Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/142

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

recorded by Bishop Landa, and the Phœnician alphabet; and he suggests analogies between American and Old-World word roots. No branch of speculation is more seductive than this, and none more easily misleading. The authenticity of the Landa alphabet has been questioned by Dr. Valentini; but Dr. Le Plongeon is represented as claiming that he has demonstrated it, and has discovered affinities between the Maya and the ancient Egyptian and the Aryan languages. His testimony thus comes in aid of Mr. Donnelly's conclusions. It is in place to remark here, also, that at least four papers read at the late meeting of the American Association—those of Dr. Phené on "Affinities between America and other Continents," of Dr. Haliburton on "Atlas and the Atlantis," of Mr. Hale on the "Origin of the Indians," and of Professor De Hass on "Geological Testimony to the Antiquity of Man in America"—embody views parallel with some of the arguments in this book. Mr. Donnelly is sometimes carried away by his enthusiasm, and leaves his readers in danger of being carried away with him. No thought of looking at the other side, or of critical examination, is apparent. The work is a kind of lawyer's brief, on which the reader may ask to be excused from making up his mind till the other side has been heard and the court has delivered its charge. It brings forward a strong array of circumstantial evidence of the possible former existence of the Atlantean Continent, and of the origin of mankind and civilization from it, against which, so far as we know, no positive evidence is offered by history or science. The theory would explain a thousand things which are not explained and seem otherwise inexplicable, and would not make a single problem more difficult. But its verification, we fear, must await the realization of Jules Verne's vision, which enabled the travelers in the fancied submarine ship to reach and make a complete exploration of the sunken city, (he capital of the antediluvian empire. Mr. Donnelly even foreshadows such a realization, and suggests that it is not impossible that "the nations of the earth may yet employ their idle navies in bringing to the light of day some of the relics of this buried people," and that as a hundred years ago we knew nothing of Pompeii or Herculaneum, or of the Indo-European bond of languages, or of the monumental history of Egypt and the Mesopotamian empires, or of the ancient civilizations of Yucatan, Mexico, and Peru—"who shall say that one hundred years from now the museums of the world may not be adorned with gems, statues, arms, and implements from Atlantis, while the libraries of the world shall contain translations of its inscriptions, throwing new light upon all the past history of the human race, and all the great problems which now perplex the thinkers of our day?"

Report on the Meteorology of Tokio, for the Year 2540 (1880). By T. O. Mendenhall, Ph. D., Professor of Experimental Physics in Tokio Daigaku. Tokio, Japan: Published by the University. Pp. 81, with numerous Charts.

The present report covers the second year during which meteorological observations have been systematically taken at the University of Tokio. The tabulation of results is so arranged as to correspond in order with the tables of the previous year, and to facilitate comparison as much as possible. Hourly observations were maintained during March, June, September, and December, months which afford a good representation of the varying meteorological conditions of the year. In addition to these constant observations, an expedition was made to the summit of Fooseeyama to determine the force of gravity there; thermoelectric measurements of earth-temperature were undertaken, but abandoned on account of the difficulty of getting suitable insulating material; experiments were made with success for the determination of the velocity of the sound-wave under widely varying meteorological conditions; and co-operation in seismological observations is contemplated. It having long been known that the disastrous fires with which the Japanese capital is often afflicted are most frequent in certain months, and that their occurrence is intimately related to the direction and velocity of the wind, Professor Yamagawa, of the university, has devoted much time to an investigation of the origin and course of these fires, and to their classification in reference to atmospheric movement.