Popular Science Monthly/Volume 36/March 1890/Literary Notices
Individualism, a System of Politics. By Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Barrister-at-Law, author of "Principles of Plutology," etc. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 393. Price, $4.
This is a work which we feel justified, after a careful perusal, in commending to the study of our readers. The questions which it discusses are of the first importance, and Mr. Donisthorpe gives one the impression of a man thoroughly familiar with his own ground, and whose conclusions have not been formed at haphazard or without deep and earnest reflection. The main idea of the book is that individualism properly understood furnishes the key to a true political system. The last thing Mr. Donisthorpe would wish to do would be to relax the bonds of society. His aim, on the contrary, is to strengthen and perfect society, in the first place, by a scientific separation of the domain of the state and that of private activity; and, secondly, by carrying to its fullest legitimate development the principle of individual liberty. He has not, perhaps, developed his thesis in the most coherent manner possible; we think the work might be rearranged and perhaps somewhat compressed, with advantage to the main argument; but meantime we are glad to recognize in it a powerful and timely plea for principles of government with which "The Popular Science Monthly" has always been distinctly in sympathy. Mr. Donisthorpe writes as a lawyer; and the influence of his juristic studies is visible on every page. At times his argument gains in force through the dispassionate practicality of the legal mind; and at times it assumes a character somewhat too forensic for the best general effect.
In Chapter I we have a discussion of the growth and evolution of the state. There is nothing here distinctly novel. As regards the origin of political government the author accepts the ideas of Mr. Spencer, and refers also with approval to "the learned and fascinating works of the late Sir Henry Maine." He develops well, however, the idea that the tendency of modern times has been toward the forming of larger and larger political aggregates; and that in the present day the facilities for communication and transport which science has made available have increased more wonderfully than ever the possibilities of state growth. Apparently Mr. Donisthorpe's ideal is one center of law—so far as law is an absolute necessity—and the widest possible individual liberty throughout the whole community. He is not a friend to what is called "local option"; he considers that it means little else than local tyranny, and perhaps he is right. He does not believe in cutting up a country into larger and smaller geographical squares, and making the conditions of life for each man depend on the particular square in which he chances to live. He holds that the same (legal) conditions of life should be available for all members of the community, and that these should be of the simplest character possible. "Imperial law," he says, "must henceforth be based on individual and local liberty."
Chapter II deals with "The Structure of the State." The author announces himself a thorough-going democrat, and ventures to lay down the principles to which a true democratic government must conform. We must refer to the book itself, however, for his definition and defense of democracy, including the principle, unreservedly accepted, of universal suffrage. One remark here is worth quoting: "Majorities for their own sakes would do well not to bring minorities to bay. The result may be either painful or humiliating—painful, as when the minority (in heads, in riches, and in organization) withstood the tyranny of the Stuarts; humiliating, as when England bowed down before the determined Boers of the Transvaal. It is not wise to threaten what you do. not mean to perform. Minorities mean action; majorities as a rule do not."
In Chapter III, on "The Functions of the State," we have, in the first place, a résumé of the functions commonly assigned to modern governments; and, secondly, a criticism of the tendency, just at present in the ascendant, of looking to legislation for the cure of all ills and the securing of all benefits. "The spirit of the individualist movement," the author tells us, "is one of resistance to any overstepping by the legislature of its normal boundaries. It is the embodiment of the absolute principle of civil liberty, or the greatest possible liberty of each compatible with the equal liberty of all." We need hardly observe that this is sound Spencerian doctrine. Later on in the volume the author has a good deal to say in criticism of Mr. Spencer's "Man vs. the State"; but this does not prevent his recognizing Mr. Spencer, on the first page of his preface, as the man "who has contributed more to the scientific study of society than any other thinker—not even excepting Auguste Comte or John Austin"; and as the one to whom the merit belongs "of formulating this (the individualistic) theory of government, and thus of laying the rough foundation on which a sound art of politics may be based." Mr. Donisthorpe laments the fact that in England to-day "the Conservative party have thrown in their lot with state socialism," and are "now playing with the Liberals a game of grab for the votes of those whom a Socialistic programme attracts. He shows reasons, however, for holding that the present tendency is rather an eddy in the general current, than a main movement likely to be continued in the future—a reaction toward unintelligent political methods due to the recent inclusion (he is speaking of England) of lower layers of the population in the electorate.
