Popular Science Monthly/Volume 16/January 1880/Literary Notices


Is Life worth Living? By William Hurrell Mallock. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 323. Price, $1.50.

This work, which has recently attracted considerable attention, is a sort of theological manifesto directed against the tendencies of modern science. Those who have arrived at what may be called the conundrum-stage of mental development, and do not object to irreverent impudence, may be pleased with it. Its author is a young English writer, who made a hit with his impertinent satire, "The New Republic," and, having sustained his reputation by various sensational contributions to the periodicals, he now comes jauntily forward with his grand question as to the worth of life, to which his book is an answer. He anticipates the work of the day of judgment by summing up the experiment of universe-making and estimating the net value of the result.

Mr. Mallock is well skilled in rhetorical and dialectic art, and writes in a lively and spirited way. To the amusement-seeking, novel-reading mind, ever on the lookout for a new sensation, and with a frivolous side-interest in religious matters, we should say that the book may be entertaining; but, viewed as a deliverance of sober thought addressed to sensible people, it is a book of nonsense.

The pert effrontery of Mr. Mallock's question, and the unutterable stupidity of the conclusion to which his logic brings him, are apparent at a glance. The question whether life is worth living, of course involves the question of the value of existence and the universe, for life is the grand outcome of the order of Nature. It is something that has arisen by slow degrees and through innumerable forms and grades, during immeasurable time, and is the agency by which the human mind has come into being and reached its present perfection. Life is therefore the thing that has been aimed at, in the onworking of universal law, for more millions of years than we are at liberty to talk about. Life is not a foreign and mysterious something that has been thrust into the system of nature, but it is itself the property and purpose and highest issue of that system. The completest type of organism has been reached through countless ages of struggle and profuse destruction of the lower grades of creatures. In those distant periods Mallock was only a potentiality, and it has been a very expensive process to bring him to pass. A few years ago Mallock was but a globule of English protoplasm, involving whatever life possibilities heredity had imparted to it. He grew from a germ until his brain acquired the power of thinking and asking questions. He is a product of that long process of life-unfolding that makes him now competent to reason about the universe, and to deduce from it ideas of the existence and attributes of God. Having been brought forth in this way as a result of cosmical operations to which no bounds can be discovered either in time or space, he looks about him and asks whether the whole concern is not a blunder and a fizzle. And the question he raises he is abundantly ready to settle. We might perhaps ask for some suspension of judgment on the ground that, as the universe is in a state of evolution, and has come up from a lower or more worthless condition to a higher or more worthy one, it will go on increasing in worthiness so as finally to become tolerable, if not valuable. Granting that Mallock is no great result, possibly we might, after a time, get something better than Mallock. But he allows no postponement of judgment. He has all the data of the case, and is prepared with a final conclusion. He argues the subject through three hundred and twenty-three pages of his book, and the upshot is a contingent answer. Life is worth living, if you belong to a particular theological school; if you belong to any other theological school, or to no school at all, it is not worth a pin. If you are a Methodist, or a positivist, or a pagan, life is not worth living, but if you are a Roman Catholic, it is. When the mental evolution of man lands him in the bosom of the Papal Church, the long process was well worth while; when it leaves him elsewhere, it is a dead failure. We have here the last brilliant exploit of the theological mind in its warfare with modern science.

The logical implications of Mr. Mallock's position are somewhat curious. He holds that there is no sound morality without Christianity, and no Christianity without a hell. When the heretic and the unbeliever and all beyond the pale of Mother Church die, they sink into perdition, but when the true Catholic dies he has a passport to the happiness of heaven. Now, one would think that this is decisive as to which parties should most prize the continuance of life. Life ought to be best worth living to those who have most to lose when it terminates, and least worth living to those who have everything to gain when it comes to an end. But great is the mystery of logic to those who vacate their reason in deference to infallible authority.

