Popular Science Monthly/Volume 36/December 1889/Literary Notices
Scientific Papers of Asa Gray. Selected by Charles Sprague Sargent. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 2 vols. Pp. 397 and 503. Price, $3 each.
The literary value of the papers contained in these volumes is equal to their scientific value, and that is well understood. Botanical criticism and description are not usually classed among literary subjects, but Prof. Gray made them one; and a large proportion of what he has written in that field is æsthetically enjoyable. The period of his scientific writing lasted fifty-three years—from 1834 to 1887—and during that time he made a remarkable number and variety of contributions, all stamped with evidence of thoroughness and the complete familiarity with his subject that seem to have been habitual with him. His writings are grouped by Mr. Sargent in four divisions. The first in importance contains his contributions to descriptive botany, relating chiefly to the flora of North America; "and although," says the editor, "it did not fall to his lot . . . to elaborate any one of the great families of plants, the extent and character of his contributions to systematic botany will place his name among those of the masters of the science." Next in importance are his educational works, manuals or text-books, the influence of which on the development of botanical knowledge in this country has been great. The third group includes a series of critical reviews of important scientific publications, and of historical accounts of the lives and labors of workers in botany; and the fourth group a number of papers which owe their existence to the discussions that followed the publication of Darwin's "Origin of Species." The present volumes contain a selection of papers from the third group, with a few essays on subjects of general interest to botanists. Most of these papers, unlike those of the other groups, which are still in the market, have long been out of print, and have not been incorporated in any recent publication. The selections have been made with the thought of presenting, as far as might be, a view of the growth of botanical science during the fifty years through which the papers run a period which, as the editor observes, is marked by the gradual change of ideas among naturalists upon the origin and fixity of species that has broadened the field of all biological investigation. The period was also characterized by a great increase and diffusion of the knowledge of botany in the United States, and by the growth of a body of earnest, energetic American botanists, who have not only given vigor to the study and inspired interest in it through all the schools, but have also contributed to exalt the reputation of American science; and these botanists are, and are what they are, almost wholly by reason of what Prof. Gray and his books taught them.
A glimpse of the condition of botanical study in the United States at the beginning of Prof. Gray's fifty years is afforded in the first of the papers, which is a review of the second edition of Lindley's "Natural System of Botany," published in 1836-'37. The intimation that " we do not intend to engage in a defense of what is called the natural system of botany " indicates that that system had not yet fully conquered acceptance. Still, the author assumed that the science could by no other method be successfully and philosophically pursued, and added: "The few persons who remain at this day unconvinced of its advantages are not likely to be affected by any arguments that we could adduce. A somewhat larger number may perhaps be found in this country who admit the importance and utility of the natural arrangement in the abstract, but decline to avail themselves of the advantages it affords in the study of plants, because, forsooth, it is too much trouble to acquire the enlarged views of vegetable structure which arc necessary for the application of its principles." But the system had grown in favor during the preceding six years. Twenty years later, in the review of Henfrey's "Botany," 185*7, we are given this picture of the condition of botanical instruction here: "While in England botany is scarcely an academical study, here it pertains to collegiate and academical instruction where it is taught at all. In Europe not even an apothecary can be licensed without passing an examination in botany; in the United States, we believe, it forms no part, at least no regular part, of the medical curriculum; no medical school has a botanical chair; and no knowledge whatever of the science of the vegetable kingdom, which supplies the materia medica, is required for the degree of Doctor in Medicine !" With botanical chairs in a large number of our leading universities and schools, filled by experts who are engaged in original work and encourage it in their students; and pupils in high schools knowing more of the structure and qualities of plants than the doctors Prof. Gray describes, we of the present time have no reason to be ashamed of the advance that has been made. From these almost elementary considerations, the reviews and essays follow the series of publications in the science and the course of discussion over the whole scientific world, while having an eye primarily to America, including such subjects as Van Mold's observations of the cell; De Candolle's theories of variation and distribution and of the origin of cultivated plants, in reviewing which the author displays the sharpness of his discernment and the thoroughness of his knowledge regarding American plants; Radlkofer's and Henslow's studies in fertilization; the principles of nomenclature and the definition of species; several local floras and special studies, never forgetting those that are primarily of American interest; and those studies in which Prof. Gray so greatly supported and aided Darwin, relative to variation and the origin of species. In these notices, while some of them seem to bristle with technicalities and run to details, the technicalities and details are never all, and are seldom a prominent feature. A lesson of general application is to