Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/December 1891/Literary Notices
Evolution in Science and Art. Lectures and Discussions before the Brooklyn Ethical Association. Now York: D. Appleton & Co.
The topics considered in these lectures include not only the special unfolding of each branch of science, but also sketches of the leading evolutionists and outlines of their methods. The first of the series is a concise and excellent review of A. R. Wallace and his work, by Prof. E. D. Cope. The co-author with Darwin of the theory of natural selection is honored as a biologist, not for researches in anatomy or paleontology, but for his mastery of hexicology—the study of the mutual relations of living objects. Extensive travel tor twelve years in the tropics furnished him with a storehouse of zoölogical facts. From these resulted various papers on birds' nests, protective coloration, and mimicry; while the theory of natural selection was drawn from his observation of the variations of species. Besides his works on evolution, he has written books of travel and essays on political economy. Prof. Cope regards Dr. Wallace as a fine example of his own doctrine, that all force is will-force, and pays another tribute to him as typical of the intelligent spirit of this century, determined to know and to use the knowledge for the benefit of mankind.
His explanation of force and intelligence, as caused by an influx of spirit, is deemed, however, "an unnecessary interjection in an otherwise continuous operation of known and unknown causes."
As Dr. Wallace is so stanch a supporter of the theory that variations are congenital and environment a secondary feature, while Prof. Cope holds as firmly to the opposite view, several mooted points are discussed en passant, and in conclusion a synopsis is given of the respective tenets of the Neo-Lamarckian and Neo-Darwinian schools.
The famous zoölogist and author of monism. Prof. Ernst Haeckel, is the theme of the second lecture, by Thaddeus B. Wakeman. The life and enthusiastic labors of the great naturalist are fascinating subjects. Whether studying at "dear Jena," or diving in the Indian Ocean, or waging war with Prof. Virchow, his zest for knowledge is unappeasable and magnetizes his followers. His wonderful industry has given to the world nearly a dozen valuable zoölogical works and several charming books of travel. It is his philosophy or religion, however, that especially attracts his biographer. Mr. Wakeman is consumed by a monistic fervor; and it is questionable whether, in his anxiety to rid the universe of "spooks," he does not create some for iconoclastic purposes. The "unknowable" of Herbert Spencer, or Prof. Huxley's limitations of knowledge, need some endowment of objectivity before they can be properly exorcised as wraiths.
The Scientific Method is expounded by Dr. Francis E. Abbot in the third lecture. This, when tersely stated, consists of observation, hypothesis, and verification. A confirmed transcendentalist might oppose the first step by questioning whether one could observe an external world. So the lecturer gives an imaginary controversy between the realist and consistent idealist, and finally drives the latter logically into the comer of solipsism, where he is made to declare that the universe is within himself. The actual idealist always escapes this fate by allowing an inference of the objective which we can not know per se. As the idealistic individual shut up with himself can not know, so he can not add to human knowledge. The scientific man, on the other hand, recognizes an external world and positive knowledge, and seeks to contribute some new grain of truth if he may. He observes, hypothesizes, and verifies, and finally submits his result to verification by the race, the ultimate criterion being the unanimous consensus of the competent.
Notwithstanding Dr. Abbot's clear statement of the scientific method, this final standard of knowledge seems ambiguous. The truth of a theory needs no further test than its complete verification by all the facts to which it applies.
To make a synopsis of the Synthetic Philosophy of Herbert Spencer intelligible within the limits of a lecture is a difficult task, which Mr. B. F. Underwood has accomplished extremely well. Not only this, but he has given an introductory analysis of the opposing philosophical systems which preceded the evolution hypothesis. The sensation philosophy of Locke and Hume, and the a priori speculations of Kant, representing hoary antagonisms of thought, were by Spencer's insight found to be different halves of the whole truth that knowledge is derived from experience, but the experience of the race furnishes innate ideas to the individual. Spencer's doctrine that we perceive only phenomena, and from these infer the noumenal existence which causes changes in consciousness, is known as transfigured realism; and, though charged with idealistic leaning by rank realists, is no more transcendental than the views of Dr. Maudsley and Prof. Huxley. According to the latter, "all phenomena are, in their ultimate analysis, known to us only as facts of consciousness." But it is the "unknowable reality" which proves a stumbling-block to many. Theologians dislike this, since it excludes a knowledge of God, and the scientific are afraid cf it because Unknowable is printed with a capital, which suggests another sort of deity. Disciples of Haeckel vainly impute dualism to Mr. Spencer, while he declares, "I recognize no forces within the organism or without the organism but the variously conditional modes of the universal immanent force." Whatever chiseling time may effect in the body of Spencer's doctrine, there is good reason to believe with Mr. Underwood that the leading principles will remain intact.
