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upon them; to carry to the wretched and the outcast those truths which alone can reform their lives ; to imbue these millions which are rising to power and a growing intelligence, with a spirit that will ensure the welfare of the world? Says a great Christian philanthropist, commenting on this subject: “Did a king come to take up his residence among us; did he shed a grandeur over our city by the presence of his court, and give the impulse of his expenditure to the trade of its population, it were not easy to rate the value and the magnitude which such an event would have in the estimation of a common understanding, or the degree of personal importance which would attach to him who stood a lofty object in the eye of admiring townsmen. And yet it is possible, out of the raw and ragged materials of an obscurest lane, to rear an individual of more inherent worth than him who thus draws the gaze of the world upon bis person. By the act of training in wisdom's ways the most tattered and neglected boy who runs upon our pavements, do we present the community with that which, in wisdom's estimation, is of greater price than this gorgeous inhabitant of a palace. And when one thinks how such a process may be multiplied among the common families that are around us; when one thinks of the extent and the density of that mine of moral wealth which retires and deepens and accumulates behind each front of the street along which we are passing; when one tries to compute the quantity of spirit that is embedded in the depth and the frequency of these human habitations, and reflects of this native ore that more than the worth of a monarch may be stamped by instruction on each separate portion of it - a field is thus opened up for the patriotism of those who want to give an augmented value to the produce of our land, which throws into insignificance all the enterprises of vulgar speculation. Commerce may flourish or may fail, and amid the ruin of her many fluctuations may elevate a few of the more fortunate of her sons to the affluence of princes. Thy merchants may be princes, and thy traffickers be the honorable of the earth ; but there may, on the very basis of human society, and by a silent process of education, materials be found which far outweigh in true dignity all the blazing pinnacles that glitter upon the summit. And it is indeed a cheering thought to the heart of a philanthropist, that near him lies a territory so ample, on which he may expatiate; where, for all his pains and all his sacrifices, he is sure of a repayment more substantial than was ever wafted by richly laden flotilla to our shores — where the return comes to him, not in that which superficially decks the man, but in a solid increment of value fixed and per: petuated in the man himself — where additions to the worth of the sou! form the proceeds of his productive operation - and where, when he reckons up the profits of his enterprise, he finds them to consist of ihat which, on the highest of all authorities, he is assured to be more than meat, of that which is greatly more than raiment."
Homes and Hospitals is a record of the heroic labors of two devoted Christian women; the one among the dwellings of the poor in a town in the north of England, and the other in the Liverpool work-house. The narratives are preceded by a preface by Florence Nightingale, whose name is a byword. The most indifferent heart cannot fail to be moved by the story of these lives; and many of the incidents related are most pathetic, some unmitigatedly sad, some of great horror -- as many of those occurring in the cholera hospital at Warminster, met with unflinching bravery by the delicately nurtured women in charge -- and some of sorrow mingled with great hopefulness. It is by the discreet and self-denying personal ministrations of such women, and men — who alas ! are fewer in nuinber — that more good will be accomplished among the lower classes of society than by the most liberal donations to charitable institutions, which too often are administered in such a way as further to demoralise the characters of those whom they intend to assist, instead of increasing the self-respect and self-helpfulness. To those who have the desire to engage in charitable work, and are without present aptitude for it, these records of the actual experience of successful laborers will be very useful in giving hints, and in confirming their resolution and exciting a wholesome emulation.
