« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
to them. Dr. Bridges shows a ready apprehension as to the sources of dissidence, and a large allowance for dissidence, which raise the hope that he will continue his labours as an expositor. In the present work he treats of the formation of the French monarchy; the internal condition of France under Mazarin and Colbert; the relations of France and Europe under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV.; and the progress of thought during the nineteenth century. Let especial attention be given to the note appended to the second lecture on French theories of taxation in the seventeenth century, which I regret is too long for extract here.
I had occasion the other day to speak of the defective condition of Education, as manifested not only in the undue predominance of Classics over Science, but also in the modes of teaching Science itself. On this latter point a good illustration is furnished by the “ Elementary Physics” of M. Ganot, translated by Mr. Atkinson, a second edition of which has just been published by Mr. Baillière. Here is a book designed for use in schools and colleges, and proved by its success to have been largely used. It is in many respects admirable, and may be considered a small encyclopaedia of facts, intelligibly stated, and illustrated with numerous diagrams. Nevertheless, so entirely defective is his conception of the scope and limits of the science he professes to teach, and so deficient is M. Ganot in any philosophical method of tuition, that we find here jumbled together bits of Physics, bits of Anatomy, bits of Physiology, and a heterogeneous assemblage of Instruments. Instead of clearly expounding the principles and the chief laws of each particular branch of Physics, the author crams the pupil with a variety of interesting facts and applications. Hence the book, though useful for the information it contains, is totally ineffective as an exposition of the science, which would equip the mind of the pupil with the means of attacking Chemistry and Biology. But the blame must not be imputed to M. Ganot; he has but followed the general plan.
Whether cheap literature will finally reach the stage boldly prefigured by Mr. R. H. Horne when he published his epic “Orion” for a farthing may be debatable, but that it is rapidly approaching such a reader's millennium, may be seen in the catalogue of works published in the Bibliothèque Nationale by Messrs. H. Gautier and Co., No. 5, Rue Coq-Héron, Paris. Every fortnight a volume is issued price 25 centimes (two pence half-penny), and the list of works already published includes many of the best in French literature: Voltaire, Montesquieu, D'Alembert, Fontenelle, Condorcet, Diderot, Chamfort, Molière, Pascal, La Bruyère, Gresset, Lamennais, Fénélon, Le Sage, Paul Louis, Rousseau, Mirabeau, Boileau ; and foreign works by Goethe, Sallust, Machiavelli, Juvenal, Schiller, Plutarch, Alfieri, Epictetus, Boëthius, and Sterne: good solid works, worth possessing, and cheap enough to tempt even a beggar.
When one turns from such a catalogue to the catalogue of English books, and compares the prices, the effect is startling. But English books are copyright? No doubt. That, however, is not the main cause of the high price. If English works were protected in America and on the Continent they might be published at prices fabulously low. However, the question of International Copyright is one I shall not enter upon at the close of this gossip; the more so since Mr. Anthony Trollope has recently argued it with unanswerable force.
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF MAN. By R. B. TODD,
WM. BOWMAN, and LIONEL S. BEALE. A new edition by the last-named
author. Part I. Longman & Co. AMONG the few authoritative works on Physiology which England has produced in the last quarter of a century, that by Messrs. Todd and Bowman holds a foremost place. Dr. Beale, who assisted in the completion of the second volume, has now undertaken to re-edit the whole, bringing it up to the level of the rapidly-advancing science of the day. Judging from this first part, and from Dr. Beale's previous writings, every critic will anticipate a solid and philosophical treatise, well-informed with facts, and illuminated with ideas. The style of exposition is simple and clear, because the subject has been thoroughly thought out in the author's mind. I find myself at variance with him on certain philosophical questions, also on certain anatomical questions, where, however, I have a suspicion that he will prove to be in the right; but whether he is destroying some of the scaffolding with which I try to build, or assails me in the fortress where I am safely housed, he is always welcome, and always instructive.
In setting forth the characteristic differences of organised and unorganised bodies, Dr. Beale distinguishes between living bodies and organisms. “Living beings have been sometimes said to be organised, in the sense of being composed of certain distinct parts or organs, each having its own definite structure and capable of fulfilling a certain end.” Such phraseology was inevitable, because our knowledge of living beings began with the complex organisms; and when researches carried us to the confines of the living world, we were obliged to class the simplest organisms with the most complex: thus the colourless, semi-fluid, transparent substance which may be taken as the ultimate living matter, the starting-point of every organism, is said to be organic although nothing like organs, or distinct parts, can be ascribed to it. When Dr. Beale says it has "no structure whatever," he uses the term structure in a restricted sense; he means that there are no tissues, nor even anatomical elements of definite forms. In a wider sense there is structure, of definite order, and properties dependent on that structure ; quite as much as there are properties dependent on the tissue-structures. The distinction seems trifling; but when the relation of Life to Organisation becomes subject of discussion, the distinction will be seen to have fundamental importance. If Life be, as Dr. Beale and the Vitalists maintain, independent of Structure, and due to a peculiar Principle or Plastic Force, then indeed there can be no necessary parallelism between complexity of Structure and complexity of Life, an ascending gradation of vital activities with an ascending complexity of organic differentiations and integrations.
