Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/June 1877/Literary Notices


Six Lectures on Light. Delivered in America in 1872-'73. By John Tyndall, D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S. Second edition. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 264. Price, $1.50.

Various opinions were passed at the time upon Prof. Tyndall's choice of a subject for his American lectures, and also upon his treatment of it. Some complained that he had chosen a branch of physics so well settled as that of light, and thought that he ought rather to have entered into some of the exciting phases of modern scientific controversy. Others complained that he dealt with the subject in so elementary a manner, and thought he ought to go into it with a profundity commensurate with his reputation, and such as would afford an adequate excuse for his leaving home and going so far away to instruct a foreign people. For we may just as well acknowledge that there was a great deal of narrowness and illiberality in the view taken of Tyndall's errand, and which was by no means confined to the laity. There was an ill-suppressed jealousy on the part of some of our scientific men, which made them captious in regard to the lectures, and which gave freight and currency to objections that from other sources would have been regarded as frivolous and unworthy of notice. It would have been far easier for Prof. Tyndall to have taken up some of the recent controversial topics, in which the public takes so deep an interest, and read a series of discourses that would have drawn crowds to his lecture-room, instead of encumbering himself with tons of apparatus, and bringing along experienced assistants to make his lectures thoroughly experimental and demonstrative for large popular audiences. But his choice of a subject, and his method of treating it, have been abundantly vindicated. He presented the leading principles of optics in a striking and impressive manner, and as connected and interpreted by the undulatory theory of light, with various lessons and applications in regard to the uses of scientific theory, and the motives of scientific research, which the topic was so well suited to enforce. Tyndall's American lectures form incomparably the best popular exposition of the wave-theory of light to be found in any language, and for this purpose it will long hold its place as a standard book. Accepting the public approval of the work for this purpose, as evinced by the several editions that have been called for. Prof. Tyndall has carefully revised it, made some important additions, and substituted new and superior illustrations, so that the edition which now appears, although faithfully presenting the lectures as they were delivered, has very much the aspect of a new work. He has prefixed to the volume a fine steel engraving, by Mr. Adlard, of Dr. Thomas Young, whose position in modern physics he holds to be only second to that of Newton, and in a full appendix of instructive notes and extracts he has incorporated the addresses of President Barnard, Dr. Draper, President White, and his own remarks, at the Tyndall banquet which followed the close of his lectures in New York. In his preface to the second English edition, now republished here, Prof. Tyndall remarks as follows of the object he had in view in preparing the American lectures: "I have sought to raise the wave-theory of light to adequate clearness in the reader's mind, and to show its power as an organizer of optical phenomena. From what has been recently written on such questions, it is to be inferred that the origin, scope, and warrant of physical theories generally, constitute a theme of considerable interest to thoughtful minds. On these points I have ventured, particularly in the second and third lectures, to state the views which my own reflections have suggested to me. To produce a systematic treatise on light was, of course, quite wide of my aim. My desire, rather, was to throw into a small compass an exposition for which I should have been grateful at a certain period of my own studies. I wished, in the first place, as the prime condition of all satisfactory progress, to clear the reader's mind of all indistinctness regarding elementary facts and conceptions, and to whet incidentally the desire for further knowledge. I wished, moreover, for the sake of that numerous portion of the community who are interested in the material results of science, to trace effects to their causes, by showing how such results receive their primary vitalization from the thoughts of men with no material end in view. The 'Summary and Conclusion,' which might be read as an introduction, is for the most part devoted to this object."

Facts and Fancies about Fish: The New York Aquarium. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 15.

This little pamphlet is Part I., No. 1, of a series of popular natural history monographs by Mr. W. S. Ward, naturalist of the New York Aquarium, and contains a very readable and instructive account of the natural objects that are to be seen at that meritorious institution. It is profusely illustrated with capital cuts by Beard, Church, Kelley, and others. It is Mr. Ward's purpose to publish these parts from time to time, as circumstances warrant, with the hope that they will meet with such a demand as will lead to a periodical issue—a hope which will soon be realized if his endeavor meets with the success it deserves.