Reviews and Essuys or Art, Literature and Science. By Almira Lincoln
Phelps. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger. 1873. From our first glances at this book we inferred that the estimable author, having been aldicted throughout a long life to the praiseworthy practice of keeping a note-book by her when reading, for the purpose of setting down such facts or reflections as she wished to impress upon her memory, and having found great benefit from it, had conceived the idea that by means of a little appearance of arrangement, a portion of these notes might be found as interesting, instructive, and novel to the public as they had been to herself. throughout a long life, because many of the remarks, such as "the history of England is the history of our own ancestors; ' authentic American history begins with the discovery and early settlement of our country ;” "the private motives which influence men in their public actions may be praise worthy ;” “national character is but an epitome of that of the people who compose the nation ;"— appear to have been written down at a very tender age, when reflections of this kind seem novel, striking, and profound. The boarding school period seems to have left its traces in the odds and ends of misspelt and ungrammatical French, and of mis-translated Latin ; in the historical haziness which finds our ancestors among the “ British barbarians," " of whose character we have little reason to be proud," whom “it is believed that St. Paul visited," and whom she conceives to have been “Druidical worshippers of the sanguinary Woden ;” and in the lofty severity with which she rebukes the Greeks and Romans for their worship of idols, of which she remarks with equal force and justice, "they were noble works of art, but as deities, what were they?” What, indeed? The period of middle age, with its more tolerant spirit, we fancied we saw indicated by the passages which treat of Louis XIV. and his mistresses, and the tenderness with which, while properly disapproving their errors of conduct, and “lamenting the immorality of the times," she speaks of "the lovely La Vallière, the sad history of whose weakness and humiliation we read with sorrow and sympathy; the beautiful La Fontange [sic], the perfection of whose person was only paralleled by the weakness of her intellect; the magnificent de Montespan,” etc. While that these annotations had been continued to the period of more advanced age, we thought we saw evidence on almost every page.
Our only explanation of the state of mind which could imagine that any one would be benefited or entertained by such a collection of odds and ends, in which everything really worth statement has been stated a hundred times before, and every time better, was found in the fact that the author has been for a great many years an instructor of youth, and might thus have acquired the habit of regarding the public as a class of children, to whom even such statements as “the art of painting is of great antiquity;” “ Puritanism did not expire with the Cromwells ;” "the pyramids of Egypt are older than the temple of Solo. mon; would be at once new and surprising.
On reaching the end of the book, however, we learned from a collection of Notices from the Press, - characterised by the usual learning, good taste, nice discrimination, and freedom from adulation,that its contents had appeared as a contribution or series of contributions to some periodical or periodicals; a fact which should inspire with hope the most despondent aspirant for the honors of type, and would justify the least pretentious collector of " local items” in exclaiming, like Correggio,-“ I too am an author!”
But for ourselves we can only regard it as a melancholy example of the infatuation that can delude respectable persons devoid of originality of thought, of special or accurate knowledge, of critical insight, and of the power of expression, into the belief that the emptying-out of a ragbag of scraps and a slop-basin of twaddle can give profit or pleasure to any rational creature but themselves.
W. H. B.
The Fate of Marvin, and other Poems. By Thomas E. Hoss. Hous
ton: E. H. Cushing. 1873. This is a narrative poem, in the familiar eight-syllable measure, describing certain events which occurred or are supposed to have occurred, in the late war between the States. The incidents, if not exactly probable, are not impossible; they are affecting, and are told with feeling and without pretention. It is true, the action is hardly concentrated enough for a poem, and Karner, the evil genius of the piece, has too much of the melodramatic ruffian about him, but ihese are not the main defects of a work which we can not but consider as artistically a mistake.
The fault of the whole poem is its conventional unreality. The author seems to think that to describe a scene or an action in verse, requires a selection and arrangement of words quite different from those which would do the same work most effectively in a prose narration. For example, ivishing to introduce his story by telling us that it was a stormy night at the end of December, this is the way he goes about it:
"'Twas on one dark December eve
The hoary year was ripe with age ;
The tidings : •Lo, the old year dies !'” Now will Mr. Hogg carefully consider this passage (which we take merely at random), and determine to himself whether his phrases about the “hoary” and “ripe" year being about to “pass from time's ungenial stage,” accompanied by the “thund'ring voice of nature,” and those about the “tempest-surge” and the “awful dirge,” the "threatening clouds," the " lowering skies,” etc., convey anything to the reader's mind beyond the simple statement that it was a stormy night at the end of December? If they really do not, will he next ask himself why he used them? We think this question, if unsparingly and conscientiously answered to himself in the secret recesses of his own breast, will do more toward helping him on into the true path of poetry, than many pages of criticism.