We pass over Chapters IV and V, entitled "What is Property?" and "What is Capital?" which do not seem to us to have a very direct bearing on the main purpose of the bock; while the style in which they are written is somewhat tiresomely disputatious. The chapters on "The Labor Question" and "The Capitalization of Labor," which immediately follow, are, on the other hand, full of interest. In the first of these the author describes with great force the present economic condition of the laboring classes. He accepts without reserve the Ricardian doctrine of the tendency of wages to a minimum, maintaining that it has been so irresistibly proved a priori that to discuss it in the light of any partial facts or observations is the merest waste of time. He pours unmeasured ridicule on the newfangled doctrine of "the standard of comfort" by which some political economists try to make the Ricardian law appear less cruel in its operation. "Wagedom," says Mr. Donisthorpe, is only a shade better than serfdom, and is virtually a kind of serfdom. The remedy for it, however, does not lie in socialism, which would only aggravate all the ills of society, but in the substitution for the wage system of what Mr. Donisthorpe calls "the capitalization of labor." His idea is briefly this: The wage-earner at present takes, when he can get it, a certain average wage from his employer, the amount of which does not depend upon the profitableness or otherwise to his employer of the business carried on. In other words, the employer insures the laborer a certain wage independently of the fortunes of his business. Now, nobody insures another without charging something for it; and the capitalist class recoup themselves for insuring a certain average wage to their employés by putting that average wage somewhat, perhaps considerably, below what their average profits would justify. By the capitalization of labor Mr. Donisthorpe means treating labor as capital (which he contends it is), and establishing a partnership between it and capital—a true partnership, in which gains and losses would be shared. Mr. Donisthorpe shows how a beginning might be made by taking the average wages in one or more lines of business for a certain number of years, and fixing the proportion which these had borne to average profits during the same period. The laborers might then approach the capitalists and say: These are the wages you have been able to pay us on the principle of insuring us a fixed compensation whether your business prospered or not. Now, we wish to throw our labor as so much capital into your business, on the understanding that, if your profits are greater than the average profits of the period we have been considering, you will pay us in proportion, and that, if they are less, you will pay us in proportion also.
We must refer those of our readers who wish to see how much can be urged on behalf of the plan proposed, to Mr. Donisthorpe's book, merely observing that, in point of practical suggestiveness, we consider the two chapters last mentioned worth a score of such books as "Looking Backward." We do not say that every difficulty has been fully met; but we do say that Mr. Donisthorpe has propounded a scheme which is not necessarily Utopian, and which seems to contain great promise of good. Surely, on the face of it, it is evident that society must some day discover some better principle than that according to which the laborer of to-day professedly gives the least amount of work for the largest amount obtainable in wages, and the capitalist the smallest amount in wages for the largest amount obtainable of work. Such a principle means war, means waste, means wide-spread social demoralization; and it must, if society is to endure, be succeeded at no distant day by some true principle of accommodation and harmony, in virtue of which it shall become the interest of the laboring classes to promote the creation of wealth by faithful and intelligent work, and the interest of the capitalist class to extend the fullest measure of justice to those whose labor fructifies their capital.
The closing chapter of the book contains a most effective criticism of socialism in reply to a Mr. J. L. Joynes, who, if we remember rightly, was a co-laborer with Mr. Henry George in England. It is satisfactory, in these days of crude theories and doleful vaticinations, to meet with a book written in as sober and withal as cheerful and hopeful a spirit as this of Mr. Donisthorpe's. We wish very much that the more helpful portions of it could be presented to the public in briefer and more popular form; but, as it is, we trust that the book, as a whole, will be read and pondered by all who are interested in social problems.
Introduction to the Study of Philosophy. By William T. Harris. Comprising Passages from his Writings, selected and arranged, with Commentary and Illustration, by Marietta Kies. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 287. Price, $1.50.
