Popular Science Monthly/Volume 37/August 1890/Literary Notices
|←Correspondence and Editor's Table|| Popular Science Monthly Volume 37 August 1890 (1890)
The Evolution of Man and Christianity. By the Rev. Howard MacQueary. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 410.
The assertion of Prof. Le Conte, which furnished the motive, as the author avers, for this book, that we are on the eve of the greatest change in traditional views that has taken place since the birth of Christianity — a change involving a reconstruction of Christian theology — is verified by events which have taken place during the current year in the official centers of the most orthodox Protestant bodies. The debate in the Congregational churches about future probation; the creed revision which has been resolved upon by the Northern Presbyterian Church; the provision by the English Presbyterian Church of a place for those who believe in the evolution and extreme antiquity of man; and the retention of Professors Dods and Bruce by the Free Church of Scotland after their persistent avowals of doctrines far more novel to the Calvinistic theology than those for which Prof. Robertson Smith was deposed seven years ago, are signs the meaning of which can not be mistaken. The right to criticise the Bible as any other book is criticised; to investigate phenomena regarded by the Church as supernatural in the same way that ordinary phenomena are examined; and to probe the foundations of Christian faith to the bottom, has asserted itself there and has commanded a hearing. Modern theology can hardly be blamed for the existence of errors which were ingrafted upon it during the ages of darkness and ignorance; but it ought to have been more prompt to recognize these errors and correct them, rather than by cherishing them till their absurdity was universally seen to have given temporary advantages to the enemies of Christianity. Professing, as it does, to seek the truth as science is doing, it should welcome every effort to make the truth more clear; and even mistaken searchings for truth are better than persistent adherence to what has been proved false. Science, the friend and devotee of truth, can never do more than establish and make more accessible to men the truth in religion; and it is behaving as the truest ally of religion when it throws the light of a better and more exact knowledge upon dogmas that were conceived by men when their sources of information were scanty and imperfect or did not exist.
The author of The Evolution of Man and Christianity is a clergyman of apparently good standing in the Protestant Episcopal Church. He goes further in the criticism and analysis of doctrine than any other author who has written from within the Church. He believes that a recasting of theological thought is necessary to meet the advance that has been made in physical science, which is destined profoundly to modify our idea of miracles; biblical criticism, which has cast new views on the origin and character of the sacred books; and the social LITERARY NOTICES.
��movement, which, assuming an anti-Church attitude, is leading the people into unbelief ; and he here lays down the lines along which he thinks the revision should be made. The points of evolution and the antiquity of man have already been conceded by the best thinkers in the Church, but Mr. MacQueary has outrun them by applying evolution to the soul as well as to the body of man. The doctrine of the fall of man is rejected as irrational and contrary to the theory of evo- lution, yet our progenitor sinned, or freely violated moral, divine law, and transmitted to us an inheritance of corrupt habits ; but Jesus, by what he taught, did, and suffered, has more than repaired the evil which re- sulted from Adam's transgression. The books of the Bible are believed to be works of slow growth, or collations made from documents or notes left by earlier writers ; but " even the most radical skeptics admit that the books of the New Testament fur- nish us the essential facts of our Lord's life and teachings." The question as to the mira- cles is made one of evidence ; the scientific man does not deny the possibility of any- thing. The author believes in prayer and Providence and in miracles, or that God has actually wrought extraordinary events. Some of the recorded miracles are treated as cases of faith-healing, some as invested with a po- etical significance, and some as exaggerated versions of older traditions. The resurrec- tion is believed to be spiritual and not of the earthly body, and the resurrection of Jesus and his forty days' sojourn with his disciples is interpreted as an investment with a spiritual body like that described in St. Paul's chapter on the resurrection. The miraculous birth of Jesus from a virgin, though its possibility is not denied, is re- garded as " a poetic description of a great fact." The theory of verbal inspiration is treated as of heathen origin and as contra- dicted by the Bible itself ; but insomuch as God has sent religious as well as philosoph- ic and poetic geniuses into the world, who, though not absolutely infallible, are infalli- ble so far as they discover and reveal truth, we have inspiration. The doctrine of the Trinity is traced back to extremely ancient times, and may be looked upon as a sym- bolic description of the manifold Infinite Spirit of God. The divinity of Christ is re-
