Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

SUPPLEMENT.

In compliance with the suggestion of many of our friends, and at the request of a majority of our contributors, we again publish a supplement consisting of Notices of t/.r "Messenger." We nave duly weighed the propriety and impropriety of this course, and hare concluded that when we choose to adopt it, there can be no good reason why we should noL Heretofore we have made selections from the notices received—only taking care to publish what we conceived to be a fair specimen of the general character of all—and, with those who know us, no suspicion of unfairness in this selection would be entertained. Lest, however, among those who do not know us, any such suspicion should arise, we now publish erery late criticism received. This supplement is, of course, not considered as a portion of the Messenger itself, being an extra expense to the publisher.

We commence with the Newbern (North Carolina) Spectator— a general dissenter from all favorable opinions of our Magazine.

Southern Literary Messenger.—The May number of this periodical has been on our table for some days, but our avocations nave prevented us from looking into it before lo-dny. It is ns usual, a beautiful specimen of typography, and sustains Mr. White's acknowledged mechanical taste. Its contents are various, as may be seen by referring to another column of to-day's paper, and not more various than unequal. Someofthe articles are creditable to their authors, while others—indeed a majority of them—would better suit an ephemeral sheet like our own, which makes no great literary pretensions, than the pages of a magazine that assumes the high stand of a critical censor and a standard of correct taste in literature. While its pretensions were less elevated, we hailed the Messenger as an attempt, and a successful one, to call forth southern talent and to diffuse a taste for chaste and instructive reading ; and had its conductors been satisfied with the useful and creditable eminence which the work attained almost immediately, the Messenger would not only have had a more extensive circulation, but its labors would have been more beneficial to the community—the great end at which every periodical should aim. With the talent available in any particular spotin the southern country, it is out of the question, truly ridiculous, to assume the tone of a Walsh, a Blackwood or a Jeffries; and Jfra^empt it, without the means to support the pretension, tenus to accelerate the downfall of so indiscreet an attempt. We do not wish to be misunderstood in this remark. We believe, indeed we know, that the south possesses talent, and cultivated talent too, in as great abundance perhaps as any population of the same extent so situated; but the meaning which we intend to convey is, that this talent is neither sufficiently concentrated, nor sufficiently devoted to literary pursuits, to Se brought forth i n support of any single publication in strength adequate to establish an indisputable claim to superiority. Without these advantages, however, the Messenger has boldly put itself forth as an arbiter whose dicta are supreme; and with a severity and an iniliscreetness of criticism,—especially on American works,—which few, if any, of the able and well established Reviews have ventured to exercise, has been not only unmerciful, but savage. We admit that the number before, as well as the one preceding, is more moderate; and this change encourages the hope that justness of judgment and a dignified expression of opinion will hereafter characterise the work. The May number, however, is over captions, unnecessarily devoted to faultfinding, in a few cases. In criticising "Spain Revisited," this spirit shows itself. About ninety lines are occupied in condemnation of the Author's dedication, a verv unpretending one irK>, and one which will elevate Lieutenant Slidell in the estimation of all who prefer undoubted evidences of personal friendship to the disposition which dictates literary hyper-criticism. The errors of composition that are to be found in the work, grammatical and other, are also severely handled, wc will not ■ay ably. The following is a specimen.

"And now, too, we began"—says Spain Revisited—"to see horsemen jantily dressed in slouched hat, embroidered jacket, and worked spatterdashes, reining fiery Amlalusinn couriers, each having the Moorish carbine hung at hand beside him."

"Were horsemen"—says the Messenger, " a generic term," that Is, did the word allude to horsemen generally, the use of the "tltru*hed hat" and "embroideredjacket" in the singular, would be justifiable—but it is not so in speaking of individual horsemen, where the plural is required. The participle "reining" probably refers to " spatterdashes," although of course intended to igree with " horsemen." The word " each" also meant to refer to the "Aertemen," belongs, strictly speaking, to the "couriers." The whole, if construed by the rigid rules of grammar, would hnply that the horsemen were dressed in spatterdashes—which spatterdashes reined the coursers—and which coursers had each a carbine."

With all deference to the Messenger, we would ask, if it never entered into the critick's mind that " slouched hat," "and embroidered jacket" are here used as generick terms ? Lieutenant Slidell evidently intended that they should be so received: but that he entertained the same Intention respecting "horsemen," the whole context disproves. Had the reviewer placed a comma

after the word "horsemen," in the first line of the paragraph which he dissects, (the relative and verb—who were— being elided, there is authority for so doing,) considered as parerthetical and illustrative all that follows between that comma and the one which comes after " spatterdashes," supplied the personal relative and the proper verb, which are plainly understood before the participle "reining," we presume that this sentence, ill-constructed as it undoubtedly is, would have escaped the knife, from a conviction that there arc ninny as bad in the Messenger itself. The only critical notice which we have had leisure to read since the reception of the number, is the one which we have named. We may resume the subject in connexion with the June number.

