Books of the Month

History and Biography. Governor Chamberlain’s Administration in South Carolina : a Chapter of Reconstruction in the Southern States. By Walter Allen. (Putnams.) Mr. Allen had a most interesting task before him. No one has yet really discussed, in a historical method, the question of reconstruction, — a question which we venture to think will furnish subjects in abundance for historical students of another generation. Chamberlain made a gallant fight, and the history of his career in South Carolina is full of incident and dramatic action. But Mr. Allen makes a fatal mistake in his method of treatment. Under the conviction that he will strengthen his position by the citation of contemporary documents, he loads the book down not only with Governor Chamberlain’s addresses, inaugurals, and letters, but with long reports of interviews, long editorials, and an astonishing number of newspaper " notices.” All this entails great labor on the reader, who is compelled to pick out the story from a mass of material; it leads to repetition and to the incorporation of a deal of unnecessary comment by ignorant and unimportant writers, so that the real narrative is buried out of sight. Mr. Allen’s book is as wordy as one of Chamberlain’s long-winded harangues. He might have done a real service to the governor. If he had worked overall this raw material and made a compact story, and then bundled up all his detailed documentary evidence and deposited it in a public library for any one who desired to verify particulars, he would have found readers. As it is, instead of setting the governor on a pedestal, he buries him under a monument. — J. R. Green’s A Short History of the English People has “been reissued in a new edition, thoroughly revised by his widow. (Harpers.) Mrs. Green supplies also an interesting introduction, in which she allows herself to give a free sketch of Mr. Green’s training as a historian. We trust we are to have by and by a full biography of so interesting a man. One is tempted to draw comparisons between him and Buckle. Certainly Green struck a deeper chord of life in his brief historical work. Both men were in a degree pioneers, but Buckle was applying an intellectual formula to history. Green made history a graphic picture of life, taken not superficially, but profoundly. — History of the Civil War in America, by the Comte de Paris. Vol. IV. (Porter & Coates.) The four books of this volume are Eastern Tennessee, Siege of Chattanooga, The Third Winter, and The War in the Southwest. The count is above all a military historian, and sees his subject in the light of military science. He is evidently eager to get upon that period of the war when the American people had at last learned their lesson, and put the business of the war into the hands of men trained to conduct it, leaving them untrammeled by civil considerations. It is to be hoped that nothing will prevent the completion of this important work. — Life of Walter Harriman, with selections from his speeches and writings, by Amos Hadley. (Houghton.) Mr. Harriman was a New Hampshire man, a war Democrat, who entered the army, where he commanded a regiment of volunteers. He did not follow his party in the second election, but spoke vigorously for Lincoln, and after that was identified with the Republicans. He was twice governor of New Hampshire, and naval officer under Grant. The last years of his life were spent in honorable retirement and in travel. The narrative is a detailed one, and interest in it will largely be confined to his friends and neighbors. — Four Oxford Lectures, by E. A. Freeman (Macmillan), is divided by the two subjects, Fifty Years of European History, and Teutonic Conquest in Gaul and Britain. The former is a rapid summary; the latter, an outlook upon a field which Mr. Freeman hopes to occupy some day with more full and comprehensive treatment. The minute, critical, not to say captious, method of this historian appears more in the second portion than in the first. — The Causes of the French Revolution, by Richard Heath Dabney. (Holt.) Mr. Dabney makes a rapid and lively survey of society and politics in France in the years preceding 1789, and seeks to trace in a great mass of detailed incident the movements which finally issued in the Revolution. He writes as one who has accumulated his material with industry and made acute reflections upon it, and his arrangement of topics is orderly. At the same time we hesitate to say that he has himself clearly formulated in his own mind a full and satisfactory philosophy of French history. — William of Germany, a Succinct Biography of William I., German Emperor and King of Prussia, by Archibald Forbes. (Cassell.) The book is not quite so hasty a performance as at first appears. Mr. Forbes wrote most of the book while the Emperor was living; the final chapters, which are of slight consequence, except as bringing the narrative to its natural conclusion, were supplied, after the death of William, by another hand. Mr. Forbes is a bright writer, but he has the journalistic stamp upon him, as when he says, “ The millennium, whether for Prussia or as a general thing, was rather at a discount in Bohemia in the summer of 1866.”The book is a convenient summary. — Gouverneur Morris, by Theodore Roosevelt. (Houghton.) A volume in the American Statesmen series. We liked Mr. Roosevelt’s book on Benton, and should take up this with predisposition to like it, hut the preface arouses antipathy. What if Mr. Sparks, a pioneer in work of the sort which Mr. Morse is doing so well, failed to come up to Mr. Roosevelt’s notion of a biographer and editor ? Why should this later writer be so bumptious ? There is such a thing as good manners in literature, and Mr. Roosevelt offends against it.