THE GREAT ROUND WORLD AND WHAT IS GOING ON IN IT
Vol. 1 SEPTEMBER 9, 1897 No. 44. [Entered at Post Office, New York City, as second class matter]
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VOL. 1 SEPTEMBER 9, 1897. NO. 44
The Armenians in Turkey are becoming restless once more.
They say they have waited long enough for the promised reforms, and as the Sultan has made none of the proposed changes, they have once again shown their hatred for him and his rule by resorting to that most cowardly of weapons, a dynamite bomb.
One day last week all Constantinople was alarmed by the noise of several loud explosions.
It was soon found that dynamite bombs had been thrown into the windows of the Government Council House. The entire building was shaken to its foundations, the roof torn off, and the walls badly damaged.
A meeting of ministers in the Grand Vizier's office had been proposed for the hour at which the explosion took place, and it was supposed that the cowardly assassins had intended to murder the Turkish officials while they were attending to their duties. Happily the meeting had been postponed, and therefore but little harm was done beyond the damage to the building.
The people had hardly recovered from their horror over the wrecking of the Council House when word was brought that an attempt had been made to blow up the Ottoman Bank.
Just a year ago an attack was made on the Bank, and on that occasion its officers were so unprepared for an attack that the Armenians gained possession of the building, and held it against the soldiers for several hours.
The Ottoman Bank of Turkey has charge of the public funds, so it is to the interest of the Government to see that it is well protected. Since the Armenian attack, therefore, there has not only been a special guard on duty to protect the bank, but men stationed at the doors to inspect every person who entered, and prevent any suspicious-looking characters from gaining access to the main building.
These precautions probably saved many precious lives, for, on the same afternoon that the bomb was thrown a man was seen entering the bank who was so extraordinarily fat that the watchers became suspicious of him.
They refused to let him enter the main building, and taking him into a little side room set apart for the purpose, they searched him.
They found, as they had suspected, that his great size was due to a huge dynamite bomb, which he was trying to conceal under his robes. In Turkey many of the people have not adopted the European dress of coat and trousers, but still cling to their long loose robes.
As soon as the bomb was discovered it was carefully put into water, the man was arrested, and the bank closed its doors, an extra guard of soldiers being sent for to protect it.
The news of the attempt on the bank was followed by the calling out of the palace guard and the closing of all the entrances to the palace.
A rumor was then spread abroad that another bomb had been found within the palace grounds, and that yet another had been found that was intended to blow up the Police Headquarters.
When the news of these various outrages was noised abroad the people were panic-stricken.
Crowds of Turks rushed from their homes, anxious to defend their city and their Sultan, and, armed with sticks, they hurried through the streets, not knowing where to go, or what to do first.
Alarmed lest their good intentions should lead them into acts of violence, and that Constantinople would be plunged into the horrors of riot and mob rule, the police and patrols ordered the men back to their homes, severely clubbing those who were slow to obey.
Soon the streets were given over to the soldiers, and not a soul was to be seen abroad but those connected with the guards and patrols.
When the streets were cleared, the police made a search of the Armenian quarter, and many suspicious characters were arrested.
The certainty that these outrages were the work of Armenians has roused the Mohammedan population to fresh fury, and a repetition of the massacres of last year is feared.
The better class of Armenians in Constantinople denounce the shameful deeds, and are enraged at the men who have once more turned the wrath of the Turks against the unhappy Christians in the Sultan's domains.
There is a feeling of great uneasiness throughout the city, the Turks fearing that more dynamite bombs will be thrown, and the Armenians that the mob will take a hideous vengeance for the outrage.
In the midst of all this danger and confusion, the foreign ambassadors are endeavoring to arrange for the treaty of peace between Greece and Turkey.
The peace negotiations seem, however, to be at a standstill.
The protests of Greece against Germany's proposal that her treasury be controlled until the war indemnity should be paid, finally aroused England to action.
It was further proposed, if you remember, that the Turkish troops were not to be withdrawn from Thessaly until the last pound had been paid; it was also suggested that a regiment or two at a time should leave, as the debt was paid off, but that Thessaly should be held by the Turks as a guarantee that Greece would pay.
