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13. Matters of organization; list of members (251), minutes, reports, remonstrance against destruction of old U. S. census records.
The John P. Branch HISTORICAL PAPERS of RandolphMacon College, No. 3, June, 1903, paper, pp. 157-256, annual, $1.00, Ashland, Va.
Contents: 1. Preface (2 pp., explanatory); 2. Life Sketch of Captain Richard Irby, by Bishop J. C. Granberry (10 pp., dates 1825-1902, farmer, merchant, college trustee and official for half century; religious side emphasized, conversions, revivals, etc.); 3. Thomas Ritchie, by C. T. Thrift (18 pp., Nov. 5, 1778-July 3, 1854; mainly career in journalism in Richmond; based on Enquirer that Ritchie edited); 4. Abel Parker Upshur, by R. E. McCabe (17 pp., June 17, 1790-Feb. 28, 1844; public life with anecdotes, extracts from speeches of this Virginia statesman, killed by explosion of gun on the Princeton, when he was Secretary of State under Tyler); 5. John Lewis, by G. H. Fielding (11 pp., 1678-1762, Irish emigrant, early settler in Valley of Virginia, based on 2 or 3 State and local histories, no references to W. Va. hist. periodicals); 6. Correspondence of Leven Powell (40 pp., dates 1786-1805, of value, throwing light on Jefferson-Burr contest, that Jefferson “been obliged to make great promises” on neutrality and navy; half dozen letters from Monroe bearing on French spoliation claims, 1828-1829).
The three biographical papers have decidedly more pedogogical interest than historical as they represent an experiment that Professor W. E. Dodd, the editor and teacher, is making with his seniors to show them the importance of local history, and to train them in the use of historical evidence. He has not gone far enough for a definite opinion to be formed, but at least three drawbacks can be pointed out: There is danger to the cause of history in thus preempting a claim, half developing it, and yet waiving off others. For prentice hands these sketches, two at least, are very creditable, but as contributions to history they are hopelessly inadequate, practically useless.
There is danger to the writers themselves in puffing them up with exalted notions of themselves without furnishing the corrective of subsequent articles or a genuinely laborious research.
There is, thirdly, the loss of valuable space which could have been devoted to original material like the matter in the second half of the pamphlet.
It is to be seriously doubted whether college students have the strength and breadth to tackle such data as newspapers, manuscripts and odds and ends of knowledge from all directions. Certainly it does seem a capital idea to have them realize the significance of original sources, but it would surely be better to confine them to the easily accessible printed volumes, such as the classics, Froissart and a few others for the middle ages, and the Force Archives and similar ones for this country. A small collection of these would be possible for almost any college library. The instructor would be master of the entire field, and could guide and criticise with all the firmness and safety that come from thorough command of the subject.
The Ritchie article is an illustration of the special need of educative oversight at this immature stage and yet it is absolutely impossible for the teacher to know the ground half as well as the young fellow, and naturally he has to hesitate. The author could not feel the meaning of some of his strong expressions such as , “discussed every subject in masterly and exhaustive manner” (p. 176); “Congress was aroused to action by the activity of Mr. Ritchie" (177); "the ablest editor the South has yet produced” (187). There is call for vigorous pruning here but Professor Dodd could only be helpless in his ignorance of the special field.
MISSOURI HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS for April, 1903, vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 76, quarterly, $5.00 annual dues, 1600 Locust street, St. Louis, Mo.
Contents: Early recollections of Missouri, by Hon. Thomas Shackelford (23 pp., valuable original material “to illustrate a history of the times," light on slavery, civil war, early days) ; 2. Letter of Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson (3 pp., April 28, 1861, to J. W. Tucker; sympathetic with South, but secretly advocating delay till better armed); 3. Administration of Governor B. Gratz Brown, 1871-73, by Frederick N. Judson, private secreary of Gov. Brown (20 pp., essay merely, but good sketch of Liberal Republican party that “destroyed the last vestiges of the Civil War in Missouri”); 4. Henry R. Schoolcraft, by Rev. Dr. Meade C. Williams (13 pp., readable essay from accessible sources, but no addition to knowledge of this famous explorer, ethnologist; dates March 28, 1793-1864); 5. Jean Gabriel Cerré; a sketch (20 pp., French-American pioneer, Aug. 12, 1734-April 4, 1805; scrappy sketch as material said not to be known; chiefly extracts from Canadian and U. S. archives and others not clearly stated).
