Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/March 1892/Literary Notices
My Canadian Journal, 1872-'78. By the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava. New-York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 456. $2.
The Journal consists of extracts from letters written home to the author's mother while Lord Dufferin was Governor-General of Canada. Although—the letters having been written from twelve to twenty years ago—it is rather an account of the past than a description of the present, and Canada has undergone a great development, its villages having become towns and new railways having developed cities in what was the wilderness, the Journal has lost none of its freshness; for it is the record, made on the spot and at the moment, by a keen observer of cultivated intelligence, disposed to make the best of everything that she saw and experienced; and such records are always fresh. So we are given, in the familiar style which intimate friendship authorizes, yet always graceful, sketches of travel, adventure, scenery, society, social and economical conditions, sports, more serious occupations, and whatever is of the life of the country. The pictures are of all seasons through eight years; they cover all parts of Canada, the St. Lawrence, the lakes, the Maritime Provinces, the west, northwest, and Pacific coast, and the Eastern Townships, with occasional excursions into the United States, concerning which the author is sorry to pass so lightly over the cordiality and the friendliness that were invariably shown her and her husband—"for whether we were traveling officially through Chicago or Detroit, or went as ordinary visitors to New York or Boston, we were always received with a kindness and cordiality which we can never forget."
Studies in Aërodynamics. By S. P. Langley. Smithsonian Institution. 1891.
This monograph of Prof. Langley is the record of four years' experimental work with the inclined plane, to determine the conditions to be complied with in moving such a plane through the air, the power required, etc. His work has thoroughly convinced him of the practicability of moving such planes through the air with our present means of propulsion. It has generally been thought that the one essential element needed to be provided, in order to make mechanical flight possible, was an extremely light and powerful motor. But Prof. Langley's experiments have shown that we need not make a search for such a motor, as the steam-engine, in the forms we now possess it, is quite equal to the occasion. His experiments have demonstrated the somewhat remarkable fact that the power required to sustain an inclined plane, when inclined at a slight angle to the horizontal and driven forward, decreases with the speed. He finds that there is a speed for any given plane at which the plane becomes self-supporting, or rather in which it tends to rise. This speed he terms the soaring speed, and when it is reached the weight becomes unimportant. With greater weights it is only necessary to drive them at greater speeds in order to eliminate the element of weight. The practical conclusion from this is that we are not prohibited by the weight of our apparatus from achieving mechanical flight, and the problems to be solved are not those connected with the question of weight, but rather those concerning the details of construction by means of which the apparatus may be controlled while under movement and in ascent and descent, so as to be safe and manageable. The method of experiment adopted by Prof. Langley consisted in mounting an inclined plane at the end of the arm of a whirling table sixty feet in diameter. This table was driven by power at such a rate that a speed of one hundred miles an hour could be attained. The plane was mounted in such a way that it was free to fall, and, by a number of ingenious appliances designed by Prof. Langley, the power which would be required to drive the plane in free air at the speeds attained could bo measured. The numerical result arrived at by the experiments is that by the expenditure of one horse-power a weight of two hundred pounds can be transported through the air at the rate of forty-five miles an hour. As a steam-engine of this power can be built to weigh not more than one tenth of this amount, it will be seen that there is a wide margin between the weight of the motor and the total weight which can be moved by it. When we consider the vast practical results which would follow the successful navigation of the air, the value of experiments such as these which supply us with data necessary to a solution of the problem can not well be overestimated. It is to be hoped that Prof. Langley will be able to continue his experiments until all the problems bearing upon this interesting and important subject shall have been solved.
The Journal of Physiology. Edited by Michael Foster. Cambridge, England: Cambridge Engraving Company. Vol. XII Price, $5 a volume.
The editor has the co-operation in conducting this journal—the foremost one of its class—of Professors W. Rutherford and J. Burdon-Sanderson, in England, and Professors H. P. Bowditch, H. Newell-Martin, H. C. Wood, and R. H. Chittenden, in the United States, The journal is published in numbers which appear not at rigidly fixed times, but at varying intervals, determined by the supply of material. The present volume consists of five numbers, the last one of which is made up of parts five and six, and contains thirty-one articles in original experimental physiological research. These articles relate to different elements of animal organisms; to the circulation, the nervous system, the action of various substances on bodily functions and products; respiration, temperature relations, the excretions; and to apparatus. They are prepared by careful and accurate experimenters, many of whom are experts or physiologists of world-wide reputation, and record in minute detail what they have themselves observed; the observations being usually accompanied by charts showing the graphic records made by the instruments used.
