Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/July 1877/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 11 July 1877 (1877)
The honor will be unhesitatingly accorded to Lieutenant Payer of having written the most deeply-interesting volume that has yet appeared on arctic adventure and exploration. We have rarely been so fascinated by a book of any kind, upon any subject. The experiences of the party were tragic and of thrilling intensity, and the narrative of them is in a remarkable degree vivid and graphic; so that, with the numerous and admirable illustrations, all drawn on the spot from Nature, we are made deeply to participate in the feelings of the heroic group of adventurers who were so long locked up amid the terrible desolations of Nature in the arctic region.
In a preliminary notice by the translator, the leading features of the expedition are thus summarized:
For more than two years the party were prisoners in their ship, of which they had lost all control, and, after passing two horrible winters in this distressing helplessness, it became clear that they must quit the ship or perish, and, in fact, there was small hope of saving their lives even by leaving it. Three boats were loaded with necessaries, and they started, May 20th, to dig their way through the deep snows and amid the mountainous ice-hummocks to open water. We extract from Payer's diary:
"The first day's work for twenty-three men, harnessed to boat or sledge, was the advance of one mile; and even this rate of progress, small as it was, was not constant. Many days it did not amount to half a mile. The sledges sank deep and stuck fast in the snow. We had to pass three times heavily laden, and twice empty, over every bit of the road, and half our number were scarcely able to move a sledge or boat. After the exertion of some days, raw wounds appeared on the shoulders of several, and, to add to our trials, we suffered intensely from thirst. Nine men were sent back to the ship to bring away the jolly-boat and more stores, and it took just three hours to do the distance which it had cost the advance party eight days to accomplish. On our return to the boats, we found their crews were sitting up, and looking out like young birds in a nest, to see what we had brought from the ship. . . . Happy the man who has any tobacco; happy he who after smoking his pipe does not fall into a faint; happy, too, the man who finds a fragment of a newspaper in some corner or other, even if there should be nothing contained in it but the money-market intelligence, or, perhaps, directions to be followed in the preparation of pease-sausage. Enviable is he who discovers a hole in his fur coat which he can mend; but happiest of all are those who can sleep day and night. Of these latter, tome have stowed themselves away under rowing-seats, and above them reposes a second layer of sleepers; but nothing is visible of either party but the soles of their feet. . . . The end of the Franklin Expedition, and the history of the two skeletons which were found in the boat, is told again for the twentieth time a story which never fails to produce a harrowing effect, and to rouse the firm and resolute to yet greater efforts and self-command. . . . One solace is left us—the solace of smoking. Some, indeed, have exhausted their whole stock of tobacco. He who has half a pouch of it at his disposal is the object of general respect, and the man who can invite his neighbor to a pipe of tobacco and a pot of water is considered to do an act of profuse liberality. Tobacco becomes a medium of exchange among us, and provisions are bought and paid for with it, its value rising every day. There is no difference between day and night, and Sundays are only distinguished by dressing the boat with flags. In this enforced idleness passed away the days between the 9th and 15th of June, save that on the 14th we changed our place by three hundred yards, in order to select a more convenient spot for seal-hunting, and to keep up the appearance of traveling."
The unparalleled hardships of this struggle may be inferred from Lieutenant Payer's remark, page 364, that, "after the lapse of two months of indescribable efforts, the distance between us and the ship was not more than nine English miles."
But the open sea was at length reached, and on the 15th of August the boats were dressed with flags, ballasted, the sledges left behind, and the expedition put off. The party had passed ninety-six days in the open air after leaving the Tegetthoff, when a small boat was deseried, with two men in it, apparently engaged in bird-catching; and, upon turning the corner of a rock, two ships were discovered, within a few hundred yards. They were Russian vessels, engaged in salmon-fishing; and the strangers were received on board with mingled feelings of wonder and sympathy. Lieutenant Payer remarks:
We have preferred to let the author of this work speak for himself rather than to attempt any description of it, which would certainly be unsatisfactory within our narrow limits. But we may add that it is a volume of great scientific interest. For half a century arctic adventure has been inspired by a sentiment of rivalry to reach the pole, although more and more it has been recognized that its real object should be the extension of our knowledge of Nature under its remarkable arctic aspects. Lieutenant Payer has entered fully into this view; and his volume is not only charming as a narrative, but contains a great deal of important scientific information.
