The works of great artists are silent books of eternal truths. And thus it is indelibly written in the face of Balzac, as Rodin has graven it, that the beauty of the creative gesture is wild, unwilling and painful. He has shown that great creative gifts do not mean fullness and giving out of abundance. On the contrary the expression is that of one who seeks help and strives to emancipate himself. A child when afraid thrusts out his arms, and those that are falling hold out the hand to passers-by for aid; similarly, creative artists project their sorrows and joys and all their sudden pain which is greater than their own strength. They hold them out like a net with which to ensnare, like a rope by which to escape. Like beggars on the street weighed down with misery and want, they give their words to passers-by. Each syllable gives relief because they thus project their own life into that of strangers. Their fortune and misfortune, their rejoicing and complaint, too heavy for them, are sown in the destiny of others-man and woman. The fertilizing germ is planted at this moment which is simultaneously painful and happy, and they rejoice. But the origin of this impulse, as of all others, lies in need, sweet, tormenting need, over-ripe painful force.
Verlaine was always only a human being, a weak human being, who did not even know how "to count the transgressions of his own heart." It was this very lack of individuality, however, which produced something much rarer-the purely and entirely human. Verlaine was soft clay without the power of producing impresses and without resistance. Thus every line of life crossing his destiny has left a pure relief, a clear and faithful reproduction, even to the fragrance-like sorrows of lonely seconds which in others fade away or thicken into dull grief. The tangled forces which tempestuously shook his life and tore it to tatters crystallized in his work and were distilled into essences.
It is a common saying that thought is free. A man can never be hindered from thinking whatever he chooses so long as he conceals what he thinks. The working of his mind is limited only by the bounds of his experience and the power of his imagination. But this natural liberty of private thinking is of little value. It is unsatisfactory and even painful to the thinker himself, if he is not permitted to communicate his thoughts to others, and it is obviously of no value to his neighbours. Moreover it is extremely difficult to hide thoughts that have any power over the mind. If a man's thinking leads him to call in question ideas and customs which regulate the behaviour of those about him, to reject beliefs which they hold, to see better ways of life than those they follow, it is almost impossible for him, if he is convinced of the truth of his own reasoning, not to betray by silence, chance words, or general attitude that he is different from them and does not share their opinions. Some have preferred, like Socrates, some would prefer to-day, to face death rather than conceal their thoughts. Thus freedom of thought, in any valuable sense, includes freedom of speech.
Why are you downcast? You are waiting for something too great-waiting, it seems to me, for God in thunder and storm, and not in stillness. The best of it is that, as you say, you cannot "get away anywhere." In this the hand of God is most visible and palpable. What is God? Wherefore God? God is that unlimited all which I know within myself in a limited form. I am limited, God is infinite; I am a being which has lived sixty-three years, God lives eternally; I am a being which reasons within the limits of its understanding, God reasons without limit; I am a being which loves sometimes a little, God loves always infinitely. I am a part. He is all. I cannot understand myself otherwise than as a part of Him.
