Popular Science Monthly/Volume 10/March 1877/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 10 March 1877 (1877)
Prof. Tyndall's position in the world of thought, at the present time, is one of very marked individuality, and there go several strong factors into the composition of that wide and powerful influence as a thinker which he has exerted upon the mind of the period. In the first place, the age is scientific to so great a degree that all human interests are more disturbed by this agency than ever before. Prof. Tyndall's scientific acquirements and training are therefore in harmony with the great intellectual movement of which he has become a leader and representative. His chosen field of labor, moreover, that of physics, is the one which people generally are best prepared to appreciate, while his ingenuity and fertility in devising new and striking experiments for the illustration of facts, and the proof of principles, always compel attention to what he lias to offer. Again, his consummate mastery of the arts of exposition, the clearness and beauty of his statements, and the high literary finish of all his work, give him the command of cultivated minds wherever English is read. Equally important, also, in any estimate of Prof. Tyndall's power, is that fearlessness of spirit, and unflinching allegiance to what he considers the truth, that give boldness to his utterances, and carry him to the front of the conflict, in which science struggles with the forces of ignorance, prejudice, and superstition. These elements, of course, are not equally combined in all his productions. In his scientific memoirs we have only the record of laborious and painstaking researches, but they are always elegantly written. In his volumes upon "Heat" and "Sound" we are chiefly struck by the lucid and methodical exposition, interspersed with poetic touches and expressions of fine feeling, awakened by the study of Nature's deeper harmonies, and which are a constant source of pleasure to the student. But it is in his various miscellaneous papers, some of them didactic, some controversial, and others devoted to the development of advanced opinions in which he is deeply interested, and all of them with a scientific substratum, and exhibiting the best excellences of his eloquent style, that we shall find the chief secret of the hold he has obtained upon all classes of readers. These papers were collected, a few years ago, in a volume entitled "Fragments of Science," which proved one of the most popular of his works. It passed through four editions, and the fifth now appears, greatly enlarged by recently-published articles, and containing one hundred and ninety-three pages of matter not found in the former American edition. Prof. Tyndall has rearranged the work, grouping together the more scientific articles in Part I., and the controversial discussions in Part II., to which there is a special and able introduction. All the articles have been carefully revised, with a view to making them, in the highest degree, clear and accurate. Commendation of this work is superfluous, but it is one of the volumes that wide-awake readers cannot well do without, and which is always ready to furnish instruction and entertainment for an odd hour.
The compilers of general dictionaries of two or more languages have hitherto given but little thought to secure either fullness or accuracy in their vocabularies of technical terms, especially those employed in the useful arts. Such terms having no place in literature proper, and the existing dictionaries being designed mainly as keys to the literature of the various languages, the defect of which we speak becomes, under the circumstances, venial. But we are from day to day coming into closer industrial relations with the outer world, and the need of such a work as that before us has long been felt. The author of this work has spared no pains to make his dictionary complete and accurate, and he is to be congratulated upon the success with which he has performed his very difficult task. The first part of the work (French-German-English) embraces some 65,000 technical terms and phrases, the second part (English-German-French) about 76,000, and the third (German-English-French) over 90,000. As was inevitable in a work involving so much research, errors are not wanting, and a multitude of technical terms have been omitted. Nevertheless, the author has rendered an inestimable service to the world of letters in the compilation of this dictionary; its defects will disappear under revision, as new editions are called for. In the mean time we are very well satisfied with the work as it stands, and can heartily commend it as a trustworthy guide to the synonomies of technical terms in the three foremost languages of modern industrial life.
The activity of modern speculation on social subjects, while yet there are so few principles established for the guidance of thought, has led to the widest and wildest diversity in the treatment of this class of questions. This is perhaps the highest sphere of intellectual liberty, for in most other departments of thought there are restraints which come from more or less settled ideas. Thus in religion there are established creeds; in practical politics, constitutions, precedents, and the body of laws; in history, canons of interpretation; in science, facts, generalizations, and determined methods—all of which exert a regulative and controlling influence over the speculative tendency. But in the social field very little help comes from any such sources, and the fertile thinker is as free to spin theories and excogitate a philosophy as if he had been the first to start inquiry in this domain. That principles will at length be established to direct the course of investigation, we are not permitted to doubt; but, thus far, the chaos of social philosophy, and the conflict of social doctrines, are the most striking facts in regard to them.
