THE GREAT ROUND WORLD AND WHAT IS GOING ON IN IT
Vol. 1 AUGUST 12, 1897 No. 40. [Entered at Post Office, New York City, as second class matter]
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VOL. 1 AUGUST 12, 1897. NO. 40
Affairs in Spain are assuming a very grave aspect.
The people are so enraged at the continued demands of the Government for soldiers and money that riots are breaking out all over the country.
The most serious of the outbreaks has occurred at Barcelona.
We told you some time ago that quantities of arms were stored in Barcelona for the use of the Carlists, and that in the event of a Carlist rising, Barcelona would be the headquarters of the revolution.
During the past week the riots in that city have assumed such a serious character that the Government troops have been ordered out to quell them.
These riots are attributed to Carlist influences, because the Carlists have long been in a very restless frame of mind, and waiting eagerly for Don Carlos to come forward and call them to arms.
The mass of the people in the northern provinces are strongly in his favor, and believe that if he were placed on the throne peace and prosperity would be restored to Spain.
The attitude of the Carlist party is now considered so threatening that the prime minister, Senor Canovas, is reported to have said that the most serious of the many troubles which Spain is now called upon to face is the probability of a Carlist rising.
In the mean while Don Carlos, the leader of the party, remains quietly in his house in Lucerne, Switzerland, and appears to be making no effort to secure the throne of Spain.
The representative of a Swiss newspaper asked him his opinion of the Spanish situation.
He replied that he considered it very grave. Speaking of the Cuban war, he said that it had been frightfully mismanaged, not so much by Weyler as by Gen. Martinez Campos, who was the first general sent out by Spain to conquer the insurgents.
In the opinion of Don Carlos, General Weyler is the right man for Cuba.
He refuses to believe that he has done all the cruel things he is accused of, but says that his sternness and severity were necessary for the occasion, and that Spain should be very grateful to have found such a leader at such a time.
When asked about the chances of a Carlist rising, he said that the people were urging him to take up arms and come to the rescue of his country. He hesitated to do so because he felt that it would be a cruel thing for him to plunge his beloved country into the horrors of a civil war at a moment when she was already beset with enemies.
He declared that it cost him a great effort to remain deaf to the call of his people, but that if matters did not improve, he should feel it his duty to come forward and save his country.
In his opinion the United States is only interfering in Cuban affairs because she wants to annex Cuba. Were he on the throne of Spain he says he would grant such a liberal form of government to the Cubans that they would feel it a privilege to remain under the rule of Spain.
The opportunities for Don Carlos to regain the throne of Spain were never so favorable as at this moment, and, in spite of his statement, it is quite probable that he will obey the wishes of his friends, and do his best to secure it.
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The evidence in the Ruiz case has been laid before our Government.
After careful consideration the State Department has decided that Spain is in the wrong.
General Woodford, the new minister to Spain, has therefore been instructed to present a claim to the Spanish government for $75,000 damages to be paid to Mrs. Ruiz. Our minister is also instructed to say that his Government has concluded that, under the treaties existing between America and Spain, all the proceedings against Dr. Ruiz were illegal, and that Spain is absolutely responsible for his death. Under these circumstances Spain must pay this sum of money to the unfortunate widow.
General Woodford is to add that while the United States would be justified in demanding a much larger indemnity for Mrs. Ruiz, the friendly feeling that our Government has for Spain has induced us to make the sum as moderate as possible.
An endeavor was made on the part of Spain to compromise the matter with Mrs. Ruiz, but she refused to treat with the Spanish agents, saying that she preferred to leave her claim in the hands of the United States Government.
Congress has also taken action in the Competitor case.
The Competitor was an American schooner which sailed for Florida in April, 1896.
According to the story told by the captain of the vessel, he was no sooner out of sight of land than the passengers took possession of the ship, and forced him to change his course and carry them to Cuba.
Their luggage consisted of supplies and ammunition intended for the insurgents, and thus, against his will, the captain was forced to undertake a filibustering expedition.
The Competitor was sighted by the Spaniards, and captured by them, but all but five of the men on board escaped.
Three of these men were Americans who had sailed the ship.
The prisoners were taken ashore and tried by court-martial. They were accused of piracy. They pleaded that they had not undertaken the voyage to Cuba of their own free will, but had been forced to do so by the passengers. They insisted that they were innocent of any intention to wrong Spain.
