Popular Science Monthly/Volume 13/May 1878/Literary Notices


Treatise on Chemistry. By H. E. Roscoe, F.R.S., and C. Schorlemmer, F.R.S., Professors of Chemistry in Owens College, Manchester. Vol. I. The Non-Metallic Elements. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 769. Price, $4.

Chemistry undoubtedly stands among the first of the progressive sciences. Its field is so large, its applications so numerous and practical, and the number of its devotees in all countries so great, as to secure the steady and rapid advance of the science. As a consequence of this, it leaves its literary monuments behind, much as a railway-train leaves the milestones. An exposition of the subject, no matter how completely it may represent its position at a given time, quickly falls behind and becomes antiquated. The large works of Regnault and William Allen Miller, which were standards a few years ago, are now quite out of date; valuable in many respects for reference, they do not embody the results that have been attained since. There was, therefore, need of a new comprehensive treatise on chemistry to take their place in colleges and laboratories. This want has been supplied by the combined labors of Profs. Roscoe and Schorlemmer, the first volume of which is now published. The character of the work they have undertaken is thus stated by its authors: "It has been the aim of the authors, in writing the present treatise, to place before the reader a fairly complete and yet a clear and succinct statement of the facts of modern chemistry, while at the same time entering so far into a discussion of chemical theory as the size of the work and the present transition state of the science permit. Special attention has been paid to the accurate description of the more important processes in technical chemistry, and to the careful representation of the most approved forms of apparatus employed."

The work opens with an excellent historical sketch of the science on the basis of Kopp's history, and this feature is continued in dealing with the most important elements and compounds throughout the book. A marked feature of the work, and one that will be appreciated in the class-room, is the prominent attention that has been given to the representation of apparatus adapted for lecture-room experiment. The numerous new illustrations required for this purpose have all been taken from photographs of apparatus actually in use. The names of the authors are a guarantee of the accuracy and thoroughness of their work, while the proportions in which the various divisions are presented are adapted to the use of students who desire to obtain a thorough general knowledge of the science. The work is printed in large, clear type, presenting an attractive page, and its illustrations are numerous and of a superior order.

A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Eye. By Robert Brudenell Carter, F. R. C. S. With numerous Illustrations. London: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 591. Price, $4.

This work, by one of the most prominent ophthalmic surgeons of London, has been some time published, and has an excellent character with the profession. Attention being increasingly drawn to the impairment of the health of the eye in our schools, and by various kinds of mismanagement, we were anxious to consult some modern authoritative work on the maladies of the eye, and selected this volume for the purpose. Dr. Carter is a philosophical student of his subject, and twenty-five years ago published an interesting volume on the influence of civilization in modifying diseases of the nervous system. But, although he writes as a thinker, the author has made the present work thoroughly practical. It comprises his lectures at St. George's Hospital on common forms of eye-disease which he had occasion to deal with in practice; and it is this circumstance which gives to the treatise its chief merit. It contains many illustrations of the structure of the eye, ophthalmic instruments, and modes of operation.

A History of England in the Eighteenth Century. By William Edward Hartpole Lecky. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Two volumes. Pp. 1,325. Price, $6.

Mr. Lecky has won an assured and distinguished place as a philosophical historian. We were among those who had no hesitation in saying that he fully established this character in the publication of his first considerable work, "A History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe;" and his claim as an original historical thinker was confirmed by the subsequent appearance of his "History of European Morals." The direction of thought, partially opened by Macaulay, and more vigorously pursued by Buckle, which takes account of the great pacific forces that have been involved in modern civilization, is adopted by Mr. Lecky, and has been followed out by him, systematically and most ably, in his successive treatises. The old and vulgar conception of history as a mere narration and chronicle of incidents, a gossipy delineation of the great personalities that have figured in public affairs, a picture of court manners, a threading-out of diplomatic intrigues, with abundant description of battles, campaigns, wars, conquests, and the overturning of dynasties, Mr. Lecky leaves to those who can be satisfied with it. These are very much surface-effects, well fitted, indeed, to strike the imagination, but of trivial moment in comparison with those profounder agencies by which modern society has been shaped and the real work of civilization carried forward. Science has been at the bottom of a revolution in recent times, which has compelled not only a reestimate of the importance of subjects to be dealt with in history, but a reversal of former judgments, by which subjects long neglected must henceforth have supreme regard. The influence of scientific habits of thinking has deepened the study of history, antiquated its superficial methods, and carried us down to those deeper and wider causes that have determined the amelioration of humanity. Mr. Lecky takes up the work of the historian avowedly from this point of view, and, in the two solid volumes now before us, he has applied it to an important period of the history of his own country. It is a splendid theme, for England has a central and commanding position in the movement of national development; and the times considered by Mr. Lecky were fruitful of profound changes and the most important results. The purpose and plan of his work are thus indicated in his preface:

"I have not attempted to write the history of the period I have chosen year by year, or to give a detailed account of military events, or of the minor personal and party incidents, which form so large a part of political annals. It has been my object to disengage from the great mass of facts those which relate to the permanent forces of the nation, or which indicate some of the more enduring features of national life. The growth or decline of the monarchy, the aristocracy, and the democracy, of the Church and of Dissent, of the agricultural, the manufacturing and the commercial interests, the increasing power of Parliament and of the press, the history of political ideas, of art, of manners, and of belief; the changes that have taken place in the social and economical condition of the people, the influences that have modified national character, the relations of the mother-country to its dependencies, and the causes that have accelerated or retarded the advancement of the latter, form the main subjects of this book."

Natural Law: An Essay in Ethics. By Edith Simcox. Boston: Osgood & Co. Pp. 361. Price, $3.50.

This is a profound disquisition on the deep things of metaphysical and moral philosophy. The treatment is very didactic, and not altogether inviting; but the author is a radical thinker, and tries hard to get down to first principles. The subject is dealt with under the heads of: I., Natural Law; II., Customary and Positive Law; III., Morality; IV., Religion; V., The Natural History of Altruism; VI., The Natural Sanctions of Morality; VII., Social and Individual Perfection. The best thing in the book is an extract from Jeremy Taylor, stating the difficulties that people have in getting along in this world. The passage will bear reproducing:

"Whoever was to be born at all, was to be born a child, and to do before he could understand and be bred under laws to which he was always bound, but which could not always be exacted; and he was to choose when he could not reason, and had passions most strong when he had his understanding most weak, and was to ride a wild horse without a bridle, and, the more need he had of a curb, the less strength he had to use it; and, this being the case of all the world, what was every man's evil became all men's greater evil, and though alone it was very bad yet when they came together it was made much worse; like ships in a storm, every one alone hath enough to do to outride it; but when they meet, besides the evils of the storm, they find the intolerable calamity of their mutual concussion, and every ship that is ready to be oppressed with the tempest is a worse tempest to every vessel against which it is violently dashed. So it is in mankind; every man hath evil enough of his own, and it is hard for a man to live soberly, temperately, and religiously; but when he hath parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies, buyers and sellers, lawyers and physicians, a family and a neighborhood, a king over him or tenants under him, a bishop to rule in matters of government spiritual, and a people to be ruled by him in the affairs of their souls, then it is that every man dashes against another, and one relation requires what another denies; and when one speaks, another will contradict him; and that which is well spoken is sometimes innocently mistaken, and that upon a good cause produces an evil effect. And by these, and ten thousand other concurrent causes, man is made more than most miserable."

A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. a. d. 1450-1878. By Eminent Writers, English and Foreign. With Illustrations and Woodcuts. Edited by George Grove, D. C. L. In Two Volumes. Number of pages in Part I., 128. A to Ballad. New York: Macmillan & Co. Price, $1.25.