This compilation has been made in order to adapt for class use the teachings contained in the miscellaneous philosophical works and articles of Dr. Harris. Many of the passages have been taken from the "Journal of Speculative Philosophy," others from the editor's prefaces to volumes in the "International Education Series," from Dr. Harris's lectures at the Concord School of Philosophy, and from his articles in various educational journals. The illustrations supplied by Miss Kies are such as she has used with her classes of girls at Mount Holyoke Seminary. The opening chapters deal with "Methods of Study," the "Presuppositions of Experience," and the "Philosophy of Nature." The rest of the volume deals with man as a self-active individual, taking up in successive sections sense-perception, representation, reflection, the syllogism, the absolute idea or the reason, the emotions, and the will. The concluding chapter discusses the immortality of man. "Philosophy as presented by Dr. Harris," says Miss Kies in her preface, "gives to the student an interpretation and explanation of the phases of existence which render even the ordinary affairs of life in accordance with reason; and, for the higher or spiritual phases of life, his interpretations have the power of a great illumination."
Problems of the Future, and Essays. By S. Laino. London: Chapman & Hall. Pp. 409. Price, 3s. 6d.
It is characteristic of man to take pleasure in measuring his strength against obstacles. In the youth of the individual or the race, he delights in athletic contests; in the prime of life, he enjoys the struggle to obtain subsistence and comforts for his family, and the rewards of social eminence; and at a more advanced period the study and more or less perfect solution of intellectual problems afford him satisfaction. The world, or at any rate the Anglo-Saxon race, may be said to have reached its maturity, and intellectual problems are exciting our interest and engaging our powers as never before. There have been a few philosophers in every age since the beginning of history, but scientific, social, and religious questions are now occupying the minds of many who do not claim to be philosophers. "There is a large and, I believe, rapidly increasing class," says Mr. Laing in his introduction, "who have already acquired some elementary ideas about science, and who desire to know more. Curiosity and culture are in effect convertible terms: the wish to know is the first condition of knowing. To many who are in this stage of culture, but who have neither the time nor faculty for following up closely the ever-widening circle of advanced thought, it may be interesting to get some general and popular idea of some of the unsolved problems which have been raised by modern science, and are occupying the thoughts of the men who lead its van." To meet the want defined in this passage is the object of the present volume. The questions which the author discusses in his earlier chapters relate to the past history of the earth and other cosmic bodies. These are, How long has the sun been giving out heat enough to sustain life on the earth? What is the universe made of? What has been the climate of the earth in geologic times? When was the Glacial period, and how long did it last? From these topics he passes to the consideration of the antiquity of man and the method of his origin. A chapter is devoted to "Animal Magnetism and Spiritualism"; several religious questions are then taken up; and, finally, certain economic problems are considered. The religious questions are, whether agnosticism is reconcilable with Christianity; how great a historical element there is in the Gospels; and whether the skepticism of the present day justifies pessimism. "The Creeds of Great Poets" are also passed in review. First of the political and economic essays is an analysis of the reasons for the tension which keeps Europe constantly armed; the others deal with the financial problems of England, and the increase of population with reference to the food-supply of the world. In the case of each problem which he raises, Mr. Laing makes evident what solution he deems most probable. His discussions show a thorough knowledge of and sympathy with the scientific enlightenment of the times; and, in regard to those questions which man must answer in the future, he is generally confident that science will be able to give a beneficent solution. The only exception is in regard to the food problem, where he can see relief only from a diminished birthrate or an increased death-rate, and the idea of discovering new ways of producing edible products is not mentioned.
Timber and some of its Diseases. By H. Marshall Ward. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 295. Price, $1.15.
This work originated in a series of short articles in "Nature," and forms one of the Messrs. Macmillan's "Nature Series." It is intended as a popular scientific rather than an exhaustive and technical account of its subject. The opening chapters deal with the general character and structure and the properties and varieties of timbers; also with the classification of timbers based on these properties. An extended review of the theories about the ascent of water in tall trees is given, the conclusion of the author being that of the imbibition theory of Sachs and the osmosis-gas-pressure theory of Hartig and Godlewski and others, the latter is the more probable. While he admits that the rhythmical character of the respiration of protoplasm, on which the osmosis-pressure theory depends, is not proved, he maintains that recent researches are in favor of Godlewski's views as to the behavior of the protoplasm. The next three chapters deal with the dry-rot and other diseases of timber caused by various fungi, figures of which are given. The structure of the bark of trees, and the process of healing wounds by occlusion, are then described, with illustrations. Returning to diseases, the author describes "canker," or the larch disease, leaf diseases, and pine blister. The final chapter deals with the "damping off" of seedling trees.
