sented to Dr. Fairbairn on his retirement from the headship of the College, they may be taken to represent the outcome of his teaching. As clues to the tendency of Nonconformist theology in the present day, these essays are of the highest importance, whilst their literary value is of no mean order.

A special and pathetic interest attaches itself to Father Tyrrell's Christianity at the Cross Roads (Longmans) as the last work (posthumously published) of one of the keenest-minded and most spiritual thinkers of the Roman Church. The ruling powers of that Church had excluded him, so far as their powers extended, from its communion; but Tyrrell died as he had lived in firm attachment to the Church which had shown itself unable to appreciate the services he was rendering to true religion and to the Catholic faith. A modernist in the best sense of the term, in that he recognised the claims of learning to be heard, he had no leanings towards those followers of M. Loisy whose Liberalism tempts them to find an asylum outside the fold in which they were born. Father Tyrrell lived and died for a spiritual Church which having been founded by Christ and His Apostles has grown with the widening outlook of mankind, and will continue to expand with its needs-in a word, a Church to which the present and the future are as important as the past.

There is doubtless a sufficiently large public to justify Mr. Darwell Stone in launching two erudite volumes on The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (Longmans) on the world. His standpoint is that in the course of nearly two thousand years the doctrine of the Eucharistic sacrifice remains practically unchanged. By such as accept this view Mr. Stone's history will probably be received with the gratitude such laborious service in their cause well deserves. To such as are less compliant, he will seem to be wanting in that detachment of mind and quality of sympathy which are needed in an impartial historian.

To the majority of English students of politics the connection between the Catholic Emancipation Act and the Dawn of the Catholic Revival in England (Longmans) may seem remote; Mr. Bernard Ward has now in two most interesting volumes traced the course of the movement from the death of Dr. Challoner-the Vicar-Apostolic-in 1781 to the appointment of Dr. Milner in 1803. The period covered is that in which the Roman Catholic Episcopacy in England was in course of reorganisation from within, although nearly a further half century had to pass before it was outwardly recognised by the assumption of titular distinctions. Mr. Ward throws fresh and bright light upon the difficulties and dissensions which beset the Roman Catholics as soon as the enforcement of the penal laws (in force against them since the time of Elizabeth) began to be relaxed. The struggle whether the English Roman Catholic Church should be Cisalpine or Ultramontane was long and bitter. The Vicars-Apostolic were merely delegates of the Papal Court, and the need of canonically consecrated bishops was insisted upon by the national party. When the object was fully attained in 1850 by Cardinal Wiseman the result was the very opposite to that “the Catholic Committee" had had in view in the years of strain to which the present volumes refer. Thanks are due to Mr. Ward for his masterly disentanglement of the history of these intricate problems, of which his readers will look for the final issue. LIONEL G. ROBINSON.



ALTHOUGH the present period is one of waning sunspot activity, the last maximum occurring in 1905-6, several large groups have been visible to the naked eye, for example in the second week in May, and towards the end of July. The passage of a large one over the central meridian on September 18 was simultaneous with a great magnetic storm, whereby telegraphic messages were seriously interfered with (Chronicle, Sept. 25).

A new determination of the solar parallax from observations of Eros at the Mount Hamilton Observatory gives the value 8" 8067 ± 0025, which is probably not less accurate than the best previous estimates, and agrees with them as far as the first two decimal places. It is proposed to keep the planet Eros under observation from the present time until its opposition in 1931, so that the solar parallax, the most im portant astronomical unit, can be determined within the smallest possible limits of error.

The non-existence of an intra-Mercurial planet was practically established by the failure of the total eclipse expedition to Flint Island, in 1908, to locate any such object on the photographic plates. Professor Seeliger has now shown that on reasonable suppositions the observed irregularities in the motion of Mercury can be accounted for by the attraction of the matter composing the zodiacal light.

The opposition of Mars, which brought the planet within 36,000,000 miles of the earth, took place during August, and resulted in several new discoveries. Thus the diameter of Mars is 540 that of the earth, and the polar diameter is less than the equatorial by the fraction.. The number of "canals" is raised to forty-nine, and a threefold classification is recognised, one kind consisting of broad greyish bands, a second of bands of medium width, with dark and well-defined edges, and a third of fine lines near the limit of visibility. Important changes

in the colour and appearances of various regions are found to take place, possibly owing to the passage of clouds, but, on the other hand, the Martian spectral lines of oxygen and water vapour have been shown to be no more pronounced than in the moon at the same altitude, which is equivalent to saying that these lines are of terrestrial origin.