The other Powers, apparently forgetting that they had sent ultimatums to Turkey on this subject, finally agreed that the Turkish troops should stay; but England refused point-blank to listen to any such scheme.
Lord Salisbury, the English Prime Minister, said that whether the war indemnity be paid or not, the Turkish troops must at once leave Thessaly. He declared firmly that he would permit no other settlement of the question, and that rather than allow the Turks to remain longer on Greek soil, England would break up the concert of the Powers, and take the consequences.
These were very brave words, and highly pleasing to the national pride and spirit of England, but the other Powers were indignant that England should take such a stand. They pretended to forget the angry despatches which they had sent on this very same subject, and the times they had refused to carry on further negotiations unless the Sultan consented to withdraw from Thessaly, and appeared to think that it was the duty of England to agree with them, no matter how often they changed their minds.
England alone seemed clearly to see that the consent of the Powers to this infamous scheme was only the result of the Sultan's wearisome delays, which after fourteen weeks of unprofitable haggling and bargaining have made the ambassadors anxious to get the matter settled one way or another, and be rid of the Sultan and his diplomacy.
England stated her reasons for refusing to agree with the other Powers. She said that the war indemnity demanded by Turkey was so large that Greece could never pay it, and that the Turkish occupation of Thessaly until the debt was settled really meant that Thessaly was to be ceded to Turkey.
As we have said, the English were very pleased over the stand Lord Salisbury had taken. It seemed to have been done just at the right moment, when the Powers, weary of the delay and anxious to have the Turkish army disbanded, would be ready to threaten Turkey with war if she did not immediately obey them.
This Turkish army is felt to be a very serious menace to Europe. The Sultan has an enormous number of soldiers now under arms, and moreover this army of his is a victorious army, proud of its strength, and anxious to have fresh opportunity to show its mettle and courage.
An uneasy feeling therefore prevails while this large force is kept under arms, as at any moment the Sultan may take it into his head to try and reconquer the Balkan provinces which he lost in the war with Russia.
Should he attempt such a thing Europe would be bound to go to the aid of the province, and the much-dreaded European war would result. Until the Turkish army is disbanded the peace of Europe cannot be assured.
It was felt, therefore, that Lord Salisbury had chosen a happy time for his protest, and that the Sultan must now be forced into doing what is right.
Unfortunately, Lord Salisbury, while he is a very clever statesman, has not the courage of his own opinions. He can think out a clever plan which would be of the greatest benefit to his country, and though in the beginning he will try with great firmness to enforce it, he cannot stand up against strong opposition. He has time and again abandoned some excellent policy, and veered completely round, when he has met strong opposition.
Much anxiety was felt in London on the present occasion lest he should not be able to maintain the firm stand he had taken on the Greek question. This anxiety grew keener when it was found that the other Powers were opposed to him. His party and his friends did their best to persuade him to remain firm, and for a time it seemed as though nothing could shake his resolution. At last the unwelcome news was given out that the British ambassador in Constantinople had received instructions from Lord Salisbury to accept the peace proposals of the Turks, and allow them to remain in Thessaly until the debt should be paid off.
Lord Salisbury's reason for yielding is rumored to be that the five ambassadors, representing France, Germany, Russia, Austria, and Italy, were ready to sign the first treaty without waiting for the consent of England.
This is said to have alarmed the British Prime Minister, and made him fear that the other Powers would combine against England if he persisted in his determination, and so he weakly deserted Greece; and the Turks will remain in Thessaly until the war indemnity is paid.
It is, however, stated that the British, French, and Russian ambassadors have all sent word to their governments that it is quite impossible for Greece to pay the sum demanded by Turkey.
Steps are therefore being taken to induce the Sultan to accept a smaller sum, but the chances are that his success in securing Thessaly will make Abdul Hamid refuse to take a piaster less. He will be sure to think that if he only holds out long enough he will get everything he asks for.
In Athens the people are not at all willing to accept the proposed treaty.
At a mass-meeting the other night a resolution was prepared and sent to the King, asking him to reject the treaty and resume the war.
The general feeling throughout Greece is, however, against a continuance of war.
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The news from India is of a gloomy character.
Fresh revolts have occurred on the frontier of Afghanistan. A tribe, the Afridis, has joined the rebellion against the British rule.