Essays on Political Economy. By Frédéric Bastiat. English translation revised by David A. Wells. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 291. Price, $1.25.

Among the modern political writers who have labored to vindicate liberty of trade and to expose the fallacies and economical failures of protection, Bastiat in many respects stands unrivaled. Other men may perhaps have gone deeper into the philosophy of the subject, or contributed more toward the establishment of political economy as a body of scientific principles, but no man has done so much as Frédéric Bastiat to explain and illustrate its truths, and enforce them upon the popular mind. A thorough master not only of the subject but of the art of lucid, attractive, and telling statement, his economical essays are well worth reading, if only for their literary effect. Many writers can make reading pleasant if allowed to choose their themes. Political economy has long been proverbial for its dry, statistical repulsiveness—has long been known as "the dismal science;" but in the hands of Bastiat it is as far as possible from being either dry or dismal. Mr. Wells, the editor of the present work, gives the following account of it in his preface to the American edition:

"This little volume is made up of a selection from the essays of M. Bastiat, that have in a high degree these popular and attractive characteristics; such as a presentation of the nature of capital and interest, and the relation of the two; a discussion, under the title, 'That which is seen and that which is not seen,' of the evils that always result from limiting consideration of the effect of an economic law, tax, or institution, to its immediate visible influence, and ignoring its ultimate consequences, introducing, in so doing, the illustration which has passed into many languages, of 'The Broken Window;' also the questions of 'What is Government?' 'What is Money?' and the nature, object, and function of what is popularly and generally termed 'the law,' without reference to any particular code or statute. So acceptable, indeed, have these short, selected essays proved to the public, that repeated editions of them have been published in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, England, and the United States; and all that the editor has had to do with the present American edition has been to revise the previous English translation, which was exceedingly imperfect, and in some instances absolutely without meaning. Where the text—which was originally written to meet the condition of affairs in France at the time of the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic in 1848—could be changed verbally with advantage to meet the different condition of men, laws, and things, at present existing in the United States, such changes have been made, English names being substituted for French ones, dollars and cents in place of francs and sous, and the like. A few notes pertinent to the subject-matter of the text, and drawn mainly from the recent economic experience of the United States, have also been added."

The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom. By Charles Darwin, M. A., F. R. S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 482. Price, $2.

The name of the author upon this title-page is an assurance that the book is a solid contribution to the advance of that branch of biology which may be named philosophical botany. It is the result of a long series of elaborate, painstaking inquiries into that curious and mysterious field of organic activity, the process of fertilization in plants. The inquiry is hardly popular, and will only have its deepest interest to those who know something of the technicalities of botany. Yet Mr. Darwin has prefixed to the volume an excellent chapter of introductory remarks, which will prove generally intelligible and instructive; and there are but few who will read this chapter and not be lured forward by the attractive and fascinating import of the discussion. The author also adds a very important chapter of general results, in which he states the practical bearing of the inquiry as respects the art of the agriculturist and horticulturist. His discussion is at the basis of the problem and the intelligent practice of breeding. He furthermore points out its great theoretical significance to the scientific inquirer, who aims to go as deep as possible into the question of Nature's economy in continuing, diversifying, and giving stability to the course of life upon our globe.

An Alphabet in Finance. A Simple Statement of Permanent Principles and their Application to Questions of the Day. By Graham McAdam. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 210. Price, $1.25.

"This little book," we are told in the preface, "was written as a political duty;" and it would be a blessing to long-suffering listeners and readers if every one who feels a "call" to preach or to write was as well fitted for the task he undertakes as Mr. McAdam. He has succeeded in treating the elementary principles of finance briefly and at the same time clearly, simply, and effectively; and his discussion of the commoner fallacies and often-repeated stock arguments of the inflationists is so good, that it is to be hoped the book will find a circulation among them. The chapters on "Money a Creation of Government," "Pure Credit Money," "What is a Specie Basis?" "Banking"—all brief—are models of statement in their way. Although the author apparently accepts Mr. Jevons's views as to the word value, the somewhat ambiguous way in which he uses that term makes the chapter on "The Qualities of Gold for Money" slightly obscure, which is to be regretted, for much of the success of inflation arguments is rooted in the hazy notions concerning what is called the value of gold. We would call the author's attention to the statement on page 130, that "$4,444 still remains by custom the nominal par" (of exchange), the fact being that the nominal and real par have been in agreement, at $4,866, both by usage and United States statute for two years or more.