A Popular Hand-book of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada. Based on Nuttall's Manual. By Montague Chamberlain. Boston: Little, Brown &-Co. Two volumes. Pp. xlvii + 473, and vii + 431. Price, $8.
The first volume of Nuttall's Manual was published in 1832, and the second m 1834. The book was the work of a master of the ornithological knowledge of the day, and of an author who commanded a warm literary style with fine powers of description. It was the first hand-book of the subject that had been published, and was carried at once into favor, not less by its innate qualities than by the interest of the subject. While a great advance has been made in scientific or technical ornithology, the study of bird life, the real history of our birds, remains just about where Nuttall and his contemporaries left it. We have brilliant and engaging essays on various aspects of it by such writers as Bradford Torrey, Mrs. Miller, and Frank Bolles; but they do not appear in the hand-books, and, as Mr. Chamberlain remarks, "in comparison with the work accomplished by the older writers, and with that which is still unknown, the recent acquisitions must be considered slight." Nuttall's work has been out of print for several years; but its popularity and real value have kept it in demand, and the few copies recently offered for sale were disposed of at high prices. In publishing the new edition instead of issuing it in the form of the original, or remodeling it to the extent that would be required to arrange it in harmony with the new system in ornithology, the editor has reproduced Nuttall's biographies with few changes beyond pruning them of what was obsolete; has added, in notes distinguished by smaller type, such new facts as seemed needed to bring the descriptions into conformity with the present state of the science; has rewritten the descriptions of plumage, endeavoring to phrase them in well-known and untechnical terms, so that they may be understood by unskilled readers; and has added a description of the nest and eggs of each species. The untechnical character of the work, and the use of simple, well-known terms in the descriptions, are a feature on which the publishers speak with some pride. Canadian readers have been kept in mind, and accounts are given of every species that has been found within the Dominion east of the Manitoba plains, and of their Canadian distribution. The editor is a specialist in ornithology, on which he has published numerous articles in periodicals devoted tc the science and monographs. We were interested in reading Nuttall's introduction, which is given entire and unchanged, a foreshadowing of the doctrine of protective mimicry which has been made prominent by Mr A. R. Wallace. Some birds, it is observed, "are screened from the attacks of their enemies by an arrangement of colors assimilated to the places which they most frequent for subsistence and repose; thus the wryneck is scarcely to be distinguished from the tree on which it seeks its food; or the snipe from the soft and springy ground which it frequents. The great plover finds its chief security in stony places, to which its colors are so nicely adapted that the most exact observer may be deceived. The same resort is taken advantage of by the night-hawk, partridge, plover, and the American quail the young brood of which squat on the ground, instinctively conscious of being nearly invisible, from their close resemblance to the broken ground on which they lie, and trust to this natural concealment. The same kind of deceptive and protecting artifice is often employed by birds to conceal or render the appearance of their nests ambiguous. Thus the European wren forms its nest externally of hay, if against a hay-rick; covered with lichens, if the tree chosen is so clad; or made of green moss, when the decayed trunk in which it is built is thus covered; and then, wholly closing it above, leaves a concealed entry in the side. Our humming-bird, by external patches of lichen, gives her nest the appearance of a moss-grown knot. A similar artifice is adopted by our yellow-breasted fly-catcher, or vireo, and others." The first volume is devoted to land birds, the second to game and water birds. The accounts are confined to birds known east of the Mississippi Valley. The work is published in beautiful style, with pictorial illustrations that it would be hard to excel of most of the species, and a colored plate in each volume.
Christianity and Infallibility: Both or Neither. By the Rev. Daniel Lyons. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 284. Price, $1.50.