The disaffection of this tribe, which numbers about twenty thousand first-class hill-fighters, is most serious to the British cause. It is not its strength that alarms the English, however, but that the English army in India has been largely recruited from the Afridis, and so the rebels are not confined to the enemy that has to be faced, but numbers of them are found in the very regiments that are being sent to the front to quell the disturbance.
The Afridis have until now been most loyal to the Government, and were looked upon as safeguards in case the rebellion assumed a more serious form. During the Afghan war this tribe held the Khyber Pass for the British, and did them great service, as this pass is the main mountain route in the north between Afghanistan and Hindustan.
A revolt of the Afridis was the event most to be feared by the British, and it now appears to have taken place.
A large force of tribesmen entered into Khyber Pass, attacked the forts which guarded it, and unfortunately were successful in capturing them. The force of British soldiers at hand was not strong enough to drive them back, and they were able to swarm into the Pass in great numbers and possess themselves of it.
The Pass once taken, they had the temerity to offer to treat with the British for peace, and promise to go peaceably back to their homes if the soldiers should be withdrawn from all the forts on the frontier.
The British Government is incensed that the tribesmen should be so little afraid of the power of the English arms, and has determined to conquer this rebellious tribe, and give it a lesson in obedience that will not soon be forgotten.
Now that the outbreak has assumed such a serious form, every one is trying to discover a reason for the rebellion. Some think that the Sultan of Turkey is at the root of the matter, and that he has caused the news of his victory over the Greeks to be spread broadcast throughout the whole Mohammedan race, thereby creating the impression that the power of Europe has been shaken, and in this way has given the natives of Hindustan an idea that it is an excellent opportunity for them to try to throw off the hated European sovereignty.
Another rumor is that the Ameer of Afghanistan has incited the tribes to rebel, and that he is secretly giving them his support and assistance.
All the revolting tribes dwell on the borders of Afghanistan, and it is known for a fact that the Ameer distributed among the native Indian regiments a book of treasonable character, telling them all about the Jehad or Holy War. This war, according to the Mohammedan belief, is to be undertaken by the Moslems against the Christians, and is to result in the spreading of the Mohammedan faith throughout the world.
The circulation of these books excited the natives very much, and it is thought had a great deal to do with their present restless and rebellious spirit.
The Indian Government therefore sent a message to the Ameer protesting against the further circulation of this book, and accusing him of exciting the tribes to rebel, and then of allowing his subjects to take part with them against the English.
The Ameer sent a prompt reply in which he denied that any of his subjects had been concerned in the recent troubles.
He said that his soldiers should never be used to fight against the British, and that if any of the tribes under his rule are guilty of joining in a rebellion against his friend the Queen, it is without his knowledge or consent. He insisted that none of his people would have dared to join the rebels openly, for fear of his severe displeasure.
In addition to this letter to the British Government, he has issued an order to his subjects, forbidding them to join the rebels.
Notwithstanding this, the British officers in India place no reliance on the Ameer's protestations, and still believe that he is directing the operations of the troops on the frontier.
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Spain is still sorrowing for the loss of her Prime Minister, Senor Canovas.
This great statesman was buried with all the honors which his patriotism merited. The public buildings were all draped in black, all business was suspended in Madrid during the ceremonies, and all honor was paid to his memory, the Queen Regent sending personal messages of sympathy to his widow, and ordering the court to go into mourning for him for three days.
Kings and princes cannot give expression to their feelings as private individuals do; they have their public duties to perform, and therefore no matter how sincere their grief they are not at liberty to shut themselves away from the world and mourn their loss.
When a member of a royal family dies, the sovereign orders that a certain number of days or weeks shall be observed as days of mourning. During this time the whole court is dressed in black or the color that is used as mourning in that special country. In France, purple used to be the color of the court mourning; in China they use white. The servants as well as the ladies and gentlemen of the sovereign's household all wear the mourning color, and during the period set apart for the days of mourning no dinners or festivities of any sort are given, no persons are received or presented at the court, and the king and court retire into private life.
As soon as the appointed time is passed, the mourning garments are laid aside, and the gaieties are resumed as if nothing had happened to interrupt them.
