By far the most striking paper in the Contemporary for January is, again, M. Gabriel Monod's review of "Life and Thought in France ;" but the number is full of good, though not exciting, essays. Pro- fessor W. S. Jevons makes out a strong case for "A State Parcel Post," which he would work like the State letter-post, but with a tariff of circles fifty or one hundred miles distant from each other. He would find in practice, we suspect, that one rate, or at most two rates, for "near" and " distant " delivery, analogous to the home and foreign letter posts, would be more convenient ; but his general pro- posal is, we have no doubt, entirely sound, and should be carefally studied by the Department, which wants some new and great source of business and revenue. The Rev. William Cunningham sends a very thoughtful paper on " The Progress of Socialism in England," his main theory being that competition tends more and more to demand perfect organisation, that organisation is best secured by regular Services, and that, therefore, industry tends to become a Service, and to pass under State control and direction. He has not thought enough, or at any rate, said enough, about agriculture, which, for three generations, has outside England tended to that intense form of individualism known as peasant proprietorship; but his view will excite the reader's thought. The Alcohol papers we have already noticed, and Professor Monier Williams is not original in his view of the Central-Asian question, which is simply that England and Russia must meet, and had better meet at the Hindoo Koosh than at the Suleiman ; and we are not impressed by Mr. Thorold Rogers's view of British finance. We must educate the people much more, and educate them in self- restraint, too, before a graduated tax on property can be seriously discussed. His principle that there "is no equity in taxation, unless it is founded on equality of sacrifice," goes further than he sees. It would involve this,—that the childless man with £1,000 a year should pay twice or thrice as much as the man with £1,000 a year and seven children.
The Nineteenth Century. Januaq.—We have already noticed "The Logic of Toleration," and all the world has read, and most of the world has misapprehended, Mr. Gladstone's sketch of the "friends and foes of Russia," in which he shows how Tory action has resulted in Russian advantage; but the number contains, besides, a paper by Mr. Greg, " Verify Your Compass," which discourses on the frequent confusion between conscience and prejudice ; another, on "Receiving Strangers," in which Miss C. E. Stephen pushes benevolence, as it appears to us,
beyond the limit of the possible, almost advocating the opening of a "casual ward" in every wealthy house ; and a paper on silver and the Indian finances, by Colonel G. Chesney, which will interest many. It is penetrated throughout by a singular error, a belief that the Indian Legislature, by refusing to coin private silver, would compel remitters to remit to India either in gold or Council bills, and might so restore silver in India to its value in relation to gold at home. Nothing of the kind would happen. Remittances would go on in anything India would buy, and among the things is silver in bars. They could not be coined, but they could be sent all over Asia, and back to England as an article of export. We should take bar silver from India as readily as from Porn. The price of Council bills would be compared with the price of silver bars, and would have to come down to that level,—that is, to a lower level than the price of silver which might be coined. Colonel Chesney's proposal might, and we think would, increase the loss by exchange.
The Fortnightly Review.—Besides Sir H. Norman's able paper on the scientific frontier of India, noticed last week, Mr. Morley gives us an interesting notice of Mr. G. H. Lewes, by Mr. Trollope, the general effect of which is, that Mr. Lewes was a many-sided man, but not a very strong one ; a rather violent attack on London Medical Schools, by Mr. Gilbert, who thinks the immense funds dedicated by the Hospitals to education are needlessly wasted, for want of a central professional control. The paper is well worth attention, but Mr. Gilbert is wrong in comparing the medical students of London with those of Calcutta. He forgets that every native student in Calcutta is and must he a married man, and is usually the father of a family and head of a household before he takes his diploma,—while the native character is entirely opposed to the rioting which he so justly condemns. Lord Houghton's essay, "On Certain Phenomena of the Imagination," is in- teresting, though not very profound, and contains at least one statement which is, to us at least, both interesting and new :—" In considering how much abstract science has been affected by imagination, I need not revert to the common-places of the connection of alchemy and chemistry, or of astrology and astronomy ; Zadkiel's Almanac' still lives beside Lord Rosse's telescope, and a few years ago the price of bismuth rose extravagantly in the market, by the formation of a com- pany organised to convert it into gold." The history of that company would be an addition to that great unwritten book, " The History of Human Error." Mr. T. Wemyss Reid's sketch of "Rural Roumania" needs correction from another hand more friendly to Roumania, but it is full of striking pictures of a country which seems to want nothing but sensible farmers and a little more order to be the granary of East- em Europe. Mr. F. Harrison continues his history of " The English School of Jurisprudence," and Mr. Saintsbury paints for us Chamfort and Rivarol, two forgotten French writers of the eighteenth century, who, for aught we can gather, are just as well forgotten. Chamfort made trenchant and bitter epigrams, and wrote indecent novels, and was guillotined ; Rivarol wrote maxims and satires, particularly a prose " Dunciad," translated Dante, and was called the " Deity of conversation." The account of both is, nevertheless, charming reading.
