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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/January 1892/Literary Notices

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 40‎ | January 1892

LITERARY NOTICES.

The History of Human Marriage. By Edward Westermarck. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 644. Price, $4.

The words of Pope—"The noblest study of mankind is man"—long used as a motto by the cultivators of the so-called humanities, are in full agreement with the disposition of scientific research to give increasing attention to the field of anthropology. Folk lore, family and tribal customs, the evolution of religions, the origin and development of races, heredity, etc., are preeminently the scientific topics of the time. The many who are interested in this department of science will welcome the work of Dr. Westermarck, concerning which A. R. Wallace says in an introductory note, "I have seldom read a more thorough or a more philosophic discussion of some of the most difficult and at the same time interesting problems of anthropology." The author defines marriage as a more or less durable connection between male and female, lasting till after the birth of the offspring. The lowest animals among which traces of such a connection are found are the turtles. With the birds it is an almost universal institution, while among the mammals it is restricted to certain species. In the lower animals reproduction is timed with reference to the season of plentiful food supply, and, as there are seasons of plenty and scarcity of the food of man, the author believes that in primitive times there was a human pairing season. Some of the lowest race? actually have such a season at the present time, and certain peoples of a little higher grade have yearly nuptial festivals, while in civilized countries it has been found that more children were born at one or two periods in the year than at other times. The view that primitive men and women lived in promiscuous sexual relations is opposed by Dr. Westermarck, who sees no ground for this hypothesis in the customs of uncivilized tribes of the present time. Passing on to the mode of contracting marriage, the author gives a wealth of information concerning customs of courtship among various peoples and also concerning the related subjects of means of attraction and the liberty of choice. By a chapter on sexual selection among animals he leads up to a consideration of the same process in the human species, his treatment of this subject being one of the points to which Mr. Wallace calls especial attention in the introduction The author maintains that man in the choice of a mate prefers the best representatives of his particular race because a full development of racial characters indicates health, while a deviation from them indicates disease. The production of the instinct which esteems beauty above ugliness is ascribed to natural selection. "According to Mr. Darwin," says Dr. Westermarck, "racial differences are due to the different standards of beauty, whereas, according to the theory here indicated, the different standards of beauty are due to racial differences." The prohibition of marriage between kindred is almost universal, but, as our author shows, all sorts of differences exist as to the unions that are regarded as incestuous by different peoples. His study of this matter has brought him to the conclusion that it is not the relationship but living in the same household that causes the repugnance to marriage between kindred, and that this feeling by no means results from observed bad effects of in-breeding. Among the other subjects examined in this work are marriage by capture and marriage by purchase, marriage-rites, polyandry, polygyny, and divorce. A copious list of authorities quoted and an excellent index are appended. The treatise is marked throughout by evidences of thorough study, clear insight, and sound reasoning.

 
INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION SERIES, VOLUME XVIII.

A Text-Book in Psychology. By Johann Friedrich Herbart. Translated by Margaret K. Smith. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 200, Price, $1.

The work of Herbart now presented to English readers in a translation from the revised edition of 1834 is described by the author as "an attempt to found the science of psychology on experience, metaphysics, and mathematics." For a quarter of a century, beginning in 1809, Herbart occupied the chair at the University of Königsberg that had previously been filled by the celebrated Kant. In directing a pedagogical seminary, or normal school, which he founded, he applied philosophy to the art of education. The central thought of the present treatise, as is pointed out by Dr. Harris in the editor's preface, concerns the act of apperception. The book thus constitutes a sequel to the writings of Pestalozzi. For, while Pcstalozzianism enforces the importance of perceiving fully and accurately by the senses what is to be learned, the Herbartian pedagogics is occupied mainly with the second step in the learning process—the recognizing of what is perceived as identical with or similar to something that has been perceived before. An impression stored in the mind by a former experience may be out of consciousness at a given moment, but may be brought up into consciousness by some kindred idea. Herbart's theory concerning these phenomena represents ideas as connected in groups, and the forces with which they interact upon each other he represents by mathematical formulas.

