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THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 1906.
THE ROTHAMSTED EXPERIMENTS. The Book of the Rothamsted Experiments. By A. D. Hall. Pp. xl+294. (London: John Murray, 1905.) Price 10s. 6d. net.
LTHOUGH the Rothamsted experiments have formed the subject of over 200 papers and reports, no book describing them has hitherto been published in this country. The present volume, by Dr. Gilbert's successor, is therefore a welcome addition to agricultural literature. We do not forget that two works entitled "The Rothamsted Experiments" were published respectively in 1888 and in 1897, but the former was an account of a few experiments only, and the latter discussed the practical results rather than the experiments themselves.
Mr. Hall's book has been written chiefly for the general reader who may be interested in agricultural experiments, but it is also intended for the student and the teacher. It opens with biographical notices of the two remarkable men who have made the name of Rothamsted familiar. Then follow three introductory chapters-the first mainly historical, the second dealing with meteorological observations, and the third describing the soils of the experimental fields. At the end of the book there are three appendices, the most important being a list of Rothamsted publications. These sections of the work, with the index, occupy some 90 out of a total of 334 pages. The remainder of the book consists of ten chapters, each dealing with one experiment, or with groups of similar experiments. The text is illustrated by fourteen full-page plates, and by a large number of diagrams, while figures obtained in the experiments occupy ninety-two tables.
Those who conduct field experiments will read with some surprise the account given of the soil of Rothamsted. The estate was recently surveyed by Mr. H. B. Woodward, of the Geological Survey, and he described the experimental fields as resting on a very mixed deposit of clay-with-flints overlying chalk. | The chalk is extensively piped, and appears occasionally in irregular pinnacles near the surface. The soil is a grey, flinty, or pebbly loam, ten inches or more in thickness, and varying in character according to the number of stones in it. From this description the soil would appear to be anything but an ideal one for agricultural experiments, but we know that on the whole it has been satisfactory. It would seem, therefore, that where the soil is of moderate depth, variations in the subsoil may not interfere seriously with field plots.
Lawes and Gilbert had wide interests, and at one time or another they touched upon almost every important subject dealt with by the agriculturist. Their main work was on what may be described as the balance-sheet of the soil, and most of the crop and feeding experiments were planned to throw light upon the soil's losses and gains; but they found time for investigations on many other subjects, such as
the source of fat in the animal body, the economic feeding of live-stock, ensilage and sewage farming.
The experiments upon field crops at Rothamsted were chiefly of one type. The land was divided up into plots, usually of from one-eighth to one-half of an acre in size; the plots received different manures such as farmyard manure, superphosphate, nitrate of soda, and the sulphates of ammonia, potash, soda, and magnesia. The artificial manures were employed in various combinations. With few exceptions, plots received the same manures year after year, and the field was occupied by the same crop either permanently, as in the case of the wheat and barley experiments, or so long as the crop could be got to grow, as in the case of clover and potatoes. The primary object of these experiments was to ascertain how crops grow, and more especially to discover what capacity the important farm crops have of obtaining nourishment from unmanured soil, and what class of manure is most necessary for the healthy development of each. As the work progressed, other points were brought to light thus, for example, in connection with the wheat experiments it was shown (1) that the fertility of ordinary soils was of two types-one quickly exhausted (condition), the other of a very enduring character (inherent fertility); (2) that high farming is not a remedy for low prices in the case of wheat; (3) that superphosphate and the sulphates of potash and ammonia do not occur in appreciable quantities in the drainage waters from corn-fields, but that nitrates readily pass through the soil and are lost. In the experiments on meadow herbage, as with wheat, it was soon shown what classes of manure were required, but after a time it became apparent that different species in the meadow were differently affected by the treatment the plots received, and for many years the interest has centred in the varying fortunes of the combatants in this "battle of the meadow." There is an excellent account of these changes, and the diagrams in this section of the book are particularly striking-not so striking, however, as the plots themselves now are. There are no field experiments so full of interest to the naturalist as the plots in the park at Rothamsted.