As a rule, a court only goes into mourning for a relative of the sovereign or a member of the reigning family. It is most unusual for a court to be ordered to mourn for a person who is not of the royal blood, and that the Spanish court has been ordered to pay this mark of respect to Senor Canovas shows the high esteem in which he was held.
The cowardly assassin who murdered the Prime Minister has suffered the penalty of his infamous crime. He was tried, found guilty of his dreadful deed, and put to death.
The Queen Regent has had to choose another Prime Minister in Canovas' stead, and this has been a hard task for her. In Canovas she lost her best friend and constant adviser, and his place was not easily filled.
On the death of Senor Canovas, General Azcarraga, by virtue of his office of Minister of War, assumed the duties of the Prime Minister, and it is upon him that the Queen's choice has fallen. General Azcarraga is supposed to be thoroughly in sympathy with Senor Canovas' plans for Cuba, and to be prepared to carry them out.
He is said to approve of the way Weyler has been conducting the war, and intends to keep him as Captain-General of Cuba.
It is reported that when the news of Senor Canovas' death reached Havana, General Weyler at once offered to resign his position, well knowing that if Senor Sagasta was made Prime Minister in Canovas' place there would be a new Captain-General in Cuba within the month.
Sagasta has, as you probably remember, many kindly plans for Cuba, and had he come into power it is thought would have endeavored to give Cuba home rule.
The Queen has, however, put an end to his hopes by appointing General Azcarraga, and Sagasta must be content to wait.
In the mean while the Carlists are gathering in force, prepared to revolt as soon as Don Carlos shall bid them to. It is reported that sixty thousand well-armed men are ready to answer to his call.
Don Carlos, however, persists in awaiting the result of the Cuban war before he attempts to seize the throne. He declares that he loves his country too well to plunge it into a civil war at the moment when it is harassed by outside enemies.
The situation in Cuba continues to improve for the insurgents. They are strong, hopeful, and victorious. They have not as yet risked any great battle, but in their raids and forays against the enemy are constantly successful.
It is reported on the best authority that Gomez has crossed the Matanzas border, and is now in Havana province. It is also said that the trochas have been abandoned by the Spaniards, and the insurgents cross them at will.
The Spanish garrisons are now being withdrawn from the smaller interior towns and concentrated in the important places, principally on the seaboard.
The condition of the Spanish soldiers grows daily worse, while the rebels have become so inured to hardship that they have developed into fine, sturdy soldiers.
If Spain is not able to send strong reinforcements soon, the end of the Cuban war cannot be very far off.
General Woodford, the United States minister to Spain, will arrive in Madrid about September 1st, and it is expected that he will be presented to the Queen Regent about September 15th.
It is stated that he is to endeavor to persuade Spain to put a speedy end to the war by granting home rule to Cuba.
Mr. Fishback, who acted as Mr. Calhoun's secretary, has, it is said, been sent to Cuba on a special mission from the Government. He is to go the round of the consulates in the island with Consul-General Lee, and obtain an idea of the true conditions in Cuba, and report the result of his observations to the President.
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The new tariff law has now been in effect for some weeks, and every day there are fresh accounts of the woes of the incoming travellers from Europe.
The zeal of the Custom-House officers in performing their duty is only equalled by the efforts of the passengers in avoiding theirs. Every ship-load that arrives affords infinite sport for the unconcerned onlooker.
Last week a French family, consisting of a mother and two sons, arrived.
When asked if they had any dutiable articles, they declared that they had brought nothing with them that ought to pay duty. As they had twenty pieces of baggage with them, the officials refused to believe that they had nothing on which duty should be levied.
The two sons were very elegant and extremely polite French gentlemen. They courteously handed their keys to the inspectors, and turned around to converse with some equally elegant young ladies who had come to meet their party.
Their pleasant conversation was roughly interrupted by the inspectors.
Only six of the twenty pieces of baggage were trunks; the rest proved to be packing-cases.
"They've got to be opened," said the heated inspectors.
"Certainly. You have our permission to open them," said the polite young Frenchmen.
"What!" roared the inspectors, "Open them! We are not carpenters! Open them yourselves!"
There and then these well-dressed, well-mannered young men had to set to work to pry open their own packing-cases.
