5 JUNE 1897, Page 25

Prehistoric Man and Beast. By the Rev. H. N. Hutchinson,

F.G.S. (Smith, Elder, and Co )—The author of this volume has attempted to bring together in a popular form some of the con- clusions and guesses of geologists as to the early inhabitants of the world. But in his endeavour to be both popular and scientific he occasionally falls into two contrary errors. Sometimes his statements are loose and unscientific ; at other times his argu- ments are distinctly technical, and for the general reader difficult to follow and impossible to adjudicate upon, for in such cases he says at once too much and too little. Where widely different opinions are held on such questions, for instance, as the antiquity of man, it is enough in a book intended for those who have no time to make a profound study of geology to state in general outline the arguments by which different writers have been led to assume a greater or less proved antiquity of the human species, and it is not possible to weigh adequately the validity of such arguments as Mr. Hutchinson vainly attempts to do, within the limited space at his disposal, and with the limited technical knowledge necessarily assumed to be possessed by those for whom he is writing. As an instance of loose unscientific statement, we would quote the following remark, in reference to the story of the Creation contained in the first chapter of Genesis :—" Marine animals came before the terrestrial, which is also in accordance with modern science." He also remarks :—" The account of the creation in the opening chapters of Genesis implies evolution " (the italics here are Mr. Hutchinson's own) ; thus, in the first place, ignoring the fact that there are clearly two distinct accounts of the Creation in these opening chapters, and, in the second place, confusing the issues by vainly trying to square two incommensurable truths, the poetical truth of the seer, and the prose truth of science. Equally misleading is it to say that " several Greek and other philosophers had in their way got hold of the idea of evolution," without explaining that their way was the way of purely speculative guesses, and not in the least comparable with the way of modern inductive science. More than a quarter of the book is devoted to an unsatisfactory and rather confusing discussion of theories about glaciers and the Ice Age, and about the antiquityof man. But the author is much happier in his description of what can be pieced together as to the habits of the ancient cave-dwellers of the older Stone Age, and of the men of the later Stone Age and Bronze Age. His account of the lake dwellings is interesting, as are also his all too scanty references to the evidences of the real existence of little folk in former days, the originals of the fairies and dwarfs and mermen. But we fail to see why he considers the " Pied Piper of Hamelin" to have been a dwarf, for Browning called the piper "tall and thin," and Browning did not say (as Mr. Hutchinson says) that he got "by a clever stratagem his golden ducats from the town councillors," and then charmed the rats into the river. We must really advise Mr. Hutchinson to read the poem again. Ample space is devoted to the buildings and burying places, and the rude stone monuments of our forefathers, and special attention is given to Stonehenge, one of the illustrations being cleverly designed to show how the huge stones may have been lifted to their place.