Comment on New Books
Science and Philosophy. In the Evolution Series, a fortnightly issue (Appleton), Nos. 3 and 4 are The Scientific Method, by F. E. Abbot, and Herbert Spencer’s Synthetic Philosophy, by Benjamin F. Underwood. No. 5 is The Evolution of Chemistry, by Robert G. Eccles ; No. 6, The Evolution of Electric and Magnetic Physics, by Arthur E. Kennelly; No. 7, The Evolution of Botany, by Frederic J. Wulling ; and No. 8, Zoölogy as related to Evolution, by John C. Kimball. The publication appears to be under the auspices of the Brooklyn Ethical Association.—The History of Human Marriage, by Edward Westermarck. (Macmillan.) Mr. Westermarck is Lecturer on Sociology at the University of Finland, and is introduced to the English public by Alfred R. Wallace. His work is one of scientific method, and is marked by indefatigable research, not only in the published writings of travelers and students, but through correspondence with observers living among savage or half-civilized people. The independence of the writer is as noticeable as his industry, and is evinced by his criticism of generally accepted authorities. He lays the foundation of his study in an examination of the habits of other animals than man, and reaches the conclusion that there was an annual pairing time in the infancy of mankind ; he opposes the view held by many of promiscuous intercourse in early periods ; he discusses the bearing of natural selection upon marriage, the question of kinship in its relation to marriage, marriage ceremonies and rites, the forms of human marriage, and finally the duration of human marriage. Everywhere there is indication of great thoroughness of research and patience indiscrimination.— The Science of Language, founded on Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution in 1861 and 1863, by F. Max Müller. In two volumes. (Scribners.) This is a new, revised and enlarged edition of the Lectures on the Science of Language which made Max Müller’s name familiar to students a generation ago. There is the same charm of friendliness about these chapters that captivated readers unaccustomed to so fresh a treatment of great scientific subjects. Müller has had many disciples since, but no one has altogether caught the grace and attractiveness of this accomplished writer, and this new edition, with all the mellowness of the author’s ripe scholarship, will doubtless win new readers equally ready with the old to be fascinated by the treatment. — The Soul of Man, an Investigation of the Facts of Physiological and Experimental Psychology, by Dr. Paul Carus. (The Open Court Publishing Co., Chicago.) Dr. Carus has attempted in this book to classify and harmonize the results of physiological psychology so as to account for the more hidden processes of evolution resulting in the consciousness of man, if not for its origin. He approaches and pursues his subject with a reverent spirit, and under the limitations which he sets seems to reach definite results ; but we suspect his philosophy, though it professes to take account of “the communism of soul-life,” is based so exclusively upon the phenomena of individualism as to miss the aid which is derivable from historic investigation. It is too much, perhaps, to ask that a student of physiological psychology should also be a student of history, but the conclusions reached by the one would pretty surely be modified by those reached by the other, since the almost inevitable tendency of thought in the student of history is toward that notion of relationship which in its highest consciousness exclaimed, “ I and my Father are one.” — This same writer has brought out a second and revised edition of his Fundamental Problems, the Method of Philosophy as a Systematic Arrangement of Knowledge. (The Open Court Publishing Co.) In an appendix of a hundred pages he replies to criticisms made upon his essays when they first appeared. — Intimations of Eternal Life, by Caroline C. Leighton. (Lee & Shepard.) Mrs. Leighton, reading here and there in physical and biological treatises, and not disregarding the folk-lore of unscientific men, has mused over the great question of the continuity of life. From the suggestions of science she has by analogy found fragments of evidence in favor of personal immortality. The book is the thoughtful product of a thoughtful woman, and may stimulate thought in others. — Mind is Matter, or The Substance of the Soul, by William Hemstreet. (Fowler & Wells Co.) “ On the materiality of electricity stands or falls the immortality of the soul. Within two years this will be universally accepted.” Tims the author in his preface, dated with significant precision April 1, 1891. As we have now reached November, only seventeen months remain for such decadent opinions as the commenter may cherish. — Origin, Purpose, and Destiny of Man, or Philosophy of the Three Ethers, by William Thornton. (The Author, Boston.) The main purpose of the writer appears to be to substitute a Transmission for the Germ theory of disease. He holds that the evolution going on in man is to issue in “ the gradational throwing off of this material concrete which we call man’s body, until an ultimately developed spiritual state shall become the order of things.” If we could only hasten this development, and throw off this material concrete in August and resume it in October ! — Beyond the Bourn, Reports of a Traveller returned from “ The Undiscovered Country.” Submitted to the world by Amos K. Fiske. (Fords, Howard & Hulbert.) Under the somewhat worn subterfuge of a melancholy stranger depositing a manuscript with him, the author gives forth the supposititious disclosures of a person who, bereft of all that makes life dear, himself passed through the gate of death. Brushing aside all this accumulation of needless rubbish, the reader enters upon a discussion of the divine in its relation to the human. It can hardly be said that this contribution to the revelation which comes from reason is likely to appeal to many minds as adding much to the author’s argument that all revelation is but the human reason speaking to the human reason. — Heredity, Health and Personal Beauty, by John V. Shoemaker. (F. A. Davis, Philadelphia.) A somewhat rambling, discursive series of chapters by a writer of philosophic mind, who travels leisurely from a consideration of the law of life and growth through man’s spiritual and physical place in nature to the art of walking, the skin as an organ of the body, the bath, care of the face, hands, feet, hair, nails, eye, nose, with Inquiry into the evolution of the American girl, ventilation with relation to health, a list of medicated soaps, and a concluding chapter on household remedies. The book is an odd mixture of practical sense and harmless speculation. We cannot answer for Dr. Shoemaker’s recipes, and we think he is a little too much given to pushing nature by means of specifics, but his general observations are reasonable.