In the Evolution of Chemistry, Dr. R. G. Eccles has skillfully traced the growth of chemical knowledge from the vague theories of the ancients to the definite, complex science of to-day. After the time of Aristotle the elemental theory or doctrine of abstract qualities saturated thought for fifteen hundred years. The scales first used by the young Scotch chemist Black weighed scholastic dogma as well as fixed air, and proved the hollowness of a priori reasoning. This step in verification made progress possible. Oxygen was discovered by Priestley, combustion explained by Lavoisier, and the law of definite and multiple proportions ascertained by Dalton. The idea of continuous matter was displaced by the atomic theory, and Avogadro's law regarding the volume of gases confirmed the hypothesis. The laws of specific heat, crystallography, and Mendelejeff's formula, each added its proof of atomic weight. The study of the coherence of groups of atoms resulted in the wonderful synthetic productions of the laboratory. The brilliant dyes, flavorings, perfumes, and medicines made by the chemist excelled those offered by Nature, and utilized hitherto waste products. Although the detail of organic chemistry is now beyond the mastery of any man, the outlook is infinite, and problems whose solution promises the secret of creation itself tempt the student. The composition of the ferments, pepsin and trypsin, or of the albuminoids, and the conversion of starch into cane sugar, would unlock incalculable benefits. The author considers the development of chemical knowledge, like the habits of atoms, closely illustrative of evolutionary law.
Thales suggested electricity as a condition of life, and the author of The Evolution of Electric and Magnetic Physics is inclined to agree with him. According to Mr. Kennelly, "it is possible, if it is not at present demonstrated, that electricity may be the active principle in the processes of animal vitality; . . . the relation between electricity and vitality may be so close as to amount to identity." This is perhaps pardonable in the chief electrician of Edison's laboratory, but it is-doubtful if any eminent physiologist or psychologist will allow that nerve-fibers do more than artificially resemble insulated wires, or that a dynamo can confer any degree of immortality. The growth of electric knowledge is recent; for twenty-two hundred years it was dormant. The seventeenth century witnessed investigation of electrical phenomena and of the properties of magnets, but for two centuries thereafter no connection was realized between them. It was only after Oersted's discovery, in 1820, that a magnetic needle is deflected by the electric current, that electro-magnetism became a science. Its subsequent progress was correspondingly rapid, and its offspring are the crowning inventions of to-day. Three propositions are especially emphasized by Mr. Kennelly: 1. All electricity tends to flow in closed curves or circuits. 2. The conductivity of the surrounding ether. 3. The production of light by electro-magnetic vibration.
The development of botany and the brilliant progress of electricity are as unlike as a flower and an electric spark. In his lecture upon the Evolution of Botany, Mr. Wulling shows that the accumulation of botanic knowledge was nearly as gradual as vegetable growth. The primitive needs were food and clothing, and an acquaintance with plants supplied these. Herbs were also found to be noxious or healing, and skill in remedies was sought and venerated in the early ages. In time so many species were described that various attempts were made to classify them, and at length the natural system of Jussieu prevailed. Investigation of the structure and anatomy of plants followed the introduction of the microscope. The establishment of botanical gardens facilitated the study of foreign flora; plant morphology and physiology were differentiated as branches of research; and, finally, geological, paleontological, and pathological botany constituted separate departments of this complex science. Mr. Wulling refers to the labors of many American botanists, and applies the formula of evolution to an analysis of botanical history.
