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LITERARY NOTICES.

bridge, Mass.; B, Cleveland Abbe, Washington; C, K. B. Warder, Washington; D. James E. Denton, Hoboken, N.J.; E, John C. Branner, Little Rock, Ark.; F, O. S. Minot, Boston, Mass.; H, Frank Baker, Washington; I, Richards Dodge, Washington.

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

The Philosophy of Necessity; or, Law in Mind as in Matter. By Charles Bray. Third edition. Longmans, Green & Co. 1 vol. 12mo. Pp. 407. Price, $1.75.

The readers of George Eliot's "Life," as related in her letters and journals, will recall her intimacy with the Bray family. In Chapter II of that work Mr. Cross speaks of her acquaintance with and admiration for Charles Bray, mentions the book whose title is given above (which was first published in 1841), and adds that her association with the author and his family "no doubt hastened the change in her attitude toward the dogmas of the old religion." With Mr. and Mrs. Bray, and the latter's sister, there existed on the part of Miss Evans "a beautiful and consistent friendship, running like a thread through the woof of . . . thirty-eight years."

It would be an excellent thing if the reading public could be induced more often to turn back to the works of those who have carefully thought out the problems of existence, rather than to demand new expressions which are apt to be more crude and superficial. Did they but know it, they would not seldom find a greater degree of novelty in the old than in the recent. And the republication of books which have commanded attention, but which, though excellent, are in danger of being forgotten in the multitude of novelties, is a highly commendable enterprise.

Among such works of a past generation is "The Philosophy of Necessity," by Charles Bray. It aims to justify the doctrine of the uniformity of nature as construed by the necessitarians and utilitarians, of whom the Mills and Bentham are the type. The author treats the subject first on the side of moral and then of mental science. The best part is the first division, wherein there is a very able and valuable discussion of the origin, objects, and advantages of evil, pain being considered "as the necessary and most effectual guardian of that system of organization upon which happiness depends." Mr. Bray is no pessimist. On the contrary, he believes fully in the beneficial quality of pain, that evil is only a means to good, or good in the making. The limitations of human knowledge prevent us from seeing this clearly, but an hypothesis to that effect furnishes the only rational explanation of the existence of suffering in the world. The moral universe is governed by law, and its laws "are as stable as those of the physical world"; and, while "the causes of many evils must still remain unexplained," enough is known to warrant the faith that "further knowledge will make manifest the benevolent, tendency of all creation, and bring home to every heart the all-cheering conviction that 'whatever is, is right.'"

The Garden's Story; or Pleasures and Trials of an Amateur Gardener. By George H. Ellwanger. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 345. Price, $1.25.

The author of this work is an "amateur" in the sense that he has a genuine love for the gardener's occupation; his knowledge of the subject and familiarity with plants and their relations with soil, situation, weather, climate, and purpose, are professional. His essay is practical in the sense that one may learn from it well how to manage a garden with the greatest success, what plants to put in it, where to put them, how to arrange them, and how to treat them. It is to an equal extent æsthetical, for it is permeated with the sense of the beautiful and of whatever is pleasing to a refined taste, and draws freely for illustration on the world's stores of poetry. Hence, whatever be the purpose of the reader who takes it up, he will find something respondent in it. The particular design of the volume is to direct attention to the importance of hardy flower-gardening as a means of outward adornment and a source of recreation; to present a simple outline of the art rather than a formal treatise or text book of plants—"to stimulate a love for amateur gardening that may be carried out by all who are willing to bestow upon it that need of attention it so boun-