Sugests that with the 'mercury at zero, and Boreas in hearty sympathy', the time is right for 'worshipper[s] at the shrine of Nature' to venture from their 'congenial fires' and 'look out upon the wondrous miracle of a white morning' (68–69). Discusses how several trees 'bear their fruits far into the winter', many of which are 'evidently baited for the birds, and thus are naturally disseminated during the winter season'. Notes that 'our beautiful drooping hemlock' is 'peerless in grace among the evergreens of the world' and for 'true beauty' cannot be bettered by the 'boasted Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodar), Chinese cypress, nor the several examples of retinispora, so prized by connoisseurs'. (73) Asserts that the question of the 'scantiness of vegetation beneath the pines and amongst dense evergreens [...] was set at rest long ago by the discovery of PlinyPliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' that the 'shade of pine-trees [...] kills whatsoever it toucheth'. The 'antique philosopher['s] [...] interesting theory [...] shows at least that conifer woods have remained the same through the ages'. While walking along a 'corn field's edge, where the zigzag fence is besieged with fantastic peaked drifts', advises the reader to 'Lie down upon the snow and shut out the distant trees, divest yourself of your physical identity, and look up at this beetling range as an ant might do. What need of Switzerland, of Jungfrau or Matterhorn! At this focal range the mastodon is but a midge, and man learns his true status as a constituent of the universe'.(74) While the 'snow covers and buries a multitude', it is at the same time a 'great revealer [...] of secrets'. Indeed, the 'white page is of great interest if one cares to read', and is 'alive with furry news not to be gathered at any other season'. Mice, those 'hardy little Arabs of the snow', have a 'nervous, eccentric, racy vernacular' in which they trace their movements in the snow, and although it is a 'nocturnal chronicle' which 'publishes a fresh postscript by sunrise every morning', the snow is a very 'wide-awake night editor'. (76) Noting that a 'weed has been described [by Ralph W EmersonEmerson, Ralph Waldo
CBD CloseView the register entry >>] as "a plant whose virtues have not been discovered"', reflects that in the winter months many of 'our commonest pests in the way of weeds now redeem themselves, and seem to show an adequate reason for their being', primarily by providing food for hungry birds (78). Comments that 'I sometimes wonder who shall be the first true interpreter of the hieroglyphic of the woodpecker on the apple-tree', proposing that although 'much has been written concerning' these 'punctured rings circling the orchard trees' the 'pleasant counsel of [the] inward eye' might lead one to 'fancy that this carefully punctuated inscription had a deeper significance—that this sculptured apple tree was the bulletin of the birds, and that the downy woodpecker was their appointed scribe' (80–81).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 94–114.
The 'endless procession' of hotel 'boarders' who flock to the small fishing port of Fairharbor every August invariably become fixated by the local 'snail[s]—brown, green, orange, lemon, gray, and white—the tiny shells mere flecks of color, moved sluggishly by their cell of hidden consciousness and will', as well as the 'great volcanic veins that seem to pulsate yet through the cliff with the fire imprisoned there—who knows when?'. One local resident, however, exclaims 'I'm tired seein' a passel of folks squealin' at a snail shell', and, indeed, the visitor 'views the attractions of the spot first enthusiastically, then calmly, now indifferently, and drifts away at the third stage of feeling, possibly an object of curiosity or envy, in his turn, to the snail, who has to stay'. (94) On a table in the parlour of the poor family of a fisherman are 'an old Harper, and a patent-medicine almanac' (99). In the same room, moreover, lies a 'sleeping baby, who seemed to have been born in a hard season, and bore the inheritance of poverty and anxiety in the lines of his unconscious face' (100). It is also a 'physiological fact' that one of the fishermen is 'what may be charitably called sensitive to liquor, owing to some passing familiarity of the nervous system with its effects in early youth; and it took little enough to make it clear that he had better have taken none at all' (103). When Helen Ritter gives some assistance to the family of a fisherman assumed to have been lost at sea, it is stated that 'her head was painfully uneducated in sociology. She had not a particle of training as a visitor to the poor. She had not a theory as to their elevation. She had never been interested in books concerning their management' (110).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 162–65.
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 165–68.
Regular Feature, Anecdote, Drollery
Botany, Acclimatization, Government, Political Economy, Nationalism
Complains that the 'Congressmen who give so much time to the study of botany in our Agricultural DepartmentUnited States Department of Agriculture
CloseView the register entry >>' reject any attempt to legislate to protect 'American varieties' of mistletoe and holly against the 'considerable quantities' of English imports that arrive every Christmas, primarily because they assume that 'no amount of duties would change the character of our native plants'. Asserts, however, that it is 'perfectly well known that the grape (wine being well protected) by long cultivation here becomes refined and purged of those gross, earthy, highly fruity qualities which connoisseurs (when they have seen the label) so much detest in wine'. Argues that the true 'American Christmas sentiment' requires home-grown decorations, and notes that 'holly flourishes with more beauty and vigour in the South than in the North, and [...] mistletoe likes the favouring air of the Gulf States. The South is thus able to contribute something essential, in our traditions, to the Christmas festivities: and the North, in taking it, is conscious that the great country is our country'. Indeed, during America's 'period of alienation [i.e. the Civil War], the two sections, it seems, were in a kind of vegetable ignorance of each other's capacities to satisfy the finer sentiments of each'. (165)
After reflecting on the former 'certainty that I had seen [...] in my boyhood' an inscription on a gravestone that is now known to be apocryphal, observes that 'such are the Fallacies of Memory, whereof Miss CobbeCobbe, Frances Power
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has written cleverly' (211).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 217–34.
Race, Ethnology, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners, Veterinary Science
Reflects on the 'radical and permanent difference between the nations of the East and the West', suggesting that a 'vast and seemingly irreconcilable space [...] separates the Asiatic in general from the European type', these being the 'two great divisions of the human race' (217). Observes that in Persia a 'barber is a person of some consequence', whose skills include, among other things, 'leeching, and venesection, the latter a very important pursuit in Persia, for even well persons are in the habit of being bled once or twice a month as a preventative to disease, while the slightest colic or neuralgic pain sends them in haste to the barber' (220–21). Adds that it is the 'custom, also, to bleed horses once a month', and as 'Persian horses are in every way admirable [...] it would seem that this custom is at least not injurious, and possibly in such a climate has decided advantages' (221).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 235–57.
