The Galaxy, Volume 23, No. 2, February, 1877
Author: Various
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Mr. James Croll, in a letter to "Nature" (July 13, 1876), incidentally mentions the lessons that may be derived from the configurations of the earth's surface.

"Given the hardly perceptible wearing of water and time, a canyon a mile deep, and many hundreds of miles long, has resulted from the flowing of a stream. Given glacial 'abrasion' and time enough, then valleys of rounded section and firths and lake-basins of a particular kind probably resulted from the flowing of ice.

"Where a stream flows from source to mouth on a gradual slope, there has been no great disturbance of level since the stream began to work. Where ice fills the dales there are no canyons. Where ice has filled dales and has left fresh marks, canyons are short and small. In mountain regions, where ice-marks are rare or absent, canyons are of great depth and length, apparently because their streams have flowed in the same channels ever since the mountains were raised. But where canyons are marked features, these lakes, firths, and dales of rounded section are very rare, or do not exist. It seems therefore that hollows which have, in fact, been carved out of the earth's surface may be known for water-work or for ice-work by their shape, and that firths, dales, and lakes may mark the sites of local glacial periods; and canyons the sites of climates that have not been glacial since the streams began to flow."


One of the problems which geologists now propose to themselves is to ascertain definitely whether the existence of man before the close of the glacial epoch can be certainly proved. The method of proof consists in the examination of formations older than those of that epoch, in the hope of finding in them bones or implements of human origin. Mr. S. B. J. Skertchly thinks he has done this. In the valley sides around the town of Brandon, in England, "are preserved patches of brick-earth, which are valuable as affording the only workable clay in the district. Whenever these beds are well exposed they are seen to underlie the chalky boulder-clay of glacial age. Of this there cannot be the slightest doubt, for the glacial bed is typically developed and not in the slightest degree reconstructed. In these beds I have been so fortunate as to find palaeolithic implements in two places; and in one of them quantities of broken bones and a few fresh-water shells. The implements are of the oval type, boldly chipped, but without any of the finer work which distinguishes the better made palaeolithic implements. Although it would be rash to lay too great a stress upon the characters of these implements, it is nevertheless worthy of remark that they do belong to the crudest type. Equally rough specimens are found in the gravels above the boulder-clay, and even among neolithic finds. Still these very antique implements certainly do seem to belong to an earlier stage of civilization, if we regard them as examples of the best workmanship of their makers." These, he thinks, are the oldest specimens of man's handiwork known, and prove him to have lived before the culmination of the glacial epoch.


An anthropologist, M. Turbino, has written a paper on the relations of the people who inhabit Spain and Portugal, from which it appears that those civilized races present a heterogeneity that reminds us forcibly of the condition in which the savage tribes of America were at the time of the discovery, and indeed are still. There is found in the Spanish races no unity of origin or of physique. There is not only dissimilarity, but also antithesis and opposition. M. Turbino endeavored to show that the same diversity existed in the region of morals, in language, in art, and in the ideas of right and law, and that thus there is really no Spanish race and no means of establishing in the Iberian Peninsula a centralized state.

Broca, in discussing these facts, asserted that the same state of things exists everywhere; that the idea of race as applied to the people of the present political divisions is untrue. The only great barriers of states are their geographical limits.


Prof. Maskelyne, of the British Museum, seems to be particularly gratified by the fall of a metallic meteorite in England. He says:

"It is, indeed, an iron meteorite, and the special interest of this statement lies in the fact that, though our great collection of 311 distinct meteorites at the Museum contains 104 indubitable iron meteorites, the falls of only seven of the latter were witnessed. The collection contains eight stony meteorites that have fallen in the British Islands; but the Rowton meteorite is only the second iron meteorite known as having been found in Great Britain."

It weighs seven and three-quarter pounds, is angular in shape, and he supposes that it is but the fragment of a much larger aerolite, since one loud explosion was heard and rumbling sounds, which may have denoted others, were heard before it fell.


Mr. A. W. Howitt, after many years' observation in Australia, reports that the boomerang, though a singular, is not the marvellous instrument which we are told of in some books of travel; especially does he deny it the power of continuing its flight after striking its object, and also the power of returning with exact aim to the thrower's hand. That might be in an instrument which was made with theoretical perfectness, but as it is the return flight is very wild. He had a trial made by several natives, one of them a boomerang thrower of great skill. The ground was good, and the only drawback was a light sea breeze. He found that the throws could be placed in two classes, one in which the boomerang was held when thrown in a plane perpendicular to the horizon, the other in which one plane of the boomerang was inclined to the left of the thrower.

In the first method of throwing the missile proceeded, revolving with great velocity, in a perpendicular plane for say one hundred yards, when it became inclined to the left, travelling from right to left. It then circled upward, the plane in which it revolved indicating a cone, the apex of which would lie some distance in front of the thrower. "When the boomerang in travelling passed round to a point above and somewhat to the right of the thrower, and perhaps one hundred feet above the ground, it appeared to become stationary for a moment; I can only use the term hovering to describe it. It then commenced to descend, still revolving in the same direction, but the curve followed was reversed, the boomerang travelling from left to right, and, the speed rapidly increasing, it flew far to the rear. At high speed a sharp whistling noise could be heard. In the second method, which was shown by 'bungil wunkun,' and elicited admiring ejaculations of 'ko-ki' from the black fellows, the boomerang was thrown in a plane considerably inclined to the left. It there flew forward for say the same distance as before, gradually curving upward, when it seemed to 'soar' up—this is the best term—just as a bird may be seen to circle upward with extended wings. The boomerang of course was all this time revolving rapidly. It is difficult to estimate the height to which it soared, making, I think, two gyrations; but judging from the height of neighboring trees on the river bank, which it surmounted, it may have reached one hundred and fifty feet. It then soared round and round in a decreasing spiral, and fell about one hundred yards in front of the thrower. This was performed several times. The descending curve passed the thrower, I think, three times.

"Another method of throwing was mentioned; namely, to throw the boomerang in such a manner that it would strike the ground with its flat side some distance in front of the thrower. It would then rise upward in a spiral, returning in the same. This was not attempted, as it was decided the boomerang was not strong enough. A final throw in a vertical plane, so that the missile struck the ground violently fifty or sixty yards in advance, terminated the display. It ricocheted three times with a twanging noise and split along the centre. My black friends said they should soon manufacture a number of the best constructed 'wunken' to show me. I observed that the spectators stood about a hundred yards on one side of the thrower, and when the boomerang in its gyrations approached us, every black fellow had his eyes sharply fixed on it. The fact stated by them that it was dangerous was well shown in one instance, where it suddenly wheeled and flew so close over us that I and Toolabar fell over each other in dodging it."


Lieutenant Ruffner describes one of the great lava outflows in the West in a way that serves to set before the reader the magnitude of the eruptions which have made America par excellence the volcanic continent. It is in New Mexico.

From the Conejos river, in Colorado, one continuous sheet of lava covers the face of the country to the south, for eighty miles unbroken; and then for fifty miles further is now exhibited in outlying areas and detached masses, separated from the main body by the exercise of the power of erosion through prolonged ages. One hundred and thirty miles in length, and perhaps thirty in breadth at its widest, the area of a principality lies swallowed up for ever. From craters existing probably in the San Antonio mountain and in the Ute Peak, near the boundary of Colorado, and possibly from other centres, this flood poured over the land. Reaching to the east, it was checked by the mountains of the Sangre de Cristo range; flowing to the west, the mountains and hills of the main divide, and the spur now between the Chama and the Rio Grande, limited its extent. To the south it was deflected westwardly by the spur of the mountains called the Picuris range, some fifteen miles south of Taos. Protected by this spur, we find the east bank of the Rio Grande for many miles free from the flux. Confined on the west by the slopes of the Jemez mountains, the breadth of the field is narrowed. But from the village of San Ildefonso to Pena Blanca, we find the lava on both sides of the Rio Grande, spreading to the east as far as the Santa Fe creek. Secondary centres in the Jemez mountains possibly contributed to this extension, but the main force of the eruptions was probably felt further to the north. However, in this vicinity the edges and extremity of the field have been reached, and there has been so much erosion in places since its deposition, that outlying masses, as in the bluffs to the west of San Felipe, alone remain. Throughout the whole region thus depicted, the lava field is the great and controlling element. The streams that have eaten their way through it with untold difficulty are found in narrow and deep canyons having no land for cultivation. A dangerous feat for man to descend these precipices, the passage by an animal of burden is almost impossible. The Rio Grande passes for eighty miles or more through its black abyss, with walls of seven or eight hundred feet in height, crowned with perpendicular cliffs of solid lava, two and three hundred feet high. Throughout the whole region there is no agriculture.


