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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

papers, only a grade or two lower in coarseness and vulgarity, as suits the immature condition of mind to which they are addressed. Prof. Sumner says that "these papers poison boys' minds with views of life which are so base and false as to destroy all manliness and all chance of true success." But pray, what are the "views of life" currently set forth in our mature literature of the widest circulation? They are false, extravagant, distorted, and misleading, to the last degree. But, instead of being condemned and forbidden, this literature is widely read and freely indorsed, and, under the sordid inducements its disseminators are able to offer, the talent of the country is at their disposal. How long is it since a journal, whose blood-and-thunder stories had pushed it into enormous circulation, bought up statesmen, and littérateurs, and clergymen, and presidents of colleges in dozens, who contributed their perfunctory essays to be sandwiched among the stupid clap-trap tales for which the sheet was bought? The boys' newspapers have probably not money enough yet to buy respectability in this way, but with sufficient enterprise they may imitate this feature also. Are we not told that newspapers must suit supply to demand, that they are made to sell and must be adapted to the state of mind of their patrons and publish what people want to read?—how far do the boys' newspapers deviate from this primary requirement of a successful press? Villainous caricatures in family journals are mildly objected to by some, but the aggrieved publishers beg to know how else they are to get an "enormous circulation." The ideals of the boys' newspapers are said to be low. What is the altitude of the sporting ideals recognized by popular newspapers? If the rich may have their fun in horse-racing, and the colleges may enjoy their rowing matches, how can the boys be much censured for taking some interest in the prize-ring? A notorious bruiser, tired of mauling his fellow-creatures, turned black-leg and politician, giving alternate attention to the gambling-den and the Senate-chamber, and, when he dies, the newspapers are overrun with multifarious discussions about him! The boys' papers will probably take up the topic of Morrissey, and improve it in their own way. Prof. Sumner said that "this subject is of interest to the students of social phenomena," and this is our concern with it. But it is the province of these students to consider facts in their relations and mutual dependencies. The boys' newspapers are not isolated things; and they can be condemned for no reasons that have not a much further application.

 

 

SEDGWICK ON THE "VESTIGES OF CREATION."

Adam Sedgwick was Professor of Geology in the University of Cambridge and President of the Geological Society of London, and in an anniversary address before that body, in 1831, he said, "We have a series of proofs the most emphatic and convincing that the approach to the present system of things has been gradual, and that there has been a progressive development of organic structures subservient to the purposes of life." This is rank evolution, even for to-day, though uttered forty-seven years ago! But in 1834 Dr. Sedgwick got a fat and easy church sinecure, becoming Prebendary of Norwich, which perhaps accounts for the sour milk in the following cocoanut. In 1844 the reverend geologist wrote to Macvey Napier, editor of the Edinburgh, Review, concerning the "Vestiges of Creation," and his letter contains the following passage, which is to be taken as representing the Norwich prebendary, rather than the President of the Geological Society who speaks in our previous quotation:

"I now know the 'Vestiges' well, and I detest the book for its shallowness, for the