In spite of this they were sentenced to death. They declared themselves to be American citizens, and their sentence was suspended until the truth about their nationality could be learned.
It was found that they were really Americans, and so the Government immediately sent a protest to Spain, and the three men were sent to prison until an answer could be received.
After a long time word came from Madrid that the men were to be granted a new trial. Ten months have gone by since the new trial was ordered, and still these prisoners have not had justice done them. They have been kept in close confinement in the Cabanas prison, and have been punished as much as if they had been really guilty, but their trial has been put off for one reason or another until it now appears as if the authorities did not mean to give them an opportunity of securing their freedom.
The schooner has also been held all this time by Spain, and her owners are anxious to have her returned that they may have the use of her services once more.
After waiting patiently for nearly a year, Congress has at last taken a hand in the matter.
A joint resolution has been passed, empowering the President to take such steps as he thinks fit to secure the release of the prisoners, and to have the boat restored to her owners.
The resolution also gives the President authority to employ such means and use such power as he may think necessary to accomplish this purpose.
The Spaniards are angry at the action we have taken in both the Ruiz and Competitor cases, but their especial anger is vented on our consuls in Cuba.
General Lee has been informed that if the Spaniards were revengeful instead of noble, he would not long be allowed to remain at his post and foment trouble between Spain and America.
The consul in Matanzas has been forced to fortify the Consulate in consequence of the threats which have been made against the Americans there. He has done this to afford a safe shelter for the Americans in Matanzas in case trouble should break out.
While the authorities in Cuba are feeling angry with us on account of the Ruiz and Competitor cases, the Government in Spain has a fresh cause of annoyance against us.
This has arisen through a despatch sent by the Spanish minister in Washington.
Senor Dupuy de Lome writes his Government that he has received full information in regard to the instructions that have been given to General Woodford.
He says that the minister has been instructed by the Secretary of State to tell Spain that the United States thinks the war in Cuba has lasted long enough, and that the Americans cannot stand quietly by and allow the struggle to go on as it has much longer. Our minister is to inform Spain that if the war is not soon brought to a close the United States will interfere, and that, under any circumstances, warfare, as carried on by General Weyler, must be stopped instantly, as the United States will not permit it to continue.
The Spaniards are highly incensed at this, and are feeling very unfriendly toward General Woodford.
If this statement is really true, it is a pity that it should have been made public, because it has been definitely stated that the President will not allow any unfriendly act toward Spain until it is absolutely sure that General Woodford is unable to make a peaceful settlement.
Our minister leaves for Spain very shortly. At first it seemed as though there would be a long delay before he could be officially received by the Queen Regent, because the Court had left Madrid and gone to San Sebastian for the summer.
It seems that the Spanish court observes very little ceremony during the summer season, and as the reception of an ambassador is a very important and ceremonious affair, the Queen Regent decided to put it off until the return to Madrid.
This delay was very annoying to us. The Cuban questions are too pressing to be allowed to wait until the autumn, and no business could be transacted with the Spanish Government until we had a property recognized representative there.
Happily for us, Japan has helped us out of the difficulty.
The Mikado has sent a special mission to the Spanish court to present the young King Alphonso with his sacred order of the Chrysanthemum.
It would not be at all polite to keep the Japanese ambassadors waiting all summer to make their presentation, and so there is to be a great court function to receive the messengers of the Mikado, and General Woodford will be recognized at the same time.
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The condition of the Spanish troops is reported to grow worse every day.
It is said that their uniforms are ragged and torn, and they look more like tramps than the representatives of a European army.
They are said to go through the streets of Havana begging coppers from the passers-by, and asking bread from door to door.
It is said that numbers of loyal Spanish merchants are leaving the island, because they are forced to supply the soldiers with food without receiving any payment in return. They prefer to leave Cuba rather than be ruined.
In the mean while Havana has been thrown into a panic by the report that General Gomez is marching on the city. The truth of the rumor could not be ascertained, but the fear was strengthened by the sudden return of General Weyler, who had gone off on one of his famous pacifying expeditions.
No sooner had Weyler returned than he began to make extraordinary preparations to defend the city, and so it is generally believed in Havana that the report is true.
It is known positively that the Cubans are very near the city, and that Gomez has issued orders to all the insurgent leaders to press the war forward with unceasing activity.
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It seems that the Sultan has really been brought to terms.
