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We feel constrained to allude in conclusion to the political bigotry and intolerance, which were so abundantly illustrated in the treatment of Mr. Hale. We think that no one, who reads this memoir, or looks at any impartial account of Mr. Hale’s life, can doubt that he was an eminently good man. Yet, while he lived, he was looked upon with distrust and suspicion by not a few even among Christians. His motives were impeached, and his conduct was misrepresented. Many men, and (we blush to say it) many in our evangelical churches, were wont to say that they had no confidence in either his integrity or his piety. He was ofien denounced both privately and publicly, and sometimes in violent language, as a knave and a hypocrite. His deeds and plans of self-denying and far seeing liberality were called acts and schemes of selfishness; and his uniform and manly Christian profession and conduct were named hypocrisy. We remember reading a paragraph in a leading political paper of New York, just after a presidential election, in which Mr. Hale was likened to one of the most brutal ruffians ever drawn by the pencil of Walter Scott. The writer censured, in very coarse terms, the conduct of the Journal of Commerce during the political struggle which had just ended, and remarked, that the Dirk Hatteraick of the concern voted the loco-foco ticket!”
Now why all this? Simply because Mr. Hale differed from these inen on such difficult questions as those respecting the currency and the tariff-questions, on both sides of which are some of the most thorough political philosophers, and pure minded Christians, of whom this country can boast?
The truth is, there is no bigotry or intolerance in this country, even among the most narrow spirited of our religious sectarians, to be compared with the bigotry and intolerance of the members of our political parties. We have no bigots who deserve to be mentioned in the same day with our political bigots. To belong to an opposite political party is thought by many to be proof positive, that one can be neither pious, nor honest. We have not infrequently heard even religious men say, that they could not believe that any intelligent democrat could be a Christian! Now we think that the authors of such expressions, and those who were wont to use such language as we have referred to respecting Mr. Hale, would not offend a holy God more should they swear, or steal. And we feel constrained to call upon all our readers, and especially our Christian readers, to look at the odiousness and sinfulness of such intolerance, as it appears in the light of this memoir. We call on them to look upon it, in the light of the fact, that within ten or fifteen years, political questions and plans, on which parties were formed, have become s obsolete ideas," and matters of no difference at all. We call on them to apply the principles of candor, justice and Christianity to the subject of political differences, and to judge of those who disagree with them in political opinions and conduct with that fairness which sees things as they are, and that charity which "thinketh no evil.”
The manner in which Mr. Thompson has performed the work committed to him, of preparing this volume, deserves our decided commendation, In narrating the events of Mr. Hale's life, and in drawing his character, he has made a skillful and felicitous nise of the materials which care and industry could collect; and we can not see that love for his friend has affected his impartiality. The collection of Mr. Hale's writings, gathered by him, as a considerable portion of them were, in an examination of more than six thousand pumbers of the Journal of Commerce, and identified as Mr. Hale's by his inquiries of the associate editor, Mr. Hallock, must have cost far more time and labor than the preparation of the memoir. The fact that Mr. Thompson has performed this laborious task, while attending to the duties of pastor of the Tabernacle Church and of associate editor of the Independent, is an illustration of how much work there is in some men.
NOTE TO THE REVIEW OF DYER ON INSPI.
We have received a communication of seventeen closely written pages from the Rev. Mr. Dyer, whose work on “the Plenary Inspiration of the Old and New Testaments,” was reviewed in the New Englander for November last. We are sorry to disappoint Mr. D.'s expectation, but while we freely acknowledge our obligation to correct any misquotation or other misrepresentation of an author's statements or arguments, into which we may at any time be led, we can not admit that every author whose book we review has a right to publish a review of his reviewer at our expense. Paper and printing are as costly to us as to Mr. D.; and we can not understand how we are under obligation to publish and distribute his strictures on our review, any more than he would have been under obligation to publish and distribute our strictures on his book.
Ouie statement, however, we are bound to make for his benefit, and we make it with the greatest pleasure. Mr. D. considers himself misrepresented, in that his book is criticised as if it had attempted to demoustrate the reality of inspiration. “This," he tells us, "formed no part of the author's plan. He did not pretend to it. He assumed in his work the genuineness, authenticity and inspiration of the Holy Book, and simply endeavored to show that this inspiration is complete. Here is an essential difference; and it is not a little surprising, to say the least, that the reviewer should have so entirely overlooked it and failed to regard it. Yet, he not only did this, but proceeded to speak of the work by a reference to his own theory which the author does not approve.
