Popular Science Monthly/Volume 36/January 1890/Literary Notices
Recent Economic Changes and their Effect upon the Production and the Distribution of Wealth, and the Well-Being of Society. By David A. Wells, LL.D., D.C.L. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 493. Price, $2.
Two years ago Mr. Wells contributed to "The Popular Science Monthly" a series of articles entitled "Recent Economic Disturbances." They elicited so much comment and discussion that the author now presents them as a book. In so doing he has brought his record of fact down to date, and extended his review so as not merely to treat the economic derangements which date from 1873-'74, but to include the economic history of the past three decades.
In comparing the present earnings of labor and assets of capital with the figures for 1860, Mr. Wells shows that the economic advance of the last thirty years has been little short of revolutionary. Science applied to field and farm, mill and factory, ship and railroad, has enormously increased the efficiency of labor. Hence the remarkable rise in wages, and the correlative fact of the fall of prices which makes a dollar exchangeable for more food and clothing than ever. Although the fortunes of men have been steadily improving, heightened sensibility, progress in social ambition, all that goes to raise the standard of living, have kept pace with the increase of popular luxury and refinement. Then, too, the blessings of industrial evolution, though general, have not been universal; and in considering its incidental pains and penalties Mr. Wells is both candid and sympathetic. He notes how handicraft skill is rendered valueless as machinery supersedes trade after trade. Old-time shoemakers now only get cobbling to do, and the tinsmith who once made all the paraphernalia of the kitchen is to-day no more than a tinker. Minute subdivision of labor reduces an operative to a mere tooth on a wheel; disrupted from it by an untoward accident of trade, he is of little more worth than a bit of scrap-metal. In manufactures and commerce modern exigencies demand a discipline which almost completely effaces individuality: both employers and workmen are subordinated as parts of a vast and complex enginery. In undergoing the painful and costly readjustments enforced by new economies, capital and labor have been partners in distress, and labor has not suffered more than capital. The increase in the average man's wealth has been partly at the expense of certain unfortunate classes of capitalists. While one set of farmers are being enriched by the rise in the value of Dakota lands, another set in France and England are being impoverished by the cheapness of Dakota wheat. The Suez Canal, in shortening the route between Europe and the East, effected a saving in freights greatly to the advantage of consumers of tea, silk, cotton, and spices: it also threw into idleness a vast fleet of ships adapted to the voyage around the Cape of Good Hope, and ruined a lengthy chain of interests vested in things as they were. The discovery of excellent coal and iron-ore near together in Alabama cheapens iron, but it extinguishes furnaces in the Northern States built at enormous outlay, and leads to the abandonment of large foundry properties in New York and New England. Every new machine and process, while it enriches the community, entails loss on individuals for expensive plant which must go to the scrap-heap.
While Fortune in the economic world has in the main been prodigal of her gifts, those upon whom her lash has fallen very naturally demean themselves differently from those upon whom she has smiled. While the cultivation of inconspicuousness on the part of millionaires is far from uncommon, those who have seen their possessions melt away in the discarding of old machinery, old methods, and old routes, make loud complaint. Of equal loudness is the alarm vented by those who have reason to fear loss through the supersedure of their property as Science marches on. This complaint and this alarm have been so sustained as to create an exaggerated impression of the evils economic progress brings in its train. Left to themselves, economic forces would merge the world into a single competitive field, the markets of which would be supplied only from the sources where capital and labor could work to most advantage. The redistribution of populations and employments which this would entail is a price a majority of civilized nations refuse to pay: its incidental loss and misery impress their imagination too deeply. Yet the choice is between this shunned evil and a greater. Vastly more is lost by declining to enjoy the gifts new knowledge stands ready to confer, in declining the harvests labor can reap when free to sow and till where natural conditions most favor it. Nothing in Mr. Wells's book is more impressive than the picture he draws of European nations severally striving by force of law to overcome some defect in soil, climate, position, or skill. France, for example, excludes American wheat as far as she can by a high duty. Does she not thereby injure the population of bread-eaters more than she eases the lot of a few wheat-growers? The vanity of attempts to juggle with inexorable Nature has imperiled interests higher than those of wealth; these attempts have checked the good-will which was springing up as trade united international interests and foreigners were ceasing to be strangers. In making battlefields of their custom-houses, ethnic dislike has, doubtless, served to stimulate commercial jealousy among the people of Europe, and this in its turn fans the animosities which endanger peace.
