Popular Science Monthly/Volume 16/March 1880/Literary Notices
Ceremonial Institutions. Being Part IV. of "The Principles of Sociology." By Herbert Spencer. Pp. 237. Price, $1.25.
Having paused for a short time in the elaboration of his "Principles of Sociology" to anticipate a portion of the next treatise on "Ethics," Mr. Herbert Spencer has resumed his labors in their regular order, as the volume before us attests. The first volume of the "Sociology"—a work of over seven hundred pages, devoted to its fundamental data and inductions—was published more than a year ago. Mr. Spencer finds serious disadvantages in bringing out his system in these large volumes, which are both formidable to read and appear at such wide intervals that their connections are apt to be forgotten. He will, therefore, in future, issue separately the successive divisions of these volumes as they are completed. The first division of Volume II. is on "The Development of Ceremonial Institutions," now published, and the next division will be on "The Development of Political Institutions," and upon this he is now engaged. It will be followed by the divisions on "The Development of Ecclesiastical and Industrial Institutions."
If we define government as the control of conduct in relation to others, then it is of two kinds—that by the coercion of the civil power, and that by the mandates of social custom and ceremonial observance. The regulation of conduct is divided between civil law and the unwritten codes of custom; and of these two authorities the latter has by far the largest share in regulating men's lives. In the genesis of social relations, ceremonial government arises earlier than political government, is more general, and far more potent in its social restraints and requirements. While yet primitive society is in a wholly unorganized condition, with no coercive rule, perhaps, but the will of the chief, the savage nature becomes spontaneously amenable to imperative observances in daily intercourse. And, in the highest state of civilization, social life is dominated by the same despotic agency. To understand the present constitution of society, therefore, and the forces by which it is regulated, it becomes necessary to treat the origin and growth of social observance as a part of sociological science, and this is the object of the volume on "Ceremonial Institutions."
Mr. Spencer's conclusions throughout rest upon a wide survey of the facts concerning primitive customs and manners, gathered from all sources, and are illustrated with a wealth of examples that gives great force and impressiveness to his conclusions. This very full and complete illustration of the subject has been objected to by some, on the ground that such a profusion of facts and examples is unnecessary to his exposition, and becomes wearisome to the reader; and the same criticism has been passed upon other parts of his philosophical works. To this he replies, in his preface, that, while not unconscious of the defect, it is still unavoidable, as scientific proof rather than artistic merit is the end he is aiming at. He says: "If sociological generalizations are to pass out of the stage of opinion into the stage of established truth, it can only be through extensive accumulations of instances; the inductions must be wide if the conclusions are to be accepted as valid. Especially while there continues the belief that social phenomena are not the subject-matter of a science, it is requisite that the correlations among them should be shown to hold in multitudinous cases. Evidence furnished by various races in various parts of the world must be given, before there can be rebutted the allegation that the inferences drawn are not true, or are but partially true. Indeed, of social phenomena more than all other phenomena, it must, because of their complexity, hold that only by comparisons of many examples can fundamental relations be distinguished from superficial relations."
Some of the chapters of the volume on "Ceremonial Institutions" have appeared in the pages of this Monthly, but several new and important topics are treated in the volume, which make it the completest as well as the most original discussion of the subject that has yet appeared. It is, besides, an extremely interesting book to read, as it gives much curious information regarding the origin and meaning of social usages that concern everybody, while at the same time there is no erudite or abstract philosophy in it to task the reader's effort.
The Theory of Political Economy. By W. Stanley Jevons, LL. D., M. A., F.R.S. London: Macmillan & Co. Second edition. Pp. 314. Price, $3.50.
The above work presents, in the most complete form yet given it. Professor Jevons's mathematical theory of economics, first published by him in a volume nine years ago, though worked out and presented in its main features as far back as 1862. The idea that economics is essentially a mathematical science appears not to be new, but, during the ascendancy of other views, it has for the most part been neglected, and the work accomplished remained in obscurity. Professor Jevons has been at some pains to investigate the bibliography of the subject, and finds it surprisingly full and of considerable value.
It appears from his researches that the theory, as stated by him, and in a form closely resembling his, by M. Léon Walras, of Lausanne, has been anticipated in its chief features by Gossen, of Germany, and Cournot, of France. This is somewhat remarkable, as these writers worked not only independently of each other, but with little or no knowledge of what had been done by any others. They had, in fact, to begin at the beginning and work out the entire subject for themselves. Professor Jevons regards this independent arrival at substantially the same views of the "fundamental ideas of economics," by four different inquirers, as strong evidence of their probable truth. lie appends to the present edition of his work a fuller list than was possible in the first of all the writers whose names he has been able to discover, who treat the science on this side, that future students may not remain in ignorance of what has been accomplished.
