Popular Science Monthly/Volume 54/January 1899/General Notices


"An unscientific account of a scientific expedition" is what Mrs. Mabel Loomis Todd happily styles the story of the Amherst Eclipse Expedition, told in Corona and Coronet[1]—"Corona" being what the expedition went to see, and "Coronet" the vessel that took it to the observing station. Professor Todd was the astronomer of the party, and Mrs. Todd, who has published a work on astronomy, was his companion. She believes that certain aspects of the trip, covering as it did more than ten thousand miles of sailing for the party, and at least forty five thousand miles of deep-sea voyaging for the Coronet, were worthy of narration. The astronomical purposes of the expedition, the objects it sought to obtain, the scientific bearings of the observations, and the methods, are intelligibly set forth in the introduction to the book. The rest is devoted mostly to narrative, the social aspects of the voyage, and the incidents. A short sojourn was made at the Sandwich Islands, where the more interesting objects were visited. Mrs. Todd was with Kate Field when she died there, and gives an account of her last hours. A voyage of four weeks carried the party to Yokohama, whence some of the members went to the capital and other interesting points in Japan, while the rest were preparing the observing station at Esashi, eleven hundred miles north of Yokohama—"a village on the shores of the Sea of Okotsk, among the hairy Ainu," in a region so remote that the native steamers had only recently begun to go there at all. Besides the account of the observations, descriptions are given of such Japanese experiences as life in Kioto, cormorant fishing, yachting in the Inland Sea, the tidal wave, and observations among the Ainu, with a visit on the way home to an Arizona copper mine.

The late Prof. James D. Dana had begun a revision of his Text-Book of Geology a short time before his death. Prof. William North Rice was requested by his family to complete the revision, and the result is the present volume.[2] It was intended in the original plan of revision to preserve as far as possible the distinctive characteristics of the book. It was to be brought down to date as regards its facts, but was still to express the well-known opinions of its author, with the general plan of arrangement kept unchanged. It soon became evident, however, that more and greater changes than had been contemplated would be required. The zoölogical and botanical classifications would have to be modified; the theory of evolution must have more recognition than it had received, especially as Professor Dana himself had adopted some of its features before his death; and the treatment of metamorphism was believed to require considerable modification. In the present edition the bearing of various events in geological history upon the theory of evolution is pointed out in the appropriate places, and the general bearing of paleontology upon evolution is discussed in the concluding chapter. All these changes seem to be in the line of continuing the usefulness of Professor Dana's most excellent and standard work, and of keeping his name before students as that of "one of the greatest of geologists and one of the noblest of men."

A true son of Nature is Mr. F. Schuyler Mathews, and he shows himself at his best in his Familiar Life in Field and Forest,[3] "There are few things," he says, "more gratifying to the lover of Nature than these momentary glimpses of wild life which he obtains while passing through the field or forest. Wild animals do not confine themselves exclusively to the wilderness; quite frequently they venture upon the highway, and we are apt to regard the meeting of one of them there as a rare and fortunate occurrence. The daisy and the wild rose appear in their accustomed places on the return of summer, and the song sparrow sings in the same tree he frequented the year before; but the woodchuck, the raccoon, and the deer are not so often found exactly where we think they belong. To seek an interview with such folk is like taking a chance in a lottery; there are numerous blanks and but few prizes. But because wild life is not in constant evidence, like the wild flower, is no proof that it is uncommon. To those who keep in touch with Nature, it becomes a very familiar thing, and to live a while where the wild creatures make their homes is to cross their paths continually." Mr. Mathews is in touch with Nature. He does not exactly know where to find the wild and shy, for they do not come at call, but he can put himself where he will meet them if they come around—and "one can never tell at what moment some surprising demonstration of wild life will occur at one's very doorstep." In this book Mr. Mathews records some of his meetings, at home and in his daily walks, offering as his excuse for the record, that he has lived long enough among wild animals to "respect their rights of life, and speak a good word for them when occasion offers."

