Popular Science Monthly/Volume 41/August 1892/Literary Notices
Social Statics, abridged and revised; together with The Man versus The State. By Herbert Spencer. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 420. Price, $2.
Social Statics was Mr. Spencer's first book. As originally issued, in 1850, it bore the title Social Statics: or, the Conditions essential to Human Happiness specified, and the First of them developed. It was put forth as, in the words of the author, "a system of political ethics—absolute political ethics, or that which ought to be, as distinguished from relative political ethics, or that which is at present the nearest practicable approach to it." Mr. Spencer affirms at the outset that, living as they do in the social state, men can attain the greatest happiness only by seeking it indirectly. He then reasons out as a first principle controlling the pursuit of happiness that "every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man." Applications of this first principle constituted the rest of the original volume. Many of these applications, in a matured and completed form, have been comprised in the division of Mr. Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy dealing with Justice, hence they have been omitted from the new edition of the present work, or presented only briefly. The last eight chapters of the book, however, which treat of the regulation of commerce, education, currency, postal arrangements, and some similar functions commonly performed by governments, remain substantially as first published.
Besides the duplication of a large part of this work in Justice, another reason for revising Social Statics was that, in the years that have passed since it first appeared, Mr. Spencer had relinquished some of the conclusions drawn from its first principle, and had given up also one of the bases upon which he had formerly made that principle to rest. The omission of some parts was accordingly necessary in order to check misrepresentations of the views which he now holds.
Interesting indications of the direction in which Mr. Spencer's thought was tending forty years ago may be found scattered through this volume. Thus, on page 32 he declares that civilization is a part of Nature, hence its progress is all of a piece with the development of an embryo or the unfolding of a flower; and, provided that the constitution of things remains the same, this progress must result in the perfection of mankind. Again, on pages 121, 122 is a paragraph illustrating the specialization of functions and the adaptation of parts to their duties which goes on in the development of various kinds of organisms. This paragraph shows that in 1849, when it must have been written, Mr. Spencer had already entered upon the line of thought which led him up to the general law of evolution. Several passages give evidence that he had then discovered the operation in Nature of the process that has since become known under the name "natural selection." Thus on pages 203, 204 he says, "Partly by weeding out those of lowest development, and partly by subjecting those who remain to the never ceasing discipline of experience, Nature secures the growth of a race who shall both understand the conditions of existence and be able to act up to them."
The Man versus The State consists of four essays combating paternalism, which were originally published as magazine articles, and are among the most able and vigorous of Mr. Spencer's miscellaneous writings. A postscript and a note have since been added.
Outlines of Lessons in Botany. Part II. Flower and Fruit. By Jane H. Newell. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 399. Price, 90 cents.
The leading aim in this work is to direct pupils to the study of plants themselves. With the very practical purpose of securing sufficient material for study, the successive lessons deal with the flowers in season in New England and vicinity, to which region the book is specially adapted, from March to early summer. A few house-plants are introduced to help out the scanty blossoms of March. Later, wild flowers, the blossoms of forest trees and fruit trees, and the flowers of garden vegetables all receive attention. While the analysis of flowers occupies the greater part of this volume, attention is given also to the leaves, stem, and roots of the specimens studied. An appendix contains a schedule for plant description, with some fifty or sixty descriptions following this form. There are also a glossary, an index of plants, and a chart comprising sixty families designed to introduce pupils to the use of Gray's Manual. There are thirty-seven illustrations.
A History of Epidemics in Britain (664—1666). By Charles Creighton, M. A., M. D. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 706. Price, $4.50.
The pestilence of 664 in England, known to tradition as the great plague "of Cadwallader's time," furnishes the starting-point for this history. But little can be told about this pestilence, for, besides an entry in the Irish annals, Beda's Ecclesiastical History is the only source of authentic information concerning it. Previous to the "black death" of 1348-'49, English epidemics were almost all famine-sicknesses. The author gives a chronological list of such pestilences, embracing more than forty, with full accounts of three of them, and notes concerning others. An early chapter is devoted to Leprosy in Mediæval Britain, from which it appears that much consideration was given to lepers in the middle ages, these unfortunates being deemed the special wards of Jesus Christ. The author believes, however, that the hundred or more hospitals mentioned under the name of lazar-houses in Dugdale's Monasticon were not exclusively for the care of lepers. Furthermore, contemporary descriptions of lepers indicate that several diseases were then known by the common name of leprosy.
