HotFreeBooks.com
The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 1, No. 50, October 21, 1897 - A Weekly Magazine for Boys and Girls
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse

VOL. 1 OCTOBER 21, 1897. NO. 50

Copyright, 1897, by THE GREAT ROUND WORLD Publishing Company.

* * * * *

The new Prime Minister of Spain is Senor Sagasta. After several days of uncertainty the Queen decided to appoint him.

No sooner was her decision known than a report was circulated that Weyler had sent in his resignation; it was also rumored that Sagasta had stated that one of his first official acts would be to remove Weyler from Cuba.

The truth of the matter is that Weyler does not intend to leave the island if he can help it.

Just before the ministry resigned, when it was known that they could not remain in power many days longer, he hurried off a long report of the work he had done in Cuba; this he hoped would help him with the new Minister, and enable him to keep his place.

In this report he said that Western Cuba was pacified, and that he had effected a great improvement in the condition of Cuba since his arrival there. He stated that he had given Cuba a fresh lease of life, that trains were running regularly throughout the island, the telegraph was in working order, and the troops, in spite of the fact that their pay was six months in arrears, were in excellent health and spirits. Every one of these statements is declared, by those who are in a position to know the real state of affairs in Cuba, to be absolutely false.

Having this letter safely in the hands of the Government, the General waited for developments; then as soon as the ministry under General Azcarraga had gone out of office and that of Senor Sagasta had come in, he cabled to the new Prime Minister, saying that he had no intention of resigning his office, but instead, begged to offer his services to the new ministry.

A great excitement is being worked up over him in Cuba, which his enemies declare is being done by his orders. Soldiers are parading the streets, crying, "Long live Weyler!" Merchants are hurrying to the palace, begging him not to resign, and a rumor having been circulated that it is the United States that has been asking that he be sent away from Cuba, the soldiers are adding cries of "Death to the United States!"

The Cuban and American residents of Havana are terror-stricken. Much as they desired to be free of the tyrant, they now dread his downfall lest it shall cause more trouble for them.

It is said that Senor Sagasta will try to bring the war to a close by offering liberal terms of Home Rule to Cuba.

In fact, the new cabinet has already held a council in which it was agreed to establish reforms in the island with as little delay as possible.

The Colonial Minister has been instructed to prepare a draft of the scheme for Home Rule, and to have it ready to present to the cabinet officers at their next meeting.

The Cubans, however, declare that they do not want Home Rule. They have been fighting for freedom, and nothing less will satisfy them. They are willing to buy their freedom from Spain, but they declare that they will never lay down their arms until Cuba is free.

A despatch from the Philippine Islands brings the news that Spain is faring badly in that direction also.

In a recent battle four hundred Spanish soldiers were killed. It seems that the rebels in the Philippines fight in the American Indian fashion; that is to say, they get under cover, behind bushes or trees, and, taking careful aim at their enemy, make every shot tell. In this manner they are able to inflict great injury without suffering much themselves.

It is reported that an entire battalion of Spanish soldiers, eight hundred strong, has deserted in a body to the rebels.

The soldiers in the Philippines are suffering just as severely for food and pay as their brother soldiers in Cuba, and finding that the rebels feed their soldiers well, and treat them better than the Spaniards, great numbers are constantly deserting and joining the rebel ranks.

* * * * *

Affairs in Greece are still unsettled.

When the Prime Minister told the Boule[A] or parliament the terms of the treaty, there was much dissatisfaction expressed by the members.

Mr. Ralli, the Prime Minister, stated that he was fully aware how hard the terms of the treaty were, but he thought that Greece must accept and make the best of them.

He told the Boule that it was not possible for Greece to continue the war; she had neither men nor money to do it with; but he wished it understood that he was merely stating his opinion; he would not attempt to advise the nation on such a serious point.

If the Boule decided to accept the terms offered by Turkey, he stated that the ministry was prepared to carry them out, and do all in its power to assist the country in the crisis; he, however, asked the Boule, on behalf of the ministry, for a vote of confidence, that is, an expression of belief that the ministers were doing the best that could be done for the good of the country.

When Mr. Ralli had finished speaking, a member of the House rose to his feet, and began to blame the ministry for all the ills that Greece was called upon to endure. This turned the members against Mr. Ralli and the rest of the ministers, and the vote of confidence was refused. Mr. Ralli was thereupon obliged to send his resignation to the King.

King George has already chosen the new Premier, and a Greek prince of high rank has been selected to go to Constantinople and arrange the treaty, the Boule having decided to accept the terms offered.

Both Spain and Greece now have new ministers who are undertaking the difficult task of piloting their countries through their difficulties.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] Pronounced voulee.

