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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 34/November 1888/Literary Notices

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 34‎ | November 1888

LITERARY NOTICES.

Animal Memoirs. Part I.—Mammals. By Samuel Lockwood. New York and Chicago: Ivison, Blakeman & Co. Pp. 317.

This book is the first of a projected series of "Readings in Natural History," in which the author purposes to present mainly individual portraits, or animal biographies, in the fourfold setting of their morphology, physiology, chorology (or geographical occupancy), and origin, "but so far as possible without technicality of treatment, and with as little formal limning as is compatible with clear and truthful outlines." Preference is given, where possible, to such creatures as the author has known with the intimacy that attaches to pets. In accounting for the origin of the book, Prof. Lockwood describes how his own interest in natural history began. It arose from his picking up, while he was a very small boy, a torpid snake which had been chilled in a severe storm. Having taken it home, he was examining its diamond-pointed scales, when it revived under the influence of the warmth, and was at once dispatched by an older brother. "I felt very badly," he says, "to have it taken from me. But a little picture of its ornamentation held a place for a long time in my memory. The pattern was a mosaic of pretty geometric figures. From that time on my taste grew. I had that day got a nibble in the lane which led to the rich and open field of nature. What an appetizer it proved to be! I hungered for more. My first book was Goldsmith's 'Animated Nature,' which was read and reread with avidity. I took in everything, even the wild statement that Indians had passed safely over the Falls of Niagara in their canoes." The key to the author's mood is given in the sentence, "With the imagination and judgment in healthful union, let one enter into the mind of the animal—that is, put himself in its place—and it will be surprising how much of one's self can be seen in that lowly thing." Prudence and foresight, forecasting of the weather, magnanimity, and sympathy in distress, or something that works very much like them, may be seen in different degrees of development in certain animals. A story of a doctor at Long Branch, who had a hen that took a kitten as one of her chickens, is offset by one of a cat in the old country, which, being given a chick partly emerged from the shell, "began at once removing the shell in the most tender way; and this done, she put the callow thing by the side of her kitten and nestled them together"; and was grieved when the attempt was made to take the chick from her. Intelligence and a kind of scientific scrutiny were shown by the turkey that swallowed grasshoppers, which it knew all about, "without stopping to think," but when given a large black beetle, "very deliberately put down his head and inspected the insect; then stepped back quite cautiously, then approached, and, stooping as before, again gazed at it intently. Not yet satisfied, he now walked around it with a curiously cautious strut, keeping his eyes all this time upon the dubious morsel. Now his movement is quicker, and, becoming assured, he seizes the insect and it is swallowed at once." The opening chapters exhibit in various ways what is styled "the exuberance or overflow of 'animal mind,'" in the hope of awakening in the reader the faculty of insight, "so that he may be to the animal what it so often is to him—'a discerner of spirit.' For, is it not too apparent that in this respect the 'dumb beasts which perish ' are often our superiors? In divining the mind of his master the dog rarely errs; and how subtle his discrimination of 'the stranger at the gate'! These mental manifestations indicate the one maker of animals and men. . . . No pessimist ever made much in the study of the life-histories of animals. The student of such had better be optimist out and out." With these animals "are all kinds of mental manifestation—the gleesome and the serious, the pathetic and the sympathetic, the jocose and the morose." The first story illustrating "animal humor" is of a monkey in a basket-shop, which was the pet of the men and boys, and afforded them all manner of sport until they became tired of it and began to play malicious tricks upon it, when "it broke down, as if it had concluded to drop all sport forever. Not at all vicious, still gentle, but joyless, it became chronically sad"—but recognized a sympathetic voice when "the minister" called upon it, and reposed in him all the confidence and affection it had lost toward other men. Another monkey, which was kept in a cage, was suspicious and even vicious toward strangers, but became friends at sight with this same "minister," greatly to the surprise of its owner—"taking his measure at a glance." Another trait was exhibited by Frank Buckland's monkeys, which would care nothing for a carrot when given to them, but would eagerly avail themselves of an opportunity to steal it. We are not willing to say that this is a human trait, though some men seem ready to illustrate it. The stories of dogs afford displays of intelligence which must appear wonderful and almost incredible to all except those who are well acquainted with dogs, to whom they will have an air that is less novel. They show most remarkable perceptions of what is going on, of what the family and persons around wish, of what is intended to be done, and apparent understanding of language. These stories—of "animal humor"—are largely of animals within the author's own acquaintance. Those that follow—of sledge-dog antics (arctic), the onithorhynchus and its eggs, the kangaroos, coons, the coati mundi (concerning which Prof. Lockwood has contributed an article to the "Monthly"), the kinkajou, rabbits, and mice—are drawn largely from the observations of other writers. In the cases of the stranger animals the differences in their structure from that of the ordinarily mammalian type are duly explained, the technical terms being translated into intelligible English; and the final chapter is on "Classifying Animals."

