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The 'Summer Isles.' — It was a pleasant coincidence, that, a few moments before the ms. of Mr. Irving's 'Bermudas, a Shaksperian Research,' elsewhere in the present number, was laid before us, we had closed a rare and antique volume, which treated, in most amusing detail, of the Summer Isles, and their poetical history. It is entitled * The Generall Historie of the Bermvdas, now called the Summer Nes, from their Beginninge, in the Yeere of our Lord 1593, to this present 1623, with their Proceedings, Accidents, and Present Estate.' Nothing could exceed the natural richness of the islands at this period, according to our historian. Such a temperate and fertile clime; such trees and fruits; such treasures of the land, the sea, and the air! 'Concerning,' (says 'Captaine lohn Smith, sometymes Governour in those Countryes, Admirall of NewEngland,' and author of the book from which we quote,) 'concerning the serenity and beauty of the skie, it may as truly be said of those ilands as ever it was of Rhodes, there is no one daye thoroughout the xıı moneths, but that in some houre thereof the sun lookes singularly and cleere vpon them.' In short, it was literally a land flowing with milk and honey; every where alive with the choicest gifts of Providence. Surely Mr. Cbayon does not exaggerate the abundance of that favored region; for we are told, after an elaborate description of the natural productions :
Now besides these naturall productions, prouidences and paines since the Plantation, have offered diuers other seeds and plants, which the soile bath greedily imbraced and cherished, so that at this present 16:23, there are great abundance of white, red and yellow coloured Potatoes, Tobacco, Sugarcanes, Ludicos, Parsnips, exceeding large Radishes, the American bread, the Cassada root, the Iudian Pumpian, the Water-illon, Muisk-milion, aod the most delicate Pine-apples, Plantans, and Papawes, also the English Ainchoke, Pease, &c.; briefly, whatsoeuer else may be expected.
. Neither hath the ille for her part been wanting with due supplies of many sorts of Fowles, as the gray and white Hearnie, the gray and greene Plouer, sme wilde Ducks and Malards, Cootes and Red-shaukes, Sea-wigions, Gray-bitteros, Cormorants, uumbers of small Birds like Sparrowes and Robins, which haue lately beene destroyed by the wilde Cats, Wood-pickass, very many Crowes, which since this Plantation are kild, the rest fled or seldome reene except in the most vniv. habited places, froin whence they are obser ued to take their flight about sun-sel, directing their course towards the North-wert, which makes inauy conierture there are some more liands uot far off' that way. Sometimes are also seene Falcons and lar-falcons, Osprajes, a Bird like a Hobby, but because they come sridome. they are held but as pa-sengers; but aboue all the-e, most deseruing obseruation and respect, are those two sorts of Birds, the one for the tune of his voice, the other for the effect, called the Cahow, and Egge.bird, which on the first of May, a day constantly obserued, fall a laying infinite store of Eggs neere as big as Hens, vpon certaine small andie baies, especially in Couper's lle ; and althouyb men sit down amongst them when hundreds baue bid gathered in a morning, yet there it hath stayed amongst them till they haue gatherrd as many more : they contiDue this cours til Midsummer, and o tame and fevrles, you must thrust them off from their Eggs with your hand; then they grow so faint with laving, th'y suffer them to breed, and take infinite nuinbers of their young to eat, which are very excrllent meat.
• The Cshow is a bird of the wight, for all the day she lies hid iu holes in the Rocks, where they and their young are also taken with as much ease as may be, but in the vight if you but whoop and hollow, they willight vpon you, that with your hands you may chuse the fat and leaue the leave; those they haue only in the winier : their Eygs are as big as hens, lout they are speckled, the other white. Mr. Norwood hath taken twenty dozen of them in three or four houres.'
Would that we could quote the quaint typography of this dingy tome; but that would defy any type-founder or paper-maker of this era. We find the annexed passage in that portion of the description which treats of the vermin of the islands; and quote it for the benefit of those who are engaged in cultivating morus multicaulis trees, and insinuating themselves into the good graces of silk-worms. It would not be a difficult matter, one would think, with a supply of able-bodied spinners, to establish silk rope-walks :
Certaine Spiders also of very large size are found banging vpon trees, but instead of being any way dangerous is in other places, thry are here of a most pleasing aspect, all ouer dresi, as it were with Siluer, Gold, and Pearle, and their Webs in the summer wouen from tree to tref, are generally a perfect raw silke, and that as well in regard of substance as colour, and so strong withall, that diuers Birds bigger than Black-birds, being like Suipes, are often taken and suared in them as a Net: then what would the Silke-worme doe were chee there to feede vpou ibe continuall green Mulbery ?'