be drawn in each of them, and is drawn and presented with such directness and lucidity that even young students can comprehend it and be interested in it. The essays in the second volume are more extended discussions of special topics, among which are "The Longevity of Trees," "The Sequoia and its History," "Do Varieties wear out, or tend to wear out?" "Forest Geology and Archæology," "The Pertinacity and Predominance of Weeds," and two on the flora of North America. Many of these papers, as well as no small number of the "Reviews," had not Prof. Gray been so preeminently a man of science, might have established his reputation as a literary essayist of the first rank. In some of them the author co-operates with Heer and De Saporta, anticipating the chief publications of the latter author, in working out the theory of the arctic origin of the plants of the temperate zone. "Notes on a Botanical Excursion to the Mountains of North Carolina" is a letter to Hooker, recording the experiences and observations acquired in a visit to a region which was of peculiar interest at the time, and is equally so now, on account of the number and variety of rare plants to be found there. This excursion seems to have been an exception to the general course of Prof. Gray's life; for, in an address at the American Association meeting in 18*72, on "The Sequoia and its History," when he had just visited a unique botanical region in California, he says that, so far as our country was concerned, he had been to a great extent a closet botanist, and had not before seen the Mississippi or set foot upon a prairie. Through all of these papers Prof. Gray's style is clear; he goes directly for the point; is judicially minded; always at home, searching in criticism; and sometimes, as when dealing with Mr. Ruskin or exposing an error of the authors on whom Henfrey relics, keen in sarcasm. And the editor's observation that "his reviews represented the opinion of a just and discriminating mind, thoroughly familiar with all sides of the question before it, critical rather than laudatory, loving the truth and its investigators, but the truth above everything else," is fully borne out.
Sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1884-'85. By J. W. Powell, Director. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. lviii + 675.
It is impossible to examine one of these handsome volumes without being deeply impressed by the extent of the work that is being done and the interest of the store of information that is being secured by this bureau. The report of the director states that the field-work of the year comprised mound explorations by several assistants under the charge of Prof. Cyrus Thomas; researches in the ancient ruins of the Southwest by parties in charge of Mr. James Stevenson and Mr. Victor Mindeleff; linguistic field-work by Mrs. Erminnic A. Smith, Mr. H. W. Henshaw, Mr. A. S. Gatschet, Rev. J. Owen Dorsey, and Mr. Jeremiah Curtin. General ethnological investigations in the field were carried on by Dr. Washington Matthews, Dr. H. C. Yarrow, and Dr. W. J. Hoffman. Office work on sign-language and pictographs was continued by Colonel Garrick Mallery; on bibliography of North American languages, by Mr. James C. Pilling; on the myths and customs of the Zuñi, by Mr. Frank H. Cushing; on ceramics, by Mr. W. H. Holmes; on a historical atlas of Indian concessions, by Mr. Charles C. Royce; and by the explorers above mentioned, on their several specialties, when not engaged in field-work. The first of the papers accompanying the report is on "Ancient Art of the Province of Chiriqui, Colombia," by William H. Holmes, and is based on the large collection of archaeologic material from the province in the National Museum. The paper contains a wealth of information in regard to the works of the ancient inhabitants of this interesting region, and its descriptions are assisted by 286 illustrations. A curious feature of the Chiriquian objects buried with the dead is that they appear to have been made for that purpose, and not for use by the living. Another paper by Mr. Holmes is "A Study of the Textile Art in its Relation to the Development of Form and Ornament." Mr. Holmes gives an instructive analysis of the forces and influences inherent in the textile art, the first lessons of which are order, uniformity, and symmetry. He discusses the influence of textile ornament upon other forms of art, such as architecture and sculpture, and also the manner in which intrinsic decorative elements are remodeled in accordance with the rules of textile combination. The paper is illustrated with 73 figures. Prof. Cyrus Thomas supplements his former publications on American palæeographic literature with "Aids to the Study of the Maya Codices," embodying some original discoveries, and some explanations not already brought forward. Plates 50 to 58 of the Dresden Codex, and portions of other plates of the Dresden and other codices, are figured in the text. Rev. J. Owen Dorsey furnishes an account of a secret society of seven degrees, still existing among the Osage, in which the traditions of the people have been preserved. This is accompanied by two of these traditions in the original language, which he has succeeded in obtaining, together with an interlinear and a free translation of each, with explanatory remarks. An extended account of "The Central Eskimo" is contributed by Dr. Franz Boas, who spent a considerable time among these people in the region between Hudson and Baffin Bays. The scope of the paper includes the topography of the region, the distribution, tribal divisions, and numbers of the inhabitants, their habits and customs, their religious practices and beliefs, with translations of their myths and legends, and descriptions of their peculiar and ingenious weapons, implements, and utensils. Much work of previous explorers has also been incorporated with the original material in this account. The paper is illustrated with 156 figures and nine plates, two of the latter being folded maps and six representing Eskimo drawings or carvings. A feature of the paper is the notation of a number of Eskimo songs.