The foregoing are among the fundamental principles included in the first division of the volume. The second division deals with the so-called mental faculties and with mental conditions, being analytical and descriptive in character. This he calls Empirical Psychology. There is a third part entitled Rational Psychology, treating of the relations between the soul and matter, and giving explanations of various psychological phenomena. "To the mere reader of psychology," says the translator in her introduction, "the Herbartian theories may at first appear peculiar, and in the minds of some may verge upon the absurd; but the careful student will probably find no psychological theories that are so well calculated to stand the test of actual experience."

A Handbook of Industrial Organic Chemistry. By Samuel P. Sadtler. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co. Pp. 619. Price, $5.

The aim of this work is to give a general view of the various industries based upon the applications of chemistry to the arts. The mode of procedure in dealing with each industry is "first to enumerate and describe the raw materials which serve as the basis of the industrial treatment; second, the processes of manufacture are given in outline and explained; third, the products, both intermediate and final, are characterized and their composition illustrated in many cases by tables of analyses; fourth, the most important analytical tests and methods are given, which seem to be of value either in the control of the processes of manufacture or in determining the purity of the product; and, fifth, the bibliography and statistics of each industry are given, so that an idea of the present development and relative importance of the industry may be had." To assist the reader in following out the chain of operations that converts the raw materials into the various finished products and byproducts, a diagram something like a genealogical tree is given in many cases. One such diagram shows at a glance the processes involved in working up beef-tallow, and how much of each product is obtained from the proximate yield of one ox. Another diagram shows how thoroughly the cotton seed is now utilized. Three chapters are devoted to the oils—petroleum, the fats, and the essential oils; the sugar industry is next described; then come the industries of starch and its alteration products, fermentation industries—including the making of alcoholic liquors, vinegar, and bread—milk industries, the utilization of vegetable and animal fibers; the preparation of leather, glue, and gelatin; industries based upon the destructive distillation of wood and coal, the making of dyes, and dyeing. The machinery and apparatus used in each industry are described, and the text is illustrated with one hundred and twenty-seven figures. While the book deals mainly with the chemical changes involved in the industries described, its language has been so chosen that those not specially trained in chemistry can readily understand it. An appendix contains temperature, specific gravity, and alcohol tables, also metric weights and measures.

Stones for Building and Decoration. By George P. Merrill. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 453. Price, $5.

This work is designed to be of service to all who have to do with the use of stone for constructive purposes. It tells what resources of building-stone are known in each State of the Union, what is the character of each kind and variety, how each works, methods of quarrying and dressing stone, cost, durability, weathering, etc. The book is based on the author's hand-book and catalogue of the collection of building and ornamental stones in the United States National Museum, and some of the matter not contained in that hand-book has been published in various building-journals. The author's experience in preparing the extensive collection above mentioned, as well as its partial duplicate at the American Museum in New York, has afforded him ample opportunity for becoming acquainted with the quarry products of the country at large, while extensive field trips, particularly in the eastern and extreme Western United States, have given him a practical insight into the resource? of these regions, as well as some knowledge concerning the usual methods of quarrying and working. The volume is illustrated with views of quarries, figures of tools and machines used in quarrying and working stone, figures showing kinds of finish on stone, and the microscopic structure of certain rocks, etc.

Mind is Matter; or, the Substance of the Soul. By William Hemstreet. New York: Fowler & Wells Co. Pp. 252.