The entire volume teems with poetry and romance; and we hope to be able to condense a portion of these characteristics for the KNICKERBOCKER, at some future day. It is proper to ad:#, here, that the substance of so much of Mr. IRVING's essay as relates to SHAKSPEARE, was communicated by him, some years since, to the Rev. WILLIAM Harness, when that gentleman was preparing his elegant edition of SHAKSPEARE. He has made use of the hints, in his introduction to the play of the Tempest.
The North AMERICAN QUARTERLY Review for January, came to hand at a late hour. We are unable, therefore, to refer to but a few of the articles which it contains. Its papers are, 'National Music,' 'Steamboat Disasters,' 'Italy in the Middle Ages,' 'Discovery beyond the Rocky Mountains,' Hyperion,' Bacon's 'Historical Discourses,' Sresser's Poetical works, 'Clayers' Glimpses of Western Life,'' Manufactures of Massachusetts,''Hillhouse's Poems and Discourses,' and eight Critical Notices. Most of the works here reviewed, have already been noticed in the KNICKERBOCKER; and we are especially gratified to find the praise which has been bestowed in these pages upon 'A New Home, Who 'll Follow,' 'Hyperion,' Parker's and Townsend's Travels beyond the Rocky Mountains, and Mr. Longfellow's 'Voices of the Night,' rëechoed in the deliberate verdict of the North American.' Mrs. Cl.aven's 'New Home' is deservedly commended, as 'one of the most spirited and original works which have yet been produced in this country.' The reviewer says of the several 'Psalms of Life,' written by Professor LONGFELLOW for the KNICKERBOCKER, that 'they are among the most remarkable poetical compositions which have ever appeared in the United States. They are filled with solemn pathos, uttered in the most melodious and picturesque language.' We shall refer again to this number of the North American ;' but we cannot close even this hurried glance at its contents, without cordially thanking the critic of Pebblebrook and the Harding Family,' for assisting our feeble endeavors to lash the stupidity and folly of the second-hand imitators — (and by 'second-hand we mean miserable imitators of poor imitations,) - of Thomas Carlyle's German-English style. Very transient, as the reviewer prophetically observes, will be this latest literary humbug. The smallest mind can hide a mysterious no-meaning under a mass of be-capital'dand compounded words; but the feeble intellects who strive to please, without being able to inform, will never have any but once-readers. Therefore, 0, twaddling imitator of a bad model! wheresoever thou abidest, strike out from the turbid eddy.current of the Wishy-washy and All-misty, and by Clear-thought be guided Senseward! Rest not long, dreaming such dreams as thou callest reflection, but by independent action, straightway bring about a rise-up and a get-out of the inarshes and pools of Stagnation! We have essayed to address Carlyle's small-beer copyists in language kindred with their own, word-painting to them the life-threads of the Ridiculous, which are as the ever-present Visible, in their foggy compositions !
SIR WALTER Scott's AUTOGRAPHS. - We find the following paragraph in a late number of the 'London Athenæum' literary journal :
Dear Sie : It has reached me by hearsay, that a writer in some American periodical has complained of the costliness of autographs in England, seeing that he had just giveu ejglit dollars for *a letter from SIR WALTER Scott to Thomas Hood.' As such a statement implies that I am capable of selling such literary treasures, I beg to say that, on referring to my own collection, I am firmly persuaded thit I possess every letter or note I ever received from Sir Walter Scott, except one, which, by the express decire of the writer, I handed over to Mr. Cooper, the Royal Academician, as containing the original ms. poem, . The Death of Kceldar,' in illustration of a picture by that very able painter. I have said, “ever received by me,' because I can imagine liow such a letter may have been divorted from its proper destination; and should this meet the eye of the American gentleman, he would greatly oblige me by a copy of what may be perfectly uew to
• Yours, very truly,
. THOMAS lloon,' The 'American periodical to which Mr. Hoop refers, is the KNICKERBOCKER; and in relation to the subject matter of his communication to our London contemporary, we have received the following letter from the ‘American gentleman' who possesses the autograph in question. His name is at the service of Mr. Hood, or the editors of the Atheneum. It is only necessary for us to add, that he is a gentleman, of known character and standing, and altogether above deception, or any other mean action; and that the extracts from his communication to us, which have given risc to the present VOL. XV.
correspondence, were inserted in these pages for the current interest which they possessed; the editor not deeming that there was any thing of a private or confidential nature Ambraced in their merely literary developments.
