VOL. 1 APRIL 8, 1897. NO. 22
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The President has sent his first message to Congress. In it he says that he is very sorry to call an extra session of Congress, but he feels it his duty to do so, because he finds the money affairs of the country in a very bad condition, and thinks it is necessary for Congress to take some immediate steps to find a remedy.
It would seem that since June, 1893, the yearly, and even the monthly, expenses of the country have been greater than the receipts.
We all know what a statement of that sort means in our own homes and families. It means that bankruptcy is coming, unless something be done to prevent it. If a man spends more than he earns, he is obliged to borrow to make up the difference; and when he can no longer borrow, he has to fail and turn all he owns over to his creditors.
This means that the people to whom he owes the money—his creditors, as they are called—will take his home and his furniture, and everything he possesses away from him, and divide it all up between them, and that he must begin life again as best he can.
Sometimes when a man has a good business that will enable him in time to pay everything he owes, the creditors will allow him to keep his business going taking the greater part of his earnings for his debts until he has paid them all off. But whichever way his affairs are settled, the man who owes money is the unhappy slave of his creditors until his last debts are paid.
The affairs of a country are precisely the same as those of an individual, and President McKinley, understanding well what must happen unless some change is made, is doing his best to save us from the unhappy position of a poor debtor.
He is prudently trying to stop the trouble before it gets the mastery of us.
A country is different from an individual in the fact that there are certain expenses that are not exactly necessary, and yet which must be provided for, for the honor of the country. A man who is in money difficulties can cut down his expenses to the mere cost of food, house, and clothes. In this way a man is better off than a country. But, on the other hand, a man can only earn just so much money; he cannot force people to buy his goods, or pay him better prices; he has to do the best he can with what he can earn; while a country can, by taxes, force people to give it the money it needs, and so it is better off than an individual.
Some of the expenses of a country that must be met are the salaries of all the officers who preserve law and order, the judges, soldiers, sailors, and the police; the pensions of the old soldiers, and of their families; the building of forts and warships, and of the guns to arm them; the making and issuing of money, and the handling and delivering of letters.
Enormous sums of money are necessary to meet these expenses, and they are raised by taxes. A country has no right to spend more than it earns, any more than a man has, but there may come times in the history of a country when extra expenses are necessary, and then the Government taxes the people to meet them.
This is what President McKinley proposes to do now.
The new tax proposed is to be a revenue tariff on all articles of foreign manufacture that are brought into this country.
The extra session of Congress is to consider, and, if possible, pass the Tariff Bill, which it is desired shall go into effect May 1st of this year.
The bill is being introduced by Congressman Nelson Dingley of Maine, who is Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives. It is known as the Dingley Bill, and, it is said, will increase the income of the Government over one hundred millions.
It is said by people who are against the bill, that, if it passes, the cost of living will become much greater. People who are in favor of it say that by preventing goods of foreign manufacture from being brought into the country, our own industries will greatly increase and our trade be much benefited.
There is one section of the bill which will make it very unpopular to many of our citizens.
This paragraph states that tourists and people visiting foreign countries shall only be allowed to bring one hundred dollars' worth of wearing apparel into the country free of duty.
When you think that you can get little more than a whole change of costume, hat, boots, and gloves complete, for a hundred dollars, and that people who are rich enough to travel in foreign countries give three and four times that sum for a single outfit, you can understand just how much that paragraph is going to be liked.
It is true that the law says that people may bring back with them the articles they take away, provided they can prove that they took them out of the country. But think of the worry and annoyance of arguing with the Custom House officers as to where and when each garment in your trunk was bought.
If it goes into effect, this law will certainly prevent a great many people from travelling, for the hours of heated argument with the officials on the dock, on the traveller's return, would undo all the good of their trip.
The present Custom House system is about as trying to a person's nerves as anything can be, and not a little of the trouble comes from the fact that you must not show the slightest annoyance when the officer dives into your trunk, and punches at the corner which contains your best hat, or feels in the folds of a delicate silk skirt, leaving marks of dusty fingers behind him. The least show of temper from you will result in the officer's claiming his right to have the whole contents of your various trunks dumped out on the wharf and repacked under his eye.
It is to be hoped that the $100 paragraph may be changed; but with or without it, it seems as if the passage of the Dingley Bill may be the best thing for the country.
The bill is called "An Act to provide revenue for the Government, and encourage the industries of the United States."
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The Powers have not sent any further word to Greece.
They have been waiting to hear what France has to say.
As we told you last week, the people of France were not willing to take part in any severe measures against Greece; the Government was quite willing, but dared not make any promises without the consent of the Chamber of Deputies (the French Congress).
The Powers decided to wait until the Prime Minister had had time to ask the Chamber of Deputies if it was willing to support the Government.
At the last meeting the Minister put the question to the Chamber—saying that the Government had decided that the proper course for France would be to remain in the concert of the Powers, and insist that Greece withdraw her troops from Crete.
Much discussion followed the Minister's speech. It had been expected that the Chamber of Deputies would refuse, and insist upon a change in the Government. To the surprise of everybody, a vote was passed, approving the policy of the Government, and agreeing to uphold it.
So France joins her voice with those of the other Powers, and calls on Greece to give in.
After the Chamber of Deputies adjourned, orders were sent to Toulon, a seaport on the Mediterranean Sea, at the south of France, ordering soldiers at once to Crete.
The Admirals of the allied fleets have received orders to blockade the ports of Crete; and if this fails to make the Greeks obedient to the wishes of the Powers, the Piraeus and the ports of Greece are also to be blockaded.
On receipt of these orders the Admirals proceeded to put them into effect, and the Cretan ports are now blockaded.
It is said that the Greek fleet has withdrawn from Turkish waters.
The Greek Cabinet Ministers had a very long and serious talk over the present state of affairs. It was decided that on no account would the Greek troops be withdrawn from Crete, and that if the Powers tried to force Greece into obedience she must take active measures.
These active measures are understood to mean the declaration of war against Turkey.
It is said that two bands of Thessalians have invaded Macedonia.