It is impossible to concur with this author even in his presentation of physical truth, and this naturally hinders serious consideration of his views upon such impalpable matters as "astral fluid," "odic force," or "the atomicity of God." His purpose is high and earnest—to win men from grossly material pursuits to a more spiritual life. This he hopes may be realized through his philosophy, that God and the soul are material existences, "God with us—not as a conjecture nor metaphor, but a chemical fact—is all there is of religion." He seeks to establish his theory of soul as a substance "by scientific methods" and with "facts that we all agree about." The most pertinent of these "facts" prove to be the phenomena of personal magnetism and coincidences of thought, in regard to which there is scarcely any agreement of opinion. Other extraordinary assertions are—"force is a thing in motion," "all matter is reducible to electric atoms," "electricity or nerve-fluid is the latest discovery in physiology," "every unit of matter must have a sex." The statement is also made that the amoebae do not eat. The biological truth is that an amoeba incloses any vagrant diatom by its pseudopods, ingests it, and assimilates it as actually as higher organisms digest their special food. The amoebæ are even particular in their diet and do not feed upon starch or fat, so that there is no necessity whatever for the "direct conversion of existing atomicity into living things." There is no doubt, "if we could learn by science and philosophy the simple, natural fact that our personal existence is continuous, it would entirely change human life and society," but, speaking scientifically, the "if" exhibits as yet no sign of katabolism.

The History of Commerce in Europe. By H. DeB. Gibbins. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 233. Price, 90 cents.

This short work is believed by the author to be the first attempt in English to present a connected account of the progress and development of commerce in Europe from antiquity to the present time. In the space to which the book is limited only the main outlines of the subject could be given, but they are enough to convey an idea of the course of development, and to furnish a sketch which may at some future time be more adequately filled up. The history is given under the three heads of Ancient and Classical Commerce, Mediæval Commerce, and Modem Commerce, the last including the history of the commercial empires in the East and in the West; English commerce in three periods—from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the industrial revolution in England and the continental war, and modern English commerce; France and Germany; and Holland, Russia, and the other States of Modern Europe. The commerce of the United States does not properly come within the scope of the work, except as in its relations to the European nations. References are made in several places to the trade with the colonies, and to the later trade with the States. And, under the heading. Recent Developments of Commercial Policy, the "insane example of America" and the "notorious McKinley tariff" are mentioned as patterns which European countries seem inclined to follow; and we are warned that, although we can not understand it, both Europe and the United States may in time discover the fact "that freedom of trade and industry, even though it may seem to encourage foreign competition, is nevertheless of inestimable advantage to the country that adopts it. . . . Meanwhile, both in her colonial policy and in her system of trade and industry, England, though she has yet much to learn, is setting an example to all European nations."

Catalogue of Minerals and Synonyms. By T. Egleston. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 378.

The author began a catalogue in 1867 for use in arranging the collections of the School of Mines of Columbia College, but was interrupted in the work. When he came to resume it, in 1885, he found that the progress of the science had been so great that the whole had to be done over again from the beginning. The study of mineralogy is embarrassed by the great varieties of synonyms that prevail for the same mineral, whether in different languages or in the works of different authors. The object of the present catalogue appears to be to remedy this difficulty by giving all the synonyms for each species under the head of the authorized English name, and by cross-references. The names of species are printed in capitals, those of doubtful species in Italics, and those of synonyms in ordinary type; and the name of the authority for the species is given, as far as possible, in italics. Well authenticated species are printed in large capitals; the synonyms follow in alphabetical order; and under species important varieties are printed in small capitals, with their synonyms. The synonyms under each species are divided into classes where that is necessary, and then arranged alphabetically for convenience in referring to them. The symbols representing the composition of the minerals are given according to the new system. The catalogue meets a felt want, for none of the standard works on mineralogy has a complete index.

Intimations or Eternal Life. By Caroline C. Leighton. Boston: Lee & Shepard. Pp. 139.

