Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/286

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of gravitation is established, and, with all its deadly results, it is a law of infinite beneficence. Nothing remains for man but to accept it and heed it: if it causes wounds when he stumbles, it is, nevertheless, the condition by which he walks; he is to avoid its injurious effects and secure its useful effects. Nature, of which man is a part, is a mixed system, in which good comes out of evil, and suffering is made tributary to ever-increasing beneficence. The principles of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest are inexorable ordinances of Nature, full of violence and death, but through which the progress and improvement and elevation of life upon earth have been accomplished. They were in operation upon a vast scale countless thousands of years before man appeared. They have been in operation in his development many thousands of years before he began to take a conscious and intentional part in the work of his own elevation; and they must continue in operation as long as the present order of natural things prevails, and the movement is upward and onward toward greater good. The sole question is, whether these great laws are to be wisely recognized and made use of by man in furtherance of those ameliorations to which they have already so immensely contributed. Only gross inappreciation of the subject, or sheer intellectual perversity, could assume that these principles require the abolition of the penal restraints of crime in organized society.



Jelly-Fish, Star-Fish, and Sea-Urchins: Being a Research on Primitive Nervous Systems. By G. J. Romanes. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 323. Price, $1.75.

The main object of this work by Professor Romanes is the description of the investigation of the physiology of the animals lowest in organization, with especial reference to determining the presence of a nervous system in them and its extent and functions. The author at first intended to supplement the accounts of his own work with an exposition of the results which had been obtained by other inquirers, concerning the morphology and development of those animals. He found, however, that he would not be able, within the limits of the contemplated book, to do justice to the labors of others, and has confined himself to giving an account of his own researches. The nervous systems of these animals, as studied by Professor Romanes, are mainly subservient to the office of locomotion, the plan or mechanism of which is completely different in the two classes, and unique in each. The investigations of which this treatise is the result were carried on through six summers spent at the sea-side out of the vacations of twelve years, and were profitable and edifying in more ways than one. On this point, the author makes some remarks which form a fitting introduction to the story of his detailed and technical experiments. "Speaking for myself," he says, "I can testify that my admiration of the extreme beauty of these animals has been greatly enhanced—or, rather, I should say that this extreme beauty has been, so to speak, revealed—by the continuous and close observation which many of my experiments required; both with the unassisted eye and with the microscope numberless points of detail, unnoticed before, became familiar to the mind; the forms as a whole were impressed upon the memory; and, by constantly watching their movements and changes of appearance, I have grown, like an artist studying a face or a landscape, to appreciate a fullness of beauty the esse of which is only rendered possible by the percipi of such attention as is demanded by scientific research. Moreover, association, if not the sole creator, is at least a most important factor of the beautiful; and, therefore, the sight of one of these animals is now much more to me, in the respects in which we arc considering, than it can be to any one in whose memory it is not connected with many days of that purest form of enjoyment which can only be experienced in the pursuit of science. And here I may observe that the worker in marine zoölogy has one great advantage over his other scientific brethren. Apart