Popular Science Monthly/Volume 32/January 1888/Literary Notices


Our Heredity from God: Consisting of Lectures on Evolution. By E. P. Powell. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 416. Price, $1.75.

The author of this book is pastor, we presume, of a society in Utica, who, having been born and bred in Calvinism, experienced a shock, as he phrases it, "in the face of its dire failure to explain the universe, to apologize for God, or to save mankind." Having lost faith in authoritative revelation, he sought in the study of evolution deliverance from the chaotic condition in which his mind was left. The outcome of his struggles and the purpose of his book are expressed in his declarations that "earnest and honest men can not too soon comprehend that our only salvation is in that evolution which has led from the primordial cell to Jesus and Plato, and has lifted life from the hunger for protoplasm to the hunger for righteousness. No religion but that of evolution can end anywhere but where it begins, in a chaos of creative purposes thwarted and disrupted, and in an eternal struggle to amend a shattered divine plan"; and "there is one—and that the simplest—explanation of the universe, which, while showing sustained progress in the past, pledges eternal betterment in the future. This is the gospel of hope for all those who choose to go forward with the supreme moral purpose; it is the gospel of degeneration to every one who, declining obedience to the laws of ethical living, contents himself with animal functioning." The charms of the author's poetic mode of thought and warm style are indisputable. The treatise is divided into three parts, the first two of which are introductory to the main argument, which is developed in the third. In the first part are summed up the leading arguments in favor of evolution, as accounting for structural variety, and as able to explain the actual condition of living creatures. These arguments are given in harmony with the expositions of Spencer, Darwin, and Wallace, as the arguments from the Unity of Nature, from Geography, Geology and Anatomy, Development and Reversion, the Power of Mimicry, and Degeneration. In the second part are shown the commonalty of life between all creatures, and how definitely the links in a consecutive development of life have been established, from the jolly-fishes of the primeval seas to man. In the chapter, "Animals on the Road," in this part, numerous incidents are related showing how nearly many animals have approached to human reason, and how closely they have come to sympathy with man and understanding of him. In the third part, evolution is followed after man is reached, to show that there is not only one evolution of all life, including man and animals, interlinked in origin and in their progressive changes, but that human history, its religions, morals, arts, culminating in universal ethical laws, is also a subject of evolution. The chapter, "Cooperation in Evolution," showing how the vegetable and animal world, from the remote past as now, and man co-operate for development, points out, "that from the very outset, evolution has implied something besides a mere brute struggle for existence; that it involved a mutual helpfulness and co-operation for a common good, and that Nature stood pledged in the cell to create a moral intelligence, and in every cataclysm to establish as the ultimate law, 'On earth peace, good-will to men.'" The first men are believed to have appeared while gigantic saurians still prevailed on the earth, and had to contend with them; hence the serpents as powers of evil in the mythologies. The succession in development was kept up with the drift men, cave men, Iberians, Turanians, and Aryans, each race having advantages over the race that preceded it, and marking a step or steps in civilization. Human life, the family, the state, and the Church, underwent a continuous progress under the combined influence of the laws of heredity; of the spontaneity of evolution or the begetting of ideas one from another; of periodicity, or the running of the courses of ideas and lines of thought in given periods; of irritability, of which the stimulus, antagonism, has been the lever of advance; and of slow achievement. The general course of progressive thought began with the knowledge of natural phenomena and attempts to refer them to adequate causes; whence have sprung, in succession, an agglomeration of myth and science, as theology; a code of arbitrary morals, based on existing knowledge and mythology; attacks on established ritualism and belief, ending after bitter strife in a Reformation; and the establishment of the new heresy as orthodoxy, to be in its turn attacked and superseded. Successive steps in the evolution of mankind were marked by the growth of commerce; tribal life; writing; Greek philosophy; philosophy and oratory; Buddha and Confucius; and, finally, Jesus, who from the stand-point of evolution "does not appear as the incarnation of God, but far more than that, as the incarnation of one hundred thousand years of man. Yes, more, as the incarnation of all life, from its dawn on the earth." "No man," the author declares, "can live in the light and the life of the nobler era of brain, of science, of philosophy, of moral truth, and not behold the face of Jesus of Nazareth as the prophet, the foreseer of the later evolution"; and, "it is impossible that those who are not students of evolution, those who suppose men are failures and not a success, and that they were created but a few years ago, should comprehend the character and place of Jesus in history." In the next chapter the workability of the golden rule is inquired into, with the conclusion that it is sure to be approximated, but never absolutely attained; in the next, is considered the future of evolution, which "has to do with a fact larger than man, even with life itself"; in the next, ethics is presented as the aim of evolution. The author next looks for "the self that is higher than ourselves," and finds, not a final cause or God outside of and apart from Nature, but that "the magnificent reign of life and law that is unfolding year by year and age by age is but the pulsating presence of Him who is over all, through all, interpenetrating all." The final chapter relates to "that last enemy, death," and the question of immortality.