Literature and Criticism. We have not come to the end of the period which has been so rich in new and scholarly editions of English writers, and we welcome with special pleasure the first volume of a new edition of Landor’s Imaginary Conversations, edited by Charles G. Crump, and published in London by J. M. Dent & Co., in New York by Macmillan & Co. The most convenient edition hitherto has been the neat and handy one of Roberts Brothers, which had, we think, an advantage over this in ease of reading : but Mr. Crump has furnished very serviceable bibliographical and explanatory notes, which treat the reader with respect, and do not class him among schoolboys. The Introduction by the editor is discriminating and reserved. We question the force of his criticism upon Landor’s anachronism in making Xenophon and Alcibiades, for example, discuss the expedition of Cyrus. How does this impair Landor’s dramatic art, more than any of his collocations of the dead and the living? His characters are taken for their permanent qualities, not necessarily for their contemporaneousness. The style of this volume is exceedingly pretty, and is a fresh illustration of the approach of the English taste to the American as regards size. The last English edition of Landor, if we mistake not, was in octavo form. — A special Landor publication is an American edition of his Citation and Examination of William Shakespeare (Dodd, Mead & Co.), with an Introduction by H. W. Mabie. As Mr. Mabie points out, Landor was peculiarly at home in Warwickshire, and easily in sympathy with the boyish escapade of the great poet. The work is one of the most artistically complete of Landor’s, since, besides the grace of style that was His birthright, the form is one which enables him to avoid the defects that creep into some of his Conversations. Added to the Citation is the conference between Spenser and Essex. Landor unites in himself the Elizabethan and the classic. — The Harpers have issued in pretty paper covers Matthew Arnold’s Selections from Wordsworth. — Kinglake’s Eothen forms the thirty-third number of the attractive Knickerbocker Nuggets Series. (Putnams.) The book is an interesting illustration of the power of art to keep alive what would seem otherwise to have only an ephemeral existence. What multitudes of books of travel have been written, and how very few are those which last beyond the year in which they appear ! It is true that in Eothen the author was dealing with a country which has permanent antiquity, but the reason for the permanence of his book is the same that preserves Herodotus, whom we read not so much to find out what the ancients knew by traveling as to enjoy a delightful narrative by a delightful story-teller. — In the pretty Temple Library (J. M. Dent & Co., London) the Essays and Poems of Leigh Hunt are presented in a most careful selection by R. B. Johnson, and accompanied by some dainty etchings. Mr. Johnson has given a very good idea of the range of Hunt’s genius by his choice of papers, and is especially to be commended for introducing so many, either in whole or in part, that illustrate his personal history, as the stinging paper which caused his arrest, and the prospectuses to his several journalistic ventures. The choice of poems, also, is good, and the two volumes afford one an excellent notion of Hunt at his best. He was a man of instinctive literary faculty, who found much of his material in other literature, yet had withal a native gift of poetic sensibility which made him warmly sympathetic with all forms of beauty, whether in nature, in art, or in character. His faults of affectation were partly those of his time, when a minor poet was pretty sure to be overcharged with feeling, and partly the result of rich pasturage in other literature. Mr. Johnson’s biographic sketch is not very interpretative, but the portrait which prefaces the first volume largely atones for this. — Impressions and Opinions, by George Moore. (David Nutt, London ; Scribners, New York.) Mr. Moore as a novelist lets himself loose, and glories in his looseness. In his criticism he is sometimes