Popular Science Monthly/Volume 22/February 1883/Literary Notices

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Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel. By Ignatius Donnelly, author of "Atlantis: the Antediluvian World." Illustrated. D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 452. Price, $2.

This must rank, we suppose, as a book of science, though it is of a quite peculiar kind. It is something like what one of Jules Verne's books would be if that author should stoutly protest that the story was all true. The author put forth a work not long since, entitled "Atlantis: the Antediluvian World," in which he maintained that there is a good deal more truth than poetry about the old story of the fabled island. The book was readable and popular; and, encouraged by its success, he has now struck out more boldly, and given us in "Ragnarok" perhaps the most stunning and stupendous romance of science that has ever been perpetrated.

Opinions will be divided as to whether the author is practicing upon public credulity by an enormous joke, or whether he does not really himself half believe half that he says. He is probably a lawyer, and at all events a politician; and it would, therefore, not be fair to him to raise any question of the sincerity of his views. Nor is it at all important how this point is regarded by the reader, for this is just the peculiar kind of science that escapes all perplexing and stupid inquiry about its truth.

The work is geological, astronomic, and religious, because it falls back upon these three subjects for the materials of the author's theory. This theory has two aspects, a negative and critical, and a positive and constructive aspect. It first maintains that the loose materials of the earth's surface—gravel, pebbles, stones, sand, clay, bowlders, and the miscellaneous mineral stuff which makes up the drift or diluvial deposits upon the earth's surface—are not derived from the rocks that make up the earth's crust, as taught by geology. The author has read over all the geological treatises and speculations on the origin of these superficial formations, and devotes his first eight chapters to a very ingenious presentation of the insufficiency of all existing theories upon the subject. Evidently knowing little about it himself, in the real sense of knowing (that is, as a first-hand observer of facts), and addressing an audience in a quite similar state of mind, he has no difficulty in making out a wonderfully plausible case. If the experts in "evidence" can often convict innocent men and get scoundrels acquitted in the very teeth of opposing representations, it is easy to get up a telling case where there are many gaps and discrepancies in our knowledge of a new, extensive, and very complex subject.

Having thus impeached the geologists, our author has a clear field. If the loose mineral materials under our feet are not from the rocks, then pray where do they come from? The human intellect can not stand still, as if struck with paralysis, and wait forever for the geologists to settle their disputes; we must have an answer, and be at peace. Mr. Donnelly then proceeds to supply the answer. He here strikes off into astronomy, and maintains that this mineral débris is of meteoric origin. Stones are known to fall from the heavens, and spectrum analysis proves that the celestial bodies are composed of the same mineral constituents that are found upon the earth. There being, as old Kepler says, more comets in the heavens than fishes in the sea, and their movements being so apparently capricious and irregular that they dash about through the solar system with the greatest liability of striking its steady-going members, it is maintained that the earthly drift has been dropped upon this globe by one of these incontinent wanderers, as, perhaps, the earth went through its tail.

The author propounds this idea as an hypothesis, insufficient it may be at first blush, but admissible when all others have broken down. But he does not by any means leave the question in this speculative condition; he proceeds to summon the proofs that his hypothesis must take rank among great scientific truths. For this purpose he enters the vast field of legendary lore, and shows by the myths, traditions, fables, allegories, and obscure imaginative inventions of all peoples and nations, that something prodigious once happened to this globe, which he claims was nothing else than the deposit of the drift formation which the geologists are so much troubled about. The Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Indian, Arabian, and Aztec theogonies are learnedly ransacked for the evidence they afford to the truth of the new theory. Thirty-nine pages are given to sifting the testimony of Job, who seems to have had a very luminous forecast of Mr. Donnelly's great discovery, and wrote as if he were happy in the idea that he might be permitted to contribute something to it. Then we have twenty-four pages of instructive exegesis, entitled "Genesis read by the Light of the Comet," and at the close of this chapter the author invites attention to the full accordance of the Biblical, Druidical, Hindoo, and Scandinavian legends in confirming "the great unwritten theory that underlies all our religion." The fundamental ideas which underlie the underlying theory of our religion are thus enumerated: "1. The golden age; the paradise. 2. The universal moral degeneracy of mankind; the age of crime and violence. 3. God's vengeance. 4. The serpent; the fire from heaven. 5. The cave-life and the darkness. 6. The cold; the struggle to live. 1. The 'fall of man,' from virtue to vice; from plenty to poverty; from civilization to barbarism; from the tertiary to the drift; from Eden to the gravel. 8. Reconstruction and regeneration."

