Popular Science Monthly/Volume 13/October 1878/Literary Notices

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A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine. By Robert H. Thurston, A.M., C.E., Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Stevens Institute of Technology. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 490. Price, $2.50.

In the preparation of this work Prof. Thurston has made an important contribution, alike to the excellent series of works of which it will form a part, and to the historical literature of the arts and sciences. There was a niche for such a book, which ought to have been filled before. We have had many works on the steam-engine, from elementary catechisms to ponderous treatises, all of which have given more or less attention to its origin; but there was still wanting a volume that should tell the entertaining story of the growth of this wonderful machine in a way to interest the popular mind without impairing the dignity or diminishing the instructiveness of the narrative. Prof. Thurston may be congratulated on having executed his task in a manner not unworthy the remarkable interest of the subject.

And this, it must be confessed, is saying a good deal, for the steam-engine is unique and incomparable both in its present position of commanding influence, and in the romantic elements of its historical development. It is now the most powerful agency the world possesses for the improvement and extension of civilization, and its noble efficiency in this respect is but a measure of the immense intellectual labor that has been expended in producing it. It was not struck out by the creative genius of any one man, nor constructed by the combined inventive effort of any one age, but it is a product of centuries of mental exertion; and, looking back to its crude beginnings and tracing the slow stages of its progress, we may take its condition at any time as indicating the progress in man's knowledge of the laws of Nature. It has grown with the growth of science and the advance of the human mind.

It was known thousands of years ago that, when fire is applied to water, vapor is formed that is capable of producing mechanical effects, and centuries before the Christian era attempts had been made to use this force in impelling a machine. The revolving Æolipyle of Hero, the Alexandrian, was a toy for a thousand years. During the middle ages many a mechanical genius played with it, but in vain, for there was no knowledge, and consequently there were no valuable results and no progress.

With the modern awakening of inquiry the subject was pursued by many ingenious experimenters, in different countries and at different times, until at the beginning of the eighteenth century so much had been found out about the properties of heat, water, and air, and so many devices had been hit upon to apply them, that it became possible to combine the different elements into a steam machine that could perform work. Newcomen's engine of 1705 embodied the ideas and artifices that had been previously gained, and, though very imperfect, was still available for useful mechanical effects. The steam-engine then first became a fact and a success.

From this time onward, to the patenting of Watt's double-acting engine in 1769, was a period of great activity in improving and developing the machine. Scientific research led the way in working out chemical and physical principles, and inventors were busy in perfecting and combining contrivances which were crowned by James Watt, who, by introducing the principles of separate condensation and double-action, gave to the steam-engine it's modern form and made it available for innumerable applications.

After Watt's great success we have a hundred years of still further improvements and refinements in the mechanism, and an enormous extension of its uses. From a contrivance supposed to be mainly valuable for pumping water, it became a universal motor equally valuable for manufacture and for locomotion on sea and land.

But, though it has been greatly perfected, the steam-engine is confessedly still imperfect. It has been undergoing steady improvement in recent years, and its theory is now so well understood, through the refined elucidations of physical research, that the pathway of future improvement is clearly discerned by sagacious engineers.

The history of the growth of this remarkable mechanism, that has now become so potent in the operations of human society, has an epic interest of grander meaning than can be found in any history of those destructive spasms in society that are sung and celebrated as war. The steam-engine is a triumph of peace, a victory of the pacific and constructive agencies of civilization, a conquest of Nature through the pursuits of science, and a symbol of the rise of modern industrialism and its successful conflict with the malign military spirit by which the world has been scourged through all the past.

Prof. Thurston has therefore chosen a theme of great interest in writing the history of the steam-engine, and it has not suffered in his hands. He has done admirable justice to its large and varied elements. The principles involved in the mechanism at all its successive stages are analyzed and stated with clearness, and the numerous contrivances and constructions by means of which the steam-engine has been built up and adapted to various ends are plainly, perspicuously, and fully described. The characters, circumstances, and labors, of the great men who have had a share in producing it are pleasantly sketched, and the narrative is enriched by anecdotes and personal episodes that relieve and enliven the more serious discussions of the book. Solidly instructive throughout, it is at the same time most agreeable reading, while many of the narrative parts are spirited and exciting.

