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This is by far the most superb gift book we have yet seen, and of the greatest intrinsic value. We presume that its costliness will place it beyond the reach of many; for a work so richly bound, and so profusely illustrated with fine engravings from original designs, must necessarily be expensive. But whoever can afford the outlay will turn to this as an appropriate and worthy token of pure affection and refined taste. The volume is embellished with eighteen exquisitely finished engravings, being the ideals of so many female characters mentioned, with more or less minuteness of narrative in the Holy Bible. The engravings are all from designs by Staah].
The reading matter is not of an ephemeral character. The pen-and-ink portraits are life-like, forming our judgment from the Scripture narratives, and skilfully wrought out. The Rev. Dr. W. J. Kip furnishes an article upon the Virgin Mary, which opens the volume, and the other contributors are Dr. E. Mason, the editor, the Revs. C. Wadsworth, E. N. Kirk, A. A. Wood, Drs. Halley and Beman, Bishops Henshaw and Hopkins, Drs. Todd, Cox, Murray, and others. We can assure our readers that they will find in this volume specimens of the most chaste and finished style, and delineative passages of the most exquisite character. He who presents to mother or sister, wife or daughter, loved one or friend, this substantial and elegant volume, will not only indicate his confidence in the refined and elevated taste of the recipient of so handsome a gift, but will aid in giving even a still loftier tone to taste, by mingling with its gratification the strength and purity of earnest moral and religious sentiment.—Com. Adv.
Lectures on Subjects connected with Literature and Life, is the title of an exquisitely printed little volume, by Edwin P. Whipple, published by Tickner & Co., of Boston. The popularity of the author as a lecturer will secure for the work an extensive sale in New England, but it has claims so much beyond the ordinary range of similar books, that we desire to commend it to the reading public around us, as a very ingenious and suggestive work. The subjects treated by the lecturer are, “Authors,” “Novels and Novelists,” “Wit and Humor,” “The Ludicrous Side of Life,” “Genius,” and “Intellectual Health and Disease.” In discussing these topics, Mr. Whipple analyzes many of the essential principles of criticism, defines the characteristics of literature, and vindicates intellectual power with sagacity and eloquence. He takes the highest moral view of authorship ; and gives admirable hints for the cultivation of a discriminating taste in reading. The style of these essays is vigorous, pointed and lively. There is a spirited rhetoric in the mode of handling each subject, at once fascinating and impressive. We do not agree with all the writer's positions; but we sympathize heartily in the manly intelligence and independent philosophy of his tone; and feel indebted to him for one of the most charming belleslettres volumes of the day.—N. Y. Eve. Post.
From the National Era. We fear the rather unpromising title of this vol
who hold to the maxim that “words are things,” and with whom the word “lectures” awakens associations of inanity and tediousness, pompous displays of superficial knowledge, oracular utterances of commonplaces, and literary larcenies in comparison with which hen-roost robbery is reputable, from the pleasure of perusing one of the most brilliant and fascinating volumes which has ever issued from the American press. It consists of six lectures, or rather essays, on Authors in their Relation to Life, Novels and Novelists, Wit and Humor, The Ludicrous Side of Life, Genius, Intellectual Health and Disease. In treating these subjects, the author has not inflicted upon his readers a single page of dulness. His style is remarkably direct and energetic, a fitting medium of his clear and sharply defined conceptions—terse, epigrammatic, brilliant, rising at times into true eloquence. But to commend his essays as specimens of fine writing merely, would do him serious injustice. They are characterized by shrewd insight. practical wisdom, and, as the necessary consequence of the utter absence of cant and sentimentalism, a hearty, healthy tone of sentiment and feeling. His ridicule of the unmanly puerilities of literature, and his contempt for shams, false pretences, affectations, and sentimentalisms, remind one of the savage mirth of Longfellow's Northern Jarl, whose
loud laugh of scorn From the deep drinking-horn Blew the foam lightly.
