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and flippant. He can never slap life on the back and call it by familiar names. He may hold that the world is indisputably growing better, but he will need to admit that it is having a hard time in so doing.” In the essay on “Letters of John Keats" is Keats's statement concerning the daring of his most ambitious efforts: “I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.” The essay, “An Elizabethan Novelist," informs us that Ruskin said that Miss Edgeworth had made virtue so obnoxious that since her time one had hardly dared
express the slightest bias in favor of the Ten Commandments. Mr. Vincent offers us an offhand test with which to determine whether or no a given book is literature. “Can you imagine Charles Lamb in the act of reading that book? If you can, it's literature; if you can't, it isn't.” The essay, “A Fairminded Man,” has for its subject Dr. Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, who says that the only person in Leeds who took any interest in the scientific experiments he was carrying on with vials and tubes and retorts and mice and plants was Mr. Hey, a surgeon and a zealous Methodist, who encouraged Priestley's science but coinbated his theology. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Priestley: “There is one improvement which I wish to see, the discovery of a plan that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without first cutting one another's throats.” A resident of the present “Wide-open ” New York suspects a vein of humor in the Tammany Society on reading its description of itself a numerous body of freemen, who associate to cultivate among themselves the love of liberty and the enjoyment of the happy republican government under which they live.” Priestley was distressed at the widespread infidelity in America at the time of his visit here in 1794, and wondered to find the lawyers almost universally unbelievers. Getting hold of Paine's Age of Reason, he said: “It is the weakest and most absurd as well as the most arrogant of anything I have yet seen.” The extracts we have made show that Mr. Vincent has given us an extreme racy and vivacious book, which he dedicates with love and admiration to his father, Rev. Dr. B. T. Vincent. The bright volume closes with two charming chapters on “ Stevenson: The Vagabond and the Philosopher,” and “Stevenson's St. Ives.”
Among the Forces. By HENRY WHITE WARREN, LL.D., one of the Bishops of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, author of Recreations in Astronomy, The Bible in the World's Education, etc. 12mo, pp. 197. New York: Eaton & Mains. Cincinnati: Curts & Jennings. Price, cloth, $1.
A sober judge says correctly that “patural philosophy in its larger features was never more attractively set before the young mind than in these sketches." These stories about the forces of nature and their operation in accordance with natural laws, while scientifically correct and instructive, are as wonderful and fascinating as The Arabian Nights' Entertainment. But the book is not a juvenile, albeit it should be in every Epworth League or Sunday school library and in every home circle of young people; nor is its purpose limited to expositions of natural philosophy. Its sublimity, sweep, and splendor will give to the noblest minds elevation, expansion, and exhilaration. To Bishop Warren always things visible, however exquisite, magnificent, stupendous, are intimations of, and ladders up to, the greater wonders of the unseen universe. Watching with awe and ecstasy the play of mighty forces, he sees and shows that all this power and infinitely more belongeth unto God. His unfailing intellectual and spiritual jubilance imparts a healthy buoyancy of soul and sends up a perpetual Alleluia to Him who sitteth on the throne of power and glory and dominion. Whatever path his thought pursues through the wide creation, he goes exulting on his way with a robust, athletic, masculine joyousness. These brilliant chapters tell of The Man who Needed 452,696 Barrels of Water, The Sun's Great Horses, Moon Helps, Star Helps, Helps from Insensible Seas, The Fairy Gravitation, The Help of Inertia, Plant Help, Gas Help, Natural Affection of Metals for Liquids and Gases and for One Another, Creations Now in Progress, Some Curious Behaviors of Atoms, Mobility of Seeming Solids, The Next World to Conquer, Sea Sculpture, and The Power of Vegetable Life. Then there are mountaineering experiences in the Alps, which take the reader to Zermatt, the Riffelberg, the Gorper Grat, up Monte Rosa, up and down the Matterhorn, with all the zest of an enthusiast in mountain climbing, all the knowledge of a natural scientist, and all the vision of an intellectual seer. In the chapters on the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and the Yellowstone Park Geysers the wonders of American scenery are described in a style which would delight the soul of John Ruskin. The volume closes with what one hardly knows whether to call a scientific discussion or a sublime sermon on Spiritual Dynamics, and with that uplifted argument, projected into eternity, which we printed first in the Methodist Revier in November, 1896, entitled “When this World is Not.” An impressive scientific experiment illustrative of the enormous power of vegetable life is described as