Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/725

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
707
LITERARY NOTICES.

typed in universal usage than the term "gospel," as applied to views or doctrines which a party is engaged in propagating, from the gospels of the evangelists to Carlyle's "Gospel of Dirt," and the "gospel of dig" now discussed in the educational journals. The "coincidence" in the application of this word we should hold to be of a very innocent sort.

And here all coincidence ceases. The two gospels are not of the same kind. The two phrases "gospel of rest" and "gospel of relaxation" do not mean the same thing. Instead of being alike, their meanings are rather contrasted. We have simple passivity on the one hand, and activity of a given kind on the other. The "gospel of rest" is obeyed by inaction, by stopping work, or going to bed; while the "gospel of relaxation" implies rather a change of activity from work to play, and it connotes recreation, entertainment, and amusement. The "gospel of relaxation" means the substitution of agreeable diversion for tiresome labor. The Puritanical Sunday would answer to Dr. Beard's "gospel of rest," but it would not answer to Herbert Spencer's "gospel of relaxation." Dr. Beard's requirement was made into a gospel of duty by the ancient Jews; Mr. Spencer's requirement has as yet been made into a gospel of duty nowhere. The cases are, therefore, conspicuous for their lack of "coincidence," and the same thing will be observed in all the other counts.

The burden of Dr. Beard's pamphlet, as we have intimated, is to show that he was first in the field in the systematic treatment of "American nervousness"; and, as he entitles his pamphlet "Herbert Spencer on American Nervousness," the impression is sought to be conveyed that Mr. Spencer has recently entered upon a definite field of inquiry which Dr. Beard had made his own long ago. But in the first place the views of the two men are far from being of the same character, and, in the next place, Spencer's views are much older than those of Dr. Beard. As regards priority, it is only necessary to say that we heard Mr. Spencer give expression to the main ideas of his address long before the name of Dr. Beard was ever publicly heard of. It was an early outcome of his evolution studies, that, as in social progress the fighting dispensation of society gave way to the working dispensation, so the working dispensation must in turn give way and become subordinate to the higher objects to which work and wealth are tributary. The stage beyond, to which he maintains we are tending, will be characterized by a more perfect organization of the means of human enjoyment. That life is for pleasure in its largest sense is a cardinal idea of the Spencerian philosophy, and that the social fulfillment of this supreme end must come in practical forms, by giving larger and more systematic play to our pleasure-loving impulses and varied capacities of enjoyment, is an explicit and leading inculcation of Mr. Spencer's works. That completer living is to be attained by a multiplication of pleasurable satisfactions, and the perfected art of enjoyment was taught; for example, in his "Education," written twenty-five years ago, and the doctrine is at the basis of the "Data of Ethics," the most advanced treatise of his philosophical system. Mr. Spencer took up this cherished and long-familiar topic, in his New York address, simply because he was freshly and forcibly reminded of its importance by what he saw in this country.

History of the Pacific States of North America. Central America, Vol. 1, 15011530. By Hubert Howe Bancroft. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & Co. Pp. 704. Price, cloth, $4.50.

This volume, the sixth in the great series of historical works by Mr. Bancroft, gives the history of the southernmost section of North America which borders on the Pacific, during the period of discovery and colonization previous to 1530. The first chapter, of a hundred and fifty pages, is introductory; half of it being devoted to "Spain and Civilization at the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century," and the rest to a "Summary of Geographical Knowledge and Discovery from the Earliest Records to the Year 1540." The summary includes a series of voyages by the Northmen to the northeastern shores of America, extending over five centuries; and mentions many expeditions both eastward and westward by travelers from Southern Europe, the earliest of these being made in 1096. The value of this account is increased by copies of fif-