We are at a loss to know who is the editor of the Spectator, but have a shrewd suspicion (hat he is the identical gentleman who once sent us from Newbern an unfortunate copy of verses. It seems to us that he wishes to be taken notice of, and we will, for the once, oblige him with a few words—with the positive understanding, however, that it will be inconvenient to trouble ourselves hereafter with his opinions. We would respectfully suggest to him that his words, " while its pretensions were less elevated we hailed the Messenger as a successful attempt, fcc. and had its conductors been satisfied with the useful and creditable eminence, Slc we would hare had no objection to it," fee. are a very fair and candid acknowledgment that he can find no fault with the Messenger but its success, and that to be as stupid at itself is the only sure road to the patronage of the Newbern Spectator. The paper is in error—we refer it to any decent schoolboy in Newbern—in relation to the only sentence in our Magazine upon which it has thought proper to comment specifically, viz. the sentence above (by Lieutenant SJidell) beginning "Awl now too we began to see horsemen jantily dressed in slouched hat, embroidered jacket, &c." The Spectator says, "We would ask if it never entered into the critic's mind that * slouched hat* and ' embroidered jacket' are here used as generic terms? Lieutenant Slidell evidently intended that they should be Bo received; but that he entertained the same intention respecting ' horsemen,' the whole context disproves." We reply, (and the Spectator should imagine us smiling as we reply) that it is precisely because "slouched hat" and "embroidered jacket" are used as generic terms, while the word "horsemen" it not, that we have been induced to wish the sentence amended. The Spectator also says, " With the talent available (n any particular spot in the Southern country, it is out of the question, truly ridiculous, to assume the tone of a Walsh, a Blackwood, or a Jeffries." We believe that either Walsh, or (Blackwood*) or alas! Jeffries,would disagree with the NewbernSpcctator in its opinion of the talent of the Southern country—that is, if either WaJsh or Blackwood or Jeffries could have imagined the existence of such a thing as a Newbern Spectator. Of the opinion of Blackwood and Jeffries, however, we cannot be positive just now. Of that of Walsh we can,having heard from him very lately with a promise of a communication for the Messenger, and compliments respecting our Editorial course, which we should really be ashamed of repeating. From Slidell, for whom the Spectator is for taking up the cudgels, we have yesterday heard in a similar strain and with a similar promise. From Proj.Jlnthon, ditto. Mrs. Sigourney, also lately reviewed, has just forwarded us her compliments and a communication, llalleck, since our abuse of his book, writes ua thus: "There is no place where I shall be more desirous of seeing my humble writings than in the publication you so ably support and conduct. It is full of sound, good literature, and Its frank, open, Independent manliness of spirit, is characteristic i>f ths land it hails from." Paulding, likewise, has sent us something for our pages, and is so kind as to say of us in a letter just received,

I should not hesitate in placing the " Messenger" decidedly at the head of our periodicals, nor do I hesitate In expressing that opinion freely on all occasions. It is gradually growing in the public estimation, and under your conduct, and with your contributions, must soon, if it is not already, be known all over the land." Lastly, in regard to the disputed matter of Drako and Hallcck, we have just received the following testimony from an individual second to no American author in the wide-spread popularity of Ids writings, and in their universal appreciation by men of letters, both in the United States and England. "Tou have given sufficient evidence on various occasions, not only of critical knowledge but of high independence; your praise is therefore of value, and your censure not to be slighted. Allow me to say that I think your article on Drake and Halleck one of the finest pieces of criticism ever published in this country."

These decisions, on the part of such men, it must be acknowl

Vol. II—06

edged, would be highly gratifying to our vanity, were not the decision vetoed by the poet of the Newbern Spectator. We wish only to add that the poet's assertion in regard to the Messenger "putting itself forth as an arbiter whose dicta are supreme," is a slight deviation from the truth. The Messenger merely expresses its particular opinions in its own particular manner. These opinions no person is bound to adopt. They arc open to the comments and censures of even the most diminutive things in creation—of the very Newbern Spectators of the land. If the Editor of this little paper does not behave himself we will positively publish his verses.—Ed. Messenger.

From the Augusta Chronicle. Southern Literary Messenger.—The following flattering tribute to the merits of this Southern periodical, is from the New York Courier and Enquirer; and, for its liberality and independence, it is scarcely less creditable to the Messenger, than to the paper from which it is extracted. The Courier and Enquirer is ever ready to do justice to the South, in all its relations, and to defend it when assailed, and therefore richly merits the warm gratitude and liberal patronage of its people.

From Ihc Courier and Enquirer.

"We have received the May number of the Southern Literary Messenger, and its contents are equal to its reputation. We feel no hesitation in declaring our opinion that this publication is in every essential attribute, at the very head of the periodical literature of its class, in the United States. We do not agree by any means with some of its literary conclusions. For instance, it is very wide of our opinion on the merits of Hal leek, in tins very number; but there is a vigor and manliness in most of the papers that appear in the Messenger, which we arc almost ready to admit, are found no where else in American periodicals. At all events, it holds a proud post among its compeers, and its criticisms in particular, though sometimes a little too tomahawkish, have, generally speaking, a great deal of justice on their side." —

From the National Intelligencer.

On the subject of the right of instruction, we find in the June number of the Richmond Literary Messenger, a very able paper, which, as soon as we can free our columns from the mass of Congressional matter on our hands, we will spread entire before our readers. The article comes to us in the shape of a letter to a gentleman In Virginia, and is understood to be from the pen of that distinguished jurist, Judge Hopkinson, of Philadelphia. It was elicited by a recent article in the Richmond Enquirer in defence of the right of mandatory instruction, and furnishes a luminous and complete refutation of that, amongst the most mischievous of the fallacies which obtain occasional popularity in particular States. Hearing of this letter, the publisher of the Messenger had the good sense and good fortune to obtain a copy of it, and the manliness to publish it in his valuable journal. In 80 doing he has rendered a service to the public, and enriched his pau'os with an article which is, itself, worth five years' subscription to the Messenger.

