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ILLUSTRATIONS OF UNIVERSAL PROGRESS. A Series of Discussions. By HERBERT SPENCER, author of 'First Principles,' etc. etc. etc. New-York: D. Appleton & Co.
'DISCUSSIONS,' in the classical, radical idea of the word, is a very appropriate denomination of the chapters of Universal Progress' striking asunder. It is fitting, because the author dissects all things, and finds the law of development in the ever and universally becoming of the heterogeneous out of the homogeneous, or reversed, the transition, or evolution rather, of homogeneity into heterogeneity. It is also fitting, because Mr. Spencer has unwonted analytic power, whilst in synthetic he is quite equal. A profound thinker and rare observer, he accumulates facts, bidding science and history lay them at his feet, or at the beck of his brain, and then selects, arranges, and makes them utter his own thoughts, confirm his own high generalization.
He is lucid, consecutive, forceful, and it does one good, intellectually at least, to read him. No one pretending to philosophy can afford not to read him; no one can fail to be profited by reading him. Merely as a treasury of facts, and of the relativity of knowledges, the book were valuable; and as a dissertation and a genuine philosophy of progress, it is invaluable.
Having said thus much, it is not to be presumed that we assent to all his reasonings, or to his law of progress as definitely established on a scientific or unanswerable basis.
The author has taken pains, with some success, to disabuse himself of the charge of Positivism, so popular now with scientificists. In so far as that is supposed to be the equivalent of Comteism, he has exonerated himself quite; yet the tendency of his reasonings, in
Some of his chapters, is towards the general notion of Positivism.
Although he does not discard the idea of a personal God, the Creator, and perhaps, though undesignedly, lays the foundation for a stronger positive theological structure, yet, in carrying out his theory of evolution, he uses language adapted to throw grave doubt on the inspiration of the Bible and the wonted interpretation of the Genesis, or the Cosmogony. 'Must we receive,' he asks, 'the old Hebrew idea that God takes clay and moulds a new creature?' the interrogation here being figurative and equivalent to a strong negation.
In chapter ninth, from which the quotation is made, the author represents the idea of 'special creations,' as of animals and man, as 'having no fact to support it,' and as not at all conceivable; the notion of man's evolution, in process of time, from the simplest monad, is only ludicrous to the uneducated, and the opposite belief inexcusable in the physiologist or the man of science; for if a single cell,' from the semen, 'may become a man in twenty years, a cell may, in the course of millions of years, give origin to the human race. The two processes are generically the same.' It would, moreover, be 'next to an insult to ask a leading geologist or physiologist whether he believes in the Mosaic account of the Creation.'
In all this reasoning there is the rejection of the fact of the revelation of the Mosaic account of creation, because it is said to have no fact to support it, and there is, certainly, the doctrine of evolution, even of man, out of original cells, without any creative power beyond that of making these original cells or monads, if even that, by a personal power. It is clearly intimated, also, that this man-monad probably required millions of years to develop itself, under
modifying influences, into the present humanity.
Some would here say, 'Then we must expect monkeys to be evolved into men, in the processes of years;' but Mr. Spencer would reply to that, probably: 'The man-monad and the monkeymonad are originally or specifically different.' Yet, on the other dogma of transmutation, why not the specific monkey-monad be transmuted into the man-monad?
THIRTY POEMS. WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
To announce were enough. Has our own Bryant, first poet of our country, put forth 'Thirty Poems'? Then is America ready to read. Allow a passing word of commendation of his ‘Translation of the Fifth Book of the Odyssey.' Having often read it in the original, we are free to say that this rendering into our idiomatic English brings the reader into a closer communion with the spirit of the original than any other extant.
D. Appleton & Co. 1864.
It is not intended to pronounce Mr. Spencer's evolution theory positively atheistic, for it still leaves a place for a God, far back of all organisms, to create HINTS TO RIFLEMEN. By H. W. S. CLEVEthe cells, from which are evolved all moulds and plants, animals and man. This may be all that God did, and it may be as sublime a manifestation of power and of wisdom to create minute, homogeneous monads capable, by inner forces and external circumstances, of rolling themselves out and up into the highest intellectual specimens of humanity; but it is not, at least, an idea of power so appreciable by the evolved humanity in general, as the old one of the old Revelation.
AMERICA AND HER COMMENTATORS. BY HEN-
MR. TUCKERMAN has, in this volume,
And if these be accompanied by a little judicious criticism, all the better. Such is the present volume. Its chief end is to be a guide to authentic sources of information in regard to the United States, and the author has, on the whole, well accomplished his object.
We might object a little, perhaps, to its one-sidedness in some respects, and to its incompleteness; yet it is worthy
THIS, as might be presumed, is not a book for only riflemen; for, whilst it is, at present, a work of great national utility, it also imparts knowledge adapted to interest every intelligent mind. It is by a practical sportsman, experienced in the use of the rifle, and contains descriptions of various kinds of rifles, their characteristics, and comparative merits.
