of Mr, F. York Powell, the different volumes being prepared by various writers.
The volume on Edward III is necessarily very much occupied with the wars with France and Scotland, yet the social and religious affairs of the country are not neglected, and in the "Misrule of Henry III" these subjects are the principal ones. This latter volume exhibits in a striking manner the tyranny and extortions of the Papacy during the thirteenth century, while the Statute of Provisos, the Statute of Præmunire, and other measures of Edward Ill's reign, illustrate the means taken to counteract the evil. The fearful epidemic of the black-death and its effects claim attention, and are briefly but vividly related. One of the most striking effects of this plague was a great rise in wages, owing to the reduction in the number of laborers, and the chroniclers relate the attempts that were made by law to keep wages down. Thus, we read that "the king sent proclamation into all the counties that reapers and other laborers should not take more than they had been accustomed to take, under the penalty appointed by statute. But the laborers were so lifted up and obstinate that they would not listen to the king's command, but if any one wished to have them he had to give them what they wanted, and either lose his fruit and crops, or satisfy the lofty and covetous wishes of the workmen." These passages are curious reading now, as are also those denouncing the taking of interest; but they show in clear light the supremacy of natural law.
Such works as these can not supply the place of the ordinary historical treatises, since they do not furnish a complete and connected view of the periods to which they relate. But they are very interesting and valuable, as giving what may be called an interior view of the times and subjects of which they treat; and students of history will look with interest for the remaining volumes of this series.
Principles of Art. By John C. Van Dyke. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1887. $1.50.
This book is an elementary treatise on the history and theory of art. It makes no pretension to originality or to scientific profundity, but is intended for the mass of people that are interested in the subject. The discussion chiefly relates to the arts of form and color—architecture, painting, and sculpture; the other fine arts, such as music and poetry, being introduced only for purposes of illustration. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which deals with the history of art, the second with its philosophy. The author's views of the development of art are substantially those generally held by writers of the historical school. He regards the art of a nation as the product of its civilization, and thinks that "nothing can record so truly the nature of a people or a country's civilization as its art" (page 13). He holds that "art is what its age and its environment make it" (page 173). "The artist lives in his own time, and seldom ahead of or behind it. If he is striving toward the unattainable of the future, there is some impulse of his age that urges him on. If he goes back to imitate an art of the past, again some tendency of his time promotes it." Whichever way he turns, and whatever he may do, the circumstances of his surroundings rule him unconsciously" (page 13). These extracts show the author's views of artistic development; and the historical part of his work is an attempt to apply these principles to the facts of art-history. Several pages are devoted to the theory of art, but we have no space to discuss or even to explain the author's views. As regards the art of the present day, he thinks its leading characteristic is the expression of individual tastes, a view which he illustrates by numerous examples.
The Essentials of Perspective, with Illustrations by the Author. By L. W. Miller. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 107. Price, $1.50.
The author calls this little book "The Essentials of Perspective," because it seems to him that it contains as much information about the science of which it treats as the artist or the draughtsman ordinarily has occasion to make use of. He has aimed to produce a work exhaustive enough to present the subject adequately, and yet be as free as possible from the technical difficulties which the unscientific mind will encounter in the profounder treatises. Some unessential things are left out, in the effort to make clear the really important truth.