Plackwood's Magazine. (January.)—Blackwood opens with an amusing bit of nonsense, called the "Elector's Catechism," in which the elector states all the reasons for the Liberal faith which ought to tell against it, and finishes the two discursive papers on " Journalists and Magazine- Writers," which have not impressed us with either their wit or their knowledge. There is a good account of Dandet's novels, and a defence of the Afghan war, which rests upon what we think the unproved assumption that Shere All had undertaken " perfidious " engagements with the Governor of Tashkend. Why are engagements contrary to the interests of Great Britain always "perfidious?" The writer is obviously as puzzled as the rest of mankind as to what is to follow the flight of Shere Ali, but is quite decisive that the Central-Asian
question must be settled.
Macmillan's Magazine. (January.)—The paper of the month in Macmillan is the account by Mr. J. W. Cross of the fall and rise of American industry during and after the groat civil war. He attributes the terrible distress from 1874 to 1877 to the effects of the war and the forced currency, and the recovery which has only begun to the habit of thrift, which set in anew, and to the steadily increasing harvests of the last five years. The agricultural production of 1878 and 1860 may be thus compared :—
Wheat ... ... Qrs. 22,000,000 50,000,000 Indian Corn „ 104,000,000 162,000,000 Cotton ... ... Bales 4,800,000 5,200,000 Mr. Cross looks forward to a great future for agriculture, and believes that its growth will ultimately produce a great Free-trading party, as, we may remark, it formerly did in the South, and his paper by itself is worth the price of the magazine.
Fraser's Magazine.—Fraser gives us no less than ten average papers, but none requiring notice, unless it be the account of the peoples on the Bhootan frontier, which is instructive and new, particularly an account of the Totes, a tribe who look like tall Negritos, and wear a traditional dress adapted to a colder climate, and who, the writer thinks, have degenerated from a much higher civilisation. They are now the gloomiest of all known races, believing that their god, Talesbur,
inflicts death for the slightest infraction of his ceremonial law, living by their orange groves, and patiently awaiting the extinction alike of their orange-trees—which they say are decaying—and of their own race.
The Cornhill Magazine. (January.)—"Within the Precincts," a fine story, is continued ; and Mr. James finishes his "International Epi- sodes," one of the thin, flimsy, unsatisfactory, subtle sketches which only he just now can write. We do not repent in the least of our last month's praise of this effort, but the conclusion is, nevertheless, not equal to the prelude. "The Growth of London" is not new enough; but there is a capital paper on Lotteries, though the writer pushes his notion of "fairness" in lotteries rather far. A lottery is always injurious to morals, but a lottery-maker has a right to make any terms, provided they are intelligible and honestly fulfilled. His account of the Russian scheme of a lottery—never carried out—in which the speculator was to toss a coin, and receive twice his stake if head did not turn up at the first throw, four times if tail came up twice, eight times if it came up thrice, and so on, is extremely curious. It might have drawn great sums, but it might also have rained the Government,—and that was perceived in time. In 8,192 trials, head twice appeared only after tail had come up fifteen times, whereby Government would have lost heavily, re- ceiving only £2 for each toss. We very much doubt ourselves if the proportion of chances much influences anybody, and if a lottery with a million of £1 tickets and ten prizes of £50,000 each would not " draw " more than any other form. People will run any number of risks for the chance of being rich in an hour.