In the last of a series of papers on cephalization (or brain development) as a fundamental principle in the development of the system of animal life, Prof. Dana says ("American Journal," October, 1876): "I would refer to the case among mammals for an illustration of the principle that the lowest forms are those having their locomotive functions located in the posterior parts of the body; and that in the higher the forces, or force organs, are more and more forward in the structure. For example, in the whale the tail is the propelling organ, and is of enormous power and magnitude, and the brain is very small, and is situated far from the head extremity in a great mass of flesh and bone furnished with poor organs of sense; a grade up, in the horse or ox, the tail or posterior extremity is no longer an organ of locomotion, and is little more than a caudal whip lash, and locomotion is performed by organs situated more anteriorly, the legs, and a well-formed head carries a brain which is a vastly higher organ of intelligence than that of the whale, but the legs are simply organs of locomotion, and the hinder are the more powerful; and higher up, in the tiger or cat, the fore legs—not the hind legs—are the organs of chief muscular force, and these have higher functions than that of simple locomotion, and further, the body is proportionately shortened, and the head is shortened anteriorly, or in the jaws, and approximates thus toward the condition of man. The existence or not of a switch-like tail, as in ordinary quadrupeds, has little bearing on the question of the degree of cephalization, since the organ is not an organ of locomotion, or one indicating a large posterior development of muscular bone. But, approaching man in the system of life, even this seems to have significance."


The hot weather last summer affected even the herring fishery. The fishermen off the Scotch coast had been supplied with sea thermometers by the Scottish Meteorological Society, and they found that during one week, when the sea water showed a temperature of 58 deg. to 59 deg., no fish were caught. But when the temperature fell to 55 deg. the herring were caught in great abundance. Indeed, they flocked to the land in such numbers that many nets were taken to the bottom with their weight, and the fishermen lost considerable sums from this odd mishap. The action of the Meteorological has produced important results. The entirely new discovery has been made that the herring love cold water, and in seasons when the temperature of the sea water rises, they keep away from the land, in deeper water, between the fifteen to eighteen fathoms for which the nets are calculated. The colder the weather the greater is the take of fish; 1875, a year when the water was considerably and continuously warmer than 1874, having been a poor year, while the latter was a better one. This action of the fish makes it probable that it likes a given range of temperature, neither too high nor too low. In cold water this belt of agreeable temperature is found nearer the sun-warmed surface, and the fish creep inshore. Many singular facts relating to this fishery are known. If a thunderstorm occurs, the fishermen expect a good catch on that day, but the next day they will get none except in deep water, and the supposition is that the fish are leaving the land. The herring has a strong sense of locality, always returning to the same ground. Experienced dealers can tell by inspection in just what sea or loch a given lot of fish were caught.


A paper describing the use of natural gas in the puddling furnaces at Leechburg, Pa., was presented by Mr. A. L. Holley to the American Institute of Mining Engineers. This well is about twenty miles northeast of Pittsburg, on one of the side tributaries of the Alleghany river. It had been drilled in search of oil to a depth of 1,250 feet in 1871, but none was found. A great flow of gas was developed, however, accompanied by a slight spray of salt water, and this has continued with little or no diminution to the present time. The gas in its escape has been discharged through a five-inch pipe, and at a pressure of from sixty to eighty pounds per square inch. The rolling mill of Messrs. Roger & Burchfield is on the opposite side of the river, and it has been for some years devoted to the production of fine grades of sheet iron from charcoal pig metal, by puddling and in knobbling fires. The usual weekly product of the mill has been thirty tons of No. 3 tin plates and fifty tons of No. 24 to twenty-eight sheets.

The well was bought by this firm for $1,000, and the gas is led across the river, a distance of 500 feet, through a three-inch pipe. It is distributed through half-inch pipes, and at a pressure of about forty-five pounds per square inch, to several of the furnaces. No essential alteration in any of the furnaces has been found necessary in the use of the gas fuel, except to brick up the fire bridge and to put in the gas and air pipes. The old grate used for coal is loosely covered with bricks and cinder, so that a slight percolation of air may take place through them. The gas is admitted through a half-inch pipe, and blows toward the fire-bridge through eighteen or twenty one-eighth inch jets. The air is blown in, at about 2 lbs. pressure, through two one and one-eighth-inch jets, obliquely down upon the centre of the hearth, and a very perfect combustion is obtained. A great improvement is effected in the quality of the product of the puddling furnaces by the combined action of the gas and air blast. The air is blown in during the melting, but it is then shut off until the boiling begins. It is then turned on full, and a violent boiling action is maintained without any rabbling. Many advantages result from the use of this fuel. The product of the mill has increased about thirty per cent., from sixty to seventy tons of coal are saved daily, besides the labor necessary to fire with it, and a poorer quality of iron can be used in making the tin plate. Thus the iron now used is credited to the furnace at $45 per ton, while charcoal blooms have cost $80. These are certainly enormous advantages, and though every mill cannot have a permanent gas well, it must be more economical to produce such results by making coal into gas than to continue using it in the solid form. The gas at Leechburg is used in fourteen furnaces and under seven boilers. Its composition is carbonic acid, 0.35; carbonic oxide, 0.26; illuminating hydrocarbons, 0.56; hydrogen, 4.79; marsh gas, C H_{4}, 89.65; ethyl hydride, C_{2} H_{6}, 4.39; specific gravity, 0.558. This analysis shows about 57 per cent. of carbon and 42 per cent. of hydrogen. If the well discharges one million cubic feet of gas daily, it would weigh about sixty tons, yielding thirty-nine tons of carbon. Mr. Holley calculates that it equals about 150 tons of bituminous coal, such as is found in the Pittsburg region.


In England the favorite source of phosphates of lime is the "Cambridge coprolites." These are small, hard, gray nodules, obtained by washing a stratum, of about one foot in thickness, lying in the upper greensand formation in Cambridgeshire. Similar coprolites are found and mined in other districts of England, but they are of inferior quality, containing more oxide of iron and alumina. These give the tribasic phosphate of lime, which results from the application of sulphuric acid to the nodules, a tendency to "go back" to the insoluble condition. French nodules are of inferior quality from another cause. They contain very much silica, sometimes even forty per cent. The Cambridge coprolites are so much esteemed that buyers of artificial manure often stipulate that it shall be made from them. As a consequence the privilege of mining the ground is costly, sometimes as much as $1,500 an acre being paid. The yield is about three hundred tons to the acre. An English chemist reports that the South Carolina phosphate, made in factories situated in and near Charleston, ranks next in value to this Cambridge product. It contains 54 per cent. of tribasic phosphate of lime, 14 per cent. of carbonate of lime, 3-1/2 per cent. of iron oxide and alumina, 2-1/2 per cent. of fluoride of calcium, and 15 per cent. of silica. It consists of bone fragments derived from animal species which are now extinct. These bones have accumulated in old river beds, and the mining operations are compelled to follow the sinuosities of these streams. Though a supply derived from such sources is necessarily limited, the quantity known to be available is very great, and has been estimated to last a century with a yearly extraction of 50,000 tons. In addition to the river phosphate is a lighter deposit, occurring in a stratum of sand and clay about two feet thick; but this is not so valuable, though it is softer and easier ground. The river deposit is nearly black, and when ground makes a very dark powder. It is a great favorite, and in some respects the finest natural source of phosphatic manure in the world.


The operations of the Government assay office in Frankfort during the last year have developed the fact that gold, platinum, palladium, and selenium are found in old silver coins and also in ores which were formerly supposed to be nearly pure sulphides and oxides of lead and silver. From 400,000 pounds of silver and 5,000 pounds of gold were obtained twelve pounds of platinum, two pounds of palladium, and several pounds of selenium. To obtain these the gold is first precipitated from the solution by ferrous chloride, all the other metals by iron turnings. The precipitate is first submitted to the action of ferric chloride to dissolve the copper, and the residue is fused with charcoal and soda to separate the selenium. The regulus from this operation is dissolved, and a compound of selenium and palladium, or of these with platinum, is obtained. They are composed of equal atoms of the two metals and form hard brilliant plates. The presence of these metals in coins is less remarkable than in such ores as those of Commern and Mechernich on the west bank of the Rhine. These ores occur as small granules of galena in a soft sandstone, their origin being still a mooted point. The ore yields a very soft and pure lead, though the presence of pyrite prevents the manufacture of the virgin lead used in making the best brands of white paint.


The French government has placed on the top of the Puy de Dome a meteorological observatory, which, as that is the highest land in France, answers to our stations on Mt. Washington and Pike's Peak. It is, however, constructed in a style very different from those somewhat forbidding abodes. At the top is an observatory tower, placed on a platform, and upon this is placed the anemometer, especially constructed to withstand the force of the storms. Within the tower is a well hole fifty feet deep, which leads to a tunnel more than a hundred feet long, at the end of which is placed the keeper's house. This is a massive building, situated a short distance from the top, where it is partly protected by rocks. The whole work cost $45,000, and $20,000 more will be spent in supplying it with apparatus.


A new theory has been broached to explain the migrations of the Norway lemming, a variety of field mouse. Every few years an immense body of these animals leaves their habitat and proceed westward, attacking every obstacle in front in preference to flanking it, until it reaches the sea, which the little animals boldly enter, only to perish there. No conceivable advantage to the lemming is known to have ever resulted from these long and arduous marches. The losses in swimming large rivers, from fire, the attacks of predatory animals, hunger, and fatigue, are so great that but few reach the sea, and the remnant always perish there. Mr. W. Duppa Crotch, who has studied the habits of these animals for ten years, now suggests that they are moved by an hereditary instinct, and that their prehistoric home was some country west of Sweden, and now covered by the Atlantic. The same kind of reasoning would allot an Atlantic origin to the progenitors of the grasshoppers, which have been such plagues in this country for a few years, for, as stated in the August "Galaxy," those which moved eastward in 1875 did not halt until they perished on the ocean beach or in its waves. Mr. Crotch has thrown new light on some of the habits of the lemming. According to him, says "Nature," the migration is not all completed in one year, as formerly supposed, nor do they, as stated, form processions and cut their way through obstacles; but, breeding several times in the season, they gather in batches, and at intervals make a move westward. Their pugnacity, he states, is astonishing, and the approach of any animal, or even the shadow of a cloud, arouses the anger of this small creature like a guinea pig, and they back against a stone or rock uttering shrill defiance. Our author found, in most examples, a bare patch on the rump, due to their rubbing against the said buttress of support when at bay. He wonders why a bare patch, and not a callosity, should not result from this innate, apparently hereditary habit.


