Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/873

This page has been validated.

who made miserable journeys in search of gold or visionary objects, through regions now traversed by some of the more southern hues. Then came trappers; next costly and painfully undertaken Government expeditions into the then regions of the unknown, the stories of which were the boyhood delight of men now living. The period of practical traversing of the continent began with the raging of the California gold fever, when the journey of many weeks was tiresomely made with ox teams, in the face of actual perils of the desert, starvation, thirst, and the Indians. After California became important, stage and express lines were put on; but still, at the time Mr. Warman takes up the story, less than sixty years ago, the idea of building a railroad to the Pacific was regarded as too visionary to be entertained, and Asa Whitney sacrificed a fortune trying to induce somebody to take it up. The first dreams were for a short route to the Orient. Eventually the idea was developed that the American West might be worth going after, and then the idea of a railroad to it began to assume practical form. Young Engineer Dodge, afterward Major General, began surveys before the civil war; after it General Sherman gave the scheme a great impulse, and the Union Pacific Railroad was built—when and how are graphically and dramatically told in Mr. Warman's book. Next came the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fé, and other transcontinental lines, the histories of all of which are related in similar style, with stories of adventures, perils encountered, and lively incidents, including the war between two of the lines for the possession of the Arkansas Canon; financial mishaps, and political scandal. Then came the settlement of the plains, road-making in Mexico, and the opening of Oklahoma, all of which were made possible by the railroads, and have in turn contributed to support them. The beginnings and growth of the express business are described, and the later lines that have penetrated the plains are mentioned.

Prof. William Benjamin Smith's treatise on the Infinitesimal Analysis[1] has been written, the author says, on what appeared, in the light of ten years' experience in teaching the calculus, to be lines of least resistance. The aim has been, within a prescribed expense of time and energy, to penetrate as far as possible into the subject, and in as many directions, so that the student shall attain as wide knowledge of the matter, as full comprehension of the methods, and as clear consciousness of the spirit and power of this analysis as the nature of the case would admit. The author has accordingly often followed what seemed to be natural suggestions and impulses toward near-lying extensions or generalizations, and has even allowed them to direct the course of the discussion. In accordance with the plan and purpose of the book as given, "Weierstressian rigor" has been excluded from many investigations, and the postponement has been compelled of some important discussions, which were considered too subtle for an early age of study. Real difficulties, however, have not been knowingly disguised, and pains have been taken on occasion to warn the reader that the treatment given is only provisional, and must await further precision or delimitation. Where the subject has been found too large for the compass of the intended work, or too abstruse or difficult for the contemplated students, the treatment has been compressed or curtailed. The book is, in fact, written for such as feel a genuine interest in the subject; and the illustrations and exercises have been chosen with frequent reference to practical or theoretic importance or to historic interest.

Mr. George Jacob Holyoake has written with much enthusiasm the Jubilee History of the Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society.[2] Many schemes have been started on lines similar to those of this one, but very few besides it have grown from the very beginning, and, having become to all appearance a permanent institution, can look back upon a career of fifty years with complete satisfaction. The society began in times of public distress. The ground was prepared for it by the "Redemption" Society, which was founded at Leeds in 1845, by admirers of Robert Owen, after the experiment at Queens-

  1. Infinitesimal Analysis. By William Benjamin Smith. Vol.1. Elementary; Real Variables. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 352. $3.25.
  2. The Jubilee History of the Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society from 1817 to 1897. Traced Year by Year. By George Jacob Holyoake. Leeds (Eng.) Central Co-operative Office. Pp. 260.