Agriculture, Archaeology, Periodicals, Scientific Practitioners, Palaeontology, Geology, Homeopathy, Breeding, Class
Relates the experiences of a miscellaneous group of men and women from New York staying on an isolated sheep ranch in Kansas from April to November. Although there are none of the usual amusements of East Coast high society, the arrival of 'Colonel Higginson'sHigginson, Thomas Wentworth
CBD CloseView the register entry >> article in the HarperHarper's New Monthly Magazine
Harper's Monthly Magazine
Directory CloseView the register entry >> on the Indian hieroglyphics [in the June 1882 issue], with illustrations to prove the similarity between the famous Dighton rock and many found at the West' inspires a trip to a local cave with its own 'crude and curious efforts of Indian drawing' (5–6). Among the group on the ranch is a 'genial, absorbed Professor, filling even the least scientific with something of his own enthusiasm for the splendid fossils of the region, the superb impressions of leaves, and the fossil shells picked up two thousand miles from either ocean' (6), and he is later described as a 'geological professor' and a 'graduate of Harvard' (14). A female member of the group, referred to only as 'A—', enjoys her time on the ranch for the 'opportunity afforded her to make converts to homœpathy' among the local rural population (15), although her city-bred companions 'still think that she owed her converts to the fact that she never sent in any bills' for her medicines (16). While discussing attitudes to livestock in rural Kentucky, observes that 'our firm is quite too recently from New York to have lost its faith in blood and pedigree' and its members would 'scorn to belong to any firm that did not appreciate "registered" Jerseys' [cf. Peter C Kellogg, 'Jersey Cattle in America', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 898–905] (17).
Observes that the elevated plateau of the 'Sabana of Bogota was undoubtedly once an immense lake unbroken by mountains, that by some violent convulsion of nature was ruptured, and the falls of Tequendama formed, by which the waters of the Funza River find an exit to the plains, and join the Magdalena' (48). Indeed, the 'situation of Bogota, it is said, led the eminent HumboldtHumboldt, Alexander von (Friedrich Wilhelm
Heinrich Alexander von)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> to remark that it stood upon its own grave, it being his opinion that in one of the earthquakes to which the whole extent of the Andes is subject the city would be ingulfed' (49). The Sabana 'forms "a temperate zone upon the very verge of the equator"', thus yielding excellent crops of fruit and vegetable which are unique to the region, and 'Humboldt estimated that an acre of plantains would produce twenty times as much food as an acre of corn' (49–50). The city's mountainous location means that its 'astronomical observatoryObservatorio Astronómico de Bogotá
CloseView the register entry >>, an octagonal tower erected in 1802, is nearly the highest and most advantageously situated in the world. It contains but few instruments, but under the present administration and its own energetic direction is in process of efficient reorganization. A meteorological department has been established in correspondence with the Signal BureauSignal Office, Washington DC CloseView the register entry >> in Washington' (52). Reflects 'How notable the difference between the North and South American Indian! There he remains in his primitive state; here he has adopted not only the language and many of the customs, but the religion of his conquerors', a divergence caused by the 'nomadic' state of North American Indians throughout the period of the country's colonisation (56–57).
Explains the various causes of earthquakes and volcanic outbursts, beginning with the 'external changes which intensify [the] action' of 'subterranean disturbance' and then moving on to the 'earth's internal activity' (139). Noting that it 'may surprise many to learn that while earthquakes occur but seldom in England, vibratory undulations or earth-shakes [...] are occurring all the time', observes that the affect of 'changes in atmospheric pressure' on the 'earth's crust'—even of an 'increase of one inch in the height of the mercurial barometer'—is sometimes 'recognizable' in England, as has been recently shown by M Walton BrownBrown, M Walton
COPAC CloseView the register entry >> at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical EngineersNorth of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers
CloseView the register entry >>. Claims, however, that in the 'British Isles the effects of such changes, though sensible to scientific observation, are only recognizable otherwise (that is, in a way to attract general observation) by the occurrence of great colliery explosions [...] due, I think, as my friend Mr. W. Mattieu WilliamsWilliams, William Mattieu
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> supposes, [...] to the diminution of the pressure of the air over colliery regions, and the increase of pressure elsewhere'. (140) Reflects that the 'idea of causation, which lies at the root of all scientific inquiry, and leads men to look for proximate and then for the remote causes of observed events, has no attraction for those who have little care for scientific research: they are disposed to think that a certain charm disappears from nature's work when its mechanism is too closely examined', but insists that 'in reality there is something even more striking in the thought of what nature is really doing than in vague fancies about what she seems to be doing', and this is the aspect of nature which appeals to a 'true poet' (141). Similarly, states that invariably 'we find that nature's apparent purpose is in reality a result of direct causation', and remarks that the claims of 'a modern writer' that 'nature seems "to have provided [...] against the inroads of the ocean by setting the earth's upheaving forces where they were most wanted"' are 'scarcely more intelligent than that of the old lady who was enthusiastic about nature's mature wisdom and beneficence in making rivers run beside towns' (143). Discusses how the production of heat below the earth's crust accords with 'a principle in physics' which states that 'compressed matter gains the heat which corresponds to the work done, instead of losing it' (144–45). Concludes by asserting that 'All subterranean activity is due [...] to gravity in one form or another' (145), but avers 'how much more profound the mystery revealed than the mystery removed! There is naught in all that science has disclosed to man more utterly—one might say more hopelessly—mysterious than that power by which in an instant, throughout the whole universe, matter acts upon matter. We seem here to stand in the very presence of the Godhead, for it seems as though were but this last veil lifted, and the mystery of gravity removed, we should see revealed the great first cause of all phenomena' (146).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 161–62.
Regular Feature—Anecdote, Drollery
Animal Behaviour, Telegraphy, Sound
Relates a droll tale regarding the 'massassauga, a species of rattle-snake, hardly as long as one's arm and nearly as thick, that once infested northern Ohio and other portions of the West of forty years ago', and which 'would, according to universal belief, jump to the height of a man's knees, while the bite was generally fatal' (161). In another anecdote, a man from New Hampshire who wishes to 'run a telephone wire from his office to his residence' asks the permission of two 'maiden ladies' who live in a cottage located below the proposed wire, and is told that while they 'should be glad to accommodate him, the noise made by people constantly talking over head would be too annoying to permit' (162).
Condemns an 'age which professes to know so much that even school-boys and under-graduates speak with scorn of the state of science ten years back', but which knows next to nothing of contemporary India (165).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 193–216.