��solved into " the closest and most vital union of the Spirit of Jesus with the Divine Spirit from whom it sprung," so that " he was the divine under the limits of humanity." In- stead of the Calvinistic doctrine of the atone- ment, which is exploded by evolution, showing its inconsistency with any true idea of God, we are shown Jesus saving his people from their sins, " first by setting them an example of perfect obedience to God's will, and then by assigning a motive to virtue strong enough to enable men to live soberly, righteously, and godly. That motive is the fatherly love of God toward man, which love was mani- fested in the mission and person of Jesus." Heaven and hell are believed to be spiritual conditions, not places; future punishment, though real, to be limited by the possibility of the ultimate recovery of the soul by in- finite power, wisdom, and love. Immortality is accepted. The author's purpose has been, not to stir up bitter controversy, but to help those who are troubled by the difficulties of traditional and popular theology to a plane of thought where all will be made more clear to them ; and he anticipates as the result of previous discussions an elevation and puri- fication, a dematerialization and spiritualiz- ing of our views on all the subjects involved. "While no one may be ready to accept all the author's conclusions as he states them, the book must be hailed as an earnest and honest attempt to reflect the light of science and modern research on the most difficult points of Christian doctrine, and to make the way more easy for their acceptance in their true sense. "Whatever may be the fate of his particular views, his essay will tend to stimulate thought, and that in the direc- tion of freeing religion from the excres- cences which traditional superstition has fastened upon it.
The Physical Properties op Gases. By Arthur L. Kimball. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 238. Price, $1.25.
Regarding imitation as the most sincere praise, the International Scientific Series has received two very hearty indorsements lately, by the announcement of two series of scien- tific books, which follow its plan in part. One of these originates in England, and is also published in this country ; the other is the Riverside Science Series, of which the
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��second volume is now before us. The pub- lishers describe the latter series as a collec- tion of books setting forth the achievements of scientific and mechanical skill at the pres- ent day. The volumes arc intended to be as free as possible from technical terms, and to deal but little with matters of theory. Prof. Mcndenhall's Century of Electricity, already issued, has been made the first volume of the series. Mr. Kimball's book is devoted to that department of physics usually known as pneumatics. It gives the properties of gases, and the current theories in regard to their constitution and behavior, in language that is readily understood and free from mathematics. A chapter is devoted to Geiss- lcr tubes and the phenomena of the radiant condition of matter as developed by Prof. Crookes. The text is illustrated with about forty cuts of .apparatus.
The Unknown God ; or, Inspiration among Pre-Christian Races. By C. Loring Brace. New York : A. C. Armstrong & Son. Pp. 336. Price, $2.50.
The author accepts the "modern meth- od " of studying ethnic or heathen religions, by looking for what is good in them rather than searching for their defects or trying to show their inferiority to the highest — or his own — religion. He inquires how the man of other races and times regarded the problems of the universe ; what was his conception of the primeval cause, how he considered his relation to it, and how far that relation af- fected his daily life and practical morals. In pursuing this study he expects to find with man in all ages and races some evi- dences of the inspiration of the Divine Spirit. Dealing first with the Hamitic and Semitic races, a period is found in Egypt in which a belief in the one God existed in the minds of the scholars and priests. Then, among the Semitic tribes of the valley of the Euphrates, the penitential psalms and pray- ers of the Accadians are stamped with a monotheistic spirit. Among the Aryan races the belief in God and a future judg- ment is discovered in the mysteries of the Greeks, and the faith in a spiritual God or Zeus is discerned in their early poetry, before the idea had been degraded by the myth- making fancy. " The evidence from the Greek dramatists and many of the ancient
��writers is here overwhelming that one spirit- ual God was at certain periods adored by considerable numbers of the Greek race." Similar evidences are found in the religion of Plato and Socrates, and of the Stoics. Monotheism and moral purity are found to be marked characteristics of the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. The old Vedic hymns furnish the proof of Hindoo monothe- ism in the worship of Varuna, the heaven-god. The fullest descriptions are devoted to the Buddhist faith, which the author regards as " in a high degree inspired, and as an instru- ment in the hands of Providence for the ele- vation and purification of Asia." The final chapter is on the biblical argument for the inspiration of the heathen. The work is not designed for an attack on the heathen re- ligions, or as a defense of Christianity ; but rather to show what great truths have in- spired the pious heathen of the past.