Mr. Hall gives a very good summary of the Rothamsted work, and his book forms a complete guide to the experiments. It contains just the information which the visitor wants, and it is also well adapted for the agricultural student. But in the interests of the visitor and the student we hope that a new edition of smaller size may be published before long. A royal octavo page, English type, and thick paper make the book in its present form an admirable library edition, but the student wants something more compact and less expensive.
We venture to make a further suggestion. It is that in subsequent editions the "Practical Conclusions" which are appended to most of the chapters should be omitted. They do not harmonise with the rest of the work-in a good many cases, indeed, they seem to be based on general agricultural principles rather than on results obtained in the Rothamsted
experiments and in their present form they are more likely to cause readers to underestimate than to appreciate the great value of the work of Lawes and Gilbert. Take, for example, the "Practical Conclusions" which follow Chapter IV.— "Experiments upon Wheat." The chapter extends to thirty-eight pages, and deals with some of the most important work done at Rothamsted. The conclusions are three in number, and in effect are as follow (1) Wheat is in less need of direct manuring than most other crops of the farm, and "can usually be grown with the residues in the soil, especially if it follows a clover crop." (2) Manures for wheat should be mainly nitrogenous, and nitrate of soda is generally better than sulphate of ammonia. (3) "When wheat is grown two or three times in succession, about 1 cwt. per acre of some slow-acting nitrogenous manure and 2 cwt. of superphosphate should be ploughed before seeding, and a top-dressing of 1 to 2 cwt. per acre of nitrate of soda should be applied in February. Only on the lightest sandy and gravelly soils will any return be obtained for the use of kainit and other potash salts with wheat."
These conclusions do not represent the " practical teaching of Lawes and Gilbert, and although it is admitted that they are conclusions which may be fairly drawn from the Rothamsted experiments on wheat, we think the book would be improved by their absence.
Rothamsted has exercised a great influence on practical agriculture, but in perusing Mr. Hall's book we have been impressed by the fact that the experiments, important as they are, do not in themselves account for the estimation in which Rothamsted has been held by agriculturists. If, however, the reader turns to the list of papers in appendix i. he will there find the explanation of much of Lawes and Gilbert's influence. They began their experiments as students of nature, and with the one object of adding to the existing knowledge of agriculturists. As their work progressed they not only came to possess an unrivalled acquaintance with the general facts of agricultural science, but they gained a very close knowledge of the business of the practical farmer. They were thus able to find in their experiments much that explained the farmer's difficulties, and, as they were always careful to place their results before farmers, their papers in the agricultural journals soon attracted the notice of practical men. As long ago as 1856 a writer on Rothamsted says: These lessons the English farmers have learnt from Mr. Lawes. They have accepted them with becoming gratitude. They are practising them with increasing confidence day by day to their great and proved advantage."
It was not the habit of Lawes and Gilbert to confine themselves to Rothamsted data; they drew freely on other sources of information in compiling their papers; and they wrote upon subjects rather than upon experiments; to quote Mr. Hall, "The papers on specific investigations often tend to be less accounts of the experiment as a whole than discussion of such of its results as bear upon the dominant idea with which
Lawes and Gilbert were then engrossed." This habit, possibly undesirable in a scientific report, was most valuable to the readers of their general papers. To the agriculturist, Lawes and Gilbert were known as teachers rather than as experimenters, and while the accuracy and extent of their experiments brought them scientific fame, it was as interpreters of science, as men who thoroughly appreciated both the scientific and the practical aspects of their subject, that they became leaders in the agricultural world, and for close on two generations continued to be the trusted advisers of the British farmer. T. H. MIDDLETON.
EVOLUTION AND PHILOSOPHY. Evolution the Master-key. By Dr. C. W. Saleeby. Pp. viii+364. (London: Harper and Brothers, 1906.) Price 7s. 6d.
