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delivered before the Columbian Institute at Washington ; -—
Mr. Everett's Lecture before the Charlestown Lyceum ; —
and Lord Chancellor Brougham's Dissertation on the Objects,
Advantages, and Pleasures of Science, and the first part
of his account of Lord Bacon's Novum Organon. These are
stamped with the impress of the great talents of their sev-
eral authors ; and the volume thus filled richly deserves a
place in the library of every friend of scientific improvement.

The second volume contains " A Treatise on Mechanics,
by Captain Henry Kater, and the Rev. Dionysius Lard-
ner, LL. D., &£c.," from the London edition. The authors
have been long known to the public as successful cultivators
of physical science. To the former of them we are indebted
for some of the most important and satisfactory discoveries
connected with the measure of time ; and the labors of the
latter, as an accomplished lecturer and writer on numerous
branches of natural philosophy, are extensively known and
appreciated. Such is the character of the authors of the ad-
mirable little treatise of which we have just given the title.
This work contains a simple, just, and popular view of the
most important elements of mechanical philosophy. It is not,
like many of our common elementary systems, a dispropor-
tioned compilation from the works, hastily read and imper-
fectly understood, of the great masters of science ; but, so
far as an elementary work can be, it is an original produc-
tion, which, as we see and feel at every page, comes fresh
from minds thoroughly imbued with the science which they
teach. It is unnecessary to give a detailed account of a book
of such a character ; and we have thus merely noticed it
with unqualified praise, for the purpose of recommending it to
the attention of all who desire an acquaintance with the great
science which it illustrates.

The third volume contains " An Universal History, trans-
lated from the German of John Von Miiller, in four volumes.
Vol. I." This, as we gather from the Preface, was translated

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56 Muller*s Universal History. [Jan.

and first published in England, and' is here reprinted from
the English edition. We have not had opportunity to com-
pare it with the original ; but it is done into good English
phraseology, neat and concise, strongly representing the char-
acter of the original German, as we should judge from what
is said of this by the translator, and by Madame de Stael.
In the Oriental history the author's chronology of the primi-
tive ages differs from that which is commonly received. He
follows the Septuagint version of the Old Testament in the
antediluvian period, and afterwards till near the time of
Abraham, making from the creation to the beginning of the
present century 7522 years. His geology is fanciful and not
very distinct ; and in fixing on the place where the peopling
of the world began, he is governed by a theory founded upon
the indigenous production of bread-corn, rather than in specu-
lations upon the obscure geographical remains in the Old

The plan and execution of the work, so far as we can
judge from the volume before us, present rather lectures upon
history, than history with its usual details. Thus, for ex-
ample, in the great movements of war and progress of con-
quest, the author does not follow in the train of the various
campaigns, and describe in succession fortifications and tac-
tics and battles and sieges, but, in general, contents himself
with the results and consequences. In the fashion of the
Germans, he dwells much on the sources of history ; estimat-
ing carefully the value of historians, philosophers, orators,
poets, and rhetoricians, and writers on the polite and useful
arts, the arts of peace and war. He passes rapidly over the
most ancient periods of history, and does not treat us much
with fabulous traditions ; though he speaks gravely of some
things, as if they were true, which, according to our previous
notions or prejudices, are at least very questionable. For
the most part, it is not only a very learned, but a very phi-
losophical history, without pedantry or parade of wisdom.
The reflections are prompted by a wide and thorough know-
ledge of the subject, but never seem studied or far-fetched.
For example, in his account of Athens, having described the
vigilance of rulers in preventing offences, he adds,

** Although it is impossible wholly to prevent excesses, yet
wise men have thought it proper to forbid them, because what-
ever must be done in secret will be more seldom perpetrated,
and not by all.'' p. 54.

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1883.] Mullet^ $ Universal History. 57


"Though Pericles flattered the Athenians on the ground
that each mechanic knew something of the affairs of the state,
yet it is not to be forgotten that this half knowledge operated
greatly to the ruin of the republic ; each individual fancied
that he understood every thing as well as the most distinguish^
ed statesman.'' p. 58.