Thessaly is that part of Greece which borders on Turkey, and Macedonia is a part of the Turkish Empire bordering on Greece, that at one time formed part of the Greek Empire.
There are many Greeks in Macedonia, and if war is declared it is expected that they will rise and go to the aid of their mother country.
The invasion of Turkey by the Thessalians does not mean that war is declared. It is merely a rising of the border peoples against their neighbors, and has nothing to do with the Greek Government.
The Crown Prince of Greece, Constantino, Duke of Sparta, is leaving Athens, to take command of the Greek forces in Thessaly, and be ready to lead them if war is declared.
The news that the Greek ports are to be blockaded has made the Greeks hasten their preparations. The troops are being hurried off to Thessaly with all possible despatch.
There are reports that the Greeks are so enraged against the Emperor of Germany for his behavior over Crete, that the priests have openly said in the churches that it is a great misfortune that the future King of Greece is married to the sister of Greece's worst enemy.
In 1889 the Crown Prince married the Princess Sophia of Germany, sister of the young German Emperor.
The Greek statesmen are openly urging the Prince to divorce his wife, because of her relationship to the German Emperor.
Does not this seem terrible!
The Crown Prince and Princess have three children, the youngest a baby not yet a year old. For the sake of politics the Greeks would like to have the Crown Prince send his wife back to her own country, and separate her from her children.
It cannot be a happy thing to come of a race of kings, and be such a great personage, that even the happiness of home must be sacrificed for the interests of State.
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Our friend Weyler is in a heap of trouble.
It seems that affairs in the Philippines look worse for Spain than was at first supposed.
The Spanish troops have been very severely beaten lately near Manilla, and the rebellion is so strong and so well organized that unless fresh troops can be sent immediately, the Philippines will be lost to Spain.
The insurgents are so successful that they are even venturing to offer pardons to all Spaniards, except the Captain-General, who will lay down their arms and peacefully obey the new government.
Spain does not, however, intend to give up the Philippines yet a while, and as she is not in a position to spare more men from home, for fear of the Carlists rising, she has sent to Weyler, and ordered him to dispatch 20,000 men to the Philippines without delay.
This is what is troubling Weyler.
Some months ago word was sent to the Spanish Government that Weyler was robbing the treasury by drawing full pay for numbers of men who had been killed by the Cubans, but whose names were still on the pay-rolls.
The matter was inquired into, but before it could get very far Weyler made such indignant denials, and protested his innocence so strongly, that the Prime Minister cabled a message assuring him of his confidence in him, and the matter was allowed to drop.
At the time of these accusations Weyler assured the Government that he had 160,000 men in his army.
When the Carlist and Philippine troubles began to be serious, the Spanish Government decided to take 20,000 men from Cuba, and send them on to the Philippines, at the same time issuing a call to the loyal Spaniards in Cuba to take up arms and fill the places of the men drafted to the other war.
The plan was a good one, and would have worked well enough, if Weyler had spoken the truth about the number of men under his command.
The fact was that his statement was altogether false.
His force in Cuba consisted of but 100,000 men. The other 60,000 had either been killed by the Cubans, or were lying sick in hospitals.
Weyler had no 20,000 men to spare, but he did not dare tell the truth lest the facts of his knavery might come out.
He made up his mind to send the troops, and then if things went wrong in Cuba, to declare that the withdrawal of the soldiers had paralyzed him, and cost him Cuba.
Some one, however, sent word to Senor Canovas of the true state of affairs, and some very plain messages have been passing between Spain and Cuba.
The men are to go anyhow; but with only a force of 80,000 men left behind, Spain has little hope of pacifying Cuba.
The insurgents have, or will have when the Spanish troops are sent away, as many men at their command as the Spaniards have, and they feel very confident of success, because the men under them are well fed, healthy, and hopeful, while the poor Spanish soldiers are hungry, sick, and despairing.
It seems as if the Cubans have now a better chance of winning their freedom than they have ever had, and if they fail, it will be their own fault.
A pleasant piece of news in connection with all the rest, is that the infamous Fondeviella has been removed from the command in Guanabacoa. His resignation has been asked for from Madrid, and another officer has been appointed in his place.
Fondeviella is the bloodthirsty Spanish soldier who, while acting as Mayor of Guanabacoa, caused the murder of so many innocent persons, Dr. Ruiz among the number.
This savage man is declared to have said that for every account of Spanish cruelty published in American newspapers, he would have an American life.
It is said that the examination of the body of poor Dr. Ruiz has revealed the fact that he was beaten to death, and so Fondeviella has been removed.
The dispatches that mention him now speak of him as Colonel Fondeviella. When he went to Guanabacoa his rank was only that of Major. It would seem that his atrocious conduct has not prevented the Spaniards from promoting him.
It is reported that the Laurada has safely landed her cargo and passengers in Cuba, and that the expedition which sailed from these shores, under the command of Colonel Roloff, has joined the force of General Garcia.
Gomez is said to be waiting for the cannon and supplies that Roloff brings him, before he advances farther to the west to join Ruis Rivera.
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War clouds are hanging low over South America.
Two rebellions have broken out there.
The first is in Brazil.
Brazil is the largest of the South American countries. The Amazon, which you all remember is the greatest river in the world, flows through Brazil.
Until 1889 Brazil was a monarchy, the only monarchy in South America. In November of that year there was a revolution, the Emperor was dethroned, and forced to leave the country. It has been a republic ever since, under the name of the United States of Brazil.
In February last a rebellion broke out which it was found had been started by the monarchists.
Monarchists are people who would rather be ruled by a monarch than by the will of the people. In Brazil there is quite a large party of these monarchists, who would gladly see an emperor on the throne again.
The news from Brazil states that there has been some heavy fighting between the two parties, and that the government troops have been defeated, and one of the favorite generals killed.
The people are so indignant over this, that they are mobbing houses and places of business belonging to people who sympathize with the monarchists.
The Government has sent 10,000 troops to Bahia, where the fighting is at present going on, and is determined to put the war down with a firm hand.