Naval Hygiene: Human Health and the means of preventing Disease. With Illustrative Incidents derived from Naval Experience. By Joseph Wilson, M. D., Medical Director, U. S. N. Second edition, with Colored Lithographs. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 8vo, pp. 274. 1879. Price, $3.

Wherever human beings live together in considerable numbers for any length of time, we expect the conditions of health will soon become impaired unless constant and well-directed efforts are made for their protection; and, in spite of the popular notion to the contrary, life on shipboard is no exception to the rule. Indeed, there are few places where sanitary precautions are more necessary, or where they may be applied with better effect.

The present work is intended as a help in this direction, and contains much that, if brought together in a compact form, would be of service to medical officers and others filling responsible positions in the naval and mercantile marine. The author has chosen, however, to include a great deal that has only a remote relation to the subject, and that here serves merely to encumber and obscure what could otherwise be made practically available. Fifty pages, for example, are given to zoölogy and botany, while the immensely more important subjects of clothing, food and its preservation, the storage and management of the water-supply, and the cleansing and ventilation of the ship, are compressed into an almost equal space; and much of this even is taken up with matter that has little bearing on the topic under discussion.

The chapter on epidemics adds nothing whatever to our knowledge of their causes or prevention, says not a word concerning the measures requisite for their management when occurring on shipboard, and leaves us in doubt as to whether the author is even acquainted with the results of modern investigations on the subject. Had he been, we should scarcely expect to find such a paragraph as this on epidemic influences: "The cause and nature of this epidemic influence are quite unknown. The most ancient theory is as true as any. God so ordained it; has thus organized his creatures. Anciently, these diseases were mostly attributed to his wrath; and certainly they mostly result more or less directly from violations of his known laws. When we seek for the instruments of his will in this matter, we get into a labyrinth of guesses, and ingenious and plausible theories, in which hydro-carbons, fermentations, organic germs, microscopic animalcules, and cryptogamic vegetations are made prominently to figure. They nearly all refer to impurities or distemperatures of the atmosphere."

After this, we are not surprised to find the following statement concerning the spread of yellow fever: "In regard to the question of quarantine in this disease, we may safely say that all restraints that prevent the sick from reaching a healthy locality are absurd, and, with our present knowledge on the subject, outrageously cruel—little better than deliberate murder. A yellow-fever patient, even carrying his clothing and bedding with him, has never been known to communicate the disease to another person in a healthy locality, and the experiment has been tried thousands of times."

Chapters XXIV. to XXVIII. inclusive are devoted to certain endemic diseases, among which scorbutus and typhus are the only ones particularly liable to occur on shipboard, and even in the case of these there is a conspicuous absence of specific directions for their prevention. Why such diseases as plica polonica, goitre, elephantiasis, cholera infantum, milk-sickness, and puerperal fever should be discussed in a work on naval hygiene, we fail to understand; and for the addition of an appendix, devoted exclusively to the subject of weights and measures, there seems no other explanation than a desire to fill up the book. Indeed, from beginning to end, the idea is forced upon us that bulk rather than quality has been the principal object.

As before remarked, there are scattered through the pages of the book many good suggestions, that might be made of use had readers the time and patience to hunt them out; all, however, so far as we have observed, may be found in other works on hygiene, and in a far more accessible and less costly shape.

The Silk Goods of America: A Brief Account of the Recent Improvements and Advances of Silk Manufacture in the United States. By William C. Wykoff. Published under the Auspices of the Silk Association of America. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1879. Pp. 120. Price, $1.50.

The author of this work claims that American silk goods are better as well as cheaper than foreign, and that it is time their actual merits were laid before the public. Every wearer of silk goods, or consumer of sewing-silk and twist, will be interested in the information conveyed in the various chapters upon raw silk; upon sewings and twist; upon weaving; upon black dress-goods; various piece-goods; spun silk; handkerchiefs and ribbons; trimming and passementerie; silk laces; dyeing, etc.

