Popular Science Monthly/Volume 30/November 1886/Popular Miscellany

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Low Water in Wells and Typhoid Fever.—Dr. Henry B. Baker, of Lansing, Michigan, supposes a close relation to exist between typhoid fever and low water in wells. The diagrams which he presents in his paper of the prevalence of sickness from typhoid fever in Michigan, and the depth of the earth above the ground-water in the wells during six successive years, seem to show that, beginning with June in each year, the sickness-curve follows more or less closely the well-water-curve. The author believes that one of the causes, probably the principal cause of sickness, is the contamination of the water by the drainage from stable-yards, privy-vaults, and cess-pools, which reaches the wells more directly when the water in them is low, and forms in them stronger solutions than when it is high. On the other hand, the curves in several years, from January to June, show no such correspondence. The difference in results is explained by the frozen condition of the ground in the winters when typhoid did not prevail; a condition which, while it tended to reduce the quantity of water in the wells, at the same time prevented percolation from the surface sources of contamination. The fever was more prevalent in the open winters when percolation was not thus impeded. Corroboration is given to these views by a remark made by Dr. Foster Pratt, of Kalamazoo, at the meeting of the American Medical Association in June, 1874, that typhoid fever was unusually prevalent in Kalamazoo in a certain year in the autumn, at about the time the water in the wells was very low, and some wells became dry.

 

Professorships of Physical Geography.—Professor H. N. Mozeley, in an address at the Royal Geographical Society's recent exhibition of geographical appliances, made a plea for the establishment in the English universities of chairs for teaching physical geography apart from geology. He quoted from letters which he had received from German professors who are teaching under a plan similar to the one which he proposes. Among them is Professor Kirchhoff, of Halle, who said: "It is, no doubt, correct that geology, in just the same way as geography, is concerned with the earth and all its various parts. But the point of view on either side is different. For example, while I am delivering in Halle during four successive semesters the course on geography, Professor von Fritsch and two colleagues are lecturing to almost entirely different audiences on mineralogy, crystallography, geology, and paleontology. In summer, Professor von Fritsch arranges excursions for geological purposes, and many of the students take part in these, because a problem of great geographical importance is able to be solved during these excursions, namely, the explanation of the form of the land-surface as resulting from its composition, and by means of the history of its development. The two sciences do, indeed, touch one another in what is termed superficial geology, but from this zone of contact they stretch wide apart from one another. Geology discusses not only the developmental history of the earth in the Quaternary period, a matter which concerns the geographer quite as much as the geologist, but it discusses also that of the most remote periods of the earth's antiquity, investigates the petrographic structure and the organic life of every formation, subjects which hardly concern the geographer at all. On the other hand, geography has to deal not only with the land-surface and the waters, but also with climate, the flora and fauna, and human inhabitants, both of the earth as a whole and of each separate country, confining its view to the present only—that is to say, to the Quaternary period. It might as well be said that the existence of history as a subject at universities rendered geography unnecessary, because it also has to do with the entire earth's surface."

 

Arsenic In Wall-Papers.—Professor H.Carmichael presented some important facts to the American Association in his paper on "The Quantity of Arsenic contained in Wall-Papers." Scientifically speaking, he said, probably no paper in the market is strictly free from arsenic, for faint indications of it may always be discovered when specially delicate tests are applied. For the present purpose, papers containing less than one fiftieth of a grain of white arsenic to the yard are said to be free. Thirty-one samples of paper, which were regarded as average ones, yielded on analysis an average of 2-2 grains to the square yard. It was impossible to classify the papers so that their prevailing colors would bear any simple relation to the amount of arsenic discovered. A paper with green ground, in which arsenic might have been suspected, was the only one in the lot entirely free therefrom, while a paper nearly white contained a quarter of a grain. Papers "warranted strictly free from arsenic" by the manufacturers also contained notable quantities. In general, arsenic is more abundant in the figure than in the ground, and in brilliant than in the light, monotoned papers jus-now in fashion. Carmine red is particularly distinguished by the amount of arsenic which it usually yields. This is to be attributed to the arsenic employed in the manufacture of aniline red, the common red coloring-matter of paper, and from which, in its manufacture, the aniline fragment is imperfectly freed. This same red dye, with its arsenical impurity, is unfortunately largely employed, on account of its resemblance to the more costly cochineal, in coloring worsted and woolen underwear. It may be easily distinguished from the latter by the readiness with which it imparts its color to wash-water or the skin with which it comes in contact. Unfortunately, there is no guide in the selection of papers free from arsenic except chemical analysis, and no security to the purchaser unless by a prohibitory law duly enforced.