Report of the Geological Survey of Indiana, 1875. By E. T. Cox, State Geologist. Pp. 599. With Maps and Plates.

During the year 1875 the general work of the survey of Indiana was carried on in nine counties: Vigo, Huntington, Jennings, Ripley, Orange, Vanderburgh, Owen, Montgomery, and the southeastern part of Clay. A special reconnaissance was made of the coal-measure rocks of Putnam County; also a special hydrographic survey of some of the lakes in the northern portion of the State. Besides the results of these researches, the report contains observations on fossil marine plants from the coal-measures, by Mr. L. Lesquereux, and a catalogue of the Wabash Valley flora, by Dr. J. Schenck.

Ivanhoe. By Sir Walter Scott. Also Our Mutual Friend. By Charles Dickens. New York: Holt & Co. Pp. 350. Price, $1.

These little volumes belong to the "Condensed Classics" series. The text is absolutely identical with the original works, except that much of the less essential matter of the latter has been omitted. If any one thinks an acquaintance with all the leading writers of his language to be necessary, he must resort to condensations like this. Life is not long enough to enable a man to read our entire "polite literature" through.

Annual Reports of the Zoölogical Society of Cincinnati, for the years 1874-'75-'76. Cincinnati: printed for the Society.

It is to be regretted that an enterprise containing so much spirit should not as yet have proved a pecuniary success. The following is interesting: "In Europe there are now [1874] in operation, or in process of construction, more than eighty zoölogical gardens, and, almost without exception, they are profitable, and in some cases largely so. The experience in Philadelphia is encouraging, while that of the garden in San Francisco is. . . . marvelous." Strange that the last report contains no list or statement of the animals!

David and Anna Matson. By Abigail Scott Duniway. Pp. 194. With Illustrations. New York: S. R. Wells & Co. Price, $2.

Inasmuch as it does not lie within our province to estimate the value of works of the imagination, we will only say of this volume that its theme is the "tender passion," in one of its many phases; that the verses are smooth and musical enough, and that the mechanical make-up of the book is admirable as regards print, paper, and binding.

Qualitative Chemical Analysis. A Guide to the Practical Study of Chemistry and of the Work of Analysis. By Silas H. Douglas and Albert B. Prescott, of the University of Michigan. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Second edition, revised. Pp. 254. Price, $3.50.

This excellent work has grown out of the exigencies of chemical teaching. In its earliest form it appeared in 1864, and passed through several editions. It was intended to be used, with Fresenius's "Manual of Qualitative Analysis," as a guide to the experimental study of substances to be made in connection with analysis, but beyond its immediate requirements. It is now revised and enlarged so as of itself to answer the needs of the student, and relieve him from the necessity of obtaining more than one text-book for inorganic qualitative work. Its aim is stated to be, "to aid the student in gaining an accurate acquaintance with the facts whereby analyses are made; and a clear understanding of the coördination of these facts—the principles of analysis—has been the chief object of this work. It is the result of experience in the constant endeavor to prevent habits of automatic operation and of superficial observation in analysis." Various improvements in the work are pointed out in the preface to the new edition, which have been arrived at by the experience of the last ten years, and which bring the volume up to the requirements of the times.

The Chemist's Manual. A Practical Treatise on Chemistry, Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis, Stoichiometry, Blowpipe Analysis, Mineralogy, Assaying, Toxicology, etc. By Henry A. Mott, Jr., E. M., Ph. D. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 625. Price, $6.