While their neighbors have been indulging in costly tariff reprisals upon each other, the British, Dutch, and Swiss, firmly holding to freedom as the right rule of trade, have, perhaps unconsciously, borne testimony to economy and ethics being fundamentally one. Theirs has been the chief progress not only in wealth, but education, the abatement of crime, the lengthening of life. Russia, at the other extreme of fiscal policy, aiming at nothing short of the prohibition of foreign trade, finds her markets depressed and her treasury depleted. The oblique form of protection known as the bounty system has been tried with results which, as traced by Mr. Wells, must have surprised the experimentalists. France and Germany, in artificially stimulating the production of beet-root sugar, have only succeeded in taxing themselves heavily to provide their chief rival in manufactures, Great Britain, with an important raw material at less than cost. The British industry in jam and sweets, expanded by cheap sugar, now employs more people than those needed to refine the sugar consumed.
The general fall in prices during the recent past has been a source of much embarrassment and perplexity in the world of commerce. Among the theories proffered in its explanation that of the bimetallists has been prominent, and Mr. Wells riddles it thoroughly. He shows that whereas the cost in labor of producing gold has varied but little for ages, silver during this generation has been discovered in prodigious deposits; therefore any legislative attempt to maintain a hard-and fast relation between the values of gold and silver must be vain. He points out that the gold reserves in the banks of the world are to-day, proportionately to capital, larger than ever. Furthermore, that the demand for gold constantly diminishes as banking facilities overspread the world with their telegraphic transfers, clearing-houses, and other devices for the economy of coin. But if it be demurred, Does not a debt incurred, say, ten years ago, require to-day more wheat or iron for its satisfaction than the sum could have bought when first borrowed? Certainly, but the wheat or iron represents no more labor now than it did ten years ago, and its increase in quantity stands for the new efficiency which applied science has bestowed on toil. Let the fall in the rate of interest be noted as evidence that, among sufferers from reduced pay, capital ranks as chief.
In every page, whether considering the eight-hour movement, the transportation problem, the gigantic cost of protecting American iron and steel for a decade, or any other of the manifold lines of his inquiry, Mr. Wells's analysis is transparent and impartial. In tracing the bearing of economic development on the welfare of man he rises by breadth of mind and sympathy to the dignity of a philosopher.
A Popular Treatise on the Winds. By William Ferrel, Ph. D., late Professor and Assistant in the Signal Service. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 505. Price, $4.
Several essays bearing upon the mechanics of the atmosphere have been published by Prof. Ferrel at various times since 1856, but, as they were of a very mathematical character, they were adapted only to those well-trained in mathematics. The present volume is of a more popular nature, although the simpler mathematical operations involved in the presentation of the subject are retained. After a general description of the constitution and nature of the atmosphere, the effect of the earth's rotation in the dynamics of the atmosphere is explained, the general circulation of the atmosphere is described, and its climatic influences are pointed out. This circulation is shown to agree with the laws governing the movements of gases and vapors acted upon by heat and other forces. The rest of the volume is devoted to descriptions of the various kinds of winds, monsoons, land and sea breezes, cyclones of several varieties, and tornadoes, and explanations of their special causes. Thunder-storms water-spouts, hail-storms, and cloud-bursts, with various other allied phenomena, are also explained. The author offers his book to general readers interested in the subject, and to lecturers on meteorological subjects before college classes or other audiences.
European Schools. By L. R. Klemm, Ph. D. International Education Series, Vol. XII. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 419. Price, $2.
