Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/142

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

striking way how progress and retrogression have succeeded one another in England. Prof. Rogers's work is a notable contribution to the modern view of history, which looks not so much at the conspicuous and picturesque elements of national life, the contests of courts and battle-fields, as at the daily life of the common people; which busies itself with their progress in the arts and sciences, their success in translating justice into law, and the consequences due to change of conviction as to the rights of the citizen and as to truth in religion.

Prof. Rogers shows that in many ways the common people in the middle ages were better off than they are now. Although the standard of living was low, want was rare. The best workmen, associated together as guilds, purchased lands and houses throughout England for charitable service to their order, and so in a spontaneous, wholesome way effected an insurance for old age and infirmity. In the fifteenth century skilled workmen, such as carpenters, and masons, worked but eight hours a day; this, too, without invoking legislation for the purpose. So skilled were some of these men that they combined the talents of both design and execution, and planned the churches, guild-halls, and cathedrals they afterward helped to build.

Rent was at first a tax imposed by the lord for the protection he extended. For arable land in six centuries rent has been multiplied tenfold in comparison with the price of grain. Competitive rents were of very gradual introduction by the landed classes, who in the main have been grossly unjust in evading taxation and in increasing privileges while ignoring the responsibilities originally attached thereto. Once, property was almost universally diffused, and at that time Prof. Rogers believes the respect for property, still so characteristic of Englishmen, to have been implanted. Because its sheep-pastures were secure from the invader and untouched by the thief, England for three centuries enjoyed a monopoly of wool production in Europe, enormous in value. Prof. Rogers is of those who accord a supreme molding potency to circumstances and conditions; he holds the drunkenness and unthrift of the English working people to be largely chargeable to the demoralization of unjust poor-laws, and the oppressions of a landlordism which at last extorted famine rents. While he has devoted his life to the study of political economy, he feces that that science takes but a partial view of man and not the highest view; and that no one can understand political economy who does not take some trouble to understand human nature—its sentiments, affections, passions, and hopes. It is refreshing to find an economist who has had the expanding experience of a long parliamentary career and a varied knowledge of men and things the world over. Such a man, possessed of a new and rich store of fact, brings a new treatment to the well-worn themes of currency, pauperism, colonial policy, and the extension of the sphere of government into the field of business. His chapters, delivered as lectures at Oxford, have the freedom if albeit the dogmatism of a veteran discoursing to his juniors. Still they have a ring of manliness and humanity which much heightens the effect of his teaching. He has some plain words for the economists of the arm-chair who give verbal symmetry to incomplete and second-hand impressions—men who are plainly in sympathy with those who have wealth and comfort rather than with those who create these tilings.

Beauty, Health, and Strength for Every Woman. By Oscar B. Moss, M. D. Ann Arbor, Mich.: The Register Printing and Publishing House. Pp. 376.

"I am not able to recall," says Miss Catherine E. Beecher, "in my immense circle of friends and acquaintances all over the Union, so many as ten married ladies, born in this century and in this country, who are perfectly sound, healthy, and vigorous." A large share of the women in any one's acquaintance in America are delicate, or have frequent fits of sickness, or general poor health, or are chronic invalids. There is little of this disease that is not preventable by faithful use of the medical knowledge that we now possess. To make this knowledge known to the women of America, and to impress them with the importance of guiding their mode of life by it, are the objects of Dr. Moss's volume. The first practical subject which the author treats is diet, and this is followed by achapter on the dress of young girls. In the next chapter the physio-