Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/June 1899/General Notices

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The Development of English Thought[1] is "an attempt to present a theory of history through concrete illustrations." The book does not deal with the facts of history—a knowledge of these is assumed—it throws into relief certain salient features of each epoch which were instrumental in forwarding the social consciousness. It may, indeed, be called a philosophy of economics. It has a theory to propound: Survival is determined and progress created by a struggle for the goods for which men strive, or the means by which they may avert evil. These goods change, together with the environment dependent on them. Hence arise new activities; the race is modified, new modes of thought come forward, and finally the characteristics of the civilization are reconstructed. These changes are subject to a definite law of evolution, repeated in each new environment. England has been chosen for this economic interpretation of history; because of its insular position, its development has been more normal and indigenous, less subject to foreign influences since the Reformation, than any continental country. An explanation of the psychological theory underlying the book serves as general introduction. The antecedents of English thought are found among the early Germans, and the Early Church. The fifteenth century, with its inventions and discoveries, revolutionized men's ways of living and thinking. Then the Calvinists and Puritans imposed their standards of good and evil. These are followed by the great English thinkers: Locke, who marks the beginning of Deism in England; Mandeville, Hume, and Smith, developing the economic side; Whitefield and Wesley leading the religious revival. Later on, Malthus, Ricardo, and Mill formulated the Economic Philosophy, whereas Darwin, the first of the biologists, imposed biologic habits of thought on economic inquiry. The concluding chapter, while cautious in the discussion of current problems, attempts, assisted by the lessons of the past, to indicate the probable future movement of thought, springing out of present economic conditions.

Mr. Wilbur S. Jackman has sought in preparing his manual of Nature Study for Grammar Grades,[2] to propose a few of such problems arising in a thoughtful study of Nature as are within the comprehension of grammar-school pupils, and to offer suggestions designed to lead to their solution. Directions may perhaps be given by the teacher—that is, by some teachers, but very few—but even if he knows how, it is hardly possible for him to make them as systematic to so large an extent as would be required by a school of inquiring pupils; and such a plan as the author offers may be accepted as a valuable help. Take, for instance, the first lesson on the mutual relations of plants and insects—as to plants. The student is told what equipment to take, what places to visit; is reminded of seven kinds of evidence in the shape of galls, stings, eaten leaves, etc., to be considered; and is given a list of queries to be recollected in studying the phenomena, in their general aspect, as to the benefit or injury received by the plant from insects, the attractions it offers, and the defenses it possesses, with "number work" relating to the extent of the depredations, and methods of representing the results of the study in picture. The book contains forty-five such lessons on different aspects of Nature.

In the preparation of his book on Fertilizers[3] it has been the aim of Mr. Voorhees to point out the underlying principles and to discuss, in the light of our present knowledge of the subject, some of the important problems connected with the use of fertilizing materials. While the author recognizes the lack of definite knowledge on many vital points, he considers it desirable, when the investigations of the experiment stations are becoming so important and they are so well prepared to study the fundamental principles of plant nutrition, for the practical man to have a clear understanding of what is now known. The book treats of the natural fertility of the soil and the sources of the loss of the elements of fertility, the functions of manure and fertilizers and the need of artificial ones, the different classes of fertilizers, the chemical analysis of them, and the methods of using them with their special application to various crops.

We have received, with only a short interval between them, the first volume of a third edition and the fourth or last volume of the second edition of Alfred H. Allen's Commercial Organic Analysis.[4] The former volume is first to reach us. It is a high testimony to the value of the work in itself that the publication of a rival issue of the edition of 1885 had been begun by another house, although its age, as suggested by the date, would indicate that it had much need of revision. During the thirteen years since the publication of this edition later research has thrown new light on many features of the science and processes, and has corrected many of the old conceptions, and the author's views on some points have changed in the light of the more recent results, so that the preparation of a new edition had become necessary. Mr. Allen has found it now impossible for him to undertake the continuous labor which would be imposed by such a task, and the work of revision has been undertaken by Henry Leffmann, of Philadelphia. For this new edition Mr. Allen has furnished material on the subjects of the Kjeldahl process, proteids of wheat flour, vinegar, brewing sugars, malt substitutes, hop substitutes, and secondary constituents in spirits. Information has been added by the American reviser, partly from suggestions by Mr. Allen on the subjects of specific gravity, formaldehyde, vinegar, methyl, alcohol, acetone, fusel oil, argol, starch, glucose, invert sugar, lactose, and wine, and brief notes on other topics. Processes of the American Association of Official Agricultural Chemists have been reprinted. The revision of Vol. II is well in hand, and will be much more extensive than that of Vol I.

