12 AUGUST 1905, Page 21

English Local Government. By Percy Ashley, M.A. (T. C. and

E. C. Jack. ls.)—Professor Ashley puts the case very neatly when, comparing English and Continental methods of local government, he writes : "Local government in England is lay administration tempered by professional advice; whilst to a great extent in Continental Europe it is professional administration tempered slightly by lay criticism." After an introductory chapter in which he traces the tendencies for and against centralisation that have been at work in England since 1832, he proceeds to discuss successively "Areas and Authorities," "Central Authorities," "Public Assistance" (vulgo,"Poor Relief "),"Educa- tion," "Public Health," "Transit" (in which all such questions as tramways, light railways, &c., are dealt with), "Municipal Policy and Trading "—Professor Ashley takes, on the whole, a favourable view—" Local Finance "—reform must wait here "till the ratepayers rouse themselves "—and "The Legislature." An appendix gives a bibliography of the subject.—Another volume in the same "Shilling Scientific Series," which takes, it will be seen, a wide range, is Meteorology; or, Weather Explained, by J. G. McPherson, Ph.D. Dr. McPherson discourses on "Dew," "Fog," "Clouds," how they are formed and dispersed, "Rain," and other phenomena not so commonly observed, as "Atmospheric Dust," the "Aurora Borealis," &c. He joins, we see, in the regret at the discontinuance of the Ben Nevis Observatory, a most deplorable instance of cheeseparing, and he gives a final chapter on "Weather Forecasting," a science in which there is very much to be done. Yet it is perfectly true that "the wonder is that the forecasts come so near the truth." Probably English weather is about as baffling a subject as any that the world affords. This makes it all the more necessary to collect facts, and emphatically condemns the policy which tends to diminish the number of observations. What we especially want is a station some five hundred miles out in the Atlantic.