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1827.] American Journals in France and Germany.
opportunity to examine them, to be edited with talent and a real desire of usefulness. The want of correct information in Europe, with regard to the progress of events and the actual state of affairs in America, has been productive of many evils, which can be removed by no other means perhaps so well, as by periodical accounts of what is taking place among us. In the first place, we have the presumption to believe, in common, we suppose, with the majority of our countrymen, that the nations of the continent might learn something beneficial to themselves, from the study of our political institutions, and of the history of their establishment. They might learn, if they could give attention to the subject, that the excesses and horrors of the French revolution are by no means chargeable upon the principles or the example of America; that republicanism does not mean anarchy, nor the want of a court imply the absence of government. Rulers might learn, that they would but advance their own interests, by consulting those of their people; and subjects might be convinced, that some authority must be established over them, and that something of their natural rights must be exchanged for the advantages of society.
We believe it would occasion some surprise to many a European admirer of liberty, even among those who esteem themselves well informed, to be told, that there is any limit at all, in this country, to our liberty of action, any restraint whatever imposed by law. To many it would be strange news that we pay any taxes, support any poor, or have any prisons. This ignorance is by no means without its consequences. The tendency ascribed to liberal opinions is used as a reason for binding still closer the fetters of despotism, and many a disappointed emigrant has bewailed the false hopes, which induced him to abandon the home of his fathers. We know of no better mode of dissipating these delusions, than the dissemination of correct information, by means of such periodical publications as the Atlantis, and the Revue Américaine, the one published in Leipzig, and the other in Paris. The design of these works, and the mode of effecting this design, are almost precisely the same. A selection from the most interesting public documents, and a brief account of events possessing a general or important influence either in our own republic or the more youthful ones of South America, is given in each, and with so much fairness and correctness, as to be highly honorable to the conductors of both.
We think, however, that the German Review, if we may so call it, has the advantage in having an editor in this country, who can judge for himself of the relative importance of occurrences, and discern the real from the apparent causes and conse
quences of events, with more accuracy than any one at a distantance can be supposed to do. He is also freed from the influence of the European style of thinking, upon political subjects, which, however correct it may be in what concerns themselves and their own mutual relations, is very often erroneous when applied to America. There is a certain set of political opinions, which, in Europe, have come to be considered established by experience as axioms, but to which the experience of this country offers little or nothing analogous; those who are surrounded by one school can hardly appreciate with fairness the lessons of the other.
We have referred to the advantages to be derived by Europe, from a better knowledge of the character of our institutions; but the benefit of this knowledge will by no means be confined to that side of the Atlantic. It will produce very favorable effects upon ourselves to be aware, that our acts are observed, and our character understood abroad. We may cease to be so captiously tenacious of our rank as a nation, and so boastful of the progress we have made, when we find others not unwilling to allow them. And the consciousness that all our proceedings are vigilantly watched, may render us more careful of our reputation and more attentive to the consequences of our national conduct, than we have hitherto been. Thus far we have regarded the point merely, or principally, in its bearing upon ourselves; but now that our relations are extended, and that the knowledge of us is to be spread abroad by works like those we have noticed, it will become us to take care of our European reputation, and to look with wide circumspection upon the consequences of all we do or omit. With these views, we cannot but wish well to every effort of the kind, and we believe the period has now arrived when works like the Atlantis and the Revue Américaine will meet with deserved approbation and success. Both of these Journals are sent out in a handsome style. The Revue Américaine, in particular, is more neatly executed than any other from France, which we have seen. Every American will hope for the prosperity of these enterprises.
8.-1. The Atlantic Souvenir; a Christmas and New Year's Offering. Philadelphia. 1827. Carey & Lea. pp. 360. 2. The Memorial; a Christmas and New Year's Offering. Boston. True & Green. pp. 268.
THE publishers of the Atlantic Souvenir deserve great praise, for having been the first to prepare, from native materials only, a
work similar to those beautiful little gift-books, which are so common in England and on the continent. Nor was their imitation a feeble one. They advanced at once to a high degree of excellence, both as it respects the literary merit and the embellishment of their offering. The appearance of a second volume is proof that the public have encouraged their enterprise as it deserved; indeed, they acknowledge in their Preface, that they have met with flattering success. We cordially wish them joy, and a continuance of patronage.