Rarely has a book for teachers appeared containing so much that can be used in the school-room. It is not a ponderous and repulsive budget of statistics of school attendance, examination marks, illiteracy, etc., with courses of study and descriptions of departmental machinery. It is an account of the notable features observed during a trip of nearly a year among the educational institutions of the continent of Europe, or, as the author describes it in his sub-title, "what I saw in the schools of Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland." The first device described in the book is an expedient which was employed by a teacher in Hamburg, and is called by the author "a master stroke." A stupid boy could not see that the difference between plus six and minus ten is sixteen. The master explained the problem and illustrated it with marbles, but in vain. Finally, he cast his eyes about the room, and they fell upon the thermometer. In a moment he had this before the pupil's eyes, and readily made him comprehend that the difference between 6 above zero and 10 below zero is 16. A box of movable letters, a board with a slit in it through which letters making words are shown, a scheme for ventilation, a mode of teaching home geography, and a sketch of an efficient city school system, follow within the compass of a few pages. Methods of teaching drawing in different schools are described in several parts of the volume, and singing, knowledge of nature, mensuration, and language are only a few of the subjects dealt with. A notable section is that devoted to "a separate school for dullards," an idea which started in Rhenish Prussia at Elberfeld and has spread to other cities. This is not a school for idiots, but is intended for those unfortunate children whose dullness acts as a drag on their classes and brings ridicule and discouragement upon themselves. Here they receive patient instruction, and learn much more than they could in schools adapted to brighter pupils, while the latter are freed from impediments to their progress. The account of girls' industrial education at Cologne, comprising knitting, crocheting, embroidery, weaving, sewing, lace-making, cutting out garments, mending and patching, and accompanied by drawing, will be found interesting and suggestive. It is impossible to mention here all the subjects touched upon in this book; they cover a wide range, and each is presented in sufficient detail to give a definite idea of the method employed. The style of the book is clear and enthusiastic; the language is simple and, in humorous passages, even colloquial. It is a very readable volume one which the teacher can take up at odd moments even when tired, and study without a sense of laboring. A notable feature of it is its abundance of illustrations, there being five hundred and twenty-three figures showing drawing models and outlines, articles used in teaching, plans of school-buildings, maps made in teaching local geography, articles and patterns made in manual training schools, etc., etc.
The Journal or Physiology. Vol. X. Edited by Michael Foster, M. D., F. R. S. Cambridge (Eng.): Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company. Pp. 576. Thirty-three Plates. Price, $5 a volume.
There are two papers in this volume on "The Regulation of Respiration," by Henry Head. The first details experiments made to ascertain the effects on breathing produced by dividing the vagi, by altering the volume of the lungs, by artificial respiration, and other means. Many observations were also made on the forms which the apnœa pause produced by artificial respiration assumes under various conditions. Nine plates of curve tracings accompany this paper. The theoretical conclusions from these experiments are embodied in the second paper. C. A. MacMunn contributes an account of experiments from which he infers that "bilirubin and biliverdin are produced in the liver mainly from effete hæmoglobin; these are acted on in the small intestine by the digestive and putrefactive ferments, and some, at least, changed into simple metabolites like the urobilin-like substance of bile." Stereobilin, formed in the intestines from derivatives of bile and haematin, may be taken up and excreted in the urine as pathological urobilin. Some "Observations on Human Bile obtained from a Case of Biliary Fistula," by S. M. Copeman and W. B. Winston, appear in another number of this volume. Regarding "The Nature of Knee-jerk," W. P. Lombard maintains that the reflex theory readily explains the intimate dependence of the phenomenon upon the spinal cord, and that the time argument against it is inconclusive, owing to our meager knowledge of reflex times in general, while the peripheral theory is untenable. The third number of this volume is devoted to a paper on "The Relation between the Structure, Function, Distribution, and Origin of the Cranial Nerves; together with a Theory of the Origin of the Nervous System of Vertebrata," by W. H. Gaskell. It is accompanied by five plates. W. D. Halliburton contributes the results of chemical analysis of a number of specimens of cerebro-spinal fluid, and, together with W. M. Friend, the results of an examination of the stromata of the red corpuscles. A second paper on "The Electrical Organ of the Skate," by J. B. Sanderson and Francis Gotch, contains observations as to the nature of the normal reflex process by which the electric organ is discharged, and the measurement of the electromotive force of the response of the organ to a single excitation. J. N. Langley reports further investigations upon the salivary glands in two papers, one dealing with "The Physiology of the Salivary Secretion," the other with "The Histology of the Mucous Salivary Glands, and the Behavior of their Mucous Constituents." L. C. Woolbridge, in a brief paper entitled "The Coagulation Question," argues against certain views of Dr. Halliburton. W. H. White contributes "Further Observations on the Histology and Function of the Mammalian Sympathetic Ganglia," a previous paper having been published in No. 2, Vol. VIII of the "Journal." An extended paper on "The Innervation of the Renal Blood-Vessels," by J. Rose Bradford, deals with the courses of the vaso-constrictor and vaso-dilator fibers, with the phenomena following excitation of the splanchnic nerve and of the peripheral end of the divided vagus, also with the reflex phenomena of the renal vessels. T. W. Shore and H. L. Jones publish a description of "The Structure of the Vertebrate Liver," approaching their subject from the side of comparative anatomy. G. N. Stewart presents a detailed account of a research on "The Stimulation Effects in a Polarized Nerve during and after the Flow of the Polarizing Current." C. S. Sherrington and C. A. Ballance, in a paper on "Formation of Scar-Tissue," give the record of their investigation as to whether the colorless corpuscles of the blood are the source of the new tissue which the inflammatory process produces.
