16 JANUARY 1864, Page 21


The National Review. January, 1864. (Chapman and HalL)--The most brilliant paper of a number which is above the average is decidedly that on Joubert, a French writer of the time of the Revolution. He is compared to Coleridge, not so much in character, as because " both had an ardent impulse for seeking the genuine truth," and "an organ for finding and recognizing it; " and both also wore fragmentary writers and brilliant talkers. The paper introduces Englishmen to a literary acquaintance equally well worth knowing, both as a thinker and a man. The subject of Eton reform is handled with singular fairness, even if with some timidity. The fellowships certainly seem to be an abuse, and the system by which the assistant-masters are excluded from all share in the government of the school can by no possibility work well. To do away with the absurd distinction between- the college and the school, and appoint the best men, not merely the best Etonians, to the posts of head-master and provost, are also improvements which are

urgently called for. But probably something more than this will be found necessary to uproot the narrow, local spirit of the governing body, and reform the teaching. With the public-school system, by which the boys are made, as far as possible, to govern themselves, we should deprecate any interference whatever. Worthy of notice, also, are an amusing account of Goothe's correspondence with the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, a learned but rather captious review of Dr. Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible," a favourable notice of Mr. Froudo's two latest volumes, and a subtle analysis of the character of the Emperor of the French, in the disguise of an article on the state of Europe. The residue is solid.