Popular Science Monthly/Volume 23/September 1883/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 23 September 1883 (1883)
Professor Harrington has performed an acceptable service in giving us the story of Sir William Logan's life, so full of interest in connection with the development and conduct of the Geological Survey of Canada, of which Logan was the first director and zealous supporter, from the date of his appointment to this service in 1842, until his death in 1875.
Born of Scotch parents in Montreal, in 1798, and educated under a Scotch master, in 1814 he was sent with his brother Hart to the High School of Edinburgh, then in the zenith of its reputation. In 1816 Logan became a student in the university, but his university life closed with his first year, and he then went to London to take a place in the commercial house of his uncle, Mr. Hart Logan, where he remained for about ten years. The letters of Logan, to his brother chiefly, during this period are full of genial humor, and picture the writer like a mirror, showing up the sweetness and manly spirit of a most charming character. Those of us who knew Sir William only in later life, when he had espoused Science as his only mistress, gain a new view of the man as he unconsciously betrays his loving nature in these genuine letters.
His geological life began when in 1831, at the age of thirty-three, by a change in his occupation he was placed in charge of a copper-smelting and coal-mining enterprise in Wales, where his uncle had embarked in a smelting process on the waste slags of Swansea. His duties here led him to renew and extend his acquaintance with scientific pursuits. In 1840 he revisited Canada and renewed the associations of his early life. The first mention of his survey of Canada grew out of a conversation Logan had in 1841 with the late Dr. William B. Rogers, whom he met in Philadelphia. The subject had been brought forward by Dr. Rae, in 1832, by a petition to the Provincial Legislature, but repeated solicitations for money for this purpose failed to gain the attention of the Government until 1841, when £1,500 was secured for the purposes of a survey. The strong support of Mr. Logan by De la Beche, Murchison, Sedgwick, Buckland, and others, left no question but that Logan was the best person to place in charge of this important work. His appointment was confirmed in 1843, and he entered immediately with the utmost zeal and devotion upon the duties of his office. It is impossible to read his letters and journals at this time without a strong conviction of his rare talent and skill in meeting and overcoming difficulties which to a less bold and determined explorer would have appeared insurmountable. Professor Harrington's narrative sets forth clearly the successive steps of the work and its organization. Space forbids us to follow these interesting details. The whole volume sparkles with the good humor and bright remarks scattered in Logan's journal and letters, making it a volume of unusual interest both for the general and the scientific reader. In his Canadian work he was ably aided by Alexander Murray, for many years his principal geological assistant; Billings, his able paleontologist; Hunt, his chemist and co-worker in structural geology for about a quarter of a century; and later Hartley, a young geologist of uncommon promise, too soon removed by death, not to mention others of merit.
The experience of that celebrated railroad-contractor, Thomas Brassey, Sr., with large numbers of workmen of various nationalities, and in various localities in Europe, forms the nucleus of this book. The greater part, however, consists of the results of inquiries into the labor question by the author, his son. Strikes and trades-unions are the first subjects discussed, and then follows a chapter, largely made up of illustrations and statistics, in which it is shown that the rate of wages is regulated, not by the fiats of trades-unions, but by demand and supply. The distinction between the rate of wages and the cost of labor is next pointed out, and abundantly illustrated. A comparison in respect to efficiency of the laborers of several European countries is made, which places the English "navvies," in spite of their shorter hours and higher rate of wages, in a very favorable light. A chapter in regard to the "Influence of American Wages on the English Labor-Market" follows, in which the effect of the large emigration to this country is discussed. This chapter, evidently written before our resumption of specie payments, contains also an opinion in regard to "assisted emigrants," which is interesting as the expression of an English legislator several years prior to the present excitement. Co-operative establishments and boards of arbitration between employers and employed are two other important topics which are treated.