From the profusion of interesting information with which the pages of this volume are crowded, we extract quite at random the following. The lengthier statements and explanations are, perhaps, more instructive than the brevities we have chosen.

We are told that the manufacturer wants reeled silk and not cocoons. Its value depends upon the way it is reeled, which is best done at a filature, where cheap skilled labor can be obtained. There are no filatures in this country. Our raw silk comes from abroad—about twenty-four per cent, from Europe and the rest from Asia. The Japanese now have filatures, and send us silk equal to the best from Europe. The coarse, inferior silks are kept at home, and America gets the best and finest. Raw silk is costly and of small bulk, so that its freight is trifling, though it comes so far. By the opening of direct routes to Asia, our silk comes more quickly, thus diminishing the cost of insurance, of interest on capital, and the risk of change of price while on the way. Our importation was greater last year than ever before, being 1,590,666 pounds. The market for silk goods is little affected by the fluctuation in price of raw silk.

The manufacture of silk thread has reached a point with us that defies competition. The superiority of our spooled silk over the foreign was apparent at the Centennial Exposition, and the Europeans have lost their trade here. At first our sewing silk was made in skeins, but the sewing-machine has revolutionized this branch of the business. Our silk thread did not at first permit the shuttle to pass through the loop that was carried down by the needle; but after many experiments it was found that, by twisting the strands from right to left instead of the other way, it answered the purpose perfectly, and this is machine-twist. The most sedulous care is taken in the manufacture and dyeing. "There is still some difference of opinion in the trade as to whether one ounce of dye to twelve ounces of pure silk, or four to twelve, will give the most serviceable thread. The two kinds are known as thirteen-ounce or pure dye, and sixteen-ounce or standard dye. The standard of purity is closely adhered to, and has helped us to win in the struggle with the foreign thread. Few European threads equal our own in purity. In making colored silk thread, we have reached a high point of delicacy. If we depended for this upon European mills, the color desired would be out of fashion before the thread arrived.

As to the weaving of silk, it is said that we are obliged to import the very best raw silk, owing to the high price of labor here—poor silk requiring great cost in labor. "It costs five times as much to tic a knot here as in France." In the best silk, the thread is not lumpy; but, in weaving the lumpy thread of poor silk, the weaver is constantly busy picking off the imperfections. This is in hand-weaving, which is the prevalent mode in Europe. We use power-looms. In the manufacture of plain black-silk goods we have a system of our own which has grown up in this country. We quote the following method of testing the purity of silks: Ravel out a few threads and pass them through and over the fingers. "In heavily dyed silk the particles of dye will make the threads feel rough and lumpy to the touch. Then by wetting the lint, the goods weighted by dye will be readily distinguished by the dye coming out under pressure. Another simple but effective test of purity is to burn a small quantity of the threads. Pure silk will instantly crisp, leaving only a pure charcoal; heavily dyed silk will smolder, leaving a yellow, greasy ash." One of our most sanguine manufacturers declares his belief that within ten years the dress-silks of this country will bear a higher reputation than those made anywhere else in the world.

In figured dress-silk goods, raw material bears a greater proportion to labor. Our designs are original, changing in color and pattern with the seasons. They are mostly made on power-looms, are firm, serviceable, and very cheap. The Jacquard machines on which they are woven came at first from England and France; but they are now wholly made here, and adapted to our requirements. They are the same in principle but run more smoothly, and can be applied to more intricate patterns, and obtain a higher speed. In making satins and grenadines we have also produced great improvements. Although these goods are so unlike, we were the first to make grenadines with satin stripes, and have added a brocaded pattern that permeates both. We do not yet succeed with silk velvet. Refinishing is a large business here. Heavy calendering-machines of 300 tons' power are used, and the pressure can be varied from five pounds to 60,000. Some goods go through hot rolls and some through cold, and the surface of the roll may convert plain silks into striped ones or into moire antique. The proper pressure gives to brocade definiteness of outline, and to satin its full luster. Damaged goods acquire freshness, old fashions are changed to new, and "hard silk" to soft, by the finishing process. In the matter of umbrellas we are at last achieving success. Some made here, from ferule to handle, have survived the storms of successive years, and are still fit for service.

