National Geographic : 1899 Oct
420 GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE which is discussed in some detail with relation to climate, depth, tem perature of affluents, etc. In chapter VIII the colors are described and the principal causes of coloration analyzed, while the mirage receives attention; and the succeeding chapter is devoted to extended considera tion of the solid and gaseous materials held in solution in the lacustral waters. The portion of the work of widest interest is the tenth chapter (pages 242-343), in which the geologic relations of the region and the lakes are discussed at length, and which ends with a classification of the water bodies by known or supposed origin. The historical and social aspects of the lakes are indicated in the eleventh chapter, which is fol lowed by an extended descriptive table of the principal lakes of France, with reference to the provinces in which they occur, and to the sheets of the official maps on which they are represented. The work is fully in dexed and well supplied with lists of contents and illustrations. There is little reference to the accompanying portfolio, which is really a distinct publication; its sheets are variable in size and form and show little more than the shores and subaqueous contours of the principal lakes; and their convenience is somewhat diminished by inconstancy in contour intervals and bathymetric tints. The monograph forms a highly useful compendium of facts arranged in accordance with well-established scien tific principles. WJM. RAILROADS AND CANALS The important bearing which the great reduction in rates for railway transportation has on the question of canal construction and maintenance is attracting widespread attention. In a recent letter to the committee on canals of the state of New York, the Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, until now one of the staunchest friends and advocates of the state canals, and one who has done more to promote the cause of the New York state waterways than any other living man, writes as follows: I was brought up in a school of politics which taught that the pros perity of the state of New York was created by the canals and could not be maintained unless they were kept in a state of perfect efficiency. But a new condition has appeared in the great reduction of the cost of transportation by the railways which compete with the canals for busi ness. This reduction is due to several causes: notably, the greater dura bility and the lower cost of steel rails, the increase in the train-load, and the economy of fuel in hauling a train. . . . My knowledge of the subject inclines me to believe that we have reached a permanent era of low cost of transportation by rail.. . . Hence the question is pre sented in altogether a new light, and although I am reluctant to come to the conclusion that the canals have lost their usefulness, I confess freely that the argument for their continued maintenance is greatly weakened if not altogether destroyed.