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Bright child of fancy! sporting on the verge
Or, haply lost, yet quickly to emerge
Broad as man's nature, thy capacious soul
12. — Notes on the Use of Anthracite in the Manufacture of Iron.
With some Remarks on its Evaporating Power. By Walter R. Johnson, A. M., Civil and Mining Engineer ; Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy in the Medical Department of Pennsylvania College ; late Professor of Mechanics and Natural Philosophy in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia ; Member of the National Institute, for the Promotion of Science ; of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia ; of the Association of American Geologists, &c., &c. Boston : Charles C. Little & James Brown. 1841. 12mo. pp. 156.
PROFESSOR Johnson has made himself favorably known by his able contributions to various scientific publications, and by the laborious and valuable experiments which he conducted as Chairman of a Committee of the Franklin Institute, at the expense of the government of the United States, on the strength of different kinds of iron, and of iron at different temperatures, and on the latent heat of steam. The present treatise exhibits evidence of good taste, sound judgment, careful investigation, and no mean qualifications for original scientific research. The subject which it discusses is one of great importance. Iron, intrinsically the most valuable of metals, is consumed to an immense extent ; and from the expansion of long-established branches of manufactures, and the rapid multiplication of the uses to which it is applied, its consumption is constantly increasing. There is no reason to doubt that the progress of civilization and of the useful arts will create new demands for it, as vast and as little foreseen, as that which has arisen from the invention of the railroad. So intimately is iron connected with the physical well-being of individuals and the advancement of society, that the improvement of its quality and the reduction of its cost may justly be regarded as important public objects. Viewed in this light, the act passed by the legislature of the State of Pennsylvania, in the year 1836, to encourage attempts to substitute mineral coal for charcoal, the fuel which has heretofore been used in that State in the manufacture of iron, and of which the supply must constantly diminish as the forests disappear, was a most judicious measure. The objects contemplated by it have been completely achieved. Anthracite is now used with success in Pennsylvania in all the processes, by which iron is extracted from the native ore, and converted into articles ready for the market.
In England, and on the continent of Europe, coke has heretofore been generally employed in the smelting of iron. Abortive attempts to use anthracite with cold blast were formerly made in Pennsylvania, in Wales, and in France. It was not until the year 1837, when hot blast was substituted for cold, that any considerable success crowned the attempts to use anthracite in that process. Besides the saving of expense thus effected, the quality of the iron produced has been improved. Mr. Crane stated, at the meeting of the British Association for the year 1837, that iron, manufactured with anthracite and hot blast at the Yngscedwin iron works, in South Wales, had been found to be stronger than any ever before smelted at those works.
Professor Johnson describes a great variety of experiments relating to the use of anthracite in the manufacture of iron, which, together with his deductions from them, possess great value for those persons who are practically engaged in that business. The latter part of his book is devoted to the subject of the evaporative power of anthracite, and contains, in addition to much other valuable matter, accounts of very laborious and carefully conducted experiments by Mr. A. A. Hayes, of Roxbury, and Dr. S. L. Dana and Mr. James B. Francis, of Lowell, of great importance in relation to the economical generation of steam. It is but an act of justice to add, that Professor Johnson's book is a beautiful specimen of the typography for procuring which the publishers are already so advantageously known.
13. -- Poems, Narrative and Lyrical. By William Mother
WELL. Boston : William D. Ticknor. 1841. 16mo.
This elegant reprint of Motherwell will be welcomed by all the lovers of poetry among us. Some of the poems contained in this volume are very remarkable productions. The writer's mind seems to have been deeply imbued with the peculiar spirit of northern literature, which he has reproduced with singular beauty and effect, though somewhat softened by
the elegances of modern civilization. The bold, daring, abrupt character of the old Scaldic and ballad poetry, seems to have taken full possession of his genius. The editor, with a true appreciation of Motherwell's peculiar turn, remarks ; “In his Scandinavian poetry, the spirit of an ancient Scald seems in truth to peal forth. The notes are not those of a soft lute, from silken string or silver wire, but are tones wrung from one of their own rude harps, sinew-strung, whose measures are marked by the sword-struck shield, and whose pauses are filled by the shout of the warrior or the roar of the keel-cleft wave.”