The Short Manual of Analytical Chemistry[4] prepared by Mr. John Muter, follows the course of instruction given in the South London School of Pharmacy. Encouraged by the continued favor which the book has received in Great Britain, the author offers a special edition of it to American students, a concise and low-priced manual, designed to introduce them to the chief developments cf analytical chemistry from the simplest operations upward. It includes many organic questions generally overlooked in initiatory books. By working through it the author claims the student may expect to become familiar with a great variety of processes, and to be in a position to use with satisfaction the more exhaustive treatises dealing with any special branch he may desire to follow. In preparing it for American students, the directions, wherever the British methods differ from the American, have been modified to agree with the latter. The processes given include the qualitative analysis, all the general operations and those relating to detection of the metals, of acid radicals and their separation, of unknown salts, of alkaloids and certain organic bodies used in medicine—with a general sketch of toxicological procedure; and in quantitative analysis, directions on weighing, measuring, and specific gravity; gravimetric analysis of metals and acids, ultimate organic analysis, special processes for the analysis of air, water, and food; analysis of drugs, urine, and calculi; and analysis of gases, polarization, spectrum analysis, etc.

The pure geometry of position is mainly distinguished, according to Professor Reye's definition,[5] from the geometry of ancient times and from analytical geometry, in that it makes no use of the idea of measurement. Nothing is said in it "about the bisection of segments of straight lines, about right angles and perpendiculars, about ratios and proportions, about the computation of areas, and just as little about trigonometric ratios and the algebraic equations of curved lines, since all these subjects of the older geometry assume measurement. . . . We shall be concerned as little with isosceles and equilateral triangles as with right-angled triangles; the rectangle, the regular polygon, and the circle are likewise excluded from our investigations, except in the case of these applications to metric geometry. We shall treat of the center, the axes, and the foci of so-called curves of the second order, or conic sections, only as incidental to the general theory; but, on the other hand, shall become acquainted with many properties of these curves, more general and more important than those to which most text-books upon analytical geometry are restricted." Of all the other branches of geometry, the descriptive is the most helpful in facilitating the study of the geometry of position; and perspective or central projection plays an important part in it. It stands in a certain antithetical relation to analytical geometry on account of its method, which is synthetic, and whence it is sometimes known as synthetic geometry. Since metric relations are not considered in it, its theorems and problems are very general and comprehensive. As presented in von Standt's complete work, it is regarded by the author as an excellent aid to the exercise and development of the imagination; and the important graphical methods with which Professor Culmann has enriched the science of engineering in his work on graphical statistics, being based for the most part upon it, a knowledge of it has become important for students of that science. In the present work, the outgrowth of his lectures, Professor Reye has attempted to supply the want of a text-book which shall offer to the student the necessary material in a concise form.

Prof. Cyrus Thomas brings the qualification which a lifetime devoted to study of the subject develops, to the preparation of an Introduction to the Study of North American Archæology[6] He is known to all students in this branch as a careful, judicious investigator whose work in the field has been supplemented by valuable contributions to its literature. In this volume he presents a brief summary of the progress that has been made in the investigation of American antiquities—which has been recently great indeed, and well calls for a new synopsis. His chief object has been to present the data and arrange them so as to afford the student some means of bringing his facts and materials into harmony, and of utilizing them. He presents the theories that have been advanced, and mentions opposing views; regarding it, he says, as important to the progress of the student to know which of the questions that arise have been answered, and which hypotheses have been eliminated from the class of possibilities. The materials for the study and the methods are first explained. The relics of ancient men and the mounds are then described as under three divisions—the Arctic, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. Local as well as regional characteristics and differences are pointed out; as in the mounds as a whole, the special class of animal mounds, the pueblos, the cliff dwellings, and the Mexican and Central American monuments, the peculiar features of each are pointed out, and their territorial limits are defined. All these various kinds of works are ascribed to substantially the same people, who are supposed to have come down from somewhere in the north or northwest (the extreme northwest Pacific coast), although the different immigrations may perhaps have arrived by various routes. The people were the present Indians or their ancestors; the time of the immigration was not extremely remote; and the "mound-building habit" is shown to have persisted and been practiced till since the advent of the Europeans.

