Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/140

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128
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ject," she then says, "has been to gain for my pupils from this study, not merely knowledge, but all the mental discipline it could afford. In order to accomplish this, I have made it an invariable principle to make them do all the observing, all the thinking, possible. They have watched the heavenly bodies to discover their appearance and motions, and then I led them on to discuss the causes. It has been genuine inductive study, so far as it has gone. My own work seemed very simple; but it occasioned me a great deal of observation, thought, and study. I have simply kept them on the track." This book is intended to aid other teachers in the performance of that duty, and to help the pupil too. In it, an efficient, easy, well-tried plan for teaching the constellations is described, the use of which will obviate the necessity of a teacher doing work out of school-hours, by enabling students to become independent observers; careful directions are given when, how, and where to find the heavenly bodies; and their motions are described in the order in which they can be seen by an observer, and in familiar language. Thus the student is excited to thought. He is prompted to see for himself, and then can not avoid the inquiry what it all means. In order that his inquiries may take the right direction, facts are in the book stated first, and theory is given afterward, as a deduction from the facts. The selection of subjects for the student's thinking is a little different from that of other school astronomies. The general principle governing it is to make the student understand what he can see. Miss Bowen has also sought to make her book of use to those instructors who have little or no practical knowledge of the science, but who would improve if the text-book were a guide to observation, and to the increasing class of young people out of school who would study the stars for themselves if they had suitable leading.


A Farmer's View of a Protective Tariff. By Isaac W. Griscom. Woodbury, N. J.: Published by the author. Pp. 53.

It would be hard to find in the literature of political economy an author who has written about the protective tariff with a clearer head than this "farmer." The basis of his thesis is that, agriculture having been recognized on all sides as by far the most important business interest in the nation, it has followed that one of the main arguments in favor of maintaining a protective tariff has been, that it would aid agriculture by creating increased home consumption with steady and remunerative prices for the farmer's products. "This looks very well, to be sure, as a theory, but, after twenty years' experience, the agriculturist finds himself getting no more (a good deal less, in fact) for his products than before the civil war; and, with his necessary expenses very much greater than then, he naturally begins to wonder if there was not something wrong in the original calculation." Mr. Griscom then proceeds to show that there was something wrong there, and wherein it lay.


The Rear-Guard of the Revolution. By Edmund Kirke. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 317. Price, $1.50.

This work presents a chapter in American history of which not so much is known as ought to be, but which, if the view the author takes of it is correct, is of exceeding importance. It embodies the history of three of the pioneers of the central region of the United States, who, "clad in buck-skin hunting-shirts and leading inconsiderable forces to battle in the depths of a far-away forest, not only planted civilization beyond the Alleghanies, but exerted a most important influence in shaping the destinies of this country." They were John Sevier, Isaac Shelby, and James Robertson, "all of them characters worthy of the most heroic ages, and so exactly adapted to the work which had to be done that the conclusion is irresistible that they were, like Lincoln and Washington, 'providential men.' . . . Their slender forces trod silently the Western solitudes, and their greatest battles were insignificant skirmishes, never reported beyond the mountains; but their deeds were pregnant with consequences that will be felt along the coming centuries." These ascriptions are justified, in the airthor's mind, by the conclusion at which he has arrived from his studies, that two of the men thrice saved the country by thwarting the British plan to envelop and crush the Southern colonies, and by turning the