Numbers Symbolized: An Elementary Algebra. By David M. Sensenig. New York, Boston, and Chicago. D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 315. Price, $1.26.

This volume is introductory to a more extensive and philosophical treatise with which the author designs to follow it. In scope it includes all subjects essential to a study of higher arithmetic, elementary geometry, and the elements of physics. All topics are treated in an elementary manner, with broad generalizations and discussions of general problems purposely excluded. In the earlier lessons, fundamental ideas and principles are developed inductively, and then formulated into simple and concise statements; each definition, for example, is preceded by a problem that asks for it, making it thus something suggested by what has gone before, rather than an arbitrary statement, the meaning of which is to be found out by subsequent application. Further on, definitions appear at the beginning of subjects, and principles are deduced from the solutions of characteristic examples. And, still later, propositions are first enunciated and then logically proved. Thus the pupil is led by easy transition from the more elementary forms of reasoning to pure mathematical demonstration. Examples have been carefully selected both to be worked at sight and for written work, while long and pointless examples have been generally avoided. Factoring is treated with considerable fullness.

Essays on God and Man; or, a Philosophical Inquiry into the Principles of Religion. By the Rev. Henry Truro Bray, Boonville, Mo. St. Louis: Nixon-Jones Printing Company. Pp. 270. Price, $2.

The author, who is an Episcopal clergyman, assumes that "men are everywhere drifting away from the old beliefs"; that the intellect of the world has "lost all faith in the Church of the past"; and declares that in his own experience he hardly ever finds a man who believes unqualifiedly the doctrines of the pulpit. Yet he has faith in the reality and permanence of religion, whose essence has been overlaid by glosses and superstition. In this book he hopes "in a measure to lead his readers to discriminate between the evanescent and permanent, between the temporal and the eternal; and to know that while they may doubt and reject the evanescent, the local, or the temporal, they should not and may not reject the permanent, the universal, or the eternal." He lays down as embodying the faith of the scientific world the propositions that "there is an infinite intelligence whom we call God; man is by nature a religious being; every religion has in it a nucleus of truth; no religion is exclusively true, or founded upon an exclusively divine revelation." And he attempts to show that religion is useful and natural; that its essentials are one; that God's revelation is universal and continuous; that God has been no more mindful of one race than of another, and is immanent in the universe, especially in intelligences; and "that our Bible, as the other Bibles of the world, is, in the higher sense, but the history of the attempts of the people to express the impressions made on the mind by God immanent in nature." He further seeks to discriminate between what is divine and what is human in religion, and to show that man may reasonably expect a future life.

The Constants of Nature. Part I—A Table OF Specific Gravity for Solids and Liquids. By Frank Wigglesworth Clarke. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. Pp. 409.

The author published, in 1872, through the Smithsonian Institution, a "Table of Specific Gravities, Boiling-Points, and Melting-Points for Solids and Liquids," which Prof. Henry made the first part of a work he was contemplating under the title of "The Constants of Nature." Other parts were contributed by Prof. Clarke, and one part by Prof. G. F. Becker. The present volume is in effect a new edition of Part I, revised, rearranged, and brought down as nearly as possible to the date of printing. The tables are, however, modified by the omission of boiling and melting points, except when those data seem essential to the proper identification of a compound, that want being supplied by Prof. Carnelley's tables. The tables contain the specific gravities of 5,227 distinct substances, and 14,465 separate determinations.