Miss Corson has done well to give the public this result of her experience in culinary teaching, in a form so cheap that it may have the widest possible usefulness. She is a common-sense woman, and takes up the subject from a point of view that is thoroughly practical. The motto of her book is the following significant question, "How well can we live if we are moderately poor?" and it is the object of her little volume, as it has been the object of her school, so to present the subject of cooking and household management as to answer this question. Her object in preparing it is thus stated: "This book is intended for the use of those housekeepers and cooks who wish to know how to make the most wholesome and palatable dishes, at the least possible cost. In cookery, this fact should be remembered above all others—a good cook never wastes. It is her pride to make the most of everything in the shape of food intrusted to her care, and her pleasure to serve it in the most appetizing form. In no other way can she prove her excellence, for poor cooks are always wasteful and extravagant." To the prejudice against foreign ways of cooking Miss Corson replies very effectually, pointing out that the two great objects to be ever secured in the kitchen—the art of utilizing every part of food, and of making food the most palatable and enjoyable—are eminently French.
Miss Corson says, "The day has passed for regarding cooking as a menial and vulgar labor." She is very sanguine; we wish we could believe it. We wish we could see some more decisive signs that it is passing away; we wish we could see some faint indications that it will have passed away in a hundred years! Our school system stands in the way of it, and where are the symptoms of its decline?
Miss Corson's book is full of excellent information, scientific hints, practical suggestions, and plain receipts, descriptive of the preparation of many important dishes, and the publishers have got it up. in a neat form, with good, clear type, that can be easily read. We believe it will be found eminently trustworthy as a kitchen handbook.
This guide will be valuable to all who buy books for private libraries or public collections. It has been tried and found successful. It names the best books now usually in the market in the chief departments, and on the leading topics of current and general literature, with their editions and retail prices. It is conveniently arranged for ready use, and will give the book buyer a large amount of valuable information, that will help him in making judicious selections, either on the small or the large scale.
Milton's prose works have been so eclipsed by his poetry that they are popularly known only by hearsay; yet so great is their merit, both in a literary point of view and as containing the most able and eloquent defense of civil and religious liberty which had been given to the world up to his time, that the plan of collecting some of his best papers in a handy volume like this deserves to be commended, and will no doubt be well appreciated. Though there is much in these writings that reflects the spirit and circumstances of the times which produced them, there is much also of permanent interest, and which will have an enduring place in English literature.
This elaborate work forms Volume X. of Dr. Hayden's "Report of the Geological Survey of the Territories." The author notes a striking and unexpected similarity between the insect fauna of Colorado and the Ural and Altai Mountains. He believes that a careful examination of the existing insects of the Western country will throw light on the extinct forms which abound in the Tertiary of that region. From an economic point of view, he is of the opinion that a systematic account of the insect family which embraces the measuring worms—so many of which are injurious to vegetation—cannot but be useful to agriculturists.
This little pamphlet raises no questions of ethics, but, assuming the fundamental canons of morality and rules of conduct, it aims to drive them home into the minds of the young by brevity and sharpness of statement, so as to make the most indelible impression. It is interspersed with interesting illustrations of the sayings and doings of great men, which serve to give interest to the work. The idea is a good one, and well carried out within its compass; it is used in the public free schools of Virginia, and is a candidate for adoption in primary schools everywhere.
