James Andrew Corcoran.

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previously had conferred on him, because of his great services in
literature, the degree of doctor in philosophy.

A couple of years before his death Mr. Qinch had made a very
extensive European tour, some results of which were the papers on
the conditions in France, Belgium and Italy, as he found them, which
appeared in this Review soon after his return. He was a good
linguist, and was thus enabled to make himself easily at home in
the various beautiful regions which he visited during his sojourn in

Mr. Qinch was by profession an ardiitect and civil engineer. He
was intrusted with the erection of many fine churches and colleges
in California, and the style in which they were finished under his
direction gives proof of rich taste and scientific skill as a builder and

Mr. Qinch was a native of Dublin, Ireland. He was a relative
of the Kenrick family that gave to the United States two of its
greatest Archbishops, besides to Ireland some beloved and learned
priests. He studied at the Catholic University of Dublin — ^probably
for some time under its renowned rector, Dr. Newman, afterwards
Cardinal. He had for fellow-students there some notable Irish
spirits, like the late Edmund O'Donovan, full of ardor and enthusi-
asm, as he himself always was, for the liberation of their country
from the heavy English yoke. To the last hour of his life Mr. Qinch
cherished the hope to behold these youthful dreams realized. He
took up the cause of the Gaelic revival with eagerness and zeal, and
an admirable article on the subject in the Messenger was almost
the last of his literary tasks.

With all his varied talents and accomplishments Mr. Qinch never
thrust himself before the world, as it is the general custom in the
United States now to do. In all his articles — ^and they were many —
it would be very hard to find the personal pronoun used of himself,
unless perhaps by way of quotation. Like all true scholars and
students, he was modest as to his own claims or deserts. His range
of study was very great, and yet this fact was not easily discoverable
in his talk; one would have to go in quest of it by direct methods

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584 American Catholic Quarterly Review,

in order to ascertain it. He was a charming talker, sprightly and
versatile, and this gift was aided by a very retentive memory and a
keenly observant habit. No truer Catholic ever breathed, yet his
piety was of the same unostentatious kind as his mental conscious-

One magnum opus Mr. Qinch has left, and it is a valuable one.
It is a "History of the Califomian Missions." It is highly prized
for its painstaking character and the purity of its literary style. He
left another work in MS. — ^a "History of Santa Clara College,''
which may soon be published, it is to be presumed. To write it
was to the author a very labor of love, for he and many in Santa
Qara were the dearest of friends for many years.

California had been Mr. Qinch's home for about thirty years, and
he was warmly attached to it, for its beauties of scene and charms
of climate, as well as because of early friendships. He had traveled
much of its surface and made many friends among its early settlers.
He had many interesting notes of these to regale the conversation.
He loved to tell in especial of an old Irish pair on a ranch who kept
open house, all the year round, for all who passed diat way. Down
to the time when Mr. Qinch last met this hospitable pair they had
furnished a meal and often a bed to as many as fourteen thousand
wayfarers ; and they never had to lock a door night or day or refuse
a traveler their kindly Irish hospitality. Mr. Qinch was very proud
of these humble but sturdy fellow Irish exiles.

To Archbishop Ryan and all the staff of the Quarterly Mr.
Qinch was a dearly cherished friend. His sad taking off was to
them a most painful shock. His eternal happy repose will be to
them a 'heartfelt hope.

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Scientific Chronicle, 585

Scientific Chronicle


Like mtoy another great catastrophe resulting from some sudden
convulsion of nature, the calamity in San Francisco has by its sud-
denness and its magnitude diverted men's minds from its physical
cause to its effects in the destruction of life and property. We have
heard this earthquake described as one of the greatest of modem
times, and the truth of this statement cannot be doubted if we con-
fine our attention to its relations to ourselves. If, however, this
phenomenon had occurred in a thinly populated area, we should have
heard very little of it It was an earthquake of the first magnitude,
but one that was not unlooked for by students of geology and kin-
dred sciences. Its cause is known with a fair degree of certainty.
Perhaps a brief risume of what has been ascertained in regard to it
up to the present will prove acceptable to readers of the Chronicle.
It will be necessary as a preliminary to give a synopsis of the con-
clusions of the new seismology, as that branch of earth physics deal-
ing with earth movements which has had its great development dur-
ing the last thirty years has been not inappropriately called.