All the religions of the world being thus levied upon for proofs of the author's theory, and our own being found so eminently tributary to it, we are entitled to say that this is not only a peculiarly scientific book, but also a peculiarly religious book. He certainly makes a good deal of "matter," but he lets us know that he is no "materialist." Be assured, says he, "be assured of one thing—this world tends now to a deification of matter." But we can not heartily commend that combination of waggishness and piety which is but too obvious in a passage like this from his farewell chapter:

Do not count too much, Dives, on your lands and houses and parchments; your guns and cannon and laws; your insurance companies and your governments. There may be even now one coming from beyond Arctums or Aldebaran, or Coma Berenices, with glowing countenance and horrid hair and millions of tons of débris, to overwhelm you and your possessions, and your corporations and all the ant-like devices of man, in one common ruin.


Build a little broader, Dives. Establish spiritual relations. Matter is not everything. You do not deal in certainties. You are but a vitalized speck, filled with a fraction of God's delegated intelligence, crawling over an egg-shell filled with fire, whirling madly through infinite space, a target for the bombs of the universe.

It is to be hoped that Dives will heed these appalling admonitions.

On the whole, "Ragnarok" is too absurd to do much mischief, and contains much that is readable, and that may in a certain way prove instructive; that is, it may serve to kindle an interest in some minds upon subjects to which they would not be attracted by ordinary didactic treatises.

Zoölogical Sketches. A Contribution to the Out-door Study of Natural History. By Felix L. Oswald, author of "Summerland Sketches of Mexico and Central America." Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. Pp. 266, with 36 Illustrations. Price, $2.

It is unnecessary to commend to the readers of "The Popular Science Monthly" the writings of Dr. Oswald, but we must keep them informed of what he is doing. His last volume of "Zoölogical Sketches" is undoubtedly the most entertaining of his publications. We know of no delineator of animal traits who has so entered into the spirit of that lowlier order of beings that have hitherto been so contemned, misunderstood, and outraged. For perhaps in nothing has the brutality of man been so exemplified as in his treatment of what he calls the "brutes." No doubt, a kinder feeling is beginning to grow up as his kinship with those below him is better understood; and as men are beginning through the rise of an intelligent sympathy to oppress and abuse each other less, their humble and more defenseless relatives are certain to share some of the results of this human amelioration. Such works as this of Dr. Oswald will do much to strengthen these kindlier sentiments toward the animal creation. There is an exquisite good humor, a lively wit, and a joyous exuberance of feeling in Dr. Oswald's descriptions of the life of our inferior relatives in which nature has not yet been perverted.

The learning of this author in the field of natural history is extensive. We refer not so much to the scientific knowledge of the animal kingdom, its relationships and classifications, as to the knowledge of the ways, habits, instincts, and curious performances of the higher grades of the animate tribes. And this knowledge is by no means of the second-hand order so characteristic of popular books on natural history. Dr. Oswald has been an indefatigable observer of animal habits, of widely extended opportunity in various countries, and with a passion for what we may call companionship with inferior creatures. There is more of novelty, freshness, and out-of-the-way incident connected with the author's experience in this volume than in any other we have lately seen. The admirable woodcuts, no doubt, give effect to many of the curious situations, but the writer's text is pictorial, and vividly images what the limner can not represent. We have undertaken to make some selections, but choice is difficult where you can find nothing better than all the rest. The chapters on "Our Four-handed Relatives," "Sacred Baboons," "Animal Renegades," "Pets," "Secretiveness," "Traps," and "Four-footed Prize-fighters," are especially rich, but the others are hardly less interesting. The book is to be commended not only for its instructiveness as a higher study of natural history, but for its humanizing spirit, its sympathetic insight into animal characteristics, and its vivid and pleasing style.