 

The French Association.—The French Association for the Advancement of Science met in its fifteenth annual session at Nancy, August 12th, and was opened with an address by the president for the year, M.Friedel, the chemist, whose subject was "The Progress of Chemistry and Mineralogy." M. Friedel preceded his address with the announcement that the negotiations for a union with the Association Scientifique, had been brought to a happy conclusion, and only a single detail of formality had to be gone through to make the union an accomplished fact. The object of the Association was defined to be, to attract the largest number possible of their fellow-citizens to high scientific culture; not to vulgarize science, or bring it down by taking its true character away from it; but to unite those who cultivate the highest science, and group around them those persons who, without ascending to the summits, wish, at least, from medial regions, to follow with their eyes the traveler going up, through the obstacles, from peak to peak, without ever reaching the last one. In his conclusion, he recommended as another purpose, which they could all seek without provoking jealousies, the advancement of the intellectual and moral glory of their country. "Science," he said, "is a marvelous agent of industrial progress, and those labor under a false inspiration who regard it as a superfluity of an aristocratic civilization. Economic failures must soon remind them that the industry of routine has now lived its day, and that that only is vital which rests closely on the knowledge of the laws of matter. Science is no less favorable to moral development. How the assiduous search for truth, whether in the world of matter or in that of extent and quantity, elevates the mind and fortifies the heart! How much ought the comparison of the little that we know with the infinitude that we do not know to contribute to make us modest! "Another advantage of helping the progress of science is that, while we differ on so many other questions, we can be one in that. M.Collignon, the secretary-general, made the annual report of the history of the Association during the year. An address of welcome was made by the Mayor of Nancy, who said that they desired to create there a great center of French science, to compensate for what they had lost at Strasburg. An important discussion took place, in the Agricultural Section, on wheat-production, in which the competition of India was acknowledged to be formidable, and threatening to become more so, M.Cartaillac, in a paper in the Anthropological Section, on primitive burial rites, maintained that the custom of letting corpses entirely decompose before giving them a definitive burial had been a very prevalent one. Of the excursions, one contemplated to Mount Douon, which is in German territory, was prevented by the jealousy of the German officers, who were not acquainted with the nature of the Association, and feared it might be a political body. The meeting of the Association for 1887 is appointed to be in Toulouse, and that for 1888 in Oran, Algeria.

 

Regimen for Inebriates.—Dr. Joseph Parrish, in his address as president, at its last meeting, of the American Association for the Cure of Inebriates, analyzed the English system for the care of persons of this class as exemplified in the "Habitual Drunkards Act," and described the five retreats that have been licensed under the act, together with several retreats under the voluntary system which have not taken out licenses. The licensed retreats are: Dalrymple House, Rickmansworth; Tower House, Westgate-on-the-Sea; Old Park Hall, Wall-sail, Staffordshire; High-shot House, Twickenham; and Colman Hill House, Halesowen, Worcestershire. These institutions gave good accounts of their operations, but seemed to regard themselves, generally, as still in the experimental stage. The reports from the voluntary retreats are more varied, and some of them furnish suggestions. The "sister in charge" of one house, a woman's home of the Church of England, believes that "one year is necessary for a cure. To tide over the broken-down condition, and remove physical disability, requires at least six months, and the last six months are needed to restore and establish the moral and religious character." Dr.James Greenwood, whose institution is of twenty-five years' standing, says, as a result of his experience, that "bad cases of confirmed inebriety can only be cured by compelling total abstinence for a period of not less than twelve months." He has been tolerably successful, though some cases have taken two years to cure; "but from six to twelve months is usually sufficient." He can more readily obtain patients and induce them to place themselves under treatment by considering them merely as visitors come to reside with him for a time as a private medical man. Dr.James Stewart, late surgeon in her Majesty's navy, says: "Having attendants is a choice of evils; I do not have them. To place a man of intelligence and culture in the care of an ignorant and possibly a rude hireling, is therapeutically wrong. All sources of irritation should be avoided .... I consider the first three months of a patient's residence should be given to physical renovation. The second three months should be employed in learning to enjoy life without the usual accompaniment of alcoholic stimulants .... The third three months, they should learn to do just as sober and upright people do—to live like other people—and, the longer they continue to accommodate themselves to the new life, the better for them and for all concerned .... Rest, abstinence, and tonics, establish a cure." Two rules, recognized as cardinal by all the retreats and homes but one, arc—that no intoxicating drink shall be introduced on the premises under any circumstances, unless ordered as a medicine by the medical superintendent; and that no drug of any kind shall be taken by the patients except with the consent of the physicians.

