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270



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



come to an end by the exhaustion of its
forces. The sun must ultimately " run
down " like a clock. He thinks that the ex-
isting stock of power available for the main-
tenance of life may last some seventeen
million years, but that it muKt at length be
spent. He thus philosophizes, in conclusion,
over the phenomena of the final extinction
of life :

nowever tbi!» may be, that which most
arouses our moral feelings at the thought of a
future (though possibly very remote) cesgation of
all living creation on the earth is, more particu-
larly, the question whether all this life is not an
aimless sport, which will ultimately fall a prey
to destruction by brute force f Under the light
of Darwin's great thought we begin to see that
not only pleasure and joy, but also pain, strug-
gle, and death, are the powerful means by which
Kature has built up her finer and more perfect
forms of life. And we men know more particu-
larly that in our intelligence, our civic order,
and our morality, we are living on the inheri-
tance which our forefathers have gained for us,
and that which we acquire in the same way will
in like manner ennoble the life of our posterity.
Thus the individual, who works for the ideal
objects of humanity, even if in a modest posi-
tion and in a limited sphere of activity, may
bear without fear the thought that the thread of
his own consciousness will one day break. But
even men of such free and large order of minds
a? Lcssiug and David Strauss could not recon-
cile themselves to t he thought of a final destruc-
tion of the living race, and with it of all the fruits
of all past generations.

As yet we know of no fact, which can be es-
tablished by scientific abservation, which would
show that the finer and complex forms of vital
motion could exist otherwise than in the dense
material of organic life ; that it can propagate
itself as the sound movement of a string can
leave its originally narrow and fixed home, and
diffuse itself in the air, keeping all the time its
pitch, and the most delicate shade of its color-
tint ; and that, when it meets another string at-
tuned to it, starts this again or excites a flame
ready to sing to the same tone. The flame even,
which, of all processes in animate nature, is the
closest type of life, may become extinct, but the
heat which it produces continues to exist, in-
destructible, imperishable, as an invisible mo-
tion, now agitating the molecules of ponderable
matter, and then radiating into boundless space
as the vibration of an ether. Even there it re-
tains the chiiracteristic peculiarities of its origin,
and it reveals its history to the inquirer who
questions it by the spectroscope. United afresh,
these rays may ignite a new flame, and thus, as
it were, acquire a new bodily existence.

Just as the flame remains the same in ap-
pearance and continues to exist with the same
form and structure, although it draws every
minute fresh combu^'tible vapor and fresh oxy-
gen from the air, into the vortex of its ascend- j



ing current: and just as the wave goes on in
unaltered form, and is yet being reconstructed
every moment from fresh particles of water, so
also in the living being, it is not the definite
mass of substance, which now constitutes the
body, to which the continuance of the individ-
ual is attached. For the material of the body,
like that of the fiame, is subject to continuous
and comparatively rapid change— a change the
more rapid, the livelier the activity of the or-
gans in question. Some constituents are re-
newed from day to day, some from month to
month, and others only after years. That which
continues to exist as a particular individual is
like the fiame and the wave— only the form of
motion which continually attracts fresh matter
into its vortex and expels the old. The ob-
server with a deaf ear only recognizes the vibra-
tion of sound as lung as it is visible and can be
felt, bound up with heavy matter. Are our
senses, in reference to life, like the deaf ear in
this respect ?



Thk Hcman Body : An Account of its Struct-
ure and Activities, and the Conditions
of its Healthy Working. Bv H. Newell
Martin, D. S.C, M. A.,M.B., Professor
of Biology in the Johns Hopkins Univer-
sitv. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
1881. Pp. 665. Price, $2.'7o.

This work is a contribution to the Amer-
ican " Science Series " of college text-books,
and is one of the best of those excellent
publications that has yet appeared. Dr.
Martin's task in its preparation has not
been a light one ; for, although he has had
the most interesting of all subjects to deal
with, and is herein specially fortunate, yet,
on the other hand, he has had to compete in
the most thoroughly cultivated field of our
whole scientific literature. There are many
physiological text-books of all grades, and
among them are some of the best scientific
manuals to be anywhere found, A new
work must therefore be of exceptional ex-
cellence if it aspires to become a standard
on this subject in the higher education.