Proclaims that the harbour in Buffalo contains the 'scene of an experiment only less interesting than the first voyage of Robert Fulton'sFulton, Robert
CBD CloseView the register entry >> steam-boat, for it was here, in 1842, that a Buffalonian, Joseph DartDart, Joseph
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>, built the first steam storage transfer elevator, on the well-known elevator and conveyer principle of Oliver EvansEvans, Oliver
CBD CloseView the register entry >>', an 'invention which, by facilitating the movement of breadstuffs, has a vital concern for all mankind' (194). Insists that 'No city, save one, owes so much to railroads as does Buffalo', and characterises the city as a 'self-satisfied spider, supreme in the centre of her web' of 'iron rails'. In fact, Buffalo's railway bridges are 'inadequate to the demands of traffic', and the city's citizens are 'mooting the revival of the old scheme of tunnelling under the Niagara'. (196). The 'marvellous railroad improvements in Buffalo since 1880' are given 'unusual interest' by the 'fact that to this construction all the newer scientific principles have been applied', principles such as the modern axiom that the 'traffic capacity of railroad lines is limited mainly by the extent of their terminal facilities' (198). Buffalo is also notable as the 'third coal depot of America'—especially for 'anthracite coal' (199), and as the city which 'originated the manufacture of grape-sugar' in its 'glucose factories' (201). In addition, the city is 'famed on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean for the greatest engineering feat of modern times—the cantilever bridge of the Michigan Central RailroadMichigan Central Railroad
CloseView the register entry >> which spans the gorge of the Niagara' (200). Later, alludes briefly to a visit to Buffalo made by Herbert SpencerSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> (212).
Explaining that Ampersand is the name of a mountain, a lake and a stream in the Adirondack region of New York State, reflects 'Which of the three Ampersands has the prior claim to the name I can not tell. Philosophically speaking, the mountain ought to be regarded as the father of the family, because it was undoubtedly there before the others existed. And the lake was probably the next on the ground, because the stream is its child. But man is not strictly just in his nomenclature; and I conjecture that the little river, the last-born of the three, was the first to be called Ampersand, and then gave its name to its parent and grandparent' (217–18). After climbing the mountain, claims that 'it is with mountains, as perhaps with men, a mark of superior dignity to be naturally bald', and although Ampersand 'can not claim this distinction', 'what Nature has denied, human labor has supplied. Under the direction of Mr. Verplanck ColvinColvin, Verplanck
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>, of the Adirondack SurveyAdirondack State Land Survey
CloseView the register entry >>, several acres of trees were cut away from the summit' (224). Also visits the spot where 'some five-and-twenty years ago, the now almost forgotten Adirondack ClubAdirondack Club, Boston CloseView the register entry >> had their shanty', and whose illustrious members included 'AgassizAgassiz, Louis (Jean Louis Rodolphe)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, of Cambridge' (225). Asks the reader if he is 'a photographer, and ha[s] anything of the amateur's passion for your art', before expressing the 'pleasure' and 'anxiety' felt at the realisation that 'Never before, so far as I knew, had a camera been set up on Ampersand' (226). Concludes that the 'plates of glass on which the sun has traced for me (who can not draw) the outlines of that loveliest landscape' (taken with 'a BlairBlair Tourograph & Dry Plate Company
CloseView the register entry >> tourograph [...] as compact and useful as anything that is made') are the 'most valuable chattels' of this sojourn among the Adirondack mountains (226–27).
Describes the 'industry of the petty silkworm', upon which more than 'a million human beings depend [...] for their daily bread' (240). Beginning in the ancient world, gives a brief history of the cultivation of silk which culminates with the American 'Morus multicaulis mania' of the 1820s and 1830s, when the 'whole country [...] went wild' over the planting of mulberry trees after Gideon B SmithSmith, Gideon B
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> 'planted [...] what is claimed to have been the first' in Baltimore, an event recorded in the American Journal of Science and ArtsAmerican Journal of Science and Arts
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >> by Felix PascalisPascalis, Felix
WBI CloseView the register entry >> (243). Since then there have been many ups and downs in the silk production trade, and in the 1850s 'Europe was swept of much of its silken wealth by one of these parasitic diseases, and one of Pasteur'sPasteur, Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >> early triumphs was in discovering its nature' (244). Having given an account of 'sericulture, or silk-raising' which is properly speaking 'a division of agriculture' (244), goes on to describe the increasingly mechanised industry of 'silk manufacture proper' which is 'mostly women's work' (244 and 246). Because raw silk, which comes mostly from China, is 'duty free', 'manufacturers do not expect much result from silk-raising in America' and there are no great attempts at acclimatisation (246). The manufacture of silk first changed from a 'fireside industry' and moved into factories after Alfred T LillyLilly, Alfred Theodore
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> developed a 'sewing silk' made of 'two threads' that could be used in sewing-machines, a sample of which he brought to Isaac M SingerSinger, Isaac Merritt
CBD CloseView the register entry >> (248). Warns against 'foreign black silks' that are 'so highly "loaded" with nitrate or iron as to give color to the belief in "spontaneous combustion" in silk which caused the North German Steam-ship Company in 1879 to refuse the weightier foreign silks', explaining that the 'carbon of the silk and the nitrate make a compound closely parallel to gun-cotton' (252). Also describes the 'JacquardJacquard, Joseph Marie
CBD CloseView the register entry >> loom, with its marvellous power of producing infinite detail of figure', which allows the automatic production of 'an infinity of patterns' by the use of 'cards pierced with round holes [shown in a diagram], much like the perforated music of the orguinette'. Although Jacquard was mobbed in 1804 by angry French silk-weavers 'who thought his labor-saving machinery would destroy their livelihoods', he was soon honoured by them once it was realised that his loom in fact 'furnished employment for thousands of workers' (254)
Claims that the 'immense superiority' of the yacht AmericaAmerica, ship CloseView the register entry >> over all English yachts is 'the result of American science and skill', especially in the 'cut and set of her sails'. After detailing the arrangement of the yacht, acknowledges that 'I may have been too technical in this description for the ordinary reader', but insists that 'there are plenty of nautical men who will be obliged for the description'. (306). Boasts that when the grand old yacht was 'sold at auction' in 1871 a half-share of it was 'bought by General Benjamin F. Butler [i.e. the author, who was later charged with using public money to recondition the yacht]' (307). Concludes that now that the 'taste of yachting gentlemen [...] turns toward steam-yachts [...] it is to be hoped that the genius of the American builder and the craft of the American mechanic will soon produce some steam vessel which shall maintain a like supremacy in that branch of the American marine' (308).
