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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/884

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nary work to be done before any such ideal can be embodied, and this is the very practical work of enlightening public opinion so as to bring it to bear in improving the existing educational system. There are great impediments to change. Institutions are conservative, and tend to assimilate and subjugate the men who officer them. The noisy reformer is generally quenched by an appointment. His ideals are dissipated in the presence of refractory facts. A great machine system of public instruction, established by the State, and supported by general taxation, is too strongly intrenched to be easily altered. It resists improvement by the inertia of established habits, by official sluggishness, and a foolish pride that will not acknowledge defects. That upon which millions have been spent, and out of which thousands get a living, is sure to be strenuously defended and carefully conserved. Reform must be forced from without, and nothing but a bettor instructed public opinion can give us better schools.




The Crayfish: An Introduction to the Study of Zoölogy, with 82 Illustrations. By T. H. Huxley, F.R.S. Pp. 371. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, $1.75.

The purpose of this book will probably be better brought out by an inversion of the title so that it shall read, "The Study of Zoölogy as exemplified in the Crayfish." The work is a contribution to scientific education in the biological field, and conforms to the modern and now well-settled method of passing from the study of concrete details to the investigation of general principles. Instead of beginning with propositions which are the outcome of past inquiry concerning living things as a whole, the student, on the other hand, commences by making himself familiar with some one particular organism, and, haying mastered the elementary facts by direct acquaintance and actual knowledge, he then uses this knowledge in extending the range of his studies to other organisms and their relations in the animal kingdom. Professor Huxley has taken the crayfish as the creature best suited for the accomplishment of this object. The information in relation to it is full and valuable, but the book has not been made merely as a monograph on the natural history of this crustacean. Its aim is to lead the student through a large portion of the field of scientific biology, in such a way that he will certainly and thoroughly know the subject; and the crayfish is chosen to attain this end because, all things considered, it is the best-fitted animal to do this. It would be misleading to represent this book as in the ordinary sense a popular one. It undoubtedly contains a good deal of information pertaining to natural history which will be read with general interest, but it was the well-defined purpose of the author in its careful preparation to make a book for biological students that should introduce them aright to the pursuit of their science, and, as the author says, they can only gain its intended advantages by going through the volume, "crayfish in hand." Immense labor has been bestowed upon the work in bringing it into its proper, simplified, and thoroughly methodical shape, and no doubt Professor Huxley could have written a work for the "International Series" with half the effort he has here expended. But he has chosen to avail himself of this channel of communication with different countries to give a new impulse and higher direction to the study of that comprehensive and most important science to which he has devoted his life. Mere book-education and half-knowledge he would, no doubt, admit to be better than nothing, but he would maintain that they are only tolerable as they tend to prepare for genuine and solid scientific acquisitions.

Huxley's "Crayfish" will at once become the text-book of classes which desire to enter the field of natural history by the right path; and it may be very strongly recommended to groups of young people forming clubs or voluntary classes to pursue the study by the method of self-instruction. It is a book, indeed, better suited than any