Ce livre basé sur les travaux de Paul Janet et John Stuart Mill, traite de la liberté de penser et d'exprimer sa pensée. On dénonce sans cesse les libres penseurs comme portant atteinte à toutes les lois divines et humaines, comme menaçant les bases mêmes de la société, comme effaçant la distinction du bien et du mal au profit de l'anarchie et du triomphe des passions. Il se trouve encore des esprits qui, même dans l'ordre de la foi, voudraient que l'état intervînt pour fixer ce qu'il faut croire et ce qu'il est permis de ne pas croire. Le retour au moyen-âge serait la vraie conséquence de ces déclamations, si elles se comprenaient elles-mêmes, et quelques-uns ne reculeraient nullement devant cette conséquence... La liberté de penser est donc le droit commun de toutes les écoles philosophiques: elles ne sont philosophiques qu'à cette condition. C'est là pour nous le premier principe, et par rapport à cette condition fondamentale les dissidences ultérieures n'ont en quelque sorte qu'une importance secondaire... « Une des formes de liberté à laquelle nous nous flattons de tenir le plus, pour laquelle nous nous déclarons prêts à aller en prison, qui est un étrange aboutissement de la liberté, ou à dresser des barricades contre ceux qui ne pensent pas comme nous, c'est la liberté de penser.» (Franc-Nohain)
Comme l'ont dit Platon et Aristote, il n'y a probablement chez l'homme ni plaisir ni déplaisir absolument pur : les deux sentiments se trouvent mélangés à doses inégales par l'art subtil de la nature, et l'impression définitive dans notre conscience est une résultante où l'emporte un des éléments. Cette complexité de toute émotion pourrait se déduire des deux conceptions dominantes de la physiologie moderne. La première de ces conceptions, c'est que notre corps est en réalité une société de cellules qui ont chacune leur activité propre et luttent entre elles pour la vie. « La jouissance est un plaisir éprouvé par les sens, et ce qui les flatte est dit agréable. La douleur est le dé¬plaisir éprouvé par les sens, et ce qui la produit est dit désagréable. - Ces deux choses ne sont pas entre elles comme gain et absence de gain (+ et 0), mais comme profit et perte (+ et - ); c'est-à-dire qu'il y a de l'un à l'autre non pas simple opposition, mais aussi contrariété. - Les expressions : ce qui plaît ou déplaît et ce qui est contraire, l'indifférent, sont trop larges ; elles peuvent convenir également à l'intellectuel, où il n'y a cependant ni jouissance, ni douleur. On peut encore expliquer ces sentiments par l'effet qu'occasionne notre état sur l'âme. Ce qui me porte immédiatement (par les sens) à délaisser ma situation (à en sortir), m'est désagréable, me fait souffrir ; ce qui me porte à la garder (à y rester), m'est agréable, - il me fait jouir...»
This book deals with the history of Pocahontas.
To most of us who have read of the early history of Virginia only in our school histories, Pocahontas is merely a figure in one dramatic scene-her rescue of John Smith. We see her in one mental picture only, kneeling beside the prostrate Englishman, her uplifted hands warding off the descending tomahawk. By chance I began to read more about the settlement of the English at Jamestown and Pocahontas' connection with it, and the more I read the more interesting and real she grew to me. The old chronicles gave me the facts, and guided by these, my imagination began to follow the Indian maiden as she went about the forests or through the villages of the Powhatans...
This book deals with the story of Seneca who was one of the eminent Latin writers and philosophers of the Silver Age. Young, he was fascinated with the philosophical thoughts of the Stoics, to which sect he became devoted. He even adopted the austere modes of life they inculcated, and refused to eat the flesh of animals; but when the emperor, Tiberius, threatened to punish some Jews and Egyptians for abstaining from certain meats, at the suggestion of his father, he departed from this singularity.
There are three pillars of the social state in the Isle of Britain: the voice of the country, royalty, and judicature, according to the regulation of Prydain the son of Aedd the Great...
The three heroic sovereigns of the Isle of Britain: Cynfelyn Wledig, Caradog the son of Bran, and Arthur; because they conquered their enemies, and could not be overcome but by treachery and by plotting...
This book deals with Seneca treatise on Peace of Mind and Care of Health.
"I have given you an account of what things can preserve peace of mind, what things can restore it to us, what can arrest the vices which secretly undermine it: yet be assured, that none of these is strong enough to enable us to retain so fleeting a blessing, unless we watch over our vacillating mind with intense and unremitting care..."
In the great family of the animals, to which we ourselves belong, many different kinds of feet and hands are to be found. This book deals with the evolution of our feet and hands. "The succession of organic modifications which resulted in the formation of the human hand is part of the general process of evolution by which in the animal series the means of progression and of the taking of food were shaped by the environmental conditions under which life was carried on... The functions of life which call into service the bodily limbs are chiefly two-locomotion, an activity which has arisen in connection with the search for food and flight from enemies; and prehension, which is concerned primarily with the grasping and tearing of food, but secondarily also with processes assistive of locomotion and other biological functions, such as sexual congress, the care of the body, burrowing and climbing. Of these two functions, if we regard the vertebrate class only, the former is the more primitive. Upon the office of locomotion the prehensive and manipulative activities of the limb have been superposed as subsequent and more specialized adaptations...."