Spun silk is made from "waste" silk. The sources of waste silk are, cocoons of irregular formation, the tangled floss from filatures, and raw silk more or less tangled in the silk-mill. It is pure silk that can not be reeled. It is prepared for spinning by the most delicate processes, and when ready looks like the whitest of combed fleeces, and has a luster equal to that of spun glass. It can be spun with perfect smoothness and of any size. Spun and reeled silks are becoming more and more interchangeable in the manufacture of fabrics. The two methods of making cheap, showy silks are either by weighting slight material with dyestuff, or by using spun silk. Brocades for ball and wedding-dresses are often of spun silk.

American-made handkerchiefs, scarfs, neckties, and millinery goods, compete successfully with the foreign supply, and keep down prices for consumers. In ribbons our success is complete. Only inferior ribbons are now imported in any quantity. In comparison with ours the foreign ribbons are over-weighted and of inferior silk. The designs originate in our own factories, and are much admired abroad. They are made upon power-looms, of which we have the best in the world. In the making of trimmings and of lace, the details given in this work are very interesting, but we have no more space at our command. We must also omit the subject of dyeing, which, though the last in order, is by no means the least interesting.

The remainder of the volume is taken up with statistics of the silk manufacture; and the "Seventh Annual Report of the Silk Association of America," in which the progress of the past year is summarized, is also added.

A Contribution to the Geology of the Lower Amazonas. By Orville A. Derby, M. S. Pp. 24.

The scientific world is chiefly indebted to the late Professor Hartt for recent accurate and detailed investigations of the geological structure of eastern Brazil, and of the lower Amazon and its tributaries. But the untimely death of Professor Hartt, with various other causes, has delayed the publication of the extensive reports he had prepared; and we have in the present pamphlet a résumé of the work which they cover, furnished by his friend and assistant Mr. Derby. The author also includes the results of some of his own researches in the same field, made subsequently to those of Professor Hartt. The great valley of the Amazon, according to these investigators, first appeared in early Silurian times as a wide strait between two islands or groups of islands, one forming the base of the Brazilian plateau, and the other that of the plateau of Guiana. The rise of the Andes converted the western part of the strait into a basin, and subsequent oscillations have determined the character and succession of deposits in the geological development of the region. The evolution of the great valley terminated with the formation of the vast flood-plain which now covered with forest extends from the Atlantic to the foot of the Andes.

Primitive Manners and Customs. By James A Farrer. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 315. Price, $1.75.

This book will do very well as a stepping-stone to the ethnological treatises of Tylor, Lubbock, Bancroft, and Peschell, on the life of the lower races of mankind. It gives an entertaining account of the ideas, habits, and peculiarities of savage and half-civilized tribes, taking up in successive chapters their "Myths and Beliefs," their "Modes of Prayer," "Proverbs," "Moral Philosophy," "Political Life," "Penal Laws," "Wedding Customs," "Fairy Lore," and "Comparative Folk Lore." The author writes in a liberal spirit, but rather avoids the controversial topics raised by investigators in this field. In his introduction he remarks:

The vexed question, whether savage life represents a primitive or a decadent condition, whether it represents what man at first everywhere was, or only what he may become, has throughout the following chapters been avoided, that controversy being regarded as "laid" by the exhaustive researches of Mr. Tylor and other writers. But, while the state of the lowest modern savages is taken as the nearest approximation we have of the primitive state from which mankind has risen, it is not pretended that the state of any particular tribe may not be one to which it has fallen. As the low position of many Bushmen tribes is quite explicable by their long border warfare with the Dutch, and the consequent cruelties they wore exposed to, or as the state of many Brazilian savages may be traced to similar contact with the Portuguese, so any ease of extreme savagery may be the result of causes whose operation has no historical or no written proof to attest them. The gigantic stone images on Easter Island, or the great earthworks in America, are among the proofs that but for such material traces of its existence it is possible for a whole civilization to vanish, and to leave only the veriest savages on the soil where it flourished. As we know that Europe was once as purely savage as parts of Africa are still, and can conceive the cycle of events restoring it to barbarism, so in the depths of time it may have happened in places where no suspicion of such a history is possible. As the surface of the earth seems subjected to processes of elevation and subsidence, land and sea constantly alternating their dominion, so it may be with civilization, destined to no permanent home on the earth, but subsiding here to reappear there, and varying its level as it varies its latitude.

As the practical infinity of past time makes it impossible to calculate the influence exercised in different parts of the world by migrations, by conquests, or by commerce, except within a very limited period, so it precludes any definite belief in ethnological divisions, and relegates the question of the unity of the human race, like that of its origin, to the limbo of profitless discussion. No characteristic has yet been found by which mankind can be classified distinctly into races: and with all the differences of color, hair, skull, or language, which now suffice for purposes of nomenclature, it remains true that there is nothing to choose between the hypothesis that we constitute only one species and that we constitute several. The world is so old as to admit of several divergences from a single original type quite as wide as any that exist; while, on the other hand, similarity of customs (such, for instance, as that Tartars in Asia, Sioux Indians in America, and Kamschadels should all regard it as a sin to touch a fire with a knife) fail us as a proof of a unity of origin, in the face of our ignorance of prehistoric antiquity.

Should he have succeeded in making any one think better than before, with more interest and sympathy of those outcasts of the world whom we designate as savage, something will at least have been done to claim for them a kindlier treatment and respect than in popular estimation they either deserve or obtain.

Papers read before the Pi Eta Scientific Society, 1878-'79. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N. Y. Pp. 69.

This is a collection of ten papers on various subjects, most of which fall under the head of engineering. The first, by S. Edward Warren, on "Graphic Science in Textbook and Teaching," is an explanation of "the idea and intended use" of each volume of a series of text-books prepared by the author on this subject. The second is a technical paper by Hugo Gylden, Director of the University Observatory, of Stockholm, "On the Relations between the Number, Brightness, and Relative Mean Distances of the Fixed Stars as seen from the Earth," translated by Professor E. S. Holden, of the Washington Naval Observatory and Lieutenant Eric Bergland, U. S. Engineer Corps. Among the remaining papers, "Iron and its Uses in Permanent Structures," by C. J. Bates, and "Tides in the Upper Hudson," by John A. Ferris, are of considerable popular interest. A list of the members of the society is appended.

American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States. Illustrated with Plates made from Drawings from Nature. By Alexander Wilson and Charles Lucien Bonaparte. Philadelphia: Porter & Coates. Pp. 788, Price, $7.50.

This book does not sufficiently explain itself. There are two volumes bound in one; there are prefixed to it twenty-seven plates containing three or four hundred engravings of birds; there is Baird's list of American species of 1856; and a biography of Alexander Wilson, made up chiefly of his letters. Two names appear upon the title-page as authors, but, if there is any statement of their respective shares in the production of the work, we have failed to observe it.

Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist, was a Scotchman, born in 1766, the son of a distiller, and who himself became a weaver. He early dabbled in poetry, and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1794. He maintained himself at first by peddling and teaching school. During his journeys he became interested in birds, and at length devoted himself to that branch of natural history. He learned drawing, coloring, and etching, and projected a comprehensive work on American birds. Having prepared a large number of fine illustrations, he made tours through the country to extend his ornithological observations and to get subscribers to his work, which was to appear in successive volumes, and to cost altogether $120. He was but poorly sustained, getting many compliments for the beauty of the pictures he presented, with but very little substantial support. The first volume appeared in 1808. He had completed the publication of seven volumes when he died, in 1813, and the eighth and ninth volumes were subsequently edited by George Ord.

