Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/August 1877/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 11 August 1877 (1877)
It is a curious fact that, while the educated class in England and this country have been for a hundred years making cyclopædias on all sorts of subjects for other people, they have only just now succeeded in getting one for themselves. Lawyers, doctors, clergymen, architects, engineers, and farmers, all have their alphabetical summaries of special knowledge for ready reference, until such works have long since come to be indispensable; but only this year have we first got a cyclopædia of education in the English language that will give teachers, school-boards, and all interested in the subject, available and easy command of the wide range of information which bears upon the vocation of instructor. The explanation of this tardiness is not obvious, for no subject is more amenable to this mode of treatment, and certainly none more imperatively requires it. But it does not much matter how long the work was delayed, now that the want has been so adequately and admirably supplied by the work before us. The editors have been equal to their formidable task, and have laid out the enterprise on a comprehensive and judicious plan, and have brought their own ability and experience, aided by the best talent in the country, to the execution of it.
There is difficulty, in our space, in reviewing a work so elaborate as this, and so packed with attractive statements that one is tempted to read it through like a history; and all we can do is to convey to our readers some idea of the quality and scope of its contents. Among the subjects systematically and prominently treated are: 1. The Theory of Education and Instruction, embracing, under numerous headings, a statement of the principles that have been arrived at by scientific inquiry and practical experience for guidance in the work of teaching. These results apply to all the grades of instruction and training, from the Kindergarten up to the university. 2. The Organization and Management of Schools, including discipline, class-teaching, and the art of instruction, or the general subject of school economy. These topics are considered with the fullness that their obvious importance requires. 3. Careful attention is given to the administration of schools and school systems, embracing supervision, examination, school hygiene, school architecture, etc. 4. State Policy in relation to Education, a subject of peculiar importance in this country, not only because of the extent of legislative control over the subject, but because of the diversity of government action in the different States. 5. Much space is devoted to the history of education, both the general history of school methods and institutions in different parts of the world, and particularly the history of the school systems in the different States and Territories of this country. 6. Biographical Notices of Eminent Educators form a distinct and very attractive branch of the work. 7. The Statistics of Education, or the data of its extent and progress, are comprehensively presented. 8. The subject of Educational Literature forms a very interesting feature of the work, and is ably handled. Of this the editors say: "As the immense mass of material to be condensed within the compass of a single volume has necessitated the greatest possible brevity, references are made throughout to standard works on educational science, as well as to statistical works, affording more detailed information. It is believed that this will prove one of the most valuable features of the work."
Besides these leading topics, which are treated methodically in their various aspects, a great number of miscellaneous subjects pertaining to human culture are so fully presented as to enrich the volume and greatly to increase its efficacy as a reference book for the teacher. The perusal of various articles, which may be taken as representative, has satisfied us of the painstaking assiduity and excellent judgment of the editors in carrying out the project. They are not only the first in this country to do the work, but they have evidently done it so well that there will be no necessity of again attempting it. "The Cyclopædia of Education" should be in every library, and in the hands of every teacher. We may add that the work is handsomely printed, neatly and substantially bound, and forms an inviting volume that is not too unwieldy for habitual reference. It is sold exclusively to subscribers, and can be had only from the special subscription agents, or from the publisher.
The question of the relations of science and religion receives a new treatment in this interesting volume. Though the title of his book brings into prominence the idea of peace, or of a terminated conflict, yet the work itself, it must be said, is mainly occupied with the antagonism. The warfare is historic and a living struggle of to-day; the reconciliation a promise of the future. But, in respect to the questions at issue. Dr. Winchell claims to take a nonpartisan attitude, favorable to a calm and fair survey of the field of controversy. At any rate, he does not try to end the strife by belittling it. The opposition between religion and science is not illusive; he recognizes its reality, its extent, its importance, and its difficulties. He seems, indeed, to regard it as a part of the great system of conflicts and counteractions in Nature, such as attraction and repulsion, polar antagonism, centripetal and centrifugal forces. The intellect which gives origin to science, and the sentiment of faith, or instinct of worship, which gives origin to religions, work in opposite spheres, and work against each other by action and reaction in historic periods, which the writer designates as psychic cycles. How deep is this necessity of contest, and how wide its field of operation, in the author's opinion, may be gathered from the following opening passage of Chapter II.: "I have attempted to show that the essential natures of the religious and the intellectual forces in man foreordain a species of antagonism; that this perpetual antagonism is not, nevertheless, an abnormal condition, but a grand example of the universal economy of God, who has ordained antagonism as the condition of progress in the natural and the moral worlds. I have deduced from the necessary relation of the ethical and cognitive powers a necessary series of oscillations in the relative dominance of religious and intellectual influences in the lives of men; and have indicated that the exponent of these oscillations has been, as it must be, a series of alternating periods of religious and of intellectual activity and progress. Such alternations, since the antagonizing forces belong to humanity as such, must characterize the history of all nations, all races, and all times."