Midnight Talks at the Club. Reported by Amos K. Fiske. New York : Fords, Howard & Hulbert. Pp.298. Price, $1.
The " talks " which this little volume contains embody earnest and more or less conflicting opinions on some of the more serious subjects which are being discussed at the present time. It is not the purpose of the book to put forth judgments of start- ling novelty, and many readers will find in the utterances of one or another of the speakers represented simply their own views, though they may never have expressed them in the same way, or, in fact, at all, or per- haps were never quite conscious before that they held these views. The first subject discussed is temperance ; from that the talk goes to the lack of practical work by the churches, and is led through the question of Sunday observance up to a discussion of re- ligion in general. Political immorality is the subject of the next conversation, and the somewhat allied topic of the Irish Americans comes up for attention later. Most of the talks which follow concern religious matters, such as superstition and worship, the Script- ure fetich, the teachings of Moses and the prophets, and the usefulness of religious de- lusion. Other fields are entered in discus- sions of the value of human evidence and the power of personality. Throughout the volume the modern progressive views are
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��the ones most fully presented, and the tone of the book is against submission to preju- dices, and favors the recognition of whatever good there is in every institution, opinion, or person.
Studies in IIegel's Philosophy of Religion. With a Chapter on Christian Unity in America. By J. MacBride Sterrett, D. D. New York : D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 348. Price, $2.
Hegel, the author says, is recognized as a thinker whose comprehension of thought and its method no student of philosophy can fail to acknowledge as great among the greatest. He was radically and throughout a theologian. All his thought began, con- tinued, and ended in that of divinity. He tried in his Philosophy of Religion to satisfy man's demand to know what there is in re- ligion ; to discover and state its speculative idea. " But with him the speculative was both vital and practical — the very life of the spirit throbbing through all the tangled mass of varied religious phenomena in the world's history." His whole logic is inter- preted as being but " his explication of the nature and activities of God immanent in the actuality and order of the world, and transcendent as its efficient and final cause." Agnosticism, both atheistic and Christian, is repudiated throughout. " God knowable be- cause self -manifesting, and man in duty bound to study this knowledge, are with Hegel self-evident and demonstrable prin- ciples." While he is regarded as a pan- theist, in the Christian sense, his doctrine of God is the Christian and not the deistic or pantheistic doctrine. " In him all finite beings find, not lose, their reality." Hegel's philosophy at his death had pervaded uni- versities, state, and church, and for ten years afterward remained the foremost intellectual phenomenon of the time. But the interpret- ers of his system, each seeking in it his own dogma, and finding it, have succeeded in dis- membering it into parts whose various as- pects have seemed to various types of mind to be the whole system. While in Germany it has almost ceased to exist as a professed system, its spirit and method have become in- extricably entangled with the whole thought and culture of the countrv, and are the leav- en at work in its current philosophy. In Great Britain it has also greatly influenced
��philosophic thought, though accepted and expounded as a system by none. In Eng- land and America the interest in negel is chiefly owing to the relation of his thought to religion and to Christianity. His thought attracts Christian thinkers seeking for in- tellectual comprehension of religious expe- rience, faith, and fact3. They are drawn to him "because they find him thinking weight- ily on the same " subjects ; and yet the chief opposition to the study of Hegel " comes from the odium thcologicum of Christian teachers." But the students of the Hegelian philosophy disclaim being what the term Hegelian, either in the popular or scientific sense, would im- ply, for they are mastering and using his method, rather than accepting all the re- sults which that method yielded to him. In Dr. W. T. Harris's opinion, no other work better deserves translation into English than the Philosophy of Religion. But any real translation of it would be inadequate, and would need a further translation into expos- itory paraphrase. Dr. Sterrett, therefore, in- stead of a translation, offers " studies " of his system. The purpose of the volume throughout is apologetic. " It is written with faith and in the interest of ' the faith,' though demanding an almost antipodal orien- tation or point of view to that of both deistic orthodoxy and ecclesiasticism." Pertinently to the latter feature of his course, the author well says that "it is mere time-serving to manufacture evidences when there are none. It is as useless as it is wrong to attempt the 'hard-church' method of overriding reason and conscience with the mere weight of an uncriticiscd authority. It is both anti-the- istic and anti-Christian to profane the secu- lar in the interest of the sacred."