The concluding essay, on Intellectual Health and Disease, touches with no gloved hand the peculiar and besetting sins of the northern and southern sections of our country—the Yankee's conceit and the Southerner's pride. He says of the Yankee, that “he has a spruce, clean, Pecksniffian way of doing a wrong, which is inimitable. Believing, after a certain fashion, in justice and retribution, he still thinks that a sly, shrewd, keen, supple gentleman, like himself, can dodge, in a quiet way, the moral laws of the universe, without any particular pother being made about it.” IIe illustrates this by the preaching and practice of Yankeedom in respect to the Mexican war. * * * * * *
We hazard nothing in predicting for these lectures a wide popularity. They will entitle their author to the same rank as an essayist which he already occupies as a reviewer and critic.
* J. G. W.
Orations and Occasional Discourses. By Rev. George W. BETHUNE, D. D. New York: G. P. Putnam.
Every admirer of true and fervid eloquence devoted to practical and elevated purpose will hail this volume with unqualified pleasure. For ourselves we have often regretted the ephemeral form in which alone the orations of Dr. Bethune, and others whom we could name, were to be obtained. This elegant volume meets our want and a general desire, and oftentimes will the intelligent young man and the man of more matured experience take it from the library shelf and refresh the intellect, and revive the heart with its perusal. The discourses are twelve in number, including the noble oration on “The Claims of our Country upon its literary Men,” delivered during the present year before the Phi Beta Kappa society of Harvard Uni
ume may have the effect to deter a class of readers
versity.—N. Y. Com. Adv.
1. The Electric Telegraph, - - - - - Edinburgh Review, - - - 433 2. There and Back Again, Chaps. VI-XV. -, -, Tait's Magazine, - - - - 452 3. *::::: #. Fance and Italy The Sp in Examiner, Spectator, Daily News, - 466 4. o Inside view of Mexico and Cali, N. Y. Tribune, - - - - 470 5. Summer Journey, by Frederika Bremer, - - Foreign, Quarterly Review, - - 472 6. Persia and Turkey, - - - - - - - Chronicle, - - - - - 475 Illustratio N.—Fatal Facility; or Poisons for the Asking. Child.—“Please, Mister, will you be so good as to fill this bottle again with Lodnum, and let mother have another pound and a half of Arsenic for the Rats o *: a Duly Qualified Chemist.—“Certainly, Miss, Is there any other article : " 477.
Poetry.—Autumn ; The Hours, 451.-Death of the Flowers, 465.-Hungary in October
1849; A Woman's Plea for Mercy, 476.
Siiort ARTICLEs.-Houses and Chinese in California, 450.-Caprices, 476.-Women of the Old and New Testament; Mr. Whipple's Lectures ; Dr. Bethune's Oration, 479.
Phospectus.- This work is conducted in the spirit of Littell's Museum of Foreign Literature, (which was favorably received by the public for twenty years,) but as it is twice as large, and appears so often, we not only give spirit and freshness to it by many things which were excluded by a month's delay, but while thus extending our scope and gathering a greater and more attractive variety, are able so to increase the solid and substantial part of our literary, historical, and political harvest, as fully to satisfy the wants of the American reader.
The elaborate and stately Essays of the Edinburgh, Quarterly, and other Reviews; and Blackwood's noble criticisms on Poetry, his keen political Commentaries, highly wrought Tales, and vivid descriptions of rural and mountain Scenery; and the contributions to Literature, History, and Common Life, by the sagacious Spectator, the sparkling Eraminer, the judicious Athenaeum, the busy and industrious Literary Gazette, the sensible and comprehensive Britannia, the sober and respectable Chris. tion Obserrer; these are intermixed with the Military and Naval reminiscences of the United Serrice, and o, the best articles of the Dublin University, New Monthly, Fraser's, Tait's, Ainsworth's, Hood's, and Sporting Magazines, and of Chambers' admirable Journal. We do not consider it beneath our dignity to borrow wit and wisdom from Punch ; and, when we think it good enough, make ase of the thunder of The Times. We shall increase our variety by importations from the continent of Europe, and trom the new o of the British colonies. *
The steamship has brought Europe, Asia and Africa, into our neighborhood; and will greatiy multiply our connections, as Merchants, Traveliers, ...} Politicians, with all parts of the world ; so that much more than ever it
now becomes every intelligent American to be informed of the condition and changes of foreign countries. And this not only because of their nearer connection with outselves, but because the nations seen to be hastenin through a rapid process of change, to some new state o things, which the merely political prophet cannot compute or foresee. Geographical Discoveries, the progress of Colonization, (which is extending over the whole world,) and Voyages and Travels, will be favorite inatter for our selections; and, in general, we shall systematically and very fully acquaint our readers with the great department of Foreign affairs, without entirely neglecting our own. While we aspire to make the £iring Age desirable to all who wish to keep themselves informed of the rapid progress of the movement—to Statesmen, Divines, Law. and Physicians—to men of business and men of eisure—it is still a stronger object to make it attractive and useful to their Wives and Cirsidren. We believe that we can thus do some good in our day and generation ; and hope to make the work indispensable in every well-informed family. We say indispensable, becanse in this day of cheap literature it is not possible to guard against the influx of what is bad in taste and vicious in morals, in any other way than by furnishing a sufficient supply of a healthy character. The mental and moral appetite must be gratified. -We hope that, by “winnowing the wheat from the chaff,” by providing abundantly for the imagination, and by a large collection of Biography, Voyages and Travels, istory, and more solid matter, we may produce a work which shall be popular, while at the same time it wist aspire to raise the standard of public taste.