insolent, but in general his admirations and his detestations are so frankly expressed as to attract the ingenuous reader. His freedom in saying what he thinks, though it may lead him occasionally into mere audacity, more often enables him to strike a true note with great emphasis, so that his criticisms have at times almost the character of revelations. His irritation at conventions is, after all, a somewhat negative virtue. His real merit is in his incisive and ruthless unveiling of shams. In this volume his attention is divided between the drama, the novel, and the picture, with special studies of particular plays, books, and paintings. The subjects which attract him most, and on which he writes with the greatest positiveness, are those connected with the theatre, and we think his best work is here. — Volume III. Part I. of Murray’s A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles runs from E to Every, and is prepared by Henry Bradley. (Macmillan.) A good illustration of the method of this dictionary is to be seen in its treatment of the word either. After indicating the pronunciation and classifying it as a, and adv., it gives the several graphic forms which the word takes in old English ; then follows a paragraph upon the development of the use of the word, showing that in old English and middle English it had only its original sense of “ each of two,” " both, ’ but about the beginning of the fourteenth century it assumed the disjunctive sense “one or the other of two,” which properly belonged to an old form, “ outher. ” Another paragraph deals with the pronunciation, and then come two columns of discriminated uses with illustrative quotations. It is treated first as an adjective : “ I. Each of the two,” and under this there are some eight subdivisions ; then, “ II. One or other of the two,” and under this half a dozen more subdivisions. As an adverb there are corresponding uses with the adjective. The illustrative examples range from 893 to 1881. One may learn what authority there is for usage with a plural or a singular verb, and may glow with national pride as he finds Howells cited as authority for its use as an equivalent to “ each ” when more than two things are spoken of. — Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley, Historical and Biographical Sketches, by W . H. Venable. (Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati.) Mr. Venable has done a real service to the history of American literature by bringing together in this octavo volume a great deal of information about the persons who from pioneer days till now have had to do with education, art, literature, religion, and politics in the Ohio Valley. He has not labored to fix the place in history of these persons, but has occupied himself with sketches of their careers and anecdotes which serve to give piquancy to his narrative. Much that he has inwoven is the result of private communication, and bibliographical details together with a full index add to the usefulness of the book. — The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume XIX. (The Century Co.), shows an unusual range in topics and pictures. Mr. Cole’s engraving of Mona Lisa presents in rich tones the great enigma, and Mr. Low’s Grecian girl tracing the outline of her lover’s shade has a warmth in its light which suggestions from the antique rarely possess. The Californian adventure covers a good deal of space, and out of the various narratives one may pick and choose. Mr. Rockhill’s travels in Tibet — where has the h gone to ? — make a noticeable series, and for stories have we not Colonel Carter and The Faith Doctor ? But as one runs through the six numbers he is most struck by the richness and brilliancy of the woodcuts. Such a paper as that on Two French Sculptors gains immensely by its illustrations. — The University of Pennsylvania issues publications, and in the Series in Philology, Literature, and Archæology (N. D. C. Hodges, New York) the third number of the first volume is occupied by two papers, one on πρòs with the accusative, and the other a Note on the Antigone, by W. A. Lamberton.