Organic Evolution as the Result op the Inheritance of Acquired Characters according to the Laws of Organic Growth. By Dr. G. H. Theodor Eimer. Translated by J. T. Cunningham. Lon- don and New York : Macmillan & Co. Pp. 425. Price, $3.25.
The translator of this work explains, as his reason for presenting it to the English- reading public, that he had become dissatis- fied with the " uncritical acceptance " ac- corded to Prof. Weismann's theories of heredity and variation by many English evo- lutionists. He was inclined to attach more
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��importance to the causes of variation than to any of the other problems considered by Darwin, among which functional activity and external conditions seemed the most pow- erful. He was thus led to believe that a deeper insight into the phenomena of evo- lution would ultimately be obtained by pur- suing the line of inquiry suggested by La- marck, than by continually searching for new instances of adaptation to be explained by the Darwinian formula. While in this frame of mind he was u delighted to find " that Weismann had to contend with a for- midable opponent in his own country, and concluded that he could not for the present oppose the progress of his views more effect- ively in England than by publishing a trans- lation of Prof. Eimer's arguments. It had seemed to this author long ago to be of the greatest importance to undertake an investi- gation of the question whether the modifica- tion or variation of the species of animals is not governed by definite laws. The Darwin- ian theory suggested none. The investiga- tion of the laws of variation included the question of the causes of variation. There was likewise a gap in the Darwinian theory where these should be explained. The prin- ciple of utility, the selection of the useful in the struggle for existence, did not explain the first origin of new characters, but only, and that partially, the progress and the gradually effected pre-eminence of those characters. If we could know, the author assumed, all the natural laws which have operated in the evolution, and which operate in the existence of a single animal or a sin- gle plant, we should understand the laws of the organic world altogether. Applying this principle, the unreserved study of a single species of animal, the author declares, led him to the discovery of a whole series of laws, which the extension of the investiga- tion to other species showed to hold good generally. This animal was the wall-lizard (Lacerta muralis ccerxdea), a species of re- markable variability, with which he became acquainted on the rocks of Capri. The re- sult of his researches, which were extended to various classes of animals, "was the recog- nition of the dominion of laws in the process of variation, not only of the lizard, but also in the most diverse tribes of the animal kingdom ; these laws holding firstly in the
��variations of marking, previously regarded as quite indifferent, unimportant, or fortuitous, but also applying to other characters. I was able to demonstrate that variation every- where takes place in quite definite direc- tions which are few in number, and I was able on the basis of my observations to put forward the view that the causes which lead to the formation of new characters in or- ganisms, and in the last result to their evo- lution, consist essentially in the chemico- physiological interaction between the mate- rial composition of the body and external influences. Finally, I succeeded, through the facts I established, in referring the separa- tion into species, ... in connection with the rest of my views, to natural causes." Previously to presenting these results in the present volume, a brief review is given of the newest theories concerning evolution. The translator has endeavored to make his work sufficiently English to be readable, and to preserve the full force and exact signifi- cance of Prof. Eimer's expression.
A Short Course of Experiments in Physi- cal Measurement. By Harold Whiting. In Four Parts. Part I: Density, Heat, Light, and Sound. Cambridge: John Wilson & Son. Pp. 278.
The course of laboratory work which this book is to comprise covers the ground of both the " minimum " and the " maximum " requirements in physics for admission to Harvard College, and it is intended also to serve as a preparation for courses in me- chanical and electrical engineering in other institutions. Mental training is the chief object aimed at, through the care required, and the practice in inductive and controlled methods secured. The policy of the book is rather " to show how comparatively accurate results may be obtained by rough apparatus, than to explain the use of instruments of precision, which in the hands of a student are apt to give erroneous results." The au- thor states that not so much mathematics is involved in these experiments as would ap- pear from a first glance, because many proofs are given in full here which in most text- books have been taken for granted. The volume is illustrated with many cuts of ap- paratus. The second, third, and fourth parts are to contain experiments in other depart- ments of physics.
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��Laboratory Manual of Experimental Physics. By Albert L. Arey, C. E. Syracuse : C. W. Bardeen. Pp. 200. Price, 75 cents.