This little work by an able Russian, who was formerly a professor of mathematics in the East, but has adopted this country for his home, was first contributed in a succession of papers to the pages of "The Index," and, having attracted a good deal of attention, they have been reissued in this separate and more accessible form. Professor Frey takes up the fundamental questions in relation to the nature, basis, applications, and uses of religion, and, while criticising the view adopted by Herbert Spencer upon the subject, is more inclined to accept that of Auguste Comtc. While repelled from Spencer's view, which confines religion to man's mysterious relation to the unknowable Power manifested in the universe, but which is beyond the reach of human intelligence, Professor Frey is attracted to the doctrine of Comte, which makes man, or humanity, the object of religious feeling, veneration, and worship. Being deeply concerned with the interests of humanity, and aspiring after a better state of things than now exists, and recognizing the great power of the religious sentiment, he sees in "The Religion of Humanity" the greatest means of future progress, and the only hope of any substantial improvement in the social condition of mankind. We are not prepared here to consider the grave issues involved in this discussion, but may cordially commend the pamphlet before us as an earnest contribution to the inquiry which, if not conclusive, will be found suggestive, and probably helpful to many who are seeking light upon a much confused and deeply perplexing subject.
The author's answer to this problem is—labor. He instances the comparative fewness of the larger carnivora, which obtain their food easily, and the large numbers of wolves and other animals, which obtain subsistence only by ceaseless activity, as showing the effect of labor on the development of animals. He maintains, further, that suspension of effort causes proportional loss of consciousness. Intelligent acts are performed without consciousness, hence there is an unconscious intelligence inherent in every structure, giving evidence of form or design; moreover, this intelligence is capable of transmigration. Communities follow the same rule as individuals. "When labor is partially suspended among the individuals in such a community, or, owing to the invention of labor-saving machines and division of labor, becomes more simple, the community begins to manifest the characteristics of decay and dissolution." It would seem to be the author's belief that those who make a failure of this life are, after a term of purgation, to have another try at it, for he ends by saying: "From the fire we came, and to the fire we are going, unless we comply with the conditions of life and consciousness. The answer to the riddle fate would have us read is this: ' Unless ye labor ye shall perish.' If we can not comply with that, we shall probably continue to be warmed over until we can."
The author puts forth this book as an aid to answering the question, "Is there in the teaching of Christ an originality so wonderful as to be accounted for only by the assumption of a special divine revelation?" The first chapter is devoted to a sketch of some Eastern religions which preceded Christianity. The second is mainly made up of quotations from Christ's teachings, and of similar passages in other writings, while the remaining chapter takes up the difference between natural morality and the religious systems of ethics. The author's estimate of Christianity is as follows: "The Eastern world was fortunate in possessing many great moral and religious teachers; and it was out of their doctrines, ever increasing in perfection as time went on, that was gradually and naturally built up the most complete and beautiful religion of all. Hence (we may say) it was necessary that, in the process of evolution, this development should be reached, and that Christianity should come: yet this is no reason why we need hesitate to add—but blessed be he through whom it came." Moreover, he considers that the evidence brought forward tends to show "that much of Christ's doctrine was necessarily of only temporary and local value; but that the Church has greatly hindered the progress of knowledge and scientific morality by insisting that her founder's teaching is final on all points," and "that science is now proving the origin and nature of man to be entirely different to those assumed by religious teachers, and thereby contradicting much that is essential to their doctrines."
A book of sound principles on the instruction and training of girls and women with reference to the principal function of their life. That it has met a large demand and approval by the public is attested by the fact that it is now in its twentieth thousand. The subject of the book is the training and treatment of woman, in respect chiefly to her physical well-being and moral culture, in every age and condition of life—as an infant, as a girl at play, as a school-girl, "young lady," wife, and mother. The infant is commended to the mother's personal nursing and care, and to an enlightened régime, in order to give which the mother must seek the necessary knowledge. For the girl are claimed the freedom of action that will secure to her the best development, and the instruction and the sincerity of instruction that will best help her to make herself a true and sound woman. As the school-life period approaches, and the critical period of the woman's life with it, more attention is required to secure a proper development of the physical and mental functions than even in infancy, and the subject receives a correspondingly greater particularity of treatment. The calling of the woman to be a housekeeper and the trainer of a new family and the bearing of her education to those ends are given their proper prominence. We have also chapters on what women who have grown up to be young ladies should do for their mothers, on dress, on the cure of gossip, on the period of marriage and the duties of the expectant mother. The book is a woman's book on a woman's subject, in which the plainest truths are presented in the most forcible manner, yet with the most fully refined delicacy; and it is a book that will help women, and in helping them will help the human race.