Three Good Giants, whose Famous Deeds are recorded in the ancient chronicles of François Rabelais. By John Dimitry. Boston: Ticknor & Co. Pp. 246. Price, $1.50.

Unclean as Rabelais is, and wandering seemingly without method around the sphere of thought and coarse wit, the world has agreed that there abound in him gems of thought worth the having—if some one else will dig them out. Mr. Dimitry finds in his great work, too, three admirable characters, whose lives and adventures constitute a wondrous story; and this he has dug out, and presents to young readers free from all that is gross, and untrammeled by philosophical and other disquisitions that do not help it along; or, as he himself expresses it, has placed the famous trio, Grandgousier, Gargantua, and Pantagruel, "high and dry above the scum which had so long clogged their rare good-fellowship, and which had made men of judgment blind to the genuine worth that was in them." He finds a kind of evolutionary development going on in his heroes as the generation proceeds from grandfather to grandson. To these colossal creatures, he says, « fashioned in ridicule of the old fantastico-chivalric deeds of their age, as they come down more and more from the clouds, are more and more given the feelings common to this earth's creatures. All three bear, from their birth, a sturdy human sympathy not natural to their kind, as medieval superstition classed it. Two of them, in being brought to the level of humanity, join with this a simple Christian manliness and a childlike faith under all emergencies, not set on their own massive strength, but fixed on God. . . . From Grandgousier, the good-hearted guzzler, through Gargantua, through his heady youth and wise old age, to 'the noble Pantagruel,' the gain in purity and Christian manhood is steady." The justification of this conclusion may be sought in the story as the author has picked it out and arranged it. The presentation is most attractive, in bright pages and clear type, with illustrations by Gustave Doré and A. Robida,

The Relative Proportions of the Steam-Engine. By William Dennis Marks, C. E. Third edition, revised and enlarged. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. Pp. 295. Price, $3.

In the first edition of this book the author expressed regret at the failure of all writers upon mechanics or the steam-engine to give, in a simple and practical form, rules and formulas for the determination of the relative proportions of the component parts of the engine. In this was the reason for his own effort, the lectures which comprise it having been written with the feeling that a rational and practical method of determination was yet a desideratum in the English literature of the subject. In preparing the lectures, he omitted the consideration of such topics as had already been overwritten, and considered only those which seemed not to have received the attention which their importance demanded. The additions made in the third edition are principally concerning the limitations of the expansion of steam. The importance of taking into account the condensation of steam by the walls of the cylinder is insisted upon. Keeping this point in view, the author has endeavored to formulate the hitherto unknown law of condensation inside of the cylinder. He claims to have shown that the wide differences in experimental results of tests of different types and sizes of engines are not irreconcilable; and it has been sought by quantitative weighing of results to define the limitations of the various expedients which engineers have made in the effort to realize the most from their steam, and to enable others to see where and how they should be used. The whole book is interpaged with blank leaves, on which students can record their notes as they go along.

Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science. Fifth Series. No. VII. The Effect of the War of 1812 upon the Consolidation of the Union. By N. M. Butler. 25 cents. No. VIII. Notes on the Literature of Charities. By H. B. Adams. 25 cents. No. IX. The Predictions of Hamilton and De Tocqueville. By James Bryce. 25 cents. Baltimore: The University. 1887.

These latest issues of this interesting series treat a variety of topics. Professor Butler's work is designed to show how the War of 1812, by uniting the people for the purpose of the common defense, and by stimulating the sentiment of national pride, contributed to produce a more truly national spirit than had prevailed in the country before. He shows how strong the sectional spirit had been before that time, and even during the war itself; and makes it clear that the war was one of the most potent agencies in creating a better public opinion.

