Popular Science Monthly/Volume 41/September 1892/Literary Notices
Marriage and Disease. By S. A. K. Strahan, M. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 326. Price, $1.25.
A subject for which the progress of science is just beginning to obtain intelligent consideration is the transmission of defects from parents to offspring. While most persons have a hazy belief in the adage, "Like father, like son," comparatively few have any adequate conception of the remorseless certainty with which the physical and mental defects of parents produce degeneracy and early death in their children. The present work furnishes in a form available for the general reader an abundance of pertinent and well-authenticated facts concerning the above subject. The author states first what is known as to the general laws of heredity, and then proceeds to discuss in turn insanity, drunkenness, epilepsy, and other diseases and defects with relation to parenthood. "There is no class of diseases," he says, "so surely transmitted from parent to child as the nervous." While the chronically insane are not allowed to contract marriage, yet a young man, for instance, who inherits nervous instability may, in the intervals between acute attacks of insanity, marry and beget children. When, as probably happens, he goes to end his days in an asylum, he is very likely to be followed by some of the children whom he has burdened with his infirmity. The results are more surely disastrous when both parents belong to the neurotic or insane type. "The person, man or woman," says Dr. Strahan, "who has an epileptic, or choreic, or imbecile brother or sister, an insane uncle, aunt, or parent, or even grandparent, should never for a moment permit himself to look upon a member of any neurotic family—that is, one in which insanity, epilepsy, habitual drunkenness, suicide, or imbecility has at any time appeared as a probable, or even possible, partner in marriage. . . . All these diseases, together with neuralgia, hysteria, cancer, and the like, are allied, and, following some law at present unknown to us, replace each other in successive generations, and in different individuals of the same generation, in a manner at present inexplicable."
In the chapter on tubercular disease, the causes which produce the consumptive temperament are given as impure air, drunkenness, and want among the poor; dissipation and enervating luxuries among the rich. This temperament occurs in families that are on the down grade of general decay. Among instinctive criminals, which are regarded as representatives of a decaying race, tubercular disease, very naturally, is found actively at work.
In the concluding chapters of the work it is shown that too early and too late marriages have an injurious effect on the offspring of such unions, while consanguineous marriages injure the children proceeding from them only by intensifying whatever defect may characterize the family to which the parents belong. Attention is called to the fact that unions of the criminal, the dissolute, and the intemperate bring forth children whose degenerate organizations make them burdensome and dangerous to those of more wholesome parentage. On the basis of these facts Dr. Strahan urges those who perceive that they possess any serious constitutional taint to forego marriage, and advocates the confinement of the criminal and habitually drunken so as to prevent the propagation of their kind.
Bibliography of the Algonquian Languages. By James Constantine Pilling. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 614.
We have already noticed the four previous numbers of the author's series of bibliographies of Indian languages—those of the Eskimauan, Siouan, Iroquoian, and Muskogean families. The whole have grown out of an attempt made several years ago to embrace within a single volume an author's catalogue of all the material relating to the native North American languages. Too much material was collected for a single convenient volume, and it was concluded to change the style of publication and issue a series of bibliographies, each relating to one of the more prominent groups of our native languages. The Algonquian-speaking people perhaps covered a greater extent of country than those of any other of the linguistic stocks of North America; and the literature of their languages is greatest in extent of any of the stocks north of Mexico, being equaled, if at all, by only one south of that line, the Nahuatl. Probably every language of the family is on record, and of the more prominent, extensive record has been made. The whole Bible has been printed in the Massachusetts and Cree languages, nearly the whole in the Chippewa and Micmac, and portions of it in a number of others. Rather extensive dictionaries have been printed in Abnaki, Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Delaware, Micmac, and Nipissing, and manuscript dictionaries are in existence of Abnaki, Nipissing, Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montagnais, and Pottawatomi; grammars of the Abnaki, Blackfoot, Chippewa, Cree, Massachusetts, Micmac, and Nipissing; and manuscript grammars exist of the Illinois, Menomenee, Montagnais, and Pottawatomi. Prayerbooks, hymn-books, tracts, and scriptural texts have appeared in nearly every language of the family; several of them are represented by primers, spellers, and readers; and a geography for beginners was printed in Chippewa in 1840. The present volume contains 2,245 entries of titles, of which 1,926 relate to printed books and articles, and 319 to manuscripts. Of these, 2,014 have been seen and described by the compiler; and of those unseen by him, titles and descriptions of probably half have been received from persons who have actually seen them and described them for him. Many full titles of printed covers are also given, and fac-similes of the original. The author has sought to include everything, printed or in manuscript, relating to the Algonquian languages—books, pamphlets, articles in magazines, tracts, serials, etc., and such reviews and announcements of publications as seemed worthy of notice.
Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission for 1889. Washington: United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries. Pp. 504.
The contents of this volume consist of some twenty reports on various subjects connected with American fishes and fisheries, including the taking of shell-fish. Among the more extended papers is one on the salmon and salmon fisheries of Alaska, by T. II. Bean, which is copiously illustrated with views and maps. As the salmon fisheries of Alaska are said to be more valuable than the seal fisheries, the act of Congress ordering the commissioner to make this investigation, with a view to protecting the industry, would seem to be a wise one. There is a Report upon a Physical Investigation of the Waters off the Southern Coast of New England, by William Libbey, Jr., accompanied by a large number of tables and temperature charts. Other notable papers are, A Reconnaissance of the Streams and Lakes of the Yellowstone National Park, by David Starr Jordan, with views of streams and cataracts; Notes on the Crab Fishery of Crisfield, Md., by Hugh M. Smith; and Notes on the Oyster Fishery of Connecticut, by J. W. Collins, the two last named also being well illustrated.
Tenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, 1888-'89. J. W. Powell, Director. Part I, Geology; Part II, Irrigation. Washington: Department of the Interior.
During the year covered by this report, work was prosecuted in the many divisions of the survey already established, and in the new division of irrigation, created to perform the new duties assigned to the survey by Congress at the beginning of the year. The publications printed for the survey were one annual report, two quarto monographs, nine bulletins, and one annual statistical volume. In accordance with a plan promulgated by the director in December, a conference on map publication was held in January, at which a unit of publication, a system of nomenclature, and sets of colors and patterns for geological maps were determined upon. The decisions reached, and plates showing the colors and patterns, are inserted in the report. The director's report is followed by administrative reports of the heads of divisions, and by these papers: General Account of the Freshwater Morasses of the United States, with a Description of the Dismal Swamp District of Virginia and North Carolina, by Nathaniel Southgate Shaler; The Penokee Iron-bearing Series of Michigan and Wisconsin, by the late Roland Duer Irving and Charles Richard Van Hise; The Fauna of the Lower Cambrian or Olenellus Zone, by Charles D. Walcott. The papers are illustrated by ninety-eight plates and many figures and maps.
The report on irrigation is bound separately, and describes the first year's work in this field. The area of the arid region of the United States is about 1,300,000 square miles—one third of the whole country. Major Powell estimates that 150,000 square miles of this, equal to half the present cultivated area of the country, is so favorably situated that it may be reclaimed by irrigation within a generation. The efforts of the persons assigned to the irrigation survey were directed during the year to ascertaining the whereabouts of irrigable land most eligible for redemption and segregating it for homestead settlement; to determining the amount of available water, the best locations for reservoirs and canals, the seepage, the evaporation, and the vested rights in short, the most economical method of bringing the land and the water together. The details of this work are set forth in the report.
Psychology applied to the Art of Teaching. By Joseph Baldwin, LL. D. International Education Series, Vol. XIX. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 381. Price, $1.50.