"Organised bodies are found in two states or conditions. The one, that of life, is a state of action and of change. The other, that of death, is one in which all vital action has ceased, and to which the disintegration and chemical decomposition of the organised body succeed as a natural consequence. But it cannot be said that any living body exists which at any moment consists entirely of living matter. In every organism, at every moment, so long as its life lasts,
there is matter that lives and matter that has ceased to live." Science owes a debt to Dr. Beale for the patient ingenuity with which he has demarcated the living matter from the matter which has ceased to live; the germinal matter from the formed material in every tissue. And we may further admit his distinction of the germinal matter as the seat of the purely vital actions, and the formed material as the seat of the purely physical actions. Since all admit that the organism manifests physical, chemical, and vital phenomena, it is evident that the speciality of the vital phenomena must depend on the speciality of the living matter. Hence Dr. Beale rejects the notion of physical or chemical agents being vital stimuli. “Thus heat is supposed to be the vital stimulus which excites the changes resulting in the development of the chick; light is supposed to excite or stimulate certain changes going on in the vegetable organism.
But the heat and light are probably all perfectly passive. They have not been instrumental in exciting changes, but the conditions under which life was carried on before have been altered, and the alteration is really due to changes, not in the living matter, but in the formed lifeless matter by which it is surrounded. In consequence it permits pabulum to flow towards the living matter more readily than before. The living matter is not excited to live faster, but in consequence of more pabulum having access to it, more matter becomes living within the same period of time.” This is very suggestive; and the criticisms which follow on Virchow and Dr. Carpenter are legitimate deductions ; but I ask Dr. Beale whether, in thus restricting Life to the exclusively “vital" actions of the germinal matter—that is to say, to the processes of assimilation and development-the conception of Life, which alone has significance either to the biologist or the philosopher, is not fatally truncated? Do we not mean by Life the sum of the phenomena presented by a living organism ? Do we not mean its sensibilities and activities, its changes of form, and its powers of acting on others? If we mean this, it is evident that the physical and chemical properties of the structure of an organism are, in the Life of that organism, cooperant with the properties of the special substance named “living." All that Dr. Beale says respecting the speciality of this germinal matter is valuable and consistent; but if he is to be consistent throughout he must either give up the idea of Life being nothing more than the action of this germinal matter, or else he must give up his antagonism to the idea that Life is the generalised expression of the whole phenomena manifested by an organism in activity. In other words, he must either cling to the notion of a Vital Principle or Peculiar Force, which only concerns a small part of the phenomena commonly known as vital; or else he must pass over to the organic theory, and regard Life as dependent on organisation.
Dr. Beale criticises a definition of life proposed by me some fifteen years ago ; and I accept his corrections all the more readily because in the “ Physiology of Common Life” I have withdrawn that definition. But he is less fortunate in his criticism of Mr. Herbert Spencer; especially in saying, “ this writer admits the tendency to assume the specific form inherent in all parts of the organism which is peculiar to living things. He does not, however, attempt to explain the nature of this tendency, or why living matter alone exhibits it. What causes the tendency ?” Mr. Spencer is too positive a thinker to ask such a question. Nor does Dr. Beale really answer the question by saying that the tendency is due to “a very peculiar force or power.” L'opium endormit parce
qu'il a une vertu soporifique ! He acknowledges that “we are quite unable to say what sort of force vital power is, to isolate it, to examine it, or to give any satisfactory account of the exact manner in which it exerts its peculiar influence upon inanimate matter.” Why then encumber science with this hypothetic and unknowable force ? Because the facts “cannot be explained without it?” They cannot be explained with it. No biologist now supposes that physical and chemical actions can explain vital actions, simply because physics and chemistry are recognised in phenomena which are not the special phenomena of vitality; and since all laws depend upon conditions, the special conditions of the organism will, of course, determine a speciality in the operation of the laws. If by vital forces Dr. Beale understands simply the forces exhibited by matter under the special conditions of organic structure (the same matter when removed from these special conditions exhibiting the forces generally recognised as physical and chemical), there will be only a difference of terms between us.
