THE booksellers, like the rest of the world, have been making holyday ; which has caused a slackness in their business specula- tions. The first week of 1841 has not furnished a single new work of any mark or character; scarcely, indeed, a new work of any kind. However, we chronicle what have come.
A Dictionary, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical, of the various
Countries, Places, and principal Natural Objects in the World. Illus-
trated with Maps. By J. R. M'Com.ocu, Esq. In two vols. Vol. L f This publication, whose appearance in parts we have regularly chronicled and occasionally annotated, has now completed its first volume; and forms by far the best work of the kind which has appeared. It is not merely that it con- tains more information, and better information, than the Gazetteers, brought down to the latest period : the cast of mind that has been applied to the work is different—better stored, more comprehensive, more awake to what is going on in the world, and to the uses of living knowledge. In every undertaking of this kind, from the humble spelling-book to the gigantic encyclopedia, compi- lation must of course be the basis of the undertaking : but the ability and knowledge of the workmen make a vast difference. One set may be mere drudges, who note down, and with accuracy, latitude, longitude, names of places, alleged products, and all the other cut-and-dried facts which are collected together ; and the result is often a series of tabular statistics run into prose, and not improved by the process. Another class of com- pilers may be men of enlarged minds versed in the principles and engaged in the pursuit of the subjects they undertake to handle, though the particular facts they require may have to be sought ; and they deal with what they seek for the occasion in the manner of men skilled in their business, as a good law- yer advises or a physician prescribes truly though he has never seen the parti- cular client or patient before. Compilers of this class animate their tasks by throwing in the living knowledge they possess when the occasion offers; as in the description of the upper society of Edinburgh in the volume before us, and in innumerable other places on a smaller scale, where it is easy to see that actual observation has tested and is vivifying the information derived from books. The writers also select and apply their knowledge, so that the reader has not only facts but the uses to which they may be turned.] The Nem Annual Army List, for 1841; with an Index; corrected to 28th December. By H. G. HART, Lieutenant, Forty-Ninth Regiment. [A work well known and appreciated for the completeness of its information and its admirable arrangements. Those who have not seen it may like to know, that, in addition to the classed lists of commanding officers and regiments, brief notices of the military services of each officer, and the dates of his several commissions, are given. A more permanent interest would attach to the volume if a short sketch of the services of each regiment were prefixed : a
statement of its present force might also be added to the mention of its recent movements. Perhaps, however, as the history of the regiments would involve notices of distinguished commanders, and thus swell the current year's volume to an inconvenient size with matter rarely needing any addition, a sepa- rate volume of Military Statistics, narrating concisely the extent and condition of the British Army at successive periods, and the more important actions in which the different regiments were concerned, would be acceptable. Lieu- tenant HART, we perceive, announces that he is about to publish a Military Biography, on so comprehensive a scale as to contain a "full detail of every officer's career"; and be has already chronicled the deeds of eight thousand : this work might properly include the information desired.] The Transactions and the Proceedings of the London Electrical Society, from 1837 to 1840. Edited by One of the Committee. [Recent discoveries having demonstrated the paramount influence of electrical agency in the economy of creation, the attention of the scientific world has been directed to the development of electrical ph eenomena, and the elucidation of the laws that govern them ; but the difficulties in the way of research, and She extreme delicacy of the experiments, render all progress to the formation of any thing like a perfect theory devious and slow : meanwhile, the formation of the Electrical Society, and the publication of its proceedings, will tend to keep alive the spirit of investigation, and, by recording what has been done, enable fresh practitioners to start in advance.
The " Transactions" of the new Society consist of a selection of the most valuable papers read at their meetings : but as many curious facts and useful suggestions were made known to the members which did not require elaborate statements, it was derided to publish these under the title of " Proceedings." The subject is too recondite for discussion in a newspaper : we must be content with mentioning, that among the earliest communications, is one by Mr. Cnosse, of his discovery of the production of living insects in silica, in the course of experiments in forming artificial minerals with the aid of the voltaic battery ; and among the most valuable, are the memoirs of "Experimental and Theoretical Researches in Electricity, by Mr. Sturgeon, and Mr. Walker's experiments with a constant voltaic battery.' "]
The Post-Office London Directory, 1841.
rSince our former notice of this publication,* very considerable additions and nnprovements have taken place. A Street Guide, on a somewhat novel plan, has been added,—the houses running, as usual, in the order of their numbers, and the off-branching streets beingnoted ; which furnishes the seeker with a direct guide to the localities of particular houses. Thus, in Pall Mall, 7. Scottish (Widows Fund) Life Assurance Society, H. M. Kean, agent
8. Metcalfe J. seal and copperplate.eugraver Waterloo Place
9. Andrews William and Co. helmet makers.
The names of both gentlemen and traders are also included in the Street Guide. Still, occasionally, in this as in all other Street Guides we ever in- spected, there are gaps, for which we never could divine the reason, unless the house were empty, which we have frequently known not to be the case. A. little more attention to this point would render the Post-Office London Direc- tory at once a complete Directory and Court Guide ; which indeed is now the case to a great extent, a "Court Directory" embracing the names of persons not engaged in business. The information respecting the Government Offices is made fuller, as was recommended ; the staff of the establishment being given as well as the chiefs. The same remark applies to the Public Offices, and the Law Directory: this last, indeed, is a work of itself.]