Archaeology, Prehistory, Ethnology, Human Development, Theory, Controversy, Heterodoxy
Praises Jean F A S Nadaillac Du PougetNadaillac Du Pouget, Jean
François Albert Sigismond, marquis de
WBI CloseView the register entry >> as being 'like a sober man among drunkards' in his reflections on the 'antiquities of America'. While 'All manner of attempts have been made to connect' the 'enigmatic remains' of 'Mexico, Peru, and Yucatan' with the 'civilisations of the Old World' [see Alice D Le Plongeon, 'The New and Old in Yucatan', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 372–86], Nadaillac Du Pouget bravely 'refuses to try to explain American civilisation as borrowed or influenced by that of foreign peoples', arguing instead that the 'art and industries of the New World were gradually developed by the native races', and accounting for 'likenesses to Cyclopean, or Assyrian, or Egyptian art by the natural processes of the minds of men, working with similar materials for similar purposes'. In this 'he will carry the votes of most ethnologists with him', for the notion that 'similarity of artistic products, of customs, or of beliefs, indicates original community of race, or transmission, or borrowing, is an idea gradually being shelved' in favour of the conception that 'at similar stages of culture, human beings, however remote in race and space, do and believe almost exactly the same kind of things'. Claims that 'Dr. Le PlongeonLe Plongeon, Augustus
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>', who subscribes to the former view, is 'an energetic traveller, but a theorist in whom we have very little confidence'. (314) Later, remarks that 'In America M. de Nadaillac has displayed the limitations of an art which he regards as autochthonous, though Mr. TylorTylor, Sir Edward Burnett
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has shown reasons for believing in certain Asiatic influences' (317).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 321–24.
Regular Feature—Anecdote, Drollery
Notes that a 'lady who sympathises with the climatic woes of which something may have been inadvertently said in this department [see Anon, 'Editor's Drawer', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 819–22], wants the Drawer to move over to Santa Barbara, California' (321). However, while accepting that the Californian climate is extremely agreeable, states that 'Such perfection cannot be allowed. There'll be an earthquake some time to swallow it all up' (322).
Details how four 'busy brain-workers' from the 'modern Athens [i.e. Boston]' and the 'modern Gotham [i.e. New York]' take a holiday by travelling up the Ottawa river in Canada (327). On the boat trip they see the 'grand old mountains' of Carillon 'containing much that is dear to the heart of the geologist', which are 'stated to be the oldest geological formation on the continent'. When one of their fellow passengers declares that in fact the 'great glory of Carillon is its dam' which is the 'largest in the world', there ensues a 'controversy' over what is really the world's biggest dam (another suggestion is one in the 'Sierra Nevada Mountains [...] over a hundred feet high') which is settled in favour of the Carillon Dam by the opinion of the boat's captain. (336)
The female narrator, Sophy Effingham, follows her military husband to central Afghanistan, and whilst there she amazes the Sirdar and his attendants by her ability to cut a chess-board of sixty-four squares 'with three snips of my scissors, in place of eight times eight squares' so that it 'lay before the Sirdar five times thirteen, sixty-five squares in all' [accompanying diagrams show how the geometric feat might be achieved] (369). Later, when the Sirdar laughs, she reflects that 'a mesmeric perception of his thought flashed into me like a stroke of electricity' (370).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 375–89.
English and American Railways
Railways, Nationalism, Engineering, Machinery, Engineers, Aesthetics, Anthropology, Class
Imagines what would be the first impressions of a 'practical American engineer' upon seeing an English train, suggesting that an 'English locomotive compares' with the 'imposing splendour' of its American counterpart 'much as a lawn-mower does with a New York fire-engine. It is a humble, awkward green or monochromatic machine. It has neither polish nor decoration about it' (377) Many of the differences between locomotives in the two countries, however, are only in 'appearances', and a 'practical man finds a wonderful strength and economy in the build of this unbeautiful English engine' with 'not a bit of waste material about it' (377–78). An English engine, moreover, 'attains a rate of speed in the first hundred yards that shows its traction to be extraordinary, and it makes steam readily and easily' (378). Concedes that 'in these days of scientific railroading ' the large bell found on American locomotives 'partakes of the nature of a survival—an instance in which utility has faded into mere ceremonial' (379). Asserts that in England a 'railway carriage is a modification of the private carriage, the post-chaise, the stage-coach, and the carrier's wagon. Those vehicles have been merely adapted to steam traction and railway schedules, and the conventions which characterized their use before Stephenson'sStephenson, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> time remain unchanged in their new condition' (383). Notes that a 'frequent subject of discussion is the speed of English trains as compared with that of American trains', and especially 'well-known expresses' like '"The Wild Irishman" and "The Flying Scotchman"', but insists that the principal 'reason is found in the difference of tracks and operating conditions' (387).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 391–94.
Medical Treatment, Hydropathy, Health, Physical Geography, Disease, Mental Illness, Neurology, Medical Practitioners
Describes the 'thermal establishments' at Aix-les-Bains 'which are without an equal in the world', and on which the 'French government has unhesitatingly incurred vast expenditures'. The famous healing waters at Aix are of 'two kinds—sulphur-soda and alum', and their 'chief mineral constituents are sulphur in the form of the hyposulphite, the carbonate and the sulphate of lime, and the sulphate of magnesia, with some organic matter called barrégine' (392). They are 'of extraordinary value in combating chronic rheumatic affections [...] and in removing the thickness and stiffness which so often remain after attacks of acute rheumatism'. As well as this, for 'gout and sciatica Aix presents a wonderful story of cure' and 'Many a cripple throws away his crutches after four weeks' treatment with the waters. In addition, the waters also give relief for some 'Diseases of the nervous system', and 'Aix is to be most highly commended to nervous, overworked Americans'. (393). Overseeing the baths at Aix is Léon BrachetBrachet, Léon
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>, an 'indefatigable [and] distinguished local physician, who dictates the use of millions of litres of water daily' (392), although 'His love of truth, his rugged manner, and his absence of pretense give him a sort of AbernethyAbernethy, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> air which at first a nervous woman may fear' (394). Suggests nevertheless that Brachet's 'useful little bookBrachet,
Léon 1884. Aix-les-Bains in Savoy: The Medical Treatment
and General Indications, London: Renshaw
CloseView the register entry >> on Aix-les-Bains [...] should be in the hands of every medical man in the United States' (393), and admits that while the book is 'too strictly a medical treatise to be more freely quoted here [...] it has given what is most valuable technically and statistically to this paper' (394).