o are desirous of making arrangements in all parts of North America, for increasing the circulation of this work--and for doing this a liberal commission will be allowed to gentlemen who will interest themselves in the business. And we will gladly correspond on this subject with any agent who will send us undoubted reserences.
Postage.—When sent with the cover on, the Living Age consists of three sheets, and is rated as a pamphlet, at 4 cents. But when sent without the cover, it comes within the definition of a newspaper given in the law, and cannot legally be charged with more than newspaper postage, (1} cts.) We add the definition alluded to:-
A newspaper is “any printed publication, issued in numbers, consisting of not more than two sheets, and published at short, stated intervals of not more than one month, conveying intelligence of passing events.”
Monthly parts.-For such as prefer it in that form, the Living Age is put up in monthly parts, containing four or five weekly numbers. In this shape it shows to great advantage in comparison with other works, containing is each part double the matter of any of the quarterlies. But we recommend the weekly numbers, as fresher and fuller of life. Postage on the monthly parts is about 14 cents. The columes are published quarterly, each volume containing as much matter as a quarterly review gives a eighteen months.
Or all the Periodical Journals devoted to literature and science which abound in Euro - It contains indeed the exposition only of the current literature of the language, but this by its immense extent and comprehension includes a portraiture of the human mind sh
has appeared to me to be the most useful. E. the utmost expansion of the present age.
WashingtoN, 27 Dec., 1845. and in this country, this
LITTELLS LIVING AGE.-No. 291–15 DECEMBER, 1849.
From the Quarterly Review.
1. Recherches Medico-légales sur l'incertitude des signes de la mort, les dangers des inhumations précipitées, les moyens de constater le décès et de rappeller a la vie ceur qui sont en état de mort apparente. Par M. Julia DE FosteNELLE. 8vo. Paris : 1834.
2. The Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology. Part VIII. Art. “Death.” By J. A. SyMonos, M. D. London : 1836.
3. Rocherches Physiologiques sur la Vie et la Mort. Par ZAv. Bich AT. Cinquième édition, revue et augmentée de notes pour la deuxième fois par F. Magendie. 8vo. Paris: 1829.