Mr. Wright has made an earnest book, which is pervaded by an excellent spirit and noble aspirations, but his views are original and independent, and he has done his own thinking throughout, from his exposition of a radical and thorough-going socialism down to the punctuation of his volume, which he has carried out according to his own rules. So full a freedom of treatment ought to favor originality of suggestion and freshness of opinion, and the book will accordingly be found to contain many ingenious ideas, and to abound in hints and statements which will find a useful place in the future development of the subject. The author makes no large claims for his work, but simply submits it to the common-sense of his readers for what it may be worth in helping them to the study and understanding of social questions; and "hopes that, if the public cannot tolerate these writings as a work of science, they will, at any rate, tolerate them as a kind of sermon to politicians and statesmen."
Mr. Wright classes the elements or activities of man's social life in six categories or units, as follows: There is, first, the individual; second, the family; third, the social circle—by which he means groups of affiliated or closely-connected families; and, fourth, the precinct—by which he means to designate the neighborhood principle. The precinct is a fundamental idea in the social series which the author develops with special prominence. "Precincts," he says, "are neighborhoods organized into civil governments; they are territories within territories; they are parts of a tribe or nation, and are not self-existent. In other words, precincts are the organizations of the neighborhood principle in civil government. They might be compared with the 'States' of the American Union by calling them very small and reformed 'states.' The precinct is the fourth fundamental element or 'personality' of society as determined in our analytics." The precinct is distinguished from the corporation, and is the smallest political group, but in Mr. Wright's scheme it is endowed with many of the most important functions of government.
The fifth unit is the nation, which is political on the larger scale; and the sixth unit of society is mankind, or the human race, the aggregate of all nationalities. Under this classification the author discusses a wide range of questions—in fact, everything that belongs to government, reform, philanthropy, education, social progress, communism, etc. The present volume is the first of a series to be carried out as the leisure or opportunity of the author may allow.
In a note prefixed to this volume, and addressed to reviewers and critics, the author requests these parties to "carefully read the book before they review it." This is only fair, and we undertook to comply with the writer's wish, but failed to get through with it either carefully, hastily, or in any other way. For life is short at the best, and is rapidly shortening, while work multiplies, and but little time is left for reading. Moreover, President Braden's volume is very substantial, and contains a good deal of printed matter on a page, which increases alarmingly after the 342d. Beyond doubt, if the depth of the work is in proportion to its length, it must be valuable. Not having carefully read it, we shall not venture to review it, but we quite agree with the author as to the importance of the discussion; and, as in his title he has sandwiched Darwinism between Theism and Atheism, our readers will infer his point of view to be that of the theologian. The book is a theological onslaught upon the school of thinkers of which Mr. Darwin is now the most conspicuous representative. We gather from the introduction that the author formerly did vigorous service, and probably won his theological spurs, as a fighter of infidels in public debates and written discussions. He considers that this has afforded him a valuable "training" as a champion of religion against the new phase of scientific infidelity, and which enables him to deal very decisively with Darwin, Mill, Huxley, Spencer, Draper, Tyndall, and the like, whom he cuff's and mauls about, in his book, without the slightest mercy. The "Problem of Problems" is obviously a good deal such a work as "Modern Physical Fatalism," which we noticed last month, but is much longer.
The author of this book, who wrote also "Travels in Paraguay and Brazil," and a "Theory of Salts," is said by Mr. Ludlow, in his preface, to have been a man of great fertility and originality of mind. He says:
Mr. Mansfield believed in the practicability of aërial navigation, and that the problem will at length be solved, and the work is a close and searching inquiry into the principles upon which such solution must depend. It will, therefore, be important to the students of aërostation.
The following passage from that witty philosopher, Hans Christian Andersen, when treating of the "ugly duckling," serves as a motto for the volume: "'What next, I wonder?' said the hen. 'You have nothing to do, and so you sit brooding over suck fancies. Lay eggs or pur, and you'll forget them.'
" 'But it is so delightful to swim on the water,' said the duck; 'so delightful when it dashes over one's head, and one dives down to the very bottom.'
" 'Well, that must be a fine pleasure,' said the hen. 'You are crazy, I think: ask the cat, who is the cleverest man I know, if he would like to swim on the water, and perhaps to dive, to say nothing of myself. Ask our mistress, the old lady, and there is no one in the world cleverer than she is: do you think that she would like to swim on the water, and for the water to dash over her head?'