Each of the foregoing lectures is preceded by a list of collateral readings useful to the student, and followed by a brief discussion of the subject by members of the Ethical Association.
The Natural History of Man, and the Rise and Progress of Philosophy. By Alexander Kinmont. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. Pp. 335. Price, $1.
This book comprises a series of lectures that were delivered and first published fifty years ago, or before the present methods of investigation were instituted, and before the existing theories of development had begun to prevail. Yet it is not antiquated, and the claim of the editor is supported that "the rapid movement of the world in all departments of thought, the changes of opinion and sentiment in doctrinal theology, and in philosophy, have not distanced nor superseded the ideas herein presented." The author regards the study of anthropology as chiefly valuable as an introduction to the science of Deity, and tries whether he can not trace in man, "the image and likeness" of God, "some of the more majestic elements of the original." He does not attempt any formal science of human nature, or any theory which might deserve the name of anthropology, "for such theory or perfect science, I imagine, would be premature still, by many hundreds of centuries." Yet, while he approaches the subject from a wholly different point of view than that from which contemporary philosophers regard it, and considers a different side of it, his thoughts lead him in the same direction as they take, and his work presents many foreshadowings of the doctrine of evolution. He might be described as a theological anthropologist. In the lecture on the origin and use of language he says that "the arguments drawn from the sacred scriptures, to establish a system of uniform sounds and modifications of voice to designate ideas, are of a kin with the systems of astronomy and geology drawn from the same book; all of which, after being fanatically maintained for a time by arguments supported by passion rather than philosophy, are compelled by degrees to give place to the solid truths of observation and experience." Not that anything in science militates against the authority of the scriptures; "but these books do not purport to deliver to us a system of science, but only to reveal the Author of Creation, and the established series of its epochs." Thus in the accounts of events, as In that of the creation, the statements are to be interpreted, not in the literal, physical sense, but as condensed, emphatic utterances of the theological truth—in this case of God the Creator—which in the mind of the author predominates over the scientific truth. The labors of modern geologists do not affect the truths, before announced, in regard to the creation of the world, for the simple reason that they refer not to the workman, but to the physical characters of the work. "This distinction now begins to be understood, and will be so more and more, as the truths of religion and the truths of science are seen to be of different orders, sometimes apparently blended, but never actually confounded. . . . Three thousand years ago or upward, Theology in the Eastern world stood unconfounded with science, and men heard from her, and were satisfied with the response; that 'in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth'—that 'God said, Let there be light, and there was light '; and they heard the number of the days of creation also, and were satisfied; and similarly, in our times, it may be affirmed that Science stands on her own ground, unoccupied by theology, and expounds facts and establishes conclusions, no longer fearing or being feared; and men are now, in regard to science, what they used to be in regard to religion—free and unembarrassed, serving bat one master. And this is the more worthy of observation when we recollect the history of the intervening period—how science has been confounded with religion, and religion with science, to the detriment and dishonor of both. . . . It is only when each pursues that order and series of truths which are peculiar to each that any mutual benefit can arise; but, when they encroach on each other's provinces, the most baleful effects ensue." The presentation of this branch of the subject, and the chapters on The Origin and Perpetuation of the Natural Races of Mankind, and Unity in Variety of the Human Race, are followed by studies of certain particular nationalities.
An Introduction to Natural Philosophy. By Denison Olmsted, LL. D. Fourth revised edition, by Samuel Sheldon, Ph. D. New York: The Baker & Taylor Company. Pp. 465. Price, $2.75.
It is nearly half a century since Olmsted's Philosophy was first published, and although the progress of modern knowledge in this period has made four revisions necessary, the name and plan of the author arc still deemed worthy of being retained. For the present revision the whole book has been carefully gone over, the chief efforts of the editor being spent in rewriting the parts treating of Electricity and Magnetism. The subjects Force, Energy, Work, Wave-motions, Organ-pipes, Spectrum Analysis, and Interference of Light-waves have also been almost entirely rewritten. Extended description of apparatus has been avoided. A few striking experiments have been described, but the choice of demonstration has been left largely to the instructor. Many new drawings, chiefly in outline, have been made. The work is adapted to college students. It would be improved by the addition of an alphabetical index.
