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Art. XXIV.--Evils and Remedies of the Present System of Popular
Elections. By J. S. BUCKINGHAM, Esq. London: Whittaker. MR. BUCKINGHAM's “Evils and Remedies," " with a Sketch of the Qualifications and Duties of Representatives and Constituents," and also “an Address on the Proposed Reforms in the Commerce and Finance of the Country,” were got up and published at a very appropriate time. He has in fact been lately lecturing in Yorkshire on some of these subjects, the newspapers of the province having circulated in the neighbourhood much of what is here to be found in a compact form. The whole looks very well on paper, and some of the suggestions, we think, might be practically advantageous. But still untried theories are the staple of the book, while difficulties and flaws become more and more apparent the longer one reflects upon most of his remedies.
Our attention has been called to one passage which we shall cite as an example of the unsatisfactory sort to which we have referred. Mr. B. does not approve of the Ballot; but he has a wonderfully complex and unworkable mode of secret voting to recommend in its stead. This is it,
“The Registrar, having a card containing the names of the several candidates printed on it in a clear and uniform manner, should then provide a sufficient number of these to furnish one to every elector; which, for security, should be forwarded to him through the post-office, enclosed in a printed circular directing him to draw his pen through the names of the candidates for whom he wished to give his vote; then to put the card in a blank envelope, seal it, and inscribe his name with his own hand on the outside of such envelope, so that it might give assurance of its coming from him as a registered elector; and then to put the whole in an ordinary letter-cover, addressed to the Registrar, at his office, and send it, for security, through the post-office, on the following day.
“On the day appointed, the letters are delivered by the post, at the office of the Registrar himself; his two assistants and an agent of each candidate being present to see justice done to all. The outer seal is first broken, and the first enclosures, with the voter's autograph signature on each cover, are arranged alphabetically, as they come out, (the cards containing his vote being still kept secret in the second enclosure, which is still sealed up.). When all are thus disposed of, the next process will be the opening of the registration book, the calling over from it the names of the voters, according to their alphabetical entry; the comparison of the autograph signature of each person on the letter-cover with the autograph signature of the same person in the book to establish their identity, rejecting for future inquiry any duplicates, or forgeries, or doubtful names-if any of either indeed, under such a system, should be likely to occur.
" The verification of the signatures being completed, the next step would be the opening of the inner sealed covers, throwing the printed cards into one box and the written envelopes into another; which, for the perfect security of secrecy, might be done by youths, under the check of the parties already acting as Registrar and assistants, or blindfolded, if that were deemed necessary, as in the case of drawing tickets in a lottery, to prevent
any one from seeing out of which particular envelope any particular card was taken."
Here is a scheme which the ingenious reader may take up as an exercise in which his knowledge of mankind will necessarily be applied; and then he will most probably find himself in a position to pronounce on the practicability and the advantages of this secret system.
Art. XXV.-Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative of his Shipwreck, and
consequent Discovery of certain Islands in the Carribean Sea. Edited
by Miss Jane Porter. 3rd Edition. 2 vols. Longman and Co. The title further says that the book gives a detail of many extraordinary and highly interesting events in his life, from the year 1733 to 1749. As written in his own diary." Third Edition! But this is not all. Miss Porter has given a new preface, the gist of which is that the Narrative is genuine. We cannot say yea, nor nay; but this we can declare, that those who were too young to think of adventures by flood and field some ten years ago, when this remarkable work first appeared, as well as all those more aged persons who may have hitherto remained ignorant of its character, will do themselves an injustice if they allow any other book of entertainment and instructive adventure to take precedence of this in the course of their reading.
Art. XXVI.-The Demagogue. A Comedy in Five Acts. Printed by
Stephen Goggin. By a young man, we understand. But although bearing marks of juvenility, such as sometimes a plethora of words, and obtrusive commonplaces, there is knowledge, humour, and good writing in “The Demagogue." The author, we think, has got his foot upon the dramatic ladder; so that larger acquaintance with himself and the world, together with literary culture, may elevate him to a commanding height among the sons of the Comic Muse.
Art. XXVII.-Annotations on some of the Messianic Psalms. Vol. XXXII.
of the Biblical Cabinet. These Annotations are taken from the Commentary of Rosenmuller, a critical work of high character on the Hebrew text of those Psalms that most pointedly picture the coming of the Redeemer. There is also a Latin version with Notes by Dathe, that will be of much service to students who are not proficients in the Hebrew. The work is translated by Robert Johnston, who in a Preface gives us notices of the advancement of Hebrew scholarship amongst divines, and also a sketch of German Rationalism. Besides, an Introduction is prefixed, by Hengstenberg, which bears closely and with the command of great resources, upon the Messianic prophecies.
Art. XXVIII.—Tales of the Moor. By Josias HOMELY. Containing
Reginald Arnolf, Tom Stirlington, 8c. London : Simpkin. “ Josias Homely,” it appears, is the poetic title of plain prosaic John Bradford, a Devonshire man, who has had the luck to obtain a long list of patrons in the shape of subscribers to his small volume, which after a fashion of his own, is a patch-work of poetry and prose. The former, is in the shape of blank verse, and is the most readable of the melange. It evinces some warmth of interest towards local scenery, traditions, and legends ; but as respects poetry, it should never have been published beyond the province where the people are prepared to sympathize fully with whatever is suggested, however feebly. Josias is somewhat ambitious to exhibit his learned reading; and he also contemplates great ends to be achieved by his imaginings. The prose parts are utterly puerile in manner and matter.