We have looked over " The Human
Body " carefully, and have been interested
throughout. The descriptive and explana-
tory part is remarkably clear, and the ac-
companying illustrations are abundant and
of a superior quality. The book has, more-
over, something of a freshness and origi-
nality which seemed to be due to the breadth
of Dr. Martin's preparation as a biologist.
One of the difficulties, indeed, with our
physiological text-books is, that they have
been too generally the work of physiologi-



LITERARY NOTICES.



271



cal specialists and exclusive students of the
human body, lluman physiology of some
sort is as old as the practice of medicine,
but it became a new science under the in-
fluenoe of modern biology. The human body
is only to be understood in connection with
the general system of life in nature, and, as
this subject has recently been greatly de-
veloped, its results should contribute much
interesting interpretation to human physi-
ology. Dr. Martin, we think, has written
his work from this point of view, and that
it may be taken as embodying all the lat-
est assured advances of science in their
bearing upon his subject. But, as there
is no sharp boundary where accredited sci-
ence stops, the author, in posting up his
work, necessarily encountered the perplex-
ity of dealing with facts and principles not
yet settled, for physiology is still an actively
progressive science. Dr, Martin docs not
avoid " disputed matters," but simply aims
to do justice to the present state of his sub-
ject, lie says in his preface: "This was
deliberately done, as the result of an expe-
rience in teaching physiology, which now
extends over more than ten years. It
would have been comparatively easy to slip
over things still uncertain, and subjects as
yet uninvestigated, and to represent our
knowledge of the workings of the animal
body as neatly rounded off at all its con-
tours, and complete in all its details — totus,
feres, et rotundis. But, by so doing, no ade-
quate idea of the present state of physio-
logical science would have been conveyed ;
in many directions it is much further trav-
eled and more completely known than in
others ; and, as ever, exactly the most in-
teresting points are those which lie on the
boundary between what we know and what
we hope to know. In gross anatomy there
arc now but few points calling for a suspen-
sion of judgment ; with respect to micro-
scopic anatomy there are more ; but a trea-
tise on physiology which would pass by, un-
mentioned, all things not known but sought,
would convey an utterly unfaithful and un-
true idea. Thysiology has not finished its
course ; it is not cut and dried, and ready
to be laid aside for reference like a speci-
men in an herbarium, but is comparable
rather to a living, growing plant, with some
>tout and useful branches well raised into



the light, others but part-grown, and many
still represented by unfolded buds."

We have no space to go into the method
or classification of Dr. Martin's work, which
seems to be lucid and convenient, while the
share given to the leading subjects is well
proportioned to their impo;"tance.

In one respect this manual is better
than we expected to find it: it is more
thoroughly practical than we were prepared
to expect from an experimental biologist,
and such a devotee of original scientific
study as Dr. Martin is well known to be.
We anticipated a valuable and trustworthy
scientific treatise, but we are glad to sec
that the science is constantly and effective-
ly applied to the hygienic art. The appli-
cation of physiological principles for the
preservation of health, the care of the body,
and the improvement of the conditions of
life, are copiously interspersed through the
text, and they will have the effect both of
increasing the student's interest in the
study and of securing the first object of all
education — the acquisition of knowledge in-
dispensable to self-preservation.



Victor Hugo : His Life and Works. From
the French of Alfred Barbou. By
Frances A. Shaw. Chicago: S. C.
Griggs & Co, Pp. 207. Prjce, $1.

" The life of a man who has acquired such
a hold upon a nation as Victor Hugo has
gained upon the French people can not fail
to be full of interest and instruction, and
well deserves to be written. The great
French poet and patriot has found a com-
petent and appreciative biographer in M.
Barbou, who seems to be one of his most
enthusiastic admirers, and has associated
with him intimately.



The Telescope : The Principles involved
in the con.sturction of refracting and
Beflectino Telescopes. By Thomas
Nolan, B. P. Reprinted from "Van
Nostrand's Magazine." New York : D.
Van Nostrand. Pp. 75. Price, 50 cents.

This little book presents a brief exposi-
tion of the optical principles of lenses and
mirrors, and their application to the con-
struction of refracting and reflecting tele-
scopes, illustrated by several figures and
plates.



272



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY,



Sight, an Exposition of the Principles of
Monocular and Binocclar Vision. By
Joseph Le Conte, LL. D. With numer-
ous Illustrations. Pp. 275. D. Appleton
& Co. International Scientific Scries,
No. XXII. Price, $1.50.

