THE creation of crimes by means of statutes providing for their punishment has generally proved itself bad policy. In the days of Henry VIII it was the maxim that “a tinker was a rogue by statute”; and in Queen Elizabeth's time actors and “stage-players” were put into the same category as tinkers.
WE find among animals not only hunting and fishing but the art of storing in barns, of domesticating various species, of harvesting and reaping—the rudiments of the chief human industries. Certain animals in order to shelter themselves take advantage of natural caverns in the same way as many races of primitive men.
THE question “Why are we right or left handed ?” has exercised the speculative ingenuity of many men. It has come to the front anew in recent years in view of the advances made in the general physiology of the nervous system; and certainly we are now in a better position to set the problem intelligently and to hope for its solution.
WITHIN a comparatively short time our knowledge of man's existence upon the earth has been greatly increased. By the aid of monuments, language, man's handicraft in stone, brass, bronze, and iron in constructing implements of warfare and husbandry, the anthropologist has been able to classify prehistoric man into ages—namely, the chipped stone or palaeolithic, the polished stone or neolithic, the brass, the bronze, and the iron ages.
PERSONAL, like national, history has its epochs; brief seasons, during which life is fuller than usual, and the present is more obviously pregnant with the future than at other times. For me, the year 1851 constitutes such an epoch. In November, 1850, I had returned to England after an absence, which not only extended over a considerable period of time, but covered the critical age of transition from adolescence to full manhood.
IT is a startling anachronism to an American reader of 1894 to stumble upon a large vellum-bound law-book of the last century, prescribing in minute detail all the rules and conditions that must attend the proper infliction of intense physical pain on persons merely accused of any offense, and containing an appendix full of engravings, given by royal authority as working drawings to govern every operation of legal torture.
FROM ancient Maya books and inscriptions we learn that the Mayas at one time formed a great nation, occupying the territory between Tehuantepec and Darien. To-day those Indians, as they are called, live in the peninsula of Yucatan, famous for its ruins; in Guatemala, in Peten, in the Lancandon country, on the banks of the Uzumacinta River, and in the valleys between those mountains where the mysterious “land of war” is supposed to be.
IN the case of civilized man natural selection is subject to numerous and extensive limitations. The struggle for existence still goes on vehemently enough; but it is changed in character, and instead of animal rapine we have industrial competition.
THAT “science follows art with limping strides,” as so well expressed by an able physician, is perhaps nowhere oftener seen than in the various branches of the practice of medicine. Experience has taught us from time immemorial the value of massage as a nerve and muscle tonic, and, like all good things, the possibility of its overuse.
IT is little more than fifty years ago that one of the most potent agents in modifying the surface features of our country was first recognized. Before 1840, when Agassiz accompanied Buckland to Scotland, the Lake District, and Wales, discovering everywhere the same indications of the former presence of glaciers as are to be found so abundantly in Switzerland, no geologist had conceived the possibility of a recent glacial epoch in the temperate portion of the northern hemisphere.
WHEN recently the statue of Theophrast Renaudot, the founder of French political journalism, was unveiled, the literary and scientific journals were alike full of praises of him and his work; but none of them recollected another pioneer in his field, the modest and profoundly erudite Denis de Sallo, the founder of the Journal des Sçavants, who did for letters and science what Renaudot so successfully accomplished for politics.
A GREAT deal has been added to our knowledge of nervous disease by the labors of Charcot; and extensive fields of investigation hitherto untried have been opened by him. JEAN MARTIN CHARCOT was born in Paris, France, November 29, 1825, and died near Château Chinon, le Morvan, France, whither he had gone on a pleasure trip with a few friends, in August, 1893.
WHEN a private employer of labor wants work well done he tries to employ, in the first place, persons who are presumably, and to the best of his judgment, competent to do it well, and then he gives them an opportunity to show what their qualifications really are.
THE RECRUDESCENCE OF LEPROSY, AND ITS CAUSATION. A POPULAR TREATISE. By WILLIAM TEBB. London: Swan, Sonnenschein & Co., 1893. Pp. 20-21 to 412. IN the first chapter of this polemic against vaccination the author states that leprosy has greatly increased and is still increasing, and he cites as evidence reports from various countries that the disease is more or less prevalent.
Geological Society of America.—The sixth annual meeting of the Geological Society of America was held December 27—29, 1893, in Boston and Cambridge, Mass. The sessions of the opening and closing days were in the hall of the Boston Society of Natural History, and those of the second day were in the Harvard University Museum, Cambridge.
THREE lectures for young people were delivered in January in behalf of the Royal Geographical Society, by Douglas Freshfield, President of the Alpine Club, on Mountains. The special subjects were a brief general description of the structure and features of a mountain region; the steps by which the High Alps have gradually been discovered, conquered, and converted to human uses; and the lecturer’s special field of exploration, the Caucasus.