—Martin Luther and Other Essays, by F. H. Hedge. (Roberts.) The first of these essays is fresh in the minds of readers of The Atlantic, and another of the collection, Classic and Romantic, also appeared in these pages. Dr. Hedge has the ruggedness in his thought which results from a long, uncompromising course of study of great themes in a spirit of individual independence. Whether the reader agrees with him or not, he cannot fail to respect the integrity of mind which he confronts. The subjects of the essays are partly historical, especially in connection with the religious phase of history, and partly philosophical. — In the series English History, by Contemporary Writers (Putnams), W. H. Hutton edits a volume, Simon de Montfort and his Cause. The passages are taken largely from Matthew Paris. In the same series, F. P. Barnard takes up Strongbow’s Conquest of Ireland. These little books are capital aids to teachers and students. They give the cream of books which such readers would take down from the shelves if they were working at a particular period. Of course it is better to take down the books, but if one has not a large library, nor access to one, he need not be above resorting to this handy aid. — France and the Confederate Navy, 1862-1868, an International Episode, by John Bigelow. (Harpers.) Mr. Bigelow, as is well known, was consul at Paris during the war, and held a responsible position. He now undertakes to relate from his own experience the adventures of the Confederates when they sought to make a bargain with France by which a navy should be put at the disposal of the Confederacy. He draws upon documents, written and printed, and though he does not follow, as we think he should have done, a strictly chronological order of events, he manages to disclose very distinetly the animus of the Imperial government. [ he Puritan Age and Rule in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, by George E. Ellis. (Houghton.) Dr. Ellis writes out of a full mind upon a subject which has engaged him, in its different phases, throughout a long and studious life. He writes leisurely and without much attempt at compactness of statement. His temper is judicial, and he seeks to look impartially at the facts of history. In some instances, doubtless, his earlier conclusions have been modified, but on the whole the book may be taken as an excellent representation of a school of thought in New England history which is likely to give way before habits of study less ministerial, so to speak.—A Few Incidents in the Life of Professor James P. Espy, by his niece, Mrs. L. M. Morehead. (Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati.) A modest little volume concerning an eminent meteorologist, called out by some erroneous statements which had appeared in print. The narrative is really too brief for a satisfactory account of a man of strong character and large attainments, but it is long enough to set at rest the fables respecting his early illiteracy. — History of the People of Israel till the Time of King David, by Ernest Renan. (Roberts.) The interest which one takes in Renan’s books is in part due to the peculiar position which Renan holds. No ono of distinction represents so well the attitude of residuary legatee to Christianity, and the cheerfulness of the heir when administering the estate is tempered by a graceful sentiment of esteem which does not interfere with an entirely calm judgment upon the character of the deceased, and the value of the property accumulated by him. With this clearly in mind, one can enjoy the imaginative reading of history, and receive rich and abundant suggestion to freshen his conception of Israelitish development. — In the series of Famous Women (Roberts) two interesting volumes have appeared, Hannah More, by Charlotte Yonge, and Adelaide Riston, by herself. Miss Yonge really rehabilitates Hannah More, and has done good service in destroying the fiction which had been getting possession of readers. The evangelical bluestocking was a far more human and lovable creature than has been supposed, and full of rare common sense. Ristori’s autobiography is admirable for its elucidation of a character of genius. — A Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, by William C. Beecher and Rev. Samuel Scoville, assisted by Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher. (Charles L. Webster & Co., New York.) In its plan and treatment this book addresses itself to those who are followers of Beecher. It is big, eulogistic, sploshy. It does not really show the man, and yet he was a most notable figure, and will one day, when the clouds disperse, be sculptured in vigorous prose by some one. Mr. Beecher is a legacy to future times from this century, and we wish the future joy of him, — the future, we mean, of writers. — Cardinal Wolsey, by Mandell Creighton (Macmillan), is an interesting study of Henry the Eighth’s great minister, and is one of the first of a series of twelve volumes dealing with English statesmanship. — In The Makers of Venice (Macmillan) Mrs. Oliphant has told her story in episodes rather than in a consecutive narrative. Venice was richer in doges and soldiers than in painters and poets, and, consequently, Mrs. Oliphant’s work lacks the kind of interest which attached itself to her Makers of Florence.