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The other war is in Uruguay.
Uruguay is a small republic just south of Brazil.
This is another civil war.
The President has become unpopular with the people, and they are trying to get rid of him and put some one else in his place.
This little war is hardly worth speaking of at all. Toy revolutions are constantly occurring first in one and then another of the South American republics, and people have grown so accustomed to them that they hardly notice them now.
Uruguay, though a very small country, is particularly fond of these disturbances. The entire population of the whole country is no larger than that of the city of Brooklyn, but this handful of people manage to have enough revolts and disturbances to keep the country in constant excitement.
This present tempest is receiving more attention than is usual because it is supposed that the monarchists of Brazil are stirring the people of Uruguay to rebellion, with the hope of overthrowing both governments at the same time, joining the two countries together, and uniting them under the one emperor.
If this report is true the matter is worthy of serious attention, because Brazil is not one of the little insignificant republics whose perpetual disturbances affect no one but themselves, but a large and important country, and changes in the government of Brazil would be liable to affect all the other countries which trade with it.
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A party of wealthy Chinese merchants arrived in New York the other day from San Francisco. They were on their way to Washington, to see the Chinese Minister and ask him to intercede for them with the Emperor of China.
Their trouble is that the Emperor has kindly invited ten of them to visit China without delay: two to have their heads chopped off, and the other eight to be imprisoned for life.
Of course none of the Chinamen are going to accept the Emperor's invitation, and so they are not seeking the help of the Minister for themselves. Their anxiety is on account of their relatives.
It would seem that one of the curious little customs they have in China is to arrest all the relatives of a man accused of crime, as well as the criminal himself. These unfortunate people they cast into prison, taking away from them their property, and everything of value they possess. This punishment is for no known reason but that they have had the misfortune to be members of the same family as a rascal.
The consequence is that when a Chinaman gets into trouble, his relatives, instead of standing by him, and trying to help him, desert him with the greatest possible speed, and do their best to hide themselves in less dangerous districts.
While the Chinamen who are now in this country are able to laugh at the Emperor's decree, and have no intention of going where he can make things unpleasant for them, they are horror-struck at the way their poor relatives have been stampeded. A number of these have been thrown into jail, and only the nimblest have managed to escape the imperial vengeance.
The Chinese merchants feel that this is very hard, because they have never been tried and convicted of any crime, and this punishment has fallen upon them because of a report of the Consul in San Francisco, which they say is absolutely false.
It seems that the Consul sent word to the Minister in Washington that these ten men were "rebels and full of treason," that they were plotting the overthrow of the Emperor of China, and were collecting arms for that purpose.
The Minister sent the report on to the Emperor, and his Celestial Majesty, fearful lest these ten men might overthrow his kingdom, instantly ordered them to come right home and have their heads chopped off.
The accused Chinese merchants say that they are innocent, and that the charge was made against them by their enemies; and of enemies they seem to have an unlimited number.
It appears that Chinese society is a very complicated affair.
The Chinese, in their own country, live in families and clans, after the manner of the Scotch, and like the ancient Scotch people there are frequently terrible feuds or quarrels between the various clans. If one man of a clan offends a man of another clan, the two entire clans take up the quarrel, and every man of the one clan is ready to fight any man of the other clan, and injure him as far as lies in his power.
In China, as in Scotland, families or clans consist of every living member or connection of the family.
In China the affairs of every member of the family are managed by a council. This council consists of the elders (men over sixty years of age), and the scholars. We told you in No. 1 of THE GREAT ROUND WORLD what severe trials a man has to go through in China before he can be called a scholar.
It is the duty of this council to collect and save all moneys due to any member of the family, to direct the business of their households, and to manage the family and its affairs so completely that the members of the family are like children under the guidance of a very careful parent; and when they come to this country, and are obliged to think and act for themselves, they are no more capable of doing so than they would be if they were really children.
To meet this difficulty, and help the Chinamen, an organization called the First Company was formed in San Francisco, which undertook the duties of the elders of the families, and was a great comfort to the Chinamen in America.
By and by, as more Chinamen came into the country, the First Company got too large, and others were formed on the same principle, until finally there were six companies altogether. Then other societies were formed by the Chinamen, and among them the Sam Yup and the See Yup.
These two societies seem to have the true clannish spirit, and a hatred and rivalry exist between them that remind one of the stories of the Middle Ages.
Belonging to the Sam Yups was a Chinaman named Little Pete, and it is indirectly through him that trouble has fallen upon the heads of the ten Chinese merchants.
If what is said about him is true, Little Pete must have been a very great rascal. He was a well-known character in San Francisco, and there was no work too bad or too wicked for him to undertake.
Among his other crimes he bribed juries, and had a whole regiment of witnesses ready to swear as he wished.
The See Yups knew all about this, and so, when a case was coming into court against any of their members, they would go to Little Pete, and hire his witnesses to swear for them,—well knowing that if they didn't do this, Little Pete would have them there to swear against the See Yups.
By these means Little Pete grew very rich, and was as much hated by his enemies of the See Yups, as admired by his friends of the Sam Yups.
Time passed on, and Little Pete, full of his power, began to make the tax on the See Yups a little heavier than they could submit to. They appealed to the Consul. He took no notice of them. They went to Washington, accused the Consul of being in league with the Sam Yups, and asked that he be dismissed.
The Minister would have nothing to do with them, and they went back to San Francisco, vowing vengeance on Little Pete.
With the Chinese, murder is very lightly regarded, and Little Pete never doubted that his enemies of the See Yups would try to murder him when they got back from Washington. For weeks he went about wearing a coat of mail, and followed by two sturdy Sam Yups, his hired guards.
One night he went into the barber's, and, feeling safe, sent his guards away. The See Yups were watching for just such an opportunity, and rushed into the shop and killed him.
Every effort was made to find the murderers. Several men were arrested, but it was not possible to show that they were connected with the crime, so nothing could be done.
The news of the murder was sent on to China, and there the matter should have rested but that the two rival societies declared a boycott on each other.