He then proceeds "to show that the facts of the religious and intellectual history of the human race illustrate and confirm these deductions, and become in reality a broad inductive basis on which these propositions may be rested as valid generalizations. A prolonged and attentive study of the facts which make up the religious and intellectual history of our race has caused my attention to be directed to the following facts subsidiary to the general induction: 1. Religious faith recedes from its normal condition to one of abnormal subordination, or advances to one of abnormal supremacy; 2. Intellect from its normal condition either advances to a haughty dictatorship or falls into a condition of servitude; 3. These movements of faith and intellect are reciprocal and responsive; 4. The direction of the movement is determined by the initiative: if faith lead in activity, a religious phase succeeds; if intellect take precedence, religious pretensions shrink, and an intellectual phase succeeds. The two phases complete a psychic cycle." Four of these psychic cycles are traced in the course of Christian history.
This is an original and ingenious conception by which Dr. Winchell is enabled to group and arrange the elements of his discussion, historic, religious, philosophic, and scientific, in a very instructive manner for his purpose, and on this account the exposition is certain to be read by general students with interest and profit. Dr. Winchell's work will do especial service, among religious readers, by making the whole discussion, as we might say, a piece of natural history; that is, he treats it in both its aspects, as a part of the method and phenomena of Nature. While holding to the inspiration of the Bible, and the supernatural claims of Christianity, as matters of his own special faith, he nevertheless holds to the validity of the universal religious sentiment in man, and which is as much a subject of rational inductive inquiry as are the physical sciences themselves. We can hardly overrate the gain thus secured, by bringing the whole inquiry into the scientific sphere, and conducting it in the broad judicial spirit which genuine science always imposes.
In one respect, we think Dr. Winchell's work is open to critical objection: it fails to state, as fully as the subject requires, the bearing of the doctrine of Evolution upon the questions in issue. He gives a cautious adhesion to the biological aspect of this theory in the following passage from the preface: "In reference to the much mooted scientific question of the derivative origin of species, the reader will detect indications of a growing faith. A certain class of proofs has been accumulating at a rapid rate; and the author's present conviction is, that the doctrine of the derivation of species should be accepted."
Now, if the doctrine of descent, as here referred to, is to be accepted at all, it is on the ground of its truth; and, if it be true, it does not stand alone or as a proposition with which we have no further concern than simply to approve or reject it. If the origin of species by derivation is established, it goes a great deal further and gives us the origin of many more things. It must be taken as an indication of the plan of Nature, of which man is a part, so that the career of humanity is at once brought under the law of development. If there be truth in evolution, we are bound to go by it; and if man's religious nature has had an unfolding, like the other elements of his being, that fact must certainly be of the greatest moment in determining the relations of religion and science. As to harmony or conflict, the question at once arises at what stage it is taken, and what are the traits of that change in which man's religious progress consists. Dr. Winchell, as we have said, affirms the universality of the religious element in man, and deduces its validity from its universality, but he ought to have eliminated from it the transitory, or what can be outgrown, and told us what there is about it that is essential and permanent, and to be finally harmonized with science. He enumerates the following as the grand facts common to the religious faiths of the world: 1. A Supreme Being, the author of all things in existence; 2. A revelation of the Supreme Being either in sensible things or in the intelligence of inspired men; 3. A system of worship—which is either instinctive and aimless, or intended to propitiate the Deity and win happiness for the worshiper; 4. Prayer, the universal cry of humanity in distress; 5. Future existence; 6. Moral responsibility; 7. A system of future rewards and punishments; 8. A priesthood charged with the direction of religious ceremonies, and clothed with a special investiture of divine authority and power. He says: "These facts I find to be the constants in the varying faiths of mankind. I will add that two other facts reveal themselves in most of the religious systems of the world—both the greater and the less. These are: 1. A belief in the efficacy of vicarious expiation; 2. An expectation of a Redeemer."