This pamphlet, published by the Bureau of Education as one of its "Circulars of Information," gives summaries of the rules prevailing in the several States for ascertaining the qualifications of teachers preparatory to giving them licenses. While the Commissioner of Education has no desire to call undue attention to examinations, and deprecates the cramming and the danger of making them an end in education which it is likely to induce, he hopes to secure a good purpose by showing how it has seemed best to the people of the different States to determine whether the teacher has the qualifications required; for which no better general way seems to have been found than some system of examination.
Since this book consists of medical lectures, the treatment of the subject is naturally technical rather than popular. It is a presentation of the results so far attained in researches as to the nature of germs, and their action as agents of disease.
School-Books on Physiology and Hygiene. By Stanford E. Chaillé, of the University of Louisiana.
Having received many requests for advice respecting the best school text-books on hygiene, Dr. Chaillé examined the various books in the market, for comparison with one another and with his own standard of merit, which was that they should give predominance to teaching the care and proper use of the organs and the preservation of health. Of twenty books regarded as living candidates for favor, three were found fairly suitable for children ten or twelve years of age, while the others were more or less adapted to the comprehension of youth of different greater ages. Of the more advanced works, Draper's, Dalton's, and Huxley and Youmans's "are excellent," and the two latter and Foster's primer (primary) "bear the unmistakable stamp of the master's hand," and illustrate the rule "that even the most elementary books can be better written by distinguished experts." The pervading fault of most of the books is that they pay too little attention to hygiene.
Professor Brewer regards the trotting horse as essentially a development of the present century, and as still in process of evolution. His training has been stimulated by a combination of influences. The ancients did not have "trotters," and did not want them, because, not possessing light spring-wagons, they knew nothing of driving for pleasure, and for riding they preferred animals of more even gait. A little attention seems to have begun to be paid to trotting at about the time of the close of the Revolutionary War; the first mention of a "trotting-stallion" is found in 1788. The first definite notice of trotting on the course is in 1806, when Yankee trotted a mile in two minutes and fifty-nine seconds. At about this time a prejudice, resulting in the enactment of prohibitory laws, was developed against horse-racing (competitive running), and trotting-matches against time were introduced. A demand for trotters sprang up in the French West Indies; and light spring-wagons were invented, and, as they became fashionable, the taste for fast driving increased. These and kindred circumstances favored the development of the trotting-horse, and it has gone on speedily. In 1806, 2·59 was the fastest time that had been made by trotting; 2·40 became the synonym for speed in 1824. In 1843, one horse, Lady Suffolk, had trotted a mile in less than 2·30; in 1882, 1,654 horses had made that record, and the fastest time had been reduced by Maud S. to 2·104.
The author maintains that bad living is the primary cause of the diseases named; that no mere accident of exposure, like those to which they are commonly ascribed, is competent to produce them unless the system has already been made peculiarly sensitive to them by habitual overloading of the stomach, living in bad air, or indolence; and that they are susceptible of being cured by adopting and adhering to a "natural" treatment and régime. In all this Dr. Page agrees fully with Dr. Oswald, and quotes him freely. He gives several remarkable examples of wonderful cures which he knows of having been effected by following the principles he lays down. Whether the course he recommends will be quite as effective, in all cases, as he seems to believe it will be, or not, he has laid down principles which may be followed with profit, and the following of which may relieve many cases regarded as desperate; and he has given the public a most valuable manual of hygiene.