The so-called "pagan" religions of antiquity—the religions of Greece and Home, of Babylonia and Assyria—so far as we get a knowledge of them from a superficial reading of ancient authors, appear to rest on a basis of childish imaginations, for their dogmatic side, while on their moral (or rather immoral) side they seem to have their roots in unbridled lust and debauchery. This view of pagan religions is still held by the vulgar, and not very long ago was current even among the learned. The author of the present work rendered valuable service to the philosophy of religion when, amid much obloquy, he devoted himself to a patient and dispassionate study of this subject, and showed that, like all other religions, those of antiquity were in their origin the expression of man's highest aspirations. Among the topics learnedly discussed by the author are the mysteries and orgies, phallic worship, the sacred emblems of the various gods, etc. The present edition of Knight's work is edited by Dr. Alexander Wilder, who adds an introduction, some notes, and a complete index. Further, the notes, which in the original edition are mostly in foreign languages, are here translated into English.
The chief interest of this formidable volume lies in the fact that it is the production of a young English nobleman, who, notwithstanding the powerful influences brought to bear upon him to maintain his reputable position, chose to be free in the matter of thought, and had the courage to express and the determination to publish his opinions, regardless of their unpopularity. The volume indicates extensive and systematic reading, rather than much depth or originality of thought, and to persons who have a taste for skeptical literature it will have the freshness of an elaborate restatement of objections to religious dogma. Lord Amberly believes in the universality of the religious sentiment, as a part of the mental constitution of human nature—as a natural and not a supernatural thing—but he discredits its intellectual accompaniments as embodied in the doctrines and creeds of all religions. He professes to take the scientific standpoint, and to write in the scientific spirit, but we question if his book would take any rank as a scientific or authoritative contribution to the subject. Its scheme was too large, the man was too young, and had done no preliminary work in any of the special departments of science, to give him the power and maturity necessary to deal with so important a theme at the present time. Without comparing his work with that of Mr. Buckle, his position as regards science is not unlike that of the author of the "History of Civilization in England," who knew a great deal about scientific literature, and was much influenced by its method, but was not strong and thorough and well grounded in the sciences which had a vital bearing upon the course of his large discussion. If Lord Amberly had concentrated himself upon some minor branch of his broad inquiry, and worked it out with deliberation, his cliances of recognition in the future would probably have been much more promising than they will be with his more ambitious undertaking.
The first number of this periodical vindicates its radical and independent character. Its object is stated to be "the thorough, fearless, and impartial discussion of all sides of all subjects pertaining to human welfare, whether social, economic, scientific, literary, æsthetic, or religious." It will show no partiality to any particular school or special system of belief, but the labor question and the organization of industry will receive a prominent share of attention. It opens with an able paper, by W. J. Potter, on "The Two Traditions, Ecclesiastical and Scientific," of which the following passage is a good example:
Lysander Spooner furnishes a very incisive and unsparing article entitled "Our Financiers: their Ignorance, Usurpations, and Frauds," which cleaves the question through to first principles. A fine poem is contributed by Mr. E. C. Stedman; and the department of current literature is ably treated. It contains a discriminating review of Mr. J. N. Larned's "Talks about Labor, and concerning the Evolution of Justice between the Laborers and the Capitalists." We like this periodical, all except its dismal pall of a cover.
The fundamental principles of "Dynamics," or theoretical mechanics, are here set forth and demonstrated as satisfactorily as it is possible to do so for the tyro in mathematical science. In cases where the subject-matter requires a higher degree of mathematical knowledge, the author contents himself with giving clear statements of propositions and of the meanings of formulas, reserving demonstrations for a time when the pupil will be better able to appreciate them.
Besides the special annual report of the Secretary, Prof. Joseph Henry, this volume contains a number of memoirs and treatises on scientific subjects, both original and selected. Among the translated pieces are a "Eulogy on Alexander Volta," and De Candolle's "Report on the Transactions of the Geneva Physical and Natural History Society." Among the original contributions is a paper by Mr. Henry Oilman on "Ancient Man in Michigan;" and one by Dr. C. C. Abbott, on "The Stone Age in New Jersey." Both of these memoirs, and more especially the latter, are illustrated with numerous woodcuts.
The author describes the method by which he detects the presence of cellulose in its various forms. This substance is, according to him, a constant ingredient in the organs and blood even of the higher animals, man included.