The pamphlet by Mr. Bryce is on a more difficult theme, being a review of the opinions expressed by Hamilton and De Tocqueville, respectively, in regard to our national Government and the perils attending its future. The chief dangers, in the view of both writers, were the tendency to sectionalism and disunion, and the apprehended tyranny of the majority. That there was ground for fearing the disruption of the Union, we now know; yet neither the American nor the Frenchman saw that slavery was the prime source of danger. Some of their predictions have proved very far from true; but Mr. Bryce shows that they were much wiser than the opponents of the Constitution in 1788, whose objections have all turned out to be groundless. On the other hand, some of the evils that have actually developed in our politics, and are most observable to-day, such as the abuse of party machinery, the spoils doctrine, and the corrupting influence of wealth, were not foreseen by any one. Mr. Bryce himself carefully abstains from prophesying, believing that predictions in morals and politics are of little value.

The little work by Professor Adams, on the literature relating to charity will doubtless be useful to special students of that subject. It describes the publications of a large number of charitable organizations, together with many works in general literature bearing upon benevolence.

On the Warrior Coal-Field. By Henry McCalley. Montgomery, Ala.: Barrett & Co., State Printers. Pp. 571.

This volume is one of the reports of the Geological Survey of Alabama, which is conducted under the superintendency of Mr. Eugene Allen Smith, State Geologist. It contains descriptions, by counties, of all that has yet been made visible to the surveyor and miner of one of the thickest and fullest coal-fields in the world, the quality of the product of which is, moreover, not excelled by that of any other. The coal lands of Alabama, which belong to the great Appalachian coal-field, comprise, altogether, an area of 8,660 square miles, but are divided up by anticlinal ridges into three parts—the Warrior, the Cahaba, and the Coosa coal-fields. Of these, the Warrier field is very much the largest, for it embraces an area of 7,810 square miles. It is a broad, shallow, tray-shaped depression, sloping toward the southwest, with its southwest end covered by a newer formation, and its southeast side complicated by folds and fractures. It has been conveniently divided into a plateau and basin area, which gradually merge without any distinct line of demarcation. The coal seams range in thickness from a few inches to about fourteen feet, the thicker seams always containing more or less slate or clay as partings. There appear to be about thirty-five of these seams eighteen inches and more in thickness, of which fifteen are of two feet six inches and over, and six are four feet and over; but they thin out toward the northeast. The quantity of coal is estimated at 113,119,000,000 tons, of which 108,394,000,000 tons would be available coal or contained in the seams of eighteen inches or more in thickness—or about three times as much as the estimated available bituminous and semi-bituminous coals of Pennsylvania. The coals, though all bituminous, are of many kinds and qualities. The amount mined during the past fifteen years had increased in a very rapid ratio from 11,000 tons in 1870 to 2,225,000 tons in 1885; and the amount of coke manufactured from 60,781 tons in 1880 to 304,509 tons in 1885. The Warrior coal-field has besides its coal three or four seams of blackband iron-ore, considerable clay ironstone, great quarries of the best of building and paving stones, and forests of most excellent timber.

A Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Sir George Grove. London and New York, Part XXII: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 134. Price, $1.

The present part completes the text of this important and comprehensive work, although an appendix and a full index are announced as in preparation. The "Dictionary" as a whole bears ample evidence of the scholarship and careful research of its editor and contributors. It is worthy of a place among the best cyclopædias, while it is also of great account as a literary work and has a very high value as a book of reference. A course of musical instruction might be gathered from the articles in it. It gives accounts of all the different kinds and styles of music; those of the different nations, of different epochs, of the different schools, those which mark the individual traits of composers, those which respond to peculiarities of the people, and those which illustrate or are illustrated bypassing events. The several kinds of compositions are described, defined, and distinguished. The various instruments have places among the articles. Biographies are given of all musicians, including composers and performers, who have made their names known, which are full according to the importance of the subject. In short, whatever pertains to the history, character, and accessories of music, is treated, or intended to be treated, in its alphabetical order, in the four volumes. The literary merits of the longer articles make the book desirable from that point of view. The present part contains the articles from "Waltz" to "Zwischenspiel," or the end of the list. The fullest and most interesting among them is Dr. Philipp Spitta's account of Carl Maria von Weber and his works, which occupies more than forty pages, and is bright with the warmth of the writer's appreciation of the brilliant composer and his inspiring music.