Fear, Imagination, Psychology, War, Steamships, Military Technology
Explains that a 'first-class panic is invariably marked by [...] unlimited credulity, extravagant exaggeration, and the loss of self-possession', and when 'Nothing is seen in the pure "dry light" of unclouded reason [...] [h]ideous phantoms are conjured up, that stalk like giant skeletons through the misty twilight, and the excited imagination clothes them in the drapery that vagrant fancy weaves in her magic loom' (403). Goes on to describe an event from the early part of the American Civil War, 'before the wonderful achievements of naval architecture had marked a new era' with the 'triple-turreted, iron-clad, steel-plated, heavy-metal, long-range-mounted Monitors of a later day' (404), when the 'notorious' but otherwise unremarkable 'little steamboat' the USS PawneeUSS Pawnee CloseView the register entry >> created panic among the inhabitants of Richmond, capital of the Confederate states, after the 'dreaded boat, supposed to have infernal machines and enginery of death on board, was reported to be nearing the city' (404–05).
Asserts that the 'feathered family' possess a 'love of the beautiful' which is the 'primary cause of the extraordinary change which comes upon the male birds at the period of courtship' when the 'male bird endeavor[s] to gain the favour of the coquettish female by exhibiting, by every device, every one of his new-found beauties of person, voice, and motion' (405), thereby offering 'a pretty counterpart of the actions of the male human animal under similar circumstances' (405–06). There was once a time when male birds did not have this aesthetic sense, but 'he found that the chance possession by any of his fellows of graces of person, voice, or action gained for them speedy favor from the females, and thus the love of the beautiful eventually brought about its existence, inasmuch as such birds as lacked beauty failed to please, and failing to please, failed to find wives'. Above all, it is in its 'architectural efforts' in nest-building that 'the bird most fully realizes the true decorative sentiment which struggles within it for an outlet' and gives 'expression of its artistic feeling'. (406) Gives several examples of notable forms of nest-building, including that of the Indian baya (Nelicurvius baya) which catches 'the living sparks of which there are myriads in the tropics' and affixes the 'fire-fly' to the clay of which its nest is built and 'lights up the little home with its phosphorescent glow'. By this means the 'patient little mother has light enough to cheer her during the long dark night', while 'one or more of the animated diamonds are fastened to the exterior, there to glitter and flash for the delectation of the outside world'. Although the reader 'might well be excused for doubting', corroboration of the baya's 'marvellous intelligence' has been provided by William JonesJones, Sir William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>. (408) Reflects that in most cases, 'to the greater honor of the fair sex, the female is the architect and master mechanic, while the male is only a journeyman builder' (410). Also notes that 'our own Baltimore oriole' exhibits such an 'expertness [...] in interweaving its materials [...] that, according to the naturalist WilsonWilson, Alexander
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, one old lady, to whom he showed a nest, seriously proposed having the bird taught to darn stockings' (411). Even more impressively, 'one of the most extraordinary facts in natural history', recently 'made known to the world' by the 'naturalist, Dr. BessariBessari, Dr (naturalist)
HM1/10/3/6 CloseView the register entry >>', is the 'highly decorated house and grounds [...] built and [...] laid out' by the gardener bird (Amblyornis inornata) of Papua, which displays an 'architectural and artistic genius' (412). Concludes that 'many acts of birds which have hitherto been ascribed to chance, or to some particular phase of instinct, as that of concealment, for example, are really dictated, if by nothing higher, at least by a self-conscious love of the beautiful' (415–16).
Dorsey Everett Brokaw, the male protagonist of this romantic tale of lost luggage, is a 'railroad contractor and engineer by profession, [and] he had run his slender lines of steel over spurs of the Andes, through Rocky Mountain cañons, and across the Asiatic steppes. His life was divided into periods of intense activity and absolute idleness. The present was an "off year" on railroad construction, and having just completed a large Western contract, he found himself at the threshold of a long vacation, which might last six months, or a year, or more, according to circumstance'. Also notes that Brokaw's 'regular contract percentages had left in his hands a very considerable fraction of the millions intrusted to him for disbursement'. (419) Later, it is asserted that Dorothy Elizabeth Bradford (who, like Brokaw, is known familiarly as 'Deb') 'had never read Elphas LeviConstant, Alphonse Louis (pseud Eliphas Levi)
WBI CloseView the register entry >> or Madame BlavatskyBlavatsky, Helena Petrovna Hahn
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and knew nothing of the alleged "Astral" being which, it is said, sometimes leaves us when we are asleep, and goes and does things which it shouldn't, and of which we get the credit or discredit when we return to our proper selves', but she nevertheless believes that in opening a trunk which belongs to 'Deb masculine' she has acted improperly 'under the bewitching influence of the full moon' (425).
Ethnography, Race, Religion, Menageries, Human Species
Records a rare visit to the land of the Lebanese Muslim Druze [or Druse] tribe, who 'twenty years ago drenched the valleys of the Lebanons with the blood of Christians' (429). Reflects that the 'typical Druze['s] [...] racial character is a conglomerate of the worst and some of the best features of human nature' (431). When examining their Western guests, the Druze express 'childish glee' and 'stand grunting in groups', while their predominantly American visitors play 'the part the caged animals take in the entertainment of the menagerie' (431–32). Describes how a group of 'fifty yelling half savages' are taken up by an 'undignified mania' and attempt to steal their guest's possessions, but comments that the 'comicalities of the situation at once make us feel kin. Man is the animal who laughs. This is the mark of the unity of the race, and the mutual laugh drives all fear from our hearts and all wrath from theirs' (432).
Exploration, Imperialism, Race, Commerce, Religion, Anthropology, Christianity, Human Development
Reflecting that 'Barbarous races should be "let alone" according to philosophers such as Mr. William MorrisMorris, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>', states that if 'such long views [...] had always been acted on, [they] would have left all humanity, perhaps, in a low state of savagery' (477). According to Henry M StanleyStanley, Sir Henry Morton
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the African 'natives, though indolent, have a surprising commercial instinct', and 'If Mr. Stanley is right, our Bourses will soon be crowded by speculative blacks'. Complains that 'Stanley's book will somewhat disappoint people who turn to it, as we confess we have done, for accounts of African manners and beliefs', for its author 'probably regards all the religions of Africa as fit only to be exchanged for the higher faith offered by Baptist and other missionaries'. (478) Insists, nevertheless, that 'Every one who intends to "try Africa" must be a reader' of these 'two bulky volumes' (477–78). Disagrees with a point in Henry Lansdell'sLansdell, Henry
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> book, contending that Levirate law and other biblical 'manners do exist among most races, at a certain stage of their development; they are the legal recognition of customs naturally evolved by men in harmony with their social condition and environment. Wherever advanced nomads, tribal in society, partly pastoral and partly agricultural in manner of life are found, there also will probably be found the customs of the "children of Abraham". To explain this neither community of origin nor transmission of ideas needs be postulated' [cf. Anon, 'Editor's Literary Record', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 313–19] (479).