Hygiene and Public Health. By Louis C. Parkes, M. D. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son &Co. Pp. 471. Price, $2.50.
Substantially the whole field of sanitary science is brought within a moderate compass in this book. Water, removal of refuse, ventilation, warming, lighting, climate, building-sites, food, exercise, and clothing, all receive due attention from the hygienic side. A chapter on the prevention of communicable diseases has been included, also one on vital statistics. The book is intended for both the physician and the layman. Its language is simple enough, so that no technical knowledge is needed to understand it, though there are some tests and calculations included which the average layman will not make use of for himself. Numerous examples and illustrations are introduced in order to assist the physician in his public health work. The author deems the chapter on the removal of refuse rather long in proportion to the book, but gives as his reason for going so much into detail that apparently trivial defects in house-drainage, which are liable to be overlooked without thorough knowledge, are often the cause of the most severe outbreaks of disease. The volume is lettered on the back, "Practical Hygiene, Parkes," but the intending buyer should not confuse the book with the "Manual of Practical Hygiene" by the late E. A. Parkes.
A First Book in American History. By Edward Eggleston. Illustrated. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 203. Price, 70 cents.
The story of America is told by Mr. Eggleston in this book in a simple and vivid style. The requirements that he has had in view while preparing it are that an elementary book must, for those whose school-life will be short, give the leading facts of the whole field to be studied, and must not force upon those who are to follow it with an advanced work matters which will have to be restudied later. Furthermore, a beginners' book ought, before all things else, to be interesting. "The main peculiarity of the present book," says the author, "is that it aims to teach children the history of the country by making them acquainted with some of the most illustrious actors in it. A child is interested, above all, in persons. Biography is for him the natural door into history. The order of events in a nation's life is somewhat above the reach of younger pupils, but the course of a human life and the personal achievements of an individual are intelligible and delightful." By this means, also, the young American gets distinct pictures of the careers of the great men of his country. It is easy, moreover, in a history of the biographical type, to adopt the modern style of describing the life of the people in former times, as well as the progress of public events. The author is convinced that the lamented lack of moral teaching in our schools can be largely supplied by the inspiring examples found in the careers of our great men. The author has availed himself abundantly of the aid of pictures in giving the pupil a vivid conception of the narrative. No precise mode of studying the book is prescribed, but brief suggestions for a topical recitation are appended to each lesson. The book is well adapted to be used as a class reader, and several school superintendents have already declared their intention of employing it in this way. The pictures are numerous and bear the signatures of some of the most eminent illustrators in America. The maps are bird's-eye views, and one, designed to show the territorial growth of the United States, has the successive additions of territory printed on successive pages, the blank parts of which are to be cut out.
Chemistry: General, Medical, and Pharmaceutical. By John Attfield, F. R. S., etc. Twelfth edition. Philadelphia: Lea Brothers & Co. Pp. 770. Price, $3.25.