Catalogue of Canadian Plants. Parts I to IV. By John Macoun, M. A., F. L. S., F. R. S. O, Naturalist to the Geological and Natural History Survey of Canada.
Recent years have brought to the botany of North America few contributions more valuable than the "Catalogue of Canadian Plants," by Prof. Macoun. The entire work has been issued within the past six years, the first part appearing in 1883, the fourth in 1S88, and only recently distributed; but these six years bear only small proportion
to the actual amount of time the work has cost. Prof. Macoun gives us the labor of a life. For nearly forty years he has been an indefatigable explorer and systematist, pursuing his investigations from Newfoundland to Vancouver's, from the Lakes to the Arctic Circle. The plan of the work contemplates an exact enumeration of the vegetable life of the Dominion, but virtually the plants of all northern North America are included, Alaska and even Greenland not being forgotten. For this area not only is each species named, but for each, to the extent of present knowledge, is given its geographical range as well, its distribution, also its synonymy, and, in many cases, notes concerning habit and habitat. Facts of distribution are given with unusual exactness. For every plant each station is named and the name of the collector given, so that the catalogue is no mere check-list, but in so far an authentic geographical botany.
It were a pleasing task, did the limits of this review permit, to notice at length many of the interesting points which this catalogue brings to light. Each specialist will, of course, scan the field in search of his own particular favorites, but every one at all familiar with North American botany will enjoy tracing the distribution of some of our more common or interesting forms. The common quaking asp (Populus tremuloides), for example, occupies the whole Northwest, from Labrador to Alaska. The sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), common in New England, but a plant which many a Western botanist has vainly desired to see, is reported common from Newfoundland west to the Pacific, and north to the Arctic Sea. Dodecathcon Meadia likewise runs north and west, and shoots its dainty stars in far Alaska, while plumes of Hordeum jubatum wave on the banks of the Mackenzie and Yukon. Few trees cross the continent from east to west. The paper birch (Betula papyrifera) is one. With this may be named Picea alba and Picea nigra. These two spruces start together in Newfoundland and extend westward across the continent side by side, until the former is replaced in Columbia by P. Engelmanii, with which in the Athabascan region it seems to blend, while the latter (P. nigra) drifts northward, until it finally vanishes side by side with the paper birch hard by the waters of the northern sea. All the species that pass from east to west seem to be northern forms. Loniæera involucrata, however, crosses the continent from New Brunswick to the sea-level of the Pacific coast. Very few plants whose center of distribution is west of the Rocky Mountains appear in the flora of the East. Pseudotsuga Douglasii comes as far east as longitude 114º; Pinus Murrayana, longitude 110º; Rubus nutkanus reaches Sault Ste. Marie, and Goodyera Menziesii the shores of Lake Ontario.