Traces the evolution of petroleum from being merely 'the poor man's light' to 'one of our great staple domestic products, and the fourth article in the value of our exports'. When towards the middle of the century the 'pursuit of the whale had driven it to Northern latitudes, increasing the cost and scarcity of its products', the 'aid of chemistry was invoked to discover a substitute' for 'Whale and kindred oils', which was found in the 'distillate of bituminous coals and shales'. At precisely the same time, however, drilling in Pennsylvania 'revealed vast quantities of a superior natural fluid' which, when refined, cast all other forms of oil 'into the shade'. (235) Although petroleum, a 'liquid bitumen (hydro-carbon)', is a 'universal product' described by ancient writers like HerodotusHerodotus of Halicarnassus
(d. c. 430–420 BC)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, its 'practical utilization' has been 'reserved to Americans of our day and generation' (235–36). The origins of the American petroleum industry can be traced to 1854–55 when Brewer, Watson and CompanyBrewer, Watson and Company, Titusville, PA CloseView the register entry >> employed 'Professor B. Silliman, Jr.Silliman, Benjamin, Jr
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the YaleYale University, New Haven CloseView the register entry >> chemist [...] to exhaustively test and report upon the petroleum', and he was 'singularly correct in his estimate of its utility, and in his forecast of the proper method of refining it' (236). The 'red-letter day in the annals of Oildom' and the 'first deliberate step in the petroleum industry', however, took place in 1859 when Edwin L DrakeDrake, Edwin Laurentine
CBD CloseView the register entry >> 'struck oil' with the 'first oil well ever drilled'. Drake's successful innovation created a widespread 'conviction that an oil well was the open sesame to wealth' and led thousands to rush into the Pennsylvanian 'wilderness' in an attempt to 'dive into nature's great grab-bag'. (237) The sudden emergence of oil-wells also provoked fierce 'competition' among 'telegraph companies "at the front"', one of which beat its rivals in the rapid extension of its lines by improvising a 'perambulating office in an omnibus' (240). Observes that oil prospectors often select a 'promising spot to test new territory' by using the '"belt theory", first advanced by a man named AngellAngell, Cyrus D
McLaurin 1896 CloseView the register entry >>', which proposes that 'oil lies in belts or pools having a northeast and southwest trend' (242). Once the oil has been located, a well is usually established by the use of a 'torpedo [...] containing fluid nitro-glycerine' which was 'patented by Colonel E. A. L. RobertsRoberts, E A L
http://www.usachoice.net/drakewell/museum.htm CloseView the register entry >>' in 1865. The torpedo's subterranean 'explosion shatters the walls, giving a greater exposure of surface to draw oil from'. (244). After discussing the processes of oil refinement, points out the 'medicinal value of petroleum [...] especially for rheumatism and sores', and suggests that its 'most important use is in Vaseline, which is conceded to be almost without a rival as a base for ointments', although 'Further experiments are necessary to define its full value as a remedial agent' (249). The only 'dangerous competition' that threatens American dominance of the petroleum industry 'in the near future' comes from the Russian oil-fields around Baku, which have of late been 'completely revolutionized' by the reforms of 'Robert NobelNobel, Robert Hjalmar
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, a Swede, whose brother AlbertNobel, Alfred Bernhard
DSB CloseView the register entry >> [sic] invented dynamite' (252). Concludes by considering how, when petroleum has been used 'as a fuel for locomotives and steamers in the Caspian region', 'it can hardly be said to have passed the experimental stage in this country', where 'with a few exceptions, the only practical utilization of petroleum as a fuel is in kerosene stoves' (254–55). Indeed, the Bureau of Steam EngineeringNavy Department, Washington, DC—Steam Engineering Bureau
CloseView the register entry >> concluded in 1867 that the 'use of petroleum as a fuel for steamers is hopeless' (255), and, in any case, 'its enlarged use would doubtless increase its cost to an extent that would destroy the economy' (256).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 294–303.
Military Technology, Professionalization, War, Scientism, Engineering, Anthropology, Race
Argues that America must 'have a permanent establishment where officers devote themselves entirely to the military profession' in order to 'keep pace with the rapid and unceasing improvements of modern military science' (294), and reflects that 'never before has technical science played so great a part in war, and never before was thorough scientific knowledge of the art of war, in all its branches, so necessary to insure success' (295). Advises that America will need to maintain a large army to defend the 'neutrality' of the 'best possible water route[s] between our Atlantic and Pacific coasts' when the 'inevitable construction of the Nicaragua Canal is undertaken' and 'Should the Panama CanalPanama Canal
CloseView the register entry >> ever be completed'. Also contends that a military force will be required in the West 'until the frontiersman can regard the Indian as a fellow-citizen, or at least as a human being, instead of a murderous savage more akin to a wild beast than a man'. (296)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 315–20.
In introducing a new section entitled the 'Editor's Study', reflects that a 'magazine is something of a club' in which, among the outpourings of poets, novelists and travellers, the 'naturalist reveals his beautiful secrets, and the mysteries of mechanics are made plain by the inventor'. However, if such a club also provided the kind of 'cozy little study [...] in which FaradayFaraday, Michael
DSB CloseView the register entry >> could have told us every month in pleasant chat something about science, or Edmund BurkeBurke, Edmund
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, let us say, had talked of politics, or ColeridgeColeridge, Samuel Taylor
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> of philosophy, would there [be] any club or drawing-room in famous London more agreeable?'. (316) Also notes that 'Professor TyndallTyndall, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >> [...] took part in the late Parliamentary campaign, so far as to write a letter declining to stand for a seat', and suggests that Tyndall's missive condemning William E Gladstone'sGladstone, William Ewart
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> handling of the recent crisis in Sudan is 'as bitter as anything that has been said upon the American stump for many a year' (318).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 327–30.
In discussing the inconsistency and unpredictability of women in fiction, observes that 'If the female mind had a law of uniformity, and the novelist were to discover it, he would simply kill the goose that lays the golden eggs of literature'. Contends that 'We have a conceit in these days that if we can get together a sufficient number of facts on any subject, we can evolve a certain general rule. We hope by-and-by to make a science of political economy out of our observations. We do, in fact, set up a machinery of this sort based upon facts, and are surprised that it does not work, forgetting that we have left out of the calculation such imponderables as imagination, need of sympathy, and other elusive mental and moral conditions'. (327) However, 'woman, with her divinely ordered variableness and obedience to the higher laws of being which we conceitedly call illogical, stands fortunately in the way of a cast-iron sociology, or science of it, by which we are all expected to become parts of a piece of machinery moving with clock-like precision' (327–28).
Claims that in an age of 'iron and steel' the 'naval possibilities of Great Britain [are] practically illimitable', largely because Britain, which in the past was incessantly 'exhausting its home supplies of oak', is 'first and greatest in the production of iron and steel' (333). Observes that it is 'agreeable, in these columns of Harper,Harper's New Monthly Magazine
Harper's Monthly Magazine
Directory CloseView the register entry >> which circulates so widely on both sides of the Atlantic' to acknowledge the 'indebtedness of Great Britain and of Europe to the United States for some invaluable lessons in naval construction [...] which were derived from the heroic efforts of their great civil war' (333–34). In particular, 'Ericsson'sEricsson, John
CBD CloseView the register entry >> wonderful little fighting ship', the iron-clad USS MonitorUSS Monitor CloseView the register entry >>, 'stimulate[d]' even the most 'dull and conservative naval architect [...] into unwonted activity' (334). The 'Monitor influence', however, has been felt more strongly in the navies of Continental Europe than that of Britain, where 'English ideas of sea service' have necessitated a 'largely altered form' and 'many modifications and additions' (335–36). Complains that since the 'iron DreadnoughtHMS Dreadnought CloseView the register entry >>' was 'designed fifteen or sixteen years ago', the new 'iron-clad ship[s]' built for the British navy have become progressively smaller and have been stripped of their protective armour for reasons of 'injudicious economy and erroneous design' (338). The eventual outcome of this short-sighted policy can only be 'defeat following defeat and catastrophe catastrophe [...] and something worse even than national humility' (350). Notes how 'that able, energetic, and lamented officer the late Captain Cowper Coles, R.N.Coles, Cowper Phipps
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> [...] was lost at sea by the capsizing of his own ship', and comments that 'had he been placed, as the writer [i.e. Reed] advised, in charge of the revolving turrets of the navy, leaving ship-designing to those who understood it, he might have been alive to this day' (344). Also criticises the technical understanding of Thomas BrasseyBrassey, Thomas, 1st Earl Brassey
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, the Secretary to the Admiralty, and suggests that the 'pages of so responsible a magazine as Harper's New be made available for giving to the British AdmiraltyAdmiralty
CloseView the register entry >> a piece of information of which only they can be possibly ignorant' (348).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 365–82.
