UNDER the new title of Cosmism Mr. Fiske gives the philosophical and scientific doctrines of Mr. Spencer, extended and developed into a complete theory of the universe. The book contains an outline of the Spencerian theories, so clearly stated and so vividly illustrated that most readers will prefer the disciple to the master. There is added to this a very considerable body of original speculation and criticism, all in the line of the same system and elaborated with all the great learning and ingenuity needed by a co-laborer with Mr. Spencer. In the Prolegomena, which extend through much of the first volume, are expounded the fundamental principles of Cosmism. It is not to be expected that many of Mr. Spencer’s old opponents will be converted by this latest and strongest presentation of his philosophy. There is nothing added to appease the Ontologists. The Positivists will be as puzzled as ever to understand how the Cosmist can swear so stoutly by their own law of relativity, and yet smuggle in that much-coveted but contraband belief in external reality. The Cosmic test of truth lets it pass easily enough, but, Quis custodiet ipsum custodem ?
According to this test, “ A proposition of which the negation is inconceivable is necessarily true in relation to human intelligence.” But that much-discussed word, inconceivable, is still equivocal, and too uncertain for a touch-stone of truth. There is plainly one sort of inconceivability which occurs when experience has already shaped an idea and we cannot contradict it by forming the opposite. Such inconceivability is evidence of past experience, and therefore of truth. There may be a question about the value of a test which merely tells us that when we are in no doubt we may be sure ; but its accuracy is unquestionable. There is another kind of inconceivability, which occurs when we lack experience to form the proposed idea. In this sense a proposition in jurisprudence would be inconceivable to a child, because unintelligible, and its negation equally inconceivable. So, also, following Mr. Fiske’s statements made in his Prolegomena, the final divisibility of matter is inconceivable, and its final indivisibility equally so, because experience has not reached to either of these conceptions. Similar to this, though temporary instead of permanent, was the inconceivability of the antipodes, which Mr. Mill cites as a case of an idea once inconceivable but not false. This second kind of inconceivability is only a test of ignorance, and leaves the question of truth undecided.
If any one thinks that these two kinds of inconceivability are easily distinguishable, let him remember that the Old-World philosopher was probably as sure that the antipodes stood for a notion contradictory and absurd as is Mr. Spencer that the nonpersistence of force involves a contradiction of ideas. There is certainly needed another test before we can apply the Cosmic test of inconceivability, and it is for want of this that the Cosmic philosophy, taking refuge under the ambiguity of words, can claim at the same time to hold to the relativity of all knowledge, and to know the noumenal world.
By the law of the relativity of knowledge we know only phenomena, and propositions concerning “things in themselves ” are unintelligible, and stand only as words without meaning. This is set out with much clearness in the Prolegomena. And yet the Cosmic philosopher strenuously insists that he knows that an unrelated world exists. He justifies himself by the argument that the idea of a noumonon is involved in all our thinking, and implied in the very doctrine itself of relativity, because it is impossible to talk of relation and phenomenon, without implying something which causes the relation and the appearance. In short, he appeals to the test of truth, and says there is an unrelated world, for we cannot conceive of it nonexisting while phenomena remain. But what experience have we to warrant our asserting that it exists? Is not this inconceivability one caused by lack of experience instead of by experience ? The world of “things in themselves” is, ex vi termini, one of which we can never have experience. Then how can any test of truth, which is a mere index to the record of experience, have any applicability to it? Make the logical necessity as strong as you please, you never get a noumenal necessity.
The body of the Synthesis in the second volume is devoted to the laws of life, of mind, and of society. Starting with the conception of life as an adjustment of the organism to the forces incident upon it from without, Mr. Fiske traces a similar correspondence of inner with outer changes in the phenomena of mind, and of social communities. He has so wide a command of facts in each department, and is so much a master of the evolutionists’ skill in marshaling them, that the view is very comprehensive and suggestive.
Life of every kind is a process of change within meeting change without. This ranges from the feeble adjustments by which the lowest creatures maintain for a while the unequal warfare against the threatening environment, up to the farreaching adaptations which make the highest animals comparative masters of the situation. Mind is a process of inner arrangement similar in kind but greater in complexity and consequent efficiency. As we go up the scale of being, no one, according to the Cosmic teaching, can tell you when the process first becomes so complex that we must call it mind. The extremes are unlike enough, but they are connected by an unbroken series of means, among which the only difference is that of degree. A similar adjustment is described as the essential characteristic of the growth of society from the primitive family to the modern nation. Thus the life of an oyster and the common-weal of the state, with all that lies between, are summed up in the word adaptation. We roust indeed go further back, for organic existence begins, we know not where, in inorganic; and life is to be distinguished in degree, but perhaps not in kind, from simple chemical activity.
The very possibility of such an arrangement of the facts of science as exhibits this unbroken continuity gives a philosophy of evolution an antecedent plausibility, which Mr. Fiske greatly heightens by his art of giving dissolving views of the universe.
Admirable and ingenious as is this view of the unity of nature, it is not altogether clear how the definition of the process of life is of that transcendent importance which Mr. Fiske attributes to it. Indeed, the attempt to define at all, as a distinct thing, one section of this finely graduated series, seems somewhat repugnant to a philosophy of evolution. By the Cosmic definition, " Life, — including also intelligence as the highest known manifestation of life, — is the continuous establishment of relations within the organism in correspondence with relations existing or arising in the environment.” It is hard to see how this describes anything peculiar to animate as distinct from inanimate existence, or why it is not as applicable to the molecular changes going on in a rock heated by the sun, as to the workings of a living organism. The peculiarity, whatever it is, which gives an organism its self-asserting, self-serving power, is not disclosed. If the definition is purposely allowed to cover all existence, upon the theory that inorganic existence is the same in kind with organic, it should at least mark the difference of degree. If there is not even that, then there is no such thing as life to distinguish. It is all life or no life, as you choose to call it.
The evolution of society is in a similar way summed up in one sentence, which is intended to cover the entire course of history. After following Mr. Fiske in his review of facts which corroborate the law as a generalization, one asks with some doubt whether such a law, even if true, will be of practical use in the study of history. Has Mr. Fiske been guided by it to any results, or has he worked out his knowledge and then summed it up in the briefest space he could ? This question is of course distinct from any question of the truth of the statement. But as this Cosmic law is put forth as the supreme achievement in the philosophy of history, we have a right to ask that it shall be something more than true. It should guide us in our search for specific causes and effects, and help us to understand those “lessons of history,” so easy to read in both ways until hitter experience has taught us which is wrong. If the law of social evolution is only the product of an effort to find ideas and words so comprehensive that they will cover all the known facts of history, even though emptied of all definite contents in order to be vague enough, then the law may be true and yet disappointing.
