Page images

single fact. One of his numerous sobriquets, the “ Cow-killer," was conferred upon him in commemoration of his adroitness on a certain occasion, when, all his brother sachems and braves being absent on a war-path, he consulted his safety and comfort by staying at home, and profited by the absence of the others, to kill and convert to his own use one of his neighbour's cows. As he was of humble parentage, even in the estimate of his own people, it appears strange, at first, that such a knave should ever attain the high station, which he held among his countrymen. The secret of his success was precisely that which explains the rise of many a rascally politician among the white men, — namely, great cunning and inordinate loquacity, — or extraordinary eloquence, as his biographer terms it, and we will not quarrel about the appellation. Red-Jacket was, in fact, the greatest Indian orator of his time. In this volume are collected all his speeches, that were recorded at the time of delivery; and they are copious and authentic enough to afford a fair means of estimating Indian eloquence. With all our previous wishes to think well of it, we confess, that it is difficult to say much in its praise. It consists usually of a verbose and studied harangue, which has neither the charm of simplicity, the energy of passion, the conclusiveness of argument, nor the richness of imaginative power. The red-man speaks in tropes and images, not because his fancy is rich, but because his language is poor. Possessing few general and abstract terms, he is forced to express the corresponding ideas by words, of which the primary signification is particular and concrete. That he is driven to this expedient by necessity, and not by choice, is evident from the want of variety in his figures ; for a rich and natural flow of imagination would dictate a constant change in this respect. But his symbols are invariable. The belt of wampum and the calumet are the constant expressions of amity, the council-fire always betokens negotiation, and the hatchet is the perpetual symbol of war. When roused by injury or affront, the speech of the savage is often vivid and picturesque, for passion is the mother of poetry and eloquence, and the Indian can feel as well as the white man. But he is apathetic by constitution, and vindictive rather than passionate. Bursts of anger are infrequent with him, though, when they do occur, the pithy sayings in which they find vent have ten times as much natural force and beauty as the rigmarole speeches, which are hammered out at leisure for formal occasions.

As a leader of his tribe, Red-Jacket displayed occasionally much shrewdness and energy. The encroachments of the whites were steadfastly resisted by him, and, on more than one occasion, he appears to have beaten them at their own game. He was a thorough savage, yielding to none but the evil effects of civilization, to which, in fact, he owed his death; for, although he attained the age of seventy-eight years, his constitution was shattered by habits of intoxication, or he might probably have been alive at this hour. His pagan faith he retained to the last, many of his sharpest contests at words being with the missionaries, who made many converts among his people, but tried in vain to convince the chief. Mr. Stone's book gives a clear account of the principal incidents in his career, although they do not occupy much space, for most of his life fell in quiet times. The greater part of the volume is occupied with his speeches, and with tracing the rapid decay of the race to which he belonged. Though it might have been condensed into a smaller compass, the work is generally well executed, and forms an acceptable addition to our stores of Indian history and biography,


The Mnemosynum ; intended to aid, not only Students and Professional Men, but every other Class of Citizens, in keeping a Record of Incidents, Facts, &c. in such a Manner ihat they may be recalled at Pleasure ; with an Introduction, showing its Benefits, and its Manner of being kept. By John F. Ames. Utica, N. Y.: Orren Hutchinson. 1840. 4to.

Those who are accustomed to aid their memories, whether in prosecuting studies, or in transacting business, by writing out references, citations, and incidents, may derive considerable aid from Mr. Ames's Common-Place Book. The plan is a very simple one, and the author thinks, that it possesses considerable advantages over those formerly in use. It consists of little more than an alphabetical index, with a mode of making the entries in a very abridged form. Convenience and economy seem to be equally consulted in this plan, by which no space is lost, and an entry is quickly made, and may be found again with ease. Mr. Locke considered the proper arrangement of such a book of so much importance, that he contrived a scheme for disposing extracts, hints, and references in due form and order, which was published, and we believe that many persons have found it convenient and useful. Two other plans have been formed by individuals in this country, and have met with considerable favor. We know nothing from experience of the defects of these contrivances, but Mr. Ames finds fault with them, and believes that he has invented one, which is free from all serious objections. Of course, its merits can be thoroughly known only by trial, and we believe, that those who are in want of a Common-Place Book cannot do better than to make an experiment with the present volume.

3. — Elements of Plane Geometry, for the Use of Schools.

By N. TILLINGHAST. Boston : Saxton & Pierce. 1841. 12mo. pp. 96.

