Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/395

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373
LITERARY NOTICES.

the intellectual character of the man is to be properly deduced. But our interest in him is greatly heightened by the glimpses of a strong personality, which these volumes reveal in his free and extensive intercourse with the intellectual celebrities of the time. We have no space for illustrations of the quality of these most readable books, but the following reference to Dr. Lardner will give a sample of their general spiciness:

"Mr. Herschel's discourse" (on natural philosophy) "was published in Lardner's 'Cabinet Cyclopædia,' and he afterward contributed to the same series an elementary ' Treatise on Astronomy.' Prof. Whewell was not quite satisfied with the channel which his eminent friend thus accepted for his writings. Dr. Lardner was a man of scientific attainments, and of considerable ability for popular exposition; his importunity in urging the fulfillment of the promises which he obtained of coöperation in his 'Cyclopædia,' and his name Dionysius, which it was conjectured he had himself modified from the more familiar Denis, naturally led to the appellation tyrant, which was given to him in a good-tempered manner by Southey and other literary men of the period. He made various attempts to induce Prof. Whewell to join his staff, and in particular during the present year wished to engage him to write on political economy; but the applications were in vain. Prof. Whewell, perhaps, mentioned the matter to Mr. Jones, as we may conjectture from a sentence in a letter from him: 'I should like to write a treatise for the tyrant if he would wait two or three years, but he shall not have the prémices of my speculations.'"

The Christ of Paul; or, the Enigmas of Christianity. By C. Reber. New York: Somerby. Price, $2.00.

The principal topics considered in this volume are, the influence of the Essenes and Therapeutæ on the development of the Christian system; the origin of the four Gospels; the influence of Irenæus on Christian beliefs; the dogma of the Trinity; the origin of the Episcopate and of the Papacy; the miracles attributed to Christ, the Apostles, and their successors.

Connection of Meteorology with Health. By William Blasius.

In this paper the author strives to assign a philosophical reason for "the well-known fact" that, during all ages, cities, where topographical impediments do not interfere, extend, as a general rule, from east to west, and that the wealthiest people are always in the advance.

Lessons from Nature, as manifested in Mind and Matter. By St. George Mivart, Ph. D., F. R. S. Pp. 462. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, $2.

The title of this book is somewhat misleading. We should expect to find in its pages a cool, didactic statement of the result of observations and studies in natural history, perhaps, or in some of the familiar aspects of Nature. But, instead of simple lessons or inculcations from natural things, presented in a quiet and instructive form, we have a book full of rancorous controversy and bitter polemics. Mr. Mivart has achieved some reputation as an anatomist and biologist, and is by no means destitute of expository power, but the discussions in this volume show that he is more a theologian than a scientist, more a bigot than a philosopher, and more fond of fighting than teaching. He makes a series of vindictive assaults upon men with whom he does not agree, and then names the result "Lessons from Nature." A writer in the Quarterly Journal of Science administers to Mr. Mivart a well-merited castigation for his unscrupulous course in dealing with contemporary thinkers, and we publish a portion of the article under the title of "Bigotry and Scientific Controversy." The writer treats him unsparingly, but we think justly, and condemns in terms of merited severity the practice, not yet extinct, of appealing to the odium theologicum, which "in its most malignant form pervades the entire book."

"Lessons from Nature" is a discussion of the tendencies of modern theories which are associated with the names of Darwin, Spencer, Mill, Helmholtz, Huxley, Lewes, and others, which are variously characterized by this author as immoral, irreligious, materialistic, and atheistic. The course of thought is more metaphysical than physical, and the volume derives but little value from the scientific acquirements of the writer. Indeed, he had already told us in his "Genesis of Species" all that he has to say in opposition to the views of Darwin, and here it is only restated with the garnish of abuse and invective. But, although himself committed in the "Genesis of Species" to the doctrine of Evolution, and saying, as he does at page 16, "the prevalence of this theory need alarm no one, for it is, without