Charles Lucien Bonaparte, son of Lucien Bonaparte, the second brother of Napoleon, was born in Paris in 1803, and in 1822 he married the daughter of Joseph Bonaparte and went to Philadelphia, where he joined his father-in-law. He was au ardent naturalist, and devoted himself especially to the subject of birds. He published "American Ornithology," in four volumes (1822-'33), thus continuing Wilson's great work. He added descriptions of over one hundred new species of birds discovered by himself, and which are designated in the lists of the work before us.

The present popular edition of "American Ornithology," now issued in one portly volume by Porter & Coates, is evidently based upon the elaborate publications of these two naturalists, and the work has a permanent interest, both from its early and original observations, and as representing a portion of the history of American science.

The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries, with Chapters on the Ancient Fire and Serpent Worshipers, and Explanations of the Mystic Symbols represented in the Monuments and Talismans of the Primitive Philosophers. 300 Illustrations. By Hargrave Jennings. New York: J. W. Bouton. Pp. 372.

We gather but little more from looking over this book than is conveyed by the title. It has a great number of mysterious symbolic pictures; and its text is of mysterious people and mysterious things. There may be wisdom in it, nevertheless.

The Antiquities and Platycnemism of the Mound-Builders of the State of Wisconsin. By J. M. De Hart, M. D. Pp. 15. Illustrated.

In this pamphlet Dr. De Hart briefly describes a few of the more remarkable mounds belonging to a group found near Lake Mendota, in the State of Wisconsin. Like the mounds in other parts of the State, these are mainly of two sorts, animal mounds, or those made in imitation of the forms of animate objects, and mounds of circular or oblong form, with a more or less conical or pyramidal elevation, some of which contain human and other remains. Of the former, which usually represent the animals they are meant to imitate, on an immensely extended scale, the author describes one that is shaped like a bird with wings expanded, each wing measuring about 300 feet in length; another in the form of a squirrel with a tail over 500 feet long; a third representing a deer; a fourth a bear, etc.

The largest of the circular mounds was opened by the Doctor, and found to contain, besides ashes, flints, and other débris, three human skeletons, presenting in each case types of structure characteristic of the mound-builders. The most marked of these peculiarities, viz., the flat shin-bones, and the perforation at the inferior extremity of the humerus, are discussed by the author.

The Silkworm. Being a Brief Manual of Instruction for the Production of Silk. With Illustrations. By Professor C. V. Riley. Washington, 1879. Pp. 31.

This forms Special Report No. 11 of the Department of Agriculture, of which at the time of its publication Professor Riley was entomologist. It opens with an introduction in which the causes that have hitherto retarded the growth of the silk industry in this country are pointed out; and the subject of profits in the different branches of the business quite fully considered. Next we have an interesting and instructive account of the natural history of the silkworm, including its diseases; followed by directions for rearing, and for the management required in order to obtain the largest returns, either in silk or eggs. The operation of reeling both by the old and the improved methods is described; and the pamphlet closes with a brief description of the food-plants of the silkworm. A glossary is appended, explaining the few technical terms the author was obliged to employ.

The Geology of the Diamontiferous Regions of the Province of Parana, Brazil. By Orville A. Derby, M. S. Pp. 8.

This short paper contains a good many interesting facts about the geological relations of the diamond and the methods adopted in mining for them. They are found in the valley of the Zibagy and tributary streams, in the sands, in pot-holes, and in gravel-banks. The diamonds appear to have been washed out of the Devonian sandstone of that region, but the author thinks they were previously derived from metamorphic rocks, and deposited in the sands: which afterward went to form these sandstones. That they did not originate in the latter is proved, he thinks, by the fact that it contains no traces of metamorphism or of crystallization.