This book bears the nihil obstat (no objection) of D. Pantauella, S. J., and the imprimatur of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Denver, It was written under the influence of the conviction which the author believes the logic of facts is daily confirming, that "Christianity, to maintain its rightful hold on the reason and conscience of men, needs a living, infallible witness to its truths and principles; a living, infallible guardian of its purity and integrity, and a living, infallible interpreter of its meaning." The doctrine of infallibility, he believes, "goes to the very root of the Christian controversy, and supplies the only complete and satisfactory solution of the many and grave difficulties which it involves." Grant it, and in it "you have a ready, easy, and at the same time a perfectly satisfactory solution of the religious controversy with all its difficulties. Reject the doctrine of infallibility, and your path, as a believer in Christianity, is beset with insuperable difficulties." Protestants, it appears, have very erroneous conceptions of the meaning of this doctrine, which if they were correct would rightfully condemn it. As defined by the author, its true meaning is that "the Pope, by virtue of a special supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit of Truth promised to him, in and through St. Peter, is exempt from all liability to err when, in the discharge of his Apostolic Office of Supreme Teacher of the Universal Church, he defines or declares, in matters of or appertaining to Christian faith or morals, what is to be believed and held, or what is to be rejected and condemned by the faithful throughout the world." Besides the meaning of infallibility, which is thus summarized, the author considers the reasons why Catholics believe in the dogma of infallibility, the way they meet the objections to it, and—in the appendixes—The Happiness of Converts, Some Facts relating to the Vatican Council, and Pontifical Decrees and the Obedience due to them.
The Two Republics; or, Rome and the United States of America. By Alonzo T. Jones. Battle Creek, Mich.: Review and Herald Publishing Co. Pp. 895. Price, $2.50.
The purpose of this book is to study the interrelationship of government and religion, in respect to which Rome and the United States are regarded as occupying the two extremes. "The principle of Rome in all its phases is that religion and government are inseparable; the principle of the Government of the United States is that religion is essentially distinct and totally separate from civil government, and entirely exempt from its cognizance. The principle of Rome is the abject slavery of the mind; the principle of the United States of America is the absolute freedom of the mind. As it was Christianity that first and always antagonized this governmental principle of Rome, and established the governmental principle of the United States of America, the fundamental idea, the one thread-thought of the book, is to develop the principles of Christianity with reference to civil government, and to portray the mischievous consequences of the least departure from those principles." All Sunday legislation is so strenuously opposed, that this may be regarded as the chief purpose of the book. The Rome that is treated of is that which was brought into relation with Christianity, the empire, and the papacy. The persecutions of the Christians, which are regarded as simply the legitimate outcome of the impartial enforcement of the laws when inflicted by good emperors, and as a part of their undiscriminating viciousness when inflicted by bad ones, arc considered the legitimate results of the union of Church and State. As Christianity became stronger, it is charged with having adopted heathen features as a means of making its way more rapidly—"the great apostasy"—and particularly those connected with the worship of the sun (which is supposed to be, of all pagan cults, the most abhorrent to Jehovah), and among them the consecration of Sunday. The growth of other features held to be in conflict with pure religion and freedom is traced through the lives of emperors and popes. The transplantation of some of them, even after the Reformation, to America, and their gradual elimination under the workings of our free institutions; and the efforts, in recent years, by the National Reform Union, the Sabbath Union, and other societies, to secure the incorporation in the Constitution of a recognition of the Christian religion, and the enforcement of Sabbath laws, are successively reviewed. "As surely," the author concludes, "as the movement to commit the Government of the United States to a course of religious legislation shall succeed, so surely will there be repeated the history of Rome in the fourth and fifth centuries," and our republic will "be led captive in the ruinous triumph of the papacy."
The Positive Theory of Capital. By Eugen V. Böhm-Bawerk. Translated, with a Preface and Analysis, by William Smart, M. A. London: Macmillan & Co. 1891. Pp. 428. Price, $4.
In this volume Prof. Böhm-Bawerk deals with one of the vexed questions of economics—the economic basis of interest—with the question why the lender of a sum of money, for instance, should demand at the end of the period for which it is lent, not only the original sum, but a bonus as well. The different theories which have been advanced by economists to account for interest have been reviewed and subjected to criticism by the author in his previous work, Capital and Interest. This destructive criticism he now follows by a positive construction of his own, in which he seeks to find a lasting basis for the phenomenon of interest, in a theory which does not necessitate the resort to questionable hypotheses to support it. This basis he finds in considering interest, not as a bonus paid for the use of capital, but as a surplus arising from the greater value of present goods over future ones. He regards the transaction, say, of the loan of a sum of money and the payment of interest for it, as a case of the exchange of goods—the exchange of present goods for future ones.