This is the Cosmic law of social progress: “The evolution of society is a continuous establishment of psychical relations within the community, in conformity to physical and psychical relations arising in the environment; during which both the community and the environment pass from a state of relatively indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a state of relatively definite, coherent heterogeneity; and during which the constituent units of the community become ever more distinctly individuated.”
Suppose we try to work this formidable engine at short range, by bringing it to bear upon a specific problem in history. We shall ask, What is the condition or action of the community to be studied? what that of the environment ? how did one affect the other? There is the wholo question as open as it was before the Cosmic law was put together. When we have found out what were the causes or what were the effects, our results may conform to the law of adaptation. But to find these results we must look through the world within and the world without, and this we have always been doing with the help of the law of causation. The law mentions none of the forces at work, and describes the operation of none. It is somewhat as if Mr. Darwin had propounded, instead of his law of natural selection, the law that organisms are provided with contrivances fitted to the environment, but had omitted to point out how they got them. Such a law would however be specific enough to be of use; the Cosmic law applies to no one thing more than to any other, and can never point out a path in advance.
Nor does the deficiency in the working value of the Cosmic laws of sociogeny appear to be supplied by the statement that the controlling tendency of society is toward increasing individuation. This does not, any more than the law of adaptation, say how, or how much. And moreover the evidence in this case is not so complete as to make the conclusion perfectly satisfactory. The word individuation undoubtedly sums up well enough Mr. Maine’s view that the early changes of society were from tribal toward national life. But it is one thing to state a tendency, and quite a different thing to point out the tendency essential to social progress from beginning to end. Whether there is any single tendency dominant from first to last seems very doubtful. Civilization is a complex process, and comprises an infinity of movements, of which now one and now another may be the most important. But if there is any single tendency, we could be assured of having it only after a much more extended examination of facts than Mr. Fiske, drawing mainly from periods of primitive culture, has given. The qualifications which he finds necessary, as it is, leave the law too vague to be applied anywhere with precision.
The law of social evolution, however, taken as a whole, certainly expresses a truth, whether or not the most suggestive; and Mr. Fiske has reached his generalization through extended historical researches of which he gives us constant glimpses by his easy allusion to the most remote subjects. The only doubt is whether the law has been of practical use to him in his investigations, which have probably led to many minor conclusions of greater value than the final statement, that has been stretched to cover them.
To the final chapters of the book, in which is set forth the Cosmic religion, most readers will turn with more of interest than to any others. And justly. Yet the few words that could be said about them in such a notice as the present, it would seem almost better to leave unsaid. The bare statement that Mr. Fiske and his followers worship the Unknowable, which is God only because we never can know anything about it, will seem to those who do not read the book to describe a scientific parody upon religion. Yet no one who sees the strength of Mr. Fiske’s religious feeling, and the simplicity of his fervor, can doubt that he finds something real in the God he lias chosen.
There are those who profess to be in no need of a God, and confidently predict the time when science will satisfy all those who now want, they know not what. To them the Cosmic religion will seem a faltering pause in the progress from anthropomorphic theism to the undisturbed indifference of science. They will have only a compassionate tolerance for one who confesses to be subject to the emotions that clamor for a religion. They will say to Mr. Fiske in particular, You at least are cut off from it, for you have built upon the relativity of knowledge, and must not affirm anything, even existence, of the unrelated Infinite.
There are, on the other hand, those who are convinced of the eternal need to the human race of a religion. If any philosophy makes it impossible, they will say that philosophy stands self-convicted of infirmity, and look for the time when the present dominance of intellect shall be made to yield something to the demands of the emotions.
That many of those who feel this mighty power of religion will be satisfied with what Mr. Fiske offers, we cannot think. That Unknowable may always remain an object of awe to contemplative minds, but it is an impertinence to approach it with love, or faith, or worship. It is indeed constant to help and hurt. But its constancy is no more a comfort than is that of gravitation, which is its most impressive manifestation. With this majesty of inscrutable might alone it assumes to fill the place of that Power to whom men in all ages have cried for hope and comfort.
Whether a religion with so much left out is a religion at all may be a question of words. But it can be said that if awe and submission are all that is left, the new religion is something so unlike the present, that the worshiper of to-day will feel little gratitude to the Cosmic philosophy for saving it. To that worshiper the Cosmist will say, “ It is the religion of the future. I wish to hurry no one, but am content to wait until the world willingly puts away childish things for Cosmism.” To this there is no answer but patient looking for the inevitable. But who can now see in the Cosmic religion the promise of such sweetness and light that he will turn from his old hope to pray that this new kingdom come ?
— In the second volume of The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, Mr. Bancroft treats of the civilized nations, these being the races inhabiting Mexico and Central America. For greater convenience they are divided into two groups, the Nahuas and the Mayas. The latter was the older branch, the other the more widely spread. North of Tehuantepec were to be found the Nahua races, south of this isthmus the Mayas. Of the Nahus the Aztecs were the only ones with whom the invading Europeans came into actual contact, and hence they stand as the representatives of early American civilization. In fact, however, they were late successors to what had been acquired by earlier races. Trustworthy information goes back as far as to the sixth century of the Christian era, when we find the Toltecs holding the power, and there are traces of their predecessors, also Nahuas, of whom we have only legendary knowledge. The Toltecs’ empire lasted for five centuries, when civil wars, due to religious dissensions, with consequent pestilence and famine, undermined its power. To it succeeded the Chichimec empire, itself yielding to the advance of the Aztecs in the early part of the fifteenth century. In another hundred years these races met with a deadlier foe in the Spaniard. The Mayas represent the MayaQuiché civilization of Central America. It is impossible to determine the date of the original Maya empire, or that of its decadence. In the sixteenth century the Mayas proper were occupying Yucatan. The main divisions were the Cocomes, Tutul Xius, Itzas, and Cheles, which appear to have been the names of royal or sacerdotal families rather than of subject tribes. Their history, however, is in a most unsettled state.
For the description of each of these two great groups, Mr. Bancroft has arranged his copious material in five divisions. The first of these includes the system of government, the order of succession, the ceremonies of election, coronation, and anointment, and, generally, the distinctive traits of royal life. The second describes the social system, that is, the divisions of society, the method of holding land, the domestic life of the people, and their family relations. The third includes the means and methods of war ; the fourth, their trade and commerce, their sciences, arts, and manufactures ; the fifth, their judiciary and legal methods. This excellent classification serves to convey to the reader a very complete notion of what he is reading about. It is very plain that the writer of this history has had by no means an easy task in getting at the exact truth about these early civilizations. Of course when there is nothing but tradition to go by, the task is very difficult, but even with the accounts written by the Spaniards to serve as authority, allowance has to be made for their exaggeration of the strength of their foes, and their wealth, and the accounts of native historians might very well have been of a sort that would not satisfy a critic like, say, Sir George Cornewail Lewis. In this complicated state of affairs, Mr. Bancroft has given all the evidence, and the reader can differ or agree, as he pleases.