In entitling his book The Art of Taxidermy[7] the chief of the Department of Taxidermy in the American Museum of Natural History evidently intends to use the word art in the high sense of a fine art; for he speaks of the enormous strides toward perfection which it has made from the former "trade of most inartistically upholstering a skin"—stuffing it, we used to call it—and of its study having been taken up of late years by a number of men of genius and education. It is largely owing to the exertions of these men that the taxidermy of the present day is so far in advance of what it was a decade since. The proverb says that art is long, and accordingly Mr. Rowley takes for the motto of his book a sentence from Thoreau, that "into a perfect work time does not enter." To the possible objection that some of his methods seem to involve considerable time and expense, the author replies in substance that if the work is not worth this, it is hardly worth while to take it up at all. If it is a proper work, and one has the proper degree of energy and enthusiasm, let him give the specimen all the time it demands. In preparing his treatise, the author has aimed to eliminate all extraneous matter, and to give mainly the results of his own experience, coupled with that of other taxidermists with whom he has come in contact. He begins with instructions about collecting tools and materials, and casting, and treats further of the preparation of birds, of mammals, and of fish, reptiles, and crustaceans; the cleansing and mounting of skeletons, and the reproduction of foliage for groups. The appendix contains addresses of reliable firms from whom tools and materials used in taxidermy may be purchased.

The preparation of this book on The Storage Battery was suggested to Mr. Treadwell[8] by his finding a lack in working on these machines of any compact data concerning their construction, and the paucity of reliable discharge curves; and he concluded that a book containing such data and curves, with rules for the handling and maintenance of cells, would be valuable to all interested in storage batteries as well as to the student and manufacturer. Among the points specially mentioned by the author are the lists of American and foreign patents given as footnotes for the various types, not complete but noticing the principal patents for each cell; the chapter on the chemistry of secondary batteries, which gives the latest and most generally accepted theory concerning the chemical reactions taking place in an accumulator, and which has been approved by Dr. Sewal Matheson; and, in the appendix, tables of data comprising figures of all the batteries, methods for the measurement of the E. M. F. and internal resistance of a storage battery; and data from which the theoretical and practical capacity of an accumulator may be determined.

The Natural Advanced Geography[9] is a successful application of modern methods to the teaching of this science, and presents it with the interest undiminished which really appertains to it. While in the elementary book of this, the "natural" series, the pupil starts from his own home and is introduced to the study of man in relation to his environment, in the present work the fact is developed that environment itself is the chief factor in the various activities and economies of man. One of the salient features of the presentation of the subject, marked throughout the work, and one that commands high praise, is the arrangement of the facts into such order that their correlation may be perceived and the unity of Nature recognized. The isolated, barren, curt, unrelated statements that made the study of many of the old geographies hard and tedious are conspicuously absent, and the subject, studied in orderly sequence, "unfolds itself naturally and logically, each lesson preparing the way for those which follow." The first part of the work is devoted to a study of the world as a whole. The second part, comprising about three fourths of the volume, is an application of these laws to the various countries of the globe, beginning with the United States. In the United States, for instance, a general description of the whole is given, which presents a real, comprehensive mental picture of the country; and the process is repeated, in measure according to the conditions, for the several States, so that the pupil is taught what are the factors that give the characteristics and local features to each. A like method is pursued, on a more general scale, with other countries. The colored maps are drawn on a system of uniform scales, with reliefs plainly shown according to the accepted conventions; graphic charts or sketch maps showing the distribution of products and resources are employed; and pedagogical exercises and aids are afforded abundantly.

A text-book on the Differential and Integral Calculus[10] for students who have a working knowledge of elementary geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and analytical geometry, by Prof. P. A. Lambert, has the threefold object of inspiring confidence, by a logical presentation of principles, in the methods of infinitesimal analysis; of aiding, through numerous problems, in acquiring facility in the use of these methods; and, by applications to problems in physics, engineering, and other branches of mathematics, to show the practical value of the calculus. By a division of the matter according to classes of functions, it is made possible to introduce these applications from the start, and thereby to arouse the interest of the student. By simultaneous treatment of differentiation and integration and the use of trigonometric substitution to simplify integration it is sought to economize the time and effort of the student.

The Birds of Indiana, by Amos W. Butler, lately published as part of Willis S. Blatchley's Twenty-second Annual Report on the Geology and Natural Resources of Indiana, is just at hand. It is one of the most accurate, detailed, and satisfactory local catalogues yet published. Three hundred and twenty-one species of birds have been taken in Indiana, and of each of these is given a detailed description, with a general account of its habits, song, migration, and nesting. In the case of the more rare species, full records of the dates and places of capture of the known specimens are appended. Analytical keys to genera and species are also given, so that every facility is furnished for the identification of species. This book is a model of its kind, and is a worthy fruit of Mr. Butler's twenty years of devoted study of the birds of his native State.