Although the famous blue-grass of Kentucky is 'always green, of course, never blue' (366), it deserves to be called 'Saxon grass' because, like the doughty humans of that particular race, it has come to America 'uprooting inferior aborigines, but stoutly defending its new domain against all fresh invaders' (365). This 'wonderful grass' has drawn 'all needful nourishment from the constantly disintegrating limestone below' (366), while the renowned 'Kentucky live stock' have in turn 'drawn from' the grass's 'inexhaustible richness [...] their unequalled form and quality and organization' (367). In the woods of Kentucky, moreover, 'one often finds [...] the perfection of tree forms [...] that exceedingly rare development which enables the extremities of the boughs to be carried out to the very limit of the curve that nature intends the tree to define as the peculiar shape of its species' (368). Reflects that nature 'unceasingly struggles to cover herself with bushes of all sorts and nameless annual weeds and grasses', and whenever there is a new space in nature's economy 'communistic vegetation [...] rushes there to fight for life, from the minutest creeping vines to forest trees. Every neglected fence corner becomes an area for a fresh colony' (372). Observes that the 'transition from material conditions to the forms of life that they insure is here natural', and in horse racing the 'muscular fibre of the blue grass animal' is justly famous, although when 'taken to the Eastern States, in twelve generations he is no longer the same breed of horse'. Similarly, 'Jersey cattle brought here increase in size', and 'Sires come to Kentucky to make themselves and their offspring famous'. Complains that the new 'scientific agriculture' is 'less picturesque' than previous modes of 'primitive husbandry', and states that the 'artist will leave the field as soon as possible' when the 'old work of the reaper is done by a fat man with a flaming face, sitting on a cast-iron machine'. (374) Also notes the advent of the 'newer barbed-wire fence—an economic device that will probably become [...] popular' across the agricultural regions of the nation (375). Remarks that the 'soil of this region is what scientists call sedentary—called so because it sits quietly on the rocks, not because the people sit quietly on it' (376).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 404–12.
Bemoans the persistence into the nineteenth century of the idea that 'education is [...] a polite accomplishment merely, having very little to do with the real business of life', which led in the 1840s to the 'extreme of violent opposition' against the 'educational reforms' of Horace MannMann, Horace
CBD CloseView the register entry >> (404). Since the Centennial ExpositionCentennial Exposition (1876), Philadelphia CloseView the register entry >> at Philadelphia in 1876, however, a 'revolution, which is called manual training', has been 'sweeping rapidly to its culmination in this country'. At the Exposition, John D RunkleRunkle, John Daniel
WBI CloseView the register entry >> of the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts Institute of Technology
CloseView the register entry >> made the 'discovery' that the 'mechanic arts could be taught to classes "through a graded series of examples by the usual laboratory methods which are used in teaching the sciences"', and 'within a year a mechanic arts department was organized, a building with the necessary laboratories erected, a class formed, and the new method of instruction introduced'. Runkle's innovative methods of teaching, which encourage students to progress through 'successive steps in the manipulation of chipping and filing, forging, and machine-tool work', were the 'way that manual training as an educational agency made its advent' in America, and with the opening of the specially built Chicago Manual Training SchoolChicago Manual Training School
CloseView the register entry >> in 1884 the subject 'laid hold upon the imagination of the American people'. Furthermore, several of the 'visitors of manual training schools are women. They are enthusiasts on the subject', and their 'comprehension of it is clearer than that of men. This is doubtless because they are possessed of a higher degree of intuition, are more imaginative, more unselfish and less ambitious, and have less aversion to labor'. (405) Contends that American schools of manual training must not, as Robert H ThurstonThurston, Robert Henry
DSB CloseView the register entry >> proposes, simply replicate the 'trade schools of Germany, France and England', which are the 'product of a struggle for commercial, mercantile, and manufacturing supremacy' and which 'perpetuat[e] a system of caste in education which it is the chief mission of the civilization of this age to destroy'. The American model of manual training, on the other hand, has a positive 'mental and moral influence' (406), and it 'promotes altruism because it is objective [...] The skilled hand confers benefits upon man, and the act of conferring them has a reflex moral effect upon the mind' (412). To move from the European model to that used in America is 'to turn from the Malthusian theory of the law of life—that brutal theory which necessitates the starvation of hundreds of men that one man be well fed—to the theory of humanity and gentleness—that bright theory which contemplates the salvation and elevation of the race through the development of the best aptitudes of all its members' (407). Also mentions the Le Moyne Normal InstituteLe Moyne Normal Institute, Memphis CloseView the register entry >> in Memphis, which provides for the technical and manual 'education of colored youth of both sexes' (408). Concludes that this 'new system is the realization of the dream of every great thinker and reformer in education, from ComeniusComenius, John Amos
DSB CloseView the register entry >> [...] to [...] SpencerSpencer, Herbert
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' (412).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 413–18.
Reflects that 'Happy is the animal whose anatomy enables him to assume the shape of a sphere', for that 'perfect form' is 'protective alike from the malice of enemies and the impertinent curiosity of friends!'. Observes that the South American 'ball armadillo, or Dasypus apar of the naturalist' has a 'horny case curiously divided into hexagonal plates, with three bands around his body, giving him, when walking about, the droll appearance of wearing a decorated blanket held in place by three girdles'. (413) Suggests that while 'Monkeys, which, true to their love of fun, delight in teasing small and harmless animals by pulling them around by the tail, look in vain for a tail to take hold of', it is 'not unlikely that [the ball armadillo] enjoys some lively rolling about at the hands of these frolicsome quadrumana, although no such performance has been reported'. Noting that the 'sea furnishes more than one representative of the ball-makers', comments that 'DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> says of [...] the Didion [in Darwin 1839Darwin, Charles
Robert 1839. Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural
History of the Various Countries Visited by H. M. S. Beagle, under the command
of Captain FitzRoy, R.N., 1832 to 1836, London: H. Colburn
CloseView the register entry >>], that it floats on the back when thus distended, and is able not only to swim, but to guide itself in this position'. States that the 'strangest animal of that land of unusual forms, Australia' is the 'duck-billed platypus, or Ornithorhynchus', which, as well as 'possessing features of both birds and beasts of the most opposite character', can also roll itself into the 'most perfect ball'. Indeed, an 'eminent English naturalist [i.e. George BennettBennett, George
WBI CloseView the register entry >>], who kept a pair in confinement and carefully studied their manners, presented to the London Zoological GardenZoological Society of London —Gardens
CloseView the register entry >> a drawing of one of his pets in this common sleeping position', and 'His account of the manners of his strange pets [in Bennett 1860Bennett,
George 1860. Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia: Being
Observations Principally on the Animal and Vegetable Productions of New South
Wales, New Zealand, and Some of the Austral Islands, London: John Van
CloseView the register entry >>] is very readable. Like other young animals, they were extremely playful, and their antics being like those of puppies, were most ludicrous in creatures so oddly shaped as the Ornithorhynchus'. (417)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 418–27.
