The issue of a sixth edition of Dr. Aitken's well-known work is a sufficient testimony of the appreciation which it has received. This edition has been carefully revised, many portions have been re-written, and additions have been made which have swelled the second volume to an almost unwieldy bulk. It may be well for the author to consider whether, in the next edition, which is pretty sure to be soon called for, addition of matter may not properly be accompanied by condensation of bulk. We certainly think that a re-digestion of some of the articles, which have progressively grown by accretion, may be advantageously made. The conscientious practice adopted of giving the opinion of different authorities, with the insertion of their names in brackets, gives a jerky character to the style, and by no means improves the artistic look of an article—gives it, indeed, a scissor-and-paste appearance. Moreover, by the adoption of such a system, an article is very apt to increase in length out of proportion to its value. It is quite right, of course, that merit should be given to whom merit is due, and laudable in the author to be anxious to do so, but a few references in a foot-note, or at the end of an article, would suffice for that in most cases, an exception being made in any special case when the authority was weighty and the statement important. At present it not seldom happens that names are given which carry no real weight, and given as sponsors for statements which are sometimes common-places of science, or certainly are not the original property of those to whom they are attributed. To quote from a manual some result of general observation, and to append in brackets the name of the author of the manual, is to carry a virtue to, if not over, the edge of a fault.
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