The present unsatisfactory state of economics is regarded by him as due to the failure, on the part of economists, to distinguish between several branches of knowledge which, though closely allied, are yet separate. There should be a distinction drawn between the abstract science which has to do with the fundamental relations of economic quantities and those special concrete sciences which depend upon it. The relation of this abstract science to the concrete ones he holds to be somewhat analogous to that between the science of mechanics and the physical sciences, all of which have their basis more or less in it. Pleasure and pain are, according to him, the ultimate factors with which economics has to deal, and how to increase the one and decrease the other to the greatest extent possible is the problem to be solved, or, stated more specifically, the problem is: "Given a certain population, with various needs and powers of production, in possession of certain lands and other sources of material; required the mode of employing their labor which will maximize the utility of the produce." In order to subject the science to his analysis. Professor Jevons introduces into economic quantities the physical conception of dimension. These quantities can then be treated geometrically, and their various relations expressed by formulas. A feeling, such as a pleasure or a pain, he considers possessed of two dimensions, intensity and duration, the amount of which can be varied by varying either or both of the factors. A curve whose ordinates correspond with the intensity of the feeling and the abcissas with its duration will express the law of the variation of the intensity, when this variation is continuous.
The relations of the various economic quantities involved would, in any case, be known when the elements of such a curve were determined, or, as the mathematicians say, when the form of the function is known. The agreement of the calculated result, when numerical data are introduced into the formulas, with the actual result, would be the verification of the formulas. Such numerical data, consisting mainly in "accurate accounts of the quantities of goods possessed and consumed by the community, and the prices at which they are exchanged," are not now easily attainable, and formulas can not, therefore, be at present verified. As these data become available, however, Professor Jevons thinks that the science can gradually be raised to the position of an exact one.
A large portion of the present work is devoted to the elucidation of the problem of exchange value, which is necessarily fundamental in any economic exposition. Exchange value, or, as he terms it, "the ratio of exchange," is held by him to be directly dependent upon utility and only ultimately upon cost of production. In his theory of utility he draws a distinction between the total utility of any commodity and its degree of utility at any point of supply, the person concerned being the sole judge in any case considered of what is or is not useful. In illustration, the total utility of such a thing as food is infinitely great, as it is necessary to life; but, when we have abundance, the utility of an addition is very small and may be zero. Considering the increase of supply to be made by adding increments of commodity, the degree of utility of the last increment added, or of that to be added, he terms the final degree, and it is on this that the ratio of exchange depends. He finds the explanation of the fact that such a very useful commodity as water has little or no power in exchange in the circumstance that its final degree of utility is ordinarily very small. When water becomes scarce the higher degrees of utility are approached, and, if the scarcity is prolonged, it may acquire a high purchasing power. Geometrically, total utility would correspond with the area inclosed between a curve and its lines of reference, and the degree of utility at any point with the ordinate of the curve at that point. His conception of utility corresponds closely with that as expressed in ordinary language, the total utility being the entire usefulness of any commodity, the degree of utility the esteem or urgency of desire, and the ratio of exchange the purchasing power.
As viewed by Professor Jevons, the problem of exchange is properly a dynamic one. Commodities are being continuously manufactured, exchanged, and consumed. The solution of the problem, therefore, involves determining not only the conditions of equilibrium at which exchange would cease, but the rate at which it would go on before equilibrium was established. The statical problem—the obtaining of the conditions of equilibrium—is only attempted in the present work. He considers that the parties to the exchange are possessed of certain fixed quantities of commodity which they keep exchanging until the point is reached when they are satisfied, and have no further desire to part with or acquire any more. His analysis brings him to the conclusion that "the ratio of-exchange of any two commodities will be the reciprocal of the ratio of the final degrees of utility of the quantities available for consumption after the exchange is completed."
The usual treatment of labor by economists Professor Jevons regards as singularly perverted. The science starts with labor, and how to use this labor to the greatest advantage is the very problem with which it deals. But economists generally do not proceed far before they turn about and consider labor as a commodity which capitalists buy up. "Labor becomes itself the object," he says, "of the laws of supply and demand, instead of those laws acting in the distribution of the products of labor." His conclusion is that "the wages of a workingman are ultimately coincident with what he produces, after the deduction of rent, taxes, interest, and the interest of capital." According to his analysis, when in any case of production the labor is distributed, the ratio of the final degrees of utility of the products equals the ratio of the productiveness of the labor concerned in each product. He thus arrives at the result that the ratio of exchange is ultimately determined by the cost of production, through the effect which this has in determining the final degrees of utility of the commodities. The conclusions of the work, on the subject of exchange, Professor Jevons sums up as follows: "Quantities of commodity exchanged vary directly as the quantities produced by the same labor, and inversely as their values, prices, costs of production, and final degrees of utility."