The female narrator describes a hunting trip down the forbidding Kissimmee River in Southern Florida which 'no ladies had ever attempted [...] before', making occasional observations on the natural history of this 'remoter Southern country' (418). The enormous alligators that the party encounter in the Gum Swamp, for instance, make the 'night hideous by noises which were variously described by members of the party as "barking", "bellowing", "croaking", and "grunting"' (422), while the party also comes 'upon the true water-lily (Nymphæ odorata of the botanist), faintly fragrant, with its exquisite chalice of white and gold' (425). When one of the male hunters shoots an 'eight-foot' alligator, a female member of the party known as the 'Matron' demands to have the creature's skin and insists that it is killed 'with the prompt inconsequence of that sex which can even be cruel, it is said, when one offers to cross its will'. Her instructions to 'Cut off his head and sever the spine' are complied with by the men, and the 'monster, headless, moved a foot or thrust with its formidable tail now and then, but the horrified exclamations of the ladies were met with assurances that this was only muscular contraction'. (427)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 444–48.
Contends that the 'heavy mass in our jails' were largely 'born in vice and nurtured in crime, inheriting or acquiring it young'. In fact, these men are 'in an abnormal condition, physically, mentally, morally. Physically they are brutalized, if not diseased. Look at their faces, the shape of their heads; they are heavy, logy in movement, coarse in fibre, physically degraded, as a rule. Crime, the habit of wickedness, is not only stamped upon the face, it is ingrained in the physical man, and [...] I mean this literally, that the flesh itself is inert, debased, even where it is not organically impaired by vice'. Goes on to argue that this 'heavy, degraded body is a type of the distorted, abnormal mind. The mind may not be what the psychological specialist would call diseased, but it is dwarfed, and either undeveloped or far from being in a healthy state', and although it may be 'sharp, ferret-like, cunning [...] it is narrow, non-receptive; it wants stability, character'. (445) Proposes the 'universal application' of the 'philosophical and capable' system of prison education employed at the Elmira ReformatoryElmira Reformatory, New York State CloseView the register entry >> in New York State (446), where inmates are educated both 'psychologically and physiologically' and made to 'obey rigid rules of order and decency' that make them 'form new habits' by which the majority are 'changed sensibly and probably radically' (447).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 476–81.
Remarks that it is, above all, 'human tradition and association [...] that makes the enchantment of travel', and the 'touch of civilization in the midst of barbarism is as refreshing as the care and the lullaby of the African women to Mungo ParkPark, Mungo
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>'. In fact, the 'tropical splendor of the scene that HumboldtHumboldt, Alexander von (Friedrich Wilhelm
Heinrich Alexander von)
DSB CloseView the register entry >> saw from the castle of Chapultepec may be, as travellers say, unrivalled, but the central charm to most travellers would be the fact that at the castle Humboldt beheld it'. (480) Alerts American readers, who tend to view their benighted southern neighbour as merely a 'kind of semi-tropical waste' (479), to the existence of the 'railway from Vera Cruz, two hundred and sixty miles, to the city of Mexico—a marvellous feat of scientific skill, crossing the mountains at a height of 8500 feet, and bearing you through every climate, amid unimaginable luxuriance and brilliancy of vegetation'. Indeed, the 'railway seems to be the spring' of the 'happy hope' that Mexico may be 'reviving' to become a 'sister republic', and these 'parallel lines of iron and of steel have worked many miracles, of which the United States are the witness. But the wonder of wonders, the greatest triumph of the railroad, will be the regeneration of Mexico'. (480)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 481–87.
Eulogises the 'simplicity' and 'purity of motive' of Louis AgassizAgassiz, Louis (Jean Louis Rodolphe)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, who attained his scientific 'results without apparently leaving upon them any stain of egotism' (481), and suggests that although this 'sovereign formula for the finest success, has been open from the beginning of time [...] it has rarely been able to commend itself so attractively to the young imagination as in Agassiz's life'. Observes that when 'Agassiz came to America his life was no longer a romance; it was a fairly tale, whose incidents are known to us all', and in this young nation he 'became a public man [...] as politicians and soldiers and divines are public men, but scientists never before'. Indeed, 'Agassiz found this new world of ours full not merely of vast physical activities, but of eager and thorough scientific work by men who, he tells his European friends, would be noted in science anywhere, and whom he found employed in public enterprises undertaken by popular governments', and this 'liberality of legislatures composed of farmers and country lawyers' contrasted sharply with the 'munificence of kings, as science may experience it' which he 'had been used to' back in Europe. (482) Also criticises the clichéd depiction of an American character in the most recent novel by Grant AllenAllen, Grant (Charles Grant Blairfindie)
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, and declares 'Apparently Mr. Allen has not thought it a serious thing to write a novel, nor human nature worth that honest inquiry which has given him an honorable name in science. This is a mistake which we hope he will come to regret' [cf. Anon, 'Editor's Literary Record', Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 9 (1884–85), 486–93] (485).