And again, after allowing due value to the works of the
Christian Fathers, as subsidiary to the labors of the historian;
he subjoins the useful remark, that

" The bad style of most of them, their misconceptions, and
the weakness of some, redound to the honor of Christianity.
It is manifest that these persons did not invent so pure, so sub-
lime a doctrine ; it was not they who gained the victory over
the religion of Greece and Rome." p. 134.

It is the just and pertinent reflections of this kind which
every where abound in Miiller's History, that give it a pecu-
liar value ; it is thus, that history, in the best hands, becomes
what it should be, — philosophy teaching by example.

Somewhat allied to the characteristic excellence last men-
tioned, are the just and well-timed parallelisms briefly drawn
in regard to different civil institutions, laws, and customSi
distinguished persons, and national traits of character.

Three-fifths of the volume are filled with the Roman his-
tory. It carries us a good deal into the internal state of the
government, though not always preserving a due proportion
m the parts. In the description of political offices, the mode
in which they are constituted, their tenure, and the extent of
their authority, there is sometimes a want of completeness ;
while the account of military oflices and regulations is more
full. The author's delineations of great men are drawn with
remarkable spirit and truth. But in the description of Cssar,
he attains an energy in his manner, corresponding to that of
the great warrior and orator in action, and a rapidity in his
course, answering to that of the wondrous exploits of his
hero; — aptly throwing in the reflection, " So true it is,
that time is not wanting to men, but the resolution to turn it
to account." Cato's portrait, with the true discrimination of
an artist, he draws with all the gravity and solemnity belong*
ins to the archetype.

We ave not sure whether there is any historian at once

TOL. I. NO. I. 8

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56 SuHtvan's Political Class Book. [Jan.

more sententious, philosophical, and discriminating, than Miil-
ler, since Tacitus, whom he often follows ; and in the section
on ancient Germany, he has done little more than translate
that beautiful tractate of Tacitus, De moribus Oermania,
We will not undertake to judge whether this is the most
pleasing history for the mass of readers, which could be se-
lected ; but we are persuaded from the portion already pub-
lished, that it would not be easy to select or compile one
which would convey more solid instruction.

Art. XL — 1. The Political Class Book; intended to
instruct the Higher Classes in Schools, in the Origin,
Nature, and L/se of Political Power. By William
Sullivan, Counsellor at Law. H'ith an Appendix upon
Studies for Practical Men ; with Notices of Books suited
to their Use, by George B. Emerson. New edition
with Amendments and Additions. 12mo. Boston. Rich-
ardson, Lord, ^ Holbrook. 1831. pp. 195.

2. The Moral Class Book, or the Law of Morals; derived
from the created Universe, and from Revealed Religion.
Intended for Schools. By William Sullivan, Coun-
sellor at Law. 12mo. Boston. Richardson, Lord, &c
Holbrook. 1831. pp. 282.

The first of these books has been long enough before the
public to have passed to a second edition. The subjects
discussed in it are undoubtedly important, especially among
us. Our young men are called upon at so early a period to
take upon themselves the responsible duties of life, that they
often enter their career with little or no preparation, except
such as is gleaned in casual conversation, or from a narrow
sphere of experience. Hence it is plain that they must often
find themselves at a loss, in cases requiring prompt decision
and immediate action, for want of practical and efficient
knowledge of their relations to each other, the institutions of
the country, the modes and means of social intercourse, and
the transaction of business. With Mr. Sullivan it seems to
be a principle of action,. whenever a fault or defect is discov-
ered, to attempt a remedy, instead of wasting time in useless
complaints. Reformers may, for convenience' sake, be divid-
ed into two classes, — those who, like the subjects of the

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1832.] Sullivan's Moral Class Book. 59