This substantial volume is adapted to be the life-long companion of the pharmacist or physician—a manual of instruction in his student days and a work of reference in his business or professional practice. The author expressly disclaims the recognition of any such varieties of the science as medical and pharmaceutical chemistry, and uses these terms only to indicate that he illustrates the principles of chemistry by those facts of special interest to the followers of medicine and pharmacy. "From other chemical textbooks," he states in the preface, "it differs in three particulars: first, in the exclusion of matter relating to compounds which at present are only of interest to the scientific chemist; secondly, in containing more or less of the chemistry of every substance recognized officially or in general practice as a remedial agent; thirdly, in the paragraphs being so cast that the volume may be used as a guide in studying the science experimentally. The order of subjects is that which, in the author's opinion, best meets the requirements of medical and pharmaceutical students in Great Britain, Ireland, America, India, and the English colonies." A few leading properties of the elements are first given, some of the fundamental principles of the science are next stated, and then the properties and relations of the elements and the compound radicals are presented in detail, attention being directed to those qualities on which analysis and synthesis depend. The chemistry of the carbon compounds is next considered. Practical toxicology and the chemistry of morbid physiological products then receive attention. The concluding sections form a laboratory guide to the chemical and physical study of quantitative analysis. In the appendix is a long table of tests for impurities in medicinal preparations; also a short one of the saturating powers of acids and alkalies, designed for use in prescribing and dispensing. In his arrangement of the radicals, the author "has preferred to lead up to, rather than follow, scientific classification," for the reason that systems of classification give "undue prominence to one set of relations and undeserved obscurity to others." The metric system is alone used in the sections on quantitative analysis; in other parts of the volume avoirdupois weights and imperial measures are employed. Numerous etymological notes are scattered through the book. A list of questions follows each section. The present edition contains what alterations and additions have become necessary since the appearance of the eleventh in 1885. The work now includes the whole of the chemistry of the United States Pharmacopœia and nearly all that of the British and Indian Pharmacopœias. The chief new feature is the extended section on organic chemistry. By means of the index of fifty-six pages all the information in this comprehensive volume is made readily accessible; eighty-eight cuts show the forms of apparatus needed for the operations described.
Strength: How to Get Strong and Keep Strong By Richard A. Proctor. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp 178. Price, 75 cents.
The scope of this book is well set forth in the following sentences from the introductory pages: "Men, and women too, though they may have no occasion to acquire skill in athletic exercises, have great occasion to possess sound bodies, unless they are passing absolutely useless lives, when they may do as they please so far as their value to the community is concerned. .. . I propose in this little treatise to show how, by devoting a few hours weekly to well-arranged exercises, this end can be attained. No violent exertions are necessary, no difficult feats need be attempted, no special form of exercise need occupy much of the time and attention." Successive chapters are devoted to the description of exercises, many without apparatus, the others with only simple appliances, adapted to the expansion of the chest, and to the development of the muscles of the chest, abdomen, loins, arms, and legs. There are also chapters on reducing fat, the adapting of exercise to advancing years and to weakness, some "notes on rowing," and directions for learning to swim. A comparison of "Nature's Waist and Fashion's" is included, to which a lady contributes her experience in discarding the corset and adopting the divided skirt. The volume is illustrated with figures of classic statuary and of gymnastic apparatus.
The Story of the Bacteria. By T. Mitchell Predden, A. M. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 143. Price, 75 cents.
Everybody has heard of bacteria; many with a conscientious desire to keep informed upon the progress of science have undertaken to read up about them; and a large proportion of these inquirers must have retreated baffled from the task. But if those who have been discouraged by the technicalities of the learned treatises on micro-organisms would still like to know what the bacteria are and do, and how they are cultivated and examined, they can find out very pleasantly by reading Dr. Prudden's simple and fascinating "Story of the Bacteria." The author describes the chief forms of bacteria, and several kinds which are curious from their color, power of emitting light, etc. He then tells how they act in producing surgical diseases, consumption, and typhoid fever, and what means are taken to repel their attacks. He also sets forth what is believed in regard to the relations of bacteria to Asiatic cholera, diphtheria, pneumonia, scarlet fever, etc.—diseases in which the action of the germs is less easily demonstrable. He points out, further, how impure food, air, water, and even ice may serve as sources of bacterial infection; and in conclusion gives the layman an intelligent view of the present standing of investigation in this field. This little book shows how perfectly a scientific subject may be freed from perplexing technicalities, and may well serve as a model of popular scientific writing.
According to the Report of the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries for 1886 (United States Fish Commission), the work of the year included explorations along the eastern coast of North America from the Straits of Florida to Newfoundland, in order to ascertain the winter range and habits of the mackerel, menhaden, blue-fish, and other important food fishes that resort to the eastern shores of the United States in the warmer months. Observations of the temperatures and densities of the water were made continuously at all the stations of the Commission, from the Commission's vessels, and at many light-houses and light-ships. The schooner Grampus, intended as a model for off-shore fishing smacks, and also containing a well for the conveyance of live fishes, was completed and added to the fleet of the Commission in this year. The distribution of the eggs and fry of food fishes was continued. The papers appended to the report comprise a comprehensive account of "The Sea Fisheries of Eastern North America," by the late commissioner, Spencer F. Baird; "A Review of the Flounders and Soles of America and Europe," by David Starr Jordan and David Kop Goss; a review of the Sciænidæ, by Prof. Jordan and Carl H. Eigenmann; a paper on internal parasites of fishes, by Edwin Linton; and a report on Medusæ, by J. Walter Fewkes, all but the first of these being illustrated. A large number of reports from the vessels and stations of the Commission are printed, and the following papers from foreign sources are included in the volume: "On the Fish-cultural Establishments of Central Europe," by E. Bettoni and D. Vinciguerra; "Chemical Composition of Food Products," by P. Kostytscheff; "Cases of Poisoning caused by Spoiled Codfish," by Dr. E. Mauriac, and "Notes on the Norwegian Fisheries of 1885," by A. N. Kiaer. There is also a list of stations at which dredgings have been made in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from 1867 to 1887, by Sanderson Smith. The list is accompanied by five charts.