It is to subjects such as are most of those treated by the Muse of Motherwell, that the Anglo-Saxon part of our English language is most happily adapted. The poet has not failed to perceive this, and to use, to a great extent, the short, sharp, and ringing words, which have come down to us from our blueeyed and light-haired Saxon ancestors. With what spiritstirring effect this has been done, the reader will see in “ The Battle-flag of Sigurd.” Take a few lines as an illustration ;
“Nor swifter from the well-bent bow
Can feathered shaft be sped,
Their sporting galleys tread.
And sinite each sounding shield,
- pp. 19, 20. " The wooing song of Jarl Egill Skallagrim,”— whose very name, like a handsome face, must have been a letter of recommendation to the “ Bright Maiden of Orkney,”— is another happy and vigorous imitation of the old northern poetry. We give the conclusion, by way of encouragement to all faint-hearted suitors, to remember the old proverb which applies to their case;
“ Away and away then,
I have thy small hand;
Be won by this blade.
“ Ay, gaze on its large hilt,
One wedge of red gold;
Proud Egill's loved mate!
– pp. 36, 37.
Theory of Teaching, with a few Practical Illustrations. By a Teacher. Boston: E. P. Peabody. 1841. 12mo. pp. 128.
It is stated in an introductory note to this pamphlet, that “these letters are part of a real correspondence, begun in order to systematize the writer's own theory and practice. The position of governess was assumed, as the most favorable one for carrying out completely her ideas on education." Works on education have become so abundant, that we rarely look into a new volume upon so threadbare a theme, with any expectation, either of interest, or novelty, or instruction. But no one can read this little book without finding himself in the presence of a mind amply able to furnish him with all three. What we are most struck with, in reading these delightful letters, is the rare union they display of genius and common sense. The power of style which the writer possesses is remarkable. Her English flows in a copious stream of happily chosen phraseology, at once finished and eloquent. An imagination, that frequently kindles into poetry, gives a brilliant coloring to discussions of the dry details upon the art of teaching, while the deep sympathies of her womanly heart animate them with a humane spirit, better than eloquence, better than poetry. These pages not only show an original genius, but a rich and polished literary cultivation ; they are embellished with illustrations very felicitously applied from various departments of elegant letters. They show a
remarkable range of thought, both upon the topics which are more immediately discussed, and upon human nature in general. The author must have looked upon society with an observant eye, and pondered long and deeply, in the recesses of an intellect such as few possess, upon the gathered wisdom of a studious and thoughtful youth. Her knowledge of the character and wants of the young seems to be exact and comprehensive ; and her perception of the proper moral, as well as intellectual influence, to which their opening minds ought to be subjected, is at once clear and profound. The volume is one to which the teacher may resort for instruction in the technical details of his profession, and, what is much better, to refresh his wearied spirit with the persuasive strains of an eloquence, into which varied knowledge and lofty moral feeling have poured their richest treasures ; and the man of literary taste may open its pages, sure to find there many a passage of exquisite elegance, many an unsought felicity of expression, many a deep and striking philosophical remark. What an influence must such an intellect and such a heart exercise upon the plastic characters of the young !
We shall not undertake to analyze the contents of this excellent work, but proceed to give two or three among the many passages which we have marked while reading it.
Speaking of conflicting systems, our author thus discourses ;
“ Many words and anxieties have been expended on school education, which seems to be the best education for girls in our society ; but they have been uttered in various corners, by mothers, whose instincts made them wise, — or partially and often dogmatically, and as complete systems, by teachers. When a teacher perceives the advantage of any one mode, as the Pestalozzian, or that of oral instruction, he is apt to be carried away by its success, and forget the advantages of a different course. Perhaps he has himself been for years subjected to drilling, and received the first instruction addressed to his understanding as light from heaven ;- henceforth drilling, learning by rote, are banished from his system, and thoroughness and accuracy too often follow. He forgets what he himself may owe to them, and hurries forth to free all little slaves, with the light which made him free. His system suits some children, and obtains the confidence of their parents; to others it speaks in vain. Meanwhile, in another little flock quite an opposite system, calling forth their energies in a different manner, works wonders. The parents of the successful ones are equally pleased. Parties are naturally formed; there is on both sides ample evidence of success and failure; the confidence of the parents is lost; the children are perplexed when they pass from one to another; and we have scholars admirably developed in some respects, but on the whole, crude, incomplete, unpolished.
“I am not so Quixotic as to try to prevent human nature from running into extremes, and seizing partial views of any subject. But I think we ought not to rest in such views, and that a person who lives