Fiction. Khaled, a Tale of Arabia, by F. Marion Crawford. (Macmillan.) One is almost disposed to call this novelist astute, so cleverly does he keep his public in good humor and constant by the diversity of his efforts to entertain them. The East, England, Italy ; Italy, England, the East, — so does he ring the changes, and in each place he seems thoroughly at home. If Khaled has not the engrossing character of some of his tales, it has the clean finish of them all ; perhaps the fable which lies at its base is responsible for the reader’s restraint of absorption. Yet the real and the supersensual are as finely interlocked here as the romantic and supersensual are in Undine. The culmination of the story is an admirable piece of writing. The temper of Mr. Crawford’s English is like that of a Damascene sword. — Dally, by Maria Louise Pool. (Harpers.) Dally was a North Carolina waif whom a benevolent lady rescued from squalid surroundings and sent for rearing to a conscientious Yankee widow. The contact of this piece of “poor white trash,” albeit possessed of a native charm, with the fixed ways of a thrifty New England woman offers a chance not only for most amusing incidents, but for the more subtle disclosure of the reciprocal influence of the two characters. There is introduced also the girl’s dreadful brother, Barker, who is a masterly production. The book is indeed one of striking merit in the matter of characterization, and if Miss Pool’s own writing were as good as her dialectic parts the book would be one of rare excellence, but the rudeness of the country element calls for greater delicacy in the setting. In spite of obvious defects, however, the book is decidedly one to be read. — Recent numbers of Lee & Shepard’s Good Company Series of paper novels are, Which Wins ? by Mary H. Ford, who calls it further a Story of Social Conditions, and dedicates it to the Farmers’ Alliance ; Sweet and Twenty, by Mary Farley Sanborn, a brightly written novel of the conventional sort,—a society man and country lass, with interference, misunderstanding, reconciliation, and bliss. These two novels are new ; a third is a reissue of a collection of J. T. Trowbridge’s rememberable stories, Coupon Bonds, Madam Waldoborough’s Carriage, The Man who stole a Meeting-House, and others; the twelfth number is a reissue of Amanda M. Douglas’s tale of Osborne of Arrochar, an American story with figures and scenes more or less consciously copied from English fiction. — Carine, a Story of Sweden, by Louis Enault. Translated by Linda da Kowalewska. With illustrations by Louis K. Harlow. (Little, Brown & Co.) A pretty story, told in a kind of falsetto voice, of a young girl whose mind has been unhinged by a cruel disappointment in love, and who moves through the tale as in a sort of dream, waking at last to reality through the medium of the love of the hero of the tale. The pictures of Swedish life are not native but foreign, and a French accent touches all the speech.— Otto the Knight, and Other Trans-Mississippi stories, by Octave Thanet. (Houghton.) The scene of the stories is chiefly in Arkansas, and though the writer is not a native of the region she has known it by sojourn so intimately as to be able to write with confidence. Something more, however, than intimate acquaintance with a country is requisite before one can speak its language artistically ; there must be penetration, sympathy, selective power, apprehension of what is common as well as perception of what is distinctive. These Octave Thanet has ; and more than this, she has the pervasive humor which makes her work full of a fine humanity and rich feeling. She tells a story well, and thus her separate pieces are not mere sketches of transMississippi life ; they are artistic wholes.— Passion-Flowers and the Cross, by Emma Howard Wight. (Calendar Publishing Co., Baltimore.) Stuff. “ A robe of some soft clinging stuff,” “perfumed hair,” and all the other well-worn phrases of the amatory novelist. — Masters and Men, by Eugene J. Hall. (Charles H. Sergel & Co., Chicago.) The author of this story intended, apparently, to make it a contribution toward the solution of labor problems. It may be said that a political economist should not be judged by his success or failure as a novelist, but one may be permitted to doubt the value of his studies in the science of society when his productions in the art of society are so mechanical and unreal. — Chattanooga, a Romance of the American Civil War, by F. A. Mitchel. (American News Co.) All things are possible in a romance which deals with the adventures of a spy, and so the hero of this tale, besides carrying out his mission to learn the movements of the Confederate army, brings back a wife whom he has captured by some sleight of human nature from her Confederate lover. There is a capital study of a boy who wears stupidity as a mask. — A Prince of Good Fellows. (American News Co.) This story is located among the cotton plantations lying on the Mississippi River. The author affects to he a Virginian gentleman, and appears to be a reader of Thackeray, with the result that, though there are many individual scenes and pictures of interest, the novel as a whole is a somewhat elaborately tedious tale. — Fourteen to One, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. (Houghton.) A collection of stories, some of which have already won their place in popular favor. There is nothing of the idle singer in Mrs. Ward, for she writes stories only when the theme of the story has possessed her, and thus the outcome is always a distinct contribution, some positive expression of faith ; for, however artful she may be in construction, her art holds some bit of human action tried by the highest standards. — Diana Fontaine, by Algernon Ridgeway. (Lippincott.) A novel of Virginian life, in which the old and the new are curiously blended. The story is slight enough, the author’s chief end being to sketch a few characters to whom he is attracted. The old “Southern” type of fiction is faintly remembered by the reader, but war and new industry have affected the novelist as well as the life portrayed. There are many interesting passages, such as the description of the dance after the tournament, and frequent keen reflections, as in the comment on the Southern mind during the early reconstruction period. With more of a story to tell, the author might easily have made a book of much significance. — Balaam and his Master, and Other Sketches and Stories, by Joel Chandler Harris. (Houghton.) The staying qualities of Mr. Harris’s work are to be referred to the depth of his portraiture. However grotesque the external features of his characters and scenes, there is always to be found, whether the figures are black or white, a fundamental, substantial, and firmly drawn piece of human nature, so that the impression produced is a solid and not a superficial one. The half dozen stories and sketches which make up this volume (the title-story, A Conscript’s Christmas, Ananias, Where’s Duncan ? Mom Bi, The Old Bascom Place) have a power to fix themselves in the reader’s memory which merely graphic tales do not possess.