Report of Spencer F. Baird, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, for the Year 1885-'86. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 83.

Among the interesting features of this report is the account of the growth of the National Museum, which included, at the time of reporting, 2,420,934 "lots" of specimens. Among the special collections are to be noted that of scientific instruments, to many of which rare historical associations are attached; the baskets, throw-sticks, and sinew-backbones; the aboriginal American pottery; the department of invertebrate fossils, which contains more than 81,000 specimens; and the department of fossil and recent botany, which has been considerably enriched. In field-work, accounts are given of explorations of stone-villages in Arizona and New Mexico—which are decided to be the work of still-existing tribes—and of studies among living Indians.

Twentieth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Peabody Museum of American Archæology and Ethnology. Professor F. W. Putnam, Curator. Cambridge, Mass. Pp. 74.

The museum has now become a department of Harvard University through the recognition of Dr. Putnam, its curator, as Peabody Professor of American Archæology and Ethnology in that institution. The collections have already outgrown the capacity of the new building to fitly accommodate them, and enlargement is called for. The accessions include the Bucklin collection from ancient graves in Peru, a collection of pottery from Piura, Peru; and pottery vessels, whistles and other objects made of pottery, stone implements and carved stones, some circular and others resembling animals, from Chiriqui. The field-work included the watching of operations at the Damariscotta shell-heap, Maine, which is being removed, for human-made objects; Dr. Abbott's explorations in the Trenton gravels; mound and grave explorations in the Little Miami Valley, Ohio, where evidences of the association of cremation and inhumation have been observed; Miss Fletcher's studies of living Indians and their social and religious customs; and Miss Zelia Nuttall's readings of ancient Mexican inscriptions. The present report completes the third volume, including seven years, of the series of reports. The three volumes together furnish a complete history of the institution for twenty years, and represent a great deal of archæological research.

Explorations on the West Coast of Florida and in the Okeechobee Wilderness. By Angelo Heilprin. Published by the Wagner Free Institute of Science; of Philadelphia. Pp. 134, with Nineteen Plates.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science, of whose transactions this memoir constitutes the first volume, was founded by the late William Wagner, who, after having accumulated a museum, library, and collections of apparatus, and sustained public scientific lectures for thirty years, bequeathed his property to a Board of Trustees. The Institute was incorporated in 1885, and organized a faculty of four professors, who are to give free lectures, and teach the method of, and make, research. Provision is also contemplated, when resources shall admit of them, in aid of original research, and the publication of its results. The expedition of which the present work records the results was dispatched under its auspices, with the personal co-operation of Mr. Joseph Wilcox, one of its trustees. At the time of Mr. Heilprin's visit, Florida was, in respect to geographical, zoölogical, and geological features, very nearly the least known portion of the national domain. Not even its broader geological aspects had been determined, and nearly every one believed that it was a structure of coral. Observations were conducted on the west coast as far south as the mouth of the Caloosahatchie, and thence eastward into the wilderness of Lake Okeechobee. The zoölogical researches comprised an examination of the littoral oceanic fauna and the fauna of the Okeechobee lake region, which, in the author's belief, had not hitherto been systematically investigated. Respecting the geological character of Florida, the author concludes that the whole State belongs exclusively to the Tertiary and Post-Tertiary periods, and consequently represents the youngest portion of the United States; that there is not a particle of evidence sustaining the coral theory of the growth of the peninsula, but all the evidence points against it, and indicates that the land has been formed by the usual methods of sedimentation and upheaval; while the coral tract is limited to a border region of the south and southeast, Man's great antiquity on the peninsula is regarded as established beyond a doubt, "and not improbably the fossilized remains found on Sarasota Bay, now wholly converted into limonite, represent the most ancient belongings of man that have ever been discovered."

An Abstract of the Oleomargarine Question. Presented by the Garden City Dairy Company of Chicago. Chicago: Knight & Leonard Company. Pp. 18, legal cap.