Observes of the area of Essen in western Germany that for 'ten centuries this whole region was under the rule of women', and notes that in 1826 a 'certain widow KruppKrupp, Therese
WBI CloseView the register entry >> undertook to carry on a small iron forge which had been left by her husbandKrupp, Friedrich
WBI CloseView the register entry >>' forming 'a sort of link between the feminine régime and the age of "blood and iron"' (496). The widow's son, Alfred KruppKrupp, Alfred
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, has since built the humble iron forge into 'probably the largest business in the world dependent upon a single individual', and to the 'general world the name "Krupp" has almost ceased to be personal; it signifies a particular implement of destruction' (497), the infamous Krupp guns, which 'possess phenomenal and scientific interest' as 'instruments that make contemporary history, and are moulding the future of humanity' (515). Comments that Krupp carefully restricts the sale of his guns to the English, who are in the habit of simply 'copying them at WoolwichRoyal Arsenal, Woolwich
CloseView the register entry >>', and also does not allow any visitors admission to his huge factory in Essen. However, the author of the present article is 'admitted for a literary purpose' even though 'Such a thing has never occurred before' (498), and he describes the factory's 'vast and weird halls' in which 'all the Infernos ever imagined by man [...] seem collected and seething together', and where even the 'eyes of DanteDante Alighieri
CBD CloseView the register entry >> would have to be shielded from some of the [...] burning lakes'. Reflects that the 'BessemerBessemer, Sir Henry
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> converter', an 'ideal behemoth [...] vomiting flame and gas', is a 'fascinating thing to watch', and comments that its operation 'requires an observation' of the particular 'hue of the fire' that is incredibly 'delicate, not to say artistic' (500). Asserts that a 'student of the laws of evolution, however peacefully inclined, can not fail to be fascinated by instruments representing the development of the art of destruction. The extinction or survival of animal species is determined by the relative nicety of their weapons. MicheletMichelet, Jules
CBD CloseView the register entry >> was scandalized by the pains which nature has taken to perfect the viper's fang, but by it the bird's wing has been developed' (507), and later notes that the 'struggle for existence daily assumes more and more the character of war' (515). However, comparing Krupp's armaments with a 'series of curved sticks' which an 'Australian savage would hurl' in the 'Pitt-RiversPitt-Rivers, Augustus Henry Lane Fox
DSB CloseView the register entry >> CollectionUniversity of Oxford—Pitt-Rivers Collection
CloseView the register entry >> at Oxford' (507–08), contends that the 'Survival of the fit can no longer be identified with survival of the fighting', and with 'MoltkeMoltke, Helmuth Karl Bernhard Freiherr von
CBD CloseView the register entry >> [...] the one public man in the civilized world who has upheld war as an ideal [...] Germany can not be accorded a high place among civilized nations' (508). Also explains that 'DarwinDarwin, Charles Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> said that he found it the most difficult thing for the majority of minds to understand the enormous results of ever-recurring agencies, however small, working through practically unlimited time', but in Krupp's gigantic factory the 'swiftness and power of these mechanical agencies [i.e. 'steam explosions'] apply in an hour more force for a particular end than nature would apply in centuries, unless, indeed, as Ignatius DonnellyDonnelly, Ignatius
CBD CloseView the register entry >> says [in Donnelly 1883Donnelly,
Ignatius 1883. Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, New
York: D. Appleton and Company
CloseView the register entry >>], nature should bring on a comet occasionally to crystallize gravel into marble, or burn up Chicago' (510).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 546–58.
Ogilby 1670Ogilby, John
1670. Africa: Being an Accurate Description of the Regions of Aegypt,
Barbary, Lybia, and Billendulgerid, the Land of Negroes, Guinee, AEthiopia, and
the Abyssines; with All the Adjacent Islands. Collected and Translated from
Most Authentick Authors, London: printed for the author
CloseView the register entry >>
Reflects on the 'great tidal wave of civilization which is now bursting into the Dark Continent', and discusses recent proposals to open up Africa's 'three great natural highways [...] the Nile, the Niger, and the Congo'. Noting that among the 'countless blessings of war must be reckoned its power of teaching geography and its aptitude for developing railways', suggests that the 'historian of the twentieth century will class' the presently incomplete Suakin-Berber and Upper Nile Valley railways as 'among the most important achievements of the nineteenth century'. (546) However, the scale of even these projects 'sinks into insignificance compared with the rival enterprise advocated [...] by no less an authority than Sir Samuel BakerBaker, Sir Samuel White
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>', who proposes 'raising the level of the Nile so high as to annihilate all its cataracts' thereby 'fertilizing with the rich deposit of its waters a desert as large as the combined area of France and Germany'. The scheme 'might well appear startling even to a generation which has hewed its way through the isthmus of Suez', but 'its feasibility is obvious to any one who remembers [...] the real sources' of the Nile's 'yearly overflow' high up in 'Africa's Switzerland, Abyssinia' (547). The main purpose of the plan drawn up by Baker, the 'greatest living authority on the Nile and its capabilities', is to transform the 'Nubian and Libyan deserts into cotton fields' which will 'render England independent of America' (547–48). It will also 'make the great river navigable from its mouth right up to Gondokoro [...] sweeping away at one blow the multiplied obstacles that broke Romolo Gessi'sGessi, Romolo
(1829 (or 1831)–81)
WBI CloseView the register entry >> heart'. Observes that while the Niger is 'passingly mentioned by HerodotusHerodotus of Halicarnassus
(d. c. 430–420 BC)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and located with tolerable correctness by StraboStrabo
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and other classic geographers', it was not until 1869 that its 'head-waters [were] fully explored by Winwood ReadeReade, William Winwood
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, a relative of the famous English novelistReade, Charles
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>, whose vivid picture of African life in one of his later works probably gained much of its force from the graphic details of his younger namesake'. Also discusses French plans for the improvement of the Niger valley, but suggests that 'M. de Lesseps'sLesseps, Ferdinand, vicomte de
CBD CloseView the register entry >> imaginative scheme for flooding the whole Sahara into a small Atlantic [has] apparently but one drawback, viz., that of being impossible'. (551). Expresses a more sanguine view, however, about German plans for the last of the 'great watery highways' of Africa to be developed, the Congo (554), but claims that to give a full account of 'the Congo's commercial future would be to write Mr. Stanley'sStanley, Sir Henry Morton
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>latest workStanley, Henry
Morton 1885. The Congo and the Founding of its Free State: A
Story of Work and Exploration, 2 vols, London: S. Low, Marston, Searle
CloseView the register entry >> over again', and instead quotes large passages from the book (556). Observes in a footnote that a 'Zulu translation of the Pilgrim's Progress shown me by the late Bishop ColensoColenso, John William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' contained 'several Zulu words' that are identical to the 'dialect of the lower Congo' as well as words 'used by Cetywayo's spearmen on the opposite side of the continent', but demurs that it is 'a coincidence which I leave to the consideration of better philologists than myself' (556n.). Concludes that there are men 'still alive among us whose fathers could remember a time' when America itself was merely a land of 'pathless forests, haunted by murderous savages', and suggests that Africa may likewise 'advance with ever-increasing rapidity'. Indeed, the 'close of the twentieth century' may witness some African 'Ki-Nshasha Motley [i.e. John L MotleyMotley, John Lothrop
CBD CloseView the register entry >>]' completing the 'last volume of his Rise of the Congo Republic [i.e. Motley 1856Motley, John
Lothrop 1856. The Rise of the Dutch Republic: A History, 3
vols, London: J. Chapman
CloseView the register entry >>]', or a 'show of British and American manufactures at the Leopoldsville Industrial Exposition of the year 2001' (558).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 561–83.
Remarks that with its position 'midway between the iron mines of Lake Superior and the coal fields of Ohio and Pennsylvania', Cleveland has emerged as a 'great manufacturing city' and the 'great iron centre of the West' (573). Also proclaims that the 'Standard Oil CompanyStandard Oil Trust, New York CloseView the register entry >> [...] is a marvel of commercial enterprise' which now handles 'nine-tenths of the oil product that goes to Europe', and its distinctive 'blue barrels are to be seen all over Europe'. Some of the 'mammoth corporation['s] [...] business methods have been criticised; but however unscrupulous they may have been, the company is a wonderful exhibition of what business energy and sagacity may accomplish in this country'. (575)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 583–94.
