Popular Science Monthly/Volume 36/November 1889/Literary Notices
|←Editor's Table||Popular Science Monthly Volume 36 November 1889 (1889)
The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. By Charles Darwin. Third Edition, with an Appendix by Prof. T. G. Bonney. With Illustrations, New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 344. Price, $2.
The formation of coral reefs was one of the subjects investigated by Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. The information which he obtained from his own observations and the reports of other investigators, together with the mode of accounting for these structures resulting from his study of this material, are embodied in the present work. The first edition of the book was published in 1842, a brief sketch of the author's views having been read in 1837 before the Geological Society, of London, and published. Darwin's theory of coral reefs speedily won acceptance among men of science, and had been taught in scientific lectures and text-books for a generation before any considerable rival appeared. In 1874 Darwin issued a revision of his book, containing additional facts obtained by later explorers. The only important work on the subject which had appeared since 1842 was Prof. James D. Dana's "Corals and Coral Reefs," issued in 1872. Prof. Dana had accepted Darwin's theory in the main, though objecting very decidedly to some of its minor features. In 1880 Mr. John Murray, one of the naturalists of the Challenger Expedition, advanced a theory widely at variance with that of Darwin, which has found vigorous supporters, and various modifications of both the leading hypotheses have been offered by later investigators. But the majority of those qualified to judge of this difficult question have shown a disinclination to give up Darwin's theory for that of Murray — so much so that the Duke of Argyll, evidently jealous for Scottish honor, in 1887 accused scientific men of disregarding Murray's work from subserviency to their idolized Darwin. The duke's article was entitled "A Conspiracy of Silence," and drew forth a vigorous reply from Prof. Huxley in the review in which it appeared, besides arousing a spirited discussion in the columns of "Nature." The new edition of "Coral Reefs" affords the means of forming an intelligent opinion as to the merits of Darwin's views. It is, by the way, the first edition that has been published in this country. The body of the work has been left as revised by the author for the second edition, but occasional foot-notes, and an appendix comprising a careful summary of the more important memoirs published since 1874, have been added by Prof. T. G. Bonney. In the first three chapters the three chief classes of coral formations — atolls or lagoon islands, barrier reefs, and fringing or shore reefs — are described. The fourth chapter deals with the distribution of coral reefs and conditions favorable to their increase, their rate of growth, and the depths at which reef-building corals can live. Darwin's theory of the formation of the different classes of coral reefs then follows. Coral polyps do not flourish below a depth of twenty or thirty fathoms, but reefs are found rising from much greater depths — how are these to be accounted for? The theory regards barrier reefs and atolls as having been developed successively from fringing reefs. The latter are so named because they closely skirt the shores of islands and continental land, increasing by growth on the outer edge, where the conditions seem to be most favorable for the life of the corals. Imagine such a reef formed around a volcanic island, and the island then to begin sinking beneath the sea. The reef will be carried down with it, but the active growth at the outer edge will still keep this part at the sea-level, while the inshore part where growth has stopped will become deeply submerged. We now have an island surrounded by a deep channel, outside of which is a ring of coral — that is, an island encircled by a barrier reef. Suppose the subsidence to go still further until the highest point of the island disappears, the growth at the outer edge of the reef still keeping it up to the surface, and there results a ring-shaped reef inclosing a lagoon — that is, an atoll. It can not be denied that this theory accounts for the channel within a barrier reef and the ring shape of atolls, besides answering the question asked above, LITERARY NOTICES.
��all in a very natural way. But it has been objected to on account of the amount of subsidence in the floor of the Pacific and Indian Oceans which it would imply, and for other reasons. Mr. Murray attempts to find a foundation at a suitable depth for the cor- als to begin work upon without supposing subsidence. He thinks this could be fur- nished by the accumulation of skeletons of minute animals and plants, upon natural ele- vations of the sea-floor, although when such remains fall to greater depths they are mostly dissolved by the aid of the carbon dioxide in the water. He thinks that a coral plantation rising on such a base would tend to assume the atoll form owing to the more abundant supply of food to the outer por- tions, and the removal of dead coral rock from the inner portions by the force of cur- rents and by solution. Ee believes that bar- rier reefs have been built out from the shore, and that the channel within them is hollowed out by the same agencies as the lagoon of an atoll. The death of Darwin occurred so soon after the promulgation of this theory that he did not have an oppor- tunity to publish any examination of it, but to a friend, Mr. T. Mellard Reade, who had expressed the opinion in a letter that it was " a very far-fetched idea," he replied : " I am not a fair judge, but I agree with you ex- actly that Murray's view is far-fetched. It is astonishing that there should be rapid disso- lution of carbonate of lime at great depths and near the surface, but not at intermedi- ate depths where he places his mountain- peaks." Besides a statement of Murray's theory, Prof. Bonney's appendix contains abstracts of the views of Alexander Agassiz, II. B. Guppy, G. C. Bourne, Bayley Balfour, W. 0. Crosby, and J. D. Dana, together with an expression of his own opinion as to the value of the various objections to Darwin's theory. The volume contains three folded charts, and has an adequate index. It is bound uniformly with the other works of Darwin issued by the same publishers.
