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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

full of the apotheosis of individuals, and has such a copious calendar of saints, and makes men the objects of its worship.

Gerrit Smith: A Biography. By Octatius Brooks Frothingham. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 381.

Whether this work is to be regarded as a success will depend upon the ideal formed of what a true biography ought to be. If we accept the Boswellian standard, which makes biographical excellence to consist in the copiousness of gossip, trivial particulars, and idle tattle about its subject, Mr. Frothingham's volume must be pronounced a failure. Such details are usually not only worthless, if true, but, originating in a spirit of adulation, they are generally so partial and false as to be of little use for any serious purpose. Moreover, the cast of mind that can produce such books is pretty certain to be wanting in the insight, the analytic capacity, and the critical judgment, necessary to form a true estimate of character.

Mr. Frothingham's book has not been made on this model. Though strictly a biography, that is, the description of a life, and though freely delineating those circumstances, incidents, peculiarities, sayings, and habitual actions, which mark and define the personality he is dealing with, yet all such details are made subordinate to the purpose of so unfolding and representing the nature of the man that readers may form their own judgment respecting his greatness. Thus regarded, the book is able, eminently successful, and worthy of its subject. Gerrit Smith was a most admirable man, a noble hearted philanthropist, who put his great fortune at the service of society, and devoted his life to the skillful management of his immense wealth, that he might dispense it for beneficent ends. He was a radical and thorough-going reformer, taking deep interest in all projects of moral amelioration, such as peace, temperance, antislavery, and other philanthropic schemes, for which he worked with vigor, and which he aided liberally with his means. He was also from youth an uncompromising democrat, living plainly, carrying out his theories of practical equality, and never betrayed into the aristocratic ostentation which he might have indulged on an imposing scale. The radicalism of his nature, moreover, asserted itself strongly in his religious experience. Beginning as a devoted Christian of the orthodox stamp, he held steadily to the practical observances of a pious life, but gradually freed himself from the trammels of theology, and, at length, emerged as a liberal Christian of the extremest sort. Christianity was with him a purely practical affair, a carrying out of the principles of human brotherhood, and the extending of sympathy and help to all who needed them. Doctrinal matters were therefore held lightly, and he told somebody late in life that he had not yet made up his mind whether he had a soul or not. In a variety of respects his character and position were unique, and his career altogether forms a study of special interest to those concerned with the philosophy of charities and benevolence.

Transcendentalism, with Preludes on Current Events. By Joseph Cook. J. R. Osgood & Co. Pp. 305. Price, $1.50.

This book emanates from the same mind that wrote the "Biology," and is, probably, of similar quality. Osgood well knows the length of his customers' ears, and puts in the "applause" all the same.

 

 

PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.

Cerebral Hyperæmia. By W. A. Hammond. M.D. New York: Putnam’s Sons. Pp. 108. $1.

The Nabob. By A. Dandet. Boston: Estes & Lauriat. Pp. 456. $1.50.

Foundations. By J. Gandard. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 104. 50 cents.

Democracy in Europe. By Sir T. E. May. New York: W. J. Widdleton. 2 vols., pp. 495 and 568. $5.

Comparative Psychology. By J. Bascom. New York: Putnam's Sons. Pp. 296. $1.50.

State Regulation of Vice. By A. M. Powell. New York: Wood & Holbrook. Pp. 127. $1.

Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Vol. VIII., Part III. (New Series).

Bulletin of the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences. Minneapolis: Young & Winn print. Pp. 126. 50 cents.

Annual Report of the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-minded Children. West Chester, Pa.; Hickman print. Pp. 35.

Proceedings of the Association of Medical Officers of Institutions for Idiots. Philadelphia: Lippincott & Co. Pp. 35.

The Young Scientist. Monthly. Pp. 12. 50 cents per year.

Magazine of American History. January. 1878. New York: Barnes & Co. Pp. 64. With steel-plate Portrait.

Report of the New Jersey Commissioners of