These are, no doubt very widely-spread beliefs, but they have had very different meanings among different races, and at different times. In this field, preëminently, we are familiar with the decay of the vital core of beliefs, and the conversation of their formulas, but what we want most to know is, the laws of change, transformation, and expansion of religious ideas, in relation to man's intellectual development—what falls away and what survives. Dr. Winchell recognizes the progress, and gives us the final result, in a form so generalized, that we can only find the constants just named by some stretch of implication. He says: "The next psychic cycle, it seems to me, will witness a synthesis of thought and faith—a recognition of the fact that it is impossible for reason to find solid ground that is not consecrated ground; that all philosophy and all science belong to religion; that all truth is a revelation of God; that the truths of written revelation, if not intelligible to reason, are nevertheless consonant with reason; and that divine agency, instead of standing removed from man by infinite intervals of time and space, is, indeed, the true name of those energies which work their myriad phenomena in the natural world around us. This consummation—at once the inspiration of a fervent religion and the prophecy of the loftiest science—is to be the noontide reign of wedded intellect and faith, whose morning rays already stream far above our horizon."
The problem of the Turkish Empire, the great anomaly in European civilization, has long occupied the attention of those interested in international politics—an interest greatly heightened, of late, by the Russian invasion of Turkey, and the threatened complication of other states in the struggle. To those whose solicitude about the Oriental question leads them to inquire into the condition of the people most deeply concerned the present volume will be eminently welcome. We lately called attention to Mr. Wallace's admirable book on "Russia." Colonel Baker's volume gives us a corresponding picture of Turkish life and character, the political institutions, religious peculiarities, and material resources of the empire. The book is full of very interesting information upon this class of subjects, much of which is fresh, and calculated to dispel erroneous impressions, and many unjust prejudices that are entertained in Christian countries, concerning the Turkish people. Turks are known to the outside world chiefly through their government, which is bad and corrupt, and shamefully misrepresents the population which it rules. After sketching some historic features of Turkish character in former times, in Chapter VIII., Colonel Baker goes on to say:
"The streets, although filled with soldiers, were as quiet as in ordinary times. What other troops in the world would behave in such an admirable manner? Read the greatest authorities on the subject. Von Hammer, Gibbon, Boné, Ubicini, Creasy, and all agree in praise of both the past and present character of the Turkish rank and file. But it is the rank and file that depicts the character of the nation, and not the corrupt oligarchy, which from its prominence misrepresents it. We find, then, that the rank and file of the Turkish people is the same now as ever, so that it is not the nation but the rulers which have changed, and this change has been brought about through the corrupt influences which were handed over to them by the Byzantine Empire."As soon, therefore, as the head of the Turkish nation shall be purified, we shall find the whole constitution in a healthy state—there is no disease of the body. The combination in Turkish government of despotism with the freedom of the most democratic of republics is unique. In Turkey there is no aristocracy. All men below the sultan are equal, not only in the eyes of the law, but by creed and custom, A shoeblack may be made grand-vizier, and it is by no means uncommon to see some of the highest officials of the state who have been servants to predecessors in office."
The volume is written in a pleasant, unambitious style, the writer's object being evidently to tell the story of the Turks in a plain, direct, and instructive way.
This is a neatly-bound, neatly-printed, and neatly-illustrated school-book, designed for beginners; and the author says that his "object has been to supply a work for elementary schools which should be as nearly as possible equal in quality to the textbooks of Barker and Eliot and Storer." He could not have taken better models. A peculiarity of the book is, that the work of learning and instruction is carried on by the artifice of conversation between Harry, George, Lucy, and Uncle Louis, which raises the question whether much of their talk is worth the space given to it. The illustrations run into the pictorial, regardless of the publisher's purse, and it is an aim of the writer to make the book introductory to agricultural studies.
The great success of the elaborate volume under the foregoing title, both in France and England, has induced the publishers to enter upon its reissue in parts, with the view of cheapening it, and bringing it to the attention of a wider circle of readers. It is hardly necessary to repeat what we said in reviewing it, that the book is superbly illustrated, and is very clear and popular in the style of its text. It will be completed in eighteen parts.
This volume of 269 pages comprises twenty-four papers read before the Academy, of which thirteen were read before the department of the natural sciences. Several of these illustrate the geology and natural history of Wisconsin, but are of general as well as of local interest. Others give the results of archaeological researches in the State, with several illustrations.
The departments of letters, of the social and political sciences, and of speculative philosophy, are represented by papers of ability from specialists in the respective departments. A paper on recent progress in theoretical physics by Prof. John E. Davies, of the University of Wisconsin, is an able résumé of researches on that subject.
