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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 9/August 1876/Literary Notices

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 9‎ | August 1876


Prehistoric Man: Researches into the Origin of Civilization in the Old and the New World. By Daniel Wilson, LL.D., F.R.S.E. Third edition, revised and enlarged, with Illustrations. In Two Volumes. London: Macmillan & Co., 1876. Price, $12.

The first edition of this important work was issued in 1862, at a period when the public mind was startled by the rapid progress made in archæological discovery, and by the evidence it afforded of the great antiquity of man upon the globe. Vast collections of implements and ornaments had been made by the museums of Northern Europe, and by private collectors, from caves, mounds, lake-borders, and drift-gravels, but their value as a record of the prehistoric races was a subject of animated discussion. It was not admitted, excepting by those familiar with the subject, that any of the implements which had been brought to light "implied a longer period for man than that assigned by the Mosaic record."

It was vigorously denied that flint weapons found in the ancient drift-gravels were works of art. M. Boucher de Perthes published, in 1847, an account of many found in the drift-gravels in Northern France, and for many years "was looked upon as an enthusiast, almost as a madman." At such a period the appearance of Dr. Wilson's elaborate work, and of others like it, did excellent service, in presenting the facts and history of archæological science, and the conclusions it suggests.

In common with those who had made the science a subject of unprejudiced study, he asserted the great antiquity of man. "The pre-Celtic architects of the British long barrows, and the allophyliæ of the European stone age," he said, "are but men of yesterday, in comparison with the Flint Folk of the Drift. . . . They were a race of hunters and fishers . . . . contemporary with the Siberian mammoth and extinct elephants—the woolly rhinoceros—the musk-ox, and reindeer of France."

The present volumes contain an account of the principal discoveries made since the first edition appeared, and treat in interesting detail of the condition of primitive man on this continent—the aspects of culture among the mound-builders, and the miners of the Northern lakes. The civilizations of Mexico and Peru, and the shadowy ones which preceded them, are vividly presented.

Here, as everywhere else with primitive man, the author finds proof that "art is a child of necessity." Probably men learned to sharpen stones for their clubs, converting them into spears when the club was found inadequate to the necessities of their condition.

Man's earliest arts were therefore of the most practical kind, not in any sense ornamental. Indeed, ornamentation arose, in the opinion of the author, merely by improving the accidents of manufacture.

The era of the Flint Folk, he observes, may antedate the historic epoch by hundreds of thousands of years, as some archæologists insist; "still man is found to have been the same reasoning, tentative, and inventive mechanician that he now is. 1 Nor does the author find any evidence of the anthropoid link between man and the brute. It is obvious, however, that much depends on what constitutes evidence of that link, and scientists differ on that point.

Only that portion of the early prehistoric period is known to us of which the caves and the drift have furnished records; these, however, suggest an antecedent period, in which man may not have attained the weapon-making stage. His primeval habitat and true birthplace, observes the author, may have been in the more favored regions of the earth where Nature spontaneous provided for his requirements.

That a work so voluminous as this should pass to a third edition is strong evidence of its merit, and of the deep interest felt in the subject of which it treats. The value of the work is enhanced by the number of its illustrations, there being 132 in the 800 pages of the volumes. It is the matured and intelligent expression of one of the early students of archæology, and will continue to command the attention of the specialist and of the general reader.

The Wages Question: A Treatise on Wages and the Wages-Class. By Francis A. Walker, M. A., Ph. D. New York: Henry Holt & Co. Pp. 428. Price, $3.50.

The question of wages is strictly economical in its nature, and must be discussed by the political economist without reference to ethical or social considerations. Most writers on the subject of wages have, however, given to the term "economical" too restricted a meaning, thus excluding the action of causes which, though primarily ethical or social, are nevertheless secondarily potent in the field of industry, as affecting either the production or the distribution of wealth. To such causes Prof. Walker assigns due weight, and herein consists one of the distinctive features of his work. "Sympathy for labor" is a phrase which, on first view, would seem to have no place in a scientific discussion of the wages question from the political economist's point of view. Yet, as is shown by the author, if sympathy for labor serves in any degree to make competition on the side of the laboring class more active and persistent; if it takes anything from the activity and persistency with which the employing class use the means in their power to beat down wages, or lengthen the hours of work, it becomes, in just so far as it has such an effect, a strictly economical cause.

