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1827.] Catalogue of Books in the Boston Atheneum.
8-Catalogue of Books in the Boston Atheneum, to which are added the By Laws of the Institution, and a List of its Proprietors and Subscribers. 8vo. pp. 360. William L.
In the number of this Journal for July last, we gave some account of the means which had been successfully adopted for increasing the funds and extending the usefulness of this institution. Since that time the measures, which were then in progress for enlarging the library, for laying it more extensively open to the use of the proprietors and subscribers, and for providing rooms for an exhibition of pictures, for public lectures, and for the accommodation of some of the scientific associations in the city, have been completed. Within the last year 13 or 14,000 dollars have been expended in the purchase of books in Europe, a part of whch have been recently received, and the rest are daily expected; 460 volumes have been purchased here, and 3552 volumes, previously belonging to the library, have been bound or repaired. Besides these purchases, 673 volumes and 155 pamphlets have been received in donations, among which are D'Alembert's Encyclopedia in 35 vols. folio, given by one individual; a complete set of the Turin Academy's Transactions in 29 vols. 4to, by a another; the Copenhagen Transactions in 17 vols. 4to, and the Stockholm Transactions, in 91 vols. 8vo, by another; a complete set of the Memoirs of the French Academies, and Institute, with all their indices and accessories, in 274 vols. 4to, by another; and 79 volumes of military works, by another. These donations consist of works imported for the purpose, to supply deficiencies in the library.
By the regulations of the Atheneum hitherto in force, no books have been permitted to be taken from the building, the original design of the institution being to furnish the means of prosecuting literary and scientific inquiries to those only who should resort thither for the purpose. But by a late regulation, proprietors of shares, and holders of life shares, on the payment of an annual assessment of five dollars, and subscribers to the Scientific Library, which is united with the Atheneum, on the payment of ten dollars annually, are permitted to take out books, each person to have at any one time not more than three volumes, and not to retain them longer than a month. The Librarian attends for the delivery and return of books, every day except Sunday, from noon to two o'clock.
To assist in carrying this regulation into effect, the present catalogue has been prepared. It is only an alphabetical index of the books, with a description of the edition. It embraces the
whole library, with the exception of about a thousand volumes of tracts, which are bound, and about an equal amount of tracts not yet bound. The catalogue of these is yet unfinished. When it shall be completed, another entire catalogue, arranged in the order of subjects, will probably be prepared. The number of volumes now at the Atheneum, together with those which have been ordered, and are daily expected, is about 23,000.
An entirely new arrangement of the apartments, and of the books, has been made. The shelves are numbered, and every book is marked in pencil, on the inside of the cover, with the number of the shelf to which it belongs. The number of the shelf is also annexed to the title of each book in the printed catalogue. Besides the printed catalogue, there is also one in manuscript, in which all the books are named in the order in which they stand upon the shelves. By means of this inventory, the books will be more easily kept in their places, and the annual examinations will be made with greater ease and precision.
The effecting of these improvements has imposed a very laborious duty upon the trustees of the Atheneum, and more especially upon the indefatigable committee under whose direction they have been principally made, and upon the Librarian. A further labor remains to be accomplished in the completion of the catalogues before alluded to, and in the arrangement of the extensive collection of medals and coins. Of these there are two cases containing 2060 silver and copper coins and medals, imperfectly arranged, besides 25 medals of gold, 26 of silver, 12 of white metal, 27 of base metal, and 281 of copper; 2938 ancient copper coins, 256 modern silver coins, and 7822 modern copper coins; making in all 13,437 medals and coins, many of which are very rare and valuable, and many others probably of little value.
The exhibition and lecture rooms, with the other apartments above referred to, are in a new building, just completed, from a plan by Mr Willard, situated in the rear of the main building of the Atheneum, and entirely detached from it. This new building is of three stories, and is sixty feet in length by fifty in width. The cost of it, exclusive of the land, was something more than thirteen thousand dollars. The upper story forms a single room, more than twenty feet in height, and lighted only from the dome. This room is intended for the exhibition of paintings. It is at present occupied by a distinguished artist, by permission of the trustees, with the understanding, that after the first of April, a public exhibition of pictures may be held there, which it is hoped will present a collection of treasures in the art, that will do honor to the city. The second story, which is eighteen feet high, consists of a lecture room, conveniently arranged for the accommo
1827.] Catalogue of Books in the Boston Atheneum.
dation of a large number of auditors. The lower story contains four rooms, one of which will contain the apparatus for the lectures, another is to be occupied by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, for their library and meetings, the third by the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the fourth is at present unappropriated. It deserves to be mentioned that during the past winter, the trustees directed the apartment containing the valuable collection of casts selected by Canova, and presented to the Atheneum by one of the proprietors, to be opened and warmed three evenings in each week, for the accommodation of such professional gentlemen as might desire to exercise themselves in drawing.