As present goods are more desirable than future ones of the same face value, they command a premium, and this premium is interest. The following extract from the author's discussion of the sources of interest Bets forth clearly his own views, as well as his estimate of previous explanations:
"In the previous book I have tried to show, and account for, the natural difference that exists between the value of present and the value of future goods. I have now to show that this difference of value is the source and origin of all interest on capital. But, as the exchange of present commodities for future commodities takes various forms, the phenomenal forms of interest are as various, and our inquiry must necessarily deal with them all. In the following chapters, therefore, I intend to take up, in succession, all the principal forms of interest, and I shall endeavor to show that, notwithstanding all differences in shape and appearance, the active cause in them all is one and the same—namely, the difference in value between present and future goods.
"By far the simplest case of this difference in value is presented in the loan. A loan is nothing else than a real and true exchange of present goods for future goods; indeed, it is the simplest conceivable phenomenal form, and, to some extent, the ideal and type of such an exchange. The 'lender,' A, gives to the 'borrower,' B, a sum of present goods—say present pounds sterling. B gets full and free possession of the goods, to deal with as he likes, and, as equivalent, he gives into A's full and free possession a sum of entirely similar, but future, goods—say, next year's pounds sterling. Here, then, is a mutual transfer of property in two sums of goods, of which one is given as recompense or payment for the other. Between them there is perfect homogeneity, but for the fact that the one belongs to the present, the other to the future. I can not imagine how an exchange in general, and an exchange between present and future goods in particular, could be expressed more simply and clearly. Now, in the last chapter we proved that the resultant of the subjective valuations which determines the market price of present and future goods is, as a rule, in favor of present goods. The borrower, therefore, will, as a rule, purchase the money which he receives now by a larger sum of money which he gives later. He must then pay an 'agio' or premium (Aufgeld), and this agio is interest. Interest, then, comes, in the most direct way, from the difference in value between present and future goods.
"This is the extremely simple explanation of a transaction which, for hundreds of years, was made the subject of interpretations very involved, very far-fetched, and very untrue."
Prof. Böhm-Bawerk considers the profit of capitalist undertakings as a case of interest, and explainable by his formula, on the ground that the "owners of capital are merchants in present goods, such goods being more valuable than the "future goods"—labor, uses of land, and capital—which the capitalist buys. While this work is primarily addressed to economists, it is quite within the range of the general reader who is interested in economic questions.
Electricity and Magnetism. Translated from the French of Amédée Guillemin. Revised and edited by Silvanus P. Thompson. Macmillan & Co. 1891. Pp. 967. Price, $8.
The industrial applications of electricity have been so many and so varied, and they have increased at so great a rate in recent years, that the subject of the uses and possibilities of this marvelous agent possesses an interest for the general public shared by none of the other great agencies which have contributed so largely to our material advancement. This interest has been both sustained and augmented by the many popular expositions which have appeared in recent years, in which the principles of the science and their application to the arts have been told in plain, simple, and attractive language. Already the popular literature of the subject is large, and keeps pace with the advance in industrial and technical uses. Of recent contributions of this character the work of M. Guillemin is one of the most notable. The work covers a general exposition of the science of electricity and magnetism, and then brief and concise descriptions of apparatus and appliances. In the division devoted to the industrial applications, the subjects considered are—the mariner's compass, lightning-conductors, telegraphy, the telephone, microphone, and the radiophone, electric clock-work, motors, transmission of power, electric lighting, electro-plating, and various minor applications. In an appendix Prof. Thompson gives a brief account of the modern views of the nature of electricity, based upon the researches of Faraday and Maxwell.
The book is handsomely got up, printed in large type, on heavy calendered paper, with wide margins, and is very fully illustrated.
Mental Suggestion. By Dr. J. Ochorowicz, with a Preface by Charles Richet. New York: The Humboldt Publishing Company. Pp. 361. Price, $2.