There is a very considerable unity in Dr. Oswald's various writings. They are animated by a common feeling, and pervaded by the same fundamental ideas. Dr. Oswald is a passionate lover of nature. In his interesting book upon Mexico, the brightness and fervor of his pictures of natural scenery betray the poetical tendencies of his mind, which rejoices in communion with all that is beautiful, picturesque, wild, and sublime in mountains, plateaus, and valleys that have not yet been desecrated and desolated by the hand of man. He holds that "the children of Nature have not lost their earthly paradise"; it is only those that have turned away from her that have fallen. In his book on "Physical Education," there is an earnest pleading for a return to Nature on the part of those who have wandered away into misleading courses under the guidance of false ideas. There is something of sadness in the impatient denunciation and stinging invective of Dr. Oswald's writing, when he speaks of the anti-natural apostasy which has entailed so many evils on mankind. Even in the preface to the present volume, he returns to this subject as giving a clew to the spirit in which it has been written, and the presentation is so characteristic that our readers will thank us for giving the extract entire:

The tendencies of our realistic civilization make it evident that the study of natural science is destined to supersede the mystic scholasticism of the middle ages, and I believe that the standards of entertaining literature will undergo a corresponding change. The Spirit of Naturalism has awakened from its long slumber.

A year after the birth of the Emperor Tiberius, says Plutarch, a Grecian trading-vessel sailed along the coast of Ætolia. in the Gulf of Patras, and when the sun went down the crew assembled at the helm to while away the night with songs and stories. The night was calm, and some of the sailors had already fallen asleep, when they heard from the coast a loud voice calling the name of their steersman, Thamus. They were all struck dumb with amazement, but, at the third call, Thamus manned himself, and answered with a loud mariner's shout.

"O Thamus," the voice called again, "when you reach the heights of Palodes announce that the great Pan is dead!"

Four hours later, when the moonlit hills of Palodes hove in sight, Thamus complied with the strange request, and, a minute after, the coast resounded with indescribable shrieks and lamentations that continued for a long time, till they finally died away in the heights of the Acarnanian Mountains.

The tradition bears the mark of that suggestiveness which distinguishes a philosophical allegory from a priest legend. Pan was the God of Nature. Can Plutarch have divined the significance of the impending change? Whatever is natural is wrong, was the keystone dogma of the mediæval school-men. The naturalism of antiquity was crushed by supernatural and anti-natural dogmas. The worship of joy yielded to a worship of sorrow, the study of living nature to the study of dead languages and barren sophisms. Literature became a farrago of ghost stories, monks' legends, witchcraft and miracle traditions, and astrological vagaries. The poison of anti-naturalism tainted every science and every art, and perverted the very instincts of the human mind. Painters vied in the representation of revolting tortures. The exiles of Mount Parnassus assembled on Mount Golgotha. The moralists that had suppressed the Olympic festivals compensated the public with autos-da-fé. The whole history of the middle ages is, indeed, the history of a long war against Nature.

But Nature has at last prevailed. Delusions are clouds, and the storm of the Thirty Years' War has cleared our sky. The real secret of the astounding success of modern science and industry is a general renaissance of naturalism, and the same revival begins to manifest its influence in the tendencies of modern literature. Ghost-stories are going out of fashion. Like scrofula and other bequests of the middle ages, the sickly pessimism of the sentimental school is yielding to the influence of a revived taste for the pleasures of out-door life. Books of travel, of sports and adventure, historical, zoological, and even biological and cosmological studies, are fast superseding the historical romances of the last generation. Even the pariahs of our reading-rooms have advanced from ghost-hunts to scalp hunts, from impossibilities to improbabilities. And, moreover, the progress of natural science tends to supersede fiction by making it superfluous—even for romantic purposes. There is more romance in the travels of Humboldt, more magic in the idyls of Thoreau and the revelations of Darwin and Haeckel, than in all the fancies of the mediæval miracle-mongers. The wonders of nature begin to eclipse the wonders of supernaturalism. A Zoölogical Garden attracts more sight-seers than the best Passion-play. Pan has revived.

The plan of the present volume is modest enough: its theories are mere suggestions; its limits have often obliged me to reduce a chapter of zoölogical adventures to a page of zoölogical anecdotes. But, in offering it as a contribution to the entertaining literature of the English language, my diffidence arises from a distrust in my own abilities rather than from the deficient interest of the subject itself, for the history of that literature has repeatedly proved that natural science can be made more attractive than the products of fiction or mysticism—by just as much as the resources of Nature exceed the resources of her rivals.

The Coues Check List of North American Birds. Second edition, revised to date. With a Dictionary of the Etymology, Orthography, and Orthoëpy of the Scientific Names. Boston: Estes & Lauriat. Pp. 165.