Some species which in those northern regions bind the floras east and west will interest naturalists generally by reason of peculiarly isolated distribution. Thus, Armeria vulgaris, common on sea-shores around the entire North, is found in profusion on the summit of Mount Albert, Gaspé. Vaccinium ovalifolium, reported in the United States from a single locality on the south shore of Lake Superior, occurs at many stations in the far Northwest and also on the summit of Mount Albert. Galium kamtschaticum, another arctic species, occupies the same interesting locality. Heliotropium curassavicum, characteristic rather of our Southern flora, surprises us by appearing abundantly away north and west of the Saskatchewan.
Six parts will show this excellent catalogue complete. Of these, the four already published are devoted to phenogamous plants exclusively; Part V will present the ferns and mosses; while algæ and fungi are relegated to Part VI.
Handbook of Psychology; Senses and Intellect. By James Mark Baldwin, Ph. D., Professor in Lake Forest University. New York: Henry Holt & Co-1889. 8vo. Pp. 343. Price, $2.26.
In this book the author displays a thorough acquaintance with the works of those writers on the subject whose general philosophical attitude is different from his own, and he often adopts their conclusions, freely recognizing their merits. The references show a wide acquaintance with psychological works in all languages, and are impartially made, with no discrimination in favor of either Trojan or Tyrian, the author evidently intending that the reader shall be made fully acquainted with the literature of the
various topics treated. The work is that of a scholar, the style is good, and many special themes are well handled. This is particularly true of sensation, though the selection of the word tone to characterize the quality of sensation as pleasurable or painful does not seem to us felicitous. So also the chapter on illusions is an excellent presentation in condensed form of a class of very interesting mental phenomena.
But while the author makes good use of the results of scientific psychological study, his work is vitiated by an inability to get rid of the notion that Psychology must be made a servant of Theology. We are reminded by his book of Dr. McCosh's works, though Dr. Baldwin is much less anachronistic. The difficulty is the old heresy that the human mind has a special and higher faculty for seeing things invisible, by a rational or intuitional apprehension. The moment we apply the term intuition alike to presentative knowledge and to representative products concepts, judgments, inferences as does Dr. Baldwin, we destroy the fundamental psychological distinction, and make a jumble of mental science. This is what is always done by those who insist on a "reason" and on "rational intuitions."
We have yet to see any fairer or better handbooks of psychology than Prof. Bain's and Mr. James Sully's, and either of these we should certainly recommend in preference to the present work, which, spite of excellences, is essentially misleading by reason of errors mostly growing out of the above-mentioned confusion.
"The New Review." Edited by Archibald Gove. Monthly. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Price, 15 cents a number, $1.75 a year.
This addition to the number of monthly reviews deserves to be classed with the best. The first number was that for June, 1889, and the issues that have already appeared have been filled with the contributions of able and well-known writers. Being an English magazine, of course it contains some articles that the American reader would skip as being of rather remote interest; but much of its contents knows no nationality, for instance, "After the Play," by Henry James, and "The Dying Drama," a reply by William Archer; also "The Religion of Self-Respect," by Mrs. Lynn Linton; "A Month in Russia," by Lady Randolph Churchill; "Wrestling in Japan," by the Hon. George N. Curzon, M. P. Papers on General Boulanger, the French elections, and the German emperor are among the contents of the early numbers, and the scientific arts are represented by an article on "The Eiffel Tower," by M. Eiffel, and one on "Electric Lighting," by the Duke of Marlborough. English political problems, general sociological questions, literature, history, and biography are among the fields which "The New Review" has already entered, and Charles Bradlaugh, St. George Mivart, M. Flourens, and Andrew Lang are among the contributors not already mentioned. Its mechanical work is excellent.
Handy Lists of Technical Literature. Part I. Useful Arts in General, Products and Processes used in Manufacture, Technology, and Trades. Compiled by H. E. Haferkorn and Paul Heise. Milwaukee: National Publishing and Printing Company. Pp. 99. Price with Key, $1.25 paper; $1.50 cloth.