A very interesting discovery of human remains has been made in a cave in Cravanch, about two miles northwest of Belfort, France. Some workmen, excavating in a quarry of Jurassic limestone, found the opening to the cave, the bottom of which was covered with stalagmites, while there were no corresponding stalactites hanging from the roof. Some of these calcareous columns appear to be artificial piles covered with the limestone sheeting. Between them, and also covered with stalagmite, were a quantity of human skeletons, with the skulls raised above the rest of the bodies. A number of weapons and implements, together with a mat of plaited meshes, have been found, all belonging to the polished stone period. It is thought that careful search may uncover remains of an earlier date. The cave is quite large, a hundred feet long and forty wide and high. It was at once taken possession of by the authorities and placed under the charge of Mr. Felix Voulot, who hopes to extract at least one skeleton entire.


The most noticeable features of the month are: the hurricane of the 17th to 23d; lower temperatures in the districts east of the Rocky mountains; large excess of rainfall in some districts and large deficiencies in others; low water in the rivers.

Areas of High Pressure.—These have generally appeared in the Upper Missouri valley, from whence their movements have been south and eastward across the country. Their advance has been frequently marked by high northerly winds and gales, especially when preceded by decidedly low-pressure areas, in the more northern districts and on the Texas coast. When rainy weather has preceded them, the fall in the temperature has been sufficient to turn the rain into sleet and snow, while frequent and heavy frosts have been produced.

Areas of Low Pressure.—Nine have been traced. Excepting the hurricane of the 17th to 23d, the centres of all have moved over the northern sections, and further northward than during previous Octobers. They have been frequently accompanied by barometric troughs, extending south or southwestward toward the Gulf, in which rainy weather and high winds or gales have prevailed.


Maximum. Minimum.

Albany 70 deg. 23 deg. Boston 70 " 26 " Buffalo 73 " 24 " Cape May 73 " 34 " Chicago 73 " 28 " Cincinnati 74 " 29 " Cleveland 75 " 26 " Detroit 72 " 24 " Duluth 67 " 23 " Jacksonville 85 " 43 " Marquette 73 " 28 " Mt. Washington 48 " 5 " New Orleans 84 " 50 " New York 73 " 31 " Pike's Peak 41 " -2 " Philadelphia 75 " 31 " San Diego 80 " 48 " San Francisco 72 " 52 " Washington 78 " 30 "

The first frost of the season is reported from a large number of stations, and first snow from about twenty.

Verifications.—The average is 92.8 per cent. for the weather; 90.1, wind direction; 91.1, temperature; 87.7, barometric changes. For the whole country the average verified is 90.4 per cent. There were four omissions to predict out of 3,720, or 0.1 percent.

A severe earthquake shock was felt at San Francisco at 9:20 p.m., on the 6th, lasting ten seconds; motion from northwest to southeast. A second and lighter shock was felt the same day.


Probably few American travellers visit a collection of antiquities, infinitely older than the paintings, statues, and relics of mediaeval life, or even than those of Roman and Grecian age, but which is as freely open to them, near Paris. This is the museum which has been established in the chateau of Saint Germain. France has been particularly fortunate in rescuing fragments of the life which existed within her borders long before the day of the very earliest races to which history points us. These fragments have sometimes been preserved in the most fortuitous manner, and afford unique illustrations of the remarkable accidents to which man is occasionally indebted for his knowledge. The fossil man of Denyse, whatever his age may have been, has been preserved for our inspection by becoming overwhelmed in a volcanic eruption. The skeleton of Mentone was found by Riviere while engaged in a systematic search among French caves. Other caves in France have preserved evidences sufficiently distinct for us to gain valuable hints of ancient life. In fact all the ages of man, so far as they are recognized, and all the kinds of proof concerning them, are well represented in French collections. During the reign of the late Emperor this museum was founded, and has received the case of many noted French savants who have won distinction in this field of research. The walls are covered by finely painted maps illustrating the distribution of caves, and rock shelters, and places where instruments of stone, bone, and bronze have been found. Pictures are also exhibited which illustrate the views of former social customs which are thought to be supported by the material evidences assembled in the chateau. In the cases are not only large collections of celts, but also the carved bones, horn, and stones which, by their distribution through the stalagmite of caves, or through the gravel of ancient river beds, give infallible proof of the presence of man. One floor contains a collection not less interesting, though illustrating the manners of a much later age. It is formed of the military weapons, bridges, fortifications, camps, etc., which were constructed to illustrate the "life of Caesar," by Napoleon. This collection is, and will probably remain, unique. At the meeting of the Geographical Congress last year, these great engines of war were taken to the park and exhibited in action. The museum is now placed under the control of the historical commission for constructing the map of Gaul. This body is publishing a series of maps and engravings to illustrate the progress of the science of the prehistoric and subsequent periods. A catalogue of the collections has been made and is sold to visitors. There is also in the establishment a special library in which has been collected by M. Gabriel de Mortillet all the books relating to prehistoric antiquities, and which is open free on certain days to the public.

* * * * *

It is found that insects preserve their colors better under yellow glass than in any other color. The curtains of entomological show-cases and the blinds of the room should be yellow. Only in this way can the delicate carmine tints of some insect wings be preserved.

A student of animal nature announces a case of two hens, who by joint efforts hatched one chick. They have since, for some weeks, been parading the yard, each clucking and manifesting all the anxiety and care of a true mother over this one. The hens never quarrel, or show the least appearance of jealousy or rivalry.

M. Tresca, who has charge of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, the institution which in Paris answers to our Patent Office, says that drawings of new inventions are more useful than models, are cheaper, and are very much oftener consulted. In Paris the model room is covered with dust and rarely entered.

The French weather bureau intends not only to study the thunderstorm, hailstorm, rainfall, inundations, and frosts, with especial reference to their effects upon agriculture, but also to experiment upon the asserted effect of smoke as a preventive to frost. The experiments will be extensive and may cover a large valley.

To discover by the spectroscope the smallest quantity of a gaseous or very volatile hydrocarbon, the Messrs. Negri introduce a small quantity of the gaseous mixture into a tube. This mixture should not contain oxygen, carbonic oxide, or carbonic acid; and the pressure is to be reduced to not more than twenty millimetres. Then if a hydrocarbon is present, the passage of a spark from a Ruhmkorff's coil will cause the appearance of a sky-blue light. Viewed with the spectroscope, this presents the spectrum of carbon, and generally so brilliant as to mask totally the spectra of other gases present.

The rare metals cerium, lauthanum, and didymium have been lately investigated by Drs. Hillebrand and Norton, in Bunsen's laboratory. Cerium looks like iron, having both its color and lustre, but is heavier, and has the hardness of calcite. It tarnishes slowly in dry air and rapidly in moist air. It ignites so readily that pieces scratched off inflame, and its wire burns more brilliantly than magnesium wire. Lauthanum is a little harder, but also a little lighter. It tarnishes more easily and inflames less easily than cerium. Didymium resembles lauthanum. The metals were all obtained by electrolysis of the chlorides.

It is stated that a week's work in Birmingham comprises, among its various results, the fabrication of 14,000,000 pens, 6,000 bedsteads, 7,000 guns, 300,000,000 cut nails, 100,000,000 buttons, 1,000 saddles, 5,000,000 copper or bronze coins, 20,000 pairs of spectacles, six tons of papier mache wares, over L30,000 worth of jewelry, 4,000 miles of iron and steel wire, ten tons of pins, five tons of hairpins and hooks and eyes, 130,000 gross of wood screws, 500 tons of nuts and screw bolts and spikes, fifty tons of wrought iron hinges, 350 miles' length of wax for vestas, forty tons of refined metal, forty tons of German silver, 1,000 dozens of fenders, 3,500 bellows, 800 tons of brass and copper wares—these, with a multitude of other articles, being exported to almost all parts of the civilized world.

The aerated beverages of which Americans are so fond should not be kept in copper vessels, for carbonic acid (which is the gas present) dissolves this metal with great avidity. From three-hundredths to one-tenth of a grain of copper per gallon has been found in aerated lemonade, ginger ale, soda water, etc.

In making the ultimate analysis of organic compounds by combustion, with lead chromate and metallic copper reduced by hydrogen, the results obtained are too high, on account of the expulsion of hydrogen, which had been occluded by the copper. Heating the copper to 150 deg. C. does not prevent the error, which may be .05 per cent.

Mayer & Walkoff, who have been experimenting on the respiration of plants, find that the action goes on both in light and darkness, and that changes of temperature within normal limits have little effect. There is no direct relation between growth in length and respiration, a conclusion that is in conflict with that of previous experiments.