Nothing further needs to be said to the readers of The Popular Science Monthly respecting the merits of Prof. Thurston's work, as they are already acquainted with them through portions of it which have appeared in these pages during the past year. One feature of the book, however, deserves especial recognition, and that is the elegance and profusion of its illustrations. In this respect no popular work upon the subject has ever appeared that can at all compare with it. The woodcuts are in the most finished style of the engraver's art, and have been prepared at a lavish expense. Besides the array of fine woodcuts, illustrating the steam-engine in all its phases, there is a collection of elegant portraits interspersed through the work of all the principal men whose names are associated with its progress. These excellent likenesses cannot fail to heighten the interest that will be felt in the biographical features of the volume.

The Journal of Physiology. Edited by Dr. Michael Foster, of Cambridge, with the cooperation in England of Professors Gamgee, Rutherford, and Burdon-Sanderson, and in the United States of Professors Bowditch, Martin, and Wood. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. $5.25 per year.

This new project in scientific journalism, though under the responsible control of the eminent English physiologist, Dr. Michael Foster, has nevertheless so international a make-up as to give it a strong claim to liberal American support. Dr. Foster's corps of assistant editors are all very able men; and when we say that the American cooperating editors are Prof. H. P. Bowditch, of Boston, Prof. H. M. Martin, of Baltimore, and Prof. H. C. Wood, of Philadelphia, it will be seen that American science is well represented, so that there will be no excuse if the physiological work of this country is not fairly chronicled. We are glad to see these indications of a growing scientific unity and practical co-working between the two countries. The politicians will continue to nurse antagonisms and alienations in the interest of what they deem patriotism; it remains for Science to undo their work as far as it may by cultivating a policy of harmony and mutual helpfulness.

The Journal of Physiology is to be a record of original research and progress in this branch of science; but its editors give a wide and rational construction to the term "progress" as applied to physiology. While experimental manipulation will remain the fundamental means of getting at facts, it will still be recognized as legitimate to think about the facts and find out their meanings. The editors say in their announcement:

"The physiologist works not only by experiment, but also by observation, and indeed by what is often depreciatingly spoken of as speculation. The conductors of the Journal would be the last to wish that its pages should be occupied by idle writing and the exposition of baseless views; but they would be equally unwilling to refuse a paper because it threw light on a subject by rearranging old facts rather than by bringing forward new ones."

The relations which the periodical will sustain to the medical profession, from which it ought to derive a strong support, are thus indicated:

"No branch of study during recent years has been more fruitful in physiological truths than the investigations into the action on living organisms and tissues of the various chemical bodies known as poisons and drugs. Between such investigations and those into the action of medicines no logical separation is possible, and the physiologist who does not welcome the physiological truths gained by medical practice as warmly as those coming from the laboratory is unworthy of the name. So also a little reflection teaches us that the phenomena of disease are in reality the deeper and more hidden events of the body thrust up to the surface by some dislocation of the economy. Hence all communications, in which the results of pathological observation or experiments are discussed with the view of elucidating their causation rather than in the interests of clinical science, may fairly find a place in a journal devoted to physiology."

As The Journal of Physiology will be occupied with substantial original work, and as the supply of this kind of matter is not steady and regular, the issue of its successive parts and the amount of material they contain will be subject to the discretion of the managers. Instead of appearing at strictly regular intervals, the numbers will be issued at periods varying from two to three months, while from four to six numbers will form the annual volume of about five hundred pages. The Germans are falling into this mode of publication, which seems sensible for a periodical of this kind. One of its obvious advantages is, as the editors say:

"That it prevents a discovery made by one man from being forestalled by another, whose observations, although really made later in point of time, might sometimes obtain priority under the ordinary method of publication."