Salem witchcraft, are marvellously prompt " to cry out upon "
existing defects or abuses, but cannot for their life lift a fin-
ger to remove them, — and, secondly, those who make no
bluster, but set themselves vigorously to work, and let their
works speak for them. To this latter class Mr. Sullivan's
two books show that he belongs. " The Political Class Book'*
begins with a general examination of the condition of man,
and the means by which social order is preserved. Then
we have a lucid sketch of the state and town governments in
Massachusetts, and the nature of the authorities by which laws
are made, supported, and executed. This is followed by a
similar sketch of the Constitution of the United States, the
Departments of the General Government, and the powers
belonging to each, with numerous particulars necessary to
be familiarly known to one who wishes to have a clear con-
ception of the nature and operations of American institutions.
The " Laws of Nations" and the " Laws of War " occupy
two chapters. The remainder of the book is taken up with
a chapter on "Property," one on "Banking," &c., one on
" Persons, their capacities and incapacities," one on " the
Classification of Persons," an exceedingly important one on
the "Choice of Employments," one on "Religion," and
one on " Education," which takes the place of the chapter
on the Constitutions of the Middle States, which was the
concluding part of the first edition. The practical worth of
the book is not a little enhanced by the addition of an Ap-
pendix, containing, besides many excellent remarks on the
various pursuits in life, a list of books, judiciously selected,
with brief, clear, and comprehensive criticisms interspersed.

In this new edition, a chapter on " Moral Philosophy "
has been added to the Appendix. It will be sufficient to
say, that this portion of the volume is from the pen of that
accomplished instructer, Mr. George B. Emerson. The
general merits of this volume consist in its practical adapta-
tion to the wants of society, the judicious arrangement of
its parts, the plain and correct simplicity of its style, and
the absence of extraneous matter, particularly of what is
called by courtesy "profound discussion," — the charms of
which are generally so enticing to writers and incomprehen-
sible to readers.

" The Moral Class Book " has a still higher aim. It is strictly
what its title indicates, a book setting forth " the law of morals

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90 Sullivan's Moral CUus Book. [im,

derived from the created universe, and from revealed religion."
The design of this volume, says Mr. Sullivan, at the close of
Chapter I, " is to prove that there is a Supreme Being ; that
be is the creator and governor of the universe ; that be
created man as we see him to exist, in his earthly frame,
in his intellectual powers, and With an immortal spirit ;
that there is placed within his reach the knowledge of the
laws intended for his government here ; and that life here
is connected with an existence which is to be attained
through the house appointed for all that have lived, that do
live, and that are to live.'' The argument begins with the
" Proofs of the existence of the Supreme Being," drawn
from the external world, — from the firmament, the globe, the
action of water ; from geology, the vegetable kingdom, the
animal kingdom ; from human organization, and then proceeds
to human intellect, &c. These topics are handled with sin-
gular clearness and simplicity, and, in our opinion, the argu-
ment is admirably suited to the tastes and capacities of young
scholars. It has been the fashion of late to decry the force
of such proofs, and to place greater reliance upon the pro-
founder arguments drawn from the inner nature of the human
souL But it seems to us consonant to the soundest princi-
ples of philosophy, to begin the instruction of the intellect
on these important points, by addressing it with the most ob-
vious topics of argument, and through the most obvious ave-
nues of knowledge, viz. the argument from external nature,
subjected to the scrutiny of the bodily senses. When the
mind has been sufficiently unfolded and strengthened, to tura
il9 eye inward, and become both the observer and the ob-
served ; and when the eternal wants of the soul are felt and
cpmprehended, external proofs may more safely be neglect-
e4, because then belief is absolutely necessary to the spiritual
nature, which cannot exist in a state of developement with-
out it, A genuine unbeliever, in the maturity of his intellectual
f^cuUies, is a philosophical absurdity. The hypothesis of
nwth St being involves an impossibility and contradiction.
Skej^tios there may be ; ardent and disputatious inquirers there
must be ; stern combatants of received opinions there ought
to be ; but unbelievers there carmot be. Unbelief implies,
not only the logical error non causa pro causd^ but the log-
ical absurdity of an effect without a cause. This may be
stifled in words, but the mind cannot comprehend it. It is
unintelligible and impossible.