The incomprehensible cause of motion having hitherto been adored by mankind, under the personification of a deity, with attributes suited to the imagination of the votaries, it is no wonder that more than nineteen twentieths of animate matter, or the brute creation, has been sacrificed to the cruelty, and the caprice of mankind, who created the deity and his laws for the protection of their particular species alone. The Apocalypse of Nature, which testifies and exposes the intimate connection and relation of all matter, must necessarily destroy this partial demon, and his more partial laws, and substitute in his place, a power that demands no personification; and this is the effect of motion, or its instrument of operation, the Volition of Man, which is the source of all [moral] good and evil.
This book presents the Hippocrates treatise of the epidemics, followed by an essay on historic epidemics.
"Epidemic denotes a spreading disease which attacks great numbers of people at certain seasons. The term Epidemic derived from two Greek words, which signify "upon the people - prevalent among the people" - diseases which, at one and the same time, prevail extensively among large masses of the people..."
Henri Bergson was born in the heart of Paris, the Montmartre quarter, in 1859. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his rich ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented.
"The history of philosophy shows us chiefly the ceaselessly renewed efforts of reflection laboring to attenuate difficulties, to resolve contradictions, to measure with an increasing approximation a reality incommensurable with our thought. But from time to time bursts forth a soul which seems to triumph over these complications by force of simplicity, the soul of artist or of poet, keeping close to its origin, reconciling with a harmony felt by the heart terms perhaps irreconcilable by the intelligence. The language which it speaks, when it borrows the voice of philosophy, is not similarly understood by everybody. Some think it vague, and so it is in what it expresses. Others feel it precise, because they experience all it suggests. To many ears it brings only the echo of a vanished past, but others hear in it as in a prophetic dream the joyous song of the future. These words, which Bergson used in his eulogy of his teacher, Ravaisson, before the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, may be applied with greater appropriateness to Bergson himself."
Selma O. Lagerlof was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909.
"It happened at the time when Augustus was Emperor in Rome and Herod was King in Jerusalem. It was then that a very great and holy night sank down over the earth. It was the darkest night that any one had ever seen. One could have believed that the whole earth had fallen into a cellar-vault. It was impossible to distinguish water from land, and one could not find one's way on the most familiar road. And it couldn't be otherwise, for not a ray of light came from heaven. All the stars stayed at home in their own houses, and the fair moon held her face averted. The silence and the stillness were as profound as the darkness. The rivers stood still in their courses, the wind did not stir, and even the aspen leaves had ceased to quiver. Had any one walked along the seashore, he would have found that the waves no longer dashed upon the sands; and had one wandered in the desert, the sand would not have crunched under one's feet. Everything was as motionless as if turned to stone, so as not to disturb the holy night. The grass was afraid to grow, the dew could not fall, and the flowers dared not exhale their perfume. On this night the wild beasts did not seek their prey, the serpents did not sting, and the dogs did not bark. And what was even more glorious, inanimate things would have been unwilling to disturb the night's sanctity, by lending themselves to an evil deed. No false key could have picked a lock, and no knife could possibly have drawn a drop of blood.
In Rome, during this very night, a small company of people came from the Emperor's palace at the Palatine and took the path across the Forum which led to the Capitol. During the day just ended the Senators had asked the Emperor if he had any objections to their erecting a temple to him on Rome's sacred hill. But Augustus had not immediately given his consent. He did not know if it would be agreeable to the gods that he should own a temple next to theirs, and he had replied that first he wished to ascertain their will in the matter by offering a nocturnal sacrifice to his genius. It was he who, accompanied by a few trusted friends, was on his way to perform this sacrifice. Augustus let them carry him in his litter, for he was old, and it was an effort for him to climb the long stairs leading to the Capitol. He himself held the cage with the doves for the sacrifice. No priests or soldiers or senators accompanied him, only his nearest friends. Torch-bearers walked in front of him in order to light the way in the night darkness and behind him followed the slaves, who carried the tripod, the knives, the charcoal, the sacred fire, and all the other things needed for the sacrifice."
The kangaroos have now become familiar objects to all who visit our Zological Gardens, or who are familiar with any considerable zological museum. Their general external form, when seen in the attitude they habitually assume when grazing (with their front limbs touching the ground), may have recalled to mind, more or less, the appearance presented by-some hornless deer. Their chief mode of locomotion (that jumping action necessitated by the great length of the hind-limbs) must be familiar to all who have observed them living, and also, very probably, the singular mode in which the young are carried in a pouch of skin in the front of the belly of the mother. But "What is a kangaroo?"
