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ART. I.— ALISON'S HISTORY OF EUROPE.*
THIS work, originally published in Great Britain at the price of fifty dollars, has been republished in the United States, entire, at four dollars, and an abridgement for the use of schools has been issued at the low price of one dollar. Both of these reprints have, we believe, been extensively circulated in this country, and, for good or for evil, will work an effect on the minds and hearts of our people. Therefore a few remarks, founded upon the early Edinburgh edition, may not at this time be amiss. It would occupy more time and space than we can command, regularly to review this great work; -great, certainly, in material volume, as well as in the events of which it treats; great, also, in several other points of view from which we shall have occasion to observe it.
The first feature which attracts attention is the frequency of typographical errors, and slips of the pen. We
History of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution in MDCCLXXXIX to the Restoration of the Bourbons in MDCCCXV. By ARCHIBALD ALISON, F. R. S. E., Advocate. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh; and Thomas Cadell, London. VOL. XXXVIII. -4TH S. VOL. III.
10 vols. 8vo.
are tempted to think that the author never corrected his proof-sheets. We read of the "Bavarian Republic,” (intended to be Batavian ;) and very often find "Russia" and "Prussia," each in place of the other. The good old English word 'nowise' our author never uses, but in its place employs such expressions as "no way," "noways," and "no ways," which occur so frequently as to disfigure almost every third page of his work. His statistical figures, as well as his figures of speech, often exhibit discrepancies and contradictions; and, in following out his generally good descriptions of military movements, the reader sometimes finds himself on the wrong bank of a river, and, before he can advance another line in the narrative, is obliged to make whole divisions and battalions move about and change places with a celerity which even Bonaparte himself might have envied. The numerous contradictions which appear in this voluminous work, alike in matters of philosophy, of fact, and of opinion, taken in connection with the familiar sound of many passages -- have suggested the notion, that this "History" is chiefly made up of political articles from Mr. Alison's pen, which have appeared at various times in the British Reviews, and which the author has tacked together, with little or no collation, and published as one work. But, upon a more careful examination, we find that even this hypothesis fails to account for the frequency of the discrepancies which continually startle the reader; for the author sometimes utters a sentiment on one page which he contradicts on the next; and this has induced us to extend our supposition so as to include even the newspaper articles of Mr. Alison in our fancied list of his materials. Thus the whole work is like a confused heap of stones; not a solid pyramid, built by a master-workman.
Mr. Alison is a superlative Tory, with many of the virtues, and most of the faults of that character. He is a rank aristocrat in all his feelings, and takes every opportunity to flatter the nobility of Great Britain, with which he is connected by blood or marriage. He belongs to the worthy old Scotch nation, which any one might guess, for he never lets slip, unimproved, an opportunity of lauding Scotch troops, Scotch generals and Scotch lords, or even any foreigner of Scottish descent, however remote. His