We must realize at the outset that the earth is a very elastic mass,
a veritable terra inArma. Its sensitiveness is analogous to that of a
living organism, and tmder the impulse derived from stresses and
strains which result from various geologic forces, an elastic vibra-
tion is set up within the earth from some point or some locus which
may be considered as a point, which vibration propagates itself
according to the laws of elastic wave motion in a solid medium. This
point from which the earth waves move in all directions is situated
somewhere beneath the surface of the grotmd and is called the
centrum. A point vertically above this on the surface is called the
epicentrum, and a line joining the two is called the seismic vertical.
The epicentrum may be a considerable area, just as the centrum may
be, but both are considered as points to avoid complexity and conse-
quent obscurity in description. At the epicentrum the effects of
the quake at the surface are most pronounced, and they fade away
as the horizontal distance from the epicentrum increases. If we
suppose the earth to be perfectly homogeneous, then the intensity
of the earthquake, that is, the degree of vigor with which the surface
is shaken, will die out in such a way as to be equal at all points equi-
distant frcxn the epicentrum. Lines joining points of equal intensity
are called isoseismals, and these lines, on the supposition of the earth's
homogeneity, would form circles. As a matter of fact, they are any-

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S86 American Catholic Quarterly Review.

thing but circles, except very rarely, when they approach a circle
roughly. The reason is obviously the great want of uniformity in
the material of the earth's crust. Finally, the area within which the
shaking is most forcible is called the meisoseismic area.

An earthquake is a wave or series of waves started from some
point or locus beneath the surface of the earth, the depth of which
point being probably never more than ten miles, and is probably gen-
erally less than five. These waves reaching the surface cause the
motions of the soil and rocks which are merely secondary move-
ments resulting from the original vibrations, and are felt much more
vigorously in made ground or in alluvial or loose soil than in solid
masses of rock. It must not be thought from what has been said
that the earth is ever at complete rest. On the contrary, the crust
of the globe is pervaded almost constantly with minute tremors,
called microseismic tremors, whose cause may diflfer widely from
the cause of a true earthquake, such causes being, among others, the
rolling of railway trains and the impact of water falling in large
volume over a precipice.

Earthquakes have been variously classified. Seismologists recog-
nize two classes now, the volcanic and the tectonic or dislocation
quakes. The former are associated in some way with volcanoes.
They are less frequent than those of the second class, are restricted
to a relatively small area and their centra can be determined with
a fair degree of definiteness. After-quakes are absent in earthquakes
of this class, which originate, according to the best authorities, at
depths of less than two miles. The characteristics of earthquakes
of the second class are just the opposite of those of the first, for
their depth of origin may be greater, their centra are usually indefinite
or elongated, their radius of activity is larger and after-quakes
usually follow the principal disturbance. The vibrations of the vol-
canic quakes may be set up by the sudden intrusion of molten rock
into fissures or between strata or it may result from the opening
of such fissures preparatory to the intrusion and it may be extension
of lava on the surface. The tremors in dislocation quakes arise from
the fracture of rocks and the slipping of strata on each other as the
rocks are faulted. A fault, it will be remembered, occurs when a
crack arises across a stratum or a number of strata, and one side is
moved up or down relatively to the other. The friction of one huge
mass on another would give rise to a vibration which would be pro-
pagated as an earth wave. The earthquake at San Francisco was
a tectonic earthquake.

Such earthquakes are frequent in California. In the interval be-
tween the years 1850 to 1886 254 were recorded in San Francisco
and 514 during the same period in other parts of California, most

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Scientific Chronicle. 587

of them exhibiting the features of tectonic disturbances. The region
about San Francisco Bay has been especially favored. The reason
for this, in the opinion of students of the geology of the region, lies
in the fact that the region is part of the Coast Range, which is young
compared with the mountains to the east of it and which is still
growing. The Coast Range is as a consequence one of the great
seismic regions of the globe.