On the other hand, the revision of the second edition has extended over fourteen years, and is only just completed with the fourth volume, which appears a few weeks later than the volume noticed above. The earlier volumes have been long out of print, and are destined, of course, to be supplanted by those of the new revision. The present fourth volume, being newer and of the present date, will serve as the latest till the last volume of the new revision is reached; and, besides, the author hopes to publish an appendix to each volume, containing the more important of the later results. The meaning of the term Commercial Analysis has been somewhat extended, and matter has been included that in closest strictness does not belong under it, it being thought better, the author says, to include all facts possessing an analytical or practical interest to him, in the belief that what he finds useful himself will be of value to others.

In The Porto Rico of To-day[5] a traveler's view of that interesting island and its people is presented by Mr. ’'A. O. Robinson, who went there and remained during August, September, and October, 1898, as correspondent of the New York Evening Post. While the book can not be regarded, as it does not profess and is not intended to be, as a source of geographical or statistical information, it admirably fulfills the design of the author to present a picture of the people and of the country as he saw them; and it is a very living picture too. He looked with a sharp eye, and has recorded what he saw in graphic style. In the author's story of his early days of the island we are made acquainted with the various names it has had, of which Porto Rico, or Puerto Rico, is only the latest. The oldest of the European names appears to have been Buriquién, in some one of the dozen or more spellings it has had, one of them being Bo. It has also been called La Isla de Carib, San Juan Bautista, etc. After the account of the author's first general impressions and experiences he describes the city of Ponce, his visit to a coffee district, a number of typical towns and villages, the journey from Ponce to San Juan, the highways, railways—of which there are one hundred and forty-three miles in operation and one hundred and seventy-five miles under construction—and a fairly effective telegraph system, views of the industrial possibilities and commerce of the island, with some experiences of military campaigning.

The publication of the revision which Mr. Herbert Spencer is making of his Synthetic Philosophy in order to incorporate in it as far as may be the results of more recent advances begins with the first volume of The Principles of Biology.[6] The advance during the last generation, Mr. Spencer thinks, has been more rapid in the direction of this science than any other, and though the hope of bringing a work on biology at large up to date could not be rationally entertained at the author's age and under the existing conditions of his physical strength, a similar service to a work on the principles of the science did not seem impossible. Numerous additions have been needful. What was originally said about vital changes of matter is supplemented by a chapter on Metabolism. A chapter is added on The Dynamic Element in Life. The insertion of some pages on Structure fills a gap in preceding editions. The revelations of the microscope on cell life and multiplication are set forth. A supplementary chapter on Genesis, Heredity, and Variation gives the results of further evidence and further thought in that line, qualifying and developing certain views enunciated in the first edition. Various modern ideas are considered under the title Recent Criticisms and Hypotheses. The chapter on The Arguments from Embryology has been largely rewritten. Smaller additions appear in the form of new sections incorporated in pre-existing chapters. The assistance needed in the work of revision has been given by Prof. W. H. Perkin in Organic Chemistry and its derived subjects; Prof. A. G. Tansley in Plant Morphology and Physiology; Prof. E. W. MacBride and Mr. J. T. Cunningham in Animal Morphology; and Mr. W. B. Hardy in Animal Physiology. In all sections not marked as new the author desires it to be understood that the essential ideas set forth are the same as they were in the original edition of 1864.

Prof. Silas W. Holman attempts the presentation, in Matter, Energy, Force, and Work,[7] of some of the fundamental ideas and definitions of physics in a plain and logical manner. His purpose is not to set forth the experimental side of the subject or to describe phenomena or laws. He rather assumes a slight knowledge of these, and proceeds to develop the concept and definitions. The author regards a clearer thinking on these subjects as of special importance to engineers and members of the other technical professions, because correct views upon them have become essential in those professions through the progress of the applications of science to the industrial arts. These applications are likewise of considerable interest to the untechnical members of the community. Professor Holman has composed his book with the principle of presenting the subject of physics in logical sequence, and has divided it into two parts, the first of which contains the matter immediately proper to the subject, with discussions of substance or matter, motion; energy and its forms; force; kinetic energy, force-measurements, work, potential energy, and matter again, as distinguished from substance. The second part comprises summaries of the chief theories of the nature of matter, force, and energy, including the kinetic theory of gases, Le Sage's theory of gravitation, the vortex-atom theory, and a discussion of the nature of energy and matter, with observations on chemical energy and the ether.