The first edition of the "Check List" was published in 1874, and was a bare catalogue of the scientific and vernacular names. It contained seven hundred and seventy-eight names of species and sub-species, and was prepared with a degree of accuracy that is exhibited by the fact that it has been found necessary in the revision to remove only ten names of duplicates or extra-limital species, while a hundred and twenty names have been added. The large majority of the additions are bona fide species, and actual acquisitions to the North American list—birds discovered since 1873 in Texas, Arizona, and Alaska, together with several long known to inhabit Greenland. Except in Mr. Ridgway's National Museum catalogue, which was published after Mr. Coues's list was written, the full list of Greenland birds has never before been incorporated with the North American list. The field of North American fauna is generally bounded by the northern boundary of Mexico. The objection is made that this is a political rather than a scientific limit; and Mr. Coues suggests that it would be more exact to extend the limit, along the highlands at least, to about the Tropic of Cancer. In revising the list, particular attention has been paid to the matter of nomenclature, not only as a part of scientific classification, but also as an affair of writing and speaking the names of birds correctly; and the work includes, besides the list of the names, a full and scholarly treatise on the etymology, orthography, and orthoëpy of all the scientific and many of the vernacular words employed in the nomenclature, the work in great part of Mrs. S. Olivia Weston-Aiken.

New Check-List of North American Moths. By August R. Grote, President of the New York Entomological Club. Pp. 75. Price, $1.

This list contains about four thousand names of species, synonyms, and varieties of the North American Sphingidæ, Bombycidæ, Ægeriadæ, Thyridæ, Noctuidæ, Geometridæ, Pyralidæ and Tortricidæ. It will be welcome and useful to the student and collector of the interesting insects which it enumerates. The list embraces all recent discoveries and replaces the former catalogues of the author, as it takes in all the species. It also contains some of the results of a partial re-examination of the British Museum collections made by Mr. Grote last winter, and it includes the Tortricidæ published by Lord Walsingham, and Professor Fernald's recent arrangement of that family. It is well printed, on good paper, uniform in style, with "Papilio," the journal of the New York Entomological Club, and it may be had of the secretary of the club, Mr. Henry Edwards, No. 185 East One Hundred and Sixteenth Street.

House-Drainage and Sanitary Plumbing. Providence: E. L. Freeman & Co. Anlagen von Hausentwasserungen nach Studien Americanischer Verhältnisse. (Plans for House-Drainage, after Studies of American Arrangements.) Berlin.Diagram for Sewer Calculations. All by William Paul Gerhard, Civil and Sanitary Engineer. Newport, Rhode Island. Pp. 105, 38, and 7. With Plates.

The first of these publications is a reprint of a paper which was contributed to the fourth annual report of the State Board of Health of Rhode Island, and is an excellent practical treatise on the subject considered. It asserts the possibility of securing an efficient and healthful drainage of houses, whether upon open ground or into a sewer or cess-pool, by methods which are without mystery or secrecy, and involve "nothing more than the proper application of well-known laws of nature"; and explains specifically and with intelligible illustrations the best systems of drains, pipes, traps, basins, bath-tubs, water-closets, and sinks, at the same time pointing out the errors and defects of many of the systems in use. The second work is intended to give to German engineers a description of house-drainage as it is practiced in England and the United States. The third pamphlet is a description of a diagram on sewer calculations constructed by the author, and is of technical value. The first of these publications, revised by the author, is now published by D. Van Nostrand as No. 63 of his "Science Series." Pp. 205. Price, 50 cents.

New Method of Learning the French Language. By F. Berger. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 138. Price, $1.

The author a few years ago published a "Method" for French pupils learning English, which has been used in France satisfactorily, and with a success that is represented by the exhaustion of fourteen editions of it and a fourfold increase of the number of French students of English in five years. He now applies the features that characterize that system to the study of the French language by English pupils. The features are a simple and careful indication of the pronunciation and a conversational method, in which are given—1. The French text, with the pronunciation and a literal translation; 2. A review of words; and, 3. The French text again, with the English opposite, translated closely, so as to enable the pupil to translate alternately into French and into English. Besides the lessons on this plan are given conversational phrases, paradigms of the verbs être and avoir, conversational phrases, a version of Miss Edgeworth's play of "Old Poz," and a collection of words, sentences, phrases, and idioms.

Chapters on Evolution. By Andrew Wilson, Ph. D., F. R. S. E., etc. With 259 Illustrations. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 383. Price, $2.50.