 

How Water becomes Oxygenized.—In a paper on "The Relations of Air and Water," which he read before the American Association, Professor W.H.Pitt observed that "water falling through air, as, for instance, a small stream poured from a pitcher into a basin of water, will carry down air with it beneath the surface. The air is carried down by adhering to and mechanically mixing with the falling water. Now, as oxygen has greater adhesive property for water than nitrogen, the proportion of these two gases carried along by water in its fall is undoubtedly different from that which exists in the common atmosphere. Water, then, has a selective affinity for oxygen and very little comparatively for the inert nitrogen of our atmosphere. An application of this principle on a magnificent scale may be seen in the great storms of water falling from the clouds to the earth. We may then expect, for a short time at least, and in appreciable quantities, after a rain, a richer condition of the air in oxygen, which of course would have a corresponding effect upon all substances, organic or inorganic, susceptible of oxidation. It is probable, also, according to this theory, that the outward and upward rush of air at Niagara Falls, with the seething foam, is more than normally rich in oxygen.

 

Surface-Currents of the Ocean.—Some experiments have recently been made by Professor G.Pouchet, under the patronage of the Prince of Monaco, with relation to the superficial currents of the ocean. The purpose was to determine the existence of a current that might carry warm weather to the coast of Europe. Ten copper spheres, a foot in diameter, twenty kegs, like beer-kegs, and a hundred and fifty well-corked bottles, all bearing requests in several languages, to be taken care of by the finder, were carried to the Azores, and dropped on the 27th and 28th of July, 1885, on a line about one hundred and seventy miles long and running 14° north by east. It was supposed that, if any of the floats reached the coast of Europe, it would be at between 40° and 50° north latitude; but none of them have yet been seen in those regions. Three of the floats were taken up after a travel toward the east, in which they had at the same time inclined toward the south. Two bottles and one keg were found at the Azores; the bottles in positions which showed that they had taken fifty-three days to travel a distance of four hundred and twenty miles, and the keg where it seemed to show that the floats were continuing their course toward the south. The positive though partial results thus obtained appear to establish the fact that, from the latitude in which the floats were thrown overboard, not a drop of the surface-water of the Atlantic reaches the coast of France.

 

Milk for Infants.—Dr.T.Lauder Brunton has some important remarks, in his paper on "Poisons formed from Food," on the quality of the milk that is given to infants, and the dangers arising from carelessness in using it. Milk, he says, "may apparently be quite sweet at the time it is given, and yet it may really be 'on the turn,' as the term is. When swallowed by the infant, it may rapidly become sour and disagree, while a portion of the same milk, especially if kept cool, may appear to continue sweet for some hours afterward. It is highly probable that not the least advantage possessed by milk drawn from the breast, over that given by a bottle, is that the former is free from bacteria with which the latter is apt to be contaminated. Both may appear equally sweet when administered to the child, but the organisms present in the baby's bottle will continue their action after the milk has been taken, and render it liable to produce vomiting and purging, which are symptoms of poisoning by putrefactive alkaloids. The risk of contamination is much greater when a bottle with a long tube is used, for the bacteria readily find a lodgment in it; and it is to be remembered that not only do the bacteria present in the milk at the time it is swallowed continue to decompose it in the stomach, but they continue to multiply, so that, if even a few are present in the milk when it is taken, they may within a short time multiply greatly, and produce extensive changes in the food if they find conditions favorable to their growth in the intestinal canal."