The ambassadors, if you remember, gave him a stern refusal to treat with any one but Tewfik Pasha, and repeated their demand for a written acceptance of the frontier.
After this meeting with Tewfik the diplomats held a conference which resulted in the preparation of a note to their governments in which they gave it as their opinion that the Sultan could never be brought to terms unless some decided action was taken.
The Sultan heard of this, and became alarmed.
He therefore sent one of his ministers, Yussuf Bey, to the ambassadors, urging them to do nothing hastily, but assuring them that if they would only have patience for a few days, everything could be satisfactorily arranged.
But the ambassadors had had enough of delay, and they dismissed Yussuf Bey, telling him politely that they could not possibly wait any longer.
The Sultan became still more uneasy, but he was anxious to put the matter off a little longer, until he could have a final understanding with Germany.
It seems that the Emperor William's reply to his note gave the Sultan some hope that he was still inclined to side with him, in case of trouble.
While he was still looking about for a good excuse, he received a message from the German Kaiser, which put a sudden end to all his hopes of an alliance.
The German ambassador arrived at the palace of the Sultan with the information that the Kaiser, his master, had just telegraphed him to say to the Sultan from him that he must immediately obey the wishes of the Powers.
Following closely on this unwelcome visit came a message from the Czar of Russia, telling the Sultan that unless he immediately withdrew his soldiers from Thessaly, the Russian troops would cross the Turkish border.
Thus driven into a corner, the Sultan saw that the only thing left for him to do was to yield.
He therefore sent a message to the representatives of the Powers, that he had at last been able to induce the Grand Vizier to consent to withdraw from Turkey, and as this had been the only stumbling-block in the pathway of peace, he had issued an order to the Porte (the Turkish Government) authorizing them to accept the frontier as laid out by the Powers.
It would seem that this action on the part of Turkey had removed all obstacles, and that there would now be nothing to prevent the peace negotiations from being carried through. Nobody, however, believes that the trouble is over. It is thought that Turkey will make every possible delay in arranging to leave Thessaly, and also in accepting the new plan of government for Crete.
The Turkish troops have not as yet been withdrawn from Crete, and while the Christian inhabitants are settling down, and becoming reconciled to the new plan of government, their hatred of the Turks is in no degree lessened.
Conflicts between the Turks and the Christians are of daily occurrence. The allied fleets have had to make a demand on Turkey that the soldiers shall give up their arms, as the rioting is so incessant.
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The British House of Commons will not allow the Transvaal scandal to die out as quietly as the Government hoped.
We told you about the two reports that had been sent in; well, the member of Parliament who gave the second report has offered a resolution that Mr. Cecil Rhodes be removed from his position in the South African Company.
Further than this, it has been decided that a complete change shall be made in the directors of this too powerful company, which has already been able to plunge the British Government into so much trouble.
Complaints have been made that the company under its president, Mr. Cecil Rhodes, has abused the privileges thus given by the Government. In addition to the affair in the Transvaal, the company has treated the natives of Mashonaland with great severity, taking their cattle away from them, and forcing them to live in a condition bordering on slavery.
It has therefore been decided to modify the terms of the charter to such a degree that the South African Company can only manage the commercial affairs of their territory, all matters relating to its foreign policy being henceforth in the hands of the British Government.
The House of Commons has been forced to agree to an open discussion of the Transvaal Raid, when the matter of punishing Mr. Rhodes is to be decided upon. Mr. Hawkesly, the lawyer who holds the missing cablegrams, is also to be summoned before Parliament, and forced to produce them.
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The last steamer from Japan brought a renewed protest from the Government against the annexation of Hawaii.
Japan insists that Hawaii must remain an independent country. She says that as soon as the Panama or Nicaragua canals are opened the importance of the Sandwich Islands will be greatly increased, and that it is necessary to the welfare of Japan that her independence be preserved.
The Japanese minister is reported to have declared that "annexation must not be recognized. Japan must oppose it to the utmost."
In spite of this the Senate is going right ahead with the business of the treaty.
In the mean while the Secretary of the Navy is making all the ships at his command ready for service, so that we shall not be altogether unprepared to defend ourselves if occasion arises.
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There is not very much to tell in regard to the strike. No settlement has been reached, and there is not much likelihood that the miners and masters will come to any understanding at present.
We told you that some of the miners had stood out against the offer of better wages, and refused to go to work until the condition of their fellows throughout the country had been improved.
All the miners have not been as brave and loyal as these men.