From the Richmond Compiler. The SouOtern Literary Messenger.— Every body moat remember, that a very short time ago the attempt to establish a magazine in Virginia, was looked upon as chima-rical in the last degree; and when, at length, the publication was commenced, in spite of ;i host of difficulties, its speedy downfall was universally predicted. Such predictions, no doubt, tended in a great degree to verify themselves, and are the usual resources of the enemies of any scheme of the kind. But it is saying a great deal for the enterprize and talent which have been employed in the service of the Messenger, that it has not only overcome difficulties such as no other magazine in the country ever successfully contended with, but that it has succeeded in attaining to the very first rank among American monthly periodicals. Since the commencement of the second volume, there has hardly been a dissenting voice, in this respect, in the many notices of the journal which have come under our observation. The first literary names tn the Union (without reference to mere Editorial opinions) have not scrupled directly to avow their belief, that the Messenger is decidedly the first of American Journals, and that its Ediiorial articles and management in especial, are far superior to those of any magazine" in America, but have suffered these opinions to be published. Here, then, there can be no suspicion of puffery. Vet in spite of all these things,—in spite of the energy which has been displayed in getting up the Journal—in spite of the acknowledged ability with which it is conducted, and the admitted talents of its principal contributors (Judge Hopkinson, Professor Dew, Rbt. Greenhow, Heath, Timothy Flint, Edgar Poe, Judge Tucker, Groesbeck, Minor, Carter, Maxwell and a host of others)—in spite, too, of the general acknowledgement that such a publication is an honor to the State, we find our citizens regarding the work with apathy, if not treating it with positive neglect. Our public presses, too, we think to blame, in not entering more warmly into the cause of the Messenger. We happen to be aware that these presses are, one and all, favorahly disposed to the Journal and proud of its success. But they are, In a measure, bound to some active exertions in its behalf. In such a case as that of the Mes

senger, silence amounts to positive dispraise. The public in other States naturally look to the Richmond presses for opinions in relation to the magazine, and are at a loss to account for Ita finding any, except by supposing some demerit. We are quae sure that Mr. White has neither any expectation nor desire that we should/>ujf his Journal—that is, praise it beyond it* decent Yet we may certainly notice each number as. it appears, express ing freely ^although briefly, our opinion of its deserts. This « nothing more, it appears to us, than our absolute duty—a dmy we owe to the cause of Virginia literature, to Mr. White, Mr. Poe, and to ourselves.

The present number, we do not think equal as a whol* to the March number, and still less to that for February—which latter may be safely placed in comparison with any single number of any Journal in existence for the great vigor, profundity, aiid originality of its articles. Yet we do not mean to say that the number now before us is net an admirable one, and fully equal to any of our Northern magazines in its communication*, while it far surpasses the best of them in its Editorial department

The first article is "MSS. of Benj. Franklin," printed from MSS. in the hand-writing of Franklin himself, and never published in any edition of his works. It is unnecessary to say n-.r re than this to call public attention to so valuables paper. ** Lionel Granby," chap. X. is the next prose article. We Hkethis chapter as well if not belter, than any of the former ones. The wiiter of these papers is evidently a man of genius—we misbt perhaps express our meaning more fully by saving that he has that degree uf genius which enables him to appreciate, and keenly feel the labors of men of genius. Some of his detached passages may be considered as very fine. He has, however, no capacity to sustain a connected narrative of any length, and these chapters of " Lionel Granby" are consequently replete with the most ludicrous incongruities. They evince great ignorance of what is called the world. They are full of a shallow pedaiitfr. Their style is excessively turgid, ungrammatical, and intern*quential. "The Prairie" is a delightful little sketch of real ec«*nery. "Random Thoughts" is an excellent article, evincing much true learning and acumen. Such contributors as the author <-f this paper are invaluable to the Messenger. "Odds and Ei-J.*"' is from the pen of Oliver Oldschool—a former com -spooled of the Messenger. We believe Oliver Oldschool to be Mr. Garten, the author of many excellent things on Female Education. Hw present essay is exceedingly amusing—but somcwjiat old fashioned. *' The Hall of Incnolese" by J. N. McJilion should uA have been admitted into the columns of the Messenger, lx is an imitation < 1 the Editor's tale of Bon-Bon, and like most other imitations, utterly unworthy of being mentioned in comparison with its original. Nothing but the mostexlraordtnary talent c*;i render a tale of this nature acceptable to the present stale of the public appetite. If not exceedingly good, it is always excrssively bad. It must be a palpable hit or it is nothing. The tl Lecture on German Literature1' is in every respect worthy of Um talents and learning of its author, George H. Calvert.* Edhcc af the Baltimore American, and the writer of several popular works. It is a spirited and accurate sketch of German Literature from its origin to tlve present day. The Messenger should secure Mr. Calvert If possible. "Readings with my pencil, Xo. IV,"' if a very good paper. "American Social Elevation" is the best coaamunicuted article in the present number, and perhaps one of the best, if not indeed the best (of a similar nature) which has ever appeared in any Journal in the country. Its philosophy « bold and comprehensive without being minute—its style fervid and exceedingly pure. From the initials and place of date, we are led to attribute this essay to Mr. Groesbeck of CincinnaiL '•Verbal Criticisms" is a good paper, but wc cannot agree, witb ti*e critic in his strictureson the phrase " being built."

The Editorial Department is (as it invariably is,) full, boLL vigorous and original. The first paper is ** Lynches Law," and eives the history and origin, together with a copy tit the law. Then follow Critical Notices. New works are reviewed—nf3Bdtll's, of Professor Anthon's, of Mrs. Trollope's, of Paulding ■#, ot Walsh's, of Cooper's, and of Mellen's. Praise and blame are distributed with the soundest discrimination, ami with an impartiality, (even in the case of known friends,) which it Is impossible not to admire; or to impeach.

