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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/877

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LITERARY NOTICES.

appeal can act otherwise than in strict subordination to it. In application to man, Mr. Wallace finds natural selection ample to the development of his physical structure, but failing to account for his moral and intellectual faculties.

The English Sparrow in North America, especially in its Relations to Agriculture. Prepared under the Direction of Dr. C. Hart Merriman, Ornithologist, by Walter B. Barrows, Assistant Ornithologist. Washington: Government Printing-office. Pp. 405.

This monograph is published as "Bulletin No. 1" of the "Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy" of the Department of Agriculture, and is designed to communicate the evidence from first hands respecting the character of the English sparrow, and its desirability or otherwise as a denizen of our own country. We have persecuted the hawk and the owl and the crow with guns and bounties and poison. Farmers' boys have lain in wait to shoot the robins and cat-birds that came to their cherry-trees. The ladies of the civilized world have thousands of agents in all countries, the United States included, hunting birds to obtain the wherewithal they may decorate their hats. One of our choicest amusements is to hunt for the mere sake of killing; and an amateur sportsman boasted the other day in a newspaper of having killed a thousand birds in a week, which, having no use for them, he gave to the farmers on whose land he poached. The first impulse on seeing a strange bird is to kill it. At last, after the birds had been exterminated in our large cities and made rare in the country at large, sparrows were introduced as a partial but certainly inadequate and unsatisfactory remedy for the mischief that had been done by rashly disturbing the balance of nature. As soon as they became numerous they were accused of driving useful birds away. There are unquestionably too many of them, and they multiply too fast; they are quarrelsome and tyrannical; and they are inefficient insect-destroyers as compared with the species we have allowed to be nearly exterminated. Whether or not they assist man in driving other birds away is a question of fact. The present report contains answers from thirty-three hundred persons in the country at large respecting the character and habits of the sparrow. The answers, mostly dated in 1886, represent all sorts of views, and are often contradictory. There is no means of estimating the relative value of the testimonies. The witnesses against the sparrow preponderate in numbers; but among those in its favor many are known to be accurate and intelligent observers. Mr. Nicholas Pike, who introduced them, an accomplished naturalist, is sure that they exterminated the measuring-worm from the trees of Brooklyn; and his testimony will be corroborated by all persons whose recollections run back far enough to compare the summer appearance of that city, with its trees bare as if a fire had swept through them, before the sparrows came, with the luxuriant foliage they obtained after the birds had worked a year or two upon them. There are many other testimonies to the destruction of insects by sparrows; but other birds are better at the business. Many equally intelligent and trustworthy witnesses, while admitting their quarrelsomeness, deny that the sparrows drive other birds away. Some of the States have recently passed laws to prevent the further destruction of song and plumage birds. Where these laws are enforced, the desirable birds are coming back, and the sparrows are not keeping them away. Man, not sparrows, is the enemy they have the most reason to dread.

The Journal of Morphology. Edited by C. O. Whitman, with the Co-operation of Edward Phelps Allis, Jr. Vol. II, No. 3, April, 1889. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 250, with many Plates.

The "Journal" has fixed a high mark, both in the quality of its articles and in the style of setting them forth, and adheres to it. The present number contains a study of the "Uterus and Embryo of the Rabbit and of Man," by Charles Sedgwick Minot; "The Anatomy and Development of the Lateral Line System in Amia Calva," by Mr. Allis; "The Organization of Atoms and Molecules," by Prof. A. E. Dolbear; "Some New Facts about the Hirudinea," by Mr. Whitman; and "Segmental Sense-Organs of Arthropods," by William Patten.