The object of this presentation is to point out the existing errors in national legislation on the subject, with the expectation of procuring their correction. The authors admit that legislation to regulate the manufacture of oleomargarine and guard its purity, and taxation commensurate with the taxation of other articles of trade, are proper, but contend that the present acts, being new and on a new subject, need revision; and insist that wrong motives have entered into their construction. There were three motives, they hold, that led to the adoption of the oleomargarine law: to prevent the sale or use of any poisonous or unwholesome article in the guise of butter; to require the new food-product, oleomargarine or butterine (when absolutely wholesome), to be sold honestly under its own proper name, that the consumer might know when he bought oleomargarine that he was not buying butter; and to protect "butter" by taxing oleomargarine and oleomargarine dealers to such an extent that the business of manufacturing this new food-product might be destroyed. Concerning the first motive, they allege that "the facts show plainly that there was no occasion whatever for the enactment of the law"—there was no impure or unwholesome oleomargarine. As to the second motive, "All thinking and reasoning men admit that the action of the law is a step in the right direction." It is to the advantage of the oleomargarine-man, for his good oleomargarine gets the credit for being what it is; while the buyer of bad butter is informed by the absence of the brand that it is not oleomargarine that he is nauseating himself with. The third motive is altogether bad; and not its least mischievous tendency is to the building up of monopolies. On account of it, the present law should be repealed, to pave the way for a consistent, comprehensive, and wholesome enactment; for its unconditional repeal without any delay "might open the way for a national act concerning the adulteration of food that would commend itself to every citizen, and meet a crying want of the times." Waiting this, the authors propose certain suggestions for the alteration and amendment of the existing legislation.

Revue Internationale, scientifique et populaire, des falsifications des denreés Alimentaires. (International Review, Scientific and Popular, of Falsifications of Foods.) Dr. P. F. Van Hamel Roos, Editor. Vol. I, No. 1. September 15, 1887. Amsterdam: Albert de Lange. Bimonthly. Pp. 32. Price, 8 francs a year.

This journal is established in pursuance of a suggestion which was emitted by the editor at the International Pharmaceutical and Chemical Congress of 1885, that a periodical should be published to warn people of all nations against detected adulterations, and to serve as an organ of communication among hygienists and chemists, and promote uniformity of research. The idea was well received, and Dr. Van Hamel Roos, who was at the time conducting a Dutch journal of the same character, has since been preparing to begin the work. He has secured a large list of collaborators and correspondents from most of the important countries of the world, distinguished hygienists, chemists, etc., including Dr. Willis G. Tucker, of Albany, from the United States. The present number is published in French, with a few articles in German or English also; but it is contemplated, if the clientage demands it, ultimately to publish the whole in three languages—French, German, and English. The contents of the number include papers on the measures against adulteration in force in Spain; municipal inspection of provisions at Amsterdam; international measures against adulterations (reports of the Vienna Congress on the subject); analyses of the peptones of commerce; substitutions for spices; adulteration of flour with alum; "Definition of Falsification"; and supplementary articles devoted to hygiene and industry.

Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, Nos. 30 to 39. Washington: Government Printing Office.

No. 30. Second Contribution to the Studies on the Cambrian Faunas of North America. By Charles D. Walcott. Pp. 369. Price, 25 cents.—This monograph embraces what the author designates as the "Middle Cambrian Fauna," or that which is referable to the Georgia Horizon, but including also formations in the St. Lawrence Valley, Labrador and Newfoundland; Troy, New York; and districts in the Western surveys.

No. 31. Systematic Review of our Present Knowledge of Fossil Insects, including Myriapods and Arachnids. By Samuel H. Scudder. Pp. 128. Price, 15 cents.—This paper is the original form and the authorized English edition of the article which was furnished by Mr. Scudder—who is the most thorough-going of the American students in this branch of paleontology—to Dr. Zittel, for his "Handbuch der Paläontologie," and is furnished, with the concurrence of the author and publisher of that work, for the convenience of English readers.

No. 32. Mineral Springs of the United States. By Albert C. Peale, M. D. Pp. 235. Price, 20 cents.—This book was noticed in the "Monthly" for March, 1887.