The Poetical Department is quite limited. Two pieces by Mr. Pne are very beautiful, the one entitled "Irene," in e*p>rUJ, is full of his rich and well-disciplined imagination. The lie?* on " Camilla" by Lambert A. Wilmer, are a perfect fern; fall of antique strength and classic sorrow.

From the Baltimore Gazette.

The Southern LiteraryMessenger for Aprit, has been received rather late in the day. Though the appearance of the Mcssesrrr is occasionally delayed (from us) longer than we might ni yet we ever give it the cordial welcome which a roost iirtereriu; and worthy friend never fails to receive at our hands. The pre. sent number, we perceive, contains less than the usual a moan of matter, owing to the increase of the pages of the March anav ber occasioned by the insertion of Professor Dew's valuable address upon the influence of the federative republican sjArja A government upon literature and the development of character.

The long and able article on Maelzel's Chessplayer, cootau>i in this number, docs credit to tbc close observation and arov reasoning of its author, who, as the article is publish*^] ur-ler the editorial head, we infer is the talented editor himself. The question whether or not the chess-player is a pure machine, Js. wc think, completely put to rest The nature of the game c-t chess is swh, that no machine, however ingeniously arranged may be its mechanism, could of itself perform its constantly varying operations. We have never, ut any time, given assent to the prevailing opinion, that human agency is nnt employed by Mr. Maelzel. That such agency ia employed cannot be questioned, un!f.<s it may be satisfactorily demonstrated that man is capable to impart intellect to matter: for mind in no less requisite in the operations of the game of chess, than it is in the prosecution of a chain of abstract reasoning. We recommend those, whose credulity has in this instance been taken captive by plausible appearances; and all, whether credulous or not, who admire an ingenious train of inductive reasoning, to read this article attentively : each and all must rise from its perusal convinced lhat a mere, machine cannot bring into requisition the intellect which this intricate game demands, but on the contrary that every operation is the result of human agency, though so ingeniously concealed as to baffle detection, unless by Ion* continued and close observation.

This question, so often, and in this instance so nhly, examined, was settled in Baltimore several years ago, by the actual discovery of a man emerging from the top of the chest or box, on which Mr. Maelzel's figure moved the chess men, the Md, which moved on a pivot like some card table covers, being turned on one side. This was seen by two youths of respectable character, through * window, accidentally open, in the rear of the room in which Mr. Maelzel's Chess Player was exhibited. Of the truth of this discovery we are entirely satisfied.

The Lecture " On the Providence of God in the Government of the World," from the original manuscript of Benjamin Franklin, and which has not hitherto been published In any edition of Ws works, is properly entitled to the first place in the columns of the Messenger. The argument oi' the Providence of God contamed in this lecture, is admirable for its brevity and conclusiveness Franklin reasoned well, and wrote as well as he reasoned, Farming his style after the model of the most chaste and classic writer of the English language, and drawing, from the resources of a capacious and welf stored mind, he never failed both to please and to Instruct his readers. His aim was to benefit his countrymen; and he wrote for them in a way in which they could understand, appreciate, and profit by every thing lhat came from his pen. The epistles published more than a century ago in his Pennsylvania Weekly Gazette, contain many valuable hints re**pecting domestic economy, some of which might be treasured up with advantage at the present day; for, generally speaking/, economy is not an American virtue. Two of those epistles, one from Anthony Afterwit, and the other from Celia Single, have made their appearance in ihis number of the Messenger. Neither of them, it seems, has been inserted in any ofthe editions of the Doctor's works.

The article on " Genius" is perhaps more in accordance with our view* than with those of the editor, who seems to think the writer's inferences lag behind the spirit of the age, and hence deduces the important conclusion, that his correspondent is not a phrenologist. We leave both the editor and his correspondent to the enjoyment of their own respective opinions, while we pass on to entertain ourselves for a little while m the " March Court" of our sister State. Nugator describes to the life the scenes of every day occurrence lioth in ami around a Virginia Court House, and concludes the picture he has so happily drawn, by introducing the trial of a negro woman for murder, during the late war, ami at the time the British were ascending the Potomac.

The article on "Woman," by Pau'ina, is sensible nnd well written—far more just and philosophical than a vast deal that baa been aaid on this fair subject. Commend us to the ladies in general, and to Paulini in particular, for just views ofthe gentler r*-x. It is to be hoped the fair writer may perceive that the subject ia not exhausted in a single essay.

"Leaves from mv Scrap Biiok," includes much that is excellent within a limited space. The writer has improved his naturally correct taste by close communion with the ancient and modern classics.

A Tale of Jerusalem, is one of those felicitous " hits," which are the forte of Edgar A. Poe. The point, like that of an epigram, lies in the conclusion.

Thr "crhtcal notices" of the present number, evince the usual ability ofthe editor in this department; though, what is more to our taste, not quite so caustic, as hitherto. We accord with the review ofthe "Culprit Fay." The merits of this poem, despite the praise lavished upon it, when critically sifted, will be found to be like the little Ouphc himself, rather a small affair.

Our article has been lengthened so far beyond the usual limits a* to preclude attention to the poetical department.

