IN one of the most beautiful of all the shining pages of his History of the Spanish Conquest in America, Sir Arthur Helps describes the way in which, through “ some fitness of the season, whether in great scientific discoveries or in the breaking into light of some great moral cause, the same processes are going on in many minds, and it seems as if they communicated with each other invisibly.
IN the January number of this Review* (page 126), I made the incidental statement that “ should I be able to complete Part IV of the Principles of Ethics, treating of Justice, of which the first chapters only are at present written, I hope to deal adequately with these relations between the ethics of the progressive condition and the ethics of that condition which is the goal of progress—a goal ever to be recognized, though it can not be actually reached.”
THERE are many persons who have what they conceive to be the good of their fellow-creatures so greatly at heart that, when they can not succeed in making them conform to a standard of right and wrong that they have set up for themselves, endeavor to accomplish their object by legal enactments.
THE frailty of a spider’s web has passed into a proverb. Yet, comparatively, the silken line of an orb-weaver is very strong. According to Schaffenberger, it requires ninety spinning threads of an Epeïra to yield one thread of the thickness of a caterpillar’s thread ; and, according to Leeuwenhoek, it requires eighteen thousand spider lines to make the thickness of a hair of the beard.
THE general subject of American secondary school programmes has been of late years a most prolific one. What with the relative or particular importance of the mother-tongue, classical studies, history, modern languages, and, more recently, manual training, the educational essayist has been rather embarrassed by the multitude of the topics presented him.
OF THE OBSERVATORY OF MILAN, ITALY. NO one of the planets that were known in ancient times is so difficult to observe as Mercury, and none presents so many obstacles to the study of its orbit and physical constitution. As to its orbit, Mercury is the only planet the course of which seems even now to have partly cut loose from the laws of universal gravitation, and the theory of which, although well built up by the genius of Leverrier, is still in considerable disagreement with the observations.
PRESIDENT OF THE ONTARIO BEE-KEEPERS' ASSOCIATION. WE are often told that this is a scientific age, and the statement is undoubtedly true. The world now more than ever before looks to science as a secular if not a spiritual guide. However much their speculations may be questioned and controverted, the scientific book and the scientific man are popularly accepted as authority, at least on matters of physical and historical fact.
I HAVE read with deep interest, as doubtless have many other persons, Mr. Wallace’s volume entitled Darwinism, which appeared in the month of March last year. No one has a higher right to teach the world on this recondite subject ; and when it is borne in mind that Mr. Wallace was himself an independent discoverer of the principle associated with the name of Darwin, and that, nevertheless, no sentence indicative of rivalry or jealousy— in fact, no sentence laying claim to original discovery—occurs throughout the book, it is impossible not to be struck with a feeling of reverence toward a writer who combines such remarkable ability with no less remarkable modesty.
I HAD for ten years a cat whose intelligence interested me greatly and was considered remarkable by all persons who took notice of her. Her confidence in her master and mistress, her evident enjoyment of their society, her happy faculty of putting herself upon an understanding with them, her familiar interest in matters of the household, the shifts and devices of which she was master, and her sagacity manifested in ways as various as the exigencies she had to meet, evoked frequent admiration and praise.
AT the recent meeting of the British Association at Newcastle, Prof. James Geikie opened the Section of Geology with a summary of the results obtained during the last few years by continental glacialists. Sketching the steps by which the iceberg theory has been abandoned by German and Swiss geologists, he dwelt on certain features of the drifts of the peripheral areas, which for some time were hard to account for by land-ice.
IT is now about two hundred years—the exact date is not known—since Lord Capel laid out the garden that has become a scientific institution of world-wide fame and influence. Switzer says, in his quaint Ichnographia Rustica, 1718, “ The earliness with which this lord appeared in gardening merits a very great place in my history, and a better pen than mine to draw it.”
MR. SCHOOLCRAFT was a conspicuous figure in the scientific life of the early part of the century. A pioneer in some fields, the immediate follower of the pioneers in others, he was, in all the branches of research to which, he gave attention, earnest, ready, diligent, sagacious, original, and modest.
IN the February number of The Popular Science Monthly was published an article, by Stuart 0. Henry, entitled Rainfall on the Plains. Mr. Henry claims that the rainfall on our plains has not increased to any appreciable extent since the first settlement ; and he says that the general impression that settlement and cultivation traveling westward have been attended by a gradual increase of rainfalls is a “ remarkable fallacy.”
IN last month's Table we had a few words upon the discredit into which what is sometimes called the “ orthodox” political economy has fallen among practical men. It is a pleasure to be able to call attention to a book which furnishes a signal example of the way in which economical studies should be pursued.
THIS volume deals with the practice rather than with the theory of education. It tells what to do, and does not concern itself with any comprehensive scheme of educational philosophy. The author is superintendent of the public schools of Chicago, and the several chapters of this volume are based upon papers read before the teachers of that city and vicinity.
Jacob Ennis.—This able but retiring man was born in Essex County, N. J., in 1807. He came of sturdy Scotch-Irish stock on his father’s side, and was of Dutch extraction (the Doremuses) on his mother’s side. After graduating at Rutgers College, and when yet quite a young man, he connected himself with the Dutch Reformed Church, and was by that organization sent to the islands of Java and Sumatra as a missionary, where he remained four years.
PROF. D. S. MARTIN’S Geological Map of New York City and its Environs is the only map giving in detail the geology of the entire region (fifty-five by sixty-eight miles) surrounding the metropolis ; it is compiled with great care from separate sources, some of which are not easily accessible, and some are unpublished ; it exhibits the relations of many geological systems and series east of the Alleghanies ; and shows striking features connected with the Glacial age, the terminal moraine, and the ancient (now submerged) channel of the Hudson River.