" 'You don't understand me,' said the duck."
In this volume a series of vocabularies and phraseology, collected by members of Lieutenant George M. Wheeler's survey parties, were made the object of a comparative investigation by the author, a resident of New York City, who is already known to the scientific world by various treatises on Indian languages, and on European dialects found in the Alpine valleys. Oscar Loew, chemist of one of Lieutenant Wheeler's parties, collected the main portion of these vocabularies, adopting for them the alphabetical notation recommended by the Smithsonian Institution. To solve the longstanding problem of the primordial habitat of the Aztec tribe, which forms a portion of the far-stretching Nahua race of natives, the author has united all the linguistic information which can at the present time be derived from the study of the Pueblo languages, and has also illustrated the radical affinities of the other language-stocks, which form the object of the publication. In addition to this, the volume contains one of the most exhaustive enumerations of American language-stocks and dialects ever attempted from the genealogical standpoint, embracing North, Central, and South America, and gives a transparent synopsis of the plan of thought and the morphological processes observed in various idioms of the Western Hemisphere. From a separate chapter, the contents of which are novel to science, and of the highest linguistic interest, we become enabled to follow Indian thought and Indian combinatory powers to the very abysses and mysteries of primeval word-formation and word-composition.
A short appendix compares and analyzes numerous terms embodied in the large word-table on pages 97 to 117, and classifies the numeral adjectives according to the various systems of numeration in use all over the divers parts of the globe (binary, quinary, etc.). On the last pages two curious Southern rock-inscriptions are figured and their interpretation attempted.
This book is likely to attract the attention of ornithologists on account of both its good and bad qualities. It is restricted in its scope to New England, and intended chiefly to report what the author has himself observed in the neighborhood of Boston, but the biographies are extended by copious quotations. Mr. Minot seems to regard the subject from the standpoint of an oologist, and makes the breeding habits of birds the most prominent feature of his history. The long introduction is especially addressed to egg-collectors or students, and contains minute information upon forming oölogical cabinets. This portion of the book should have been revised by the author, and cut down at least one-third. As to the long appendix, embracing keys by which to identify the eggs of the birds, and the birds themselves mentioned in the volume, it is practically useless; while the construction of the two indexes is foolish. This misfortune arises from the method of the book, which—its character and object considered—is altogether bad. The arrangement of his subject-matter, under various signs and paragraph-marks, is only an obstruction, and we are sure the really great value of the work, as a whole, would be much more striking if this complicated, cross-reference catalogue arrangement had been dispensed with.
Although the information conveyed is local, the accounts of the habits of the birds contain many new and valuable facts, stated in a way to inspire confidence in the reader. Mr. Minot's style, though often somewhat crude, and showing marked defects, is pleasant and strong. He has paid particular attention to the notes and songs of birds, and describes their music felicitously. Evidently he has had a sharp eye upon them everywhere, and under all sorts of circumstances, for his delineations abound in minute touches, which show close observation.
In popular interest and in general scientific value this volume by Prof. Orton will occupy a favorable position among the many excellent books of South American travel that have appeared since the great work of Darwin in 1835, and to whom the volume before us is fittingly dedicated.
The account of the first journey, made in 1867, was published soon after, and was favorably received. The route on that occasion was from Guayaquil to Para, at the mouth of the Amazon, by way of Quito.
The second journey was made in 1873, and commenced where the first one terminated.
By aid of two excellent maps, the route of the traveler can be followed from Para up the Amazon, thence through forests, and over horrible roads upon the eastern slope of the Andes, to the great plateau and city of Cajámarca, "the most beautiful plain in all the Andes." The city is 9,400 feet above the Pacific. In it are the remains of Atahuallpa's palace and other memorials of the struggles of the Peruvians with the Spaniards.
"Two days from Cajámarca, the party shouted for joy at the sight and sound of a locomotive," a sign that their hardships were over. The Andes of Peru are being traversed by roads grander than those of the Aztecs.
