AN opponent, or partial opponent, of high, authority, whose views were published some fourteen years after the above essay, must here be answered : I mean Mr. Darwin. Diligent and careful as an observer beyond naturalists in general, and still more beyond those who are untrained in research, his judgment on a question which must be decided by induction is one to be received with great respect.
THE RELATIONS OF MEN OF SCIENCE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
PROF. T. C. MENDENHALL.
JUST fifty years have passed since a small body of enthusiastic students of geology and natural history organized themselves into an association which was, for the first time in the history of this country, not local in its membership or in its purpose.
IT is only within recent years that botanists have realized what a wonderful organ the root has at its tip. Text-books which were in use twenty-five years ago give but little more upon the subject than the statement that at the extremity of each rootlet is a minute, sponge-like organ, called the spongiole, by means of which the plant absorbs moisture from the ground.
A VIVID recollection of my boyhood is the general disfavor with which my school-fellows used to open Euclid. It was in vain the teacher said that geometry underlies not only architecture and engineering, but navigation and astronomy. As we never had any illustration of this alleged underlying to make the fact stick in our minds, but were strictly kept to theorem and problem, Euclid remained for most of us the driest and dreariest lesson of the day.
IN an interesting chapter on the history of tariff legislation Mr. Blaine, in his Twenty Years in Congress, thus presents the issue : “ It is natural that both sides of the tariff controversy should endeavor to derive support for their principles from the experience of the country.
WHO has not been charmed by the many quaint and interesting narratives of the habits of animals, left to us by that father of English natural history Gilbert White ? The philosopher vicar, far from the troubled world, among the peaceful beauties of Selborne, devoted a long life to the study of nature.
IT is now exactly thirty years since the world rang with one of those discoveries which go down to the ages and at once insure the names of the makers of them being inscribed upon the muster-roll of the immortals. In the autumn of 1859, Kirchhoff and Bunsen announced that at last a way had been found of studying the chemical nature of bodies in space—nay, more, that they had already begun the work, and found that the sun, at all events, was built up of matter identical with that of which the earth is composed.
IN the course of several years’ conscientious effort to civilize those barbarians within our borders—the American Indians—I have been unwillingly impressed by the fact that barbarism offers several points of evident superiority to our civilization.
MY opinion is adverse to the use of alcohol, and I might proceed to give grounds for this opinion ; statistics, quotations from authorities, as well as facts, I might supply myself, so as to make my paper more or less exhaustive. My aim is, however, less ambitious.
IN one of my latest conversations with Darwin he expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity, on the ground that in our modern civilization natural selection had no play, and the fittest did not survive. Those who succeed in the race for wealth are by no means the best or the most intelligent, and it is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each generation from the lower than from the middle and upper classes.
ONE of our highest, and at the same time one of the pleasantest, objects in life is the instruction of our children. It is our duty to promote their physical and mental health by all the means in our power ; and the success of our efforts to that end is one of our greatest joys.
PROF. AMOS EATON was one among those who cultivated science in the earlier half of this century, who labored to popularize the study and make it accessible to the masses. American geology and botany owe much to him. His books on those subjects have two special merits—they were among the first published in which a systematic treatment for America was attempted, and they were written throughout in a language that all could read.
THAT the present system of graded schools is far in advance of the old ungraded one, where the same teacher instructed Johnny in his A, B, AC, and Johnny’s older brother in geometry, is an undeniable fact. But to the non-professional observer, who merely looks at the effect on the children, it is by no means evident that the reaction against the schools of fifty years ago has not gone too far.
AN exceedingly useful address was that delivered this year at Indianapolis, by Prof. T. C. Mendenhall, as retiring President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We publish it in our present number, and trust it may be widely read and carefully pondered.
THE high character of the first volume of this work is fully kept up, if not excelled, in the second. We have here the same careful observation that marked the first volume, the same painstaking description, the same clear and picturesque language, and more than an equal wealth of illustrations, for, in addition to the four hundred cuts, Volume II contains five colored plates.
Folk-Lore.—The American Folk-Lore Society will hold its annual meeting in New York city, on November 28th and 29th, these dates being the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving-day. The sessions will be held at Columbia College, Madison Avenue and Forty-ninth Street.
IT appears to be the belief of some that as man in the savage state has, for the most part, been largely, if not wholly, carnivorous, he will, with the progress of civilization, become entirely vegetarian or use only the products of animals, as eggs and milk, with vegetable food.