Cheerfully do we concede to Mr. Dyer the benefit of this explanation. His surprise "that the reviewer should have so entirely oferlooked" the plan and design of the book, can hardly be greater than our surprise at the information that the book does not attempt at all to prove the reality of the inspiration of the Scrip tures, but is addressed to those who have no doubts on that subject. We will not inquire whether the mistake in this instance is our fault or that of the author. Nor will we raise the question how far the argument of the book is likely to be conclusive with those who admit that the Scriptures are divinely inspired, but are not ready to accept the doctrine of plenary inspiration as defined by Mr. Dyer. We leave the matter as it stands.
History of Spanish Literature. By GEORGE TICKnor. In three volumes. New
York: Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff street. 1849. In giving merely a literary notice of so valuable a work, we think it proper to explain that it is our intention to make this department of the New Englander, not, as heretofore, a Review of less important works, but a Record of the publication of the more important ones,---of such as we suppose our readers would be glad to have an account of. We propose to do no more than to give such information as to the subject-matter, the mode of treatment, the style, and the like, as will enable the reader who has not seen the particular work, to know at least with some degree of precision what it is.
The Spanish character and of course the Spanish literature, are clearly distinguished from the character and the literature of every other nation of Europe. Both were formed under the pressure of that unremitted contest, which for more than seven hundred years the Spaniards carried on against their Moorish invaders. In that contest, Spain fought the battles of Christendom and conquered ; after a struggle unparalleled in history, the Mahometan religion and civilization were eradicated from western Europe. Hence, there grew up in the Spanish character for its most important element, a peculiar devotion to Christianity, as an institution placed especially under the protection of the Spanish nation as its champion, to cherish it, to fight for it, to suffer for it. Along with this religious element there also grew up a knightly loyalty, which had its origin apparently in the same cause, in the glory which surrounded those of their kings, who were most successful against the infidel Moors. These influences pervaded the nation, and have given, as we intimated, a peculiar form to Spanish literature. Mr. Ticknor has traced these influences in their widespread ramifications, and with philosophic accuracy; indeed, the view which he presents of them, constitutes one of the most interesting portions of the work. VOL. VIII.
In writing the history of the literature of any nation, one of the niost difficult things is, to arrange the mass of materials in a natural order so that the whole may be viewed as a single natural product of the national mind. For, in order to do this, there are needed, a comprehensive knowledge which shall easily grasp the whole, and a sagacious philosophy which shall distinctly separate the causes from their effects the elementary principles from the products to which they give birth. Mr. Ticknor, we think, has been uncommonly successful in this respect; and, it is from their connection with the division of this history into periods, that we referred to the above mentioned elements of the Spanish character.
Saragossa was recovered from the Moors in 1118, and the fatal battle of Tolosa was fought in 1212. It was between these two dates that the oldest document in the Spanish language is supposed to have been written, and the oldest national poem, " The Poem of the Cid,” to have been composed. But the overthrow of the Moorish power was not completed till the conquest of Granada in 1491. Nearly contemporaneous with this, was the discovery of America. These two events, together with the accession of Charles the Fifth, mark an important era in Spanish history.-Mr. Ticknor has done well in making this era the boundary of his first period, which extends from the first appearance of the present written language to the earliest part of the reign of the Emperor, Charles the Fifth, or from the end of the twelfth to the beginning of the sixteenth century.
This first period is the forming period of Spanish character and literature. Within this period, the influences of which we spoke, were originated and matured; the language received its final shape; the intellectual powers of the nation were developed and tried; and thus a sure preparation was made for the full-blown literature of the second period. The second period embraces the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, extending from the accession of the Austrian family to its extinction.
