Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/289

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Professor Sidgwick, Professor Balfour Stewart, William Crookes, and Alfred K. Wallace. They made a considerable number of experiments, in which phenomena were developed that are not yet fully accounted for. From the reports on these experiments made by the several committees to whom the supervision of them was intrusted, Mr. Hovey has prepared the present interesting and suggestive volume.

The Patriarchal Theory, based on the Papers of the late John Ferguson McLennan. Edited and completed by Donald McLennan. London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 355. Price, $4.

Mr. McLennan, in his book on "Primitive Marriage," and in an essay which he published about fifteen years ago, on "The Worship of Animals and Plants," propounded some original and striking views, and opened up new lines of inquiry into the origins and conditions of primitive society. He was making the investigations of which these publications were the first fruits, his life-work, when his career was cut short, before he was able to perfect anything further, by sickness and death; but not till he had seen his views received respectfully, confirmed in his own mind by new facts and circumstances, and made a part of the light under which the continued study of anthropology would be conducted. It was his purpose, if health and strength had been given him, to undertake a general work on the structure of the earliest human societies. "In particular," says his brother, "he felt that he was able to give a much more consistent and intelligible view of the condition of rude or undeveloped communities than anything that had previously been offered to the public." His research being of a very extensive and far-reaching kind, and involving the use of "a very large apparatus of evidence," he proposed "to prepare the way for his larger work by first issuing a critical essay, by which he hoped to clear out of the way a body of opinion, the prevalence of which seemed to oppose an obstacle to the proper appreciation of his constructive argument." This "body of opinion" was represented by the theory that the family living under the headship of the father was the ultimate social unit, which while it is very old, had recently taken its most important and influential shape in the works of Sir Henry Maine. This "critical essay" he had on hand, assisted by his brother, who now completes it, and had carried out to seven of the nineteen chapters of the present volume, with notes embodying his views as to other parts of the work, when he died. The work is necessarily, by the circumstances of the case, somewhat polemical in form, but not wholly so, for the latter part of it is largely devoted to the building up of a theory of the origin of agnation, in the course of which it became necessary to go into the whole question of the Levirate and of the family custom of the Hindoos. "It has appeared at all points," says the editor, "not only that the phenomena dealt with are not intelligible on the patriarchal theory, but that they carry us back to a stage of society prior to the form of the family which has a father at its head, to the stage of polyandry, and to the form of the family founded upon kinship through women only. The argument has been throughout constructive as well as critical, and no slight part of the work is purely constructive."

United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries. Report of the Commissioner for 1882. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 1,101, with Plates.

The commission having completed the tenth year of its work, the report takes general notice of what it has accomplished. It was formed primarily to investigate the alleged decrease of food-fishes in the United States, but had added to its duties in its second year that of promoting the propagation of fish. It has accomplished much for science by prosecuting, or aiding others to prosecute, researches into the general natural history of marine animals and plants. It has made very large collections of aquatic animals in aid of monographic research, and has given a full series to the National Museum, and sets to several hundred institutions of learning, etc. During 1882 it secured a permanent sea-coast station at Wood's Holl; fitted up the Armory Building as its central Washington station; acquired stations in Maryland and Virginia; furthered the artificial production of oysters, and the production and distribution of the carp; and made inquiries into the extensive