Imatges de pÓgina

taking into consideration the increasing intellectual culture. Four thousand, or forty hun. population, and the rapid spread of cult- dreds, will be a hundred forties—that is, according to ure, it seems reasonable to conclude that the lax Hebrew method of indicating six weeks by the

phrase of forty days,' you will have a hundred bills the number will be more than doubled

or drafts on Father Time, value six weeks each, 35 in less than half the time.

the whole period available for intellectual labor. A Now let us consider how much of this solid block of about eleven and a half continuous

years is all that a long life will furnish for the devel. sea of literature we can hope to swal

opment of what is most august in man's nature." low. Suppose that we assist ourselves by a little calculation. Allow that a man Assuming now that it has been shown could devote ten hours a day to reading, that we can not read more than an inand in that ten hours he could read 200 significant proportion of existing books, pages. In a year he would get through two questions present themselves : 73,000 pages, which at the rate of 500 1. Does not the excess of books over pages to a volume would give as the re- what we can read do us actual injury? sult of his year's labor 146 volumes. 2. If not, does ir do us any good? Now, if we should place the reading life As to the first question, we think the of our student at fifty years, at his death affirmative might be plausibly maintainhe would have read just 7,300 volumes. ed. We think we hear some respectaThis estimate is liberal. Not one man ble old gentleman saying: “Select as in ten thousand ever reads so many much as you can possibly make use of books. The vast majority of men never - the very best- and destroy the rest; read one-tenth as many.

burn it, exterminate it, annihilate it!” But in order to impress the idea more And there does seem to be some show distinctly on our nds, let us contem- of reason in this. If the majority of plate the facts from another point of view. books are bad, or at least not so good Instead of directing our attention to the as the rest, the probability is that we quantity we have to read, let us see the shall stumble on a good many of the intime we have to do it in. And on this ferior ones; and if they do us no other point hear De Quincey, that philosophic injury, they certainly have the effect of dreamer, who passed his long life in keeping us from reading better ones. mingled reverie and study. In his es. “And, sir," says our irate paterfamilias, say on the Art of Conversation,” he "you have no idea of the trash our young says:

people read nowadays; miserable, sen

sational stuff, sir, poisoning their minds. “Three-score years and ten produce a total sum of 25,550 days, to say nothing of some seventeen or

Burn it, sir, burn it—and a good rideighteen more that will be payable to you as a bonus dance!” on account of leap-years. Now, out of this total one.

It might be further said, that in such third must be deducted at a blow for a single itemnamely, sleep. Next, on account of illness, of recre.

a vast sea ideas are in some danger of ation, and the serious occupations spread over the sur. being drowned. The wave that at last face of life, it will be little enough to deduct another reaches the shore, pushing before it its third. Recollect, also, that twenty years will have

charge of débris, has left many a rich gone from the earlier end of your life-namely, about seven thousand days— before you can have attained prize buried or floating behind. There any skill, or system, or any definite purpose in the is reason to think that many a brilliant distribution of your time. Lastly, for that single thought and many a bright discovery has item which, among the Roman armies, was indicated by the technical phrase, 'corpus curare' – tendance been overlooked from mere hurry and on the animal necessities — namely, eating, drinking, crowding. washing, bathing, and exercise - deduct the smallest

To instance briefly: Buckle, in his allowance consistent with propriety, and upon summing up all these appropriations, you will not find so

History of Civilization in England much as four thousand days left disposable for direct (vol. ii., p. 311), says:



“ The most decisive arguments advanced by Nie. If we can not read so many books, of buhr against the early history of Rome had all been anticipated by Voltaire, in whose works they may be what use are those that we can not look found by whoever will take the trouble of reading at? The answer is, that we can look what this great man has written instead of ignorantly at them. We can refer to them. But railing against him.”

