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The LEGAL CHARACTER. — The public are indebted, particularly the legal portion of it, to J. R. Tyson, Esq., of Philadelphia, for a 'Discourse on the Integrity of the Legal Character,' delivered recently before the Law Academy of our sister city, and published by order of the society. While a proper place in the popular estimation of the community is assigned to the pęttifogging and unworthy members of a profession, which receives recruits alike from the highest and the meanest ranks of life, the honorable lawyer, whose duties and position are well defined, is held up, as he should be, to the respect and admiration of all who honor high intellect, and firm adherence to principle. The ‘Discourse' is very beautifully printed.
YALE LITERARY MAGAZINE. — We have before alluded to this very clever periodical, conducted by the students of Yale College. There is no small amount of talent exhibited in its pages; and its external execution is especially neat and tasteful. The number before us, for December, contains a portrait of Professor Silliman, which possesses the iwo important merits of good engraving and a correct likeness. If there be any thing to complain of in our promising contemporary, it is a lack of originality in some of its contributors. The author of 'The Winds, for example, in the present issue, should not have subjected himself to a comparison with Mr. Bryant, whose noble poem, with the same title, in these pages, he can scarcely be said to have improved upon, although he has evidently studied its beauties.
Hoax's Musical SOUVENIR. — We have before us the first number of a new musical publication, thus entitled, which is to appear on the first of every month, under the competent supervision of Mr. C. E. Horn. It will consist of favorite and original songs, duettos, trios, and quartettes, written and selected expressly for the work, by various composers. The number for January is beautifully executed, upon fine white paper, and embellished with a tasteful vignette. It contains 'The New Year's Come,' the words by Phillips, the Music by Ksight; 'Say, Stranger, Say,' the words by Ball, music by HULAĦ; "The Dead Bird,' the words by Wade, music by C. E. HORN; and 'Puck's Call,' a trio; the words by Elrin, music by S. C. Hory. We predict for the 'Souvenir abundant popularity.
"The Collecian.' a monthly publication conducted by the students of the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville, (Va.,) is a work kindred in character with the ‘Yale Magazine.' Some of its papers, in the number for December, evince decided talent. The Poetical License’ is lively and spirited, and its oblique yet adroit satire well bestowed. One who could write so pleasantly as the author of this article, however, should have avoided such provincial vulgarisms as the following: 'I felt an indescribable itching to shed ink, like a Tamerlane would shed human blood.' Very bad! Do n't do so any more! We wish our young friends all success with their agreeable 'Collegian.'
Moore's MELODIES. We are bound to notice, with especial commendation, a very beautiful volume, from the press of Messrs. LINNEN AND FEXELL, 229 Broadway, containing the Irish Melodies of THOMAS MOORE, with the original Prefatory Letter on Music, and a Supplement, containing a selection from his Poetical Works. It is the first complete American, from the thirteenth London edition ; is handsomely printed, admirably bound, and embellished with a good portrait of the Irish bard.
* The Analyst.' – Several of the miscellaneous sketches in this little collection we have encountered before, and are very glad to meet them again. Bating a little too much of the sententious-didactic, and a straining after epigrammatic or antithetical points, in parts of the book, the 'Analyst' is a capital work, evincing close observation, much research, and original, correct, and manly thought. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM, and BENJAMIN G. TREVETT.
CAPTAIN MARRYAT'S 'DIABY IN AMERIca,' which excited very little sensation of any kind in this country, is severely handled in the last number of the Edinburgh Review. The whole article is a keen cutting up, secundem artem. It closes as follows: 'We venture, in conclusion, to suggest to Captain MARRYAT the desirableness of his returning to his ancient track of original and humorous composition. There he must always amuse. But we much question, on considering the lighter parts of the present volumes, whether he could ever write a good book of ordinary travels. Let him picture to himself M. de Tocqueville engaged upon a second part of 'Peter Simple.' M. de Tocqueville's mistake in adventuring upon a sea-novel, would, in all likelihood, be as great as that of Captain Marryat in philosophizing upon the democracy in America. Greater, in our opinion, it cannot be.'
LIFE OF William H. HARRISON. - We have before us, from the press of Messrs. WEEKS, JORDAN AND COMPANY, Boston, a small volume, of some two hundred pages, entitled "The People's Presidential Candidate, or the Life of William Henry HARRISON, of Ohio.' It is a historical narration of the civil and military services of the subject, and a vindication of his character and conduct as a statesman, a citizen, and a soldier; and presents a brief and comprehensive, and it is believed a clear and correct, view of the wars and negociations on our northwestern frontier, from the adoption of our federal constitution till the close of the last war, by which event the power of the Indian tribes in that region was so broken, as to leave them no longer a formidable enemy; a part of our history little known, although full of interest.
The PictorAL SHAKSPEARE. – This very beautiful work seems to increase in attraction with every number. Part Twelve, "Taming of the Shrew,' now before us, has had no equal, in the minute finish of its numerous illustrations, which are 'illustrations,' in every sense of the word. The foregoing was in type for our last number, since which we have received Part XIV., containing “The Merchant of Venice.' The excellence which has always characterized the literary and pictorial features of the work, continues unabated, if it be not actually enhanced. New-York: WILEY AND PUTXAM.