Natural Religion. ByF. MaxMulleu. Lon- don and New York : Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 608. Price, $5.
This book includes the first course of Gifford lectures, twenty in number, deliv- ered by Prof. Miiller before the University
��of Glasgow in 1888. The Gifford lectures rest upon a fund of eighty thousand pounds which was left by Lord Adam Gifford by will in 1885, to be applied in specific sums to the establishment in four Scotch universities of chairs for " Promoting, advancing, teaching, and diffusing the study of Natural Theology," or " the knowledge of God, the Infinite, the All, the first and only cause, . . . the knowl- edge of his nature and attributes, the knowl- edge of the relations which men and the whole universe bear to him, the knowledge of the nature and foundation of ethics or morals, and of all obligations and duties thence aris- ing." The will provided for changes of lect- urers at short intervals, so that the subject might be presented by different minds ; that no tests should be required of them save that they be " able, reverent men, true think- ers, sincere lovers of and earnest inquirers after truth " ; and that they should treat their subject as a strictly natural science, and under no restraint. Prof. Miiller's course naturally assumes the character of an introduction to the courses that are to follow. Much of it is therefore given to lay- ing down the lines and adjusting the bear- ings ; and the discussions comprised in it touch chiefly upon the three points of the definition of natural religion ; the proper method of its treatment ; and the materials available for its study. The definition is found in the seventh lecture to be, " Religion consists in the perception of the infinite un- der such manifestations as are able to in- fluence the moral character of man." Of methods, the historical is preferred as the one most likely to lead to results of perma- nent value. Its object is to connect the present with the past, to interpret the pres- ent by the past, and to discover, if possible, the solution of our present difficulties, by tracing them back to the causes from which they arose. It has to be, and is, defended against the common misapprehension that the historian cares only about facts, without attempting to interpret them ; and against the opposite school of philosophers who think that our own inner consciousness is the one and only source from which to draw a knowledge and understanding of natural re- ligion forgetting that their inner conscious- ness " is but the surface of the human intel- lect, resting on stratum upon stratum of an-
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��cient thought, and often obscured by thick layers of dust and rubbish, formed of the detritus in the historical conflicts between truth and error." The materials for the study are language, myths, customs and laws, and sacred books. In pursuing it, the subject is divided into three branches, according as what is here called the Beyond or the Infinite was perceived, in nature Physical religion, which was to be the sub- ject of the next course of lectures ; in man Anthropological religion, which meets us again and again in different ages and in widely distant parts of the world ; or in the self Psychological religion, filled with in- tellectual endeavors after that which lies be- yond man, as a self-conscious subject. The last statement corresponds in the Christian religion with the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, by which was meant in the beginning " the Spirit which unites all that is holy within man with the Holy of Holies, or the Infinite beyond the veil of the Ego, or of the merely phenomenal Self."
A Manual of Machine Construction for Engineers, Draughtsmen, and Mechan- ics, EMBRACING EXAMPLES, RULES, TA- BLES, and References. By John Rich- ards. Philadelphia : J. B. Lippincott Company. Pp. 306. Price, $5.
The author of this book enjoys the ad- vantage of an experience of thirty-five years in constructive engineering work, at home and abroad. He is a practical mechanic in metal and wood work, and a designer and constructor of machine-work of all kinds. He has prepared original designs for more than a thousand machines now in common use in America and Europe, and is the au- thor of many papers and a number of valu- able treatises on various mechanical subjects. The present work is practical ; is not for in- struction so much as for direct application, and is intended to meet the every-day wants of the engineer, draughtsman, and mechanic in his workshop. The tables are the result of actual practice, and are worked out from complete drawings. The references arc such as are constantly required in real work, and the selection is made by noting for a number of years the relative frequency of references to the different subjects. In points of mate- rial content and arrangement, each alternate page is left blank, so as to leave a place for
��receiving the owner's notes and original mat- ter, the constant accumulation of which will, it is believed, make the work a valuable vadc mecum. There are other conveniences in ar- rangement, designed to facilitate the use of the book and the finding of the page, besides helps to the reduction of values. In the gen- eral introductory observations, the possibil- ity of determining between what is comput- able and what not, is considered. Among the particular subjects of the chapters are : " Machine Design," " Bearings for Shafts and Spindles," "Sliding Bearings," "The Trans- mission of Power," etc., " Steam Machinery" with its details ; " Hydraulics," " Mechanical Draughting," " Heat," " Dynamics," " Prop- erties of Materials"; and "Weights, Meas- ures," etc. .