To make even an abstract of what is itself so compact an accumulation of facts would be impossible. It is only left to make mention once more of the indefatigable industry of the historian, and of the soundness of his judgment. He nowhere states an opinion, which may be wise, but which is formed from proof not submitted to the reader; far from it: everything is put down, so that the book is a very satisfying one to read. Mr. Bancroft says: “ I have no inclination to draw analogies, believing them, at least in a work of this kind, to be futile ; and were I disposed to do so, space would not permit it. Nations in their infancy are almost as much alike as are human beings in their earlier years, and in studying these people, I am struck at every turn by the similarity between certain of their customs and institutions and those of other nations; comparisons might he happily drawn between the division of lands in Anahuac and that made by Lycurgus and Numa in Laconia and Rome, or between the relations of Aztec master and slave and those of Roman patron and client, for the former were nearly as mild as the latter; but the list of such comparisons would never be complete, and I am fain to leave them to the reader.”
The Aztecs seem to have been an intelligent race; fond of feasting and show; brave fighters; in many relations of life mild and amiable, in others, notably in their treatment of their captives, very cruel; grossly superstitious, with a religion stained by all manner of bloody rites : in a word, they had noticeably some of the virtues and some of the faults of childhood. In some ways they remind us of the Japanese, especially in their ingenuity, their indifference to cruel punishments, and, alongside of those qualities, their general innocence and great capacity of enjoyment. However this may be, they were an interesting race, and the space devoted to them and their neighbors by Mr. Bancroft will be found delightful reading. It makes a volume to which nothing but praise can be given. Both erudition and agreeableness are to be found in it, with neither sacrificed to the other.
— The memoir of the late Dr. Gannett, by his son, Rev. William C. Gannett, is one of those rare books which will be keenly satisfying to the personal friends of the subject, and very interesting to those who knew him only by fame, or not at all. The intimate life of the man, as it is here shown, will enable those to whom his acquaintance had endeared him to recall fully that devoted character which must win every reader by its purity, its meekness, its high aims, its sublime unselfishness ; and the events of which he was part — the rise of Unitarianism in New England, its troubles from within through the spirit of transcendentalism, its early arrest, its embarrassments with the antislavery movement, and its present divisions through radicalism or “ free religion ” — are things in which all who Care to know the intellectual history of the country are concerned. Mr. Gannett has treated them with remarkable clearness, and with the greatest fairness, and in all respects we think his work unexceptiomibly well done. His father’s character is painted with a tenderness which one acknowledges with instant sympathy, and yet with a fullness which will not hide his human foibles. These indeed all leaned to virtue’s side, and there are few of us who would not be better for some touch of that good man’s failings, if only we might grieve over them with something of his sincere self-condemnation. In all things his life was patterned upon the character of that Saviour whose very compassion seemed to prostrate the humility of his disciple the more. Yet if one looked only upon the martyr-side of Dr. Gannett, he would greatly mistake and wrong him. His career was one of active combat in many respects ; he was a man of profound convictions, and of very decided opinions. Reared in the Calvinistic faith, he early forsook it, with a courage greater than men can now understand to have been required, and he remained through life the stanch, old-fashioned Unitarian he became, while Unitarianisnm continually changed, and meant hardly the same thing to-day that it meant yesterday. He deeply deplored slavery, but he never could be brought to approve of the ideas of the abolitionists, valuing the Union which their movement seemed to threaten as the only means of ending slavery; and he never countenanced the war for the Union, because he believed all wars were wrong. His record in these matters is one which all abolitionists and patriots can now read with profound respect for his sincerity, and tenderness for the loving heart which the reproach of indifference to any form of human misery cruelly wrung, and for the struggles by which he maintained himself in what he considered civic duty. His whole history in these matters is scrupulously set down by his son, who also gives us with a singularly unobtrusive delicacy the many facts and traits about which there never could be two minds. There is something very winning in the sweetness with which those little peculiarities that make one smile are recognized by the biographer, and Dr. Gannett is brought personally before us in his daily life, the joys and heavy sorrows of his home, with a modesty in which there is no affectation of apology. One has sometimes indeed to look twice at the reticent words that portray his goodness, his industry, his high standard of duty, his active charity, his self-devotion ; his griefs, his bereavements, are never dwelt upon, though they qualify all our sense of him ; the terrible disaster in which he perished is hardly more than intimated.
The book abounds in many interesting sketches and notices of his contemporaries, Channing, Norton, Emerson, Parker, and the rest; there are abundant passages from Dr. Gannett’s journals, letters, and sermons, and at the close of the volume a number of his sermons are printed entire.
— In 1868 Mr. Bigelow introduced a new edition of Franklin’s Autobiography, the correct text of which he had been so fortunate as to discover. We noticed at the time the excellent service which he rendered to literature by this work, and we have to thank him again for a similar service. The Autobiography is again given, with the account of its fortunes, substantially as in the edition of 1868, and then from the mass of Franklin’s letters Mr. Bigelow has arranged a continuation of the narrative, taking it up where the Autobiography is interrupted, in 1757, and carrying it on to the last letter written, so that the Autobiography itself and the supplementary Letters present in three volumes, of a little more than five hundred pages each, a connected life in Franklin’s own words. He has occasionally introduced a short paper by Franklin, where the letters make special mention of such or the narrative would be rendered more complete by the insertion. Thus he has given the stinging Rules for Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One; the ironical Edict by the King of Prussia; the two careful résumés; An Account of the Transactions relating to Governor Hutchinson’s Letters and An Account of Negotiations in London for Effecting a Reconciliation between Great Britain and the American Colonies ; the clever moral of The Whistle; his unfinished Journal of the Negotiations for Peace with Great Britain from March 21 to July 1, 1782; and has given also in its proper place that masterly analysis of the disturbing causes of the Revolution, Franklin’s Examination before the House of Commons, which, as Burke said, made Franklin appear like a schoolmaster questioned by a pack of school-boys. The notes to the Autobiography and Letters are brief and pertinent; they are drawn sometimes from Sparks’s edition of Franklin’s works, at others from William Temple Franklin’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, and sometimes are the editor’s own. The work of the editor throughout is unobtrusive. “I am not aware,” he says, “ that any other eminent man has left so complete a record of his own life” as Franklin, and it has been his object simply to arrange that record and to supply in foot-notes what was lacking in the way of explanation of allusions not intelligible to the general reader, or of necessary connection in the diary.
