Engineering, War, Military Technology, Steamships, Scientific Practitioners, Scientific Naturalism, Popularization, Controversy
Records the official opening of the Kiel CanalKiel Canal, Germany CloseView the register entry >> in Germany, 'a great engineering feat, which may exercise incalculable influence upon the history of the world'. The canal 'only cost eight millions to build' but will 'be equivalent to the doubling of the fighting force of the German navy, and may at the same time so facilitate the dispatch of a German expedition from the Baltic to the North Sea and the Channel, as to affect decisively the fortunes of some future war'. The opening was commemorated by a 'gathering of the warships of the world in Kiel Harbour', each ship being 'armed to the teeth with the latest appliances of science for the purpose of destruction'. (3) Also reports the death, after a 'long and lingering illness', of Thomas H HuxleyHuxley, Thomas Henry
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, 'the man who of all others was best known to the public as an exponent of modern science'. Over the last few decades 'the names of Huxley and TyndallTyndall, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >> always were the first to rise to the mind [...] when men talked of science'. Indeed, 'Others may have made greater discoveries, and there may be many who would be considered much more important by the scientific experts; but to the man in the street Huxley and Tyndall were the great Twin Brethren of modern science, and what they said was regarded very much as the law and the testimony on the matter in discussion'. Huxley was 'a rare "slogger", and whenever he took off his coat [...] the public always gathered around the ring, knowing they would have some rare sport', and his 'death leaves a gap among our modern men which no one at present seems qualified to fill'. (13)
Botany, Philosophy, Heredity, Darwinism, Human Species, Archaeology, Exploration, Physical Geography, Theosophy, Science Fiction, Time, Futurism, Degeneration, Entropy
Suggests that although the new novel by Herbert G WellsWells, Herbert George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has already appeared serially, 'it more than bears re-reading—it welcomes it'. Indeed, the book is full of 'qualities so novel and ingenious that [it] is sure to make a sensation', and the whole 'unusually exciting' tale is 'admirably done, in a manner worthy of PoePoe, Edgar Allan
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, and marks Mr. Wells as a writer who will have to be reckoned with' (91).
Comments that the 'only prediction' of the crushing majority achieved by the Conservatives at the recent general election was 'one obtained by no process of calculation, but by a communication which came by the much decried way of Borderland prophecy [...]. My hand was writing automatically very shortly after the close of the General Election of 1892. I naturally asked whether anything was known as to what would happen. I say nothing as to the alleged agency which gave the answer, beyond remarking that it did not profess to be either a Mahatma or my own sub-consciousness. The answer was clear and definite. My hand wrote that the Home Rule Bill, which had not then been framed, would be rejected, [and] that Mr. GladstoneGladstone, William Ewart
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> would go [...]. I claim no authority for this prediction; I simply mention it as a communication which, although written automatically in 1892, was more in accord with the facts as they turned out than any forecast of our astutest politicians' (101–04). Also records that the 'geographers of the world are [...] sitting in Conference in London during the daytime, and amusing themselves at night in attending conversaziones, receptions, and all other junketings which a great capital can offer and geographers accept'. The sixth International Geographical CongressInternational Geographical Congress
CloseView the register entry >>, organized by Hugh R MillMill, Hugh Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and John S KeltieKeltie, Sir John Scott
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> for the Royal Geographical SocietyRoyal Geographical Society
CloseView the register entry >>, is being held at the Imperial InstituteImperial Institute
CloseView the register entry >> in South Kensington, 'a building whose obvious utility would be enhanced if it were run more as if it were an Imperial Institute and less as a commercial speculation'. (111)
Reports that the 'rage for cycling continues to spread and increase' especially among women, and remarks that 'Among all the agencies which have been influential in humanising women,—that is to say, giving them a share of the common life with its common humanities, with its weariness, thirst, hunger and adventures and general commingling with the common life of our common world, the cycle stands easily first' (201).
Claims that 'there is already a school of thinkers, of which M. DourckeimDurkheim, Émile
CBD CloseView the register entry >> [i.e. Durkheim] is the exponent, who have proclaimed the necessity and usefulness of crime. The Darwinian theory declares that no institution or organ could possibly survive unless it possessed a special utility'.