it is evident that in order to find our The great discovery of the circulation way through such a vast labyrinth we of the blood by Harvey was neglected must have some clew. To wander unby his contemporaries (Buckle, vol. ii., guided would be useless. And here let p. 80). Paradise Lost lay unread until us pause for a moment to see if we can introduced to the public by Addison. picture to ourselves some such efficient Doctor Johnson, in his Lives of the En- guide. glish Poets (vol. i., p. 123), says:

An Eastern prince, says the fable, de• The slow sale and tardy reputation of this poem

sired the learned men of his kingdom have always been mentioned as evidence of neglect. to condense the voluminous existing reced merit and of the uncertainty of literary fame." ords of knowledge to such compass as

The splendid discovery of the undu- would enable him to make himself maslatory theory of light, first reduced to ter of their contents. After years of ladefinite shape by Huygens, was long bor they showed him volumes enough neglected, and remained so until finally to fill a small room. “Too much,” said taken up by Young. * Indeed, so prone his majesty; “I have not time for all are we to forget or overlook that which that.” After another period of years we have not constantly before us, that the labor of the sages reduced the mass we often so lose valuable truths. Hear so much as to allow of its being carried the high authority of Mill. In his Sys- upon an ass. “Too much," persisted tem of Logic (p. 411) he says:

the prince. Again the wise men ap

plied themselves, and this time they “Considering, then, that the human mind, in dif. ferent generations, occupies itself with different succeeded in inscribing the sum of huthings, and in one age is led by the circumstances man knowledge upon a palm - leaf. which surround it to fix more of its attention upon one

Such a process is not typical of what of the properties of a thing, in another age upon an. other, it is natural and inevitable that in every age a

we should desire. We are not content certain portion of our recorded and traditional knowl. to trust the learning of any set of conedge, not being constantly suggested by the pursuits densers. We do not care to have artiand inquiries with which mankind are at that time ficial landscapes in imitation of nature's engrossed, should fall asleep, as it were, and fade from the memory."

grand and inaccessible scenery. We

want maps and roads and other conIn short, it would not be difficult to veniences to enable us to visit the origwrite an essay on “Lost Thoughts." inals with the least possible trouble. In But after all, the question had better be short, we want trustworthy guide-books, answered in the negative. The evils in- containing complete directions to enable cident to the vast expansion of litera

us to find our way through the morasses ture are more accidental than necessary. and tangled forests of literature to the

As to the second question, namely, clear cool springs of truth. Whether the excess does us any good ?

Are we investigating any particular we answer in the affirmative.

What a relief would it be if record of thought-however blotched we had something that would tell us and blurred—is precious, and is pro- immediately the names of all the books ductive of some good. But what good? that had been written upon it, with the

*See Brande's Dictionary of Science, Literature, general facts concerning them, such as and Art, article “Light."

the age and time in which they were

Every subject?

written, the general views they advoca- appeared Bouillaud's catalogue, which ted, the men by whom they were written, was the first that deserved any notice. their merit both absolute and in relation It divided recorded knowledge into five to other works on the same subject, their grand divisions, namely: Theology, Juprincipal defects and inaccuracies, the risprudence, History, Philosophy, and reviews and criticisms and replies they Literature; and amplified each head. may have drawn forth, together with the But the execution was very imperfect. places where they are most easily ac- In 1825 Mr. Hartwell Horne published cessible, and any other useful informa.. his Outlines for the Classification of a tion concerning them that might exist; Library. In 1834 Sir John William and all in a kind of short-hand lan- Lubbock published his Remarks on the guage, easily decipherable and plainly Classification of Human K’nowledge. intelligible.