Robert H. Whitten, in his monograph on Public Administration in Massachusetts—the relation of central to local activity—pursues a parallel course with that taken by Mr. John A. Fairlie in a similar essay on the Centralization of Administration in New York State> of this same series of Columbia University studies in History, Economics, and Public Law. Having found the systems and tendencies of administration in the early settlement of Massachusetts all for expansion and decentralization, Mr. Whitten now perceives the course altogether changed, and centralization more and more the rule. The change corresponds with changes in the conditions of life, and keeps track with them step by step. Of great dynamic forces which have been set to work and are bringing about a complete reconstruction of the social structure, improvements in transportation and communication were the most vital—first, turnpikes, then the steamboat, railroad, and telegraph; then the horse railway, cheap postage, the telephone, the electric railway) and the bicycle. The tendency at first was to bring about a concentration which was attended by the congestion of population in cities and the depopulation of the rural towns. "The electric railway, the telephone, and the bicycle came in to counteract these evils; while their tendency is strongly toward the centralization of bureaus, it is also toward the diffusion of habitations. These great socializing forces, going hand in hand with the development of the factory system and improvement of machinery, make possible a vastly higher organization of society than was possible under a stagecoach régime."

The first volume of the Final Report of the State Geologist of New Jersey, on Topography, Magnetism, and Climate, was published in 1888. Other volumes embracing other topics have been published since, and in the meantime the supply of the first volume has been exhausted, while the demand has continued. It has been therefore necessary either to reprint the volume or to publish a new work which should include the important statistical matter of it. Accordingly, we have now The Physical Geography of New Jersey, prepared by Prof. Rollin D. Salisbury, with an appendix embodying "Data pertaining to the Physical Geology of the State," by Mr. C. C. Vermeule, who was formerly in charge of the topographic survey, and is author of the volume on water supply. The two parts of the volume treat of the topography of New Jersey as it now is, and the geological history of the topography. The report is accompanied by a relief map of the State, prepared by Mr. Vermeule on the basis of the topographical survey, and presenting, therefore, an accurate picture of the relief. It shows the great features of the State, its ranges of mountains, hills, tablelands, plains, marsh lands, streams, and water areas in their proper relations to one another; and it is contemplated to put it in every schoolhouse in the State as an aid in the study of geography.

M. Imbert de Saint-Amand's series of books about the Second French Empire furnish very interesting reading, are, so far as our recollection of events goes, historically accurate, and fill a gap which the literary world always has to suffer concerning any period too recently passed for a competent judicial mind to have appeared to tell its story. The second of the series—Napoleon III and his Court—takes Louis Napoleon at the height of his success and happiness, just after he had married the beautiful Eugenie, of w horn the world has nothing harsh to say, and carries him through the period of his wonderful popularity and brilliant accomplishments to the close of the Crimean War and the birth of the prince whose fate was so unhappy. It deals, in a pleasant manner, and all favorable to Napoleon, but not adulatory, with affairs social, political, and military, in which it is hard to say whether the tact or the good fortune of the subject of the history shone most brilliantly. We are told how Eugénie won the French nation; of Napoleon's good will, especially manifested toward all that could contribute to his exaltation; of his dealings with the sovereigns around him, gradually winning their recognition, including that of Nicholas of Russia; of the darkening of the clouds of war, the Crimean campaigns; of the interchanges of courtesies, gradually rising into close, firm friendship, with the British court; and of the birth of the Prince Imperial. Think what we may of the character of the reign of Louis Napoleon and of its influence, it marked an epoch in nearly every line of development of the world's history, and was as distinctly separated from what came before it and from what followed it as if a broad line were drawn around it; and it left some important results that are not likely to be soon effaced. M. de Saint-Amand writes from personal knowledge, having witnessed or participated in much of what he describes, and has in Elizabeth Gilbert Martin a fully competent and acceptable translator. (Published by Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 407. Price, $1.50.)

The paper of the late Dr. Theodor Eimer on Orthogenesis and the Impotence of Natural Selection in Species Formation is published by the Open Court Company, Chicago, as No. 29 of their Religion of Science Library. Pp. 56. Price, 25 cents.