The famous "Blue Grotto" in the island of Capri, Italy, has been investigated spectroscopically. Most of the light enters through the water, which absorbs the red rays entirely and so much of the yellow as to make the D line scarcely visible. The green, blue, and indigo rays are very bright, and the F and b lines unite in a well marked absorption line.

The springs of Weissenburg in the Bernese Oberland yield a water which is popularly supposed to have the power of cicatrizing cavities in the lungs, but its analysis shows no reason for such a power. Sulphates of lime and magnesia are its principal solid ingredients, with chloride and a little iodide of lithium and an organic compound having the odor of blackberries.

The mountains about Innsbruck in the Tyrol, as well as other parts of the Alps, present the singular phenomenon of a climate more moderate at a considerable elevation than in the valleys. Prof. Kerner finds that there is a warm region midway up the mountain, lying between two colder zones above and below it. We have heretofore referred to a similar phenomenon in Indiana.

It is remarked by anthropologists that differences of color are one of the most marked signs of race. The Aryan word for caste is Varanum, meaning color, and the Aryans are supposed to have used it to distinguish themselves from the Dasyuf, with whom they came in contact on crossing the Indus, when migrating from Central Asia. The first migrating wave from that centre of human creation can no longer be traced, and only its remnants are found among the most degraded of the hill tribe and slave population in India. Prof. Rollesten thinks that the earliest races of man were preeminently of the Australioid type, which is now brown-skinned and wavy haired, with long narrow heads.

Messrs. Gladstone & Tribe have been investigating the results of the decomposition of alcohol by aluminium. When absolute alcohol, in which iodine has been dissolved, is poured upon finely divided aluminium in a flask, energetic action takes place and large quantities of hydrogen are evolved. A pasty mass remains, and this heated to 100 deg. C., gives off alcohol, and leaves a solid residue, which liquefies at 275 deg. C., alcohol and an oily body containing iodine passing over. At a higher temperature, this product was again decomposed, with formation of alcohol, ethylene, and alumina. But the most interesting results were obtained under diminished pressure. Then a greenish white solid sublimed, and this was found to be aluminic ethylate. This is therefore the second known organometallic body, containing oxygen, which is capable of distillation, cacodylic oxide being the other.


Prof. Huxley's ingenious if somewhat shallow evasion of the Biblical account of creation, by crediting it to Milton rather than to Moses, has perhaps aroused many minds to inquire what modern theologians really do think of the first chapters of Genesis. This question is answered by a recent publication[12] by Dr. Cocker of the Michigan State University. In the "Theistic Conception of the World" he treats the first two chapters of the Bible as a poem, which he calls the "symbolical hymn of creation." It has an exordium, six strophes, each with its refrain, and an episode. He does not believe the sacred narrative intends to describe the exact mode of forming the world, nor even to set the successive events in order. It is an ascription, designed to embody in symbolical language the fact that all existence is derived from God. One paragraph will show the broad ground on which this conclusion is based:

A cursory reading of the narrative will convince any one that its purpose is not to enlarge men's views of nature, but to teach them something concerning nature's God. It says nothing about the forces of nature, the laws of nature, the classifications of natural history, or the size, positions, distances, and motions of the heavenly bodies. From first to last, every phenomenon and every law is linked immediately to some act or some command of God. It is God who creates, God who commands, God who names, God who approves, and God who blesses. Strike out the allusions to God, and the narrative is meaningless. Clearly it was never intended to teach science. It has obviously one purpose, to reveal and keep before the minds of men the grand truth that Jehovah is the sole Creator and Lord of the heavens and the earth; and it leaves the scientific comprehension of nature to the natural powers with which God has endowed man for that end.

But the author believes that the Mosaic account is practically correct, or perhaps we should say harmonious with the truth. It may be truthful without being all the truth, or truthful and still be very defective. He considers that when scientific knowledge is complete, the Scripture, rightly interpreted, will be found in harmony with its final conclusions. How Moses was made acquainted with the events of creation is a matter upon which it is impossible to be positive. The author sees no objection to the suggestion that he may have witnessed a series of pictures or visions, the result of which upon his mind is given in the hymn of creation. This explanation of the Biblical narrative forms but a small part of the work, which is chiefly given to a discussion of the views and positive discoveries of scientific men which relate to the production of the world. It is a remarkable tribute to the overmastering power of positive knowledge. Science and theology are mingled in an extraordinary way, but a way that is now necessary, for there is not one province of human thought that has not been compelled to acknowledge the great possibilities of inductive reasoning. Dr. Cocker labors to establish the old faith on the new ground. He is a man of great reading and has a strong belief in the religion to which he has given his heart. Every question is approached in the firm faith that when rightly interpreted it will be found to sustain the Christian religion. This is the fundamental fault of the work. It is a plea for a cause that does not need it, for a cause that is quite as apt to lose as to gain by the defence. The difficulty with this method of meeting the hypothesis of science is that the scientific views are themselves in a state of unstable equilibrium. They may topple at any moment, and then the correspondence that eager devotees have found between them and the Bible is a slur that falls altogether on the religion and not on the science. This is a great error, and those who are drawn into it belittle the cause that is dear to them. While our author is catholic in his reading, he does not seem to assign to all writers in his field their just value. His quotations, the fresh, the obsolete, the trustworthy, and the doubtful, are mingled in a confusion that only the experienced can penetrate. His book is creditable to his unshaken faith, and it presents the religious aspect of modern knowledge in a thorough manner.

* * * * *

It is not strange that under the present condition of the general mind the question as to the right of the State to teach religion at the public expense should be regarded with unusual interest. This question has been very ably discussed by the Rev. Dr. Spear, whose book upon the subject,[13] originally published as a series of essays in "The Independent," is notably thorough and notably calm and judicial in tone. Dr. Spear considers the subject in both its constitutional and its equitable aspect, and the conclusion to which he is led is that "the public school, like the State, under whose authority it exists, by whose taxing power it is supported, should be simply a civil institution, absolutely secular and not at all religious in its purposes, and all practical questions involving this principle should be settled in accordance therewith." He admits that this logical result of his argument excludes the Bible from the public school, just as it excludes the Westminster Catechism, the Koran, or any of the sacred books of heathenism. But, as he justly says, this conclusion pronounces no judgment against the Bible and none for it; it simply omits to use it and declines to inculcate the religion which it teaches. It is difficult to see how any other view of the case can be taken consistently with the spirit of our institutions, from the Constitution of the United States downward; and it is a cheering promise of the disappearance of bigotry, even in its milder forms, when we see this view set forth by a distinguished orthodox minister of the Gospel. There still, however, remains this question in connection with religious toleration and religious qualifications—Does a religion one element of which is absolute subservience to the will of a foreign potentate or prelate, the Roman or the Greek, for example, and which undertakes to deal with a civil relation, marriage for example, come properly within the provision for universal religious toleration, or does it not, for the reasons assigned, assume a relation to the State more or less political?

* * * * *

Captain Whittaker's "Life of General Custer"[14] can no more be estimated by fixed biographical rules than the meteoric career of his hero can be compared to the regular and peaceful lives of other men. Not often, perhaps, does the biographer devote himself with such enthusiastic abandon to his task, and seldom is there to be found within the covers of a single volume such an infinite variety of incident and personal reminiscence. The chapters which deal with the early youth of General Custer are exceedingly interesting photographs, as it were, of a certain phase of American domestic and academic life. The characteristics of the child, the sorrows of the "plebe," and the aspirations and experiences of the cadet, are faithfully narrated. The first service of the subaltern, and his initiation into the perils and responsibilities of an officer in time of war, are interwoven with Custer's own recollections of his generals and their campaigns. We are irresistibly reminded of Lever in the style of the narration, and of that dashing creature "O'Malley" in the adventures of our own dragoon. The story of General Custer's wooing is quaintly told, and shines like a bow of promise through all the clouds of his stormy career; it is a romance by itself. Apropos of the charge which we are told won the boy general his star, we clip a bit of word painting which could only have been written by "one who has been there":

Were you ever in a charge—you who read this now by the winter fireside, long after the bones of the slain have turned to dust, when peace covers the land? If not, you have never known the fiercest pleasure of life. The chase is nothing to it; the most headlong hunt is tame in comparison. In the chase the game flees, and you shoot; here the game shoots back, and every leap of the charging steed is a peril escaped or dashed aside. The sense of power and audacity that possesses the cavalier, the unity with his steed, both are perfect. The horse is as wild as the man: with glowing eyeballs and red nostrils, he rushes frantically forward at the very top of his speed, with huge bounds as different from the rhythmic precision of the gallop as the sweep of the hurricane is from the rustle of the breeze. Horse and rider are drunk with excitement; feeling and seeing nothing but the cloud of dust, the scattered flying figures; conscious of only one mad desire, to reach them, to smite, smite, smite!