The black death, or bubo-plague, of 1348-'49, produced a frightful mortality. Certain parish records show ten times the ordinary number of burials. During the fourteen months of its prevalence two thirds of the clergy of Britain were carried off, and one half of the whole population of London. Dr. Creighton's account of this pestilence includes an examination of the traditions which locate its origin in China and in Tartary, and a discussion of the theory of the bubo-plague. The social and economic consequences of the black death make up an interesting chapter, and connect this history with the general history of the time. The next remarkable epidemic was the sweating-sickness, of which five outbreaks occurred between 1485 and 1551. The record of plague in the Tudor period is a story of frequent outbreaks, one of the most serious being the London plague of 1563. Jail-fevers, influenzas, etc., during the same period furnish material for another chapter. The "French pox" has a chapter by itself, another is devoted to small-pox and measles, and another to scurvy and other sicknesses attendant upon early voyages. The plagues of the seventeenth century down to 1665 are duly recorded, and then comes the "Great Plague," to which over twenty per cent of the population of London succumbed. The extinction of the plague in England, in 1666 or 1667, brings this history to a close. The work gives evidence of much thoroughness and great ability on the part of its author, and deserves to rank high in medical literature.
The Last Words of Thomas Carlyle. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 383. Price, $1.75.
This volume contains Wotton Reinfred, a romance; and An Excursion (futile enough) to Paris, which were left among the author's papers at his death; and a number of letters written by Carlyle to Varnhagen von Ense in the years 1837 to 1857; together with two notes of Varnhagen about Carlyle's first visit to Berlin in 1852; and letters of Jane Welch Carlyle to Amily Bolte, 1843 to 1849. The romance, Wotton Reinfred, is Carlyle's only essay in fiction, and therefore possesses a distinctive interest. It was probably written soon after the author's marriage, and represents the earlier period of his literary development. In it the editor of the volume finds the first expression of ideas and doctrines afterward set forth with more formality in Sartor Resartus. Mr. Froude regards it as of considerable interest, from the sketches which it contains of particular men and women, who being now dead, and the incidents forgotten, any objection which may have existed to publication is now removed. Among these characters, according to Mr. Leslie Stephen, is "a curious portrait of Coleridge, thinly veiled." The Excursion to Paris is the unreserved daily record of a journey in company with the Brownings, when Carlyle paid a visit to Lord Ashburton. It presents a singularly vivid picture of the author's personality, and one which adds something to our knowledge of Carlyle the man.
Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, to July, 1890. Pp. 808. Report of the National Museum, for the Year ending June 30, 1889. Pp. 933. Washington: Government Printing-Office.
The permanent funds of the Smithsonian Institution, bearing interest at six per cent, amount to $703,000. The inadequacy and insecurity of the buildings continue to be subjects of complaint. The Institution was able during the year covered by the report to do rather more for the encouragement of original research than it had done for several years past. The project for securing an astro-physical observatory and general laboratory had assumed definite shape. Solid foundation piers had been built under the temporary shed, and a number of instruments had been procured, of which the siderostat is probably the largest and most powerful instrument of its class ever constructed. The work of exploration was carried on through the Bureau of Ethnology and the National Museum; and some rare and valuable collections were obtained. A few small grants from the Smithsonian fund, "commensurate rather with the abilities of the Institution than with its wishes," were made to aid in physical science—in addition to the aid largely given to biological and ethnological science through the Museum, Bureau of Ethnology, and Zoölogical Park. One of the important features of the year's history of the Institution was the passing of the National Zoölogical Park under its control. A complete description of the park is given. The general appendix, which constitutes the larger part of the volume, contains a miscellaneous selection of papers, some of them original, embracing a considerable range of scientific investigation and discussion. The National Museum now contains not far from three million specimens. The increase during the year covered by the report is much smaller than in any previous year since the completion of the Museum building. The difference is accounted for to a large degree by the fact that the exhibition rooms and storage halls being filled to their utmost capacity, it has become necessary to cease to a large degree the customary efforts to add to the collections. Besides other features, accounts are given of work in the scientific departments, the library and publications, the work of the Museum preparators, accessions, co-operation of bureaus and officers of the Government, and explorations; considerable space is given to describing the participation of the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum in Centennial Exhibitions at Cincinnati and Marietta, Ohio; and eight papers are published describing and illustrating collections.
Games, Ancient and Oriental, and how to play them. By Edward Falkener. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 366. Price, $6.