Having arrived at the Pacific coast, a half-hour's ride by rail took the travelers to the city of Lima. Arriving at Mollendo, a new village, "with the ocean on one side and a vast desert on the other," Prof. Orton took the train for Lake Titicaca, a distance of 325 miles. He was the first passenger over the newly-finished road to the lake from the Pacific. The route is over deserts and apparent solitudes, on which look down some of the snowy giants of the Andes 18,000 feet high. At 107 miles the train stopped at Arequipa, a city in a valley of green verdure; and, finally, at Puno, an Indian village, 12,547 feet above the ocean. Before reaching it the waters of Lake Titicaca were seen.
The highest point on the route was 14,660 feet, where snow lay on the hills, and where there was no sound of life. "So profound was the stillness that the buzzing of an insect would have been painful."
"I gazed," says the author, "rapt in thought, upon the lake, brimful of history. Its surface, at a height of 12,493 feet, lies level with the tops of lofty mountains, and it has an area of 2,500 square miles."
Everywhere around it are monuments of a civilization which has passed away.
Of the railroads of Peru, the Oroya, which was being built, will attain at its greatest elevation a height of 15,645 feet above the level of the sea.
The geology and natural history of the Amazon region-and the Andes, their resources and inhabitants, make several chapters of great interest. Besides two maps, the volume contains 80 illustrations.
These are all excellent addresses by able men, and as popular as the nature of the subjects will allow. They are illustrated, and on good paper, and the publishers furnish them at 20 cents apiece.
Notwithstanding the multitude of books, good, bad, and indifferent, that treat of cooking and eating in all their aspects, the subject is yet far enough from being exhausted—the plenitude of its literature serving chiefly to convince us of the importance of the subject. But there is evidently an awakening in the culinary world, and a growing sense that, although it may have rained cook-books for a century, the work of reforming the kitchen and dining-room, and bringing them into some rational method of management, remains still to be accomplished. The dissatisfaction with bad cooking and barbarous eating is steadily spreading, cooking-schools are multiplying, and many are asking anxiously what can be done to amend our imperfect and evil ways in the preparation and serving of food.
Mrs. Henderson has therefore chosen a fitting time to put forth the results of her study, observation, and experience, on these important matters, and her volume, we think, will be widely welcomed and appreciated, as an excellent contribution to the literature of domestic economy, at the present time. It is comprehensive and practical, and meets the general wants of families in a satisfactory way. It contains much information in regard to culinary implements, processes of cooking, and the methodical operations of the kitchen, which if made available will be certain in most cases to improve that branch of the domestic establishment. It is the merit of Mrs. Henderson's book that it is something more than a compilation; it has grown out of her own practical interest in kitchen-work, much observation and correspondence, and an enthusiasm for housekeeping which ought to be more frequent among ladies. She gives an excellent array of selected receipts, many tested by herself, and others by competent friends, while the choice seems to have been made with discrimination, such only being offered as have "stood the test of time and experience."
An important portion of Mrs. Henderson's book, and which will meet a want in many families, is the prominent attention she gives to the art of serving meals. She says, in her preface: "Care has been taken to show how it is possible with moderate means to keep a hospitable table, leaving each reader for herself to consider the manifold advantages of making home, so far as good living is concerned, comfortable and happy." Mrs. Henderson expatiates on "the fashionable modes of entertaining at breakfast, luncheon, and dinner," but insists that, in this case, fashion is not the equivalent of folly. There is a general impression that the genteel mode of doing the thing is expensive and extravagant. This would, of course, be so in many cases where ostentation is the object, but according to Mrs. Henderson it is not necessarily so. "Fortunately," she says, "the fashionable mode is the one calculated to give the least anxiety and trouble to a hostess." People will no doubt continue to dispense breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, on a scale proportioned to their means, but the author of this book aims to point out how a family can live well and in good style, and at the same time with reasonable economy. The book is written in a simple, direct, and common-sense manner, that leaves nothing wanting in the way of clearness.
Prof. Huxley has made himself remarkable among the leading scientific lights of the day, quite as much by the ease and assiduity with which he has simplified and expounded to the unlearned the mysteries of natural history as by the mental acumen and power which have enabled him to discover so many of those mysteries. He is known better, perhaps, in England to-day as a teacher than as an investigator; hence it is not surprising that he has undertaken to sketch out and supervise the little book, costing only two dollars, of elementary biological lessons, which has been written by Prof. Martin, his former assistant and now Professor of Zoölogy at Hopkins University in Baltimore. It has grown out of Prof. Huxley's own experience as a teacher, and hence is a thoroughly practical guide for progressive laboratory-practice, approaching the study through morphology and botany, which the professor considers the only safe road to a sound knowledge. "The study of living bodies," the author tells us, "is really our discipline, which is divided into zoology and botany simply as a matter of convenience, and the scientific zoölogist should no more be ignorant of the fundamental phenomena of vegetable life than the scientific botanist of those of animal existence."