This second period opened with the most brilliant prospects for Spain. America had been discovered. The Indies were made accessible to commercial enterprise. Granada was taken. And in less than thirty years from this latter event, “Charles the Fifth,” to use the words of Mr. Ticknor, “who had inherited, not only Spain, but Naples, Sicily, and the Low Countries, and into whose treasury the untold wealth of the Indies was already beginning to pour, was elected Emperor of Germany, and undertook a career of foreign conquest such as had not been imagined since the days of Charlemagne. Success and glory seemed to wait for him as he advanced. In Europe, he extended his empire, till
it checked the hated power of Islamism in Turkey ;-in Africa, he governed Tunis and overawed the whole coast of Barbary; in America, Cortez and Pizarro were his bloody lieutenants, and achieved for him conquests more vast than were conceived in the dreams of Alexander; while, beyond the wastes of the Pacific, he stretched his discoveries to the Philippines and so completed the circuit of the globe.” The prospects for a corresponding development of literature were equally brilliant. The first fruits, in the productions of Cervantes, De Vega and Calderon, were equally glorious. But this hope of a universal empire of arms and of letters was not destined to be fulfilled. These first triumphs were unexpectedly checked. “The monk Luther was already become a counterpoise to the military master of so many kingdoms.". The Inquisition was already beginning to exert its baneful influence over the freedom of the mind. This second period, therefore, which in its opening exhibits the fairest productions of the national literature, closes with its decline.
The third period extends from the accession of the Bourbon family, in the beginning of the eighteenth century to the invasion of Bonaparte, in the earlier part of the present century. This period marks the degeneracy of Spanish literature, though the author seems unwilling to finish the history of a favorite literature, without catching at some faint hopes of its revival.
Having thus given the general division of the subject, which will point out its extent, we return to a more particular account of the first period. After referring to the oldest document in the Spanish language with an ascertained date-a confirmation by Alfonso the Seventh, in the year 1155, of a charter of regulations and privileges granted to the city of Avilés in Asturias—the author gives an account of the earliest Spanish poem, “The Poem of the Cid," which is followed by an account of three other poems, “ The Book of Apollonius," " The Life of our Lady, Saint Mary of Egypt,” and “The Adoration of the Three Holy Kings." These poems are all anonymous. The author next treats in their order of the earliest known writers. These are, Gonzalo, a secular priest belonging to the monastery of Saint Emilianus, and commonly called Berceo, from the place of his birth--flourished between 1220-1246,Alfonso, the Wise-born 1221, died 1284—Juan Lorenzo Segura-flourished in the latter part of the thirteenth century-Don Juan Manuel—born 1282, died 1347– Juan Ruiz, commonly called the Archpriest of Hita, contemporary with the last mentioned poet; and Rabbi Don Santob of the same period. Several anonymous poems are then enumerated and an account given of them, as belonging to this part of the fourteenth century, of which we will mention but one, " The Dance of Death”—a favorite subject for both painting and poetry in the Middle Ages. The last poet mentioned in this part of the work is Pedro Lopez de Ayala, who was born in 1332 and died in 1407.
The author has now passed over somewhat more than two centuries, from a little before 1200 to a little after 1400, and in so doing has examined a considerable portion of the earliest Castilian literature. He has given an analysis of the most important works sufficiently minute for his purpose, and presented specimens of them in both prose and verse.
But this literature sprang up at the Court. The authors of it were sovereigns, or dignitaries nearly connected with them. But contemporaneous with this courtly literature, there was a popular literature, which at about this period began to appear more prominent in the country. The author, therefore, enters at this point upon an examination of this literature, which he treats of under four different classes: Ballads, Chronicles, Romances of Chivalry, and the Drama. These four classes compose what was generally most valued in Spanish literature during the latter part of the fourteenth, the whole of the fifteenth and much of the sixteenth century. The account of this popular literature, which takes up nearly one half of the pages devoted to this period, is very interesting.
We have already spoken of the peculiarities of the Spanish character as appearing in Spanish literature. The literature which we have thus far considered is of purely native growth. But contemporaneous with this native literature, was a literature of foreign growth, and derived from two different sources, from Provence and from Italy.
The two chapters in which the author treats of Provençal literature, have a peculiar charm. With brevity but entire perspicuity, he describes the origin and fate of this literature in Provence; thence follows it to its new home in Catalonia and Arragon; then with a not unnatural regret, laments its decay and final extinction.
But the influence of Italian literature was much deeper and more lasting. This influence first became distinctly perceptible in the beginning of the fifteenth century, in the early part of the reign of John the Second. At the Court of this prince there grew up a literature, modified by these foreign influences, and which the author designates as the courtly literature in Castile. This literature continued to flourish throughout the fifteenth century during the reign of John the Second, and his children Henry the Fourth and Isabella, the Catholic-but in this period for a time exhausted itself. The account of this school of literature brings the author to the end of his first period. It is obvious from this rapid survey that the author is not less happy in the subordinate than in the grand divisions of his work; that having gone over the