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We would not detract one whit from the high enconiums which have been lavished upon the founder of Rhode Island ; but we are concerned that his seditious and contentious spirit in matters of civil and mercantile contracts should not be represented as a protest of conscience against a band of persecutors. Had he been allowed perfect freedom, not only of judgment, but of conduct, according to his views on the three points just adverted to, there could have been no government in this colony, save such as might be set up from time to time by the will of a majority independently of their interest in the stock and expense of the enterprise.
The patent obtained by the colonists gave them only a prior right over other foreigners, and they confirmed it here by actual purchase from the Indians. When Roger Williams was opposing the support of the ministry by taxation, he was asked, “What! is not the laborer worthy of his hire ?" He replied, “ Yes ! from those that hire him.” This reply has been quoted and commended as very apt and decisive on his side. But to us it seems evasive and not pertinent, for the simple reason, that the colonists had hired the ministers by stipulated contracts, and all who joined the colony, whether as servants or masters, became parties to its agreements. The trials of Roger Williams in his isolation and his wilderness journey have been treated with some little help of romance. But after all, how much did he suffer of actual privation, anxiety, or risk, more than others of the adventurers ?
The last of the three most common imputations cast upon the fathers of Massachusetts is the general charge of what is called cant. They are often described, according to the sense in which Dryden uses the word cant, and according to its most general use, as making "a whining pretension to goodness, as wearing sanctimonious visages, talking after a godly strain, measuring the worth of prayers by their length, and devouring widows' houses with craving appetites, while they forsook no sin of heart or life. Their detractors, indeed, have endeavoured to fix the meaning of the word cant as expressive of Puritan language and deportment. Now we should be willing to subject these their authentic writings to the severest scrutiny of the most zealous hater of cant in all its significations, and wait for any specimen which can be produced from them. The large mass of all the records
from their pens in the State archives, in public cabinets, and in church registers, have passed under our eyes; and if they have one striking characteristic common to them all, it consists in this, – that they are perfectly free from cant. Considering how much these men endured for their religion, that religion was to them their only bond of union, and that its services and interests were their all-absorbing concerns, we stand amazed at the entire freedom of their records from all obtrusive and offensive suggestions of their piety. Let their memorials be contrasted with certain newspapers, missionary reports, and statements of philanthropic operations and benevolent gifts of the present time, and we will leave all candid persons to judge whether there was more of cant in the piety, self-devotion, and trials of our fathers, than there is in the sentimental and coxcomb-like pretensions of boasted good deeds in this age of rioting plenty. There is undoubtedly such a thing as cant, but it is a self-detecting, selfexposing folly. It does not show itself in the records of the Puritans, - we do not believe that it constituted their piety.
We close with a renewed expression of our obligations to Mr. Young for all his labors in deciphering, collating, and illustrating the Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers. They had a full reward in their own day, because it was a reward of the kind which they desired, and with which they were satisfied. We love to pay them the only tribute in our power, — that of renewed epitaphs.
Art. X. - CRITICAL NOTICES.
l. - Arithmetic, in two Parts : Part I. Advanced Lessons in
Mental Arithmetic; Part II. Rules and Examples for
To the late Warren Colburn belongs the high credit of first introducing into our schools, through his admirable First Lessons, the regular study of mental arithmetic. Of this excellent little manual, the author of the book before us justly observes, that so completely has it performed the work within its prescribed
sphere, that there is little reason to desire or to expect that it will ever be superseded. Mr. Colburn published also a Sequel to Mental Arithmetic, in which the principles and rules of written arithmetic were deduced from the solution and analysis of questions according to the method adopted in the former treatise. This Sequel was very well executed as far as it went; but it was not full enough for all the wants of the higher classes in our schools. It omitted proportion and progression, the “Rule of Three," and the doctrine of powers and roots. Mr. Adams has undertaken to supply these deficiencies, following mainly in the track of Mr. Colburn, but appearing fully competent also to mark out a path for himself. By this enlargement of plan, he has brought many useful problems in mensuration and mechanics within the scope of his work, and has extended the analysis and induction over much new ground, though many of the new problems are still left to be performed by arbitrary rules.
The first part of Mr. Adams's book consists of exercises in mental arithmetic, arranged under the different arithmetical rules. Where the principles have not been taught in the First Lessons, they are here carefully deduced from an analysis of a number of simple questions, following which are numerous and well selected examples. These examples pass gradually from simple to more complicated questions, so as to give the pupil a thorough training. In the second part, the different processes are arranged in the same order as before ; and when the operations are complicated, distinct rules are given, illustrated by examples for practice containing larger numbers than were suitable for the exclusively mental operation. When the operations are simple, and suffi. ciently explained in the analysis and induction contained in the first part, a reference is merely made to that part, and the examples for practice follow, without any enunciation of a rule.