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1839.] SidUvan's Moral Class Booh. 61

The proposition that ^* there is an immortal spirit in man/'
is supported by a similar course of argument, and is highly
satisfactory. Thus far the whole subject has been examined
by the light of reason alone. We now come to " revealed
religion '' and its evidences. These topics are treated with
an unpretending and earnest purpose of arriving at important
truth. The discussions have no aim, but the instruction of
the young. Some of the chapters on the general subject of
moral duty, are admirable, particularly Chapters xxi and


The following paragraph, on the " Purposes of Life," may
serve as a specimen of the average style and manner of the

" We believe that human life rightly understood and rightly
used is a beneficent gift ; that it can be so understood and
used. It is irreconcilable to reason that man was sent into
this world only to suffer and to mourn ; it is from his own igno-
rance, folly, or error, that he does so. He is capable of inform-
ing himself; the means of doing this are within his power. If
he were truly informed, he would not have to weep over his
follies and errors. It is not pretended that every one can
escape at once from a benighted condition, and break into the
region of reason and good sense. But it is most clear from
what is well known to have happened in the world, that each
generation may improve upon the preceding one ; and that each
individual, in every successive period of time, may better know
the true path, from perceiving how others have gone before
him. There can be no miracle in this. It will, at best, be a
slow progress ; and the wisdom arrived at in one age must
command the respect of succeeding ones, and receive from
them the melioration which they can contribute. We under-
stand nothing of what is called the perfectibility of human
nature ; but we understand this, that if human nature can be
nade to know wherein its greatest good consists, it may be
presumed that this good will be sought and obtained. Man
was created on this principle, he acts on this principle, although
he is seen so frequently to make the most deplorable and dis-
tressing mistakes. If it be not admitted that mankind will
always strive to obtain whatsoever seems to them good, and
strive to avoid whatever seems to them evil, their moral teach-
ing is in vain. If this principle be admitted, the sole inquiry
is, what is good and what is evil.'' pp. 113, 114.

These chapters are written m the manner of one who has

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63 SulKvan^s Moral Class Book. [Jan.

looked upon life with a keen and scrutinizing eye ; to whom
the smallest things offer matter for serious and valuable reflec-
tion ; for whom the customs of society, even those apparently
the most indifferent, are connected with high moral purposes,
and are full of instruction. Let the young read them and
ponder them and practise them. Especially let them read
and ponder and practise the doctrines '* on labor."

The great orator of Greece being thrice asked what was
the most important requisite for success in a public speaker,
thrice answered, " Action ! " If the question should be ask-
ed, what is the most important requisite for happiness, for
virtue, for usefulness, for distinction, the answer would be,
though in a different sense, yet with greater truth, " Action !
laborious, well-directed action ! " If a man wishes to enjoy
the greatest of heaven's blessings, a contented mind and a
healthful body, mens sana in corpore sanoy let him go to work.
If he wishes to feel the worth of existence, the pride of suc-
cessful exertion, the true spirit of intellectual life, let him go
to work. If he wishes to know what is the real dignity of
our nature, let him go to work.

The remaining chapters are written in the same common-
sense and practical lone. We hope the book will be exten-
sively adopted in schools and academies. It has been long
needed, and the time of its publication, as well as the publi-
cation itself, mark the sagacious observing of a mind deeply
interested in the cause of intellectual and moral improvement.
The style is easy, correct, and pure, and sometimes reminds
us of the transparent clearness of Paley. The discussions
occasionally touch upon the borders of metaphysical abstruse-
ness, but for the most part glide gracefully by. Allusions
sometimes occur which need the explanation of an instructer;
but these allusions are necessary as illustrations. The greater
portion of the work is within the grasp of ordinary minds, and
requires only close attention and a logical habit of thinking,
which, if not possessed, ought to be acquired as soon as pos-
sible. The follies of society call forth remarks, in the course
of the book, whose sharpness and severity some would per-
haps think unmerited or misplaced ; but, on the whole, we
believe they will call attention to matters of importance too
generally overlooked. At times a tone of melancholy mingles
with valuable reflections, which must inspire a corresponding
seriousness in the heart of the giddiest reader. One of the

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1833.] Parsons an Anatomical Preparations. 63

best qualities of the book is its freedom from professioDal
partialities. It is written in the candid and generous spirit of
a lover of truth and of man. No cant, no incomprehensible
dogmas, no vague declamation, no " prose run mad,'' is to be
found in its pages ; all is addressed to ^' the business and bo-
soms " of the young, and will find a response in the unpervert-
ed, and make one in the perverted heart. In a few instances,
we find speculative conclusions, from which we should dissent ;
in no instance do we find practical precepts, or rules for the
conduct of life, which are not drawn from the life, and there-
fore just.

