6 OCTOBER 1888, Page 22

Mr. Charles Burr Todd, who tells The Story of the

City of New York (Putnams) in a (literally) very weighty volume of nearly five hundred pages, does not command the pen of Washington Irving, which is rather to be regretted, seeing that his work is dedicated to " the young people " of New York, and is obviously intended to be adapted to their intelligence. In particular, we wish Mr. Todd had been gifted with the imagination of a historical romancist when dealing with the Dutch period of American history, and when writing of Minuit, and Kieft, and the immortal Stuyvesant. Still, Mr. Todd is a careful and trustworthy compiler; and his moderation and judgment as a writer are shown to great advantage when he treats of what he calls " the heroic age " of New York, or, in other words, tells how its citizens comported themselves during the War of Independence. Mr. Todd's special chapters on the dress, social customs, church life, and the like, of New York at different periods of its history, are all that need be desired; and, regarded as a sort of dictionary of American history, this book must be allowed to be admirably arranged. Mr. Todd, although he takes the right side in regard to the social corruptions which have soiled latter-day New York history, devotes too little space to them. Occasionally, too, his historical caution becomes mere intellectual flabbiness, as when he says of Captain Kidd :—" This personage was either a very great rascal or a man greatly wronged, probably the latter."