The Round Table, 1819; The Square Table, 1819 [all reviews]
The Truth #1, September 1819: 6-7. Ed. J. Ironside.
The Truth #1, September 1819: 14. Ed. J. Ironside.
“The ‘Round Table’ and the ‘Square Table’.” Connecticut Mirror. September 6, 1819: p. 3, col 3. Ed. John G. C. Brainard.
Connecticut Mirror. September 13, 1819: p. 2, col 1. Ed. John G. C. Brainard.
Connecticut Mirror, July 23, 1827: 3, col 2. Ed. John Brainard.
Ancient History.—We have seen a work just published in Boston, entitled “Blair’s Outlines of Ancient History, on a new plan.”—It has been favourably noticed in several of the papers, and seems to deserve attention.—It is constructed on a plan similar to that of Goodrich’s History of the United States, which has gone through seventeen editions in four years—the whole number published being upwards of 50,000 copies. The present work is the third of a series of histories which are preparing for publication, all being formed on a similar plan. This plan is briefly as follows—In the first place, the subject is divided into periods, each period being characterised by some distinctive title. Thus from the creation to the deluge, is one period and it is denominated the Antedeluvian period &c. Having thus divided the whole history into periods, then each period is taken up, and the history of the same is detailed: the leading features being printed in large, and the more minute particulars, in small, type. Having gone through the several periods in this way, their General Views, of Geography, manners, arts, literature, society, &c. &c. are given.
The plan is unquestionably excellent, being more systematic and better adapted than any other yet devised, to teach history effectually. Every student has felt that Tytler, Whelpley, and other writers of Compends are sometimes confused and always dry—while the larger works are too mazy and complex—and extend over a space beyond the grasp of the juvenile memory.
The plan of these histories was originally derived from Henry’s history of England, published many years ago, but which is esteemed by many persons, the best that has ever been written. We have seen a late abridgment of it, for schools in England, and understand that it is much esteemed. It is destitute however, like most English school books—of many improvements which appear in the series of Histories we have mentioned.
The work under review is called “Blair’s Outlines,[”] having some resemblance to the celebrated works for education of the Rev. David Blair. It is however wholly written by a clergyman of this state, whose name is well known in Europe as well as America, as the master of a very superior style of writing. On the whole we think this work a great step in education, and hope our teachers will not be slow to give their pupils the advantage of it.
A History of the United States of America, by Charles A. Goodrich; 1826
“Errors in School Books: The Residence of the Dustin Family,” by J. O. S. The Common School Journal 6 (1 August 1844): 246-247.
To the Editor of the Common School Journal:
Dear Sir,—The story of Hannah Dustin’s capture by the Indians in the early history of New England, the heroism and fortitude she manifested in her perilous escape, and in returning to her friends through one hundred and fifty miles of wilderness, in the coldest season of a rigorous climate, have been duly set down in history, and are regularly connec by the lads and misses who study that useful manual, Goodrich’s History of the United States.
But my present purpose is not to relate it at length, but to call attention to an error that has been long stereotyped and widely propagated, in respect to the residence of the Dustin family. In the History just named, revised and enlarged from the sixty-fifth edition, p. 98, we read as follows: “In an attack, by a body of Indians, on Haverhill N. H., in the winter of 1697, the concluding year of the war, a party of the assailants, burning with a savage animosity, approached the house of a Mr. Dustin,” &c.
Now that this attack was not on Haverhill N. H., but Haverhill Mass., is certai, for the best of reasons; some of which I will name.
In S. G. Goodrich’s First Book of History, it is correctly stated to be Haverhill Mass., as it is in Barber’s Historical Collections of Mass., who quotes for authority Myrick’s History of Haverhill Mass., which he certainly would not have done, had the incidents occurred in another state. The place to which Mrs. Dustin and her companions were conducted, and from which she started on her return home, was a small island, now called Dustin’s Island, at the mouth of the Contoocook river, about six miles above the state-house in Concord, N. H. When they had got loose from their brutal captors and slain and scalped nearly the whole of them, we are told, “They continued to drop silently down the river, keeping a good lookout for strolling Indians.” Bancroft, (in his Hist. U. S., III. 188,) says, “In a bark canoe, the three, (Mrs. dustin, her nurse, and the boy Samuel Lennardson,) descended the Merrimac to the English settlement, astonishing their friends by their escape, and filling the land with wonder at their successful daring.” Haverhill N. H., is situated on the Connecticut, far to the northwest; while Haverhill Mass., is on the same river with Concord, about one hundred and fifty miles from her home. But Haverhill N. H., is but about one half that distance from Concord. But what is conclusive on this point is, that the first settlement in Haverhill N. H., was not made until 1764, which was sixty-seven years after Mrs. Dustin’s capture.