Now, in the course of this growth the familiar geological processes
of upheaval and subsidence, folding and faulting, of erosion and
sedimentation are exceedingly active. Recent studies have shown
that the San Francisco peninsula alone, to say nothing of the rest
of the region, is traversed by three great faults with a prevailing
north-northwest trend. The meizoseismal area, as far as determined,
is a band about three hundred miles long and thirty miles parallel
to these faults and to the Coast Range. This makes it very probable
that some one of these faults or of others parallel to these had much
to do with the earthquake. President Jordan, of Leland Stanford
Junior University, ascribes it to frictions along the line of a famous
old fault called Portola, about five miles from the university, which
is thirty miles south of San Francisco. One writer thinks that the
epicentrtun was submarine and at some little distance off the coast,
while another suggests that the great San Bruno fault, which just
touched the city on the southwest, may be responsible. The first
shock came at 5.13 A. M. Pacific time, and lasted 28 seconds. An-
other, less violent, came in five minutes. Tremors were almost con-
tinuous meanwhile. A third strong shock came about 8.15 A. M.
Others came shortly before 10 A. M. and about 1.30 and 7 P. M.
Seismographs in various parts of the world soon recorded the earth-

These seismograph records are of great interest. The tremors
thereon registered are of two kinds, preliminary and main tremors.
The preliminary tremors travel through the earth, the main tremors
along the surface. The former traveled at a speed of about 5.4 miles
per second ; in the case of the latter the speed varied from 2.2 miles
to 3.1 miles per second. It is known that these earth waves traveled
a distance along the surface of at least 30,000 miles, for they made
two successive records on the seism<^raph at Birmingham, in Eng-
land. This fact alone points to the San Francisco earthquake as to
one of the first magnitude.

We have already referred in these pages (see Quarterly for Jan-

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$88 American Catholic Quarterly Review.

uary, 1905) to the experiments of Dr. Moore, of the United States
Department of Agriculture, which resulted in a commercial produc-
tion of nitrogen fixing bacteria. It is a pleasure to record theii
continued success in use. We wish to draw attention at present to
some other methods of nitrogen fixing, one of which is an improve-
ment on one already well known and the other a comparatively new
process. Some years ago Messrs. Bradley and Lovejoy succeeded in
uniting the oxygen and hydrogen of the air in small amotmt by
passing air into a chamber cylindrical in shape and having a smaller
moveable cylinder within. By a special arrangement of points
within one and outside the other cylinder sparks of high intensity pass
across an open space and bring about the chemical union of the
nitrogen and oxygen. The combined gases were to be absorbed by
water and nitric acid formed from which to make nitrates. But the
method was not a success, and the machine has been dismantled.
The same principle has, however, been retained by several European
experimenters. Professor Birkeland and Dr. S. Eyde, of Christiana,
in Norway, use a high-pressure flaming electric arc which is made
to move rapidly through a considerable space under the influence of
a powerful magnet. They seem to have met with commercial suc-
cess. An Italian investigator, E. Rossi, oxidizes air when tmder
heavy pressure by means of an incandescent substance, while Messrs.
Siemens and Holske use a single arc of great size formed by an
enormous current at a low voltage instead of a number of small
sparks resulting from a current of high potential.

The second process alluded to is one perfected by Dr. Adolf Frank,
of Charlottenburg. Calcium carbide is familiar as the substance that
interacts with water to form acetylene gas. Professor Frank found
that if he passed nitrogen over red-hot calcium carbide a reaction
took place by which the carbide was transformed into carbon and a
substance called caldimi cyanamide. This last substance proved to
be an almost ideal fertilizer. First of all, if it were heated with
high pressure steam it passed easily into limestone and ammonia.
It evolved besides this latter gas slowly on being merely spread out
in moist air. The force of its action seems to lie in the fact that it
breaks down in the soil into a substance called cyanamide, and that
this passes further into ammonia. The ammonia then goes over by
oxidation into nitric acid, which interacts with the lime to form cal-
cium nitrate. The calcium cyanamide is used further for the manu-
facture of ammonia, for the case hardening of steel, for the manu-
facture of mica, for pharmaceutical preparations and for the making
of g^anidine. The substance sarcosin unites with cyanamide and
gives creatine, a substance found in the human muscle. Altogether
Professor Frank has made a wonderful discovery and has made

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Scientific Chronicle, 589

besides the best step forward as yet towards the free utilization of
the inert nitrogen of the atmosphere.


