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Literary Notes

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'fue season oí iBumriiwuuw uu i pioaching when so many degrees are contestafi by the various iiistitutioiisof learnng, great and small, niakes particularly timely the thoughtful and suggestive essay by Ex-President Theodore D.Woolsey of Yale, on "Academical Degrees," in the forthcoming Century. tHe treats more particularly of honorary degrees in the United States, and outlines a system of coDferring honors which would give merit its due, but would abolish indisciimiuate and nieaningless decoration. The íirst volume of II. H. Bancroft'i "History of California," which forms Vol. XIII of the" History of the Pacific States,'' is recently at hand. We inake the following clippings trom the San Francisco L!hronicle's review of the volume, which sumniarizes the work's coutents : ''This volume covers the period from 1542 to 1880 - tlie age of Spanish, Engliah aud Portuguese exploratiou in searcíi of tlie niythical northwest route to the Indies, and of the mtssion colonizatioa which followed hard upou the adventurous voyagers of the Spanish couqueiers. An entire chapter i:5 devoted to the bibliography of Califoruiaii history, aud afier íeading it one gets a botter idea of tlie labor wüicb. this history representa and of the enthusiasm of iiie historian, which has beeu pioof against the teilium, of the early aunáis, as well as against the ilim'culty of sifting the evidence of witnesses to tht events which have li:ippeued during the last lörty j'ears. Tho bibliography of California is sepai atedia to two periods by the diocovery of gold In 1848. For the years precediug the discovery, whicli ehanged the whole saturo of the couutry, the manuscript authori;ti:s greatly outiiumber those in print, eomprising 1,030 out of 1,650. Wlien the printiug press carne in with tlie American newspaper, out of a total of ,UOO authorities the mauuscripts have tullen to200. Of the period from the discovery of gold tbrough the " llush times " to 1857, the larger part of the material is in manuscript. Upon this important epoch the historian secmed the remiuiscences of abotit 100 pionters wlio came here after 1848, and espi'cially soine tweuty-live " forty-niners," who took i prominent part in the vigilance couimittees of this city and who have give full details of thoie anonmlous oiganizations, which uiay be said to have no parallel In American history. Tlns volume is mainly devoted to the story of the fouuding of the Frauciscau missions from San Dii'go to SanFrancisco, of the vicissitudesof the monks and of the establishment of öpanish rule in California. It is a story which has buen told in fragments by several hands but neyer before with the minuteness and accuracy of this history. Bpaca is lacking here to do inore than meution a few salient features of the uarrative, which it may be said, is uuequaled by any volume in this series for cleurueas of statement, lucidity of style, sounciness of historical judginent and interest to the general reader. We would cali the reader's attention especially to the chapters on 'Mission l'rogress'' and "Industries and lnstitutions " as admirable examples of the best kind of historical writing. The volume is closed with acharactenstic bit of valuable research on the part of the historian. This is a full list of the male inhabita'its of the province of California from 1769 down to 1800. The nauies have been gathered from registers, compauy rosters and thousands of docun.ents To the history of California, Mr. Bancrofl proposes to devote seven volnines. If the pucceediu; volumes equal in ability tliis initial one, the result will be a work which will practically exhaust the lield and in which all Calil'ornlans may take a just prifle.


Ann Arbor Courier
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