Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/253

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

philosophy of human nature, are by no means the real grounds on which he is entitled to be remembered. Phrenology represented a mere point of view from which humanity was to be studied, and that point of view was the true one, and a great advance on all previous systems. Phrenology was the rude means of first bringing mental phenomena into relation with organization, in the popular thought. It was almost inevitable that the first theories of this relation should be deficient and erroneous; but, the attitude taken being correct, valuable results flowed from it. It is on account of his views and reformatory labors regarding education, the treatment of the insane, the true principles of prison discipline, and the emancipation of the masses from social and religious prejudices, that Mr. Combe deserves to be gratefully and honorably remembered, and in this respect his biography is of living and permanent interest.

Deterioration and Race Education; with Practical Applications to the Condition or the People and Industry. By Samuel Royce. Boston: Lee & Shepard. Pp. 685. Price, $2.50.

We noticed this instructive work upon its first appearance last year, and are glad to see that it has gone to a second edition, as it contains a great deal of information, bearing upon the subject of education, that cannot be found compiled and digested elsewhere. Mr. Royce views the subject in its broadest aspects, laying great stress upon those forces in society which lead to pauperism and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy, and it is as a corrective of these evil tendencies that he chiefly regards the subject of education. The fundamental idea of his work, illustrated and enforced by numerous facts and copious discussion, is that the great deficiency in our system of mental cultivation is the non-recognition of the element of industry. In the new edition of the book he has added nearly one hundred pages, designed to give increasing effect to this aspect of his general argument. In the first place he demands that education shall include learning to work or an actual preparation for industrial occupations. He appreciates and favors the Kindergarten as the first step in this direction, to be followed up by developing schools and technical institutions to teach the practice as well as the elementary principles of various mechanical trades. He gives an interesting account of several industrial schools and manual institutes, chiefly in New England, which have for their object the training of the young in the skillful and intelligent exercise of hand-labor. Mr. Royce points out the vicious and lamentable influence of the existing system of education, in disqualifying the young for entering upon industrial occupations, by presenting false ideas of life through the excessive and one-sided influence of literature and books alone. It is not the worst, he thinks, that working-studies are ignored, but that in our existing schools there arises a prejudice against manual labor, a contempt of it, and an ambition to get a living by headwork in the practice of the professions. Thousands upon thousands who can never enter the professions, and who have not intellectual faculty enough to win success in life by pure intellectual labor, are nevertheless set upon this track, and unfitted for the honest and efficient pursuit of industrial avocations. Want of space prevents our giving several important quotations from this part of Mr. Royce's book, which readers specially interested in the subject will find it useful to procure.

Superstition in All Ages. By John Meslier. Translated from the French by Miss Anna Knoop. New York: Liberal Publishing Co., 141 Eighth Street. Pp. 339. Price, $1.50.

The author of this curious book was born in 1678, in the French village of Mazerny, and died in 1733, at the age of fifty-five. He has, therefore, been dead nearly one hundred and fifty years; and, although his name is not to be found in any of our common cyclopædias, his book, the only one that he ever wrote, is now first translated into English, and is published in the United States.

Meslier was a Roman Catholic priest, and was for thirty years curate of Entrepigny in Champagne. There is a brief sketch of his life by Voltaire prefixed to the volume, from which we gather that he was a quiet, studious man, of a philosophic turn of mind, who at the seminary devoted