Dr. Le Conte has for many years made
the eye a subject of special study, from the
point of view assumed in this book. And
this is the way this wonderful organ will in
future have to be studied. Its interest as
an object of investigation is inexhaustible.
Its mechanism and action are roughly ex-
plained in every physiology ; but, to state all
that is known about it, in its several aspects
in health and disease, would require whole
libraries. Ilehnholtz has made a large and
a profound book on physiological optic?,
devoted to an elucidation of the relations of
light to the visual organism, while the psy-
chological relations of the organ of vision
have yet to be explored. The eye is, there-
fore, a subject so complex, obscure, and ex-
tensive, that it must in future be approached
on different sides by separate investigators.
In taking up the eye with a view of explain-
ing the mechanism and process of sight as
single and double, our author declares that
he does not know the existence of "any
work covering the same ground in the Eng-
lish language." He, therefore, claims that
it meets a real want, and fills a real gap in
scientific literature.

In regard to its form, Dr. Le Conte says :
" I have tried to make a book that will be
intelligible and interesting to the thought-
ful general reader, and at the same time
profitable to even the most advanced special-
ist in this department." It must be admit-
ted that that the author has fairly attained
to his ideal. His explanations are so clear,
and his facts and principles so interesting,
that they wiU be sure to engage the atten-
tion of ordinary readers, while at the same
time he gradually passes to the consideration
of questions and the presentation of views
that will appeal to instructed critics as new
contributions to the subject.

Another point in regard to this work
strikes us as most important. It is largely
a book of experiments ; the effects discussed
and illustrated with the woodcuts are such
as can be tested by the reader who will take
some pains to practice. This is an impor-
tant means of education, by which the reader



not only learns how to do things, but be-
comes acquainted with the subject at first
hand, and knows what he knows. On this
feature of his book, Dr. Le Conte remarks :
" As a means of scientific culture, the study
of vision seems to me exceptional. It makes
use of, and thus connects together, the sci-
ences of physics, physiology, and even psy-
chology. It makes the cultivation of the
habit of observation and experiment possible
to all ; for the greatest variety of experi-
ments may be made without expensive ap-
paratus, or, indeed, apparatus of any kind.
And, above all, it compels one to analyze the
complex phenomena of sense in his own
person, and is thus a truly admirable prep-
aration for the more difficult task of analy-
sis of those still higher and more complex
phenomena which are embraced in the sci-
ence of psychology."

Sketches and Reminiscences op the Radi-
cal Club of Chestnut Street, Boston.
Edited by Mrs. John T. Sargent. Bos-
ton: James 1{. Osgood & Co. 1880. Pp.
418. Price, $2.

The Radical Club was founded in the
spring of 1867, with the purpose of bring-
ing together occasionally a few persons who
were known to be daring thinkers on sub-
jects of high import, and of furnishing them
" an opportunity for uttering their thought
to an audience capable of appreciating its
scope, of criticising its worth, and of devel-
oping its relations." It was composed of
members of all religious denominations, and
enjoyed an attendance of two hundred at
the closing sessions of 1880. This volume
contains about fifty of the essays which
were presented at the meetings, with notices
of the discussions which followed the read-
ing. The authors, who-se names are append-
ed, are, as a rule, men and women known
in literature, science, or the forum, whose
words never fail to command attention. The
subjects of their papers represent a \\ide
range of thought in literature, art, theology,
metaphysics, science, and sociology, and are
of degrees of practicality of which " Color-
blindness " may be taken to represent one
extreme and " The Impossible in Mathe-
matics " the other. The reports of the in-
formal discussions are full of conventional
life, and are hardly less interesting than the
essays.



LITERARY NOTICES.



2/3



OcR Native Ferns and how to study
THEM, WITH Synoptical Desi.riptions
OF THE North American Species. By
LuciEN M. Underwood, Ph. D. Bloom-
ington, Illinois. Pp. 116. Illustrated.
Price, ei.

The development of interest in the study
of ferns is illustrated by the works treating
of them, or embodying illustrations of them,
that have been published in this country
during the last four years. Still, they oc-
cupy a subordinate place in our botanical
manuals, the descriptions of many species
are stored away in inaccessible periodicals
and rare books, and, till this work appeared,
no manual available to students had been
issued that classified all our native species,
or outlined their morphology and mode of
life. Professor Underwood has made, in
the little manual before us, a most com-
mendable attempt to fill this gap in botani-
cal literature. The descriptions of genera
and species are preceded by chapters de-
scribing in an engaging style the haunts,
habits, distribution, morphology, fructifica-
tion, structure, classification, and nomenclat-
ure, etc., of ferns, the germination of fern-
spores, " How to study Perns," and " A
Little Fern Literature."