Institutes of Economics. By E. B. Andrews, D. D., LL. D., President of Brown University. Boston: Silver, Burdett & Co. Pp. 227. Price, $1.30.
The most conspicuous feature of this book is the thoroughness with which its contents has been analyzed, classified, and annotated. It is introduced by a chapter defining the field of economics and stating the nature of the chief schools of economists. The body of the work is divided into six parts, devoted respectively to production, exchange, money and credit, distribution, consumption, and "practical topics involving economic theory," which last includes chapters on coin and paper currency in the United States, taxation, and poverty. It is an elementary text-book, intended for classes in colleges and, with perhaps the omission of the most difficult sections, for high-school and academy classes. Its point of view is historical, though it maintains the existence of general economic laws, absolutely and universally valid. Its sundering of economics from ethics, jurisprudence, and sociology in general is less arbitrary than in most treatises. It makes wealth, not exchange, the central conception of the science, and recognizes immaterial wealth as well as material. On the difficult topic of value, the fresh analyses of Böhm-Bawerk and Menger are heeded and in part followed. The leading ideas are distinguished by heavy type, and each section is accompanied by a list of references bearing upon its subjectmatter, and by copious notes. The volume lacks an index.
Eclectic Physical Geography. By Russell Hinman. Cincinnati: Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co. Pp. 382. 12mo.
Since physical geography includes parts of nearly all branches of science, and its study precedes that of the sciences in many schools, an introductory chapter has been prefixed to this book, in which the chief properties of matter and of heat, light, magnetism, and electricity are set forth. The topics forming the body of the book are arranged in a logical order, putting first the relations of the earth to the other members of the solar system. After this difficult subject has been disposed of, the atmosphere is considered, for the reasons that it forms the outer envelope of the earth, and that its action is the proximate cause of all details in the relief of the land and of the more conspicuous phenomena of the sea. Next come descriptions of, first, the sea, and then the land. The subject of climate follows these, and the concluding chapters deal with life, from yeast up to man. The details concerning the various topics are put in small type. The text is illustrated by one hundred and fifty cuts and many maps.
A Lenâpé-English Dictionary. Edited by Daniel G. Brinton, M. D., and Rev. Albert Seqaqkind Anthony. Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Pp. 236. Price, $3.
This vocabulary is based upon an anonymous manuscript in the archives of the Moravian church at Bethlehem, Pa., supposed to have been compiled by the Rev. C. F. Dencke, and containing about three thousand seven hundred words. The manuscript was carefully examined by the Rev. A. S. Anthony, who is a born Lenâpé, after which he and Mr. Brinton together passed in review every word in the dictionary. No attempt has been made to increase the lexicography by the insertion of words or forms obtained from the Delaware language of to-day. The editors have confined their efforts to presenting this work as exclusively concerned with the dialect as employed by the Moravian missionaries; and hence all additions to the vocabulary have been from their writings. A full index enables the equivalent of any English word to be found in the dictionary, if it is therein. The volume is printed on rough, heavy paper, with untrimmed edges. It is the first of "The Penn'a Students' Series," a series of volumes to contain material of interest to the students of Pennsylvanian history. Copies may be procured from the Librarian of the Historical Society, 1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia.
The Industrial Progress of the Nation. By Edward Atkinson, LL. D., Ph. D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 395. Price, $2.50.
Under the above title Mr. Atkinson has combined two series of magazine articles dealing with economic subjects, together with two or three addresses not before published. The statements and inferences presented in this volume are based on the author's extended study of the national accounts and the statistics of international commerce. In the paper which stands first, the idea is presented that "while the power of mankind to consume the products of the earth is limited, the source from which man may draw satisfaction for his material wants is practically unlimited." A special part of the subject of production and consumption, namely, the food question in America and Europe, is treated in the next essay, and a host of facts and figures are given bearing on the existence of waste and want side by side. In the two articles on "The Relative Strength and Weakness of Nations," the strength of democracy, as shown in America, and the weakness of nations which are governed by monarchs, are analyzed. Following these is a series of papers dealing with the distribution of the products of industry, and as connected with this subject the author discusses in another essay the question "What shall be taxed?" The general conclusions to which this series of inquiries leads him are, that the working classes are obtaining a constantly increasing and the capitalists a constantly diminishing share of an increasing product; that the share which any person may secure depends upon his use of his own abilities; and that all laws restricting the free use of time and talent are inconsistent with progress. In the latter portion of the volume are papers on "Slow-burning Construction" (illustrated); "The Missing Science" (in which an economical method and apparatus for cooking are described); "A Single Tax on Land"; and "Religion and Life." The discussions in this volume are characterized by thoroughness of study, and an earnest desire to spread enlightenment on these important subjects.