 

The Dakotas and their Holy Stones.—Mr.H.C.Hovey gave before the American Association a description of "Eyah Shah," or Red Rock, a sacrificial stone of the Dakotas, which is near St.Paul, Minnesota. It is a well-known custom among the Dakotas to worship the bowlders that are scattered among the hills, valleys, and prairies where they may dwell. "When a Dakota was in perplexity or distress, he would clear a spot from grass or brush, roll a bowlder upon it, streak it with paint, deck it with feathers and flowers, and then pray to it for needed help. Usually when a stone had thus served its purpose, it was no longer regarded as a sacred object, but might be disposed of in any way that suited the savage whim. But the peculiarity of the sacrificial stone now described is that from year to year and from one generation to another it was a shrine to which pilgrimages were made and where offerings were laid. Notwithstanding the significance of its name, the stone is not naturally red, but is merely an extremely hard specimen of hornblende-biotite-granite, about five feet long and three feet wide. It is also called "Waukau," or a mystery. "The hunting-ground of the clan claiming the altar was upon the St.Croix River; and invariably before starting on an expedition they would visit Eyah Shah and leave an offering of gayly painted feathers, or a duck, or a goose, or a haunch of venison, and after a few simple ceremonies they would go on their way. But twice a year the clan would meet more formally, in order to paint the stone, which they did with vermilion, or, as some say, occasionally with the blood of their enemies which had been saved up for the purpose. When the painting was done they would trim the bowlder with feathers, flowers, and other ornaments, and dance about it before sunrise, with chants and prayers for successes from the mysterious spirit of the rock. The rock was last known to have been visited in 1862, just before the massacre, although the stripes have been renewed, possibly by the white men, "By the compass, Eyah Shah lies exactly north and south. It is located just twelve paces from the present river-bank. The north end is ornamented by a design representing the sun—a rudely drawn face surrounded by fifteen rays. These markings are interesting, because, if not actually made in their present condition by the Indians, they were evidently meant to reproduce their original work."

 

The Order of Children's Studies.—In a paper on this subject read before the Education Society, Mrs.Bryant says that the order of studies should depend both on the order of the development of faculty and the order of logical dependence in knowledge. Subjects become interesting to a child as his intellect develops a capacity for dealing with them; hence, the order of interest in studies for children should be taken as a clew to the natural order of studies for them. Children are interested in the superficial aspects of Nature. Nature-knowledge should be one of their first studies, developing gradually into natural science as intellect ripens and the age of reason draws near. Children are also interested in social objects so far as these appeal to their rudimentary faculties of emotion and imagination. History and literature of the elementary kind should find a place among their studies, and thus preparation may be made for a scientific study of the same subjects later on. The mother-tongue is profoundly interesting to children, and they are, to some extent, interested in foreign languages, the acquisition of which is at the most quite possible to them. Hence the study of the English and of a foreign language may take an early place in the curriculum. The increasing complexity and the increasing inwardness which characterize mental development throughout bring about at last that capacity for and impulse in search of general knowledge which distinguish the adult from the childish mind. Then the order of studies is dominated by the logical sequence of sciences.

 

