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LITERARY NOTICES.

with war and gratifying the savage instincts by descriptions of bloody victories with the poetry of modern times, in which the sanguinary forms but a small part, while a large part, dealing with the gentler affections, enlists the feelings of readers on behalf of the weak, we are shown that, with the development of a more altruistic nature, there has been opened a sphere of enjoyment inaccessible to the callous egoism of barbarous times" (page 215). We have marked many other passages for quotation, not in the Data of Ethics alone, but in other works of Mr. Spencer's as well, but our limits forbid the use of them. Enough has been produced, however, to prove to any unprejudiced reader that the accusation brought against Mr. Spencer of counseling selfishness is, as we said before, "absolutely without foundation," and does signal injustice to a man the whole of whose philosophy is so strongly inspired by a social motive. In the matter of moral science many people are to-day in the position in which men in general were some generations ago in relation to physical science. Just as the alchemists of a former time were bent on achieving the transmutation of metals, and the astrologists on reading in the stars the destinies of individuals and of states; and just as these precursors of the scientific workers of our time would have been greatly discouraged and would perhaps have abandoned their labors if persuaded that their methods were vain and their hopes visionary and unrealizable; so, if we may be allowed to say so, the pre-scientific or anti-scientific moralists of our own time are disposed to spurn any ethical system that is not transcendental in its character and does not nourish boundless hopes. Truth, however, is making its way in the world; and gradually all intelligent men will be led to see that better, wider, and more permanent results can be achieved by working on the moral lines laid down by science, than by striving, with the older philosophies and theologies, to scale the heaven of an unattainable virtue. Let us hope that the present discussion may have a little influence in this direction.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the voyage round the World of H. M. S. Beagle, under the Command of Captain Fitz Roy, R.N. By Charles Darwin. A new edition, with Illustrations. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 551, with Maps. Price, $5.

There are only a few books that have the qualities of an originality and freshness that never wear out. Darwin's Naturalist's Voyage must be conceded a prominent place in the list. It has been a little more than fifty years since it was first published. That is a very long time in the life of a book of science and even of a book of travels. Either is likely to become antiquated and obsolete in that period. The book of science comes to be read largely as a curiosity, and to derive its chief interest as being a landmark from which the advance accomplished may be measured. The book of travels becomes a kind of history, and is valued for the illustrations it furnishes of the scenes and conditions that once prevailed. Mr. Darwin's Journal, in whichever aspect we regard it, seems as life-like, real, and sagacious as if it were the fresh record of the latest observer. The prediction made by the Quarterly Review on its first appearance, that "it must always occupy a distinguished place in the history of scientific investigation," is more than fulfilled. The work accomplished by Darwin on this voyage has been gone over, in its various parts, many times, with all the advantages of increased knowledge and approved appliances and methods of investigation; and it is surprising how little of it has to be rewritten. So far from any of its science seeming obsolete, we find all through the narrative observations which are in effect unconscious predictions, the product of the author's peculiar way of looking at things, of what has since been determined; and we are also constantly reminded that the later determinations are to