A third hand-book of pronunciation has been published by William H. P. Phyfe, entitled Seven Thousand Words often Mispronounced (Putnam, $1.25). It is intended to include all the English words and names and the foreign words liable to be mispronounced by an English-speaking person. The words are all arranged in one alphabetical list, the names only beginning with capitals. Pronunciation is indicated by respelling in full, and in some cases how the word is not sounded is also indicated, and other explanatory notes are inserted. Where several important pronunciations of a word occur, the fact is indicated, Webster's pronunciation being generally placed first. Prefixed to the list are a chapter on the sounds of the English language, suggestions on the use of the book, and a key of diacritical marks. The author enumerates forty-two sounds in English, although the American Philological Association recognizes only forty—the two additional ones being obtained by distinguishing the vowel in serge from that in urge, and the one in dog from that in odd. Two instances of carelessness are, that the author names as one of his authorities "Worcester's Unabridged Dictionary," meaning "Worcester's Quarto Dictionary," and the only pronunciation of Algonquin given in the Supplement to Webster is ignored. The volume is printed in clear type on fine paper.
We have received of what might be styled calendar publications of the Smithsonian Institution, Mr. G. H. Boehmer’s Report on Exchanges for the year ending June 30, 1887, and nine Accounts of Progress in as many branches of investigation in the year 1886. In the first of these publications, Mr. Boehmer, after relating the year's transactions in his office, reiterates the recommendation that has been made in previous reports, for the designation of a permanent agency abroad to give personal attention to the business of exchanges. His opinion that otherwise only temporary results can be obtained is confirmed by his own experiences.—In his Account of the Progress of North American Geology for 1886, Mr. Nelson H. Darton has sought to include abstracts, without bias or partiality, of all important publications distributed during the year. It is unfortunate, and hardly in keeping with the character of an institution like the Smithsonian—especially when three years are taken for the printing—that hurried preparation is offered as a reason for imperfections, and limitations of space for omitting the bibliography, which is to be made a bulletin of the Geological Survey. Mr. C. G. Rockwood, Jr., arranges his Account of Progress of Vulcanology and Seismology under the heads, as heretofore, of Vulcanology—including volcanic phenomena of 1886, volcanic phenomena of previous years, and causes of volcanic action; Seismology—earthquakes of 1886, earthquake lists of 1885; catalogues of earthquakes of previous years, and study of earthquakes; and Seismometry—instrumental records and instruments. A bibliography of eight pages is appended.—Mr. John Belknap Marcou furnishes to the series a Bibliography of North American Paleontology, giving the titles of works in the order of the authors' names, alphabetically, and descriptions or analyses of the contents of the more elaborate ones, in some instances of considerable fullness.—The Account of Geography and Exploration, by William Libbey, Jr., comprises extremely brief accounts, by continents, of the principal explorations of the year, their purposes and facts. In the Account of Progress in Physics, Prof. George F. Barker gives lucid analyses of the principal papers presented, with results determined or suggested on the general subject and in mechanics, heat, light, and electricity. A necrology and bibliography supplement the text.—Prof. H. Carrington Bolton, in the Account of Progress in Chemistry, gives similarly clear notices of papers, discoveries, and experiments in chemistry, with necrology and bibliography.—The Progress of Mineralogy is described by Edward S. Dana under the heads of "General Works" on the subject," Crystallography and Physical Mineralogy," "Chemical Mineralogy," "New Mineral Occurrences in the United States and Elsewhere," and "New Minerals." The bibliography includes brief references to papers upon mineral species.—As characteristic of Progress in Zoölogy, Mr. Theodore Gill observes that more and more attention is being paid to histology and embryology, perhaps at an undue expense to sytematic zoölogy, and regrets the tendency as hurtful to the welfare of the science, but hopes that in due time it will be corrected. The subject is reviewed in the order of zoölogical classification, and a necrology is supplied.—In the account of Progress of Anthropology, Prof. Otis T. Mason draws attention to comprehensive summaries, courses of lectures, and descriptions of instrumentalities. The heads are, "Archæology," "Biology," "Psychology," "Ethnology," "Comparative Philology," and "Mythology and Folk Lore." Clear ideas of the principal papers are given in the abstracts. A bibliography is added.
