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ment paper money is by all means to be eschewed, as long as the wind can be raised in any other way. Mr. Vethake's notions upon this subject shake our confidence in his conclusions generally.
5.-1. Report on a Reëxamination of the Economical_Geology of Massachusetts. By EDWARD HITCHCOCK, Professor of Chemistry and Natural History in Amherst College. Boston Dutton & Wentworth. 8vo. pp. 139.
2. Reports of the Commissioners on the Zoological Survey
In the month of April, of the last year, nearly at the close of a long session, a resolve was passed, and an appropriation made by the Legislature of Massachusetts, for the continuation of the Geological Survey of the State, and for a Botanical and Zoological Survey. The general object, as expressed, not very definitely, in the resolve, was the agricultural benefit of the State. The special object of the continuance of the Geological Survey was the discovery of coal, marl, and ores, and the analysis of the soils. This part of the work was therefore committed to the eminent geologist, whose "Report on the Geology of Massachusetts" has been so long and so favorably known.* It is executed in such a manner as might have been expected, from the practical good sense and scientific habits of Professor Hitchcock. Abandoning, after a great number of unsatisfactory trials, the modes of analysis that have been in use since the time of Sir Humphrey Davy, and which have been felt, probably, by nearly all who have used them, to fall far short of the ends in view in the analysis of soils, Professor Hitchcock adopted methods, the object of which was to ascertain the amount of soluble or insoluble geine in the soils; that is, the amount of "decomposed organic matter" existing in the soil, in such a state as to be directly absorbed by plants, or to be absorbed after being combined with the alkaline earths, alumina, or the metallic oxides, and acted on by air and moisture. For these methods of analysis Professor Hitchcock gives credit to Dr. Dana, of Lowell, to whose practical skill and experience they are almost entirely due. We venture to predict, that the striking and original observations of Dr. Dana, upon the substance and action of geine, and his clear and sim
* For a notice of that work, see North American Review, Vol. XLII. pp. 422 et seq.
ple rules of analysis, will be better known hereafter; indeed, that they will modify, at least to a very considerable degree, every work on economical geology which shall hereafter be produced. Their strong practical bearing, and the marks which they exhibit, of being the deductions of one profoundly familiar with chemical science, and accustomed to verify his conclusions in the laboratory, and to look also for their verification in the great operations of nature, cannot but strike any person, however superficially acquainted with the elements of chemical philosophy.
The greater part of the Report is occupied with the conclusions, drawn from a laborious application of these methods to a very large number of specimens of soil from various parts of the State. There are also several valuable notices of minerals brought to light since the publication of the First Report.
The Reports on the Zoological Survey, are all professedly incomplete. They are short communications to the Executive, or to the Chairman of the Commissioners, from the several individuals to whom was committed the Zoological Survey; apparently printed for the information of the Legislature, not in a shape to be made public, and, seemingly, not prepared in the expectation that they would be.
The greater part of the first, the Report of Dr. Emmons, seems to have been made expressly to satisfy the requisition of the resolve of the Legislature, that the work should be for the agricultural benefit of the State." It is a pretty full natural history of the ox. This is followed by very exact and scientific descriptions of several of the more remarkable native quadrupeds. Taken as a specimen of what may be expected in a final report, these are very satisfactory. Indeed, they are precisely what is wanted and looked for from our naturalists. The accounts that have usually been given of our native animals are entirely vague and popular; so that, in regard to very many of them, the foreign naturalist has no means of knowing whether they are identical with the animals of Europe or not. "It is to the resident American naturalist," says Dr. Richardson, in a Report on North American Zoology, read before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, in 1836,"it is to the resident American naturalist, that we especially look for a correct history of the animals which surround him."
"The American zoologist will do good service to the branch of science which he cultivates, if, like the immortal Cuvier, trusting solely to his own power of observation, he sits down, on his own shore, to dissect, examine, and reason for himself.”
This is just what Dr. Emmons has done with the few animals he describes in this Report; and if he will do the same some
what at length for all the native quadrupeds, he will accomplish a work much needed, and of course most acceptable to the general naturalist. While engaged in his explorations in the northern region of New York, where he is now employed as geologist, he will find opportunities of studying the habits of the native animals, rarely enjoyed.
Dr. Storer, in his Report, takes "a glance at those fishes in our waters, which are of value to this people," but gives no descriptions. He has collected, at some length, the statistics of the fisheries, and proved their very great importance to the State; and, by the survey he gives, shows how diligently he is employed in collecting materials for a scientific history. This very interesting and most neglected department seems therefore likely to receive the attention it deserves, and we shall look eagerly for the completion of the work he has begun.
Dr. Harris confines his attention to the history and habits of those insects, of the order coleoptera, which are injurious to vegetation in Massachusetts. So far as he has gone, he has left nothing to desire. Nothing can have a more direct bearing upon the agricultural benefit," than this reconnoitring of the enemy in his own quarters; and Dr. Harris has given descriptions, which will be at the same time satisfactory to the entomologist, and intelligible and available to the farmer.
What is called Mr. Peabody's Report is only a letter, a very interesting one, certainly, from that gentleman to the Chairman of the Commission, on what he conceives to be the practical objects of the Survey on Ornithology. In regard to the last of them which he enumerates, we will let Mr. Peabody speak for himself.