Neglect of experimental science-teaching will not be much longer excusable for lack of suitable laboratory manuals. Mr. Arey's book consists of brief directions for seventy experiments in the several departments of physics, with suggestive questions as to what is shown by each experiment. The right-hand pages are left blank, or contain forms for entering the results of observa- tions. The experiments are adapted to pu- pils in secondary schools, and are character- ized by involving measurements, the author being convinced that " vastly greater mental discipline will be derived by the student from quantitative experiment " than from qualitative. It has been a part of the au- thor's plan, also, to devise inexpensive appa- ratus with which results may be obtained sufficiently accurate to point conclusively to the law under consideration. Directions for making many pieces of this apparatus are appended to the book. The text is illus- trated with fifty-six figures.
The Chemistry op Paints and Painting. By A. H. Church, F. R. S. London : Seeley & Co., Limited. Pp. 310. Price,
Artists are supplied in this volume with a great deal of practical knowledge concern- ing the chief chemical and physical charac- ters of the materials and processes that they use. There are other books that treat of the pigments employed, but this deals also with painting-grounds (paper, plaster, stone, wood, and canvas), with vehicles and var- nishes, and with methods and results. In describing the materials which artists use, the sources from which they are obtained are told, and in many cases the mode of pre- paring them is given. Tests for purity and genuineness, that take but little time or ap- paratus, have also been inserted. Chapters that will contribute to the durability of the artist's work are those on the permanency of pigments, and the conservation of pict- ures and drawings. Exact knowledge in re- gard to permanency is furnished in the chap- ter containing results of trials by Mr. F. W. Andrew, Prof. Rood, Prof. Hartley, and by Dr. Russell and Captain Abney, as reported
��to the South Kensington Museum. The vol- ume is adequately indexed, and its mechani- cal work is excellent.
The True Grasses. By Eduard Hackel. Translated from Die naturlichen Pflanz- enfamilien, by F. L. Scribner and Effie A. Socthworth. New York : Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 228.
Prof. Hackel's monograph on the grasses, here translated, was contributed to the great German work on the Natural Families of Plants, edited by Drs. Engler and Prantl. The book consists of a botani- cal key to the Graminece, through which are interspersed full descriptions and cuts of the economically important species. The grass family includes a large number of plants which are of great value as furnish- ing food for man and for his domestic ani- mals, as well as supplying a great variety of products used in the arts and in medicine. Among these are Indian corn, sugar-cane, bamboo, the grains, and the fodder grasses. The opening chapter gives an account of the general structure, morphology, and phys- iology of the Graminece. The translators have added an introduction, giving an ex- ample of how a botanical key is used, a full glossary, and an index, in order to make the volume more useful as a text-book in agri- cultural colleges. The illustrations number over a hundred.
Evolution, Antiquity op Man, Bacteria, etc. By William Durham, F. R. S. E. Edinburgh : Adam & Charles Black. Pp. 127. Price, 50 cents.
The Messrs. Black issue this little volume as the first of a series under the general title Science in Plain Language, the design of which is to impart the general results of scientific investigation in common language, and without a great deal of detail. The book consists of about twenty short articles grouped under four heads. Those in the first group deal with evolution and primeval man, those in the second are devoted to the lowest living organisms, the third contains papers on color in plants and animals, and in the fourth various movements in plants are described. Each essay is complete in itself, yet their subjects are so selected that they are all connected, and all unite to form a general picture of the evolution and gen- eral phenomena of life.
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��A Bibliography of the more Important Contributions to American Economic Ento- mology has been prepared by Samuel Hen- shaw for the Department of Agriculture.- Parts I, II, and III, already issued in one volume, contain the more important writ- ings of Benjamin D. Walsh and Charles V. Riley. Those by B. D. Walsh number 385 titles, those by Walsh and Riley jointly are 478, while the writings of Prof. Riley alone number 1,555. A general index to the list and indexes of new names proposed are ap- pended to the volume.