From the Norfolk Herald. THr Southern Literary Meatcngcr.—The present number of the Messenger, although not altogether equal to some previous ones, is full of highly interesting and valuable matter, and sustains the well earned reputation ofthe Journal. The first article is "M99. of Benjamin Franklin." These MSS. ore Copied from the hand writing of Franklin himself and have never appeared In any edition of his works. Among other good thing*, they include the following question and its solution. "A man bargains for the keeping of his horse six months, whilst he is3 making a voyage to Rarbadoes. The horse strays or is stolen soon after the keeper has him in possession. When the owner demands the value of his horse in money, may not the other an justly demand so much deducted as the keeping of the horse six months amounts to?" The second prose article is "Lionel Qranby," a series of papers which wc cannot consider

as at all creditable to *he Messenger. The "Prairie" Is a very good sketch. "Random Thoughts" are somewhat pedantic, but make a very excellent article. "Odds and Ends" we fancy is from the pen of Mr. Garnett; it is full of humor, and will be generally liked, although we agree with ihe Richmond Compiler in thinking it rather too old fashioned. The " Hall of Incholese" is decidedly had, and moreover a direct imitation of Mr.Poe's tale of " Bon-Bon." The Editor should have refused to admit it In the Messenger, if for no <i(her reason, on account of its barefaced flattery of himself. Mr. Calvert's (ofthe Baltimore American)

("Lecture on German Literature" will lm generally rend and admired. It is a well-written and comprehensive essay, evincing intimate acquaintance with the literature of which he treats.

| "Readings with my Pencil, No. IV" by J. F. O. is like all the other numbers, good. "American Social Elevation" is most

I admirable : if we mistake not, this article is from th<* pen of Professor Dew. "Verbal Criticisms" are just, but rather common place.

The " Editorial*' of this number is very forcible and racy as usual. Among other things we notice an account of the origin of"Lynch's Law." The " Critical Notices" embrace all new publications of any moment, that is, American publications ; and we approve of the Editor's discrimination in not troubling himself, except in rare cases, with those of foreign countries. The hooks reviewed are Slideli's " Spain Revisited," "Paulding's Washington," Mrs. Trullope's "Paris and the Parisians," Walsh's "Didactics," Anthon's "Sallust," Cooper's "Switzerland** and " Mellen'a Poems." A press of other matters prevented us from doing what we intended in relation to the last Messenger. We wished especially to have called public attention to the Editorial critique on the poems of Drake, and Halleck, and the article (also editorial) on the " Automaton of Maelzel.*' Both these pieces are unanswerable—and perhaps the two best articles of any kind which have ever appeared in an American Periodica!. The essay on the Automaton cannot be anstctrtd, and we have haard the Editor challenges a reply from Maelzel himself, or from any source whatever. The piece has excited great attention. The poetry ol the Messenger improves: there are some excellent lines in the present number.

From the National Gazette. The May number of the Southern Literary Messenger contains several excellent articles. Mr. Calvert's Lecture on the Literature of Germany may be commended to the attention of all who are either about studying the German language, or would wish to know something ofthe authors of that country. His descriptions, though necessarily brief, are satisfactory, and his estimates of the comparative merits of the authors he mentions, are, in general, judicious. The MSS. of Benjamin Frmiklin (nut in his works) are from the same source which furnished some for the April number. They will be read with interest by all. The chapter of Lionel Granliy does not advance the thread ofthe story. It describes a visit of the hero to Lamb (Elia Lamb,) and pictures his guests, Coleridge, Godwin, &c. "Odds and Ends'* is the title of an attempt to divide mankind into genera and species, such as have not yet been named in any work on natural history. It will furnish amusement and perhaps instruction to the reader. The author (Oliver Oldschool) is an old corresi>ondentof 'Jie Messenger. The essay entitled " American Social Elevation,*' deserves great commendation. How fatal to tho advancement of society too great attention to money-making and politics is proving in this country, is well exhibited, and remedies for this are judiciously suggested. A new account of the origin of Lynch'a law is given, which is probably the true one.

From tho Baltimore American. In the Southern Literary Messenger for April, which reached us a few days since, the Editor opens the department of "critical notices" with some spirited and just remarks on the puffing system, as practised in this country towards native writers, and a vindication of his own course. He is on tho strong side, whatever number or influences may be arrayed against him, and will do much good even though he run occasionally into the extreme of severity. Many people really believe, by dint of reading the repented praise bestowed on them, that the marrowlcss prose fictions and " baseless" verse ofthe day constitute a Literature. Let the editor of the Messenger and others, go on purging their judgment of such crude notions, and assuming a high standard of literary merit, require substantial qualifications in candidates for fame, and condemn unsparingly all who do not unite genius with cultivation, a union Indispensable fur the production of works of permanent value.

From the Baltimore Afhenreum. Southern Literary Messenger.—The April number of this excellent periodical is before us, and fully maintains the dignity and reputation won by its predecessors. We have read it carefully, and therefore hold ourselves qualified to pronounce judgment on its general merit. The articles in prose, are all good. Wc wish we could say the same ofthe poetry; which, with the exception of the dramatic, sketch entitled "The Death of Robespierre,*' (admirable by the bye, although we think the writer has caught somewhat ofthe reflection of Coleridge,) we say, with the above exception, the poetry, judged by the Editor's own snndard, that of Ideality, does not rank above mediocrity. The criticnl notices, together with the brief introductory essay " On the present state of American criticism,** are in the Editor's best vein. Wc like the independent spirit, and critical acumen, which he evinces in the performance of his duty; and, however wc may at times be induced to differ with him in opinion, yet we cannot but say, that in general hia dissections of "poor devil authors," though apparently severe, are well merited. In making this admission, we do not withdraw any opinion heretofore expressed when we have differed from the Editor of the Messenger, for, whenever we dislike an article we shall, (as we have ever done,) speak our mind fully though in all friendliness. But we assert our conviction, that judicious criticism, exercised without regard to persons, has been long wanting. There was a time when American Reviewers imported their decisions on the works of native authors, and frowned down any attempt to resist the foreign decree. They have now rushed into the opposite extreme, the barrier once broken down, the torrent of adulation has lifted up every man who could fill a book with words; and changed the current of popular feeling to such an extent, that it is only by strenuous exertions it can be brought back into its mediate and true channel. They have given Fhstnn the reins, and if his steeds are not checked by a more powerful band, the most disastrous effects must inevitably ensue. We, therefore, bid our friends cherish a work that upholds independent criticism, and pursues the " even tenor of its way," the friend of alt who deserve its friendship, but the slave of none. Cherish it we say, that by a more extended circulation it may fulfil the christian precept, and " go about doing good."