Museum of Religious Knowledge.' — This neat little volume, 'designed to illustrate religious truth,' is well calculated to promote its object, in the judicious blending which it exhibits of entertainment with high moral and religious lessons. It is a tasteful selection of tales, essays, sketches, etc., from the pens of many of the most eminent among our American clergy and laity, embracing a good variety, as well as number, of interesting articles. It is embellished with a fine mezzo-tint engraving, by Santain, of the Rev. Robert Morrison, and his assistants in the translation of the Bible into Chinese.
'Heads of the People.' – A new series of the 'Heads of the People,' a work which has become extremely popular in England, and favorably known on this side of the water, has been commenced in London. The first number, now before us, contains the following portraits, which are to the very life: “The Chaperon,' 'The Débutante,' "The Money-Lender,' and 'The Old Squire.' The literary illustrations are in keeping, being by Mrs. Gore, Douglas Jerrold, and William Howitt. New-York: WILEY AND PUTNAM.
"The Latest FORM OF INFIDELITY.' - We noticed, recently, with deserved commendation, a pamphlet thus entitled, from the pen of Mr. ANDREWS Norton, of Cambridge, (Mass.) We have since received from the author a second pamphlet, devoted to remarks upon another, animadverting with severity upon the first publication. We can only say, that if our author quotes his opponent correctly, he has not only the best of the argument, but altogether the advantage of his adversary in coolness and courtesy.
UNIVERSITIES OF NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA. - The Address by Mr. Hugh M'Queen, delivered before the Alumni and Graduating Class of the University of North Carolina, in June last, though now somewhat ancient, must not be passed over without a word of commendation, for its healthful arguments, and valuable inculcations. Yet we could wish the general style had been less elaborately florid, and tautological terms pruned with a more liberal hand. The merits we have mentioned, however, overbear these natural defects. We would commend to the reader, in this connexion, an excellent Lecture, introductory to the Course of Mathematics, of the University of Virgina, in September last, by CHARLES BONNYCASTLE. It is replete with practical lessons, such as have made the name of the writer justly famous.
MESSRS. WILEY AND PUTNAM'S CATALOGUE. We have before us the last Catalogue of Messrs. WILEY AND PUTNAM, enumerating upward of an hundred and sixty new, valuable, and most important books, in the fine arts, architecture, natural history, philology, and belles-lettres, now offered at very reduced prices.' The books are all quite new, and in all respects as good as when they were sold at the full prices. Å glance through the Catalogue has convinced us, that for value and cheapness, the collection is altogether a remarkable one.
New BOSTON PUBLICATIONS. We have received from the long-established press of Messrs. JAMES MONROE AND COMPANY, Boston, and shall take another occasion to notice, as they deserve, the following publications : BUCKMINSTER's Works, in two volumes; 'Miriam,' by Miss Park; 'Last Days of the SaviouR;' 'Arthur Lee;' 'Home,' by Miss SEDGWICK; 'Sketches of a New-England Village ;' and 'Popular German Stories. These works are all distinguished by the customary neatness of the Boston press.
COLLEGIATE. -We are indebted to the Literary Adelphi Society of the Academical and Theological Institution' of New-Hampton, (N. H.,) for a catalogue of the officers and students of that seminary; from which we derive two gratifying items of intelligence; namely, that it is in a highly flourishing condition, both in the male and female departments, and that its courses of instruction are ample, and in the hands of capable officers. The institution has our warmest wishes for that success which it seems abundantly to deserve.
AIDS TO REFLECTION. - Messrs. Swords, STANFORD AND COMPANY have published a corrected edition of 'Aids to Reflection,' by COLERIDGE, with the author's last corrections. The work is edited by HORATIO Nelson COLERIDGE, and has already been noticed in this Magazine. To the American edition is prefixed a preliminary essay upon the eharacter of the volume and its author, by John M. VICKAR, D. D., Professor of Moral Philosophy in Columbia College.
THE AMERICAN MEDICAL JOURNAL, for November, is a very rich and copious number. Among its articles is one by Pliny EARLE, M. D., giving a full report of a visit made by him to thirteen Asylums for the Insane, in Europe, with Statistics. This is an elaborate and interesting paper, to which we shall take occasion to refer, in detail, in a subsequent number of the KNICKERBOCKER.
COLONIZATION. – We would commend to general attention, an 'Address delivered at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society,' in November last, by R. R. GURLEY. It is a well-reasoned and eloquent appeal in behalf of the benevolent aims of a society to whose interests the indefatigable author has long and effectively devoted his time and talents.
To READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. - It has been a just ground of complaint, heretofore, on the part of our distant country readers, as well as those more near – (who, notwithstanding, we are happy to say, ure increasing beyond all former precedent,) – that their numbers have reached them at a late period of the month, and often after they had perused some of the best articles in the journals of the day. Hereafter, this cause of complaint will be entirely removed. The February KNICKERBOCKER will be promptly issued ; and thereafter, every copy of each successive pumber of the work, which goes to subscribers out of town, will be mailed, (and the most distant the first) before the first day of the month, at which time our city readers will be promptly served. Thus, as near as possible, tho perusal of the KNICKERBOCKER will be simultaneous throughout the country. Meanwhile, we beg our friends to believe, that never, since the literary responsibilities of the work were in their present hands, have THE SUPPLIES, including almost every variety of composition, been 80 rich and copious, as at the present moment. And here let us extend the right hand of fellowship to several ner and valuable contributors. The author of 'Childhood,' in our last number, will always be welcome. He has an admirable style ; and by his close observation of nature, his easy humor, and touching pathos, cannot fail to win all suffrages. Thanks to the translator of 'Perou. rou, the Bellows-mender.' We will leave the reader to pronounce, whether a tale of more sustained and intense interest has ever graced these pagos. 'Flaccus' is cordially greeted. None who have perused this writer's admirable poetical contributions to the ‘New-York American,' or who may read his initial poem in the present number, but will share the pleasure with which we welcome bim as a permanent correspondent of this Magazine. Nor should we omit to render our tribute of gratitude to the writer who occupies, for the first time, the first place in the present issue. The author of Chivalry and the Crusades' needs no bluzon of ours. His literary avant courier will insure a greedy perusal of any subsequent paper from his pen. Ollapodiana,' and 'HARRY Franco's Haunted Merchant,' number two, were too late for the present number. The 'Letters from London,' by the sparkling SANDERSON, and the welcome favors of the author of the · Psalms of Life,' will be renewed in their company. The author of an amusing paper, re-christened .Phrenology and Animal Magnetism, how they served an Individual,' will receive our acknowledgments. His article is filed for immediato insertion. • The Progress of Society,' with a various, entertaining, and instructive essay upon 'The English Language,' and a capital. Leal' from the 'Georgia Lawyer's Port-folio,' are among the earliest candidates for the favor of our readers. 'Limnings in the Thoroughfares' will add to the attractions of the February issue, as also the New-Year Verses by a Bachelor.' The lines from an old and favorite contributor, entitled Parting from a Household,' together with a vivid and picturesque description of 'A Visit to the Mines of the Lackawanna,' will also appear in our next number. Nor must we forget to mention, that Mrs. Mary Clavers, whose •Noro Home, Who 'U Follow?" has won such golden opinions in all quarters of the country, may likewise be enrolled among our immediate contributors. Several excellent papers, which are accepted, but which we lack space to note, together with numerous contributions from older favorites, will appear in their season. In additiou to these attractions, we are enabled, through the kindness of Mr. PUTNAM, of the publishing and book-selling house of WILEY AND PUTNAM, in London and New-York, to furnish our readers with a rich and most various entertainment, from a large collection of the very oldest and choicest books, pamphlets, etc., which could be found in London, many of them treating of the remotest history of this country, with records of travel, and adventures 'long ago betid,' on this continent, together with many works, rare even in England, and replete with interest. We shall begin, in our next, with a comprehensive synopsis of, and entertaining extracts froin, a work by DANIEL Deros, author of 'Robinson Crusoe,' which abounds with the peculiar characteristics of that delightful writer. With the liberal aid of our contributors, therefore, old and new, the above-mentioned sources of interesting matériel, and the earliest current literature, periodical and otherwise, of our neighbors across the water, we can promise more and better literary entertainment, than we havo ever yet been enabled to present.
It is proposed, in the present paper, to direct the reader's attention to a brief history of the English language ; to its excellencies and defects; the best means of cultivating an acquaintance with it; the dangers of corruption to which, in this age of literary hobbies and imitations, it is exposed; and its future prospects, in regard to its prevalence and extension. Lest the writer should be thought, by some, to wander from his subject, in his occasional allusions to English literature, it may be proper to remark, that the intimate connection between the themes, renders such reference unavoidable.
Language forms a distinguishing characteristic of man. have inarticulate cries, which express their emotions, and the import of which they seem in a measure to understand; but they have nothing which can be dignified with the name of language. This is the vehicle of thought; it is the instrument by which mind acts upon mind; by which the people of one nation and age converse with the people of other nations and of remote ages; and it is the means by which the social nature of man arrives at its highest gratification.
It is the testimony of the Scriptures, that originally the inhabitants of the world were of one speech and of one language, and that the foundation for a variety of languages was laid in the confusion of tongues, at the building of Babel. From the nature of the case, also, it might be inferred that but one language would originally exist; and so convenient would it be for human intercourse, that all the inhabitants of the earth should continue to speak the same language, that we cannot well account for the existence of so many languages, so widely differing from each other, without supposing a miraculous interference, like that which the confusion of tongues at Babel is described to have been. The departures from the original language, however, though sufficient to prevent the different tribes from understanding each other, appears not to have been so entire as to destroy all resemblance between the different dialects. Hence, learned men have been able to trace some remote resemblances between all the various languages that exist. VOL. XV.