Aims to 'ameliorate the condition of the whole race' of dogs 'by spreading far and wide a true knowledge of his nature and requirements' (584). Insists that domestication 'surely raises the dog nearer to our own intellectual status, as he is led more and more to exercise those mental faculties with which he is more than any other of the lower animals endowed' (583). Gives advice on appropriate foods for dogs, and argues against the 'theories propounded by Dr. Billings, V.S.Billings, Dr (VS, of
HM1/11/4/4 CloseView the register entry >>, of Boston, Massachusetts', who claimed that because the 'dog is a carnivorous animal' it 'should be fed entirely on flesh, and even went so far as to say that farinaceous food was poison to the dog'. Remarks that all those with experience of keeping dogs are 'dead against Dr. Billings's theory, which, indeed, should rather be named a "crochet"'. (587) Warns against the use, when cleaning dogs, of 'Carbolic acid soaps and all containing poisons', and instead recommends the use of 'Spratt's patentSpratt's Patent Limited, Newark CloseView the register entry >> as its insecticide properties are due to a vegetable extract innocuous to the dog' (588). Scorns the 'too popular theory' of certain 'writers, including those who at the present time are often quoted as authorities, [who] attribute the presence of worms to feeding with cow's milk, and have gravely recommended goat's milk to be substituted, that, it is asserted, being, unlike cow's milk, free from the ova of worms', and insists that 'Five minutes' consultation of Dr. Spencer CobboldCobbold, Thomas Spencer
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> would show these people that the theory is wholly imaginary' as 'pups appear to be born with worms in their intestines' (593). Recommends 'Goulard'sGoulard, Thomas
WBI CloseView the register entry >> extract (liquor plumbi subacetatis)', as well as several other remedies for particular canine ailments (594). Dismisses public fixation with the so-called 'Mad dog!', and reveals that many a 'dog has been cruelly done to death because a fit of temporary duration has been interpreted as evidence of madness', when in fact a dog that suffers merely from 'recurrent paroxysms of rage' can generally be cured with a 'dose of castor oil' (591) and 'bromide of potassium in water' (592). Admits that there is as yet 'no known cure' for the 'dreadful disease rabies', but insists that 'it is pleasant to record that a gleam of sunshine on this dismal subject comes to us from France, where M. PasteurPasteur, Louis
DSB CloseView the register entry >> has been prosecuting researches into the nature of this disease, which has baffled the learned of every country for more than two thousand years' (594).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 595–605.
Remarks that the vexed question of the 'Jewish origin of the Afghans, and a number of similar inquiries, must be left to the future investigations of archæologists' (602). Also observes that the 'Survey DepartmentAfghan Boundary Commission—Survey Department
CloseView the register entry >> [...] has done a large amount of good work, and given us accurate maps, which we had not before' (603).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 607–25.
Reflects that a 'civilized people that still grinds grain by hand between two stones' is lucky enough to eat 'bread of the primeval flavor', while 'We are so full of steam and electricity that a deal of fizz and flash blinds us to the charms of simple things'. Wonders whether being 'sped along on the Intercolonial Railway from Quebec' makes it impossible to 'really enjoy a patriarchal sincerity in life' and have true feelings of 'honesty and sympathy'. (607)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 635–41.
Argues that now that the 'questions of rapid transit are solved' people can live in a 'suburban nook' and regain contact with 'Nature and all her varied and health-giving life', allowing the busy city worker to enjoy the 'air and space' of a 'country home' where 'his jangling nerves will be quieted in spite of all the bears and bulls on Wall Street' (635). Indeed, such a domestic situation 'makes even the weather interesting, and the rise and fall of the mercury is watched with scarcely less solicitude than the mutations of the market'. Aims to 'make some useful suggestions and give practical advice' regarding the horticulture of such suburban smallholdings 'which the reader can carry out and modify according to his judgement' (636), although acknowledging that the 'taste of the owner, or more probably that of his wife' will be the decisive factor in 'laying out the ground' (637). Announces that when 'we come to co-work with Nature, all we do has some of the characteristics of an experiment', horticulture being a 'game of skill, into which also enter the fascinating elements of apparent chance' (636). Notes that while 'preparing these papers I visited the grounds of Mr. A. S. FullerFuller, Andrew Samuel
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>, at Ridgewood, New Jersey', and urges that all those 'who love trees should possess his book, entitled Practical ForestryFuller, Andrew
Samuel 1884. Practical Forestry: A Treatise on the Propagation,
Planting, and Cultivation, with a Description, and the Botanical and Popular
Names of All the Indigenous Trees of the United States, New York: Orange
Judd & Company
CloseView the register entry >>', especially for the 'wisdom of Mr. Fuller's appreciation of our native trees'. In fact, if the book 'could only be put into the hands of law-makers, and they compelled to learn much of its contents by heart, they would cease to be more or less conscious traitors to their country in allowing the destruction of forests'. Remarks that the persimmon tree is 'well remembered by old campaigners in Virginia', and recalls how 'its fruit in November caused much straggling from our line of march in the South'. (638) Advises that the 'amateur who would do a bit of landscape gardening' should 'make time to see occasionally a nursery like that of S. B. Parsons and Co.Parsons & Co, New York CloseView the register entry >>, at Flushing, New York' (639), and also contends that an 'hour with a notebook spent in grounds like those of Mr. Fuller would do more in aiding a satisfactory selection than years of reading' (640). Warns against employing a 'local citizen' to plant the ground in the owner's absence, for in 'every rural neighborhood there are smart men' who 'lie in wait for new-comers, to take advantage of their inexperience', and these charlatans 'pay no more attention' to the requirements of trees 'than a baby-farmer would bestow on an infant's appetite' (639).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 651–56.
Regular Feature, Anecdote, Drollery
Superstition, Spiritualism, Supernaturalism
Remarks ironically that the belief of the New England pilgrim fathers in 'witches and the like' is 'justly called superstitious by an age and a city [i.e. Boston] given over to spiritism, clairvoyance, mind cure, "materialization", and other certainties' (652).