A summary of proceedings of the Academy since 1874 is given, and not the least interesting portions of the volume are memorials commemorating the labors and worth of two deceased members, the late Prof. Peter Engelmann, and the eminent Dr. J. A. Lapham, first secretary of the Academy.
This little book is intended as a practical guide to the art of modeling flowers in wax. The author aims to give such explicit directions for the selection of materials, and their proper manipulation, that a novice in the art can acquire dexterity in the management of wax for this purpose. It is well gotten up, is attractive in its general appearance, is printed on fine thick paper, and illustrated by seven full-page engravings of flowers suitable for models.
This young institution gives indications of vigorous life and thorough-going management. Its scientific department, especially, is administered with ability. Chemistry, for example, is not only taught in the sense of imparting existing knowledge, but the students are early called upon to address themselves to original and independent work. There are gaps, unsettled points, contested questions, and doubtful results, in such abundance in this science that there is no difficulty on the part of the intelligent teacher in assigning problems suited to various capacities and steps of advancement, or in combining a class upon any suitable line of investigation. Prof. F. W. Clarke, who has charge of physics and chemistry, has arranged a course of preparative work along the track of chemical physics, which is well fitted to train the students to habits of accurate manipulation, and to stimulate them in the direction of original thought. One feature of his plan is thus presented:
In this review of the Mosaic cosmogony, the author aims at presenting the subject as concisely as practicable for the benefit of those who have not the time or the inclination to peruse more voluminous works. The first and second chapters of Genesis are dissected and compared, and their supposed incongruities are rendered more obvious by being presented in tabular form.
Colonel Mallery, with the assistance of Lieutenant Reed and others, whose services are acknowledged, has presented a valuable paper, with a lithographic copy of the Dakota calendar. The original is on cotton cloth, and represents, by a series of symbols, events in which the Dakotas were concerned, beginning about the year 1800. Each year is represented by a symbol, the meaning of which is explained in the text. The symbol for 1800 is thirty black lines, representing that thirty Dakotas were killed that year. The symbol for 1801 is the head and body of a man covered with red blotches; that year the small-pox broke out in the nation. In 1869 the sun was eclipsed; the symbol representing it is a black disk. The calendar is of value as "an attempt, before unsuspected among the nomadic tribes of American Indians, to form a system of chronology."
This paper is an attempt to show that there exists an "order of relationship" in the animal world, and that, beginning with the lowest organisms, there has been, up to the highest forms, an "order of development." The facts which recent paleontological researches have brought to light are used by the author with considerable skill in illustration of her subject.
This little work is by an avowed freethinker, who, in a few pages of prefatory remarks, tells us in a very candid way why she thinks such a book is needed, and what she hopes to accomplish by it. Then follow discussions of "Personal Immortality," "Materialism," "Prayer," etc. The spirit of the writer is good, and, whether readers agree with her views or not, they cannot deny her sincerity or fail to be gratified by her tolerance.
Very little was known of the diptera of the Pacific coast until the publication of this report. Collections were made by the author in California during the years 1875 and 1876, not only along the low plains, but on plateaus of the Sierra Nevada region, at elevations of from 6,000 to 8,000 feet above the level of the sea. The present volume is a survey of the collections made, which the author says are, after all, but a small fragment of the fauna collected during a limited season. The descriptions of families and species are full and clear, and the volume, which comprises 165 pages, will be prized as a valuable contribution to American entomology.
This report, published in 1876, comprises Chapters V., VI., and VII. of the forthcoming final report of the exploration of the Black Hills, made under direction of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, in 1875.
The area of the Black Hills is stated to be nearly 6,000 square miles, about two-thirds of which area is in Dakota, the remainder in Wyoming. They are separated from the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, and surrounded by level or rolling plains. The mineral and agricultural resources, climate, rainfall, water, forests, etc., of the Black Hills region are presented in considerable detail. A good map accompanies the report.
In this report is given a detailed and very interesting account of what has been done by the Ohio State Fish Commission to promote the culture of fish in that State. Hatcheries have been established at Castalia Springs, Toledo, Cleveland, and Kelley's Island, at all of which places the hatching of fish has been successfully carried on. The report is greatly enhanced in value by numerous illustrations, which are accompanied by very full descriptions, copied from the manuscript of Prof. Jordan's forthcoming report on the zoölogy of Ohio. The report includes a catalogue of the fishes of the State.