This work is designed not for popular reading, but for practical students of chemistry, and will answer the purpose of a kind of condensed library of technical information, in which the ordinary text-books are deficient. Compiled by a working student, from the needs of his own experience, it cannot fail to be useful to others in similar circumstances, who will find the labor here done to their hand which they would otherwise have to do for themselves. The author has prepared the work on the principle that every scientific man "should compile his own pocket-book, as he proceeds in study and practice, to suit his particular business." Having accumulated from time to time a large number of valuable notes, tables, and chemical data, which became too voluminous to be carried in the pocket, he then decided to extend, systematize, and publish them. Dr. Charles F. Chandler, Professor of Chemistry in the Columbia College School of Mines, introduces the work by a brief preface, in which he says:

"This carefully-prepared 'Manual' of Dr. Mott will prove especially valuable as containing a judicious selection of the most important methods, most of which have been tested by laboratory experience, and found to give satisfactory results. These are presented in a concise form, with reference to original authors. The numerous tables of constants will also be found of great value. This work will possess a special value for the student and laboratory-worker, and will serve as a useful reference-book for the general scientific reader."

Mr. Van Nostrand has got the work out in excellent style, and we have only to make a small complaint of the inartistic monotony of the page-headings, which simply reproduce the title of the book, without giving any guidance to its successive subjects and the variety of its contents.

The Microscopist. A Manual of Microscopy and Compendium of the Microscopic Sciences, with 205 Illustrations. By J. H. Wythe, A. M., M. D., Professor of Microscopy and Biology in the Medical College of the Pacific, San Francisco. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. Pp. 259. Price, $4.50.

Dr. Wythe's manual first appeared twenty-five years ago, and he now issues the third edition, rewritten and greatly enlarged. In regard to his object in preparing the volume, the author says: "It is proposed in this treatise to give such a resume of microscopy as shall enable the student in any department to pursue original investigations with a general knowledge of what has been accomplished by others. To this end a comprehensive view of the necessary instruments and details of the art, or what the Germans call technology, is first given, and then a brief account of the application of the microscope to various branches of science, especially considering the needs of physicians and students of medicine." The sciences here referred to are micro-mineralogy, micro-chemistry, biology, histology, and pathological histology. The work is clearly written, and its matter presented systematically and in very judicious proportions. It contains a great number of beautifully-colored plates, which will prove helpful to the student. In an introductory chapter on the history and importance of microscopy. Dr. Wythe points out the many ways in which this art has proved useful to man in recent times. The following suggestion, however, we had not met with before, and we trust it will incite religious people to buy microscopes and learn to use them: "Even theology has its contribution from microscopy. The teleological view of Nature, which traces design, receives from it a multitude of illustrations. In this department the war between skeptical Philosophy and Theology has waged most fiercely; and if the difference between living and non-living matter may be demonstrated by the microscope, as argued by Dr. Beale and others, Theology sends forth a paean of victory from the battlements of this science."

Michigan Board of Health. Fourth Annual Report (1876). Pp. 250. Lansing: W. S. George & Co. print.

In addition to the journal of the proceedings of the board, and sundry details of administration, we have here a great deal of matter of general interest: such as statistics of diseases, remarks on illuminating oils, studies of typhoid fever, etc. Among the more voluminous essays, we may mention papers on means of escaping from public buildings in case of fire, vaccination, scarlet fever, criminal abortion, water and water-supply, ventilation of railroad-cars, etc.

Report of the Commissioners of Education for the Year 1875. Pp. 1,189. Washington: Government Printing-Office.

In the personal report of Commissioner Eaton, which occupies the first 170 pages of this volume, is found an instructive retrospect of the history of popular education in this country, together with a general review of the present status of primary and superior instruction, both in the United States and in other countries; then follow voluminous abstracts of the reports of school officers throughout the States and Territories of the Union; and, finally, we have 22 tables of school statistics, giving information with regard to such matters as normal schools, higher schools for women, colleges, scientific schools, public libraries, museums of art and natural history, institutions for the blind, deaf and dumb, and idiots, educational benefactions, etc. The value of the information here conveyed is no doubt very considerable, and it is much enhanced by the addition of a good index.

How to Camp Out. By John M. Gould. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co. Price, $1.