In some parts of Western Virginia, such excellent wages have been offered to the men, that they have weakened and gone back to work in spite of the fact that the labor agitators have been constantly urging them to remain firm.
They have been telling the men that they will secure great benefits if they will only hold together.
At one time there was some hope that the men might submit the whole matter to arbitration, but this seems doubtful.
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Another report about the use of the X rays in the French Custom-House has reached us.
This time the rays were applied to thirty packages which had arrived by parcels-post. It took but fifteen minutes to examine the whole of these packets, and their contents were discovered without the necessity of breaking a seal or untying a string.
The amusing part of the story is that the thirty persons to whom the parcels were addressed had been asked by the officers if there was anything dutiable in them, and all had replied in the negative.
The confusion and trouble were therefore great when forbidden articles were found in twenty-seven out of the thirty packets.
The French officials are very strict about such matters, and enforce heavy fines for attempting to bring things into their country without paying duty on them.
The senders had had no idea that the X rays would be used on the packages, and had arranged them so that on opening they would appear to contain nothing dutiable.
One basket was labelled fruit. Had it been opened in the ordinary way the officers would have found nothing but apricots and plums, unless they went to the trouble of emptying the whole basket out—a thing that is seldom done. When the X rays got to work on this packet a pair of patent-leather shoes was revealed, hidden away amongst the fruit.
Another bundle was labelled, "Specimens of clothing—without value."
No sooner was it held before the X rays than it was seen that a quantity of cigarettes and English matches were rolled away inside the linen.
All this was found out without so much as breaking a seal or untying a string.
At the same time that the news of this excellent use for the X ray reached us, we observed statements from several prominent doctors and electricians, warning people of the danger of using this wonderful light without a proper knowledge of its properties.
It seems that under certain circumstances the X ray is capable of inflicting a very serious wound. It acts in the same way as fire does, and burns the skin so severely that it is a very long time in healing.
Nikola Tesla, the great electrician, says, however, that this trouble only arises from want of knowledge as to the proper way to handle the rays. If they are held at a certain distance from the skin, there is not the slightest danger of accident.
The curious part of the wound inflicted by the X ray is that the burn is not felt at the time the mischief is being done. A person can allow his skin to be exposed to the X rays until it is badly burned without experiencing any pain until some time after the damage has been done. The injured part first swells, and then shows all the symptoms of a burn.
One man who had exposed his foot to the rays to discover a rifle-ball that was lodged in his heel received a burn that took eleven months to heal.
It seems curious that such a severe injury could be inflicted without any warning of pain. No sensation of warmth is felt until the part is burned, and then, according to Mr. Tesla, the pain does not seem to be on the surface as in ordinary burns, but deep-seated, in the very bones themselves.
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There is fresh news from Brazil and Uruguay.
In Brazil, the insurgents, under their leader, Anton Conselhiero, were defeated, and the town of Canudos, which had been their stronghold, was taken from them.
So severe and crushing was the defeat which they sustained, that it is thought that the revolution has been brought to an end.
The battle lasted four hours, the rebels fighting with great courage and determination. The well-trained government troops proved too strong for them, however, and when the Brazilian artillery was brought to the front, and began to pour a steady fire into the rebel army, the ranks were broken and the insurgents fled for their lives.
The Brazilians pursued them hotly, and it is said that when the fight was over Conselhiero's army was almost annihilated.
In Uruguay the rebels have gained the upper hand, and it is hoped that that war will also be brought to a close very shortly.
The Uruguayan insurgents were much stronger than the Brazilian; indeed, they outnumbered the government troops, and fought so fiercely that Uruguay had to give in and ask for an armistice.
This the rebels granted, and during the cessation of hostilities negotiations for peace were immediately set on foot.
The terms of peace which the rebels offered were that they should have the right to choose the next President of Uruguay, and the governors of six of its provinces. They also demanded that all insurgents who had been dismissed from the regular army should be reinstated, and all who had been exiled on account of the rebellion should be allowed to return to their homes.
The Government is not willing to grant these terms, but it is thought that the rebels are so strong that they will be able to insist on the acceptance of their conditions.
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Company E, of the Eighth New York Regiment, has started on an important military expedition.
It is the desire of the commanders to find out just what the practical value of a bicycle would be in time of war.
To demonstrate this, Company E, which is the bicycle company of the regiment, received orders to make a week's trip on Long Island, instead of going to the state camp as usual.