This institution is now possessed of nearly all the means for accomplishing the objects proposed by its founders. The two buildings afford ample accommodation for all the purposes for which they were designed. The library is placed on a footing for rendering it the most extensively useful, by the circulation of the books among the proprietors, and the excellent arrangements for facilitating the use of them at the library; and permanent funds are provided, the income of which will be sufficient, after defraying all other expenses, to admit of the expenditure of nearly three thousand dollars per annum in the purchase of books. The present property of the institution, including land and buildings, books, and money securely invested, exceeds one hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of the many donations, some of which have been very munificent. More than thirtyfive thousand dollars have been given by three individuals of one family. The increase of property the last year has exceeded fortyfour thousand dollars, a part of it by the sale of additional shares, but the greater part by donations. There are now about two hundred and sixty proprietors' shares, which were purchased at three hundred dollars each, fifty life shares, at one hundred dollars each, thirtyfive subscribers to the Scientific Library, who are entitled to visit the Atheneum so long as they pay five dollars per annum, and to take out books by paying ten dollars per annum, and a number of subscribers, who are entitled to visit the Atheneum, by paying ten dollars per annum.
A great part of the medals and coins now in the possession of the Atheneum, were collected by the industry of the late William S. Shaw, Esq. probably with the intention of giving them to the institution, but he died intestate, and this intention remained unexecuted. His administrator, the Rev. Joseph B. Felt, in the most liberal manner, requested the trustees to accept, not only the medals and coins, but a large number of books and pamphlets, which with equal care Mr Shaw had collected. We copy from the last annual report of the committee of the trustees to
the proprietors, the following well merited acknowledgment of the obligation due from the community to this truly public spirited man, who was for many years the librarian of the Atheneum, and who watched over its interests with the most indefatigable attention. "The committee cannot conclude this report, without adverting to the circumstance, that since our last annual meeting, the earliest and most active among the founders of the Atheneum; the individual to whom more than to any other, its existence and first success are due, has been removed by death. As a distinguished public benefactor, his name and memory should be especially preserved and cherished among us; for we owe him much. There was probably no other person in this community, who would have made so many personal sacrifices, to secure to this city the benefits we now enjoy, and the still greater benefits we may reasonably promise to ourselves and our children, from the foundation of this institution, which was chiefly established by his unwearied exertions, and which he lived long enough to see, not only an object of general interest and regard, but so munificently patronized and sustained, by the most liberal and intelligent among our citizens, that it had already become more than his most sanguine hopes had dared to anticipate.'
9.-A Treatise on the Philosophy of the Human Mind; being the Lectures of the late THOMAS BROWN, M. D. Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. Abridged, and distributed according to the Natural Di visions of the Subject, by LEVI HEDGE, LL. D. Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in Harvard University. In 2 Vols. 8vo. Cambridge. Hilliard & Brown. 1827.
We have on former occasions given at length, our opinion of the philosophical writings of Dr Brown, particularly of his Lectures, as published from his manuscripts after his decease.* The object of the present notice is simply the edition, whose title we have quoted; the new form in which these Lectures are now presented to the public.
The importance of many of the views of this author, and the many specimens of powerful reasoning and acute analysis contained in his Lectures, rendered it desirable to introduce the work into our systems of metaphysical instruction. Indeed every system of this kind must be regarded as deficient, which does not embrace one of so much celebrity.
*See North American Review, Vol. XIX. p. 1. and Vol. XXI. p. 19.
1827.] Hedge's Abridgment of Brown's Philosophy.
To the use, however, of Dr Brown's Lectures as a class book, in the form in which they first appeared, there are serious objections. It is too much to expect of the student in this science, that he should wade through the multitude of recapitulations, repetitions, and illustrations, which, however agreeable in themselves, tend to embarrass and overlay the doctrines of the author, that are thus buried under the weight of four large and closely printed octavos.
Diffuseness is a fault common to most of the writings of this author, which were published under his own inspection, and was of course much more likely to characterize a series of Lectures, written for daily delivery. The progress of a lecturer on an abstruse science, must necessarily be slow; his audience cannot follow him through a long train of deductions. He must be contented with stating a few points, and enforcing these, by presenting them in a variety of lights, and connecting with them numerous illustrations. It is also necessary that each Lecture should commence with a more or less extensive survey of the ground already gone over. The hearer must be put in a position, if we may so express ourselves, proper to enable him to take a new step. Almost every Lecture, therefore, will naturally be divided into three portions, of which the middle one alone will represent the real progress of the lecturer. The remaining portions, though necessary to most of the hearers of a course of lectures, are not at all so to him who is studying the system in the books of the teacher, and who may pause, at any time, to meditate upon and digest the portion, which he has perused. In order, therefore, to render this work useful as a class book, it was necessary that it should be abridged. And in making such an abridgment, no question could arise on the propriety of striking out the first portion of each Lecture, or so much of it as consisted of a mere recapitulation of the preceding. It was not so clear how much farther the reduction should be carried, and the admirers of Dr Brown had reason to fear in any such attempt, the zeal for abridgment might be carried too far, and the test of cui bono be too rigidly applied to the variations and eloquent illustrations of the author; that every flower, with which his genius had adorned the dry and unpromising path of psychology, would be condemned as a useless weed. We are happy to find that the editor of the present abridgment has carefully removed only what was evidently superfluous and burdensome, and has left the groundwork entire and uninjured. In plainer terms, as far as we have been able to examine Dr Hedge's edition, we have reason to consider it worthy of high commendation. He has merely retrenched absolute superfluities, and added nothing to the original work except a few VOL. XXIV.-No. 55. 61