Popular Science Monthly/Volume 20/April 1882/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 20 April 1882 (1882)
We have here one of those striking cases, unfortunately too rare, in which the very ablest man makes the most thoroughly popular book. Dr. Luys, at the head of the great French Insane Asylum, is also one of the most eminent and successful investigators of cerebral science now living; and he has given, unquestionably, the clearest and most interesting brief account yet made of the structure and operations of the brain. The books of Drs. Luys and Bastian are to a great degree supplementary to each other. Dr. Luys, in treating "The Brain and its Functions," confines himself to the human brain, and makes his work an exclusively human study. Dr. Bastian, in his "Brain as an Organ of Mind," deals comprehensively with the supreme nerve-centers of the whole animal series. His work is profusely illustrated with diagrams of the figure and anatomical structure of the brains of all grades of animals; while Dr. Luys, passing by the whole scheme of inferior life, has but six illustrations in his book, and these are designed simply to make clear the offices and relations of fundamental parts, so as to ex. plain the corporeal conditions of psychical processes.
We have been fascinated by this volume more than by any other treatise we have yet seen on the machinery of sensibility and thought; and we have been instructed not only by much that is new, but by many sagacious practical hints such as it is well for everybody to understand. Lest we be thought to speak too strongly in commendation of the sterling character of this work, and in order to give some idea of the author's method, we quote the following excellent statement concerning it from the columns of the "St. James Gazette":
Let no one suppose that m this "short text-book" we have to deal with a primer.
Everything is comparative, and the term "short" here has relation to the enormous development and extent of recent organic chemistry. This solid and comprehensive volume is intended to represent the present condition of the science in its main facts and leading principles, as demanded by the systematic chemical student.
We have here, probably, the best extant text-book of organic chemistry. Not only is it full and comprehensive and remarkably clear and methodical, but it is up to the very latest moment, and it has been, moreover, prepared in a way to secure the greatest excellences in such a treatise. The original "Text-Book of Organic Chemistry," by Adolph Strecker, was a work of great merit, which stood high in Germany, and passed through several editions. The author was vigilant in keeping it up to the time, and was about to enter upon the preparation of the sixth edition, making important changes required by chemical progress, when his labors were cut short by death in 1871. Professor Wislicenus, the accomplished chemist of Würzburg, was then induced after considerable reluctance, owing to the pressure of his official duties, to undertake the task which the author was prevented from accomplishing. This was done in so thorough a manner that, while much of Stacker's best work remained, it received a new cast and a more perfect adaptation, both to the state of the science and to the requirements of those for whom it was primarily intended. So largely was the treatise impressed by the originality of Professor Wislicenus that it became generally recognized as his work; and, when it was proposed to reproduce the book in English, Professor Wislicenus only consented on the condition that the very latest results of research in organic chemistry should be embodied in it. He stipulated that "regard shall be had to the largely increased material and essentially nearer insight into the relations and nature of organic compounds already known, that have been obtained since the publication of the book." Drs. Hodgkinson and Greenaway seem to have faithfully carried out this conscientious purpose of the author.
It is not necessary to attempt here any statement of the method or classification of the book, as it would take more room than we can give, and, after all, would concern chiefly the special students of organic chemistry. The names upon the title-page are the best guarantee of the character of the volume, and an examination of its pages shows that it has been executed with remarkable clearness and accuracy. In regard to the formula? based upon the atomic theory which now play so prominent a part in organic chemistry, Professor Wislicenus admonishes students that they must be taken with great reserve. On this point he says: "In the present state of our science we can not neglect the frequent use of structural formulas based on the valency of the chemical elements. Their partial uncertainty and, in many points, tangible short-comings, need not prevent their use to some extent in a text-book, although their use requires care. With regard to the manner of writing the constitutional formulæ, no dogmatic adherence to any single method will be adopted, so that the formula of one and the same substance may be found varyingly written in different places. With every one of these systems of formulas there is the danger of substituting a concrete image in place of an idea. These images we certainly can not do without, but we must keep the idea lying behind such an image as far as possible pure, and also mobile, seeing that in comparison with older views we have in it only relative not absolute truth."