I have dwelt so long on this single point, though not long enough for its importance, that there is little space left for the other points which demand notice. After a remarkable introduction, Dr. Beale gives very serviceable and precise indications of the mode of preparing tissues for microscopic investigation,-an indispensable preliminary to all histological study. He then devotes a chapter, full of pregnant material, to the tissues generally, and the life of the cell. Here his original views, which have been much discussed in England and Germany, are re-stated with convincing clearness. On many important points he is in antagonism with the reigning doctrines; but no one should pretend to have an opinion on these controverted points who has not thoroughly reinvestigated and controlled the observations here set forth. In the next chapter he treats of Composition, and expounds the chemical history of the cell, and the chemical changes taking place in the organism. The continuation of the work will be eagerly looked for.
THE LAKE DWELLINGS OF SWITZERLAND AND OTHER PARTS OF EUROPE.
By Dr. FERDINAND KELLER, President of the Antiquarian Association of Zürich. Translated and arranged by John Edward Lee. London:
Longmans and Co. 1866. The discoveries made within the last twelve years of remains of structures supported on wooden piles in the shallow water of lakes in Switzerland and elsewhere have excited so much interest that lake dwellings have already a considerable literature. Not long ago an ingenious gentleman accounted, by a very striking theory, for the occurrence of the ends of wooden piles in the lake mud. The beaver, naturalists tell us, is a very clever animal, especially given to constructing habitations in the water, for which purpose he gnaws down small trees, dresses them to serve as stakes, and sets them up in holes scraped in the river-bed. Therefore, as beavers were formerly common in Switzerland, no doubt the remains of pointed piles stuck in the bottom of the Swiss lakes once formed part of extensive beaver-villages. The rest of the world, however, thinking that the beaver had already had quite as much laid upon him by travellers as he could be reasonably expected to bear, left the beaver-theory in the exclusive possession of its author, and decided, by the aid indeed of a
singularly complete and minute body of evidence, that the lake remains in Switzerland and elsewhere represent the dwellings and possessions of tribes living in much the same manner as lake-people long have been, and still are, known to live in different parts of the world.
The Swiss lake-tribes are best known to English readers from the chapters devoted to them in Sir Charles Lyell's Antiquity of Man,” and Sir John Lubbock's “ Pre-Historic Times.” Mr. Lee, in the present work, translates and re-arranges Dr. Keller's various papers on the Lake Dwellings, together with others by Heer and Rütimeyer on the plants and animals belonging to them, and adds a number of notes of his own, thus giving to those who are prepared to go into the subject in its details the fullest and most elaborate monograph which has yet appeared.
With the help of the remains discovered on the sites of these early settlements, and the descriptions of similar habitations seen in actual existence elsewhere, it is possible to draw ideal restorations which must very fairly represent the ancient residence of a Swiss lake-tribe. In the drawing which stands as frontispiece to Keller and Lee's work, there is represented a rude wooden platform supported on piles in a lake, and connected with the shore by a wooden pier built in the same manner; the settlement is fenced with a kind of hurdle-work surrounding the outer row of piles; on the platform are a number of oblong houses with sloping roofs, through a hole in each of which smoke ascends, while inbabitants pole and paddle their canoes, and haul in their net, or stand and sit upon the shore dressed in pointed caps and rude cape-like garments. If, however, we compare this ideal drawing with that of M. Troyon's “Habitations Lacustres,” published in 1860, we notice several points of difference. The hurdle or wattle enclosure shown by Keller does not appear in Troyon. That walls of lake huts were made of upright poles wattled with rods or twigs, and thickly plastered with clay, is certain. But M. Troyon represents his huts as circular, judging from ancient descriptions of Keltic cottages, and from the curve of some pieces of clay covering which were evidently baked into brick by the burning down of the huts they belonged to, and then fell into the water below. Dr. Keller, on the other hand, refers the curves of the burnt clay coating to the heat warping it, declares the evidence as yet to show that the huts were rectangular, and draws them so accordingly. M. Troyon shows a lake man rowing himself in a small dug-out canoe, but Dr. Keller's men push their little craft along with punt-poles, or paddle sitting forward, as men in dug-outs would be much more likely to do. But these are matters of detail, and as to the general character of a Swiss lake-dwelling there is little question. The often-quoted account from Herodotus of the fishing tribe of Lake Prasias who dwelt, each man in his own hut, on platforms fixed on tall piles standing out in the lake, and approached from the land by a single narrow bridge, is quite a good description of the residence of such a people in ancient Switzerland. Why fishermen should have cared to live in such places is made clear by the fact that it still suits fishingtribes to live so in Asia, and Sir John Lubbock even mentions that he has “ been informed by a friend who lives at Salonica that the fishermen of Lake Prasias still inhabit wooden cottages built over the water as in the time of Ierodotus." But the Swiss lake-dwellers, it appears, were not mere rude fishers; they cultivated grain, kept cattle, and housed them in stalls on the lake platforms. Why should so civilised and prosperous a people have pre