No. 33. Notes on the Geology-of Northern California. By J. S. Diller. Pp. 23. Price, 5 cents.—This report embraces reconnaissances of the Cascade Range, Mount Shasta, and the Coast and Sierra Nevada Ranges in Northern California and Oregon. The surface features are grouped into two valleys—the Willamette and Sacramento—and three mountain-ranges. The limestone among the metamorphic rocks of the Coast and Sierra Nevada Ranges is referred to the Carboniferous age.

No. 34. On the relation of the Laramie Molluscan Fauna to that of the Succeeding Fresh-Water Eocene and other Groups. By Charles A. White. Pp. 32, with Plates. Price, 10 cents.—A conception of the importance of the subject of this treatise is given by the conclusion which the author expresses, that there is a complete and unbroken stratigraphical series in the region of his exploration, extending from the Middle Cretaceous to the Upper Eocene, and aggregating nearly or quite two miles in thickness. Yet, while sedimentation was not materially interrupted in a large part of the area, the aqueous life was changed, first from that of a purely marine character to that of alternating brackish and fresh waters, and finally to that of a purely fresh-water character, implying great physical changes without materially interrupting sedimentation. The author also observes that in Western North America the fresh-water deposits rival in extent and thickness the great marine formations. Each of the great lacustrine formations described by him has its own distinguishing fauna, the uniform character of which over great areas is quite remarkable.

No. 35. Physical Properties of the Iron Carburets. By Carl Barus and Vincent Strouhal. Pp. 62. Price, 10 cents.—This paper embodies reports of studies of the internal structure of tempered steel, and of the color-effects produced by slow oxidation of iron carburets.

No. 36. Subsidence of Fine Solid Particles in Liquids. By Carl Barus. Pp. 54. Price, 10 cents.—The author considers the dependence of the rate of descent upon the figure and physical constants of a single particle, or upon the constants of a stated group of particles; tries to find some expression for the dependence of subsidence on the molecular conditions of the liquid; and calls to mind the probability of certain permanent chemical effects of the liquid on the subsiding solid. A second chapter is devoted to the results of experiments upon the dependence of the rate of subsidence on the order of surface, concentration, and turbidity.

No. 37. Types of the Laramie Flora. By Lester F. Ward. Pp. 115, with Fifty-seven Plates. Price, 25 cents.—This is an enlargement of the author's "Synopsis of the Flora of the Laramie Group." The plants described and illustrated in it were collected by himself in the seasons of 1881 and 1883. The principal additions to the original work consist of descriptions of species regarded as new, and critical discussions contributing to the proper understanding of the figures and of the nature of the flora under treatment.

No. 38. Peridotite of Elliott County, Kentucky. By J. S. Diller. Pp.,31. Price, 5 cents.—This memoir concerns dikes of eruptive rock, determined as peridotite, which have been observed in Elliott County, and which the author has studied in co-operation with Professor Crandall, of the Kentucky State Geological Survey. It contains a large proportion of olivine, some of it in well-defined crystals, with proportions of pyrope and ilmenite; is associated with nearly horizontal carboniferous sandstones and shales, from which it differs widely in chemical and mineralogical constitution; and is of special interest, because it affords an instance that is rare of peridotite being found under such circumstances that its eruptive character can be fully established.

No. 39. The Upper Beaches and Deltas of the Glacial Lake Agassiz. By Warren Upham. Pp. 84. Price, 10 cents.—The name of Lake Agassiz is given to the extinct body of water which in Glacial times occupied the basin of the Red River of the North. It is assigned to the closing epoch of the Ice age. The exploration of it was begun by the author in 1879 and continued in 1881 and 1885, first under the State Geological Survey, and in the latter year under the United States Survey. The present report covers what was observed in these explorations, which were limited to the prairie regions in Minnesota and Dakota.

Aperçu de quelques Difficultés à vaincre dans la Construction du Canal de Panama. (A View of Some Difficulties to be Overcome in the Construction of the Panama Canal.) By Dr. Wolfred Nelson, of Montreal. Paris. Pp. 71. Price, 1 franc.

The author resided five years on the Isthmus of Panama, engaged in the practice of medicine, and corresponded with several newspapers, besides contributing memoirs to scientific societies. He once believed in the canal, but the illusion, he says, "has fled, never to return, leaving behind a feeling of 'bitter deception.'" He expresses the firm conviction that the construction of the canal on a level, on M. de Lesseps's line, is a chimerical attempt, if not absolutely impossible. Some of bis reasons for believing thus are given in this pamphlet.

