Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/431

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417
LITERARY NOTICES.

ingredients would most benefit the several soils and crops; and in the form of special experiments of a more complicated character, for the study of the feeding capacities of some of the more common plants, with special reference to the nitrogen supply. The present report gives the results for 1880.

Report of Professor Spencer F. Baird, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, for the Year 1880. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 83.

Within the few pages of this publication are reviewed very briefly the transactions of the Institution in connection with numerous enterprises and interests bearing upon the advancement of science. Among them are the announcement of astronomical discoveries by telegraph; the exchange and distribution of publications and specimens; explorations in New Mexico, the West Indies, Arizona, Oregon, the Pacific coast, and Alaska; the Howgate Arctic Expedition; the publication of the twenty-second and the near readiness of the twenty-third volumes of "Contributions"; the publication of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth volumes of "Miscellaneous Collections"; the transactions of the National Museum and the growth of its collections; and the work of the United States Fish Commission.

A Short History of the Bible. Being a Popular Account of the Formation and Development of the Canon. By Bronson C. Keeler. Chicago: The Century Publishing Company. Pp. 126.

This is an inquiry into the origin and development of the doctrine of divine revelation, "beginning with a time when the books composing the Bible were not considered inspired, and following the belief, in the light of history and approved scholarship, from its inception to the present day." It aims to show who first affirmed the books to be inspired, who compiled them into the accepted volume, what changes have taken place in the canon, and "who first affirmed that we must believe the Bible or be damned." The author says that he has no theory to advocate, but he is evidently opposed to the doctrine of inspiration.

The Spelling Reform. Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education, No. 7, 1880. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 36.

The statement embraced in this publication was prepared at the request of the United States Commissioner of Education by Professor F. A. March, of Lafayette College, President of the American Spelling Reform Association. It reviews the reasons for the spelling-reform movement and its history; explains the plan proposed by the American Philological Association, in accordance with which a large part of the essay is printed; gives a list of special words for which the Philological Society of England has proposed a reformed spelling, and catalogues the literature of the subject.

English History for Young Folks, b. c. 55 to a. d. 1880. By S. C. Gardiner, Honorary Student of Christ Church, and Professor of Modern History at King's College, London. Edition revised for American Students. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 457.

The subject is presented in an easy, flowing style, designed to engage the attention and hold the interest of young readers. With this purpose, important events have been given in fuller detail than usual, though no story has been told simply because it is interesting, and much has been omitted that would be merely burdensome to the memory. The character of the revision that has been made for American readers is not defined, nor is the necessity for it explained.

On Maximum Synchronous Glaciation. By W. J. McGee, of Farley, Iowa. Pp. 65.

This is the substance of a paper which was read by the author at the Boston meeting of the American Association reviewing what is known as the "ice-cap theory." It endeavors to show, from the mode of operation of the agencies which effect glaciation, that precipitation over the central parts of any extensive ice-field must be very slight or even nil, and that there is no sufficient reason for believing that the polar regions were ever much more extensively glaciated than at present; and that the assumption