The object of the book being to make it a laboratory-guide, a number of common and readily-obtainable plants and animals have been selected in such a manner as to exemplify the leading modifications of structure which are met with in the vegetable and animal worlds. A brief description of each is given; and the description is followed by such detailed instructions as will enable the student to know, of his own knowledge, the chief facts mentioned in the account of the animal or plant. "The terms used in biology will thus be represented by clear and definite images of the things to which they apply; a comprehensive and yet not vague conception of the phenomena of life will be obtained; and a firm foundation upon which to build up special knowledge will be laid." Beginning with yeast, gradual advance is made to successive studies of protococcus, proteus animalcule, colorless blood-corpuscles, bacteria, moulds, stoneworts, ferns, the bean-plant, the bell animalcule, fresh-water polyps (hydra, etc.), the fresh-water mussel, the crawfish and lobster, and lastly the frog. A sketch of the habitat and general characters, the development, mode of growth and microscopic structure, anatomy, modes of movement, etc., etc., of each is given, followed by a schedule of laboratory-work, directing the student, with the aid of excellent figures, to the recognition of all the parts of the animal or plant studied, not only in their shape and position, but in their relation to other parts, their functions and their development. The chief labor in drawing up these instructions has fallen upon Dr. Martin; but for the general plan used, and the descriptions of the several plants and animals, Prof. Huxley holds himself responsible. The result is a book of the greatest value for beginners in the study of biology; supplement it by Rolleston's "Forms of Animal Life," and we have a whole library. Students who wish to "know of their own knowledge" can certainly find no better guide than this.
Of this new edition we can only repeat what we said at the appearance of the first, that it will be found an instructive discussion of modern dynamical problems, well worth the perusal of all who are interested in this class of questions. The pugnacious temper of the author, or rather perhaps the facility with which he gets into hot water with other scientific men, is illustrated by the preface to the new edition, which is chiefly devoted to his quarrel with the German physicist, Prof. Clausius. In his additional lecture on "Force" he discusses the different meanings that are given to the term, and the confusion that results. His conclusion is, that "there is probably no such thing as force at all! that it is in fact merely a convenient expression for a certain ' rate.' " We suspect that more work will have to be done here before the matter will be finally cleared up.
It is one of the great defects in literary criticism that a person who admires certain books or authors cannot detect their faults, and that he who is prejudiced against them is unable to see their excellences. Mr. Hutton is, in a remarkable degree, free from this deficiency, and points out failings in his favorite authors which even a hostile critic might not have observed. His great power is in being able to get at the fundamental thoughts of the men whom he criticises. He is apparently more concerned in expressing with careful minuteness all his ideas on a given subject than in elaborating them into an elegant style. The essays which make up this volume are on "Goethe," "Nathaniel Hawthorne," "Arthur Hugh Clough," "Wordsworth," "George Eliot," and "Matthew Arnold."