The Short Course in Music, prepared for use in schools where a complete course is not thought necessary, by F. H. Ripley and Thomas Tappen, is embraced in two books, of which we notice the second (American Book Company). Familiar songs are made the basis of instruction, some of those which appear as melodies in Book One being repeated here in full score. All other material has been prepared especially for this book. The music and directions are adapted equally for unchanged and changed voices. Voice training and the elements of phrasing and expression are furnished in a group of solfeggios at the close of the book. Theory is given in condensed form, but one that, it is claimed, embraces all the essential elements of vocal music.

Mr. J. E. Marr has prepared his exposition of The Principles of Stratigraphical Geology (Cambridge University Press; The Macmillan Company, New York, $1.60), under the belief that an idea of the subject can be obtained most satisfactorily if a large number of the details connected with the study of the stratified rocks are omitted. He has accordingly given very brief accounts of the strata of the different systems, paying more attention to the bearings of the facts than to their enumeration. The history of the earth is presented as a connected one, in which one period is linked on to the next, every event that occurs introducing a new complication into the conditions, which are consequently never quite the same—the changes showing an advance from the simple to the more complex. The study proves that an enormous period elapsed subsequent to the formation of the earth and previous to the deposition of the stratified rocks, of which we have only the slightest, if any, knowledge. The stratigraphical geologist has to establish the order of succession of the strata for the chronology, and to ascertain as far as he can the conditions existing during the deposition of the several strata or groups of strata. After an account of the growth and progress of stratigraphical geology, the nature of the stratified rocks and the law of superposition are discussed; the test of included organisms and the methods of classification are explained, the evidences of conditions under which strata were formed, and other theoretical points are considered, and the several geological systems or periods are enumerated under the English nomenclature. Finally, the various estimates of geological time and the bases on which they are made are reviewed.

The American Book Company publishes as a part of the Eclectic System of Industrial Drawing an excellent manual of the Elements of Perspective, by Christine Gordon Sullivan, of the Cincinnati public schools. It consists of explicit directions and rules on the general principles of the art, with applications in Isometric Projection and Oblique Perspective, given in concise form and simple, clear language, amply illustrated, and supplemented by problems, in solving which the rules are made practical.

A convenient manual on Gas and Petroleum Engines has been prepared by A. G. Elliott from the French of Henry de Graffigny for Whittaker's Electro-Mechanical Series, in recognition of the interest that has been awakened in the application of such engines to supply the place now occupied by horses in drawing vehicles. One chapter deals exclusively with the theory of the gas engines. Other topics treated of are the history of the gas engine, the description of existing gas engines, carbureted air engines, petroleum engines, gas-generating plants, engines for use with poor gases, and the maintenance of gas and oil engines. (The Macmillan Company, 75 cents.)

Laboratory Exercises in Anatomy and Physiology (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 60 cents) have been prepared by James Edward Peabody for practical application. The precept is emphasized that the pupil should" be led to see that most of the materials required for observation and experiment are furnished by the organs and tissues of his own body. Directions which have been found in the author's experience necessary to guide the pupil in his observations and experiments are given at the beginning of each topic. The questions following them contemplate the student's seeking the facts from the material itself, and he is expected to be trained to distinguish observed results from the inferences that may be drawn from them. Some home study is contemplated, the results to be afterward reported in class. The book consists almost entirely of directions for experiments, and is interlined with blank sheets for recording observations.

Geographical Nature Studies (American Book Company) is intended by the author, Frank Owen Payne, to assist the teacher, and by pointing out the relations, often unrecognized, between familiar phenomena and home geography to guide the study of the class to definite and practical ends. The lessons are intended to fit the comprehension of the youngest pupils, to promote the cultivation of habits of accurate observation, and to stimulate a desire for more knowledge and broader views of the world. They lead directly up to the point where the more formal study of geography from a text-book begins. The lessons may be used as reading exercises and for topical recitations, and exercises are introduced which may assist the cultivation of the power of correct verbal expression in the statement of facts. The exercises concern weather, animals, physical phenomena, and objects about us, and are very various.