The Consul got tired of this, and insisted that it be stopped. The See Yups obeyed, but grumbled, and gave the Consul a great deal of trouble.
The quarrelling still kept on, and finally the Consul sent the fatal letter, accusing the ten See Yups of treason.
The See Yups declare that they can prove that the Consul is in league with the Sam Yups, and that he has made this false accusation against them to oblige the Sam Yup society.
Their only hope is that the Minister, who returns to China very shortly, may straighten matters out for them. If he will not help them they will have to choose between going back to China and having their heads cut off, and allowing their innocent relatives to be punished for them.
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It will interest you to know that this is Maple Sugar time, and that all through New England the manufacture of the delicious Maple Sugar is in full swing.
The way Maple Sugar is made is very interesting.
In the spring-time, before the trees begin to bud and blossom, the sap rises and works its way up into every bough and branch and twig of the tree. Sap is a liquid which flows through the tree much in the same way that blood flows through our veins, and the sap is the life-giving element of the tree, just as the blood is of the body.
In the maple tree this sap is sweet, and it is from the sap that the Maple Sugar is made.
To obtain it, the tree is tapped by being bored with an augur. The sap flows through the hole thus made and is caught in vessels placed for the purpose.
When the tree has yielded a certain amount of sap the holes are plugged, and then covered with wax, to stop the sap from flowing. If this were not done it would continue to flow until every drop was exhausted, and the tree would practically bleed to death.
Maple trees are only tapped once in two years, so that they may have time to recover from the loss of sap, and thrive and grow into fine healthy trees, for the tapping of the trees by no means kills them. There are some maples in New York State that have been producing sugar for nearly one hundred years, and show no sign of decay, though they are still tapped when their season comes round.
When the sap has been drawn from the tree it is generally boiled down until it crystallizes or sugars; it is then poured into moulds, and hardens; this is the favorite way among the farmers for keeping Maple Sugar.
In former times no woman took part in the maple-sugar manufacture. The men used first to tap the trees, and then boil the sap over wood fires that they would build in the neighborhood of the sugar bush, as the maple grove is called.
The men used iron kettles to boil the sugar, and did not take as much care as they might have done to see that the kettle was not rusty, or that no twigs or leaves fell in, and so a boiling of sugar sometimes would be spoiled.
Nowadays the women go along to the sugaring with the men. The boiling is done under cover, and it is the duty of the women to see that the kettles are properly cleaned and scoured. As the men do not have to divide their attention between boiling the sugar and gathering the sap, and both processes are in the charge of special people, the result is that the sugar is much better.
If you ever have a chance to go to a sugar camp, go. It is great fun. Shortly before the syrup sugars the boys and girls pour it on ice or snow, or into cold water; this hardens it so that it can be held in the fingers like candy. The process is called "waxing" sugar.
GENIE H. ROSENFELD.
INVENTION AND DISCOVERY.
A NEW INKSTAND has lately been patented.
The great trouble we all have with our ink is that it thickens so quickly if we are not very careful to cover the inkstand after using.
The new ink-well, to save this trouble, is self-closing.
One lid of the well is made in the shape of a half circle, and is fitted into a groove made to receive it.
When a person wishes to dip the pen in the ink, the touch of the pen slides the curved lid back; and then directly the pen is drawn out, the lid slides back into place again and the ink is protected.
NEW FLOWER-POT.—To people who really love flowers, the new flower-pot holder should prove a very great treasure.
It is to be made in china, and very prettily decorated, and its novelty consists in the plan of making it with an upper and lower chamber.
The upper part holds the flower-pot, and the lower collects the water that trickles through the pot, and keeps it away from the roots of the flower, thus preventing the plant from standing in water and rotting.
The upper and lower portions are connected by a perforated grating, through which the water is carried off.
LETTERS FROM OUR YOUNG FRIENDS.
We have to acknowledge a great number of letters this week; so many, indeed, that want of space prevents publishing them all.
From the Dartmouth Street School, Worcester, we have three letters.
Etta H., Annie H., and Roy R. have sent us delightful little notes, telling us how much they enjoy THE GREAT ROUND WORLD.
We must congratulate all three of our young friends on their excellent writing. They are among the best written letters we have received so far. Etta's is particularly clear and good.
Frederic D. writes a second letter, asking about Crusoe's Island.
We have heard nothing new about Juan Fernandez.
We have, however, written to the Consul at Valparaiso and asked him if he can give us any information.
We cannot get an answer for several weeks, but when we do all our doubts about Crusoe's Island will be set at rest.
We thank Swift T., of Yonkers, for his very kind and friendly letter. It pleases us very much to know that our young friends like the paper and are anxious to receive it every week.
I want to say how glad I was when I heard from THE GREAT ROUND WORLD that General Gomez had won a victory. I wish that that brutal General Weyler had been killed instead of General Maceo. Wasn't it extraordinary that all the trees in India were covered with that queer stuff? I wonder how it got there? Have any of the Hindustanees risen yet?
I am also very interested in the war Greece is having with Turkey. I wish the powers would not interfere with Greece and Turkey, but let them fight it out.
Your picture of a statue of King Arthur has a shield. We have a photograph of a statue in a tomb at Innsbruck, but it has no shield. Did Fischer make two statues?
I wish THE GREAT ROUND WORLD were published twice a week.
Yours very truly, WILLIAM THORN K. 15 West Sixteenth Street, New York. March 14, 1897.
DEAR YOUNG FRIEND:
The original statue of King Arthur had no shield, though it was evidently intended that it should have one. Some years ago an appropriate shield was made for it. The photographs are sometimes with it and sometimes without it, though as the statue stands now in the church it is with the shield as illustrated in THE GREAT ROUND WORLD.
We have heard of no fresh rising in India; the plague and the famine are weakening the people so much that they have little spirit of revolt left.
We are gratified to print the following letter:
We, the citizens of the Junior Republic, wish to thank you for those magazines, THE GREAT ROUND WORLD, that you were so kind to send to us.