We have no hesitation in cordially recognizing this volume as a timely contribution to a subject that is now attracting wide and serious attention. It meets an undoubted want, and is certain to prove helpful to all general students of the subject of organic development.

Yet, the title of the book may be objected to as somewhat misleading. It is not devoted to evolution in the full meaning now given to that term, but is restricted to one division of it, which ought to have been designated in the title. It is more properly confined to that phase or section of evolution which has come to be represented by the term "Darwinism," and is a book that should be ranked with Professor Gray's "Darwiniana" and Oscar Schmidt's German volume on "Descent and Darwinism." There should be no confusion here, for Darwinism is not evolution, and is but a part of it. Dr. Wilson virtually concedes this by employing in his text the term "Darwinian evolution," thus recognizing that it is but one sort of something of a larger kind; and also when he speaks of "development" as a strong pillar of the theory of evolution.

With the reservation here made, Dr. Wilson's work, as we have said, may be heartily commended. It is a very full and popular treatise on the important and interesting questions of organic development, and abounds in the biological information that has now been accumulated in illustration of the law of descent with variation. The principle of natural selection is, of course, assumed and interpreted as a great contribution to organic progress, and the various questions that have arisen in connection with the development of the organic kingdom are considered with fullness, and by a naturalist competent to deal with them. In his preface the author observes: "A considerable experience as a biological teacher has long since convinced me that the hesitancy with which evolution is accepted and the doubt with which even cultured persons are occasionally apt to view this conception of nature arise chiefly from lack of knowledge concerning the overwhelming evidences of its existence which natural history presents. Doubtless, a training in botany and zoölogy is required before the case for evolution can be fully mastered, but there need be no difficulty in the way of any intelligent person forming a just estimate of evolution upon even an elementary acquaintance with the facts of biology. I have accordingly sought to bring such facts prominently before the notice of my readers, and I would fain hope that even the complex topic of 'development' itself, a strong pillar of the theory of evolution, is susceptible of easy appreciation when the facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom are plainly stated."

Youth: Its Care and Culture. An Outline of Principles for Parents and Guardians. By J. Mortimer-Granville. New York: M. L. Holbrook & Co. Pp. 167.

The author is known as a thoughtful and vigorous writer on subjects of practical hygiene and discipline. The aim of his present work is to expose "certain fallacies" which prevail on the subject of child management and education, and to indicate, "in suggestive outline," the principles which should guide parents in the care and culture of youth. He considers the physical and moral training of boys and girls, advocating the allowance of the freest scope for physical growth in both sexes, with a "hardy" treatment and no coddling, and a particularity in moral culture which is as strange to the general society of the day as it is much needed.

Dress and Care of the Feet. By Dr. P. Kahler. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 37.

Dr. Kahler believes that chiropody should be recognized as a profession, and that those who intend to practice it should be scientifically qualified for their vocation. He enforces the importance of caring for the feet, a healthy condition of which is considered very closely connected with happiness and the soundness of the whole body, and particularly of the brain and nervous system. His manual consists chiefly of practical suggestions respecting the treatment of diseases and aches of the feet, concerning the care of the feet that will prevent their acquiring diseases and aches, and on the proper construction and form of shoes.

Report of T. B. Ferguson, a Commissioner of Fisheries of Maryland. Hagerstown, Maryland. Pp. 152, with Plates.

The report describes the work done in the western part of the State during 1880. This work, which includes also the distribution of 1,500,000 shad and 090 carp in waters wholly within the eastern section of the State, under the direction of the Western Commissioner, is regarded as very important, both on account of the success attained in the attempted propagation of several varieties of valuable fish by artificial means, and because of the accumulated proofs which the year afforded of the happy results of the effort fully to restock the waters of the State with shad. A valuable account of experiments and observations in oyster-culture, by John A. Ryder, is added.

Sixth Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Wisconsin. 1881. Madison, Wisconsin. (J. T. Reeve, Appleton, Secretary.) Pp. 146.

The health of the State was generally good during the year, notwithstanding the unusually large number of deaths from diseases of the respiratory organs among old people, caused by the severe winter of 1880-'81. The history of the various contagious diseases which appeared is reviewed Especial attention is given to the condition of the schools and school-houses, in respect to which the board trust that the beginning of a change for the better may be seen, the end of which shall be that the improvements which are demanded shall receive the consideration due to them, and "the child shall be recognized as a being of higher value than the grade, rather than as subordinate thereto."

