Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/640

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phrases, the second part (English-German-French) about 76,000, and the third (German-English-French) over 90,000. As was inevitable in a work involving so much research, errors are not wanting, and a multitude of technical terms have been omitted. Nevertheless, the author has rendered an inestimable service to the world of letters in the compilation of this dictionary; its defects will disappear under revision, as new editions are called for. In the mean time we are very well satisfied with the work as it stands, and can heartily commend it as a trustworthy guide to the synonomies of technical terms in the three foremost languages of modern industrial life.

Principia, or Basis of Social Science: Being a Survey of the Subject from the Moral and Theological, yet Liberal and Progressive Standpoint. By R. J. Wright. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. Pp. 524. Price, $3.50.

The activity of modern speculation on social subjects, while yet there are so few principles established for the guidance of thought, has led to the widest and wildest diversity in the treatment of this class of questions. This is perhaps the highest sphere of intellectual liberty, for in most other departments of thought there are restraints which come from more or less settled ideas. Thus in religion there are established creeds; in practical politics, constitutions, precedents, and the body of laws; in history, canons of interpretation; in science, facts, generalizations, and determined methods—all of which exert a regulative and controlling influence over the speculative tendency. But in the social field very little help comes from any such sources, and the fertile thinker is as free to spin theories and excogitate a philosophy as if he had been the first to start inquiry in this domain. That principles will at length be established to direct the course of investigation, we are not permitted to doubt; but, thus far, the chaos of social philosophy, and the conflict of social doctrines, are the most striking facts in regard to them.

Mr. Wright has made an earnest book, which is pervaded by an excellent spirit and noble aspirations, but his views are original and independent, and he has done his own thinking throughout, from his exposition of a radical and thorough-going socialism down to the punctuation of his volume, which he has carried out according to his own rules. So full a freedom of treatment ought to favor originality of suggestion and freshness of opinion, and the book will accordingly be found to contain many ingenious ideas, and to abound in hints and statements which will find a useful place in the future development of the subject. The author makes no large claims for his work, but simply submits it to the common-sense of his readers for what it may be worth in helping them to the study and understanding of social questions; and "hopes that, if the public cannot tolerate these writings as a work of science, they will, at any rate, tolerate them as a kind of sermon to politicians and statesmen."

Mr. Wright classes the elements or activities of man's social life in six categories or units, as follows: There is, first, the individual; second, the family; third, the social circle—by which he means groups of affiliated or closely-connected families; and, fourth, the precinct—by which he means to designate the neighborhood principle. The precinct is a fundamental idea in the social series which the author develops with special prominence. "Precincts," he says, "are neighborhoods organized into civil governments; they are territories within territories; they are parts of a tribe or nation, and are not self-existent. In other words, precincts are the organizations of the neighborhood principle in civil government. They might be compared with the 'States' of the American Union by calling them very small and reformed 'states.' The precinct is the fourth fundamental element or 'personality' of society as determined in our analytics." The precinct is distinguished from the corporation, and is the smallest political group, but in Mr. Wright's scheme it is endowed with many of the most important functions of government.

The fifth unit is the nation, which is political on the larger scale; and the sixth unit of society is mankind, or the human race, the aggregate of all nationalities. Under this classification the author discusses a wide range of questions—in fact,