The Chapters on Electricity, written by Prof. Samuel Sheldon for the above treatise, are also published separately (Baker & Taylor Company, $1.25). This volume is intended for use in those colleges which devote but thirty or forty hours to the subject, and the principles presented in it are those which the author thinks every liberally educated person should know. It has been the desire of the author to present each part of the subject in its most modern dress. This desire, however, has been tempered by a consideration of the intended functions cf the book.
Chemistry of the Carbon Compounds, or Organic Chemistry. By Victor von Richter. Authorized translation by Edgar F. Smith. Second American from the sixth German edition. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Son & Co. Pp. 1040. Price, $3.
This work is sufficiently detailed to meet the wants of advanced students of organic chemistry, and to serve as a reference-book for practical chemists. The present edition differs considerably in its arrangement and size from the first edition. The introduction contains added matter upon analysis, the determination of molecular weights, recent theories on chemical structure, electric conductivity, etc. The section devoted to the carbohydrates has been entirely rewritten, and presents the most recent views in regard to their constitution. The sections relating to the trimethylene, tetramethylene, and pentamethylene series, the furfurane, pyrrol, and thiophene derivatives, have been greatly enlarged, while subsequent chapters, devoted to the discussion of the aromatic compounds, are quite exhaustive in their treatment of special and important groups. The translator has had the hearty co-operation of the author in preparing this edition.
Topics of the Times. By Rev. Howard MacQueary, Author of The Evolution of Man and Christianity. New York: United States Book Co. Pp. 238 + 51.
In this book the Rev. Howard MacQueary shows that he is interested in and capable of discussing other than theological questions, for here he addresses himself to the vital questions of the times, in which a larger public will be interested than even the large one which has read his former book. This work is divided into two parts, the former consisting of Lectures on the Conflict between Labor and Capital; An Exposition of Nationalism; Truths and Errors of Henry George's Views; The Savages of Civilization; Popular Ideas of Poverty; Reduction of Hours of Labor; The Negro in America; The Bible in the Public Schools. The second part contains ten sermons, many of them on most important and interesting topics: Our Country: its Character and Destiny; The Sabbath Question; Criticism of the Bible; Did the Fish swallow Jonah? What's the Use of Praying? What is the Evidence of Life after Death? The God-filled Man; Unshaken Beliefs; Should we have Creeds? The Real Rights of Woman.
In his preface Mr. MacQueary defends the pulpit for undertaking the discussion of Topics of the Times. There are, he says, two radically different ideas of the Church and the pulpit. Some regard the clergyman as a sort of religious policeman whose duty it is to hold up before sinners pictures of hell to scare them into doing their duty. Others, however, hold that the Church and the pulpit have to do with the moral aspect of every question, political, social, or scientific, and that Religion and Morality are twin sisters. This latter point of view is justified by the example of the prophets of Israel, who denounced the social and political evils of their time. With regard to the papers in the book, the author says that they "are intended to be popular discussions of the great problems considered," but not to be "exhaustive or original." He has evidently succeeded in "casting the material in his own mold," as he claims to have done.
The reader of these papers will find them very interesting, stimulating to thought, and helpful to all to whom the burning questions of the day are serious problems. The author has brought to his task wide reading, an earnest consideration of the subjects treated, and an easy and agreeable style. The views of Henry George receive a pretty thorough treatment, and the paper on the Savages of Civilization is of thrilling interest.
There has been added to the lectures and sermons a paper on ecclesiastical liberty, which is the able defense of Mr. MacQueary before the ecclesiastical court of the Episcopal Church of the Northern District of Ohio against the charges of heresy. This paper is of permanent interest, although the case has now at length been definitely settled by Mr. MacQueary's withdrawal from the Episcopal Church.
The Right Hand; Left-Handedness. By Sir Daniel Wilson. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 215. Price, $1.25.