The author of this book is too much of an artist, too much of a poet, perhaps, to divest his battle descriptions of anything that is doubtful in fact, if only it is eulogistic of his hero or picturesque in its nature. He has an eye for color, and prefers to have his picture a showy and effective one even if some of the accessories are purely of the imagination. We cannot consider the letters of the "Times" special correspondent as a reliable history of the events immediately following the battle of Gettysburg, although they are undoubtedly glowing bulletins of the exploits of General Kilpatrick and his temporary subordinate, General Custer. Nor can we accept the statement of the Detroit "Evening News" for an entirely correct report of the grand review at Washington, in 1865, when he hands down to posterity that sober-sided old warrior, Provost Marshal General Patrick, as one who "had ridden down the broad avenue bearing his reins in his teeth, and his sabre in his only hand"; although the Mazeppa act in which Custer immediately followed is not overdrawn by the "News," because that would be "painting the lily." There are several other extracts from newspapers of a similar nature, but we have not space to refer to them. Captain Whittaker's book offers material for that "coming historian," but cannot be looked upon as an entirely safe historical authority. Colonel Chesney says, "Accept no one-sided statement from any national historian who rejects what is distasteful in his authorities, and uses only what suits his own theory.... Gather carefully from actual witnesses, high and low, such original material as they offer for the construction of the narrative. This once being safely proved, judge critically and calmly what was the conduct of the chief actor; how far his insight, calmness, personal control over others, and right use of his means were concerned in the result." The great fault of this otherwise attractive biography is the unwise partisanship which, as Captain Whittaker shows, was so injurious to his hero in life and which even in death does not forsake him. At page 282 Captain Whittaker says of alleged envy and jealousy of Custer in certain quarters:

A great deal of this was due to the boasting and sarcastic remarks of his injudicious friends, who could not be satisfied with praising their own chief without depreciating others.

Thus the author, after warning his readers of the pit into which so many others have fallen, proceeds in the most inconsistent manner to fall into it himself.

Had we space, we could here make many extracts entirely free from the foregoing objections. Many new descriptions of Indian life, never before in print, are here given; some excellent essays on the prominent phases of American military life; and many anecdotes and biographical sketches of the officers who fell with Custer on the "Little Big-horn," with portraits, are also given. The volume is a very large, handsome octavo, illustrated by two portraits of General Custer (one an excellent likeness on steel), and many full-page woodcuts, and seems especially seasonable as a holiday present. No biographical collection can be considered complete without it, and we should think it would have an especial charm to military readers. That Mrs. Custer is to receive a share of the receipts from its sale will not lessen its circulation.

* * * * *

Palestine is certainly an inexhaustible source of books, and Dr. Ridgaway[15] tells us the reason why. Travellers' descriptions of the grand mountain scenery, its strange deserts, its ancient customs, transmitted from the dawn of history, its trees a thousand years of age, and its mighty ruins, contribute to and intensify the interest which the Christian feels in that region alone of all the earth. Of late years this country has been the scene of systematic explorations and the theme of an important series of critical works. Dr. Ridgaway's volume deserves a place in this series, though he has little of novelty to present. But the author has produced just the book that was needed, the one which it might be supposed the first traveller there would have written. Leaving out nearly all the every-day incidents of travel, he aims to extract from each place he saw just what is of interest to the Bible student. He is to be congratulated on a rare ability to discriminate between the important and entertaining and what is matter-of-course. The plan of his journey, which was made in company with eleven others, mostly clergymen, was to follow the route of the Israelites from Egypt to Palestine, and then to visit every place made memorable by the life of Christ, besides many others of Biblical interest. He tried to be critical, and constantly discusses the pros and cons for admitting the received location of prominent points; but in this he is not very successful, and seems to decline at length into helpless acquiescence. He rejects the innovations and doubts of such men as Robinson and Baker, and acknowledges that the sacred sites have for the most part been identified. But there is a limit to even his credulity. He swallowed easily the "exact spot" where the cradle lay, but strained at the fragment of a column on which Mohammed is to sit when he judges the world, and says, "I was unable to resist the temptation to straddle it!" Perhaps the secret of Dr. Ridgaway's success is that he has omitted those rhapsodies which are natural enough amid such scenes, but which we get our fill of without going to Palestine. He is too full of the real situation to turn to fanciful imaginations, and as a consequence he gives us the best companion to the Bible which we know of. The critical results of his journey are small, but as a careful summary of what others have finally settled upon his work is authentic. A large number of engravings, of the best execution, bring the landscape and buildings vividly before us. Many of them are from Dr. Ridgaway's sketches, others from photographs, and the only fault we have to find is the omission of titles to them, an omission which is artistic, but inconvenient.

—Lieutenant Ruffner[16] does not give a very assuring picture of New Mexico, considered as a possible State in our Union. It has never prospered; its population and area of cultivated land being smaller now than three hundred years ago. As these changes are no doubt due to the operation of natural causes, about which scientific men do not agree, the immediate future of the country does not appear very flattering. Wide as the spread of westward migration has been, it has hardly affected New Mexico. Lieutenant Ruffner says: "The line once crossed, a foreign country is entered. Foreign faces and a foreign tongue are encountered." For twenty-six years the Territory has formed a part of our country, but in that time our civilization has hardly made an impression upon it. The author, without directly saying so, seems to regard the scheme for making it a State with disfavor, and his readers will agree with him. He has done his country a service by this painstaking and impartial description of a region which few but army officers know anything about.

—It is a very difficult thing nowadays to write a book of travels that can interest the general public. A hundred years ago a man who had circumnavigated the world was a remarkable object, and people would crowd to see him, and read his works with avidity. But what a change the last century has produced. Compare the difference of tone between 1776 and 1876, and then go back and compare 1676 with the former year. There is not anything like a parity of advance between the two centuries. The traveller and sailor was as much of a hero in 1776 as was the captain of the Vittoria, the last ship of Magellan's fleet when he sailed into Cadiz in 1522, having been round the earth and lost a day in the operation; just as Mr. Phileas Fogg, of later fame, gained one by going in the opposite direction. Men who have been to China and India, Australia and New Zealand, are too plentiful to-day to excite notice; and when it comes to writing books about their adventures, it is necessary to be cautious to avoid treading in old tracks and wearying the reader. The man who describes a voyage round the world to-day must be a character of interest in himself, or he will not interest his audience. The writer of the book now before us[17] possesses the qualifications for the task seldom possessed by the professional traveller, who is apt to bore one with long stories. He has the eye of a newspaper correspondent, the quick intuition as to what is or is not interesting per se, and has actually succeeded in making an interesting and readable book of three hundred pages out of a subject nearly worn out. Mr. Vincent started from New York in a clipper ship, went round the Horn to San Francisco, thence to Hawaii, where he remained some weeks, thence to New Zealand and Australia, finally to Calcutta, and thence home to New York, after a prolonged tour through India, Siam, and China. The incidents of the latter tour formed the basis of his first book, the "Land of the White Elephant," the success of which encouraged him to this, his second venture. The chief characteristic of Mr. Vincent's second work is its freshness and interest. He seems to be profoundly impressed with the truth of the saying of Thales of Miletus, that "the half is sometimes more than the whole." The taste and judgment of the author are shown by what he leaves out as much as by what he leaves in. There is hardly a dull page in the book, and in each place he only notes what is curious, leaving out of the question all that is commonplace. More could not be asked of him.

* * * * *

We have received the first number of the "Archives of the National Museum at Rio de Janeiro."[18] This is a scientific institution, and from the number of officers named it appears to be prepared for inaugurating thorough work in archaeology, geology, botany, zoology, etc. Its aim, however, is not merely the study of pure science, but its application to the immediate welfare of man through agriculture and the industries. The director general is Dr. Netto, and the secretary Dr. Joao Joaquin Pizarro. Most of the officers are Brazilians, but our countryman, Prof. Hartt, is director of the "sciencias physicas," including geology, mineralogy, and palaeontology. This first number of the "Archivos" contains papers in the Portuguese language on aboriginal remains, one by Prof. Wiener and Prof. Hartt, and one by Dr. Netto on a botanical subject.