This is the best work of the kind ever published. Mr. Gould is the author of a "Regimental History of the War," which received the highest commendation from the New York Nation and Evening Post. He has camped in every way, and, being a man of the keenest observation and possessed with the orderly faculty of noting down everything, has given in this book advice and suggestion of the greatest value to those who go on camping or tramping expeditions. Sound information is given regarding food, clothing, boots and shoes, knapsacks, tents, and huts of various kinds, with valuable hygienic advice from Dr. Elliott Coues's writings. A pleasant vein of humor runs through its pages; and to those who never stir out of the city, the book will be found entertaining as well as camp-provoking.


The following notice of this important work is from the review in the London Examiner: "The appearance of Mr. Spencer's first volume on 'The Principles of Sociology' will be a matter of rejoicing to that large and growing number of readers whose minds have been deeply impressed and roused to new reflection by the writer's masterly exposition of the philosophy of evolution. This feeling of joy will only be tempered by the regret which Mr. Spencer's readers will certainly experience on learning, from a notice appended to the volume, that disturbed health has obliged him to desist when about to write certain concluding chapters to this present volume, and that, in his opinion, 'it may be some time—possibly months—before he is able to resume work at his ordinary, slow rate.' Still, this regret should not unduly depress us, seeing that we have now in our hands a bulky volume of over 700 pages, in which the author lays down the principal foundation-lines of his scientific structure. Most of Mr. Spencer's admirers, perhaps, have looked forward to the doctrine of social evolution as the most valuable and interesting result of the author's labors. It is quite natural, indeed, that many, to whom the unfamiliar conceptions of biology and the abstruse subtilties of psychology are somewhat repellent, should look forward to the promised exposition of sociology, with its more familiar ideas of industry, religion, government, etc. To this it may be added that, just now, there is a large concentration of scientific interest on all historical problems, and many who were indifferent to the first principles of matter and motion will look with eagerness into the present volume for its theory of social progress. It may at once be said that all who have anticipated this work will find in it ample intellectual material of the most interesting sort. The author here takes us far enough to enable us to see how his previous volumes have been leading up to a clear and scientific conception of society and its laws—far enough, too, for us to discern the revolution which the theory of evolution is to effect in many current notions respecting social phenomena. . . .

"Mr. Spencer's theory of primitive ideas seems to us so much the most important element in the volume that we have dwelt on it at length, to the neglect of the other parts. Of what remains, only a very few words can be said. After completing his account of the data of psychology, the author passes to his Second Part, which has for its theme 'The Inductions of Sociology.' Under this head Mr. Spencer discusses the nature of society as an organism, the ideas of social growth, social structures and functions, and the division of the social organism into three systems of organs, namely, the sustaining, tlie distributing, and the regulating, answering to those of digestion, circulation, and nervous coördination, in the individual organism. The analogy between a society and a bodily organism is worked out with remarkable ingenuity, according to the sketch given by the author in the popular introduction to sociology already alluded to. Mr. Spencer succeeds, we think, in establishing the closeness of this similarity, and, what is more, in showing how it arises from the fundamental similarity of the processes of evolution underlying individual and social growth. Thus, for example, the curious analogy in the distributing systems of the two kinds of organism between the up and down lines of railway and the veins and arteries, is seen, on reflection, to be something more than an accidental coincidence. At the same time, Mr. Spencer appears to us to have become more clearly aware of the limits of this analogy, and of the circumstances which mark off social aggregates from single, living organisms.

"After thus determining the data and leading principles of sociology, Mr. Spencer proceeds, in his Third Part, to deal with social phenomena themselves—that is to say, the movements or processes which make up social development. He begins with the domestic relations, the account of which brings the volume to a close. We have no space left to follow the author in his interesting review of the gradual development of monogamy out of the primitive relations of the sexes. His views on the nature of marriage without the tribe and marriage within the tribe (exogamy and endogamy), of polyandry, and polygamy, and of their relations of coexistence and sequence, rest in part on the researches and conclusions of writers like Mr. McLennan, while in some important particulars they deviate from this writer's theories. It strikes us that Mr. Spencer here exhibits an increased power of seizing the many influences which contribute to a complex result. The highly-interesting character of this part, as of the whole volume, makes us look forward to the continuation of this work on 'Sociology,' which, we strongly suspect, to judge by the little progress already made, is going to be much more voluminous than the works on 'Biology' and 'Psychology.' May the author's health speedily allow him to carry forward his great enterprise!"