Entomology for Beginners. By A. S. Packard. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 367. Price, $1.40.

This work, the author of which is an eminent naturalist, is intended for the use of young folks, fruit-growers, farmers, and gardeners. While amateurs and dilettant entomologists may find useful hints in it, "the needs of those who wish to make a serious study of these animals have not been overlooked, and it is hoped that the book will be of some service in leading such students to pay more attention to the modes of life, transformations, and structure of insects than has yet been done in this country." Prominence is given to accounts of injurious insects, in regard to which, besides the matter here furnished, references are made to descriptive works and reports for fuller information. Some changes are made in classification. Believing that some of the lower orders, such as the "Orthoptera" and "Pseudo-neuroptera" are heterogeneous, unnatural groups, which ought to be broken up into distinct orders, sixteen orders instead of eight are formed. Considering that there are probably about a million species, this number is thought not to be too many. The general principles and descriptions are followed by particular accounts of insects injurious to agriculture, with prescriptions of remedies against them, and information on collecting and rearing insects, dissecting, preserving, and microscopic mounting, and a bibliography—"The Entomologist's Library."

Old and New Astronomy. By Richard A. Proctor. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. In twelve monthly parts. Pp. 64, with two Plates each. Price, 2s. 6d. each.

The first five parts of this work have been received. It was the design of the author to make it the great work of his life—the one, as he himself has said, for which all the treatises on astronomy that he had hitherto produced, and also his astronomical essays and lectures, were preparatory. The chief object of it is to present in popular yet scientifically sound form "those views of the heavenly bodies which are included in what, in his last poem, Tennyson calls the 'New Astronomy'"; the life-histories of worlds and suns, studies of the planets as illustrating the stages of our own earth's life, and of the record of the earth as illustrating the life-histories of the planets; of the sun as the one star we can examine, and thus as telling us all we know in detail about the nature of other suns, and of the stars as illustrating the life of the solar system. There are also presented points of detail in which the astronomy of to-day differs from the astronomy of a quarter of a century ago—relating, among other things, to the structure of the galaxy, the sun's condition and surroundings, the condition of the various orders of bodies attending on the sun, the recognition of the moon as presenting the history of our earth's past as well as future life, and comets and meteors. Fuller explanations than the old ones are given of the tides and the precession of the equinoxes. The illustrations are of prime excellence, and a large number of them original. We are not aware whether the author had completed his work; but, even if he has left it unfinished, that which is already published may be regarded as a valuable addition to astronomical literature, and as giving the "latest news" on the subject.

Vierteljahresschrift über die Fortschritte auf def Gebiete der Chemie der Nahrungs-und Genussmittel (Quarterly Review of Progress in the Chemistry of Foods and Condiments). Edited by Drs. A. Hilger, J. König, R. Kayser, and E. Sell. Vol. II. 1887. Berlin: Julius Springer. New York: B. Westermann & Co. Pp. 692. Price, 14 marks.

The contents of this periodical, of which we have here the four numbers of the year stitched into one, hardly need any other description than the title. It is compactly filled with reports, analyses, receipts, statistics, and other matter related to the subject, given under such headings as "Meat," "Peptone and Meat Preparations," "Milk," "Oils," "Sugars," "Spices," "Fermentation-Phenomena," "Water and Water-Provision," "Preserves and Preserving Media," "Useful Articles," "Methods of Analysis," "Microscopic Investigations," "Laws," "Literature," and others of similar character. Only facts receive attention.

A Sketch of the Germanic Constitution, from Early Times to the Dissolution of the Empire. By Samuel Epes Turner, Ph. D. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 185. Price, $1.25.

