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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/428

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

recalls one fact which should not be lost sight of, and that is the danger the finances of a city are sometimes exposed to, not from the votes of the poorer members of the community, but from the machinations of the richer, who have it in their power to bring the most corrupting influences to bear on city councils, with a view to obtaining grants for improvements quite unnecessary on public grounds, but eminently useful for increasing the value of private properties. Universal suffrage has not been the sole fount of our municipal troubles.

"The purification of our city governments," says Mr. Fiske, "will never be completed until they are entirely divorced from national party politics." This is a view which a leading newspaper in this city loses no opportunity to ridicule, but which we think founded in good sense. The matter does not admit of discussion here, further than to say that this is a subject on which the experience of England can be appealed to. As our author observes, "The degradation of so many English boroughs and cities during the Tudor and Stuart periods was chiefly due to the encroachment of national politics upon municipal politics."

The rise of our Federal Constitution is well and graphically sketched; and in a few words the distinction between the two great political parties is well established. It is pointed out that, whereas the tariff question was formerly debated as a constitutional one, the predecessors of the present Democrats holding that Congress had no power under the Constitution to impose taxes for the purpose of advancing or protecting certain industries, it is now debated on economical grounds alone. The former view of the matter, however, we venture to hold, has not lost its pertinence, and we are not without hope that the citizens of this free republic will yet see that the tariff question is one in which their liberties are at stake. Mr. Fiske, as might be expected, has placed himself clearly on record as a friend and advocate of civil-service reform. Of the historic declaration that "to the victors belong the spoils," he observes that "the man who said this (W. L. Marcy) did not realize that he was making one of the most shameful remarks recorded in history."

There are appended to the volume some valuable and interesting historical documents, such as Magna Charta, the Constitution of the United States, with its amendments, etc. At the end of each chapter is a set of well chosen questions, adding not a little to the value of the book for educational purposes. Mr. Fiske has produced a work which can not fail to be widely read, and which will do much to develop a spirit of intelligent and high-minded American citizenship.

Wild Beasts and their Ways. By Sir Samuel W. Baker, F. R. S., etc. London and Kew York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 455. Price, $3.50.

Sir Samuel Baker's last book of hunting adventures is a model of its class. Its accounts of hunts are spirited and fascinating, being neither too much nor too little detailed. Moreover, it is not made up solely of the circumstances of killing certain animals in specified places. It gives, in addition, the results of a vast deal of highly intelligent observation in regard to the nature and habits of the creatures that have fallen to the rifle of this humane and cultivated sportsman, as well as of the domesticated animals—horse, dog, elephant, and camel—which he employed in different expeditions. Many incidents of an amusing nature are included, the telling of which affords play for the delightful wit of the author. The greater part of the volume is devoted to large game—the tiger, leopard, lion, bear, hippopotamus, crocodile, buffalo, bison, and rhinoceros. Other animals included are the boar, hyena, giraffe, and various species of the deer family. The opening chapter deals with the development of the rifle during the past half-century, embodying Sir Samuel's reasons for preferring the sorts of arms and ammunition that he has used for different game. Following this are three chapters devoted to the elephant and his ways when tamed, including his behavior when employed for hunting tigers, etc. In all parts of the book appear traits of the animals described which will be new to many even who are well read in zoology. It appears that the elephant, who is generally thought of as a slow and lumbering, bulky body, can kick with extreme quickness and naturally with great force. "This is a peculiar action," says our author. "As the elephant is devoid of hocks, and it uses