R. SALEEBY has written a very interesting book.
The grand range and sweep of his reasoning is remarkable. He deals, and generally very ably though very briefly, with most of the profoundest problems of science and philosophy. As the title of his book proclaims, his object is to apply the doctrine of evolution to all problems and to show that, though some entirely baffle human thought and reasoning, yet to most there is a key, and one key only. They must be studied from the evolutionary standpoint. Each train of thought is pursued till its logical conclusion is reached. There is no stopping half-way. When great principles are expounded, Dr. Saleeby does not leave them in barren solitude, but boldly faces the inferences that inevitably follow. He is, in fact, very thoroughgoing. Dr. Saleeby's science and philosophy are always alive and human, for he always traces new thoughts and new discoveries to their originators. In his admirations he is very hearty and genuine. His heroes are the men who have advanced human knowledge and helped to emancipate the human intellect. Occasionally he rises to eloquence.
After part i., which is preliminary and general, our author proceeds to inorganic evolution. The evolution of sun and planets from a nebula, the gradual dissipation of the sun's heat, and the possible return to the nebula state through collision with another celestial body-all this is excellently described. After this, radium and the architecture of the atom come up for investigation. Part iii. deals with organic evolution, beginning with a discussion of the origin of life, and not omitting the practical question of eugenics. The subject of part iv. is superorganic evolution-the evolution of mind, the human will, the origin of ideas, the evolu tion of religion, evolution and marriage, evolution and education, and so forth. In part v. we have evolution and optimisin. In part vi. Dr. Saleeby tackles the difficult subject of dissolution. Though energy never disappears, yet it is dissipated, and so becomes unavailable. Is the death of the whole universe in prospect? Are there alternate periods of evolution and dissolution? Part vii. is occupied with evolution and the religion of the future.
In a book covering so wide a field it is inevitable
that there should be a good deal to criticise. Part i., which deals with preliminary questions, is too long. The chapter on the philosophic temper is quite unnecessary. Dr. Saleeby's overpowering admiration for Herbert Spencer occasionally leads him astray. Herbert Spencer attributed organic evolution mainly to the inheritance of acquired characters, tracing even the stag's antlers to this principle. Though a large majority of biologists think otherwise, our author maintains that time has vindicated Spencer. The evidence he himself produces is worth little or nothing. Pathogenic bacteria, he says, quoting Haeckel, when they are passed through the body of a highly susceptible animal become possessed of a much greater degree of virulence than formerly." "The progeny of such bacteria, often after tens and hundreds of generations, are possessed of a character which was acquired by their ancestors during their passage through the body of the susceptible animal." Grant that this is so, still the unicellular organisms are in quite a different category from the higher animals. Dr. Saleeby's optimism sometimes affects his judgNatural selection, he maintains, is still making for the improvement of the human breed. Is this really so among civilised races? And, if so, what need of Mr. Galton's eugenics, which he highly commends? Again, Dr. Saleeby denies the freedom of the will. Like nearly all modern psychologists, he is a determinist. Like a true optimist, he finds a satisfaction in the fact that we cannot act without motive-in other words, that we are automata. He tells us that we have will, but this turns out only to mean that the brain can inhibit the working of the lower nerve-ganglia. If a slave is allowed to keep a slave, he does not thereby cease to be a slave himself. After all, what we want is a working belief in free will, and this is the inalienable property of every healthy man. When it comes to action a healthy determinist throws aside his theories and his philosophic temper, and has as strong a sense of freedom as any barbarian. In conclusion, we must congratulate Dr. Saleeby on having produced so readable and so able a book. F. W. H.
THE UNIVERSITY IDEA. The Launching of a University, and Other Papers. A Sheaf of Remembrances. By Dr. J. D. C. Gilman. Pp. 386. (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1906.) Price 2.50 dollars net.
