Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

[ocr errors]

speculation. La Saisiaz is a notable instance. Bancroft's History of the Pacific States.1 When the reader travels through its elevated thought,

This is the first of a series of volumes in which and sees how much is thrown out in undue relief or it is proposed to treat of the settlements and later cast into undue shade by following the rhythmic vicissitudes of the Europeans and their descendants necessities, he is disposed to echo Browning himself,

on the Pacific coast of North America. It is, morewhere he exclaims, in the “Two Poets of Croisic":

over, the first contribution that has been made "Have people time

under the name of Mr. Bancroft to American his. And patience nowadays for thoughts in rhyme ?"

tory, as distinguished from American archæology. But his sin of sins is his obscureness. Much more The history of this western region begins properly can be said on both sides of this than shall be with the advent of the Europeans, since it was then written here. But doubtless he is as provoking to brought under the influence of the progressive the general reader in one way as he is to the rare nations of the world, with which alone history, in reader in another. It is not, however, as is often its narrower sense, concerns itself. charged, because he is esoteric in his phrase. We The writing of history is a work so eminently find no double or cryptic meanings there. We do judicial in its character, that a knowledge of the find what causes the mistake. The thought is not in data involved is only on of the essentials of a trustflow: it is a collection of dislocations. The op- worthy decision. In the presace of the work under posites are thrown together without being inter- review it is said, “We hear much of the philosophy shaded into apposites. There is a jerkiness in the of history, of the science and signification of history; style, like the steps of one who leaves the highway but there is only one way to write anything, which and walks over lumpy ground. But the ground is, to tell the truth, plainly and concisely.” Nobody may be natural, for all that. A closer study of disputes this proposition, but the old question of Browning compels one to dismiss.all suspicion that debate still remains. By what means may the his abrupt and discreet interjection of thought. truth be reached and clearly communicated ? The processes is affected. This poet-a maker--is not facts may all be told, and yet the truth we seek not apso poor as that. Then comes the suggestion of the pear. The statement that the writer “should lay possibility that this is Browning's native movement aside for the time his own religion and patriotism, of mind, which he has not chosen to make artistic. in order “to recognize the influence and weigh the Or rather, that he prefers to write down what comes, value of the religion and patriotism of others,” can and as it comes, in the natural order of creative hardly be regarded a wise suggestion as to the attithought. Let one so experiment upon himself with. tude to be assumed by the historian: for it would out staying the pen to connect and weld smoothly seem to be self-evident that the historian should rehis mental sequences, and he will find himself tain whatever sentiments are essential to a complete another and poorer Browning. Only it will not be and well-balanced mind; and it is scarcely possible obscure to him, simply because every step or leap of for a writer to lay aside so fundamental a part of his thought, seemingly independent, is really not so to mental being as his religion and patriotism without him whose mind is conscious of the connections, disturbing the balance of his judgments. Judgments unformulated into words and invisible to others. rendered from newly assumed positions, even though To them he must be obscure: to himself he is it is claimed the position is neutral, are notoriously a point of irradiation. Possibly Browning hints at unjust. The rejected party or doctrine is likely to this in the closing lines of a Dramatic Idyl:

be dealt with unfairly from the new point of view. "I have-O, not sung! but lilted (as-between us- Something of this bias manifests itself in the general Grows my lazy custom) this, its legend. What the introduction included in the present volume, in lilt?"

which the familiar story of Spanish fanaticism and So we seem to have, as to order, the moral move. cruelty is retold. It is impossible not to feel, with ments of his mind. Doubtless he fines his words the writer, in this case, a burning indignation at the and polishes his phrases in after-elaboration; but outrages per petrated by the Spanish invaders; but at he seems to refuse, as if it would be unnatural, to the same time, the sober historian should not forget reform and connect the outcoming of his thought. that the barbarities of the Spaniards were the temHe may well do this, if he cares only to pursue porarily distorted manifestations of the two forces himself, or present their brother to his kindred; that have been most powerful in making our civilizabut he may not so well do it for those who cannot tion: the desire of pecuniary gain, and the desire of follow his leaps and would rather walk on smoothed spreading Christianity. He should also remember ground. He is not unnatural, if he only prefers not that through the influence of the Spaniards the to modify his natural motion in creating. He is aboriginal inhabitants were set free from the dominnot impossible, when he only declines to mark the ion of ideas and practices--such, for example, as connection between what are to him possibilities. human sacrifices, with their attendant horrors, under This may be, though we do not think it is, the high

i History of the Pacific States of North America. est wave-reach in nature. Certainly it is not the