It was the opinion of Addison that nothing in history was so imposing, nothing so pleasing and affecting, as the accounts of the behavior of eminent person in their dying hour. Montaigne before him had given expression to the same sentiment. Of all the passages in the annals of mankind, those, he said, which attracted and delighted him most, were the words and gestures of departing men. “If,” he adds, “I were a maker of books, I would compile a register, with comments, of various deaths; for he who should teach men to die would teach them to live.” The register would not be difficult to supply. The commentary is a loss—rich as it would have been in the reflections of a shrewd and thoughtful mind, fearless in its confessions, holding up its feelings, in their weakness and their strength, as a mirror in which the readers might behold themselves. But Montaigne, who merely gives a formal adhesion to Christianity, and too generally draws both precept and practice from the code of Epicurus, was not the person to teach others to live or die. He had realized beyond most men the terror of death, studied it incessantly in all its aspects, and done his best to steel himself against the stroke ; but the resources of religion are scarcely dreampt of in his philosophy of mortality. He treats the question almost like a heathen, raises more misgivings than he removes, and does less to reform the careless and encourage the timid, than to offend the pious and disturb the peaceful. He seldom, indeed, touches upon a sacred subject without leaving us in doubt whether he is in earnest or in jest. IIe seems, in his bantering way, to be striking with one hand while he affects to support with the other; and his attack, though far from formidable, is more powerful than his defence. He would have been an eminent teacher in Greece or Rome, but was noways fitted to be a master in Christendom. Two or three of Montaigne's countrymen have since attempted to carry out his conception ; but not inheriting his genius with his project, their works are said to be meagre and vapid. More worthless they could not be than the similar compilations which have been published in English;
ccxci. Living AGE. vol. xxiii. 31
a page from a parish-register would be nearly as edifying. Addison and Montaigne, in their speculations. upon Death, had chiefly in view the mental feelings. The physical part of the question had only been treated in detached fragments, until Bichat endeavored to give a connected view of those changes in the system which are immediately concerned in the extinction of life. Even this was only a single branch of an extensive subject ; and, far from exhausting it, the state of knowledge obliged him to rest content with a general outline —but it was an outline drawn with a master's hand. A more beautiful piece of scientific writing could nowhere be found—none more lucid in arrangement, more clear, simple, and concise in style. He had to deal with a mass of tangled threads, and wove them into a vivid and harmonious pattern. A disposition to fanciful system is the principal defect of the celebrated “Researches on Life and Death,” which will continue a classic, when, by the progress of discovery, it has ceased to be an authority. Since Bichat led the way, numerous writers have followed in his track—extended his experiments, corrected his errors, and modified his theories. The knowledge is confined at present to professional works which few besides professional men are likely to read, and is too much bound up with general physiology to permit us to enter at large upon the question. What Bichat imperfectly discussed in a volume, we must dismiss in a page. A summary of the newest and best information will be found in the able and philosophical Principles of Medicine by Dr. Williams, or in the Lectures on the Principles and Practice of Medicine by Dr. Watson—a work upon which his own craft have set the seal of their highest approbation, and which it may interest others to be told is not a dry detail of symptoms and remedies, but a luminous account of disease, which he has had the art to make as entertaining as instructive. It was not consistent with the plan of Dr. Williams, or Dr. Watson, to write a formal treatise upon death. This was done by Dr. Symonds—whose admirable article in the Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, though a condensed, is the most comprehensive, description with which we are acquainted. The entire physical phenomena of natural death are passed in review ; the results of original observation are combined with the researches of others; and some portions of the subject, such as the signs of dying, are more elaborately treated than anywhere else. Addressed to medical men, it presumes a degree of acquaintance with their science; yet two thirds of the essay could hardly be more attractive to general readers if it had been penned for their use. General readers, however, are less inquisitive on the matter than their deep concern in it might lead us to expect, or it would not be confined to the domain of the physician. Addison assumed that the interest was as universal as the lot; but though
Death only is the fate which none can miss,
another poet has said, with almost equal truth, that All men think all men mortal but themselves.