This interesting monograph is an important practical contribution to what may be called the science of illusions. It is a curious study in medical psychology, in which the author draws upon an extensive practice for illustrations of the phenomena of self-deception in the processes of sensation and the experience of pain. The first portion of Dr. Taylor's lecture is devoted to a brief account of the action of the nervous system, not only as a receptive apparatus for the production of sensibility, but as a reacting mechanism in which sensations are stored and accumulated to give rise to centrally-initiated feelings and impulses. "Up to a certain point," says Dr. Taylor, "and in a certain degree and manner, we are unquestionably automata. If it were otherwise, life would be simply impossible. The sensations which we receive through the five senses set a-going certain machinery, the result of which is sensory life, as certainly as the open valve lets in the steam which makes the ponderous engine throb with motion and power. But steam, having once been used, flows out lifeless, a simple waste. Not so the sensations. Once received, they are never wholly spent, but in various forms remain as a portion of our vital selves so long as we live. And, once received, we may use and control their accumulated substance much as we will."
But if illusions arise in the action of the peripheral senses, so definite in their action and so open to observation, they are far more liable to arise in regard to the. feelings which come from centrally-initiated impulses, and prominent among these deceptions are the false location of pain and the false interpretation of centrally-initiated impressions. On this point Dr. Taylor remarks: "If the direct evidence of our special senses can not be depended on, as previously shown, how much greater must be the liability to error, when conclusions are drawn from feelings depending on those pulses of nerve-force which have been set up in the cerebral end of the nervous system! And yet, large numbers of people take the evidence of their feelings, having nothing but an emotional origin, as evidence of bodily conditions. An emotional temperament is simply one in which the pulse of action in the nerve-centers rises higher than the occasion requires. There is a throb or explosion of energy, under a stimulus which would produce only a pulse in ordinary persons. Æsthetic education, particularly when not accompanied by special discipline, tends to increase inherited habits, until the existence of some persons consists of successions of nerve-center explosions, with all the prodigal waste of energy which accompanies that state. Such a person is thrown into ecstasies of pleasure or pain by causes by which a balanced temperament would not be affected. If a lady, she has a large variety of feelings, many of them disagreeable; and, if for any reason her attention becomes engaged with them, it is apt to become absorbed in their contemplation. If she has feelings along the back, she concludes she has spinal disease. If it is the head which disturbs her—and why should it not, with regular batteries of nerve-center explosions, touched off by her own untrained and rampant emotions?—she thinks there must be brain-disease or something horrible there; the more horrible in name the better it will suit the particular ebullition which names the disease."
Many interesting cases are given illustrating the illusions that thus arise; we quote a single one: "A young lady of seventeen came to me about ten years ago for what she and her friends supposed was disease of the hip-joint. After examination, I told her that there was no disease of the joint whatever. I tried to explain to her comprehension that, for some reason, she had become anxious about the hip-joint, and that her attention was so fixed on it that all sensations transmitted from that vicinity caused such throbs of the nerve-centers that an ordinary sensation was converted into an extraordinary one, and the anxious attention which she directed to that part made her painfully conscious of what would otherwise be normal sensations and thus unnoticed. But I failed to impress her sufficiently to divert her attention from the part, and she continued to walk on crutches, in all, during eight years. At last she suddenly found that she was not lame. I had the pleasure of examining her about six months after she had ascertained that she was not lame, and I found a wholly unaffected joint, precisely as it was seven years previously when I first saw her."
Sufficient has been said to illustrate the principal points of Dr. Taylor's discourse. The subject is clearly presented, and his views and conclusions are not only practical, but so important that they can not receive too much popular attention.
The editor's object in introducing this work is to enable his fellow-practitioners in America, in the absence of any low-priced treatise on the subject in the English language, to gain such a knowledge of Lister's method as will enable them to apply it with essential accuracy. The method has become thoroughly established in medical science, and is being rapidly adopted by intelligent practitioners in all countries. It is recognized in England, "reigns supreme" in Denmark, "has its enthusiasts" in Germany, "has gained a firm foothold" in France, and is represented among the surgeons in Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Russia, Italy, and America. "Nélaton," says the author, "was accustomed to say that the man who should discover the means of suppressing purulent infection deserved a statue of gold. If this view of Nélaton's was generally entertained, the statue would be raised to Professor Lister, for purulent infection has disappeared from the list of wound complications in the services in which his method is followed."