Vol. I. By Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Francisco: highest result in art.

A. L. Bancroft & Co.

1882.

which an advance to a higher grade of social life was The first of the series, “The Life of Christ" (1874), impossible.

was intended mainly as a commentary on the GosThe writer's conception of government is of great pels. The second, “The Life of St. Paul” (1879), consequence, and must form an important factor in deals with the purpose, peculiarities, and details of determining his views of “the institutionary develop the Pauline epistles. The third, the present volment” of the States under consideration. Conceiv. ume (1882), is, says the author, “an attempt to set ing of government as the eternal curse” (p. 338), forth, in their distinctive characteristics, the work his point of view is not the most favorable for seeing and the writings of St. Peter, St. James, St. Jude, in its true light the growth of institutions, and for St. John, and the author of the Epistle to the interweaving the history of that growth with the Hebrews. If my effort has been in any degree general progress of events. On this point, thought. successful, the reader should carry away from these ful men seem disposed to accept the views of Aris- pages some conceptions of the varieties of religious totle, that “man is by nature a political being,” and thought which prevailed in the schools of Jerusalem that government is the outgrowth of his nature and and of Alexandria, and also of those phases of theol. the necessary condition of his existence; rather than ogy which are represented by the writings of the the view of Nordhoff, that “governments may be two greatest of the twelve Apostles.” The work is said to be necessary evils, their necessity arising out divided into five books. The various books treat of of the selfishness and stupidity of mankind.”

the following subjects: The Conditions of the Besides the "glance at European society, particu• World before the Christian Era; St. Peter and the larly Spanish civilization at about the close of the Church Catholic; Apollos, Alexandrian Christianity, fifteenth century,” and a description of the early and the Epistle of the Hebrews; Judaic Christianity; Spanish voyages, together with their bibliography, and the Earlier Lifz and Works of St. John, includthe present volume covers the events of discovery ing the Apocalypse. The plan of the author is to and colonization in Central America between the paint against the black background of pagan corrupyears 1501 and 1530. Of the account given of these tion the illuminated figures of the Apostles and expeditions and settlements, it will be time to speak early Christians. The first book is all gloom, but when the narrative shall have been extended in later the line of light begins at the first sentence of the volumes. A word, however, regarding the style may second book—“When we turn from the annals of be ventured on the basis of the volume before us. the world at this epoch (first century) to the annals Turning from a careful reading of Bancroft's “ His- of the church, we pass at once from an atmosphere tory of the Formation of the Constitution of the heavy with misery and corruption into pure and United States,” one is not in a frame of mind to pellucid air.” He then goes on to paint the porspeak favorably of the literary execution of the “ His- traits of the men, and to detail the peculiarities of tory of the Pacific States." The former work has religious thought and life, in that foreground of pure been pruned by a scholar, until every word has its and pellucid air. The whole is a picture worthy the place, and the whole is strong in its simplicity; the close study of every man who seeks to know more latter is not without passages of genuine excellence, of that part of religious history and of the word of but much of it is crude and verbose.

God here treated. Yet in spite of certain imperfections of the present volume, an equally successful execution of the whole

How to Succeed.2 scheme will entitle Mr. Bancroft to the distinction of

Young men do not often fail in life from the lack a public benefactor. Though his work may not be the last word on the subject, it will be a stimulus they stop to consider the matter seriously, what they

of good advice, nor because they do not know, when and guide to future scholars, especially if the sources

must do to attain success; and yet such a book as the from which it is drawn shall have become the valua

one under consideration may not be entirely useless. ble possession of one of our great public institutions.