Humor. Farming, by Richard Kendall Munkittrick. Illustrated by A. B. Frost. (Harpers.) The army of potato bugs marching across the cover of this showy book notifies the reader before he opens it that he is to have the travesty and not the serious side. The facetious conception of the city-bred man making a somersault and coming up a farmer, only to execute another turn at the end of the year and become once more a sadder and a wiser city man, is worked out with somewhat sparse humor. Even Mr. Frost’s pictures seem to have caught something of the indifference which results from using so well worn a theme. — Diary of a Pilgrimage (and Six Essays), by Jerome K. Jerome. (Holt.) The pilgrimage was to Ober-Ammergau to see the Passion Play, and Mr. Jerome stops laughing when he comes to this point, and does not begin again till he has passed it. High spirits confused by vigorous effort at sentiment and subsequent exhaustion characterize this book like others of the writer’s production. Was it for this America was discovered, that American humor should revisit England ? There is humor in the book, yet so slouchy is the style that, after reading it, one finds Mark Twain severe and Burnand a classic to be examined in. —The Life-Romance of an Algebraist, by George Winslow Pierce. (J. G. Cupples, Boston.) Mr. Pierce stirs a mixture of algebra, verse, philosophy, nonsense, and sentiment, and leaves the reader to decide whether it is half baked or good for human nature’s daily food.
History and Biography. Boston, by Henry Cabot Lodge, is a volume in the English series of Historic Towns. (Longmans.) Mr. Lodge has had a clear conception of the task to be undertaken, which was to set forth the Puritan ideas as demonstrated in the most noteworthy concentrated product of those ideas. In tracing the development of Boston, he has found it necessary, therefore, to spend a good deal of his strength in expounding what is in effect the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Possibly this course could not be avoided, but we think something has been lost in the vividness of the impression to be made by the town itself. There has been a loss also in this regard, that the proportions of the subject have suffered, and not enough space was reserved for a portrait of Boston in its latest historical phase. That is to say, there was a true culmination in the history of the town to be found in Boston just before the influx of immigrants and the efflux of Bostonians. Then it was that the provincial town showed the finest flower of its two hundred years of cultivation, and indicated what generations of seclusion from Europe had accomplished under Puritan ideas. Mr. Lodge gives a slight hint of this in his closing chapter, but we think he scarcely discloses the marked difference between the Boston of 1840 and that of 1890. The past fifty years have seen great changes which are still in progress, but the perspective permitted by this space of time renders the Boston of 1840 a fit conclusion to the study of the town as an historic one. Mr. Lodge writes with the ease of one to whom the subject in its larger aspects is familiar. — Theodoric the Goth, the Barbarian Champion of Civilization, by Thomas Hodgkin. (Putnams.) A volume in Heroes of the Nations Series, and written with a clear notion of what the readers of such a series desire. Mr. Hodgkin shows excellent selective power in setting forth, freed from the entanglement of historic speculation, the figure of this man born before his time. His chapters illustrative of the civilization of Rome at the period are especially interesting, and he is often quite happy in making his points clear by a comparison with modern conditions and events. Mr. Hodgkin, in attempting to explain the affinity of Theodoric and other barbaric heroes with Arianism in its contest with the Athanasian believers, possibly overlooks the influence of the Arian notion of the Godhead which tends to emphasize the objective, kingly notion, so obvious to these commanders and rulers. — Peel, by J. R. Thursfield (Macmillan), is one of the series of Twelve English Statesmen, and answers well the design of the series to present “ in historic order the lives and work of those leading actors who by their direct influence have left an abiding mark on the policy, the institutions, and the position of Great Britain among states.” Nothing so well illustrates the distinction between English and American political life as these studies of statesmen, and the career of Peel, devoted by his father to public life as religiously as a New England woman might devote her son to the Christian ministry, is an example of the profound influence in public affairs of the person who made statesmanship a profession at a time when the governing body of England was small, and whoever was at the centre of things had it in his power to mould institutions and laws much as the ruling authority in a great railroad corporation may do to-day. Mr. Thursfield writes with vigor and with discrimination. Indeed, the history of statesmanship in England is so much the biography of statesmen that there has grown up a school of political writers whose main strength lies in their psychological analysis. It is so much more satisfactory to study