The error now pointed out is, of course, too glaring and pal-
pable to need many words to expose it. How it should have held its place through sixty-five editions of Goodrich’s Hist. U. S., seems surprising. Perhaps I should not have taken the trouble to point it out, had it not led astray students, teachers, and even school committees, who are generally supposed to be au fait in all such matters.
One word in respect to the orthography of the name. The school books vary: some of them reading Dustan, and some Dunstan; but according to the best authorities I have consulted, Dustin appears to be the correct orthography.
Through the pages of this Journal it is hoped the suggestions now made may reach the author or editor of Goodrich’s history of the United States, and that in the revision of the sixty-sixth, or ninety-sixth edition, as the case may be, there will be a correction of the error herewith exposed.
Very truly yours, J. O. S.
Dudley, June, 1844.
[Transcriber’s note: The incorrect state name appears on page 71 of the 17th edition, published by Charles’ brother, Samuel; the family name given is Dustan.]
The Legendary, 1828 [all reviews]
Notice. Ladies’ Magazine, 1 (April 1828): 192. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.
Ladies’ Magazine, June 1828: 285-287. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.
Ladies’ Magazine, December 1828: 569-571. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.
The Critic. December 27, 1828: 129-133. Ed. William Leggett.
Ariel. 10 January 1829: 150-151.
The Museum of Foreign Literature. May 1829: 391-394. Ed. Eliakim Littell.
Review. Ladies Magazine 1 (April 1828): 191-192. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.
Beauties of the waverley novels. S. G. Goodrich, Boston, 1828. Not a few critics have objected to selections of this kind, as injurious to literary taste in the community, by the facility which they afford for acquiring a smattering of belles lettres, instead of an intimate acquaintance with authors individually. Such objections are cmmonly made too much at random, and in a mistaken zeal for the interests of literature. Selections have their uses, as well as the larger
works from which they are taken. There are spare moments in the life and occupations of every person, when a book of extracts is very acceptable; and when a full work would be out of the question.
A pocket volume such as this, is invaluable as a companion for the vacant intervals of a journey; and there are but few persons, we believe, who have not in ths way relieved the tedium of a steam passage, or the monotony of a canal boat.
It is not so much with reference to these more common objects, however, that we now advert to this selection. We would mention it as one peculiarly adapted to circles formed for the purpose of spending an evening in the agreeable and improving entertainment of social reading. All who have experienced how difficult it is to find any volume which can furnish appropriate mater for such an object, will value a book which abounds in the happiest efforts of the most distinguished author of our times, whose style is so happily adapted, by its easy and natural expression, to form an animated and graceful manner of reading, and the interest of whose scenes winds up the mental sensibilities to the highest pitch of dramatic fascination. The habitual reading of these Beauties would do more to remove monotonous and suppressed tones of voice, unnatural infelctions, and artificial cadences, than the use of any book of rules on elocution, though ever so diligently studies.
Of the volume itself, to which we have now invited the attention of our readers, it would be unnecessary to say much; it presents in a portable shape the finest passages of the Waverly Novels; it possesses the attractions of beautiful typography; and comprises a large quantity of matter, without any deduction from the distinctness of the execution, or the fairness of the page.
Parents who are desirous of aiding their children in acquiring a lively and interesting style of reading, will find the volume a valuable assistant, if occasionally employed for the occupation of an evening hour in the family circle.
Review. Ladies’ Magazine 2 (July 1829): 340-341
Trimmer’s Natural History. pp. 233. Mary’s Journey—A German Tale. pp. 128. Boston, S. G. Goodrich & Co. These books which we have classed together, have no similarity except that they were both designed for the young, and both issued from the same press. Mr. Goodrich is indefatigable in his exertions to furnish books for children; and to him they are indebted for some of the best executed books in the pictorial department which have been published in this country.
Trimmer’s Natural History is one of this kind. The engravings, 200 in number, are very well executed; and the advantage derived from them in impressing on the mind of a child, the description accompanying each, is invalua-
ble. Natural history is on many accounts, one of the most useful studies in which children can engage; and if rightly managed there is none more amusing. Mr. Trimmer has long been a favorite with her little friends: this volume, however, is an improved edition, and fitted for a school book as well as the child’s library.
