2 SEPTEMBER 1865, Page 22

Geology and History. By Bernhard von Cotta, Professor of Geology

at the Academy of Mining, Freiburg, Saxony. (Trubner.)—Lake Habitations and Prehistoric Remains in the Turbaries and Mast-Beds of Northern and Central Italy. By B Gastalde, Professor of Mineralogy, Turin. • Translated by C. H. Chambers, MA., &c., &c. (Longman.)—We put these books together, although the former professes, rather ambitiously, to be a "popular exposition of all that is known of the earth and its inhabitants in prehistoric times," and the latter is what it professes to be, a simple collection of facts published at the instance of the Anthropo- logical Society. They both deal with the same subject-matter, but whilst the English editor of the Italian work thinks that in a "science which has had its origin in the last ten years, facts and an ever larger induction are of far greater value to us than theories," the German pro- fessor has made up his mind, considers that scepticism is no longer posaible and that the antiquity of the human race is clearly established. We need hardly say that we agree with Mr. Chambers. The volume that he has edited contains a very complete account of the discoveries in the lake dwellings of Italy, illustrated with numerous engravings which will be found interesting by those who are engaged in this study. But we do not think that the time has yet come for enunciating theories. Professor Cotta in his 67 pages glances at the investigations that have taken place in Switzerland and the fossil caves of France, and is led on to a discus- sion on Darwin's origin of species, which he finds partly confirmed by the

discoveries of geology, though the difficulty remains that there is a long series of developments missing between the simple cell of Darwin's theory and the recognizable orgrmic remains in the earliest strata. The truth is at present that all contributions of facts are to be welcomed, all hasty theorizing discouraged.