That music fit for the gods and men may be produced by vibrating
strings has been familiar to mankind for centuries. It remained
for the twentieth century to show that music could be produced by
a vibrating electric current Dr. Thaddeus Cahill has perfected an
instrument at his laboratory at Holyoke, Mass., by means of which
he not only produces music electrically, but sends it over miles of
wire to listeners at distant points. The principle of the instrument,
called the telharmonium, is simple enough. The performer is seated
at a keyboard like that of an organ. Within the instrument are a
large number of small d3mamos generating alternating currents.
These alternating currents are real vibrations, and they are thrown
into circuit by depressing the proper keys, and the vibrating impulses
are sent along the wires causing vibrations in the diaphragm of the
receiving telephone. The appartus whereby this is effected is not as
simple as the physical principle. Its present perfection came as the
result of the labor of years on the part of the inventor.


A New Oxide of Carbon. — Messrs. O. Diels and B. Wolf working
in E. Fischer's laboratory have discovered a new oxide of carbon.
It is described as one of the two possible anhydrides of malonic add,
and is formed when the vapor of diethye malonate is passed over
phosphorus pentoxide, whereby it loses two molecules of alcohol,
which is immediately converted into ethylene and water, with a result-
ing oxide of carbon of the formula C* O*. The new oxide is a color-
less, very volatile liquid which boils at a temperature of 7 degrees.

A Long Aerial Flight. — ^Those who remember the description
given in the Chronicle some time ago of the experiments of the
Wright brothers with an aeroplane will be interested to know that as
a result of their continued labors they succeeded on October 5 last
in fl3ring a distance of 25 1-5 miles in 38 minutes 3 seconds, and
stopped only because of exhaustion of fuel. It is rumored that the
French Government are after the option on the machine.

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590 American Catholic Quarterly Review,

New York Observatory and Nautical Museum. — New York
is to be ao longer behind other great cities, but will soon have a
splendidly equipped observatory for research in astronomy, naviga-
tion and kindred subjects, with a great photographic and visual tele-
scope and instruments for the study of astrophysics, magnetism and
seismology. A museum will be attached wherein will be exhibited
models and instruments of every kind that have relation to naviga-
tion. Opportunities will be given to those qualified to do research
work in nautical astronomy and allied branches.

Oxygen from Liquid Air. — Liquid air has not done all that
writers in popular magazines would have us believe it was going to
do. It is utilized commercially now for the production of pure oxy-
gen. Since liquid air is practically nothing more than a mixture of
liquid air and liquid nitrogen, when the temperature of the liquid is
raised the nitrogen will vaporize first because its boiling point is
lower than that of liquid oxygen. The reduction of temperature
caused by this evaporation is used to cool the air that is going to be
liquefied in turn. M. Georges Qaude has informed the French
Academy that he has in operation a plant capable of turning out i,ooo
cubic metres of oxygen, 96 to 98 per cent, pure, in twenty-four hours.

M. J. Ahbrn, S. J.
Boston, MaM^

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Book Reviews. 591

The Law of the Chubch. A Cyclopaedia of Canon Law for £2ngrlish-
speaklngr Countries. By Ethelred Taunton, prieet of the Arohdiocese of
Westminster. London: Keflran Paul, Trench, Truebner A Co. St. Louis:
B. Herder. Price, $6.76.

"My aim," says Father Taunton, "has been throughout to provide
a practical work upon the canon law with special reference to Eng-
lish-speaking countries. Questions which more directly concern
dogma, liturgy, morals and ceremonial are passed over; also all
questions concerning regulars, except where they come into contact
directly or indirectly with the episcopal authority. Much of this
book may be found in the many volumes of the Bibliotheca Canonica,
luridica, etc., of Ferraris, a work which, appearing first about the
middle of the eighteenth century, has received so many additions
from various hands that, so to say, it has become difficult to see the
wood on accoimt of the trees. I have also put most of the later and
modern-day writers under direct contribution ; I have also attempted
to keep pace with the latest decisions. It is also well to point out
clearly that I first treat of the common law on each point and then
give the particular law which sometimes will be found to modify
the former. It is quite likely that, in a book treating of so many
subjects, errors — not grave ones, I hope — ^may have crept in unwit-
tingly. I shall be truly grateful if those competent for the task will
point them out to me, so that they may receive attention should other
editions be wanted. The work has been cheerfully submitted to two
strict revisions by independent censors, and everything has been done
to secure an exact Roman spirit throughout the pages."