If the Hon. W. A. Courtenay, who, though not living in the city, presumably still has charge of the strictly historical space of the Charleston Year Book, could have an assistant, students would be grateful. The last issue, 1902, devotes 38 pages to such material, consisting of a reprint (it is to be inferred) of “An address respecting the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad" by Elias Horry, in Charleston, in 1833. Most likely the original pamphlet is practically exhausted, and inherently it is worthy of reproduction, but there is not one word of editing throughout. There it stands as naked as when it first saw the light, and each one is left to his own conclusions. It is an important contribution to the history of early rail transportation in this country, as it is a sketch by the President of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, of the efforts for building the line from Charleston, S. C., to Augusta, Ga., some 140 miles. There
. are also two letters of 1831 to and from James A. Meriwether, of Eatonton, Ga., touching on a project to cross the mountains, thus connecting the South and West. Incidentally the paper is invaluable for showing Southern attitude towards industrial advances, representing the keenest eagerness in an element of the people at least to take all advantage of this new power, steam. It might be well for the Mayor to allow Mr. Courtenay to do the choosing as usual, but to appoint an active editor to supplement him with notes.
Following this paper and completing the appendix are three selections of semi-historical nature, being so near the present: I. Documents bearing on the location of a naval station at Charleston in the past three years (pp. 39-88); 2. The sanitary and drainage commission of Charleston (pp. 91-104); 3. Short Story of the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, by J. C. Hemphill (pp. 105171).
The whole volume as well known consists, besides the above, of the official municipal reports (8vo, pp. 288).
A HISTORY OF VIRGINIA CONVENTIONS. By J. N. Brena
Richmond, J. L. Hill Printing Co., 1902, 8 vo, pp. 122+87, flexible leather $2.00, law sheep $1.75, cloth $1.50.
This is a comprehensive, most excellent piece of work. The constitutions of the last two conventions are printed in full, and there are condensed summaries of the prior ones; giving in all cases lists of members and something of the issues and proceedings. Considerable research was necessary for getting the facts, especially about the earlier ones, but Mr. Brenaman, who was assistant secretary to the last convention, has gone back to the original sources as far as possible, and has carefully included the references. The last constitution is official, having been printed from the plates the convention used for its own copy. What a pity that some far seeing official did not give sufficient encouragement to have had all the constitutions printed in full in this volume so that the whole organic life would have been there in one book.
The LIFE OF JOHN ANCRUM WINSLOW, Rear Admiral United States Navy, who commanded the U. S. Steamer "Kearsarge” in her action with the Confederate cruiser "Alabama." By John M. Ellicott, Lieut. U. S. Navy. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London. The Knickerbocker series, 1902.
Such is the title of a book which we have before us. It is a handsomely bound, and well printed volume of 275 pages, with a frontispiece portrait of Admiral Winslow. He was of Puritan stock, descending from John Winslow, a brother of Edward, the Governor, and Mary Chilton, the first woman to land from the Mayflower. On the mother's side he descended from Col. Wm. Rhett, son of Sir Walter Rhett, a baronet in the times of Charles the Second.
The admiral was born in Wilmington, Nov. 19, 1811, and educated at Dorchester and Dedham, Massachusetts. Through the influence of Hon. Daniel Webster whose home was upon what was once a part of the Winslow estate he was appointed a midshipman in the U. S. Navy Feb. I, 1827, and attached to U. S. S. Falmouth.
After service in the Brazilian squadron, on the frigate Missouri, and in the Mexican War, he was assigned to a command of some gunboats under Captain Foote at the beginning of the War between the States. He also commanded the gunboat St. Louis on the Mississippi. He was subsequently assigned to the command of the Kearsarge.
On the 19th June, 1864, near Cherbourg, France, occurred