Mythology, as considered by the author, includes in its broadest definition all pagan religious beliefs, commonly called superstitions, and can not be confined to collections of fables and traditions, which are the folk-lore of peoples. In this, its larger sense, it is a very important branch of archæological science, and its study reflects much light into a past which written history has not penetrated. The author is struck with the universality of mythology, and with the evidence it presents of the homogeneity of man's religious beliefs, and his purpose is to collate the facts that show this homogeneity, to reduce to a system of religious beliefs the multitude of superstitions that have germinated among uncultured peoples, and to trace all superstitions to a common origin. The general prevalence of the same superstitions and folk stories among primitive peoples has led to exaggerated efforts to trace a derivation of one system of mythological belief from another by contact or migration of myths. Mr. Dorman believes that these efforts have been wrongly directed; that the mythologies in question *are all of natural development among each people; and that their similarities among all peoples in the same successive stages are explained by the fact that their growth has always and everywhere taken place according to the laws of man's spiritual being. Hence we have no need to assume communications between the negroes and the American Indians and other uncultured peoples, of the existence of which we have no evidence, to account for the coincidence of such myths as the "Uncle Remus" stories of the plantation negroes with similar stories among tribes strange to them. Mr. Dorman takes issue with those who believe that the higher phases of belief and worship have been the most ancient, and have become debased in the ruder forms. According to his view, "all primitive religious belief is polytheistic. All savage tribes are full of the terror of invisible spirits which have been liberated by death," which fill all nature, animate and inanimate, are in the air, the wind, the storm, the rock, the vale, the river, the water-fall, and which "transmigrate into human beings, animals, plants, and even into inanimate stones, idols, and heavenly bodies, which are supposed to be animate thereafter. Hence originates the worship of ancestors, and also of animals, plants, stones, idols, and the heavenly bodies." He is also convinced that those writers are wrong who have affirmed of any people that they are destitute of religious feeling, and asserts that many such authors have contradicted themselves unwittingly by giving lists of the superstitions of the people against whom they made the charge. In all his own studies on the subject he has not found a people, "no matter how savage, who have no religion, if the word is used in its broadest sense, to embrace all superstitions." He also denies that any of our Indians were primarily monotheists, or that the belief in a Supreme Being has existed among them for any considerable time, and asserts that no approach to monotheism had been made before the discovery of America by Europeans, and that the idea of the Great Spirit mentioned in books on the aboriginal tribes of America is an introduction by Christianity. The body of the work consists of citations from a host of authors illustrative of the condition of Indian thought and development in respect to religion, and especially in regard to the doctrine of spirits, fetichistic superstitions, rites, and ceremonies connected with the dead, animal worship, the worship of trees and plants, of remarkable natural objects, and of the heavenly bodies, the animistic theory of meteorology, and priestcraft. The whole is as interesting as it is instructive, and as instructive as it is interesting, and is believed by Mr. Dorman to show that a gradual development from the rudest superstition, rather than a degeneracy from monotheism, has taken place; and that "the religion of the aboriginal tribes of America was a system of superstitions, all of which are explicable by the doctrine of the agency of multitudes of spirits, and in no other way."
Attention is first drawn to the historical summary which immediately follows the list of officers and professors, and relates the different steps in the organization and ' development of the university in detail. It shows that the introduction of Western learning into Japan dates from between 1703 and 1*711; that an observatory was established in 1744; that a translation office was instituted in 1811 to translate Dutch books; that the Dutch language was taught in 1858, and the English, French, German, and Russian languages were introduced, and courses in mathematics, botany, and chemistry were established in and after 1858; and that instruction was given mainly in the English language in 1867. The subsequent course of the university has been in the direction of expansive development, and need not be reviewed minutely. Instruction is given in the departments of law, science, and literature, which names cover nearly all that is included in similar departments in Western institutions, and some other matters peculiarly Japanese and Chinese, by American and European and Japanese professors. The law department includes English and French law, and ancient and present Japanese law; the scientific department is comprehensive; the literary department includes English literature, philosophy, political philosophy and economy, history, Buddhism, and Japanese and Chinese literature. More than fifty professors, assistants, and teachers are employed, two hundred and five students and ninety-two graduates are registered, and fifteen students are entered as sent abroad to England, France, and Germany.
