Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ning and malignant devil, deserving her name of “ Shaytan ;” that they are all afraid of poison in the harem; that the women of Constantinople have more freedom than the women of Cairo; that German-Jew bankers, in the East, are probably kpaves; that a spot of kohl on the forehead is a “sectarian sign;" that loaves of bread are sometimes broken over the heads of princes, for a reason which she does not know; that the Egyptian royal children are very fond of raw fruit and vegetables ; and that “Baksheesh ” is chief among the “Princes." She fails to make harem life attractive to the reader ; and yet she fails to show it as peculiarly repulsive. When we consider the opportunity of the author, the book must be called a very poor one.

C. H. B.

VERY comical, and very capital too, are Mr. Harte's volume of fugitive newspaper sketches; * and it is fortunate that such clever imitations were not left to perish, but will gain the wide fame that Carleton's press can give them. Mr. Harte must be a very pleasant companion. Thomas Starr King, to whose memory the volume is dedicated, must have found the society of so genial a humorist a large compensation for the loss of his New England home and friends. In this instance, California has not given us coarse or boisterous wit; and there is nothing to offend refined tastes.

The first half of the volume is made up of “condensed novels,” short imitations of the style of the popular writers of fiction, Cooper, Lever, Miss Braddon, Mrs. Wood, Dumas, Bulwer, Dickens, Charlotte Bronté, Guy Livingstone, Maryatt, T. S. Arthur, Wilkie Collins, Victor Hugo, Michelet, Sala, — all of which are so well done, that it is hard to tell which is best. The other half of the volume is equally divided between “ Civic Sketches” and “Legends and Tales.” These last, if less finished than the stories of Irving, are not less rich in sportive fancy. The legends of Monte Diablo and of the Devil's Point will compare with the legends of Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow. The story of the Ruins of San Francisco might well have been written by the author of the Man without a Country, and is quite as accurate in its dates and facts as the stories of that writer. A Night at Wingdom shows that the humorist can be pathetic when he chooses. The Ogress of Silver Land is

* Condensed Novels and other Papers. By F. BRET HARTE. New York, 1867. 12mo, pp. 307.

as good as some of the tales of the “Arabian Nights." Waiting for the Ship is a cabinet picture.

The pictorial illustrations by Frank Bellew are not positively bad; but they are not good enough for such choice sketches, which are worthy to employ the pencil of Darley or Eytinge. The book itself is more picturesque than its pictures.

C. H. B.

The veteran author and renowned missionary, William Ellis, in revisiting Madagascar, to explain the objects of the London Missionary Society, and arrange the different fields of labor, has laid the religious public again under obligation,* as by his “Polynesian Researches " and “ Three Visits to Madagascar.” But this time it is to exult over an accomplished work; to gather in the harvest he had helped to sow; to consecrate churches whose corner-stone had been laid in the blood of martyrs. When he reached this island in 1862, Radama II. had replaced the terrible persecutions of his idolatrous mother with friendship, if not favoritism, for Christian teachers. He was not a Christian himself; but anxious to hear, thoroughly humane, and only too zealous in introducing European customs among his half-civilized subjects. With the single exception of occasional intoxication, - to which foreigners tempted him, and which he deplored as deeply as any one; and a desire to carry out his own views, without regard to the advice of his counsellors, Radama showed a noble character for an hereditary sovereign nurtured by such unfavorable influences. He listened to all grievances, redressed all wrongs, was gentle to the poor, devoted hours to personal improvement, and befriended, heartily, all who desired the religious elevation of his people, whether Protestants or Catholics. But an obnoxious measure, in which he persisted, agaiust all remonstrance, - in fact, the authorization of duelling, prompted his assassination, by the orders of his prime minister, who, not long after, for his arrogant assumption of power, was driven into exile, Queen Rabodo reigning with more limited sway than any sovereign before.

The sudden murder of so mild and worthy a prince as Radama II. does not promise much for the perpetuity of authority in Madagascar. The abundance of foreign wines, during the abolition of impost duties has assailed the self-indulgent native on his weak side : nothing but

* Madagascar Revisited. By Rev. William Ellis. London: Murray, 1867. Dedicated, by permission, to the Queen.

the moral energy of the gospel, as Mr. Ellis remarks, can save this interesting race from extinction. Outwardly, our religion has made amazing progress in Madagascar. During these four years, the native Christians have more than doubled, and the communicants increased tepfold. Mr. Ellis now numbers eighteen thousand fellow-believers, under seven English missionaries and ninety-five native teachers. A fresh opportunity is now offered to this easily moulded race, of entering on that course of intelligent activity, which will give them a permanent place among the nations of the earth.

