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The Memoirs of Baron Thiébault: translated and condensed by
Arthur John Butler. Two volumes. London and New York, The Macmillan Company, 1896—8vo, x, 491, 438 pp.
It hardly falls within the scope of this review to give detailed criticism to a work like this in its aspect as pure history. But there is one point of interest, which has thus far escaped observation, and to which we are glad to call our readers' attention—a curious parallelism between the life of General Thiébault on the one hand, and that of General MacClellan on the other. It is true that the Frenchman reached no such position of high independent command as did the American; but barring this difference of external circumstances, the careers and characters of the two men are strikingly alike. Each was possessed of great military ability; each also possessed that excess of virtue on minor points which becomes a vice when it is allowed to stand in the way of major interests. Thiébault, like MacClellan, always handled his troops well for the immediate purpose in hand; like MacClellan, his critical judgment of military operations was admirable; like him, he was a good organizer of volunteer material. But like him also, he had a conspicuous lack of the power of getting on with some of his equals or superiors who had less scientific ability than himself, but more tenacity of moral purpose; a fatal readiness to follow the dictates of false selfrespect rather than the demands of a large work that needed to be done. The resemblance between the men extends to their writings. The memoirs of each of the two men, while written largely in justification of their conduct, and from the standpoint of favorable selfcriticism, nevertheless leave upon the reader the impression of a hopeless deficiency in just those moral qualities most necessary to high command.
A. T. H.
Corporation Finance. A Study of the Principles and Methods of the
Management of the Finances of Corporations in the United States; with Special Reference to the Valuation of Corporation Securities. By Thomas L. Greene, Auditor Vanhattan Trust Company. New York and London, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897—8vo, 181 pp.
This is an excellent book. It combines two very rare merits ; it deals with an important subject on which there was previously no good book in existence, and it handles it from so many sides as to fill the gap in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. Prior to his
work with the Manhattan Trust Company, Mr. Greene was a successful editorial writer for The New York Evening Post on matters of corporation finance; so that he is able to combine experience in presentation of results with practice in analysis of figures.
To the superficial reader the parts which are of most interest will perhaps be those which relate to the various forms of corporate security, and their relative merits. The author is a thoroughly safe guide to follow in these matters. In the discussion of income bonds we note one slight defect of theory. The fundamental contradiction is not so much in the combination of security and contingency, as in the combination of contingency and absence of control. But this omission does not affect the practical conclusion. To the economist the chapters on corporation accounting, and on public policy with regard to corporate profits, will prove of great value; while the treatment of the causes of railroad receiverships is a really brilliant piece of work.
The only part of the book which seems open to serious criticism is the index. Instead of giving many heads arranged in alphabetical order, it gives relatively few heads and a large number of subheads not alphabetically arranged. This conduces to literary style, but interferes with the purposes of an index. It is in most cases quite as easy to look through the pages of the book for a particular topic as to try to hunt for it in the index at the end. When there is a demand for a new edition—which we feel sure cannot be long delayed—we trust that a change may be made in the arrangement of index topics.
A. T. H.
Le Socialisme et la Science Sociale. Par Gaston Richard. Paris,
Félix Alcan, 1897–8vo, 200 pp. German Social Democracy. Six Lectures [before the London
School of Political Science] by Bertrand Russell, with Appendix on the Woman Question in Germany by Alys Russell. London and New York, Longmans, Green & Co., 1896—8vo, 204 PP.
There are two ways in which we can handle a subject like socialism; the logical and the psychological. Under the former method, we consider the truth or falsehood of the various postulates, generalizations and deductions; testing them by their consistency with one another, and their power of explaining past events or of predicting future ones. Under the psychological method, on the other hand, we study the conditions of life of the exponents of the
various theories; trying to account for their attitude of mind toward different groups of facts, and their bias in favor of one explanation or another. The more remote the domain of a science or art from the conflict of human interest, the more important does the logical analysis of views become as distinct from the psychological. The history of mathematics has practically nothing to do with the lives of its professors; the history of aesthetics has to do with them in almost everything.
The histories of socialism in common use, Rae, Laveleye, etc., have tried to combine both these methods. The books now before us separate them. Richard uses the logical method, Russell the psychological. Of course no absolute separation is possible; Richard begins with some history of opinion. Russell with some analysis of theory. But the domain and motive and method of each of the two books is perfectly clear; not only in contrast with one another but in contrast with an intermediate book like Rae.
The contrast between the two methods is distinctly to Russell's advantage. We feel that we are getting somewhere. Not only do we know more facts when we have finished the book than we did when we began it, but they are facts of such a kind as to assist in our judgment of human conduct, and in our power of dealing with future movements of the same sort. On the other hand, Richard's book leaves a certain impression of inconclusiveness. It is not on account of any failure of analysis; nay, paradoxical as it may seem, it is the very success of the analysis which engenders the inconclusive impression. If there was so little solidity in these opinions, why did people hold them? Shatter their logical foundations, and you only prove that there was some other basis which you have not touched. Success in the logical method of treatment simply creates a demand for the psychological.