From the Baltimore Athenceum.

The Southern Literary Messenger for May.—This number contains, among other excellent papers, an address on "German Literature," by our townsman, George H. Calvert, Esq., delivered before the AthentBum Society of Baltimore, on the 11th of February, 1336. The pleasure derived from a perusal of this admirable lecture was greatly enhanced by the fact of our having been present at its delivery, and our still vivid recollection of its varied beauties and excellences,heightened and rendered impressive by the peculiar manner, emphasis, and enunciation of the speaker. Of the literature of Germany, deeply metaphysical, and rich with an abounding storo of learning as it is, we are by far too ignorant, and we owe much to the author of this address for his labors in opening for us many sourccsofrich intellectual enjoyment, in his translations, of which Schiller's Don Carlos may be named as his most elaborate effort yet published.

We cannot enter into an analysis of the entire number of the Messenger before us ; it is however highly interesting, an is usual with all the issues of this Magazine. The paper called "Odds and Ends," we recommend to the especial perusal of all who have any desire to reform their manners and morals. It is a pleasant and well conceived satire.

Some of the northern critics have intimated that Simms was the editor of the Messenger. This is an error. It is now edited, as we understand, by Edgar A. Foe, formerly of this city, a young gentleman of excellent talents, and untiring industry. He is earning for himself a fine reputation.

From the Baltimore Patriot. The Southern Literary Messenger.—The May number of this handsome and ably conducted periodical has just come to hand. It comes late, but In the case of this Messenger we may truly say "better late than never;" lor the tales it tells, and its qualities as a temporary visiter and companion, must always secure it a cordial reception, however it may procrastinate its stated journeys, or linger by the way side. The Southern Literary Messenger is now under the editorial conduct of Edgar A. Poe, Esq. formerly of this city, and lias been so, as we understand, since the commencement of the Hecond volume. This gentleman has been, the while, a liberal contributor to its columns, and this thorough identification with a periodical, marked with unusual ability and attended with extraordinary success, must be satisfactory to the editor, and afford ample testimony at the same lime that the conduct of the Messenger is in fit and competent hands. The May number of the Messenger contains the usual variety, and is marked with the freshness, spirit, and independence, which are characteristic of the work.

From the Baltimore Patriot. The Southern Literary Messenger.—The April number of this fresh and spirited periodical has come to hand. Its contents exhibit the usual variety. The character of this work is now so well established, that we need not speak to the question of its general merits, and shall only say that the visits of this "Messenger," though sometimes tardy as in the present case, are, to us, always and altogether acceptable. The number now before us contains a long and ingenious editorial article, on the modus

operandi of Maelzel's Chess Player.

From the New Yorker.

Southern Literary Messenger.—The April number of this spiriled Monthly reaches us somewhat later than its date would indicate, yet so excellept in matter and manner that the reader will easily be induced to pardon the delinquency. The remarkable typographical neatness of the Messenger we have frequently alluded to, in glancing rapidly, as now, at the more intrinsic character of Us contents. Some of those of the present number deserve a more extended consideration than we have time or space to give them,

"MS8. of Benjamin Franklin" form the opening paper of the Magazine—three hitherto unpublished though characteristic essays from the pen of the first eminent philosopher and t age whom

America can claim aa her own. *A Lecture on Providence' is replete with the profound yet perspicuous common sense which was ever so prominent a feature in the character of the inventor of the lightning-rod; while the letters of(Anthony Afterwit' and * Celia Single' are in his lighter vein of humorous utilitarianism which would have done no discredit to the pen of Addison. (Bv the way, why have we no compilation or edition of the Life and Writings of Dr. Franklin at all commensurate wiih the dignity of the subject? Such a work would form a valuable and now desirable addition to American literature.)

"Genius" is discussed in the succeeding prose paper, and to better purpose than in the majority of essays on the subject. The writer maintains that " Genius, as it appears to me, is merely a decided preference for any study or pursuit, which enables its possessor to give it the close and unwearied attention necessary to ensure success." This proposition is stoutly and ably maiatained, and, though we cannot concur in it fullv, we believe it much nearer the truth than is generally supposed. If true at all, it is a profitable truth, and should pass into an axiom with all convenient celerity.

41 Some Ancient Greek Authors Chronologically Considered,^ is an article evincing profitably directed research, which wa shall copy.

44 March Court" is a sketch so exclusively Virginian, that we can hardly judge of its merit.

"The Death of Robespierre" Is a dramatic sketch—a specie* of writing which we do not properly appreciate. We, who do not worship even Shakspcare, cannot bow to the sway of his humbler satellites.

"Woman" id the topic of the succeeding paper—jadicioos and sensible, but nm very original or forcible, considering that lha essayist is a lady.

