SIX volumes of The Popular Science Monthly are now published, and with this number it enters upon its fourth year. We remind our friends of this, that they may renew their subscriptions, and we trust they will urge their neighbors to join them in taking the Monthly, as thereby it may be obtained at a cheaper rate. The public press has been saying these three years that this is the most valuable and instructive magazine in the country. Yet our subscription list by no means comports with such a standard of excellence; for the best thing ought certainly to be the best sustained. Although our circulation is fair, it is still far behind that of those periodicals which leave science out or consign it to the department of scraps. Let no one suppose that in helping this Monthly to new readers they are ministering to a speculation; the time is a long way off when a first-class scientific magazine will enrich anybody. We have before us the more urgent question of making the Monthly pay moderate prices for the work that is done on it, and earn the means of its own improvement—objects which can be secured exactly in proportion as it is sustained by the public.
It should be remembered that The Popular Science Monthly stands alone in doing a special and important work. It was not started merely to add another to the list of magazines, the chief of which are so nearly alike that they are mutually replaceable; but it was started to furnish a very different magazine from any the people could get. In so far as our age is an age of ideas, the first great fact about it undoubtedly is, the ascendency of science as a power that is moulding the mind of the period.
The extension of scientific knowledge is affecting all the interests of society. Agriculture, the manufacturing arts, locomotion, the physical conditions of health, the economy of the vital and mental powers, are all influenced by it to a degree never before experienced. These are confessedly within the circle of interests embraced by science, but that circle is steadily enlarging. Higher questions are being constantly brought under scientific treatment. To this great movement of thought characteristic of the time, our periodicals gave no adequate expression; and it therefore became necessary to begin a magazine that would put its readers in honest possession of the broadest conclusions of scientific study, as well as the immediate results of experimental research. Without being an organ of propagandism, or representing any clique or school of doctrine, we shall continue, as we have done, to give the fresh facts and the advanced conclusions of science, and we ask the earnest cooperation of all who sympathize with this work.
There is an old disagreement between society and the milkman. The latter is alleged to be depraved, and, as a consequence, to adulterate his milk with water. Ethical considerations do not seem to influence him. Though commanded to sell unto others only such milk as he would have others sell unto him, he prefers what he considers as a still more golden rule.
Now, we are inclined to regard the milkman with becoming charity. We cannot believe that he is a sinner above all other men. What he needs more than any thing else is, to be delivered from