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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/April 1895/Literary Notices

LITERARY NOTICES.

From the Greeks to Darwin. An Outline of the Development of the Evolution Idea. Columbia University Biological Series. I. By Henry Fairfield Osborn, Sc. D. New York: Macmillan & Co. Price, $2.

Prof. Osborn has undertaken in this work the interesting and useful task of tracing from the earliest times down to the present day the course of speculation and discovery which resulted in the establishment of the Darwinian theory of the origin of species by natural selection. This being his specific task, we could wish that the author had drawn more clearly the distinction between the discovery and enunciation of the law of natural selection and the discovery and enunciation of the law of evolution in its most comprehensive sense. We do not, indeed, find this distinction drawn anywhere throughout the work; on the contrary, we find in many places a somewhat loose application of the wider term evolution to the narrower theory of natural selection, with a certain amount of resulting confusion. "The evolution law," he tells us, "was reached not by any decided leap, but by the progressive development of every subordinate idea connected with it, until it was recognized as a whole by Lamarck and later by Darwin." Compare this with Prof. Huxley's statement of the case: "In the Origin of Species, and in his other numerous and important contributions to the solution of the problem of biological evolutions Mr. Darwin confines himself to the discussion of the causes which have brought about the present condition of living matter, assuming such matter to have once come into existence. On the other hand, Mr. Spencer and Prof. Haeckel have dealt with the whole problem of evolution (Italics ours). The profound and vigorous writings of Mr. Spencer embody the spirit of Descartes in knowledge of our own day and may be regarded as the Principes de Philosophie of the nineteenth century." (See Collected Essays, Vol. II; also Encyclopædia Britannica.) Prof. Osborn tells us, referring to Darwin, that "in the middle of this century came the man who ranks as the great central thinker." This was certainly not Darwin's estimate of himself. His strong point, as he often remarked, was observation. He looked at his facts hard and long until they seemed to teach him something, but he expressly disclaimed any special talent for generalization. This he recognized as belonging to Mr. Spencer in an altogether eminent degree. "I suspect," he wrote to Prof. Bay Lankester, "that hereafter he will be looked at as by far the greatest living philosopher in England; perhaps equal to any that have lived."

Nothing could be further from the wish of any one connected with this journal than to belittle in any way the work of Charles Darwin. That he was the author of a great and fertile idea which has worked almost a complete revolution in biological method all the world is aware. It is only a month or so since we quoted in these very columns the testimony borne by Prof. Huxley to the value and importance of the Darwinian theory as formulated and understood by Darwin himself. We desire, however, that justice should be done to others as well as to Darwin; and if there is not in the work before us a deliberate attempt to ignore the claims of Herbert Spencer as an exponent of the theory of evolution we are greatly deceived. Turning to the index, we find the following entry: "Spencer, early publications, 215"—that and nothing more. Turning to page 215,—we find it mentioned that Spencer was "one of the few out-and-out evolutionists before the publication of the Origin of Species." A reference is made to two of his early essays as bearing this out, and the following quotation is given from one of them: "Any existing species, animal or vegetable, when placed under conditions different from its previous ones, immediately begins to undergo certain changes of structure fitting it for new conditions." In all (including the quotation), sixteen lines of large type are allotted to Mr. Spencer; and this is his share in the volume. In the bibliography at the end of the book there is no mention of his name; not even the two early essays referred to in the index are allowed a place. Yet one of the headings in the bibliography is, "The Natural Philosophers and Speculative Evolutionists." Mr. Morley is there, on the strength of his work on Diderot and the Encyclopædists; and G. H. Lewes, on the strength of an article published in Eraser's Magazine in 1857; Mr. Fiske is there, very properly, on the strength of his Cosmic Philosophy; but Mr. Spencer's works, on which Cosmic Philosophy is professedly based, are absolutely ignored. How is this to be explained? It would be ridiculous on our part to enter upon a serious argument to prove that, as a "speculative evolutionist," Mr. Spencer occupies simply the foremost position in the world to-day. Darwin fully recognized the fact; Huxley recognizes it; Mr. Sully, who has gone over very much the same ground as Prof. Osborn, says that "the philosopher who has done more than any one else to elaborate a consistent philosophy of evolution on a scientific basis is Mr. Herbert Spencer"; Mr. Leslie Stephen, in the introduction to his Science of Ethics, speaks of Mr. Spencer as "the leading exponent of the philosophy of evolution," and of his having "worked out an encyclopedic system of which his ethical doctrine is the crown and completion"; Geddes and Thomson, in their very able work on The Evolution of Sex (Contemporary Science Series), refer repeatedly to Spencer, and say pointedly that to him is due "the first adequate discussion of growth." But why multiply opinions? Mr. Spencer is not beyond disparagement, or attempted disparagement, by smaller minds; but in the judgment of the foremost men of the present day his position as an original, powerful, and most fertile thinker, in regard to the problems of evolution in general and of biology in particular, is decisively established. The omission, however, of Mr. Spencer's name is not the only peculiarity of Prof. Osborn's bibliography. We look in vain for the names of Romanes, Grant Allen, Patrick Geddes, J. Arthur Thomson, and Andrew Wilson, not to mention any others. It can not be urged in explanation that the bibliography only comes down to the date of Darwin's Origin of Species, because it contains dates as recent as 1892. We can only conclude, therefore, that a partisan effort is being made to keep as much as possible from the knowledge of Columbia students in biology not only Mr. Spencer's work in biology and the general theory of evolution, but that of other writers who recognize the commanding position which he occupies.