To the obvious criticism that so large a subject as "The Life-History of Our Planet" cannot very well be compressed within the limits of a handy volume like the present, it may be fairly replied that an outline of such a history, giving its leading features and more impressive aspects, is altogether a practicable thing. Prof. Gunning has shown this in the preparation of the volume before us, which certainly presents the leading historic aspects of terrestrial life in a manner that is highly instructive. The book is a successful attempt to popularize a great branch of science without sacrificing or cheapening it. Although the author deals with many new facts which are usually wrapped in an obscure terminology, he yet presents them in such a plain, familiar, direct, common-sense manner as to be understood by all readers who have the slightest interest in the subject. Well experienced in public teaching, he neither overshoots the average capacity nor wearies it by dwelling too long upon the minutia? of his topics. He, moreover, gains much in compression of statement by giving prominent attention to the general views and truths of his subject, rather than to its interminable particulars. His mode of exposition is indicated in the following prefatory passage: "Facts do not enlarge the mind unless they are fertilized by principles. Our aim in the preparation of this volume has been to conduct the reader through methods to results. The leading types of life which have possessed the earth from age to age, he will find described and delineated. He will find the more significant types reconstructed, part by part, with so little of the phraseology of comparative anatomy that his mind, it is hoped, will traverse the methods and make them his own." The aim here proposed has been well attained, and, by treating his subject in the light of the great principles of unity, correlation, progressive unfolding, and interconnection with the course of physical Nature, the author has invested the great historical problem of the earth's past life with unusual interest and attractiveness. We should like to quote copiously from "The Life-History of Our Planet," but have not room to do so. The following passage is representative, and illustrates the writer's clear and pointed way of picturing phenomena before the minds of his readers:
The first chapter of the book is devoted to what may be called the preliminary physics and geology of the subject. The second, third, and fourth, treat of the rise and evolution of organic types, and the fifth is devoted to the question of glaciers and the part they have played in the history of the earth's surface. This is an excellent chapter and gives a very clear account of that most difficult matter for popular explanation—the relation of the precession of the equinoxes, and the secular variations of the earth's orbit to the glacial periods. The development of animals, the appearance upon earth of man, his antiquity and migrations, and the origin and derivation of races, occupy the remaining four chapters of the work, which may be regarded as a kind of preliminary text-book of philosophical biology. It is neatly and fully illustrated, and deserves to have a wide circulation.
More than usual interest has been taken in the public libraries during the last year. The recent conference at Philadelphia, and the Report of the Educational Bureau at Washington, have now been supplemented by the Library Journal. Its plan is to cover the entire field of library and bibliographical interests, to answer, by leading articles, communications, notes, etc., all the questions which come up in the experience of librarians, and to form "an inspiration that will keep them up to their profession."
The coöperative system ought to work with as much benefit in libraries as it does in other cases; and if, by mutual assistance, their condition can be improved, the good influence will extend to the people who use them. It was for the purpose of helping on in this good work that the Library Journal was undertaken. There is a large band of associate editors, representing the leading libraries of the country, who should be able to make this periodical valuable to all interested in the subject.
The larger part of this work is occupied with Prof. Newberry's geological report. This was originally written and prepared for publication in 1860, but did not appear on account of the rebellion. Accompanying it is a map of the region, with eleven water-color sketches, showing the characteristic scenery, and eleven drawings, three of scenery and eight of fossils. The report concludes with descriptions of the cretaceous, carboniferous, and triassic fossils collected on the expedition.
A lecture by the author on "Forest-Culture and Australian Gum-Trees" occupies the first part of this little book. To it are appended four essays by Frederick von Müller, of Austria, discussing various subjects relating to forest-culture, the desirableness of planting trees, etc. The cultivation of trees is a matter of considerable importance, and this work is intended to impress it upon the public attention.
The "Fifth Annual Catalogue of the Santa Barbara College" takes up the last thirty pages of the book.
There is found to be an inverse ratio between vaccination and small-pox, and the average amount of deaths from smallpox has been only two in a thousand in those countries where vaccination has been rendered compulsory. Its importance is now universally admitted, though it is not so generally acted upon, and for this reason any fresh reminders cannot fail to be beneficial. While advancing nothing absolutely new, Dr. Chapman presents the existing knowledge in a manner which affords a full understanding of the subject. After giving a history of its earliest application and development, he discusses the following questions: "Does vaccination protect the system from contagion of smallpox? Why does the protective power of vaccination become so impaired as to render revaccination advisable? What causes have prejudiced the public against the operation of vaccination? What measures should be instituted to enforce a due appreciation of the benefits of vaccination?"
This pamphlet forms the second part of the United States Government report on the public libraries. In many of our smaller cities and towns the value of the libraries is greatly impaired, since there is no direct way of discovering their contents, or of being able to find a book on a given subject. As the libraries enlarge and outgrow their catalogues, these difficulties increase. Mr. Cutter goes into the minutest details of classification in this essay, laying down 203 rules which he expands and illustrates. The work is, perhaps, a little too thorough to be altogether practical in the hands of many librarians. If the directions were not quite so numerous, and some of the details had been suppressed, it might have been more effective. A librarian will, however, be better able to utilize the books under his charge if he make himself familiar with the rules given by Mr. Cutter.
