While earth-burial, either with or without embalmment or partial cremation, seems to have been the general custom among North American Indians, other methods of disposing of bodies are also known: as aërial sepulture, or leaving the body in a box or canoe, which is supported on a scaffold or tree; and aquatic burial, which consists in sinking the body in a stream, or setting it afloat in a canoe. Violent expressions of grief are expected from the friends of the dead, and especially from widows. Some of these are, blackening the face, shaving the head, and cutting the flesh—all being accompanied by mournful cries, and sometimes hired mourners being employed. In some tribes, the widow observes a long period of mourning, involving many discomforts, and in others she submits to being put to death at the grave. This volume does not include all the material collected before its date, nor does it mark the end of the bureau's labors; all investigators of American ethnology are earnestly requested to co-operate in the further work of the bureau, and cordial thanks are offered to those who have already contributed their observations.
American Humorists. By the Rev. H. R. Haweis, M. A. New York: Funk & Wagnails. Pp. 180. Price, 75 cents.
This is a reprint of a course of lectures which were delivered at the Royal Institution in London, on six of those whom the English regard as our most characteristic and typical humorous writers, viz., Washington Irving, Dr. Holmes, Mr. Lowell, Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, and Bret Harte. The pervading quality of the wit of each of these authors is analyzed, and is illustrated by liberal citations from the most characteristic of their writings. The work is not satisfactory to all the critics, but this arises probably as much from the fact that the flavor of humor can not be conveyed, as from any deficiencies of the author.
Jesus, his Opinions and Character: The New Testament Studies of a Layman. Boston: George II. Ellis. Pp. 471. Price, $1.50.
Taking a judicial and critical rather than a partisan attitude, the author has collected and arranged systematically what Jesus seems to have thought about the various subjects upon which his followers represent him as teaching. The author's data are taken from the first three gospels, while the fourth is regarded as a genuine early commentary, and as such is referred to by way of illustration. "Every great historical personage," our anonymous author writes, "to be understood, must be studied in connection with his dominant idea." This dominant idea in the case of Jesus he finds to be the "doctrine of the kingdom of heaven," and insists that this doctrine be kept clearly in view, as the central idea "around which was grouped all that he said and taught." Successive chapters take up the political, ethical, philosophical, and religious ideas of Jesus, his ideas of a future life, the miracles attributed to him, his arrest, trial, and death, his personal pretensions and character, and the legend of the resurrection, the last chapter being devoted to the "Influence on Historic Christianity of Paul and John."
An Introduction to the Study of Organic Chemistry. By Adolph Pinker, Ph. D. Translated and revised from the sixth German edition, by Peter T. Austen, Ph. D., F. C. S., Professor of Chemistry in Rutgers College and the New Jersey State Scientific School. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 382. Price, $2.55.
English-speaking students of organic chemistry have suffered from a dearth of suitable elementary text-books in their own language; hence this translation of Pinner's standard work is to be heartily welcomed. The book is too well appreciated in the original to need comment here; the translation follows the easy lecture-style of the original, and contains additional matter describing the most important recent discoveries.
Entomological Papers from the Transactions of the Iowa State Horticultural Society, for the Year 1882. Des Moines, Iowa: F. M. Mills, State Printer. Pp. 42.
The papers include one on the injury done by insects in orchards, by the Hon. J. N. Dixon; notes on the "Injurious Insects of 1882," by Miss Alice B. Walton; and "Entomological Notes," for the year, by Professor Herbert Osborn, all of which have a practical bearing.