Economics and Politics. Big Wages and How to Earn Them, by a Foreman. (Harpers.) A sensible little book by a man who occupies a position outside of labor unions, not necessarily antagonistic to them, but critical of them and of their temporary use. It is quite possible that the writer is a foreman only on paper, but his position in logic is a sound one. — The Art of Investing, by a New York Broker. (Appleton.) A little volume of sound advice and prudent judgment. It is written by a man who clearly does not pin his faith upon any one class of securities, and who understands well the shifting character of the money market as well as the fundamental principles which underlie the growth of wealth. — The Study of Politics. By William P. Atkinson. (Roberts.) This is a little book and should not take long to read, but we have been spending most of our spare time over the note prefacing it. Mr. Atkinson is professor of English ; it is a pity he does not always practice it. But the hook is interesting, candid, manly, somewhat general in its treatment of an important subject, but refreshing in its stout assertion of the permanent in the study of politics. — A History of Political Economy, by John Kells Ingram, with preface by E. J. James. (Macmillan.) A science which so constantly calls upon its opponents to reëxamine fundamental principles may well call for historical treatment, and the advantage of this book is that Dr. Ingram represents the latest school, that which seems most in accord with the prevalent methods in all scientific study, and thus makes his survey from the latest point of observation.— International Law, with materials for a code of International Law, by Leone Levi, is the sixtieth volume in the International Scientific series (Appleton), a series which takes a wide sweep in its plan. The main part of the book is a direct contribution to a code. Under the head of the Political Condition of States there is also in compact form a considerable body of information which makes the volume useful as a book of reference. — Constitutional History and Political Development of the United States, by Simon Sterne. (Putnams.) This is a new edition of a well known book, the addition taking into view legislative growth since 1882. —Taxation, its Principles and Methods; translated from the Scienza delle Finanze of Dr. Luigi Cossa, with an introduction and note by Horace White. (Putnams.) The Italians are making important contributions to economic science, and this book, apart from its intrinsic value, is interesting as illustrative of the trend of political thought in a nationality which one at first sight might imagine to be the last to cut loose so completely from its historic past. The appendix contains the existing systems for the assessment and collection of state taxes in New York and Pennsylvania, and the rates of taxation therein. — The Present Condition of Economic Science and the demand for a radical change in its methods and aims, by Edward Clark Lunt. (Putnams.) A vigorous rather than lucid critique of the so-called Historical school. It may he taken with Dr. Ingram’s book, but will hardly give as much satisfaction to the ordinary reader.