This treatise includes data originally accumulated in a series of papers communicated to scientific institutions in Canada, in which the author sought to determine the cause of left-handedness by a review of its history in its archæological, philological, and physiological aspects. To these, results of later investigation have been added; and besides the effort to trace left-handedness to its true source, the folly of persistently trying to repress an innate faculty of exceptional attitude, and the advantages to be derived from the systematic cultivation of dexterity in both hands, are insisted upon. In the former chapters of the book—on "the educated hand," "the willing hand," "palæolithic dexterity," etc.—the prevalence of right-handedness is shown to have been marked from the earliest and even the prehistoric ages of mankind. Its manifestation in children appears by the weight of evidence to be often spontaneous. The structure of primitive implements, ancient weapons, etc., shows it to have been the rule through the historical period. Philological arguments, references in ancient literature to right- handedness, and to left-handed exceptions, the writing of ancient documents, and the positions of the figures in drawings, bear in the same direction. Consideration of these evidences precludes the idea of the origin of right-handedness lying in any ancient custom, or of its development and enforcement by education into a nearly universal habit. The conclusion is therefore inevitably forced on the inquirer that the bias in which this law originates must be traceable to some specialty of organic structure. This argument becomes stronger when we reflect that right or left handedness is not limited to the hand, but partially affects the lower limbs, as may be seen in foot-ball, skating, the training of opera-dancers, etc., so that eminent anatomists and physiologists have affirmed the existence of a greater development throughout the whole right side of the body. Theories have been proposed assuming stronger circulation, visceral predominance, or more vigorous muscular growth on the right side, but they do not seem to go to the root of the matter; while the theory of cerebral localizations on which many other human faculties have been found to depend seems more ample. It is understood that each hemisphere of the brain affects the opposite side of the body. In the majority of cases where the hemispheres have been weighed separately, the left hemisphere has been found heaviest. This would give predominance to the right Bide In the case of a single left-handed patient, Dr. Wilson and an associated physician found the right hemisphere to weigh the most. "No comprehensive indications can be based on a single case, but its confirmatory value is unmistakable at this stage of the inquiry; and thus far it sustains the conditions previously arrived at."
Laboratory Practice. A Series of Experiments on the Fundamental Principles of Chemistry. By Josiah Parsons Cooke, LL. D. New York: D. Appleton k Co. Pp. 193. Price, $1.
Teachers who are striving against many obstacles to teach science according to its own proper method will be glad of the help which the senior Professor of Chemistry in Harvard College offers them through this volume. It is a manual of directions for experiments in which especial care is taken that what the experiments teach shall not be lost sight of. "The student should be given to understand clearly," says Prof. Cooke in his introduction, "that experiments performed mechanically, without intelligence, or carelessly recorded, are worth absolutely nothing, and should be so estimated in any system of school or college credits." This book is designed as a companion to The New Chemistry, by the same author, which contains no experiments for the student, as the present volume contains no extended statement of chemical principles. The principle that each experiment illustrates, however, is indicated by a heading, and in many cases the conclusions that the teacher should enforce are explicitly stated. Notes, questions, and problems are also inserted after each experiment or group of experiments, in order to direct the student's attention upon the essential features of the investigation in hand. Ample cautions accompany all experiments that would be dangerous if carelessly performed. The present issue of this manual has the value of a revised edition, for the book is an enlargement of a list of experiments printed in pamphlet form that has been used for several years in Harvard College and in a number of fitting schools. In order to make the expense less of an obstacle to the performance of these experiments by school classes, the author has sought to adapt to the purposes of instruction common household utensils, such as may be made by a tinsmith or found at any house-furnishing store. Two figures of a kerosene stove applied to laboratory purposes are given, and many other definite suggestions in regard to apparatus are furnished.
By the publication of Part IV, Dr. Michael Foster, F. R. S., has completed the fifth edition of his Text-book of Physiology (Macmillan, $1.90). This part comprises the conclusion of Book in, on the Central Nervous System and its Instruments, and Book IV, on the Tissues and Mechanisms of Reproduction. There is also an Appendix on The Chemical Basis of the Animal Body. In the portion of Book III here presented the special senses and the voice are briefly treated, and the account of reproduction is also brief. A little more than two hundred pages are given to the topics here enumerated, bringing the whole number of the pages in the work up to 1,856. The author hopes to begin the publication of a sixth and carefully revised edition of the whole book early in the autumn. We would suggest that he add an index to the forthcoming edition.