41 Leaves from a Scrap Book" willbe found among our literary selections. We regret that its Greek characters and phrases compelled us to exclude tho author's forcible illustration of the disadvantages under which the earlier poets labor in a comparison with the moderns. Nothing could be more conclusive.

The Editorials of the number are ably written, though seme pages arc devoted to a solution of the mystery of the Auiomawa Chesa-PIayer, doubtless the correct one, viz. that, after all the scrutiny which it has undergone, there is actually a man Cogcealed in the pretended machinery. We are not sure that this demonstration, conceding it to be such, is worth the.space it necessarily occupies.

In the matter of Criticism, the Messenger has involved rseif in a difficulty with some of our Northern periodical*, either party, as is not unusual in such cases, being just about half rifbi. The Southern Editor has quite too savage a way of pouuein* upon unlucky wights who happen to have severally perpetrated any thing below par in the literary line, like the Indian, who cannot realize that an enemy is couquered till he is scalped, and some of the mangled have no more policy than to betray ibeir soreness by attempts at retaliation, under very flimsy disguisei, invariably making the matter worse. We think the Messenrcr often quite too severe, as In the case of 4 Norman Leslie,' &c: still able and ingenuous. The Poems of Drake and Ha!leek are reviewed this month—neither of them after the fashion of an ardent and awed admirer—but faithfully, fairly, and with discrimination.

In conclusion, we take pleasure in remarking the fact that the cause of literature at the South is so flourishing as it appears to be at present. We believe the whole number of peruxftcaii which may be distinguished as literary on the other side of tbe Potomac, has more than doubled during the last two years, atd that their circulation has increased in at least equal pmporttPR. We rejoice at this state of things, though it may bejustly thought to militate against our own personal interest. The South has interests and feelings which find little real sympathy with aa, though a piofound and respectful deference elsewhere ; and k is rieht that she should have literary as well as political journal* to maintain those interests and challenge respect for those feelings. We shall not grudge them a generous patronage.

From the Charlottesville Advocate.

The Southern Literary Messenger.—The May number of this work has appeared, with its usual variety of valuable matter.

Foremost in merit as in place, are more of those MSS. of Dr. Franklin, which are contained in the April No., and which have never yet been published In any edition of his works. They seem, all, to have been communications to a newspaper called the Gazetteer: though we are not informed whether they actsally came forth in its columns or not. One piece purports to be from a eossipping4'young girl about thirty-five," who style* h<rself4' Alice Addertongue; and who makes an ingenious, (and of course satirical) defence of Scandal. Another consists of Boom 44 Queries to be asked the Junto," (his club, perhaps ;) oueof which is, "Whence comes the dew that stands on the outside of the tankard that has cold water in it. In the summer timei^ The simplicity of this question would warrant the belief, thai the doctor was then but little advanced in hie career of phy-skal knowledge; unless we suppose that he propounded it only is stimulate some of his friends or readers to thong hi. The tolowing question and answer have much of the true Frank Ms ehrewedness and pungency : " I am about courting a girl I har* but little acquaintance with j how shall I come lo a knowledge of her faults, and whether she has the virtues I imagine she has? Jlnswer. Commend her among her female acquaintance."

The Messenger has Chapter X. of " Lionel Gran by ;" a son of novel, in which there has been much to admire ; but wc arc altogether dissatisfied with the present Chapter, crippling, as it ijites, several or the good things said in the Essays of Elia, by making the hero of the story hear them (and very clumsily retail them) from the lips of Charles Lamb himself, the real *' Elia." We would advise the writer to bring his hero fete h tete with no more literary lions, if he can shew them off to no belter advantage than he shews Lamb. What will our readers think of his talking of "the 'wil lie-draughts' which are pledged to the memory of boyhood," meaning an allusion to the "guidwillie waughts" of Burns, in " Auld Lang Syne?"

We like such collections of scraps, as are bundled together in the piece headed "Random Thoughts."

"Odda and Ends," by our old friend Oliver Oldsehool, Is a whole gallery of satirical portraits; representing various forms of human weakness or depravity—sketches of character almost worthy of Theophrastus, or LaBruyore. Of female characters, the Ttmgue-tied, or Monosyllabic, the Bustlers, the Tom-boys, the Peace-sappers, the Tongue-warriors, and several other classes, are held up to just ridicule; and of males, the Busybodies, the Touch-me-nots, the Gastronome*, the Devillish Good Feilovs, &c. sec.

**A Lecture on German Literature," by George H. Calvert, of Baltimore, is a pregnant outline of a great deal that is inestimable in the literary store houses of probably the most enlightened nation (if we set aside politics) on earth.

We welcome No. IV. of u Readings with my Pencil," from a practised pen, and full, cultivated mind.

The article headed " Verbal Criticism," is of a sort which all the repositories and guardians of Literature ought oftcner to contain : brief reprehensions of too prevalent errors in language; interspersed with curious philological remarks.

The somewhat long essay on " Social Elevation" has much that is praiseworthy, neatness (sometimes force) of style, and in the main, great justness of thought. Its aim is, to expose and rebuke those two ruling passions of our countrymen, ihe love of money, and the love of political preferment. It justly and forcibly shews how these obstrnctour progress in knowledge, virtue, liberty, and happiness, by merging all enlarged patriotism in the most narrowly selfish considerations. Benton wealth, half our people forget their country's weal, in contemplating the Increase of their private hoards. Benton rising in the State (as it is call* ed,) or on ministering to those who do wish to rise, the other half sacrifice their country to their party, or to its leaders. God speed the Essayist in the wide, the universal dissemination of the views on this subject!