By this time their suavity had so exasperated the officials, who are not accustomed to politeness and pleasant words from incoming passengers, that they decided that the young Frenchmen must have a reason for their good manners, and be in fact dangerous smugglers.
As one of the young men bent over a packing-case it was noticed that his coat-pockets bulged suspiciously. Before he could offer a protest he and his mother and brother were hurried away to the offices and searched.
In spite of their best endeavors the inspectors were unable to find anything dutiable in the belongings of this charming family, and finally the young Frenchmen were permitted to go on their way with their mother and their belongings. It would have been a little interesting to have obtained from them their first impressions of America.
The officials were, however, so angry that these good people had not turned out to be smugglers, that they gave the next few passengers who fell into their hands a very unhappy time.
One man who had bought a two-dollar doll for his little girl was obliged to pay $1.50 as duty on it. Another who had spent $200 on new gowns for his wife had to pay another $126 before he was able to take them to her.
One father was loud in his protests because he was taxed for the dresses his daughters were wearing, and which he declared had been used by them for a year and a half.
Nobody escaped on that unlucky day, and from eighty passengers about $5,000 was collected. If this keeps up, our treasury will soon be overflowing.
So annoying has the Dingley Bill made matters for travellers that a consultation has been held by the customs officials, to see whether it is not possible to make things a little easier for them.
The bill was aimed at importers, or people who buy and sell goods manufactured in foreign countries. It was not intended to harass the lives out of tourists who have merely purchased a few pretty things while they have been abroad.
It would of course be unjust to allow these said pretty things to be brought into the country free of duty, lest unscrupulous persons should take advantage of the Government's kindness to avoid paying duty on articles they intended to sell.
The inspectors have, however, felt that it is not right to tax wearing apparel that has evidently been bought for the traveller's own use, and has been worn.
The result of the conference of the Custom-House officials has been a petition to the Secretary of the Treasury, asking him to allow the Collector of the port of New York so to interpret the new law that innocent travellers may not be taxed as if they were importers trying to smuggle in goods.
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The great coal strike still remains unsettled.
It was hoped that it would be brought to a close this week, as both the miners and the owners had agreed to meet and discuss the matter, to see if some understanding could not be reached.
The meeting has taken place, but unfortunately the two parties are as far apart as ever.
The idea of the conference was to arrange that the dispute might he arbitrated.
As soon as the meeting was called to order, the miners offered to return to work if they were paid at the rate of sixty-nine cents for each ton of coal mined, with the understanding that they would accept a reduction if the arbitrators found that such payment was higher than the owners could afford.
The owners refused this offer, and instead proposed that the miners should go to work at fifty-four cents per ton, and that the arbitrators should then decide upon a fair rate of payment. If it proved to be higher than fifty-four cents, the owners would then make up the difference to the men.
This offer being refused, the owners said they would pay sixty-one cents, and make up the difference if the arbitration went against them.
The miners, however, refused to listen to these proposals, and the conference broke up.
Both miners and owners declare that there is no present prospect of reaching an understanding, and that there is nothing for it but to fight the battle to its end.
The owners intend to try to open the mines with non-union men. The miners are preparing to prevent these men from going into the mines.
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There has been great excitement during the past few days over the sudden rise of the wheat market.
Nearly all of the great countries of the world, with the exception of the United States, have had poor wheat crops this year. Our crop has been considerably larger than any we have had for several years past. People cannot do without bread, and in consequence of this failure of their crops, other countries have had to come to us and buy. They have of course had to pay whatever price we asked, and as a natural consequence the price of wheat has gone up enormously.
All the people who were clever enough to foresee this demand from abroad, and buy up the wheat before the orders came in, have made fortunes during the past few days. They refused to sell their grain until its price had gone up to nearly double what they had paid for it, and are now smiling and happy, and thinking that prosperity has come at last.
Though a little flurry in the price of wheat cannot of itself make prosperity, the demands on our carrying trade for the shipment of the grain to foreign countries has brought a great deal of business to our shores. It is stated that the piers around New York present a more busy scene than has been witnessed since the dull times began.
Grain elevators are in constant use loading the ships, and so great is the demand that the little floating elevators are getting a large share of the business.
Ships are being loaded for France, the Argentine Republic, South Africa, Portugal, and many other foreign countries.