We have entered them in our library and they are being read thoroughly by the citizens. The article on our Republic in the March 4th number of THE GREAT ROUND WORLD is exactly as that which has taken place; and, considering that this article was so truthful, we will use the Cuban and other news in your magazine as our authority when we converse on those subjects of which your magazine treats.
WILLIAM DAPPING, Judge Criminal Court. C.G. SMITH, District Attorney. JACOB G. SMITH, President of G.J.R. C.W. BREWSTER, Secretary of State. A. ANDERSON, President of Provident Fund. LE ROY W. OLIVER, Congressman. S.E. BROWN, Senate. LOUIS FURHMAN, Keeper. JAMES WESTERVELT. T. HERNAN, Speaker of House. L.M. YOUNG, Speaker of Senate. EDWARD KING, Proprietor of Restaurant. MAJOR HERVEY E. MILLER, Secretary of Treasury.
TO THE EDITOR:
We wish to extend to you and your friends a cordial invitation to visit our Republic.
Yours, THE CITIZENS, per WILLIAM DAPPING.
GEORGE JUNIOR REPUBLIC, FREEVILLE, N.Y., March 17th, 1897.
I enjoy your fascinating little magazine so much that I thought I would write and tell you so. It has pleased me very much to find that you encourage kindness to animals, for it is pathetic to think how they patiently work for us with only bad treatment as a reward. Do please write more about them, and their undeserved sufferings. I think that your older subscribers would like to read "Fabiola," by Cardinal Wiseman. It is a story of ancient Rome, and the Christians of the catacombs; it is quite an old book, but is as interesting as any that I have read.
As you are so kind about answering questions, perhaps you could tell me of some magazine or shop (in New York) where I could find authentic portraits of historic people, like Catherine de Medici, Louis XI., Louis XII., etc. I do not want them to be too expensive, and I do not want them to be fancy pictures. From a
FRIEND AND ADMIRER.
P.S.—Would you kindly tell me soon where I could get the pictures here, as we leave New York May 1st, and I then will not have a chance to profit by your advice?
NEW YORK, March 18th, 1897.
The authentic portraits of historic people are all paintings. Dutton & Co., on Twenty-third Street, have a very fine collection of photographs of the famous pictures in foreign galleries, and you would most likely find what you wanted there.
M. Knoedler & Co., 355 Fifth Avenue, near Thirty-fourth Street, have photogravures of many of the famous pictures. If you could not suit yourself at Dutton's you would be almost sure to at Knoedler's.
DEAR MR. EDITOR:
Have the astronomers succeeded in finding out whether people live on the planet Mars or not? I am very much interested in it. I saw a picture of President McKinley and his Cabinet the other day. Senator John Sherman is Secretary of State. I hope President McKinley will take more interest in Cuba than President Cleveland has. I remain,
Your fond reader, HARVEY V. SCOTLAND NECK, N.C., March 8th, 1897.
It has been discovered that the air and conditions of the atmosphere on Mars are the same as those of our own planet, the Earth, and so astronomers have decided that Mars may be inhabited. EDITOR.
DEAR MR. EDITOr:
I am nine years old, and like to read about Spain and Cuba in your paper, THE GREAT ROUND WORLD, because it makes it plainer to me than the daily papers do. A long time ago I wanted to go there, but I have changed my mind. One reason why I wanted to go was, Cuba has been fighting bravely, and the murderous Spaniards have no mercy for men, women, or children, if they sympathize with the Cubans.
Wishing your paper years of success, I remain,
Your fond reader, CHARLIE N.S. SCOTTSVILLE, KANS., March 13th, 1897.
I like THE GREAT ROUND WORLD much better than the history I studied before it. The reason I like it is because it tells the news of the world. I enjoy reading it so much, I am glad to see another come. I hear so much about Cuba and Spain, and other matters. Do you think there is any prospect of the Cubans gaining independence?
I must stop now, but I still remain,
Your affectionate reader, FOREST V. SCOTLAND NECK, N.C., March 8th, 1897.
We think it very likely that Cuba will gain her freedom before long. EDITOR.
DEAR MR. EDITOr:
I want to tell you of two books I have been reading. One is called "Scottish Chiefs," and the other is called "The Days of Bruce." I like them both very much. The "Scottish Chiefs" is a story of the days of Sir William Wallace, and describes very vividly the battles that took place.
"The Days of Bruce" is written on the same order as "Scottish Chiefs." It tells of all the Scottish lords, and how the Bruce finally became King of Scotland.
Yours truly, HARVEY V. SCOTLAND NECK, N.C., March 1st, 1897.
We have received a new book for the little ones from Thompson, Brown & Co., Boston—"AEsop and Mother Goose." It is arranged as a First Reader, and a First Reader nowadays means something very bright and attractive. This book seems to be no exception to this rule. Price is 30 cents, but the publishers will mail your teacher a sample if eight (two-cent) stamps are sent them, for they wish teachers to see the book.
THE GREAT ROUND WORLD
AND WHAT IS GOING ON IN IT.
There are certain things in history which every one must know.
You can get along very well without being able to tell when the battle of Crecy was fought. You will not be at all disgraced by not knowing how many were killed at Bosworth Field, nor how many ships were engaged at the battle of Trafalgar.
But you must know how England became England, how France came to be France, and Germany Germany. And yet you cannot know one of these things unless you know about the Roman Empire too, which like an old dead root underlies the greater part of Europe.
Now I am going to tell you about the Ottoman Empire, or Turkey. And yet I find I must begin by talking about other things, and chiefly about that old dead Roman Empire, with which everything else is tangled up.
It was during the reign of Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor, that Christ was born. So the Roman Empire was always just the age of the Christian era.
For the first three centuries, and while it was fiercely fighting the new Christianity, its power seemed invincible. It spread upon every side, toward the East as far as Asia, and in the West as far as the Atlantic. Gaul (or France and Spain) and Britain were gathered in by this insatiable power.
But the Romans could not conquer Germany. Instead of that, the Germans or Goths were always pressing down into Italy, and even thundered at the gates of Rome.