First Annual Report of the Board of Health of Detroit. 1882. Detroit, Michigan: O. W. Wight, Health-Officer.

The report appears in the form of a "frank, earnest discourse to citizens on subjects of sanitary importance at home," rather than of a scientific discussion of hygienic concerns. Among the subjects considered are the board's system of dealing with contagious and infectious diseases; the preventive management of small-pox; the sewerage and house-drainage system of Detroit; the question of slaughtering in the city; the administrative method in the case of the abatement of nuisances; the purity of the ice-supply; the milk-supply; the "smoke nuisance"; and the water-supply. Other equally important subjects are reserved for future reports.

Van Nostrand's Science Series, Nos. 59, 60, and 61. Railroad Economics, by S. W. Robinson, C. E.; Strength of Wrought-Iron Bridges, same author; Potable Water and the Relative Efficiency of Different Methods of detecting Impurities, by Charles Watson Folkard. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 131, 175, 138. Price, 50 cents each.

Mr. Robinson's "Railroad Economics" is the fruit of an official tour of inspection under the direction of the State Commissioner of Railways, over the railroads of Ohio, and is intended to bring out such facts observed, and call attention to such features of practice, as shall assist in the attainment by railroads of a uniform standard of excellence. The second work, which has also been prepared in connection with the State railway inspection service of Ohio, furnishes practical formulas for beams, struts, columns, and semi-columns, as calculated by the author in the performance of his work of examining bridges for strength and trustworthiness. The formulas are not otherwise generally accessible in published form. Mr Folkard's "Potable Water" is the substance of an essay originally presented to the British Institution of Civil Engineers, and considers the various ways in which water becomes contaminated; the methods employed to detect and determine the extent of contamination, and their value; the bearing of the results of biological and microscopical research on the question, and the adequacy or inadequacy of proposed remedial measures.

Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club. Transactions No. 3. Ottawa, Canada. (W. Hague Harrington, Secretary-Treasurer.) Pp. 66, with Two Plates.

The record is for the year ending March 21, 1882. The club has one hundred and fifteen members. Four excursions were held during the summer; a conversazione was given on the 6th of January, and a lecture on the "Capabilities of the Prairie Lands of the Northwest, as shown by their Flora and Fauna," was delivered by Professor Macoun, on the 7th of April. Reports of the geological, botanical, entomological, ornithological and oölogical, and conchological branches are included among the Transactions, with papers on the "Geology of the Ottawa Palæozoic Basin," "Pine Life," "The Utica Slate," and other subjects.

Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Ninth Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, 1881. (J. R. Murdoch, Secretary, Cincinnati.)

The Ninth Exposition is believed to have far exceeded in completeness and novelty all that preceded it. The departments of Art, Horticulture, and Natural History, were full of interest and attractiveness, and the expert tests of machinery, a new feature, added greatly to the attractions of that department.

The American Citizen's Manual. Part I. Edited by Worthington C. Ford. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 146. Price, $1.

This is the fifth of Messrs. Putnam's series of hand-books on "Questions of the Day." It gives plain statements for the information and guidance of citizens, on the nature, distribution, and functions of our governments, national, State, and local, the electoral system, and the regulations surrounding the exercise of the franchise and the verification of the results, and the character of our civil-service administration. The present condition of civil-service abuse and the need of reform are clearly shown under the last head. A succeeding volume will more fully consider the functions of government.

Practical Life and the Study of Man. By J. Wilson, Ph. D. Newark, New York: J. Wilson and Son, Publishers. Pp. 390. Price, $1.50.

A volume of sober essays on topics relating to one or the other of the subjects mentioned in the title, expressed in plain language and pleasant style. The author's object is simply to interest and instruct those who are seeking improvement, by bringing to notice, on the subjects considdered, the best thoughts in the language, in his own words, when they have seemed fitting, in the words of others, where they expressed them best. The work has been done not to make a book, but because the author, as he remarks, "feels that he knows much that ought to be written," and with assurance, "because he has studied what he says, and has confidence in his statements."

Schelling's Transcendental Idealism. A Critical Exposition. By Professor John Watson, LL. D., of Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. Pp. 250. Price, $1.25.