Muter's Manual of Analytical Chemistry, several previous editions of which we have noticed, now appears, revised by an American editor, Dr. Claude C. Hamilton. This revision is based on the fourth English edition. The editor has made only such changes as were required to adapt the book to the United States Pharmacopœia except in the chapter on urine analysis, which has been enlarged, and to which cuts of microscopic sediments and other illustrations have been added. The chapter on water analysis has been altered to correspond with Wanklyn's methods, as those are most generally used in America. Several other processes have been added, such as estimation of chloral hydrate, of fat in milk, etc., and various minor changes in arrangement have been made in the interest of convenience in using the treatise.
A volume of Elementary Lessons in Heat, Light, and Sound has been prepared by Prof. D. E. Jones (Macmillan, 70 cents). It is an experimental book, intended for beginners, and aims to bring out "one of the chief advantages of science as an educational subject—the training in the habit of observation, and of learning from things at first hand." In the methods of reasoning, as well as in the choice of words and subject matter, the author has endeavored to be as simple and clear as possible. He has also repeatedly tried and modified each experiment so as to present it in a simple form, and avoid the more usual causes of failure. The book is illustrated.
Part III of the Short Course of Experiments in Physical Measurements, by Harold Whiting (D. C. Heath & Co., $1.20), deals with principles and methods. About half of its three hundred pages are devoted to some fifty tables, and notes on their arrangement and use. This material is preceded by ten chapters, in some of which such matters as Observation and Error, and Reduction of Results are treated, while the others deal respectively with the several departments of physics.
A pamphlet is before us entitled The Universe and its Evolution, being a translated abridgment of a five-volume work in Hebrew, by S. J. Silberstein. The author denies the law of gravitation, and asserts that Kepler's laws not only are not explained by it, but furnish evidence against it. He brings forward many arguments to show that the planets could not have been projected from the sun into their present orbits. He maintains, further, that they could not continue their revolutions indefinitely, for the attraction of the sun would draw them in upon that body, unless, as he affirms, motion begets motion. In another chapter some of Spinoza's ideas of God are combated, and the author then unfolds his conception of the universe. He considers the source of all to be the Absolute Intellect, whose offspring, the absolute essence, brought the atoms into existence, and the atoms are controlled by a force that he calls "centrality." This force resides in the center of every body, and maintains the character of the body. Several other physical laws are laid down, and the larger work is referred to for a full statement in regard to them. The author apparently has not considered the modern nebular theory.
The revision of The Chemical Analysis of Iron (Lippincott, $4) that has just been made by the author, Andrew A. Blair, has consisted in the correction of mistakes that were apparent in the first edition, and the adding of matter called for by the advance in analytical chemistry during the past three years. The Table of Atomic Weights has been revised, and the Table of Factors has been changed to correspond to the new values.
A report on The Pediculi and Mallophaga affecting Man and the Lower Animals, by Prof. Herbert Osborn, has been issued as a bulletin of the Department of Agriculture. It describes the various kinds of lice found on man, the monkey, dog, goat, ox, hog, horse, the rodents, poultry, and various other animals, giving illustrations of forty-three species.
A pamphlet made up of Original Communications of the Zymotechnic Institute has been published by the director, Mr. J. E. Siebel (242 Burling Street, Chicago). The papers are reports of scientific investigations into a variety of matters connected with the brewing industry, such as the composition of the acrospire of barley, yield of material in the brewery, differentiation of subterranean water-supplies, etc. There are six plates, showing different kinds of bacteria, of saccharomyces, molds, and starch, microscopic aquatic life, and forced beer sediments.