Professor Jevons accepts the current definition of capital, though he broadens it somewhat, and his analysis of the subject leads him to conclusions closely agreeing with those of Ricardo and the economists who have followed him.
The doctrine of rent he regards as having long been in a scientific form.
Of the value of the theory, both as to what is obtained and as to its possible development as a comprehensive treatment of economics, it is for economists to decide, but it can be studied with interest and profit by all who desire to know one of the directions in which present economic inquiry is tending. The book is written in the clear manner peculiar to all the work of this author, and can be readily perused by any one having the slightest knowledge of the calculus.
The Chemistry of Common Life. By James F. W. Johnston. New edition, and brought down to the Present Time by A. H. Church. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1880. 1 vol., pp. 592. Price, $2.
A revised edition of this favorite work, first issued twenty-five years ago, will be welcomed everywhere. It has ever been the model of a popular scientific work, and has had many imitations—notably, Lewes's "Physiology of Common Life"—but none of them have approached the perfection of the original. Johnston was led to prepare it by his pioneer studies in agricultural chemistry, which not only familiarized him with all common subjects, but, what was of far more importance, gave him a sympathetic interest in the common people. No mere passionate experimenter or laboratory devotee could ever have produced such a work. Great changes have come over the field of chemical science during the last quarter of a century, but they have affected this work much less than more theoretical treatises, as facts change less than their interpretations. Nevertheless, the book had fallen behind the age, and needed to be brought up to date. The entire work has been carefully revised by Professor Church, somewhat enlarged, and brought down to the latest date. Some new matter, aside from that necessary to embody the latest knowledge, has been added by the editor, the most important of which is the article upon "The Colors we admire." The book is written for the people, in a clear and popular manner, without technicalities, and seeks to answer questions that commonly arise in every-day life about every-day things. It treats such things as the air we breathe and the water we drink in their relations to human life and health; the soil that we cultivate and the plants raised; the food we eat and beverages we drink; the odors that are agreeable and disagreeable, and the reasons why they are so; the colors that stand in like relation to us; the physiological processes of the body, and the condition of health. It answers, in fact, a thousand and one questions which all ought to know, but which they do not, and will be found a valuable addition to the library of every household.
Astronomy. For Schools and Colleges. By Simon Newcomb, LL. D., Superintendent of "American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac," and Edward S. Holden, M. A., Professor in the United States Naval Observatory. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 512. Price, $2.50.
The presumptions in favor of this work, which are created by the names of its authors, are abundantly justified by its critical examination. It may be commended as in every respect a first-class astronomical textbook for college students. The authors say in their preface that "the work is designed principally for the use of those who desire to pursue the study of astronomy as a branch of liberal education." Yet its plan is such that it may subserve the uses of different grades of students, and those having in view quite different objects. The subject-matter is divided into two classes, distinguished by the size of the type. The portions in large type form a complete course for the use of those who desire only such a general knowledge of the subject as can be acquired without the application of advanced mathematics. This is the part that will interest the general reader. The portions in small type comprise additions for the use of those students who either desire a more detailed and precise knowledge of the subject, or who intend to make astronomy a special study. The work is copiously illustrated, is written with great clearness, and its explanations are admirable.
Progress and Poverty. An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions, and of Increase of Want with Increasing Wealth; the Remedy. By Henry George. One Volume. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1880. Pp. 512. Price, $2.
In the previous pages of this Monthly the reader will find an article on the "Study of Political Economy" that will be pretty certain to interest him. He will see that this so-called "dismal science" is capable of being presented in an attractive way. But after looking it over with satisfaction, as he will be sure to do, he may still say: "This man puts the subject very pleasantly in a lecture, but where are the treatises which can realize for us the interest of treatment here promised? All the books I have yet found on this topic are very prosy affairs."
Well, the author of this essay has himself made a book on political economy, so that he can be tried by his own test. He has made a pretty big book too (although it is not expensive), and, whatever may be its faults, dryness and dullness are not among them. It is full of vital thought, and is written with earnestness and power. We might say it is the most engaging book on economical subjects that we have ever read, but some may think that is not saying much, after all; and so we will add that it is a work hard to lay down when once begun.
The author is a man of marked intellectual power, of independent convictions, and of strong human sympathies, lie lives in San Francisco, where he has been for thirty years, watching the growth of society in a forming State. He has observed the working of the forces by which a modern community has grown up from a rough and formless to a settled, organized, and advanced condition.
The outcome of all this immediate observation and of the extensive study of the conditions of other communities is the conviction that the imminent problem of the age is the intimate association of progress and poverty. The persistence of poverty amid rapidly advancing wealth is a widely recognized and deplorable fact, which has impressed itself more and more strongly upon thoughtful people. This century has been characterized by an enormous increase of productive power and an immense multiplication of riches. But this increasing wealth has neither been equalized throughout the population, nor has there been any tendency to equalization. The gulf between rich and poor has been widening, and neither the rapid strides of invention nor the enormous development of the labor-saving and the wealth-creating arts has been able to arrest this widening.