Impressions of Medusæ have been observed on the Jurassic lithographic limestones of Solenhofen, and some "problematic fossils" on the Lower Cambrian rocks of Sweden have been regarded as derived from Medusæ. Certain nodules, bearing what looked like flattened-out starfishes—"star-cobbles" they were called—have been found among the fossils of the Coosa Valley, Alabama. Director Charles D. Walcott, of the United States Geological Survey, concluded that these also represented Medusæ, and began an investigation of them which involved a comparison with the Swedish and Bavarian specimens, and was at last enlarged so as to embrace all fossil Medusæ. His work is now published as a separate memoir, Fossil Medusæ, as one of the Monographs of the United States Geological Survey (Vol. XXX). The Middle Cambrian Medusæ are first described, and then, in order, the Lower Cambrian of the United States and of Sweden and Bohemia and the Jurassic of Bavaria. The text is illustrated by forty-seven excellent plates.

A new edition, revised and with additions, of the Mechanics and Heat of Edward L. Nichols and W. S. Francis is published by the Macmillan Company ($1.50). The book is the first volume of the Elements of Physics of the authors, which is complete in three volumes. We find in it no explanation of the nature and extent of the revisions and additions.

The publication of such a book as Catering for Two—Comfort and Economy for small Households (G. P. Putnam's Sons, $1.25)—has been suggested to Alice L. James by the difficulty of reducing the average rules of the cookbook to meet the wants of a family of two or three. The work embodies the results of sixteen years' experience in labor and study, and the author hopes that with it the way may be made easier for others whose bills of fare may be made for two. The directions are claimed to be throughout exact and reliable, and the dishes to be nourishing, appetizing, and inexpensive. The author's plan is to take a bill of fare with a comfortable variety of dishes, and direct explicitly how each is to be prepared.

The manual on Testing Milk and its Products, prepared for dairy students, creamery and cheese factory operators, food chemists, and dairy farmers, by E. H. Farrington and F. W. Noll, has reached a fourth edition, the first three editions having been exhausted in about a year. The present edition has been thoroughly revised, and such additions have been made to it as have been necessary to bring it up to date. It has been adopted as a text-book or reference-book in the dairy schools of twelve States of the Union and in a number of schools in Canada. (Published by the Mendota Book Company, Madison, Wis. $1.)

The Silver Cross, or the Carpenter of Nazareth (International Publishing Company, New York), is a short story selected and translated from The Mysteries of the People of Eugène Sue, and published for the sake of the illustrations it is supposed to afford of the tyranny of the ruling class and the oppression of the working people and the poor and their suffering thereby which prevailed in the grand days of the Roman Empire, as well as always before, and is assumed to have continued down to the present. It is the story of the life and sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth, told in the thrilling style of the great French novelist.

  1. The Development of English Thought. A Study in the Economic Interpretation of History. By Simon N. Patten, Ph. D. New York: The Macmillan Company. 1899. $3.
  2. Nature Study for Grammar Grades. A Manual for the Guidance of Pupils below the High School in the Study of Nature. By Wilbur S. Jackman. Danville, Ill.: The Illinois Printing Company. Pp. 407.
  3. Fertilizers. The Source, Character, and Composition of Natural, Home-made, and Manufactured Fertilizers; and Suggestions as to their Use for Different Crops and Conditions. By Edward B. Voorhees. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 335. Price, $1.
  4. Commercial Organic Analysis. A Treatise on the Properties, Proximate Analytical Examination, and Mode of Assaying the Various Organic Chemicals and Products employed in the Arts, Manufactures, and Medicine. By Alfred H. Allen. Third edition. Illustrated. With Revisions and Appendix by the author and Henry Leffmann. Vol. 1. Introduction. Alcohols, Neutral Alcoholic Derivatives, Sugars, Starch and its Isomers, Vegetable Acids, etc. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston, Sons & Co. Pp. 557. Price, $4.50.

    The same work. Second edition. Revised and enlarged. Proteids and Albuminous Principles, Proteids or Albuminoids. Same publishers. Pp. 584. Price, $4.50.

  5. The Porto Rico of To-day. Pen Pictures of the People and the Country. By Albert Gardner Robinson. New York; Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 340, with maps. Price, $1.50.
  6. The Principles of Biology. By Herbert Spencer. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. Revised and enlarged edition New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 706. Price, $2.
  7. Matter, Energy, Force, and Work. A Plain Presentation of Fundamental Physical Concepts, and of the Vortex-Atom and other Theories. By Silas W. Holman. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 257. Price, $2.50.