Musical dictionaries have hitherto been chiefly occupied in explaining the numerous terms and technicalities which have become so prominent in the art. The present work promises to be of a much more comprehensive character, indeed to be a kind of cyclopædia of music, giving "full and accurate information in regard to the lives of eminent composers, the history of musical instruments, the origin and gradual development of musical forms (such as the symphony and the sonata), the career of great singers, and so on." Such is the object of the work of which the first installment is before us, and which is to contain twelve quarterly parts. It is an enterprise of great labor, but the execution thus far shows that it will be thoroughly done. Its main articles are contributed by eminent authorities on musical subjects, and its minor parts have evidently been prepared with assiduous care, under the editorship of Mr. Grove. The work will of course be best appreciated by those most interested in music, but it will be of value to general readers, both for reference and for study, as furnishing the materials of the history of a great and growing popular art. We might object that the type is rather too small to give most attractiveness to the page, but from the copiousness of the information to be presented this became a necessity, in order to keep the volumes within a reasonable magnitude. The work is, however, printed with great clearness; and the musical passages that are freely interspersed in the text, to illustrate the various topics, come out with admirable distinctness. When the enterprise is completed, we shall have another important reference-book in this age of cyclopedic specialties.

Proteus, or Unity in Nature. By Charles Bland Radcliff, M. D. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 214. Price, $2.50.

The object of this work is to illustrate, in a somewhat full and methodical way, the great principle of oneness in Nature—the law within law, and the communion in all things. In Part I. the author traces out the law of unity in plants, in the limbs of vertebrate animals, in the appendant organs of invertebrate animals, in the skull and vertebral column, in the relations of plants and animals, and of organic and inorganic forms. In Part II. he advances to dynamical and mental phenomena, and traces the unity of physical forces, of vital and physical motion, and of the phenomena of instinct, memory, imagination, volition, and intelligence, and closes with an exemplification of it in the personal, social, and religious life of man. In his preface, the author states that it has been his object to place himself in opposition to the materialistic spirit of the age.

History of Opinions on the Scripture Doctrine of Retribution. By Edward Beecher, D. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 334: Price, $1.25.

This is a book, of great theological erudition, on the question of the punishment of human beings after death. The unsettled state of opinion on this subject induced Dr. Beecher to take it up and do something to bring about a better agreement among those who believe in future punishment, but diner as to its duration; and, to those who regard such an inquiry as important, the volume will prove interesting. Dr. Beecher says: "The main interest centres on the question, 'What is the doom of the wicked?' This has fixed the attention of the world upon the import of a single word, aionios." It seems strange that the question of the eternal doom of immortal beings should be left so uncertain for mankind as to hang upon the interpretation of a Greek word, so that we must look to the philologists to ascertain what is to be our fate through eternity.

Vital Magnetism: Its Power over Disease. By Frederick T. Parson. New York: Adams, Victor & Co. Pp. 230. Price, $1.25.

By vital magnetism the author of this book, of course, means animal magnetism, and this term has been applied to a class of obscure and irregular effects exhibited by, or induced in, the nervous system, and also to an art of treating certain diseases. The author of the work claims that this country is very much behind Europe in the cultivation of this branch of the healing art, and his work is offered to supply a want to the medical profession arising from this backwardness of the subject, and to furnish evidence of the extent of its European development. The book has been compiled with excellent judgment, and gives account of a large number of cases, chiefly European, which are full of medical interest. It is due to the author to say that (though a Magnetic Physician) he is more modest than the standard ethics of the profession requires, for he neither parades his own cases, nor does he announce the street and number, or even the city, where he is to be found.

What there is in animal magnetism, or vital magnetism, that deserves attention as a method of treating disease, we cannot pretend to say; but those interested will find this book very suitable, as a presentation of its claims, and the evidences of its utility. There is, probably, something in it, and there may be much in it that the medical profession will yet have to recognize; but we advise the cultivators of the method to get rid of the term magnetism as quickly as possible, for it is both fanciful and misleading. The fact is, the thing referred to is not magnetism. It is claimed that there are certain effects produced by movements upon the human body, in certain directions, which effects are reversible by reversing the movements. This very naturally suggests analogies to magnets, which are charged and discharged in similar ways, but it no more proves the body to be a magnet than his method of grinding food proves man to be a grist-mill. The danger of such analogies is, that they are always apt to be carried too far. The author quotes approvingly the words of Dr. Ashburner as follows: "Man is a magnet. He has, like all other magnets, poles and equators. But, being a magnetic machine of very complex structure, his magnetic apparatus is divided into many parts. The brain is the chief magnet, and the trunk and extremities are separate magnets, having intimate relations with the chief source of magnetism. We infer from these facts, what is the truth, that the normal currents take a normal course from the brain to the caudal extremities."