Of the importance of the science of physiology, nothing needs here to be said. A great body of physiological truth has been established which is of such moment to the welfare both of individuals and of the community at large that the subject ought to have great prominence in education and to be taught to every child at school. But while many physiological principles and facts are so well established that they require to be understood for practical ends, yet the subject is still undergoing rapid development, and new results are being constantly reached which throw further light upon the operations of the vital economy, and are often immediately useful. The Journal of Physiology, therefore, has a valid claim upon the attention of many outside of scientific and medical circles. It is such a work as every teacher of physiology, especially in our higher schools, should have at hand, to illustrate the exact state of present knowledge upon numberless questions in relation to which current text-books may be insufficient or behind the times. Where teaching has not become purely mechanical and perfunctory, and all care and conscience have not died out, the teacher of physiology might give freshness and authority to his instructions by subscribing to this new magazine, and making himself familiar with its contents.

American Journal of Mathematics, Real and Applied. Editor-in-Chief J. J. Sylvester, LL. D., F. R. S. Published under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins University. Second notice.

The second number of the American Journal of Mathematics reaches us. It is very handsomely printed in quarto, and the formulas look as inviting as formulas can. It undoubtedly belongs to the highest class of mathematical periodicals. We will not presume to pass judgment upon the utility of all those speculations concerning space of four dimensions, the exact movements of the moon, the abstrusities of pure algebra, the phyllotactic numbers, etc. There certainly is such a thing as economy in research; and, fully admitting that each principle of pure mathematics is likely some day to find an application, it is a question to be considered whether it is worth while to spend time upon a theorem a thousand years before it will probably be needed. The principles of compound interest apply as much to brains as to money. If, instead of expending a certain portion of energy upon the resolution of a distantly useful problem, I devote it to something which has immediate applications, an advantage will have been gained which will have its effect through all future time. Here is a little question which we may leave to the mathematicians to solve, if anything so simple can interest them: Suppose that a certain mathematical study is destined to find an application as important as the conic sections have found, but only after a thousand years. What, upon the principles of compound interest, is the present worth of it as compared with that of an equal expenditure of energy in any immediately practical way?

When we call to mind what an army of intellects have devoted themselves to such subjects as, say, the resolution of cubic equations, we can hardly help suspecting that such researches, though of a higher order of activity than chess-playing, are chiefly of value for the amusement they afford. What is really useful is not the solution of this or that problem, but the existence of the mathematician himself. The civilization of our time has been more promoted by engineers, inventors, and popular writers on science, than by almost any other classes of men. But these persons are led by scientific men. The scientific men are certainly led by the physicists, and these in turn by the mathematicians. Thus, notwithstanding the smallness of the class who read mathematics, the influence of the great geometers spreads in concentric circles, until there is no one, not even the common day-laborer, who is not better off for it. It is not necessary that the problems in which the mathematicians most delight should be particularly useful. It is not necessary that the most profound minds, whose real value to civilization is the greatest of all, should ever concern themselves with the applications of mathematics. Their business is especially to work out fruitful conceptions, and to impress them upon other minds; and this they do not only by their writings, but also by their personal conversation.

The truth is, that productive industry only builds the substructure upon which civilization rests. The fairy palace itself is due to the pursuit of pleasure, to luxury, to the doing of useless things. Every amusement tends toward corruption, but every one tends also toward culture. An amusement is more or less beneficial according as one or other effect predominates in it.

Mathematics may be loved by a sybarite, but it will never be his occupation. Yet it is a most gentlemanly amusement, pursued far from vulgar passions and applause, in the calm of a library, nothing sordid mingling with it. Those harsh and crabbed formulas which fill us outsiders with such dismay, and from which we flee in terror, doubtless become, after a while, to the devotee as musical as is Apollo's lute, and are regarded by him as affectionately as a chess-player regards his finely-carved queens and castles.

Everybody, of course, knows that the practical utility, not to say necessity, even of the highest mathematics, is immense. But we have preferred to consider it in relation to the purely theoretical or very remotely practical departments which will no doubt occupy a large portion of the American Journal of Mathematics. Even so considered, the present mathematical revival which the coming of Mr. Sylvester has occasioned, and the establishment of this journal, may be characterized as important events for the highest welfare of the country—important even for its material welfare. It is not to be expected that the actual readers of such a journal should be very numerous, and, though subscriptions will be drawn from Europe, yet the success of it must depend upon its finding subscribers who do not read it, but who appreciate its value. Whether a sufficient class exists in America which understands the importance of intellectual activity of the profoundest kind to enable such activity to exist here, is a vital question for our destiny.