Books of Reference. The first volume af a new edition of Chambers’s Encyclopædia (Lippincott) carries the work through the title Beaufort. This American edition contains a number of articles upon American topics mainly, which are copyrighted. The old edition is now twenty years old, and opportunity has been taken to revise the work and bring it down to date. The articles are for the most part brief and well condensed. It is a pity that the authorship of the longer articles is not given. — We have to record the publication of the first three volumes of the Library of American Literature (C. L. Webster & Co.) which has long been under course of preparation by E. C. Stedman and Miss E. M. Hutchinson. Ten volumes are promised, and these three cover the ground down to the United States period, that is, from 1607 to 1787. “ We term all literature American,” says the preface, “that was produced by the heroic pioneers, whose thought, learning, anc] resolution shaped the colonial mind.” This refers to the early colonial literature, and accordingly Captain John Smith and William Strachey appear in the Virginia portion, but not Sandys. The editors are more discriminating and we think more just in this respect than Mr. Tyler was in his history, to winch these volumes furnish an admirable commentary. Any one who is conversant with the early writers is likely to have his favorite passages, and to look for them. We regret, for instance, the omission from John Winthrop’s History of the strong account of a boatwreck in Massachusetts Bay, but Anthony Thacher’s narrative is given, and the selection is admirable throughout, since the editors have apparently not been so desirous of giving specimens of all writers as of giving passages of intrinsic interest and value. The result is that the general effect is stronger than that produced by Mr. Tyler’s rather florid account of the same period, which leaves one with the feeling that he must adopt the philosophy of the Marchioness and make believe very hard. The editorial work of brief head-notes is done with excellent judgment, and the work bids fair to be a most admirable encyclopædia to accompany a biographical dictionary. It differs in this respect from Duyckinck’s, which undertook to combine the two functions. — Old Plate, Ecclesiastical, Decorative, and Domestic, Its Makers and Marks, by J. H. Buck. (The Gorham Manufacturing Co.) Owners and collectors of old silver will find a great deal of valuable information and many useful hints in this volume, which is evidently the result of much careful and sympathetic research. The book is illustrated with numerous woodcuts and process plates.

Books for Young People. The Story of the City of New York, by Charles Burr Todd. (Putnams.) Written evidently for young readers, this book is rather a running narrative of the growth of the city than a study of municipal development. It has bits of antiquarianism and sketches of events which have taken place within the limits of the city, but one cannot read such a book without being struck, by the absence of any strong civic independence or self-conseiousness. The city seems to have had little really individual existence. — Derrick Sterling, a story of the mines, by Kirk Munroe. (Harpers.) A story of adventure, heroism, poetic justice, and transformation from miner to student. — A new Robinson Crusoe, by W. L. Alden. (Harpers.) The story purports to he the narrative of a young Irish seaman who was shipwrecked in the Pacific with a man who professed to be a grandson of Crusoe, but was really an escaped lunatic, and insists throughout the adventure upon enacting the part of Crusoe, while his young companion, who is totally ignorant of the real Robinson, is obliged to pose as Friday. The idea of the book is funny, and as brevity is a relative matter, we may say the book is short. Nevertheless it is a piece of fooling which we should think might have wearied the writer even before it does the reader, and he gets tired of it before the book is done. — In his series of The Lives of the Presidents (Frederick A. Stokes & Brother, New York), W. O. Stoddard has reached Harrison, Tyler, and Polk, all included in a single volume. The lives are plain, unadorned sketches, with little attempt at any characterization of the subjects or clear explanation of the political questions with which their names were connected.

Poetry and Fiction. Wallenstein, by Friedrich Schiller, done into English verse by J. A. W. Hunter. (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.) The notable thing in Mr. Hunter’s version of Schiller’s masterpiece is the fact that the translator has given us the prelude whose “ lilting metre ” frightened away Coleridge. Mr. Hunter has been very successful in catching the lively humor of this scene, which, however, has no connection with the main tragedy, and is valuable only as a study of camp life and character in the olden time. — Monsieur Motto, by Grace King (Armstrong & Son), is a collection of four stories illustrative of Louisiana life and character. Miss King’s Creole studies have a quality of fineness which is frequently lacking in Mr. Cable’s work in this sort. The “ Marriage of Marie Modeste ” strikes us as the most charming of these stories, though in this, as in the other tales, Miss King falls into an error that destroys the illusion. She makes her characters speak a mixture of French and English. Their dialogue should be wholly in French or wholly in a correct English translation. — Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome and The Vicar of Wakefield, with Mulready’s illustrations, are the two latest additions to Putnam’s series of tastefully selected and daintily printed little volumes called Knickerbocker Nuggets.