HE launching of the Johns Hopkins University could not be more fitly or more intimately described than by one who has "the advantage of knowing more than anyone else of an unwritten chapter of history." Such a record could hardly fail to throw interesting sidelights on the growth of the idea of the University in its modern conception. It is interesting to notice that the launchers of the Johns Hopkins University were largely influenced, not only by the evidence of University Commissions in Great Britain, but also by the writings of Newman and Matthew Arnold, of Pattison and Appleton. The actual founder was as liberal in his ideas as he was in his gifts, and the administrators of his gift made
the fullest use of their discretion. President Gilman himself had a roving commission to pick the brains of the older Universities in England, France, and Germany. The main problem was to disengage the University from the college idea, and to give to the University point of view all the distinctness of which it was capable. The selection of the original faculty was sufficient to secure this result. It included such men as Sylvester, Martin, Rowland, Morris (from Oriel College), Gildersleeve, and Remsen, who succeeded Dr. Gilman as president in 1902. We are given interesting glimpses of these and other noteworthy teachers, as also of other famous English and American savants who were at different times and in different degrees associated with the Johns Hopkins University-such as Freeman and Huxley, Cayley and Kelvin--and of such celebrities as Dean Stanley, Lowell, Child, and Lanier, the poet. The interest of these chapters is, in fact, largely personal and local, interspersed with general reflections on the advancement of science, the conflict of studies, and the idea of research. Brief notices are also given of what are perhaps the two most distinguished features of the Johns Hopkins University-its publications and its medical school.
The "addresses on various occasions, historical and educational," are of somewhat unequal interest. For the most part they are too occasional, as well as too topical in character, to be of very general interest. Some of them are fitly characterised as "a sheaf of remembrances "; some touch, without going very deeply into, University problems; while others, again, are of the nature of social and ethical homilies. Here, as elsewhere, the author dwells on the progress which has been made towards the recognition of "the true significance of University work, as distinguished from collegiate discipline," and at the same time indicates that the development of graduate study has not been without its influence upon the organisation of collegiate work. "Two gains are doubtless permanent "-elective courses or an option between groups" of undergraduate studies, and the rapidly increasing" recognition of the value of "liberal education "-not only as the preliminary antecedent to higher and special studies, but also as a preparation for business and politics. We are not sure, however, how far Dr. Gilman's estimate of the value of the " elective" system is representative of opinion among home or foreign observers. In another place he describes the system as “a triumph of the last thirty years." With regard to liberal culture, Dr. Gilman observes that "a liberal education is not now complete unless it includes a knowledge of French and German." Both these points deserve the consideration of University reformers in other places.
Perhaps the most striking note of Dr. Gilman's addresses on University subjects is his strenuous plea for "research." To the term itself he takes not unreasonable exception; for the thing he has nothing but enthusiasm; and in this connection what he has to say about the magnificent promise of the Carnegie Institution, with which he has been prominently associated, will be read with interest. Among the G.
velopments of University activity in America which Dr. Gilman selects for commendation are the growth of scientific laboratories (including observatories and surveys), the expansion of libraries, the adjustment of the claims of science and letters, the "clarification" of the idea of the University, the admission of women to the advantages of higher education, and the advancement of professional schools, especially schools of medicine and law. Dr. Gilman also notes with satisfaction the mutual growth of "sweet reasonableness" among the leaders of religious and of scientific thought. The remaining addresses on such miscellaneous subjects as "Hand-craft and Redecraft," "Greek Art in a Manufacturing Town," "Civil Service Reform and Education in Philanthropy," do not seem to call for special notice. They are all, however, animated by the same lofty enthusiasm and the same large outlook that characterise the author's "idea of the University," and of the future which it has before it in the general life of the nation.
A RAMBLE IN THE WEST. Highways and Byways in Oxford and the Cotswolds. By Herbert A. Evans. Illustrated by Frederick L. Griggs. Pp. viii+407. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1905.) Price 6s.
