Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/722

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development, and showing how successive forms grew out of those preceding, but with showing that the present body of law conforms in its essential features to the fundamental requirements of the social state of man. It is impossible to sum up in any satisfactory way the theoretical reasons of so comprehensive a work within the limits of a book notice. We can only say that the writer claims to occupy new ground, and to place the subject of public law on the same footing as the natural sciences. Certainly no task is more important than to show that the system of enactments by which society is regulated and the conduct of individuals controlled is not arbitrary, irrational, and chaotic. But the chief value of Judge Willard's book will no doubt be found in its usefulness to the students of law. He deals with a long series of specific subjects presented in forty chapters, and covering the whole comprehensive ground of personal rights and social obligation. The first chapter is on the origin of law, and the next on the nature and origin of rights, obligations, and powers. Chapter X takes up the science of law, Chapter V is devoted to the "proper subjects of contracts," and the following chapters develop the conditions of contracts in various aspects. In succeeding chapters a great variety of subjects are treated, throwing light upon the legal position of the individual, and the Litter portion of the work is much devoted to what may be called the modern liberties, or those higher prerogatives of the citizen which it is the object of free governments to secure. In the closing chapters, marriage, the family, and communal associations are considered; and the final discussion treats of the liberty of judgment and the liberty of self-gratification. Judge Willard has not given us a book of formal erudition; it contains no notes, and we have not observed that it refers to any authorities. It is rather an analytical work, occupied with the development and application of principles.

The First-Book of Knowledge. By Frederick Guthrie, F. R. S. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 130. Price, $1.

Of this little book we can say emphatically, Yes! and No!

It is a most interesting and readable compend of information on all kinds of familiar objects, such as we find in and around the house, and that everybody ought to know about. The subjects are selected with excellent judgment; the knowledge is important and trustworthy; and it is simply concisely, and agreeably presented. In all these respects the volume is a model; and, when we add that there are questions at the end of each chapter to help the teacher, and that the teacher is exhorted to bring as many of the objects into the school-room as possible, for the inspection of the children, and to add as many questions as may be to those already given, it will naturally be asked, What more can be required?

Certainly nothing more is required on the accepted school-book standard; but we question the validity of the standard. The book is made on the old theory of pouring the facts into the little mental pitchers until they are full. But that is not the true idea of education; and therefore, as a "First Book," it starts wrong. A book treating of "objects" that does not provide, first of all, and as the essential thing, for the active effort of inquiry on the part of the pupil, and that he shall find out the properties of objects for himself, fails of its purpose as a means of education. Such failure has, of course, been the rule in our past school-history; but it can be no longer excused, and we confess to some astonishment that a book of this quality should emanate from a distinguished professor in a "normal school of science." South Kensington is getting behind the age if this is the best that its "normal science" can do.

Ecce Spiritus. A Statement of the Spiritual Principle of Jesus as the Law of Life. Boston: George H. Ellis. Pp. 238. Price, $1.25.

This work has largely in view the discrepancies between the theological and the scientific thought of the age. The author distinguishes three types of religious thought. The first type is illustrated in that class of persons "who ensconce themselves in a quiet corner of the church, away from the din of the controversies which distract the age," and who are indifferent to the vast changes that have come over the modes of thought; the second type in the class who stand at the other extreme, ac-