As we gather from the concluding chapter of this work, by mental suggestion is meant a "dynamic correlate" sent forth by thoughts in every direction. Thoughts do not travel; "no substance is carried hither or thither, but a wave is propagated and modified more and more according to the different natures and the different resistances of the media it traverses" It is mental action at a distance, upon subjects which have to be in a proper rapport or relation to the acting thought. By it the phenomena of hypnotism, occultism, which it does not favor but banishes, and kindred mysteries are supposed to be accounted for. According to Dr. Richet's interpretation, the theory means that "independently of any phenomenon appreciable by our normal senses or by our normal perspicacity, how quick soever it may be supposed to be, there exists between the thought of two individuals a correlation such as chance can not account for." Dr. Ochorowicz sets forth a multitude of facts which have been observed by himself and by sundry experimenters, criticises them vigorously and seeks to eliminate the difficulties that might arise from fraud or chance, and to present the conclusions which seem to be established. Yet Dr. Richet does not maintain that his argument produces conviction, but only doubt. "So strong in its action upon our ideas is the influence of routine and of habit," which have taught us to ignore the conclusions to which the phenomena would lead an unprejudiced mind. "But," Dr. Richet adds, "whatever the opinion ultimately formed as to the reality of mental suggestion, it ought not, I think, to influence one's judgment as to M. Ochorowicz's book. Everybody, it seems to me, must recognize his sincerity, his perseverance, and his contempt for ready-made opinions. One feels that he has a passionate love of truth." The body of the work consists largely of citations of incidents apparently or really illustrating the doctrine of mental suggestion, with the author's criticisms and comments upon them, and the conclusions drawn from them.
Solutions. By W. Ostwald. Translated by M. M. Pattison Muir. London and New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 816. Price, $3.
The volume here offered to chemists is a portion of the author's Lehrbuch der allgemeinen Chemie, a second edition of which was issued toward the end of 1890. Sufficient reason for its translation and publication by itself is given in the appearance and rapid growth during the last three or four years of van 't Hoff's theory of solutions. An authoritative statement of this theory, together with a systematic setting forth of the great mass of facts about solutions that have been accumulated, has obvious value for chemists at the present time. The eminent rank of the translator among English chemists, together with the fact that he has had the co-operation of the author in preparing this version, insures that the treatise has lost nothing in the process of translation. It has, in fact, gained the benefit of some slight revisions, and some additions from memoirs published in the first half of 1891.
The Practical Telephone Hand-book. By Joseph Poole New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 288. Price, 75 cents.
The task which the author of this handbook has performed is a presentation of the art of communication by telephone as it is now practiced. To this end he describes the batteries, receivers, transmitters, signaling apparatus, and switch boards in general use, the systems employed in operating telephone exchanges, modes of constructing telephone lines, together with the poles, wires, insulators, and other material required in the construction. Long-distance working is also treated, and underground work and the localization of faults are not omitted, while a few minor or very recent topics are included in a miscellaneous chapter and an appendix. The volume is a thoroughly practical one and is fully illustrated.
Modern American Methods of Copper-smelting. By Edward Dyer Peters, M. E., M. D. Second edition, revised and enlarged. New York: The Scientific Publishing Company. Pp 398.
The author has dealt most largely in this work on facts gleaned from his own experience, while he has aimed to touch upon theoretical questions only when it was essential for the understanding of practical facts. Much attention has been given to matters of cost, both of construction and subsequent operation, and in this expenses are given, not as calculated on paper, but as actually incurred in building on a large scale and in smelting many thousand tons of ores under various circumstances, and in all the ordinary kinds of furnaces. The first edition of the book was published in 1887. For the second edition such new material as time and experience have suggested has been added. But the advances in copper smelting since the work first appeared have been rather in a general enlargement of furnaces and apparatus than in any radical changes or inventions. A section on the electrolytic assay of copper has been prepared by Mr. Francis L. Sperry, of Sudbury, Ontario, and information and plans of the regenerative gas-furnaces used at Atvidaberg, Sweden, have been furnished by Mr. Paul Johnson. It is in these regenerative gas-furnaces that the author expects to see realized the vital point of economy in the use of fuel. In the first chapter the ores of copper are described; in the second, their distribution is pointed out. The chapters that follow concern methods of copper assaying, the roasting of copper ores in lump form, stall roasting, roasting in lump form in kilns, calcination of ore and matte in a finely divided condition, the chemistry of the calcining process, smelting, blast-furnaces, the smelting of pyritous ores containing copper and nickel, reverberatory furnaces, refinement of copper with gas in Sweden, treatment of gold and silver bearing copper ores, and the Bessemerizing of copper mattes.
