Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/524

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion of a few weeks in this country, and, although strongly desirous of forgetting all lecturing, and being left quietly to himself while here, he has, nevertheless, consented to give three lectures during the last week of his stay. He will speak in New York on the 18th, 20th, and 22d of September, the subject being "The Direct Evidence of Evolution." This will give an opportunity, for those persons throughout the country who are anxious to hear Prof. Huxley, to connect this pleasure with their September visit to the Centennial Exhibition. It is to be remembered that these are the only lectures that Prof. Huxley will give in this country, and they will probably be fortunate who obtain the tickets. Detailed arrangements are not yet made, but parties wishing to secure seats can do so by applying to the editor of The Popular Science Monthly, who will register applications in the order in which they are received, the first applicants for tickets having the first choice of places.

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

Prehistoric Man: Researches into the Origin of Civilization in the Old and the New World. By Daniel Wilson, LL.D., F.R.S.E. Third edition, revised and enlarged, with Illustrations. In Two Volumes. London: Macmillan & Co., 1876. Price, $12.

The first edition of this important work was issued in 1862, at a period when the public mind was startled by the rapid progress made in archæological discovery, and by the evidence it afforded of the great antiquity of man upon the globe. Vast collections of implements and ornaments had been made by the museums of Northern Europe, and by private collectors, from caves, mounds, lake-borders, and drift-gravels, but their value as a record of the prehistoric races was a subject of animated discussion. It was not admitted, excepting by those familiar with the subject, that any of the implements which had been brought to light "implied a longer period for man than that assigned by the Mosaic record."

It was vigorously denied that flint weapons found in the ancient drift-gravels were works of art. M. Boucher de Perthes published, in 1847, an account of many found in the drift-gravels in Northern France, and for many years "was looked upon as an enthusiast, almost as a madman." At such a period the appearance of Dr. Wilson's elaborate work, and of others like it, did excellent service, in presenting the facts and history of archæological science, and the conclusions it suggests.

In common with those who had made the science a subject of unprejudiced study, he asserted the great antiquity of man. "The pre-Celtic architects of the British long barrows, and the allophyliæ of the European stone age," he said, "are but men of yesterday, in comparison with the Flint Folk of the Drift. . . . They were a race of hunters and fishers . . . . contemporary with the Siberian mammoth and extinct elephants—the woolly rhinoceros—the musk-ox, and reindeer of France."

The present volumes contain an account of the principal discoveries made since the first edition appeared, and treat in interesting detail of the condition of primitive man on this continent—the aspects of culture among the mound-builders, and the miners of the Northern lakes. The civilizations of Mexico and Peru, and the shadowy ones which preceded them, are vividly presented.

Here, as everywhere else with primitive man, the author finds proof that "art is a child of necessity." Probably men learned to sharpen stones for their clubs, converting them into spears when the club was found inadequate to the necessities of their condition.

Man's earliest arts were therefore of the most practical kind, not in any sense ornamental. Indeed, ornamentation arose, in the opinion of the author, merely by improving the accidents of manufacture.

The era of the Flint Folk, he observes, may antedate the historic epoch by hundreds of thousands of years, as some archæologists insist; "still man is found to have been the same reasoning, tentative, and inventive mechanician that he now is. 1 Nor does the author find any evidence of the anthropoid link between man and the brute. It is obvious, however, that much depends on what constitutes evidence of