Exploration, Race, Extinction, Mining, Disease, Quackery, Invention, Medical Treatment
Narrates a perilous journey along the coast of Labrador in Northern Canada in a one-man canoe, reflecting on features such as the native Indians of the region who are described as 'waddling savages' and a 'dusky race—now at the twilight of its life' (492). Later, observes that in the coastal area of Moisie, the 'ore is magnetic sand, found in a layer about two or three inches deep on the beach; the mining operations consisted of simply cleaning away a superincumbent layer of white sand, and then shovelling up the ore into bags' (496). The narrator recounts how on a previous cruise in the same region he had fallen ill with a 'high fever' and had had to be left on 'a barren beach', during which period he 'spent much of my time inventing patent medicines that excelled every compound known to man; and flying-machines swooped through my brain till I felt dizzy' (497). Then, the 'most practical device of all came to me when the fever seemed to have reached an alarming height. I bethought me of the Indian's cure—a steam bath', and 'Repeated baths at last broke up the condition, but it left me in such a condition that this cruise had to be given up until the next year' (497–98).
Reflects on the 'magnitude of the negro problem' in the Southern states of America, suggesting that the 'practical settlement of it' is the 'most difficult task now anywhere visible in human progress' (551). Advises that the 'South must have a highly diversified industry' and should provide 'industrial as well as ordinary schools for the colored people', because 'with this education and with diversified industry, the social question will settle itself, as it does the world over'. Also states that it is 'my impression that the negroes are no more desirous to mingle socially with the whites than the whites are with the negroes'. (550)
Claims that the early proponent of Westward expansion Manasseh CutlerCutler, Manasseh
WBI CloseView the register entry >> 'published anonymously at Salem, Massachusetts, a small pamphlet[Cutler,
Manasseh] 1787. An Explanation of the Map which Delineates That
Part of the Federal Lands Comprehended Between Pennsylvania West Line, the
Rivers Ohio and Scioto, and Lake Erie: Confirmed to the United States by Sundry
Tribes of Indians, in the Treaties of 1784 and 1786, and Now Ready for
Settlement, Salem: printed by Dabney and Cushing
CloseView the register entry >>' that contained 'some prophecies which were undoubtedly regarded as the wildest of improbabilities or impossibilities, born in the brain of a sanguine visionary. Among other things, the pamphlet set forth what was probably the first suggestion ever made in print of the mighty commerce that the future would witness upon the Western rivers, and of the employment of steam in its service'. The pamphlet was 'published just twenty years before Fulton'sFulton, Robert
CBD CloseView the register entry >> successful application of steam to navigation; but it is worthy of note that MillerMiller, Patrick
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> in Scotland had that very year [i.e. 1787] demonstrated the practicability of propelling boats by this power, and Dr. Cutler being a scientist, fully abreast with the times, and in communication with certain savants and scientific societies of Europe, in all probability had early knowledge of the fact'. (556)
Sanitation, Public Health, Putrefaction, Bacteriology, Natural Economy, Disease, Gas Chemistry, Darwinism, Experiment, Medical Practitioners, Statistics, Agriculture, Pollution, Engineering, Engineers, Expertise, Skill
Discusses the 'best means of disposing of [...] refuse matter, including ashes, garbage, street sweepings, excreta, and water befouled by domestic or factory uses', which is 'one of the most important problems with which a municipality has to deal'. Observes that the 'most important peculiarities' of sewage 'depend upon the fact that it contains a large amount of organic matter, part of which is alive in the form of myriads of extremely minute organisms, and a part of which is dead and in a process of decomposition'. The decomposition wrought by these 'tiny microbe[s]' results in changes in the organic matter that are 'known as fermentation, nitrification, putrefaction, etc.' and their 'importance [...] in the economy of nature we are only just beginning to discover. Life in this world is, as it were, a balancing or seesaw between different organisms, in which each helps the rest—a cycle of actions which are to a certain extent dependent upon each other'. (577) Some of these 'little granules and rods, or micrococci and bacteria', however, are the cause of 'death and disease', and are 'microscopic monsters as it were, producing evil instead of good'. As such, it is so dangerous to keep 'organic matter suitable for the nourishment of such organisms [...] in the vicinity of human habitations' that 'casks of powder or cases of dynamite would be really safer neighbors'. Similarly, constant 'exposure' to the 'gases and effluvia evolved in putrefaction', which are 'characterized by unpleasant odors', 'impairs health gradually, but distinctly, especially in infants and children' (578), and while they are not always 'injurious to health' such 'Unpleasant sights and smells [...] should be avoided and averted as far as possible for the sake of public comfort' (578–79). Notes that the 'scavengers, workers in sewers, and plumbers' who can withstand these foul 'exhalations' are the 'survivors of a process of natural selection' in which 'their power of resistance [...] is strengthened by habit' (578). Reflects that 'Cleanliness is a relative term; the ideas of a Polish Jew of the lower class, of a New England housewife, and of a chemist are very different with regard to this subject, and a glass which all these considered clean would be at once rejected as impure by the experimenter who wishes to know whether the fluid which he places in it is free from living germs' (579). It is 'from observations of the course of certain epidemic diseases, and from comparisons of the death rates of different localities' that 'Physicians and sanitarians have concluded that stored filth, and air or water contaminated by sewage or its products, are dangerous'. Gives a cautious welcome to plans to 'make use' of the 'fertilizing powers' of nitrogen-rich sewage in 'system[s] of sewage irrigation' and 'sewage farming, properly so called', although claiming, in disagreement with the Boston Sanitary EngineerPlumber and Sanitary Engineer
Engineering and Building Record and Sanitary
Engineering Record, Building Record and Sanitary
BUCOP CloseView the register entry >>, that at present it is 'cheaper and easier to go West and get a new farm' than to restore an old one using fertiliser made from sewage (581). Rejects 'various storage systems of disposal of excreta, including the dry-earth system, the Chinese and pail systems, and the privy odorless excavating system' (581), as well as the 'LiernurLiernur, Charles Thieme
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> system [in which] the least possible quantity of water is admitted to the pipes designed to convey excreta' (582), but refuses to 'consider the relative merits of this or that particular system of sewerage' (583). In any case, 'No one system is best for all places'. Insists, however, on the necessity of carefully built sewerage systems, for 'Properly constructed sewers are among the most permanent works of the engineer; they should last for hundreds of years, and be planned for the future as well as the present'. Their construction, moreover, should be conducted by the 'best experts obtainable', and, once built, the duty of supervision should be 'given to a skilled engineer'. (584)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 599–603.