Mr. Otis T. Mason gives in the papers of the United States National Museum a valuable contribution to anthropology in the shape of an illustrated paper on the Cradles of the American Aborigines. The author finds that in both Americas the majority of aboriginal children are confined in a sort of cradle from their birth till they are able to walk about. During this period the cradle serves many purposes—as a mere nest for the helpless infant, as a bed so constructed and manipulated as to permit sleep in either a vertical or horizontal position, as a vehicle for carrying the child suspended on the mother's back or from the saddle-bow, as, indeed, a cradle to be hung on the limbs of trees to rock, as a playhouse and baby-jumper, and as a kind of training school whence the child emerges little by little till it leaves it altogether. These various uses are exhibited in the accounts which follow of the cradle systems of the different tribes. Methods of strapping the limbs and treating the head and their effects on the form, also enter into consideration.—Mr. Walter Hough's paper On the Preservation of Museum Specimens from Insects and the Effects of Dampness considers the virtues and defects of various poisonous preparations, and supplies directions for accomplishing the objects implied in the title.—Ethno-Conchology: A Study of Primitive Money, by Robert E. C. Stearns, describes the many kinds of shells that have been applied by primitive people in all parts of the world to the purposes of a currency, the methods of preparing and using them, more particularly the wampum belts of our Eastern Indians, and the shell money of the Pacific coast. The text is illustrated by nine plates and many inserted cuts, and some dozen other papers are cited in the bibliography.—Dr. J. H. Porter's Notes on the Artificial Deformation of Children among Savages and Civilized Peoples is also published in connection with Prof. Mason's Cradles, to which it bears a close relation, as it is in the cradles that the deformations are started. The subject is considered by Dr. Porter from a broad philosophical point of view, without much reference to special methods of deformation. These are mentioned in a summary of "General Notes on Deformition," which is at the same time a bibliography.—Prof. Mason's The Human Beast of Burden is of a piece in value and interest with his paper on "Cradles." The author is set by the sight of an express train to reflecting on the long and tiresome experiences through which the human mind has passed upward to that climax of invention. At the lower end of this line "we come at last to the primitive common carrier, the pack-man himself, and also the pack-woman, for men and women were the first beasts of burden." This person, with his load and his method of attaching and managing it, are considered under the aspects they present or have presented in different countries and ages; and the whole is made plain by means of pertinent illustrations.
Further contributions by Dr. R. W. Shufeldt to the study of the bone-structures of birds include Observations upon the Osteology of the Order Tubinares and Steganopodes, or albatrosses, fulmars, shearwaters, petrels, gannets, cormorants, pelicans, etc.; similar Studies of the Sub-family Ardeinæ, of which the great blue heron, Ardea herodias, is selected as the type; and, under the heading of Contributions to the Comparative Osteology of Arctic and Sub-arctic Water-Birds, a memoir on "The Auklets."
The number of The American Journal of Psychology (E. C. Sanford, Worcester, Mass., $5 a year) which completes its second year contains three principal articles. The first of these is by Charles L. Edwards, on the "Folk-lore of the Bahama Negroes," and embodies many stories similar in character to those which have been recently obtained from the negroes of our Southern States. The collection is introduced by several pages of description of the islands and the people. The second paper is "On some Characteristics of Symbolic Logic," by Christine L. Franklin. The fourth and concluding paper of Dr. W. H. Burnham's series on "Memory, historically and experimentally considered," appears in this number. In this paper Dr. Burnham sketches the progress of recent theories. He finds that the view that "the essence of memory is a functional disposition persisting in the brain is, perhaps, the one most widely held by contemporary psychologists." He also glances at the recent experimental studies upon memory, and appends to his paper a bibliography of the most important literature of the subject.