Mr. George says: "The association of poverty with progress is the great enigma of our times. It is the central fact from which spring industrial, social, and political difficulties that perplex the world, and with which statesmanship and philanthropy and education grapple in vain. From it come the clouds that overhang the future of the most progressive and self-reliant nations. It is the riddle which the Sphinx of Fate puts to our civilization, and which not to answer is to be destroyed. So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury, and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and can not be permanent. The reaction must come."
Again he says: "I propose in the following pages to attempt to solve by the methods of political economy the great problem I have outlined. I propose to seek the law which associates poverty with progress, and increasing want with advancing wealth; and I believe that in the explanation of this paradox we shall find the explanation of those recurring seasons of industrial and commercial paralysis which, viewed independently of their relations to more general phenomena, seem so inexplicable. Properly commenced and carefully pursued, such an investigation must yield a conclusion that will stand every test, and, as truth, will correlate with all other truth. For in the sequence of phenomena there is no accident. Every effect has a cause, and every fact implies a preceding fact."
Now, in a brief notice like this we can neither give, nor attempt to give, Mr. George's solution of his problem. But we may say he finds it in the land question, and its remedy in a very radical and thorough reforming of our land policy. We do not here endorse Mr. George's work, but we very strongly recommend it to those who take interest in the living questions of the time. We hope soon to give a sketch of his argument, but no outline can do it justice. We may add that, aside from his special discussion, the book abounds in information on economical principles and facts admirably put, and which will well repay perusal.
Lectures and Essays. By the late William Kingdon Clifford, F. R. S. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Frederick Pollock, With an Introduction by F. Pollock. In Two Volumes. With Two Portraits. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 661. Price, $7.50.
Clifford has been so thoroughly sifted, and his position as a thinker is so well known, that little needs here to be said upon this point in introducing his essays to the reader's attention. But the massing together of his intellectual work will heighten his fame. For only when his brilliant and powerful disquisitions are brought together, so that we can compare them and discern their variety and scope, is it possible to do justice to his genius. That he was a transcendent mathematician most readers can only recognize by what others say, but the essays can be judged by all who are capable of thinking. The feature that strikes us most in reperusing these volumes, and to which we have before called attention as a characteristic of his writings, is the mastery they display of the art of luminous exposition in dealing with obscure and abstruse subjects. Here Clifford is quite incomparable, and there are parts of these volumes which will long survive as models of popular statement, delightful to the reader from their vividness and marvelous lucidity. Clifford is at his best in disentangling and laying out to view subjects which baffle ordinary grasp and penetration. He may be said to make perfectly clear things which ordinary people complain that they can only partially and imperfectly understand. To take a random example, we open volume one, and happen to strike, in the middle of it, a discourse upon atoms. This might be at once taken as a crucial test of Clifford's power of picturing by language. Everybody knows something about atoms, and everybody is bewildered in the attempt to form such a conception of them as will explain the mutual influences and interactions of the material bodies which are composed of atoms. Turning to the beginning of this lecture, which was a popular effort in a Sunday course, we find him thus opening his subject
I want you to remember that fact, because it is of capital importance for the arguments we shall have to consider to-night. The very same note which I can get the tumbler to give out by agitating it, by rubbing the edge, that same note I can also get the tumbler to answer back to me when I sing to it. Now, remembering that, please to conceive a rather complicated thing that I am now going to describe to you. The same property that belongs to the glass belongs also to a bell which is made out of metal. If that bell is agitated by being struck, or in any other way, it will give out the same sound that it will answer back, if you sing that sound to it; but if yon sing a different sound to it then it will not answer.
Now, suppose that I have several of these metal bells which answer to quite different notes, and that they are all fastened to a set of elastic stalks which spring out of a certain center to which they are fastened. All these bells, then, are not only fastened to these stalks, but they are held there in such a way that they can spin round upon the points to which they are fastened.And then the center to which these elastic stalks are fastened or suspended you may imagine as able to move in all manners of directions, and that the whole structure made up of these bells and stalks and center is able to spin round any axis whatever. We must also suppose that there is surrounding this structure a certain framework. We will suppose the framework to be made of some elastic material, so that it is able to be pressed in to a certain extent. Suppose that. framework is made of whalebone, if yon like. This structure I am going for the present to call an "atom." I do not mean to say that atoms are made of a structure like that. I do not mean to say that there is anything in an atom which is in the shape of a bell: and I do not mean to say that there is anything analogous to an elastic stalk in it. But what I mean is this—that an atom is something that is capable of vibrating at certain definite rates; also that it is capable of other motions of its parts besides those vibrations at certain definite rates; and also that it is capable of spinning round about any axis. Now, by the framework which I suppose to be put round that structure, made out of bells and elastic stalks, I mean this—that supposing you bad two such structures, then you can not put them closer together than a certain distance, but they will begin to resist being put close together, after yon have put them as near as that, and they will push each other away if you attempt to put them closer. That is all I mean, then. Yon must only suppose that that structure is described, and that set of ideas is put together just for the sake of giving us some definite notion of a thing which has similar properties to that structure. But you must not suppose that there is any special part of an atom which has got a bell-like form, or any part like an elastic stalk made out of whalebone.