The second volume of Uncle Robert's Geography, of Appletons' Home-Reading Series—On a Farm—Mr. Francis W. Parker, the editor, and Nellie Lathrop Helm, emphasizes the importance of parents and teachers, giving full and complete recognition of the immense educational value of spontaneous activities as displayed in motive and interest; a recognition which "should be followed by active encouragement and direction of the child's play, work, and observations." The story deals entirely with the interests and life of children in the environment of the country. A little girl is in htr playhouse in a Virginia fence corner, with her doll and mimic housekeeping. Her shy, retiring companions are the birds who peep into the playhouse, and, after she has gone away, come into it and pick up the crumbs she has left. This leads to talks about different birds and their nest building. A St. Bernard dog is introduced and furnishes the opportunity for bringing in stories of the Alps, their glaciers and snows, and the Hospice of St. Bernard, and then about other dogs. Susy makes a garden in the woods, and the wild flowers become the subjects of her spontaneous study. So with the rabbits, bread making and the grain that furnishes the material for the bread, and other incidents; with more birds' nests; the nature of bulbs, squirrels, etc.; and finally Uncle Robert sets the child to finding out how the animals in the woods spend the winter, and whether they are doing anything now in preparation for it. (New York: D. Appleton and Company. Price, 42 cents.)

The Thirty-fifth Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture of Michigan includes the Ninth Annual Report of the Agricultural College Experiment Station, and is largely taken up with the work of the latter institution, reviewing the records of the college departments and presenting the reports and bulletins of the station. The record of meteorological observations, the Proceedings of the Farmers' Institutes, the Transactions of the Association of Breeders of Improved Live Stock, and the Transactions of the State Agricultural Society are also incorporated in the volume. An interesting feature of the publication is the insertion of a portrait and biographical notice of one of the pioneer farmei's of the State, Enos Goodrich, who was also prominent in public life.

The translation by Eleanor Marx Aveling of Lissagaray's History of the Commune of 1871 was made many years ago at the request of the author from a contemplated second edition which the French Government would not allow published. The work having been revised and corrected by the translators father, and for other reasons, no changes have been made to adapt it to the time of its issue from the press. The translator claims that Lissagaray's work is the only reliable and accurate history that has yet been written of the Commune. He has not attempted, she says, to hide the errors of his party, or to gloss over the fatal weakness of the revolution. Of course, a very different view of the movement is given from that presented in the French accounts, as well as that generally held by English and Americans; but the communists have a right to be represented and heard, and it is well that they have so competent a spokesman. (Published by the International Publishing Company, 23 Duane Street, New York.)

  1. Corona and Coronet: Being the Narrative of the Amherst Eclipse Expedition to Japan, in Mr James's Schooner Yacht Coronet, to observe the Sun's Total Obscuration, August 9, 160(5. By Mabel Loomis Todd. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 383. Price, $2.50.
  2. Revised Text-Book of Geology. By James D. Dana, LL. D. Fifth edition, revised and enlarged. Edited by William North Rice. American Book Company. Pp. 482.
  3. Familiar Life in Field and Forest. The Animals, Birds, Frogs, and Salamanders. By F. Schuyler Mathews. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 281. Price, $1.75.
  4. A Short Manual of Analytical Chemistry, Qualitative and Quantitative, Inorganic and Organic. By John Muter. Second American edition. Illustrated. Adapted from the eighth British edition. Philadelphia: E. Blakiston, Son & Co. Pp. 238. Price, $1.25.
  5. Lectures on the Geometry of Position. By Theodor R. Reye. Translated and edited by Thomas F. Halgate. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 148. Price, $2.25.
  6. Introduction to the Study of North American Archæology. By Prof. Cyrus Thomas. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company. Pp. 301.
  7. The Art of Taxidermy. By John Rowley. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 2 44. Price, $2.
  8. The Storage Battery. A Practical Treatise on the Construction, Theory, and Use of Secondary Batteries. By Augustus Treadwell. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 257. Price, $1.75.
  9. Natural Advanced Geography. By Jacques W. Redway and Russell Hinman. American Book Company. Pp. 100.
  10. Differential and Integral Calculus. For Technical Schools and Colleges. By R. A. Lambert. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 245. Price, $1.50.