• Spectator, No. 596; 30th November 1839.
_ The Seer; • or Common-Places Refreshed, By LEIGH HUNT. In two parts. Part IL [Some of the papers in this part are particularly seasonable just now—a "Cold Day," "Twelfth Night," and "Christmas," for instance : others are equally acceptable at all seasons—such as "The Pianoforte," in which the character- istics of this universal instrument are set forth in a new and beautiful light ; indeed this may be taken as one of the happiest examples of LEIGH HUNT'S essays, where matter-of-fact information and practical suggestions are blended with pleasantry, poetry, and philosophy.]
The Orphan ; or the True Principles of Religions Education illustrated. By the Author of" Poetic Sketches," &c. [The Orphan is one of the happy few who find the loss of parents supplied by wise and wealthy guardians and a judicious and kind preceptor ; and he is not placed in circumstances to put his " religious principles " to the test. Two old village-dames are the exemplars of rational and gloomy piety. The tale is instructive, and not without interest for juvenile readers.]
Adventures of Susan Hopley; or Circumstantial Evidence. In three vols. [A novel of the l'ilewgate Calendar school, with a French melodrama inter- woven. Susan Hopley is an old servant, who relates to some superannuated butler what happened in her "first place "—how her brother was murdered by the wicked man who married her young mistress, after murdering the young lady's father and destroying his will. This story, enriched with other congenial incidents, is told in the detailed and literal manner, adorned with the graces and terrors of Mrs. Slipslop, that finds favour in the servants-ball; the fidelity to nature extending downwards to the most minute vulgarisms, but not rising upwards to probability or consistency of character : the mystery is so ingeniously contrived, moreover, that the reader perceives in the first volume the process of its ultimate solution in the third.] The Corsair's Bridal, Selo' and other Poems. By W. M. HENRY, Esq. [Nonsense verses, which may be best read by running the eye down the jingling tags of the rhymes.]
The Second Funeral of Napoleon : in three letters to Miss Smith, of London. And The Chronicle of the Drum. By Mr. M. A. TITMARSH. [An account of the ceremonies attending the exhumation, transference, and reintombment of NAPOLEON'S remains. It is written in a sarcastic vein, but the effort to be satirical is more apparent than the force of the ridicule : how- ever, with the assistance of some effective cuts representing the principal fea- tures of the pageant, this brochure furnishes a readable account of the grand display of theatrical undertakery; and, as if to make up for its meagreness, Mr. TITMARSH appends some clever verses, the satire of which is much more pointed.] SERIALS.
.Nuces Philosophiser ; or the Philosophy of Things as developed from the study of the Philosophy of Words. By EDWARD JOHNSON, Esq., Au- thor of "Life, Health, and Disease." No. I.
[Stripping Mr. EDWARD JOHNSON of his fluent verbosity, his object seems to be to impress upon the popular mind the true meaning of words by tracing them up to their primary roots, and showing that each word was originally the representative of one thing. This plan has been pursued by men of much greater attainments and much more solid mind than Mr. JOHNSON, but without the success that has been looked for by the sanguine. As a philological exer- cise, opening up a curious mine of investigation, leading to critical accuracy of diction, and probably to greater clearness of style, these etymological re- searches are of much value. But something more than verbal definitions are necessary to make the world wiser. This can only be done by enlarging men's comprehension where mere misunderstanding is the case : but serious contests rarely arise from mere verbal differences ; men contend for something
more than words, though words, like the colours of an army, may be used as s rallying- point. Let the most accomplished and unprejudiced theologian go to a bigoted Catholic country, and explain how little real difference exists between a certain class of the high Anglican Church and the Roman Catholics, and he will have his labour for his pains, if he escape a martyrdom. Let Mr. JOHNSON go to some Whig Reformer and question him closely, and he will soon find that the man is not the dupe of words, but, if honest, is the slave of habit and his prejudices. The plan of this work is a monthly issue in parts, to " supply the place of the Pickwick and Nickleby literature of the present day." 'Whether an exa- mination into the origin and meaning of words is likely to effect this, may be questioned, especially such an examination as Mr. JOHNSON seems likely to be able to give. The better portion of his work will of necessity be dry, and much of it borrowed ; the more original parts are flimsy and flippant, without being amusing. Nor, amid his dogmatizing, is the author always careful to ob- serve consistency. Basing his work on the importance of a due understanding of words, be opens it by a diatribe against the study of languages, and speaks in this strain of the classics-
" But he (the theological student) has stored his mind with the wisdom of the an- cients I Has he so ? I will thank any one to tell me wherein the wisdom of the ancients consisted. Was it in their belief of witchcraft and divination, auguries and oracles? Was it in their belief of countless numbers of presiding deities? In the doctrine of the Monad, Dead. Triad. and Tetractys ? In the dreams of the Theorists and speculations of the Sebastikoi ? I will thank any one who has Plato and Aristotle by heart, and the Greek historians and tragedians at his fingers' ends. to inform me of any one philosophical truth which he has &tired from them. Wills the sole exceptions of geometry, and something approaching the truth in astronomy, what knew they wf the laws of nature—the sole foundation of all knowledge ?"