Three million bushels of wheat were sent out of the country during the past week.
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You will be interested to hear of the capture of Drunami, the king of Benin, who has been wandering in the African forests since the destruction of Benin City, by the expedition sent out from England last February to punish him for the murder of the English travellers. (See page 344.)
Drunami finally returned to Benin, and surrendered to the British authorities.
The soldiers who were guarding the city one day caught sight of a large body of natives approaching the walls.
Ahead of the main body ran a messenger carrying a white flag, to show that their mission was one of peace. He was closely followed by Drunami, ten of his principal chiefs, and eight hundred unarmed warriors.
The English soldiers were called out, and the King was allowed to enter the city.
He stated that he had come to make submission to the British Queen or her representative, and begged that in consideration for his rank he might be allowed to make his submission in private.
When this message was brought to the Resident, as the English governor is called, he refused to grant the request.
He said that Drunami's rebellion against the Queen had been public, and therefore his submission must be public also.
The King of Benin thereupon held a council with his chiefs, who after much arguing decided that it was best to obey the wishes of the Resident, and make public submission.
Word of his intention was accordingly sent to the Resident, who thereupon repaired to the Council House, and, taking his position on its steps, waited the arrival of the penitent King.
Drunami, as he advanced to meet him, presented a very strange appearance. From head to foot his black skin was covered with coral ornaments. On his arms and ankles were numberless bangles, those on his arms being so many and so heavy that he could not raise his arms, but had to have them supported by his followers.
He had by this time added a band of music to his train, and to the mournful music which they made on their reed instruments the King and his chiefs marched in front of the Council House, and in the presence of the soldiers whom the Resident had ordered to assemble, publicly tendered his submission to the Queen of England.
This act was accomplished by bowing very low before the Resident, and then kneeling on the ground and rubbing his forehead three times in the dust.
The ten chiefs repeated the ceremony after their King; and thus having signified their regret for their evil deeds, and their intention to be faithful and obedient in future, the King and his followers were allowed to take their way back to the palace in Benin.
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England seems to have taken to heart the conduct of the Irish people during the recent jubilee, and to be endeavoring to make peace with the denizens of the Emerald Isle.
There have been many complaints that the royal family never visited Ireland, and that the money and trade that a royal pageant always brings with it have been purposely withheld from the land of St. Patrick.
There is a good deal of justice in this complaint. The Queen, who goes so often to Scotland, has not set foot in Ireland since 1861, nor has the Prince of Wales since 1871. At the same time Ireland has been in such an unsettled state that it has not seemed a very safe country in which to trust the precious life of a sovereign.
Now, however, the Queen has sent the Duke and Duchess of York to Dublin to open the exhibition of Irish industries in that city.
The Duke of York is the Queen's grandson, the eldest living son of the Prince of Wales. He is the heir to the throne, and will be the King of Great Britain and Ireland if he survives his grandmother and father.
The Queen has therefore entrusted one of the most precious members of her family to the keeping of the Irish, and the importance of this act may go a long way toward making peace with Ireland.
The wife of the Duke of York is the daughter of one of the most popular of the English princesses, and is said to have inherited all her mother's amiability and charm of manner.
Entertainments and fetes have been given the young couple, and it is rumored that the Queen is about to purchase for them the beautiful "Muckross" estate near Killarney.
If this is done, her Majesty will probably require the young people to spend a good deal of their time in Ireland.
The Irish themselves have not been very friendly to the young Prince. They have indeed rather resented this attempt to gain their friendship.
The entertainments that have been given have been by the government officials, the Irish themselves carefully abstaining from any signs of satisfaction at the visit.
It has been conveyed to the Prince, however, that the Irish as a nation are quite willing to be friendly with him after he has proved himself worthy of their friendship.
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France is very proud and happy over the visit of her President, Monsieur Faure, to the Czar of Russia.
Last October the Czar visited Paris, and during his stay it was openly hinted that an alliance between Russia and France had been formed which was to be of great benefit to both countries.
The return visit of Monsieur Faure to Russia is supposed to be for the sake of finally cementing the new alliance.