The historical sketch, which the work before us purports to give, is in general well done, and the student who masters it will have a tolerably correct and complete idea of the work of Darwin's predecessors. To many doubtless the information given will come as a surprise, so widespread is the idea that evolution sprang in full armor from the brain of Darwin. Darwin himself was surprised when he took to reading Buffon. "I have read Buffon," he says in a letter to Huxley; "whole pages are laughably like mine. It is surprising to see how candid it makes one to see one's views in another man's words." Darwin was a man who was candid at all times, and not only candid but generous. Were he still living he would be foremost in regretting that a book written, as we may say, in his honor should have done so much less than justice to one whom he honored and esteemed so highly.

Fundamental Problems. By Dr. Paul Carus. Second edition, enlarged and revised. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company. Pp. 873. Price, $1.50, cloth; 50 cents, paper.

This attempt to present the method of philosophy as a systematic arrangement of knowledge is a collection of essays that appeared originally as editorial articles in The Open Court, revised in the light of the criticisms they then drew out. The author has endeavored to avoid originality; that is, to introduce as little as possible of his personality and his private sympathies with, or antipathies against, other solutions. Philosophy is presented as the most practical and most important science, because its problems lie at the bottom of all the single sciences; and as furthermore the foundation of the rules of our conduct. In this book is proposed a philosophy of most radical free thought, unincumbered by the excrescences of negativism and hedonism, "that is, no negativism, no agnosticism, and no metaphysical mysticism, but a systematic arrangement of positive facts"; and religion and modern science, ethics and politics, industry, mercantile enterprise, and socialism, in their present existence, are regarded as alike based upon the teaching of the positive school. In this second edition of the work are inserted an introductory chapter on Ontology and Positivism, and an appendix containing the author's replies to his critics.

Electricity at the Columbian Exposition. By J. P. Barret, Chief of Department. Chicago: R. R. Donnelley & Sons' Company. 1894. Pp.501.

The author modestly disavows claims to originality in the composition of this work, and characterizes it as nearly resembling a compilation. He deserves credit for the excellent manner in which he has done his work. The general introduction gives a brief account of the electrical expositions previous to 1893. The introductions to the several chapters present a scientific though cursory survey of the various applications of electricity and their bearing upon the exposition. The great extent of the department made it impossible to describe all the exhibits; only the unimportant ones, however, were omitted, and the book as a whole presents a good general view of the electrical exposition, together with a large amount of detailed information concerning the various branches of electric art as represented at the fair. Arts and industries in general are dwelt upon where they have any bearing on electricity. Everything is up to date, even Moisson's process for the preparation of artificial diamonds being brought in in connection with electric furnaces. The various branches of electric industry are so closely allied to each other that it is often pretty nigh impossible to draw a line of separation between them; and, though the matter is is well arranged and classified, the specialist will have to consult most, if not all, the chapters in order to obtain full information in any connection. The typographical appearance of the book and the numerous illustrations deserve high commendation.