A translation of a series of essays by the Baroness Marenholtz-Buelow, setting forth Froebel's educational system, has been published under the title The Child and Child-Nature (Bardeen, $1.50). It describes the nature of the child, his needs, and the effects of training upon him. An account of Froebel's method is given, and this is followed by some of the exercises and translations of the songs which he devised for teaching the child's relations to nature, to mankind, and to God. A bibliography of Froebel is appended, and an index has been added to the American edition.
Dr. R. von Krafft-Ebing's Experimental Study in the Domain of Hypnotism has been translated into English by Charles G. Chaddock, M. D. (Putnam, $1.25). It is an account of a case which has excited much interest in Grätz, and comprises the preliminary history of the patient, a record of the course of her hystero-epileptic attacks, and a transcript from Prof. Krafft's daily notebook of hypnotic experiments upon her.
Evolution of the Electric Incandescent Lamp, by F. L. Pope (H. Cook, Elizabeth, N. J.), is a collection of extracts from records of courts and of the Patent-Office, newspaper files, and transactions of scientific societies bearing upon the question whether Edison or Sawyer and Man deserve the credit for the employing of a carbonized filament of organic material in the incandescent lamp. The book is illustrated with cuts of apparatus.
A beginner's text-book of Iron and Steel Manufacture has been prepared by Arthur H. Hiorns (Macmillan, $1), designed to give a knowledge of the principles underlying the processes of this industry. In the early chapters the substances used or produced in smelting are defined, the ores of iron are described, and the chemistry of the subject is explained. Then follow descriptions of the usual methods of extracting and refining the metal, and of the furnaces, hammers, and rolls employed in these operations. Iron casting, tinning, and galvanizing are also described. The processes in the production, tempering, and testing of steel are set forth in like manner. Questions are appended to each chapter for the use of students.
No. 96 of Van Nostrand's Science Series is on Alternate-Current Machinery, and comprises a paper read by Gisbert Kapp before the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, with the discussion upon it. Of the apparatus which may be properly included under his title, the author deals especially with alternators, transformers, and motors. The volume is illustrated with forty-three diagrams.
Since the first edition of the Manual of Assaying Gold, Silver, Copper, and Lead Ores, prepared by Walter Lee Brown (E. H. Sargent & Co., $2.50), was noticed in this magazine, the book has been increased from 318 to 487 pages. Other changes as given by the author are, "the stating of all charges in assay tons, grammes, and grains; detailed charges in the scorification process; full notes on the colors and appearances of the scorifiers (with a colored plate) and cupels after work; the expansion of the crucible process from nine to almost ninety pages; more complete articles on the assay of gold and silver bullion, and the volumetric analysis of copper ores; and, finally, the issuance of the book in flexible covers." The present (third) edition is but little changed from the second.
The little book by the late Walter Bagehot, embodying a Plan for Assimilating the English and American Money, first published in 1869, has been reissued in view of an expected revival of interest in the subject (Longmans, 75 cents). The author names, as trifling advantages of an international coinage, the convenience of travelers, facility in the exchange and transmission of coin, and in the comparison of monetary statistics. What he deems the one great advantage of such a money would consist in making identical the monetary language of the trade circulars of different nations. He believes that an international coinage should be founded on a single standard, have a high gold unit, have decimal divisions, and do no violence to national jealousies. Several international unit coins have been proposed—a twenty-five-franc piece, the English sovereign, a piece weighing ten grammes, and a ten-franc piece—but Mr. Bagehot points out objections to them all. The scheme which the author proposes is to unite the two great Anglo-Saxon nations upon a system of coins, by changing the sovereign from 960 to 1,000 farthings, or £1 0s. 10d., which is almost identical with the American half-eagle. He believes that Germany and the Latin Union would in time adopt the Anglo-American money.