This is a valuable and most useful compilation of applied health-knowledge, such as should be found in every family. The first number was issued last year, and was so well appreciated that it is followed by another this year, and we hope the series will be continued. One of its most important features is to expose the traffic in patent medicines, and, to show their fraud and worthlessness, the chemical composition of many popular nostrums is given. We fully agree with the following estimate of this almanac, given by Dr. Elisha Harris: "Accept my thanks and very hearty congratulations for the admirable little manual which you have justly entitled 'Popular Health Almanac.' It certainly is the most acceptable and well-arranged compilation for public instruction on sanitary matters I ever saw; indeed, it is far more and better than a compilation, so happily has Dr. Hoffmann studied and crystallized the limits and substance of sanitary knowledge in the modest and beautiful little Health Mentor which, in all particulars, has been so wonderfully well designed and executed that thousands of families will sincerely thank its editor and publisher."
For such a humble little print as this the pretensions are very lofty, as it aims to make a revolution in the future modes of printing and writing. Following out the idea that "to save time is to lengthen life," the author remarks: "The saving of time in acquiring an education would be almost one-half if fonakigrafi (?) was exclusively used for both print and script, thus doing away with the absurdity of having half a dozen different alphabets for print and script as in use at present." Mr. Smith will, however, probably have to rack his brain again before he can invent a system that will completely set aside Pitman and his imitators or improvers. Undoubtedly, improvements will be made in the art of short-hand writing, but what direction they will take is not determined by this tract.
During the past few years Prof. Macomber has delivered the contents of this book, as a series of nine lectures, to his classes in Natural Philosophy. They are adapted to persons who have completed the elementary study of physics, and include the more recent views respecting matter and force. He treats, among other subjects, of "Potential Energy," and the "Correlation of Vital and Physical Forces," and gives the modern speculations in regard to the "Sun as a Centre of Force," with its relation to the existence of the solar system.
Mr. Folsom discussed this subject in the "Seventh Report of the Massachusetts State Board of Health," but its importance has warranted its separate publication. He does not attempt to treat surface-drainage exhaustively, but rather suggests its necessity, and the diseases to which its neglect gives rise, pointing out the particular districts in the neighborhood of Boston which are in greatest need of treatment.
Mr. Chadwick read this sermon or address before the National Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches, held at Saratoga in September. He shows a decided liking for modern scientific tendencies, and believes that there is that in scientific thought which directly fosters all those sentiments which are the life-blood of religion.
Applications of Physical Forces. By Amédée Guillemin. Edited by J. N. Lockyer. New York: Macmillan. Pp. 770; with colored Plates and Illustrations. Price, $12.50.
Notes on Life Insurance. By Gustavus W. Smith. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 204. Price, $2.
Report of the Commissioner of Education. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 1,189.
National Quarterly Review. New York, 658 Broadway. Pp. 192. $5 a year.
European Surveys. By Major C. B. Comstock, of the Engineers. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 101.
Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan (1876). Yokohama: Japan Mail office. Pp. 178.
Celestial Dynamics. By J. W. Hanna. The author, Mount Vernon, Iowa. Pp. 32. Price, 35 cents.
National History of Illinois. Bulletin No. 1. With Plates. Bloomington: Pantograph Printing-House. Pp. 76.
Survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes. Major C. B. Comstock in charge. With Plates. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 84.
Catalogue of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. Pp. 55.
Effects of Alcoholic Poison. By J. H. Kellogg, M.D. Battle Creek, Michigan: Health Reformer print. Pp. 125.
The Mathematician. Royal Cooper, editor. Vol. I., No. 1. Pp. National Republican print. $1.50 a year.
Giant Birds of New Zealand. By J. C. Russell. From American Naturalist. Pp. 11.
Biographical Notice of A. R. Marvine. By J. W. Powell. From the Bulletin of the Washington Philosophical Society. Pp. 8.
American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb. E. A. Fay, editor. Vol. XXII., No. 1. Pp. 64. Washington: Gibson Brothers print.
Climato-therapy of Consumption. By Dr. S. E. Chaillé. From the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal. Pp. 12.
Corundum. By C. W. Jenks. Boston: J. Wilson & Son, printers. Pp. 17.
Ueber die Darstellung und Eigenschaften des Trijodresorcius. Von Arthur Michael und Thomas H. Norton. Berlin: F. Dümmler. Pp. 2.
Intimidation and the Number of White and Colored Voters in Louisiana. By S. E. Chaillé, M.D. New Orleans Picayune print. Pp. 36.