The student who is acquainted with the elements of mathematical and physical science will find this little work a very convenient manual for self-instruction in the branches of science of which it treats. The illustrations are very numerous, and greatly facilitate the understanding of the text.
This work contains a number of very valuable memoirs, among which may be named the following: "White Mildews," by W. R. Gerard, who also has a learned paper on "Insects as Food;" two papers on the "Thermoscope," by Prof. L. R. Cooley; "Habits of the Wasp, Polistes fucatus," by Rev. H. T. Hickok; "Fungus-Eating," by Dr. E. H. Parker; and "Inclination of the Earth's Axis," by C. B. Warring.
We have received the first number of the above-named periodical, which we cordially welcome to the field of scientific journalism. It contains articles, original and selected, on topics connected with archaeology, physiology, engineering, meteorology, and agriculture. The editor aims at filling his pages with useful and practical information for the people, conveyed in plain and simple language. This enterprise deserves, and we hope will receive, liberal support from the public.
We have here, reprinted from the American Chemist, Dr. Carrington Bolton's translation of a paper read by Mr. Baumhauer at the Buffalo meeting of the American Association. It contains a description of a new method for determining the essential constituents of milk, especially designed for the use of chemists who may be called on to testify as experts in courts of justice.
This monograph is of interest only to medical men. The substance of it was contained in a lecture by the author, printed for private circulation only. In the present volume a number of new cases of the disease are cited.
This is the report of a standing committee of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, favoring the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures. The committee first report on the growth of this system in public favor; then they state the result of invitations to united action addressed by the Society to kindred organizations throughout the country; next follows the text of the Society's memorial to Congress praying for the enactment of laws establishing the metric system.
This is a paper reprinted from the "Annals" of the New York Lyceum of Natural History. The facts noted by the author seem to point to a time of extreme cold in the southern hemisphere, answering to the glacial epoch of the northern.
We have here Bulletin No. 1 of the Illinois Museum of Natural History, containing papers on "Illinois Crustacea," "The Tree in Winter," "Sodic Pinate as a Test for Lime," a "Partial Catalogue of the Fishes of Illinois," "Parasitic Fungi," and "The Orthoptera of Illinois."
The thesis here defended by Mr. Gardner is, that the sources of many prevailing diseases are to be found in various natural conditions of the earth's form and substance, as well as in soils polluted by man. The geographer and the physician must work together in the study of the public health.
General Warren here undertakes to "correct the erroneous estimate of the geographical work of officers of the United States, made by one of our countrymen," viz., Prof. J. D. Whitney, in his article on "Geographical Surveys," which was published in the North American Review for July, 1875.
Mr. Draper gives a description of an improvement in the rain-gauge, and of a self-recording pencil thermometer—both being the fruits of his own researches and mechanical ingenuity. The report further contains the usual annual and monthly tables of meteorological phenomena.
Prof. Packard, within the narrow limits of this too brief essay, contrives to give a very readable account of the progress of zoölogy in the United States. To Barton he assigns the honor of being the first American zoölogist whose works have been published here. Barton's memoir on the "Fascination of the Rattlesnake," and on the "Generation of the Opossum," appeared, the first in 1796, and the second in 1801. At present zoölogy in the United States is, according to Prof. Packard, very backward as compared with Germany, France, and England. We are about on a level with the Scandinavians and the Dutch; but, with our energy and native ability, and the aid of well-endowed colleges and museums, we may hope hereafter to compete even with Germany.
It is to be hoped that the energetic editor and publisher of this useful magazine will receive such encouragement from the public as will warrant her in continuing its publication. The Kindergarten system has no more able exponent in the United States than Miss Peabody.
Gold and Debt. By W. L. Fawcett. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. Pp. 270. Price, $1.75.
Handbook of Hygiene. By G. Wilson, M. D. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. Pp. 520. Price, $3.50.
Turkey. By J. Baker. New York: Holt & Co. Pp. 515, with Two Colored Maps. Price, $4.
Annual Record of Science and Industry. By S. F. Baird. New York: Harpers. Pp. 845. Price, $2.