Prehistoric Monuments in Southeastern Africa.—A feature of the region of Eastern Africa south of the Zambesi, which has hitherto escaped the attention it deserves, is the evidence that is cropping out day by day, in the shape of extensive ruins, of the existence of a prehistoric civilization and an ancient flourishing state in the country. The ruins are of such a character as to indicate the former existence, not merely of one or two cities, but of a considerable dominion. Ruins of cities have been discovered which have stood, if the difference in climate be considered, nearly as well as the most enduring monuments of Egypt, and better perhaps than those of Assyria, the wear and tear of time. In the imperfect state of our knowledge of the country, it is impossible to fix upon any particular mass of ruins and say that it was the chief city of the ancient state. The ruins of Zimbabye are of great extent, and most remarkable for the strange shapes they present as well as for their enduring structure. Walls twelve feet thick at the base, and tapering upward to a height, even now, of thirty feet, constructed wholly of small hewed blocks of granite, put together without mortar, and in which are imbedded blocks of stone eighteen and twenty feet in length, apparently to support a gallery, sufficiently testify to the ingenuity and industry of their builders. North of these, about Manica, many ruins are to be found, and no less than three hundred and fifty miles west of these again masses of masonry are to be seen, like the others described in solidity and singularity of shape. No inscriptions have been discovered and verified, but a forty-years resident, a native of Portuguese India, who has married one of the queens of the country, says there are numerous inscriptions about Manica, for which his descriptions indicate a cuneiform character. Much may be said in favor of Consul O'Neill's theory, that the ruins are the remains of ancient Phœnician settlements.

 

"Hereditary Stature."—Mr.Galton has completed "to a well-denned resting-place" his investigations of hereditary stature, and has declared his conclusions in a kind of a general rule. The main problem which he had in view was to solve the question: given a man of known stature, and ignoring every other fact, what will be the probable height of his brothers, sons, nephews, grand-children, etc.; what will be their average height; and what proportion of them will probably range between any two heights we may specify? From his measurements, which were made by a method that he calls "almost absurdly simple," he found that for every unit that the stature of any group of men deviates upward or downward from the level of mediocrity (five feet eight inches and a quarter), their brothers will, on the average, deviate only two thirds of a unit, their sons one third, their nephews two ninths, and their grandsons one ninth. In remote degrees of kinship, the deviation will become zero; in other words, the distant kinsmen of the group will bear no closer likeness to them than is borne by any group of the general population taken at random. The rationale of the regression from father to son toward the level of mediocrity is due to the fact that the child's heritage comes partly from a remote and numerous ancestry, who are, on the whole, like any other sample of the past population, and therefore mediocre, and partly only from the person of the parent. Hence the parental peculiarities are transmitted in a diluted form, and the child tends to resemble, not his parents, but an ideal ancestor who is always more mediocre than they. Every one of the many series of measurements with which Mr.Galton has dealt in his inquiry has conformed with satisfactory closeness to what is called the "law of error." He knows of scarcely anything so apt to impress the imagination as this law. "It reigns with serenity in complete self-effacement amid the wildest confusion. The huger the mob and the greater the apparent anarchy, the more perfect is its sway. Let a large sample of chaotic elements be taken and marshaled in order of their magnitudes, and then, however wildly irregular they may seem, an unsuspected and most beautiful form of regularity appears to have been present all along. Arrange the statures side by side in order of their magnitudes, and the tops of the marshaled row will form a beautifully flowing curve of invariable proportions; each man will find, as it were, a preordained niche, just at the right height to fit him, and, if the class-places and statures of any two men in the row are known, the stature that will be found at every other class-place, except toward the extreme ends, can be predicted with much precision. It will be seen, from the large values of the ratios of regression, how speedily all peculiarities that are possessed by any single individual to an exceptional extent, and which blend freely together with those of his or her spouse, tend to disappear. A breed of exceptional animals, rigorously selected and carefully isolated from admixture with others of the same race, would become shattered by even a brief period of opportunity to marry freely. It is only those breeds that blend imperfectly with others, and especially such of these as are at the same time prepotent, ... that seem to have a chance of maintaining themselves when marriages are not rigorously controlled.... It is on these grounds that I hail the appearance of every new and valuable type as a fortunate and most necessary occurrence in the forward progress of evolution."

 

How Inventions are evolved.—Vice-President Chanul, in his address before the Mechanical Section of the American Association, considered what might be called the evolution of inventions. Nothing, he said, is more remarkable than the multitude of minds and facts which are required for the perfecting of even a simple machine, or how little the last man may need to add to complete the invention. Facts and natural laws, known for years as curiosities, are taken up by some inventor, who fails in the attempt to render them of practical use; then a second genius takes hold, and, profiting by the mistakes of the first, produces, at great cost, a working machine. Then comes the successful man, who works out the final practical design, and, whether making or losing a fortune, yet permanently benefits mankind. This course is exemplified in the address by the relation of the growth of the steam-engine; and so with other inventions: the steamboat was being developed from 1760 to 1807; the locomotive from 1802 to 1829; the telegraph, from 1729 to 1844; the sewing-machine, with its two thousand patents, from 1790 to 1860; and the reaping-machine for seventy-five years—the last successful man adding generally but little to the work of his forerunners. The rule has been that "the basis of success lay in a thorough acquaintance with what had been done before, and in setting about improvement in a thoroughly scientific way."