The seventh edition of Bloxam's Chemis- try (Blakiston, $4.50) follows the sixth after an interval of only two years. It has been revised and edited by Prof. John 31. Thom- son and Arthur G. Bloxam, who give the following statement in the preface as to the changes they have made : " In the Organic division of the book an attempt has been made to give concise accounts of more mod- ern research — such as Raoult's method for the determination of molecular formula,, and Fischer and Tafel's investigations on the synthesis of sugars. In the same divis- ion the Chemistry of Vegetation has been in a great measure rewritten to suit more modern views. Those portions of the book relating to Explosives, to which the work to some extent owes its reputation, have been revised, and are treated of as fully as possible within the limits of a general text- book." The volume has been increased in length about ten pages.
A second edition of The Microtomisfs Vade-mecum, by Arthur B. Lee, has been issued (Blakiston). It is much larger than the original English edition, and in fact is not based upon that, but upon the French work with a different title, by Lee and Hen- neguy, published two years later. Besides including the important advances made in its field since 1885, the present Vade-mecum differs from the first in being much less his- torical and much more critical. The sub- jects of most importance in a technical man- ual have been treated more fully, and those which are less important, or whose best place is elsewhere, have been thrown into the background. Among the chapters that have been extended are those on fixing, im- pregnation methods, paraffin and celloidin imbedding, and the special methods of em-
��bryology, of cytology, and of neurology. The volume has an index, and its paper and print are excellent.
A Clinical Study of the Skull — the tenth of the Toner Lectures — by Dr. Harrison Allen, is a contribution to the morphologi- cal study of diseased action. The materials on which it is based were found in the Col- lections of the Academy of Natural Sci- ences of Philadelphia and of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia, which together contain more than nineteen hundred speci- mens of skulls. Washington : Smithsonian Institution.
The March Bulletin of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is a paper on Fungicides, or applications for such dis- eases as the black rot and the mildew of the grape, by Roland Thaxter. The applications recommended are Bordeaux mixture — sul- phate of copper and quicklime, with water — and ammoniacal carbonate of copper ; which are sprayed over the plants. The treatment is most effectual when it is applied preventively.
The second year's work of the Agricult- ural Experiment Station of the University of Illinois, ending July 1, 1889, comprised analyses of fodders and of various food products, with numerous items of new work taken up from time to time. Four bulletins were issued, reporting experiments upon oats, upon corn, experiments with ensilage, and experiments of the effects upon the hay of cutting certain grasses and clovers at dif- ferent periods of growth. Bulletin No. 7, November, 18S9, is upon the Biology of En- silage; and Bulletin No. 8, February, 1890, records a series of field experiments with corn.
The work of the Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station, as pre- sented in its report of 1889, was carried on in the same principal lines of investigation as in preceding years. A very important part of it is represented in the investigations of fungoid diseases by Prof. Humphry. To the experiments for determining the cost of feed for the production of beef and pork were added similar ones respecting beef and mutton. Laboratory work was especially large, and extended in various directions.
References to the Constitution of the United Stales, which has been prepared by
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��William E. Foster for the Society for Politi- cal Education, might be described as a bib- liography. The references are historical — to the antecedent influences, the framing and adoption of the Constitution, and Con- stitutional History since 1789 — and cite nu- merous papers and books on each branch of the subject. In the Appendix are given the constitutional interpretations since the civil war affecting the question of national or State supremacy.
Letters from Waldegrave Cottage, by the Rev. George W. Nichols, is a collection of reminiscences, portrayals of eminent or lovable men, and rural sketches, which, published first in a monthly magazine, are gathered up into a single volume. The au- thor claims descent from the Earl of Walde- grave, and is able to point to the graves of ancestors among the venerable tombs of Trinity and St. Paul's churches, New York. The essays include sketches of life, scenes, and persons at various places in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Yale College, Brooklyn, N. Y., etc., notices of famous divines and men eminent in the life of society and the State, and other items of personal reminis- cence such as usually furnish pleasant read- ing even to strangers ; and there is an air of repose about the whole that is refreshing to the reader vexed with the controversies of the day. (Exchange Printing Company, New York.)