Not to close this notice without a bit of criticism, we may mention that one of the editors of the Journal has by means of a "Crelle's Table" found in a few minutes that the number 191,071 is either a prime or else divisible by a factor less than 137. This is pronounced by another of the editors to be "a real stroke of genius." We should like to have the glory of it a little further elucidated. We have put Crelle's Table into the hands of a computer, and requested him to find the divisors of the number in question. Having no pretensions to genius, he did not stop at 137, but, proceeding in the ordinary humdrum way, announced absolutely, in a quarter of an hour, that the number was prime. We confidently look for an article in the coming number setting out and explaining the wonderful stroke of genius in question, the marvel of which does not seem to have lain in its reaching a very speedy or complete solution of the problem undertaken.

Democracy in Europe: A History. By Sir Thomas Erskine May. New York: W. J. Widdleton. 1878. 2 vols.

In an appropriate introductory essay to this work the author sets forth the principles that constitute its foundation. It can scarcely be said that he offers anything new here; he, however, points out truths that can never be too sedulously insisted upon. After stating that by democracy he understands "the political power or influence of the people under all forms of government," that "it denotes a principle or force and not simply an institution," he discusses the moral, social, and physical causes of freedom, supporting his assertions, the while, with historical instances. He next shows that, as the constant development of popular power is the result of the intellectual and material progress of a nation, it must be accepted as a natural law; and that, instead of striving to breast the current, statesmen should endeavor to urge it forward in the most advisable channels. As a matter of course, the author has not avoided the opportunity of commenting upon the excesses of democratic ideas, and of breaking lances with devotees of communism and socialism.

Sir Erskine May enters the historical field with a gloomy portraiture of the constitutions of the old Eastern nations, and, in order to show that freedom is a growth wholly peculiar to European soil, he endeavors to prove that in all times—even the present—the main characteristics of Eastern society have been immutability and immobility. He begins with an examination of the constitution of India, and claims that the Hindoos have never known freedom; that their ignorance has been opposed to it; that their enslavement has fostered their ignorance; and concludes that "England has already given more 'liberty' to India than ever she aspired to under her former rulers." In the histories of Persia, China, Japan, Phœnicia, Carthage, and Egypt, the author likewise fails to discover germs of democratic ideas. It will not be amiss for us to state that Von Schlegel, Ferrari, and the more distinguished modern critics, have agreed that the East, too, has been always progressing, steadily if slowly, in the path of civilization, and that at no period was democracy entirely unknown in Eastern countries; the village communities of India, old as the nation itself, bear witness to this assertion.

Chapters II.-VI. are devoted to Greece and Rome. An attempt to go over the whole of his ground with the author would be a trespass upon the limits of this notice. We can only refer the reader to the work itself, where, among many absurd theories and startling declarations, he may nevertheless find many good ideas.

We cannot, we are sorry to say, so recommend that portion of the work which treats of the fortunes of democracy during the middle ages. Like the older writers who had not comprehended the philosophy of history, Sir Erskine May persists in calling this epoch by the now exploded title of "the dark ages," and seems to see in it nothing beyond vandalism and ruins. In love with "the old world," he has failed to realize its shortcomings, and accordingly the necessity of demolishing it in order to rebuild with the old materials one more in keeping with democratic ideas. He is forced, however, later on, to acknowledge that "this general prostration of the people of Europe was gradually lessened by the operation of several causes, which contributed to the ultimate regeneration of society and the advancement of freedom. These causes are to be sought in the 'free' institutions of the conquerors themselves, in the traditional laws and customs of Rome, in the influence of Christianity and the Catholic Church, and in the increasing enlightenment and general expansion of mediaeval society." Here he presents the Church as the protector of the people's rights, and as counteracting the absolutism of kings and barons, and therefore as a democratic institution; afterward he notices the Church as directly antagonistic to freedom, and in the end hits upon the truth by saying: "Any pretensions of the Church which impaired the absolutism of rulers were so far favorable to liberty; but the pope was contending for ecclesiastical domination, not for civil freedom; and, if the latter cause sometimes profited by his intervention, it was because kings were weakened—not because the Church was the apostle of liberty." As he proceeds, our author shows how the cause of democracy was gradually helped along by the growing refinement of the barons, by minstrelsy, chivalry, and the crusades; which, "by weakening the aristocracy, increased on one side the power of the monarchs and on the other the freedom of the people," and led to the enfranchisement of the rising communes, to the revival of towns and the growth of municipal liberties; how all this brought about a revival of learning, an impulse of new life in the universities, to which was due the development later on of the liberty of thought and the Reformation.

