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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to hope that other steps in the moral unification of the race will follow. It is satisfactory to think that it is to a large extent the result of individual effort. The different governments of the world have been rather passive than active in the matter. They have had the grace—and they deserve credit for it—to let the best heads in their several services cooperate in developing this great scheme, which deserves to be regarded as one of the most definitive steps in advance that civilization has ever taken. When the proposition was first made it was not looked upon with great favor in more than one high quarter, but, as it did not involve much expenditure of money, no serious obstacles were thrown in the way. The thinkers who had it in hand soon showed what could be made of it, and to-day the world is reaping the benefit of their labors and their sagacity. As we began by saying, the congress of this world-wide union is a congress of the competent—let us add of the responsible. As it happens, these are precisely the two adjectives that are least applicable, generally speaking, to the members of political assembles elected by popular vote. As to competence, there is no need to discuss the matter; as to responsibility, it means nothing in political circles save liability to censure and rejection on the next occasion, if the representative has not pushed local interests with sufficient vigor and sufficient disregard of wider considerations. It would be vain to look for any sudden change in the working of democratic institutions; and yet an object lesson like that afforded by the Congress of the Universal Postal Union is one that should not be wholly lost on reasonable men.

 


Scientific Literature.
SPECIAL BOOKS.

Those interested to learn of their paleolithic and neolithic ancestors will find an interesting account of their conditioning in Prehistoric Man and Beast.[1] Although embodying the results of recent geologic and archæologic research, the book is not at all technical, but adapted to the popular reader. If he knows anything of scientific theory, he may be aroused by the epithets applied to the cherished hypotheses of some writers. The great ice sheet is called "a myth," the polar ice cap "a monstrous fiction," and the astronomical theory of an ice age receives no milder treatment in the chapter devoted to the discussion of the subject. But, having dealt as an iconoclast with these favored cults, the author writes of the lore of fairyland in an opposite fashion. Fairies are not legendary beings, but real folk, whom scientific people "may no longer dare to despise." The small, tricky natives of an island off the Schleswig coast were called Pucks, and even mermen and mermaids had their prototypes in a Finnish people who dressed in sealskins and were taken by the Shetlanders to be half human.

The record of primeval man is not found in documents produced by impressionable minds, but is registered in the river gravels, cliff caverns.


  1. Prehistoric Man and Beast. By Rev. H. N. Hutchinson, F. G. S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 298, 8vo. Price, $3.00.