It is the intention to have the command cover a distance of five hundred miles during the week, each man carrying with him the regulation kit of a soldier on the march.
This outfit consists of the canteen or water-bottle, knife, fork, spoon, and combination frying-pan and plate, a blanket to sleep in, and of course a rifle, bayonet, and cartridge-box.
With the bicycle command, all these articles had to be stowed away so that the hands should be free to control the wheel.
The blanket was therefore strapped on the handle-bars, the musket slung under the saddle, the cartridge-box and bayonet hung from the soldier's belt, and slung across the shoulders were the canteen and a haversack containing all the other articles.
With all these articles the bicycle will be heavily loaded, and one of the points which the authorities especially wish to prove is whether it is possible for men to make any distance on wheels when they are so heavily weighted.
The baggage that we have described is the very least that a soldier can carry, and if no great distance can be accomplished with such a load, the wheel is of little value for purposes of war.
The military authorities are also desirous of proving just how reliable the bicycle itself is. Every one knows what the wheel can do on a level road or smooth track, but it has not been demonstrated how a troop of wheels will last on rough country roads.
Company E has taken no tents; the men are to sleep under such cover as they may find on the way. No food has been taken, or provided for; the men will have to forage, or seek for their own rations.
Their one extra is a bicycle ambulance. This is a very novel affair, and is made of a covered stretcher slung between two tandems. The men have been allowed to put kettles and coffee-pots inside the stretcher at the start, but if in case of illness the ambulance is needed, even these small comforts will be left behind.
They have with them an engineer to make maps, and a photographer, who has a camera slung under his saddle instead of a musket.
The experiment is to be made on Long Island. When the Shinnecock Hills are reached, two days will be spent in scouting and reconnoitring, with skirmishes and sham fights to follow.
They will thus have a week of practical campaigning.
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While we are on the subject of wheels we are reminded of a recent decision that bicycling is illegal on Sunday in New Jersey.
This fact came out through a lawsuit. Two cyclists were riding in the town of Westfield, N.J., one Sunday, and came into collision, one of their wheels being wrecked.
The man whose wheel was damaged claimed that the accident was due to the other's carelessness, and sued for twenty-five dollars to cover repairs to his machine.
When the case came into court, and the judge heard that the affair had occurred on Sunday, he dismissed the complaint.
He stated that bicycling on Sunday was an illegal practice, and that no one could come before a court and ask for protection from an accident that had happened to him when he was engaged in an occupation that was against the law.
This decision will be a great surprise to a good many young folks, who have hitherto regarded Sunday as their best day to go a-wheeling.
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We told you about Mr. Andree, who made an effort last year to reach the North Pole by balloon, and who intended to repeat the experiment this year from Spitzbergen. The news has just reached us that he has made his start.
On the 15th of July, the wind being in a favorable direction, Mr. Andree determined to begin his dangerous voyage.
Being anxious to get away before the wind should change or die out, the preparations were hurried forward, and in three hours and a half after he decided to make his attempt, all was in readiness.
Accompanying the daring explorer were two other venturesome men, Mr. Strindberg and Mr. Fraenkel.
Stepping into the car, they gave the word to have the balloon cut loose. They rose rapidly till they were about six hundred feet in the air, but at this altitude a cross-current struck them, and they were driven earthward again until they almost touched a projecting rock.
It was feared that the attempt had failed, but the three men in the car set to work vigorously throwing out some of the sand-bags that had been put in the car for ballast, to steady it, and the balloon soon rose again and continued on her course.
The weather was clear, and the Eagle, as the balloon was called, was visible for an hour. It appeared to be moving at the rate of twenty-two miles an hour, and to be taking the exact direction that Mr. Andree had wished that it should.
The adventurers expected to reach the Pole in two or three days, but had prepared themselves for a trip of as many months.
Nothing has as yet been heard or seen of the balloon. Russian steamers have been sent along the coast of Siberia in search of it, and it is hoped that some news may be gleaned through the circulars that the Czar caused to be sent among all the peoples around the Polar regions, asking them to watch for the balloon, and report it as soon as seen (see page 860).
A good deal of excitement was caused by the capture of a carrier-pigeon in Norway.
Stamped on the bird's wings was "North Pole, 142 W. 47.62."
It was thought at first that it was one of the birds which had been taken by Andree on his expedition, and that the North Pole had been discovered.