As one of the tools of the book trade, this series of lists can not fail to be of value. It furnishes information about a class of books, many of which are published and distributed through other than the well-known trade channels, and hence are not easily found. Part I, already issued, contains titles of books in English published since 1880 of the classes specified in its title, entered alphabetically under the author 's name, or, if anonymous, under the first word of the title. Each title is numbered, and the names of subjects are inserted in the same list, with cross-references to the titles. References are given also to articles in cyclopædias and to parts of works treating of the various subjects. The size, price, and date of each book are given, and the publisher is indicated by an abbreviation. The key consists of a list of the publishers' names for which these abbreviations stand, with addresses, each followed by the list-numbers of the books mentioned which the publisher issues or keeps on sale. An appendix to the "Handy List" consists of a selection of books of the same class published before 1880, and still kept on publishers' and jobbers' lists. Other parts to be published will include lists on military and marine affairs, engineering, mining, fine arts, building, and miscellaneous subjects.
A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by George Grove. Appendix. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 306. Price, $2.25.
The large demand for this elaborate work, which now appears in a complete form, with its steady increase from the beginning, in Europe and America, are accepted by the publishers as showing that on the whole the book has fulfilled the intentions with which it started. Shortcomings were to be expected, and may be found; but with all the allowance that need be made for them, the value of the work is exceedingly great, and is far more than an equivalent return for the cost. Many of the special articles are treatises in themselves, and the biographical notices give very satisfactory accounts of the lives and works of musical men of every class, with fullness proportionate, on the average, to the importance of the subject. The purpose of the appendix, which was promised from the beginning of the publication, is to supply omissions and correct errors in the original text, furnish new information, and bring the whole up to the latest practicable dates. It is arranged alphabetically, and forms a considerable volume in itself. A copious index of the whole four volumes will shortly be published in a separate volume.
"Bulletin, No. 36," of the United States National Museum, is A Review of the Family Delphinidæ, prepared by Frederick W. True, as a contribution to the natural history of the cetaceans. The publication is the fortyseventh of a series of papers intended to illustrate the collections of the National Museum. Previous to preparing the review, Mr. True visited the European museums, in order to examine the type specimens contained in them as an essential prelude to the proper comparison of species. He there also met several zoölogists, who furnished him information; among them, Prof. Flower, who placed in his hands the proof-sheets of his own work on "The Delphinidæ." The present work differs from Prof. Flower's in that it is directed to the determination of species, while the British author makes the discovery of mutual relations and associations into groups a prominent object.
The tenth volume of the Resultados del Observatorio National Argentino at Cordoba, Juan M. Thome, director, contains all the observations made during 1877 for the General Catalogue, the four microscopes, as well as three tallies of transit-threads, having been employed for them; and the zones from 755 to 759 inclusive, with their reduction-tables, and an index for reference. The number of stellar determinations made during the year was 17,380, of which 516 were made in zones. Tables of corrigenda for the present volume, and for the errors detected in the volumes already published, are appended.
The paper of Mr. Cyrus Thomas, entitled Aids to the Study of the Maya Codices (Government Printing-Office), is based on the assumption that an attempt to decipher those documents on the supposition that they contain true alphabetic characters must end in failure. Some of the characters are more than probably phonetic symbols; but Landa's alphabet furnishes no help in deciphering them, and is evidently based on a misconception of the Maya graphic system. "If the manuscripts are ever deciphered, it must be by long and laborious comparisons and happy guesses." This paper is intended to be a step in that direction. The author concludes that, at the time the codices examined were written, "Maya culture had reached that stage where the idea of phoneticism was being introduced into the writing. Yet it is certain, and even susceptible of demonstration, that a large proportion, perhaps the majority, of the characters are symbols. The more I study these characters the stronger becomes the conviction that they have grown out of a pictographic system similar to that common among the Indians of North America. The first step in advance appears to have been to indicate, by characters, the gesture-sign."
In Hints for Teachers of Physiology (D. C. Heath & Co., "Guides for Science Teaching"), Prof. H. P. Bowditch makes an attempt to show how a teacher may supplement his text-book instruction by means of simple observations and experiments on living bodies or on organic material, so as to impart to his pupils a knowledge of the foundation on which physiology rests, and bring the impressions made on the senses to aid the memory in retaining the facts communicated didactically. The essay, though simply a primer, is fruitful in suggestions for familiar illustrations.