Though concerning only the political changes achieved by a particular people among the European powers, the history of the Germanic Constitution at all epochs of its development is of general interest—in early times, because of the contributions which the Germanic stock made to the blood, language, laws, and customs of the various states; in later times, because of the controversies and wars that turned around German pretensions, and of the lead taken by Germany in the Reformation; and in the present, because of the prominence that is accorded to German thought and German policies. The "sketch" begins with the accounts of the Germans given when they first began to attract attention by the Roman authors, and is continued by periods—the "Merovingian," "Carlovingian," "First Feudal," "Second Feudal," and "Reformation" periods, the "Period of Disintegration" and the "Period of Dissolution," ending in 1806. The Constitution of the new empire is not considered.

 

The third number of the proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research (Damrell and Upham, 50 cents) opens with a paper, by Miss Alice C. Fletcher, on the "Supernatural among the Omaha Tribe of Indians," embracing myths regarding the origin of woman and the entrance of death into the world, beliefs about the fortunes of the spirit after death, and about ghosts, together with a variety of superstitions and legends. This is followed by a "Criticism on 'Phantasms of the Living,'" by Prof. C. S. Peirce, with "Remarks on Prof. Peirce's Paper," by Edmund Gurney, and "Mr. Peirce's Rejoinder." In his criticism. Prof. Peirce states sixteen conditions to which he says the thirty-one coincidences between a visual hallucination and a death, mentioned by Messrs. Gurney, Myers, and Pedmore, ought to conform, but one or more of which are sinned against by every one of the thirty-one cases, and concludes that "the evidence, so far as it goes, seems to be rather unfavorable to the telepathic character of the phenomena." Mr. Gurney admits the weakness of a few cases, defends others, and gives additional evidence in support of some, but yields no important point. Prof. Peirce's rejoinder deals with the mathematical probabilities of the thirty-one cases being accidental coincidences, and reviews some of the cases in detail. This discussion is followed by brief reports from several committees. The experiments and investigations of the Committee on Thought-Transference had yielded little but negative results. The Committee on Experimental Psychology had received five hundred returns from a blank designed to test the prevalence of superstition regarding sitting down thirteen at table, beginning a voyage on Friday, seeing the new moon over the left shoulder, and occupying a house reputed to be haunted. Of three hundred and nine men, about one tenth were more or less influenced by the first three superstitions, and of one hundred and ninety-one women about two tenths. The form of the fourth question is not such as to separate the respondents who have a belief in the superstition from those who have not. The Committee on Apparitions and Haunted Houses deemed the last part of their designation a misnomer, as they had not been able to learn of any house which was reputed to be haunted at the present time. They reported a number of well-authenticated cases of presentiments, and stated that materials for their research were coming in quite freely. The Committee on Mediumistic Phenomena reported that professional materializing mediums could not be got to give séances under conditions suitable to a scientific investigation, and that where non-professional mediums had given such séances the results were negative. A paper by the chairman, on "The Basis of Investigation of Mediumistic Phenomena," was appended to the report. This is followed by two papers on hypnotism, and one on "The Consciousness of Lost Limbs."

"The American Folk-Lore Society" has been formed for "the study of folk-lore in general, and in particular the collection and publication of the folk-lore of North America." Its President is Prof. Child, of Harvard; William Wells Newell, of Cambridge, Mass., is the Secretary; and among its other officers are many well-known American anthropologists. Its medium of publication is The Journal of American Folk-Lore (Houghton, $3 a year), a quarterly magazine, the second number of which is before us. W. W. Newell is the general editor. This number contains ten articles, treating of Indian myths and customs, folk-lore of the Pennsylvania Germans, superstitions and tales of the negroes, etc., together with departments for notes, items, meanings of words, and titles of articles on folk-lore in American and foreign journals. The field to which the journal is devoted is exceedingly interesting and instructive, and is one in which the material for study should be seized upon at once, for it will soon be too late.

Part II, of Vol. IX, second series, of the Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, comprises a paper by W. B. Scott, entitled "On some New and Little-Known Creodonts," describing Mesonyx obtusidens, Hyænodon horridus, and several other species, with three plates, and a paper by Henry Fairfield Osborn, entitled "On the Structure and Classification of the Mesozoic Mammalia," with two plates, and a number of figures in the text.

The Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society (Chapel Hill, N. C.) gives evidence by its Journal that its fifth year has been one of activity and progress, and has contributed to the advancement of science in the South. Fifty-five papers have been presented to the society during the past year, dealing with subjects in chemistry, mathematics, ichthyology, entomology, meteorology, etc., a large part of which are published in the "Journal." Eight regular meetings were held during the year, and three public lectures delivered.

The first number of Insect Life, a periodical bulletin of the Division of Entomology, United States Department of Agriculture, appeared in July. It will be issued under the direction of Prof. C. V. Riley, United States Entomologist, and is designed to contain short papers, notes, and correspondence, which it is desirable to give to the public without delay, or which would be too disconnected for use in the annual reports or in the special bulletins of the division. The present number contains a variety of information, consisting of descriptions of several noxious insects, notes on the habits of others, and records of experience in using certain insect-exterminators, all of which promises well for the usefulness of the periodical.

 

In Facts about Ireland, Mr. Alexander B. MacDowall presents the condition of Ireland, and the changes it has undergone, in graphic diagrams or by curves (Edward Stanford, London). Under this system, plates are presented showing the relative changes in population in Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, and London, by decades since 1801; and the statistics, in Ireland of agriculture, education, emigration, evictions, drunkenness, crime, consumption of spirits, bank deposits, revenue, value of crops, and occupations. Each plate is accompanied by a page of letterpress, calling attention to its significant points. The author hopes that these diagrams may prove of some little use in the study of the Irish question. They certainly show at a glance much that it would take considerable reading to learn otherwise.

The Colloquia Latina of Mr. Benjamin D'Ooge, of the Michigan State Normal School (D. C. Heath & Co.), is a collection of dialogues intended to form the basis for exercises in conversational Latin. It is the outgrowth of methods pursued by the author in his own classes, and most of the dialogues have been tested by actual use. Its purpose is to give greater interest and life to the study, and more thoroughness. The dialogues give the models or forms of expression, after which conversations may be carried on about the subjects, in Latin; while the notes elucidate the grammatical and idiomatic peculiarities which come under notice.

In Selected Poems from Premières et Nouvelles Méditations (D. C. Heath & Co.) Prof. George O. Currie has prepared a collection of Lamartine's poems, with notes, for schools and classes. The author represented is a poet of the highest merit—"the Christian Virgil, only greater, and just as pure and refined," in the editor's view—and the choice gives a fair test of his quality. Notes are appended, which are both grammatical and literary in character; a sketch of Lamartine's life is given; and an article by Prof. A. Williams, of Brown University, on the "General Character of French Verse," adds to the value of the work as a whole.

An Iceland Fisherman, by Pierre Loti (New York, Gottsberger), is a story by a French author of rising fame. His real name is Julien Viaud, and he served during the Franco-Chinese War on a French naval vessel. The adventures which befell him during his cruisings in the Oriental seas furnished him with materials for many vivid stories and sketches, which proved very acceptable to the public. The present story, though written among more quiet scenes at his home near Rochefort, is marked by similar qualities. The translation is acceptably done by Clara Cadiot.

 

 
PUBLICATIONS RECEIVED.

Abbott, Charles C. Evidences of the Antiquity of Man in Eastern North America. Salem, Mass.: The Salem Press. Pp. 25.

Adams, Z. B., Bradford, E. H., and Worthington,

Q. F. Boston: Report on Physical Culture in Schools. Pp. 15.

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Proceedings continued.

Agriculture, United States Department of Insect Life. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 62.

Bierbower, Austin. The Virtues and their Reasons. Chicago: George Sherwood & Co. Pp. 294.

Black, John C. Report of the Commissioner of Pensions for 1888. Washington: Government Printing-office. Pp. 123.

Bowker, R R. The President's Message. 1887. With Annotations. New York: G. P. Putnam's & Sons. Pp. 33. 25 cents.

Browning, Oscar. Aspects of Education. New York: Industrial Education Association. Pp. 48. 20 cents.

Carter, J. M. G. Synopsis of the Medical Botany of the United States. St. Louis: George H. Field. Pp. 176.