* * * * *

It was just as well that we did not put too much faith in the story that the war on the Indian frontier would be ended with the defeat of the Haddah Mullah.

News has reached us that the British forces have once again been checked by the tribesmen.

This time it was the Mohmads who were the victors. These men, if you remember, professed themselves ready to submit to English rule, and when the troops arrived in their neighborhood, offered their allegiance to the British officers.

They were, however, told that to prove their good faith they must, one and all, give up their rifles. Upon hearing this they became sulky, and refused to do anything of the sort.

The British waited the two days they had promised, and then began to destroy the villages of the rebellious tribesmen. On one of these expeditions they were in turn attacked by the Afridis, and defeated.

In the meanwhile the Ameer of Afghanistan is uneasy over the advance of the British into the hills that form his frontier. He is afraid that the British will not be satisfied with punishing the tribesmen, but will endeavor to take possession of lands belonging to him. He has therefore sought the aid of Russia, and has obtained the Czar's promise to help him in case the British attempt to encroach on Afghanistan.

He is at the same time keeping faith with the English. He has issued a proclamation, forbidding his subjects to leave the country under penalty of a heavy fine, so that it will not be possible for them to go and join the tribesmen. He is doing all in his power to keep faith with England, but it is said that he is much pleased that he has secured the aid of Russia to protect him in case of need.

* * * * *

In the Soudan, the English are steadily advancing on Khartoum.

The Mahdists are making a strong stand there, and it is expected that the decisive battle will be fought in the near neighborhood of that city.

A newspaper correspondent who is with the Soudan expedition writes a most interesting account of the rapid way the soldiers are building a railroad across the desert. The road is being finished at the rate of nearly two miles a day, and when completed will enable the army to bring men and supplies from Cairo in a few days instead of the many weary weeks which are now required.

The building of the railway through the desert has been entrusted to the engineer corps. These engineers are soldiers whose duty it is to build fortifications, railroads, bridges, or any works which the commander of the force may think necessary.

In building a railroad the first thing to be done is to prepare the road-bed, so that it will not give way under the weight of the trains that are to pass over it. This is done by digging out or banking up the earth so that the bed shall be level. When the earth-bank has been made as high and as solid as necessary, huge wooden beams, called sleepers, are placed across it at regular intervals, and on these sleepers the rails are laid.

The correspondent describes the laying of the rails as follows:

"A great sight was the actual work of laying the line. We went out in a car drawn by a spare engine, to see this at the place where the work was in progress. The second construction train had reached the scene of active operations just before we arrived, and the desert fairly hummed with busy turmoil. It has been given but to few to see a railway line made and used while you wait. Yet we had that experience on this afternoon. Everything was done at once. The long train moves slowly toward the end of the rails, getting as near to the bare bank as is possible. So soon as she stops, an eager army of workers attack her, with, of course, much wild noise of strange rhythmic chant. To the uninitiated this onslaught of the workers on the train bears all the appearance of a raid, yet, should one watch awhile, it gradually dawns upon one that marvellous orderliness and most studied method underlie every seemingly wild movement. The engine stops—say, ten rail lengths from the end of the track—and the game begins. The rail-cars are in front, just behind the tender, with the rails neatly ranged on racks. At once to either side of each rail-car rushes a party of, if Egyptians, eight men, if blacks, ten, upon whose padded shoulders the ton of sun-heated metal is placed by the car party. Then they run—they do literally run—away with the unwieldy thing to its destined place, where, once it is placed on the sleepers, the gaugers and strikers get at it, and it is put in position and pinned (to each alternate sleeper, the operation being completed after the heavy train has passed over the newly laid rails) in an incredibly short time, at the end of which a bugle sounds, the steam whistle blows, the engine moves slowly forward over the rails that less than five minutes ago were stacked on the cars behind her, and the whole operation is repeated."

* * * * *

Hawaiian affairs continue to progress peacefully, notwithstanding the fact that the story of Japanese soldiers being introduced in Hawaii disguised as laborers has been confirmed by so many people that our Government has no longer any doubt of its truth.

Orders have therefore been sent to the commander of the fleet at Honolulu to be on the alert, and in case Japan should attempt any hostile movement to land a company of marines and sailors, run up the American flag, and take possession of the island in the name of the United States.

The gunboats Wheeling and Concord have been sent to the Sandwich Islands, and a cruiser and several gunboats will be kept at Honolulu until all fear of trouble is over.

The Japanese ship, the Naniwa, has gone back to her own country to be cleaned and repaired, but will return to Hawaii as soon as this has been done.

During her absence our Government is taking advantage of the opportunity to make some necessary changes in the ships stationed at Honolulu, and when the Japanese cruiser returns she will find quite a fleet of American ships waiting to receive her.