Lightning Protection. By H. W. Spang. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger. Pp. 180. Price, $1.50.
Ancient Society. By L. H. Morgan, LL. D. New York: Holt & Co. Pp. 576. Price, $4.
Anonymous Hypothesis of Creation. By J. J. Furniss. New York: C. P. Somerby. Pp. 54.
Personal Immortality. By J. Oppenheim. New York: C.P. Somerby. Pp. 98.
Theoretical Chemistry. By Dr. Ira Remsen. Philadelphia: H. C. Lea. Pp. 232. Price, $1.25.
Primer of Chemistry. By A. Vacher. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. Pp. 116. Price, 50 cents.
Forces of Nature. Part I. By A. Guillemin. New York: Mcmillan. Pp. 40, with Illustrations. Price, 40 cents.
Atlas of the Geology of a Portion of the Uinta Mountains. By J. W. Powell. New York: Julius Bien, lithographer.
Report of Ohio State Fish Commission. Columbus: Nevins & Myers print. Pp. 96.
Ages of Sun and Fixed Stars. Pp. 4. Meteoric Fireballs. Pp. 7. By D. Kirkwood.
Utah Dialects. By E. A. Barber. Extracted from Hayden's Reports. Pp. 13.
Physiology of the Brain. Pp. 15. Reflex Motor Symptoms. Pp. 16. By Dr. E. Dupuy. New York: Appletons.
Errors of Refraction. By Dr. F. A. Munson. Albany: Riggs print. Pp. 11.
Valuation of Fertilizers. By A. R. Ledoux. Raleigh, N. C.: Observer print. Pp. 15.
Western Diptera. By C. R. Osten-Sacken. From Hayden's Reports. Pp. 163.
Report of the Directors of the Philadelphia Zoölogical Society. Pp. 36.
Growth of Children. By Dr. H. P. Bowditch. From Massachusetts Health Board Report. Pp. 51.
Kings County Medical Society Proceedings. Pp. 18.
Eruptive Mountains in Colorado. By Dr. A. C. Peale. From Hayden's Reports. Pp. 14.
Bulletin of the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Territories. T. V. Hayden in charge. Vol. III., No. 1, pp. 185; No. 2, pp. 339. Washington: Government Printing-Office.
Bulletin I. of United States Entomological Commission. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 12.
Quadrature of Circle. By R. K. Carter. Chester, Pa.: Spencer print. Pp. 12.
Rules of English Conversation Club at Kolozsvar. Pp. 19.
Johns Hopkins University Second Annual Report. Pp. 50.
Blue-Glass Cure. By Dr. E. B. Foote. Pp. 63. Price, 10 cents.
Overturning the World. By Dr. G. M. Ramsey. New York: McBreen print. Pp. 27.
Dakota Calendar. By Lientenant-Colonel G. Mallery. From Hayden's Reports. Pp 25.
Paleontological Paper. By Dr. C. A. White. From Hayden's Reports. Pp. 30.
Sugar-Refinery of Havemeyers & Elder. From "Industrial America." Pp. 18.
Report on the Retreat for the Insane. Hartford, Conn.: Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co. print. Pp .36.
Steam-Engine. By F. J. Bramwell. London: Macmillan. Pp. %l. Price, M.
Distilled Water from Service-Steam. By C. E. Munroe. From American Chemist. Pp. 12.
Superficial Deposits of Nebraska. By Dr. S. Aughey. From Hayden's Reports. Pp. 31.
Self and Cross Fertilization of Flowers. By T. Meehan. Pp. 8.
Circular Eight of Johns Hopkins University. Pp .12
The New Century. Pp. 46. $1 a year.
Natural Resources of the Black Hills. By W. P. Jenney. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 71.
Proceedings of American Chemical Society. Vol. 1., No. 3. Pp. 77.
Pennsylvania College Monthly. Gettysburg: Wible print. Pp. 28.
Vick's Floral Guide, Rochester, N. Y. Pp. 30.
Poisonous Mushrooms. By Dr. I. Ott. Pp. 6.