It is a phenomenon for a man of Mr. Sullivan's habits and
pursuits to devote his time and talents to the instruction of
the young. But he has judged truly, both for himself and
the public. A man who has seen life extensively and under
peculiar advantages for drawing just conclusions, and extract-
ing practical philosophy, can bestow no higher gift on the
coming generation, than the wisdom of his counsels, and the
warning of his experience. The author of these books will
be rewarded for his labor by the consciousness of having done
much good, and by the gratitude of those to whom much good
is done.

Art. XII. — Directions for making Anatomical Prepa-
rations, formed on the basis of Pole, Marjolin, and
Breschei, and including the New Method of Swan. By
Usher Parsons, M. D., Professor of Anatomy and Sur-
gery. PhUadelphia. Carey & Lea. Ib31.

There is no science so important in regard to man as that
of anatomy ; and yet there is none, in a general view, so
much neglected. To most other sciences there are those
who consecrate their labors and fortunes even as amatem-s ;
while the wonderful machinery of the human frame, which dis-
plays such contrivance and design, such an adaptation of parts
to each other in its exquisite organization, is strangely neglect-
ed by mankind. " Relinquunt seipsos nee mirantur.^' This
neglect arises partly from an instinctive horror of viewing the
decomposing remains of humanity, and partly from the diffi-
culties which are to be encountered, even after this horror is
overcoine. The latter of these causes seems in a fair way to

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64 Parsam an Anatomteal Preparatums* [Jan*

be removed In this quarter, by the fact, as it is stated by our
author, " that Massachusetts has nobly raised her voice in
favor of practical anatomy." And it is much to be desired
that this '* voice," which must be powerful, if its power is in
the ratio of the number that uttered it, may effectually reach
the ears of those who are to secure its salutary promises.
Those, however, on whom the execution of this law devolves,
have trammeled its operation by an unexpected interpreta-
tion of its intent, and have raised obstacles where none
seemed fairly to exist ; so that the legislative act is found
inoperative, and its provisions are ineffectual.

The appearance of the work before us will be a new and
very great means of overcoming the difficulties of practical
anatomy, and of imparting desirable knowledge respecting
the preservation as well of healthy specimens, as of those
of morbid and comparative anatomy. For want of this
information how many valuable preparations of diseased or-

§ans and of curious aberrations oi structure have been lost in
ecomposition 1 With this new acquisition every practitioner
may possess his anatomical cabinet ; every scientific man,
and every curious observer of nature, his storehouse of ob-
jects, which retain all that is desirable but the vitality itself.
How much our knowledge of minute anatomy is indebted to
this practical delicacy and ingenuity in preparing the various
organs, is exemplified in the important discoveries of Ruysch,
who by these means enriched this science in a most remark-
able manner. His preparations are the admiration even of
die present day. His labors, appealing to the eye, were loo
convincing in regard to the intimately connected structure of
organs, to be resisted by all the counteracting eloquence of
his contemporary, Boerhaave ; and Haller has repeatedly
yielded to those more tangible arguments which are the result
of mechanical skill and dexterity.

We believe that the work of Dr. Parsons is the first of the
kind ever published in this country, and all that we have
hitherto possessed on the subject, were the few observations
appended to some of the treatises on anatomy. But few
copies of the work of Pole were to be found, and even this
is greatly defective.

Dr. Parsons has collected the " improvements of Dumeril,
Breschet, Hunter, Pole, Marjolin, Bell, Cloquet, Swan, and
soaie others^ besides several valuable treatises on (be art of

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1882.] Works an Chemistry. 65

iDJectiDg the lymphatics, and numerous facts and obsenrations
contained in periodical publications." To these are added

Online LibraryJoseph Lyon MillerAmerican monthly review → online text (page 8 of 54)