Aesthetics, Zoology, Anatomy, Dissection, Botanical Gardens, Conservatism, Taxonomy, Status
In a discussion of Antoine L Barye'sBarye, Antoine Louis
CBD CloseView the register entry >> most famous work of sculpture 'Tiger Devouring a Crocodile', observes that before the work was first exhibited in the 1830s 'the tiger had not been considered worthy of the honors of sculpture, much less the crocodile, for academic zoology recognized only two animals, the lion and the horse, and both had degenerated into mere conventional forms, in the production of which the study or consultation of nature would have been misleading to the artist' (599). Bayre, however, devoted all his 'rare hours of leisure' to 'attending lectures at the Jardin des PlantesJardin des Plantes, Paris CloseView the register entry >>, [and] to studying human and animal anatomy in the dissecting-rooms' (587). His desire to observe real animals also led him to 'all kinds of queer places of popular amusement' and he would 'often go to study animal life at the dog-market' as well as at 'ignoble dog-fights'. In addition, he considered 'justly that the tiger is but a sublime development of the cat, [and] used to study the wild animal in its reduced domestic counterpart' (590). The conservative Académie des Beaux ArtsAcadémie des Beaux Arts, Paris CloseView the register entry >> refused to admit Bayre as a member for many years and instead 'adopted [...] the policy of depreciating him and treating him as a mere animalier, a modeller of animals, of beings belonging to a lower rank of creation!', relenting in its judgement only towards the end of his career (592).
When the elderly Mrs Wilson Torry is given a mathematical 'problem' that has already perplexed both the local high-school teacher and the parish minister, she reflects that she 'can't remember the time when I wasn't crazy to cipher' and how even as a child would 'rather count than play' (611). She acknowledges that 'I don't know anything about the 'rithmetic books an' the rules they hev nowadays', but declares nevertheless 'I've got this faculty; I can cipher [...] it's a gift' (611–12). She becomes so engrossed in solving the problem, however, that she stops performing her domestic duties, and barely notices when her granddaughter Letty goes missing. Letty's continued absence, though, makes her realise that she has been 'a-lettin' my faculty for cipherin' get ahead of things that's higher an' sacreder' (614), and that 'There's other things besides doing arithmetic examples' (615). Only when Letty at last returns is her contrite grandmother able finally to complete the troublesome problem and exclaim joyfully 'I've got that sum [...] done' (615).
While travelling along the rocky coastline of Labrador in Northern Canada in a one-man canoe, the narrator reflects that 'Geologists would have much to tell about the granites, gneiss, traps, basalts, and porphyries that generally compose the coast. But the general reader needs chiefly to imagine all these rocks heaved up along the sea' with 'varied forms in some places set off by veins and strata of strong colors [...]. With these features in mind, he sees Labrador' (656). Also proclaims that 'I have never seen anything more rare and fascinating than icebergs', and describes the ever-changing 'polar sculpture' of the region which is created by the constant fracturing of 'these strange shy phantoms of the north' (664).
Recounts how, soon after the introduction of German 'lager' to America, a 'famous trial' was held in which 'evidence was introduced to show that the beverage was not intoxicating' and one of the 'Old-time imbibers [...] claimed an ability to dispose of sixty glasses at a single sitting'. Beginning with the growing of hops, gives an account of all the processes involved in the production of beer, which has become an 'industry [...] calling for the highest perfection and the development of the latest resources in scientific discovery' (666). Observes that the increasing number of hop growers in 'California are the envy of all Eastern growers, for they call to their aid [in the harvest time] the patient red men, who [...] have not learned the crooked ways of the "poor white trash", [and] pick with scrupulous care and cleanliness' (669). Traces the 'chemical changes which [...] according to ProustProust, Joseph Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >> [...] take place in the conversion of barley into malt' (674), before examining the various procedures involved in brewing, which is 'a simple culinary process, and a brewery [...] only a big kitchen and cellar with modern improvements on a huge scale' (675). Explains that the recently introduced 'saccharometer [...] shows by the evidence of specific gravity the proportion of sugar in the liquid' (675–76), and is thus useful not only to brewers but also to 'excise-men', who use it to determine the strength and thereby the duty of different beers (679). Reflects that when the price of hops rocketed in 1883 many brewers were 'tempted to reduce the quantity used, as well as to substitute hurtful or questionable make-shifts to such an extent as to excite the suspicion of consumers' (676), although it is 'probably untrue that beer is adulterated in this country to any considerable extent, in which respect there is a strong contrast with distilled spirits' (683). Notes that 'Baron LiebigLiebig, Justus von
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, [...] like that other great chemist, PasteurPasteur, Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, gave much attention to beer-making processes', particularly 'in his Organic ChemistryLiebig, Justus
von 1840. Organic Chemistry in its Applications to Agriculture
and Physiology, ed. (from the manuscript of the author) by
Lyon Playfair, London: Taylor and
CloseView the register entry >>'. Claims that in 'no process connected with the making of beer [...] has there been a greater advance in the way of mechanical or chemical treatment than that produced by the ice-making and refrigerating machines', which have both allowed brewers to become 'comparatively independent of any changes in the outer atmosphere' and extended the distance that beer can be exported with the 'frozen beer of Tasmania' being shipped across the British Empire in 'frozen blocks, so that in Calcutta they suck their beer instead of sipping it'. (680) Explains that the 'principle of the machines consists in the evaporating of ether, ammonia, or some other volatile liquid in a vacuum, and again condensing the same so that it can be used afresh', noting that the 'machines are operated by steam-power, and, by a singular paradox, the greater the amount of heat employed, the larger the amount of ice produced' (680–81). With so much technology at their disposal, many brewers 'now have some scientific education, and a technical school for brewers is now in existence in New York' (683). Asserts that 'English brewers are, as a class, the most wealthy of her manufacturers' (681), and 'Nearly one-third of her Majesty's revenue [...] comes from the excise taxes on beer and spirits and from licenses for their manufacture and sale' (682). Concludes that 'beer-drinking is the best preventive of over-indulgence in ardent spirits' and may indeed help to reduce the level of 'insanity arising from intemperance', but admits that a 'discussion of this question is not within the province of an article dealing with the industry as such' (683).