Having determined to go on a 'pilgrimage to the holy places of America' (666), the mixed group of travellers first visit the naval docks at Newport News in Virginia, where the narrator reflects that in 'nothing does the American woman better show her patriotism than in her desire to inspect naval vessels and understand dry-docks under the guidance of naval officers'. Although, while inspecting the officer's cabin of one of the 'training-ships', a 'young lady discovered that the novels of ZolaZola, Èmile
CBD CloseView the register entry >> were among the nautical works needed in the navigation of a ship of war'. As the party travel along the Virginia capes, they ask 'a hundred questions about the batteries, and whence the MerrimacUSS Merrimac CloseView the register entry >> appeared, and [...] from what place the MonitorUSS Monitor CloseView the register entry >> darted out upon its big antagonist [i.e. CSS VirginiaCSS Virginia CloseView the register entry >>]. (663) Later observes that 'mind-reading' and 'palmistry' are 'an aid to mild flirtation' (666), and when one of the male characters says to the obviously reluctant Miss Irene 'Surely you are not uninterested in what is now called psychical research?', she replies 'If I were a physician, I should like to watch the operation of the minds of "sensitives" as a pathological study. But the experiments I have seen are merely exciting and unsettling, without the least good result, with a haunting notion that you are being tricked or deluded' (666–67). In Atlantic City, the group notice, among many other things, 'a bevy of little girls grouped about an ancient colored man, the very ideal old Uncle Ned [...] lazy good-nature oozing out of every pore of him, kneeling by a telescope', who is teaching the girls to use the 'object-glass, shutting first one eye and then the other' [a scene illustrated in an engraving on the previous page] (676).
Barry 1860Barry, Patrick
1860. The Fruit Garden: A Treatise Intended to Explain and Illustrate the
Physiology of Fruit Trees, the Theory and Practice of All Operations Connected
with the Propagation, Transplanting, Pruning and Training of Orchard and Garden
Trees ...the Laying Out and Arranging of Different Kinds of Orchards and
Gardens, New York: C. M. Saxton, Barker; San Francisco: H. H.
CloseView the register entry >>
Directs the 'reader's attention to a few practical suggestions in regard to several of the fruits which best supply the family need' (700), and advises that by 'stocking the acre with fruit' the reader 'can combine almost as much beauty as utility with his plan' (700–01). Gives advice on planting fruit trees based on the 'opinions of eminent horticulturists' such as the 'Hon. Marshall P. WilderWilder, Marshall Pinckney
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, the veteran president of the American Pomological SocietyAmerican Pomological Society
CloseView the register entry >>', whose 'honored name, like that of the late Charles DowningDowning, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, is inseparably linked with American fruits', as well as the 'well-known horticultural author [...] Mr. A. S. FullerFuller, Andrew Samuel
RLIN CloseView the register entry >>' (701). Reflects that the planter of fruit trees 'can gratify his taste and eye with some pretty innovations' by obtaining 'scions' of a particular tree from a 'neighbor' which can then be 'grafted upon the trees of the home acre' and 'will soon begin to yield the coveted variety'. Indeed, by this technique 'may be presented the interesting spectacle of one limb of a tree yielding four very distinct kinds of apple'. (702). Describes the 'fire-blight' which afflicts pear, apple and quince trees, and notes that 'there have been innumerable preventatives and cures recommended, just as we see a dozen certain remedies for consumption advertised in any popular journal; but the disease still remains a disheartening mystery'. The threat to fruit trees posed by insects, however, is more manageable, because we 'can study the characters of our enemies, and learn their vulnerable points'. (704) Suggests that the 'codling-moth, or apple-moth [...] probably constitutes one of nature's methods of preventing trees from overbearing, but, like some people we know, it so exaggerates its mission as to become an insufferable nuisance' (705).
In the English coastal town of Springhaven during the Napoleonic wars, the grand house of Admiral Darling contains the 'Admiral's favorite Munich glass, mounted by an old ship's carpenter (who had followed the fortunes of his captain) on a stand which would have puzzled anybody but the maker, with the added security of a lanyard from the roof. The gear, though rough, was very strong and solid, and afforded more range and firmer rest to the seven-feet tube and adjustments than a costly mounting by a London optician would have been likely to supply. It was a pleasure to look through such a glass, so clear, and full of light, and firm'. Indeed, 'one who could have borne to be looked at through it, or examined even by a microscope', the Admiral's daughter Horatia Dolly Darling, 'came now to enjoy that pleasure'. (717) Dolly 'could manage this glass to the best advantage, through her father's teaching, and could take out the slide and clean the lenses, and even part the object-glass, and refix it as well as possible' (718), but was 'always longing for something sweet and thrilling and romantic' which she could not find in 'dull' Springhaven 'even with the longest telescope' (717).
Among other places of interest to the visitor to Naples, points out the 'celebrated Aquarium of Naples' which 'belongs to the Zoological StationStazione Zoologica di Napoli
CloseView the register entry >>, and was established by the German naturalist Dr. DohrnDohrn, Felix Anton
DSB CloseView the register entry >> for the purpose of facilitating a thorough scientific investigation of the animal and vegetable world of the Mediterranean'. Adds that the 'greater part of the expense was borne by Dr. Dohrn himself, but the German government has repeatedly contributed large subsidies', while 'Several prominent English naturalists have also presented the institution with important sums'. (759)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 766–74.
Observes that pigeons are 'nothing more nor less than a set of mongrels' (766), and reports that the growth of interest in America in 'the "pigeon fancy" [...] has been immense, and millions of dollars are invested in perfecting the fancy and toy breeds'. Insists, however, that the 'true pigeon fancier is anything but a mercenary mortal, and his pets assume under his care the same position in the world as the orchids of the floriculturist, valued far more highly by the producer than by the world which looks on and wonders at their surpassing loveliness'. Gives advice on several aspects of pigeon fancying based on information gleaned during a 'visit early last spring' to the 'loft' in Bordentown, New Jersey owned by Bunting HankinsHankins, Mr Bunting (pigeon-fancier, of
Bordentown, New Jersey)
HM1/11/5/6 CloseView the register entry >> (768), who 'at the second annual show of the New York Fanciers' ClubNew York Fanciers' Club
CloseView the register entry >> [...] secured seventy prizes out of an entry of seventy-four pairs of birds, all of which were bred in his loft' (773). Relates how 'once the birds have mated [...] they are inseparably wedded to each other for life' and there is 'joy in the family when Mrs. Pigeon deposits her first egg' (769), while during the 'period of incubation Mr. Pigeon is a paragon of devotion. He even takes his turn in sitting on the eggs' (770). Comments that the 'breeding of toy pigeons is conducted on the same principle as breeding horses and dogs. The defects of the birds must be studied and overbalanced by proper crosses', and advises that in 'pigeon-breeding the birds generally get their constitution from their mothers, and knowing this, the breeder can either weaken or strengthen the breeds he has in hand', although what are 'called the high-grade birds, should never be interbred, even in the remotest degree' (773). Reveals that through 'incessant interbreeding for many generations, Mr. Hankins has been enabled to create a variety which he calls "parlor tumblers". The birds can not fly but six inches from the ground, and in this attempt they turn a complete double somersault' (774).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 788–95.
Climatology, Meteorology, Agriculture, Botany, Population
Examines the 'peculiarities of the climate of the cattle or range country' in the 'semi-arid belt' of America which mean that, as novice farmers often discover too late, the 'nutriment has been washed out of the grass by unseasonable rains', and because it is 'not possible for an animal to eat sufficient quantities of dead, water-soaked grass to supply the fire of life with fuel [...] many thousands of range and pilgrim cattle die' (789). Although it has 'been the fashion of Americans to boast of these uninhabited lands, and to assert, with intense self-satisfaction, that we have room for all the oppressed of all nations', insists that the 'truth is that the agricultural lands of the United States are practically exhausted', and the land of the 'unoccupied western portion' which 'figures so brightly on the maps is but an arid tract scantily covered with herbage' (790).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 801–08.