But none of these are up to the mark. Let us inquire whether we have any. Two things are necessary for a perfect thing of this sort, and, if not, whether literary digest. First, there must be a anything of the kind is possible. correct system of classification, and

1. We have nothing of the sort. En- secondly, there must be the most enorcyclopedias do not approach it. They mous and unwearied labor in filling up are in no sense indexes. They do not correctly the outline. The system, how. aim to tell us what has been written, ever, would seem to be the most imporbut to add something more to the pile. tant thing. And great minds have disHighly condensed they are, it is true, cussed it. and, in many cases, convenient; but, as Professor Henfrey, F. R. S., in a lectalready said, we can not sufficiently trust ure upon the Educational Claims of any man's learning to allow him to con- Botanical Science, delivered before the dense for us. We wish to see for our- London Society of Arts, says: selves what there is.

"The most remarkable of the classifications of the Neither do catalogues of the names sciences which have been given to the world may be of books come much nearer. Wonder- briefly characterized by arrangement under three ful industry has been expended in them. heads, indicating the totally distinct points of view

from which they set out, namely: (a), Those based Every public library has now its cata

upon the sources of knowledge ; (6), Those based logue; and most of the large publish- upon the purpose for which the knowledge is sought: ing-houses have them also. The Ref- and (c), Those based upon the nature of the objects

studied." erence Catalogue of Current Literature (printed 1874) consists of over 3,000 After giving reasons why the first two pages, and professes to contain the ti- should be rejected, he adopts the third, tles of over 50,000 works. But though of which he says: these have a certain use, it is obvious

"The objective classification of the sciences may that, unless we know the name of the be briefly explained here. The primary divisions de author we wish to consult, it is idle to pend upon the groups or classes of truths, which

must be arranged according to their simplicity, or, run over a list of names. We might what amounts to the same thing, their generality ; ia have to go through the whole book be- other words, the small number of qualities attached fore finding the name we desired. It to the notions with which they deal. The mathewould be like looking into our City matical sciences deal with ideas which may be ab

stracted entirely from all material existence, retaining Directory to find the name of a person only the conceptions of space and number. The whose appearance may have taken our physical sciences require in addition the actual reco fancy in the street.

ognition of matter or force, or both, in addition to 2. But such a thing is possible. It fined to universal properties of matter. The bio

relations in space and time, but they are still cos. has indeed been attempted. In 1679 logical sciences are distinguished in a most marked


manner by their dependence; the laws of life re- It would be a Herculean task, but not late to objects having relations in space and time, impracticable. Consider our friends the and having material existence; they display, moreover, in their existence, a dependence upon phys. lawyers. They toil not overmuch, neiical laws which form their medium; but they are ther have they greater abilities than the distinguished by the presence of organization and rest of us; and yet I say unto you that life, characterized by a peculiar mobility and of resistance to the physical forces, and an individ. it is easy for them, by the aid of their uality of a different kind from that found in inor. “digests,” to pick out of the incredible ganic matter. The sciences relating to man, to mass of cases decided by the numerous human society, are removed another step, by the

courts of England and America, almost interference, among all the preceding laws, of those relating to the human mind in its fullest sense."

since their organization, all that bear Compte has given to the world his upon the point they happen to be mainviews upon the subject. Herbert Spen

taining cer also. His division is as follows:

It is unnecessary to dilate upon the benefits of such a literary digest. Not

only would it increase real information " Abstract-Logic, Mathematics. Abstract-concrete-Mechanics, Physics, Chemise

- not only would it render thorough try, etc.

investigation easy, and make possible ". Concrete - Astronomy, Geology, Biology, Psy. things that no one now dreams of unchology, Sociology, etc."

dertaking—but it would serve to correct This is enough to show that the mat- errors which escape detection by the ter has been discussed. To arrive at very wearisomeness of tracing them up. the result of the discussion would re- It would decrease quackery, cant, and quire more careful and extended exam- ignorance, and be fatal to all manner of ination. As to filling up the outline literary crimes. Blessed shall he be when we are agreed upon it, that would among men who hastens the day of its be only a question of time and labor. achievement.




