Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/140

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al analysis, and the very latest research, must appeal to the reader through every line. In fact, wherever the spirit of inquiry inducing mathematical precision is found to supplant the imports of theory submitted on authority, this work will doubtless find a place; while, as registering unerringly the progressive steps taken to elucidate ascertainable knowledge regarding our great luminary, the scientific explorer can tread no safer ground than that prepared by the author.

In the opening chapters the principal features attaching to our solar system are submitted in detail, and it is shown that the sun in numerous senses becomes a center, apart from the geometrical position he occupies amid our own planetary system. For the fundamental elements of calculation needed to determine the true character of the sun we are indebted to the varying positions of the planets and the measurements they afford. Remotest antiquity, and the doctrines it taught concerning the solar system, are then treated at length, and contrasted with the advances made down to our own time. A problem of the utmost importance in all astronomical deductions—the actual distance of the sun—is treated of amply in the second chapter, where its leading characteristic is pointed out as involving the indirect method of computation. This distance becomes an abiding element in any conclusions to be drawn regarding the magnitude and nature of the solar spots, besides furnishing data for all prominences projected during a solar explosion, or as limiting the measure of the solar corona when expressed in miles.

The famous transits of Venus—which, by the way, afforded formerly the most trustworthy method of obtaining scales of the solar system—are commented upon at length in Chapter III, though, as the author points out, they now possess for astronomers but a historical interest. In connecting the sun's distance with the laws governing the velocity of light, a beautiful series of reasonings ensue, until we are introduced to the methods of measurement determining the sun's mass. Eclipses, and the story of the sun's spots, are magnificently illustrated and told with an ease and beauty only betimes found associated with a rare romance. Our seasons, past and present, fall next into line for their due share of philosophical comment and mathematical calculation; while "the sun as a star" assumes the unexpected garb of a diminishing speck of light in fathomless space, to be finally lost to the finite eye. In the closing chapter, the movements of the solar system, contemplated as a unit in space, are accounted by the author "one of the most daring exploits ever performed by astronomers," and brings this transcendent Story of the Sun to a close.

Factors that here and there throughout the volume break the intensity of interest excited in the reader are only momentarily dwelt upon as associated with special questions, which again, in their turn, rivet the attention. In a word, the scope of the writer's inquiry, like the boundlessness of his subject, becomes in the perusal a flood of light. In this we are lost by the hour, and our waking moments only seem to recall those breathless flights in childhood's wonderland, but, with this one and wide distinction, that our fancies only then revelled, where now, we feast on fact.

Speeches and Addresses of William McKinley. From his Election to Congress To the Present Time. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 664. With Portraits. Price, $2.

Governor McKinley is a politician of whom his most zealous opponents speak with general unqualified respect. They recognize his earnestness and sincerity, even though they may believe his views to be mistaken and mischievous. The present volume contains sixty-five of his speeches and addresses, selected from several hundred delivered in all parts of the country, by Mr. Joseph P. Smith, Librarian of the Ohio State Library, and revised by Mr. McKinley. Attention is invited by the editor to the care and ability with which Governor McKinley has discussed the tariff. All his more important speeches are collected and presented here, and probably embrace the most and strongest that can be said in favor of the doctrine of high protection. Besides, there are speeches on Gerrymandering, the Suffrage, and the Elections Bill, Labor, Pensions, the Public Schools, Civil-service Re-