SIR: As the autograph alluded to in the London Athenæum, which I send you, is one which I mentioned casually in a letter to you, not designed to be printed, I beg you will allow me to state, that it was purchased by me, with several other autographs, through the medium of an esteemed friend in London, who happened to know that the holder of this letter of Scott's would part with it. It is evidently the very one which Mr. Hood alludes to, as given to Mr. Cooper, R. A.; although that gentleman says, in another number of the Athenæum, that he retains at present all he ever received of Scott's autographs. The genuineness of the note is unquestionable; but I should not trouble you with so trifling a matter, were it not that Mr. Hoop seems to attach some importance to it, and requests a copy. The note is very brief, and in itself of little interest. It is as follows:
'Dear Sir: I enclose the verses, hastily written over. I will be desirous of seeing them in proof, which Sir Francis Freling will send under cover to me, if other opportunities do not occur. The autograph is for Mr. Cooper, if he cares for it; and I will write him in a day or two. The death of a friend and brother in office has just been received, which obliges me to subscribe myself abruptly,
"Your faithful servt., "THOMAS Hood, Esq., Bookseller,
"WALTER Scott.' '2 Robert Street, Adelphi, London.' Post-marked Sept. 20, 1923.
OLD AND NEW New-York. - Ten to one, reader, that you never perused that old-time chronicle, y'clept 'A Prospect of New-York, with the Scituation, Plantation, and Products Thereof, imprinted for Natu. Crouch, at the Bell in the Poultrey,' of London, in 1685 ! Dusky and worm-eaten, that notable work now lies beforeus, Observe how the following smacks of antiquity : ‘New-York, so called from our present gracious sovereign, when Duke of York, was first discovered by Mr. Hudson, in 1609, and sold presently by him to the Dutch, without authority from his sovereign. .. 'In 1664, King Charles the Second, he sent over four commissioners, who, marching with three hundred Redcoats to Manhadees or Manhataes, took from the Dutch their chief towne, then called New-Amsterdam, now New-York; and August 29, turned out their Governour with a Silver Leg, (the losel scouts !- that was 'Hard Koppig Piet!) and all the rest but those who acknowledged subjection to the King of England, suffering them to enjoy their houses and estates as before.' Then follows a description of the city, which we desire our town readers to contrast with the present aspect of the metropolis : 'The town of New-York is well seated, both for trade, security, and pleasure, in a small isle called Manahatan, at the mouth of the great river Mohegan, which is quite commodious for shipping, and about two leagues broad. The town is broad, built with Dutch brick, à la moderna, consisting of above five hundred fair houses, the meanest not valued under an hundred pound. (“City property' was not indiferent real estate, even in those days !) Landward, it is incompassed with a wall of good thickness, and fortified at the entrance of the river, so as to command any ship which passes that way, by a fort called James' Fort. It hath a Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriff, and Justices of the Peace, for their magis. trates. The inhabitants are mostly English and Dutch, and have a considerable trade with the Indians for wild furs and skins, and are supplied with venison and fowl in the winter, and fish in the summer, by the Indians, at an easy price.' ... "These salvages be great lovers of strong drink, so that except they have enough to be drunk, they care
not to drink at all. If there be so many in a companie, that there is not sufficient to make them all drunk, they usually chuse so many as are proportionable to that quantity, and the rest must be spectators. If any chance to be drunk before he has taken his share, which is ordinarily a quart of brandy, rum, or strong waters, to show their justice, they will pour the rest down his throat. In these debauches, they often kill each other, which the friends of the dead revenge on the murderer, unless he purchase his life with money, which is made of a periwinkle shell, both black and white, strung like beads.' These were the times of 'specie-currency,' when suspending and failing banks, discounts and small bills, were unknown! Roll back the tide of time, and look at the above picture, an "undoubted original ;' and meanwhile we will be bringing out the beauties of another, by the same master, for our next number, being none other than a kindred sketch of the City of Brotherly Love, at the same remote period.
A NEW THEORY OF THE SCIENCE OF MIND. We have examined, and with deep interest, a new theory of the science of mind, by John Stearns, M. D., a gentleman of the highest standing in the medical profession in this city. It was read, recently, before the New-York Medical Society, and has elicited much inquiry and speculation. Designing, hereafter, with the kind permission of the author, to avail ourselves of selections in detail from the arguments advanced in support of the theory – some of which, as we conceive, will be found to supply an important desideratum in the clear perception of the hitherto mysterious analogy between brute mind and intellect — we shall content ourselves, for the present, with segregating from the complete performance the following propositions, which comprehend, we believe, the fundamental principles of the theory :
1. Man consists of three distinct entities : body, soul, and mind. II. The ideas of sensation are those carnal ideas which constitute the animal propensities, and which we derive, in common with other animals, from the five senses. 11. The intellectual and moral ideas, which some philosophers ascribe to reflection, and to innate principles, are derived entirely and exclusively from the soul. In the soul is held the high court of chancery, denominated conscience, or the moral sense. iv. When the soul operates upon the brain, it produces what may be denominated a moral mind, endowed with intellectual and religious faculties, and until excited to action by this operation, the faculties of the brain remain perfectly dormant. v. When the senses operate upon the brain, they produce what may be denominated sensual mind, which man possesses in common with the inferior animals, but which is essentially changed and improved by the accession of the soul to the body.