The fact is that the controversy between socialists and individualists is essentially an aesthetic one. One side perceives certain data strongly, and others weakly; the other side notices the first less and the second more. Such a controversy can not be settled by logic, because, from the very first, it lies outside the sphere of logic. It can be explained by analysing the conditions which have led to the differences of perceptions and postulates in the two cases; it is to be settled, if settled at all, by considering which way of looking at things is a means of self-preservation to the communities which act upon it, and which way of looking at things is suicidal.
A. T. H.
Modern Europe, 1715-1789. The Balance of Power. By Arthur
Hassall. New York, The Macmillan Co., 1896.
Mr. Hassall's interests are mainly the diplomatic intrigues of that intriguing age, and these he has unravelled with great industry and considerable skill of presentation. It is not the proper function of the critic to quarrel with the author about his subject, but as this book is planned as part of a series of text books, one may be allowed to question whether the ins and outs of diplomacy ought to receive such disproportionate attention. For the intellectual movement in France preparatory to the Revolution Mr. Hassall has only one short chapter. The economic conditions prior to the Revolution receive brief and inadequate attention, while Louis XV's secret du Roi occupies many pages. Mr. Hassall's development of his field follows old-fashioned lines in the light of modern research. For the newer aspects of historical study he apparently has little inclination. A comparison of this volume with that of Lavisse and Rambaud's Histoire Générale de L'Europe for the same period reveals some striking divergencies of view as to what topics deserve detailed treatment. The French writers relegate those subjects to which Jr. Hassall devotes the most effort to quite a subordinate position and discuss in detail much that he does not mention. In other words, they have given a picture of the eighteenth century while Mr. Hassell has prepared an excellent diplomatic study and called it a History of Europe.
E. G. B.
American History Told by Contemporaries. Vol. I. Era of Colonisa
tion 1492-1089. Edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Professor of History in Harvard University. New York, The Macmillan Co., 1897—8vo, xviii, 606 pp.
This undertaking of Professor Hart's will prove one of the most important contributions of recent years to the study and teaching of American History. It will bring before teachers and students as living persons those who too frequently have been only shadows of names. The colonial period especially will be vivified through the study of these volumes.
Professor Hart has chosen the selections with good judgment and his introduction supplies valuable hints as to the proper use to be made of them in teaching. It should not be thought, however, that the work is designed solely for the use of classes. The general reader will find that it contains a most varied and interesting series of views, so to speak, of the growth of the country, and can be read in course like a narrative history with occasional resort to a handbook for connecting links.
E. G. B.
ADAMS, BROOKS. The Gold Standard: An Historical Study. Washington, A.
Beale, 1897. Bosco, AUGUSTO. L'omicidio negli Stati Uniti d'America. Roma, G. Bertero,
1897. BROWN, JAMES S. Partisan Politics. Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Co., 1897. CHRISTIAN, J. S. Crime and Criminals. Chicago, The W. T. Keener Co., 1897. Commissioner of Labor. Uth Annual Report, 1895-6. Work and Wages of Men,
Women and Children. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1897. GREENE, Thomas L. Corporation Finance. N. Y., G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1897. GROSVENOR, E. A. Constantinople. Boston, Roberts Bros., 1895. (Hart, A. B., Editor.) American History told by Contemporaries. Vol. I. Era
of Colonization, 1492–1689. N. Y., The Macmillan Co., 1897. HOUDARD, A. Le malentendu monétaire. Paris, Guillaumin & Cie., 1897. Hurst, John F. History of the Christian Church. Vol. I. (Library of Biblical
and Theological Literature.) N. Y., Eaton and Mains, 1897. New York Charities Directory, 7th edition. N. Y. Charity Organization Society,
1897. PEARSON, KARL. The Causes of Death and Other Studies in Evolution. 2 vols.
London and N. Y., Edward Arnold, 1897. SETH, ANDREW. Man's Place in the Cosmos and Other Essays. Imported by
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897. SOLVAY, E. Social Comptabilism. The Cheque and Clearing Service in the
Austrian Postal Savings Bank. Brussels, Institute of Social Sciences, 1897. (STOCK, St. George, Editor.) Lectures in the Lyceum, or Aristotle's Ethics for
English Readers. N. Y., Longmans, Green & Co., 1897. United States Commission on Boundary Between Venezuela and British Columbia.
Report and Accompanying Papers. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1897. Also Maps of the Orinoco-Essequibo Region.