The Federal Government of Switzerland. By Bernard Moses, Ph. D. Oakland, Cal. : Pacific Press Publishing Company. Pp. 256. Price, $1.50.
This volume, by the Professor of Histo- ry and Political Economy in the University of California, comprises a carefully prepared essay on the Constitution of the principal established European republic ; one that may give lessons to American citizens, and which is in every way worthy of their study. Prof. Moses approaches the subject with the manner of one who understands it, and treats it philosophically and judiciously, not only describing the provisions of the Swiss Con- stitution, but investigating their evolution, and finding how they came to be there. In the introduction, having considered the phys- ical conditions of Switzerland and observed the composite character of its population, he draws a contrast between it and the American republics the United States and those of Spanish origin. The population of Switzerland, various as it is, has grown from prehistoric stock without serious disturbing influences. The populations of the Ameri- can republics have been formed from ele- ments whose later environment has had little in common with their earlier surroundings, and under conditions where the force of an- cient traditions has been weakened by long migrations. Switzerland and the British colonies were predetermined to federation by their geographical positions. Switzerland is the only existing republic that has lived
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��through the period in which religious wars were a part of the order of the day. Not- withstanding this, and the sharp religious divisions between the cantons, union has prevailed, and a federal government has been established under which both Catholics and Protestants live without serious friction. Another peculiar feature of Switzerland is the prevalence of three distinct and official languages (besides the unofficial Romansch), and the maintenance of as many national characteristics, while in the United States there is a tendency to assimilation in all things of thiskind. The negro in the South introduces a problem into our political life "of which the population of Switzerland gives no hint." Such class distinctions as may exist there are those that may arise in a homogeneous society under the conditions of modern life, or are a survival from the feudal age; but "they are not such as pro- ceed from the existence in the population of different races regarded as inferior and superior." Illiteracy and general ignorance in any part of the population are wanting in Switzerland ; " in fact, in no country of the world are the affairs of education adminis- tered more zealously or with greater effi- ciency. The problem of republican govern- ment is, therefore, simpler in Switzerland than in America, in spite of the proximity of the Swiss to the monarchical rule of Euro- pean states." The analysis of the Swiss Con- stitution is introduced by a review of the " Antecedents of Swiss Federalism," and is applied in succession to the several depart- ments of the government, its foreign and internal relations, the army and finance, "Rights and Privileges," and "The Com- mon Fraternity."
Kant's Critical Philosophy for English Readers. A New and Completed Edition. By John P. Mahaffy, D. D., and John H. Bernard, B. L>. Vol. II. The Pro- legomena translated, with Notes and Ap- pendices. London and New York : Mac- millan & Co. Pp. 239. Price, $1.50.
This is the second volume of a work whose first volume was noticed in this maga- zine several months ago. While in the pre- ceding part of this work the editor has taken the more agreeable task of paraphrasing the original, because the " Kritik" is already ac- cessible in English, he has deemed it " due
��to Kant to put his ' Prolegomena' in all their homeliness literally before the reader." He has reprinted in the appendix the suppressed passages of Kant's first edition of the " Kritik." The work is unfortunately with- out an index.
TJie Modern Chess Instructor, Part I, by W. Steinitz (G. P. Putnam's Sons), contains elementary explanations for beginners, the description of notations, a telegraphic chess code, an essay on the principles of the game, and analyses of six popular openings, with illustrative games to each opening, while the appendix contains the games of the contest between Messrs. Steinitz and Tschigorin which were played at Havana in January and February, 1S89, with annotations by the author. Pp. 193. Price, $1.50.
Prof. Charles W. Kent, of the Univer- sity of Tennessee, has prepared an edition of the old English poem Elcne, which is as- scribed to Cynewulf, with introduction, Latin original, notes, and a complete glossary. The introduction and notes are designed for the use of students, and not with any view to critical purposes. The glossary has been made more complete than is usual in edi- tions of old English poems. From the his- torical notice in the introduction, it appears that the manuscript of this poem was found in 1822 in the Cathedral Library in Vercelli, and the question of the way it got there has given rise to considerable discussion, with not very definite results. The author is sup- posed to have been a Northumbrian, and to have lived in the eighth century. The poem is founded on the story of the search for the cross and its discovery by the Era- press Helena, wife of Constantino. While the author has followed the story with con- siderable fidelity, he has not bound himself too closely to it, and those passages which are all his own are the best in the work. Besides the historical and critical introduc- tion, a metrical introduction and a bibliog- raphy are given. We last month published a notice of a translation of this and two other old English poems. Ginn & Co., pub- lishers. Pp. 149. Price, 65 cents.