The process of training the mind is here presented in a thoroughly methodical manner. The author divides his treatise into six parts, the first five of which deal respectively with the education of the perceptive powers, the representative powers, the thought powers, the emotions, and the will powers. These several subjects are systematically divided and subdivided, and under each subdivision the author tells in terse, vigorous sentences just what the teacher should do. For an example of his method take the following, from the chapter on Culture of the Perceptive Powers:
Large use is made of tabular statements, diagrams, and different styles of type in presenting the author's meaning. The closing portion of the work, on The Art of Teaching, consists of seven short chapters. In the second of these Prof. Baldwin states and comments upon the following "Nine Laws of Teaching": "1. Be what you would have your children become. 2. Know thoroughly the children and the subject. 3. Use easy words and apt illustrations. 4. Secure attention through interest. 5. By easy steps lead through the known to the unknown. 6. Lead learners to find out, to tell, and to do for themselves. 7. Train learners to assimilate into unity their acquisitions. 8. Train pupils to habitually do their best, in the best ways. 9. Lead the pupil through right ideas to right conduct." He then proceeds to define the fundamental teaching processes, and to state which are to be most largely employed in the several periods of education. This work, with the author's two earlier books, on the Art of School Management, and Elementary Psychology, form a series in elementary pedagogy. During the past forty years the chapters of the present volume have been given as lessons to many classes of teachers, and they are now fixed in the form in which the author believes they will be most helpful.
A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.—By James Clerk Maxwell. Third edition. In two volumes. New York: Macmillan & Co. Price, $8.
That a work on electricity in this generation of electrical progress should still continue to be printed twenty years after it was written, and ten years after the death of its author, is an indication of sterling worth. Although a treatise like this, dealing only with the mathematics of electricity, is not so liable to become antiquated as one treating of the theories and applications of the science, yet Maxwell's book had a distinct forward trend which has contributed much to its longevity. The editor of the present edition, Prof. J. J. Thomson, says in his preface that the advances made by electricity and magnetism in the last twenty years are "in no small degree due to the views introduced into these sciences by this book; many of its paragraphs have served as the starting points of important investigations"; and further, that "all recent investigations have tended to confirm in the most remarkable way the views advanced by Maxwell." In revising this work Prof. Thomson has added foot-notes relating to isolated points which could be dealt with briefly, but the chief advances in electricity that have been made since the publication of the first edition are to be treated more consecutively in a supplementary volume. He has added some explanations to the argument in passages where he has found that students meet with difficulties. He has also attempted to verify the results that Maxwell gives without proof, and where he arrives at different results has indicated the difference in a foot-note.
Longmans' New School Atlas. Edited by George G. Chisholm and C. H. Leete. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Price, $1.50.
There are thirty-eight maps in this atlas, most of them being on double-page sheets, measuring about fourteen by eleven inches, and a few being on longer folded sheets. Coloring and a variety of markings are used so as make to each give a remarkably full description of the lands and waters that it represents. There are seven maps of the world: the first showing the height of land and depth of sea in contours; the second showing ocean currents, periodical rains, and drainage; the third, in four parts, giving isotherms; the fourth showing the mean atmospheric pressure and prevailing winds in January and in July; the fifth, magnetic variation; the sixth, vegetation; and the seventh, in two parts, density of population, races, and religions. The maps of the several countries show political divisions (historical boundaries being indicated in some cases), height of the land by means of coloring, canals, battle-fields, elevation in feet of important towns, mountain peaks and passes, and the limit of navigation in rivers. There are geological, rainfall, population, industrial, and commercial maps of the United States, and one showing territorial growth, besides the general map of the whole country, and one of the northeastern part on a larger scale. To avoid overloading the maps, names of unimportant places are not printed on them, but such places may be found by means of the index, in which their locations are indicated. A sheet of astronomical diagrams is prefixed to the maps, and the volume has a thumb-index.
A Manual of North American Butterflies. By Charles J. Maynard. Boston: De Wolfe, Fiske & Co. Pp. 226. Price, $1.50.
Intending his book for the tyro as well as for the advanced student, the author has avoided the use of technical terms as far as possible. He has also made his descriptions as short as possible, and in the interest of clearness has used the comparative method wherever he could do so. The volume contains ten hand-colored plates, on which one species of nearly all the genera of North American butterflies are figured, and woodcuts are inserted in the text showing some peculiar character of about two hundred and fifty more species, by which the insects may be known. Both plates and woodcuts, with one exception, have been drawn and engraved by the author. The arrangement used is that published by Mr. W. H. Edwards in 1884.