This pamphlet was prepared for the region about Peoria, III., but contains much that will be of value elsewhere. It gives a brief account of the indigenous trees and shrubs best adapted to the locality, and the paper by Miss Smith treats of the insects which infest them, of which figures are given. Publications like this do excellent service in directing public attention to the cultivation of trees and the planting of forests.
Under the above general title Macmillan & Co. have published a series of small volumes containing lectures delivered at the South Kensington Museum during the loan collection of scientific apparatus last year. One of the volumes contains two lectures by Prof. Roscoe on "Technical Chemistry," the first treating of the manufacture of sulphuric acid, and the second of the alkali manufacture. In another volume are two lectures by Prof. Stokes, on "Absorption of Light and the Colors of Natural Bodies," and on "Fluorescence." The third volume of the series contains two lectures on the "Steam-Engine," by F. J. Bramwell. Finally, there is a volume entitled "Outlines of Field Geology," by Prof. Geikie. These lectures are all addressed to science-teachers, and not to popular audiences; hence they are rather technical, and possess an interest for the practical student of science rather than for the general reader. The prices are: for the first two volumes, 20 cents each; for the other two, 25 cents.
J. W. Bouton announces "Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology," by H. P. Blavatsky, Corresponding Secretary of the Theosophical Society. This work is announced as a philosophical study of Orientalism, by a native of Asia, whose life has been passed in the study of traditions, languages, literature, mythology, philosophy, and mysticism, of Eastern peoples, and who considers Oriental thought and history with reference to modern ideas. The work is to be issued in two large octavo volumes.
Narrative of the Polaris Expedition. By Rear-Admiral C. H. Davis. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 696. With numerous Plates.
Hand-book of Descriptive Astronomy. By George P. Chambers. London and New York: Macmillan. Third edition. Pp. 960. Price, $10.
History of Protection in the United States. By W. G. Sumner. New York: Putnams. Pp. 64. Price, 50 cents.
Lists of Elevations West of the Mississippi. By H. Gannett. Washington: Government Printing-office. Fourth edition. Pp. 164.
The Tailed Amphibians. By W. H. Smith. Detroit: Herald print. Pp. 158.
Eighth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Board of Health. Boston: Wright print. Pp. 523.
Bulletin of the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. Vol. III., No. 3. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 200.
Relations of the Public School to the Negro. By Civis. Richmond: Clemmitt & Jones print. Pp. 39.
Scientific Basis of Delusions. By Dr. G. M. Beard. New York: Putnams. Pp. 47. Price, 50 cents.
Pennsylvania College Monthly. Gettysburg: Wible print. Pp. 36. Price, $1.25 per annum.
Semicentennial Anniversary of Prof. J. W. Jackson at Union College. Albany: Munsell print. Pp. 32.
Reply to a Printed Circular. By Dr. J. Marion Sims. New York: Kent & Co. print. Pp. 24.
Influence of Physical Condition on the Genesis of Species. By J. A. Allen. From the Radical Review. Pp. 32.
Twenty-eighth Annual Announcement of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Pp. 20.
Recent Progress in Sanitary Science. By A. R. Leeds. Salem Press print.
Papers on the Coryphodontidæ, the Odontornithes, and a Gigantic Dinosaur. By O. C. Marsh. From American Journal of Sciences. With Plates. Pp. 8.
Responsibility in Parentage. By Rev. S. H. Plait. New York: S. R. Wells & Co. Price, 10 cents.
Geological History of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. By C. W. Foote. Ithaca, N. Y.: Norton & Conklin print. Pp. 14.
A Case of Recurring Sarcomatous Tumor. By Thomas Hay, M. D. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. Pp. 14. With Lithographic Plates.
Second Stenografik Teecher. Amherst, Mass., U. S. A.: J. B. Smith.
Chemistry of Hydrogen. Also. Reduction of Silver. By A. R. Leeds. New York: Trow & Son print. Pp. 23.
Surgical Anatomy of the Tibio-tarsal Articulation. By Dr. J. A. Wyeth. From American Journal of Medical Sciences. Pp. 12.
Directory of the Spiritualism of the Bible. By Susan A. Vandyke. Pp. 4.
Ornithology of the Red River of Texas. By C. A. H. McCauley. Pp. 40. American Insectivorous Mammals. By Elliott Coues. Pp .22. Bulletin of the United States Entomological Commission. No. 2. Pp .14. Washington: Government Printing-Office.
The Plants of Wisconsin. By G. D. Swezey. Beloit: Free Press print.