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a point of surface of the wood is uncovered, be it ever so small, the teredo, still microscopic, penetrates into the interior. Covering wood with sheets of copper or zinc, or with nails, is a too expensive process, and only protects the wood so long as they form an unbroken surface.

2. Impregnation with inorganic, soluble salts, generally considered poisonous to fish and animals, does not protect wood from the attacks of the teredo. This want of efficacy must be attributed in part to the fact that the salts absorbed by the wood are extracted by the dissolving action of sea-water, and in part, also, because those salts do not appear to have a poisonous effect upon the teredo.

3. Although we do not know with any certainty if, among exotic woods, there may not be found those which will resist the teredo, we can affirm that hardness is not an obstacle which prevents that mollusk from perforating his galleries; the ravages observed in the wood of guaiacum and mamberklak prove this. .

4. The only means which can be regarded with great certainty as a true preservative against the injury to which wood is exposed from the teredo, is the oil of creosote ; nevertheless, in employing this means, care is necessary that the oil be of good quality, that the impregnation be thorough, and that such woods be used as will absorb oil readily.

The conclusions arrived at by our commission are confirmed by the experience of a large number of engineers in the Netherlands, and also in England, France, and Belgium. M. Crepin, a celebrated Belgian engineer, expresses himself thus, in a report on experiments tried at Ostend, under date of February 5, 1864:

“The result of our experiments now seems decisive, and we think we can draw from them this conclusion: that soft woods, well prepared with creosote, are protected from the attacks of the teredo, and are in a condition to assure a long duration. The whole matter, in our opinion, is reduced to a question of thorough impregnation with good creosote-oils, and the use of such woods as are adapted to the purpose. It has been found that resinous ? woods are impregnated much better than other varieties."

M. Forestier, a French engineer at Napoléon-Vendée, in a report dated March 3, 1864, makes a résumé of experiments conducted by himself in the port of Sables-d'Olonne, in the following words:

“ These results fully confirm those established at Ostend, and it seems to us difficult to refuse to admit that the experiments at Ostend and Sables-d'Olonne are decisive, and prove in an incontestable manner that the teredo will not attack wood properly creosoted."

Under date of Haarlem, April 20, 1878, Prof. Von Baumhauer writes to Edward R. Andrews, of Boston :

“I have deferred answering your favor of the 22d of February until I had corresponded with the chief-engineers of the Waterstaat as to the results obtained in their experience in the use of cresoted timber in all our marine works, in large quantities and during some tens of years. They all unanimously agree that the teredo will not penetrate timber thoroughly impregnated with creosote; but that, to obtain the best results, the work must be thorough, as they had observed that the teredo had destroyed piles only superficially injected.

1 The efficacy of creosote-oil in protecting wood from decay and marine worms is largely due to the fact that it is insoluble in water.—E. R. A.

9 The yellow pine of the Southern States absorbs oil very readily.-E. R. A.

“Fir, if the sap be first withdrawn in a vacuum and then treated with hot oils under a heavy pressure, can be most thoroughly creosoted; but oak is more difficult. Still, I have often seen heavy oak-piles where the creosote had entered into the very heart.

“ Creosoted wood is also used in our country for railway-sleepers and tramways, and everywhere with the best results. They last four or five times longer than when unprepared, while experience shows that wood treated with sulphate of copper or chloride of zinc (Burnettizing) is neither protected from the teredo nor the influences of humidity and of the atmosphere."


THE rejection of Sir John Lubbock's motion for the addition of ele-

mentary science, or, rather, as the matter was more happily put by Dr. Lyon Playfair in the course of the debate, of elementary knowledge of common things, to the subjects for which grants are given under the education code, although an inevitable and foregone conclusion, is not on that account the less to be deplored. As happens in many similar cases, the argument was all on the side of the minority, and Lord G. Hamilton, in opposing the suggestion on the part of the Privy Council, was only able to say that its adoption would, perhaps, entail some temporary uncertainty about the subjects in which inspectors would be required to examine and children to pass. If schools existed for the convenience of inspectors, or oven in order that children might not be troubled by uncertainties, the objection would have been a valid one; but upon any other supposition it seems to tell against, rather than in favor of, the contention which it was intended to support. The nation is spending large and rapidly-increasing sums of money upon schools, and it will every year become a matter of greater urgency that these sums should not be misapplied, either by the omission from the code of subjects which would be useful or by the inclusion of others which have no apparent tendency to promote the attainment of the ends to which education is supposed to be directed. These ends, in the case of peasant-child, are presumably to render him a more useful and a better conducted member of society than he would become by the unaided light of Nature; and it is obvious that the means to their attainment are twofold—first, to cultivate the intelligence in such a way as to facilitate the acquirement and the application of knowledge; and, secondly,



to impart the knowledge which has to be applied. Until a comparatively recent time, however, the imparting of knowledge was considered to be the sole purpose of education, and to be in itself the best means of mental training; so that educationists occupied themselves more about the seed than about the soil, and were chiefly concerned to teach those things which they thought it most important that a child should know. The instruction given to the poor for many years was almost limited to reading, writing, arithmetic, and elementary religious instruction, while that imparted to the rich was laid upon the same foundation, and was only carried further because the pupils had more time at their disposal. In the employment of this time the instructors could only teach what they knew; the most famous public schools and the two great universities restricted themselves to giving their pupils some knowledge of classics and mathematics.