Three doctrines, which are more or less current in political economy, the author vehemently controverts, viz.: 1. That there is a wage-fund irrespective of the numbers and industrial quality of the laboring population, constituting the sole source from which wages can at any time by drawn. Wages, he shows, are paid out of current production, and not out of capital, as the wage-fund theory assumes. 2. That competition is so far perfect that the laborer, as producer, always realizes the highest wages which the employer can afford to pay; or else, as consumer, is recompensed in the lower price of commodities for any injury he may chance to suffer as producer. 3. That, in the organization of modern industrial society, the laborer and the capitalist are together sufficient unto production, the actual employer of labor being regarded as the capitalist, or else as the mere stipendiary agent and creature of the capitalist, receiving a remuneration which can properly be treated like the wages of ordinary labor.

In opposition to the generally-accepted view that, if the wage-laborer does not seek his interest, his interest will seek him, Prof. Walker holds that, if the wage-laborer does not pursue his interest, he loses his interest. "In a state of imperfect competition," says the author—

"First, wages may be reduced without any enhancement of profits, the difference being, not gain to the employer, but loss to mankind through the industrial degradation of the laborer." This point is established by the case of Spitalfields, where a large population was ruined morally and socially by a great change in the conditions of the silk manufacture. "Secondly," continues our author, "for so much of the sums taken from the laboring class by reduction of wages as the employers or capitalists may at the time secure in excessive profits or excessive interest, there exists do adequate security, under the operation of strictly economical forces, that it will be fully returned to the wages-class in a quickened demand for their labor, inasmuch as luxuriousness and indolence will inevitably enter, among the majority of employers, to waste in self-indulgence a portion of the profits so acquired, or to take something from the activity and the carefulness with which future production will be pursued. Thirdly, in respect to such industrial injuries as have just been described, economical forces by themselves tend to perpetuate and continually to deepen the injury, putting the laborer at a constantly-increasing disadvantage in the exchange of his services."

The doctrine of laissez faire is simply a rule of conduct applicable in certain conditions, not a principle of universal application. Prof. Walker favors state interference to the extent of—1, insisting on the thorough primary education of the whole population; 2, advocating a strict system of sanitary administration; 3, insisting on the necessity of precautions for the integrity of banks of savings for the encouragement of the instincts of frugality, sobriety, and industry. "If the state," says he, "will see to it that the whole body of the people can read and write and cipher; that the common air and common water—which no individual vigilance can protect, yet on which depend, in a degree which few even of intelligent persons comprehend, the public health and the laboring power of a populations—are kept pure; and that the first feeble efforts of the poor at bettering their condition are guarded against official frauds and speculative risks, it may take its hands off at a hundred other points, and trust its citizens, in the main, to do and care for themselves. . . . It must ever be borne in mind, in such discussions, that those things are economically justified which can reasonably be shown to contribute, on the whole, and in the long-run, to a larger production, or, production remaining the same, to a more equitable distribution of wealth."

Annual Record of Science and Industry for 1875. By Spencer F. Baird. Pp. 946. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This fifth volume of Prof. Baird's "Annual Record of Science and Industry" is not only the most voluminous, but also the most complete of the series. The first part of the work, comprising a brief narration of scientific and industrial progress during the year 1875, is specially valuable. Each principal branch of science and industrial art is here considered separately, and the reader is enabled readily to note the amount of progress made in each during the past year, and to observe the directions in which the thoughts of practical and scientific men are tending. Such annual summaries will, in future times, be of invaluable service to the historian. This portion of the work occupies nearly 300 pages. The second part consists of paragraphs communicating in brief the results of special scientific investigations. These paragraphs are distributed under the heads of "Mathematics and Astronomy," "Terrestrial Physics and Meteorology," "General Physics, Chemistry, and Metallurgy," "Mineralogy and Geology," "Geography," "General Natural History and Zoölogy," "Botany and Horticulture," "Agriculture and Rural Economy," "Pisciculture and Fisheries," "Domestic and Household Economy," "Mechanics and Engineering," "Technology," "Materia Medica," "Therapeutics and Hygiene," "Miscellaneous." The work is provided with a good index.

Manual of the Apiary, pp. 59. Also, Injurious Insects of Michigan, pp. 48. By Prof. A. J. Cook, of the Michigan State Agricultural College.

In the first of these two pamphlets Prof. Cook aims to supply a want which has long been felt, that of a hand-book on bee-culture, which shall be at once simple in style, full in its discussions, low-priced, and up with the times. In all these respects he has undoubtedly attained a very fair measure of success. The injurious insects treated of in the second pamphlet are, the potato-beetle, May-beetle, pea-weevil, squash-bug, sundry enemies of the cabbage-plant, plum-curculio, grape-phylloxera, clothes-moth, etc.

Standard Facts and Figures. Compiled by A. G. Sullivan. New York: Morton & Dumont. Pp. 109.

This little manual contains a large amount of commercial and financial information of special importance to businessmen, and to those who desire to purchase Government, State, railway, and mining stocks. The volume also contains tables of interest, exchange, prices of gold, etc. The value of the work is much enhanced by a very complete index.

Proceedings of the Poughkeepsie Society of Natural Science. Vol. I., fascicule I. Pp 41.

This installment of the proceedings of the Poughkeepsie Society of Natural Science consists of only one paper, by Charles B. Warring, entitled "Studies upon the Inclination of the Earth's Axis." The author considers the following questions: How could a belt of nebulous matter acted on by the laws of motion and gravitation become a spheroid? How did the axis of the spheroid, normally perpendicular, become inclined? What was the amount of this inclination up to the moment of the earth's existence separate from the moon? When did the increase to the present obliquity occur? Finally, what was the cause of that increase?

Man: Palæolithic, Neolithic, and several other Races, not inconsistent with Scripture. By Nemo. Dublin: Hodges, Foster & Co. Pp. 137.

The first appearance of man upon the earth took place, according to this author, in the Pliocene, or perhaps earlier.. Before the Adam of the book of Genesis there were several creations of man, and of these creations ten races besides that of Adam survive to this day. Thus, instead of being the first, the scriptural Adam was the last created man. After the "six days" of creation the seventh day commenced, and of that day nearly 6,000 years have run. Judging from analogy, many thousands of years have yet to elapse before the "seventh day" is ended.

On Supposed Changes in the Nebula M 17 h. 2008 G. C. 4403. By E. S. Holden.

This paper, reprinted from the American Journal of Science and Art, goes over the same ground as the article by the same author, "The Horseshoe Nebula in Sagittarius," in Vol. VIII. of this Monthly. In the latter paper Prof. Holden addresses a popular audience, and he accordingly eschews mathematics; but in the former he addresses astronomers, and of course writes in technical language.

The Public-School Question: Two Lectures. Boston: Free Religious Association.

The school question is here presented from two opposite points of view: that of "an American Catholic citizen," by Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester, N. Y.; and that of "a liberal American citizen," by Francis E. Abbott, editor of the Index.

Wheeler's Survey of the Territories. Reports of G. K. Gilbert, pp. 270; Edwin E. Howell, pp. 70; and A. R. Marvine, pp. 35. Washington, 1876.

These reports have been printed by the authors for private circulation. They are all extracted from vol. iii. of Wheeler's United States Engineer Reports of Explorations and Surveys west of the One Hundredth Meridian. The authors, in this private edition of their reports, correct various typographical errors, and restore some passages which, though occurring in the original manuscripts, do not appear in the documents as officially published. In some instances statements made in the reports are corrected in accordance with the results of more recent investigation.

Memoirs of the Peabody Academy of Science, No. 4. Salem: Published by the Academy. Pp. 94, with Plates.

In this elegant quarto volume the Peabody Academy presents to the public the late Prof. Jeffries Wyman's memoir upon the fresh-water shell-mounds of the St. John's River, Florida. Prof. Wyman made his first examination of these shell-mounds in 1860, when collections were made at Lake Harney, Black Hammock, and Enterprise. In 1867 he revisited these places, and soon afterward published a short account of them, of which the present memoir is in some respects a reprint. But later he had opportunities for further exploration, the results of which are here given. The collections made by Prof. Wyman are preserved in the Peabody Museum of American Archæology and Ethnology at Harvard College.

Bulletin of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories. Vol. II., No. 1, pp. 87; No. 2, pp. 100.

The first of these two numbers of the Bulletin of Hayden's Survey is specially interesting. It contains seven papers, nearly all of them illustrated, on archaeological subjects connected with Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and other Western Territories. In number two are two essays, viz., "Studies of the American Falconidæ," and "Ornithology of Guadeloupe Island." Both of these papers are by Mr. Robert Ridgeway.

Contributions to the Natural History of Kerguelen Island. By J. H. Kidder, M. D. II., pp. 122. Washington: Government Printing-Office.

In this bulletin are embodied the results of an examination of the eggs brought from Kerguelen Island by the United States Transit-of-Venus Expedition, the identification of the botanical specimens, and determinations of the small but interesting zoölogical collections. The latter contain a large number of new genera and species, especially in mollusks, insects, crustaceans, and echinoderms.

Occurrence of Eozöon Canadense at Côte St.-Pierre. By J. W. Dawson, LL. D. Pp. 10, with Plate.

The controversy as to the true nature of Eozöon Canadense—whether it is of organic origin, or whether it is simply and purely a mineral formation—still continues. A short time ago we made mention of a paper by Otto Hahn, on the negative side of this question. In the paper before us Dr. Dawson presents with considerable force the arguments in favor of the organic origin of this curious fossil.

Bulletin of the United States National Museum, No. 5, pp. 82. Washington: Government Printing-Office.

In 1872, while on a visit to the Bermudas, Dr. G. Brown Goode, assistant curator of the United States Museum, studied the fishes of those islands. The present number of the Bulletin contains the results of Dr. Goode's studies. His "Catalogue of the Fishes of the Bermudas" names and describes seventy-five species of fishes belonging to Bermudan waters—most of them observed by the author himself. Up to the time of his visit, only seven species of fishes had been recorded from that locality.

Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. Vol. IV. Pp. 63. Topeka: Printed by G. W. Martin.

Contains twelve papers bearing the following titles: "Ozone in Kansas Atmosphere," "The Nebraska Hot Bluff," "Kansas Chalk," "Kansas Soils," "Kansas Salt," "Calamites," "Kansas Mammalia," "Habits of Certain Larvæ," "The Cottonwood-leaf Beetle," "Rocky Mountain Locust," "Sage Sphinx," "Lepidoptera of Eastern Kansas."

The Historical Jesus of Nazareth. By M. Schlesinger, Ph. D. Pp. 98. New York: Somerby.

Dr. Schlesinger, in the first place, analyzes the Messianic idea as it existed in the minds of the prophets and in the traditions of the people of Israel. He then examines the New Testament writings, in order to show what manner of man Jesus really was, and what religious and moral doctrines he held. These, according to the author, were purely Jewish—"Jesus was nothing but a Jew." The Christian system really originated with the apostle Paul, who boldly cut the new religion loose from its parent trunk, Judaism.

Bulletin of the Bussy Institution. Part V., pp. 97, with Plates. Cambridge: John Wilson & Son.

Of the seven papers contained in this volume three are on chemical subjects, viz., "The Composition of Date-stones," "Analysis of Potassic Fertilizers," "Occurrence of Ammonia in Anthracite." The author of these papers is Prof. F. H. Storer, dean of the institution. The other four papers are on botanical subjects, viz.: "A Disease of Olive and Orange Trees," "The American Grape-vine Mildew," "Fungi found in the Vicinity of Boston," and "The Black Knot." These papers are by Prof. W. G. Farlow.


Jansen, McClurg & Co. announce the publication of a "Manual of the Vertebrates of the Northern United States," by David S. Jordan. The work is designed to reduce the labor of classifying and ascertaining the names of specimens, and to fill in the study of zoölogy the place that Gray's "Manual of Botany" has long filled in the study of plants. 1 vol., 12mo, pp. 342. Price $2.


Under the title "Condensed Classics," Henry Holt & Co. will soon commence the publication, in condensed form, of a series of standard works of English fiction, the purpose being to save the time of the reader by eliminating those portions of the text that can be spared without impairing the continuity of the story. The work of condensation is in the competent hands of Mr. Rossiter Johnson. The initial work of the series will be "Ivanhoe," by Sir Walter Scott. This will be speedily followed by "Our Mutual Friend," by Charles Dickens, which will be succeeded by "The Last Days of Pompeii," by Bulwer.


In the prospectus of the Quarterly Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, it is stated that "papers received from resident and corresponding members of the club, together with such matter pertaining to birds as may be gathered from other sources, will make up the contents. It is proposed to issue 16 pages quarterly. Starting, however, with 28, we hope to receive sufficient aid to warrant the continuation of a like number, and to make the work at least self-supporting." $1 per year. Published by H. B. Bailey, 13 Exchange Place, Boston.


The American Catholic Quarterly Review takes the place of the defunct Quarterly Review edited by the late Dr. Orestes A. Brownson. The new periodical, however, will occupy a wider field than its predecessor, embracing within its scope not only theological, philosophical, and political, but also historical, scientific, and literary discussions. It has a strong editorial staff, and among its contributors are the foremost Catholic littérateurs and scholars of the United States and England. $5 per year. Philadelphia: Hardy & Mahony, 505 Chestnut Street.



The Logic of Chance. By John Venn, M. A. Pp. 488. New York: Macmillan. Price, $3.75.

Village Communities. By Sir Henry S. Maine. Pp. 425. New York: Holt & Co. Price, $3.50.

The Andes and the Amazon. By James Orton, A. M. Pp. 645. New York: Harpers. Price, $3.00.

Comparative Zoölogy. By James Orton, A. M. Pp. 396. New York: Harpers. Price, $3.00.

Elements of Physical Manipulation. By E. C. Pickering. Part II. Pp. 326. New York: Hurd & Houghton. Price, $4.00.

Ninth Annual Report of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology. Pp. 54.

Recent Advances in Physical Science. By P. G. Tait, M. A. Pp. 349. New York: Macmillan. Price, $2.50.

The Fatigue of Metals. By L. Spangenburg. Pp. 90. New York: Van Nostrand. Price, 50 cents.

Eighth Annual Report on the Insects of Missouri. By C. V. Riley. Pp. 186. Jefferson City: Regan & Carter print.

Seventh Annual Report of the Massachusetts Board of Health. Pp. 574. Boston: Wright & Potter, print.

Annual Report of the Louisiana Board of Health. Pp. 261. New Orleans Republican print.

Annual Report of the St. Louis School Board. Pp. 407. St. Louis Globe-Democrat print.

Report on the Ventilation of the United States Hall of Representatives. By Robert Briggs, C. E. Pp. 45. Philadelphia: H. B. Ashmead print.

Tenth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane. Pp. 56. Middletown, Connecticut: Pelton & King print.

Centennial Newspaper Exhibition. Compiled by G. P. Rowell & Co. New York. Pp. 295.

Papers read before the n H Scientific Society of the Rensselaer Institute. Troy, New York. Pp. 44.

Normal Standard of Woman for Propagation. By N. Allen, M. D. Pp. 39. New York: W. Wood & Co.

The Wire-Ligature. By W. A. Byrd, M. D. Pp. 20. New York: Appletons.

Biblia Sacra Nova. Pp. 30. New York News Company. Price, 25 cents.

Catalogue of Isaac Lea's Published Works. Pp. 22. Philadelphia: Collins print.

Further Notes on "Inclusions" in Gems. By J. Lea, LL. D. Pp. 12. Philadelphia: Collins print.

Lateral Pressure of Rocks. By W. H. Niles. Pp. 15. Boston: Kingman print.

Notes on the North American Ganoids. By B. G. Wilder. Pp. 44. Salem Press. Price, 50 cents.

Distribution of the Geneva Award. By Hon. Elijah Ward Pp. 10. Washington, 1876.

Terre Haute Public Schools. Pp. 92. Terre Haute, Ind.: Globe Printing-Office.

Report on Dermatology. By L. P. Yandell, Jr., M.D. Pp. 1. Indianapolis Journal print.

The Missouri Dental Journal. Monthly. Pp. 16.

The Glacial Epoch and the Distribution of Insects in North America. Pp. 5. Are Potato-Bugs poisonous? Pp. 3. By A. R. Grote. From Proceedings of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Nothing. By W. H. Boughton. Pp. 8. Brooklyn: E. S. Dodge print.

Chemistry of Three Dimensions. By F. W. Clarke. Pp. 9. From Proceedings of American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Experimental Proof of the Law of Inverse Squares for Sound. By W. W. Jacques. Pp. 8.