A large part of these essays is devoted to the discussion of the moral and religious problems which so prominently occupy the speculative attention of the age-. These subjects are all handled with the author's customary originality and felicity; but it is impossible here to give any account of them. He attempted no system, and his work must be looked upon as consisting of elaborate fragments, valuable for what they are separately worth. We quote a portion of the criticism passed upon him by the London "Spectator":
An Essay on the Bible Narrative of Creation: Genesis I.-II. By Professor A. R. Grote. New York: Asa K. Butts.
What to do with the first chapters of Genesis has long been a perplexity with those who hold it to be a veritable account of the origin of the universe, and who at the same time accept the conclusions of modem science on that subject. Differences are confessed and great ingenuity has been expended in reconciling them. In a thin volume of eighty-two pages Professor Grote gives us the results of his study of the question. He gives two versions side by side, the Hebrew text in English letters, together with the translation. Then follows a chapter on "Literary Criticism." In this the writer follows the researches of Ewald and Kuenen with regard to the name of the Deity. He makes use in his translation of the terms "Elohim" and "Yahveh Elohim," because the words "God" and "Lord God" do not translate the Hebrew correctly, the plural form of Elohim being lost in the English word "God," which is a substitute for and not a translation of the Hebrew term Elohim. Another important deviation of Professor Grote's translation from the King James version lies in the fact that the word ha-Adam is constantly translated "the man" throughout, whereas the authorized version from Genesis ii. 19 to the end of the creational history of the first man uses the proper name "Adam," the Hebrew remaining the same as before. The author shows that the two chapters can not be considered as a continuous narrative, the first account ending at chapter ii. 3, and the second commencing chapter ii. 4. The between the two accounts are very fully indicated, and the different points of view from which they were written explained.
The author then gives a-chapter on the "Testimony of Archæology," describing the Assyrian tablets of the Genesis, and he lays special stress on the occurrence of the deity Il in the Chaldean Pantheon, and shows its equivalence to the Hebrew El-Eloah, with its plural Elohim, and of the Arabic Allah. The author concludes that the legends of the creation having existed for a long time as oral traditions, were committed to writing before the union of the kingdoms, or before 2234 b. c., when Abraham, according to Biblical chronology, was not yet born. The date of Moses is about 1245 b. c., that of Menephthah, the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The Chaldean account is thus about a thousand years older than the composition of the Biblical legends. Interesting chapters follow on the myths of the old world which resemble those of Genesis.
The author then proceeds to the "testimony of facts." Here thebetween the two accounts in Genesis and the discoveries of science are clearly pointed out. In his "Conclusion" and "Philosophy," the last two chapters of the book, the author contends that the literal teaching of the book of Genesis is hurtful to the minds of children, and an impediment to the general progress of mankind. Unessential as much of the scientific criticism, directed against the ethical portions of Scripture, is seen to be, such criticism must be appropriate when directed against a portion which deals almost exclusively with statements of facts. A classification of the treatment of religion by the Indo-European and Semitic races is attempted by the author, in which he shows that the leaning of the Indo-European religions is toward the intellectual side of the mind in its treatment of external objects. On the other hand, the leaning of the Semitic religions is toward the emotional side in its treatment of human conduct and family relations. The Gods of the two accounts in Genesis, expressed by nouns plural in form, mark a reminiscence of a preceding plurality of deities, and are plainly not consistent with monotheism. There has been, on the one hand, a growth in the direction of a recognition of a universal God, who at one time was tribal and national; and, on the other hand, there has been a progress in the direction of a recognition of one God, the final cause of nature, who has absorbed the minor deities into himself.
With regard to the two accounts in Genesis, the author concludes that we have to do with an original myth which had undergone many changes before it was cast into the two shapes in which we find it in the Hebrew Bible. Since that time, and when the latter could no longer change, many differing conceptions of the origin of things have found their orthodoxy in a play upon the meaning of the words and a distortion of their true intent. A lax wording, a shorter and more general statement, a monotheistic conception, give an elasticity to the story of Genesis, and a certain adaptiveness to later discoveries; but, in its treatment of the heavens and heavenly bodies in the little bit of the earth on which its miracles are performed, it is still akin to the notions of the Homeric ages with regard to the universe.