The Russians are making his trip delightful to him in their own charmingly hospitable way, and from general appearances it would seem that M. Faure's visit is purely one of pleasure. Diplomatists, however, declare that the outcome of M. Faure's visit will be a new arrangement of the European alliances, which will leave Great Britain out in the cold, and lessen her influence in European politics.
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Prof. David Starr Jordan has written a letter from the seal islands which fully confirms the worst fears about the decrease of the seal herd.
He says that if the sealing is carried on in its present fashion the seals will disappear in the Bering Sea in a very short while, and that even with the greatest care the herd will not be up to its full strength for a good many years.
Not only are there fewer mother seals than formerly, but the killing of the young pups has made such a difference in the herd that there are very few young braves growing up. This year there seems to be only old men and mother seals, and hardly any young families at all.
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This Bering Sea dispute has been very long in settlement and seems to be as far from a decision as ever. There is much difference of opinion on the subject, and of course there is more than one way of looking at it; and yet it would seem as though some agreement ought to be reached that would prevent the destruction of the seals.
Doubtless, after much diplomatic delay, dispute, and talk, the matter will be settled, and we will hope that this may be accomplished before it is too late to save the seals from dying out.
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THE GREAT ROUND WORLD AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED ON IT.
(Continued from page 1234.)
And so, next to the dwellings for life, they built dwellings for death—built them larger and stronger, too, since so many graves are left in excellent preservation, while no houses at all have survived to satisfy our curiosity. A universally favorite form of grave is the so-called "mound" (known in England as "barrow"). These mound-tombs, to judge from what is found in them, were constructed to hold the remains of the wealthy and powerful among the people, often of their kings. They differ greatly in size and richness, but all are alike in this: that the place for the body or bodies is dug more or less deep in the ground, then closed tight with stones or slabs and hard-stamped soil, above which is raised an earthen mound, on which the grass grows—hence the name.
The "mound-builders" have been busy all over the world. There is no flat country on any part of the earth where these strange monuments have not been found, singly or in groups, and it taxes at times a sharp eye to know them from the natural grass-grown knolls or hillocks on a so-called rolling plain, for which, indeed, they were taken until some accident made known what they really were.
Let us look at the interior of one of the most royal among these palaces of death—or, rather, in the builders' minds, vestibules of a renewed life.
In the middle—or toward one end—of a large, rather low chamber, flagged and cased with stone masonry, lies the chieftain's skeleton, with golden armlets and necklet, possibly a golden band encircling the skull, and some choice weapons by his side, within reach of the hand. Not infrequently tatters of some tissue show where the mantle was folded around the form; but that falls to dust at the lightest touch, and, indeed, at a longer contact with air, as do sometimes the bones themselves. A smaller skeleton—a woman's—likewise adorned, shares the honors of the gloomy abode. It is the wife, or perchance the favorite wife, polygamy (the custom of having many wives) having long been universal. In a circle around the two principal figures, but at a respectful distance, indicating their subordinate station, are disposed other skeletons, unclothed and unadorned, evidently slaves, probably favorite attendants. Not infrequently a horse is found in a corner—the chief's own charger; and even sometimes a dog at the master's feet. Every skull, of man, woman, or animal, shows the heavy single blow which severed life. Not without due state and seemly retinue shall the hero enter on the new life which awaits him; his own best-loved companion shall minister to him; his own tried servants shall follow him as of yore; the steed which bore him safely out of many a battle, the hound which shared with him the joys of many a glorious chase, shall bear him into the fray with new and unknown foes, shall hunt down with him the game that roams the forests of the Unknown Land. As the way thither may be very long, the travellers shall not go unprovided. So around the wall are ranged dishes, platters, bowls—each containing dried-up food, various kinds of grains; also jars and tall vessels with handles, which evidently had held liquids. It is easy to see that the choicest pieces of fine and artistically ornamented pottery have been selected from the household stores. In mounds of the later periods some of the dishes and bowls are of bronze, even of gold and silver, and show considerable beauty of form and workmanship; but the jars are invariably of earthenware, as water and wine keep better in such than in metal.
We must not forget that, among the countless mounds which have been opened, only a very few are like that we just looked into. The general run are much plainer, and the majority contain only one silent inmate. It was not every one could afford the luxury of a wholesale slaughter in his household. The chambers, too, are very different in size and construction, and the furnishings vary quite as much in richness and beauty.