Mr. Bigelow advises the reader that he has not undertaken to give all of Franklin’s letters, nor always the whole of every letter, but has made his selection in accordance with his purpose to make a connected autobiographic narrative. Upon this plan he has omitted all of Franklin’s letters written prior to 1757. These were not many nor very important, yet we think he might well have used portions of them as annotations to the Autobiography. Nor has he omitted so many letters subsequent to that date as his admission would seem to imply. On the contrary, he has left out so few that we think it a pity he did not give them all, and so satisfy the hungry reader and relieve him from the sense of uneasiness which an incomplete series of letters always leaves in the mind, especially when there is no complete series easily to be had. By extending the volumes but a few pages, the editor might have announced to the satisfaction of his readers that he had given all of Franklin’s printed letters save the strictly philosophical ones. A comparison, besides, of these volumes with Sparks’s edition leads us to wonder why Mr. Bigelow omitted certain letters here and there. The interesting letters to Cadwallader Evans on silk culture occupy but little space, yet only one or two are given; letters to John Bartram are now and then omitted, and some interesting ones to Hugh Roberts, of the Junto. There is, besides, a gap of the years 1764, 1765, in which Franklin’s letters to his wife and others in America are not given, but only an account in other form of his exertions to secure the repeal of the Stamp Act. The omission of unimportant paragraphs in the letters, and of the address and subscription, has served to condense the material with only slight loss to the reader, but we regret that Mr. Bigelow did not more frequently allow some of the expressions of affection and tenderness to remain, “ trifles light as air,” but serving to display a very attractive side of Franklin’s character. The bibliography at the close would have been improved by a chronological rather than an alphabetical arrangement of titles. A good index completes the furnishing of the volumes, and an engraving on steel from the pastel by Duplessis is prefixed to the work.
We hope that this convenient edition will induce many to make themselves familiar with Franklin’s character and services to the country. The deficiencies as well as the excellences of that character stand forth unmistakably in the writing. His enemy could hardly have stated more sharply than has Franklin himself the prudential limitations of his virtue. Perhaps it might be necessary to call in testimony of others to understand the singular position which he occupied in France, yet if one follows closely his correspondence with the French court and with his fellow-commissioners, it is not difficult to detect the eminence he occupied. Apart too from the worth of these letters as an illustration of Franklin’s character, they are invaluable for the disclosure they make of the growth of the spirit of independence. Franklin was one of the first to foresee the tide of events, one of the last to abandon the hope of a reconciliation. Through his clear interpretation it is not hard to see the workings of the material causes of the Revolution, and while the sagacity and cheerfulness of the man stood him in stead of the penetrating purpose of a high ambition and of faith in eternal principles, they were of extraordinary value in the field of diplomacy. The ease with which Franklin did great things misleads some ; the absence of any high imaginative power has rendered him uninteresting to many, but no one can study the movements of the latter half of the eighteenth century and not see how clearly Franklin dominated in that material province which was at once the glory and the shame of the period. “ A bad woman,” says Mr. Ruskin, “ may have a sweet voice; but that sweetness of voice comes out of the past morality of her race ; ” and Franklin, not to press the analogy too closely, carried back to London and Paris the remains of that spirit of freedom and righteousness which had found a better chance on the western continent to withstand the forces that had for a century worked against it abroad. It may not be amiss to add that the letters of Franklin are extremely interesting for the picture they give of manners and social condition.
— Mrs. Woolson’s book on reform in women’s dress contains a series of lectures delivered early last year in Boston, by a number of ladies whose opinions on the matter are certainly deserving of great respect. They unite in condemning almost everything that women wear, but we cannot help thinking that in their fervor they sometimes overshoot their mark. For instance, instead of urging women who have plenty of money to dress simply, in order that they may not tempt those who are poorer to extravagance, would it not be as well and wiser to advise those who are poorer not to try to rival their richer contemporaries ? No one recommends that all people should live in the same sort of house, with as many pictures and the same sort of carpets as every one else, and the absurdity of recommending that they should is obvious. Why then does not the same hold true of dress? For the details of the dress the reader must be referred to the little volume, in which, beneath a good deal of rhetoric, there is to be found some good advice about what it is best to wear. These reformers have the great merit that they do not wholly sacrifice beauty to health; if they did their cause would be hopeless.
— Under the alliterative title of Hearts and Hands we find a story of the flirtations of Miss Sybil Courtenay, a young woman of North Carolina, at the White Sulphur Springs. When this smooth-named belle is the object of the attentions of two men with such heart-breaking names as Gerald Langdon and Cecil Mainwaring, it is only natural that she should treat with the utmost ignominy and contempt a man whose sponsors in baptism had so failed of their duty as to let John, commonly turned to Jack, be prefixed to the unsonorous family name of Palmer. Her less sternly treated lovers were elegant in many other ways: they were accomplished flirts, and the successful Gerald had a dark past behind him, not free from attractive mystery. In a word, the novel is as silly in an innocent way as a novel can well be. If the illustrations of the fashion-plates could descend from the walls of the milliners’ and tailors’ shops and go about, it is only fair to presume that their thoughts, words, and actions would be such as are described in Hearts and Hands. Christian Reid has never attained the loftiest heights, but she has, and notably in A Daughter of Bohemia, done much better than this.
— The dangers of marrying a man who is interested in chemistry are clearly pointed out in Too Much Alone. He will have an odious and false-hearted friend; he will neglect his wife’s parlor for his more fascinating laboratory, — she will, however, revenge herself by desperate flirting, — and he will leave his most deadly drugs in tempting spots for his only son to feed upon. In short, Mrs. Riddell does not smile upon physical science. Her pen is brought into use against its demoralizing advance. Lina Maudsley is left a penniless orphan, and, carried away by the spirit of the age, she marries Maurice Stern, whose business it is to prepare chemicals. It is not a happy marriage. Her unwise attempt to put the laboratory in order, to throw out the vilesmelling messes, to clean the stained vessels, is the least of the many mistakes this novel records. While her husband is away she languishes in her parlor, receiving indiscreetly the adoration of a sprig of the aristocracy, with whom she nearly runs away, and all because of her loneliness. But it is quite impossible fur ladies in their fine clothes to sit in the laboratory, or by the side of the blast furnace ; nor can husbands bring their acids into the parlor, so that a certain amount of separation of husband and wife would seem unavoidable.
A treacherous friend is almost as bad. Gordon Glenaen can not only sneer at Mrs. Maudsley ; he can break out into gross impertinence ; and as for peculation, he thinks nothing of it. Indeed, taking dishonorable means to find out how a rival makes drugs seems to be considered an elevating employment of the scientific mind. Sudden and diversified penury lends incident to this novel, of which one of the principal charms is that it is still very new. Mrs. Riddell has in her time written better stories than Too Much Alone.
— If the reader of My Story will only consent to take for granted the rather wild improbability that there is anything binding in the sort of marriage by which Captain Brand and Gertrude Stewart were united, there may yet be a hope of his getting some gratification out of the novel. The heroine is a young woman who, when half beside herself with terror at the prospect of her mother’s immediate death, gets married reluctantly to the captain of the merchant-ship in which she is sailing, although she not only does not love him, but also has a positive dislike of him. He is represented as a model of all the virtues, though his conduct in this matter is, to say the least, ungenerous ; and he is only to claim her for his wife after the interval of a year or two. This time she passes on shore, and the record of this part of her life is what makes the novel. She is a selfish girl, far from indisposed to flirting with any man she sees, and as void of conscience as she well could be. Naturally Captain Brand has but little chance of winning her love while he grows angry at her doings, and quite as naturally when he is angry with her she becomes fond of him, and all is peace between them. These scenes are not ill told, and the setting of the story is good, so that, on the whole, the novel is readable, — is, indeed, much better than many.