MY CAVE-LIFE IN VICKSBURGH.
THIS is one of those books coming up out of the seething-pot of this terrible tribulation which is worthy of all confidence, and interesting to every reader. There is no fiction about it; but the lady tells her unvarnished tale of CaveLife in Vicksburgh in so simple and Christian a way as to make us see and feel the events of each passing day. Of this book it may safely be said: 'Truth is stranger than fiction.' We heartily recommend it to all.
CHRISTIAN MEMORIALS OF THE WAR; or Scenes and Incidents illustrative of Religious Faith and Principle, Patriotism and Bravery in our Army. With Historical Notes. By HORATIO B. HACKETT. Boston: Gould & Lincoln. 1864. PROFESSOR HACKETT is already known
of general approbation and circulation. to many of us as the author of 'Illus
trations of Scripture' and 'A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles.' The present volume is quite in keeping with his theological professorship, and a Christian, patriotic testimony to the life of faith and prayer of many a brave soldier, and to the triumphant death on the battle-field and in the hospital of such as were there called to sleep in
The author has done a good work in selecting what are believed to be truthful incidents, and stereotyping what otherwise might have been utterly lost to the historians of the war. It is like daguerreotyping the passing ripples of the lake, or the floating motes in the sunbeam. Yet great care and caution are requisite for the verification.
There are chapters on Soldiers of the Cross in the Army, Courage Promoted by Trust in God, Happy Deaths of Brave Men, Incidents of the Camp and Battle-Field, etc.
DANGERFIELD'S REST; or, Before the Storm. New-York: Sheldon & Co. 1864.
THIS is a well-written novel, in style above the ordinary run of fiction; characters well conceived and well represented, and abounding in sage, philosophic reflections on social life. It portrays well much of the social life or death existing among us prior to the war, and indeed yet prevalent; and whilst some might object to a very few of its implications, it is, on the whole, superior in its truthful delineation of manners and morals, though rather sensational and crime-disclosing.
PUBLISHED by HORACE WATERS, 481 Broadway:
"This Hand Never Struck Me, Mother.'
'Yacht Club Polka Redowa.'
DEAR KNICK: I am unaccustomed to writing 'KNICK'-names, being an offshoot of that stiff old school which required every syllable in a name to be pronounced, and being a STRANGER to you, I know I should not take the liberty of a familiar friend, and divesting myself of all ceremony call you 'DEAR KNICK.' But what I have written, I have written; and now why.
I have had a great many choice dainties from your 'Table;' my tastes have been gratified both with its fruits and flowers, and I feel like returning you a small thank-offering. As I am a very humble individual, without 'name or fame,' I have brought my offering timidly to you in the darkness, so that you may not observe how very humble I really am, and reject both me and it.
It is only a simple flower, taken from a 'Wreath of Wild Flowers from the West,' woven for me by a lovely and charming little maiden, herself a fragrant, beauteous
prairie blossom. choice to me, and therefore I offer one of its flowers to you. I have selected an Adonis Rutumnalis, expression of the sweet sadness of her gentle spirit.
This wreath' is very
But I have not told you the name of my sweet prairie flower-it is STELLA-and her soft blue eye ever reminds me of the modest star-flower Forget-me-not:
I LOVE the plaintive strains
Of blue-eyed Stella, That o'er her harp-strings sweep. Oh! breathe them o'er again And still my soul to sleep, Gentle Stella!
Oh! touch their richest chord,
Flowers have sweetly bloomed around him,
Ah! what sweetly-chanted numbers
Ah! how bright the sun was shining
Near where they had laid another,
Sadly now the winds are sighing
And the soft and gentle misting,
And a voice, like some sweet lisper, Stirs the night-winds with the whisper: 'Jimmie Hall is dead!'
All the trees were gently flinging
Oh! the ceaseless, ceaseless sleeping
Oh! the purple sunset dying,
Welcome to Colonel Wm. B. McCreery:
WHO tunnelled his way out of Libby Prison. An extract from Hon. C. P. Avery's speech on the occasion, is
worthy of a place in the Table of the American Monthly.
'It is the fifth and last act to which I now allude.
'It partakes of both the tragic and the comic.
'I refer to that funny but capital underground by-play, as it might be called in theatrical language, where some of the principal actors disappeared from the confederate stage, in a most mysterious manner, through a trap-door.
'Some of your friends here, particularly your Railroad friends in this vicinity, are extremely anxious to have a talk with you, and if there has been a discovery of a new and improved mode of excavating and successfully removing earth by the use of iron spoons, case-knives and spittoons, they might perhaps adopt it.