The Poultry Yard and Market: a Practical Treatise on Gallinoculture, and Description of a New Process for hatching: Eggs and raising Poultry. By Prof. A. Corbett. New York: Orange Judd & Co. 1877. Pp. 96. Price, 50 cents.

Shade-Trees, Indigenous Shrubs, and Vines. By J. T. Stewart, M.D. And Insects that infest them. By Miss Emma A. Smith. Peoria: Transcript Co. print. 1877. Pp .55.

The People vs. Daniel Schrumpf; Misdemeanor, Adulteration of Milk; Argument of W. P. Prentice, Counsel to the Board of Health, for the Prosecution. New York: J. F. Trow & Son print. 1877. Pp. 32.

Coördinate Surveying. By Henry F. Walling, C. E. Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers. 1877. Pp. 19, Three Plates.

Religion and Science; The Psychological Basis of Religion considered from the Standpoint of Phrenology. A Prize Essay. New York: S. R. Wells & Co. 1877. Pp .35. Price, 20 cents.

On Some Derivatives of Diphenylamine. By Dr. P. Townsend Austen. Reprint from American Journal of Science and Arts. Pp. 11.

Second Annual Report of the Inspector and Assayer of Liquors to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. By Prof. J. P. Babcock. Boston: Albert J. Wright print. 1877. Pp. 39.

On the Ethers of Uric Acid; Contributions from the Laboratory of Harvard College. By H. B. Hill. Reprinted from American Journal of Science and Arts. Pp .11.

Lubrication. By Prof. R. H. Thurston. Reprinted from the Polytechnic Review. Pp. 4.

Note on the Sensation of Color. By C. S. Peirce. Reprint from American Journal of Science and Arts. Pp. 5.

Publications of the Cincinnati Observatory, Nos. 2, 3. Mitchell's Micrometrical Measurements of Double Stars. Pp. 18 and 34.

Laboratory Notes from the University of Cincinnati. By F. W. Clarke. Reprint from American Journal of Science and Arts. Pp. 6.

History of the Discovery of the Circulation of the Blood. By W. J. Conklin, M.D. Reprinted from Ohio Medical and Surgical Journal. Pp. 14.

On Puerperal Septicæmia. By J. W. Underhill, M.D. Cincinnati: Aldine Printing-Works. 1877.

Field and Forest; a Monthly Journal devoted to the Natural Sciences. Edited by Charles R. Dodge. Vol. IL, Nos. 7, 8, 9, and 10. Price $1 a year.

The Development of the Animal Kingdom; a Paper read at the Fourth Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Women. By Graceanna Lewis. Nantucket: Hussey & Robinson print. 1877. Pp. 21.

Monthly Reports of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for February and March, 1877. By Alfred Gray, Secretary. Topeka.

Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Vol. III. 1875-'76. Madison: E. B. Bolen print. Pp. 269.

Van Nostrand's Science Series. No. 28: Transmission of Power by Wire Ropes. By Albert W. Stahl. M.E. Pp. 124. No. 29: Steam Injectors, their Theory and Use. By M. Léon Pochet. Pp. 79. New York. 1877. Price, 50 cents each.

Strength and Calculation of Dimensions of Iron and Steel Constructions. By J. J. Weyrauch. Ph.D. New York. 1877. Pp. 112, with Pour Folding Plates. Price, $1.

Linear Perspective. Part I. By F. R. Honey. New Haven, Conn.: Judd & White. 1877. Pp. 35, Nine Plates. Price, $1.25.

Report of the Board of Health of the City and Port of Philadelphia for the Year 1875. Pp. 351.

United States Geographical Surveys west of the One Hundredth Meridian. Appendix JJ of the Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1876. By Lieut. George M. Wheeler. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 343, accompanied by Seven Topographical Atlas Sheets.

Report of the Secretary of the Navy. 1876. Pp. 336.

Annual Report of the Chief Signal Officer to the Secretary of War, for 1876. Pp. 509, with numerous Weather Maps.