The worthy aim of this little book as defined in its preface is, "to elicit something clear and trustworthy" in regard to the effect of scientific discovery upon the probabilities of a future life. The author considers that science has been misinterpreted, especially concerning "the existence of God, the reality of the soul and its independence of the physical brain," and she proceeds to liberate it from misconception. The actuality of things unseen is evinced by the invisible rays of light, sounds made audible by the microphone, the phenomena of radiant heat, and molecular motion. The indestructibility of matter and the conservation of energy give reassurance of transformation, while the all-pervading, luminiferous ether "makes the universe seem one and homelike "! Within closer limits two uses are found for this ether: one as material upon which memory impressions may be made; the other, as the substance of the psychic body. Nature hints at continuance in the resurrection of the spring-time, and the fragmentary character of human life implies future completion, which, it is represented, may take place in other worlds than ours. We may yet remain "in the stream of evolution" and find an abiding-place without question of room, for, "if the planets fail us, there are all the hosts of the fixed stars." The nature of death and disposal of the dead are discussed, and cheerful views of our departure from earth are urged. Authorities are given with great impartiality from Prof. Tyndall to the Tonga Islanders, and science, like a veritable Sindbad, is made to sustain a multitude of inferences. Altogether, it must be said, this search for scientific confirmation of the hope of a hereafter is more suggestive than satisfying.

The Metal-Worker Essays on House-heating by Steam, Hot Water, and Hot Air. Arranged by A. O. Kittredge. New York: David Williams. Pp. 288. Price, $2.50.

The essays in this book were prepared in 1888 in answer to an offer of prizes by the periodical, The Metal-Worker, for the best methods of heating a house, plans and elevations of which were given. Three systems of heating—by steam circulation, by hot water circulation, and by hot air—were recognized in the competitions; and provision was made for the consideration of combination plans. The results of the competition were very successful, both in the number and character of the essays received and the attention they attracted. The essays in this book are reprinted from the journal in which they were first published; and to them are added summaries derived from very careful study of the competitive efforts. The papers are arranged under four different heads, namely: 1. Combination Systems, two essays—one on Steam and Warm Air, and one on Hot Water and Hot Air. 2. Steam-heating Systems, four essays. 3. Hot-water Circulating Systems, three essays. And 4. Hot air Systems, six essays. The papers indicate wide ranges of practice; and it is believed that, taken altogether, the fifteen essays present a better idea of current practice in house-heating than can be found anywhere else. All the systems proposed are adequately illustrated.

Second Annual Report of the Geological Survey of Texas, 1890. E. T. Dumble, State Geologist. Austin. Pp. cix + 756.

This large volume is devoted mainly to describing the mineral resources of the State so far as determined during the two years' existence of the survey. In the course of the second year the co-operation of the United States Geological Survey and of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey were secured in topographical work, much to the advantage of all branches of the work of the State Survey. Several geologists worked during the year at mapping the iron ores of the east Texas district, and the associated clays and lignites were also studied. Prof. Robert T. Hill studied the economic geology of the Cretaceous area, but resigned from the survey without making his report. Prof. W. F. Cummins was engaged in a detailed study of the coal measures of the central coal field; the Guadalupe Mountains were explored by Mr, Tarr; and further work on the mineral resources of central Texas was done by Dr. T. B. Comstock, who discovered tin in this region and obtained much information concerning the deposits of other metals, and of granite and salt. In the trans-Pecos region. Prof. W. H. Streeruwitz, after completing the topographic mapping of an important area, spent the rest of the season in examining the mineral veins of the region. For lack of books and type specimens most of the paleontological work on the Texas rocks has been done outside the State. An offer by the State Geologist to furnish collections of the rocks and minerals of Texas to the high schools of the State brought more applications than could be filled; forty-one sets, more or less complete, were furnished. The details of the year's work are given in the papers accompanying the report of Prof. Dumble, the text being illustrated with maps of the several localities, drawings of sections, and photographic views.

An Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Electricity and Magnetism. By W. T. A. Emtage. New York: Macmillan & Co, Pp. 228. Price, $1.90.

This work, which appears in the Clarendon Press Series, is adapted to students far enough advanced to possess a knowledge of differential and integral calculus. It is complete in itself, and may be read without previous knowledge of the subject. Purely experimental parts of the subject requiring no special mathematical treatment have been entirely omitted.