Mary’s Journey has less to recommend it as a useful publication,—it is a mere novel, and teaches little which a child will understand. There is a moral intended to be sure; but how far the resignation and filial piety of Mary will influence the reader to love virtue, is doubtful; while the character of her father, and indeed nearly all the other personages, are not patterns for imitation. There are some fine passages and powerful descriptions in the book: the author has genius, but is too deeply tinctured with the “legendary lore” of the Germans to be reasonable when he has a chance of being romantic. Of what advantage are such stories to the young?
Review. Ladies’ Magazine 2 (April 1829): 197-198. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.
“The Village Choir.” Boston, S. G. Goodrich & Co. This is a very interesting book, and certainly proves, that much merit may be contained in a small compass. It presents a vivid sketch of some of the peculiar traits in our New-England character; and the author has shown talents of no ordinary stamp, in thus investing, with the power and pathos of sentiment, what would seem to be so totally devoid of attraction, to persons of taste, as the bickerings among the performers, and changes in the style of sacred music, exhibited during ten years, in the choir of an humble country village.
We know, that many consider the favorable notice of a new work, synonymous with the puffing of an article, which has just been thrown into the market, and which, of course, owes its value mostly to the fashion of the moment. But the Village Choir has other merits besides the one of being new. It is worth reading for its pure and appropriate style alone, and there is real humor, (not punning) sound reasoning, elevated morality, and warm patriotism, combined in its pages; with little to offend the most fastidious criti. We give one extract as a specimen of the manner; the reflections of the author, after narrating that one of the leaders of the choir, Charles Williams, a shoemaker, and the son of a shoemaker, in his ambition to be something greater than the village of Waterfield offered, had concluded to leave his important office in the choir for the honors of a college.
“I use not the word ignoble, nor any other term of disparagement or contempt, as appicable to that vocation. I am too sturdy an American for that. Happily, in our country, we have scarcely a conception of what the epithet ignoble signifies, except in a purely moral point of view. The aristocratical pride of Europe accounts for this, by insisting, that we are all plebeians together, and of course that distinctions of rank among us are ridiculous. Our own pride, of which we have our full share, accounts for the circumstance on the opposite hypothesis, that we are a nation of highborn noblemen. But this is a poor dispute about names. The truth is, we are neither a nation of nobemen nor plebeians. How can such correlative terms be applied with any shadow of correctness, when the very political relations which they imply, do not exist? It is using a solecism to call Americans plebeians, because to that class belongs the conscious degradation of witnessng above them, in the same body politic, an order of men born to certain privileges of which they are destitute by birth themselves. And for a similar reason, it is equally a solecism to regard ourselves, even metaphorically, as noblemen.
Why then did Charles Williams and his friends desire him to emerge from the calling in which his youth had been passed? Oh, we Americans have our preferences. We think it an innocent and a convenient thing to draw arbitrary lines of distinction between different professions; otherwise, the circle of one man’s acquaintance would often be oppressively large.
I do not wish to analyze too minutely, the aristocratical leaven among us. I do not exactly understand its principle of operation myself. Pedigree it certainly is not, though that perhaps is one of its elements. Wealth and education have something to do with it. Different vocations in life, have much more. Various degrees of softness and whiteness of the hands, are perhaps as good criterions as any thing. Certain sets of persons do somehow contrive to obtain an ascendancy in every town and village. Butin the present state of society in our country, the whole subject is extremely unsettled. The mass is fermenting, and how this process will result eventually, time only can decide. Probably some future court calendar will rank among the first class of American citizens, all families descended in lines, more or less direct, from former presidents of the nation, heads of departments, governors of states, presidents of colleges, Supreme Court judges, commodores, and general officers. The second class may comprehend the posterity of members of congress, circuite and state judges, clergymen, presidents of bank,s professors in colleges, captains of national vessels, leaders of choirs, and perhaps some others. I have no curiosity to speculate upon inferior classes, nor to determine any further the order in whch far distant dinners shall be approached by eaters yet unborn, or future balls shall be arranged at Washington.”
Review. American Monthly Magazine 1 (May 1829): 142-143.
Specimens of American Poetry, with Critical and Biographical Notices. By F. S. Hill, and S. Kettel, Esq’rs. 3 vols. 12mo. Boston: S. G. Goodrich & Co. 1829.
This work which was commenced by F. S. Hill, Esq., but finished by Mr. Kettell, embraces Specimens and Notices of two hundred American Poets. It contains also, an Historical Introduction, and a Catalogue of published American Poetry, from the earliest period to
the present time, embracing about four hundred volumes. The undertaking was worthy of all praise, and from slight inspection, we think it displays indefatigable industry on the part of the editors, and a good degree of taste and judgment in the selections and remarks. The work contains much information and a valuable body of biography and poetry. On the whole we esteem it a highly valuable book, and necessary to every one who wishes to keep pace with the growth of our literature. We shall take the first opportunity to give a review of it.