The Psychic Factor. By Charles Van Norden, D. D., LL. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 223. Price, $1.25.

This volume, although intended as a manual for students, gives in a very readable form what is known of the working of mind experimentally and physiologically, as well as by introspection.

Matter, life, and mind are stated to be three ultimates which psychology can not explain. The hypotheses which philosophers hold in regard to them are classified as materialism, idealism, ideal realism, monism, and the popular one of matter and mind. The author considers that "there is no beginning place for mind anywhere" in the evolution of life, therefore the original cell must be psychic. The unfolding of the mental process is traced from the oxygen sense of bacteria and the sunshine quest of Desmids through plant life and animal life to the human brain. In this progress there are three marked steps—the appearance of protoplasm, the specialization of cells, and the co-ordinating of function. A study of the nervous system generally, and of its development in the various orders of life according to increasing complexity, complete the comparative view of the psychic factor.

In man we come upon the fact of consciousness. This is defined not as a name for a series of mental states, but as a recognition by mind of itself. It is held that even in the lower forms of life there may be "a dim awareness of their psychic acts." Attention and the unchaining of mental states are given as the two functions of consciousness.

The author revels, however, in the realm of subconsciousness. Sleep, dreaming, somnambulism, hypnosis, thought-transference, lucidity, and hallucinations are so many doors by which knowledge may enter unhampered by sense. The consideration of criminality is given in the psychology of disease. Newspapers and novelists are justly arraigned for their responsibility in spreading the contagion of vice, and wholesome suggestions in regard to education are given.

Mind in detail is taken up in part second and begun by an outline of the evolution and action of the sensory and motor end organs. In the thirty first chapter an analysis of the cognitive powers is first reached. The old-time division of the mental processes is retained as useful, though the mind is not endowed with any faculties, these being only different phases of psychic action.

It is a little to be wondered at that the author of this work merely enumerates the name of Comte in a list of materialistic philosophers whose theories are annihilated, yet employs the well-known Comtian law to describe the progress of the sciences, including psychology. Blank ignorance is made to precede the theological, metaphysical, and positive stages, which are euphoniously called periods of superstition, speculation, and exactness.

The spirit of the book is claimed to be "strictly scientific" and its purpose "to embody the trustworthy results of safe thought." This aim appears to have suffered an eclipse in the following statements: "When mind and life depart in death, the matter remains, so far as science can discover, chemically and physically the same." What about the co agulation of the blood and the whole process of disintegration? Is organized and unorganized matter identical? Thought-transference is also declared to be "a subconscious gift" whose demonstration is recent; "correlated" with this is "the no less amazing fact of lucidity or second-sight" due to a supersensuous vision which discerns beyond the reach of any known organ. The clew to this rash advocacy seems to be that "this discovery removes from the theological doctrine of a divine inspiration the stigma of violating probabilities."

Accuracy is pronounced impossible; "all sciences have to be regularly readjusted every few years."

Barring the questionable science of these passages, the book is brimful of information and good advice. It is well arranged, clearly written, and can hardly fail to benefit as well as to attain popularity.

Practical Work in General Physics. By W. G. Woollcombe, M. A., B. Sc. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 83. Price, 75 cents.

A course of fifty experiments is provided in this little manual, comprising measurements of lengths, areas, and volumes, determinations of the density of solids, liquids, and a gas, the use of hydrometers and barometers, and a few relating to the pendulum and capillarity. Considerable attention is given to careful measurement, the sliding callipers, micrometer screw-gauge, the chemical balance, and the opisometer being used, with a vernier attachment wherever it is applicable.

Lectures on the Darwinian Theory. Delivered by the late Arthur Milnes Marshall. Edited by C. F. Marshall. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 236. Price, $2.25.