"But a more important object of the Survey is, to ascertain, with respect to many birds which man pursues with unrelenting vengeance, whether they are really as injurious as is commonly supposed. The crow, the grakles, and other birds of that description, do certainly make havoc with the corn. The cedar birds, robins, cat-birds, and others make large demands upon the garden; but it is certain, that the grubs which they devour, would, if suffered to live, destroy all the promise of the year; and, while we have nothing but the birds to protect us from these destroyers, there are some means already known, and many others will be discovered, to prevent the birds from taking more than their share.
"If any one will consider the subject, he will see, that insects are by far the most formidable enemy man has to contend with. The moscheto, for example, occasions far more suffering, and is actually more feared than the lion. Other enemies, equally contemptible, are busy throughout the summer, torturing our beasts to madness, and destroying the comfort of man. The birds are the instruments commissioned to keep down their numbers; and, if they are exterminated, how is this work to be done? It may be said, that, if the injurious
birds are destroyed, harmless ones will still labor in that vocation; but the misfortune is, that all together are not sufficient for the purpose, and, if any are exterminated, the evil will grow.
"It is well known, that the cultivation of fruit is regarded as hopeless by many, and found discouraging by all who attempt it. And the reason is, not that the birds plunder the trees, but that insects destroy them. The insects then, and not the birds, are the proper subjects of extermination. Means may be found to prevent the birds from taking more than their portion of the fruit, but it is not probable that human agency can contend with the millions of the insect race. If so, we are taking the part of our enemies against our friends; and it may be our persecution of the birds, which has caused the insects to increase in numbers to such an extent, that many doubt, whether, under present circumstances, the more delicate kinds of fruit are worth the trouble and expense of cultivation." — pp. 32, 33.
Dr. Gould's Report, also, is only a letter, containing a catalogue of the additions made to the known shells of Massachusetts, within two years, by himself, Couthouy, and others, and serving as an indication of what is doing in that department. The Commissioners for the Botanical Survey have made no Report.
We are glad to learn, that the continuance of the Survey is authorized for another year, and we hope it will be carried on, from year to year, until it shall be completed.
6.-1. Collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Vol. IV. An Historical Discourse on the Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode Island. By John Callender, M. A. With a Memoir of the Author, Biographical Notices of some of his distinguished Contemporaries, and Annotations and original Documents, illustrative of the History of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, from the first Settlement of the Country to the End of the First Century. By ROMEO ELTON, M. A. Providence : Knowles, Vose, & Co. 1838. 8vo. pp. 270. 2. Act of Incorporation and Constitution and By-Laws of the Kentucky Historical Society, organized March, 1838, at Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville: Prentice & Weissinger. 12mo. pp. 12.
THE Rhode Island Historical Society, though among the youngest of a somewhat numerous tribe, is, with the single exception of the parent society of Massachusetts, the most vigorous and prolific of the number. The last-named society now issues regularly an annual volume, having just reached the twenty-sixth; and its sister of Rhode Island, though instituted
only a few years since, has already published four volumes, of considerable value and interest, containing, among other papers, "Roger Williams's Key to the Indian Languages"; Groton's book, entitled, "Simplicity's Defence against the Sevenheaded Policy "; and "The early History of Narragansett, by Elisha R. Potter, Esquire. The fourth volume, which has just appeared, and the title of which we have given at length, at the head of this article, yields in importance to none of its predecessors. Though a brief work, being, in fact, nothing more nor less than a century sermon, delivered one hundred years ago, it is remarkable, as being the only history of the State that has yet been written. Never having been reprinted since its first appearance, in 1739, copies of it had become exceedingly rare; and the Society have therefore done wisely in incorporating it in their Collections, and thus putting it within the reach of that rapidly increasing class of students among us, who are investigating the early history of the country.
The Reverend John Callender, the author of the "Historical Discourse," was born in Boston, in the year 1706, where his grandfather and uncle had been successively ministers of the First Baptist Church. He entered Harvard College at the age of thirteen, and graduated in 1723. In the same year he was baptized, on a profession of faith, united himself with the church of which his uncle had the pastoral charge, and, in June, 1727, was licensed by that church to preach. After supplying, for a year and a half, the pulpit of the Baptist Church in Swansey, the oldest in Massachusetts, he was ordained, in October, 1731, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Newport, the second of that denomination in America, where he continued till his death, in 1748, in the 42d year of his age.
Mr. Callender's "Historical Discourse," which he published at the age of thirty-three, is distinguished by the greatest merit, which such a work can have, namely, its entire accuracy. The editor of this volume, with all his sharp-sightedness and pains-taking, has been able to detect but a single error, and that of a very trifling nature, relating to the Christian name of an individual, (p. 97,) and which, after all, is merely the typographical substitution of an E for a T. Mr. Callender is likewise one of the fairest and most impartial of historians. Even in relating the real or fancied wrongs of the first settlers of Rhode Island, he does it with entire freedom from passion or resentment, and is willing to admit, that there may have been faults on both sides. Though standing up stoutly for the brave little colony of his adoption, he is not blind to the substantia!