Professor Fowler's object is, to present the character of the revolution which Bacon endeavored to effect in scientific method, as well as the nature of his philosophical opinions generally, in a form intelligible and interesting to readers who have no technical acquaintance with logic or philosophy. The several chapters include the life of Bacon, an account of his works, reviews of his "Survey of the Sciences," and his "Reform of Scientific Method," an examination of his philosophical and religious opinions, and an estimation of his influence on philosophy and science. On the last point, Professor Fowler believes that the influence and direction given by Bacon to science were of "the very highest importance." lie called men to study the I ways and imitate the processes of nature, insisted on the importance of experiment as well as of observation, recalled men to the study of facts, promoted their emancipation from the bonds of authority and the enchantments of imagination, insisted on the subordination of scientific inquiries to practical aims, promoted hopefulness, and clothed his thoughts in marvelous language.
Professor Newcomb does not, like many who have written on this subject, consider Euclid's system perfect, but believes that it fails in several points to meet modern requirements, and needs remodeling. This he attempts in a few features, most noticeably in the recognition of angles of a larger measurement than 180º. He accordingly treats the sum of two right angles as itself an angle, to which he gives the name of a "straight angle," and explicitly defines it. He also uses language more in accordance with modern ideas in speaking of planes. In an introductory book, besides the usual fundamental axioms and definitions, practical exercises are given in the practice of the analysis of geometric relations by means of the eye. Some of the first principles of conic sections have been developed, as a preliminary study of that subject, or to give some knowledge of those curves to those who do not intend to study analytical geometry. In proportion, a middle course has been adopted between the rigorous and prolix treatment of Euclid and the easier and simpler, but ungeometrical, method of American works.
This is the thirteenth volume of the series of documents relating to the colonial history of the State of New York, published officially under the direction of the Secretary of State. It embraces deeds, bargains, transactions of councils, memoirs, and correspondence, the general bearing of which illustrates the relations of the early settlers with the Indians. An important lesson drawn from these relations and their workings is that of the practical value of fair dealing with the Indians. It was the rule of the settlement of New Netherland, invariably enforced from the beginning, that no man could settle upon Indian land unless the Indian title was first extinguished in a manner satisfactory to the Indian proprietors. The consequence of the observance of the rule was that "the Dutch, living at the door of the powerful Five Nations, could always count upon the friendship of their Indian neighbors." This friendship had a momentous bearing upon the future of the continent, for it kept the Hudson River, the only natural route to the North and West, always open and safe for the white man, and thus greatly facilitated settlement.
This, the last work of the lamented author, was completed by him during the later days of his failing strength for publication in Major Powell's reports of the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain region. It formed substantially the fifth part of the original manuscript of the author's "Ancient Society," but was omitted from that work on account of the size which it had reached. Parts of it have appeared in detached articles; a summary of the whole as a cyclopædia article; the substance of two of the chapters, as "Montezuma's Dinner" and the "Houses of the Mound-Builders," in the "North American Review"; and other parts, as "A Study of the houses and House-Life of the Indian Tribes," with a scheme for exploring the ruins in New Mexico, Arizona, the San Juan region, Yucatan, and Central America, in the "Transactions of the Archaeological Institute of America." The facts and views embodied in these articles being placed now in their proper connection, with others bearing upon the same point, the full force and clearness which they are capable of furnishing are given to the author's theory. That theory is that the communal houses of the Indians at the time of the first white settlements in our country, the pueblos of New Mexico and Arizona, the structures whose ruins abound in Mexico and Central America, and the mounds of the mound-builders, illustrate a common type of house-construction and a communistic mode of living by the gens or tribe, which are not peculiar to the American aborigines, but have appeared as elements in primitive life at a stage between savagery and barbarism, among many other nations. The illustrations, drawn from and applied to all the classes of structures under review, and the historical citations, afford strong re-enforcements to the author's presentation.