So harassed were the Romans by these terrible barbarians that at last they could no longer spare their legions in distant provinces. So Britain was dropped. And then, as she grew more decrepit and feeble, France got away from her too, and the Germans (who were already in Spain) took that fair land (France) into their own strong, rough keeping.
In the year 323, the Roman Emperor Constantine became a Christian. The Empire threw off its old Greek paganism and adopted Christianity.
Constantine determined to remove his capital far into the East, away from the terrible Goths. There was on the shores of the Bosphorus an old Greek city named Byzantion. This he chose for his capital, and called it Constantinople. So the Empire was divided into an "Eastern" and a "Western" Empire, with two Emperors, one at Rome and the other at Constantinople, or, as it was sometimes called, Byzantium.
Although the Empire was now richer in emperors, and had two Caesars instead of one, it rapidly became a mere shadow of what it once was; and all because of those terrible, ignorant, but iron-willed Goths, who not only would not be conquered, but were not satisfied until they had hammered to pieces the greatest Empire the world had ever seen.
The Eastern Empire with its beautiful Constantinople was in the country of the Ancient Greeks. The Greek language was the one spoken there; and while it had not the glory of the old imperial city of Rome, it had another sort of splendor.
It became the centre of the most brilliant intelligence of the world at that time. There were men great in learning, in art, in literature, and a polished civilization which was chiefly Greek and became less and less Roman.
All this was very dazzling in a way. But the days of the great ascendency of the Roman Empire were gone. A new star had arisen in the West.
Charlemagne, a German, was in the year 800 crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire at Rome, and had displaced the Caesars as the head of Christendom.
Besides that, the "Bishop of Rome," as he was once called, had now become the Pope, the Vicar of Christ on Earth; and as the power of the rival emperors declined, the power of the Pope increased; so that Rome, as the spiritual head of Christendom, was now superior to Constantinople.
While the Goths were breaking in pieces the Roman Empire, and while Constantinople was growing in splendor, important events were happening in far-off Asia.
* * * * *
In the year 569, there was born in Arabia a child who altered the whole course of history. His name was Mahomet.
As the Mahometan religion has always been a scourge and a curse, you would naturally suppose its founder was a bad man. But on the contrary he was a very good man, and had a great desire to make his people better.
The Arabians had a corrupt form of idolatry which came from the Persians, and worshipped not one, but a great many gods.
Mahomet sincerely believed that he was inspired by the one true and great God to overthrow this old religion and to establish a pure and true one.
Under this inspiration he wrote the Koran, which is the Mahometan Bible. This book told them of the sins they must not commit, and of the joys which hereafter awaited those who should be faithful to the teachings of the one God and his prophet Mahomet.
The fatal element in this religion was its cruelty. The Prophet had declared that it should be enforced with the sword, that it should be: the Koran—or death!
It spread with the fury of a conflagration. The Arabs, or Saracens, as they were called, conquered Persia and Syria and Egypt. After that they began to look enviously at Constantinople and to dream of universal empire like the Romans. They were not a horde of ignorant barbarians like the Goths. They came from an ancient seat of learning, and their leaders were men of knowledge and attainments far beyond anything existing in Europe at that time.
In the year 710, like a flock of vultures a great Mahometan host swooped down upon Christian Europe.
Spain was the extreme western limit of the Roman Empire. It was the plan of these terrible Saracens, after conquering Spain, to sweep over the Pyrenees into France. Then another Saracen army, after conquering Constantinople, was to flow westward, and the two streams would meet at Rome.
It was a very nice plan—for the Saracens! But they did not get over the Pyrenees. Nor did they take Constantinople until six hundred years later. So they were content to establish themselves firmly in Spain and upon the African coast opposite, and bided their time.
After the occupation of Northern Africa and Spain, they were no longer call Saracens, but Moors. They lingered in Spain until the discovery of America; and the final expulsion of the Moors from the Spanish peninsula, which was effected with great cruelty, took place during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. They made Spain beautiful, and they made it great.
When the Goths flowed in a rough torrent over Southern Europe they effaced civilization. But this Saracen wave of conquest bore on its crest—but only on its crest—art, refinements, and culture of a type unknown to Europe. The twilight of the Middle Ages was illumined by a revival of Greek culture at Constantinople, and by Saracenic art and erudition in Spain.
For seven hundred years they remained in Spain, which still bears traces of their beautiful architecture; and the Middle Ages would have been darker still but for the enriching stores of knowledge brought into Europe by the Asiatic people.
So in the 8th century there were two great empires in Europe: the Roman and the Mahometan.
The one had passed its meridian and was swiftly declining. The other, with irresistible energy, and with the vigor of a terrible youth, made men tremble for the fate of Christendom.
This Saracen Empire now stretched from the heart of Asia to the outer confines of Europe. So, like the Roman, it was divided into its Eastern and Western parts with two Caliphs (or Emperors): one at Bagdad, in Asia and the other at Cordova in Spain.
A part of their possessions in the East was the spot the most sacred in the world to Christians. Palestine, the land hallowed by the birth, life, and death of Christ, was held by these infidels, whose religion required them to insult and degrade the very name of Christ, and offered rich rewards for exterminating His followers.
This led to the most heroic event in all history. The annals of the world record nothing more astonishing than the Crusades.
When one man offers up fortune and life for a sentiment, he is regarded as one different from his fellows. If an entire nation does it, it is still more amazing. But that all the nations of a Continent, forgetting their own private ambitions and interests, laying aside enmities and jealousies among themselves, should unite, and for two centuries pour out life and treasure, and expend all their energies upon an object which could bring nothing but sacrifice—no material reward,—this is a spectacle the world has seen but once, will never see again, and will never cease to wonder at!
When Peter the Hermit came from Jerusalem at the close of the eleventh century, and with burning eloquence told of the desecration of the Holy Places in Palestine, and of the sufferings of the small band of Christians in the Holy City, Europe rose as one man.
From sovereign to serf there was not one dissenting voice. If it took uncounted lives, and all the treasure of Europe, the Cross, and not the Crescent, should wave over the Holy Land.