The author's reasoning and explanations are very clear, simple, and concise, his disposition of the different parts judicious, and his selection of examples well suited to exercise the mind of the pupil. As a whole, we prefer this work to any arithmetic we have seen in use. Still, there are a few things in it that we think susceptible of improvement. Among these are the modes of proving the sums in addition and multiplication. In the former case, we prefer the method of Lacroix to that adopted by our author ; and in the latter, Mr. Adams's mode, strictly speaking, is no proof at all. The methods of multiplying and dividing by the factors of a number are nowhere taught in this work, though they are often found extremely convenient. The rule for reducing any number of pence and farthings to the decimal of a pound " by inspection," as it is usually called, is also omitted ; and the rule for expressing shillings as decimals is not explained so clearly as it might be.
Some other particulars might be pointed out, in which a slight alteration for the better might probably be effected. But, speaking generally, the deficiencies are neither numerous nor important; and we should not allude to them at all, except with a view to stimulate Mr. Adams to make his work still more full, and more deserving of the patronage which it merits, and will undoubtedly receive.
2. — Sermons. By GEORGE W. BETHUNE, Minister of the
Third Reformed Dutch Church. Philadelphia : Mentz &
The author of these sermons deserves well of our literary community. A clergyman of sincere and ardent piety, and zealously devoted to the pastoral charge of a large congregation in Philadelphia, he yet finds time for the assiduous cultivation of good literature, and in that capacity appears frequently, and always honorably, before the public. His occasional verses are very pleasing, from their religious feeling and purity and elevation of sentiment, as well as for their expression of warm domestic affection. He has published several anniversary discourses, which are uniformly characterized by a sound literary judgment, a generous enthusiasm in favor of high aims and purposes, a manly independence in the expression of sentiment, and a flowing eloquence of style.
This volume of sermons, whose beautiful exterior does honor to the Philadelphia press, is published, as the author states in a modest and appropriate preface, in compliance with the wishes of some friends, “ in the hope that, by the blessing of God, they may do good.” They are fourteen in number, and embrace a variety of subjects both doctrinal and practical. Like all sermons, they are to be regarded in a double aspect; first, as expressions of theological opinion, and secondly, as literary compositions. In their first aspect or capacity, we, of course, do not expect to deal with them, except to say, that, while the writer states his own views with great frankness and earnestness, he does so in no of. fensive or dogmatical spirit.
As literary compositions, they have some decided merits. Their style is glowing, animated, and stirring. The preacher is at earnest in his work. They flow from an ardent temperament, and have more of fervor and unction than is usual among our New England divines. They will remind the reader more of French than of English sermons. We find in them vivid pictures, animated appeals, and warm exhortations, rather than elaborate expositions of doctrine, or arguments addressed to the understanding. The preacher is more solicitous to impress acknowledged truths than to maintain disputed propositions. The strain of remark and illustration is sometimes the more effective from its plainness and directness. The faults and short-comings of humanity are pointed out, without any circumlocution or paraphrase, in those terse and unmistakable terms which arrest the attention and cling to the memory.
The defects of the sermons are those to which compositions written for oral delivery are most exposed. The style is occasionally too exuberant, diffuse, and declamatory. Some of the paragraphs read coldly, and seem a little overdone ; though with the aid of the voice, countenance, and gesture of an animated and impressive speaker, no such defect. would probably have been observed.
3. — Tables of Bearings, Distances, Latitudes, Longitudes, fc.,
ascertained by the Astronomical and Trigonometrical Survey of Massachusetts. Published agreeably to a Resolve of the General Court, by John G. PALFREY, Secretary of the Commonwealth. Boston: Dutton & Wentworth, State Printers. 1846. 8vo. pp. 73.
In an article upon the trigonometrical survey of this State,* our readers were informed, that “the legislature had ordered to be printed and distributed to the different towns and clerks of courts the positions and details of the stations throughout the State, as determined by the trigonometrical survey, accompanied by such other matter obtained in executing the work as may be useful in laying out roads, and in the measurement of towns. The preparation of this work, requiring considerable labor and judgment, devolves upon Dr. Palfrey, the Secretary of State." This publication is now before us, and an enumeration of its contents will not be useless, if it helps to call the attention of surveyors, engineers, astronomers, and mariners to what may be in a high degree serviceable to them in their various pursuits.
In constructing the State map, Mr. Borden, " for greater accuracy and convenience," divided the State into five sections.
• North American Review, Vol. LXI., pp. 467, 468.