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and examples and illustrations of rules and theories should be so chosen as to fix the whole subject on the mind, and thus to make the way clear as the pupil advances. Such, however, is not often the case in these days of progress. Metaphysical theories abound in books that should be simple and elementary in all their parts. We have arbitrary rules leaving too much to the black-board and maps, and the directions of the teacher; we have language even difficult to be understood by adults, which is used for explanation to boys and girls, and sometimes a seeming confusion in the arrangement of the subject (especially in geographies) by which the young mind is bewildered, and flounders amongst the mass without obtaining any permanent benefit.

Professor Robinson seems to have avoided confusion in arrangement as well as abstruseness in theory. His treatise on Algebra is both theoretical and practical; the explanations are easily understood, and the rules and modes of operation direct, clear and brief. As an example of the former, he remarks, under the head of subtraction:

“We do not approve of the use of the term subtraction as applied to Algebra, for in many cases subtraction appears like addition, and addition like subtraction. We prefer the use of the term difference. What is the difference between 12 and 20 degrees of north latitude ? This is subtraction. But when we demand the difference of latitude between 6 degrees north and 3 degrees south, the result appears like addition; for the difference is really 9 degrees, the sum of 6 and 3. This example serves to explain the true nature of the sign minus. It is merely an opposition to the sign plus; it is counting in another direction; and if we call the degrees north of the equator plus, we must call those south of it minus, taking the equator as the zero line. So it is on the thermometer scale-the divisions above zero are called plus and those below minus. Money due to us may be called plus; money that we owe should then be called minus—the one circumstance is directly opposite in effect to the other. Indeed we can conceive of no quantity less than nothing, as we sometimes express ourselves.”

This is very plain, and can be easily understood by any pupil who has progressed as far as the study of Algebra. The author has maintained this simple and clear method which is adapted to all capacities throughout his whole volume of three hundred pages, thus making it a useful treatise and text book for schools and universities. Nothing is left in obscurity and doubt. From the first principles of the science to the higher degrees of equations, embracing Sturm's theory and Horner's method, there is manifest a steady and skilful effort to bring every thing to the comprehension of the student.

The Treatise on Astronomy is, without doubt, a valuable addition to its class. The chief merits of the work “are brevity, clearness of illustration, anticipating the difficulties of the pupil, and removing them, and bringing out all the essential points of the science.'

Professor Robinson informs us, and we believe he is right, that there is a class of works on Astronomy, “which consist of essays and popular lectures,” but from which“ little substantial knowledge can be gathered, for they do not teach astronomy; as a general thing they

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only glorify it.” “There is also,” he remarks, “another class, in which most of the important facts are recorded; such as the distances, magnitudes and motions of the heavenly bodies; but how these facts became known is rarely explained: this is what the true searcher after science will always demand, and this book is designed expressly to meet that demand.” He proceeds to state the design of the work in the following terms:

“In the first part of the book we suppose the reader entirely unacquainted with the subject; but we suppose him competent to the task-to be, at least, sixteen years of age-to have a good knowledge of algebra, geometry and trigonometry -and then, not until then, can the study be pursued with any degree of success worth mentioning. Such a person and with such acquirements as we have here designated, we believe, can take this book and learn astronomy in comparatively a short time; for the chief design of this work is to teach whoever desires to learn; and it matters not where the learner may be, in a college, academy, school or a solitary student at home and alone in the pursuit."

CROLY'S BRITISH POETS. A beautiful edition of this work has recently issued from the press of Phillips, Sampson & Co., Boston. It is ornamented with some handsome engravings, among which is the gentle face of Cowper's mother, of whom the poet wrote:

"Oh that those lips had language!

Their own sweet smile I see,

The same that oft in childhood 'solaced me”There is a picture too representing the cavaliers as they are seen riding,

“Over hill, over valley, o'er dale and o’er down"

“There's Derby and Cavendish, dread of their foes :

“ There's Erin's high Ormond and Scotland's Montrose." This volume of Croly is well deserving of a place in every library. From the quaint rhymes of Chaucer to the sweet stanzas of Hemans, there is a selection of the choicest beauties of the British poets, presenting a faithful exhibition " of their styles of thought and language.”

