Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/123

This page has been validated.

printed in large, clear type, presenting an attractive page, and its illustrations are numerous and of a superior order.

A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Eye. By Robert Brudenell Carter, F. R. C. S. With numerous Illustrations. London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 591. Price, $4.

This work, by one of the most prominent ophthalmic surgeons of London, has been some time published, and has an excellent character with the profession. Attention being increasingly drawn to the impairment of the health of the eye in our schools, and by various kinds of mismanagement, we were anxious to consult some modern authoritative work on the maladies of the eye, and selected this volume for the purpose. Dr. Carter is a philosophical student of his subject, and twenty-five years ago published an interesting volume on the influence of civilization in modifying diseases of the nervous system. But, although he writes as a thinker, the author has made the present work thoroughly practical. It comprises his lectures at St. George's Hospital on common forms of eye-disease which he had occasion to deal with in practice; and it is this circumstance which gives to the treatise its chief merit. It contains many illustrations of the structure of the eye, ophthalmic instruments, and modes of operation.

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century. By William Edward Hartpole Lecky. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Two volumes. Pp. 1,325. Price, $6.

Mr. Lecky has won an assured and distinguished place as a philosophical historian. We were among those who had no hesitation in saying that he fully established this character in the publication of his first considerable work, "A History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe;" and his claim as an original historical thinker was confirmed by the subsequent appearance of his "History of European Morals." The direction of thought, partially opened by Macaulay, and more vigorously pursued by Buckle, which takes account of the great pacific forces that have been involved in modern civilization, is adopted by Mr. Lecky, and has been followed out by him, systematically and most ably, in his successive treatises. The old and vulgar conception of history as a mere narration and chronicle of incidents, a gossipy delineation of the great personalities that have figured in public affairs, a picture of court manners, a threading-out of diplomatic intrigues, with abundant description of battles, campaigns, wars, conquests, and the overturning of dynasties, Mr. Lecky leaves to those who can be satisfied with it. These are very much surface-effects, well fitted, indeed, to strike the imagination, but of trivial moment in comparison with those profounder agencies by which modern society has been shaped and the real work of civilization carried forward. Science has been at the bottom of a revolution in recent times, which has compelled not only a reestimate of the importance of subjects to be dealt with in history, but a reversal of former judgments, by which subjects long neglected must henceforth have supreme regard. The influence of scientific habits of thinking has deepened the study of history, antiquated its superficial methods, and carried us down to those deeper and wider causes that have determined the amelioration of humanity. Mr. Lecky takes up the work of the historian avowedly from this point of view, and, in the two solid volumes now before us, he has applied it to an important period of the history of his own country. It is a splendid theme, for England has a central and commanding position in the movement of national development; and the times considered by Mr. Lecky were fruitful of profound changes and the most important results. The purpose and plan of his work are thus indicated in his preface:

"I have not attempted to write the history of the period I have chosen year by year, or to give a detailed account of military events, or of the minor personal and party incidents, which form so large a part of political annals. It has been my object to disengage from the great mass of facts those which relate to the permanent forces of the nation, or which indicate some of the more enduring features of national life. The growth or decline of the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the democracy, of the Church and of Dissent, of the agricultural, the manufacturing and the commercial interests, the increasing power of Parliament and of the press, the history of political ideas, of art, of manners, and of belief; the changes that have taken place in the social and economical condition of the people,