A Graduated Course of Natural Science. By Benjamin Loewy, F. R. A. S., etc. Part II. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 257. Price, 60 cents.
The second installment of this course of study consists wholly of experiments, most of them being in the domain of physics, but some in that of chemistry. The elementary laws and principles of mechanics, acoustics, optics, and electricity are successively brought out, and a few forms of chemical action are illustrated. A list of questions is given on the work included in each chapter. This part of the course is designed for young students, hence the directions and interpretations of the experiments are given in simple language. An appendix contains hints for performing the experiments, and there are sixty diagrams of apparatus in the body of the book. The author states that he has throughout aimed at rendering the experiments feasible with a very limited apparatus, and inexpensive materials and appliances.
Electricity Simplified. By T. O'Conor Sloane. New York: Norman W. Henley & Co. Pp. 158. Price, $1.
The objects of this little book are to explain the commonly accepted theory in regard to the action of electricity, and to describe the various ways in which electrical energy has been practically utilized. The theoretical part of the subject most needs explanation, and hence naturally receives most attention. Among the practical questions of popular interest that are answered are. How long does it take to send a signal across the Atlantic Ocean? how are cars on electric railroads worked? and under what conditions can a fatal shock of electricity be received? The text is illustrated with twenty-nine figures.
The Story of our Continent. By N. S. Shaler. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 290. Price, 85 cents.
The study of the ordinary text-books on geography gives pupils a minute acquaintance with the features of each division of a country, but leaves them without any broad view of the country as a whole, and without any appreciation of the relations of one section to another. This lack with respect to North America Prof. Shaler has aimed to supply by means of a reader in geography and geology telling how this continent grew into its present form, what aboriginal peoples are known to have inhabited North America, how the form of the continent has affected the history of its several groups of colonists, and what are its resources and commercial condition. Comparisons with some features of the Eastern Continent are introduced in the course of the description. The volume is illustrated and has an index.
Part XIX (July, 1891) of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research contains three principal papers, all of which embody reports, confirmed by several witnesses, of so-called psychic phenomena. The first paper, by Mr. F. W. H. Myers, is On Alleged Movements of Objects, without Contact, occurring not in the Presence of a Paid Medium. These movements include the rising of tables from the floor, knockings, ringing of bells, writing on slates, and the moving of chairs and various smaller articles. A record of Experiments in Clairvoyance is contributed by Dr. Alfred Backman, of Kalmar, Sweden. The cases given include seeing ordinary actions at a distance, describing a murderer and his house, describing Christmas presents some days before Christmas that the King of Sweden was to receive, and finding a miniature revolver that had been lost in a field. Dr. Richard Hodgson describes A Case of Double Consciousness occurring in a preacher named Bourne, living in Rhode Island. Mr. Bourne wandered from his home in 1887 and set up a small store in Norristown, Pa., which he kept for six weeks before recovering his identity. Mr. Bourne has been several times hypnotized and questioned by Dr. Hodgson, Prof. James, and Dr. Morton Prince. A supplement contains a Third ad interim Report on the Census of Hallucinations, covering returns received in England and in France, a reply to Mr. A. R. Wallace on Spirit Photographs, by Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, and two notices of books. Dr. Richard Hodgson, 5 Boylston Place, Boston, is the agent of the society in America.
A laboratory manual has been published by Prof. Delos Fall, of Albion, Mich., under the title An Introduction to Qualitative Chemical Analysis. It is intended to lead students to learn analysis by the inductive method. That this method of study "produces strong, accurate, enthusiastic, and independent students" is attested by the author's experience of several years with it. An introduction contains an outline of the mode of teaching for which the book is adapted; the tests are interspersed with practical hints and with questions that draw the student's attention to the essential features of what he is doing; lists of apparatus and reagents required are given, and also forms for recording the results, which to the student are discoveries.