Hume's HISTORY OF ENGLAND, AND MACAULAY's HISTORY, by the same publishers. These cheap and well executed editions of popular and valuable works are worthy of high commendation. Five volumes of the first have been received and two of the last. The publishers state that "Hume will be comprised in six volumes. Two volumes of the continuation of Macaulay, having been published, the balance will be issued in uniform style, immediately on their appearance in London.”

In examining one of the volumes of Macaulay, we happened to open it at the graphic description of the person and punishment of the infamous informer, Titus Oates, who was tried and convicted of perjury in the reign of James II., and though some of our readers have seen it before, we cannot resist our inclination to introduce in this place a brief extract.

“On the day in which he was brought to the bar, Westminster Hall was crowded with spectators, among whom were many Roman Catholics, eager to see the misery and humiliation of their persecutor. A few years earlier his short neck, his legs uneven as those of a badger, his forehead low as that of a baboon, his purple cheeks, and his monstrous length of chin, had been familiar to all who frequented the courts of law. He had then been the idol of the nation. Wherever he had appeared men had uncovered their heads to him, the lives and estates of the magnates of the realm had been at his mercy. Times had now changed; and many, who had formerly regarded him as the deliverer of his country, shuddered at the sight of those hideous features on which villany seemed to be written by the hand of God.

"It was proved, beyond all possibility of doubt, that this man had, by false testimony, deliberately murdered several guiltless persons. He was convicted on both indictments. He was sentenced to be stripped of his clerical habit, to be pilloried in the Palace Yard, to be led round Westminster Hall with an inscription declaring his infamy over his head, to be pilloried again in front of the Royal Exchange, to be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate, and, after an interval of two days, to be whipped from Newgate to Tyburn.

"This rigorous sentence was rigorously executed. On the day on which Oates was pilloried in Palace Yard, he was mercilessly pelted and ran some risk of being pulled in pieces. On the following morning he was brought forth to undergo his first flogging. At an early hour an innumerable multitude filled all the streets from Aldgate to the Old Bailey. The hangman laid on the lash with such unusual severity as showed that he had received special instructions. The blood ran down in rivulets. For a time the criminal showed a strange constancy: but at last his stubborn fortitude gave way. His bellowings were frightful to hear. He swooned several times; but the scourge still continued to descend. When he was unbound, it seemed that he had borne as much as the human frame can bear without dissolution. 'James was entreated to remit the second flogging, His answer was short and clear: 'He shall go through with it, if he has breath in his body.' An attempt was made to gain the queen's intercession; but she indignantly refused to say a word in favour of such a wretch. After an interval of only foriy-eight hours, Vates was again brought out of his dungeon. He was unable to stand, and it was necessary to drag him to Tyburn on a sledge. He seemed quite insensible; and the Tories reported that he had stupified himself with strong drink. A person who counted the stripes on the second day, said that they were seventeen hundred. The bad man escaped with life, but so narrowly that his ignorant and bigoted admirers thought his recovery miraculous, and appealed to it as a proof of his innocence. The doors of the prison closed upon him. During many months he remained ironed in the darkest hole of Newgate.”

Titus Oates lived after the infliction of this terrible punishment twenty years. At the revolution the tide of popular favour set in his favour, and he received a pension of £1000.

We have also received from Phillips, Sampson & Co., the illustrated edition of SHAKSPEARE's DRAMATIC WORKS, now in the course of publication. They state their object to be, "to prepare an edition from the highest authorities and in the most elegant form; not too much encumbered with comments, nor so destitute of them as to be obscure to the general reader."

They have followed the reading of the text of the folio edition of 1623, and acknowledge their indebtedness to Mr. Singer for the preliminary remarks. The typography and the ornamental parts of the work are admirable. The head of Miranda pre-fixed to the Tempest is exquisitely designed and finished. An American edition of the plays

of the great English dramatist in this form disincumbered of useless notes-elegant and accurate-is 'a desideratum. It is surprising that such perfect copies of the works of Shakspeare should be preserved, when it is considered how careless he was himself of their preservation, leaving them in the hands of stage-managers when he retired from the world, apparently regardless of its applause, and unconscious of the power and value of his productions. HOME RECREATIONS, MARY Howitt's Tales AND STORIES, THE CA

RAVAN, FỊRESIDE FAIRIES, HEARTS AND Homes, from the press of D. Appleton & Co., New York.

