Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/551

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535
LITERARY NOTICES.

periments when a very high temperature is employed, and that it was absent from the solar protuberances during the eclipse of 1875, although the other lines of hydrogen were photographed. This line also is coincident with the strongest line of indium as already recorded by Thalén, and may be photographed by volatilizing indium in the electric arc, whereas palladium charged with hydrogen furnishes a photograph in which none of the hydrogen lines are visible. By employing a very feeble spark at a very low pressure the F line of hydrogen in the green is obtained without the blue and red lines which are seen when a stronger spark is used, so that alterations undoubtedly take place in the spectrum of hydrogen similar to those observed in the case of calcium. In concluding this portion of his paper Mr. Lockyer states that he has obtained evidence leading to the conclusion that the substance giving the non reversed line in the chromosphere, which has been termed helium and not previously identified with any known form of matter, and also the substance giving the 1,474 or coronal line, are really other forms of hydrogen, the one more simple than that which gives the h line alone, the other more complex than that which gives the F line alone.

There can be no question that the facts brought forward by Mr. Lockyer are of the highest importance and value, and that they will have much influence on the further development of spectrum analysis, to which he has already so largely contributed. But his arguments are of a character so totally different from those ordinarily dealt with by chemists that they will hesitate for the present to regard them as proof of the decomposition of the elements until either they are assured by competent physicists that they can not be explained by any other equally simple and probable hypothesis, or until what Mr. Lockyer has foreshadowed as taking place to such an extent in other worlds has been realized beyond question or cavil in our own laboratories.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

The Commonwealth reconstructed. By Charles C. P. Clark, M.D. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1878. Pp. 216. Price, $1.50.

This is a suggestive work on the philosophy of American politics, made up of two parts logically related but very dissimilar in character. The first half of the book is devoted to an examination of the tendencies of our political system, which are arraigned as, in their working, a disappointment and a failure. This portion of the work is important, as giving a large amount of information on the morbid anatomy and the diseased functions of the. body politic. The facts are interesting and copious, but we regret that Dr. Clark has not guarded himself here against criticism by the more full and more careful citation of his authorities. For example, when he says, "Since 1870 more judges have been impeached, or have resigned to avoid impeachment, than in all our history before," or when he says, "The British Parliament, though it unites the powers and functions of all our separate State Legislatures and constitutional conventions, and manages half a hundred colonies and a fourth part of the population of the earth, does not pass as many laws annually as the State of New Jersey," we should like to be informed of the exact data on which these assertions rest. More care in this direction would have given to Dr. Clark's work a higher and more permanent value.

After pointing out, in his opening chapters, the numerous indications of our political degeneracy, the growing venality in public life, the increase of official crime, the augmenting incompetency of public men, the deeper corruption of parties, and the enormous increase of taxes, resulting from scandalous misgovernment—having, in fact, made out a strong and dark indictment against our political system, Dr. Clark then takes up the various causes and remedies that have been proposed for this bad state of things. He thinks the fault is not to be laid at the door of human nature, nor is the democratic principle to be blamed. The nation is not overgrown, our political evils are not the "aftermath of the late civil war," and our difficulties are chargeable neither to the Democratic nor the Republican party. They are such, moreover, as can not be rectified and removed by any of the usual expedients of reform, such as constitutional amendments, minority representation, cumulative voting, female suffrage, outlawry of the lobby, commissions of investigation, non-partisan organizations, religion, moral renovation, education, or civil-service reform. The writer goes rapidly over this field, showing the weak places and the general