It was found, however, that Andree's birds were all marked "Andree, A.D. 1897," and after a few days of excitement and wonder, it came out that the bird belonged to a German pigeon-flying society, and that it had been released in Heligoland.
Carrier-pigeons are a particular breed of pigeon which have the wonderful quality of flying home no matter how far away they are carried.
Societies have been formed to fly these wonderful birds, and they have been taken hundreds of miles away, over seas, to test this strange quality.
The result has always been the same: the moment they are released they circle round and round for a time, as if trying to make out their bearings, and then fly off straight for home.
This attribute has made them of great value to man in many ways.
In times of war, messages have been sent by their aid.
A man has made his way out of a besieged city, taking one of the birds with him, and by its aid has been able to send word back that he has reached his friends and will bring the needed help.
The Emperor of Germany has just got himself into trouble over carrier-pigeons.
Wishing to see for how long a distance they could be relied on in case of war, he sent a messenger over to England, who carried with him a great number of these clever birds.
They were all marked so that they could be recognized, and on the shores of Dover, England, they were set free. Six hours after they had all found their way back to Duesseldorf, Germany.
The despatching of these birds attracted the attention of the English people about Dover, and when it was discovered that they were the property of the Emperor of Germany there was a good deal of talk over it.
The English people are always afraid that some foreign nation is going to try and invade their country, and imagining there was some deep and dark foreign plot underlying the pigeon-flying, they demanded of the authorities if the German Emperor had obtained permission to fly his birds.
When it was found that permission had neither been asked nor accorded, the fear of a plot grew so strong that the matter was finally carried to the House of Commons, and an explanation demanded.
The Under Secretary of War stated that the subject was already under consideration.
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A rock covered with curious characters has recently been discovered in Mexico, in the mountains of the Magdalena district, state of Sonora.
The characters appeared to resemble the Chinese so closely that a well-educated Chinaman was asked to go to see the rock and give his opinion about it.
He had no sooner looked at it than he declared it to be a veritable Chinese inscription. He made a copy of it, and has already translated enough to show that the writing was cut in the stone about two thousand years ago.
There are ten lines of characters on the parts of the rock exposed to view.
The Chinaman who translated the inscription said it was an account of a Chinese settlement that had once been established in the place where the stone was found. He said that in the history of China there was a record of an expedition which had been sent to that portion of the western coast which is now Mexico.
If this is true, the Continent of North America was discovered by the Chinese centuries before the time of Columbus.
Evidence is coming to light in various parts of the globe of the tremendous journeys that were undertaken by the Chinese in the early days of civilization.
It has lately been discovered that they at one time formed colonies in the islands of the Pacific Ocean.
In Australia evidences have also been discovered of Chinese habitation.
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It has been reported that King Menelik of Abyssinia has appointed a Russian General to be the Governor-General of those provinces of Abyssinia which lie in and around the equator.
The appointment of a foreigner to such a post shows very distinctly that the Negus is really anxious to shed the light of civilization upon his people.
M. de Leontieff, the Russian appointed by King Menelik, has already made two visits to Abyssinia, and is therefore well known to the King. He was at one time the bearer of rich presents from the Czar to the Negus.
The position which M. de Leontieff will hold under Menelik is similar to that held by General Gordon in Egypt. Gordon found many opportunities to improve the condition of the people under his authority, and as M. de Leontieff is a very intelligent man, he will undoubtedly do all in his power to help King Menelik to develop his country. G.H. ROSENFELD.
THE GREAT ROUND WORLD AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED ON IT. 1144
It is not for nothing, then, that we are taught in church to call all men our brethren, and we must learn to realize that all the nations of the earth are akin to us and to one another, and that the differences between them in looks, in moral qualities, and in mind are really not much more than what we often see in the members of one large family, where one brother may be a genius and make a great name or a fortune for himself, while another will never get beyond the simplest schooling and, later on, the plainest work as laborer or poorly paid clerk. Take the most light-complexioned child to the tropics, and there let him lead an outdoor life—hunting, herding cattle, building, ploughing, and harvesting—then look at the middle-aged man; you will find him burnt by the sun, tanned by wind and weather to a dark brown which will not bleach off even should he return to his native northern country to live. His children will be born darker than he was, his grandchildren probably darker still, and so on. What, then, must be the change should the descendants of a particular set of men live thousands—not hundreds, but thousands—of years in one particular zone of the earth, under the same conditions of climate, food, and local nature generally—what we call "environment"?
