Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/139

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129
LITERARY NOTICES.

ceptions, and cunning artifices of wily political managers. The illiterate classes are indeed, to no small degree, protected by their very ignorance from the most insidious forms of political imposture. They are manipulated by coarse methods, while the class of citizens who are called intelligent, morally require sharper practice to circumvent them. It is a great mistake to suppose that our demagogues are mere petty operators, animated by low cunning, and who find their chief prey among those who can not read their ballots. They are trained and accomplished men, subtle of intellect, inventive in resources, and well equipped with knowledge. The great mass of the people have a smattering of education, and the whole system of demagogical art assumes it and is adapted to it. The common schools teach just enough to turn out "powder and ball for demagogues." Our "machine politics" is the bright consummate flower of American demagogism, but it never could have had so vigorous a growth if the ignorance of American voters had not been duly cultivated. The more ignorant and stupid men are, the greater is their fealty to party, and the more easily they can be counted on; but, as they begin to think, the demagogue is thrown upon his resources, so that the effect of the schools is to cause him to perfect his methods. Of course, ignorant voters are everywhere "powder and ball for demagogues"; we only insist that there shall be no demagogical narrowness in defining the class of ignorant voters.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Two Worlds are Ours. By Rev. Hugh MacMillan, LL.D., F.R.S.E. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 349. Price, $1.75.

To say that this book is by the author of "Bible Teachings in Nature" and "First Forms of Vegetation," published several years ago, will be a strong commendation to many readers. Those books were full of peculiar interest derived from their author's special studies; and the present work, similar in character, well sustains the writer's reputation. Dr. Macmillan combines, in a somewhat marked degree, several traits which give character to his productions. He is first of all a devoutly religious man, of strictly orthodox opinions, and profoundly impressed with the reality of the spiritual world; and he writes to illustrate and enforce the fundamental conceptions of the Christian system. Then he is an enthusiastic student of nature, and well up in the latest results of science—especially in geology, botany, and zoölogy, the objects of which are so obtrusive in all the aspects of nature. He is besides a clear and pleasing writer, with a dash of poetic feeling which gives life and vividness to his descriptions, though sometimes betraying him into undue fervor and elaboration of style Though his book is pervaded by the most literal orthodox beliefs stated in Scripture forms, yet it is in no sense a polemic, nor is there any attempt to establish his theological views by the customary logical methods. He rather aims to enforce their truth by showing in what striking ways they harmonize with the methods and operations of nature. His virtual thesis is that the "Two Worlds," spiritual and material, are ever in agreement when we get down to their deeper meanings, and he gives many ingenious and interesting exemplifications of this unity. The book is written in excellent temper, and is free from all asperity. Science is looked upon, not as the enemy but as the handmaid of faith; and, although advanced views are accepted as a matter of course, there is never a word of disparagement of scientific men. The moral inculcations of the volume are elevated and impressive, and, with their fresh and attractive illustrations, can not fail to exert a wholesome and improving influence. Of its twenty-one chapters, those entitled "Grains of Sand," "Weeds," "Summer Blossoms," "Mountain Peace," "Leaven," "Snow," "Waste," and "The Days of a Tree," have most interested us.

A True Republic. By Albert Stickney. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1879. Pp. 271. Price, $1.

Mr. Stickney here grapples with the problem of the causes and the cure of the