If the author — whose misfortune seems to have been that he has allowed himself to be led away by false and vicious models — will apply this test to all his future writings :—" How would these persons under these circumstances really have spoken? How would such a scene really have appeared, and what words will most simply and accurately represent that appearance?"--and not "How would Byron or Scoit have described this scene or made these persons speak ?”if the author, we say, will constantly and firmly apply this test, when he next undertakes to write a poem, we shall have the pleasure of reading something of which we shall have more to say in praise than we can of the book before us.
W. H. B.
THE GREEN TABLE.
E see that the marble for Valentine's noble sarcophagus and
recumbent statue of Lee, is to be obtained not from the quarries of Virginia, but from Vermont. The preference of the sculptor himself would be to use Virginia marble ; but the Virginia quarrymen do not know whether their stone is suitable for statuary or not, as it has never been tried ; while the qualities of the Vermont stone are known. This reason is a perfectly just one ; and besides, as the Enquirer pitbily remarks, " there is consolation in the thought that the Vermont marble was not made by the Yankees, but by God.”
But the fact that Virginians do not know the qualities of their marble, nor what it is fit for, while Vermonters know perfectly well the qualities of theirs, points a lesson which we ought to have learned long ago, and must begin learning now. The gifts of heaven to the Southern Staies have been a hundredfuld more lavish than to the North ; but we have not cared for them. As a friend once said to us, “the very weeds of our swamps and fence-corners would support New England.” New England — to her credit be it spoken, be the cause what it may - has diligently sought out the meagre bounties of Providence to her sterile land, and made the most of every one. We call ourselves an impoverished and ruined people, when the ground is fairly bursting with mineral, and the billsides and hedges with vegetable wealth, if we will only take the trouble to look for it and pick it up. But for the salt-famine caused by the blockade, who would ever have heard of the mine of rock-salt on Bayou Petit Anse, the product of which is the finest and purest in the world, and obtained with the least labor ? And we are not sure whether even this is worked now: the latest mention we have seen of it speaking of "a bitch in the interests, causing temporary interruption.”. In the meantime the South is paying a tax of from 18 to 24 cents per hundred pounds for the privilege of using Northern salt, while the gift of heaven lies unused at their threshold. On the Calcasieu River there is said to be a bed of “pure crystalline sulphur 108 feet thick.” Is anybody working it? It appears not.
The other day we were told of a quarry of the finest mica, cleaving into large clear plates, being sold for an insignificant sum to the agents, we believe, of a Northern company. Mica of this quality is worth eight dollars a pound; and such a mine is more precious than a vein of auriferous quartz in California, or a diamond-field at the Cape. If we will not learn the value of our natural resources, we shall have to make way for those that will. If we are going to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage, at all events let us make sure that we get the pottage. At present it looks as if we were in the way to give up the one and not obtain the other.
AMONG the pert maxims of the present age is that which says, "the worst possible use you can make of a man is to hang him.” This proverbial expression is gaining favor, and may eventually legislate the penal sanctions of law out of existence. But it is false as well as flippant. The very best use to which men can apply a malefactor is to bang him, because all the interests of all society demand his death. The proposition is very slightly enlarged if you read it: “The very best use you can make of a good man is to murder him," because this is the next inevitable sentence. The authority upon which human life is forfeited is the highest known to creatures, and the wisdom that originally annexed sivift retribution to crime is better than most proverbial philosophy. Among many dismal portents threatening the future of America, none is more dismal than the growing laxity of law. The latter abides still, but the bold murderer derides the authority, which is degenerating into mere advice. Vigilance Committees are bad specimens of legal tribunals, but they are better than regular forms without capital penalties for capital offences.
How the idea that reticence is presumptive evidence of wisdom, ever got a lodgment in the brains of men, will probably never be known; but having once got there, it sticks like original sin, and goes down through all the generations. This idea may exist for the same reason (whatever that is) that a