It is no easy task to present the elements of mathematical science in a form suited to the comprehension of the youthful mind. Every thing depends on the first impression that is made, and the tyro too frequently finds, in his first lessons in Geometry, an array of difficulties, which inspire him with a permanent dislike for the study. There is a pons asinorum to be passed at the outset ; and the perplexities there encountered often unfit the traveller for the remainder of the journey. But, if aid be seasonably and judiciously afforded at this crisis, a pleasant path lies before the wayfarer, and he passes on rejoicing. To speak without metaphor, the abstractions on which all geometrical science is founded, cannot easily be formed by the untrained mind ; and the mode of reasoning is so peculiar, so unlike any thing with which the pupil is familiar, that he is tempted to reject it at once as fantastic and unintelligible. But, if his good genius aids him at this pinch, it is very probable, that he will conceive a strong liking for mathematical studies, as more regular, complete, and satisfactory than any other. We welcome, therefore, any attempt to remove these preliminary difficulties, and to open an easy and commodious path into the pleasant region, which lies beyond. Persons who are deeply versed in the science are not likely to succeed in paving the way for others. Habit has rendered the peculiarities of the subject farniliar to them, and they pass over the ground with so much ease to themselves, that they can hardly conceive of the obstacles which impede the progress of learners. A practical teacher will prepare a better introduction to the elements of geometry, though he may never have pushed his own inquiries into the awful depths of the transcendental calculus.

Mr. Tillinghast's book seems to be excellently well adapted to his purpose, that of furnishing a pleasant and easy preface to geometrical knowledge, which may place within the student's reach all the truths of frequent application, and facilitate his future progress, if he should have leisure or inclination to

pursue the study. A few of the more difficult propositions, which form no necessary part of the chain of reasoning, are omitted, and the rigor of demonstration in some instances is softened. But enough is retained to preserve the mathematical character of the work, and to make the pupil familiar with the method and aim of the geometer. We heartily commend the work tot he attention of parents and teachers.


The Book of the Indians; or Biography and History of the Indians of North America, from its First Discovery io the Year 1841. By Samuel G. Drake, Fellow of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries at Copenhagen, &c. &c. Eighth Edition, with large Additions and Corrections. Boston : Antiquarian Bookstore. 1841. 8vo. pp. 708.

This bulky octavo contains a greater amount of valuable materials relating to the history of the North American Indians, than can be found elsewhere in print. The author has labored with a rare devotion to his subject, and to his industry and patient researches the public are indebted for the preservation of numerous old but faithful memorials respecting tribes of the Aborigines, many of which are already extinct. The day cannot be far distant, when the last of these races, of pure blood, will vanish from the earth, and then the toil of the patient chronicler, who slowly collects and preserves the vestiges of their existence, who patches together the torn pages of their annals, will be duly appreciated. The peculiar taste of an antiquary has somewhat modified the results of Mr. Drake's historical inquiries, and many old and curious pamphlets and engravings have contributed to the illustration of the volume now before us. The favor of the public has rewarded the perseverance and assiduity of the writer. This is the eighth edition of the book, or rather the eighth period of publishing a work, which successive alterations and additions have transformed from a modest duodecimo into this tome of goodly size. Mr. Drake has acted with good judgment in bringing the history down to the present day. Our own times are an eventful period for the few redmen who still remain within our borders, and the vicissitudes, through which they are called to pass, should be chronicled at the instant, or their rapidity and evanescent character will baffle the researches of a future generation. The history of the Cherokees and the Seminoles during the past ten years is full of interest, and no fear of wounding the feelings of individuals, or of rousing the jealousy of party spirit, ought to deter the faithful annalist from treasuring up the materials, on which posterity will found its impartial judgment. That the writer should extend his full sympathy to the Indians, and constitute himself in some manner their champion, is natural, but there is no undue warmth in the expression of his opinions.

The work is divided into five books, treating of Indian antiquities, manners, and customs ; of the earlier and later history of the New England tribes ; of the Indians in the Southern States ; and of the Iroquois and certain other tribes in the West. In this edition, the last three books have been greatly enlarged, the additions amounting to more than a hundred pages. The volume also contains a valuable catalogue of all the tribes and nations, which have existed, or are known to exist, within the limits of the United States, and particulars are given, so far as they could be obtained, respecting their numbers and places of residence. The plan of the work hardly required that all the materials should be digested into an orderly narrative, but the inconvenience of an imperfect arrangement is in great part obviated by a full Index.

5. The Connexion between Taste and Morals ; Two Lectures

by Mark Hopkins, D. D., President of Williams College. Second Edition. Boston : Tappan & Dennet. 8vo. pp. 63.

President Hopkins writes with facility and correctness on a subject, in which he appears to feel a strong interest, as he commends it with earnestness to the serious consideration of others. There is nothing very original in his views, and the expression of them is not remarkable for point or eloquence. But the style is pleasing and ornate, the moral sentiments are elevated and generous, and the opinions are those of a pure and conscientious mind. Perhaps the remarks would appear more definite and satisfactory, if the nature and Jimits of the subject were stated with greater precision. Taste and morals are words of rather loose and comprehensive signification, and what is meant by a connexion between them does not appear at the first view. The lecturer intends to prove, that what is immoral in its tendency is also offensive to good taste, and that the principles of criticism must be governed by the dictates of conscience. The cultivation and improvement of the taste must tend to purify the feelings, and to strengthen the impulses to virtue. Here is an important truth ; but the application of it

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »