Popular Science Monthly/Volume 8/November 1875/Literary Notices
First Book of Zoölogy. By Edward S. Morse, Ph. D., late Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Zoölogy in Bowdoin College. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 188. Price, $1.25.
The genius for good school-book making is incontestably American. Our best school-books exemplify art in two directions: in that which goes to the getting up of the book, materially, and that which concerns its intellectual self; that is, its way of putting things—such a handling of teaching processes as recognizes that good teaching is an art, and the true teacher an artist. As good tools for teacher and learner, American school geographies, arithmetics, readers, and lately grammars, are not excelled abroad. It is noteworthy, however, that hitherto so much could not be said of American efforts in the matter of elementary schoolbooks on science. Herein has England set us an example. The "Science Primers," reprinted by the Appletons, are very remarkable books as showing how a high knowledge in these departments may be set before a little child. However, in this matter of American science-teaching of the little ones, the tide is setting in. It must be admitted that in every thing pertaining to books, and elementary teaching of animated Nature, we are far behind England. Dr. Hooker's "Child's Book of Nature" is the best of its class, though sadly needing rewriting. But when we come to zoölogy proper, a history of our efforts at elementary bookmaking is more interesting than creditable. The earliest serious effort is that of Daniel Haskel—"The Juvenile Class-Book of Natural History," 1841. It is for children, and the author boasts in the following style over its systematic arrangement: "The classification, which forms an important feature of the work, is founded on external resemblance and visible habits.... This classification is much more simple, and better adapted to the young mind, than that of Linnæus, which is founded on occult resemblances, and ranks the cow and the whale, animals which inhabit different elements, and are otherwise very unlike, in the same general class, Mammalia." As to man, he says, "Buffon divides mankind into six classes," and he does likewise. But the word "class," though often used, has no certain sense in this little book. Leaving man, the work is divided into Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects. The quadrupeds are divided into thirteen classes, as first class, second class, etc. Then come the "Unclassed Animals," viz., "the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, tapir, camel, Arabian camel, llama, camelopard, bear, badger, raccoon, kangaroo, opossum, ant-eater, sloth, jerboa." He says these "are animals which cannot be classed, but each of which by itself forms a distinct species." The birds are given in like manner in six classes, with "unclassed birds, the ostrich, cassowary, dodo." The fishes are in four classes. The first class embraces the cachelot, grampus, porpoise, dolphin, whale." As for the sword-fish, he is left out in the cold. The "fourth class" of fishes embraces the lobster, crab, tortoise, oysters, snails, and such.
The next attempt at a natural history for schools was (we speak from memory) by Abram Ackerman. It was a mere compilation, with not a particle of science behind it or in it. It had the credit, however, of not being the injurious book that Haskel's was. In 1849 appeared "Class-Book of Zoölogy: designed to afford to Pupils in Common Schools and Academies a Knowledge of the Animal Kingdom. By Prof. B. Jaeger." The educational plane was not then up to this little book, which, as a classification, or systematic exhibit of the animal kingdom, had not its equal; and, besides this, much of it was really American, but zoölogy proper it utterly failed to teach. Prof. Worthington Hooker's "Natural History, for the Use of Schools and Families," appeared in 1860. It is a good book, and holds its own in the market because of its pleasant and readable style. As a classification it is too meagre, and of zoology it contains but little. We must not pass unmentioned the Ruschenberger series of "First Books in Natural History," begun in 1842. These were little else than translations from the text of Milne Edwards and Achille Comte. Very excellent little manuals they were, but extending, as they did, to eight volumes, they lost all claim to be called a "Primer of Natural History." "Principles of Zoölogy, by Agassiz and Gould," 1848, is a high text-book; and of a like nature must be regarded "A Manual of Zoölogy," by Sanborn Tenney, 1865, with its smaller companion by the same author; both good books so far as systematizing goes.It is evident, then, that a good, true American book, worthy of being called a "Primer of Zoölogy," had not appeared. In the fullness of belief, we avow our conviction that it has come at last. We do not allude to Mrs. Stevenson's "Biology for Boys and Girls;" it occupies a widely-different field. "First Book of Zoölogy," by Prof. Morse, is the little work which we wish to consider. It has some points on which we would for a moment dwell. First, it really teaches zoology. It deals with the morphology and actual structure of familiar things. It advises you to get snails or insects, and shows how to get them. Now, every one should know that this is just what a child wants to do. Every child is naturally a collector. Then comes the study of form. Here are simple outline drawings. The external parts are laid out, and each part is shown to the pupil, and its name as a part is given. Now the child must draw these parts on his slate, and then name them for himself; and every child with a little patient help can do all this. But, when this is done, the morphology of a shell, or whatever else, is well learned, albeit the little pupil has never heard the big word used above. And what an eye-opener, and mind-expander, and tongue-loosener, half an hour of such work with a child is! The little child becomes at once a naturalist, intent upon his snail, he sees things, and thinks things, and asks things, that are all new to him. This little book utterly eschews technicalities, and even classification. An intelligent boy will make a collection, and then will attempt to sort it into groups or sets of real or fancied similitudes. This is instinctive classification. But it is plain that the collection must come first; that is, that intelligent classification must stand related to things more than words. A blind man could not classify the stars. Here, then, is the blunder which our author shuns: of beginning to teach systematic classification with no knowledge or sight of the objects. The author's method is that of Nature. It is the word-method in reading instead of the old ABC plan. Get your object, then learn its parts, and, thus trained, classification will be sought for, and can then be entered upon; and even its systematic names will be learned with delight, because they have a real significance; that, of course, will be the work of a "Second Book." The first is just such as any teacher can handle, and that too with pleasure, for it unfolds the objects of Nature precisely in Nature's own way. A real excellence in a primer is, that it is small. This little book reminds us of the pinhole in the card to which the eye is applied; it takes in a very little bit of Nature, but that bit is wonderfully amplified with good, clear, achromatic light. In this wise it is that one who has done a long service in teaching natural history to children hails Dr. Morse's little book.
Money, and the Mechanism of Exchange. By W. Stanley Jevons, F. R. S., Professor of Logic and Political Economy in the Owens College, Manchester. No. XVII. "International Scientific Series." New York: D. Appleton & Co. 350 pages. Price, $1.50.
There is, beyond question, a most important scientific side to the complex subject of money. It has its observable phenomena, its analyzable relations, and its deducible laws; and, as it pertains to the operations of human society, it is a legitimate branch of social science. For this reason it was entirely proper that the subject should be treated in an independent monograph in the "International Scientific Series." One of the ablest and clearest logical heads in Europe, author of a masterly treatise on the philosophy of science, and a special and thorough student of political economy, was chosen to execute the work. Again there were permanent, general, and what we may term cosmopolitan reasons for taking up the subject with a view simply to the exposition, improvement, and extension of valuable knowledge.
But for us the subject has also quite another aspect. There were urgent American reasons why it should be treated. We believe in the glorious leadership of our country; we are in advance, and bound to be in advance, of civilization, and in this case the American people furnish ample evidence that they are quite ahead of the world in their ignorance of every thing like principles or laws relating to money. The American voter, with his hands full of greenbacks, has about as much understanding of the science which treats of them as the Indian of the science of wampum. That they can buy things with them, and that they are therefore desirable to be got, exhaust the knowledge of both. With all our vaunted enlightenment, we have a currency bedeviled by politicians in the interest of selfish greed and rampant speculation, and maintained by a demagoguism as unscrupulous and vicious as the world has ever seen. With so much gross ignorance and stupid superstition among the people in regard to the nature of money, and the laws of its use and influence, that the present state of things is openly defended and its continuance demanded, it becomes in the highest degree desirable that sounder views should be disseminated as rapidly and as widely as possible. We want a knowledge of money as a branch of natural history. We want to know how its use has grown up; what wants it answers to in human societies; what laws it is subject to that spring from the very nature of things; what are its imperfections, and how they may be supplemented; what are its dangers, and what the delusions and impostures of which it is made the means by calculating men and unprincipled governments. Prof. Jevons's work deals with the subject very much from this point of view. He offers us what a clear-sighted, cool-headed, scientific student has to say on the nature, properties, and natural laws of money, without regard to local interests or national bias. His work is popularly written, and every page is replete with solid instruction of. a kind that is just now lamentably needed by multitudes of our people who are victimized by the grossest fallacies.
Religion and Science in their Relation to Philosophy. By Charles W. Shields, D. D. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co. Pp. 69. Price, $1.00.
This essay consists of two parts, in the first of which are stated the scientific hypotheses and the religious dogmas that have been offered for the solution of such problems as the origin of the universe, the formation of geological strata, the origin of mar, the nature of mind and of matter. The case for both sides is stated fairly enough. In the second part the author endeavors to show that these problems are neither exclusively scientific nor exclusively religious, but philosophical. "It is not too much to say that they can never be decided by any merely scientific process.... And it is safe to say that by no purely religious method can they ever be settled." The author regards these problems as "partly scientific and partly religious," but "strictly philosophical." Hence philosophy is the umpire when religion and science are in conflict. "Paramount as religion must be in her own sphere with her inspired Bible and her illumined Church," she cannot judge the theories of science; but no more will religious men accept from mere scientists a judgment upon their doctrines. The author thinks that in the "broad plain of philosophy" the religionist should accept scientific truth resting upon "foundations of proof that cannot be shaken;" and that the scientist should no longer ignore "that vast body of truths, doctrines, dogmas, backed by evidences which have been accumulating for eighteen centuries under the most searching criticism." There appears to be no reason why men of science should reject the arbitration of philosophy.
Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; from May, 1874, to May, 1875. Selected from the Records. Boston: John Wilson & Son, 1875.
This is the second octavo volume of "Proceedings" of the "New Series," and the tenth of the "Whole Series" published by the American Academy; Volume I. having been published in 1848. Besides the octavo Proceedings, the Academy has long published quarto volumes of Memoirs which are of the highest value. This volume contains 535 pages, of which 462 are devoted to scientific papers, 13 to brief notes of the several stated meetings, 41 to the Report of the Council (into which are incorporated the obituaries of deceased members or associates), six pages to the list of the members, etc., and the rest of the volume to a very copious index.
We learn that the Academy contains 195 Fellows, 91 Associate Fellows, and 70 Foreign Honorary Members. The losses by death during 1874 have been painfully large, and many of them will not be felt by Massachusetts alone, but by the world at large. Short biographical notices are given of the following deceased members: B. R. Curtis, ex-Judge Supreme Court; George Derby, M. D., Professor, Harvard College; F. C. Lowell; Charles G. Putnam, M. D.; Nathaniel B. Shurtleif; James Walker, ex-President Harvard College; Jeffries Wyman, Professor, Harvard College; F. W. A. Argelander, Professor, University of Bonn; Elie de Beaumont, Secretary Paris Academy of Sciences; Sir William Fairbairn, F. R. S., etc.; F. P. G. Guizot; Sir Charles Lyell.
Of the scientific papers given, ten are devoted to Chemistry and Physics, four to Botany, four to Astronomy and Astronomical Physics, two to pure Mathematics, etc. But such an enumeration does not convey any adequate idea of the amount of original research represented by this volume, which is in every way creditable to American science, and fully equal to similar publications in Europe. It is not possible within the limits of our space to attempt any analysis of individual papers, for a knowledge of which reference must be made to the volume itself; but it is impossible to avoid a renewed notice of the remarkable freshness of the volume as a whole. It bears the evidence of being the systematized results of faithful work in the laboratory, the field, and the study, and it has in this and in other respects an advantage not common to all American publications of the same kind.
American State Universities. With a Particular Account of the Rise and Development of the University of Michigan. By Andrew Ten Brook. 418 pages. Price, $3.50. Cincinnati: R. Clarke & Co.
The author of this work, in his first chapter, presents a sketch of the early progress of academic education in the Atlantic States. Next he describes the state of culture in the West at the beginning of the congressional land-grant policy and subsequently. The history of congressional land-grants for universities is given in the third chapter. The remainder of the book is more specially devoted to the subject of education in Michigan, and the matters treated in the successive chapters are: Michigan's early condition as to culture and education; early organization for higher education in that Territory; grant of the present university fund, and its administration by the board of trustees; organization of the school system and administration of the endowment fund; rise of union schools; opening of the Ann Arbor University; review of the period from 1844 to 1852; the administration of President Tappan; administration of President Haven and his successors. Finally, the author essays to forecast the future of American universities. He is in favor of retaining the study of ancient languages as the dominant feature, the very backbone of the university system. "The long-agitated question," he says, "of the place which the Latin and Greek languages should hold in education, the University of Michigan settled originally by giving them the same prominence which they had in the old colleges of this country, and the State universities generally have inclined to this course. This action needs no comment or defense beyond a statement of the reasons which have been supposed to justify it. The relation of the study of these languages to that of other subjects has been greatly changed by the introduction of new branches of study, but not by any special change of views in regard to the value of languages themselves." Science, according to Mr. Ten Brook, is of little or no importance except for specialists. "Language is of all studies the most practical. The useful and sublime sciences, such as chemistry, botany, geology, and astronomy, are of little immediate use even to the learned. Their main facts and generalizations are indeed well employed in literature, in philosophy, and in social life; but beyond these they are only to be pursued by the special student." Again, he says: "It was the ancient classics, and the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures in their originals, which awakened Europe from the sleep of the middle ages. They are adapted to just that kind of work, and they will probably hold their place for ages to come, as for centuries past, in the course of higher education." Our own views on this question are fully stated in the leading editorial of the present number.
Annual Report of the Directors of the St. Louis Public Schools. Pp. 398.
Besides the usual statistics, the various annual reports contained in this volume convey a large amount of valuable information on school management in general. The idea of having attached to the Normal School a "School for Observation" appears to be original to the St. Louis system. This school for observation differs from the "Model School" in that the Normal scholars here simply observe the process of managing a school as conducted by highly-competent teachers, while in the Model School they make experiments in teaching. The school selected for observation is one of the district schools of the city. The members of the senior and middle classes of the Normal School are sent regularly to the "School for Observation" in order to acquire a more thorough knowledge of their future profession.
The experiment begun two years ago, of establishing a Kindergarten in connection with one of the public schools, has, according to the Report, proved a decided success. Like every effort toward new and improved methods in education, the project, at the outset, met with strong opposition. It was urged that children enough would not attend to justify the expense. The younger children of three and four could not be sufficiently interested; small children would not attend regularly; the training would unfit for ordinary primary work; the physical exercises would be injurious to health; and so on, to the end of the string of imaginary difficulties that objectors are forever ready to throw in the way. The result was that, when the school opened, the room was quickly filled. At the beginning of the second year nearly all the children of the previous year reëntered, and a second room of equal capacity was found necessary, and this also was filled. The average attendance was ninety-five per cent., exceeding that in the primary rooms. The children advanced to the primary department made rapid progress in its studies, excelling rather than falling behind their fellows. The physical exercise produced a marked improvement in the health and general appearance of the pupils; and, finally, it has been determined to establish Kindergartens in two more of the public schools.
This and other parts of the Report show what preceding reports from the same source had previously shown, that the authorities in St. Louis are alive to the necessity for improvement in our methods of primary instruction, and it would be well if school-officers in Eastern towns could be charged with a similar spirit. The streets of New York, for example, are swarming with children from three to six years old, receiving at the most impressible period of their lives the lessons that only the streets can teach. If, in place of these abominable associations, they were gathered into Kindergartens, the formation of habits that later become actual obstacles in education would be in great part prevented, while a positive advantage would be gained in the training which such schools afford.
Reference and Dose Book. By C. Henri Leonard. 16mo, 80 pages. Price, 75 cents; and Vest Pocket Anatomist. By same. 16mo. Price, 50 cents. Detroit, 1875. Pp. 56.
The Origin of the Sun's Heat and the Chemical Constitution of the Matter of his System. By William Contie. Troy, 1875. Pp. 23.
Tinnitus Aurium. A Consideration of the Causes upon which it depends, and an Attempt to explain its Production in Accordance with Physical Principles. By Samuel Theobald, M. D. Baltimore: Innes & Co., Printers. 1875. Pp. 13.
Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education. No. 6. Washington: Government Printing-office, 1875. Pp. 208.
On the Flexure of Continuous Girders. By Mansfield Merriman, C. E. 1875. Pp. 12.
Printing for the Blind. Reply to the Report of a Committee of the American Social Science Association. By the Trustees of the American Printing-House for the Blind. Louisville, Ky., 1875. Pp. 16.
Have we Two Brains? Soul and Instinct, Spirit and Intellect. Address by Rector of St. Mary's Church, Station 0, N. Y. 1875. Pp. 12. Price, 10 cents.
Alimentation of Infants and Young Children. By B. F. Dawson, M. D. New York: William Wood & Co. 1875. Pp. 22.
Catalogue of the Iowa State University for 1874-'75.
A Graphic Method for solving certain Algebraic Problems. By George L. Vose. New York: D. Van Nostrand. 1875. Pp. 62. Price, 60 cents.
Manual for the Use of the Globes. By Joseph Schedler. New York: E. Steiger. 1875. Pp. 34. Price, 25 cents.
Consciousness in Evolution. A Lecture delivered before the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. By E. D. Cope, 1875. Pp. 16.
Our Teeth and their Preservation. By L. P. Meredith. Cincinnati, 1875. Pp. 43.
History of the Philadelphia School of Anatomy. By William W. Keen, M.D. Philadelphia: Lippincott & Co., 1875. Pp. 32.
Anatomical, Pathological, and Surgical Uses of Chloral. By same. 1875. Pp. 11.
Experiments on the Laryngeal Nerves and Muscles of Respiration in a Criminal executed by Hanging. By W. Y. Keen, M.D. 1875. Pp. 8.
Matter and the Laws of Matter; and The Self-Existence of Matter inconsistent with the Existence of God. By William H. Williams. Each ten pages.
Iowa Weather Review, September, 1875, Edited and published by Dr. Gustavus Hinrichs, Iowa City, Iowa.
A Study of the Normal Movements of the Unimpregnated Uterus. By Ely Van De Warker, M.D. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1875. Pp. 26.
On the Transcendental Curves whose Equation is, sin y sin my a sin a: sin nx b. By H. A. Newton and A. W. Phillips. Re-printed from Transactions of Connecticut Academy.
A New Basis for Uterine Pathology. By A. F. A. King, M.D. New York: William Wood & Co., 1875. Pp. 20.
The Uranian and Neptunian Systems investigated with the 26-Inch Equatorial of the United States Naval Observatory. By Simon Newcomb. Washington, 1875. Pp. 74.
The Relation of the Patent Laws to American Agriculture, Arts, and Industries. Address by James A. Whitney before the New York Society of Practical Engineering. New York, 1875. Pp. 37.
Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, on the Public Schools of New Hampshire. Concord, 1875.
Nature and Culture. By Harvey Rice. Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1875. Pp. 202. Price, $1.50.
A Manual of Metallurgy. By William H. Greenwood, F.C.S. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 370. Price, $1.50.
Cholera Epidemic of 1873 in the United States. Pub. Doc. Washington, 1875. 1025 pages.
Vision: Its Optical Defects and the Adaptation of Spectacles. By C. S. Fenner, M.D. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1875. Pp. 300. Price, $3.50.
Scripture Speculations. By H. R. Stevens. Newburg, N. Y., 1875. Pp. 415. Price, $2.00.