DURING the past few months the presence of the negro in the United States, his future, and his possible influence upon our social and political fabric, have become a fertile subject of discussion. Thus far the argument has tended entirely in one direction, all writers seeming to be agreed that the country is rapidly getting into a bad way, by reason of its millions of black laborers.
WE are beginning to hear lamentations over the realism of our time. Not only are the gods dead, God is dead. Art finds no place for Imagination, save in setting her to devise ways and means for a more complete photographic process. Among the crimes laid to the account of Science, this is not the least ; indeed, perhaps this may sum them all, that she has taken away our Lord and will show us nothing in return but the geologic formation of a sepulchre.
FOUR articles of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s, which appeared in the CONTEMPORARY REVIEW, have recently been reprinted together, and form now a work which Mr. Spencer has entitled “The Man versus The State.” This little volume merits the most attentive study, because in it the great sociological question of our day is treated in the most masterly manner.
THE Editor of the CONTEMPORARY REVIEW having kindly allowed me to see a proof of the foregoing article by M. de Laveleye, and having assented to my request that I might be allowed to append a few explanations and comments, in place of a more formal reply in a future number of the Review, I have, in the following pages, set down as much as seems needful to prevent the grave misunderstandings likely to be produced by M. de Laveleye’s criticisms, if they are permitted to pass unnoticed.
FEW natural groups present so many remarkable illustrations of several of the most important general laws which appear to have determined the structure of animal bodies as that of the whales. We find the effects of the two opposing forces—that of heredity or conformation to ancestral characters, and that of adaptation to changed environment, whether brought about by the method of natural selection or otherwise—distinctly written in almost every part of their structure.
THE practical application of natural gas, as an article of fuel, to the purpose of manufacturing glass, iron, and steel, promises to work a revolution in the industrial interests of America—promises to work a revolution ; for, notwithstanding the fact that, in many of the largest iron, steel, and glass factories in Pittsburg and its vicinity, natural gas has already been substituted for coal, the managers of some such works are shy of the new fuel, mainly for two reasons:
AMONG the most convenient and efficacious substances to be used for purposes of disinfection are sulphurous acid and bisulphide of carbon. The question of the merits of these substances and the advantages of using them was recently considered, in the “Journal de Pharmacie et de Chimie,” by M. Alfred Riche, who said : “ M. Dujardin-Beaumetz recently requested the concurrence of MM. Pasteur and Roux in instituting new experiments on the value of disinfectants, and has just published the results of the same in the ‘ Bulletin ’ of the Academy of Medicine.
IN the month of February last a report was laid before the Parliament of Canada detailing the results of an expedition dispatched by the Government of that country particularly for the purpose of inquiring into the navigability of Hudson Strait and Bay, and, at the same time, of gathering information concerning the resources of that region, and its availability as a field for settled habitation.
SHEIK KEMAL EDIN DEMIRI, who died about A. D. 1405, and was the author of a voluminous treatise on the life of animals, relates the following story as a fact : “ The inhabitants of a town called Olila, on the shore of the Red Sea, were in olden times metamorphosed into monkeys, in punishment for their wickedness.
ONE day, in the British Museum, while waiting a moment in a room where entomological specimens were exhibited, I saw two workmen bending over a case containing butterflies and moths. “ There is the Camberwell Beauty,” said one, pointing out a particular example to his companion.
A MODERN French writer has said : “ In the domain of the useful arts each age reveals characteristic tendencies. In the last century, mankind had need to clothe itself cheaply. . . . The nineteenth century has wished for light.” To the development of the petroleum industry the gratification of this wish is mainly due ; yet, while the products of petroleum are used in nine tenths of all the dwellings of the land, but few of those who occupy them realize that 60,000 barrels of crude oil flow from the earth every day, that more than 30,000,000 barrels are now stored above-ground in huge iron tanks, and that 15,000 barrels are required to supply each day’s demand in the United States alone.
A FEW years ago the “ farmer’s friends ” were very sanguine on the subject of using malt as a cattle-food, and at agricultural meetings throughout the country the iniquitous malt-tax was eloquently denounced because it stood in the way of the great fodderreform.
ON the 11th of November last there died a man who is entitled by every consideration to a distinguished place in the pages of a scientific journal. For, whatever Alfred Brehm may have lacked in the systematic formalism of technical zoÖlogists, it can not be denied that he was really great and even unique in the sympathetic comprehension of animals as living beings.
DR. McCOSH has published an argument on freedom in the higher education. He had discussed the subject with President Eliot before the Nineteenth Century Club, and he has since issued a pamphlet, entitled “The New Departure in College Education, being a Reply to President Eliot’s Defense of it in New York, February 24, 1885.”
THE main object of this work by Professor Romanes is the description of the investigation of the physiology of the animals lowest in organization, with especial reference to determining the presence of a nervous system in them and its extent and functions.
Schools of Fifty Years ago and of ToDay.—The Rev. Edward Everett Hale, in a recent article on “ Half-Time Schools,” asserted, among other things, that, on the whole, schools and school-teachers were better fifty years ago, when they turned out an occasional Daniel Webster, than they are now ; that all schools are “ revolting ” to pupils ; that the average boy, who has many weeks of vacation per year, is likely to learn the value of time, the necessity of punctuality, and the need of subordination, and to acquire modesty and self-control, order and method, quite as well as he does at school ; that the old idea of school, as a place for study in reading, writing, and arithmetic, is the correct one, and all else is to be taught and learned somewhere else ; and that such practical affairs as a knowledge of things, tools, and the processes of handicrafts, can not be successfully taught at school, but are learned more quickly and better at home or at work.
THE “ Lancet ” states that “ a marked increase in the death-rate from cancer during the latter part of the present century has for some years occupied the minds of several well-known pathologists in endeavors to reveal its cause.” It being generally agreed that the disease is prone to arise out of prior morbid states which do not appear to be directly or necessarily related to it, among which are tissue exhaustion, the “ Lancet ” adds :