IT is from the order of succession in Nature, and not from the everlasting endurance of her works, that we may reasonably expect the reign of perpetual activity in her wide domains. In the animal and the vegetable kingdoms the ravages of decay and death are eternally repaired by the birth of new representatives of life; and the loss which our continents undergo by occasional submergence is compensated by the appearance of new lands above the waters.
I DESIRE to offer a few observations in reply to the paper by Professor Payton Spence, in the August number of the “Popular Science Monthly,”* on my theory of the growth of the Will. By a calculation of the chance coincidences of the muscles of the human body, Professor Spence appears to reduce to an utter absurdity any theory that makes the will depend upon trial and error.
IN the exercise of his scientific attainments, there is one aspect in which the naturalist of to-day bears a certain likeness to the detective officer. The latter is perpetually endeavoring to “ strike the trail ” of the offender through his dexterity in the discovery of clews to the movements of the pursued, and attains his end most surely and speedily when the traces he has selected are of trustworthy kind.
WE know from the accounts of Sir John Ross, Captain Kane, and other Arctic explorers, how persistently the Esquimaux prefer walrus-blubber and whale-oil to the most seductive products of the vegetable kingdom, but the fervor of their devotion was only realized by the Rev. Mr. Hansen, the Moravian missionary, who prepared a dying Esquimau for the glories of the New Jerusalem.
WHATEVER that thing, fact, function, or idea which we call mind may be, or whether the brain, as is generally believed, is or is not its sole organ of manifestation, it is universally admitted that varying bodily conditions are accompanied by related variations of mental states.
THE houses of the New Guinea people are somewhat different in different localities, but the most general type is that found at Dorey Harbor. There is here a considerable village of large houses built on piles in the water in the usual Malay style, and houses similarly raised on posts (but loftier) are found on the hills some miles inland.
MR. DARWIN has certainly achieved the distinction of being recognized as the "bogey” of his generation. What Bonaparte was to the English tradesman and his family at the beginning of this century, the great evolutionist is at present to pious Clapham and chapel-going Holloway.
DURING special states of disease the mind sometimes develops faculties such as it does not possess when the body is in full health. Some of the abnormal qualities thus exhibited by the mind seem strikingly suggestive of the possible acquisition by the human race of similar powers under ordinary conditions.
ON SENSATION AND THE UNITY OF STRUCTURE OF SENSIFEROUS ORGANS.
PROFESSOR T. H. HUXLEY
THE maxim that metaphysical inquiries are barren of result, and that the serious occupation of the mind with them is a mere waste of time and labor, finds much favor in the eyes of the many persons who pride themselves on the possession of sound common sense; and we sometimes hear it enunciated by weighty authorities, as if its natural consequence, the suppression of such studies, had the force of a moral obligation.
IN his “Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy,” Sir John Herschel remarks upon the importance of examining those phenomena of nature which are not wholly explicable in terms of any well-established theory. Instances of such residual phenomena, as Sir John Herschel terms them, are given in the discourse.
GEORGE COMBE has been dead twenty years, and his name is almost forgotten. Many of his teachings, which were bitterly opposed when he uttered them, are now quietly accepted. His theories of religion, of education, of the treatment of the insane and criminal classes, are more or less approved, and even the doctrine that mind is a function of the brain, which he was among the first to assert, and for which he was denounced as an infidel, has taken its place among the data of science.
WILLIAM DWIGHT WHITNEY was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, February 9, 1827. He received an academic education at Williams College, in the same State, graduating in 1845. On leaving college he became clerk in a banking-house, and continued in this employment for about five years, devoting his hours of leisure to the study of languages, but particularly of Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.
AN interesting article entitled “The Fear of Death” appeared in “The Popular Science Monthly Supplement” for December. The author in one place says : “At any rate the feelings with which we contemplate the termination of our own earthly life must vary indefinitely in different individuals, and in the same individual at different times; and it would be a matter of deep interest to compare our respective experience if we could bring ourselves to do so.”
IT is announced that Herbert Spencer has ceased writing upon his “Sociology,” and begun the “Principles of Morality,” the last of his series; and it is inferred from this that, having found his “Synthetic Philosophy” overgrown and unmanageable, he has abandoned a part of it in order to finish the rest.
COOLEY’S CYCLOPÆDIA OF PRACTICAL RECEIPTS AND COLLATERAL INFORMATION IN THE ARTS, MANUFACTURES, PROFESSIONS, AND TRADES, INCLUDING MEDICINE, PHARMACY, AND DOMESTIC ECONOMY : Designed as a Comprehensive Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia and General Book of Reference for the Manufacturer, Tradesman, Amateur, and Heads of Families.
Famines in Ancient and Modern Times. —In a statistical paper recently published, Mr. Cornelius Walford gives a chronological table of the famines of which historic rocord exists, and then in twelve other tables notes the operation of the various causes, natural and artificial, which tend to produce famines, among the natural causes being floods and inundations, frost, drought, sundry other meteorological phenomena, insects, and vermin.
THE commonly received theory of dew is that it results from the condensation of the moisture of the air by contact with surfaces of a lower temperature. This theory is rejected by Professor Stockbridge, of the Massachusetts Agricultural College.