This is the second of the series of "German Philosophical Classics," which Messrs. Griggs & Co. are publishing, under the general editorial supervision of Professor George S. Morris, of the University of Michigan. In the present volume the editor has endeavored to exhibit the phases of Schelling's philosophical development as they are registered in the various treatises which form their vehicle, supplying all the elements for an independent judgment, together with some hints of weak points of the system.

Speech and its Defects, considered Pathologically, Historically, and Remedially. By Samuel O. L. Potter, M. A., M. D. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston & Co. Pp. 117. Price, $1.

The first prize was accorded to this work as a thesis by the unanimous vote of the faculty, at the fifty-seventh annual commencement of the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. The author selected the subject for his prize thesis, because it was one on which from his own sufferings and experiments he felt "somewhat qualified to write," and could contribute to knowledge; for he had made, in his own person, practical trial of several of the recognized methods of cure, and had examined all the attainable literature on the subject. We give a note of warning from the author to those who have cases of stammering to deal with: "The ignorance of this subject which prevails among those having the care of children, is productive of much distress and serious results. to the innocent sufferers. The child who manifests a disposition to stutter is usually abused in more ways than one. The affection is intensified by any cause which disturbs the equipoise of the nervous system; and the most frequent and potent cases of this kind are derived from the reception which his infirmity receives from those who are endowed with perfect speech themselves. Mockery on the part of companions, and threats, even blows from parents and teachers, have made more confirmed stutterers than any other extensive influence, besides making the life of the patient one of unutterable wretchedness.

The Magazine of Art. London, Paris, and New York: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. December, 1882. Monthly. $3.50 a year.

We have received Messrs. Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.'s "Magazine of Art," as it has appeared in monthly numbers through the year, with much satisfaction, and are pleased to commend it as a good representative of what is true and meritorious in art. In its letterpress it teaches what it is well to teach in art, in a manner that appeals to the popular understanding and is likely to elicit popular interest. Its illustrations are selected with discrimination from worthy and agreeable subjects, and are well executed, while the typography is nearly perfect. Its articles arc varied in subject and method, and its news and other departments are acceptably sustained; and a fair degree of attention is given to American art. In the December number some of the American pictures at the Salon of 1882 are candidly criticised; articles are given on Japanese book illustration; a subject of prehistoric art; a department of ceramics; the works of an Italian artist; and Mr. Hamerton's "Graphic Arts," all of which are appropriately illustrated.

The "Revue Scientifique" of Paris has won a high rank among journals of its class, by the prominent space it gives to the original papers of leaders of scientific thought, and by the international catholicity which it has shown in enrolling among its contributors writers from different countries of Europe and America, including such men as Pasteur, Berthelot, Wurtz, Milne-Edwards, Tyndall, Huxley, Du Bois-Reymond, Virchow, and some of our own men of science. It is edited by Charles Richet, a physiologist eminent particularly in the investigation of nervous disorders. It is published by Germer-Baillière & Co., 108 Boulevard Saint-Germain.

The next number of the "International Scientific Series" will be on a subject of unusual popular interest, and of extreme importance. It will be on "The Science of Politics," and is contributed to the series by Dr. Sheldon Amos, author of "The Science of Law." The science of politics is a subdivision or branch of social science, the next great subject in the order of scientific progress. The science of politics is therefore in the early stage of its development, and, as its principles are as yet but imperfectly elucidated, no treatise upon it can have completeness, or the authority of perfected elucidation. Nevertheless, the beginning must be made, and already enough is known, both of the data of the inquiry and the method to be employed, to give great interest and value to a well-elaborated popular treatise.


Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College. Vol. XIII, Part I. Micrometric Measurements. By Joseph Winlock and Edward C. Pickering. Cambridge, Massachusetts: John Wilson & Son. Pp. 203.

Transactions of the Linnæan Society of New York. Vol. I. New York: L. S. Foster. Pp. 168.

"The Decorator and Furnisher." December, 1882. 75 Fulton Street, New York: E. W. Bullinger. Pp. 32. Price, 35 cents.

The Manufacture of Iron and Steel direct from the Ore. "Bull's Process." By Mr. Vaughan W. Jones. Liverpool, England: Andrew Russell. Pp. 15.

Spirits in Prison. A Discourse delivered on a Special Occasion. By George R. Ellis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: John Wilson & Son. Pp. 27.

Proceedings of the American Society of Microscopists. Fifth Annual Meeting. August, 1882. Buffalo: Bigelow Brothers. Pp. 300.