It may come into the hands of some usually thought.

less youth, and make him think; it may warn some The Early Days of Christianity.1

usually thoughtful youth of some unnoticed pitfall. Give a first-rate author twelve years in which to Considering this, we are content to pronounce no make a book, and the result will inevitably be a severer judgment on this collection of letters--written good one. This good book of Farrar’s is really the by men of more or less eminence in their several vothird of a series on the New Testament. In 1870 cations, written evidently as the result of earnest the author began to arrange for publication the solicitation on the part of the editor, and therefore result of those critical studies of the New Testament, which he had pursued in fulfillment of his physician, as a musician, as an engineer, as an artist;

2 How to Succeed: In public life, as a minister, as a ordination vow-"to show diligence in such studies in mercantile life, as a farmer, as an inventor, and in as help to the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.” literature: A series of essays by Senators Bayard and

Edmunds, Dr. John Hall, William Hamilton Gibson, 1 The Early Days of Christianity. By Canon Farrar. Thomas Edison, E. P. Roe, Lyman Abbott, and others. New York: Cassel, Petter, Galpin & Co. For sale by Edited by the Rev. Lyman Abbott. G. P. Putnam's Bancroft. Price, $2.

Sons. 1882. For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co.

without spontaneity, and without enthusiasm-than being a hundred and fifty pages of almost purely is contained in the following excerpt from Senator descriptive and reflective blank verse—and that is Bayard's letter, when called upon to testify whether saying a good deal for its excellence of workmana man can succeed in American political life and ship. The whole "epic" (unaccountably so-called) still maintain a good character (O tempora, O mores): is devoted to the region about Monte Rosa. The

“My delay has been caused not merely by abun- only narration in it is an account of the ascent and dant and pressing duties, but from a distrust in the descent of the peak. The verse is thoughtful and efficacy and value of such didactic essays in relation well handled, and has passages of so much poetic to a subject so difficult of definition, and in which beauty as to suggest that by ruthless condensation action and example must speak so much louder than and elision the rather long-drawn and dilute poem words, and in relation to which it is so much more might have been made something really important. easy to lay down doctrines than to adjust their appli- The section devoted to “ The Glacier” is quite the cation to the affairs of daily life.”

best of the ten.

a

man.

6

2

Recent Books of Verse.

Some Recent Novels. Starflowers1 is a collection of very fair second-rate A Transplanted Roseb is the story of a young verses: second-rate in every respect, literary, social, woman of the West who enters the most exclusive and intellectual. They are pleasant exponents of New York society, eating with her knife, and the that gentle middle-class life that is, after all, a good like; and who emerges in a few years as a finished element in society; full of honest sentimentality, model of grace, and the bride of an English noblefamily affection, intimate friendships, religious The plot includes a murder, an abduction, devotion--all on the same middie-class plane. In

an elopement, and more of the same sort. The this little collection there is, in addition, genuine book, however, is not as bad as one would expect, feeling for nature, visible through the somewhat and manages to be somewhat entertaining. —Mr. opaque medium of second-rate verse; Bible stories Morrow's new novel, Blood-Money, 6 deals with the pleasantly told with something of the ballad spirit; Mussel Si gh affair, and is a very bitter indictment there are many poems of compliment, congratu. of the railroad company. Regarded as a novel with lation, and condolence, written to personal friends

a purpose, it overshoots its mark, by making out a on the occasion of birthday, loss of children, and

case too bad to win credence; from a literary point the like; and there is a good deal touching upon of view, it is not equal to the author's average. the commoner phases of spiritual religious experi. Harlan & Co.'s Kaaterskill Series, which opened so ence.