A statement has been made that the Japanese Government is willing to settle the immigration dispute with Hawaii for $100,000.

Hawaii is not anxious to make any such arrangement. She is a little afraid that if she consents to do so, Japan will declare that she is bound in future to let in as many Japanese immigrants as the Mikado chooses to send. She is anxious to reserve the right of declaring what citizens she will allow within her boundaries.



The annexation of the islands is by some people regarded as assured.

The Senators and Congressmen who have visited the islands declare that there is no opposition to the idea. Some few followers of the Queen Liliuokalani would prefer to have her once more on the throne rather than to be under the government of a foreign president, but there is no serious opposition to the treaty.

With this news comes the information that Mr. Spreckels, the Sugar King of Hawaii, has offered to withdraw his opposition to the treaty when he is convinced that his rights in the island are not to be interfered with.

Mr. Spreckels is a millionaire who has made most of his money through his vast sugar interests in the Sandwich Islands. He was so afraid that his business would be hurt by annexation, that he threatened to spend half his fortune to prevent it.

Besides his sugar interests, he owns a line of steamers between Hawaii and San Francisco, and he controlled so many votes in Hawaii that he was a dangerous enemy to the project.

President Dole of the Sandwich Islands has been endeavoring to break Mr. Spreckels' power, but has made very little progress until the other day, when he granted permission to one of the Pacific mail steamers to enter into competition with Mr. Spreckels' boats for the carrying trade of the islands. The permission stated that the President would allow the Pacific Mail Company to increase the number of vessels on the line if they desired to do so.

This was a dreadful blow to Mr. Spreckels.

The carrying trade with Hawaii is hardly large enough for several companies to make money at it, and as the new line will endeavor by reduced rates and increased accommodations to get the trade away from Mr. Spreckels, the chances are that he will lose a good deal of money through it.

It is in consequence of this that he is reported to have promised not to oppose the annexation of Hawaii if his interests are not interfered with.

It is said that President Dole is so anxious that nothing shall interfere with the annexation treaty that he is willing to promise Mr. Spreckels anything he asks in return for his assistance.

* * * * *

Central America is in a very disturbed condition once more.

Revolutions are in progress, or have just been suppressed in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua; and Honduras is again in an unsettled state.

In addition to this, there is bad feeling between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which may break out into war at any moment.

As this last quarrel concerns the Nicaraguan Canal, in which our country is so much interested, it is perhaps better to tell you about it before we speak of the more serious troubles in Guatemala.

The cause of the unpleasantness between Nicaragua and Costa Rica is the boundary line which divides them.

This boundary question involves the mouth of the Nicaragua Canal.

In 1858 it was agreed between the two countries that the channel of the Rio San Juan del Norte at its exit into the ocean should be the dividing line between them.

Owing to changes of current and other causes, the course of this river has changed, until it is now several miles farther south than it was in 1858.

Costa Rica claimed that the boundary should be the spot where the old channel was; Nicaragua, that the treaty called for the channel of the river where it emptied itself into the sea, and that therefore the new mouth of the river is the boundary.

It is a serious matter for Nicaragua, for the opening to the Nicaragua Canal on the Atlantic Ocean side is through the Rio San Juan del Norte. If Costa Rica were to own the mouth of the canal while Nicaragua owns its body, there would be no end to the complications and troubles which would arise.

The matter was therefore submitted to arbitration, President Cleveland appointing the arbitrator.

The decision has just been rendered, and is against Costa Rica. The arbitrator decides that the old treaty holds good, and that the boundary line of Nicaragua is the channel of the river as it flows into the ocean, and that no matter how far the Rio San Juan del Norte creeps down into Costa Rican territory, Nicaragua will always own to the channel where it flows into the sea.

Costa Rica is of course angry that the decision was against her, and she may try to secure her lost territory by force of arms.

This is the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican trouble. The disturbance in Guatemala is in the shape of a revolution, which, if the accounts we hear are true, is of a serious nature.

We have told you before of the many revolutions that are constantly taking place in South America, and that the people have become so accustomed to them that they take very little notice of such things, and no one regards a Central American revolution as a serious affair.

Now while it is amusing to make fun of these toy revolutions, some of the best people of the country suffer severely through them, and to these people they are very real and terrible. Those who suffer most are the merchants. During the disturbances caused by constant changes of government, trade cannot properly flourish, and many of the merchants of Central America wish heartily that a means may be found to restore order and give them a government which will be likely to last.

Some time ago a plan was made to form the five republics of Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica into one republic, under one government.

At this time Mexico objected to the plan. She was afraid that a strong republic at her doors might give her more trouble than she was likely to have from the five weak little countries.

Attempts were made to carry the plan through, but it was finally abandoned.