This is pretty well ; but the self-sufficient sciolist rises from particulars to generals. "Their history," continues he of the ancients, "is a fable, and their philosophy a farce "! ] The Fleet Papers, Nos. L and II.
A Cyclopedia of Domestic Medicine and Surgery. By Tnomas ANDREW, M.D., 8ce. Parts I. and 11.
The Shoemaker. Part IL; being the Duties of the Shop. By JAMES DEVLIN. (The Guide to Trade.) British Butterflies and their Transformations, No. VI.
Lane's Translation of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, Part XXXIL Encyclopedia Britannica, Parts CX1X. and CXXII.
Popular Errors Explained and Illustrated, Part IV.
Brayley's Topographical History of Sorry, Part V.
PICTORIAL ILLUSTRATIONS AND PRINTS.
Pictorial History of England, Parts XLVI. and XLVII.
[Part 46th is a gratis supplement, completing the chronological index to the four volumes of this useful and informing work : from the Preface to which we learn, that the principal writer was Mr. MACFARLANE, in conjunction with Mr. GEORGE Caatil, who edited the whole; and that among the contributors of technical portions are Sir HENRY ELLIS, Messrs. PLANCHE, T. THOMSON, BISSET, PLATT, POYNTER, and AVRTON.
Part 47th commences a separate history of the long and eventful reign of GEORGE the Third ; and is illustrated with portraits of the personages who figured at the time of that Monarch's accession. This important period, in- cluding the American War and the great French Revolution, forms an essen- tial part of the "History of England," which cannot be regarded as complete without it.]
The Land of Burns; a Series of Landscapes rendered classical by the Writings of the Scottish Poet. Parts XXI., XXII., and XXIIL [These, the concluding parts of a set of beautiful pictorial illustrations of the scenes and persons alluded to in the poems of the Scottish bard, are wholly occupied with an eloquently diffuse discourse on the Genius and Character of BURNS, by Professor WILSON; who with characteristic power and enthusiasm vindicates the poet from the aspersions of narrow-souled biographers—espe- cially Josten WALRER—and gross or gloomy gossips, by whom BURNS was represented as habitually intemperate. This essay, in effect a comment on the career of the man and the effusions of the poet, places the character of' BURNS in a new and striking light.]
Pictorial Edition of Shakspere, Part XXVIII.—" As You Like It." Pictorial History of Palestine, Part XVIL Heath's Waverley Gallery, Part X.
Le Keux's Memorials of Cambridge, No. X.
The English Journal. Nos. I. and [A new weekly periodical, with original papers by popular writers, reviews, and extracts, filling sixteen pages of post, neatly printed in double columns—for threchalfpence ! The first number contains a tale by Miss M/TFORD, and the second opens with a view of the English Musical Stage by Mr. BOGART'S: the other articles are timely, and well selected.] 211agazines for January—Monthly Law, The Citizen, The People's, No. L ALMANACKS.
Oliver and Boyd' s New Edinburgh Almanack, and National Repository, for 1841.
[Among the new information contained in this compact repertory of multifa- rious matters useful to be known, the most valuable are the abstracts of Acts of Parliament passed last session, and of Reports of the Committees on Import.. Duties, Banks of Issue, Health of Towns, and Supreme Courts of Scotland.]
Observations on a Report made by Robert Stephenson, Esq Civil Engineer, to the proposed London and Westminster Water Company. With an Appendix, containing Mr. Stephenson's Report.
Past and Present Efforts for the Extinction of the African Slave-trade. By W. It. GREG.
The Life and Exploits of Commodore Napier. By HimselE With por- trait and five plates.