No priest's library is supposed to be complete without containing
one or other edition of the Prompta Bibliotheca of Ferraris.
Prompta is a strange appellation for that immense work ; for, owing
to the vast scale on which the subjects are treated, one feels, when
hunting up anything in it, that he is searching for a pin in a ten-acre
field. It takes an expert, moreover, to determine what legislation
is still in force and what has become obsolete, what is of tmiversal
force and what has been modified in particular countries. Father
Taunton, by wonderful power of condensation, has boiled down
Ferraris into one volume, and has placed in our hands a badly needed
digest of the canon law as it exists hie et nunc. We shall leave to
professional canonists the task of examining the book with a micro-
scope to test its absolute accuracy in petty details. We opine that
very few flaws will be thus detected.

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592 American Catholic Quarterly Review.

As an example of Father Taunton's precision, lucidity and thor-
oughness we shall take the word "Motu Proprio."

1. A Motu proprio is a kind of apostolic letter (q. v.), generally in
the form of a decree issued by the Roman PontifiF on his own initia-
tive. The style is that of a breve (q. v.), ^. g., Pius PP. X., motu
proprio, with a clause giving the object of the legislation.

2. It differs from breves in that it is not given sub annulo Pisca-
toris, and it bears at the end the Pope's name, e, g., Pius PP. X.
It is not countersigned by any official.

3. It may be in any language, generally in Latin or Italian.

4. Motu proprio is also a phrase which occurs in many Papal
documents, and it has, amongst many meanings, the following senses :

1. This clause presumes that the Pope wishes to use the fullness
of his power.

2. This clause, in dispensations, interprets them in the widest

3. It has sometimes the effect of the clause non obstantibus.

4. A rescript accorded motu proprio produces its effect even when
it would be contrary to laws.

5. What a Pope does motu proprio in favor of a person is valid,
although it be contrary to his own decrees.

6. A rescript so granted produces its effect in favor of the other
even before he presents it

7. The clause motu proprio deviates even from expressed reserva-

8. It excludes all subreption (q. v.).

9. It does not imply a dispensation of irregularity or other in-

10. It never takes away the rights of a third person.

11. It is never to be presumed if it be not expressed.

12. It does not give faith to what is narrated.

We were particularly well pleased with the genuinely "ultramon-
tane," that is, Catholic proclamation of principles by the author in
his introduction. The concluding words are worthy of St Bernard :
"Writing these lines beneath the shadow of that glorious dome that
hangs over the tomb of Blessed Peter, I submit ex animo this, as
well as all my other works, to the supreme judgment of Holy Mother
Church. Beforehand I reject everything that she may judge requires
correction. For she is the pillar and ground of the Truth, and her
word is life and law."

The Lives of the Popes in the Bably Middle Ages. By Rev, Horace K.
Mann, Vol. II., 795-868. B. Herder, 17 South Broadway. St liouis. Mo.
Price, 13.00, net.

We have read this second (third) volume of Rev. Mr. Mann's

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Book Reviews, S9J

"Lives of the Popes" with much pleasure. The period dealt with
extends through nine Pontificates, that is, from the accession of
Leo III. in 795 to the death of Benedict IIL in 858. The next
volume will begin with the glorious reign of St Nicholas L It was
a period during which the influence of the Papacy upon the world
advanced by leaps and bounds. As the learned author justly ob-
serves, we perceive through the energetic action of the Popes of
those times how little the later False Decretals had to do with the
establishment of the Papal jurisdiction. Nearly every problem

Online LibraryJames Andrew CorcoranThe American Catholic quarterly review → online text (page 69 of 93)