— It is not possible for everybody to read through Mr. Nahum Capen’s History of Democracy, but everybody who can read it will find much entertainment in its pages. The reader will be grateful to an author who has taken so much pains to bring together a great many amusing and instructive quotations, and the good faith with which Mr. Capen exposes himself to the smile of the younger generation, while writing in tedious earnest for the politicians of his own time, is a real commendation of his work. It is not usual to find men who willingly make themselves ridiculous for the good of others. At the same time there is merit enough in the huge volume to commend it more seriously to those who make some study of political history. Its method is whimsical, its assumptions not always tenable, its style grotesque; but it indicates wide acquaintance with English and American history, extensive reading, and a sincere belief, based upon conviction as well as tradition, that a democratic form of government, such as we have in the United States, is the only good one in the world. It is true that when Mr. Capen began writing his bulky book, thirty or forty years ago, his panegyric on democracy was meant to be also an encomium on the political party of Jackson and Van Buren, then calling itself “ democratic,” but which proved to be, in course of time, the fierce upholder of slavery. Traces of this partisan purpose are manifest enough in the volume as it stands, and in the long array of commendatory letters with which the publishers introduce it, — letters written, for the most part, by democratic politicians or ready writers, now dead or superseded. Here are words of praise from those “ old public functionaries” Buchanan, Dallas, Van Buren, Marcy, Toucey, and Cass, from Henry A. Wise, B. F. Hallet, Robert J. Walker, and Charles O’Connor; also from the late Mr. Sparks and from Nathaniel Hawthorne, a personal friend as well as a brother democrat. The more recent, and, as we may call them, the post-diluvian commendations of Montgomery Blair, Charles Levi Woodbury, and the younger John Quincy Adams, give the work a less spectral appearance, as if it were not merely “ revisiting the glimpses of the moon,” but had some relevancy and pertinence to our own times since the Civil War. This is doubtless true ; nor did we ever, as a nation, more need to be recalled to the ancient English fountains of liberty and law, than at the present time. Mr. Capen does this by his citations rather than by his arguments or his rhetoric, neither of which can be highly praised. Thus he checks himself in the midst of a disquisition on the great Duke of Marlborough, to explain what the Athenian ostracism was; and then, without the least notice to the astonished reader, he goes on, “ The mythological character of Hercules is invested with all those elements of power which are naturally associated with the excesses of interest or passion, and checks and balances are provided necessary to harmony and protection.” This abrupt and inscrutable transition seems almost too much like the oratory of that fine old tory Castlereagh, to have a place in the lucubrations of an ardent democrat. “ I have now shown,” said Lord Castlereagh, after speaking an hour without conveying to the House the slightest conception of what he was driving at, “ I have now shown that the Tower of London is a common-law principle.” Much in the same fashion does Mr. Capen suspend his account of Pope’s Atossa, the Duchess of Marlborough, to discourse with learned dullness on the mission and characteristics of man and woman. Here we are given to understand that “ man is endowed with physical strength and power of endurance. He conquers the monster wherever found, and trains the sagacious beast wherever wanted. He meets and masters the foe of personal safety, the robber of gold and chastity, the oppressor of weakness, the slanderer of virtue and of innocence. . . . The characteristics of the true woman may be seen and felt, but language is inadequate to their description.” However convincing these propositions may appear, they do not seem quite indispensable to a history of democracy.
Indeed, the great maxim of our author plainly is that legal one, “Surplusage does not vitiate.” What may be useful for an indictment, however, is apt to be cumbrous in an essay, or in the pages of history. Although Mr. Capen has taken many years to complete his work, he has not found time enough yet for condensing it to the posterity point. Lumber, even literary lumber, is hard to carry, and if trusted to the stream of time, it is quite sure to be stranded at the first turn. A book of half its size would have twice as good chances with this generation even, as the big octavo of Mr. Capen. Calling itself a “ history of American democracy,” this first volume begins with the creation and comes down through Greece and Rome, France, England, and the American colonies, almost to the opening of our Revolution, a hundred years ago. There is a great deal concerning the Puritans and the Quakers, the English sovereigns and statesmen from Cromwell downward, the literary politicians of Queen Anne’s reign, the settlement of the United States, etc. Mr. Bancroft’s history is freely drawn upon, and so are many writers who have done something in the historical way, from Burnet, Hume, and Macaulay, to George Barstow and James Parton. Mr. Capen has not caught the historian’s manner from any of them, however; he has fallen, rather, into the worst and most roundabout way of generalizing and sermonizing upon whatever comes before him. Mr. Bancroft has done much in this way, but he is by no means so vague and tiresome as Mr. Capen, in his didactic passages. At times, to be sure, the latter is pointed enough, as when he quotes Pope’s famous compliment to Harley,
and adds, “ This made him incapable of sense, indignation, and self-respect.” A quicker perception of the ludicrous would have preserved Mr. Capen from some faults, but perhaps would have taken away from the graver merits of the volume, which are considerable.
— The name and the labors of Dr. Wines in the cause of prison reform have become known all over the world, as the volume before us testifies, with its reports and letters from Spain and Russia, from Roumania and California, from Boston and Botany Bay, from London, Paris, Rome, Madras, Madrid, Stockholm, New Zealand, Berlin, Texas, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Hobart Town. The pilgrimages of Howard, remarkable as they were, and the extent of his inquiries into “ the state of the prisons,” will bear no comparison with the longer journeys and œcumenical researches of this New Jersey Howard of the nineteenth century. What Burke said of Howard in 1780 may with equal truth be said of Dr. Wines, though of course the Bedfordshire sheriff had the immense advantage of being first in the field. “ This gentleman,” said Burke to the electors of Bristol, “has visited all Europe,not to survey the sumptnousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples, not to collect medals or collate manuscripts, but to dive into the depths of dungeons, to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt, to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and to compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries. It was a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity.” But like all discoverers and circumnavigators Howard could only touch at a few ports and lay down a general map of his voyages ; he neither colonized nor converted nor legislated. There was great philanthropy and silent British heroism in the man, but little science or method; so that Bentham, a dozen years after Burke’s eulogy and soon after Howard’s death, could say justly, while eulogizing him, “ Mr. Howard’s publications present no complete and regular system of prison management. They afford a rich fund of materials, but a quarry is not a house. No leading principles, no order, no connection. My venerable friend was much better employed than in arranging words and sentences.” But Dr. Wines has not only traveled far and corresponded farther, but he has also shown great industry in developing a prison system, and in “ arranging words and sentences.” He composes treatises, translates reports, compiles statistics, and makes no more of editing a volume of seven hundred pages, than we should of a single magazine article. Of this the work before us is sufficient evidence.