Though edible mushrooms of many varieties are found in all parts of the United States, few of them are utilized, because the majority of the people do not know how to distinguish them from poisonous species. A useful aid to making this very important distinction is furnished in Dr. Thomas Taylor 's pamphlet of descriptions, with natural-colored illustrations, of Twelve Edible Mushrooms of the United States; which also gives directions for selecting and preparing for the table. The paper is embodied in the report of the Department of Agriculture for 1885, and is published separately by Dr. Taylor in Washington.
Investigations of sorghum-blight and the mildew of the huckleberry, with certain parasitic insects inhabiting the knots produced by it, and the fungous parasites of weeds, together with experiments in the cross-fertilization of corn and the germination of weed-seeds, are described in the Report of the Botanical Department of the Kansas State Agricultural College Experiment Station.
A number of documents and papers concerning the care of the insane, and questions concerning the responsibility of the insane, may be noticed in a group. The Report of the Standing Committee on the Insane of the New York State Board of Charities presents the results of the annual visitation to examine the condition of the eight State hospitals and asylums and the eighteen asylums of the exempted counties. The Recent Judicial Departure in Insanity Cases, by Clark Bell, reviews two recent decisions of high courts—one of the State of Alabama and the other of the United States—that indicate an approach to a more fixed and accurate definition of the responsibility of the insane than has heretofore prevailed.—In the case of The Insanity of Oscar Hugo Webber, Dr. J. Hendric Lloyd enters a protest against the conviction for murder of a man who in the author's view was insane to irresponsibility.—The question of responsibility is brought more directly under view in Dr. T. R. Buckham's paper on the "Right and Wrong" Test in Insanity, in which it is maintained that the subject may be irresponsible, if acting under insane impulses, even if he is aware that the deed he is committing is wrong.—Mr. A. Wood Renton, discussing the question of Testamentary Capacity in Mental Disease, collates what the courts have defined as the law on that subject, maintains that the issue on that point should be narrowed, when it arises, to the question,"Was this man capable of making this particular will at the time of its execution?"
The Commonwealth is the name of a monthly magazine of 144 pages, published by the Commonwealth Publishing Company, Denver, Col., which in June, 1889, had reached its fourth number. Among several stories and miscellaneous articles, we find two or three relating to the early history of Colorado. Of such are "Glimpses of Early Days," describing the site and surroundings of Denver in 1856, before there was a town or house there; a relation of remarkable trials and executions by extemporized courts that took place in the primitive times of "thirty years ago"; and an account of the attempt to set up a Territory of Jefferson in 1859, while the region of Denver was still technically Arapahoe County, Kansas. The effect of a pungent paper, suggesting condemnation of the awkward attitudes into which religious newspapers sometimes place themselves with regard to politics, is neutralized by the editor's depreciation of civil-service reform.
Dr. T. D. Crothers, in a paper asking Should Inebriates be punished by Death for Crime? and Dr. Joseph Parrish, in The Legal Responsibility of Inebriates, argue against treating inebriate criminals as if they were responsible, and in favor of subjecting them to the same kind of treatment as is given to the insane.
Six additional numbers of the Modern Science Essayist, a monthly publication of lectures and essays on topics immediately related to evolution, invite attention. In the first of the group, No. 1, on "The Descent of Man," Prof. Cope traces the descent in lines not greatly different from those drawn by Prof. Topinard in a recent number of the "Monthly," and insists that man is still subject to the struggle for existence. In "The Evolution of Mind," Dr. R. G. Eccles argues that the elaborate mental functions of man have been gradually developed from the simplest beginnings. In "Evolution of Society," Mr. James A. Skilton treats society as an organism, capable of growth, of decrease as well as increase; of vitality, of disease as well as of health; and of death and decay as well as of life and growth all by the operation of natural law. In "Evolution of Theology," Mr. Z. Sidney Sampson assumes that the tendency of the general movement of the theistic conception is along the same lines as in scientific thought, from narrower to wider generalization; following the natural order of the evolution of the mind, when free, from lower to higher ideals. In "Evolution of Ethics," Mr. Lewis G. Janes considers the individual as the chief concern, and the individual character as the supreme end, by the perfection of which only society can be perfected. In the. twelfth number of the series, the "Proofs of Evolution" are summed up by Mr. Nelson C. Parshall as derivable from astronomy, geology, morphology, embryology, metamorphosis, rudimentary organs, geographical distribution, discovered links, artificial breeding, reversion, and mimicry.