Putting away the dead in mound-graves, besides being a universal custom, was one which endured through a long series of centuries, since their contents illustrate for us the Age of Bronze through all its gradations and a goodly portion of the Age of Iron—i.e., the beginnings of the age in which we live ourselves.
To decide which mound belongs to a later and which to an earlier period is easy, from the variety and quality of the articles, which bear witness to the degree of culture of the builders, though it is of course difficult even to give a guess in figures at just how long ago, at least, the earlier mounds were built.
These are all times which knew not of writing. Therefore we have no history of them; for history is made up of two elements: things that happen, and writers who record them. So when we speak of "historic times," we mean the times since writing came into general use. All that went before we class as "prehistoric" times, i.e., times of which we can have no history. It is clear, then, that if, of two countries, one knows writing and uses it to register what happens to it, while the other does not, the former will be living in historic, the latter in prehistoric times.
More than that: there are plenty of peoples now living in—for them—prehistoric times. Take all the savage tribes still scattered over land and sea in many parts of the world. Just as there are enough South Sea Islanders for whom the Age of Stone is not over yet, since they still use flint, bone, and fishbone for their tools and weapons, and what metal they have comes to them through barter from Europeans or Americans. Captain Cook—or some other noted voyager and discoverer—received as a present from a South Sea chieftain a flint axe, beautifully shaped and polished like a mirror. The chief told his white friend it had taken fifty years to produce that polish, his grandfather, his father, and himself having worked on it at odd moments of leisure!
And yet, when we speak of "historic" and "prehistoric" times, we never think of all these races; they do not count among the so-called "culture-races," because they have produced no civilization of their own, have done nothing to advance the work of the world, added nothing to its treasury; in short, they have not helped to make history.
Just one word more about these prehistoric ages and the memorials they have left of themselves. No matter how various the stages of human culture which these latter betray, one feature is common to all, back to the most primitive feasting-places of the cave-dwellers; it is—the knowledge and use of fire. Yet there most certainly was a time when men had not yet learned to produce and to handle this marvellous force of nature, their most helpful friend and most destructive foe. Can we picture to ourselves how miserable and degraded, how distressingly like that of other forest animals must have then been the condition of those who yet were the fathers of the coming human race? Hardly. Our imagination itself stands still, helpless and puzzled, before a state of things so remote, so utterly beyond our power to realize and compare.
INVENTION AND DISCOVERY.
COAT HANGER.—An inventor in Boston has just perfected an excellent coat-hanger.
At the first glance it looks like the ordinary hangers we have been using for so many years, but this invention obviates the one objection which attaches to all the other hangers we have come across—it adapts itself to the size of the place in which it is to be used.
Those who live in small houses or apartments with meagre cupboard-room know that the old hanger is out of the question for them, two coats or waists taking up the entire length of the wardrobe.
The new hanger is adjustable. Its arms work on a spring. It can stretch them out to the fullest extent where space is no object, but when used in a cupboard where every inch counts, the accommodating arms will fold together, and taking one sleeve of the coat or waist on each arm, lay them together in the same position they would be in if folded in a drawer. It then hangs in precisely the same manner as the usual hanger, but with this difference, that it occupies but half the space.
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Have you thought of the Relief Maps for examination work? Are you following from day to day the war in the East?
Klemm's Relief Practice Maps
especially adapted to examination work, as they are perfectly free from all political details. Any examination work may be done on them.
For following the Eastern Question use Klemm's Roman Empire, and record each day's events. Small flags attached to pins, and moved on a map as the armies move, keep the details before you in a most helpful way, especially when you use the Relief Maps.
SAMPLE SET, RELIEF MAPS (15), $1.00 SAMPLE ROMAN EMPIRE, - 10 CENTS
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160 pages of colored maps from new plates, size 11 1/2 x 14 inches, printed on special paper with marginal index, and well worth its regular price - - - - $2.50.
Every one has some sort of an atlas, doubtless, but an old atlas is no better than an old directory; countries do not move away, as do people, but they do change and our knowledge of them increases, and this atlas, made in 1897 from new plates, is perfect and up to date and covers every point on
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