The Rural Publishing Company, New York, publish in their Rural Library—a series of monthly issues of popular pamphlets on scientific and practical topics in agriculture and horticulture—a well-studied paper on Cross-breeding and Hybridizing, by L. H. Bailey. It considers the philosophy of the crossing of plants, with reference to their improvement under cultivation, first summarizing the results of the studies of Darwin and other authors who have investigated the subject; then setting forth the advantages of crossing within the variety and change of stock within ordinary bounds; and, finally, going on to the summary production of new varieties. This is a difficult and delicate process, calling for the exercise of the greatest skill and patience. The author records several experiments of his own in the process, all going to illustrate its uncertainty; and concludes: "Encourage in every way crosses within the limits of the variety and in connection with change of stock, expecting increase in vigor and productiveness; hybridize if you wish to experiment, but do it carefully, honestly, and thoroughly, and do not expect too much." A valuable feature of the publication is the copious bibliography of the subject.
A pamphlet comes to us from Italy discussing financial questions and reviewing the situation in that country in particular, entitled Il Baratto dei Biglietti di Banca fra gli Istituti di Emissions e il Corso forzoso in Italia (The Exchange of Bank-notes between Institutions of Emission and Forced Circulation in Italy), by the Avocato Francesco Ciaffii. The author regards the financial situation of his country as critical, and a forced circulation as imminent.
The periodical formerly known as The Triangle now comes to us as Physical Education, to which subject it is devoted. The name of the company by which it is published still remains the Triangle Publishing Company, and the triangle—denoting the co-operation of body, spirit, and mind—is still the emblem of its school. It purposes to publish chiefly original matter. We are glad to observe it deploring the pushing of records in special lines, refusing to hold up in prominence those who succeed in doing extraordinary work in any single line, and declaring itself committed to all-round work. It also expresses dissent with those who hold that symmetry of bodily form is the great object to be worked for, and with those who look to bodily health as the end of their endeavors. Symmetry of bodily form is an incidental good, and bodily health is only one of the objects to be pursued.
Food is a new monthly publication devoted to cookery, household economy, and good living, including foods, dietetics, adulterations, sanitation, regimen for the sick-room, new domestic inventions, and all matters of careful and healthful living, published by the Clover Publishing Company, New York. The first three numbers, now before us, are filled with bright, suggestive, and practical leading articles on various points in domestic life, and several "departments" containing recipes, sensible household suggestions, hints, and "spicy" items. Price, twenty cents a copy.
The Journal of Physiology, edited by Michael Foster, with the co-operation of a number of eminent English and American physiologists, continues to publish articles of original research, and stands at the head of publications of this class in the English language. The double number for May contains accounts of investigations of taste, sensations, respiratory changes, retractile cilia in the intestine of Lumbricus terrestris, cobrapoison, the influence of calcium salts on heat coagulation of albumins, the protective functions of the skin, etc. Cambridge, England. Price, $5 a volume.
A pamphlet on How to light a Colliery by Electricity contains full directions on that subject by Sydney F. Walker, author of other papers on electric lighting. It gives directions concerning the number of lamps required, apparatus, dynamos, and their types, the engines that drive them, their position, lamps, switches, cables, faults, and many other points related to the subject. Published in New York by Macmillan & Co. Pp. 36. Price, 75 cents.
Dr. Daniel G. Brinton has printed a number of Studies in South American Native Languages, being papers which were contributed to the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society in the early months of 1892. Most of them are based on unpublished manuscripts in European and American libraries, and they include material on at least four linguistic stocks hitherto wholly unknown to students. Dr. Brinton has also added two studies of Mexican languages.
Physiology: its Science and Philosophy (The Courier Co., New Castle, Ind.), is an octavo volume in which the author, Jacob Redding, M. D., gives his ideas of the philosophy which underlies physiology and disease.
One of the latest efforts to establish a substantial identity of body and soul is contained in a book on Pluri-Cellular Man, in which the questions "Whence and what is the intellect, or soul?" "What becomes of the soul?" and "Is it possible to save the soul?" are considered from a biological point of view, by Dr. C. A. Stephens. The author conceives matter as sentient or feeling, and the living body, consequently, as composed of an aggregation of living atoms, or cells. Hence the processes of life have their origins in the beginnings of Nature. The cell "is not only a modicum of protoplasm, but the instrumentality of a self, an ego, a personal being." The soul "is the developed and experienced living matter of the body, particularly that in the cells of the nerve ganglia and the brain." The second and third questions proposed are answered in accordance with this.