The author believes in the usefulness of games because they afford needful relaxation to the mind, pleasant diversions to the invalid and the afflicted, and means of bringing friends together and promoting acquaintance and fellowship. He directed his attention many years ago to the games of chess, draughts, and backgammon, and to the formation of magic squares. Elaborate works have been written on the history of these games, and instead of exploiting this branch of the subject over again, he has preferred to discuss the practical rules and principles of each game. He expresses the opinion that students may find that the games which were established in years gone by contain merits that are not always found in the new and fanciful conceits of the day. The first place is given to the games of the ancient Egyptians, with the results of Dr. Birch's researches on the "subject. The games are Tau, or Robbers, which was afterward played and called by the same name, Ludus Latrunculorum, by the Romans; Senat, which is still played by the modern Egyptians as Seega; Han, or the game of the Bowl; the Sacred Way, the Hiero Gramme of the Greeks; and Atep, which is played by Italians as Mora, Under the head of chess are given Indian, Chinese, Burmese, Siamese, Turkish, Tamerlane's, and double chess, and the game of the Maharajah and Sepoy; of draughts, Polish and Turkish draughts, Wei K'i and Go, or the Chinese and Japanese game of inclosing; German, Turkish, and Indian backgammons. A considerable variety of magic squares are described, and all the games are illustrated with photographic reproductions and with diagrams.
The Oak: a Popular Introduction to Forest Botany. By H. Marshall Ward, F. R. S., F. L. S. Modern Science Series, No. III. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 175. Price, $1.
For many persons trees have an interest which is not possessed by the lowlier members of the vegetable kingdom. Trees also are what the modern art of forestry is concerned with, and those who become interested in this subject on account of its economic or sanitary bearings are very apt to want to know something about the way in which trees grow. To all such persons Prof. Ward's book will be very welcome. In a brief introduction the author describes the general habit of the oak, and then, starting with the acorn, he describes the unfolding of the embryo, the development of the young plant, and the form and functions of the mature tree. There is a chapter on the structure and technological peculiarities of oak timber, followed by another dealing with the cultivation of the oak, and the parasites and fungi which infest it. A number of illustrations are given, showing the appearance of oak wood injured by various fungi. Lastly, the relationships of the oaks receive brief consideration.
The World-energy and its Self-conservation. By William M. Bryant. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. 1890. Pp. 304.
This is a metaphysical inquiry into the fundamental conceptions of the universe. The author holds that the laws of thought are necessarily the laws of things, and takes perfect consistency in consciousness to be the ultimate and absolute ground of all certitude. From this basis he attempts to formulate the universe, and reaches the conclusion that the one permanent reality of which the world we know is a manifestation is spirit. Stated in his own words, the conclusion to which his argument leads is:
"The world-energy is God. Its self-conservation is the eternal process of creation. 'Evolution' is the temporal aspect of this process. The self-unfolding of God culminates in man. For man is the son of God."
Though the author's argument shows wide reading and much acute thinking, he can not be said to have a happy mode of expression, or the power of putting clearly the thought in mind. The reader soon finds himself lost in a maze of contradictions and wandering in a wilderness of words which convey few or no definite ideas. Very little intellectual good would seem to come from discussions of this nature. You begin and end nowhere, with nothing proved or provable. This is not to say that it is not desirable and important to have clearness and definiteness in our fundamental notions of things, but this is hardly to be attained by spinning a logical web out of our inner consciousness, and trying to find its justification in an assumed harmony between the laws of thought and things.
Money, Silver, and Finance. By J. Howard Cowperthwait. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 242.
The author claims to have tried to answer the silver question by arguments based both upon the truths of financial science and upon the principles which underlie the operation of business. He hopes that in this volume the busy man of affairs may find some scientific points which may hitherto have escaped his attention; the student in finance a portrayal of business ways; and other readers may find their chain of evidence against silver fallacies more firmly made up. He thinks that besides "treating free coinage," sound finance demands a repeal of the present silver law, and nothing less. "Whether it be possible or not to frame a banking and currency act which shall be acceptable where money is scarce and not too objectionable elsewhere, the war against silver theories must be continued until there shall be effectively presented to the strong common sense of the American people the ludicrous spectacle of thousands of men devoting their time and labor to taking silver out of the mines, where it could do no harm, for the purpose of placing it in the Treasury's vaults, whence its monstrous bulk menaces the industries and the general prosperity of the country." In his succeeding chapters the author discusses the evolution of money, trades, and finance; the movements of prices; India and her silver rupee; prices, wages, and labor-saving machinery; the debtor class and foreign exchange; foreign exchange under normal and under abnormal conditions; the views of representative advocates of silver; ultimate redemption; the old volume-of-money theory; the present silver and currency law; international conferences, and bimetallism.