Chamberlin, Thomas C, Madison, Wis. The Ethical Functions of Scientific Study. Pp. 22.

Christopher. W. S. Chemical Experiments for Medical Students. Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co. Pp. 84, with Blanks. $1.

Cope, E. D. Synopsis of the Vertebrate Fauna of the Puerco Series. Pp. 69, with Plates.

De Annas, Huan Ignacio. La Zoologia de Colon y de los Primeros Exploradores de América (The Zoölogy of Columbus and of the first Explorers of America). Havana. Pp. 185.

Fernow, B. E. Report of the Division of Forestry for 1887. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 156.

Foster, Michael, and others. "The Journal of Physiology," August, 1888. Cambridge, England: Scientific Instrument Company. Pp. 160, with Plates.

Guthrie, Ossian, Chicago. The Great Lakes and their Relations to the Lakes and Gulf Water-Way. Pp. 31.

Hale, E. M., M.D., Chicago. Glonoin, a Heart Remedy. Pp. 8.

Hydrographic Bureau, Naval Office. Pilot Chart of the North Atlantic Ocean for September. Sheet.

Jewett, Rev. Edward H. The Two Wine Theory discussed by Eighty-six Clergymen, with a Review. New York: E. Steiger & Co. Pp. 176.

Jordan, David Starr. A Brief Account of the Darwinian Theory of the Order of Species. Chicago: A. B. Lehman & Co. Pp. 63. 25 cents.

Kellogg E. L. & Co., Chicago. A list of most Valuable Books on Teaching, etc. Pp. 78.

L. A. H.. Philadelphia. The Successful Palliation of Hay-Fever. Pp. 6.

Lockwood, Dr Samuel. Animal Memoirs. Part I, Mammals. New York and Chicago: Ivison, Blakeman & Co. Pp. 317.

Monthaye. E. Krupp and De Bange. Translated by O. E. Michaelis. New York: Thomas Prosser & Son. Pp. 217.

Michigan. Agricultural College of. Experiments with Wheat, and with Plaster, Ashes, and Salt, as a Top-Dressing for Meadow and Pasture-Lands. Pp. 11.

Moore, J. S. Friendly Letters to American Farmers and others. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 101. 25 cents.

Muller, Frank. Virginia, Definitive Determination of Coast, 1887. Pp. 13.

Nast, Thomas. The President's Message, 1887. With Illustrations. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 38.

Nebraska, University of. University Studies. Vol. I, No. 1. Lincoln. Pp. 66. $1.

New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, Bulletin Nos. 11 and 12, September, 1888. Pp. 10 and 8.

New York Academy of Natural Sciences, Annals. Nos. 5, 6, and 7. Pp. 192, with Plates.

Ohio, Report of the State Board of Health for the Year ending October 31, 1887. Pp. 410.

"Printers' Ink." Vol. I, No. 5. Semi-Monthly. New York. Pp. 480.

Riley, C. V. On the Causes of Variation in Organic Bodies. Salem, Mass.: The Salem Press. Pp. 51.

Roosevelt. Theodore. Essays on Practical Politics. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 74. Paper, 10 cents.

Roe, Edward Reynolds. God Reigns. Chicago: Laird & Lee. Pp. 187.

Learcy. James Thomas, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Heredity. Pp. 16.

Sherwood. George & Co., Chicago. The New Model First Reader. Pp. 96. 35 cents.

Simon. W. Manual of Chemistry. Second edition. Philadelphia: Lea Brothers & Co. Pp. 479.

Swain Free School, New Bedford, Mass. Conditions of Admission and Retention, Courses of Study, etc., 1888-'89. Pp. 29.

Texas, University of. School of Geology. Plan of Instruction. Pp. 4.

United States. Reports from Consuls, May, 1888. Pp. 196.

United States National Museum. Proceedings continued.

Whitman, C. O., and Allis, Edward Phelps, Jr. "Journal of Morphology," August, 1888. Boston: Ginn & Co.

Wines, Frederick Howard. American Prisons, in the Tenth United States Census. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 36. 25 cents.