This volume consists of a series of lectures delivered by the late Prof. Marshall in connection with the extension lectures of Victoria University during 1893. The author having failed to elaborate them and prepare them for publication himself, not all the parts are written out in detail, and there is a consequent variability in the fullness of the text; nevertheless, having been delivered by one of Darwin's most earnest disciples, they are believed to form a useful introduction to the literature of Darwinism. They present the History of the Theory of Evolution; Artificial and Natural Selection; The Argument from Palæontology; The Argument from Embryology; The Colors of Animals and Plants; a review of the objections to the Darwinian theory; the origin of vertebrate animals and the descent of man; and a summary of the life and work of Darwin. The author, summarizing his own work, defines as the position which he has endeavored to establish, that there are causes which have been in existence since life began that will account for the structure, life, and habits of man, and that have tended in this direction; but "whether there is anything farther than this; whether man has other attributes, either peculiar to himself, or held by him in common with other animals; whether there are attributes that can not be explained by these laws, are questions with which science has nothing to do."

Physical Laboratory Manual. By H. N. Chute, M. S. Boston: D. C. Heath & Co. Pp. 213. Price, 80 cents.

The author of this manual is not one of those who would teach physics through laboratory work exclusively. The pupil, he says, "should come to the laboratory well grounded in the first principles of physics as presented in some elementary treatise on the subject, and well read, especially, on the subject that he is to investigate, both as to mode of conducting the work, and manner of observing." Leaving the laws and principles of the science to be presented in a separate volume, this manual gives only directions for experiments. These directions consist regularly of a brief statement of the problem, a list of the apparatus required, the details of what is to be done, under the heading Method, and a tabular form of record. Sometimes the statement of method is supplemented by remarks. Cuts showing the proper arrangement of apparatus accompany the directions in many cases. Prefixed or appended are aids for both pupil and teacher relating to the management of the work, and making and manipulating apparatus, also many tables for reference. The book is adapted to pupils of high schools and academies.

School English. By George P. Butler. American Book Co. Pp. 272. Price, 75 cents.

The increased attention which is now given to the study of English in secondary schools has stimulated the production of rhetorical text-books as well as the republication of English classics.

Some knowledge of rhetoric is plainly a necessity, not only in order to analyze the beauties of the masterpieces of literature, but that the pupil may recognize the faults in his own composition. The newer manuals which have been prepared for this purpose give too many regulations and a superfluity of extraneous matter. The author of this work, an experienced teacher, considers that twenty rules are sufficient to fortify young writers against common mistakes in construction. He succeeds not only in simplifying these directions, but in the chapter on Clearness, Force, and Harmony, furnishes some excellent drill in a neglected quarter. The exercises suggested in reproduction, substitution, and condensation should also prove helpful in paving the way for essay writing.

We do not understand, however, why the student is directed to look up indecided in the International Dictionary and observe its use when the word is not to be found there. Possibly it is a colloquialism known to the author and unrecorded by the makers of the lexicon.

The aim of the book is given in a quotation from Herbert Spencer's Philosophy of Style, "to enable the student to present his ideas in such language that they may be apprehended with the least possible effort"; and it is not too much to say that he must be indeed a dull scholar who is not materially helped toward this end by a faithful following of the principles here inculcated.

A Laboratory Manual of Physics and Applied Electricity. Arranged and edited by Edward L. Nichols, Professor of Physics in Cornell University. Vol. II. Senior Courses and Outlines of Advanced Work. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 444. Price, $3.25.

The student who has completed such a course of laboratory study in physics as is presented in the first volume of this work will be prepared to take up the problems for original research given in the volume now issued. The needs of students who intend to become electrical engineers have been especially consulted in those parts of Volume II dealing with applied electricity, heat, and photometry. There is also a fourth part, of a hundred and fifty pages, consisting of exercises in general physics. The student who essays this course of experiments "is supposed to be familiar with the general principles of electrical measurement, and to have had such experience in adjusting instruments and practice in manipulation that he is ready at the start to investigate the operation of electrical apparatus." The following titles of experiments will give an idea of the sort of problems proposed: Comparison of magnetization curves of dynamos, characteristics of the Waterhouse dynamo and study of third-brush regulation, calibrating a voltmeter, effects of speed variation with a series dynamo, photometry of the arc light, specific heat of a liquid, influence of temperature upon the color of pigments, spectrophotometry, exploration of the earth's magnetic field. In preparing this volume. Prof. Nichols has had the cooperation of Messrs. George S. Moler, Frederick Bedell, Homer J. Hotchkiss, and Charles P. Matthews.