The historical novels published by TV. S. Gottsberger form an attractive-looking de- partment in the library, and the promise offered by their neat exteriors is usually more than fulfilled when they are read. They include pictures of Oriental antiquity, the classical period, the middle ages, and heroic or romantic episodes of later times, sketched by the master artists in their re- spective fields. Among the latest of these publications is Nero, by the German Ernst Eckstein, one of the most famous and most prolific of the writers of this class. Its spe- cial effort is to describe how Nero, from the gentle and noble character he is said to have been by nature, became transformed into the inhuman monster of whom such incredible tales are told. This purpose leads to the more comprehensive treatment of the sepa- rate stages of development rather than the excesses of the matured criminal. — In Joshua, vol. xxxvn. — 40
��Dr. Gcorg Ebers has attempted to treat the wanderings of the Israelites during and after the Exodus in the form of a romance. In it he has made use of his own observations in the field covered by the wanderings, and of the latest results of archaeological explo- rations in the Nile Delta ; and in the " scen- ery of the drama " he has copied as faith- fully as possible from the landscapes he be- held in Goshen and on the Sinai Peninsula. For the incidents he has relied on the Bible and Egyptian records. — Ekkehard, a Tale of the Tenth Century, has been written by Herr Joseph Victor von Scheffel, in the be- lief that a union of history and poetry, for working purposes, would be detrimental to neither. The materials from which it is composed are derived from the tales of the monastery of St. Gall, begun by the monk Ratpert, and continued to the end of the tenth century by Ekkehard the Younger, contained in the folios of the Monumenta Germanica, which are described as being, in spite of much naivete and awkwardness, " charming stories, made up of traditions of older comrades, and accounts of eye and ear witnesses." Quite unconsciously, the author adds, " these annals carry us far beyond the boundaries of the cloister walls, presenting the life and aims, the culture and customs of the Alemannia of that period with all the fidelity of a picture painted from na- ture."
The Truth-seeker Company publishes a symposium on the question of the Existence of a Positive, Constructive Side to Free Thought, to which some twenty of the most prominent representatives of the school described as freethinkers are contributors. Besides the direct question, the character and scope of the constructive side are con- sidered by those who answer affirmatively, or the reason why there is no such side if the answer is negative.
In his paper on Etruscan and Libyan Names ; a Comparative Study, Dr. D. G. Brinton seeks evidence of affinity between the race of which the Berber tribes of the present are the representatives and the an- cient Etruscans. In a former paper (Octo- ber, 18S9) he supported his theory by com- parison of physical traits, customs, arts, and language ; in the present one he carries out, to a limited extent, a comparison between
�� � the proper names preserved in the oldest Libyan monuments and a series of similar names believed to be genuine Etruscan.
In its third edition, the Directory of Writers for the Literary Press, compiled by W. M. Griswold (the author, Bangor, Me., $1), has been expanded to fifty-nine pages. It gives the full names of writers, their addresses, professional positions, date of birth, and subjects on which they write. The addresses of the chief American and English periodicals, literary clubs, and colleges are also included in the directory. A list of authors recently dead is appended.
A number of special papers by Dr. Edgar A. Mcarns on the natural history of the Western Territories and other localities testify to his industry and carefulness in that study. Description of Supposed New Species and Subspecies from Arizona gives ten species and some subspecies of rodents (a squirrel, a muskrat, mice, hares, etc.), with detailed measurements and characteristics. A paper on Arizona Mountain Birds furnishes illustrations of a feature which the author desires to emphasize, of the extension of the Alpine flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains southward into this Territory, where they appear on the mountains, with characters changing according to the altitude, "like islands in a region of more southern aspect." Other papers include a list of the Birds of Fort Klamath, Oregon, collected by Lieutenant Willis Wittich, annotated and added to; and an Addendum to a list of the Birds of the Hudson Highlands, with annotations. A welcome feature of these papers is that good English names are given for all the species. Two other papers, relative to Dr. Mearns's work, are published by the Herbarium of Columbia College. They are a list of the plants collected by him at Fort Verde and in Mogollon and San Francisco Mountains, by N. L. Britten; and the General Floral Characters of those regions, by H. H. Rusby.
In a Tube-building Spider, Mr. W. L. Poteat, of Wake Forest College, N. C, publishes some interesting notes on the architectural and feeding habits of Atypus niger. In asserting that "quite unaccountably American naturalists have taken comparatively little interest in spiders," the author seems to overlook the voluminous contributions of McCook, which have been acknowledged to be among the most valuable that have been made; the more modest but very intelligent and original researches of the Peckhams; and the work of other authors whose papers have come to us from time to time — all showing that the subject has not been neglected.