The kingdoms united in one great "European Concert." And for what purpose? To drive the Mahometans out of that very land where another "European Concert" is ingeniously striving to keep them undisturbed to-day, and to rescue a little handful of Christians counted by units, where now they call to us by thousands!
And is this what 700 years of civilization has done for us?
It may have been a madness, a wild and fruitless expenditure of life, treasure, and happiness. But I think it must have been a sight which gladdened the angels in heaven, to see such a mighty outpouring of generous sacrifice, without one selfish end in view.
People of all ranks, rich and poor alike, gave out of their abundance or their poverty; abandoned homes, happiness, everything, and flocked to the standards of the Cross.
The sufferings of this impetuous host may be imagined, but never described. No railroads, no telegraphs, no skilled commissariat with careful provision for sustenance.
Thousands perished by the way. Thousands more by the sword. And although for a brief time the Cross floated over Jerusalem, it was only a fleeting vision.
The Saracens recovered what they had lost, and the Crescent waved triumphant above the Holy Land,—and does so still.
At this time there was a wandering, warlike people living far beyond in Asia called Turks. They had not settled homes, and had for centuries been straying into the lands by the Mediterranean, which were held by an Asiatic race remotely connected with them.
They had long ago embraced the religion of Mahomet, and by the time of the Crusades there was a goodly portion of them sprinkled throughout the Saracen dominions. In fact, it is asserted that most of the outrages in Palestine which led to the Crusades were the work of Turkish Mahometans, rather than the Saracens.
One day, about the year 1250 (during the last days of the Crusades), one of these marauding bands of Turks under the leadership of a man named Etrogruhl came unexpectedly within sight of a battle which was being fought between two armies in Asia-Minor.
He did not know who were fighting, nor what they were fighting about. But he led his 400 horsemen pell-mell into the thick of the fray, to help what seemed the losing side.
This decided the fate of the battle; and it turned out that they had been aiding the Sultan of Iconium, the great ruler of that land.
In gratitude for this service, the Sultan gave to Etrogruhl a large piece of territory, and he became the chief of a clan in this beautiful tract of land, which was all his own, bordering on the Byzantine Empire (as it was then called), and almost within sight of the Bosphorus and the city of Constantinople.
This was the beginning of the great Turkish Empire.
Othman, the son of this nameless adventurer, for whom the Ottoman Empire was named, was the first of a line of thirty-five sovereigns reaching down to our own time—where his descendant sits in Constantinople to-day defying and confounding European statesmanship.
The first thing we hear of this young Othman is that he fell in love. The beautiful "moon-faced" maiden was the daughter of a learned Doctor of Laws, who scorned the idea of giving his daughter to this obscure young person.
But Othman had a dream, which changed all that. He dreamed that a full moon came from the doctor's breast and sank into his own. Immediately a great outspreading tree arose from his loins, and over it hung a crescent moon. Suddenly a great wind came and dashed the Crescent over against the Cross and the Crown of Constantine, and broke it into pieces.
So the moon-faced maiden was given to Othman just one hundred and seventy years before the Crescent did break the Crown of Constantine in pieces.
Etrogruhl's clan grew apace; and so did his territory: the one by accessions from other wandering Turkish tribes, and the other by extending it by force as he had a chance. Then the Sultan of Iconium died, and his land and authority were divided among ten states, of which Etrogruhl's was one. So now he was an independent ruler with none to call him to account.
In the mean time his son Othman had developed great ability as a warrior and as a leader. He had met the armies of the Byzantine Emperor, and had defeated them, and had captured fortresses and cities. And the Emperor from the roof of his palace at Constantinople had seen across the Bosphorus the smoke of his burning towns and villages. So when his father died and Othman came into his inheritance, he found himself the ruler of a powerful and inspiring state, and the Ottoman Empire had commenced its extraordinary career of conquest.
His son and successor, Orkhan, inherited the same commanding qualities and the kind of ability required to organize a new state.
By one terrible stroke of genius he created the most effective military organization which has ever been known—one which, from that time down to our own century, was the terror of Europe and of Asia.
He conceived the idea of exterminating Christianity by means of Christians.
The plan was, every year to enroll 1,000 Christian boys taken from the Christian families captured in war. Only the finest were selected. They must be very young, so that they would have no ties to remember, no human sympathies to enfeeble them.
These boys were placed under a rigid military training, with rich rewards and indulgences for zeal and aptitude, and terrible disgrace and punishment for the reverse.
They were familiarized with awful atrocities, their sensibilities destroyed, and at the same time intelligence rendered acute by severe intellectual training.
In this way was developed the strongest, the fiercest military corps, the most terrible instrument for the use of despotic power, ever created by subtle craft or employed by fanaticism.
They were called the Janizaries. And the very name struck a terror which almost conquered in advance.
When Orkhan led his first 1,000 boys to a dervish priest to bless them, he flung the sleeve of his robe over the head of one of them, and asked that the great God of Mahomet would make "their arrows keen, and their swords deadly."
Thereafter, the dervish cap which they wore had always a long sleeve-like pendant behind. And the prayer of the dervish was certainly answered.
One thousand boys recruited these ranks every year; and as the years rolled into centuries, the organization became a more and more terrible instrument of vengeance in the hands of the Sultan, whose body-guard it formed.
The line of Sultans following Othman was characterized by intellectual force of a high order. There was a swelling and irresistible tide of conquest which moved not only toward Europe, but into Asia. One tribe after another was absorbed, until all the strongholds of the old Saracen Empire were in the hands of the Sultans, who replaced the Caliphs; and like them were not alone temporal rulers, but the representatives of Mahomet himself.
Composed in this way of a great heterogeneous mass of races, hostile to each other, and to the Turk, the Ottoman Empire had but one element common to all. That was its religion. The Sultan stood to them in the place of the Prophet—hence they dared not defy nor resist his will. And it is this power of religious fanaticism which not alone created the Empire, but has held it together long after its vital forces have departed.
* * * * *
In the year 1453 the dream of Othman was realized. The long-hoped-for and long-dreaded event had come. Constantinople was in the hands of the Turks!
