Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

I am glad to be able to say that the law which sanctions this custom is abolished in some of the United States;' that some have burst the bonds which so long have bound them. Among those who boldly declare themselves freed from this abominable custom, the · Empire State' stands the first. On the other hand, several of the Western States still cling to the absurd and cruel law. But they too will be redeemed; they must be redeemed! The abolition of this custom with them would have a most happy effect on the whole country; and they would feel relieved from a heavy load of local oppression and tyranny. When will this aboli. tion take place? When will punishment cease to be exercised against the innocent ? Alas! we know not! Could we by any magic power unveil the secrets of the tomb; could we examine the hidden chambers of the past; we should behold many a victim of slaughtered innocence;' many a wretch who lived unsuspected and died unscathed. There is ONE who possesses this power. There is an Eye above, which pierces the deepest recesses of the heart; which penetrates the inmost chambers of the soul. To that Eye all is uncovered and bare. All that man can do, is to judge of the heart by external actions; and upon this principle, the grossest errors will and do often take place. The records of our courts of law will show abundant proofs of this fact.,

In conclusion, we appeal to the friends of suffering humanity ; to the patriots of our nation ; to the judges of our land; to exert themselves in favor of the universal abolition of the law which sanctions imprisonment for debt. A bill to this effect, advocated by the wisest minds in England, has recently passed the British Parliament. Let not America be behind England in humanity! Let the Western States listen to the voice of Reason, and do away with this unrighteous law. Let them think of its bearing, its influence its great wrong:

We of the Empire State look forward to the future with bright and flattering prospects. We hope soon to see our country entirely redeemed from the bondage of this law. We wait anxiously for the time when our Republic shall be pure in all her laws. Then, the friendless will be befriended ; the orphan and the poor provided for.

J. E. W.

[blocks in formation]

As stars give radiance from a cloudy sky,
Gemming the pall of night, so bright thoughts lie
On Memory's canopy. The darkest life
Bears fruits of gold 'mid the world's selfish strife.
The riches of the past! the miser's store,
Where the heart's av’rice counts its spring-time o'er!
The dawn of hope, those blossoms of the brain,
The growth of Heaven, and there our fullest gain:
The spirits kindred in a world of light
Will find those glories in the Infinite!
Winged by the angels rose our wishes' breath,
Creating forms beyond the reach of Death,
To meet the fancies of the poet's theme,

And show the truth of an immortal dream!
New-York, May 24, 1844.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

THE POEMS AND BALLADS OF SCHILLER. Translated by Sir EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, Bart.

With a brief sketch of the Author's Life. In one volume. pp. 424. New York. HARPER AND BROTHERS.

This is a volume which has long been demanded by the public; and in the Herculean task of translating the poems and ballads of the great German into our vernacular, Mr. BULWER LYTTON (a transposition of names brought about by some dimly-understood transfer of family titles and estates) has acquitted himself with a good degree of honor. When we consider the great difficulty of rendering the German into English, in such a manner as to retain the spirit, rhyme, and measure of the original, the wonder should perhaps be, that the learned Baronet has succeeded even so well as he has. Still, we cannot help thinking that a judicious selection from the previous translations of the longer poems of SCHILLER, the vacancies being filled up with his own translations, ' edited by Sir EdWARD BULWER LYTTON,' would have been a more desirable work than the one under notice. Most of the briefer songs, epigrams, etc., are rendered with great faithfulness and spirit: they are far better specimens than the longer poems. “The Dance' is extremely well translated, and in this respect is in marked contrast with the beautiful poem of. The Sharing of the Earth,' which is very carelessly rendered, especially the last stanza. In • The Ideal and the Actual Life' better justice is done to SCHILLER than in any other of the longer poems. It will well reward perusal. We wish we could praise the · Hymn to Joy ;' but it is not felicitously done, and the measure especially is much changed. Take a stanza of the chorus. Mr. BULWER gives us :

"Why bow ye down, why down, ye millions ?
Oh! world, thy AKER

throne to see;
Look upward - search the star-pavilions,

There must His mansion be!'

US,

Mr. C. B. BURKHARDT, in an original translation, now before renders this much more faithfully :

MILLIONS bow with bended knee;

Feel ye, men, that God is near ?

Look beyond that starry sphere,

There, there must His dwelling be.' In The Gods of Greece,' also, the measure of the original has undergone a marked alteration, and without any apparent necessity. The same is true of “The Hostage,' and The Assignation,'' Rudolf of Hapsburg,' etc. “The Veiled Image at Saïs’ is well translated. There are sufficient proofs that it has been well studied, to be found in “The Student' and in. Zanoni.' The same remark will apply to · Pompeii and Herculaneum.' The • Punch Songs' are extremely well rendered ; "The Youth by the Brook' and To the Ideal' are prettily and faithfully transferred to the English; Cassandra' too, and . The

Victory Feast,' are admirably done; and go far toward atoning for such entire failures as * The Cranes of Ibycus' and · Pegasus in Harness.' "The Battle' is exceedingly vigorous; and . The Farewell to the Reader' worthy of all praise. In • The Artists,' the Baronet has succeeded, by dint of great labor, in ruining the measure and perverting the sense of the original, or rather mystifying it, by his additions and alterations. Had he rendered it into plain prose, he would have been more successful. He has endeavored to do too much, and has failed altogether. We have seen a far better translation than his, of "The Song of the Bell.' We referred to, and quoted from it, in a late number of the KNICKERBOCKER; and we have before us, from the pen of C. B. BURKHARDT, Esq., an accomplished translator of his native German into English, a much better version than Mr. BULWER's, of Honor to Woman.' But we must draw our remarks to a close, with the recommendation of the vol. une before us to every lover of the German and of the productions of one of the most distinguished bards who has written in that comprehensive and difficult language.