This is exactly what happened to those detachments which once upon a time separated from the original human family. Each may have gone forth at random, but there was the earth to choose from and to be had for the taking; and, wherever such a detachment settled, there was nothing to prevent its posterity staying on and on, and developing their own peculiarities under local influences; for it would take many, many centuries before there would again be a lack of room and the process of separation would be repeated. Thus were formed the subdivisions of the human kind, with their striking characteristics and distinctive peculiarities, which we call the great Races of the World.
Now, if this thing were to happen to any one of us—that we should discover brothers and kinsfolk of whom we knew nothing before—we would be very curious to find out all we could about them: where they came from, what had happened to them during all those years until they settled where we found them, and when and why they separated from their forefathers, who were also our own. These are the very things we want to find out about the various nations who live in the world now, and those who have lived in it before anything existed of what is now in the world, all the way back to the beginning.
The task is quite easy, so long as we have books to help us, histories to tell us year by year all that went on in every part of the Great Round World, as our newspapers tell us day by day what is going on in it now. But books do not take us very far back. It is only four hundred years since printing was invented, and not more than six hundred since the art of making paper out of rags has been known. But people could write hundreds and hundreds of years before that was invented, and used almost anything to record the memorable doings of their day—bark of trees, skins of animals (parchment), "papyrus," a material made of the fibres of a plant. Short inscriptions over the entrances of temples and palaces, or cut with the chisel on monuments erected in memory of great events or above the graves of famous men, and long inscriptions covering whole walls or even the face of high rocks smoothed for the purpose, were like so many stone books, pages of which are continually discovered and read by our scholars.
But we come at last to times so remote that there is not a trace of the roughest writing, not a fragment of the crudest monument, to tell us the story of the men who, then as now, must have thought and labored and invented, only so much more slowly, under difficulties which we can hardly picture to ourselves. "What, then," is the natural question, "what can we know of such times, and of earlier ones still? How do we know things happened in the manner described a few pages back?" We know it, in the first place, by analogy, i.e., because the same things have happened over and over again in the same manner in times which we know all about, and are happening now, under our eyes—for what is the constant tide of immigration which keeps coming in from the East but, under modern conditions, the same swarming off from overcrowded native hives of seekers after more land and new fortunes? In the second place, the oldest races of the world left abundant traces by which we can determine not only the places of their settlements, but their mode of life and the degree of culture they successively reached.
There has certainly been a time when men did not know enough to build dwellings for themselves—or, not to be unfair, had not the necessary tools—but lived in the forests which then very nearly covered the globe, using such natural shelter as they found ready for them, almost like the savage animals which it was their main business to fight and kill in self-defence and also for food and clothing. Caverns in steep mountain-sides must have been their most luxurious, because safest and best-protected, retreats. Many dozens of such caverns are known in all parts of the world, and the tale they tell is not difficult to read. Several have become very famous, from the wealth of finds with which they rewarded the searchers. Some appear to have been used as burying-places, for the ground in them is covered to a great depth with broken-up human skulls and skeletons, while outside, on the rocky ledges or platforms before the mouth of the cavern, are found the traces of large fires, built again and again on the same spot—ashes, and cinders, and charred bones of animals; also broken marrow-bones, horns, hoofs, and other remains of plentiful meals, showing that then already it was the custom to feast at funerals.
Other caverns have as certainly been used as dwellings. Hence the name of "cave-dwellers," which has been given to those otherwise unknown races. How very crude and primitive their mode of life is shown by the vast quantities of tools and weapons in hard flint—generally broken—which are found intermixed with the other remains. They are very simple: heads of spears, blades of knives and scrapers, some indented like coarse saws, hatchets and mallets chipped into shape with no attempt at polishing—such, with occasional variations in bone, was the sum total of the cave-dwellers' equipment for the chase, for war, and for domestic purposes. That they could, with such slender resources, hold their own against the animals whose haunts they shared and who then were so much more numerous than men, is the more wonderful that those animals were of monstrous size, more than twice the size of the same kinds now, not to speak of some huge beasts which then roamed woods and plains in herds and are now wholly extinct—such as the mammoth, the ancestor of our elephant.
In all those heaps of tools and fragments, not a trace of any metal has been found; wherefore this oldest of all times of which we can catch stray glimpses has been given the general name of "Age of Stone."
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