Synopsis of the Flora of the Laramie Group. By Lester F. Ward. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 160, with Thirty-four Plates.

Besides the object suggested in the title of this volume, the author has sought to give a few illustrations of the flora from new material, or from material more ample and abundant than has heretofore existed. The Laramie group, as described by Mr. Ward, is an extensive brackish-water deposit, situated on both sides of the Rocky Mountains, and extending from Mexico far into the British North American territory, having a breadth of hundreds of miles, and representing some four thousand feet in thickness of strata. The immense inland sea of which it is the record, and which occupied the territory now covered by the Rocky Mountains, was partially cut off from the ocean by intervening land-areas, but had one or more outlets through them communicating with the open sea which at that time occupied the territory of the lower Mississippi and lower Rio Grande Valleys. This Laramie sea existed during an immense period of time, and was finally, but very gradually, drained by the elevation of its bed, through the middle of which longitudinally the Rocky Mountains and Black Hills now run. The exact geological age in which it existed is still under discussion.

Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University, Japan. Vol. I, Part in. Published by the University, Tokyō, Japan. Pp. 124, with Nine Plates.

The publication of such a journal as this, with communications of the character of those which it contains, largely by native Japanese scholars, is a strong testimony to the progress which European studies are making in Japan. The present part of the "Journal" contains papers on the formation of the germinal layers in Chelonia, by Professors Mitsukuri and Ishikarra; "The Caudal and Anal Fins of Goldfishes," by S. Watase; "The Giant Salamander of Japan," by Professor C. Sasaki; "A Pocket Galvanometer" and "The Constants of a Lens," by Professor A. Tanakadate; "Some Occurrences of Piedmontite in Japan," by Professor B. Koto; "The Severe Japan Earthquake of the 15th of January, 1887," by Professor Sekiya; and "Notes on the Electric Properties of Nickel and Platinum," by Professor C. G. Knott.

A Questao dos Vinhos-Os Vinhos Falsificados (The Question of Wines—Falsified Wines.) By Dr. Campos da Paz. Rio de Janeiro. Pp. 373.

The author was formerly an effective member of the Central Junta of Public Hygiene, and is adjunct to the Chair of Organic and Biological Chemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at Rio Janeiro. In the present volume, he subjects the whole question of the adulteration of wines to a careful examination, with many results of analyses and experiments.

The Microbes of Nitrification. By Manly Miles. Pp. 4.

Accepting the agency of an organized ferment in the nitrification of plant-food, the author, forecasting the future advantages to arise from the methodical study of it, recommends that provisions be made for such study at agricultural colleges, and experiment stations, and suggests outlines of directions and methods for the studies. Further, as the roots, particularly of leguminous plants, appear to exert influence over the microbes, investigation may also be profitably pursued in that direction.

Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Society for the Promotion OF Agricultural Science. 1886. William R. Lazenby, Columbus, Ohio, Secretary. Pp. 88.

The meeting was held in Buffalo in August, 1886. The society has so far got along without a constitution, expecting to develop one out of its experiences. In the mean time, so long as it works truly to its name, a constitution will be quite dispensable. Among the papers read at the meeting were two on the subject of dew and its deposition, one on "Parasitic Fungi as Affecting Plant Distribution," one on "The Effects of Lime in the Soil in the Development of Plants," a list of the "Weedy Plants of Ohio," and an account of "A Contagious Disease of the European Cabbage-Worm, and its Economic Application."

The Meridional Deflection of Ice Streams. By W. J. McGee. Pp. 16.

The moraines of certain Quaternary glaciers in the Sierras of Eastern California, •show curvature or deflection in particular directions which appear independent of topographical conditions. The author's study was to find the causes of deflection. He concludes that the relation of the factors is such as to indicate the general law that ice streams flowing upon plains are deflected toward the sides upon which effective solar accession is least; a law which appears adequate to explain the common curvature of the moraines of the Sierras.


Gilbert, G. K. The work of the International Congress of Geologists. Salem, Mass.: The Salem Press. Pp. 26.

Thompson, John. Comments on Currency. Pp. 4.

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Hitchcock, Henry. General Corporation Laws. Philadelphia: T. and J. W. Johnson & Co. Pp. 30.

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