the working of one man’s mind than that of a mob of men. — Colonel F. Maurice has reprinted, with additions, his article War, first issued in the Encyclopædia Britannica. (Macmillan.) The article was written for the general public, not for military critics, and the book appeals in like manner to the student of history by the skill with which it translates into the vernacular principles of the military art which necessarily find more technical expression among soldiers. Colonel Maurice, in fact, seeks constantly for the fundamental principles, not in the formulæ of writers on military movements, but in the course of action followed by great commanders, and by putting himself as far as possible in the place of those who have made war. He recognizes clearly that in the marvelous change of conditions the only permanent elements are those which lie in human thought. — The Story of the Filibusters, by James Jeffrey Roche ; to which is added the Life of Colonel David Crockett. (Macmillan.) A volume in The Adventure Series, of which about half is devoted to William Walker’s expedition. Mr. Roche looks upon these adventures from the point of view of the dramatist rather than of the moralist, and his narrative is full of picturesque details. The spectacle of a man indifferent to the odds against him, and especially insolent in his habit as regards national relations, has for our author a peculiar interest, and despite the fundamental difference there is sufficient likeness between the temper of filibuster and Fenian to make the subject one to win his sympathy. He has done his work capitally. The latter part is occupied by a reprint in abridged form of Crockett’s racy autobiography. — The Story of Portugal, in The Story of the Nations Series (Putnams), by H. Morse Stephens, is more distinctively an annalistic history than the other volumes of the series, the author being driven to this treatment by the lack of existing histories of the country. The contact of this little nation with the rest of the world in its great period renders its history full of variety and incident. Indeed, the smallness of the unit lends to it a peculiar attraction. What Mr. Stephens says of the occupation by Portugal of Brazil is of special interest in view of the present autonomy of the greater Portugal in America. The book is one of the freshest and most useful in the series. — Choses d’Amérique, les Crises Economique et Religieuse aux États-Unis, by Max Leclerc. (E. Plon, Paris.) The author was in this country in the summer of 1890, and the two subjects which appear to have especially engaged his attention were the McKinley bill and the relation held to America by the Church of Rome. What, he asks, is the part which this church is to play ? With its ancient order and its new environment, how is it to continue Catholic and yet become national ? Mr. Leclere’s travels took him into Kentucky, and he gives a lively account of the new South as illustrated by Middleborough. He devotes a chapter to American characteristics, and an enthusiastic one to the portraiture of Cardinal Gibbons. The book is an interesting addition to the literature of its class. — The second number of Harvard Historical Monographs (Ginn) is Professor Albert Bushnell Hart’s Introduction to the Study of Federal Government. The work is rather a syllabus of the subject than an extended treatise, and is marked by the author’s careful, minute analysis and scrupulous thoroughness. After discussing the theory of federal government, he takes up the subject historically, dealing with Ancient Confederations, Mediæval Leagues, and National Confederations ; then he describes the four great existing federations of the United States, Switzerland, Germany, and Canada, and closes with a chapter on LatinAmerican federations. The Appendix contains a conspectus of the federal constitutions of the four great federations, and a bibliography of federal government. — Struggles of the Nations, or The Principal Wars, Battles, Sieges, and Treaties of the World, by S. M. Burnham. (Lee & Shepard.) Two volumes octavo are required by Mr. Burnham for the explication of his subject. He is not content, like Mr. Creasy, to limit himself to the decisive battles of the world, but goes over the ground by countries. Thus his first chapter is devoted to the ancient peoples of North Africa ; his second and third chapters take in the nations of Western Asia ; his fourth Central and Eastern Asia ; and then by way of Turkey, Russia, and Scandinavian countries he comes to Greece and Rome. A queer chapter in its combination is the tenth, winch includes the Gothic Race, the German Empire, the Austrian Empire, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland. The British Empire has fifty pages given it, and the last two chapters of the first volume take in South and Central America. The whole of the second volume is given to the United States and a chapter on Treaties. This is a compilation of facts run mad. Proportion is lost sight of. Cause and effect retire into the corner, but dates, figures, and names are rampant. The space given to the United States permits more detail for single engagements, and one might possibly read this volume, but we defy anybody but a proof-reader to read the first.