After all, the " Ciitical Notices" of the Editor have afforded us by no means the least pleasure. They are acute, just, and pungent- There is one thing we particularly like in the criticisms ■ if the Messenger. While it displays a becoming pride in whatever excellences our country and its literature possesses?, it does not hold itself bound, like many of our journalists, to applaud every thing that is American, and to admit the justice of no animadversions upon us and ours, from fnreien tongues or pens. Thus, in an article on Mr. Cooper's " Sketches of Switzerland," it joins him in a juxtjillip to our national vanity, which has made us believe for many year? past, that " the name of an American is a passport all over Europe," a boast which Mr. C. says is refuted by many mortifying tokens wherever an American travels in Germany, France, Switzerland, or Italy. In a review of Mrs. Tn>Uope»» Pari* and the Parisians, the Messenger again justly rebukes the same American weakness, by averring (what we have always upheld) that her book upon the " Domestic Manners" of America had many more truths than our self love would let us acknowledge. *' We have no patience," says the Messenger, ** with that atrabilious Bet of hyper-patriots, who find fault with Mrs. T.'s Jtumjhtmmcry about the good people of the Union. The work appeared to us an unusually well written performance in which, upon a basis of downright and positive truth, was erected, after the fashion of a porcelain pagoda, a very brilliant, although a very brittle fabric of mingled banter, philosophy and spleen." * * * "We do not hesitate to say,

that she ridiculed our innumerable moral, physical, and social absurdities with equal impartiality, true humor and discrimination.; and that the old joke about her Domestic manners of the Americans hein£ nothing more than the Manners of the Jlmerican Domestics, is, like most other very good jokes, excessively untrue." Of all people on earth, it might be supposed that we, rational American freemen, would be most ready to bear with unpalatable truths told usof ourselves, and to profit by the admoniuoos those truths involve: that we would most willingly pray

"O would some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursela as others see us!
It would frae ninny a blunder free us,
And foolish notion."

But instead of doing so, we wince, swear, and call names, at the slightest hint from a foreigner that our country and all belonging to it, are not the very beau ideal of perfection. It must be thus, if we would make those advances towards perfection which the true patriot tovets for his country. Pope's precept applies no leas to nations than to individuals—

** Trust not yourself; but your defects to know,
Make use of every friend, and every foe."

'* Paulding's Washington," "Anthon's Sallnst," "Walsh's Didactics," "Mellen'sPoems,"and Lieutenant Slidell's "Spain Revisited," (all native American works) are reviewed in a manner at once kind, just, and interesting.

The Number contains a good deal of original Poetry; the

merits of which we must consign to the judgment of those who have more pretensions to taste in poetry than we have.

We wish the Messenger all honor and prosperity—a steadily increasing lis; of punctually paying subscribers.

From the New Yorker.

Southern Literary Messenger.—We believe our respected cotemporary has profiled by our advice this month before it reached him, for we find the June number on our table in much better season than its predecessors. We mark the improvement with pleasure, even though we cannot take credit to ourselves for effecting it. A few words on the papers which compose it.

"The Right of Instruction" is ably and temperately discussed in the leading article, which we may safely attribute to the pen of Judge Hopkinson, of Pennsylvania. The essay denies the right of a Legislature to instruct authoritatively the U. S. Senators of the Suite— or nlther, the obligation of the Senators to obey unhesitatingly such requisition. We shall take cognizance of this subject in another place at an early day; but, for the present, we must ue content with the remark that the argument drawn from the spirit of the Constitution and the intent of its framers is formidable, if not conclusive.

"Perdicaris," a sketch of the Greek scholar now lecturing on the literature and polity of his native land, is only remarkable for a translation of a beautiful little poem 'from the Romaic of Christopoulos.'

"MSS. of Benjamin Franklin" ure continued in this number.

"Losing and Winning" is one of the most quietly affecting and excellent tales that we have perused for months. Let who will declaim against the evils wrought by fiction, we arc sure that this same story contains more true practical wisdom—more forcible persuasives to the paths of virtue and duty, than many a well-intended volume of fact or direct exhortation.

"The Swan of Loch Oich" is fair verse, and fair only.

"Ulea Holstein—A Tale of the Northern Seas," is touching in its catastrophe, but not well imagined. The writer is evidently no veteran.

We have sometimes fancied we had reason to dislike the poetical contributions to the Messenger, while we were better suited with the prose. In the number before us there are three articles in verse—" The Laughing Girl," "A Birth-Day Tribute," and "Thy Home and Mine,"—which would do credit to any periodical. The Editor is evidently * weeding out* as well as strengthening his crops of contributors, much to the advantage of his work.

"Court Day" and "My First Attempt at Poetry/' are both well done.

A Lecture on Education concludes the contributed articles, and is devoted to a portrayal of the parental faults and misdemeanors which operate as serious obstacles to the inculcation of right principles and correct ideas in the minds of children. We heartily wish it could be read and appreciated by all the parents in our country.

The Editorial Criticisms are spirited but just. "Recollections of Coleridge," Colton's " Religious State of the Country," &c. &c are praised without stint; while Col. Stone's unfortunate " Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman," is most unsparingly shown up. We like the independence, the directness, of the Editor, though he sometimes contrives to tread emphatically on the corns of an author for whom we have a tenderness. In the present instance, however, he has managed to be just right throughout, and our appreciation of his labors is graduated accordingly.

From the National Gazette,

The number of the Southern Literary Messenger, for June, contains, among other excellent articles, "A reply to a late article in the Richmond Enquirer in favor of the mandatory right of a State Legislature to instruct a Senator of the United States, and supported by the

« AnteriorContinuar »