Energy, Electricity, Hydrography, Dynamics, Controversy, Expertise, Psychical Research
Notes that 'Lord KelvinThomson, Sir William (Baron Kelvin of
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, although the oldest and most scientific friend [of Forbes], threw the whole weight of his authority, not once or twice, but repeatedly, when he was not asked, against the adoption of the alternating in place of the continuous current. Lord Kelvin [...] it may be remembered was equally sceptical concerning psychic phenomena'.
Review of Reviews, 12 (1895), 231.
The Perils of Cycling. By Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson
Calls for 'a great crusade against the crass apathy which is shown by men and women to the rights of the unborn generation', and recounts how a mother who 'became engrossed in Herbert Spencer'sSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> writings' during pregnancy produced a 'child [who] reflects the mother's mental condition in a most striking manner' and is 'one of the finest reasoners I have known among children'.
Warns that illegitimate babies cannot be considered for exchange because 'the establishment of an agency by means of which the children of illicit unions can be provided for would tend to weaken one of the deterrents which at present serve to keep down the percentage of illegitimacy'. Also suggests that 'instead of lavishing their affection upon pups and cats [...] childless women should take' surplus babies 'and rear them as their own'.
Prints an 'anticipatory account of a work' that 'at present only exists in MS.', but 'which, when it does appear, will undoubtedly create a profound sensation'. There is, indeed, 'a certain pleasurable feeling in publishing so ingenious and audacious a speculation' as that of the American archaeologists Augustus Le PlongeonLe Plongeon, Augustus
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> and Alice D Le PlongeonLe Plongeon, Alice Dixon
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>, who claim to have discovered incontrovertible evidence in the Yucatan region of Mexico that 'America is the real cradle of the race, and that Europe, Asia, and Africa must humbly fall in behind their elder sister'. According to the Le Plongeons, 'Egypt [...] was colonised from Yucatan [...] the ancient Egyptian mysteries were transplanted bodily from Yucatan; and the Greek alphabet is simply a Yucatanese version of the destruction of the lost Atlantis'. Admits, however, that 'speaking seriously, the sooner M. Le Plongeon gets the results of his astonishing researches published, with all the illustrations, diagrams, and confirmatory matter, the better. At present the reader will half suspect that he is being made the victim of a stupendous practical joke'. (271)
Reports that the 'British AssociationBritish Association for the Advancement of Science
CloseView the register entry >> met this year at Ipswich. Sir Douglas GaltonGalton, Sir Douglas Strutt
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the President, delivered the inaugural address, which called for little remark', and the 'meeting, on the whole, was somewhat commonplace', although 'it was relieved by one or two papers of somewhat sensational interest' (297). These were an account of 'the cannibals of West Africa from a somewhat sympathetic point of view', which seemed to suggest that 'the cosmic forces which lead to the survival of the fittest would tell in favour of the cannibals of [a] tribe', and William M F Petrie'sPetrie, Sir (William Matthew) Flinders
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> protest against 'the excessive zeal shown by some civilized people in thrusting their opinions down the throats of every race with whom they come in contact', which 'led to quite a demonstration against clothes' (297–98).
Details how Chief KhamaKhama, Chief of the Bamangwato
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> of the Bamangwato people in Southern Africa, was 'the son of a chieftain in whose veins ran the blood of unbroken series of generations of savages', but has now become 'an African illustration that while heredity is strong, it is not invincible' (303). Shaking off the shackles of 'the hereditary paganism' that he inherited from his forefathers, Khama rejected the superstition of savage beliefs and managed to turn himself into 'a gentleman and a Christian', and even his fellow African Chiefs now recognise that 'Khama's heart [is] white—a quality which he certainly did not inherit from sire or grandsire' (303–04).
Reports the '"Trilby" boom' currently sweeping across America (367), and remarks that 'If Mr. Du Maurier'sDu Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> purpose had been to create a shudder, he might, without going beyond the authentic records of hypnotic experiment, have obtained much more gruesome examples of the new witchcraft than the comparatively innocent practices of Svengali' (374).
Notes that the new book by Herbert G WellsWells, Herbert George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'has little of the peculiar power of its predecessor' (375), and warns that 'Mr. Wells must take more time over his next book. I can't help feeling he hasn't made the best of an original idea' (376).
Gender, Medical Practitioners, Machinery, Technology, Transport, Nomenclature
Records how 'In Austria, for the first time, a woman has received a Government medical appointment'. However, 'Court Councillor AlbertAlbert, Eduard
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, a distinguished surgeon of the University, has just issued a pamphlet entitled "Women and the Study of Medicine"Albert, Eduard
1895. Die Frauen und das Studium der Medicin, Vienna: A.
CloseView the register entry >>', in which he 'roundly declares that women are not fit for the medical profession', although 'For one who is so supremely confident in the innate superiority of his own sex, this animal of culture seems to be somewhat lacking in chivalry'. Also reports that the 'Motorcycle, as the horseless carriage is to be named in the future, has come to stay. At Tunbridge Wells an exhibition of these vehicles was given last month, and this month a great Motorcycle race at Chicago will bring the new vehicle still more prominently before the world. The horse has survived steam; will he be able to defy petroleum?'. (395)
Review of Reviews, 12 (1895), 399–407.
Character Sketch. Mr. Herbert Spencer. By One Who Knows Him
Insists that although Herbert SpencerSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> is not particularly familiar to 'the "man in the street" of our latter-day civilization', and it is 'in foreign nations, above all, that he is known and respected', his contribution to modern British thought has been enormous, and, indeed, 'unconsciously to ourselves, we are all Spencerians'. It is, after all, to Spencer that 'we owe distinctively the general doctrine of evolution as a whole: to DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> we owe only the minor principle of the origin of species by natural selection'. (399) Spencer even gave this particular principle 'the alternative name of "Survival of the Fittest", by which it is now perhaps even more familiar than by the one it received from its original sponsor', although Spencer himself has 'never accepted the all-sufficiency of natural selection' proclaimed by 'the younger and more dogmatic followers of Darwin' (403). Contends that 'evolutionism was not the work of a single mind, or even of a group of minds; it was a necessary moment and foregone conclusion in the slow unrolling of human thought with regard to the origin and system of the universe. It was itself evolved by slow degrees in a hundred minds; and each step in the process was almost necessarily implied by the various steps that had already preceded it' (401). Unlike all other evolutionary thinkers, however, Spencer provided 'a broad philosophical and organising mind capable of taking up these scattered strands, and weaving them into the tissue of a coherent system' (402). Recommends F Howard Collins'Collins, Frederick Howard
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>Epitome of the Synthetic PhilosophyCollins, Frederick
Howard 1889. An Epitome of the Synthetic Philosophy, with a
Herbert Spencer, London: Williams
CloseView the register entry >> as 'a refresher or index', but insists that 'you must read the "Synthetic Philosophy" through, not once or twice, but "tearfully and prayerfully" many times over' in order to 'assimilate its inner meaning'. Also warns that 'If there is anything that you believe, and you don't want to be disturbed in your belief, my advice to you is—avoid Herbert Spencer. You will find your whole social, moral, religious, and political world turned topsy-turvy before your very eyes, and you will be compelled to think, whether you like it or lump it' (407). Nevertheless, Spencer is 'by no means a materialist. Though his attitude may best, perhaps, be described as one of ultimate Monism, he is, on the whole, rather more spiritual and ideal than material' (406).
Astronomy, History of Science, Darwinism, Heredity, Utility, Morality, Pathology, Mapping, Physical Geography
Comments that the new gazetteer of the world edited by George G ChisholmChisholm, George Goudie
WBI CloseView the register entry >> is 'certainly the most exhaustive and reliable work of its kind that has appeared [...]. It is a huge book and an expensive one, but it is well worth the money it costs' (466).
Claims that the case of the kea, or New Zealand parrot, shows that 'feathered bipeds can become as depraved under evil environment as if they were bipeds of the non-feathered variety'. In the new environmental conditions created by the rapidly growing human population of New Zealand, the 'unfortunate kea' has had to 'become carnivorous under necessity' and 'kidney-fat was the apple that ruined the vegetarian of the New Zealand Eden'. The bird, moreover, has now become 'not only a carnivore, but is a very epicure among the carnivores', and has taken to attacking and eating sheep. Indeed, the 'rapacity' of the kea is 'gruesome', and in 'a single twelve months in a corner of one run these birds have destroyed over one thousand sheep. They have been known to kill as many as two hundred healthy sheep in a single night'. Suggests that 'those sportsmen who seek the wide world over for opportunities of congenial slaughter' should 'concentrate their efforts on the New Zealand parrot'.
Recommends numerous books as Christmas presents for children, suggesting that 'a lad with a taste for natural history would revel in the new and handsomely illustrated edition of Dr. F. A. Pouchet'sPouchet, Félix-Archimède
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' classic account of the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, geology, and the sidereal universe (558).