The book is characterized by directness of argument, and the best material has been diligently used. There can be no reasonable objection to its temper and tone, and, we think, its thorough fairness. Written with the object of giving a good foundation to those who have been led to reject the inspiration of Genesis, there is nothing in it which ought to be offensive to those who still accept that inspiration; rather is there abundant material for a careful resurvey of their position in the face of the new facts. The archæologist and philologist will find many new points in the book, which is noteworthy for its additions to science as well as for its distinctive literary merits.
The Physical History of the Triassic Formation of New Jersey and the Connecticut Valley. By Israel C. Russell. 1878.
The Triassic of New Jersey and of the Connecticut Valley are supposed by the author to be parts of one formation, which was continuous over the intervening area. The deposit, he thinks, could not have been less than 25,000 feet thick, all or nearly all of which has been removed by denudation, excepting the beds which remain in the Connecticut Valley and New Jersey. Professor Dana, commenting on this subject in the April number of the "American Journal of Science and Arts," says, "That a thickness of 25,000 feet of water made sandstone over an area of metamorphic rock a hundred miles wide, as in the present instance, implies a subsidence of the region of 25,000 feet during its formation." There must also have been an elevation of not only 25,000 feet, but enough more to give a pitch of the slopes of about 15° as now shown. This would put the western side of the Connecticut Valley 20,000 feet above the eastern side, and the site of New York City some 15,000 to 20,000 feet above its present level, with 25,000 feet of sandstone over it.
This interesting little volume will be welcomed by many readers, as it gives a fresh and compendious account of a man of genius whose name was celebrated in the last century, and is now brought into new prominence by the world-wide eminence of his grandson. Dr. Erasmus Darwin, who was born in 1731, and died in 1802, made a considerable impression upon his age as a poet and naturalist. lie took a view of organic nature very similar to that developed in our own time by Mr. Charles Darwin, although his speculations were crude from the imperfection of knowledge, and were, of course, regarded as in the last degree wild and baseless. His poetry, although in some respects meritorious, was not of the highest order, and was but little read after he had passed away; and, as his biological doctrines were regarded as futile and worthless, there was little to keep his memory alive in the present century. But attention to what he did in science has been recently revived, and the more critical study of his works now shows that his claims and character have been greatly depreciated. The present volume has first done justice to his fame.
Mr. Charles Darwin, in his "Origin of Species," made a short note concerning his grandfather's biological opinions, and this struck the attention of Dr. Krause, a German savant, who entered upon a careful study of the writings of the elder Darwin, and published a biographical and critical essay upon the subject in the "Kosmos." In this essay Dr. Krause says: "This man, equally eminent as philanthropist, physician, naturalist, philosopher, and poet, is far less known and valued by posterity than he deserves, in comparison with other persons who occupy a similar rank. It is true that what is perhaps the most important of his many sided endowments, namely, his broad views of the philosophy of nature, was not intelligible to his contemporaries; it is only now, after the lapse of a hundred years, that by the labors of one of his descendants we are in a position to estimate at its true value the wonderful perceptivity, amounting almost to divination, that he displayed in the domain of biology. For in him we find the same indefatigable spirit of research, and almost the same biological tendency, as in his grandson; and we might, not without justice, assert that the latter has succeeded to an intellectual inheritance, and carried out a programme, sketched forth and left behind by his grandfather."
Mr. Charles Darwin procured a translation of Dr. Krause's article, and, being in possession of much information that he had gathered in relation to his eminent ancestor, he has written a preliminary sketch which occupies 127 pages of the volume before us. It gives an excellent account of its subject, supplementing Dr. Krause's paper, so that the readers of the book will be able to form not only a proper estimate of the man, but the condition of science in his time. A life of Erasmus Darwin, published in 1804, was written by a Miss Seward, but it seems to have contained certain gross misrepresentations of his character, which it is one of the objects of the present sketch to dispel. The authoress of the biography was long an inmate of Dr. Darwin's family, and when his first wife died would have been glad to take her place. But the Doctor chose another lady, and Miss Seward paid them both off in her biographical book. She subsequently retracted her objectionable statements, but the erroneous impressions, created by her book, were widely disseminated.
Mr. Darwin writes unreservedly but judicially of his grandfather's traits, and remarks that perhaps there is no safer test of a man's real character than that of his long-continued friendship with good and able men. Darwin's intimate and almost lifelong friends were such men as Josiah Wedgwood, Keir the chemist, Day, the author of "Sandford and Merton," Bolton and Watt the engineers, and Mr. Edgeworth. A fine likeness of Dr. Darwin accompanies the volume, together with engravings of his birthplace, Elston Hall, and the Breadsall Priory, near Derby, where he lived for many years, and in which he died.
Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Annual Reports of the Geological Survey of Indiana, for the Years 1876, 1877, 1878. By E. T. Cox, State Geologist, assisted by Professor John Collett and Dr. G. M. Levette. Indianapolis, 1879.
These reports make a volume of 541 pages, and are illustrated by numerous diagrams and maps. The detailed reports are of three counties—Wayne, Crawford, and Harrison. These, as well as special reports on clays, cements, building-stone, etc., are well written, and show thorough work. A general review of the geology of the State by Professor Cox presents his conclusions on several points of interest. Of the glacial epoch, he says: "I see no evidence of a subsidence of land to terminate the glacial period, which continued until brought to a close by its own erosive force, aided by atmospheric and meteorological influences. . . . Its force was expended in eroding, cutting down, and removing mineral matter from a higher to a lower level." He does not believe it is possible for glaciers to make erosions to so great depths "as the beds of some of the great Northern lakes." The volume contains an excellent paper on archæology, a table of altitudes, catalogues of fossils and of recent flora, and, what is of especial value, "A Catalogue and Check-list of the Trees and Woody Shrubs of America north of Mexico." This was prepared by John W. Byrkit, Esq., of Indianapolis. The volume has a very full index.
Modern Meteorology. A Series of Six Lectures delivered under the Auspices of the London Meteorological Society in 1878. Illustrated. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1879. Price, $1.50.
These lectures make a volume of 186 pages, and are a useful contribution to the science of meteorology. The subjects are treated in a somewhat elementary manner, but in the light of the latest researches. The first, and perhaps the most important lecture of the series, is by Robert James Mann, M. D., F. R. C. S., etc., on "The Physical Properties of the Atmosphere," and is a model of lucid scientific statement. Others are on "Air Temperature, its Distribution and Range"; "The Barometer and its Uses, Wind and Storms"; "Clouds and Weather Signs"; "Rain, Snow, Hail, and Atmospheric Electricity"; and "The Nature, Methods, and General Objects of Meteorology." This last, by Robert H. Scott, F. R. S., Secretary to the Meteorological Council, is worth careful perusal by both scientists and the general reader.
The Great Fur Land, or Sketches of Life in the Hudson's Bay Territory. By H. M. Robinson. With numerous Illustrations. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1879. Price, $1.75.
The fact that much of the contents of this volume first appeared in "Appletons' Journal" and "Harper's" and other magazines, does not detract from its value. It is a picturesque and thoroughly readable account of life and scenery in the region occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company, and some of the pictures are uncommonly well drawn. The descriptions of the great fall hunt, of the manners and habits of the hunters, of traveling over the vast prairies during winter, of the mirage and other atmospheric phenomena, are excellent, and, although there is no attempt at scientific statement, they give one a good idea of the extent of an important industry, and of the kind of life adopted by those who pursue it.
The Berea Sandstone of Ohio. By Professor Edward Orton, of the Ohio State University. Pp. 9.
This is a review of the facts brought out by the Geological Survey of Ohio, concerning one of the most important geological formations of the State, the Berea sandstone. It extends in a continuous line of outcrop more than four hundred miles, through twenty-one counties, the stone of best quality, however, being found at Berea, in Cuyahoga County, whence its name. Building-stones and grindstones, to the amount of several million dollars, are annually obtained from this enormous deposit. The facts presented by Professor Orton are not only interesting from an economic point of view, but are of special value to the geologist.
Report on Magnetic Determinations in Missouri. By Francis B. Nipher. Pp. 24, with Map.
Report of the Commissioners of Fisheries of California for 1878 and 1879. Pp. 61.
Indian Com. By E Lewis Sturtevant, M. D., South Framingham, Massachusetts. 1830. Pp. 31.
"The American Entomologist. Edited by Charles V. Riley and A. S. Fuller. Monthly. Vol. I. New Series. No. 1. January, 1880. New York: Max Jægerhuber, Publisher, 323 Pearl Street. Pp 24. $2 per annum.
Responsibility restricted by Insane Delusion. By T. L. Wright. Bellefontaine, Ohio. Pp. 16.
How to learn Short-Hand. Baker. New York: S. R. Wells & Co. 1880. Pp. 43.
Notes of Students' Work in the Chemical Laboratory of the University of Virginia. No. VIII. Communicated by J. W. Mallet. London, 1879. Pp. 14.
Relations of Railroads to the Public. By F. B. Thurber, of New York City. Pp. 18.
The Origin of Force. By Stephen C. Hutchins. Albany. 1879. Pp. 8.