An Introduction to Structural Botany. By Dukinfield Henry Scott, F. L S., F. G. S. London: Adam and Charles Black. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 281. Price, $1.

There is a touch of irony in the preface to this volume that is too good to be lost. The author observes, "If science is to be taken seriously, it rather seems desirable that those who study it should have to use their brains as much as in learning Euclid, algebra, or grammar."

Although it is often urged in behalf of scientific study that its disciplinary effect equals that of drill in the classics, the notion is wonderfully prevalent, even in this country, that a knowledge of science may be imbibed in a haphazard fashion without much application.

A little investigation of such a book as this will tend to convince the aspirant for mental exercise that as much of it is involved in becoming precisely acquainted with one flower as in mastering a chapter in Greek.

With the exception of a dissertation on the physiology of nutrition and an introduction explaining simple botanical terms and divisions, the whole volume is devoted to a consideration of three floral types, the Wallflower, the White Lily, and the Spruce Fir. These higher plants are chosen, not only because they are familiar forms, but also since they exemplify the division of labor and give an opportunity to become acquainted with the more specialized organs and their functions. The vegetative and reproductive organization of each, their external characters and internal structure, are minutely described. The phenomena of pollination, fertilization, the chemistry of the nutritive process and protoplasmic movements, are traced out in like fashion and the mysteries of plant life unfolded.

In method, arrangement, and language the book is altogether commendable. It is also well illustrated and contains an index. The addition of a glossary might be suggested, as likely to prove convenient to the young student.

Biological Lectures. Marine Biological Laboratory of Wood's Hole. Boston: Ginn & Co. Pp. 242. Price, $2.15.

This volume is the second of a series, the first of which appeared in 1890. Like its predecessor, it does not include the general course of lectures given at Wood's Hole pertaining to the work pursued, but indicates special lines of inquiry involving unsettled problems.

Necessarily different points of view are developed, and the reader can test whether he believes fully in the cellular theory as expounded in The Nature of Cell Organization or in its inadequacy as presented by Prof. Whitman, who quotes from Huxley's essay of 1853 that the cells are no more producers of vital phenomena than shells on the sea beach, marking only where vital tides have been.

A valuable and interesting paper also is that on physiological morphology, in which the author, Jacques Loeb, maintains that all life phenomena are determined by chemical processes.

On the other hand, in Dynamics in Evolution, we learn that natural selection is a mischievous metaphor; that morphologists and physiologists are on the wrong track and can not settle the greater questions in biology. Surface tension is the important factor in the shaping of the cell, and the changes in amœboid form are understood only by dynamical analysis. No progress can be made in regard to the meaning of life until speculation about germ plasm or a lot of biophores, plastidules, et sic, superintending the business of development is abandoned.

Two popular and attractive essays are those on the external conditions of plant life and the marine biological stations of Europe. The book is well illustrated and contains an appendix upon the work of the laboratory.

Preparatory Physics. By William J. Hopkins. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. Pp. 147.

The author of this laboratory manual is Professor of Physics in the Drexel Institute, Philadelphia, and the course of experiments here presented has grown out of the needs of his classes in beginning their study of the science. The greater part of the experiments relate to mechanics, for the author regards this subject "as being fundamental, particularly susceptible of treatment in this manner, with comparatively simple apparatus; and because the student is very greatly aided in thoroughly comprehending its problems by investigating them experimentally." Besides mensuration, the matters investigated under the bead of mechanics are the composition of forces and of motions, levers and pulleys, breaking strength of a wire, deflection of beams, the inclined plane, the pendulum, etc. The properties of liquids are quite fully illustrated, and the book includes also a few experiments on heat, sound, light, and magnetism. The author maintains that only quantitative work is of value to the beginner in physical experimentation find he prefers to avoid those subjects in which only discouragingly inaccurate results are obtainable with the methods and apparatus that the beginner can use.

Manual of Physico-chemical Measurements. By Wilhelm Ostwald. Translated by James Walker, Professor of Chemistry in University College, Dundee. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 255. Price, $2.25.