We observe with pleasure, that there are not only more engravings of American scenery in this volume than in the last, but that they are executed in a better style. The view of New York is engraved by Maverick as well as we could wish. Trenton Falls and Passaic Falls by Ellis, are also well done; but he has succeeded in the latter of these better than in the former. The water of Trenton Falls, especially where it is tumbling and boiling below, is hard and stiff. Imagination, by Ellis; the Lady and the Merlin, by Longacre; and the Legend of the Grisons, by Humphrys, are beautiful. Longacre has also engraved the Infant Napoleon pretty well, after a statue of Canova's in the Pennsylvania Academy; but the boy is rather clumsy, and the marble is too dark.
We are convinced from these, and the two other specimens in the volume, that our engravers need nothing but practice and patronage to carry them to the highest honors of their delightful art. Patronage and practice will of course go together, for the one will secure the other. For this reason, we regard the Souvenir not merely as a pretty book for a New Year's present to one's friend, but as a means of exciting public attention to the fine arts, as an encouragement to our painters and engravers, and as a pledge of future excellence in a department of art which has hitherto been greatly neglected. The American pencil and the American burine ought to be more devoted than they have been to American scenery. We have talked enough about our scenery; and we have often talked about it in a boastful, bragging manner, as if we were either afraid that the inhabitants of other countries should think we lived in a desert, or were of opinion that we had got all the masterpieces of nature to ourselves. ficient declamation has gone forth about our noble lakes, rivers, and cataracts, our ancient forests, and our picturesque villages. It is time that we should send the portraits of some of these things to those foreigners who cannot come here to see them face to face. It is time that correct and finished illustrations of our scenery were published. It is time that our wealthy men encouraged such designs, and that a public taste for them was cul
tivated. All countries have fine scenery. The beauties and glories of nature are liberally scattered through the world. There is no doubt that we have our portion of them. There is no doubt that nature with us is sublime and fair. Let art then be enabled to go on frequent pilgrimages to her shrine, and offer his homage worthily. Let the sketch book and portfolio be seen more frequently among our solitudes. Let the tools of the engraver be employed on something else beside door plates and visiting cards.
It is chiefly on account of our desire to see the improvement of art and taste among us, that we hope that the publishers of the Souvenir, and of all similar works, may always receive ample remuneration from the public, so that they in turn may amply remunerate the artists in their employment, and stimulate them to a cheerful and vigorous exertion of their powers.
Respecting the literary merit of the present volume of the Souvenir, we shall only observe, that it does not fall below the standard to which the last attained. Paulding is here again with his eccentricity and humor; and Miss Sedgwick affords us the pleasure of reading another of her interesting and elegantly written narratives. Not much of the poetry rises above mediocrity. Percival's piece, which we give below, entitled "To the Eagle,' is perhaps the best.
'Bird of the broad and sweeping wing!
Where wide the storms their banners fling,
Thy throne is on the mountain top;
Thou sittest, like a thing of light,
Amid the noontide blaze:
The midway sun is clear and bright
It cannot dim thy gaze.
Thy pinions, to the rushing blast
O'er the bursting billow spread,
Where the vessel plunges, hurry past,
Like an angel of the dead.
Thou art perched aloft on the beetling crag,
And the waves are white below,
And on, with a haste that cannot lag,
They rush in an endless flow.
Again, thou hast plumed thy wing for flight
To lands beyond the sea,
And away, like a spirit wreathed in light,
Thou hurriest over the myriad waves,
Thou sweepest that place of unknown graves,
When the night-storm gathers dim and dark,
With a shrill and a boding scream,
Thou rushest by the foundering bark,
Quick as a passing dream.
Lord of the boundless realm of air!
The hearts of the bold and ardent dare,
Beneath the shade of thy golden wings
From the river of Egypt's cloudy springs,
For thee they fought, for thee they fell,
To thee the clarions raised their swell,
And the dying warrior prayed.
Thou wert, through an age of death and fears,
The image of pride and power,
Till the gathered rage of a thousand years
And then, a deluge of wrath it came,
And the nations shook with dread;
And it swept the earth, till its fields were flame,
And piled with the mingled dead.
Kings were rolled in the wasteful flood,
With the low and crouching slave;
And together lay, in a shroud of blood,
And where was then thy fearless flight?
“O'er the dark mysterious sea,
To the lands that caught the setting light,
The cradle of Liberty.
There, on the silent and lonely shore,
For ages, I watched alone,
And the world, in its darkness, asked no more,
Where the glorious bird had flown.
But then came a bold and hardy few,