* * * * *

Prof. Walker's work in both the Census Bureau and the Indian Department shows how original and critical his mind is. The first fruit of his activity as a professional teacher of political economy is an extended treatise on the question of wages.[19] He seems to have found himself unable to make the views of the systematic writers always harmonize with his own conceptions, and his work is to a considerable extent controversial. One of his prominent objects of attack is the wage-fund theory, which is that wages are paid out of capital, that a certain portion of the capital in every country is charged with this duty, and that the rate of wages could be accurately determined if the amount of this fund and the total number of laborers could be ascertained. This theory makes the savings of past labor to be the source from which wages are paid. Prof. Walker argues that "wages are, in a philosophical view of the subject, paid out of the product of present industry, and hence that production furnishes the true measure of wages." Labor is an article which the employer buys because it forms a necessary part of a certain product which he intends to sell. The price which he expects to obtain for the product controls the amount he can afford to pay for the labor. It is true that the money paid must necessarily come from past savings unless the laborers wait for their pay, as they formerly did in this country. But in making this payment capital merely advances the money, and its possessor receives interest for its use; the amount of this interest being another element that is controlled by the price which the manufacturer expects to obtain for the product. Prof. Walker thinks it not surprising that the erroneous wage-fund theory found acceptance in England, where the facts on which it is based were first observed. But he marvels that American thinkers can accept it, for the condition of some classes of laborers here was, so late as half a century ago, a decided disproof of it. Farm hands, for instance, were formerly often paid at the end of the year, for the reason that there was not capital enough in farmers' hands to make the advances necessary for weekly or monthly payments. Here was a case in which the employer clearly had to wait for the product before he could pay the wages. No past savings were available for the purpose. The author's arguments are always clearly put and forcible, but his position loses strength by the very character of his task. He has so completely separated the wages question from all others, that we miss the natural collocation of wages with the other items which make up the cost of a product. The capitalist has one and the same purpose in buying raw material and labor, and no discussion of the subject can seem complete that does not proceed from the likeness or unlikeness of these two components of value. Another theory which our author combats strongly is that the interest of the employer is sufficient to keep wages up to the highest profitable point. He holds that the laborer must be active in his own interests, or he will never obtain that rate of payment which is necessary to his proper maintenance. Bad food reduces the quantity and quality of the laborer's work, so that more men have to be hired for a given task, and the employer pays more in the end for his product, than when wages are good; but even this prospective loss is not sufficient to keep employers from experimenting to find just that point to which wages may be lowered without affecting food disastrously. This disposition of the employer can be combatted only by the resistance of the laborer. Prof. Walker thinks there is a "constantly imminent danger that bodies of laborers will not soon enough or amply enough resent industrial injuries which may be wrought by the concerted action of employers or by slow and gradual changes in production, or by catastrophes in business, such as commercial panics." Of course he does not advocate strikes, which "are the insurrections of labor," but even these are to be judged by their results. The results may or may not justify them. He considers that cooperation is a real panacea that can successfully take the place of violent measures. He denies the assertion that cooperation gets rid of the capitalist. It merely avoids the business man, who in the present order of things borrows the capital, hires the laborers, and directs the business. Practically he is a salaried man. Prof. Walker finds difficulty in giving this man a title suitable for use in treatises on political economy. He objects to "undertaker" and "adventurer," because they have other meanings, and suggests the French entrepreneur. The objections are well taken, but the middleman is not only a reality; he also has a name by which he is known in business. If Prof. Walker wants to have a cellar dug or rock blasted, he can go to Pennsylvania and find a "venturer" to undertake the work; and there seems to be no good reason why a term that is already in common use and well understood should be rejected by the schoolmen. This is a valuable contribution to political economy, so valuable, in fact, that we can only say that it should be read, not demonstrate the fact in a short notice.

* * * * *

"Elsie's Motherhood"[20] is a story in which piety of the Sunday-school kind is curiously contrasted with villany in the shape of Ku Klux outrages. Elsie's children are all sweetness, obedience, and kisses, and live in an atmosphere of goodness that is revolting because it is monstrous. There is a suspicion of political purpose associated with the appearance of the book just at this time which does not improve it.

—The author of "Near to Nature's Heart"[21] shows abundant powers of invention, but his imagination is not sufficiently well regulated for the production of a natural or even plausible story. The individual who is so intimate with nature is a young girl whose father has fled from England and hidden himself in the forests of the Hudson river on account of a quarrel with his brother, which he (erroneously) supposes to have been a fatal one. His seclusion is so complete that his daughter grows up almost without the sight of man or womankind except the three who are in her father's hut, and the consequence is a partial reversion to the wild state from which we are nowadays supposed to have been somewhat removed by the process of evolution. The author dresses the nymph in a style that ingeniously indicates the character he desires to paint. "Her attire was as simple as it was strange, consisting of an embroidered tunic of finely dressed fawn skin, reaching a little below the knee, and ending in a blue fringe. Some lighter fabric was worn under it, and encased the arms. The shapely neck and throat were bare, though almost hidden by a wealth of wavy golden tresses that flowed down her shoulders. Her hat appeared to have been constructed out of the skin of the snowy heron, with its beak and plumage preserved intact, and dressed into the jauntiest style. Leggings of strong buckskin, that formed a protection against the briers and roughness of the forest, were clasped around a slender ankle, and embroidered moccasins completed an attire that was not in the style of the girl of the period, even a century ago." This nymph was fishing, and for a float used the bud of a water lily! This is quite characteristic of the author's idea throughout. In losing civilization this girl put on all the supposed graces and none of the known brutishness of the wild state. The result is an incongruous character, but it is quite in harmony with the general notion that the natural state is one of greater perfection than that we really dwell in. As for the story, it relates to Revolutionary times, introduces Washington and the Continental army, with battles, dangers, and other lively and thrilling situations. In plot it is crude and rough. The author makes the artistic mistake of introducing religion as a principal element of his tale, though it does not relate to a time or to persons characteristically religious. The variety of incident, the presence of historical characters, including Washington and "Captain" Molly, and a certain quantum of real skill in the author, will no doubt make this book acceptable to the uncritical, but it does not deserve the attention of others. We notice that the publishers announce the "fourteenth thousand," which is the best indication of the book's popularity.

* * * * *

The ranks of the rhymers of the day are thronged with women, among the better of whom is the author of "Edelweiss,"[22] who has gathered her occasional verses into a pretty volume under the title of that graceful and tender little poem. Her title-page bears no publisher's name and her dedication to friends, whose loving kindness has welcomed them one by one, and at whose request they have been gathered together, seems to imply that they are privately printed. If this is because no publisher would undertake the production of the volume, we do not wonder; not because of the inferiority of the poems, for they are much better than many that do find publishers. They belong to a large class in which the world cannot be brought to take any great interest—verses expressive of various emotions, love, devotion, resignation, and so forth, which are all uttered with fervor or with tenderness, verses graceful in style, and in good rhythm, and which yet produce no great impression; while on the other hand they are much above that sentimental or that sententious twaddle which sometimes finds many admirers. It is sad to see so much of this sort of verse published; for it is the occasion and the sign of woful disappointment to persons of unusual intelligence and true poetic feeling, who, however, have not in any great measure the poetic faculty.

—"Frithiof's Saga" has been often translated into English, and we have here the result of one more effort to give us the great Swedish poem in our own language.[23] The principal difference between this translation and its predecessors is that this preserves the changing metres of the original. It was undertaken chiefly because it seems the Swedes have not been satisfied with the previous translations because they did not follow the metre of the original. The reason is not a good one, and the result of the attempt to conform to it is not very happy. There is no question of pleasing the Swedes with a translation into English. It is English ears that are to be consulted by what is written in English, whether original or not. The Swedes have the original; that is for them; the English version is for us. The effect of the many and great changes in the rhythm and in the form of the verse is not pleasant to our taste; and indeed we are inclined to think that the best translation of this or of any other "Saga" would be into rhythmic prose, which embodied the spirit, but did not simulate the form of the original.

—It is very unfortunate for what is often called American literature, that almost all attempts to treat any part of our history poetically or dramatically are miserable failures. Among the verse books before us two are of this kind; one by Mr. George L. Raymond,[24] who has written in what he supposes is the ballad form some things which are not at all ballad-like, and which are dreary stuff under whatever name; and the other a thing which Mr. Martin F. Tupper[25] seems to suppose is a drama in blank verse upon the events of our war of independence. A more stupid and ridiculous performance we have rarely seen. That it should be read through by any one seems to us quite insupposable. And yet, although he has written this and "Proverbial Philosophy," Mr. Tupper is a D. C. L. of Oxford and an F. R. S.

—Something of a far higher quality than this is Mr. Bayard Taylor's "National Ode" written for the Centennial celebration. It is to be regretted, we think, that Mr. Taylor was not able to give himself up entirely to poetical composition. He has the poetic faculty, and his verse is nervous and manly, far better, we think, than his prose. Had he been a poet only, he might have taken a still higher place in contemporary literature. This poem, well known to the public, is one of his finest and most spirited efforts. The present edition[26] is very handsomely illustrated and printed.

—Charles Sprague is an "American" poet of the last generation, who is almost forgotten, and indeed quite unknown to readers of the present day. He has something of Campbell in his style—Campbell in his calm and serious moods. It may have been desirable to reprint his poems and essays in an attractive volume,[27] with his portrait; but we fear that he belongs to the class of middling writers of prose and verse who were much talked of by our fathers chiefly because they were "American."

—One of the best of the many volumes of verse upon our table is the collection of poems by Mrs. S. M. B. Piatt.[28] Mrs. Piatt's muse is often thoughtful, but in all that she has given us, of which much is attractive in form and suggestive in substance, these lines that follow are the most valuable. They refer to the altar which Paul found at Athens "To the Unknown God":

Because my life was hollow with a pain As old as death: because my eyes were dry As the fierce tropics after months of rain, Because my restless voice said, "Why?" and "Why?"

Wounded and worn, I knelt within the night As blind as darkness—Praying? And to Whom?— When yond' cold crescent cut my folded sight, And showed a phantom Altar in my room.

It was the Altar Paul at Athens saw. The Greek bowed there, but not the Greek alone! The ghosts of nations gathered, wan with awe, And laid their offerings on that shadowy stone.

The Egyptian worshipped there the crocodile; There they of Nineveh the bull with wings; The Persian there with swart, sun-lifted smile Felt in his soul the writhing fire's bright stings.

There the weird Druid held his mistletoe; There, for the scorched son of the sand, coiled bright, The torrid snake was hissing sharp and low; And there the Western savage paid his rite.

"Allah," the Moslem darkly muttered there; "Brahma," the jewelled Indies of the East Sighed through their spices with a languid prayer; "Christ?" faintly questioned many a paler priest.

And still the Athenian Altar's glimmering Doubt On all religions—evermore the same. What tears shall wash its sad inscription out? What hand shall write thereon His other name?

The last five lines of Mrs. Piatt's poem express finely the feeling as to God and religion which now fills countless numbers of the truest hearts and brightest minds.