As soon as physiologists had discovered that all the faculties of the intellect, however originating or upon whatever exercised, were functions of a material organism of brain, absolutely dependent upon its integrity for their manifestation, and upon its growth and development for their improvement, it became apparent that the true office of the teacher of the future would be to seek to learn the conditions by which the growth and the operations of the brain were controlled, in order that he might be able to modify these conditions in a favorable man

The abstraction of the “mind” was so far set aside as to make it certain that this mind could only act through a nervous structure, and that the structure was subject to various influences for good or evil. It became known that a brain cannot arrive at healthy maturity excepting by the assistance of a sufficient supply of healthy blood—that is to say, of good food and pure air. It also became known that the power of a brain will ultimately depend very much upon the way in which it is habitually exercised, and that the practice of schools in this respect left a great deal to be desired. A large amount of costly and pretentious teaching fails dismally for no other reason than because it is not directed to any knowledge of the mode of action of the organ to which the teacher endeavors to appeal; and mental growth in many instances occurs in spite of teaching rather than on account of it. Education, which might once have been defined as an endeavor to expand the intellect by the introduction of mechanically compressed facts, should now be defined as an endeavor favorably to influence a vital process; and, when so regarded, its direction should manifestly fall somewhat into the hands of those by whom the nature of vital processes has been most completely studied. In other words, it becomes neither more nor less than a branch of applied physiology; and physiologists tell us with regard to it that the common processes of teaching are open to the grave objection that they constantly appeal to the lower centres of nervous function, which govern the memory of and the reaction upon sensations, rather than to those higher ones which are the organs of

ratiocination and of volition. Hence a great deal which passes for education is really a degradation of the human brain to efforts below its natural capacities. This applies especially to book-work, in which the memory of sounds in given sequences is often the sole demand of the teacher, and in which the pupil, instead of knowing the meaning of the sounds, often does not know what “meaning” means. As soon as the sequence of the sounds is forgotten nothing remains, and we are then confronted by a question which was once proposed in an inspectorial report: “To what purpose in after-life is a boy taught if the intervention of a school vacation is to be a sufficient excuse for entirely forgetting his instruction ?

In order to avoid such faulty teaching, few agencies are more valuable than what are technically called "object" lessons, in which the faculties of the pupils are exercised about things instead of about words; and the suggestion of Sir John Lubbock would lead to object lessons of a very useful character. To be taught something about gravitation, about atmospheric pressure, about the effects of temperature, and other simple matters of like kind, which would admit of experimental illustration, and which would call upon the learner to make statements in his own words instead of in those of somebody else, would be so many steps toward real mental development. At the end of a vacation, even if the facts of any particular occurrence had become somewhat mixed, the pupils would nevertheless preserve an increased capacity for acquiring new facts, and would probably retain these for a longer period; and such are precisely the changes which it should be the province of education to bring about. We would even go further than Sir John Lubbock, and in elementary schools would give an important place to the art of drawing, which teaches accurate observation of the forms of things. The efforts of a wise teacher should always be guided with reference to the position and surroundings of a child at home, and should seek to supplement the deficiencies of home training and example. Among the wealthier classes the floating information of the family circle often, though by no means always, both excites and gratifies a curiosity about natural phenomena; but among the poor this stimulus to mental growth is almost, if not entirely, wanting. An explanation of the physical causes of common events, such, for instance, as the rising of water in a pump, would usually be a revelation to the pupils of a board school, and would start them upon a track which could hardly fail to render them more skillful workers in any department of industry, and which might even lead some of them to fortune. A wise and benevolent squire set on foot many years ago a school for the children of his laborers, in which drawing and the elements of natural science were carefully taught; and the result was, that the children educated there, instead of remaining at the plough's tail, passed, in an astonishingly large number of cases, into positions of responsibility and profit. On every ground, therefore, we hope that Sir John Lubbock's proposal will at no

distant time be adopted by Parliament; but in the mean while there is a still more important department of teaching which is wholly neglected, and concerning which the deficiencies of home instruction are at least equally manifest. We refer to a proper knowledge of the influence of conduct upon life. It should be the duty of every schoolmaster to try and make his pupils understand how production—that is to say, industry-leads to wealth; and how destruction—that is to say, idlenessleads to poverty. The reason why confidence in others is necessary to all enterprise, and the reason why honesty, in the largest sense of the word, is the only root of confidence, should in like manner be enforced by precept and illustrated by example; and such teaching, if it could only be made general, would do more to heal the breach between capital and labor than all the panaceas of all the politicians who have ever sought to figure as the “ friends of the working-man.”London Times.

WE print with pleasure on another page a remarkable article from the Times of Monday. In itself the article may present nothing remarkable to the readers of Nature, but, as the deliberate utterance of the leading organ of opinion in this country, it marks a distinct stage of progress toward a more enlightened conception of what constitutes education. We hope that it is significant of the near approach of a radical change of the conception in this country of what subjects should be included in elementary education. We need not be surprised at the fate of Sir John Lubbock's bill for the introduction of elementary science into schools, when such erroneous conceptions of what science is apparently exist in the mind of the Minister of Education in the House of Commons, Lord George Hamilton. The Vice-President of the Council has much to learn, when his idea of the Royal Society, one of the most venerable institutions in the country, is that of a kind of select Polytechnic, where “lectures" are delivered on “biology, chemistry, natural history, mechanics, astronomy, mathematics, and botany." But he is new to his work, and we must hope that the debate of Thursday last may lead him to obtain a more accurate conception of what is meant by elementary science.

Dr. Lyon Playfair, we believe, pointed out what is one of the great hinderances to the introduction of science into elementary schools ; the mere name, “science,” frightens ministers, inspectors, school boards, and teachers; perhaps if the simpler phrase, “elementary knowledge, were used, the simple-minded individuals in whose hands is the training of our future citizens might find that they themselves had been compelled to become acquainted with it to their cost after they left school, and that it would have been much better for them had they had some little training in it before entering into the thick of the fight.

The most notable feature in the Times article, as well as in Thurs


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