Resuming his way backward, Sir Erskine May devotes the seventh chapter to the Italian republics, and, in presenting their history, shows how several causes, foremost among them being the earlier intellectual revival, operated to bring about an early development of municipal liberties in Italy. He explains how feudalism never firmly took root in Italy; how, after Charlemagne, the weakness of its kings favored the political power of the cities; how the fusion of the sturdy northern races with the Italians similarly assisted the assertion of popular rights; how a comparatively equal distribution of lands contributed toward social and political equality; how from all these varying causes no less than two hundred free municipalities or republics arose in this fair land, in which, in short, democracy attained to an unprecedented development. But here, we are afraid, the author has over-estimated this "freedom" of the Italian republics, each of which aimed at liberty only for itself—each party in every city determining upon the exclusion of its rivals from the enjoyment of all franchises. He concludes with a comparison of the Italian republics with one another, and with the old republics of Greece, and surveys, briefly and accurately, the causes that led to Italy's enslavement and its regeneration in our own day.

Next follows a review of the history of Switzerland, which offers one of the most interesting examples of the purest and simplest democracy and of well-contrived and enduring republican institutions to be found in the annals of Europe. The two chapters on this country are, perhaps, the most praiseworthy in the whole book; Calvin is judged without fanaticism, if we overlook the too great importance attributed to his reforms in connection with the freedom and democracy of the country.

The progress of democracy in the Netherlands is followed up in the first two chapters of the second volume. "Two aspects of democracy," says the author, "are here illustrated, the growth and political power of municipal institutions and the assertion of civil and religious liberty." He delineates the first of these aspects by recounting the civil history of the Netherlands up to the reign of Charles V.; the second aspect is developed in the description of the bloody measures adopted by Charles V. and Philip II. of Spain to crush out the growing spirit of the Reformation, and in the subsequent struggles of these countries for political independence. The career of William of Orange, the shrewdness and bravery he opposed to craftiness and revolting barbarity, the fruitless attempts of the persecutors to corrupt him, and the finally successful attempt to assassinate this apostle of civil and religious liberty—these are necessarily interwoven into the story of the struggle for the rights of conscience—the first and most memorable of the kind in the world's history. After dwelling at length on the share of freedom afterward enjoyed by the Low Countries, and the subsequent decline of their fortunes, he closes with a short notice of ultramontanism in Belgium and of the contemporary prosperity of that country and Holland.

Report on Forestry. By F. B. Hough. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 650. Economic Tree-Planting. By B. G. Northrop. From "Report of the Secretary of the Connecticut State Board of Agriculture." Pp. 29.

Dr. Hough's industry in collecting the materials of this "Report" is worthy of all praise; not less so is the intelligent use which he makes of them. The volume is indeed a storehouse of facts relating to forestry, and the information which it contains is of very great practical importance. The destruction of forests brings about great climatal changes, and the history of Spain and other countries shows how regions that once were fruitful have been changed into barren deserts by the reckless clearing of woodland. The time has come for taking concerted action toward "reforestation" in the United States. Dr. Hough considers in detail many of the problems which present themselves for solution—as the comparative advantages of sowing and planting, the proper number of trees to an acre, the adaptedness of different species to different localities, etc.; and Mr. Northrop goes over much of the same ground, though of course less fully, and with especial reference to the needs of the State of Connecticut. On these and sundry other points Dr. Hough quotes the experience of practical and scientific men, giving in full many documents of the highest value. Then follow statistical tables showing the consumption of wood in different industries, for household uses, railroads, etc. The relations between forests and climate are discussed in extenso, and Becquerel's "Memoir" on that subject is given in full. A sketch of the "Schools of Forestry" in various European countries is given, with a view to suggest hints for the guidance of forest-conservators in the United States. We recommend both of these publications to the earnest attention of our readers.