OBSERVATIONS IN EUROPE, PRINCIPALLY IN FRANCE AND GREAT-BRITAIN. By John P. DUR

BIN, D. D., President of Dickinson College. In two volumes. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.

We have been agreeably disappointed in reading these two handsome volumes. The route through which they conduct the reader has been made so thoroughly known by the shoals of travellers who have passed over it, that the announcement of another book descriptive of the tour awakens apprehension rather than hope in the mind of one who proposes to be its reader. But Dr. DURBIN has actually given freshness and decided interest to this hackneyed theme. He has a graphic method of describing the common incidents of a journey, which makes them highly attractive, and a quick discernment to catch new beauties and discover additional charms in every thing which comes under his notice. The strictly narrative portion of the work, that which sketches Dr. DURBIN's progress from place to place upon his journey, is not without attraction, and is very agreeably diversified by incidents, both pleasant and pathetic. But the best and most valuable parts are those which present the writer's views of the various institutions, political, social and religious, of the countries which he visited. He describes them all well, and with discrimination ; and his criticisms express uniformly the opinions of one who is felt to be a candid, intelligent and conscientious judge. He takes no opinions upon trust, but examines, judges and reports for himself. Upon many points his readers will seldom agree with him, but they will always read his observations with respect, and give them great weight in the formation of their own opinions. Dr. DURBIN gives a full and vigorous examination of the policy and character of the French government, and his general conclusions differ widely from those which are most current upon the same topics. He judges Louis PHILIPPE and his policy very severely; but we are free to confess that he supports his opinions by copious reasons, forcibly and effectively urged; and his review of this, as well as those of other subjects, will be read with universal interest. His description of Paris, with the plan of its famous military fortifications, is the clearest and most satisfactory we have ever met. He examines in the same close and vigorous manner the institutions of Great-Britain, and his observations upon these topics are marked by more candor, as well as by a greater degree of discrimination, than most that has heretofore been written upon these subjects. His account of the history and prospects of Methodism will have a very deep interest for the members of that very large and respectable denomination, of which Dr. Durbin is a distinguished divine. We cordially commend his interesting volumes to the attention of our readers, regretting that we have not space to speak at greater length of their merits, as well as to present a few of the passages we had marked for transfer to our pages. It is worthy of mention, perhaps, that in an age’of poor paper and bad printing, these volumes are remarkable, on the other hand, for their excellence in these respects. VOL. XXIV.

9

AMERICAN CRIMINAL TRIALS. By PELEG W. CHANDLER, Member of the American Antiquarian

Society and of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Volume II. pp. 387. Boston: TIMOTHY H. CARTER AND COMPANY. London: A. MAXWELL, Lincoln's Inn.

We regard Mr. CHANDLER's 'Criminal Trials' as a work of great interest and value; and in a notice of the first volume, gave our reasons somewhat at large, in favor of its general acceptance at the hands of the American public. It is written and compiled with evident labor and care, and in a style which, while it is simple and unpretending, is yet replete with attraction. The trials embraced in the volumes before us are those of Bath SHEBA SPOoner and others before the Superior Court of Judicature, for the murder of her husband, Joshua SPOONER, of Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1788; of Colonel David HENLEY, before a General Court-Martial, for improper conduct as an officer of the American army, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1788; of Major Andre, before a Board of General Officers, by order of Gen. GEORGE WASHINGTON, in 1780; of Joshua Hett Smith, before a Court-Martial, on a charge of aiding and assisting BENEDICT ARNOLD, New-York, 1780; and of the Rhode Island Judges of the Superior Court of Judicature, for their judgment in the case of TREVETT against WHEEDEN, on information and complaint for refusing paper bills for butcher's meat, in 1786. Of the first trial, which produced great excitement at the time, no authentic report has until now appeared. Many facts new at least to us are embraced in the interesting trials of HENLEY and ANDRE; while that of Smith developes some of the secret incidents of the ARNOLD conspiracy. The case of the Rhode Island Judges was remarkable for the principle involved in it, and the array of legal talent engaged in the defence. The work is executed with great typographical neatness, and is embellished with an authentic portrait of the young and lamented ANDRE.

A LECTURE ON THE LATE IMPROVEMENTS IN STEAM NAVIGATION AND THE ARTS OF NAVAL

WARFARE. With a brief notice of Ericsson's Caloric Engine. By JOHN O. SARGENT. NewYork and London: WILEY AND PUTNAM.