This is Number IV of the "Memoirs" of the Science Department of the University of Tokio, and contains accounts of the examinations of the alluvial, diluvial, and tertiary deposits of the neighborhood of Tokio, Yokohama, and other parts of Japan, some of which present difficult problems, and descriptions of the fossils (mollusks). The conclusion is reached that the Japanese shell-layers which were examined have the greatest resemblance with the Crag, and next to it with the younger sub Apennine deposits, while the rocks resemble very closely the European Faluns. The plates, besides a sketch-map of the environs of Tokio, give representations of earth-sections and of some thirty typical fossils.
Professor Newton's part of this work includes the general introduction, observations on the routes to and from the Black Hills, and the account of the geological formations of the region, as observed in his survey during the summer of 1875. The author died in 1877, before completing his report, and the work of finishing it fell to Mr. C. K. Gilbert, who has performed it with fidelity to the author's intention, bearing in mind what has been learned concerning the gold of the Black Hills since the survey was made. Mr. Jenney's part of the report is his own exclusively, and includes a detailed review of the mineral resources, and the climate and general resources, of the Black Hills. Additional chapters, with plates of illustrations, are furnished: On "Paleontology," by R. P. Whitfield; "Microscopic Petrography," by John II. Caswell; "Botany," by Asa Gray; and "Astronomy" and "Barometric Hypsometry," by Horace F. Tuttle.
This is Number V of the "Memoirs" of the Science Department of the University of Tokio. The experiments were conducted with a pendulum, in 1880, and produced results that seemed to show that the mountain is deficient in attraction.
Chemical and Physical Analysis of Condensed Milk and Infants Milk Foods. By Dr. Nicholas Gerber. Translated and edited by Dr. H. Endemann. New York. 1882. Pp. 101. Nineteen Plates.
The Establishment of an International Tribunal. By A. H. Stoiber. New York. 1882. Pp. 24.
Catalogue of Southwick & Jenck's Natural History Goods. Providence, Rhode island. 1881. Pp. 23.
Quarterly Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics for the Three Months ended September 30, 1881. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1882. Pp. 130.
Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education. No. 5. 1881. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1881. Pp. 47.
Pulpit Talks on Topics of the Time. By the Rev. J. H. Rylance, D. D. New York: I. K. Funk & Co. 1882. Pp. 46.
Question-Book of Natural Philosophy. With Notes, etc. By Albert P. Southwick. Ansonia, Ohio. 1881. Pp. 16. 10 cents.
Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1881-1882. Vol. i, No. 2. November, 1881. Published for the Academy. Pp. 29.
Contributions to the History of the Vertebrata of the Lower Eocene of Wyoming and New Mexico. Made during 1881. By E. D. Cope. Philadelphia, 1881. Pp. 98.
Report of the Proceedings of the Ensilage Congress. Published by the New York Plow Company. 1882. Illustrated. Pp. 66. 30 cents.
The Development History of the Flowers of the Gunnera Chilensis. By William A. Keilermann. Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 1881. Illustrated. Pp. 23.
The Chemical Cause of Life Theoretically and Experimentally Demonstrated. By Oscar Loew and Thomas Bokorny. Munich. 1881. Illustrated. Pp. 60.
Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History. Vol xx, Part IV, January to April, 1330; and vol. xxi. Part I, May to December, 1880. Boston. 1830.
Scientific Proceedings of the Ohio Mechanics' Institute. Vol. i, No. 1. Cincinnati, January, 1882. Pp. 48. Quarterly, $1 a year.
Gold-hearing Drift, of Indiana. By George Sutton, M. D. Reprinted from the "Proceedings of the A. A. A. S." Salem, Massachusetts. 1882.
