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SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

from this to have patience with the imperfect usages of the heathen of our day, and not insist on their rising at once to the full height of an advanced Christian morality. It is impossible to doubt that the address of Prof. Petrie will have a powerful effect in promoting rational views on the important questions with which he dealt. It was not the utterance of a partisan, a zealot, or a narrow specialist, but of a man who spoke from well-matured conviction and a broad basis of knowledge. Had the meeting of the British Association given us nothing more than this, it would have made no slight contribution to the cause of enlightenment and true civilization.

 


Scientific Literature.

SPECIAL BOOKS.

Man has ever been curious about the origins of things. In the childhood of the race he wondered where the wind came from and the water in the streams, how the sun and moon were made, what caused the thunder and the lightning, and how the first plants, the first animals, and the first human beings came to be. Later the origin of arts and customs, the rise of tribes and peoples, the production of material substances, and a host of similar problems engrossed his attention. Two ways of answering these questions have been relied upon by him at different times. The first was by speculation, and produced beautiful myths, fantastic cosmogonies, quaint folklore, or pseudo-sciences, according as the genius of one people differed from that of another. The second way depends upon research, and has reached its highest development in the investigations of modern science. Its inquiry into the past has given us a wealth of archæological lore such as is embodied in two volumes now before us. In one of these Prof. Mason[1] has set forth the results of a study of industry among primitive peoples, revealing the manner in which the tools, devices, and processes used in the arts must have originated. The arrow and spear heads, knives, hammers, and axes of primitive man are the precursors of a host of striking and cutting implements. Several kinds of drills have been found in use by savage tribes. The screw, the pulley, and the wheel and axle are known to savages only in a rudimentary way, but the lever and the wedge are largely used by them. Modes of kindling and caring for fire make an interesting chapter, a notable feature in which is the evolution of the bellows. The use of stone is commonly thought of as characterizing primitive arts, and this idea is embodied in the name "Stone age." This is a misconception, for, as Prof. Mason points out, where one tool of stone was used there were many constructed of the more easily worked materials, wood, bone, shell, horn, and hide. We do not find them in ancient graves and mounds, simply because their materials are much more perishable than stone. Hence, while stone-working furnished wide scope for invention in


  1. The Origins of Invention. By Otis T. Mason, Curator of the Department of Ethnology in the United States National Museum. Pp. 419, crown 8vo. London: Walter Scott, Ltd., 3s. 6d. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. Price, $1.25.