An Introduction to Chemical Theory. By Alexander Scott. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 274. Price, $1.25.
This is a text-book designed to supplement laboratory work, and such books as are mainly confined to the enumeration of facts, by supplying that knowledge of principles and laws which is needed to bind chemical facts together in the mind of the student. The author assumes that users of this book will have a fair knowledge of the chemical properties of substances, and have access to a teacher. "For this reason," it is stated in the preface, "references have frequently been made to matters somewhat outside the subject under discussion, for the purpose of stimulating the more inquiring student, without, at the same time, perplexing those less so. . . . As far as possible, all very debatable matter has been omitted, and it is for this reason, for example, that the account of the theories of solution has been made very short."
The Microscope in Theory and Practice. By Carl Naegeli and S. Schwendener. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 394. Price, $2.60.
One of the most thorough and scientific of treatises on microscopy is here presented in an English dress. The translation comprises the authors' work, Das Mikroskop, except Parts VIII, IX, and X, all copies of which, together with the woodcuts illustrating them, were lost by a fire soon after the sheets were printed. The volume opens with an explanation of the theory of the construction Of the several parts of the microscope, embracing calculations of the paths of rays passing .through the lenses, determinations of the positions of images, of the optical power of instruments, and various other problems. The division of the work on testing embraces testing the optical power, the spherical and the chromatic aberration, the flatness of the field of view, and the centering. The theory of microscopic observation, or the interpreting of microscopical images, is treated with much thoroughness. Technical microscopy receives due attention, and there are chapters on the simple microscope and the lantern microscope. The volume closes with an account of the phenomena of polarization. Over two hundred figures and diagrams illustrate the text.
Laboratory Manual of Chemistry. By James E. Armstrong and James H. Norton. American Book Company. Pp. 75. Price, 50 cents.
This manual consists of directions for one hundred and sixty-four experiments, accompanied by questions designed to call the attention of pupils to the principles which the experiments reveal. It is designed to be used with Eliot and Storer's Manual of Chemistry, or any other good text-book of elementary chemistry. The course here laid out is designed to occupy a class three hours a week for forty weeks. There are as many blank pages for notes as printed pages in the volume, and thirty cuts showing the forms and use of apparatus are given. The experiments include the tests commonly used in qualitative analysis.
The Plant World. By George Massee. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 222. Price, $1.
The adult who wishes to obtain a general view of the vegetable kingdom will find this book a very competent guide. Its seven chapters deal respectively with plant architecture, chemistry and physics of plant life, protective arrangements, reproduction, relationship, geographical distribution, and fossil plants. The workings of evolution in the vegetable world are made especially prominent in this volume, and the conception of a plant as a living organism is strongly insisted upon. The text is illustrated with fifty-six cuts.
Fossil Botany. By H. Graf zu SolmsLaubach. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 413. Price, $4.50.
In the translator's preface this treatise is described as "the only critical digest as yet published of our present knowledge of fossil plants from the point of view of botanical morphology." It is based upon university lectures delivered by Count Solms-Laubach in Göttingen. The ground covered by this work comprises the thallophytes, archegoniatæ, and gymnosperms, but excluding the angiosperms. There are forty-nine illustrations, and the volume has a bibliography of seventeen pages and an index.
The Jew at Home. Impressions of a Summer and Autumn spent with Him. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 105.
The author, who professes to have gone to southeastern Europe in the summer of 1891 with no thought of the Jew or his affairs in his head, by some fortune saw him almost daily for five months under all conditions of life, at Brody and Lemburg, in Austrian Poland; at Sziget, in Hungary; at Berdicheff and Kiev, in Russia; and at other places, and formed a very poor opinion of him and his manner of living. He describes what he saw, or rather, perhaps, his impressions of what he saw, in very strong language, and illustrates his descriptions with pictures which are, at least, strongly characteristic. The result of the whole is the representation of "The Jew at Home" as an odious and repulsive object, whose habits make him deserving of the scorn that he receives. Grant that this is so and we have enough representatives among us of that class of Hebrews who are not pleasant associates the race has in other regions furnished enough high-minded and enterprising citizens, and has distinguished itself sufficiently by liberal and benevolent enterprises, to enable us to know that it is still capable of better things. The author acknowledges this in substance, and in view of the fact and of his acknowledgment, we regret that he could not, while truthfully, as he claims to have done, describing the degradation to which centuries of contumely and maltreatment have reduced certain classes of Jews, have spoken of them in less harsh terms and with more hopefulness of their ultimate redemption under more favoring circumstances. One view he suggests, however, is worth considering, and is of weight proportioned to the degree of truthfulness contained in it: that is, that these Jews are not real, pure Jews, but a mixed race who have preserved of the Jews chiefly their language and the form of their religion. We agree with him in his "last word," which is simply this: "Treat the Jew, if he is brought to you, as an ordinary man; grant him no advantages you would not give his Austrian, Polish, or German fellow-countrymen, no matter what his religion is. Make him an Englishman or an American, break up his old customs, his clannishness, his dirt, and his filth, or he will break you."