This book is, in fact, a year book or annual cyclopædia of theoretical and practical penal science. Besides Dr. Wines’s own reports on the work of the National Prison Association (with obituary notices of Dr. Libber, Charles Sumner, Judge Edmands, General Pilsbury, and other deceased prison reformers) and on the condition of the hundred American prisons and reformatories of which he speaks, there are also reports and communications from Sir Walter Crofton, Miss Mary Carpenter, M. Bonneville de Marsangy, Baron von Holtzendorff, Count Sollohub, Señor Armengol y Cornet, Signor Beltrani - Scalia, and a dozen or twenty more of the recognized leaders of opinion in their respective countries, all bearing on this one subject, how best to prevent crime and reform criminals. And along with these communications, or making part of them, comes a fund of recent and authentic intelligence concerning the state of the prisons and of the penal laws in the whole civilized world. Without going into a close calculation, we should estimate that the book contains information, either general or specific, relating to the prisons of at least three hundred millions of people. In these prisons there must have been confined in 1873-74 not less than a million persons. Thus the number reported in British India was more than one hundred and eighty thousand, in one hundred and eighty-seven prisons; in the United States more than one hundred thousand, of whom something more than forty thousand were constantly in prison, etc. Considering that crime is so fast increasing in our own country, it is comforting to know that this is not everywhere the case. Thus in Australia, to which British convicts used to be sent, the number of criminals is diminishing and the prisons are no longer crowded ; the same is true of Ireland, and of some portions of England and Scotland. In Italy, where it is only of late years that any systematic effort has been made to repress crime in general, Something seems to have been accomplished ; while in Spain things are much worse than formerly, on account of the foolish practice of opening the prisons at every political revolution. Thus Don Pedro Armengol says, in his Reincidentia, quoted by Dr. Wines, “ Spain is a prison turned loose ” (un presidio suelto). “As the result of amnesties, exemptions, commutations, and pardons, the population of the prisons has been dispersed throughout the entire Spanish territory, and it would seem to be a constant monomania in Spain that all political crises should be celebrated with a general jubilee in favor of those who have broken the law.” In Italy they have a better way of turning convicts loose. They set them at farm-work in great rural prisons or “ agricultural colonies,” which now contain an average, in several establishments, of more than three thousand convicts, and discharge about five hundred to their homes in each year. The effect of this occupation is thought to be better than that of mechanical and in-door labors. Italy also has a school for prison officers, now containing about four hundred men who are qualifying themselves for service in the prisons.
We notice, in some of Dr. Wines’s translations from the French, Spanish, and other languages, too close and literal a rendering of the original idioms, which have no proper place in English. Thus we hear of “ reclusion,” “ abnormity,” “recidivists,” etc. Sometimes this indicates only the technical use of the words; since prison-discipline, like other matters, must have a dialect of its own. But it is a good rule to be as little technical as possible, and to follow the English idiom always, until usage drives us away from it.
— There are no more delightful books of travel than those which recount explorations in Africa, and of these the palm is certainly borne by Livingstone’s histories. The volume we have before us to-day, Livingstone’s Last Journals, is as interesting as any for the information it gives the reader, while it has another and a higher value for the light it throws on the indomitable energy, the sincerity, and the simplicity of one of the most remarkable men of modern times. As a record of the last days and final sufferings of the great explorer it has a sad charm which could tempt to its perusal a man who never opened a book of travels.
The volume opens with Livingstone’s arrival at Zanzibar, January 28, 1866, and his subsequent preparations for starting to the interior. He had under his command a large and well-equipped party, but it would be hard to exaggerate the continual annoyance caused by his worthless men. His sepoys were indolent and untrustworthy beyond belief; they threw away their heavy loads, tried to bring others to follow in their disgraceful ways, shammed sickness, and wounded the beasts of burden to render them equally incompetent. Very soon Livingstone was obliged to send them back to the coast. Not long afterwards others of his men deserted him, bringing the false news of his death. This was when he was at Lake Nyassa. A more serious matter to him was the loss of all his medicines, which took place in January, 1867, through the treachery of two deserting carriers. His comments on this well deserve copying: “All the other goods I had divided, in case of loss or desertion, but had never dreamed of losing the precious quinine and other remedies; other losses and annoyances I felt as just parts of that undercurrent of vexations which is not wanting in even the smoothest life, and certainly not worthy of being moaned over in the experience of an explorer anxious to benefit a country and a people; but this loss I feel most keenly. Everything of this kind happens by the permission of One who watches over us with most tender care; and this may turn out for the best by taking away a source of suspicion among more superstitious, charm-dreading people farther north. I meant it as a source of benefit to my party and to the heathen. He says, “ I felt as if I had now received the sentence of death, like poor Bishop Mackenzie,”and there can be but little doubt that then, being deprived of what was next essential to food, it was only a matter of comparatively short time before the fatal fevers of the country would wholly break down an already much-tried constitution. Certainly from this date we find frequent mention of his suffering from grievous illnesses. Nothing daunted his unconquerable spirit, however. He pushed on, as his diary tells us in its simple words, and it is interesting to notice how indifferent to danger this experienced traveler became. Loneliness with him seems to have had the unusual effect of diminishing the feeling of self-importance. His only feeling was enthusiasm for his work. No man who ever kept a journal so unrelentingly suppressed himself; but by so doing Livingstone left a full record of himself, with his manifold virtues and his freedom from egotism. Every one will turn to his mention of the arrival of Stanley. He says, “ Appetite returned; and instead of the spare, tasteless two meals a day, I ate four times daily, and in a week began to feel strong. I am not of a demonstrative turn, — as cold, indeed, as we islanders are usually reputed to be,—but this disinterested kindness of Mr. Bennett, so nobly carried into effect by Mr. Stanley, was simply overwhelming.”
The last entry was made April 27, 1873. It reads, “Knocked up quite, and remain — recover —sent to buy milch-goats. We are on the bank of the Molilamo.” For the preservation of these journals, and for information of his death, we are indebted to the affection of two of his men, Chuma and Susi, who seem to have derived from the explorer some knowledge of the importance of his work, and who have given by their energy the strongest proof of the influence he exercised over those he met. That they should have brought his body and his papers to the coast was a direct result of Livingstone’s own spirit; he really inspired these men with sufficient affection and perseverance to accomplish this deed, and it stands as a most touching tribute to his remarkable qualities. The chapter recounting their ingenuity and activity is very interesting reading. The editor truly says, “ Thus in his death, not less than in his life, David Livingstone bore testimony to that good-will and kindliness which exist in the heart of the African.” As Livingstone himself wrote, jugglery and sleight of hand, which had been suggested to Napoleon III., would fail to have effect on the Africans; they are too sensible to be influenced by such childishness. “ Nothing brings them to place thorough confidence in Europeans but a long course of well-doing. . . . Goodness or unselfishness impresses their minds more than any kind of skill or power.” Surely Livingstone’s life proves this.