The critic need have no quarrel with such well with a “A Fair Philosopher,” now goes on books as this, any more than with the chromos, with The Modern Hagar, 7 a curious, two-volume destitute of art, and full of simple, humane senti- medley of sensational incident, and of really intermentality that make happy the Philistine heart.

esting study of southern points of view and political Songs of Lake Geneva, and Other Poems,a by John history before the war. With much sharp defining Brayshaw Kaye, has about it a certain frank,

of persons by superficial traits, there is no study whole-souled unpretentiousness that makes the of character; and in this, as well as in the moral critic good natured toward even two hundred pages tone of a Sabbath-school book, joined to the wild of very mediocre verse, not free from weaknesses of

romance in incident of a dime-novel, is illustrated versification and grammar. There are spirit and

the old-fashioned quality of the southern mind and feeling in the verses, and one feels sure that the literary taste, even when much northernized. author took a great deal of pleasure in writing them; The Benefit of the Doubt, 8 is a pointless novelette, the thoroughly uncritical will take pleasure in read- pleasantly enough written, but for the silly vulgarity ing them. Of much higher quality is a smaller

of the young woman whom the author poses as a volume, The Hill of Stones,3 which contains grace charming specimen of the unconventional, piquant ful and intelligent verse; some of the poems have a belle. good deal of lyric spirit, and suggest good ballad writing; others, especially the brief ones, are pic

4 Monte Rosa. The Epic of an Alp. By Starr H.

Nichols. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1883. turesquely descriptive; but there is nothing in the

For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co. whole collection that touches the higher regions of

5 A Transplanted Rose. A Story of New York Sopoetry, and nothing of much originality.- -Better ciety. New York: Harper & Brothers.

For yet is Monte Rosa,+ which is readable, in spite of sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co.

6 Blood-Money. By W. C. Morrow. San Francis-, 1 Starflowers. By Urania Locke Bailey. New York:

1882. G. P. Putman's Sons. 1882.

co: F. J. Walker & Co. 2 Songs of Lake Geneva, and Other Poems. By

7 The Modern Hagar. By Charles M. Clay. New John Brayshaw Kave. New York: G. P. Putnam's York: George W. Harlan & Co. 1882. For sale by Sons.

For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co. Billings, Harbourne & Co. 3 The Hill of Stones, and Other Poems. By S. Weir 8 The Benefit of the Doubt. By Mary Clare SpenMitchell, M. D. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1883. For - 1883. For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co.

sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co.

1882.

1882.

ser.

[ocr errors]

Juveniles.

Miscellaneous. Mrs. Lillie, the clever author of "Prudence,” ap- Everything in Dr. Williams's Eras and Characters pears now in a little collection of three or four stories of History' is polished, compact, and vigorous. Some for girls 1 - pleasant and easy reading, but about of the passages—where Paul and Nero are contrasted; as devoid of originality as stories well could be. where the Emperor Titus and the Apostle John Four ornate books ? that, while certainly not among are compared; where the deeds and characters of the best, do not count among the worst of the holi. Knox, Calvin, and Luther are described-are heroic day juveniles, are Po-peep, Papa's Little Daughters, and magnificent. The work is keen in analysis of Fred Bradford's Debt, and Little Folks. The four character and searching in diction; it is the clean are from the same publisher, and many of the pic. philosophy of history, tracing the causes and results tures are made to do varied service in all four.- of events and character. The subjects of the twelve The Building of the Nation 8 follows upon Carleton's chapters are as follows: Nero and Paul; The Em

Boys of '76," and brings the history of the United peror Titus and the Apostle John; Monasticism; States down to the Civil War. It is profusely illus- Augustine and Chrysostom; Buddhism; Wyckliffe, trated, and pleasant reading for an intelligent boy or Savonarola, and Huss; Mahometanism; The Crugirl. The nominal intention of the book is to ex- sades; Luther and his Times; John Calvin; John pound the constitutional, social, and industrial growth Knox; The Puritan and the Mystic.- -No. V. of of the nation; but, in fact, the details of the wars G. P. Putnam's “ Science Ladders " series is Lowest occupy space disproportionate to the rest. As to the forms of Water- Animals.8 With judicious teaching, constitutional questions involved in his subject, Mr. the series can be made of much use in the lower Carleton is superficial, but, in the main and in a grammar schools.