First Step in Chemical Principles. An Introduction to Modern Chemistry, intended especially for Beginners. By Henry Leffman, M. D. Philadelphia: Edward Stern &. Co. Pp. 52. Price, 50 cents.

A beginner of some maturity of mind, say a young medical student, who knew nothing whatever of the subject, might derive advantage from reading over this brief introduction; but it is not a "First Step" in any sense that it could be used in a primary school to start young beginners. It contains a very readable summary of chemical principles, but they are presented in the elaborated thought and technical language of the developed science.

The Young Folks' Cyclopædia of Common Things. By John D. Champlin, Jr. With numerous Illustrations. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 690. Price, $3.

Mr. Champlin has here hit upon an excellent idea, and has carried it out very successfully. There was room for a popular book on common things much more full than the current "familiar science" manuals. A great deal of miscellaneous information on ordinary objects and subjects has been collated and digested in alphabetical order convenient for reference, and the editor is right in calling attention at the outset to the need of encouraging in the young the practice of consulting works of reference. The volume will be found most useful in families, as both the knowledge it imparts and the form of its presentation are well suited to satisfy the curiosity of young minds. A good deal of information is given about the common sciences, such as astronomy, chemistry, physics, natural history, and physiology, and about heat, light, air, electricity, and the parts and operations of the human system. There is much about the modes of manufacture of common articles, and the natural history of the more familiar and important animals and plants is fully presented. The book is compiled with judgment, Mr. Champlin having undergone his apprenticeship at this kind of work on the "American Cyclopædia." We are glad to notice that Holt puts the book at a quite reasonable price.

Twenty Lessons in Inorganic Chemistry. By W. G. Valentin, F. C. S. G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 184. Price, $1.

This claims to be an elementary book for students to begin with, but the beginning must be in the old lecture-room form of instruction. The author says: "It is not enough, as every teacher knows, to exhibit experiments before a class, unless they are made subservient to explain the theory of the science, and to place it on a sound basis. All theoretical explanations should be based upon experiments which fix it upon the memory. This is the plan which I have laid down for my guidance." As might therefore be expected, the book is filled with illustrations and descriptions of lecture room experiments, and the usually accompanying explanations and information. It is clear, accurate, and well executed.

The Value of Life. A Reply to Mr. Mallock's Essay, "Is Life worth Living?" New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 253. Price, $1.50.

An anonymous writer, thinking Mr. Mallock's book worth answering, has replied to his arguments very fully and ably in this volume. The book is written from the Positivist point of view, in the more special sense of the term. By Positivism, Mr. Mallock means those later tendencies and theories of science which bear upon the higher questions of religion, morality, and polity, and as illustrated in the writings of such thinkers as Clifford, Huxley, Tyndall, and Mill, but Mr. Mallock's critic rather means by "Positivism" the doctrines of Comte; and this reply is chiefly interesting as dealing with Mr. Mallock's questions from that point of view.

The Mound-Builders. By J. P. Maclean. Illustrated. Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co. 1879. Pp. 233, with Map. $1.50.

The Arctic Voyages of Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld, 1858-1879. With Illustrations and Maps. London: Macmillan & Co. 1579. Pp. 447. $4.50.

A Text-Book of Physiology. By M. Foster, M.D., F.R.S. With Illustrations. Third edition, revised. London; Macmillan & Co. 1879. Pp. 720. $3.50.

The Native Flowers and Ferns of the United States. By Thomas Mehan. Vol. I. Parts I. to VIII. Illustrated.

Insect Lives, or Born in Prison. By Julia P. Ballard. Cincinnati: Robert Clark & Co. 1879. Pp. 97. $1.

Electricity, as related to Medicine and Surgery. By A. D. Rockwell. M. D. New York William Wood & Co. 1879. Pp. 99. $1.