An Address on the University Extension Movement, delivered by Richard G. Moulton, A. M., has been published by the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching (1602 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia). Mr. Moulton defines university extension as "university education for the whole nation organized upon itinerant lines." He says that university education differs from school education in being unlimited, and that a university fails miserably in its duty if it does not give one those tastes and those mental habits which will lead him to go on learning to the end of his days. Not every person will get the same thing out of university instruction. Each helps himself according to his own capacity. The extension teaching involves lectures, class-work, printed syllabuses, weekly written exercises, examinations, and certificates. The interest that has been aroused in England is shown by the written exercises voluntarily sent in, changes in the character of the demands on the public libraries and of the conversation at social gatherings, traceable to courses of lectures, and similar indications Mr. Moulton speaks of university extension as a missionary movement, and urges all who possess the benefits of culture to assist in giving culture to others.
The Iowa State Medical Society has begun the publication of a bimonthly magazine. The Vis Medicatrix which will serve as the journal of the society (Des Moines, $1 a year). It is edited by Woods Hutchinson, M. D., and the first number contains the proceedings at the society's fortieth annual session, the president's address, departments devoted to diseases of animals, plant diseases, medical colleges, notes and news, etc.
Mr. John A. Wright, of Philadelphia, has published a pamphlet on The Practical Working and Results of the Inter-State Commerce Act, the purpose of which is to present (1) the law of distribution of the returns on all products that require transportation to a market; (2) the policy of transporters in view of their duties as common carriers; (3) the difficulty of estimating the cost of transportation; (4) a measure on which a just rate of profit on the stock of transportation companies may be based. The author points out provisions in the law which he holds should be expunged as impracticable and dangerous.
A treatise on The Principles of Agriculture has been prepared for common schools by Mr. L. O. Winslow, and is published by the American Book Company. It regards a knowledge of the subject as identical with a knowledge of the natural laws and principles that underlie rural life and rural pursuits, and considers it an important element in the education of the young. Hence it begins at the foundation with descriptions of the substances of the earth, accounts of its geological history, and the leading facts and principles of the several sciences that bear directly on agriculture and rural life. The applications of the principles are then described in the chapters on Plants, Fertilizers, Cultivation, and Animals. Minor and subordinate topics are omitted, in the belief that a thorough knowledge of the few main points is worth more to the pupil than a confused idea of the whole. Points not definitely settled are avoided, or mentioned only briefly. The book is designed, primarily, for use in the public schools, and contains no difficulties too great for ordinary pupils of twelve or fourteen years.
A text-book on the Elements of Civil Government, published by the American Book Company, has been prepared by Alex L. Peterman for use in schools, and as a manual of reference for teachers. It is intended to supply what is a serious want in many of our schools, which omit instruction concerning civil government and the science of citizenship. It begins with the family, the first form of government with which the child comes in contact. As his acquaintance with rightful authority increases, the school, the civil district, the township, the county, the State, and the United States are taken up in their order. In each case the nature and purposes of the Government are explained, and its scope and methods. The author endeavors to present the subject in a simple and attractive way.
In a curious book entitled Beyond the Bourn (Fords, Howard k Hulbert), Mr. Amos K. Fiske records a dream of the future world, and expounds his views on the destiny of man. The fiction is sustained of a person who was rendered insensible and to all appearances dead for three days by a railroad accident, and whose spirit sojourned in the other world for that time. Recalled to life and earth, he feels himself a stranger among those who were of his kind, and is impelled to leave a record of his experiences and impressions in the abode of spirits. Hints are given of the persistence of the principle of evolution throughout the universe, and of the continued development and perfection of the human race in the after-life.
A collection of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's patriotic addresses, compiled a few years ago by Mr. John R. Howard, contained a review of Mr. Beecher's Personality and Influence in Public Affairs. This is now separated from the original volume by the author, and published by itself, by Fords, Howard & Hulbert, under the title of Henry Ward Beecher: a Study of his Personality, Career, and Influence in Public Affairs. It is, in fact, an interesting and critical biography of a man whose influence on American thought and political tendencies has been second to that of few if any others. The book is embellished with excellent portraits of Mr. Beecher at forty-three, at sixty-five, and at seventy-three.