The volume of the Missouri Botanical Garden for 1892 contains the third annual reports of the Board of Trustees and of the director, William Trelease, three anniversary publications, and two scientific papers. We learn from the director's report that the garden has acquired the grasses of the herbarium of the late Dr. George Thurber, Mr. Hitchcock's collection of 2,000 specimens representing the flora of the West Indies, and Mr. Trelease's herbarium of 11,000 specimens representing 4,000 species, mostly of fungi; and the Engelmann Herbarium of about 98,000, and the Bernhardi Herbarium of 57,500 specimens, have been mounted and arranged. The anniversary publications in the volume are the Second Annual Flower Sermon, by the Rev. Montgomery Schuyler; the proceedings of the second annual banquet of the trustees of the Garden, and of the second annual banquet to gardeners. The scientific papers are a revision of North American species of Rumex, by Mr. Trelease, and "the Yucca Moth and Yucca Pollination," by Prof. C. V. Riley, with notes on Agave Engelmanni and Parmelia molliuseula. Both the papers are excellently illustrated. Price, $1.
One of the fruits of the effort of Mr. Draper, State Superintendent of Public Instruction of New York, to secure comparisons of the school system of that State with those of other States and of foreign countries appears in French Schools through American Eyes, which has been prepared at Mr. Draper's request by J. Russell Parsons, inspector of teachers' classes, formerly our consul at Aix-la-Chapelle, and author of a similar book on Prussian schools. Mr. Parsons spent a summer in the study of the French school system, and has presented a clear and comprehensive report on the subject. It is accompanied by a special paper on primary instruction in France. The two reports illustrate the educational systems of the two leading countries of Europe which pay the closest attention to elementary schools. Published by C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.
A valuable and well-arranged manual of the Geography of Africa South of the Zambesi, with notes on the industries, wealth, and social progress of the states and peoples, by William Parr Greswell, is published by a London house which is represented in New York by Macmillan & Co. The author alleges as a reason for the being of his work that the country is marked by the display of the power of European colonization. It "has ceased to be a country of mere sporting adventure or of aimless wanderings. It is gradually being identified with the European system; and by recent international conventions and agreements, under the Salisbury Government, boundaries have been assigned and frontiers surveyed which are likely to be permanent and beneficial to all contracting parties on the east as well as on the west coast." A large proportion of the space is taken up with the account of Cape Colony as the largest of the colonies and countries, and as having many features common to all. Maps are given of Cape Colony, Natal, and British South and Central Africa. Price, $2.
Mr. W. Lee Beardmore, author of The Drainage of Habitable Dwellings (Macmillan & Co., $1.50), has for many years past made a special study of the science of house drainage. In writing the articles, for British technical journals, of which the book has been composed, he touched briefly upon what has been done in an insanitary manner in the past, and pointed out what should be done to render a dwelling thoroughly sanitary in its drainage arrangements. While some critical readers may think he has not gone deep enough into the theory or into the practice, he hopes he has made a hearty endeavor to place before the public what should be done in order to have a truly habitable dwelling.
In Humanity in its Origin and Early Growth (Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, $1.50), the author, E. Colbert, has endeavored to trace out a few of the salient points in the early unfolding of man and his thought, principally in those ages which preceded the writing of history; to show some of the states of development by which man was evolved from merely inanimate matter, and more especially those by which he rose from the level of his immediate predecessor in the scale of progress; then to sketch the widening out of the human mentality from the infantile phase to that of the child in knowledge, at which point it is left for history to take up the thread of the narrative. The principal object has been to discover primitive ideas about the causation of events and the constitution of things, and to show that to a great extent man's religious creeds and ceremonies, with much of his philosophy, grew out of notions which appear to have been first entertained as a result of observing the stars.
The first number has appeared of the Journal of the United States Artillery, published under the authority of the staff of the Artillery School. As the name of the journal implies, it is devoted to the interests of the artillery. The present number contains articles on sea-coast guns and steel armor, field practice, the English proving-grounds at Shoeburyness, the determination of the velocity of projectiles by sound phenomena, book notices, and abstracts of the contents of service periodicals.