ART. XXIX.-One Simple Rule determining the French Genders, illus
trated by four versified lines. By ACHILLES ARBITES. It will require an attentive perusal or study of this thin tome to understand and appreciate its principles and lessons. We shall merely state that by means of four versified lines, and illustrated by the masculine nouns in the history of Napoleon, and by the feminine nouns in the history of Elizabeth, a person, we think, may speedily obtain a knowledge of some widely governing principles, and an acquaintance with rules and results that will very much facilitate his study of the French language, and his acquaintance with some of its more perplexing anomalies.
Art. XXX.-The Poet; or, the Invocations, fc. of a Madman. “Tue Invocations, Lamentations, Warnings, Criticisms, Thoughts and Ravings of a Madman." A strange medley of nonsense and the violations of all rules. Still there are gleams here and there of original talent. There is method in the madness of this writer.
Art. XXXI.- A Treatise on the Calculus of Variations. By R. ABBOTT.
2nd Edition. London: Ostell. An intricate subject treated by a subtle and perspicuous author.
Art. I.–1. Memoirs relative to Itinerating Libraries. By the Rev. Wil
LIAM Brown. Edinburgh. 2. A Plan for Libraries. By a Friend of Education. Andover, There are two methods of instruction, oral and written. Were mankind to be deprived of one of these methods, perhaps the privilege of oral instruction should be retained in preference to that which is written. The majority of mankind may be more easily induced to attend to oral teaching. When once, however, a thirst for information is produced, the greatest good it would seem, is to be derived from the press. The comparative advantages of the two methods have been particularly described by rhetoricians and others. Great efforts, for example, have been made and immense good effected by means of a learned ministry, and by discourses from the pulpit; but might not proportionable benefit be reaped from the establishment of a judiciously selected number of books in every parish, and a wise system of distribution?
The art of printing constitutes the principal advantage for the improvement of mankind which distinguishes modern times from past ages. The press has with propriety been called the lever that moves the moral world. It becomes an instrument of mischief or utility, according to the use that is made of it; a poisonous fountain, the exhalations of whose streams infect the moral atmosphere with disease and death, or a river of life whose waters are for the healing of the nations.” It is by the press that every family may, and, we believe, will, eventually possess the Bible; nor will the full triumphs of which the art of printing is susceptible be realized and witnessed till every individual can have ready access to the best works on religion, science, and literature, which will present subjects for investigation sufficient to occupy all the time that his situation and circumstances can admit.
It should be the prominent object of benevolence to instruct the whole community of mind. Colleges and schools cannot fully effect this. Richly endowed academical institutions may produce an arisVOL. III. (1841.) No. IV.
tocracy of learning; but they cannot supply the great body of the people with a sufficiency of mental food. Even the ability to read the best books will be insufficient to the public wants, unless these books are at hand, and in a sense pressed upon the notice of all. But is there no remedy, no adequate source and means of supply? Yes! From the cheapness and facilities of the press, with the assistance of some well-contrived and practicable system, the longed for privileges and benefits may be brought to bear upon the whole community of mind.
The improvement of the press and the extension of its beneficent instrumentality, are objects of the highest moment to representative governments ; for their prosperity is inseparable from the intelligence as well as the virtue of the people. An intelligent community cannot exist without the assistance of the press. Although they might be a virtuous and religious people, yet without this handmaid they cannot be capable of appreciating their civil and social privileges, or of protecting their rights. The advantages of the press are equally conducive to the prosperity of benevolent institutions; for it requires an intelligent community to be duly convinced of their importance, and to know how to render their instrumentality fully available. If we examine the history of benevolent institutions, we shall find that they have not only been founded, but mainly supported by the most intelligent part of the community. We may also confidently predict that in proportion to the diffusion and further enlargement of intelligence will be the birth and the healthy growth of benevolent institutions. But never can these be placed on a footing, not even proposed and contemplated, without the co-operation of the whole community, and the hearty acceptance of such aids by every one of its members.
But what are the practical measures which may be proposed to render the press more beneficially effective than has ever yet been realized, and so as to produce the greatest earthly good that can reasonably be anticipated ? In answer, three things appear to demand particular notice; viz. the selection, the cheapness, and the circulation of works published.
It is a maxim that the best works should be thoroughly studied in preference to coursing over a large field of inferior writings. Legendum potius multum, quam multa. Let the mind be preoccupied with useful reading, and not only will a taste be acquired for studies and pursuits of a beneficial character, but there will be a proportioned disrelish for frivolous or less useful reading. Some one has said, “ Let the bushel be first filled with wheat and there will be no room for chaff.” Important as it is to be well versed in books, it is of still greater moment that reading should be of the proper kind. Not a few can say, if they had been directed in a judicious course of reading, not only would the loss of time have