Myths and Marvels of Astronomy. By Richard A. Proctor. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 363. Price, $4.

This volume contains an excellent selection of some of the most readable of Mr. Proctor's popular essays. While not systematic studies in strict science, they contain a great deal of scientific information, and are, moreover, enriched by an erudition of side considerations which come from extensive reading, and the assiduous collection of the historic curiosities of the various subjects treated. The subjects of the present volume are—1. "Astronomy;" 2. "The Religion of the Great Pyramid;" 3. "The Mystery of the Pyramids;" 4. "Swedenborg vs Vision of other Worlds;" 5. "Other Worlds and other Universes;" 6. "Suns in Flames;" 1. "The Rings of Saturn;" 8. "Comets as Portents;" 9. "The Lunar Hoax;" 10. "On some Astronomical Paradoxes;" 11. "On some Astronomical Myths;" 12. "The Origin of the Constellation Figures."

The Creed of Christendom; Its Foundations contrasted with its Superstructure. By William Rathbone Greg. With a New Introduction. In Two Volumes. Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co. Pp. 549. Price, $7.

This work has been before the public some thirty years, and is now announced as in the fifth edition. It has been extensively read, and ranks among the leading books of modern criticism upon the history and character of the Christian Scriptures. The new introduction, made to the third edition, is dated 1873, and contains 94 pages. It is interesting, as a comprehensive review of the contributions of Colenso, Renan, the author of "Ecce Homo," and Matthew Arnold, to the same general subject, and all made after the original publication of Mr. Greg's book. The main idea of the work is that Christianity has undergone the most profound changes since its first promulgation; and this idea is very impressively reiterated in the closing passages to the author's last introduction, of which the following is a part:

"I have but one word more to say—and that is an expression of unfeigned Amazement—so strong as almost to throw into the shade every other sentiment, and increasing with every year of reflection, and every renewed perusal of the genuine words and life of Jesus—that, out of anything so simple, so beautiful, so just, so loving, and so grand, could have grown up or been extracted anything so marvelously unlike its original as the current creeds of Christendom; that so turbid a torrent could have flowed from so pure a fountain, and yet persist in claiming that fountain as its source; that any combination of human passion, perversity, and misconception could have reared such a superstructure upon such foundations. Out of the teaching of perhaps the most sternly anti-sacerdotal prophet who ever inaugurated a new religion, has been built up (among the Catholics and their imitators here) about the most pretentious and oppressive priesthood that ever weighed down the enterprise and the energy of the human mind. Out of the life and words of a Master, whose every act and accent breathed love and mercy and confiding hope to the whole race of man, has been distilled (among Calvinists and their cognates) a creed of general damnation and of black despair. Christ set at naught 'observances,' and trampled upon those prescribed with a rudeness that bordered on contempt—Christian worship, in its most prevailing form, has been made to consist in rites and ceremonies, in sacraments and feasts, and fasts and periodic prayers. Christ preached personal righteousness, with its roots going deep into the inner nature, as the one thing needful—his accredited messengers and professed followers say: No! purity and virtue are filthy rags; salvation is to be purchased only through vicarious merits and 'imputed' holiness," etc.

The Aneroid Barometer: Its Construction and Use. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 106. Price, 50 cents.

It is generally understood that the aneroid barometer is a little instrument, the size of a watch, which depends for its action upon the changes in form of a thin metallic box, partially exhausted of air. As the pressure of the atmosphere varies, the thin walls of the vacuum-chamber move, and the motion is taken up by a suitable mechanism and indicated by a hand on a dial-plate. Captain Fawcett, who has had much experience with the instrument, says the value of the aneroid, as a handy and portable instrument for rapidly obtaining relative heights in surveys, has been underrated. The point chiefly valuable in an aneroid is its portability, as in the pocket it takes up no more room than a watch. Its calculations can be done quickly, and its indications may be generally relied upon within ten or twenty feet. In traveling and making geographical observations, especially in hilly or mountainous regions, it is extremely convenient. Van Nostrand's little pocketbook gives all the information necessary to make the best use of the aneroid barometer, and it contains copious tables to facilitate calculations.

