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agricultural, and to a certain degree aspiring; and it will occupy the country better than the Greeks, and, moreover, will be its own best


Of Serbia and the Serbians, therefore, we repeat, considerable information will be found in this book; of the Turks, little new that is worth knowing; of the Greeks, nothing whatever.


H. J. W.

THE title of Mr. Hepworth Dixon's last book, though not mystical or cabalistic, gives no idea of its real subject. What he calls "New America" is simply an account of three or four of the eccentric religious sects of America, the Mormons, the Shakers, the Funkers, the "Bible Christians" of Oneida Creek. The book is in no sense a book of American travel, and it describes things which are but little known, and have very little influence, in America, except, perhaps, in its short notice of Spiritualism. It begins with a journey across the plains to Salt-Lake City; exaggerating somewhat the discomforts and hazards of that exciting trip, and giving a picture, by no means fascinating, of life in Colorado, the roughness, brutality, recklessness, and waste of life in the new mining cities. Mr. Dixon's theory, that Indian law and life are the model of the present and coming civilization on these plains, will not be accepted as wise or as plausible. Indeed, we may say that the chief defect of his book is its untenable theories. It is pure fancy to offer the Arab of Cairo and Damascus as the true type of refinement and courtesy, and to show a steadily decreasing grace of bearing and address, as one travels westward. The Arab is lithe and graceful in bodily movement; but it is a perversion of language to call such an ignorant, bigoted, false, and vindictive race, who rarely smile, and with whom cunning is the first of virtues, a race of gentlemen. Mr. Dixon's observation on this subject is simply absurd. There is no such measure of courteousness by degrees of longitude, and the manners of Paris and Boston are not to be set half way between the elegance of the Arabian Desert and the barbarism of Denver City.

Mr. Dixon's pictures of the abnormal sects which he deals with are life-like and accurate; and there is no prejudice in his account

* New America. By WILLIAM HEPWORTH DIXON. With Illustrations from Original Photographs. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1867. 12mo. pp. 495.

of their opinions. He does not go out of his way to approve or condemn; and, to some pious Puritan readers, his book will seem faulty that it relates such moral indecencies with no burst of indignation,—that it leaves doubt as to the real feeling of the author about polygamy, and free love, and asceticism. Ought a respectable writer to reveal such things without denouncing them? "He that is not against us is for us;" and the Mormons will have the right to say that Mr. Dixon favors their plurality of wives, because he has no harsh words for it. But, on the whole, this impartial calmness of judgment is a pleasant feature of the book, and gives confidence in the writer's statements. It will not probably make converts to promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, or to the patriarchal system of the harem. It may send visitors to New Lebanon or to Oneida Creek, but will hardly add recruits to those strange communities.

Mr. Dixon is a friend of America and American institutions, a believer in republican ideas, and a strong foe to every kind of slavery and oppression. It is impossible, therefore, to mistake him for an advocate of the Mormon despotism, which perpetuates the worst features of slavery. He cheerfully recognizes the material progress, the industry, the temperance, the good order, the thrift, of the SaltLake oasis. But he has not that cynical joy which we find in the work of Burton, in showing how material prosperity comes with moral obliquity. Burton would have us believe that the preaching and the practice of the Mormons are quite as respectable as those of any Christian sect, and that the success of this polygamy and this vulgar hierarchy is a substantial proof that the patriarchal religion and method are as good as the Christian. Dixon does not say that, but only gives the good side of the Mormon life along with the disgusting side.

His book is fresh, entertaining, and instructive. There is not a dull page in it. If some of the statements are extravagant, they are far less so than those of most English writers on American things. A writer who can describe so well American oddities can be trusted to give us another book on the ordinary experiences of the traveller here, and on things better known.


THE law of demand and supply seems, in these days of perfected commercial arrangements, to have extended itself into the domain of

poetry; so that the literary market is now supplied, with very considcrable regularity, with the productions of its most popular and recognized poets. The fact is, doubtless, entirely creditable; and we ought to felicitate ourselves on having achieved a final victory over the eccentricities of genius. But it is occasionally a little annoying to be forced to amend our ideas, aud to learn the new aphorism, that, whatever may be the origin of the poets themselves, their verses at least are not created, but manufactured, and that to order. It is useless to complain of degeneracy, or to talk about inspiration: in our day, the best inspiration is success; and the substantial tribute of quick sales and multiplied editions is a very acceptable discount on that very long note of hand which goes by the name of Fame.

"Think of this, good peers,

But as a thing of custom: 'tis no other,
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time."