The search for an ultra-Neptunian planet has been continued by Professor Pickering, by the aid of a new graphical construction, which attributes the outstanding perturbations of Uranus, not Neptune, to a hypothetical body whose mass and distance from the sun are respec

tively 2 and 51 times that of the earth, and whose period is 3731 years. At present, however, these figures have not obtained general acceptance. Comets have occupied a fair share of attention during the year, the following being the list of visitants: 1909, (a) Borrelly-Daniell's; (b) Perrier's; (c) Halley's; (d) Winnecke's; and (e) Daniell's, the last a new discovery on December 6. Halley's comet was first photographed at Greenwich at the end of September, when it was of the 16th magnitude. Its perihelion passage is calculated for April 19, in the present year, and it will be visible to the naked eye before that date and afterwards in the morning sky.

A Leonid meteor, described by Mr. W. F. Denning as the spectacle of a generation, was seen over the English Channel at 7.30 in the evening of February 22, and left a trace which could be recognised for the unexampled period of two hours.

The great 60 feet telescope at Mount Wilson, mounted vertically, with a spectrograph of 30 feet focus, has proved so successful that Professor Campbell is desirous of erecting an instrument in which these dimensions are increased to 150 feet and 75 feet respectively. These figures are not suggested at random, but have reference to the possibilities of construction and the transparency of the atmosphere at that favoured spot.

The Daylight Saving Bill was dropped in consequence of the adverse report of a Select Committee (see ante, English History, p. 44).


The year 1908 closed with the most calamitous earthquake known to history, whereby some 200,000 people lost their lives in Messina and the surrounding districts of Italy and Sicily (ANNUAL REGISTER, 1908, pp. 38, 77). A preliminary account of the official report which is in progress states that the shock, which was not ushered in by minor disturbances, was felt as far off as Montenegro, the coastal region of Albania, and the islands of Zante, Corfu, and Cephalonia. The GazziGallico and Milazzo-Lipari cables were broken, but recent soundings and comparisons show that no appreciable alteration in the sea floor or the coast line has taken place. Messina has been in part rebuilt, and now contains about 70,000 inhabitants, but the huge sums subscribed for the relief of the population have been sadly misapplied.

The official report of the great Californian earthquake of 1906 was issued early in the year, and connects the disaster with the San Andreas rift, a line of displacement traceable for 600 miles across the country, and along which movements of the ground still continue.

Earthquake shocks of considerable severity were reported from Portugal (April 23), Southern France, especially Aix-en-Provence (June 11), Mexico City (July 30), Acapulco (July 31), Central Japan (Aug. 15), Reggio di Calabria and Athens (Sept. 30), Reggio (Oct. 7), and Baluchistan (Oct. 28).

The Pico de Teyde, on the north-west of the island of Teneriffe, was in violent eruption on November 18 and following days, and did much damage to cultivated land in the vicinity.

Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole brought back

the unexpected news that coal measures, at least 1,500 feet thick, lie within 350 miles of the pole itself, and that of actual coal seams several were found from 1 to 7 feet thick, associated with fine clay containing abundant small impressions of roots.

The human skeleton found at Le Moustier (Dordogne) in April, 1908, is now believed to belong to the lower middle Post-Tertiary period, and is referred to a new species, Homo mousteriensis, inferior to the usual Homo sapiens. The lower jaw is of massive proportions, but chinless, and is that of a young male, more or less contemporary with the wellknown Neanderthal skeleton.

At the Winnipeg meeting of the British Association the geological papers dealt principally with Canadian and American strata. The address of Dr. A. S. Woodward, president of the section, was devoted to the evolution of vertebrate life as shown by fossils, with a glance at certain tendencies to decadence, e.g., the occasional disappearance of teeth from some portion of the vertebrate jaw, the formation of ponderous bones, and the degradation of fishes into eel-like forms.