The narrator, determined to 'risk [the] curious and fastidious scrutiny of my neighbours', abjures the normal duties of gardening and allows his example of the 'prosaic back yard of the average metropolitan home' to 'follow its own sweet will'. By this procedure, he tells a female 'friend whom I had previously initiated into the mysteries and delights of botany', you can 'still remain in the city, and even without going beyond your front door find abundant occasion for the use of your botany during your spare hours'. (684) Having 'aroused' his 'own curiosity' with this assertion, he takes a 'pencil and note-book' and makes 'a careful inspection of the tangle of vegetation', surprising himself by the 'discovery' of the number of 'species there assembled'. Of the sixty-four species of plants found in the 'plot of turf [...] about twenty-five by twelve feet' there will 'doubtless be discovered a few whose presence will naturally strike the botanist as especially remarkable'. (686) In addition, the presence there of the 'crane's bill plant' furnishes the narrator 'an opportunity of touching upon its peculiar contribution to the mechanical contrivances of plants in the dispersion of seeds', a subject already discussed in 'William H Gibson, 'A Witch-hazel Copse', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 906–15' (686–87). Suggests that the 'modus operandi of this process [...] will be made clear by a little study of the accompanying illustration', and provides additional explanations 'for the benefit of those readers who may not be conversant with botanical terms' (687–88). Insists that the conclusions of 'Sir John LubbockLubbock, Sir John, 4th Baronet and 1st Baron
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' regarding the distance travelled by seeds dispersed by the 'pretty herb-robert (Geranium robertianum)' have 'been verified by my own experiments ' in the 'back yard' (688). Also notes that the 'mysterious purple morsel of a flower' that grows at the top of 'wild carrots' is 'a tiny tid-bit, which, I observe, however, has proved too formidable for scientist or seer' (689–90). Concludes by discussing the 'interesting incidents of insect life among these grassy jungles', observing that the 'well-known story of the ants and the aphides, first related by HuberHuber, François
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, was daily enacted upon the stems of my thistles and other plants', and proclaiming 'What a volume might be written on the arcana of a tuft of grass!' (690).
In a tour of Hartford, state capital of Connecticut, points out the 'American Asylum for the Deaf and DumbAmerican Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, Hertford, CT CloseView the register entry >>, a most praiseworthy establishment, the first of its kind in the United States. It was founded by a number of gentlemen in 1815, and under the superintendence of the Rev. Mr. GallaudetGallaudet, Thomas Hopkins
WBI CloseView the register entry >> it became the inspiration for and model of many similar institutions' (cf. Sarita M Brady, 'The Silent Schools of Kendall Green', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 8 (1884), 181–87). Similarly, 'another famous establishment, the Hartford Retreat for the InsaneHartford Retreat for the Insane, Hartford, CT CloseView the register entry >> [...] likewise antedates all of its class in this country, saving one or two that were publicly endowed'. Explains that 'How one charity may aid another I happened to see well exemplified in the case of an insane person who was also a deaf-mute, so that it was necessary for the Retreat to provide an attendant skilled in the manual and sign language—a need which could not easily have been met had it not been for the work of the American Asylum'. (716) While describing the Hartford house of Harriet E StoweStowe (née Beecher), Harriet Elisabeth
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, observes that the large collection of 'the authoress's works, in several foreign languages' contained in the parlour 'has been duplicated in the British MuseumBritish Museum
CloseView the register entry >>, and is there used as the means of curious studies in comparative philology' (729). Reflects with pride on the 'number of things in which [Hartford] has shown excellence or commendable energy—on one side its humane establishments, including that where the deaf-mute children lead with so much good cheer their life of silent imagery, and on the other its hum of factories , producing all manner of things, from paper, pins, paper barrels, to machinery, revolvers, and Gatling guns (the invention of a Hartford citizenGatling, Richard Jordan
CBD CloseView the register entry >>)' (734).
Recounts the droll tale of a 'two-year-old who had often heard his parents discourse on astronomy, and had seen them engaged in the study of the stars', who is 'taken to a distant city one summer'. On the evening of his arrival he is taken for a walk around the block, but 'on reaching the first corner he looked up at the houses, then at the sky, and stopped short. "Mama", said he, "I 'clare I'm all turned round: I can't find Venus"'. (810)
Telegraphy, Technology, Instruments, Instrument-makers, Patents, Commerce, Neurology, Energy, Health, Language
While describing the grandiose premises of the New York Stock ExchangeNew York Stock Exchange
CloseView the register entry >>, observes that the 'famous CallahanCallahan, E A
http://www.stocktickercompany.com/history.html CloseView the register entry >> "ticker", whose patent was purchased of the Gold and Stock Telegraph CompanyGold and Stock Telegraph Company
CloseView the register entry >> by the Western Union Telegraph CompanyWestern Union Telegraph Company
CloseView the register entry >>, and which prints its electric messages on endless strips of paper, is perpetually at work during the hours of business' (831). Admires the 'arrangements for heating and cooling' the interior of the Stock Exchange building, noting that the 'ventilating apparatus is as effective as it is necessary, and cost $30, 000. Not only does it supply pure air, but perfumes it at the same time', so that '"What bouquet have you this morning, doctor?" is not an uncommon inquiry of the superintendent' (832). Reflects that the 'activities of stock-brokerage involve exhaustive drain of vital energy. The nervous force necessarily expended in rapid reasoning and quick decision is often directed into other channels to relieve the overtasked brain', especially activities such as 'base-ball contests', 'Græco-Roman wrestling' and 'practical jokes' (844). Stresses the importance of the 'quotation clerks, who are also telegraph operators' who 'send the news by "sounders" to the main offices of the Western Union and Commercial UnionCommercial Union Telegraph Company
CloseView the register entry >> Telegraph Companies', from where the 'news of sales is sent by "transmitter" from each office over the tickers, of which there are many hundreds in and out of the city, in the offices—private, in hotels, club rooms, etc.—of their patrons'. Also notes that 'Stock-brokers [...] establish private telegraph codes between themselves and clients, codes in which certain words stand for names, phrases, numbers, etc.' (850)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 886–900.
While travelling through the dense forests of central Guatemala, the narrator comes upon a strange 'race of Indians wholly dissimilar in habits, physical characteristics, and intelligence from any [other] tribe' in the Americas, suggesting that the 'only race to associate them with is the Papuan, and their existence here is an ethnographic problem of exceeding interest' (889). For 'many investigators they have seemed to sustain their claim to the name of the primitive people, the true aborigines', and they 'have the small calves, powerfully developed chests and arms, and strongly retreating facial angle that instinctively make the observer look for a caudal extension of the vertebral column, so nearly allied are they to the simian type' (889–90). Indeed, when 'to their physical appearance we add their modes of life, this relationship to the ape is an almost inevitable inference. Their children are so many little apes'. Similarly, their communal village 're-asserts the simian claim of the dwellers, for it is in the treetops', and the inhabitants reach it by climbing 'with the ease and celerity of monkeys' using the 'extraordinary developed [...] prehensile power' of their 'great toe[s]'. (890) Later, declares that the 'native Guatemalan [...] is of blood so questionable that his race is lost in variety' and observes that the nation's crowded capital, the New City, bustles with 'faces and physiognomies and costumes and languages and customs that are indeed a study for the ethnologist, anthropologist, philologist, and antiquary' (894). Notes that during the 'rainy season' in the New City, 'Death by lightning is so very frequent [...] that those who can afford to leave the capital do so', and refers the reader to a 'diagram' which 'show[s] why this storm moves so near the altitude of the capital, and breaks over it for so long a period of the year: owing to a junction of currents from opposite sides of the Andean chain, the New City happening to be in the very spot of contact' (898).