—"As You Like It" has just been published in the "Clarendon Press Series of Shakespeare's Select Plays." Mr. Grant White, in his article "On Reading Shakespeare," in the present number of "The Galaxy," has said so much in regard to this series and its present editor,[29] William Aldis Wright, that it is only necessary for us to record here the appearance of this edition of Shakespeare's most charming comedy, and to say that Shakespeare's lovers and students will find in it some new views which are interesting, and appear to be sound, and a copious and careful body of annotation.

—Of poetry, or rather of verse, as we before remarked, our table is full this month, and with it we have a dictionary to teach us to rhyme withal.[30] "Walker's Rhyming Dictionary" has had complete possession of this field for three quarters of a century, and we are not sure that it will be supplanted by Mr. Barnum's. His new plan is very systematic. He classifies his words in groups—single rhymes, double rhymes, triple, quadruple, and even quintuple rhymes; and then he divides and subdivides and parcels off his words under separate headings. He does not give definitions. The book will be valuable to the student of the English language, more so, we are inclined to think, than to the mere rhyme-hunter, who will prefer to run his finger and his eye down a column of words arranged merely according to their final letters.

—Mr. Tennyson's new dramatic poem is before us in the elegant Boston typography of Ticknor & Field's worthy successors.[31] The poet laureate added little to his fame by his previous dramatic work, "Queen Mary"; he will gain less by this. It is good of course to a certain degree, but it is only "fair to middling" Tennysonian work. We find in it not a passage that stirs us, not one that charms. It puts the story of the Norman Conquest of England into a dramatic form and into good blank verse, with sound and sensible treatment of the subject, and that is all. Its author's good taste, and above all his experience, his dexterity, acquired by such long practice, are manifest on every page; but there is little more. He dedicates it to the present Lord Lytton, in evident desire to wipe out the memory of the old feud between him and Bulwer Lytton; but that was too black and too bitter to be sponged away with a little sugar and water.

—Mr. Latham Cornell Strong is modest in his preface about his collection of verse,[32] although he is rather too elaborately metaphorical in his way of blushing properly. He says, as to the flaws in his poems, that he "has a reasonable confidence that they will not all be discovered by any one reader." This may be true from the probable fact that no one reader will read them all; we think that we have met with enough of them to show that Mr. Strong might well have refrained himself from publication. For example, we think that a true poet could hardly have written many such passages as these, and there are many such in the volume:

The night is rising from the trees, Her hands, uplifted, trail with stars

The moon hath flung its banners on the sward

Old Rupert named, alone of all the rest She most esteemed, for he had brought her flowers, To wreathe her tresses and make manifest His sympathy for her, in many ways expressed

The last four lines unite incorrectness, tameness, and inelegance with remarkable and fatal facility.


[12] "The Theistic Conception of the World. An Essay in Opposition to Certain Tendencies of Modern Thought." By B. F. COCKER, D.D., LL.D. New York: Harper & Brothers.

[13] "Religion and the State; or, The Bible and the Public Schools." By SAMUEL T. SPEAR, D.D. 12mo, pp. 393. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.

[14] "A Complete Life of General George A. Custer," etc. By F. WHITTAKER, Brevet Captain Sixth N. Y. V. Cavalry. New York: Sheldon & Co.

[15] "The Lord's Land: A Narrative of Travels in Sinai, Arabia, Petraea, and Palestine, from the Red Sea to the Entering in of Hamath." By HENRY B. RIDGAWAY, D.D. New York: Nelson & Phillips.

[16] "New Mexico and the New Mexicans: A Political Problem." By an Officer of the Army.

[17] "Through and Through the Tropics." By FRANK VINCENT, Jr. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1876.

[18] "Archivos do Musen Nacional do Rio de Janeiro." Imprensa Industrial.

[19] "The Wages Question. A Treatise on Wages and the Wages Class." By FRANCIS A. WALKER. New York: Henry Holt & Co. $3.50.

[20] "Elsie's Motherhood." A Sequel to "Elsie's Womanhood." By MARTHA FINLEY (FARQUHARSON). New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.

[21] "Near to Nature's Heart." By Rev. E. P. ROE. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.

[22] "Edelweiss: An Alpine Rhyme." By MARY LOWE DICKINSON. New York, 1876.

[23] "Frithiof's Saga. A Norse Romance." By ESAIS FEGNER, Bishop of Wexio. Translated from the Swedish by Thomas A. Holcombe and Martha and Lyon Holcombe. 16mo, pp. 213. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co.

[24] "Colony Ballads, etc., etc., etc., etc." By GEORGE L. RAYMOND. 16mo, pp. 95. New York: Hurd & Houghton.

[25] "Washington: A Drama in Five Acts." By MARTIN F. TUPPER. 16mo, pp. 67. New York: James Miller.

[26] "The National Ode. The Memorial Freedom Poem." By BAYARD TAYLOR. Illustrated. 8vo, pp. 74. Boston: William E. Gill & Co.

[27] "The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague." 16mo, pp. 207. Boston: A. Williams & Co.

[28] "That New World, and Other Poems." By Mrs. S. M. B. PIATT. 16mo, pp. 130. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

[29] "Shakespeare." Select Plays. "As You Like It." Edited by WILLIAM ALDIS WRIGHT, M.A., Bursar of Trinity College, Cambridge. 16mo, pp. 168. Oxford: at the Clarendon Press.

[30] "A Vocabulary of English Rhymes." Arranged on a new plan. By the Rev. SAMUEL W. BARNUM. 18mo, pp. 767. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

[31] "Harold: A Drama." By ALFRED TENNYSON. 16mo, pp. 170. Boston: James B. Osgood & Co.

[32] "Castle Windows." By LATHAM CORNELL STRONG. 16mo, pp. 229. Troy: H. B. Nims & Co.


—The evolutionists manifestly feel that they are put upon their defence in the matter of religion. As far as they themselves are concerned, they are at peace with their own consciences; but nevertheless they do not sit easily under the charge of atheism which is very generally brought against them by that part of the world to which science does not stand in place of religion. They are now making desperate efforts to show that they have a religion, and Mr. M. J. Savage has written a very clever book upon the subject, entitled "The Religion of Evolution." Mr. Savage is a very pronounced evolutionist; he sticks at nothing in the most extravagant form of the new theory, and the attitude which he would take toward religion is clearly shown in the title of his previous volume on a kindred subject, "Christianity the Science of Manhood." It is safe to say that although Mr. Savage and others like him may call themselves Christians and believe themselves to be so, and may live lives worthy of the name, no man who twenty-five years ago was a professed believer in the Christian religion, and comparatively very few of those who are so now, would accept the term science as applicable to Christianity or to religion at all. For science means knowledge, knowledge of facts, and cautious logical deductions from those facts; whereas the very essence of religion is a faith which holds itself above knowledge and reason, a faith which is not only the substance of things hoped for, but the evidence of things not seen. And this great definition, one of the greatest ever given, applies not particularly to the faith of the Christian religion, but to all faiths—Judaism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, and the rest. The true religionist will sooner accept one of these as a religion than a religion of evolution, or than he will consent to accept Christianity as a science of anything—of manhood, or even of God-hood.

—It is with this view of religion, this feeling about it, that the evolutionists have to deal when they endeavor to free themselves from the charge of irreligion. This is a state of the case which some of them do not seem to appreciate at its full importance. They shirk it, or at least they slight it; but Mr. Savage, it must be admitted, meets it fairly and boldly. He takes the position that such a view of religion is unworthy of a reasonable creature, and he brushes it aside with little ceremony and with some dexterity. But his chief difficulty is with the conception which lies at the foundation of all religions—the idea of god. Granted a god, or gods, and religion follows as a matter of course; and conversely, no god, no religion. Therefore the evolutionists, those of them who feel, or who see the necessity of a religion, of whom Mr. Savage may be taken as a fair representative, go about to provide themselves and the rest of the universe with a god, and they do it in this fashion. It is shown to the satisfaction of the evolutionists, and also of very many who have no respect for their theory, that the Mosaic cosmogony—that is, the account in Genesis of the creation of the earth and its inhabitants, and all the visible universe—has never been proved, and is incapable of proof, and that it holds its place in popular belief solely because of its supposed connection with Christianity; that it is merely a tradition (from however high and venerable a source), and that it rests upon no knowledge or study of the facts which it professes to explain; that it is in no way connected with Christianity, which would stand on its own merits equally whether the world were six thousand or six million years old, and whether it and its inhabitants were made in six days or six aeons; that it—the Mosaic account of the origin of the world—explains nothing, but simply tells dogmatically that God made all and that God did so and so; that no intelligent person would think of resting satisfied with the Mosaic account, had it not come to be regarded as a requirement of religion to do so, but that this has become so fixed that the whole orthodox system is the natural and logical outgrowth of the Mosaic account of the beginning of things: "the prevailing belief about God, the nature and the fall of man, total depravity, the need and the schemes for supernatural redemption, the whole structure, creed, and ritual of the Church, the common belief about the nature and efficacy of prayer meetings, the whole system of popular revivals, limited salvation, and everlasting punishment"—all and each being built on the foundation of the Mosaic cosmogony. Therefore for the vast number of intelligent thoughtful people to whom the Mosaic account of the creation is no longer authoritative, although it may be mythically instructive, the foundation of their religion is gone. It is then assumed that religion must rest upon a veneration for the creative power or agent to which the present cosmos owes its existence, and that as the traditional God or Creator of Genesis has been eliminated from cognition by science, his place in religion must be taken by the power by which he is supplanted. Hence we have the god of evolution and the religion of evolution.