Yellows in Peach-Trees. By D. P. Penhallow. Boston: Rockwell & Churchill. Pp. 8.

Physics, and Occult Qualities. An Address before the Philosophical Society of Washington. By William B. Taylor. Washington: Judd & Detweiler. Pp. 50.

"The Modern Age," January. 1683. Buffalo: Modern Age Publishing Co. Pp. 60. Price, 15 cents.

Contributions to the Anatomy of Birds. By R. W. Shufeldt, M.D. Author's edition. Washington, D. C. Pp. 216, including Plates.

Meteorological Researches, United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Part III. Washington; Government Printing-Office. Pp. 48.

Signal-Service Tables of Rain-fall and Temperature compared with Crop Production. By H. H. C. Dun woody. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 15.

Observations on Fat-Cells and Connective Tissue Corpuscles of Necturus (Menobranchus). By Simon H. Gage. Buffalo: Bigelow Brothers.

"The American Journal of Forestry." Edited by Franklin B. Hough. October, November, and December, 1882. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. Pp. 48 each. Price, $3 a year.

Some Thoughts on Phthisis. By M. F. Coomes, M. D. Louisville, Kentucky. Pp. 7. Menstrual Amblyopia. Same author. Pp. 4.

Footprints found at the Carson State-Prison (Nevada). By H. W. Darkness, M. D. Pp. 7, with Plates.

Electric Lighting in Mills. By C. J. H. Woodbury. Pp. 7.

W. H. Cory's Artificial Fuel, and Press for Use in its Manufacture. Philadelphia. Pp. 20.

Standard Time, for the United States. Canada, and Mexico. By E. R. Knorr. Washington: Judd & Detweiler. Pp. 16.

Optical Illusions of Motion. By II. P. Bowditch and G. Stanley Hall. Pp. 10, with Plates.

How to use Florence Knitting Silk, No. 4. Nonotuck Silk Co. Pp. 62.

The Responsibility of Criminal Lunatics. By S. S. Herrick, M. D., Secretary of the Stale Board of Health, Louisiana. New Orleans. Pp. 7.

Comparative Vital Movement of the White and Colored Races in the United States. By S. S. Herrick, M.D., Louisiana. Cambridge: Riverside Press. Pp. 6.

Miscellaneous Literary, Scientific, and Historical Notes, Queries, and Answers. N. B. Webster, Editor, Norfolk, Virginia. Manchester, New Hampshire: S. C. & L. M. Gould. Double number, December and January. Pp. 32. Price, 20 cents.

Sunlight and Skylight at High Altitudes. By Professor S. P. Langley. Pp. 398.

The Structure of the Muscles of the Lobster. By M. L. Holbrook, M. D. New York City. Pp. 8.

The Disposal of the Dead. By W. H. Curtis, M. D. . Chicago, Illinois. Cambridge: Riverside Press. Pp. 22.

How Congress and the Public deal with a Great Revenue and Industrial Problem. By David A. Wells. Pp. 16.

The Termination of the Nerves in the Liver. By M. L. Holbrook, M. D. New York City. Pp. 6.

Fifteenth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Peabody Museum of American Archæology and Ethnology. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pp. 148.

"Babyland." Holiday number. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. 1682. Monthly, 50 cents a year. Illustrated.

Carnivorous Plants. By W. K. Higley. First Series. Pp. 60.

"Wide Awake." Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. December, 1882. Monthly, $2.50 a year.

House Drainage and Sanitary Plumbing. By William Paul Gerhard. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 205. Price, 50 cents.

Poems by Minot J. Savage. Boston: George H. Ellis. 1882. Pp. 247.

Annual Report of the Chief-Engineer of the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, for the Year 1881. Philadelphia: J. Spencer Smith, printer. 1882.

Tables for the Use of Students and Beginners in Vegetable Histology. By D. P. Peuhanow, B.S. Boston: S. E. Cassino. 1882. Pp. 39.

The Builder's Guide and Estimator's Price-Book. By Fred T. Hodgson. New York: Industrial Publication Co. 1882. Pp. 331.

The Elements of Forestry. By Franklin B. Hough, Ph.D. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. 1882. Pp. 381. $2.

Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel. By Ignatius Donnelly. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1882. Pp. 452. $2.

First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology. 1879-'80. By J. W. Powell, Director. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1881. Pp. 603. Illustrated.