Hunting, Natural History, Darwinism, Language, War
After shooting a cormorant while on a hunting trip in the remote Outer Hebrides, the narrator finds its 'crop gorged with the herring fry' and reflects how 'in that stern and lonely region every living thing within ken, from man himself downward, seemed absorbed in the pursuit and destruction of weaker creatures'. The 'laird' then tells him that while hunting sea-otters in the Borders is merely 'a chase', 'here it is a battle', and this martial language ('battle raged', 'canine auxiliaries', 'execution', 'conflict', 'victory') continues in the narrator's description of the brutal hunt that follows. (909)
Military Technology, Experiment, Electricity, Industrial Chemistry, Popularization, National Efficiency, Expertise, Engineers, War, Invention, Aeronautics, Dynamics, Theory, Steamships
Addressing the 'reader [...] unfamiliar with this subject' (931) and imparting 'facts which every citizen should know' and 'should carefully weigh, if he has any regard whatever for the safety and welfare of his country' (932), warns that the American coastline is 'everywhere vulnerable' to enemy attack (927). Describes the 'excellent and sure' fish torpedo defences available, at a cost, to modern sea-ports, stating that the 'SimsSims, Winfield Scott
WBI CloseView the register entry >> torpedo [...] is apparently the favorite of our army officers, who have been experimenting with it now for some four or five years' (928). In experimental tests, the Sims torpedo bears a 'heavy charge of dynamite, gun-cotton, or explosive gelatine', and is powered by 'electricity generated ashore' which is 'sufficient to drive it at the rate of over ten miles an hour'. However, it has not been 'tried against an enemy' in the 'hurry and excitement of actual battle', and 'about seventy-five per cent. should be discounted from the efficiency of the practice ground to arrive at the probable result under these more trying conditions'. In fact, 'Careful research discloses the use of no fish torpedo except the "Whitehead"Whitehead, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> in actual conflict'. (929) Cautions that the 'efficiency of the entire [torpedo] system [...] is as dependent upon the integrity of their electrical connection as upon the presence of an explosive in the torpedo itself', and insists that the connecting 'wires' must made 'absolutely secure against the heaviest projectiles' or a 'single well-directed shot may paralyze the whole defense in an instant' (930). In addition, warns that the superintendence of torpedo defences 'must be the work of experts'; in 1883, though, 'not more than one hundred men qualified by technical knowledge to be intrusted with the work could be found' in America, while 'England maintains more than five times this number in the comparatively trivial harbor of Halifax alone' (931). Explains that at the close of the American Civil War 'we were possessed of the most powerful artillery the world had ever seen' but soon 'sank into [a] condition of repose', while 'other nations' took the 'lessons of our war [...] to heart, and one and all strove to improve their means of attack and defense in every way they could devise'. Changes were made to the 'composition' of gun-powder, for instance, 'using less sulphur, and a charcoal which, compared to the former practice, was much under-charred, thus producing the so-called "brown" or "cocoa" powder of the Germans', which is 'said to give less smoke than the ordinary variety' (932). Discusses the rapid increase over the last decade in the size and calibre of 'Krupp'sKrupp, Alfred
CBD CloseView the register entry >> [...] "high power" gun[s]' (934), suggesting that in the 'long struggle for supremacy between guns and floating armor, the guns now seem destined to have decidedly the better of it' (935). The 'possible range of guns of such fearful power' is limited only by the difficulties created by the 'shock of the recoil', and although the 'determination of this question by actual trial is hedged about with difficulties' the 'extreme theoretical range' of such guns can be calculated as being 'between ten and eleven miles' (934). Concludes by admonishing Americans against considering their coastal defences with an 'apathy which must, if persisted in, ultimately overwhelm us in national humiliation and disaster' (937).
Disease, Public Health, Popularization, Exploration, Natural History, Naturalists
Observes that with the 'prevalence of cholera in virulent epidemic form in portions of Europe with which we have close commercial relations [...] grave apprehensions are reasonably entertained that it will reach our shores this year or early in the coming year' (965). Claims, as such, that 'it behoves us all, whether physicians or laymen, to be prepared for it', and recommends the 'timely treatise' written by Alfred StilléStillé, Alfred
WBI CloseView the register entry >> as being of 'great value to non-professional men and women as a guide for the detection of the disease in its early stages, and for its safe and judicious treatment in those stages until experienced medical aid can be obtained'. While Stillé, 'one of the most experienced physicians of Philadelphia', insists that the diffusion of cholera has absolutely no 'relation to aerial causes, such as the direction or the velocity of the wind', he nevertheless concedes that 'its essential causation is as yet unknown'. (965–66) Praises a new book on the Malayan group of islands by Henry O ForbesForbes, Henry Ogg
WBI CloseView the register entry >> as 'Eminently worthy of a place alongside Mr. Wallace'sWallace, Alfred Russel
DSB CloseView the register entry >> valuable volumeWallace, Alfred
Russel 1869. The Malay Archipelago: The Land of the Orang-Utan
and the Bird of Paradise; a Narrative of Travel, with Studies of Man and
Nature, &c., 2 vols, London: Macmillan
CloseView the register entry >>, both as a spirited record of travel and an elaborate scientific study of the animated forms of that region, and also of its physical phenomena and characteristics' (966). The researches contained in the new book, moreover, 'embrace very considerable portions of the archipelago which were either not visited by Mr. Wallace, or were only briefly referred to by him, and of which Mr. Forbes now gives the first detailed account'. Also notes that the two men's 'scientific conclusions, though almost uniformly in accord, are the result of entirely independent investigations'. (967)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 809–10.
Regular Feature—Anecdote, Drollery
With reference to the short fiction Elizabeth W Latimer, 'The Sirdar's Chess-Board', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 10 (1885), 359–73 published in the magazine in August, reports that 'some of our readers appear to have been as much interested in the solution of the puzzle as in the story itself', and, as well as reproducing the original diagram, prints 'several interesting answers' sent in 'by our correspondents' showing the 'correct mathematical solution' (970–71). In addition, one 'lady correspondent offers a solution in which she shows that by a different arrangement a chess-board of sixty-three, instead of sixty-four or sixty-five, squares is made' (971).