Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/255

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243
LITERARY NOTICES.

among men; its funds are again in a prosperous condition, and its reputation and usefulness are still on the increase."

The adoption of a wise and well-considered plan and a steady adherence to "the fundamental idea" have resulted in this instance, as they will result in all, in lasting and permanent good and in brilliant success. Perhaps the most valuable lesson to be derived from the present report is in its unwritten precepts, which show how a scientific trust may be administered so as to produce the greatest return to the world, and at the same time to preserve for science the full benefit of the endowment. There is no country where these lessons deserve more careful study than in our own, and we are fortunate in having in our midst an example of good administration based on wise prevision, and guided by high scientific intelligence.

Bacteria and their Influence upon the Origin and Development of Septic Complications of Wounds. By L. A. Stimson, M. D. Wood Prize Essay of the Alumni Association of Bellevue Hospital Medical College. 34 pages. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1875.

In the early pages of this pamphlet the author explains what is meant by the terms bacterium and vibrio, gives the various classifications that have been proposed for them, and then goes into an account of their natural history, including structure, development, motions, nourishment, functions, and distribution. Briefly summed up, "Bacteria are microscopical vegetable organisms of two main varieties: 1. Round or oval cells 0.0005—0.0010 mm. in diameter, single or arranged in lines or groups.... 2. Cylindrical cells, 0.002—0.003 mm. long, single or arranged in lines.... There is no genetic relationship between them and ordinary mould and fungus. They are found in the air, water, and most animal and vegetable tissues. They are saprophytes, not parasites, and are unable in themselves to cause infectious diseases." The remainder of the essay is on the second branch of the subject, viz., what these organisms have to do with the origin and development of the putrid conditions of wounds, and on the treatment to be adopted for the prevention or relief of such conditions.

Fire-Burial among our Germanic Forefathers. By Karl Blind. London: Longmans, Green & Co. 24 pp.

The author shows that fire-burial was once the ruling custom with the Germanic races, and thinks it not strange that the German people should so readily accept the views of Sir Henry Thompson on cremation. Their occasional torchlight processions at night in honor of departed princes are lingering relics of fire-burial.

The Saxons and Frisians of old were terrified at the dark, narrow grave when the change was made from burning to burial. With the Northmen, cremation succeeded mound-burial. In Gaul, Cæsar observed that the natives practised cremation, and Tacitus mentions fire-burial as a Germanic custom, special kinds of wood being set apart for chieftains.

The dog of the Norse warrior was burnt with him. Horses, too, were burned, and in some countries the custom of leading his horse after the coffin of a chief still prevails.

"We burn the corpses of those we love," said a Norseman in the tenth century to au Arab embassador, "but you bury in the earth where vermin and worms devour."

The Northmen buried the ashes after cremation, and planted flowers over the tomb. These practices have found expression in many poems and legends of the races where they prevailed, and the author is exceedingly happy in pressing them into service in his historical notice.

Report of the Curators of the Missouri State University for the Year ending June, 1875. Pp. 208.

From this Report we learn that during the past year the Curators purchased, as a locale for the School of Mines, the public school-building in the town of Rolla, at a cost of $25,000. Since 1867 the library has grown from 2,000 volumes to 9,000; scientific apparatus has been increased in a yet greater ratio. The School of Mines numbered last year over 100 students. In addition to the School of Mines, the following professional schools are now fully organized in connection with the university, viz.: Normal School, Agricultural and Mechanical College, College of Law, Medical College, and Department of Analytical and Applied Chemistry.