Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/729

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LITERARY NOTICES.

wide intervals that their connections are apt to be forgotten. He will, therefore, in future, issue separately the successive divisions of these volumes as they are completed. The first division of Volume II. is on "The Development of Ceremonial Institutions," now published, and the next division will be on "The Development of Political Institutions," and upon this he is now engaged. It will be followed by the divisions on "The Development of Ecclesiastical and Industrial Institutions."

If we define government as the control of conduct in relation to others, then it is of two kinds—that by the coercion of the civil power, and that by the mandates of social custom and ceremonial observance. The regulation of conduct is divided between civil law and the unwritten codes of custom; and of these two authorities the latter has by far the largest share in regulating men's lives. In the genesis of social relations, ceremonial government arises earlier than political government, is more general, and far more potent in its social restraints and requirements. While yet primitive society is in a wholly unorganized condition, with no coercive rule, perhaps, but the will of the chief, the savage nature becomes spontaneously amenable to imperative observances in daily intercourse. And, in the highest state of civilization, social life is dominated by the same despotic agency. To understand the present constitution of society, therefore, and the forces by which it is regulated, it becomes necessary to treat the origin and growth of social observance as a part of sociological science, and this is the object of the volume on "Ceremonial Institutions."

Mr. Spencer's conclusions throughout rest upon a wide survey of the facts concerning primitive customs and manners, gathered from all sources, and are illustrated with a wealth of examples that gives great force and impressiveness to his conclusions. This very full and complete illustration of the subject has been objected to by some, on the ground that such a profusion of facts and examples is unnecessary to his exposition, and becomes wearisome to the reader; and the same criticism has been passed upon other parts of his philosophical works. To this he replies, in his preface, that, while not unconscious of the defect, it is still unavoidable, as scientific proof rather than artistic merit is the end he is aiming at. He says: "If sociological generalizations are to pass out of the stage of opinion into the stage of established truth, it can only be through extensive accumulations of instances; the inductions must be wide if the conclusions are to be accepted as valid. Especially while there continues the belief that social phenomena are not the subject-matter of a science, it is requisite that the correlations among them should be shown to hold in multitudinous cases. Evidence furnished by various races in various parts of the world must be given, before there can be rebutted the allegation that the inferences drawn are not true, or are but partially true. Indeed, of social phenomena more than all other phenomena, it must, because of their complexity, hold that only by comparisons of many examples can fundamental relations be distinguished from superficial relations."

Some of the chapters of the volume on "Ceremonial Institutions" have appeared in the pages of this Monthly, but several new and important topics are treated in the volume, which make it the completest as well as the most original discussion of the subject that has yet appeared. It is, besides, an extremely interesting book to read, as it gives much curious information regarding the origin and meaning of social usages that concern everybody, while at the same time there is no erudite or abstract philosophy in it to task the reader's effort.

The Theory of Political Economy. By W. Stanley Jevons, LL. D., M. A., F.R.S. London: Macmillan & Co. Second edition. Pp. 314. Price, $3.50.

The above work presents, in the most complete form yet given it. Professor Jevons's mathematical theory of economics, first published by him in a volume nine years ago, though worked out and presented in its main features as far back as 1862. The idea that economics is essentially a mathematical science appears not to be new, but, during the ascendancy of other views, it has for the most part been neglected, and the work accomplished remained in obscurity.