We have received the following Magazines, &c. :—The Quarterly Journal of Science, the principal article in which treats of the thickness of the Antarctic ice, illustrated by a chart showing the probable path of the ice in North-Western Europe during the period of maxi- mum glaciation.—Part 10 of Our Native Land, which this month is devoted to Derbyshire, and gives water-colour sketches and letterpress descriptions of Mensal Dale, Miller's Dale, and the grand limestone bastion of Chee Tor.—The Nautical Magazine, which contains a con- tinuation of the articles on " Steel for Shipbuilding," the writer of which seems to think that more experiments are wanted before any- thing can be said as to the durability of mild steel.—The University Magazine, the subject of the contemporary portrait and monograph being Sir Frederick Leighton, P.R.A.—The China Review, con- taining some curious "Ballads of the Shi-King."—Tinsley's Maga- zine, which opens with the first instalment of a new tale by Shelsley Beauchamp.—The Theatre, all the articles in which are this month signed by writers who are considered authorities on matters connected with the Stage ; we are therefore surprised to find several very old anecdotes in the unsigned portions of its contents. Portraits are given of Miss Fowler and Mr. E. Terry.—Hardwicke's Science Gossip, which this month gives a description and illustrations of the development of the house-fly and its parasite, to which we would advise all young people to refer, for an answer to the question,—" Why the fly sticks to the wall ?"—In Chambers's Journal, the articles on " Breath Gymnastics " and " How to be Happy, though Married," are well worth reading ; and "W. C.," in dealing with the subject of bank failures, advises shareholders to look carefully into the characters of directors, advice we imagine only Englishmen will follow, as we fear few Scotch people would think of questioning the probity of a church elder.—All the Year Round, the two principal serial stories in which are supplied by Mrs. Cashel Hoey and the author of "Lady Andley's Secret," and which also contains an interesting article dis- cussing the " Case of the Curates," and some gossip on " Packs of Cards."—The Victoria Magazine, which publishes " An Argu- ment against Lady-helps," the writer arguing that as no gentle- man would think of placing his boy as a page, or his grown-up son as a butler or groom, it may be safely deduced that an employ- ment inadmissible for the son is unsuitable for the daughter.— The first number of the Biograph (Moron), containing short bio- graphies of Wilkie Collins, L. H. Courtney, M.P., R. E. Francillon, Canon Girdlestone, Edwin Goadby, F. G. Heath, J. Hollingshead, Henry Irving, Theodore Martin, N. Michel, A. E. Mulready, and Sir C. Whetham.—Casselts Family Magazine, containing an interesting "Friendly Gossip on Gout," and some practical "Experience at the National Training School of Cookery."—Good Words, which begins the year with a story by the author of " John Halifax," and serial articles by Donald Macleod, James Geikie, Sarah Tytler,and other well-known writers. —Every Boy's Magazine, Every Girl's Magazine, and the first number of the new series of Little Wide-Awake, the contents of all of which seem well suited for the class of readers they are intended for.—The Scot- tish Naturalist, and the Journal of the Scottish Meteorological Society.— The Popular Science Review.—Owens College Magazine.—The Portfolio. — Belgravia. —The G entleman'e Magazine.—The Animal W orld.— Su nday at Home.—The Sunday Magazine.—Colburra's New Monthly Magazine.— St. James's Magazine.—Part 9 of the Magazine of Art.—Part 45 of Cassell's Library of English Literature.—The Leisure Hour.—American Magazines :—The New Year's number of Scribner's Monthly, which contains a more than usual number of illustrated readable articles, the woodcuts illustrating Old Maryland Manners " being particularly fine. —Lippincott's Magazine, a capital number.-=The North-American Review.—The Magazine of American History.—St.. Nicholas, the best of all children's magazines.