Contends that 'So many scientists have denied so many things that it is hard to understand that Science herself denies nothing, to begin with, but seeks only and always to know the truth', and suggests that the 'evolution of a believer in a God sensible to human need and in the life hereafter, from a metaphysician so purely scientific as Mr. John FiskeFiske, John (formerly Edmund Fiske Green)
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, is certainly one of the most interesting phases of Darwinism'. Arguing that the 'emotions and desires concerning our origin and destiny which seem innate are as fit subjects for [scientific] inquiry as the material world', praises the 'induction from the Darwinian theory, which teaches Mr. Fiske that in natural selection psychical variations were preferred to physical variations, that infancy was prolonged in the interest of the family and morality, and that man, thus differentiated from the other creatures, has been perfected by the gradual predominance of the soul over the body'. (808)
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 821–37.
The London Season
Theory, Animal Behaviour, Amusement
Discusses how the 'origin of "the season" has been the subject of many and varying theories', and comments that the 'man of science considers it a development of the nesting time' (821). Warns that the 'coming democracy' may be the 'death-blow to all season whatever', but reflects that 'human nature must have its amusements, and even if enlightened thinkers abolish those now existing, the young people will continue to flirt and the old fogies to gossip at scientific soirées, debating clubs, and women's parliaments' (837).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 838–43.
Suggests that 'closer scrutiny' of areas of woodland uncovers a 'host of witching shapes' that have 'become suggestively familiar in the modern page of science, if not of mythologic poesy' (838), and reveals that the 'insect elf' who is the 'hero of our chapter is no myth. Entomological fervor has captured him; prosaic fingers have dissected his tiny anatomy, and cold science has impaled him, duly catalogued and labelled; and Cynips is his name—at least his family name; the less said of his further christening, the better for our pages' (838–39). Acknowledges that the 'predisposition of the oak toward the formation' of 'excrescences' of gall was 'recognized among the earliest scientists' such as PlinyPliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, but insists that only after 'centuries of conflicting opinion' did the 'theory of insect origin gradually assert its claims, as offering [...] a logical and reasonable' explanation of the curious phenomenon. In fact, only with Jan SwammerdamSwammerdam, Jan
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'was the puzzle fully solved, this naturalist being the first accredited eye-witness to the magic touch of the tiny fly upon the leaf'. Reflects that by now 'Many naturalists have no doubt seen the gall-fly at work', and recalls that 'Once, as a boy, lounging, though with open eyes, beneath a favorite knoll, I was permitted to observe the act very minutely', going on to describe how the gall-fly 'penetrated the pulp of the leaf [...] depositing within a tiny egg, and ejecting therewith a magic fluid, which was thenceforth to work its marvels upon the leaf, demoralizing its adjacent sap and fibre' and causing the leaf to swell, harden and change colour. (839) Observes that the 'precise nature of this strange cellular metamorphosis is still unsolved', although the 'generally accepted belief [is] that the gall is but a natural result of chemical irritation, a vegetable excrescence analogous to an inflamed tumour in the animal body' (840). Notes that these 'insect magicians' and the gall which they use to embed their larvae have 'received a generous share of attention alike from the scientist and romancer', but the precise reason why the 'spell of this fairy should invariably thus cloth the branch [...] is one of those mysteries which neither the alembic nor microscope nor philosophy has solved' (842). Advises 'my readers' that a 'true Cynips [...] may be easily observed by gathering the galls in autumn, and keeping them in a box until spring' (842–43).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 877–84.
Urges caution in applying manure to soil, suggesting that 'No matter how abundantly the ground may be enriched at first, time and chemical action are required to transmute the fertilizers into the best forms of plant food', and compares soil to a 'nervous, excitable person [who] should let stimulants alone, and take good, solid, blood-making food' (878). In considering 'that chef-d'œuvre of nature', the vine, insists that 'we will refrain from a temperance lecture', but notes nevertheless that the 'vine is like a woman, the inspiration of the best and the worst' (879–80). Observes that 'about two thousand known and named varieties of grapes have been and are being grown in Europe, and all these are supposed to have been developed from one species (Vitis vinifera), which originally was the wild product of nature', although 'One can scarcely suppose this possible when contemplating a cluster of Tokay or some other highly developed variety of the hot-house'. Discusses different grape varieties suitable for a garden and declares that 'as an aid to selection I will again give the verdict of some of the authorities', as well as suggesting that as 'I have over a hundred varieties in bearing I may venture to express an opinion also'. (880) Claims that 'those who wish to amuse themselves by experimenting with nature can find abundant enjoyment in not only grafting old vines, but also in raising new seedlings', but concedes that those 'whose tastes carry them to such lengths in vine culture will be sure to purchase exhaustive treatises on the subject, and will therefore give no heed to these simple practical papers'. Insists, however, that it is 'my aim to enable the business man returning from his city office, or the farmer engrossed with the care of many acres, to learn in a few moments, from time to time, just what he must do to supply his family abundantly with fruits and vegetables'. (881)
When the already married narrator finds himself inadvertently married to a 'not uncomely Indian girl' of the Arrapahoe tribe, he protests that 'the white man's custom is different; [...] he is content with a single wife', but the tribe elders, who themselves practise polygamy, tell him 'with irony' that they 'had known many whites [...] who were not averse to adopting the Indian custom in this respect' (903). Describes many aspects of Native American life, while also observing that 'When their stomachs were full, their hearts were glad; and so it will be until the end of time—or rather of the Indian' (901).
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, 11 (1885–86), 972–76.
States that 'according to the Weather BureauUS Department of War—Weather Bureau
CloseView the register entry >>, it is in those vast treeless regions of the Southwest that our storms and bad weather are bred. This may be true. But if it is, all the bad weather is exported, and all the good is kept for home consumption'. Reflects that 'Why a region so sparsely inhabited should have a superabundance of this vital element, and the Atlantic coast, where it is needed, should be obliged to get on with an inferior, malarious atmosphere, is a mystery. Perhaps there is no remedy for it, but enterprise and science can make a suggestion. Would it be possible to send the delicious, healthful air of the Southwest to the Northeast in pipes?'. Although it 'would, of course, be idle to take enough of it over to change our climate [...] it might, if carried in pipes, be turned on in houses, and give us in-doors a constant supply of pure and health-giving air'. (977) Relates several droll anecdotes in which black inhabitants of the Southern states comically fail to comprehend the new technologies of telegraphy and gas lighting. In one, an 'old negro' took a message into a 'telegraph office, which had but recently been established' and the 'operator after sending it, hung the paper on the hook at his side'. After a while, the operator perceived that the 'darky was still standing in the doorway, and he inquired after him why he was waiting. "I's waitin' fer yer ter sen' my telegraph", he answered. "But I have sent it long ago", was the reply. "Oh no, boss, dis yer nigger ain't no fool. I sees dat paper a-hangin' on de nail yit". (978)