'But there has been some wonder expressed, Willie, as to your new Southern mode of using that valuable domestic article known to us as a tunnel. The ordinary use of that ingenious implement is to turn good spirits in. By the improved Southern mode it seems to be slightly reversed, namely, to let choice spirits out; and that, too, without calling to your immediate aid the old family Butler; a new kind of Habeas Corpus, very difficult to be suspended: not being much of a Latin scholar, I should call it a sacred writ of Scapeas Corpus; a patent mode of exchange of prisoners; a new style of cartel, for which I am inclined to believe there is not to be found any precedent in Vattel's Law of Nations or in any of the other elementary works which you used to pore over when a student at law in the classic city of Flint.
'A principle the Rebels call atrocious,
Not to be found in Puffendorf or Grotius.'
'But whether it was according to precedent or not, Willie, you came out, as you deserved, at the big end of the tunnel.
You never came out at the little end of the horn in your life, and we have the audacity to say that you never will.
'It was a fair business transaction, having many features of strict commercial usage, and can be easily so proved. The obligation of digging and working, it is so reported, lasted some sixty days with you, just as we dig and work to meet our sixtyday promissory notes. The only difference
being that, with us, under such circumstances, the two months seem most inconveniently short.
sessed still greater power. Ptolemy describes instruments of great power and sweetness of the flute kind, which are unknown to the moderns. The violin was known among the Romans, and it is probable the moderns have not improved it, in any material point. There were many kinds of flute known among the ancients, some of them in a state of perfection equal to those of the modern. Tertullian mentions an organ invented by Archimedes, which must have rivalled the modern organ. He speaks of it as composed of a great number of pieces, each consisting of so many different
'By adding the usual grace, God's grace in your case, Willie, before they could get personal service in the suit or pursuit, just enough time elapsed, after maturity, to place you safe and sound in God's country, when and where you could say in the language of the famous Rob Roy MacGregor, who, unlike you, fled as a bold depredator from justice, while you could court the scrutiny of the world for the purity of your motives and the honor of your life"My foot is on my native heath, and my parts, connected together by such a quantity name is '—Willie McCreery.
'But I am sorry, very sorry to say, Colonel McCreery, that a complaint has been preferred against you.
'It is gravely alleged, Sir, that you be came captive to a distinguished Southern lady, sometimes known as 'Libby,' (her last name I cannot now call to mind,) and that after a loving and delicious attachment through a long honeymoon, you ceased to be attached and became detached; that, in short, you left her bed and bored, most mysteriously dropping away from your loyalty to 'Libby' through a trap-door, leaving her to be encircled within the arms of the F. F. V.s; a flagrant case, perhaps, of that grave offence known in the old law-books as Misprison. We hope you will explain.'
A FRIEND has sent us the following succinct memoranda, which it might be well to store away in the sanctum of memory, for topics of conversation at the Academy or Irving Hall :
'Ir is interesting to notice the difference between the musical instruments of our time and those of antiquity. We read in the Bible of the timbrel, the reed, the harp, silver trumpets, and other rude inventions. From later classical writers, we learn the existence of the pipe and tabor, the lyre, the lute, and others. The lyre in the time of Plato, must have been an instrument of unusual sweetness. He mentions it as dangerous, so powerful was its tendency to relax the mind from the pursuits of study or business. In the time of Anacreon it had reached forty strings, and consequently pos
of joints, and containing such a variety of pipes for the imitation of voices, conveyed in such a multitude of sounds, modulated into such a diversity of tunes; and yet, all taken together, constitute but one single instrument.' On an obelisk at Rome, erected by Sesostris, four hundred years before the Trojan war, there is represented a musical instrument of two strings, with a neck to it, which much resembles one in common use at Naples in the seventeenth century. The single flute was invented in Egypt. The first instruments used by the early Christians in worship, were the cithera, the lyre, and the psaltery with ten strings; organs, about A.D. 364. The organ was introduced into Rome in the seventh century, and into France in 735. The first upright harpsichord was made by Shudi, about the year 1770; the first horizontal grand piano by Bacchus, in 1777; the first organized pianoforte was made at the manufactory of Longman and Broderip; the first upright grand piano-forte was made by Robert Stoddard, in 1780; and the first cabinet piano-forte by Southwell, in 1790.
'It is wonderful to note the changes which, in the progress of time, have been made in musical instruments, as well as to observe their ups and downs in the scale of fashion. In 1600, the violin was hardly known in England, and where known it was considered a vulgar instrument; but viols of six strings fretted like the guitar, were admitted into chamber concerts. In 1530, at a mask given by Cardinal Wolsey, at his palace at Whitehall, Henry the Eighth was entertained with a concert of fifes and drums. Queen Elizabeth used to be regaled, while at her dinner, with a band of twelve trumpets, two kettledrums, with fife, cornets, and side-drums,