Dr. Ostwald has now added to his valuable chemical works one on the border land between chemistry and physics. It deals with microscopic measurements of length, accurate weighing, the use of thermometers, thermostats, and calorimeters, of barometers and manometers, processes for determining volumes and densities, optical and electrical measurements, determinations of solubility, etc. The author confesses to "a special pleasure in 'pottering' and making things for myself," and urges his fellow-workers to adopt the practice of working with homemade apparatus. To facilitate their doing so he includes in this volume directions for making a logarithmic slide-rule, for marking scales on glass, and for soft and hard soldering, giving also a special chapter on glass-blowing. By these means he has "striven to combat that helplessness nowadays so prevalent among experimenters, who have to resort to this mechanic for every trifle." A section on weight-testing and several tables have been reprinted by permission from Kohlrausch's Physical Measurements. The tables in the volume comprise only those that are absolutely essential, the work of Landolt and Börnstein being referred to for all others.

 

A commendable feature in the System of Physical Culture, prepared expressly for public-school work by Louise Preece (C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.), is that every exercise can be taken by the pupils when standing in the aisles beside their seats. The conditions are prescribed for the exercises that the work should be such as will appeal to the sense of the beautiful, combining strength and freedom of movement; that it must be such as can be done by the pupils in the schoolroom within the usual limitations of space and time; that the movements shall be such as can be conducted in a systematic, orderly manner, without causing confusion; and that they must be such as do not demand a change of dress. The directions are analyzed and arranged by Louise Oilman Kielv, of the University of Minnesota, and illustrated by the author with 180 graceful half-tones and 50 cuts. (Price, $2.)

In his paper on the Status of the Mind Problem, selected from a course of lectures delivered before the Anthropological Society of Washington, Lester F. Ward compares the old metaphysical and the modern scientific methods of mind-study, and argues in favor of the latter. In this method mind is considered as an attribute of the physical structure. If the charge of materialism is applied to this view, the author answers that, using the word materialism in its only proper and legitimate sense as postulating the material nature of the mind itself, "the scientific conception, of mind is the farthest possible remove from a materialistic conception. The antithesis between matter and property is absolute." But, if the other view is accepted, that there is an element—mind, thought, or spirit—"that can detach itself from the personality to whom it normally belongs, or remain in space performing mechanical operations upon material objects," it is difficult to see how the charge of materialism can be avoided.

The Political Ethics of Herbert Spencer is the substance of a paper submitted to the American Academy of Political and Social Science, in which the author, Lester F. Ward, presents the results of his careful examination of Mr. Spencer's works, in a review criticising and impugning the more prominent features of his ethical system. His sociological system is declared to "proceed from so low and so narrow a standpoint as to constitute a protest against all attempts to deal scientifically with the subject," and it is pronounced "astonishing that the great exponent of the law of evolution in other departments should so signally fail to grasp that law in this highest department"; and, instead of carrying his system up symmetrically and crowning it with the science of man, he is said to have "tapered it off and flattened it out at the summit."

The Magazine of Travel is a new monthly publication which will be devoted to articles and discussions relating to travel in its broadest sense. The publishers promise that each number will be an improvement upon its predecessor. The first number, January, 1895, has articles on American and Foreign Travel Compared, by Hon. Chauncey M. Depew; Mexico: its Attractions for the Tourist, by E. H. Talbott; The New Education, by Edwin Fowler; A Summer in Alaskan Waters, by W. G. Cutler, United States Navy; Christmas on the Limited, a story, by Frank Chaffee; The Mountain Paradise of Virginia, by Charles D. Lanier; Hunting in the Cattle Country, by the Hon. Theodore Roosevelt; and In Southern California, by G. M. Allen. (The Magazine of Travel Publishing Company, E. H. Talbott, President and Manager, 10 Astor Place, New York; 25 cents, $3 a year.)

The results of M. H. Saville's studies of the Ceremonial Year of the Maya Codex Cortesianus, as summarized by him in a paper read before the American Association, are that there was a time series of two hundred and sixty days, divided into thirteens, beginning with 1 Imix, and making a sacred ceremonial year; that the glyphs in the part of the codex relating to this series are to be read from left to right through a series of pages in an alternating manner; that the pictures and glyphs accompanying this time series explain ceremonies that were to take place at intervals during the ceremonial year; and that the coincidence of a sinistral circuit of glyphs perhaps indicates the quarter in which ceremonies were observed during the last four days of the year. The author hopes that his paper may accomplish at least so much as to indicate a fruitful source of investigation for students of the Maya codices in studying the pictures and glyphs associated with this time series.

