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Literary Notices


Moral and Religious Tales For The Young Of The Hebrew Faith; adopted from the French of “Les Matinees du Samedi” of G. Ben Levi. By A. Abraham. London. 12mo., pp. 239.—In the very first number of our magazine, we gave a short criticism and several specimens of the work of Ben Levi, which had then but lately made its appearance under the name of “Saturday Mornings,” intended for Sabbath reading of young Israelites. In two subsequent numbers, we gave a translation of one of the longer stories, called the Konitz Family; and we are almost sure that our readers must have formed a favourable opinion of the general merit of the work in question, although they must with us condemn some of the peculiar views contained in “The Three Moses,” and other portions of the volumes of the elegant contributor to the “Archives Israélites de France,” which magazine belongs to the class which may be properly designated as the extreme liberal. Still there is much to praise in them, and Mr. Abraham has therefore placed the Israelites under obligations in furnishing them with a choice of the pieces of our French compatriot; the more so as he intends devoting all profits arising from the sale of the work to the cause of education, and we trust that in this respect especially he may meet with ample success, and thereby contribute largely to a cause which has not been sufficiently encouraged among us. The original work consists of two volumes, the first of which contains short essays on Religion, Providence, Faith, the Soul, Resignation, &c., illustrated by brief anecdotes selected from the best Jewish works, or derived from the author’s own knowledge, as also condensed biographies, maxims, &c.; the second consists of twelve long works, a sketch of the history of the Jews in France, and some selected poetry. The translator has however confined himself chiefly to the first volume, and gives us but one tale from the second. As an entire performance, we can congratulate Mr. A. on the work being well done; only we regret, that he has here and there confined himself too closely to his French original, thus rendering it often literally into English, when a little deviation would have made his style much more correct; occasionally there are also slight misapprehensions; for instance, he renders morale, sentiment, raison, with morality, mind, reason; when evidently the word mind is not the exponent of the French sentiment; the author clearly meant to convey that a moral sentiment, or an abhorrence of what is opposed to the general good, is impressed in the hearts of all men, which, with a love for what is beneficial and combined with reason, is the regulating principle which induces to the practice of all the duties which concern alike all mankind.—Having already given specimens of the original work when it first appeared, and our space being already too much occupied this month, we must forbear giving any extracts from the translation before us; but we recommend it heartily to our readers; and hope that Mr. Abraham may soon be enabled to reprint it, and thus have an opportunity to remove the little blemishes which he will then discover himself; and we beg him not to be discouraged by some defect in his first attempt at authorship; since no one can expect to be as perfect as practice alone can make him, at the first outset; and additional care will soon enable him to do good service in the field of labour which he has entered. The number of reading books for English Jews is lamentably small; and there is much in foreign languages which, with some caution in rejecting the objectionable passages, might well be transplanted among us; and we therefore will be pleased to meet Mr. A. again before long with some new offering, though it be but derived from foreign sources.

The Voice of Jacob.—Since our last, we have received a letter from the late proprietor and editor of this journal, in which he gives us the name of the present editor, which is a guarantee that it will advocate the same conservative views it did under its prior director; but as the paper appears anonymous we do not think that we are permitted to disclose it publicly. As we have acted as agent for some time for the Voice, we take this method to announce that we shall be much pleased to receive orders for the same at $2.50 per annum, payable in advance.—We have received for distribution the three first numbers of the new series.