It has been noticed that at Kimberley (South Africa) a daily variation of level takes place, owing to solar influence, but whether tidal or thermal is not definitely established. Recent observations show that when the moon is south of the equator the whole of the protuberance of which South Africa is composed oscillates east and west during the lunar day, this motion masking any effect due to tidal influence in the solid earth. Only when the moon is nearest the earth does the pendulum move in a manner to suggest such a tide. The deviation is towards the west of the mean position in winter and towards the east in summer. The Board of Trade returns continue to call attention to the extravagant rate at which the coal supplies of Great Britain are being used up. Our consumption is about 6 tons per head of the population per annum, whereas in Belgium it is 3 tons, in Germany 2 tons, and in France less than 1 ton. We exported 14,000,000 tons to Germany alone in 1907, or twice as much as in 1902, and in all directions the demand is on the increase. There is no present or future likelihood that any new sources of power can be opened up, so that in a few centuries the British Isles will cease to be the world's chief centre of industrial activity, and thenceforth can take little part in human progress.


C. L. B.

News of Lieutenant (now Sir) E. H. Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition was received on March 23 (Chronicle, p. 9). Sir E. H. Shackleton, in company with three others, travelled along the west of the Barrier ice sheet, and, after passing Scott's farthest south, crossed two mountain ranges and reached a point 100 miles from the geographical South Pole. Here an elevated plateau, 10,000 feet above sea-level, extended as far as the eye could see, and there appears little doubt that it is on this plateau that the pole is situated. The farthest point reached was latitude 88° 23' S. in longitude 162° E. on January 9, 1909. The party returned to the ship Nimrod in McMurdo Sound after an absence of 126 days, having covered a distance of 1,708 miles. Another party, led by Professor David,

travelled along the coast of South Victoria Land and struck across the mountains over a plateau 7,000 feet high to a distance of 260 miles from their depôt on the coast. They succeeded in attaining the south magnetic pole, which is situated in latitude 72° 25′ S. and longitude 154° E. This journey not only established the position of the magnetic pole, but confirmed the conjecture that Victoria Land and Wilkes Land are continuous.

Besides these longer journeys a short but arduous excursion was made to the summit of Mount Erebus, 13,120 feet high, and its reputation as an active volcano was established. The results of this expedition are of no little importance, for it is now ascertained beyond doubt that the Antarctic is not an archipelago, but a great continental region, bounded on the eastern side by a lofty range of mountains which extends from Wilkes Land to the highest latitudes, and probably continues into Graham Land. The meteorological observations confirm the prevalence of south winds, which were not less strong near the pole than at lower latitudes, and therefore the centre of the Antarctic anticyclone cannot lie immediately over the pole. The geological results are of equal interest, for seams of coal were observed in some exposed rocks to the east of the Barrier ice sheet, but the absence of fossils in the rocks points to the conclusion that severe climatic conditions prevailed whilst the sedimentary rocks were laid down.

Another expedition to the Antarctic regions under Captain R. F. Scott is to start in July, 1910, a promise from the Government of a grant of 20,000l. having placed the expedition on a sound financial footing. And at the same time a Scottish expedition to the south polar regions is being organised by Dr. Bruce, and will start in the summer if the requisite funds are forthcoming.

On September 1 great interest was aroused by the announcement that Dr. Cook, an American traveller, had succeeded in reaching the north geographical pole on April 21, 1908. A few days later a message was received from Commander Peary to say that he had returned from the far north and that he also had reached the north pole on April 23, 1909. Dr. Cook on his return lectured in Denmark and in the United States on his journey to the pole, but confidence in his narrative was shaken by the absence of trustworthy records of observations of latitude and longitude. His inability to fulfil his reiterated promises that detailed records should be produced has forced upon experts the conclusion that there is no evidence that he reached the pole (see ante, Chronicle, Dec. 21, 24) and the honour of priority in this achievement now rests with Commander Peary whose persistent efforts in this direction have at last been crowned with success. Peary's expedition left Etah in Greenland on August 18, 1908, in the Roosevelt, and put in at Cape Columbia, from which point the final struggle to reach the pole commenced at the end of February. By a system of advance and supporting parties the main body moved forward rapidly, the last stage being accomplished by the Commander himself accompanied by only one Eskimo. No land was met with in the course of the journey, nor could any be seen around the pole, and the probability that none exists in the vicinity is heightened by the fact that a sounding showed that the bottom of the

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