The Department of Agriculture publishes a Report on the Agriculture of South America, with maps and the latest statistics of trade, which has been prepared under the direction of the statistician, Almont Barnes, a gentleman whose long residence in South America as United States consul, and subsequent study of the condition and progress of the South American countries, well qualify for the work. The several countries of the continent are considered each in its separate chapter, with discussions of all the points connected with the general subject.
A preliminary report on Timber Physics, compiled by B. E. Fernow, chief, and published by the Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture, contains ample statements concerning the purpose, theory, and practical application of the timber tests now being made in the forestry division, of which a number of brief notices have already been given. The headings under which the subject is treated include the "Need of the Investigation," "Scope and Historical Development of the Science of Timber Physics," and "Organization and Methods of the Timber Examinations in the Division of Forestry."
The Psychological Table prepared by Prof. W. R. Benedict, of Cincinnati, on the basis of the teachings of James Ward and Prof. Hoffding, presents on a single sheet at one view the whole course of the development of consciousness, feeling, and thought. Defining psychology as the science of consciousness, it assumes that consciousness is dependent on nerve matter, and therefore starts with affections of that. There are presented the beginnings of consciousness; its development by differentiation; sensation and the senses; representation, or the return of states of consciousness; intellection, or thought; feeling; the will; and psychical disease, the progress of which, in contrast with evolution, is called devolution.
From the annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College is reprinted a valuable compend of the Investigations of the New England Meteorological Society for 1890. Reports were received from 172 different observers, but owing to various changes the average number of observers was about the same as in 1889—194. There are room and need for more observers in western and northern New England. In reviewing the cyclone observations of the year, notice is taken of the course of the storms, and as far as practicable of the relations to other regions of those which passed through it and north and south of it. In the work of gathering climatic data, the attempt to prepare such general results as isothermal maps or maps of mean annual rainfall has been met with the two difficulties of an insufficient number of reporting stations, and of insufficient time since the stations have been established to afford trustworthy means for a climate so variable as that of New England. The society hopes in time to be able to attempt the preparation of tables and maps that shall portray the peculiarities of local climate on a finer scale than that which suffices very well for the country as a whole. A careful study of the tornado at Lawrence, Mass., of July 26, 1890, is given in papers by W. M. Davis, director of the society, and H. Helm Clayton, of the Blue Hill Observatory.
A pamphlet entitled Humanity's Spreading Curse is aimed at the exposure of the "Scribes and Pharisees," by One of them. The characters held up to reprobation are: "The Common Scribe," "The Moral Scribe," "The Puritan," "The Foolism Scribe," and "The Pharisee"; the question is asked, "What must we do to be saved?" and quotations are made from newspapers and periodicals to enforce the author's points. The characters aimed at by the author are doubtless all liable to criticism; but criticism is one thing, and reckless denunciation is another.
The Annual Report of the Geological Survey of New Jersey for 1891 (John C. Smock, State Geologist) is full of valuable facts and statistical data concerning the resources of the State, and of suggestions for their further development. The work of the survey was carried on during the year in the study of the surface or Pleistocene formations in the northern part of the State; in an examination of the oak-land and pineland belts of the southern part of the State; in the continued study of the stream-flows and water-sheds for the report on water-supply and water-power; and, in co-operation with the United States Geological Survey, in the study of the crystalline rocks of the highlands of northern New Jersey. In addition to a very satisfactory presentation of these subjects, articles are given on "Artesian Wells," "Passaic River Drainage," "Iron Mines," and "Mineral Statistics." The detailed study of the drift and of the glacial moraine and its topographical characteristics is full.
A convenient manual of the Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, compiled from the British Pharmacopœia of 1885, and its appendix of 1890, by C. E. Armand Semple, is published by Longmans, Green & Co., New York ($3). While it treats in the main only of the drugs that are official, a few illustrations of non-official plants have been introduced here and there, in order to demonstrate some particular facts. The book is divided into two sections: the organic, dealing exclusively with the vegetable and animal products; and the inorganic, containing, besides inorganic substances proper, alcoholic and ethereal preparations, creosote, paraffin, etc., and carbon products generally. Stress is placed upon the illustrations—of forms of crystals and representations of plants—as tending to make the subject more interesting and to impress the facts more firmly upon the memory.