The Legislature of the new State of Wyoming, in January, 1891, established the Wyoming Experiment Station, which, under date of May, 1891, issued its first Bulletin. This document describes the organization and the proposed work of the station. The arrangements for agricultural experiments include six farms, at altitudes from four thousand to seven thousand feet above sea-level, four fifths of the State being between four thousand and eight thousand feet. All but one of these farms are under irrigation. Special experiments on grasses are also being carried on under the direction of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
Bulletin No. 33, New Series, of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station is devoted to fertilizers. It contains one paper that can not be too highly praised; this is an Explanation of Terms of Chemical Analysis. A great part of the literature of agricultural stations is made entirely useless for the farmers that are taxed to pay for it by the use of chemical and other technical phraseology that only graduates of scientific schools can understand. Such explanations as the above should be multiplied.
A pamphlet with the title Ethereal Matter; Electricity and Akasa, has been made by Nils Kolkin, consisting of extracts from two books by the same author (J. M. Pinckney Co., Sioux City, Iowa, fifty cents). The subjects treated are the less known forces of Nature and various hypothetical substances, and the pamphlet will doubtless have interest for those who enjoy excursions into the unexplored domain of physics.
A stirring and practical address on The Teacher as he should be, delivered by C. W. Bardeen in July, 1891, has been published in a pamphlet (Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.). The drift of the address is that personality is of far more importance in a teacher than pedantically accurate knowledge on every subject.
A weekly magazine, called Railway Law and Legislation, and conducted by W. P. Canaday and G. B. West, began to appear in September, 1891 (712 Tenth Street, N.W., Washington, D. C, $3 a year). It is concerned with legislation, litigation, and financial and economic developments affecting common carriers. The first article is a historical sketch of The Nicaragua Canal Project. Other subjects treated are Canadian Competition and Discrimination, The Postal Telegraph Bill, The Coming Committees (a forecast), and various minor matters mentioned in notes.
Among the Miscellaneous Documents of the Fifty-first Congress was one entitled Postal Savings-Banks; an Argument in their Favor by the Postmaster-General. The reasons for adding the function of savings banks to the post-offices are set forth in a communication of fifteen pages, and an appendix of seventy-two pages contains a proposed bill to establish postal savings-banks, details of such systems of banks in other countries, opinions of previous postmasters-general, a large number of press comments concerning postal savings-banks, and some minor exhibits.
The first number of a quarterly magazine, devoted to matters of interest to inhabitants of Kansas, was published at Salina, Kan., July, 1891 (C. B. Kirtland Publishing Company, $1 a year). It is called The Agora, and the contents of its first number include The Kansas "Mulligrub," by Hon. William A. Phillips; Imagination in Science, by Prof. L. E. Sayre; A New Sociology, by Rev. E. C. Ray, D. D.; "Bleeding Kansas," by Prof. J. W. D. Anderson; besides other articles, poetry, and book notices.
An Introductory French Reader, the object of which is to prepare the pupil in the shortest possible time to read French easily, has been prepared by William Dwight Whitney and M. P. Whitney, and is published by Henry Holt & Co. and F. W. Christern. The exercises have been selected, with this end in view, from the works of the best-known French authors, choosing such passages as are simple enough to present little difficulty in translation, and so varied and interesting as to rouse and hold attention. A full vocabulary, in which the ordinary idiomatic phrases and expressions in the text are explained, and a table of irregular verbs are added; while the grammatical difficulties and a few literary and historical points are treated in the notes. (Price, 70 cents.)
The A B C of the Swedish System of Educational Gymnastics is a practical handbook for teaching the subject, prepared by Hartvig Nissen, an experienced teacher of the exercise in the public schools of Boston, and published by F. A. Davis, Philadelphia. The first two chapters contain such questions as have been frequently put to the author, the answers to which give a satisfactory idea of the foundation of the system. Other chapters contain prescriptions for daily lessons, arranged for school classes of different grades. Full instructions and commands are given for each lesson, and the whole is illustrated by seventy-seven engravings. (Price, 75 cents.)
Mr. Thomas Bertrand Branson's little manual of Colloquial German is designed to be a drill-book in conversation for school classes or self-instruction, and is intended to offer in convenient form a short course in that art and in German composition. It contains exercises in ordinary English conversation, which the student is expected to turn into German, to aid him in doing which a vocabulary, a summary of grammar, and a list of the irregular verbs arc added. (Published by Henry Holt & Co. Price, 65 cents.)