Of two text-books in Greek published by Ginn & Co., Mr. Isaac Flagg's edition, with notes, of Euripides's Iphigcnia among the Taurians commends itself, not only on ao-
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��count of the superlative literary merit of the tragedy, but also for the editor's excellent critical introductions, in which he gives an account of the growth of the legend of Iphigenia, an analysis of the plot and artis- tic structure of the work, and a dissertation on the meters and technique. The volume is one of the publishers' " College Series of Greek Authors," edited under the supervis- ion of J. W. White and T. D. Seymour. Pp. 197. Price, $1.50. Mr. Addison Hague's Irregular Verbs of Attic Prose gives, after the regular verbs, pure, mute, and liquid, the irregular verbs in alphabetical order, with prominent meanings and special uses of fre- quent occurrence, often illustrated by trans- lated examples, the most important com- pounds, many related words, and some four hundred and fifty English derivatives. The volume constitutes a helpful bridge over a most difficult passage in the study of Greek. Pp. 268. Price, $1.60.
Prof. S. E. Tillman's Elementary Lessons on Heat (J. B. Lippincott Company) have been prepared to meet the necessities of a short course of seventy hours at the United States Military Academy. The selection of material has been guided by considerations of the sub-course of studies and of what is essential and most useful for the students to know. A logical arrangement is sought, and clearness and conciseness in relation are aimed at. Most of the experimental illustra- tions described or referred to are such as can be performed in the lecture-room. The special topics treated of are " Thermome- try," " Dilatation of Bodies," " Calorimetry," " Production and Condensation of Vapor," "Change of State," " Hygrometry," "Con- duction," " Eradiation," " Thermo - Dynam- ics," and the "Meteorological Aspects of Heat." Pp. 160. Price, $1.80.
The Manual of Chemistry for the Use of Medical Students of Dr. Brandreth Symonds (P. Blakiston, Son & Co., Philadelphia) is not designed to be a medical chemistry, but takes up those parts of general chemistry which it is necessary for medical students to know. The author, having prepared students for several years in this branch, believes that he knows their needs, and has made this effort, in the light of that knowl- edge, to supply them. Besides the elements, a large share of the space is allotted to the
��chemistry of water and air and the sub- stances by which they are polluted ; and for this acknowledgment is made to the lectures and articles of Prof. C. F. Chandler. A chapter is given to the tests for the impor- tant substances, and another chapter to the tests for urine and the substances that occur in it. The theories of to-day concerning chemical action arc briefly presented. The metric weights and measures are also no- ticed, and the rules are given for converting degrees of temperature. Pp. 154. Price, $2.00.
In an attractive-looking volume of con- venient pocket size, entitled Great Words from Great Americans, G. P. Putnam'3 Sons have grouped the Declaration of Inde- pendence, the Constitution of the United States, Washington's inaugural and farewell addresses, Lincoln's inaugural and farewell addresses and his great Gettysburg speech, and Washington's circular letter of congratu- lation and advice to the Governors of the thirteen States, with historical notices on some of the papers, and portraits of Wash- ington and Lincoln. These papers all cm- body principles and enunciate truths the observance of which is essential to the main- tenance of our Government, and which it is important that all citizens should cherish and keep in vigorous life. Pp. 199. Price, 75 cents.
The Kingdom of the Unselfish ; or, the Empire of the Wise (Empire Book Bureau, 28 Lafayette Place, New York), has been written by Mr. John Lord Peck with ref- erence to the existing stage of social evo- lution. If not suited to the present state of opinion, it may find a reading in the next century. The purpose of the book is un- folded in the introductory chapter, which is headed " The Reliable and Unreliable in Thought." Of the unreliable are all relig- ious systems founded on tradition and revela- tion, dogma, and speculative philosophy, in- cluding all the systems that have followed one another from Plato and the ancients down to the pessimism of Schopenhauer and Hartmann and the agnosticism of Comte, Huxley, and Spencer. Neither of these last systems " is sufficiently near the final truth to long satisfy the human mind, and the prediction is here ventured that both of them will give way to a system of ontology
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��more perfect than the evolution philosophy as represented by Herbert Spencer." The class of ideas that is most positive and re- liable is found in modern science, which ac- knowledges nothing as beyond candid criti- cism, has nothing sacred but the truth, and investigates every part of the universe and of man with equal impartiality ; and is not an extreme or antagonistic of all former knowledge and opinion, but " is a more com- plete, thorough, and systematic knowledge of the same kind as any imperfect knowl- edge preceding it that has a real basis of fact."