This is claimed to be the only journal in any part of the world devoted exclusively to the science of medical jurisprudence. It will publish the leading papers of the Medico-Legal Society, and a summary of its transactions and contributions from all sources on subjects and questions appropriate to its sphere. The present number contains a portrait of Dr. George W. Beard, who was a leader in projecting the journal; the inaugural address of President Clark Bell, of the Medico-Legal Society, in which is embodied a review of the progress of medical jurisprudence in the several countries of the world; reports on coroners, medical. examiners, amendments to the lunacy laws of New York, and on the Pennsylvania lunacy laws, and miscellaneous matters.
Besides notices of the principal resorts and attractions in the mountains, with directions for reaching them, and directories of hotels and boarding-houses, arranged by towns, the "Guide" contains some well-considered and condensed notes, intended to assist in geological observations in the Catskill region. The whole would be a valuable and desirable acquisition to tourists, but for the sprawling advertisements that are intruded among the reading-matter. In a book to which a price is attached, the two kinds of matter should occupy their separate pages.
This volume is the fifth of the "American Science Series," the principal objects of which are defined to be "to supply the lack of authoritative books whose principles are, so far as practicable, illustrated by familiar American facts, and also to supply the other lack that the advance of science perennially creates, of text-books which at least do not contradict the latest generalizations." The list of the works to be included in the series shows that the publishers have made it a rule to go to authors whose names carry authority, and who speak as original investigators, having their facts at first hand. Professor Walker's discussion, in this volume, of the questions included under the general title of political economy in their varied and complicated aspects and relations is full and rich in citations of authorities and in illustrations, and covers such a multiplicity of topics that it would be impossible, in an ordinary notice, to give even an outline of it. It is conducted with such clearness as to make the book quite readable and readily understood. After the introductory chapter, or part, in which the "Character and Logical Method of Political Economy" are considered and its claims to be ranked as a science and its relations with other branches are discussed, the whole subject is topically divided and treated under the several heads of "Production," "Exchange," "Distribution," "Consumption," and "Some Applications of Economical Principles." The numerous questions growing out of the labor agitation, the subjects of the currency, paper money, bimetallism, protection vs. free trade, and other economic topics now vital among us, receive attention in their appropriate places.
The character of this publication is well indicated by the subordinate title. It is intended not only to amuse and instruct, but also to direct the natural bent of its readers to some practical work; and the numbers we have seen of it seem well adapted to these purposes. In two of them we have a story illustrating the magical effects that may be wrought through simple applications of modern scientific discoveries; papers relating to natural history, astronomy, and physiology; and lessons and suggestions regarding various arts and sports with which youth may find it pleasant—and perhaps profitable—to amuse themselves.
A book from an author who has had such an influence upon the scientific thought of his countrymen as Herr Haeckel has exerted must have a value of its own, even though it be not directly scientific. The "Visit to Ceylon" records the impressions of a tourist; yet not of the ordinary tourist, who skims over a country and takes the merest superficial view of everything, but of a traveler whose mission is scientific, and who expects to make a study of all that he sees, and to draw a lesson valuable to students and to mankind from every object he meets. The impressions are recorded here. The studies will come afterward, and the fruits of them, probably, be given to the world in volumes which will be heavier in proportion as they are of more solid value. Professor Haeckel, as may be inferred from the character of his mind, saw more than common tourists do, and, in one direction at least, more intelligently. To him, in Ceylon—a country of tropical luxuriance, contrasting strongly with cold and frugal Germany everything was fresh, new, and full of blooming life. These qualities are exhibited also by his narrative, which is brilliant in color, warm with admiration, and diversified with the lively effusions of an imagination which might have made a poet had it not been bestowed upon a student of prosaic biology.
A work that was first published several years ago, but which is so thorough in its treatment of the subject, and contains so much that is of practical value, that it still remains one of the best books of the kind in the market. We have already given full notice and commendation of the two previous editions, the larger and expensive one, and the more popular edition in 12mo; so we need only mention the appearance of this cheap edition, and say that the publishers deserve the thanks of the public for issuing it.
United States Hay Fever Association. 1883. Portland. Me.: Hoyt, Fogg & Donham. Pp. 80.
The People's Power; or, How to wield the Ballot. By Simeon Stetson. San Francisco: Hinton & Co. 1883. Pp. 63.
Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science. Herbert B. Adams, Editor. III. "Local Government in Illinois." by Albert Shaw, A. B.: and "Local Government in Pennsylvania." by E. B. L. Gould, A. B. . pp. 37. IV. Saxon Tithing Men in America. By Herbert B. Adams, Ph.D. Pp. 28. V. Local Government in Michigan and the Northwest. By Edward W. Bemis, A. B. Pp. 25. Baltimore: Published by the University. 1883.
The Factors of Civilization. Vol. I. Atlanta: J. P. Harrison & Co. 1883. Pp. 347.
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park. New York. Vol. I, No. 4. The Atlantic Right Whales. By Joseph Bassett Holder. W. C. Martin, printer. 1883. Pp. 38, with Plates.
The Modern Polytechnic School. Inaugural Address by President Charles O. Thompson. Terre Haute, Ind. 1883. Pp. 27.
The Stuart Period. From a Medical Standpoint. By R. L. Macdonnell, B. A., M. D. 1883. Pp. 23.
The Geology of Philadelphia. By Professor H. Carvill Lewis. 1883. Pp. 21.
Lake Agassiz. A Chapter in Glacial Geology. By Warren Upham. Jones & Kroeger, Printers. 18!:3. Pp. 25.
Statistical Tables from the History and Statistics of American Water-Works. By J. J. R. Cowes. "New York Engineering News." 1883. Pp. 120.
Seventh Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Wisconsin. 1882. Madison Democrat Printing Co. 1883. Pp. 265.
On a New Genus and Species of Blastoids. By Charles Wachmuth; and Descriptions of some New Blastoids from the Hamilton Group. By W. H. Barris. Springfield, Ill.: H. W. Rokker, printer. 1883. Pp. 21. Illustrated.
"The Homœopathic Leader." Walter Yeomans Cowl, M. D., Editor. Vol. I, No. 1. July, 1883. Monthly. Pp. 80. $4 per annum.
Human Proportion in Art and Anthropometry. By Robert Fletcher. Cambridge, Mass.: Moses King. 1883. Pp. 37, with Plates.
On Mineral Vein Formation now in Progress at Steamboat Springs, compared with the same at Sulphur Bank. pp. 5. illustrated; and on the Genesis of Metalliferous Veins, pp. 19. By Professor Joseph Le Conte. From the "American Journal of Science," June and July, 1883.
Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History. Bulletins Nos. 5 and 6. February and May, 1883.
Iron from the Ohio Mounds. By Professor F. W. Putnam. Pp. 15.
The Iroquois Book of Rites. Edited by Horatio Hale, M. D. Philadelphia: D. G. Brinton. 1883. Pp. 222.
Resuscitated. A Dream or Vision of the Existence after Death, etc. Sacramento: Lewis & Johnston, printers. 1883. Pp. 123.
Notes on the Literature of Explosions. By Professor Charles E. Munroe, U. S. N. A. 1883. Pp. 15.
Evolution. A Summary of Evidence. By Robert C. Adams. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York. 1883. Pp. 44.
On Nasal Cough. By John N. Mackenzie, M. D. From the "American Journal of the Medical Sciences." 1883. Pp. 11.
Circular No. 2, Bureau of Education. Co-education of the Sexes in the Public Schools of the United States. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1883. Pp. 30.
Quarterly Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics for Three Months ended March 31, 1883. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 104.
Report on the Thermal Springs of the Yellowstone National Park. By A. C. Peale. Washington. 1883. Pp. 454 Illustrated.
The Ores of Leadville. By Louis D. Ricketts, B. S. Princeton. 1833. Pp. 68. Illustrated.
Report on the Oyster-Beds of the James River, Virginia, and of Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1882. Pp. 87. Illustrated.
Dynamo-Electric Machinery. By Sylvanus P. Thompson. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1883. Pp. 218. Illustrated. 50 cents.
A History of Tuberculosis. By Arnold Spina. With an Account of the Researches of Dr. Robert Koch, etc. By Eric E. Sattler, M. D. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1883. Pp. 191. $1.25.