A New Cyclopædia of Chemistry, Theoretical, Practical, and Analytical, as applied to the Arts and Manufactures. By Writers of Eminence, on the Basis of the Late Dr. Muspratt's Work. Illustrated with numerous Woodcuts and Steel Plate Engravings. Philadelphia: Lippincott & Co. 50 cts. per number.

This comprehensive and valuable work, which is announced to consist of forty parts, has now reached the thirty-fifth part, and its completion may therefore be soon expected. The work has been executed with care and ability, and we have found it useful and satisfactory for habitual reference on the extensive and important subjects of chemical manufacture. Its illustrations are numerous and elaborate, the text clear and attractive, and the treatment of subjects full, copious, and trustworthy.

Physics of the Infectious Diseases. Comprehending a Discussion of Certain Physical Phenomena in Connection with the Acute Infectious Diseases. By C. A. Logan, M. D. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg & Co. Pp. 212. Price, $1.50.

The author of this work spent four years on the west coast of South America, a region remarkable for two things: 1. Certain peculiar physical features and aspects; and, 2. A marked exemption from infectious diseases. He assumes a connection between these two facts, and has aimed to trace it out, and to derive important medical conclusions from the results. The problem of the influence of physical conditions upon health and disease is fundamental but at present obscure, and, while its investigation is of the greatest moment, advanced conclusions built upon it must be received with caution. The volume is instructive, and opens a special inquiry, which will no doubt be followed up by medical observers.

A Science Primer; on the Nature of Things. By John G. MacVickar, D. D. Edinburgh: Blackwood & Sons. Pp. 112.

This little book may claim the position of distinguished preeminence in absurdity among the mass of absurd publications with which we have been lately deluged, under the title of "Science Primers." We by no means intimate that those little books are without merit, but as rudimentary treatises, as books for beginners, as primers, they are with hardly an exception ridiculous. He who writes a primer of science should know two things—the subject he deals with, and the state of mind to which such a book is addressed. It matters nothing how sound and careful and accurate and trustworthy the writer's statement may be in itself; if it is not adapted to the mental condition of those ignorant of the subject, it will be a senseless and stupid failure. Our science primers are nearly all of this kind. They are written by men who seem to have not the slightest notion of what is needed for the minds of the young, and are in fact addressed to adult minds, and for these they are generally instructive and valuable.

Dr. MacVickar's "Science Primer on the Nature of Things," we might almost suppose, had been written as a burlesque on this class of books. It deals throughout with the most profound and abstract subjects, with remote and contested questions of cosmical science, with knotty problems of theology, and with speculations on chemism, ethers, and the geometrical constitution of molecules. The writer seems, indeed, to be not unconscious of the absurd misappropriateness of his work, and excuses it on the plea that all science is a good deal of a humbug. He says in his preface: "It may, indeed, be alleged that these primers present to their readers merely a smattering of science. But may it not with truth be replied, in similar terms, that the actual science of the day, in all its details, when viewed in reference to a satisfactory view of Nature and its economy, is itself merely a smattering?"

Putnam's Art Hand-Books. Edited by Susan M. Carter, Superintendent of the Woman's Art School, Cooper Union. I. The Art of Sketching from Nature. By Thomas Rowbotham. 27 Illustrations. Pp. 74. Price, 50 cents. II. The Art of Landscape-Painting in Oil-Colors. By W. Williams. Pp. 74. Price, 50 cents.