In The Chemistry of Narcotics, a pamphlet by Prof. E. Haworth (the author, Oskaloosa, Iowa, 25 cents), a brief account is given of the preparation and chemical character of the common alcoholic beverages, chloral, the bromides, and the vegetable alkaloids. A table of percentages of alcohol in foreign and domestic alcoholic beverages is appended.
The Cosmic Law of Thermal Repulsion (Wiley, 75 cents) is an attempt to account for the tails of comets. The author's view is, that the projected matter forming the tail has been separated from the body of the comet by the radiant energy of the sun. He states the details of his hypothesis in the present essay, and quotes from many scientific authorities passages which directly or indirectly support it.
The popular lectures and discussions given before the Brooklyn Ethical Association last winter have been published in book-form under the title Evolution (James H. West, Boston). The fifteen papers on various evolutionary topics which the volume comprises were noticed in these pages when published separately.
A paper on Marine Shells and Fragments of Shells in the Till near Boston, by Prof. Warren Upham, has been published in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, Vol. XXIV. The fossils here described have been before regarded as evidence that the land in which they are found had been previously submerged beneath the sea. Instead of this, the observations of Prof. Upham go to show that the fossils were brought to their present positions from the bed of the sea on the north, by the icesheet. In the same volume is a paper on The Structure of Drumlins, also by Prof. Upham. Another recent paper by him, on Glaciation of Mountains in New England and New York, is published in "Appalachie," Vol. V, No. IV.
In a bulletin on Natural Gas in Minnesota, the geologist of that State, Prof. N. H. Winchell, reviews the geological facts and the results of experiments bearing on the question whether gas in any considerable quantity is likely to be found in Minnesota. His conclusions are, that the great formations that furnish gas in the United States are almost wholly wanting in Minnesota; that the gas which comes from shallow wells at Freeborn is confined to the drift; and that if gas is found in Minnesota in a lower formation than it has been found in anywhere else, as has been predicted, it will be something new in geology.
The publication of a treatise on the Paleontology of the Cretaceous Formations of Texas has been undertaken by Prof. Robert T. Hill, of the University of Texas, at Austin. It is to be published in installments, at twenty-five cents each. Part I, now issued, comprises descriptions of three specimens, with plates. The same author has also published Part I of a Check-List of the Invertebrate Fossils from the Cretaceous Formations of Texas, accompanied by Notes on their Geographic and Geologic Distribution. In "The American Journal of Science" has appeared recently a paper by him on the Relation of the Uppermost Cretaceous Beds of the Eastern and Southern United States, and in "The American Geologist" another on The Foraminiferal Origin of Certain Cretaceous Lime-stones and the Sequence of Sediments in North American Cretaceous.
The little Hand-Book of Precious Stones, by M D. Rothschild (Putnam, $1), gives a brief sketch of the properties of each mineral used in jewelry. The specific descriptions are introduced by directions for recognizing and determining the characters by which the quality of precious stones is ascertained. A table of hardness and specific gravity is appended.
Three memoirs on Meteoric Iron, by George F. Kunz, relate respectively to a mass weighing 15½ ounces, which was found on Linnville Mountain, N. C. about 1882; a mass of 25·61 pounds weight, which was found in Laramie County, Wyoming, in January, 1887; and the Johnson County (Arkansas) mass, which fell in 1886, and is noteworthy as having been the largest mass ever actually seen to fall. It weighed 107½ pounds. Physical descriptions, chemical analyses, and photographic illustrations of the stones are given. Another paper by Mr. Kunz includes "Mineralogical Notes" on "Phenacite from Maine," "Quartz Pseudomorphs after Spodumene," "A Remarkable Variety of Transparent Oligoclase," "Apatite from near Yonkers, N. Y., "Cyanite from North Carolina," and an "Aragonite Pseudomorph."
A valuable contribution to the study of the structure of the crinoids is given in a paper entitled Discovery of the Ventral Structure of Taxocrinus and Haplocrinus, and Consequent Modifications in the Classification of the Crinoidea, by Charles Wachsmuth, of Burlington, Iowa, and Frank Springer, of Las Vegas, N. M. The descriptions are supplemented by excellent plate illustrations.