This is the title of a pamphlet of sixty-four pages, put forth in the style of typographical elegance which characterises every thing from Osborn's press. The author, Mr. John 0. Sargent, has never before, we believe, attached his name to any literary production; and yet perhaps few writers, equally young, have written and published so much. While an undergraduate at Cambridge, he was one of the editors of · The Collegian,' a monthly magazine far superior to any thing of the kind before or since attempted by university students. Among his collaborateurs were the late W. H. SIMMONS, the lamented and popular lecturer, and Dr. O. W. HOLMES, the poet. Mr. SaRGENT's contributions to this work were remarkably clever, and gave abundant evidence of the literary talents which he has since exhibited. The political papers which, while a laborious student at law, Mr. SARGENT found leisure to contribute to a prominent daily journal in Boston, brought him into public notice as a vigorous political writer, and procured him a connection with the · NewYork Courier and Enquirer' daily journal, the columns of which, previous to the election of Gen. HARRISON, will bear creditable testimony to his editorial ability and industry. He is now in active and successful practice of the legal profession in this city.

The present lecture was delivered before the Boston Lyceum in December last, and the author has published it by way of reply to the numerous applications he has received for its repetition in other places. One of the principal topics is a description of Ericsson's new propelling apparatus ; an invention which promises to create another epoch in the art of navigation. The success of the propeller seems to have been abundantly tested in the case of the United States war-steamer Princeton, to which it has been applied with the most

satisfactory results. It may be remembered that there was a trial of speed between the Princeton and the Great Western British steamer, last October, and that the former gained a decided victory. Here is a practical evidence of the merits of the invention, in opposition to which nothing can be said. The following extract indicates some of its advantages :

'STEAMERS as hitherto constructed may be well enough employed in maintaining communication between distant shores and distant fleets, or in towing ships of war into position; but they are not capable of mingling in the combat. It is difficult, however, to imagine a more formidable or more safe machine of warfare than the Princeton. Not only can she act upon data of seasons and distances, with an accuracy that winds or waves can but little disturb, but she can move secretly and silently upon her prey. There is no cloud of smoke to track her path by day, and the noiseless action of her submerged propeller gives no warning to the enemy of her approach by night. Tempests cannot thwart her; calms cannot delay her progress. By the location of her moving power below the waterline, it is protected from the missiles of the enemy. She can select her own time and place of attack. She can never be forced into an engagement, and in a thousand situations in which the crippled lineof-battle ship or the crippled paddle-wheel steamer would be at the mercy of the enemy, the Princeton may retire from a superior foe, and with her unimpaired moving power, retain a position from which she may mark her very retreat with destruction and death.'

Not the least interesting part of this lecture is the biographical sketch of Mr. ERICSSON, who in his contributions to mechanical science has been equalled by few men of the age. The whole discourse is interesting and eloquent; and, what is still better, perfectly new in its materials. It will of course claim the attention of all persons interested in the advancement of the art of navigation, and there are none by whom it may not be read with profit.

GIRLHOOD AND WOMANHOOD: OR, SKETCHES OF MY SCHOOL-MATES. By Mrs. A. J. GRAVES, author

of Women in America.' In one volume. pp. 216. Boston: T. H. CARTER AND COMPANY and BENJAMIN B. MUSSEY.

This is a volume destined to effect great good, wherever it shall be heedfully perused. It is written in a style of marked naturalness and simplieity, which wins at once upon the reader; and the inculcations of the author are of the most useful and wholesome kind. The book consists of a series of twelve pictures, drawn from human nature as it is found, and not from any ideal representation of what it may become. Nothing higher is attempted by the author than to exhibit different varieties of female character as seen in girlhood, and to follow them to their full development in womanhood, to prove the natural connection that exists between these two important periods. As the girl is, the woman will be, unless some powerful counteraction has intervened. In drawing her portraits from the inmates of a boarding-school, instead of taking them from the members of a family around the domestic hearth, it was easier to find the requisite varieties, and to study human nature as it usually presents itself unchecked in its tendencies in youth, and consequently seeking its own element amidst surrounding circumstances in maturity. And by exhibiting a boarding-school under the most favorable conditions in which it is possible to place one, and where more is attempted than is usually done, toward the formation and modification of character, it is seen how little power can be exercised, even by the best of teachers, in counteracting evil tendencies, or in establishing a firm foundation of moral principle. “The great responsibility,' says the author, ‘of making men or women what they should be, rests not upon teachers, upon whom God has not laid it, but upon parents, and upon them alone. It is in their hands that the present life and future destiny of each child are chiefly placed, and for which they alone will be called on to render an account at the great day of reckoning.' We could wish that we had space to illustrate the justice of the praise which we have awarded to this excellent volume, by quoting from its pages · Amanda MALVINA BURTON, or Fashionable Ambition,' and · SARAH SHERMAN, or the Mechanic's Daughter;' but our limits are imperative; and we can only commend these, with the other spirited sketches embraced in the work, to the thoughtful regard of our readers.

« ForrigeFortsæt »