In his essay on Involuntary Idleness, read before the American Economic Association, and now published as a book (Lippincott, $1), the author, Mr. Hugo Bilgram, searches for the cause of lack of employment. He first examines the relation of capital and interest to labor, and obtains the inference that "a close relation exists between the economic cause of involuntary idleness and the law of interest." The author states that there is a tendency for the industrial class to drift into bankruptcy, and for money to accumulate in the hands of the financial class, thus depriving the channels of commerce of the needed medium of exchange, and causing stagnation of business and dearth of employment. The law of interest is then evolved by an analysis of the monetary circulation between the debtors and creditors. From this analysis is drawn the inference that "an expansion of the volume of money, by extending the issue of credit-money, will prevent business stagnation and involuntary idleness."
The Teacher's Manual of Geography, by Jacques W. Redway (Heath, 55 cents), consists of suggestions to teachers on out-of-door lessons for young pupils, the use of pictures and models, recitation, map-making, geodesy, hydrography, meteorology, history in geography, and boundary lines. Simple ideas of form, size, color, and locality are suggested to be presented to the youngest children in preliminary oral work. The tendency of the book throughout is to lead the teacher to give pupils a practical, comprehensible knowledge of the earth's surface, to correct popular errors, and to escape from traditional ruts. A list of books for geographical reading is appended.
A series of Topics in Geography, prepared by W. F. Nichols, for the use of his own schools, has now been published (Heath, 55 cents). The author states that his aim has been to make the study of geography more valuable, while shortening the time usually spent upon it. To this end he shows what to teach and what to omit, giving first a brief outline for a study of any continent based upon slope, and furnishing topics, to be taken up after this, which cover all that it is desirable to learn. Other features of his treatment are the sparing use of statistics, the combination of language with geography, and the making prominent of natural objects and wonders, which are always interesting to pupils. The course of study is graded. By permission, Prof. Redway's list of books for geographical reading is included.
The Nursery Lesson Book, by Philip G. Hubert, Jr. (Putnam, 75 cents), is designed as a guide for mothers in teaching young children. It comprises fifty lessons, each conveying simple and progressive instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, drawing, and singing. It contains one hundred illustrations in outline and sixteen songs set to music. The page is large, the margins generous, and the general appearance of the book is attractive.
The life and labors of Vitus Bering, the Discoverer of Bering Strait, have been recorded in Danish by Peter Lauridsen, and an English translation by Prof. Julius E. Olson is now published (Griggs, $1.25). Bering was a Dane, who took to the sea in early life, and at the age of twenty-two joined a Russian fleet as a sub-lieutenant. This was during the period of Russia's rapid advancement under Peter the Great. In 1724 Bering, then a captain, was appointed chief of an expedition to determine whether Asia and America were connected by land. The expedition went overland through Siberia to Kamchatka, where ships were built and the explorations begun. Bering reached the strait that bears his name, and thus proved that Asia and America were separated by water. Soon after his return he proposed a second expedition to chart the northwestern coast of America, then an unknown land, and the northern coast of Siberia. This should lead to the establishment of trade with the American colonies, and also make known a way by water from Russia around to Japan. Bering reached the coast of Alaska in 1741, and died on the way back. For a long time jealousy discredited his results, and the chief object of the present volume is to establish the value of his discoveries. The book also tells the story of the obstacles which he overcame in his expeditions. It is accompanied by two folded maps, and has an introduction by Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka.The literature of cycling has been increased by a book bearing the title Cycling Art, Energy, and Locomotion, written by Robert P. Scott (J. B. Lippincott Company, $2). It is largely devoted to explaining the mechanical principles involved in the action of the cranks, wheels, springs, bearings, gears, etc. It includes also brief discussions of the injuries charged against cycling, the bicycle for ladies, English and American workmanship in cycles, aluminum in cycle construction, and the application of steam and electricity to cycles. A second part of the volume comprises extracts from the patent specifications of a large number of velocipedes, cycles, and nondescript vehicles, with the inventors' drawings of the machines and riders, and humorous comments by the author. Many of these machines are astonishing contrivances, and perhaps none more so than the flying-machine, patented March 5, 1889, which is introduced at the end.