Plane and Solid Geometry. By Seth T. Stewart. New York: American Book Company, Pp. 406. Price, $1.12.

Prominent features of this text-book are its strict adherence to the principle of association and its graded exercises. Each book treats of one subject, and each section treats of one subdivision of the subject, so that all relating to the subject or its subdivisions being placed together, the several parts will support one another in memory by the law of association. The same method of arrangement—the resultant form of the book being one that is rendered possible only by the grouping of propositions—favors the regular gradation of exercises. At the end of each section miscellaneous exercises, assorted and graded, are presented in an order intended to promote, by their successive solution, a constant growth in the power of analytic and synthetic thought. A synopsis of each book precedes the book itself, as an encouragement to students to work independently of the demonstrations given in the text. Thus, before giving the definitions of points, lines, and angles, the pupil is set to construct them if we may use the word, after which the definition follows, of necessity; and so on, through the book. The inductive method is in this way employed in the treatment of each part of the work; but, while the approaches to the subject are thereby rendered more agreeable, the author has been conservative in retaining, as far as possible, the usual phraseology of propositions and a wholesome rigor in demonstration. Throughout the volume the diagrams and demonstrations are in full view of each other.

 

No. 3, Vol. IV, of The Journal of Morphology, contains seven papers. The first embodies some Studies on Cephalopods, in regard to Cleavage of the Ovum, by S. Watase. It is illustrated with four plates and nineteen figures in the text. J. Playfair McMurrich has a second installment of his Contributions on the Morphology of the Actinozoa in this number, dealing with the Development of the Hexactiniae, It is accompanied by a plate. There are short papers by G. Baur on Intercalation of Vertebreæ, and by W. M. Wheeler on Neuroblasts in the Arthropod Embryo. G. Baur also contributes a paper on The Pelvis of the Testudinata, with notes on the evolution of the pelvis in general. Prof. C. O. Whitman has two papers in this number, one dealing with Spermatophores as a Means of Hypodermic Impregnation, the other being a Description of Clepsine Plana. Each is accompanied by a plate.

The most extended paper in No. 1 of Vol. V is by W. B. Scott, of Princeton, on The Osteology of Poebrotherium. This number contains also A Contribution to the Morphology of the Vertebrate Head, based on a Study of Acanthias vulgaris, by Julia B. Platt; a short paper on the Reproductive Organs of Diopatra, by E. A. Andrews; the third of Dr. McMurrich's series, dealing with The Phytogeny of the Actinozoa; and an account of the Development of the Lesser Peritoneal Cavity in Birds and Mammals, by F. Mall. Plates and small figures accompany the papers.

An address to the New England Cremation Society by its president, Mr. John Storer Cobb, has been printed in pamphlet form, with the title The Torch and the Tomb. Mr. Cobb cites many instances in which the decomposition of buried bodies has caused disease by polluting water-supplies, by contaminating the air that passes over cemeteries, or by allowing the escape of bacteria into the overlying soil in cases of deaths from infectious disease. He also shows the lack of foundation for the current objections to cremation, and quotes the enthusiastic approval of this process expressed by a clergyman whose prejudice had been completely removed by witnessing the incineration of a friend's remains. The society was organized in January, 1891, and Dr. W. H. Wescott, P. O. box 2,436, Boston, is its general secretary.

The Archæological Institute of America has published Contributions to the History of the Southwestern Portion of the United States, by A. F. Bandelier, one of the archæologists of the Hemenway Expedition. These papers embody materials derived from the archives of Santa Fé, Santa Clara, El Paso del Norte, and Mexico, together with topographical and archaeological data obtained by exploration. A preliminary sketch is given of the knowledge which the Spaniards in Mexico possessed of the countries north of the province of New Galicia previous to the return of Cabeza de Vaca, in 1536. This is followed by four monographs, dealing respectively with the wanderings of De Vaca; Spanish efforts to penetrate to the north of Sinaloa, between 1536 and 1539; Fray Marcos of Nizza; and the expedition of Pedro de Villazur from Santa Fé to the Platte River in 1720. A subscription of one thousand dollars is solicited to complete the final report of Mr. Bandelier on his investigations among the Indians of the Southwest.