Most feel about it much the same as did Justice Shallow :-“The mad days that I have spent and to see how many of mine old acquaintance are dead Silence.—We shall all follow, cousin Shallow.—Certain, 'tis certain ; very sure, very sure ; death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all—all shall die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair 7” He moralizes mechanically upon death, pays it parenthetically the tribute due to an indisputable truth—but the price of oxen has not the less of his thoughts. We persist in thinking death distant because the date is doubtful, and remain unconcerned spectators until we are summoned to be actors in the scene. Yet, however little the majority of men may be tempted to originate inquiry, there can hardly be many to whom an account of the mental and corporal sensations, which attend upon death, can be a matter of indifference when brought before their eyes. Father Bridaine, a French itinerant of the last century, who, in a mixture of eccentricity and servid eloquence, combined the two most powerful agencies by which a vulgar auditory are attracted and moved, once wound up a discourse by the announcement that he would attend each of his hearers to his home ; and, putting himself at their head, conducted them to the house appointed for all living—a neighboring churchyard. We deeply feel that we are, in many respects, little qualified for the subject which we venture to take up ; there is in it, however, a mysterious awfulness which may probably carry on our readers in spite of our imperfections. But the profit will be to those who remember, as they read, that we describe, or attempt to describe, the road which they themselves must travel, and, like Bridaine, are conducting them to their home. John Hunter called the blood the moving material of life. Elaborated from the food we eat, it carries nutriment and stimulus to every part of the body; and, while in its progress, it replenishes the waste going on in the frame, it receives and throws off much of the essete and worn-out matter which would otherwise clog and encumber the machinery. The moment the blood is reduced below a certain standard, the functions languish ; the moment it is restored, the functions revive. The brain, in general bleeding, is the first to feel the loss; and a mere change of position, by affecting the amount of blood in the head, will make the difference between unconsciousness and sense. Where the object is to bring down the circulation to the lowest point, the safeguard against carrying the depletion too far is to make the patient sit up ; and when faintness ensues, sensibility returns by
laying him backwards, which immediately sends a current of blood to the brain. The effect of the circulation on a limb is seen in the operation for an aneurism of the leg—a disease in which the artery, unable to resist the force of the blood, continues to distend, until, if left to itself, it usually bursts, and the patient bleeds to death. To prevent this result, the main artery itself is often tied above the tumor, and thus the blood is stopped short of the place where it was gradually working a fatal outlet. The lower part of the leg, cut off from its supply, at once turns cold, and, unless nature were ready with a new provision, would quickly perish ; but if, by the disease, man is shown to be fearfully, the remedial contrivance proves him wonderfully, made. The trunk artery sends out numerous tributaries, which again rejoin it further on its course, and those above the aneurism gradually dilate to receive the obstructed circulation, and, carrying it past the break in the channel, restore warmth and vigor to the drooping limb. What is true of the leg and brain is true of every portion of the body. Not an organ can subsist deprived of a due and healthy circulation ; and when the blood is brought to a stand in its career, or is in a particular degree deficient in quantity or corrupted in quality, then is death inevitable. “We are born,” says Seneca, “ by a single method—we die by many.” But though mortal diseases are legion in their seat and nature, they may all be resolved into the destruction of the circulation, like the radii of a circle which come from an infinity of directions and meet in a point. The heart is the agent for propelling the blood. It acts the part of a pump to the system, plays without our aid at the rate of four thousand strokes an hour, and sometimes continues in operation a century; but no organ, however marvellous in its construction and performances, can be beyond the reach of injury and disease in a body created mortal by design. The heart is the seat of numerous disorders which destroy its power of contraction and expansion, and when its action ceases the blood must stop ; but extreme cases are the clearest illustration of principles, and the effects of arresting its pulsations are seen best when the event is sudden. This is no uncommon occurrence. The passions of rage, joy, grief, and fear, make themselves felt in the centre of circulation ; and these all have the power, when intense, to paralyze the heart in a moment, or even to burst it by the agitation they create. A lady, overjoyed to hear that her son had returned from India, died with the news in her ears; another, prostrate with grief at parting with a son who was bound for Turkey, expired in the attempt to bid him farewell. Physical causes, in like manner, put an immediate and lasting stop to the heart. It may be done by a blow on the stomach, by the fall from a height, by too violent an exertion. The lungs are no less essential to the circulation. The entire blood of the system passes along their innumerable vessels on its return to the heart, and ejecting through the pores the foul matter collected