Some Additional Notes on Ozone. Pp. 22. Contributions from the Laboratory of the Stevens Institute of Technology. By Albert R. Leeds, Ph. D. Pp. 13. Reprints from "Journal of American Chemical Society."
Solar Parallax from the Velocity of Light By D. P. Todd, M. A. Pp. 6.
Thirty-fourth Annual Report of the Director of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College. By Edward C. Pickering. Cambridge. 1880. Pp. 14.
A Lecture on Man. By Charles S. Bryant, A. M. St. Paul, Minnesota. Pp. 53. 35 cents.
"The American Monthly Microscopical Journal." Edited and Published by Romyn Hitchcock. Vol. I., No. 1. January, 1880. Pp. 20. 51 Maiden Lane, New York. $1 a year; single numbers, 15 cents.
Civilization: Is its Course natural or supernatural? Philadelphia: Charles H. Marat. 1879. Pp. 140.
Fourth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Wisconsin Industrial School for Girls. Milwaukee, 1880. Pp. 52.
Remedy for Existing Evils, Social and Political. By Judge S. D. J. Moore. Nashville. 1879. Pp. 116.
Notes on New England Isopoda. By Oscar Harger. Pp. 9.
New Characters of Mosasauroid Reptiles. By Professor O. C. Marsh. Pp. 5, with Plate.
On a New Theory of the Retaining Wall. By A. J. Du Bois. Ph. D. Reprint from "Journal of the Franklin Institute." Pp. 27.
The State of Prisons and of Child-saving Institutions in the Civilized World. By E. C. Wines, D. D., LL. D. Cambridge, 1880. Pp. 708.
Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. By Rev. Walter W. Skeat. Part II., Dor-Lit. $2.50 per part.
The Native Flowers and Ferns of the United States. By Thomas Meehan. Second Series. Parts 9, 10, 11, 12, Vol. I; Parts 13, 14, 15, and 16, Vol. II. Illustrated.
On the Determination of Verdet's Constant in Absolute Units, and on the Specific Inductive Capacities of Certain Dielectrics. By J. E. H. Gordon, B. A. Cantab.
Brain-Work and Overwork. By Dr. H. O. Wood. Philadelphia: Presley W. Blakiston. 1880. Pp. 126. 50 cents.
Linkages for Different Forms and Uses of Articulated Links, by J. D. C. DeRoos; Theory of Solid and Braced Elastic Arches, by William Cain, C. E.; On the Motion of a Solid in a Fluid, by Thomas Craig, Ph. D. New York: Van Nostrand's Science Series. 1879. 50 cents each.
The Child's Catechism of Common Things. By John D. Champlin, Jr. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1879. Pp. 289. 60 cents.
Outlines of the Art of Expression. By J. H. Gilmore, A. M. Boston: Ginn Bros. 1876. Pp. 117.
Blowpipe Analysis. By J. Landauer. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 161. $1.50.
Part V., Report of United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries for 1877. Propagation of Food Fishes. Washington: 1879. Pp. 981.
Problems of Life and Mind. By George H. Lewes. Third Series. Boston; Houghton, Osgood & Co. 1880. Pp. 500. $3.
The Economics of Industry. By Alfred Marshall and Mary Paley Marshall. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 231. $1.
Studies on Fermentation. By L. Pasteur. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 418. $6.50.
Popular Romances of the Middle Ages. By Sir George W. Cox and Eustace Hinton Jones. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1880. Pp. 514. $2.25.
Pharmacographia: a History of the Principal Drugs of Vegetable Origin met with in Great Britain and British India. By Friedrich A.
Flückiger and Daniel Hanbury, F.R.S. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 803. $5.
A Handbook of Double Stars. By Edward Crossley, Joseph Gledhill, and James M. Wilson. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 464. $6.
The Microscope in Medicine. By Lionel S. Beale. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 1878. Pp. 528. $7.50.
A Treatise on Vocal Physiology and Hygiene. By Gordon Holmes, F.R.C.P. Philadelphia: Presley W. Blakiston. 1880. Pp. 268. $2.
The Refutation of Darwinism and the Converse Theory of Development. By T. Warren O'Neill. Philadelphia: Lippincott & Co. 1880. Pp. 544. $2.50.
Sunshine and Storm in the East. By Mrs. Brassey. With upward of a Hundred Illustrations. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1880. Pp. 448. $3.50.
England: her People, Polity, and Pursuits. By T. H. Escott. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1880. Pp. 625. $4.
The Metaphysics of the School. By Thomas Harper. London: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Vol. I., Pp. 592. $5.
A Manual of the Antiquity of Man. By J. D. Maclean. Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co. 1879. Pp. 159. $1.
How to educate the Feelings or Affections. By Charles Bray. Edited by Nelson Sizer. New York: S. R. Wells & Co. 1880. $1.50.