some lonely corner of our streets, dressed in his dark blue robe and party colored sash; but we can learn no more of his studies, either from himself or his teachers, than we can of those of an Indian from the foot of the rocky mountains. This is a dark picture, and no valuable improvement can be anticipated, till it shall cease to be realised. The present is not the age, nor is America the country, in which wisdom is to be taught, or the mind expanded, in cells and ecclesiastical prison houses. As well might we be carried back to the caves and grottos of semibarbarous antiquity. Education is not now of much value, unless it teaches the nature and power of public sentiment, the principles and varying characteristics of society, and prepares the subject of it for entering on the sphere of active life with some just notions of its purposes and duties. A seminary of learning should be open to public inspection, that it may draw to it the sympathy and interests of the community, partake of the spirit that is abroad, and go along with the irresistible tide of events. When shut up in a convent, it becomes the apt symbol of the walls with which it is enclosed, standing a solitary decaying monument amidst the waste of departed ages, instead of rising in majesty and strength as the march of time leads into new fields of thought, experience, and attainment.
From an article in the journal under notice it appears, that during the present year has been sent from the press the first native novel, which has been produced in the Provinces. It is entitled · Saint Ursula's Convent, or the Nun of Canada,' and was published in two volumes at Kingston, in Upper Canada. It is understood to have been written by a young lady of seventeen, and although the critics are a little captious, and bestow their censures without appas rent reluctance, yet they are not wholly relentless, and are in the end fain to confess, that, considering the youth of the fair author, this first effort of her pen gives a good promise of higher success in any future attempt. This concession is to be valued, especially as the reviewers begin their notice by condemning all novel writing and novel reading as a mischievous abuse of talents, and waste of time.
VOL. XIX.-N0. 45. 59
The present number of the Canadian Review contains three or four valuable articles on the discovery and early history of the Provinces, on the aborigines, and the fur trade. The Quebec Literary and Historical Society has recently been founded under the auspices of the Earl of Dalhousie. Its objects are to promote every means of discovering, collecting, and procuring whatever information may throw light on the early natural, civil, and literary history of the British Provinces in North America ; to further, by assistance from friends, when practicable, the translation and in some cases the publication of valuable manuscripts or scarce books relating thereto, which may be discovered in any private or public collection ; and to encourage and reward such discoveries by every means in the power of the society. We should presume, that papers thus obtained might be published to advantage from time to time in the Canadian Review. The literary articles in this number are not of a high order ; they betray the unpractised writer, and exhibit few marks of deep and methodical thinking. There is much original poetry; the book would be better if the quantity were less. In some of these specimens the Canadian muse has shown so obstinate a reserve, that we wonder her votaries should have persevered in soliciting her acquaintance. In illustrating an important branch of American history this work cannot fail to be valuable; in the department of letters and taste it will doubtless improve with the practice and experience of the writers.
2.-1. Universal Geography, Ancient and Modern ; on the
Principles of Comparison and Classification. Modern
O. D. Cooke and Sons. Hartford. 1824.
Universal Geography. By W. C. WOODBRIDGE. The plan on which this Geography is executed is in some respects original, and has many things to recommend it. The work has been drawn up with immense industry and good success. The first and principal part, comprising modern geography, is arranged in three divisions, namely, physical, political, and statistical geography, with numerous subdivisions, tables, and illustrative drawings under each of these general heads. Physical geography embraces the natural divisions and structure of the earth, mountains, rivers, islands, volcanoes, earthquakes, caves, lakes, cataracts, canals, inland navigation, atmosphere, climate, vegetable productions, animals, minerals, and races of men. Political geography comprehends civilisation, government, religion, education, literary institutions, national character, agriculture, roads, buildings, arts, manufactures, and commerce. Statistical geography treats of the natural and artificial division of the earth into states and kingdoms, and also of the extent, productions, population, and resources of each. Considering the great number and variety of topics thus introduced, the author's method is clear and judicious. We doubt whether in any other work so great a mass of facts, on such a multiplicity of subjects, can be found compressed within so small a com pass.
Whether this minute analysis of all the principles of nature, and the concerns of life, ought to be ranked under geography, will perhaps in the minds of some admit of a doubt; and whether it affords the best facilities for instruction can be tested only by experience. As to the first puint, however, it cannot be denied, that there is a collateral relation between the several topics, and if they are well selected and combined, and well suited to communicate useful information to the student, it is not worth while to quarrel about the name under which the author chooses to comprise them all, nor to refuse the benefits which his industry and enterprise would confer, because, by presenting them to us in one volume, he has relieved us from the necessity of purchasing and reading three or four. He that succeeds in condensing the important branches of knowledge, so as to diminish the time and labor of acquisition, is a benefactor to society, and deserves the approbation and patronage of a generous public. In this light we are disposed to view the efforts of Mr Woodbridge, and to recommend his work at least to the experiment of teachers, and also to the occasional use of such persons, as would revive the knowledge of some of the chief traits of physical nature, at as small an expense of time and means as possible.
The general division of the work evidently admits of improve. ment. The order of the three great divisions should be inverted. The intricate science of geology, and the hardly less intricate principles of physical nature, are put first; then come politics, modes of government, agriculture, condition of society, and 'the various states of human life; and last of all we have the divisions of the earth and the survey of its surface. Now this is beginning at the bottom of the well to work your way up. There are few things of which the mind of a child will receive more ready or accurate apprehensions, than the elements of geography taught from maps ; but the phenomena of the internal structure of the earth, the organisation and classification of animals and plants, the nature of earthquakes, winds, and temperature, these, and all their kindred subjects are not to be grasped, till the mind has arrived at its maturity. Even the terms, in which the ideas pertaining to them are clothed, must be unintelligible to any one not already well versed