 

Composite Photography of Handwriting.—Dr. Persifer Frazer has published a paper on "Composite Photography applied to Handwriting." The principle of the application is the same as that proposed by Mr. Galton for the production of composite portraits, to be typical of a family, a race, or a class of persons. With relation to the practical value of the application contemplated in Mr. Frazer's paper, the author says that, in examining with care a composite signature, "it at once arrests the attention that the variations are not equally distributed over the entire body of the letter, but that there are regions of each letter where variations of a particular kind are noticeable, and other regions where there are few or none. The more the manuscripts of an individual are compared the more forcibly does this fact appear, until finally one is tempted to conclude that after a handwriting is once formed it can not naturally exhibit deviations except within a defined variation and in certain limited areas adjacent to the separate letters. It is thus as great an assistance to an observer to study the variations as to study the ideal signature. Indeed, the variations are all-important in the matter of identification, and if there were no variations the method would be inapplicable, because an exact copy might be made by tracing." The principle was applied by Mr. Frazer in a recent case in a Philadelphia court, and he thinks, from the experience thus far gained, that "it will (at least in many cases) more surely lead to the truth than will the mere opinions of the most skillful expert."

 

Sesostris.—On the first day of June last, M. Maspero, in the presence of the Khedive and a number of Egyptian and European notables, unwrapped the bandages of the mummy of Rameses II—the Sesostris of the Greeks, and the Pharaoh of Moses and the Hebrew oppression—which was found about two years ago at Dayr-el-Bahari, near Thebes. The mummy was identified by the inscriptions on the lid of the sarcophagus and on the outer winding-sheet. The profile of the goddess Nut, which was painted on a linen sheet covering the front of the mummy, was "unmistakably designed after the pure and delicate profile of Seti I," the father and predecessor of Rameses. In a quarter of an hour after the unrolling was begun, the face of the monarch was revealed, as it had been laid away 3,300 years ago. "The head is long, and small in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare. On the temples there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about five centimetres in length. White at the time of death, they have been dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the eyebrows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close together; the nose is long, thin, hooked like the noses of the Bourbons, and slightly crushed at the tip by the pressure of the bandages. The temples are sunken; the cheek-bones very prominent; the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced, like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings. The jawbone is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small but thick-lipped, and full of some kind of black paste. This paste, being partly cut away with the scissors, disclosed some much worn and very brittle teeth, which, moreover, are white and well preserved. The mustache and beard arc thin. They seem to have been kept shaved during life, but were probably allowed to grow during the king's last illness; or they may have grown after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and eyebrows, but are harsh and bristly, and from two to three millimetres in length. The skin is of earthy brown splotched with black. Finally, it may be said that the face of the mummy gives a fair idea of the face of the living king. The expression is unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal; but, even under the somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification, there is plainly to be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride. The rest of the body is as well preserved as the head; but in consequence of the reduction of the tissues its aspect is less life-like.... The corpse is that of an old man, but of a vigorous and robust old man. We know, indeed, that Rameses II reigned for sixty-seven years, and that he must have been nearly one hundred years old when he died." Another mummy, which had been laid in the sarcophagus of Queen Nofretari, queen of Ahmes I of the eighteenth dynasty, proved, when unbandaged, to be the mummy of Rameses III, another great king, of the twentieth dynasty. It was less well preserved than the mummy of Rameses II. The physiognomy is more delicate and more intelligent; but the height of the body is less, the shoulders are less wide, and the strength of the man was inferior. The two mummies, replaced in the glass cases, will be exhibited with their faces uncovered in the museum at Boulak.