The second volume of the Report for 1838 of the Geological Survey of Arkansas, under the direction of State Geologist John C. Branner, comprises a review of the Neo- zoic Geology of Southwestern Arkansas, by Robert T. Hill. It is the result of the joint work of the United States and the State Surveys, in which the latter was able to avail itself of Prof. Hill's knowledge of the mesozoic geology of other parts of the Union. The region embraced in the present survey may be said roughly to lie between the Oua- chita and Red Rivers, extending a little east of the Ouachita, including Little Missouri and Little Rivers, and to consist most large- ly of the Trinity, Lower and Upper Creta- ceous, and Tertiary formations, with plateau gravel and associated deposits, and the flood plains of the rivers, of the Post-tertiary or Quaternary. In determining the relations of the Upper Cretaceous beds, the author concludes that they are identical with those of Texas, more obscurely so with those of New Jersey, and the equivalent of the Upper Cretaceous of Europe. The relations of the Lower Cretaceous and Trinity with forma- tions east of the Mississippi are at present only conjectural. Prof. Hill's review is sup- plemented by papers on " The Northern Limits of the Mesozoic Rocks in Arkansas," by Prof. 0. P. Hay, and " On the Manufact- ure of Portland Cement," by Prof. Branner. The third volume of the series is a pre- liminary report on the Geology of the Coal Regions, by Arthur Winslow. It contains only a part of the coal regions of the State, representing an area of nearly two thousand square miles and extending about seventy- five miles along the Arkansas River from the Indian Territory to Dardanelle. Chapters
VOL. XXXVI. 9
��are devoted to the "Distribution of the Coal," a review of the coal industry of the State, and the composition and adaptabilities of the coals.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, in his Report for 1888, represents the year as hav- ing been one of much greater activity in the department than it had ever before experi- enced. The investigations made have ex- cited popular interest, and the results ob- tained have been helpful to the farming class. A good record was made of the work of the experiment stations. A clearing-house or exchange is called for through which they can co-operate. The most important duty devolving upon the Bureau was the work for eradicating contagious pleuro-pneumonia in cattle ; and, in connection with this, the need of a laboratory is suggested where persons can qualify themselves by experiment for practice in the diseases of animals. The division of entomology pursued investiga- tions on the cottony-cushion scale of Cali- fornia, the hop-louse, the root-infesting nema- tode worms, the cotton and boll worm, which attacked the tomato ; the Rocky Mountain locust, the buffalo gnat, and various other insects injurious to vegetation. It is giving attention to the introduction of parasites de- structive of such insects. Experiments of silk-culture have not yet given promise of a profitable industry. The chemical division interested itself in the study of food adul- terations and processes for making sugar from sorghum. The statistical department had to meet large demands for supplying information. The botanical division was busy in experiments on the adaptation of various plants, and in studies in vegetable pathology. Attention was given to the habits of different birds, and the depreda- tions on crops of various small mammals. The seed division was active in sending out seeds to experimental cultivators and the constituents of members of Congress. The forestry division reported progress, but not much encouragement as yet for the restora- tion of the forests, or even for the preserva- tion of what of them are left. Microscopical investigations were made in various direc- tions. In pomology experiments are report- ed on tropical and semitropical fruits and on hardy Russian fruits for the Northwest ; and an excellent paper, by Mr. W. n. Ragan,
�� � is published on our wild fruits and the desirability and feasibility of perpetuating, cultivating, and improving them.
Sun and Shade is the name of a monthly "picture periodical without letterpress," published by the Photo-Gravure Company, 853 Broadway, New York, which has lately completed its first year. In its growth it has found the taste of its patrons preferring pictures of the higher class, and quality rather than quantity, and announces its purpose in the selection of subjects to respond to this demand. Among its plans for the future are to reproduce the leading pictures in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the works of American artists; to encourage the artistic side of direct photography in all its phases; and to add examples of sculpture, architecture, and industrial art. The subjects of " Ecce Homo," "The Return," "Sunshine," "From the Land of Sleepy Hollow," and others, in the August number, each executed in its peculiar style, could hardly be improved upon. Price, 40 cents, a number; $4 a year.