The Third Year-book of the Brooklyn Institute, 1890-'91, gives evidence of renewed vigor in this old institution. The book contains lists of officers and members, the bylaws, a brief history of the Institute, and an account of the work of 1890-91. During the past winter each of the many departments of the Institute provided a lecture once a month, making a large aggregate of such lectures. The library of the Institute comprises 13,000 volumes, and its circulation for the year ending September 1, 1890, was 55,891. A biological laboratory course was carried on during July and August, 1891, at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, under the direction of Prof. H. W. Conn. In December, 1888, a movement for the formation of Museums of Art and Science in Brooklyn was initiated by the Institute, and considerable progress has been made in this direction.

The principle of the slide-rule has been applied by Mr. H. J. Thomas in the Slide-Rule Perpetual Calendar (Jerome-Thomas Co., New York, 25 cents). This calendar can be set for any month of any year, past or future, and old style as well as new style. We note one misprint—29 for 59—in the Year Letter Table.

An essay from the pen of Edward L. Anderson, sketching the origin and development of man, has been sent us (R. Clarke & Co., 25 cents). It is untechnical in language and highly finished as to literary style. The author entitles the essay The Universality of Man's Appearance and Primitive Man, and affirms his conviction that man "appeared everywhere upon the earth, where the conditions were favorable, during a certain geological period." He also asserts that man has a soul, and that a pure soul is worthy of immortality.

The Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, for 1890, records the beginning of feeding experiments with milch-cows, for which extensive preparations had been made, also feeding experiments with poultry and swine, and tests of various sorghums. Considerable analytical work on a variety of substances had been done by the chemist; the horticulturist reports tests of a number of vegetables and small fruits; the pomologist describes his researches of the year on the grape and the peach; and a variety of operations are embraced in the report of the farm superintendent.

Mr. James Terry, of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, has published a monograph on three Sculptured Anthropoid Ape Heads found in the valley of the Columbia River. These heads were carved from a dark pumiceous, basaltic rock; and the author regards as the most probable conclusion concerning their origin "either that the animals which these carvings represent once existed in the Columbia Valley, or that, in the remote past, a migration of natives from some region containing these monkeys reached this valley, and left one of the vivid impressions of their former surroundings in these imperishable sculptures." Five artotype plates accompany the text.

A handsomely printed monograph of one hundred and fifty-six quarto pages, entitled Dynamics of the Sun, has been published by J. Woodbridge Davis (D. Van Nostrand Co., New York). It is a mathematical and theoretical essay dedicated to the astronomers, and they alone will be able to appreciate it.

A Chart of the Metric System, published by the American Metrological Society, contains tables of the measures of length, area, capacity, and weight; definitions of the terms used in the system; equivalents of cubic measures and weights, and exact-sized diagrams of the metre, the metre graduated into decimetres, centimetres, and millimetres: the litre; the cubic centimetre; ten cubic centimetres; one hundred cubic centimetres; the cubic decimetre; and the kilogramme weight; the whole covering a sheet suitable to hang on the wall. On the back are printed facts concerning the metric system; the action of various nations and of the United States adopting or recognizing it; the adaptation of the metric units to various scales of plans; metric equivalents of old units; graphical conversion and official abbreviations; the metric system in government business; its adaptation to the United States land system; metric railway curves; and other information.

The third volume of Dr. McCook's American Spiders and their Spinning-work will be ready for delivery in the coming spring. The cost of preparing the numerous engravings and plates has so greatly exceeded the expectations of the author (who is also the publisher) that he feels constrained to raise the price to new subscribers from $30 to $50 the set.