- The American Government rough way, fair enough. His standpoint is intensely Founded in the Christian Religion 9 is a treatise northern, of course. — -The sixth volume of George based on an address delivered by Chief Justice Shea M. Towle's “Young Folks' Heroes of History," Voy of the Marine Court of the city of New York, on the ages and Adventures of Drake the Sea-king, 4 is as occasion of his appointment as trustee of the general entertaining a recital as any boy need want, and Theological Seminary of New York place of the will probably be to Californian boys more interest. deceased Samuel B. Ruggles. As the title indicates, ing than any of the preceding volumes, on account its object is to show that the plan of our government of the visit of Drake to this coast. —Mary D. is based on Christianity. - The Problem of the Brine has both written and illustrated one of the Poor 10 would call for more than passing notice, both most delightful holiday books for children that has because of the tremendous importance of the subject appeared this year. From cover to cover it is filled and the general good sense of the author's positions, with the charming children's fancies that have served were not the whole problem in so different a condito make her name familiar, and the rhymes are of no tion on this coast that it receives little light from mean merit. It is doubtful, however, whether the New York studies. A new edition of the dutocrat children will find the black and white of the engrav- of the Breakfast- Table 11 becomes specially interesting ings as attractive as the brilliant prints of Beard's by the addition of a new preface and notes by the Boots at the Holy-Tree Inn.3 Nothing need be said author.---The illustrated poems published from further in favor of this well-known story. It speaks year to year as holiday books by Lee & Shepard for itself, and probably no child will dissent from this are this year issued in adorned card-covers, and sold opinion.

in a set, under the name of The Golden Floral. 12 In

this form they will be very much more appropriate 1 Mildred's Bargain, and Other Stories. By Lucy C. Lillie. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1882. For

and desirable than before to a large class of holiday sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co.

demand. The eight poems are “Rock of Ages," 2 Po-peep. Papa's Little Daughters. Fred Brad- "Nearer, my God, to Thee," "The Landing of the ford's Debt. Little Folks. London, Paris, and New York: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. For sale by A.

7 Eras and Characters in History. By William R. L. Bancroft Co.

Williams. New York: Harper & Bros. 1882. For 8 The Building of the Nation. By Charles Carleton sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co. Coffin. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1883. For 8 Science Ladders, No. V. Lowest Forms of Water sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co.

Animals. By N. D'Anvers. New York: G. P. Puta 4 Voyages and Adventures of Drake, the Sea-King. nam's Sons. By George M. Towle. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

9 The Nature and Form of the American Government 1883

Founded in the Christian Religion. By the Honorable 6 Christmas Rhymes and New-Year Chimes. By

George Shea. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1882. Mary D. Brine. New York: George W. Harlan &

10 The Problem of the Poor. By Helen Campbell. Co. 1883. San Francisco: Billings, Harbourne & Co.

New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert. 1883. For 6 Boots at the Holly-Tree Inn, By J. C. Beard. New sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co. York: Cassell, Petters & Galpin. 1883. San Francisco:

11 The Autocrat of the Breakfast - Table. By Oliver A. L. Banxcroft & Co.

Wendell Holmes. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1882. For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co.

12 The Golden Floral. Boston: Lee & Shepard. 1882.

1882.

[ocr errors]

Pilgrims,” “Ring Out, Wild Bells," "He giveth $10,000 check among her wedding presents.

-Ly: his Beloved Sleep,” “Home, Sweet Home,” “O dia Maria Child's letters 2 form another very interestwhy should the Spirit of Mortal be Proud,” and ing contribution to the biographical material that is "Abide with Me.". -The House that Jill Builti accumulating toward a complete understanding of is a rather successful attempt to give advice on plan- the anti-slavery period in New England. Though ning and arranging a house. This is done both by the book is not without interest as the story of an expointing out failures in Jack's house, and by suggests ceptional woman's life, the greatest for most readers ing ideas for Jill's. On the whole, entertaining and will be in her relation to natural history. useful to any one who wants to build, and has a

EAST AND WEST.