XFORD and its colleges are always before the world. Early Oxford, Mediæval Oxford, Stuart Oxford, Modern Oxford, it has been described over and over again in all its phases and all its moods. It has furnished the artist with unfailing inspiration, it has been the excuse for endless reminiscences, we have seen it approach "the cross-roads," and recently it has been held to account in the columns of The Westminster Gazette.
The author of this volume may well be pardoned if he does not write of the city at length. The few pages which he spares to it are given up for the most part to the archæology of the less visited portion to the west of the north and south artery, the quarter which centred round the castle still in existence, and the magnificent foundations of Osney and Rewley long since levelled with the dust. He does not attempt anything in the nature of a general survey. If Oxford has a place in his book it is mainly because, situated as it is, at a point where the hills from east and west most nearly meet, it is, as it were, the gate into the country whither he would lead us, the country that is bounded by the fringe of the Cotswold on the west and the Cherwell on the east, in other words the northern half of the basin of the Upper Thames. does not claim to have described this exhaustively— he has merely tried to point out what struck him as attractive in its history and scenery, in the hope of making it seem attractive to others. That he has succeeded in so doing is certain. Whether he takes us in thought to the Cotswolds proper, to Painswick or Winchcombe or Stow on the Wold, whether he writes of the escarpment of Edgehill, or the Vale of Evesham, of the Forest of Wychwood, or of regions still nearer the city, he inspires us with the same feeling
of interest, the same desire to set out and see for ourselves.
If we have any complaint to make it is that the author has not told us more about the natural features of the district. To the fauna and flora we find only scattered allusions, e.g., to the Arion and the Acis on the hills near Barton, or the Salvia Pratensis in the Forest of Wychwood. Of the geology and hydrography he writes as little as possible. Like most other nations, the British are surprisingly ill acquainted with the land in which they live, but it does not follow that they are past educating.
For our own part we should have liked more than a mention of the botany of Tadmarton Heath, we should have been glad to have a general idea of the course of the Upper Thames, or the formation and lie of the Cotswolds, the more westerly portion of the great oolite sheet, which starts from the borders of Dorset and runs north-east across England to find its termination in the Yorkshire moors. On the other hand the author is generous with historical and antiquarian details. His pages are full of memories of the Civil War, of which this region was one of the chief theatres; the battles, Edgehill, Cropredy, &c., are brought clearly before our minds. He is a good raconteur, and his notes on the old families and local worthies are very good reading. The great houses (Broughton, Sudeley, Compton Wynyatts, &c.) receive full justice at his hands, while his descriptions of the churches, not only of the great wool-churches of Cirencester, Chipping Campden, &c., but of the humbler village types, are instructive, and all things considered wonderfully free from monotony.
We have no hesitation in recommending the book. It is not only attractive, but taking it as a whole it is accurate and valuable; between its covers is store both of pleasure and of profit. Like others of this series it has been illustrated by Mr. Frederick L. Griggs.
OUR BOOK SHELF.
A Manual of Geometry. By W. D. Eggar. Pp. xxiii+325. (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1906.) Price 3s. 6d.
A NEW text-book of elementary geometry by the author of the well-known "Practical Exercises in Geometry" will be eagerly welcomed. The “Manual of Geometry" is based on the earlier treatise, but the subject has been extended by the introduction of theorems side by side with the practical work. In deciding on the ground to be covered the author has been largely guided by the revised syllabuses of various examining bodies, and the manual will be found specially suited to students preparing for the Oxford and Cambridge Locals, London Matriculation, Littlego, Army and Navy Qualifying, and similar examinations.
After a short preliminary course of practical and experimental work, practice and theory proceed together. The experimental method is always prominent, being continually used in leading up induc tively to the theorems. As each theorem is reached a strict deductive proof is informally and partially outlined, and the student keeps a note-book in which the theorems are entered, accompanied by a complete formal proof written out in his own words. Sets of