Publications of the Cincinnati Observatory. Micrometrical Measurements of Four Hundred and Fifty-five Double Stars observed with the Eleven-Inch Refractor during the Year ending September 1, 1880, under the Direction of Or mond Stone, A. M., Astronomer. Cincinnati. 1882. Pp. 69.
Ninety-sixth Annual Report of the Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York. Prepared by the Finance Committee. New York: Henry Bessey, printer. 1882.
On the Effect of Prolonged Stress upon the Strength and Elasticity of Pine Timber. By R. H. Thurston. Reprint from the "Proceedings of the Cincinnati Meeting of the A. A. A. S." Pp. 8.
Boston Society of Natural History. Guides for Science Teaching. No. I. About Pebbles. By Alpheus Hyatt. 1879. Pp. 26. No. II. Concerning a Few Common Plants By George L. Goodale. 1881. Pp. 61. No. III. Commercial and other Sponges. By Alpheus Hyatt. Illustrated. 1879. Pp. 43. No IV. A First Lesson in Natural History. By Mrs. Agassiz. Illustrated. 1879. Pp. 64 No. V. Common Hydroids, Corals, and Echinoderms. By Alpheus Hyatt. Illustrated. 1831. Pp. 32. No VI. The Oyster, Clam, and other Common Mollusks. By Alpheus Hyatt. Illustrated. 1831. Pp. 65. No. XII. Common Minerals and Rocks. By William C. Crosby. 1881. Pp. 130. Boston: Gin 11, Heath & Co. Annual Reports of the Boston Society of Natural History, 1879-1880; 1880-1881. Boston. 1832. Pp. 35.
Fifth Annual Report of the Superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park. By P. W. Norris. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1882. Pp. 81. With Map.
Soluble Compressed Pellets. A Nw Form of Remedies for Hypodermic Use. By H. Augustus Wilson, M.D. Reprint from "Transactions of the American Medical Association," 1881. Philadelphia. 1831. Pp. 4.
Science in Public Schools. By George Davidson. Reprint from "Mining and Scientific Press." Pp. 5
The Distribution of Plant Life. By Dr. B. W. Barton. Address before the Maryland Horticultural Society, April, 1881. Pp. 8.
Report on Diphtheria. By Franklin Staples, M.D. Winona, Minnesota. Pp. 44.
The Oyster Industry, by Ernest Engersoll, illustrated, 1881, pp. 250, and A Monograph on the Seal Islands of Alaska, by Henry W. Elliott, illustrated, 1882. pp. 176. Washington: Government Printing-Office.
Trance and Muscle Reading. By G. M. Beard, M.D. New York. 1882. Pp. 40.
Incandescent Electric Lights. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1882. Pp. 176. 50 cents.
A Year of Miracle. A Poem in Four Sermons. By W. C. Gannett. Boston: George H. Ellis. 1382. Pp. 106. 50 cents.
Paine Genealogy, Ipswich Branch. By Albert W. Paine. Bangor, Maine. 1881. Pp. 184.
The Burgomaster's Wife. A Romance. By Georg Ebers. New York: William S. Gottsberger. 1882.
The Art of Voice Production. By A. A. Pattou. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1382. Pp. 106. $1.
The Use of Tobacco. By J. L. D. Hinds, Ph.D. Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House. 1882. 75 cents.
Marriage and Parentage. By a Physician and Sanitarian. New York: M. L. Holbrook & Co. 1882. Pp. 185.
The Temple Rebuilt. A Poem. By Frederick R. Abbe. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. 1882. $1.25.
Beliefs about Man. By M. J. Savage. Boston: George H. Ellis. 1882. Pp. 130. $1.50.
The Gospel in the Stars, or Primeval Astronomy. By Joseph A. Seiss, D.D. Philadelphia: E. Clayton & Co. 1881. Pp. 452.
A Practical Treatise on Hernia. By Joseph H. Warren. M.D. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. 1882. Illustrated. Pp. 428. $5.
The Voyage of the Vega round Asia and Europe. By A. E Nordenskiold. Translated by Alexander Leslie. New York: Macmillan & Co. 1882. Pp. 756. Illustrated. $6.