follows: “In the Agricultural College at Amherst, Mass., a squash of the yellow Chili variety was put in harness in 1874 to see how much it would lift by its power of growth. It was not an oak or mahogany tree, but a soft, pulpy, squashy squash that one could poke his finger into, nourished through a soft succulent vine that one could mash between finger and thumb. The growing squash was confined in an open harness of iron and wood, and the amount lifted by the expanding squash was indicated by weights on the lever over the top. There were, including seventy nodal roots, more than eighty thousand feet of roots and rootlets. These roots increased one thousand feet in twenty-four hours. They were afforded every advantage by being grown in a hot-bed. On August 21 the squash lifted sixty pounds. By September it lifted a ton. On October 24 it carried over two tons. It grew gnarled like an oak, and its substance was almost as compact as mahogany. Its inner cavity was very small, but it perfectly elaborated its seeds, as usual. The lever which indicated the weight had to be changed for stronger ones from time to time. More weights were sought. They scurricd through the town and got an anvil and pieces of railroad iron and hung them at varying distances on the lever to measure the lifting force. By October 31 the squash was carrying a weight of five thousand pounds. Then, owing to defects in the new contrivance, the rind was broken through without showing what might have been done under better conditions. Every particle of the squash had to be added and find itself elbow room under this tremendous pressure. Such is the power of vegetable life. Life will always assert itself.” The account of this experiment is followed with a characteristic reflection: “No wonder that the Lord, seeking some form of speech to represent his power in human souls, says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.' The tremendous strength of infinite life surges up through the vine and out into all the branches that are really vitally attached. No wonder that much fruit is expected, and that one who knew most of this imparted power said, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'” An informing and illuminating book Bishop
' Warren has given us. Let everybody read it!
HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, AND TOPOGRAPHY. A Constitutional History of the American People, 1776-1850. By FRANCIS NEWTON
THORPE. Illustrated with maps. In two volumes. Crown 8vo, pp. 486, 520. Sex York: Harper & Brothers. Price, cloth, $5.
These volumes suggest to the reader that there are different methods of writing history. The author who prepares text-books in this department for elementary schools and academies must dwell, from the necessi. ties of the case, upon the stirring incidents of exploration, settlement, and warfare; he must describe in graphic words the personality and the deeds of great leaders; and he must linger at length upon all the other concrete incidents which go to make up early national records. But there are other historians—and their work is none the less necessary-who write for the advanced students of great historical movements, and wbo in this service are untrammeled by the necessity of the pictorial or rigidly chronological method of treatment. To this latter class Mr. Thorpe belongs, and in the volumes now under notice he has evidently made a valuable contribution to the historical literature of his times. His work, as he informs us, “contains the evidence of changes—and, it is believed, of progress—in the ideas and opinions which the American people hare held respecting the principles, the organization, and the administration of their civil institutions. It is a record of the evolution of government in this country since the Revolution, and it rests upon authorities hitberto almost entirely disregarded.” Of the genesis of government upon these Western shores and the practical necessities which influenced the nature of that government he has much to say at the outset, some of his words being as follows: “Democracy in America is the resultant of Roman, Celtic, and Teutonic ideas. It is a civil composite. Its erolution is recorded in a series of political adjustments. . . . No American colony broke wholly with the past. The necessity for unrestricted labor compelled a democracy. Had the vast area now comprised within the United States been occupied at the time of its discovery by Europeans by a wealth-accumulating people, however civilized, who permitted European conquest, the conquerors would not have set up a democracy; the Mississippi valley would have repeated the story of Mexico and Peru. Had gold or silver abounded in New England, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, the evolution of democracy on the Atlantic seaboard would have been retarded for centuries. Had the mechanical devices familiar now in lumbering, in mining, in manufacturing, and in agriculture been familiar to the world at the opening of the seventeenth century, democracy in America would still be a matter of political speculation.” The relative value of the agriculturist and the manufacturer was furthermore a determining factor in the evolution of democracy. The views of Thomas Jefferson on this value received wide acceptance in the earlier years of our national life. “Accepted