A Practical System of Studying the German Language is designed by the author. Dr. Albert Pick, for the use of physicians and medical students in self-instruction. It is observed that while one can learn by the aid of the usual text-books to converse in German about everyday affairs or to read literary German, or may become acquainted with the details of the grammar, none of them are competent to assist him in reading medical books, conversing with patients, or listening to medical lectures. The present system is for teaching the German medical language, and accustoming him to the long, coherent sentences used in medical treatises, talks, etc. It consists of short essays on anatomy, physiology, pathology, medical and surgical diseases, examination of patients, etc. Each lesson is in two parts; one being a short essay on the subject in "medical German," and the other a conversation on practical everyday subjects. A few lessons are given in applied or practical grammar alone. A key to the pronunciation and a translation accompany every word, wherever it appears. The work is in twelve paper parts, convenient to be put in the pocket, so that it may be carried along and consulted at any time or place. (Published by Pick & Tamier, Newtonville, Mass.)

The Sixth Annual Report on the Statistics of Railways in the United States of the Interstate Commerce Commission represents the year ending June 30, 1893, and is distributed nearer the date to which it applies than any previous statistical report issued by the commission. It might be prepared still earlier, except for the fact that the railways are dilatory in handing in their returns. The railway mileage in the United States at the date of closing the report was 176,461 miles, showing an increase during the year of 4,897½ miles, or 2·80 per cent. This rate of increase as compared with the corresponding rates for previous years shows that the railway construction of the year stood below the average of construction for the six preceding years, but was in excess of the rate for the accounting year immediately preceding. The report is a solid mass of facts and figures tabulated to a very great extent, relating to all sides of railway construction, operation, service, and finance; equipment, men employed, capitalization and valuation of property, public service, earnings and expenses, and accidents. The commissioners close the report with recommendations that express companies, owners of rolling stock, depot property, stock yards, and the like, and carriers by water, connected with railway interstate traffic, be required to make reports to the commission.

With The Play of the Planets—a mechanical chart or revolving card, on which are depicted the phases of the moon, certain planetary elements, the zodiac, and the days of the month—by the aid of the Book of the Play, one may learn to cast his horoscope. The book of which, as well as of the game, F. E. Ormsby is the author, by way of illustration casts the horoscope of "Baby Esther," who was born September 9, 1893. The work is described as "a game, amusing and instructive," and in conformity with this a number of games are given which may be played in the social circle; and it is as much for purposes of amusement as of astrology that the "play" is constructed. (Planetary Publishing Company, Chicago. Price, $1.)

Mr. Ormsby is also editor of a new monthly periodical. Planets and People, "devoted to the science of occult forces, astronomy, vibration, magnetism, life, and the mystery of worlds, suns, and systems," which is published by Ormsby & Sprague, Chicago. It will give the first half of each number to articles and sayings of leading minds and thinkers m the occult realms of investigation. while the rest will embrace plain astronomy, occult astronomy or astrology, both the heliocentric and geocentric systems, physiology, anatomy, phrenology, physiognomy, etc.

The Sixth Annual Report of the Agricultural Experiment Station of Cornell University, besides the report of the director, I. P. Roberts, contains the reports of the treasurer and chemist, the botanist and arboriculturist, the cryptogamic botanist and plant pathologist, and the entomologist, agriculturist, and horticulturist, and an appendix of twelve bulletins, to which special attention is called as containing matter of prime importance. The year's investigations embraced a large amount of practical and scientific work; and the quality of the work is represented as steadily improving. A glance at the bulletins, without having time to examine them carefully, seems to confirm the director's estimate of them that they are of high scientific character, and will be exceedingly useful to the farmers.

The periodical Our Animal Friends is much more than the organ of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and publishes so much matter of varied interest relating to natural history and the ways and doings of animals, with anecdotes of animals and stories, with general information, and handsome illustrations as to make it a very attractive magazine for children and the family. The twenty-first volume—September, 1893, to August, 1894—comes to us handsomely bound and fitted to adorn equally the library shelves or the table.