American Health Primers. The Throat and the Voice. By J. Soils Cohen, M.D. Pp. 159. The Summer and its Diseases. By James C Wilson, M.D. Pp. 100. Winter and its Dangers. By Hamilton Osgood, M.D. Pp. 160. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston. 1879. 50 cents each.

Report of the Geology of the Henry Mountain. By G. K. Gilbert. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1877. Pp. 160. 5 Maps.

Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United Slates. With a more Detailed Account of the Lands of Utah. By J. W. Powell Second edition. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1879. Pp. 195, with Maps.

A Dictionary of the German Terms used in Medicine. By George R. Cutter. M.D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sous. 1879. Pp. 304. $3.

Protection of Forests a Necessity By S. v. Dorrien. New York: For sale by B. Westerman & Co. 1879. Pp. 33.

Labor-making Machinery. By Frederick Perry Powers New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1880. 25 cents.

A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by George Grove. D.C.L. Vol. II, Part VIII. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. 1879. Per part, $1.25.

Brazilian Corals and Coral Reefs. By Richard Rathbun. Illustrated. Pp. 13. Reprinted from "The American Naturalist."

A List of Brazilian Echinoderms. By Richard Rathbun Pp. 20. From "Transactions of Connecticut Academy of Sciences."

On the Present Status of Passus Domesticus in America. By Dr. Elliott Coues. Pp. 18.

The Brush-System of Electric Lighting. By C. F. Brush, M.E. Cleveland: Wiseman & Harvey. 1879 Pp. 26.

Neurotomy, a Substitute for Enucleation. By Julian Chisholm. M.D. Richmond: J. W. Fergusson pront. 1879 Pp. 16.

The Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota. Seventh Annual Report for the Year 1878. Minneapolis: Johnson, Smith & Harrison. 1879.

Abuses in Medicine. A Lecture. By J. Logan M.D. etc. New York: National Printing Co. 1879. Pp. 47.

How the Geometrical Lines have their Counterparts in Music. By Isaac L. Rice. New York: Asa K. Butts. 1880. Pp. 31.

Unity Pulpit, Boston. Sermons of M. J. Savage: October 31 1879. "The Truth about Sunday"; November 7, 1879, "The Nature of Goodness"; November 21, 1879, "Life and Death"; November 28, 1879, "The Sense of Obligation." Boston: George H Ellis. $1.50 per year; 6 cents per copy.

Gaspard D. Coligny (Marquis de Chatillon). By Walter Besant, M.A. New York; G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1879. Pp. 232. $1.

Mechanics. By Robert Stawell Ball, F.R.S. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1879. Pp. 170 60 cents.

On the Fertilization of Yucca. By Thomas Mehan. Reprint from "The North American Entomologist." Pp. 4. On Sex in Castanea Americana. By same. Pp. 2. The Law governing Sex. By same. Pp. 3.

"The Kansas Review," Collin Timmons, Editor. Vol. I., No. 1. Lawrence, Kansas, November. 1879. Monthly, 75 cents per annum; 10 cents per copy.

Quarterly Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics relative to the Imports, Exports, Immigration, and Emigration of the United States, for Three Months ending; June 4, 1879. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 96.

Geological Survey of Alabama. Report of Progress of 1877 and 1878. By Eugene A. Smith, Ph.D. State Geologist. Montgomery, Alabama: Barrett & Brown. 1879.

Topographic. Hypsometric, and Meteorologic Report. By William Libbey, Jr., and W. W. McDonald, of the Princeton Scientific Expedition. Illustrated. New York. 1879. Pp. 83.

Investigations on Rainfall, Percolation, and Evaporation of Water from the Soil, Temperature of Soil and Air, etc., etc.. at the Massachusetts Agriculturist College, Amherst, Massachusetts. By Professor Levi Stockbridge. Boston: Rand, Avery & Co. 1879. Pp. 38.

American Science Series. Astronomy. By Simon Newcomb and Edward S. Holden. Henry Holt & Co. 512 pages. Price $2.50.