in its circuit, receives in exchange a fresh supply of air. The process is stopped in drowning, when there is no oxygen from without to inhale; in hanging, when the communication is cut off with the lungs; in the morbid effusions which prevent the air from reaching the blood; in the pressure which holds down the chest and abdomen and will not permit them to play ; and in injuries of the portion of the spinal cord whence the nerves are derived, by which the muscular movements of respiration are sustained. A vast variety of accidents and diseases operate in one or other of these ways, and with the uniform consequence that the unpurified blood becomes stagnant in the lungs and stops the road. Breathing is indispensable to life, because the blood will barely move an inch without it; and though it did, would carry corruption in its round instead of sustenance and health. The brain is the centre of nervous power, and without its agency we are unable to think, move, or feel ; but the immediate effect of mortal injuries is to paralyze the action of the heart or the lungs. The apoplexies in which the blood escapes with force into the brain, and breaks up its substance, kill through the first ; the congestion which is less violent acts by impeding, and ultimately arresting, the movements of the last. In either case the circulation stops, and with it life. Whatever is the locality of a disease, the heart and lungs are either implicated themselves, or through the nerves and brain ; and in the majority of disorders the whole are enfeebled together, till it is difficult to determine which is failing most. In some diseases the blood itself is utterly corrupted, and every organ it touches feels its deadly influence. In others, the stomach is incapable of discharging its office, and the fountain is dried up which replenished the stream. The original stock, depositing its vitality as it goes, gets smaller and smaller every round. Soon the waste in the system exceeds the supply; the decaying parts drop away, and no new matter takes their place; the whole frame dwindles and languishes, and the organs, every instant feebler in their action, become finally motionless. Rarely is there seen a case of death from pure old age. In those who live longest, some disease is usually developed which lays the axe to the root of the tree; but occasionally the body wears itself out, and, without a malady or a pain, sinks by a slow and unperceived decay. All the aged approximate to the condition and show the nature of the process. The organs have less life, the functions less vigor ; the sight grows dim, the hearing dull, the touch obtuse ; the limbs lose their suppleness, the motions their freedom, and, without local disorder or general disturbance, it is everywhere plain that vitality is receding. The old are often indolent from natural disposition ; they are slow in their movements by a physical necessity. With the strength enfeebled, the bones brittle, the ligaments rigid, the muscles weak, feats of activity are no longer possible. The limbs which bent in youth would break in age. Bentley used to say he was like his battered trunk, which held together
if left to itself, and would fall to pieces with the jolts and rough usage of better days. Lord Chesterfield, in his decrepitude was unable to support the rapid motion of a carriage ; and when about to take an airing, said, in allusion to the foot's pace at which he crept along, “I am now going to the rehearsal of my funeral.” The expression was one of many which showed that his mind had not participated in the decay of his body; but even with men less remarkable it is common for the intellect to remain unbroken amidst surrounding infirmity. The memory alone seldom escapes. Events long gone by retain their hold—passing incidents excite a feeble interest, and are instantly forgotten. The brain, like a mould that has set, keeps the old impressions, and can take no new ones. Living rather in the past than the present, the aged naturally love to reproduce it, and grow more narrative than is always entertaining to younger ears; yet, without the smallest sense of weariness, they can sit for hours silent and unemployed, for feebleness renders repose delightful, and they need no other allurement in existence than to feel that they exist. Past recollections themselves are sometimes erased. Fontenelle— not the author on our present list—outlived the knowledge of his writings, but the winter which destroyed his memory allowed his wit to flourish with the freshness of spring. He could mark and estimate his growing infirmities, and make them the subject of lively sayings. “I am about,” he remarked, “to decamp, and have sent the heavy baggage on before.” When Brydone's family read him his admirable Travels in Sicily, he was quite unconscious that his own eyes had beheld the scenes, and his own lively pen described them; but he comprehended what he heard, thought it amusing, and wondered if it was true ! Next the body relapses into helplessness, the mind into vacancy—and this is the second childhood of man—an expression upon which some physiologists have built fanciful analogies, as if infancy and age, like the rising and setting sun, were the same unaltered object in opposite parts of the horizon. But there is little more resemblance than in the vegetable world between immaturity and rottenness. Sir Walter Scott, when growing infirmities made him speak of himself playfully as coming round to the starting point of the circle, said he wished he could cut a new set of teeth. The remark touched the distinction between the morning and evening of life. Infancy and age are both toothless, but the teeth of the former are coming, the teeth of the latter are gone— the one is awakening to a world upon which the other is closing its eyes. The two portraits are in perfect contrast. Here activity, there torpor— here curiosity, there listlessness—here the prattle of dawning intelligence, there the babbling of expiring dotage. Decrepitude which has sunk into imbecility must be endeared by past recollections to be loved. But to despise it is an insult to human nature, and to pity it on its own account,
wasted sympathy. Paley rightly asserted that