Alphonse Daudet's La Belle Nivernaise, or the story of a river barge and its crew, has been selected by Prof. James Boielle as the "ideal" reading-book in French for the junior classes of high schools and the higher classes of preparatory schools. Having been written for the author's ten-year-old son, it is commended as a striking example of "a great intellect coming down to the level of a child of tender years, and telling in short, simple, and pithy sentences, pregnant in meaning, the story of the loving sympathy of the poor for their poorer and more defenseless brethren. The notes give clear definitions of idiomatic expressions, with explanations of etymologies and allusions. Ginn & Co.
Three numbers—7, 8, 9—of the seventh series of the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science are occupied with a paper on The River Towns of Connecticut—Wethersfield, Hartford, and Windsor by Charles M. Andrews. As in the other monographs of this series, the origin, growth, and development of these towns, with the various phases of social, political, and other life which they have passed through, are reviewed from the historical and philosophical point. The agrarian and civil life of the sturdy people who constituted their population, the author observes near the end of his story, "was not essentially different from that existent among the other New England towns; such life was in its general features everywhere the same. On close examination, however, we find that the machinery of town and court administration can be classified as to whether it is pure or mixed, simple or complicated, natural or artificial. To Connecticut belongs the best of these conditions. Her town life was pure, simple, and natural; the law which guided her political relations was nearer to the law which governs to-day than anywhere else on the American continent. We are apt to think of her settlement as an artificial importation, as one ready-made through the influence of pre-existent conditions. Beginning with the commercial stage, when trade was the motive power, it soon entered the agricultural stage, when the adventure lands were occupied by planters. With the development of this phase of its growth the military stage begins, when it became necessary to systematically arm against the Indians, and to turn the agricultural settlements into armed camps, with the people a body of trained soldiers. At this stage the ordinary religious life begins, when systematic church life arises with the infusion of new settlers; and last of all is reached the civil or political stage, when for the first time the settlements may be fairly called organized towns."
The Batrachia of North America, by Prof. E. D. Cope, is the forty-fifth of the series of papers illustrating the collections of the United States National Museum. The work embraces the results of a study of the character of the species, with their variations, for which the museum furnished liberal material, and studies of the osteology of the class, based on the material contained in various museums of the United States and Europe. The manuscript prepared several years ago by Prof. Baird and Dr. Girard has also been used, and ninety-one descriptions of species have been taken from it. The results have been expressed largely in systematic form, under the belief that descriptive zoology will never be complete until the structure is exhausted in furnishing definitions. Reference is made, wherever practicable, to the relations between the extinct and living forms. The general characters of the Batrachia, their general anatomy, larval characters, classification, affinities, and phylogeny, are considered, and terms and nomenclature explained, in the chapter introductory to the descriptions.
The Annual Report of the State Geologist of New Jersey for 1888 announces the completion of the magnetic and topographic surveys. The results have already been published and distributed in the first volume of the final report, recently noticed in the "Monthly." The second volume will contain full catalogues of the minerals, plants, and vertebrate and invertebrate animals, their occurrence and localities and some practical and economic particulars regarding them. The work still to be done in the matter of the geological structure of the rocks of the State consists mainly in combining and systematically arranging the materials which have been collected. A few points remain to be cleared up, and when this is done the volume on structural geology can be prepared, to be followed by one on economical geology. Among the material returns that have accrued to the State from the distribution of the reports are the system of artesian well-boring, which was started at the direct suggestion of the survey; increased attention to the development of the fire and potter's clay properties; drawing attention through the maps to many peculiar advantages of New Jersey; investments induced by the notices of mines, quarries, lime, marls, drained lands, and water supplies; and benefits to agricultural interests. The present report is brief, and includes "Geological Studies of the Triassic or Red Sandstone and Trap Rocks," with papers on drainage of the Pequest meadows and the low lands of the Passaic, water supply and artesian wells, and statistics of iron ores, zinc ores, fire clays, stoneware clays, and bricks.