THE ALBION’ and New-YORK MIRROR.' – The 'Albion,' an old and highly respectable weekly journal of British literature, intelligence, and politics, published in this city, was recently embellished with a clever print, representing the South-east View of Buckingham Palace, the residence of QUEEN Victoria. The editor's practised taste in selections, with occasional pictorial illustrations, have imparted to the 'Albion'a general and favorable repute. The quarterly plate number of the 'New-York Mirror,' which closed the last year, contained, among other · entirely original contributions, an excellent humorous story, or sort of condensed novel, from the pen of Mr. Cox, of London. We cannot commend the portrait of Miss SEDGWICK, which forms the embellishment of the number ; not but that it is well enough as an engraving — although our copy seems gray and dim — but because it is by no means a 'counterfeit presentment' of the original. We agree with a daily contemporary, who knows the original as intimately as ourselves, that the likeness is very little like the distinguished authoress whom it assumes to represent.' The Mirror' is, as usual, neatly executed, and we believe well sustained.
HISTORY OF THE Devil! – Start not, good reader, but await with patience the issue of our February number, in which will be found a most original and entertaining ' History of the Devil, Ancient and Modern, in Two Parts,' written by one of the most popular authors of the last or present century. Part First will contain a statement of the Devil's Circumstances, from his Expulsion out of Heaven, to the Creation, with Remarks on the Several Mistakes concerning his Fall. Part Two will contain his more Private Conduct, down to the present times; his Government, his Appearance, his Manner of Working, and the Tools he works with; including also a description of the Devil's Dwelling! While there will be nothing in the article to offend the tastes of the moral and religious reader, we can promise an ample fund of interest and entertainment to all who shall peruse it.
DEATH OF LIEUT. Burts. We announce, with sincere regret, the demise of an old and favorite contributor to the KNICKERBOCKER, Lieutenant Robert Burts, of the United States' Navy, who died recently at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the author of 'The Scourge of the Ocean,' a sca-novel, and other productions, which proved widely popular. We perceive, by an Ohio journal, that one or two of his tales of the sea, communicated to this Magazine, were pronounced by Captain MARRYAT to be equal to any stories, of their peculiar species, which he had ever encountered. Mr. Burts had a vivid imagination, a fine eye for the burlesque and the ludicrous, and held the pen of a ready writer. He had a warm and generous heart, and has left behind him many who bear in fresh remembrance his excellent qualities of head and heart. May he rest in peace!
New Boston Books. — 'They are excellent works – purchase them,' must be our brief God-speed to two handsome volumes, which we received and read, while the sheets of the December KNICKERBOCKER were passing rapidly through the press. The first is a work of an hundred and eight pages, containing eighteen capital stories, by a favorite contributor to this Magazine, Mrs. Emma C. Embury, illustrating, in a simple and pleasing manner, some of the most important lessons of early education. The second is, “The Philosophy of Human Life ; being an Investigation of the great Elements of Life; the power that acts, the will that directs the action, and the accountability that influences the formation of volitions; together with Reflections adapted to the physical, political, and moral and religious natures of Man. By Amos DEAN, of the Albany Medical College.' It will be seen that the author has embraced, in a brief space, a consideration of the great principles that regulate the movement, and are developed in the action, of conscious human life. Both these works are from the enterprising house of Messrs. MarsH, CAPEN, LYON AND Weze, Boston. We should not omit to mention, in terms of high commendation, a periodical work, from the same establishment, called “The Common School Library,' and published under the sanction of the Board of Education of the State of Massachusetts.
"TUBE REGISTER' AND 'SPIRIT OF THE Times.' We would invite the attention of our readers to the advertisements, on the cover of the present number, of the 'American Turf Register, and Sporting Magazine,' and the 'New-York Spirit of the Times.' The first named work is second to no periodical, of its class, in the value, variety, and copiousness of its contents, and in the beauty of its embellishments and typographical execution. Aside from the universally admitted excellence of its merely 'sporting features, the 'Spirit of the Times' is too generally distinguished for good taste in its plenteous literary selections, for its dramatic criticisms and intelligence, and its general liveliness and 'spirit,' to need any praise at our hands.