As is well known, Livingstone’s body was honored by burial in Westminster Abbey, or, rather, England was honored by the ability to deposit in that resting-place of poets and heroes one of the noblest of her sons. On the tablet dedicated to his memory stand these words, taken from a letter written, by a singular coincidence, just one year before the day of his death, “ All I can add in my loneliness is, may Heaven’s rich blessing come down on every one, American, English, or Turk, who will help to heal the open sore of the world.”
That England should maintain this form of recognition of greatness is not one of the least noticeable examples of that-country’s disposition to escape sometimes from what is merely practical. It is a wise and honorable token of respect. Few men have better deserved it than did Livingstone, whose whole life was a lesson to idle, selfish, faint-hearted humanity.
The editor has done his part well. His explanatory notes are of assistance to the reader, and of interest are the fac-similes of the last pages of Livingstone’s diary, and of the piece of the Standard newspaper on which, in lieu of anything better, he was obliged to make some notes. It might be said, perhaps, that some of the painful illustrations could be omitted. They are really too painful.
— It is a melancholy thing to notice how much effort, observation, and invention go to the making of even a decidedly poor novel. Mr. Farjeon certainly does not stand in the ranks of the great English novelists, but he puts into every story he writes an amount of cleverness which shows how high a position among the mechanical arts that of writing a certain sort of novel has attained. In this last one, At the Sign of the Silver Flagon, a good part of the story is laid in the gold fields of Australia. There is a certain air of truth in this part of the book, but never enough to make the reader forget that he has in his hands a story with incidents devised to pass away his time, rather than an irrepressible outburst from a genuine writer. It may be asking too much of novelists that they should always wait for the divine fire, but one may well be excused from admiring so artificial a production as this. But although artificial, it is tolerably readable, for one reads willingly many things one cannot admire.
— What more conld a novel need, to be interesting, than to have a murderer for its hero, who is rich, unprepossessing to the eye, madly in love with an innocent heroine, always about to marry her, and yet continually baffled by that unfailing favorite, the crafty detective, and the virtuous, whitehaired uncle who stands in close relationship to the Cheeryblc brothers of Nicholas Nickleby ? All the lofty intellectual pabulum which goes to the making of the impossible novel which cloaks its absurdities under the name of realism is to be found in Checkmate. He is an inexperienced novelreader who lets the misdeeds of these precious jail-birds make him shiver, who does not know that although they have a good deal of rope given them, it will be caught into a tight knot just before the end of the book is reached. Novels of this sort do not aim high; they only claim to help the reader through an hour of idleness or discomfor t, and for this purpose Checkmate is possibly as good as another; it certainly contains badness enough to satisfy any one. It is a singular comment on our civilization that for entertainment we have to go to records of wickedness. The device by which the murderer, by a combination of surgical operations, changes the appearance of his face so as nearly to elude detection, is undoubtedly novel, but whether it is worth while writing a book to introduce this trick, which is easier on paper than in the flesh, is another question.
— Mrs. Clarke’s story is properly described by its title, for it is a very rambling story she tells us. That it bears the stamp of probability it would not be easy to say. In fact, it is as romantic an invention as could well be devised, and to those readers who find themselves tired of following the antics of the hero of the realistic novel, who has to be perpetually looked after lest he should perform some murder on which the whole plot depends in some unobserved moment, it will be a welcome book. There is an agreeable, old-fashioned flavor about the story, and even the fact that the amiable hero addresses his sister as “ sister mine ” need not poison the minds of those who take it up for an hour’s diversion. It is a sort of fairy-story of the nineteenth century, and does not deserve too critical an examination.
FRENCH AND GERMAN.2
Gustave Droz is an author of some repute; indeed, he has been generally considered one of the most promising of the younger French novelists; his cleverness is undeniable. Very frequently his ability has been employed more for the amusement of his compatriots than for the purposes of didactic instruction ; at times, however, he has shown a willingness to devote his skill to simple portrayals of unobjectionable matter, as for example in a little sketch which appeared translated into English, three or four years ago, in Lippincott’s Magazine, with the title Making an Omelette. The tender pathos of this short tale could not have been bettered. His longer novels too are deserving of praise. They show his humor, his pathos, and even if they cannot all be recommended for universal reading, those who take them up and are prepared for a rather violent assault on the feelings will be struck by the many claims for excellence which they present. Of these, Around a Spring is the best known; it has been translated into English, as has Babolain, which is as grim a novel as one can find in a large circulating library. Since the appearance of the one last named, Droz has kept silence until now, when he again appears before the public with a new novel, called Une Femme Gênante. This is so inferior to the others both in conception and execution, so vulgar and degrading a book, that it is the duty of every one who has opportunity to mention it, to warn the public what to expect. The story tells the love of a Breton apothecary, Corentin Kerroch by name, for his wife Céline, a Parisian woman, clever in a petty way, and hardworking. This statement would seem to promise a state of affairs not always to be found in this author’s novels. How well this promise is kept will be seen. After three years of married life Offline dies. Corentin is exceedingly overcome by grief, and in his despair has the body of his wife exhumed after her burial, in order that he may embalm it. Having done this he fits up a suite of rooms in his house for its accommodation. He is always in this room, reading aloud to his wife’s body, and all as repulsive as you please. After this tasteful preparation the farce begins. To give the offensive details of his gradual indifference, and of the alleged comic incidents, would be more than tiresome. The upshot of the whole story is that after a time Corentin wearies of his artificial devotion, and, having fallen in love with the daughter of a neighbor, is very glad to have the embalmed body of his first wife returned to its proper resting-place. This dignified picture of human affection, this insult to the human race, is all that the writer has to show after four years of silence. A greater downfall it would have been hard to find. Out only apology for mentioning the book at all is, as has been said, to keep possible readers from the vain expectation of finding it in any way as clever as some of the rest of his work.
So great a change for the worse would be considered unequaled, were it not that Cherbuliez, whose fame was even greater, has added to his list of works a lamentable novel of flirtation, of which an “emancipated” English girl is the heroine. The title of the book is Miss Rovel ; it has lately been appearing in the Revue des Deux Mondes. The story is a description of the wiles by which a young Englishwoman, of more than doubtful antecedents, brings down a cynical French savant, who has had his heart-break, but who recovers under the fascinations of this ingenious maiden. What had been cleverness in some of Cherbuliez’s best work, becomes, in this, a trivial appeal to catch the momentary attention of the reader. It is like the mannerism of an old beau, whose words flow in a certain formal way, once capable of amusing, now seeming merely to echo what was at one time wit. Instead of making an attempt to please or even to thrill his reader, Cherbuliez seems only to have tried to baffle him, to puzzle him continually, and to surprise him by new developments. This is a tendency he has shown before, though generally he has kept it in its proper subordinate place ; but in Miss Rovel it is all that the book contains. His cleverness becomes as tiresome a trick as incessant punning. One almost yearns for a deep draught of conscientious stupidity. With these two unsatisfactory novels French fiction makes just now but a poor showing. It furnishes an example of the degeneracy which is sure sooner or later to appear in an over-worked field; every man has to try to outdo a host of rivals, and the jaded taste of the public is satisfied with nothing but very strong sensations. Novelty is required before anything else, and that being obtained, the means by which it has been furnished are judged very gently.