A MAY sun was shining over San Francisco the evening, shapeless, gleaming, gorgeous as when December day we left, and the city was looking they hid the bay from the eyes of Drake and Vizcaino, lovely in the spring-like light. How is it that no sailing in search of harbor nearly three hundred one has yet done full justice to the beauty of San years ago. How will it seem to lift one's

withFrancisco scenery, or the suave charm of the Cali- out meeting a sierra, a grand water-way, or sun-swept fornia winter? Lay aside your ideas of the seasons, valley at every turn, I have wondered to myself eastern reader : imagine December's front with the over and over this year, during which such large, blandness of on-coming spring, the foot-hills and bright pictures have been framed continually before Coast Range taking on the tenderest green, the To the last, one cannot be rid of a sense of north-west trade-winds that cooled the summer laid alien beauty and brilliance about the city. The to rest, and the balmiest sunshine bringing out the light streets, and pale square-topped houses swarming tall heliotropes and Marshal Neil roses; while blue over steep hills in a desert setting, have a southern, hyacinth shadows hover in the clefts of the hills with semi-tropic air; and the public buildings in view are the delicacy of early spring-time. It is pleasant to striking in their copy of foreign models. The syna. sit on the south piazza all day till the sun goes in; gogue, with its twin bulb-shaped towers, is purely the plumbago vine and jasmine which hang in oriental, as if it rose from the soil of Ispahan; the masses over garden walls and trellis are breaking city hall, with its rotundas, colonnades, and triple into fresh bloom; the laburnum is golden, the porches, has a size and dignity which renders red Forsythia hangs oịt its fringes, the acacias their brick and pale brown-stone classic. Still unfinished, great canary-colored tassels; the huge magnolia tree with its arcades in perspective, and the debris of in the garden, one of the finest in San Francisco, building about it, by moonlight it makes a very has a score of swelling buds to open by Christmas, pretty Roman ruin, worth a visit from sight-seeing and for farewell token friends bring the first huge tourists. The long, blank walls of St. Ignatius, blossom, cut from the top of the tree—a flower probably the most extensive church in the country, which is a very lamp for its whiteness, a vase of are continental and conventual as a Spanish cloister. odor filling the whole car with its myrrh-like sweet- San Francisco has been fortunate in her public ness. From the old Luning garden, the million- buildings, which are at least imposing in size and aire's home, clinging to the slope of Nob Hill, under consistent in style—a fact, doubtless, largely due the the lee of the Stanford mansion and terraces, one taste of her foreign citizens: observing the Califortakes a last look at the scene which the season has nian distinction which classes population as “old made dear; the broad, light streets falling away settlers, people from the States, foreigners, and from the heights of California Street, filling the Irish." A friend who has lived long abroad never broad Mission Valley, where the blue haze softens wearies of comparing the views of San Francisco the view exquisitely, and losing themselves up the with those of Naples, as one looks over the lower steep flanks of the Coast Hills beyond. The bay city and shipping into the bay, with its clinging runs southward miles like a huge river, guarded blue gauzes of haze, and crests of volcanic redon the other side by tawny sierras with intense brown, “hills soft and far, just to look off to and to violet shadows. North, Mount Tamalpais and his dream.” peers-bald, rugged, imperious-watch the strait “My favorite amusement all season has been," between the forts, where the golden mists roll in at writes a summer sojourner in the city, "riding on

me.

eyes

1 The House that Jill Built, after Jack's had Proved a 2 Letters of L. Maria Child. With a biographical Failure. A Book on Home Architecture, with illustra- introduction by John G. Whittier, and an appendix by tions. By E. C. Gardner. New York: Fords, Howard Wendell Phillips. Honghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston. & Hulburt. For sale by A. L. Bancroft & Co.

1883. For sale by Billings, Harbourne & Co.

« PreviousContinue »