Tenants of an Old Farm. By Henry C. McCook, D. D. Illustrated from Nature. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert. Pp. 456. Price, $2.50.
At the solicitation of friends, the author has adopted a narrative form for these sketches of insect-life, and has introduced two characters, an uneducated woman servant and an old colored man, who are well versed in the superstitions concerning insects which are current among the ignorant. The book contains many original observations, especially upon the author's specialties, ants and spiders, and aims throughout to express the latest and best results of scientific research. The one hundred and forty illustrations have been prepared expressly for the work, and many of them are comical adaptations by Mr. Dan Beard. Mechanically, the volume is a handsome one, but contains a few typographical errors.
The Way Out. Suggestions for Social Reform. By Charles J. Bellamy, author of "The Breton Mills." A Novel. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 191.
Having written his novel, Mr. Bellamy proceeds to the trivial, task of solving all the problems of modern social life, by promulgating a grand policy of reform which shall prove to be "The Way Out" for all people who find themselves hemmed in by limitations of any sort, and especially the limitations of poverty. His case may be thus summed up: "This is a government by the people who are essentially omnipotent, and can do what they like. The instrument for cutting their way out of all their terrible poverty and misery is the ballot. There are immense accumulations of property, and what is wanted is redistribution. The greatest happiness would be secured by dividing up. The politicians who have got the most ballots are the parties to do this. What is needed is greatly to enlarge the sphere of government in the way of collecting and scattering money. There are abundant precedents for this, as may be readily shown." The author says:
acts of legislation, has established precedents, if we seek for justification of our theory, or to speak, I think, more correctly, prove that our theory of the functions of republican government has already been practically accepted, although not carried to its logical sequence. Government already interferes to repair the banks of navigable rivers, to improve harbors, to subsidize steamships and railroads, with a view to the ultimate good they may do the nation. The same national Government fits out expeditions of exploration, and makes costly experiments in agriculture and science for the benefit of the people. The State governments have gone much further. They have loaned money to railroads and canals expected to redound to the benefit of the people, provided large sums for education rendered compulsory, and for the care of the poor, and filled in marsh-lands. County, city, and town governments have carried the theory even further. These last-mentioned governments make free bridges and highways which they care for, establish free libraries and reading-rooms, spend the public money each successive year in some new way', even to appropriating the same for the observance of memorial days, or the celebration of Fourth of July. It certainly seems as if the principle must be acknowledged, after such numerous and varied illustrations, that it is the province of government to make a constant care of the material interests and development of the country, as well as the education and happinessof the people.
In the carrying out of this grand programme the politicians who have got the most votes should regulate all profits, cut down the hours of labor, and, incidentally, take possession of all the land, because, "for the greatest good of the greatest number," "there should be no individual property in land." Then will be found "The Way Out" of "society as now organized " into "the era of plenty."
Like the author's former novel, "The Way Out" is a work of the imagination: the author seems to be concerned about no other laws of the social state than those made by the politicians; and as for political economists they are merely "apologists for an iniquitous society."
The Philosophy of a Future State: A Brief Demonstration of the Untenability of Current Speculations. By C. Davis English. Philadelphia: Edward Stern & Co. Pp. 16. Price, 10 cents.
It has been long agreed that science can not demonstrate the doctrine of a future life or the immortality of the soul; but the writer of this pamphlet seems to be of the opinion that the untenability of current beliefs and speculations upon the subject can be demonstrated. Holding, furthermore, that truth is important, and that truth upon this subject is supremely important, he prints