The Princeton Review. March. Pp. 398. 37 Park Row, New York. Price, 35 cts.

Having floated down the tranquil stream of time for fifty-four years, this stanch old orthodox review begins to find that the waters are growing rough, and that the navigation must be closely attended to. So the first thing is to move out of Jersey, and plant itself down in the metropolis, and respectfully announce that it "is not the organ of any theological seminary." It has altered its backing, and it is now understood that instead of a theological establishment it has a big heap of money behind it. This is made probable by such a swelling out of its proportions as would not be justified by any considerations of legitimate business. It will be issued six times a year, at a subscription of two dollars, and, if each number is to contain as much reading-matter as the one before us, it will be dirt cheap, though we are afraid the proprietors will have to draw on their pile to hire their subscribers to read it. This we say entirely with reference to the unconceivable bulk of matter furnished. It seems to be forgotten life is short, and that people generally have much else to do besides reading. However, the scope of the review is broad, as it is to consist entirely of original articles on theology, philosophy, politics, science, literature, and art, and, if it had a good serial novel in it, we do not see why it might not claim to answer all the wants of the reading public. A glance at the articles of the present number shows that they are solid, if not brilliant, while the names Chadbourne, Hodge, Hopkins, Hall, Spear, Atwater, Bowen, West, Alexander, Bishop Cox, Hickok, and McCosh, all of whom have articles in this March issue, are a guarantee that the periodical will maintain its character for theological conservatism.

Creed and Deed. A Series of Discourses. By Felix Adler, Ph. D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 243. Price, $1.50.

The author of this work combines the erudition of the scholar with the independence of the radical thinker. The topics he deals with in this volume are religious and ethical in their character, and the essays are keen in criticism and of marked literary merit. Our readers have had an illustration of these qualities, as the essay in the volume on "The Evolution of Hebrew Religion" first appeared in the pages of The Popular Science Monthly. The papers were delivered as lectures before the Society for Ethical Culture and are published by request of those who listened to them.

Tables for the Determination of Minerals. By Persifor Frazer, Jr. Philadelphia: Lippincott. Pp. 119. Price, $2.

Prof. Frazer adopts, as the basis of his work, the tables prepared by Weisbach, which he has enlarged and completed. The work provides for the student a method of determining minerals from an examination of those physical properties which may be ascertained by the aid of the simplest instruments. In the author's plan, all minerals are divided into three classes: those having a metallic lustre; those of non-metallic lustre, but giving a colored streak; and those of non-metallic lustre, with colorless streak. The tables correspond to this threefold classification, and by a reference to them most minerals can be determined without difficulty. In short, the student has only first to ascertain to which of the three great classes a specimen belongs. He then ascertains first the character of the lustre—if any it has—then its color, the color of the streak, the relative hardness and tenacity, the crystal system, and the cleavage. A glance at the tables will give him the name of the mineral in which all these characters exist in the proportions found in his specimen.

Mound-Making Ants of the Alleghanies. By the Rev. Henry C. McCook. With Piates. Philadelphia: J. A. Black, 1334 Chestnut Street. Pp. 43. Price, 75 cents.

We have had frequent occasion to recount the ingenious researches of Mr. McCook into the life-histories of insects. The present essay is the most voluminous one we have ever seen from his pen, and perhaps also the most interesting. The subject is the wood or fallow ant (Formica rufa), whose hills are familiar to all visitors among the mountains of Pennsylvania. These hills are cones of more or less regularity, commonly of ten or twelve feet in circumference at the base, and from two and a half to three feet in height, though in some instances they have dimensions twice or thrice as great. The author has studied the principles of architecture which guide this ant in the construction of its mounds; also its system of engineering, whereby it overcomes natural obstacles in the construction of its works. Further, he has observed in these ants a curious mode of feeding—a troop of foragers going out, and coming back with abdomens swollen with honeydew, which they give up to the workers on their return to the mound. The whole memoir gives evidence of very patient and conscientious research.

Mechanics of Ventilation. By G. W. Rafter, C. E. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 96. Price, 50 cents.

Mr. Rafter lays no claim to originality of ideas in this little treatise, his object being rather to reduce to systematic form the existing fund of knowledge with respect to the important problem of warming and ventilation. His essay is in every way worthy of the attention of civil engineers and architects.