 

Maternal Families.—Sir George Campbell, president, began his address to the Anthropological Section of the British Association with some observations on the races of India. He spoke particularly of the Khassyahs, a very peculiar people of the hill regions, with highly developed constitutional and elective forms of government, who were also specially interesting as exhibiting an excellent specimen of the matriarchal or matriherital system fully carried out under recognized and well-defined law among a civilized people. The result of his observation of them had been to separate in his mind the two systems of matriheritage and polyandry, and to suggest that polyandry was really only a local accident, the result of scarcity of women. Among the Khassyahs there was no poly-andry, so far as he had been able to learn, though there was great facility for divorce; and heritage through the female became quite intelligible when he saw that the women did not leave the maternal home and family and join any other family, as do the Aryans. They are the stock-in-trade of the family, the queen-bees, as it were; they take to themselves husbands—only one at a time—and, if he is divorced, they may take another; but the husband is a mere outsider belonging to another family. The property of the woman goes in the woman's family, the property of the man in bis own maternal family. It should be added, however, that in these maternal families, though the heritage comes through the female, the males rule. The extension of our accurate information respecting the diverse peoples of India might throw a flood of light on the social history of the human race. The speaker then proceeded to what he announced as the main object of his address—to recommend the systematic and scientific cultivation of man, which he might call homi-culture, with a view both to physical and mental qualities. It seems very sad, indeed, he said, that when so much has been done to improve and develop dogs, cattle, oysters, and cabbages, nothing whatever has been done for man, and he is left very much where he was when we have the first authentic records of him. Knowledge, education, arts, he has no doubt acquired; but there seems to be no reason to suppose that the individual man is physically or mentally a superior creature to what he was five thousand years ago. "We are not sure that under very modern influences he may not retrograde. In regard to animals and plants we have very largely mastered the principles of heredity and culture, and the modes by which good qualities may be maximized and bad ones minimized. Why should not man be similarly improved? Surely, if we only have the requisite knowledge, and, taking a practical view of life, could regulate our domestic arrangements with some degree of reason, rather than by habit, prejudice, and the foolish ideas cultivated by foolish novelists, this might be done. Probably we have enough physiological knowledge to effect a vast improvement in the pairing of individuals, if we could only apply that knowledge to make fitting marriages, instead of giving way to foolish ideas about love and the tastes of young people, whom we can hardly trust to choose their own bonnets.

 

The Place of Geography in School-Studies.—The burden of General Sir F. J. Goldsmid's presidential address before the Geographical Section of the British Association was, that the place which geography holds among school-studies is not that which it ought to hold if its uses were understood and appreciated. As a matter of state and public-school education, the science of geography should be elevated, not degraded. It should be placed on a par with classics, mathematics, and history, with each and all of which it has affinity. A knowledge of geography is not one of those accomplishments which will come, as it were, of them-selves, or are the outcome of lightly sown seeds in the home; it will not come, like hand-writing, with incidental practice, nor is it to be gained by mere traveling. After a running review of the principal geographical work of the world during the year, the speaker mentioned the east and west coasts of Africa as two regions in which geographical activity had been evinced in a remarkable degree. "It is really astonishing," he said, "to trace the changes in a map of Africa during the last quarter of a century. Large spaces that were quite blank have been filled up with conspicuous delineations of mountains, fine lines representing rivers, crossed by or connected with finer lines of affluents or feeders, with names, circles, and dots for towns or villages. Yet, as I now contemplate that map in its latest form, it seems to me that hundreds of spots visited have yet to be indicated, and that the coast lines of the Indian Ocean on the one side and the Atlantic on the other are teeming with life imported, as it were, from Europe." An adequate knowledge of geography combined with history ought to have contributed to prevent the English Government consenting to the treaty it has made, though it is still unratified, with Portugal, respecting the lower Congo. While full information respecting the history and geography of such important countries as Afghanistan, Beloochistan, and Persia, is available in books, it is nowhere to be found in the comprehensive form that would necessarily be adopted were geography honored with professorial chairs; but, in the absence of the appropriate manual, search must be made in encyclopædias, gazetteers, and volumes of history and travel.