without modification they would have held America in a purely agricultural condition. Agriculture and manufactures together have determined the evolution of our institutions. With agricultural institutions slavery was identified, but it could never be identified with manufactures. . . . The most eloquent defenders of slavery were fond of describing the agricultural condition as the ideal state of society. ... The slaveholding States steadily and successfully resisted all efforts to introduce manufactures among them, and as steadily sought to maintain an agricultural homogeneity which, it must be admitted, was economically as inconsistent as it was unnatural. The economic variations determined by the conflicting interests of city and country, of highland regions and lowland regions, explain many provisions in the constitutions of the commonwealths.” The mention of Jefferson suggests his views, expressed in the second volume, upon the value of frequent rotation in the judicial office. He says: “In England, where judges were named and were removed by the will of the hereditary executive, from which branch most was feared and had flowed, it was a great point gained by fixing them for life, by making them independent of that executive; but in a government founded on the popular will this principle operates in a different direction, and against that will we have made them independent of the nation itself. ... Let the office of judges be for four or for six years; this will bring their conduct at regular periods under revision and probation. We have erred on that point by copying England, where certainly it is a great thing to have judges independent of the government. That there should be public functionaries independent of the nation is an aphorism of the republic.” The deep philosophy in this reasoning is no less impressive in these last days, and certainly has its application to short terms of service in other departments besides the legal. The origin of local self-government is traced by Mr. Thorpe as follows: “Local government was passed over by the eighteenth century constitutions, and was but slightly touched on by those made during the first half of the nineteenth. It was largely a matter of custom or of leg. islation. In the older States local organization had already been established when their first constitutions were in process of formation. In the North the organization was of the town or township type; in the South, of the county. Town or county government was not an issue at the time of the Revolution. That affected local government only indirectly. The issue was popular government versus monarchy, the civil versus the military idea in government. America was then a democracy of farmers.” The contrast between the Northern and the Southern bar is told as follows: “At the North, although there was less learning at the bar, yet there was a larger practice. Economic conditions there tended to foster the eloquence of abbreviated speech. In Kentucky most of the white men of the county gathered at the courthouses to hear the lawyers discuss an exciting case; in New York the people were too seriously engaged in working their farms, in attending their stores, or in managing their factories to spend their time in listening to the trial of causes. The legal profession was less influential in the North than in the South." Immigration before the year 1820 was but imperfectly tabulated; in 1850 “less than one tenth of the population was foreign born." With the close of the first half of the century “the foreign-born population of the country was not sufficient in numbers to cause any marked change in the organization of local government, or to influence constitutional conventions to introduce provisions in the supreme law affecting the status of persons of foreign birth. To this, however, there is one exception of great moment—the extension of the suffrage. By the modification of suffrage qualifications persons of foreign birth were enabled in some States to vote as soon as they had declared their intention to become citizens.” Of the national growth to 1850 Mr. Thorpe concludes as follows: “It was a half century of improvement; of increase of domestic comforts; of more humane treatment of the insane, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the criminal classes. Legislation in restraint of crime, too long vindictive in its purposes, was becoming remedial. Legislatures were compelled to provide educational opportunities for the poor. Slapery was losing its grasp; freedom was pervading the Territories and overspreading the States. Public sentiment, conscience-stricken, was turning helpfully toward the fugitive slave and the free negro, but it was in defiance of custom, laws, and constitution. Seventy-five years had passed since the great Declaration. They were years of hopeful effort to realize its principles.” From these fragmentary quotations may be learned the nature of Mr. Thorpe's work. As a philosophical analysis of our history to 1850 it is at once strong and clear. The grouping of topics in some of his chapters is sometimes inconsistent with the caption of those chapters. Yet this is a defect that does not greatly mar the sterling excellence of his work. The indications of patient research are upon every page, and the reader can but wish for the speedy issue of s