Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/517

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

dispel erroneous impressions, and many unjust prejudices that are entertained in Christian countries, concerning the Turkish people. Turks are known to the outside world chiefly through their government, which is bad and corrupt, and shamefully misrepresents the population which it rules. After sketching some historic features of Turkish character in former times, in Chapter VIII., Colonel Baker goes on to say:

"There is one point in common with both the past and the present, and that is that the Turkish rank and file, the real pith of the nation, were then, as now, distinguished for their patience, discipline, sobriety, bravery, honesty, and modesty, and to these qualities I may also add that of humanity, although I know it will excite an Indignant exclamation from many at the present moment. But look at the Turkish soldier in private life, and you find him gentle and kind to children and women, and exceedingly fond of animals. His first thought after a long and tiring day's march is his horse. As soon as he has made the animal comfortable, then he thinks of the man. When he is exasperated by what he thinks insults to his creed, he kills and slays as his teaching tells him, and he appears a fanatical madman; but he is then outside his real nature, and not within it. It is but the other day that I saw thirteen thousand of these brave men arrive fresh from the front and all the hardships of the Servian campaign. They were billeted for ten days all over the town of Salonica, and there was not a single complaint, or cause for complaint of their conduct, from man, woman, or child.

"The streets, although filled with soldiers, were as quiet as in ordinary times. What other troops in the world would behave in such an admirable manner? Read the greatest authorities on the subject. Von Hammer, Gibbon, Boné, Ubicini, Creasy, and all agree in praise of both the past and present character of the Turkish rank and file. But it is the rank and file that depicts the character of the nation, and not the corrupt oligarchy, which from its prominence misrepresents it. We find, then, that the rank and file of the Turkish people is the same now as ever, so that it is not the nation but the rulers which have changed, and this change has been brought about through the corrupt influences which were handed over to them by the Byzantine Empire.

"As soon, therefore, as the head of the Turkish nation shall be purified, we shall find the whole constitution in a healthy state—there is no disease of the body. The combination in Turkish government of despotism with the freedom of the most democratic of republics is unique. In Turkey there is no aristocracy. All men below the sultan are equal, not only in the eyes of the law, but by creed and custom, A shoeblack may be made grand-vizier, and it is by no means uncommon to see some of the highest officials of the state who have been servants to predecessors in office."

The volume is written in a pleasant, unambitious style, the writer's object being evidently to tell the story of the Turks in a plain, direct, and instructive way.

Elementary Chemistry: A Text-Book for Beginners, designed as an Introduction to Barker's Chemistry. By S. F. Peckham, A. M. Pp. 254. Price, $1. Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton & Co.

This is a neatly-bound, neatly-printed, and neatly-illustrated school-book, designed for beginners; and the author says that his "object has been to supply a work for elementary schools which should be as nearly as possible equal in quality to the textbooks of Barker and Eliot and Storer." He could not have taken better models. A peculiarity of the book is, that the work of learning and instruction is carried on by the artifice of conversation between Harry, George, Lucy, and Uncle Louis, which raises the question whether much of their talk is worth the space given to it. The illustrations run into the pictorial, regardless of the publisher's purse, and it is an aim of the writer to make the book introductory to agricultural studies.

The Forces of Nature: A Popular Introduction to the Study of Physical Phenomena. By Amédée Guillemin. Translated from the French by Mrs. Norman Lockyer, and edited, with Additions and Notes, by J. Norman Lockyer, F. R. S. Illustrated by nearly 500 Engravings. Part I. Pp. 40. Price, 40 cents. London: Macmillan & Co.

The great success of the elaborate volume under the foregoing title, both in France and England, has induced the publishers to enter upon its reissue in parts, with the view of cheapening it, and bringing it to the attention of a wider circle of readers. It is hardly necessary to repeat what we said in reviewing it, that the book is superbly illustrated, and is very clear and popular in the style of its text. It will be completed in eighteen parts.

Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Vol. III. 1875-'76. Pp. 269.

This volume of 269 pages comprises twenty-four papers read before the Acad-