This book treats of woman's Struggle for Liberty in Germany, and the development of instruction for the two sexes.
"The girls' schools established by the Government provide well for the study of the modern languages, and it is the exception to find women in the upper classes who do not speak French and English. Literature, religion, gymnastics, and needlework are also well taught. The course of study in the high school includes a little mathematics, offered under the name of reckoning, and sufficient to enable a woman to keep the accounts of a household, and also a little science of the kind that can be learned without a knowledge of mathematics. Let me quote a paragraph from the report of the Minister of Public Instruction for the year 1898 in regard to the aim of the mathematical course in the girls' high schools: "Accuracy in reckoning with numbers and the ability to use numbers in the common relations of life, especially in housekeeping. Great weight is laid upon quick mental computations, but in all grades the choice of problems should be such as especially apply to the keeping of a house." This is the opportunity which is offered to girls by the Government in the department of mathematics! In addition to the two grades of schools mentioned there are seminaries in many of the large cities for the purpose of educating women teachers. The instructors in these seminaries are well prepared for their positions, are mostly men, and the instruction given is very superior to that given in the girls' high schools. Latin and Greek are, however, not studied in these seminaries, and mathematics and science are expurgated, we might say, of points that might prove difficult for the feminine intellect..."
This book treats of the evolution of the US dollar mark, the history and curiosities of American coinage.
The United States dollar, adopted in 1785, was avowedly modelled on the average weight of the Spanish dollar coins in circulation. Thomas Jefferson speaks of the dollar as "a known coin, and the most familiar of all to the minds of the people." No United States dollars were actually coined before the year 1794. We proceed to unfold our data and to show the evolution of the dollar mark by stages so easy and natural, that the conclusion is irresistible...
"There are few mathematical symbols the origin of which has given rise to more unrestrained speculation and less real scientific study than has our dollar mark, $. About a dozen different theories have been advanced by men of imaginative minds, but not one of these would-be historians permitted himself to be hampered by the underlying facts. These speculators have dwelt with special fondness upon monogrammatic forms, some of which, it must be admitted, maintain considerable antecedent probability. Breathes there an American with soul so dead that he has not been thrilled with patriotic fervor over the "U. S. theory" which ascribes the origin of the $ mark to the superposition of the letters U and S?..."
History of Paraguay: from the beginning of the settlements, the colonization of the country, the war for independence, and the modern republic of Paraguay.
"The beginnings of the settlements in Paraguay have been sketched in the introductory chapter on the discoveries and conquest. In 1526, Cabot, searching to find a route to the gold and silver mines of the centre of the continent, penetrated as far as the site of the present city of Asuncion. He had already, in the exploration of the Upper Paraná, skirted the southern and eastern boundary of what has since become the country of Paraguay. Ten years later the exhausted and discouraged remnants of Mendoza's great expedition sought rest and refuge among the peaceful agricultural tribes of this region. Under Domingos Irala, these six hundred surviving Spanish adventurers founded Asuncion in 1536, the first settlement of the valley of the Plate. They reduced the Indians to a mild slavery, compelling them to build houses, perform menial services, and cultivate the soil. The country was divided into great tracts called "encomiendas," which, with the Indians that inhabited them, were distributed among the settlers. Few women had been able to follow Mendoza's expedition, so the Spaniards of Asuncion took wives from among the Indians. Subsequent immigration was small, and the proportion of Spanish blood has always been inconsiderable, compared with the number of aborigines. The children of the marriages between the Spanish conquerors and Indian women were proud of their white descent. The superior strain of blood easily dominated, and the mixed Paraguayan Creoles became Spaniards to all intents and purposes. Spaniards and Creoles, however, learned the Indian language; Guarany rather than Spanish became, and has remained, the most usual method of communication..."
The Origin of Fruits and Cultivated Plants.
"To the attractive hues of fruit, I believe, we must ultimately trace back our whole artistic pleasure in the pure physical stimulation of beautiful colors, displayed by natural objects or artificial products.
