Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/723

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influences chiefly in the way of ill-regulated desires; and the law of natural selection rightly expounded will teach us that, if we wish to survive, we must cultivate all the qualities that make for fitness, and repress those that tend to produce unfitness.


The Earth and its Inhabitants. By Élisée Reclus. North America, Vol. I. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 496. Price, sheep, $6; half morocco, $7.

The American edition of this great descriptive work, by the eminent French geographer Reclus, has now reached the section devoted to North America. This division will probably require four volumes, the first of which is now before us. A chapter sketching the early discoveries in the New World and the chief features of the Western Continent introduces the volume. This is followed by detailed descriptions of the northern parts of the continent, comprising Greenland, the neighboring islands, Alaska, and the British possessions, including Canada. The physical features, flora, fauna, and inhabitants of each region are fully described. In the account of Greenland the glaciers of that ice-bound land are a prominent feature. Their distribution, extent, rates of movement, and mode of termination are described, and their appearance and arrangement are represented by many pictures and maps. The nature of the illustrations in this work is already known to our readers from the article on Greenland and the Greenlanders, in the Monthly for last July, for which some of them were borrowed. The geography of Alaska is given with much detail so far as it is known, and the progress of exploration in that Territory is sketched. Here, again, the glaciers demand considerable attention. Maps show the zones of temperature and trees, and the distribution of the native tribes and the animals is also pointed out. About three hundred and fifty pages are devoted to Canada and the other British provinces in North America. The reader is led from the rivers and fiords of British Columbia, through the wild Northwest Territory, among the posts of the Hudson Bay Company, and the lakes of the Winnipeg region, then down the St. Lawrence through Ontario and Quebec, to the Maritime Provinces, finally reaching Labrador and Newfoundland. The description deals with—besides the natural features—the social and political conditions, trade, languages, religions, etc., of the several divisions of the country. The full-page pictures, which are liberally scattered through these chapters, represent wild scenery of the central and western regions, the features and dress of the natives, and the large towns on the eastern rivers and seaports. The maps, which arc very numerous, are from actual surveys, and hence contribute to the scientific accuracy which is characteristic of the whole work. Statistics of area, population, trade, etc., are given in appendixes.

The Meteoric Hypothesis: a Statement of the Results of a Spectroscopic Inquiry into the Origin of Cosmical Systems. By J. Norman Lockyer. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 560. Price, $5.25.

The purpose of this volume is to bring together and co-ordinate the observations which have been made up to the present time on the spectra of the various orders of cosmical bodies in connection with laboratory work on which the author has been engaged since 1868. It embodies in a connected form, among other matters, various reports made by him through the Solar Physics Committee to the Royal Society. It is, in fact, a natural sequel to the Chemistry of the Sun, published in 1887, in which were presented researches suggesting that many solar phenomena might owe their origin to falls of meteoric masses on the sun's surface. The theory here presented is substantially an enlargement and extension to the universe of the hypotheses therein set forth. Beginning with a chapter of history and facts on the fall and nature of meteorites, the author treats in successive chapters of the Spectroscopy of Meteorites; Meteorites in the Air, in the Solar System, and in Space; Proposed New Grouping of Cosmical Bodies; the Origin of Binary and Multiple Systems; and the Variability in Light and Color of Cosmical Bodies. Among his principal General Conclusions are: that all self-luminous bodies in the celestial space are composed either of swarms of meteorites