Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/427

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413
LITERARY NOTICES.

THE TWENTIETH BIRTHDAY OF "NATURE."

"Nature," now accepted as the foremost scientific journal in Europe, signalizes the beginning of its forty-first volume by reviewing its own career and the advancement of science during the twenty years that have elapsed since its first number was issued, in November, 1869. It came forward without obtrusive advertising, and without making any promises other than what was implied in the statement in Prof. Huxley's introductory article that its aim would be "to mirror the progress of that fashioning of herself in the mind of man which we call the progress of science." It now claims, with a justice that all its readers will recognize, that it "has not disappointed the hopes of its founders, nor failed in the task it undertook." Its pages fairly reflect the aspects which scientific discussion has assumed from year to year; and every established conclusion has been suitably noticed in them as it gained the right to claim attention. The reader can turn to its columns for facts bearing on all matters of interest of this kind, in the assurance that he will find them there. "Nature" has been able to accomplish this purpose, it says, by enlisting the co-operation — in contributions, and by advice and suggestion — of the leaders in all branches of research, and by showing its desire to be for the good of science and the promotion of knowledge — regarding these as of more importance than journalistic success. While its most prominent function has been to present at first hand the results of the work of these men, it has not disregarded the laity of science. Besides taking pains to present its professional articles in a form acceptable to the great body of unlearned inquirers, it has in its correspondence department given them a free parliament for discussion. Making itself a faithful mirror of scientific thought, it speedily gained favor among English readers; extended its reputation abroad; and became the one journal indispensable to students in every branch and every land.

Its record of the achievements of science during its lifetime, though consisting only of the briefest mentions, is a large one, and includes such facts as the establishment of the Darwinian theory, the periodic law in chemistry, the determination of a relation between electricity and light, the progress of bacteriological investigation, the advance of spectroscopical discovery, the vast expansion of physiological research, and many other matters of hardly inferior moment. In all these achievements English investigators are exhibited as among the most active, solid in work, and thorough in inquiry; and none have been more sagacious than they in generalization and in applying principles to practice. Not the least important of the results is the education of a generation who have sufficient knowledge of science to recognize its importance and give it its true position; so that, when now it points out a new field of inquiry or asserts a new principle, it has no longer apologetically to face suspicion and hostility, but meets a friendly and helping public.




LITERARY NOTICES.

Recent Economic Changes and their Effect upon the Production and the Distribution of Wealth, and the Well-Being of Society. By David A. Wells, LL.D., D.C.L. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 493. Price, $2.

Two years ago Mr. Wells contributed to "The Popular Science Monthly" a series of articles entitled "Recent Economic Disturbances." They elicited so much comment and discussion that the author now presents them as a book. In so doing he has brought his record of fact down to date, and extended his review so as not merely to treat the economic derangements which date from 1873-'74, but to include the economic history of the past three decades.

In comparing the present earnings of labor and assets of capital with the figures for 1860, Mr. Wells shows that the economic