Engineering Construction. By J. E. Shields, C. E. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 138. Price, $1.50.

The four general heads under which the author of this work distributes his subject matter are: "Foundations," "Masonry," "Tunnels," and "Engineering Geodesy." His aim is to expound the true principles of construction, as ascertained by the highest authorities in that branch of science; but no theory, he assures us, is here set forth which has not received confirmation from practical test.

Foundations. By Jules Gaudard. Translated from the French by Vernon Harcourt. New York: D. Van Nostrand. Pp. 104. Price, 50 cents.

This is another valuable monograph of Van Nostrand's "Science Series." It is a study in the art of civil engineering, and gives a compendious account of the construction of foundation-works for bridges, piers, viaducts, and all buildings where the weight of the superstructure is so great that the question of foundations is fundamental.


The Epoch of the Mammoth. By J. C. Southall. Philadelphia: Lippincott. Pp. 445. $2.50.

Chemical Experimentation. By S. P. Sadtler. Louisville: Morton. Pp. 225.

Browne's Phonographic Monthly. Vol. II. New York: D. L. Scott-Browne. $2 per year.

The House Sparrow. By T. G. Gentry. Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger. Pp. 129. $2.

Putnam's Library Companion. Vol. I. New York: Putnams. Pp. 90. 50 cents.

The Kirografik Teacher. By J. B. Smith. Amherst, Mass.: J. B. & E. G. Smith. Pp. 99.

Mineralogy. By J. H. Collins. New York: Putnams. Pp. 206. $1.50.

Matter and Motion. By J. C. Maxwell. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 224. 50 cents.

Planetary Meteorology. By R. Mansill. New York: American News Company. Pp. 60. 50 cents.

Report of the Director of the Central Park Menagerie (1877). Pp. 50.

The Metric System of Weights and Measures. By P. Prazer, Jr. Reprint from the Polytechnic Review. Pp. 24.

Adamites and Preadamites. By A. Winchell. Syracuse, N. Y.: Roberts. Pp. 52. 15 cents.

Foul Air and Consumption. By Dr. R. B. Davy. Cincinnati: Reprint from the Lancet and Observer. Pp. 13.

Life Insurance, and how to find out what a Company owes You. By G. W. Smith. New York: Van Nostrand. Pp. 28. 25 cents.

The Forces of Nature (illustrated). By A. Guillemin. Parts 2, 3, 4, 5. New York: Macmillan. 40 cents each.

Intercultural Tillage. By Dr. E. L. Sturtevant. From the Report of the Connecticut State Board of Agriculture. Pp. 42.

Report of the Cincinnati Zoölogical Society (1877). Cincinnati Times print. Pp. 40.

Meteorological Method. Pp. 15.—Causes of the Huron Disaster. Pp. 4. By William Blasius. Philadelphia: The Author.

Our Public School System. By C. W. Bardeen. Pp. 32.

Ventilation. By Dr. W. C. Van Bibber. Annapolis Md.: Colton print. Pp. 36.

Economic Tree-Planting. By B. G. Northrop. From Report of Connecticut Board of Agriculture. Pp. 29.

European and American Climatic Resorts. By Dr. G. E. Walton. Pp. 12.

Report of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (1877). New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor print. Pp. 104.

The New Rocky Mountain Tourist (illustrated). By J. G. Pangborn. Chicago: Knight & Leonard. Pp. 64.

Primitive Property. By E. de Laveleye. New York: Macmillan. Pp. 356. $4.50.

Star-Gazing Past and Present. By J. N. Lockyer (with Plates). Same publisher. Pp. 496. $7.50.

Proceedings of the American Chemical Society. Vol. I., No. 5. New York: Baker & Godwin print. Pp. 104.

The Sugar-Beet in North Carolina. By A. Ledoux. Raleigh: Farmer and Mechanic print. Pp. 50.

The Salt-eating Habit. By R. T. Coburn. Dansville, N. Y.: Austin, Jackson & Co. print. Pp. 29.

The Star-Finder, or Planisphere, with Movable Horizon. New York: Van Nostrand.