Our present inquiry, then, will yield us some account of that primitive delight in red, purple, orange, and yellow, which we usually take for granted as an innate instinct of humanity, savage or civilized. When, some few months back, we analyzed the various elements of pleasure which make up our aesthetic enjoyment of a daisy, we were compelled, for the time being, to leave the original beauty of its pink-and-white rays wholly unexplained..."
Discourse on the Passion of Love, by Blaise Pascal, and essay on The Physical Cause of Love.
"Man is born for thought; therefore he is not a moment without it; but the pure thoughts that would render him happy, if he could always maintain them, weary and oppress him. They make a uniform life to which he cannot adapt himself; he must have excitement and action, that is, it is necessary that he should sometimes be agitated by those passions the deep and vivid sources of which he feels within his heart.
The passions which are the best suited to man and include many others, are love and ambition: they have little connection with each other; nevertheless they are often allied; but they mutually weaken, not to say destroy, each other..."
The manuscript of the following pages has been handed to me with the request that I would revise it for publication, or weave its facts into a story which should show the fitness of the Southern black for the exercise of the right of suffrage.
The narrative is a plain and unpretending account of the life of a man whose own right arm-to use his own expression-won his rights as a freeman. It is written with the utmost simplicity, and has about it the verisimilitude which belongs to truth, and to truth only when told by one who has been a doer of the deeds and an actor in the scenes which he describes. It has the further rare merit of being written by one of the "despised race"; for none but a negro can fully and correctly depict negro life and character.
General Thomas-a Southern man, and a friend of the Southern negro-was once in conversation with a gentleman who has attained some reputation as a delineator of the black man, when a long, lean, "poor white man," then a scout in the Union army, approached the latter, and, giving his shoulder a familiar slap, accosted him with,-
"How are you, ole feller?"
The gentleman turned about, and forgetting, in his joy at meeting an old friend, the presence of this most dignified of our military men, responded to the salutation of the scout in an equally familiar and boisterous manner. General Thomas "smiled wickedly," and quietly remarked,-
"You seem to know each other."
"Know him!" exclaimed the scout. "Why, Gin'ral, I ha'n't seed him fur fourteen year; but I sh'u'd know him, ef his face war as black as it war one night when we went ter a nigger shindy tergether!"
The gentleman colored up to the roots of his hair, and stammered out,-
"That was in my boy days, General, when I was sowing my wild oats."
"Don't apologize, Sir," answered the General, "don't apologize; for I see that to your youthful habit of going to negro shindies we owe your truthful pictures of negro life."
And the General was right. Every man and woman who has essayed to depict the slave character has miserably failed, unless inoculated with the genuine spirit of the negro; and even those who have succeeded best have done only moderately well, because they have not had the negro nature. It is reserved to some black Shakspeare or Dickens to lay open the wonderful humor, pathos, poetry, and power which slumber in the negro's soul, and which now and then flash out like the fire from a thunder-cloud.
I do not mean to say that this black prophet has come in this narrative...
This book deals with the history of the last wild Tribe of California and the Ancient Islanders of the State.
This book deals with the antiquities of Mexico (with illustrations).
"The Mexican Republic extends from the fifteenth to the thirtieth degree of north latitude, and embraces an area of about 750,000 square miles. It is traversed by the continuation of the Cordillera of South America, here called the Sierra Madre, which trends north-westerly from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and varies in height from a moderate elevation in the southern States of Chiapas and Oaxaca to a mean height in the nineteenth degree of latitude of 9,000 feet, with the peaks of Orizaba and Popocatepetl - "the culminating point of North America" -rising to the elevations of 17,200 and 17,720 feet respectively. On the parallel of 21°, the Cordillera becomes very wide and divides itself into three ranges: one running eastwardly to Saltillo and Monterey; one traversing the States of Jalisco and Sinaloa, and subsiding in Northern Sonora; and a central ridge extending through the States of Durango and Chihuahua, and forming the water-shed of the northern table-land...
This book presents the Story of the Greatest French Writer: Moliere. "Among the many great names which make French literature illustrious, there is scarcely one which is so universally acknowledged and of such national importance as that of Moliere. The graver poets, of whose works Frenchmen are proud, and whose names stand first on the register of fame, do not wake the same warmth of interest and sympathy which make Moliere always living, always popular, the familiar friend as well as the immortal writer dear to his countrymen, with no solemnity of classical fame alone, but with the warmth almost of personal contact...