These neat little hand-books, which have gone through many editions in England, are now reprinted for the use of American art students, and are to be soon followed by others on "Flower-Painting," "Figure Drawing," and "An Artistic Treatise on the Human Figure." They seem to be prepared by experienced artists, and the name of the editor is a guarantee that they will prove useful to the cultivators of practical art in this country.

The Principles of Light and Color. Including among other Things the Harmonic Laws of the Universe, the Etherio-Atomic Philosophy of Force, Chromo-Chemistry, Chromo-Therapeutics, and the General Philosophy of the Fine Forces, together with Numerous Discoveries and Practical Applications. Illustrated by 204 Exquisite Photo-Engravings, besides Four Superb Colored Plates printed on Seven Plates each. By Edwin D. Babbitt. Science Hall, New York: Babbitt & Co. Pp. 560. Price, $4.

This is an elaborate and elegantly illustrated volume which we have not yet had time to read. The writer is a bold speculator, and seems to differ very widely and profoundly from the accredited expositors of physical, chemical, biological, and psychological science. He has a new philosophy of molecules and ethers, and the inner nature of things, interprets the large phenomena of the universe in his own way and includes magnetism, clairvoyance, psychic force, odic force, chromo-mentalism, chromo-therapeutics, and many other curious things, in his conception of Nature, and claims to educe their laws from "the etherio-atomic philosophy of force." The writer has bestowed a vast amount of labor upon his work, and, whatever amount of truth it will be ultimately found to contain, it will meet the wants of many, and be read with satisfaction by those interested in its peculiar topics and its author's independent treatment of them.

The Native Flowers and Ferns of the United States. By Thomas Meehan. Parts III., IV., V. Boston: Prang & Co.

The interest of this work is well sustained in its recent numbers. The colored illustrations are beautifully life-like, and the accompanying text interesting, and prepared with excellent judgment as to what a popular work requires. We cordially renew the commendation passed upon this worthy enterprise upon the appearance of its earlier numbers.

Science Lectures at South Kensington. New York: Macmillan & Co. Vol. I. Pp. 290. Price, $1.75.

This is the first installment of a valuable series of expositions upon chemical and physical subjects, on the whole popular, and all thorough and trustworthy. It contains lectures by Captain Abney on "Photography;" by Prof. Stokes on "The Absorption of Light and the Colors of Natural Bodies," and on "Fluorescence;" by Prof. Kennedy on "The Kinematics of Machinery;" by F. J. Bramwell on the "Steam Engine;" by Prof. Forbes on "Radiation;" by H. C. Sorby on "Microscopes;" by J. T. Bottomly on "Electrometers;" by S. H. Vines on the "Apparatus relating to Vegetable Physiology," and by Prof Carey Foster on "Electrical Measurements." The subjects are interesting, the authorities are good, and the lectures valuable.

How to take Care of Our Eyes. With Advice to Parents and Teachers in regard to the Management of the Eyes of Children. By Henry C. Angell, M. D. Boston: Roberts Brothers. Pp. 70. Price, 50 cents.

The neglect, exposure, and abuse of the eyes in recent times, from many causes and in many ways, have become so great an evil as to call forth many books on the care of vision and the hygiene of the eye. Dr. Angell's contribution to the subject has the merit of being very clear in style, with but a sparing use of technical terms, while it is also condensed, and furnished at a low price. It is full of useful suggestions, which, if followed, would prevent a great deal of the annoyance and suffering that arise from misuse of the eyes.

Short Studies of Great Lawyers. By Irving Brown. Published by the Albany Law Journal. Pp. 382. Price, $2.

This volume contains upward of twenty sketches of the most eminent English and American lawyers from Coke to Choate. The notices originally appeared in the Albany Law Journal, where they attracted so much attention that the author has been induced to issue them in a collected and separate form. They are not designed as biographies so much as estimates of character and career, yet they contain a good deal of personal incident and delineation, which make the sketches anything but dull reading. As lawyers are always interesting objects to contemplate, good lives of lawyers are always interesting books.

The Dance of Death. By William Herman. New York: American News Company. Pp. 131.

A vehement denunciation of the immorality of waltzing.


Elements of Sidereal Astronomy. By Jacob Ennis. Philadelphia: Collins print, 705 Jayne Street. 1878. Pp. 7.