F. W. H.

“ CHRISTIANITY among the New Zealanders” * is the title given by the Bishop of Waiapu to his eulogy of the mission among a warlike race of natives, who are doomed to disappear from the face of the earth. Bishop Williams has purposely excluded from his narrative the general information about these little-visited islands which would have rendered his book a valuable contribution to the geography of the world ; and surely we did not need to see, at this late stage of the work, that Christian missionaries have shown the most admirable heroism, endurance, and self-sacrifice. His method of vindicating the wisdom of this particular mission will satisfy none who have entertained any rational doubt. Nobody doubts that there have been instances of remarkable conversions ; that whole villages have engaged in church services with the greatest apparent solemnity; that savage conflicts have been many times prevented by missionary influence. Unquestionably, the same number of devoted, energetic, educated ministers would have produced marked results wherever they had labored together. These Maori were very probably ignorant of any principles of religion when the apostolic Marsden first appeared among them, — cannibals in time of war, and passionately interested in warlike feuds; though we have never been able to find any thing that justified the missionary statement, of their being more abject even than African savages. On the contrary, their first visitors speak of them "as vastly superior to any thing you can imagine in a savage nation;" and the united, persevering, heroic resistance they have made to the invasion of English settlers puts them at least on the same level with the Indians of the Far West. Still, twenty years of faithful, prayerful labor, resulted in only fifty converts; and, though

Christianity among the New Zealanders. By Bishop W. WILLIAMS. London, 1866.

afterwards the Scriptures in their own languages were eagerly welcomed, gratuitous schools well attended, and spacious churches erected as the free-will offerings of the natives, we look in vain for evidence that the people had been cured of their warlike propensities, had entered resolutely upon civilized habits of life, - in a word, were rescued from the extinction which threatens a feeble race in contact with one of more power. The Bishop's defence is, that nothing has befallen this mission but what the Christian Church has had to endure elsewhere; that these outbursts of fiendish fighting and these invasions of intriguing Jesuits are no novel devices of Satan :— all of which may be readily granted, without our being satisfied that the New Zealand sacrifi of money and life was the wisest that could have been made, or its well-known results all that could have been asked.

F. W. H.

The gorilla-discoverer, in his book on “Equatorial Africa,” fared very badly: the narrative was so strangely confused as to the different expeditions, the descriptions of new animals were so highly dressed up, the tendency to magnify his own exploits was so manifest, that the Boston Society of Natural History named his new otter “Mythomys,” in ridicule of Du Chaillu's inventiveness. The distrust was eveu greater abroad, especially in Germany; and, with the exception of a few men like Sir Roderick Murchison and Professor Owen, an overwhelming tide set against him: even the great African explorer, Dr. Barth, doubted whether any such journey had been taken ; and nearly every reflecting person supposed that the narrative had been worked up by some over-ingenious person as a sensation story.

In his new work, “A Journey to the Ashango Land,” * Mr. Du Chaillu signalizes his triumph by placing on the titlepage a wood-cut of the animal Professor Gray had named “Mythomys,” whose skeleton now awaits the examination of curious people in England. His marvellous statements of the gorilla seem to be confirmed in this volume, though many particulars remain unauthenticated. His purpose, in the new expedition, was to leave nothing unattempted, which man could do, to confirm his peculiar views, establish his previous discoveries, and gain the whole world to his side. He makes certain the existence of a race of dwarf negroes, deep sunken in animalism, and regarded with scorn even by their negro neighbors. There seems to be no doubt, too, of the prevalence of cannibalism, as well as slavery and polygamy, among the savages whom he visited. “It may be regarded as certain, that these unimprovable black races are dying out; that they have no means of protection from epidemics, like small-pox; that, wherever they approach white men, they have gained nothing but a speedier extinction; and that, even when partially civilized, if left to themselves, they fall back into primitive barbarism. Yet no traveller ever received kinder treatment; considering that disease and death haunted Du Chaillu’s steps, that his men sometimes appropriated even the wives of their entertainers, that many of the native superstitions were openly assailed, and generally with success. His repulse from the Ashango Land was owing to a double homicide, committed by a careless native in his eagerness to display the superiority of European arms. Had Du Chaillu consented to surrender the offender, according to African ideas of justice, his interesting collections, and part even of his journal, would not have perished in a panic-stricken retreat. As it was, every calamity was visited upon the brave adventurer: he was nearly drowned at landing; he was nearly killed by starvation; was once prostrated by disease; was pierced by a poisoned arrow; was systematically robbed; and, finally, owed his return to England to the pity of a trading vessel, which happened to touch at the Fernand Vaz River.

* A Journey to Ashango Land. By Paul B. DU CHAILLU. New York: Appletons, 1867.

F. W. H.

NEW PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.

THEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS.

The Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels. By Andrews Norton. Abridged Edition. Boston: American Unitarian Association. pp. 584. (“ This edition contains the whole of the original work, with the exception of such portions as might be omitted without essential injury to the force of its main argument. The omissions chiefly consist of passages addressed rather to the scholar than to the general reader; and they have been the more readily made, from the belief that any student who might be desirous of following the author in his investigation of the subject in its more obscure, collateral developments, might, without much difficulty, obtain a copy of the work in its original form.” A list of these omissions is appended. The volume is a handsome and valuable addition to the Association's excellent library of Unitarian literature.)

« AnteriorContinuar »