— Hermann Ebert’s Life of Fritz Reuter is an interesting book. The author has accumulated with care as well as industry a large number of facts about Reuter, and given them to the public in a volume of moderate compass. To be sure, there are some passages which bring to the reader’s lips a smile which the author did not intend to excite; but these are not very many in number, and are certainly harmless enough. Such a passage is that in which after crediting Reuter’s father with devotion to the practical in his own house, and his mother with devotion to the ideal, he goes on to say that the latter represented the ewige Weibliche in the family mansion. Of course she did.
Reuter’s father was Bürgermeister of Stavenhagen, and apparently an excellent magistrate. He lived and ruled in a stormy time, that of the French invasion, which brought heavy troubles upon his fellow-citizens. During them all the Bürgermeister was a sound adviser and a trustworthy leader. At home he was a somewhat rigid ruler; it was his wish that his son Fritz should study law, instead of following his own tastes and studying painting. Opposition was useless, and Fritz was sent to the university. When there his devotion to jurisprudence was of the slackest; he joined the loud but harmless talking bands of students, and, as is well known, was arrested and confined for seven years in prison. Ebert does not bring a very large number of new facts to throw light on this period. But it is easy to see how carefully Reuter forbore, in his Ut mine Festungstid, from any exaggeration in his pathetic description of his sufferings. It was indeed a most bitter experience.
It is interesting to read of Renter’s first attempt as an author. He was living in Trepton, as a teacher, when he wrote the first part of his Laüschen un Rimeln, but that was easier than to find a publisher. Hence he determined to be his own publisher. For the moderate sum of two hundred thalers, which was lent him by a friend, he set to work and had an edition of twelve hundred copies struck off, in six weeks. Such was the success of the book, that a second edition was called for, and the author’s fame was made. It was in November, 1853, that the book first appeared. Of his subsequent success this Life gives full information. His works appeared in swift succession until he felt his skill deserting him, when he wisely ceased writing. Although no mention is made in this biography of the fact, it is well known that Reuter was for many years the victim of a mania for drink, which he developed during his years of imprisonment. His wife, who seems to be a most worthy woman, helped him in his struggles against what was really a disease. She also encouraged him in his literary pursuits.
There has been in modern times no German writer more popular than Fritz Reuter. Others have been more coolly admired, but his truthful delineations, his charming humor, and his unaffected pathos won for him a very high place in the estimation of his readers. What he did was to describe what he had seen, or felt, or known. It has been found possible to trace almost the whole of his life in his various writings. It is certainly to be hoped that those who are already familiar with German will be willing to take the little trouble necessary to acquire the power of reading Plattdeutsch, to be able to enjoy him in the original. For those who are anxious to put their hands on some satisfactory account of Reuter, no better book can be found than Ebert’s simple, kindly, unpretending biography. Of course it has no index. In two or three centuries, perhaps, German writers will learn how best to put their copious contributions to the instruction of the public in a useful form. Meanwhile readers will have to make indexes for themselves.
- Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, based on the Doctrine of Evolution, with Criticisms on. the Positive Philosophy. By JOHN FISKE, M. A., LL. B., Assistant Librarian, and formerly Lecturer on Philosophy, at Harvard University. In two volumes. Boston : James R. Osgood & Co. 1875.↩
- The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America. By HUBERT HOWE BANCROFT. Volume II. Civilized Nations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1875.↩
- Ezra Stiles Gannett, Unitarian Minister in Boston, 1824-1871. A Memoir. By his Son, WILLIAM C. GANNETT. Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1875.↩
- The Life of Benjamin Franklin, written by Himself. Now first edited from Original Manuscripts and from his Printed Correspondence and other Writings. By JOHN BIGELOW. In three volumes. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1875.↩
- Dress-Reform : A Series of Lectures delivered in Boston, on Dress as it affects the Health of Women. Edited by ABBA GOOLD WOOLSON. With Illustrations. Boston : Roberts Brothers. 1874.↩
- Hearts and Hands. A Story in Sixteen Chapters. By CHRISTIAN REID, author of A Daughter of Bohemia, Valerie Aylmer, etc. New York : D. Appleton & Co. 1875.↩
- Too Murk Alone. By Mrs. J. H. RIDDELL, author of A Life’s Assize, Phemie Keller, George Geith, etc. Boston : Estes and Lauriat. 1875.↩
- My Story. A Novel. By Mrs. K. S. MACQUOID, the author of Patty. With Illustrations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1875.↩
- The History of Democracy; or, Political Progress, Historically Illustrated. From the Earliest to the Latest Periods. By NAHUM CAPEN, LL. D., author of The Republic of the United States of America: its Duties to Itself and its Responsible Relations to other Countries, etc. With Portraits of Distinguished Men. Volume I. Hartford: American Publishing Company. 1874.↩
- Transactions of the Third National Prison Reform Congress, held at St. Louis, Missouri, May 13-16,1874. Being the Third Annual Report of the National Prison Association of the United States. Edited by E. C. WINES, D. D., LL. D., Secretary of the Association. New York: Office of the Association, 320 Broadway. 1874.↩
- The Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa. From Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Five to his Death. Continued by a Narrative of his Last Moments and Sufferings, obtained from his Faithful Servants Chuma and Susi. By HORACE WALLER, F. R. G. S.,Rectorof Twywell, Northampton. With Portrait, Maps, and Illustrations. New York: Harper aud Brothers. 1875.↩
- At the Sign of the, Silver Flagon. A Novel. By B. L. FARJEON, author of Jessie Trim, King of No-Land, etc., etc. New York : Harper and Brothers. 1875.↩
- Checkmate. By J. S. LE FANU, author of Uncle Silas, Tenants of Malory, etc. Author’s Illus trated Edition. Boston : Estes and Lauriat. 1875↩
- A Rambling Story. By MART COWDEN CLARKE, author of The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare, The Iron Cousin, The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines, The Trust and the Remittance, etc. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1875.↩
- All books mentioned under this head are to be had at Schoenhof and Moeller’s, 40 Winter Street, Boston, Mass.↩
- Une Femme Ginante. Par GUSTAVR DROZ. Paris : 1875.↩
- Fritz Reuter. Sein Leben und seine Werke. Vcn HERMANN EBERT. Güstrow. 1874.↩