Drugs that enslave: The Opium, Mor-
phine, Chloral, and Hasheesh Hab-
its. By H. H. Kane, M. D. Philadel-
phia : Presley Blakiston. Pp. 224. Price,
$1.50.

This book contains a great deal of in-
formation on the narcotic habit, its effects,
dangers, and treatment, which is derived
from the author's special experience as a
medical practitioner, from wide acquaint-
ance with the literature of the subject,
and from extensive correspondence with
medical men, systematically carried on for
the elucidation of obscure or undetermined
questions. Though the work aims to be a
contribution to medical science, and is ad-
dressed to the profession, it yet has a gen-
eral interest, from the prominence given to
the growing dangers of narcotic indulgence
among nearly all classes of society. Dr.
Kane maintains that a great impulse has
been given to the illegitimate use of opium
by the introduction of the hypodermic syr-
inge for the injection of morphine under
the skin into the tissues. The practice with
VOL. XIX. — 18



this instrument is but recent. It was in-
troduced into this country from England ia
1856, by Dr. Fordyce Barker, and has not
only come into universal use by physicians,
but it is much and increasingly employed
by individuals, who continue the habit as a
fascinating indulgence, which was begun by
the doctor for the relief of painful disease.
The book is full of examples of the dis-
tressing evils of narcotic indulgence, and
abounds in warnings against its insidious
approaches and deadly results.

Reminiscences of Dr. Ppurzheim and
George Combe. A Review of the Sci-
ence of Phrenology from the Time of
its Discovery by Dr. Gall, to the Time
of the Visit of George Combe to the
United States, in 1838-'40, with a new
Portrait of Spurzheim. By Xahum Ca-
PEN, LL. D. New York : Fowler &
Wells. Pp. 262. Price, §1.50.

The author was a personal friend and
confidential assistant of Spurzheim during
I his visit to the United States, and is thor-
' oughly versed, as an active sympathizer,
I with the school of thought of which he was
I a conspicuous representative from the be-
ginning. He has prepared his reminiscences
in answer to what he believes to be a gen-
eral demand, and has incorporated in it
many interesting recollections concerning
other advocates of the phrenological school,
as Drs. Gall, George Cbmbe, and Andrew
Combe.

History of the Free-Trade Movement in

England. By Augustus Mongredieu.

New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp.

188. Price, 50 cents.

The question naturally occurs to the ob-
server of national progress, who is also a
student of political and economical litera-
ture, why, when the majority of the scien-
tific writers and thinkers of all nations
agree in approving the principles of free
trade, statesmen set them at naught, and
only one state, England, has yet adopted
them and put them in practice; and they
may ask further, Wliat conditions have
prompted that country to take a different
course from its neighbors ? This little book
undertakes to answer these questions. It
docs more. Protectionists assert that Eng-
land has been declining since it adopted
free trade. It answers these assertions by



274



TEE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



setting forth "the exact truth as embodied
iu historical and statistical facts of undeni-
able authenticity,"

Is COSSCMPTION CONTAGIOUS, AND CAN IT
BE TRANSMITTED BY MeaNS OF FoOD ?

By Herbert C. Clapp, A. M., M. D.
Boston and Providence: Otis Clapp &
Son. 1881. Pp. 178. Price, $1.25.

Considerable evidence is offered in this
work tending to show that, " to a certain ex-
tent, at least, and under certain conditions,
consumption is contagious." This evidence
is derived from incidents in the history of the
disease, the statements of physicians, and
special reports of twenty-five cases. The
subjects of contagion in cattle, the possi-
biUty of the transmission of tuberculosis
by means of food, and the inoculability of
tubercle, are also considered.



TuE Spirit of Education. By M. L'Abbe
Amaule Beesau. Translated by Mrs.
E. M. McCarthy. Syracuse : C. W. Bar-
deen. Pp.325. Price, $1.25.

This little work, by a pious French ec-
clesiastic, is said to have been very popu-
lar in his country. Its author is a Catholic
priest, and the work is written from the
point of view of the system he represents.
It is endorsed by high authorities of the
Church as a volume to which Catholics may
Ibok with confidence. An interesting feat-
ure of the book is its numerous extracts
from the writings of eminent Catholics in
past times on the subject of education. As
might be expected, there is very little rec-
ognition of science in the work, and no ref-
erence to the more urgent of the modern
questions that are agitating the public on
the subject of education. It might have
been written a thousand years ago.



The Logic of Christian Evidences. By G.
Frederick Wright. Andover: Warren
F. Draper. 1880. Pp.306. Price, 81.50.

In consequence of the constant changes
in the condition of the world and the lines
of thought, each generation approaches the
subject of the evidences of Christianity from
a slightly different point of view. Ilence
a re-presentation of the subject, correspond-
ing with the new conditions, is always in
place. The author regards the power of
Christianity to adjust itself in form to dif-
ferent degrees of civilization, while its sub-
stance remains unchangeable, as in fact one
of the evidences ; for the power is a conse-
quence of its spiritual nature, and of its in-
dependence of transitory pha.'fcs of intel-
lectual and social development. The aim of
this treatise is to bring into view the exter-
nal and the internal evidences of Christianity
as they now stand, and as they appear when
compared with the evidences on which the
beliefs of science are based.

First German Book, after the Natural or
Pestalozzian Method, for Schools and
Home Instruction. By James H. Wor-
MAN, A. M. New York and Chicago:
A. S. Barnes k Co. Pp. 63. Price, 35
cents.

This book is intended for beginners
wishing to learn the spoken language of
Germany, which is taught in it by direct
appeal to illustrations of the objects men-
tioned, and without the use of English. The
author has designed in it to present in a few
pages all the essentials of German grammar
so as to make their mastery easy, and pre-
pare the student, after going through it, to
enter upon the study of the more recondite,
comphcated, and irregular principles of the
language.



Lectures on Electricitv in its Relations
TO Medicine and Surgery. By A. D.
Rockwell, A. M., M. D. New York:
WiUiam Wood & Co. Pp. 99. Price,
$1.

These lectures deal chiefly with the prac-
tical points of the subject, and give special
consideration to the methods of general far-
adization and central galvanization — meth-
ods already familiar by name to the profes- j
sion, but which the author thinks might be i
better understood and appreciated. 1



PUBLICATIOXS RECER'ED.

Tom Paine on Trial, and the Infidels in
Court. Brooklyn : D. S. Holmes. Pp. 87. Price,
25 cents.

On Statical Electro-Therapeutics, or Treat-
ment of Disease by Franklinism. By W. J.
Morton, M. D. New York. 1S81. Pp. 28.

Trances and Trancoidal States in the Lower
Animals. Bv George M. Beard, A. M., M. D.

1881. Pp. n:

Ohservations on Jupiter. By L.. Tronvelot.
Pp.23.

On the Geosraphical Distribution of the In-
di<?enons Plants of Europe and the Northeast
United States. By Joseph F. James. 1881. Pp-
18.



POPULAR MISCELLANY



275



Abstract of Transaction? of the Anthropologi-
cal Society of Washington, 1). C, ■witti the An-
nual Address of the President, for the First
Year, endiuy: January 20, 1880. and for the Sec-
ond Year, ending' January 18, 1881. Prepared
by J. W. Powell. Washin<;ton: National Ke-
publiean l'rintiuy;-House. Pp. 150.

Report of the Cruise of the United States
Revenue Steamer Corwiu in the Arctic Ocean.
With Mete<)^oIo^'ical .\bstract8. By Captain C.
L. Hoop r, U. S. R. M. Washington; Govern-
ment Printing-Otflce. 1880. Pp. 74.

.\ Dictionary of Music and Musicians (a. d.
14,50-1881). Kdited by George Grove, D. C. L.
Part Xlir. Plaiu'lie to Uicliter. London and
New York: Macniillan & Co. Pp. 128. Price.
$1.

Quarterly Report of the Chief of the Bureau
of Statistics relative to the Importe, Exports,
luunignition, and Navigation of the United
States for the Three Mouths ended December
31, 188a Pp. 130.

On the Variation of the Leaf-Scars of Lepiio-
dendroH Acnleatum (Sternberg). With Plates.
Pp. IC On the Variations of the Decorticated
Leaf-Scara of Certain Sigillariae. With Plates.



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 34 of 110)