'HE highest of the technic arts, maneser. Small would be our knowl.

and that which has contributed edge of the ancient Egyptians did not more than any other to the comfort and the giant pyramids, the wondrous temwell-being of mankind, is architecture. ples, and the deep-cut tombs of the valNations that have passed away or be- ley of the Nile, covered with pictured come absorbed have left us, in almost scenes and hieroglyphics, remain to atimperishable monuments of stone, rec- test the high civilization to which they ords far more trustworthy and more char- attained; and the Pelasgi and Etruscans, acteristic than the written histories which who preceded the Greeks and Romans, recount the deeds of kings and warriors. would be almost mythical did we not Vague, indeed, were our ideas of Nine- possess specimens of their Cyclopean veh until the researches of Layard and architecture. his successors in the work brought to We learn far more of the manners, light, from the mounds of decayed adobe customs, and refinement of the ancient in which they were hidden, the sculpt- Greeks from an intelligent study of the ured slabs that surrounded the halls of ruins of the Acropolis than from a peru. the palaces of Sennacherib and Shal. sal of the victories of Miltiades and Ci

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mon. Alexander could destroy the Per- and was on the eve of becoming a style sian empire, but the pillars of the pal- when the school of Michael Angelo and aces of Persepolis still tower aloft, and Palladio, with its five orders (five prisspeak to us of the glories of Xerxes and on-cells for thought), became paramount Darius.

and spoiled all. Rome has written her history over In the seventeenth century architecthalf the world; triumphal arch and ar- ure had almost lost its artistic character, caded aqueduct, pillared temple and gi- but at the commencement of the eightgantic amphitheatre, tell of her power, eenth came the Grecian revival, brought her religion, and her cruelty; while tes- about by the careful study of the Par. selated pavements and decorated walls, thenon and other temples. This revival scattered through the realms once sub- left us a legacy of houses and churches ject to her sway, are evidence of the lux- without apparent roofs, and with win. ury of her private citizens.

dows hidden behind a screen of columns. Each of these nations had its own pe. Then came the Gothic revival, most powculiar style, a style which faithfully re- erful in England, and resulting in a new flected the genius of its people, and when growth of spires and tracery, painted the last of these empires passed away, windows, and pointed arches. the influence of its architecture was not At the present epoch, no European extinct, but impressed itself, in various nation, except perhaps the French, can forms and degrees, upon the edifices claim to have anything approaching a erected by the conquering Teutonic style of its own; nor is it likely, in these

Out of the medley of styles — days of steam, when travelers are millRomanesque, Lombard, Rhenish, Nor- ions where they were thousands half a man, Burgundian-rose at last a distinct century ago, and when the products of and grand style, the last of the real styles, a section of country are the commodities the Gothic; a style of clustered columns of the world, that any nation will again and pointed arches, vaulted naves, and be sufficiently isolated to elaborate a traceried windows “richly dight,” of but- distinct style. To their intense love of tress and pinnacle and lofty tower—a art, as well as to their exclusiveness and style which was the expression of the national vanity, the French owe that ardent faith of Christendom, poured out manner - founded on an adaptation of and crystallized in churches and cathe. the classic styles to modern require. drals over the length and breadth of ments, mingled with some Gothic detail Europe. But faith declined as knowl- —which is fast approaching a style, and edge increased; the almost forgotten which may, in the course of time, be ex. remains of ancient Rome were exhumed panded and adapted until it becomes the and studied, and architecture lost its style of civilized man all the world over. oneness.

In our utilitarian age, destitute of the Instead of aiming to produce some- all-absorbing faith of our forefathers, thing which should express the purpose temples and cathedrals have lost their for which the building was intended, in pre-eminence, freedom has frowned upa manner suitable to the climate and on palaces and castles, and the rapid conditions of life of their age, architects developments of modern science have began to copy, at a more or less respect- brought in many new classes of structful distance, and with more or less of ures in their place. Docks, wharves, eclectic accuracy, the buildings of for- quays, bridges, warehouses, and factomer ages.

The early Renaissance of ries are now of equal importance, from Italy and France had its own beauties, an architectural point of view, with the

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