American College Directory and Universal Catalogue. Vol. II. (1878). St. Louis: C. H. Evans & Co. Pp. 110. Sent free on receipt of 10 cents postage.

Iowa Weather Report for 1877. By Dr. Gustavus Hinrichs. Iowa City, Iowa. Pp. 70.

Proceedings at the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Free Religious Association. Boston: 1878. Pp. 90. 40 cents.

Report of the New Jersey State Commission on a Plan for the Encouragement of Manufactures of Ornamental and Textile Fabrics. Trenton: Naar, Day & Naar print. 1878. Pp. 90.

Proportional Representation. By John H. Ward. Louisville: Courier-Journal, printers. 1878. Pp. 26.

Native Flowers and Ferns of the United States "By Thomas Meehan. Boston: Prang & Co. Parts 6, 7 and 8. 1878. 50 cents each.

Some Common Errors respecting the North American Indians. By Garrick Mallory. Philadelphia: Collins print, 705 Jayne Street. 1878. Pp. 6.

Former and Present Number of our Indians. By Garrick Mallory. Reprint from Proceedings of Nashville Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, August, 1877. Pp. 27.

Researches into the Early History of Mankind and the Development of Civilization. By Edward B. Tylor, D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1878. Pp. 388. $3.50.

The Palmetto Literary Compendium. Vol. I., No. I. (August, 1878). Lexington, S. C.: Daley & Harmon. Monthly. Pp. 36. $2 per year.

Report of Committee to collect Information relative to the Meteor of December 24, 1873. Read April 7, 1877. Bulletin of the Philosophical Society of Washington. Pp. 21, with Map.

Address on Man's Age in the World. By James C. Southall, A.M., LL.D., at the Opening of the Lewis Brooks Museum, University of Virginia, June 27, 1878. Pp. 60.

The Unknown God. Lecture by J. W. Stillman. New York: For sale by D. M. Bennett, 141 Eighth Street. Pp. 34.

Erupted Rocks of Colorado, pp. 73, and Catalogue of Minerals found in Colorado, pp. 25. By F. M. Endlich. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1878.

New Method of detecting Overstrain in Iron and other Metals. By R. H. Thurston. C. E. From Transactions of American Society of Civil Engineers. Pp. 7.

A Conspectus of the Different Forms of Phthisis. By Roswell Park, A.M., M.D. Reprint from Chicago Medical Journal for September 1878. Pp. 19.

Preliminary Studies on the North American Pyrolidæ. I. Illustrated. By A. R. Grote. Washington. 1878. Pp. 36.

How to keep Plump. By T. C. Duncan, M.D. Chicago: Duncan Brothers. 1878. Pp. 60. 50 cents.

The Therapeutic Forces. By Thomas J. Mays, M.D. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 1878. Pp. 143. $1.25.

Annals of the Harvard Astronomical Observatory Vol. IX. Photometric Researches. By C. S. Peirce. Leipsic: W. Engelmann. Pp. 181, with Plates.

Principles of Light and Color. By E. D. Babbitt. New York: Babbitt & Co. Pp. 560, with Colored Plates. $4.

Monthly Record of Scientific Literature. Nos. 51-74. New York: Van Nostrand. 25 cents per year.

Goethe's Faust. Erster Theil. Edited by J. M. Hart. New York: Putnams. Pp. 257. $1.25.

Stricture of the Male Urethra. By Dr. F. N. Otis. Same publishers. Pp. 352. $3

Report of the Chief Signal-Officer (1877). Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 570.

The Commonwealth reconstructed. By Charles C. P. Clark, M.D. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1878. Pp. 216. $1.50.

First Annual Report of the United States Entomological Commission for the Year 1877. Relating to the Rocky Mountain Locust. With Maps and Illustrations. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1878. Pp. 771.

Lessons in Elementary Chemistry. By H. E. Roscoe, F.R.S. New edition. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. 1878. Pp. 416. $1.50.

Geographical Surveying. By Frank de Yeaux Carpenter, C.E. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1878. Pp. 176. 50 cents.