Outlines of Theoretical Chemistry. By Lothar Meyer. Translated by P. P. Bedson and W. C. Williams. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 232. Price, $2.50.
The present volume differs from the author's Modern Theories of Chemistry in being a smaller and less technical treatise. Being addressed not only to the student but also to the friend of science who wishes to keep informed as to the progress of chemical investigation, the book does not contain any great number of the numerical results of observations and measurements, nor any detailed descriptions of experimental methods. It is, therefore, a general review of the subject of chemical philosophy in which details have not been allowed to rise into prominence. The author, of course, needs no introduction or commendation to any one who is acquainted with modern chemistry.
In the Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1888-89, the commissioner, Dr. William T. Harris, presents first a general statistical exhibit of education in the United States. From these statistics it appears that the enrollment is about ninety per cent of the number of children between six and sixteen years of age in the whole country, which is as large as could be expected. The South is manifesting a great and increasing interest in public schools, and in the past nineteen years has more than doubled its expenditure per capita for education. A prominent feature of this report are the accounts of education in various foreign countries, prepared by specialists of the bureau, and the comparisons with education in the United States for which these accounts furnish material. Dr. Harris calls attention to the fact that the French and German children devote much less time than the American to memorizing the spelling of words. "Mechanical memorizing," he continues, "is the much-lamented characteristic of our common schools. It is evident that such must remain their characteristic so long as English-speaking children memorize, like the Chinese, the arbitrary spelling of more than ten thousand words before they can write the language with readiness." The training of teachers is another subject to which much attention is given, the report embracing papers on The Inception and Progress of the Normal-school Curriculum, The Teaching Force of New England from 1866 to 1888, and Professional Work in the Normal Schools of the United States. Chapters on courses of study in city schools, manual and industrial training, compulsory attendance laws, State text-book laws, and miscellaneous educational questions are included in the first volume of the report. The second volume contains the usual statistics of schools and colleges, and of the education of special classes, and an alphabetical list of the publications of the Bureau of Education from 1867 to 1890.
The Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1889-90 contains an account of the progress that has been made in establishing the National Zoological Park at Washington, together with the usual information about the work of the Institution for the year. Appended to the report are some thirty papers on a wide variety of scientific subjects, a number of them being illustrated.
The Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Educational Association, for 1891, makes a handsome octavo volume of about nine hundred pages. Besides an account of the proceedings of the Association and reports of committees at the Toronto session, the Journal contains the papers read, together with abstracts of the discussions which they called forth. A wide variety of topics in all departments of educational work is treated in these papers.
A booklet which has attracted much attention and been read with interest in religious circles is entitled Not on Calvary: A Layman's Plea for Mediation in the Temptation in the Wilderness, and is published by Charles T. Dillingham, New York. It presents a new view of the life and office of Christ while on the earth, which the author hopes may be more acceptable and easier of credit to those who doubt concerning the present accepted view. Not "Calvary"—the crucifixion—according to this view, was the culmination of Christ's life work, and marked the accomplishment of his mission, but the temptation in the wilderness, in which "our Lord literally bought back the spiritual freedom of mankind through the spiritual danger that he, guarded with the weakness of the flesh, was presumed to encounter when he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness."
The Elements of Economics of Industry, by Alfred Marshall, is an abridgment of the first volume of the author's Principles of Economics, noticed in our June number. The reduction of the larger work has been effected by the omission of many discussions on points of minor importance and of some difficult theoretical investigations, thus allowing arguments that are retained to be given in full. A chapter on trade-unions is included in the present volume, although in the larger work this subject is postponed to a later stage. (Macmillan, $1.)
The results of extended study are embodied in The English Language and English Grammar, by Samuel Ramsey. The former part of the book is a general account of the origin and present condition of our mother-tongue, considerable attention being devoted to pronunciation and spelling. The latter part is a treatise on the nature and uses of the parts of speech, closing with some suggestions to young writers. Throughout the volume the author gives his personal impressions freely on controverted matters, though acknowledging, as for example in his analysis of the sounds in English speech, that others see these things differently. (Putnam, $3.)