Review. Connecticut Mirror [Hartford, CT] 20 (13 June 1829): 3, col 1.
Messrs. S. G. Goodrich & Co. have just published a new work, entitled Specimens of American Poetry in three volumes, by Samuel Kettell. We have had occasion once before to notice this work, while it was in preparation for the press, and we are rejoiced that it has at length been completed and presented to the public. Mr Kettell has collected the names of a much larger number of poets than we had supposed we could claim, and some of them can hardly be ranked very high among American poets; yet we think he has done no more than justice, in giving them a place in this work, and in preserving specimens of their writings.—As a valuable collection of American Poetry, and as a specimen of the talents, taste and style of each of the individuals who has been distinguished by this species of writing, we esteem this work an acquisition to the libraries and to the means of information of every American scholar. The writings of most of the individuals whose names are embraced in these three volumes, have either never been published in a collected form, or have been published so long, that copies of their works are scarce and difficult to be obtained. The individuals themselves have lived at different, and many, at remote periods, and little is now known either of them or their writings. By collecting them in their present shape, the names of these persons will be perpetuated, and one step will be taken toward rendering them justice, by readers of the present day and by posterity. The literary productions of the earlier American writers have been overlooked and nearly forgotten, until we have submitted to the reproach of a want of literature, and a want of authors, which we by no means deserved. True we have been unable to produce men whose writings would compare with English writers of the same period; the situation of the country, and the disadvantages under which men of literary tastes laboured, precluded this; but we have ever since the first settlement of the country possessed writers who, considering those disadvantages, have done credit to themselves, and of whom their discendants need not be ashamed. In some departments of literature we have gone further; and we can boast among our philosophers, our orators and our divines, men of whom any country in Europe would have been proud. Our writers however have been few, and the fashion of trusting to Great Britain for our literature, has led us to overlook and despise even their merits. The work before us cannot fail to correct this error; it will show us that an early period in the history of our country we had our poets as well as our theologians: and although their writings may savour of the quaintness or puritanism of the times, we shall be satisfied that Mather, and Wolcott, and Colman had their merits and their beauties; it will remind us that at a later period our Trumbulls, our Dwights, and our Barlows were among the brightest geniuses of America; that the whole country was, at the time they lived, enlivened by their wit, or excited to deeds of valour by their patriotic ardour; while in our own day we have produced men, whom we would not be unwilling to compare with many of the popular writers of Great Britain or of Europe. Although this work is only a collection of specimens of the writing of each individual, still these specimens are sufficiently numerous and extensive to enable us to judge of the style of each, and to form an opinion of his merits; and we think every lover of American literature should possess it, as a book of reference. We are unable to judge of the taste which has prevailed in these selections, except from examining those with whose writings we are familiar: and with these we are well satisfied. We believe Mr Kettell has made his slections with fairness and with good taste, and that he has given us a fair specimen of the writings of each. In a former notice of this work, we objected to some parts of the biographical sketch of the late lamented Brainard. We are happy to see that these objectionable passages have been expunged, and that there is nothing in that part of the work which we can consider either as a reproach upon the memory of Brainard, or a censure on the inhabitants of this city. We regret that we are precluded from making extracts from the work at the present time.
The American Common-place Book of Poetry (The Poets of America, with Occasional Notes); 1829
Boston Recorder 16 (June 8, 1831): 90. Ed. Nathaniel Willis.
The American Common Place Book of Poetry, with occasional Notes, by Geo. B. Cheever.
Mr. Cheever is already known as a gentleman of refined and moral taste, from his volume of Amercan Prose. He has been induced by the success of the latter volume, to make the present compilation, and we have rarely seen so much true poetry, and never so pure a vein of true moral feeling in any one volume. He says in his Preface, “it is not pretended that every piece in the following selection is a stately and perfect song, inspired by the “vision and the faculty divine,” and containing throughout the true power and spirit of harmony; but every lover of poetry will find much to delight a cultivated imagination, and much to set him on thinking; and every religious mind will be pleased that a volume of American poetry, so variously selected, presents so many pages imbued with the feelings of devotion. If all the extracts are not of sufficient excellence to excite vivid admiration, most of them are of the kind that meet us
Like a pleasant thought
Where such are wanted.”