This moralizing is apropos of Mr. Whittier's last book, "The Tent on the Beach," * which appears just a year after the "Snowbound." The two are very different from each other, and both are very different from the earlier poems of their author. They are the work of a prosperous writer, whose name is sufficiently established to make it of comparatively little importance to his publishers what he writes or how he writes it. The "Snow-bound" has the advantage of being complete and single, and of a subject which is sure to make its own interest in the heart of every reader who has reached middle age, and can look back on the vanished joys of a New-England country home. Many of its pictures are charming, because they are simple and true, and shine with the tender radiance of a loving and sad memory, "the light of other days." But it is quite evident that much of the matter was added only to make up the volume; and the public interest, which follows with pleasure the outlines and even the details of the main picture, flags and fails when invited to examine all the nameless family portraits which follow, drawn though they are with a reverent hand, and out of a feeling which it is impossible that a stranger can share.

Of the later volume still less can be said. This is still more obviously a manufactured poem, of which the public have been

The Tent on the Beach. By John Greenleaf Whittier. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

permitted from time to time to see a portion of the materials.


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Mr. Longfellow's "Wayside Inn," it is a specimen of what may be called the conglomerated school of poetry, in which any stray nuggets of verse which have done service in a magazine or newspaper, may but are too few or too slight to be gathered by themselves into a volare made available to that end, by being embedded in a connecting and retaining medium of narrative. It is but a cheap device, and cheapens rapidly by repetition. In the present instance, as might well be expected, some of the little pieces are extremely pleasing; and all have Mr. Whittier's never-failing merits of easy and graceful movement, and purity and sweetness of tone. But the most of them, and perhaps all, have been very recently printed in the "Atlantic Monthly," or some other periodical; and few have more than the value and interest which are looked for in such ephemera as magazine verses. And as for the thread of narrative which connects them, it is impossible to help feeling that it is such poetry as a trained versifier like Mr. Whittier could throw off by the page, as easily as Touchstone his doggerel to Rosalind: "I'll rhyme you so eight days together, dinners and suppers and sleeping-hours excepted." Though we do not deny it to be pleasant reading, yet we do not conceive it to be the sort of verse which a true poet like Whittier, with so much of the real poetic temperament, so flavored and strengthened with the pure flame of moral earnestness, should be content to produce; and we look on it as one more proof of the extent to which the commercial spirit pervades and governs the life of this age. We are saying this surely out of no lack of appreciation of the worth of what this noble writer has contributed to the infant literature of his people; and our chief discontent at his later method comes less from what we conceive to be his own decline as a poet, than from the influence of his example upon younger writers whose work is of the future, and not of the present.

C. A. C.

"SPECULATION," says Lessing, "must follow the torch of history." Every philosophy of art must rest upon a thorough study of works of art. To theorize about it from general conceptions merely, can lead only to the most vague and unsatisfactory results. "The Beautiful," as a naked abstraction, a mental essence, is the most empty and unprofitable of metaphysical conceptions. It is nothing to us except in its incarnations. It is only in the presence of the masterpieces of architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, that we


can truly learn any thing of the eternal principles which underlie all artistic creations. The lack of this positive knowledge has always been the bane of æsthetic criticism in America; and the recent work of Dr. Samson, whilst claiming to be a remedy, is in reality only an additional illustration of this defect. As "a text-book for schools and colleges," the book is utterly worthless; and, we fear, the "amateurs and artists" will find it rather heavy and indigestible pabulum. An elimination of the wholly irrelevant matter which the volume contains, would diminish its size at least one-fourth. This superfluous stuff is mostly of a semi-theological consistency, as vapid as it is impertinent, and holding about the same relation to "art criticism" that Mr. Tupper's platitudes do to poetry. The author's logical processes are peculiar, and we have rarely found in any book so many instances of naïve non sequitur. Because, in the fourth chapter of Genesis, Jubal, "the father of all such as handle the harp and organ," is mentioned one verse before Tubal-cain, the "instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," therefore, argues Dr. Samson, music is an older art than sculpture, and attained a high state of development at a much earlier period. Upon this narrow and untenable basis he then builds up a classification of the Fine Arts. To say nothing of the absurdity of the syllogism, the conclusion arrived at is in itself false. No doubt, at a very remote date in the world's history, barbaric tribes made horrid dissonance on gong-gongs and tom-toms; but music, as a fine art, is of later growth than sculpture : it is a product of modern times, and did not reach its present perfection till the eighteenth century of the Christian era. The book is not only confused and inconsistent in its method (or rather want of method), but also contradictory in its statements. In one chapter we are told that landscape-gardening is the highest of the arts: first, because Adam, who was "perfect in all his powers," practised this form of art; and, secondly, because architecture, sculpture, &c., are contributory to it and essential to its perfection. In another chapter it is said that Eden was the perfection of landscape-gardening, "long before architecture and sculpture were dreamed of." In other words, this art reached its perfection long before the elements necessary to

* Elements of Art Criticism. A Text-book for Schools and Colleges, and a Handbook for Amateurs and Artists. By G. W. SAMSON, D.D., President of Columbian College, Washington, D.C. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1867. 1 vol., crown 8vo. pp. 840.

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