No event since the Christian era had been more momentous, more fraught with good and with evil.
The Ottoman Power had secured the most beautiful, the most coveted, and the most impregnable position in Europe.
But Europe was strangely enriched by the result. Driven out of its old home, Greek culture took refuge in other places, and what had been the exclusive possession of a few became the heritage of a continent.
Literature, fine arts, and music were revolutionized under the influence of Greek scholars who were refugees flying from the Turks. The period now set in which is known as the Renaissance. That is, art and intellectual life were born into a new and higher form by the introduction of Greek ideals.
The Sultan's palace, court, and the ceremonial attending him had now become like a fairy-tale in its splendor. He was approached as if he were a god. Men prostrated themselves in his presence, and spoke in whispers.
No man's head was more insecure on his shoulders than his Grand Vizier's. A mistake, a failure, and off it went!
Quick to discern ability, no sooner did a Sultan see a man who he thought could serve him—however low his station—than he clutched the unfortunate subject and placed him in high and responsible position.
In vain did the wretched man protest his unfitness for such an honor.
The Grand Vizier was next in authority to the Sultan himself, and was treated like a king. But a favorite form of curse was, "May you be Grand Vizier to the Sultan!"
When great European Ambassadors were presented to the Sultan at Constantinople, each one was taken separately, and, with a courtier holding him by the arm on each side, he was led like a prisoner into the great presence in awful silence.
There was the Sultan cross-legged on his divan, his turban and his robes blazing with jewels. He did not deign to speak nor even to look at the Ambassador, gazing away fixedly and with stony indifference as he was presented.
One of the first acts of a new Sultan was to kill all of his brothers, if he had any, or any one else who could possibly conspire to get his throne.
It was an effectual way of destroying conspiracies in the germ, as we do disease, and was a custom much honored.
An amiable English historian describes one of the Sultans as being an exalted character, pure, upright, and virtuous. He regrets that this admirable man did blind his only son and have three brothers bowstringed (strangled). But it was "the only blemish on his character"! Happy Turkey, to have such an historian!
* * * * *
When "Suleyman the Magnificent" was Sultan in 1550, the Ottoman Empire had reached its zenith. Its eastern frontier was in the heart of Asia, it held Egypt and the Northern Coast of Africa, and its European frontier reached that of Austria and Russia. It included, with the exception of Rome, every city famous in biblical or classical history.
Europe was dismayed at this advancing and irresistible power.
But there is a moment in the history of empires when they reach a climax. Then comes a decline,—a time when conquest ceases, and they are content to defend what they already possess; and finally are glad if they be permitted to exist at all!
Such a moment of climax arrived to the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. The three centuries which have followed have been a gradual and sure decline.
The growth of a New Power beyond the Black Sea,—of Russia,—and brilliant combinations by leaders in Hungary, Poland, and Austria, arrested the fatal advance. Then came the struggle to keep instead of to acquire. Hungary and Poland were torn from her, and the dismemberment had begun.
With these losses came loss of prestige at home, and revolts and internal disorders. The Janizaries could no longer be trusted. They were open to bribes, intriguing, and a source of danger rather than strength; and finally a reforming Sultan touched a mine of gunpowder which led under their barracks, and they were exterminated, the bowstring and sword finishing the few which had escaped.
At this very time (1826) the Greek peninsula had just wrung her freedom from Turkey and was electing her new king.
Servia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Bulgaria (1876), one after another revolted, and was made autonomous, or self-governing, by the Powers of Europe. Thus was formed a group of states known as the Balkans, which made a bulwark of neutral territory between Europe and the dissolving and decaying Empire.
* * * * *
In 1850 Nicholas, the Czar of Russia, determined to take the Christians in Turkey under his own protection. This gave to Russia a virtual Protectorate over the Turkish dominions, and excited the jealousy of England and France.
Affecting to think it was an unfair advantage, and an infringement upon the rights of Turkey, those two countries united in a great war upon Russia. This was known as the Crimean War, which ended disastrously for Russia and placed the persecuted Christians under the combined protection of Europe.
England and France have made little use since of a right which they purchased with thousands of precious lives!
The present Sultan, Abdul Hamid, is the thirty-fifth in descent from Othman.
He is the most luxurious and the most powerful barbarian in the world!
As he sits surrounded by six thousand attendants, eating his pancakes without table or plate or knife and fork, he is sovereign over lands in three Continents.
Absolute lord over some of the richest provinces in the world, surrounded by a fabulous luxury at Constantinople, he is still one of the most abject and miserable of beings.
This man, known as the "Great Assassin," whose will is law, and whose nod is death to millions of people, is as ignorant as a child, as nervously timid as an hysterical woman, and as he cowers in the palace of his ancestors, he trembles at an approaching footstep.
It is his own subjects that he really fears. The Powers could depose—but his subjects can assassinate.
The Sultan knows, and the Powers know, that when they demand a vigorous policy in defence of the Christians they are asking and he is assenting to an impossibility.
The millions of wild, turbulent people whom he rules only endure his authority because he stands to them in the place of the Prophet. But the Prophet taught death to non-Mussulmans.
Should he really be true to his word, and try to bring Kurds and Arnauts to justice, in defence of Christians, his army would revolt, and his subjects would depose him in an hour—and deposition would mean death!
It needs all his inherited craft and cunning to keep his head upon his shoulders at the best of times. And the talk of reforms in the Ottoman Empire is an idle and diplomatic fiction.
The last stage is reached. The question is whether this Empire, reeking with crimes, red-handed from the blood of Christians in Armenia, a scourge in the past, and an offence to the moral sense of humanity in the present,—shall be permitted longer to exist?
Shall I tell you how this question is being answered to-day?
I am ashamed to write it!
Six Christian Powers, after exhausting the resources of diplomacy, are bombarding Christians in Crete in defence of "the Integrity of the Ottoman Empire"!
MARY PLATT PARMELE.
Copyrighted 1897, By WILLIAM BEVERLEY HARISON.