—But what is this god of evolution? In a very remarkable series of papers which have appeared for some months past in "Macmillan's Magazine," upon Natural Religion, remarkable equally for the subtlety and closeness of their thought and their clearness of style, something called Nature is set up as God; Mr. Savage's god, as nearly as we can make out, is the law of evolution—the formative power by which the universe passed from a mass of fluid fire, revolving in space, into suns, and suns and planets, and their inhabitants. In either case it amounts to about the same thing. What is nature? We may be sure the word is not used in the sense which it has when we say that a man admires nature, loves nature, or observes nature, nor in that which it has when we speak of the nature of things or the nature in a work of the imagination, or the nature of man, or "the nature of the beast." What is it then? We are very sure that the "Macmillan" writer, with all his delicacy of thought and command of expression, could not say exactly what he means when he speaks of this Nature which is so worthy of reverence and of love. For this reason, and for no other, we may be sure, he has left the word undefined. This is important; for, as Mr. Savage says in his eleventh chapter, when he proposes the question whether evolution and Christianity are antagonistic, so that one necessarily excludes the other—"that depends upon definitions."

—The truth is that this whole question is one greatly of definitions. What do you mean by God? what by Nature? what by religion? We are inclined to think that if the two parties on one side and the other of the great question of the day were to have a preliminary settlement of definitions, it would become plain that there could be no discussion, certainly no profitable discussion, between them—no more than there could be a fight between a deep-sea fish and a chamois. They would find that there was no ground on which they could meet, no point on which they could come in contact! To one God is, and must be, a person, an individual, who, however spiritual, eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent, is yet as much a person as a man having a will, with purposes, affections, feelings, sentiments, as indeed every spiritual being must have—a being who can be feared, revered, admired, loved. Religion to these men is worship of this person, obedience to his will because it is his, faith in him, love of him. The god of the evolutionists, on the other hand, is, if Nature, a mere manifestation or result; if a law, a mere mode or rule of action. As to the religion of evolution, we cannot, with all Mr. Savage's help, and that of the "Macmillan" writer (who, we are sure, must be a man of mark, or at least one who will become so), discover what it is, except a conformity to what may be called the law of nature; but that is something of which a healthy beast or a drop of water is quite as capable as a man is; and such conformity implies feeling quite as much in one of these cases as in the other. It implies feeling in no case; and religion without feeling, sentiment, and faith is no religion at all in the sense which the word has had from the beginning of its use to this day. The religious man finds in his God a being whom he can love and lean upon, who has a right to his obedience, to whom he can be loyal, whom he can address, calling him Father, as we are told that Christ did. But you cannot love a law. True, David says, "O how I love thy law"; but the law that he loved was the will of the Supreme Being, and he loved it because it was His. It was not a mode of action or of evolution that he loved. Nor can you obey such a law, although you may conform to it; nor can you be loyal to it, for you cannot be loyal to an abstraction. As to fatherhood, this law-god of evolution is the father of nothing except as two and two are the father and mother of four. Therefore, while we regard such books as Mr. Savage's as interesting expositions of the condition as to super-scientific subjects into which modern science has brought many of its votaries, we cannot see that they do anything toward refuting the charge brought against science (as it is among the evolutionists), that it is at war with religion, and takes away all the grounds of religious faith. For that which the evolutionists set up as a god religious people regard as the mere creature of the true God; and what they set up as religion the others regard utterly lacking in all the essentials of religion. It would be much better for the evolutionists to face this whole question boldly, as Mr. Savage does in part, and to say that the result of their investigations is the belief that there is no God, and consequently that there need not be, and in fact cannot be, any religion in the sense in which that word has for centuries been used. Moreover, we cannot see the grounds of one pretence which is made by the evolutionists, and which is implied if not in terms set up in all their writings that are not purely scientific and have what may be called a moral character, such as the book before us. This is that their theory accounts for everything, and is more consistent with reason than that of those who accept with faith the book of Genesis. The evolution theory is, in the words of Mr. Savage, "that the whole universe, suns, planets, moons, our earth, and every form of life upon it, vegetable and animal, up to man, together with all our civilization, has developed from a primitive fire-mist or nebula that once filled all the space now occupied by the worlds; and that this development has been according to laws and methods and forces still active and working about us to-day." But if it be granted, or even proved, that this is true, we cannot see how it satisfies the reason when we come to the question of creation and a creator. For what a stupendous, unutterably stupendous, and almost inconceivable thing was that fire-mist that filled all space and had in it not only the germs and possibilities of suns and moons and planets and our earth, but of man and all his civilization; and those laws and methods and forces according to which the universe and man and his civilization have been evolved from a fire-mist—what inconceivable things they are! Now who made the fire-mist and the law of evolution? We cannot see that reason is satisfied by the substitution of a fire-mist and a law of evolution for the will of a creator and a specific creation of the suns and stars and planets, including the earth, and man, and his possibilities of civilization. The thing is as broad one way as it is long the other. As far as the fact of creation goes, in either case the belief must be a matter of faith, not of reason. With regard to the anthropomorphism of the Hebrew story, that is shared, and must be shared, by all religions—that is, all religious which rest upon the notion of a personal God. The limitations of man's nature, the limitations of language, make anthropomorphic metaphor necessary when a man speaks of a god. Even the evolutionists cannot get rid of the necessity of faith.

* * * * *

—Dr. Richardson's papers published in "Nature," and designed to prove the advantage, and in fact the real necessity of experimenting on animals in order to be ready to save human life, contain many interesting facts and deserve to be widely read in view of the current discussion as to the propriety of permitting the practice of vivisection. The following case affords conclusive proof of the learned and humane physiologist's argument. He says: "Dr. Weir Mitchell of Philadelphia, in the year 1869, made the original and remarkable observation that if a part of the body of a frog be immersed in simple syrup, there soon occurs in the crystalline lens of the eyeball an opaque appearance resembling the disease called cataract. He extended his observations to the effects of grape sugar, and obtained the same results. He found that he could induce the cataractic condition invariably by this experiment, or by injecting a solution of sugar with a fine needle, subcutaneously, into the dorsal sac of the frog. The discovery was one of singular importance in the history of medical science, and explained immediately a number of obscure phenomena. The co-existence of the two diseases, diabetes and cataract, in man had been observed by France, Cohen, Hasner, Mackenzie, Duncan, Von Graafe, and others, and Von Graafe had stated that after examining a large number of diabetic patients in different hospitals, he had found one-fourth affected with cataract. Before Mitchell's observation there was not a suspicion as to the reason of this connection, and a flood of light, therefore, broke on the subject the moment he proclaimed the new physiological fact. Still more, Mitchell showed that the cataract he was able to induce by experiment was curable also by experiment, a truth which will one day lead to the cure of cataract without operation. Then, but not till then, the splendid character of this original investigation, and the debt that is due to one of the most original, honest, laborious workers that ever in any age cultivated the science and art of medicine, will be duly recognized." Upon receiving intelligence of this discovery, Dr. Richardson undertook experiments to discover the cause of this dependence of cataract upon diabetes. He found that whenever the specific gravity of the blood was raised to ten degrees above the normal standard, and remained so for a short time, cataract followed. He also found that the disease so produced could be cured by removing the salts which had been introduced into the blood. This certainly points to a cure for cataract which shall be really radical, and adds another to the results which justify, even upon humanitarian grounds, physiological experiments, at the expense of the animal creation, within prescribed limits.

* * * * *

—Mr. Sorby has lately made some calculations of the probable size of the invisible atoms which compose material substances. Dr. Royston Pigott determined that the smallest visual angle which we can well appreciate is that covering a hole of 11.4 inches diameter at a distance of 1,100 yards. This corresponds to about six seconds of an arc. In a microscope magnifying 1,000 diameters this would make visible a particle one-three-millionth part of an inch thick. But Mr. Sorby is inclined to think that a size between 1/80,000 and 1/100,000 of an inch is about the limit of the visibility of minute objects, even with the best microscopes. Now, taking the mean of the calculations made by Stoney, Thomson, and Clerk-Maxwell, we have 21,770 as the number of atoms of any permanent gas required to cover one-thousandth of an inch, when lying end to end. By a series of calculations which produce numbers entirely beyond human conception, (10,317,000,000,000 atoms in 1/100,000,000 of a cubic inch, for instance) he reached the conclusion that there are in the length of 1/80,000 of an inch (the smallest visible object) about 2,000 molecules of water, or 520 of albumen, and therefore, in order to see the ultimate constitution of organic bodies, it would be necessary to use a magnifying power from 500 to 2,000 times greater than those we now possess. With this result settled, he was able to make one of those radical predictions which are so rarely possible to the careful scientist; namely, that the atom will never be seen by man. It is not that instruments cannot be made powerful enough (though that is no doubt true), but that the waves of light are too coarse to distinguish the limits of such an extremely small distance. To see atoms we should need light waves only one-two-thousandth of their actual length. At present we are as far from that attainment as we are from reading a newspaper, with the naked eye, at the distance of one-third of a mile.


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