These works are all got up with the usual good taste and accuracy of the publishers; and the matter is mostly designed for the instruction and entertainment of youthful readers. The first, -Home Recreations, by Grandfather Merryman,-is a collection of “Tales of Peril and Adventure, Voyages and Travels, Biography, Manners and Customs, Poetry, &c.”—The Tales and Stories by Mary Howitt, are in the best style of that practised and entertaining writer. They have the great merit of simplicity of language and purity of thought-and whilst boys and girls take delight in reading them, the moral lessons are so mixed up with the entertainment that they never fail to instruct. The Caravan is a collection of tales, translated from the German by G. P. Quackenbos. If the judgment of our young friends, who have read them, is to be relied on, they are pleasant and interesting stories which do credit to the author. Of the Fireside Fairies, or Christmas at Aunt Elsie's, we also hear the opinion universally expressed, that this volume has met the approbation of " the little people for whom it was expressly designed.” It has, therefore, accomplished its object, which, we learn from the preface, is so “to deck familiar, yet important truths, and the home duties of every day life in the drapery of fiction," as to reach the mind of the child. Hearts and Homes is a tale by a distinguished writer, Mrs. Ellis, which needs not our opinion or encomium to make it acceptable to the public. RECOLLECTIONS OF DEPARTED FRIENDS. By the Rev. Wm. Berrian,

D. D., Rector of Trinity Church. New York. Stanford and Swords.

We are indebted to the author for a copy of this well written, and, to us, deeply interesting volume. It contains a series of brief notices of his personal friends, who have died in the faith. Among them are the names of John Henry Hobart, Cornelius R. Duffie, Robert Troup, Jacob Lorillard, Thomas Lyell, John C. Rudd, David B. Ogden, and others; all of whom are well known to New Yorkers, and some of whom have a reputation for talent and worth, wide as the Union.

Dr. Berrian is an able and agreeable writer, and his descriptions

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of character are truthful and impressive. Of Mr. Duffie, whom we remember as a classmate, highly esteemed, he thus writes:

“His piety was of the most engaging character; for while he was careful to adorn the doctrine of Christ by the strictness and purity of his life, yet there was such a gentleness in his manners, such sweetness of temper, such lowliness of heart, and unaffected modesty in his carriage, as represented religion in her own meek and winning air, and gave a powerful and persuasive influence to his example.”,

Referring to the advanced age and unimpaired faculties of David B. Ogden, the eminent jurist, he uses this language:

"We are apt to think that at that age all the purposes of life are accom. plished, that active exertion is at an end, that desire has failed, that this mortal existence itself, on the conditions with which it must be held, would soon become a burden, ... it was not so in respect to our departed friend,

.. there was a freshness of feeling in him which is but seldom found in so old a man; a cheerfulness of spirit which, in despite of the vexations and trials of life, was an unfailing source of comfort to himself, and which shed perpetual sunshine on those around him.”

His intellectual strength and his piety are thus described : “The peculiar and characteristic distinction of his logical mind was considered to consist in its clearness, consecutiveness and force, in seizing upon the general bearing and the strong points of every case, and urging it with the utmost precision and energy to its just conclusion. ... The levity, ungodli. ness and skepticism, which he had met with in his promiscuous intercourse with the world produced not the slightest effect upon his devout and well ordered mind; and having all rational ground for his faith as a Christian, he received its holiest mysteries, and most incomprehensible truths with the meekness and simplicity of a child." MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE OF WILLIAM Wirt. By John P. Kennedy.

Lea and Blanchard. Philadelphia.

We received a copy of this popular work at so late an hour as to be unable to do justice to its merits by more than a general notice. The established reputation of Mr. Kennedy as an author, and the success of his work, which has already passed to a second edition, are sufficient guarantees of its value. He has exhibited the incidents in the life and the character of the highly gifted William Wirt with a master's hand. We question whether any contemporaneous biography will be read more generally or with more interest, as the author has been able to interweave with the narrative so many of the familiar letters of Wirt and

is friends—all of which abound with brilliant thoughts, sound philosophy, or touching expressions of affection and duty. Mr. Wirt was one of those instances of successful talent so often seen in this country The son of a tavern-keeper at Bladensburgh, he rose to high rank in his profession-electrified the public by his brilliant eloquence on the trial of Aaron Burr-enjoyed the personal friendship of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, and became Attorney General of the United States.

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