It was not, however, forgotten, and in January of this year the first step was taken toward such an arrangement, by the union of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Salvador, forming together the Greater Republic of Central America. It was hoped that Guatemala and Costa Rica would also join in, and in June of this year Guatemala did join the other republics.

Mexico still disapproved of the plan, and was not at all pleased that the Greater Republic of Central America had been formed.

The level-headed men of Central America then suggested that Mexico should be asked to join the union, and one vast Central American Republic be formed.

To this President Barrios of Guatemala objected. He is perhaps the most ambitious man in Central America, and undoubtedly aims to be the president of the Central American Republic. Were Mexico to become a part of this great federation, Barrios would have a strong rival in the beloved President Diaz of Mexico, and so he steadfastly set his face against union with Mexico.

The friends of solid government were much disappointed at this, and it is stated on good authority that they then formed a plot, which has resulted in the present disturbances throughout Central America.

It was decided that as Barrios of Guatemala and Diaz of Mexico were opposed to the plan, they must both be removed from office as soon as it could be managed.

According to this story, Barrios was the first to give his enemies the opportunity they sought.

We have told you that he is a very ambitious man. In Guatemala presidents are elected for six years, and are not allowed to be re-elected.

President Barrios is very near the end of his term, and he could not bear to think that in a few months he would go out of office, and lose all chance of rising to the heights he wished to attain. He therefore had himself proclaimed dictator of Guatemala, and announced that he intended to have a law passed which would allow a president to be elected for a second term.

This meant of course that he intended to be elected again, and that it would be another six years before there was any hope of forming the federation.

The people of Guatemala strongly disapproved of Barrios' action in making himself a dictator instead of a president. A president is guided by the wishes of the legislature, and though he has the power to veto, or forbid the passing of, a law made by congress, that body has also power to overrule his veto, and pass the laws in spite of him. So you see the power is pretty equally balanced. Then, too, a president can be impeached, or called to account, if he neglects the duties which he has agreed to fulfil.

With a dictator it is very different. He has absolute power in the government of the state. His word is law, and he is not accountable to the legislature for his actions.

A dictator is sometimes appointed in times of war or great trouble, but he should always be a man whom the people love and honor, and to whom they can entrust this great power.

The reason for appointing a dictator is, that not being accountable to the legislature for his actions, he is able to do as he thinks best, without waiting for the long delays that must follow the submission of plans to congress.

While the people were so opposed to the idea of giving these great powers to Barrios, it was thought to be a good opportunity to overthrow him, and so a revolution was begun, with Gen. Prosper Morales at its head.

This revolution has steadily grown stronger. Most of the important men in Guatemala have joined it, and success has attended the rebel arms.

They have captured one of the most important towns of the country, and it seems as if the overthrow of Barrios was assured.

If the rumors of this great plot are true, the revolution in Guatemala is but the commencement of the great rising which is to end in the formation of the new republic.

That there is some truth in these rumors is shown by the fact that a cowardly attempt which was made to kill President Diaz of Mexico, a short time ago, was found to be connected with the present disturbance in Guatemala.

It was found that the man who had attempted to do this wicked deed was the agent of some persons in Guatemala; and thinking that there was something strange in this, the Mexican authorities handed the prisoner over to one of the highest police officials, with orders to keep him under close guard until further inquiries could be made.

The man to whom the criminal was given in charge was General Velasquez, one of the most trusted officials of the Government.

In the middle of the night after this arrest, pistol shots were heard coming from the place where the prisoner was confined, and when the soldiers ran out from their barracks, they were informed by General Velasquez that a mob had broken into the prison and killed the prisoner.

A crowd had meanwhile gathered round the prison, so the soldiers arrested every one in sight; but when these people came to be examined they were found to be only citizens who had been attracted by the sound of the firing, just as the soldiers had been. The men who had broken into the jail and killed the prisoner had disappeared.

The matter had by this assumed such a suspicious character that the authorities decided to arrest General Velasquez, and hold him until something could be found out.

A few inquiries showed that the General and the man who had tried to kill President Diaz were both connected with Guatemala, and members of some society there.

This suspicion was considerably strengthened when the General was found dead in his prison, the morning after his arrest. People then said that both men were concerned in the great plot, and that both had died rather than be forced to confess.

All Mexico is very much puzzled and troubled over this mysterious occurrence.

* * * * *

The meteorite has been safely landed, and is now on the dock at the Brooklyn Navy-Yard, where it is to remain until Lieutenant Peary decides what he will do with it.

In appearance it is a smooth, mud-colored rock, that looks like a great boulder. The meteorite is ten feet long, eight feet wide, and six feet thick. It weighs over ninety tons.

It was no easy matter to get this great stone on board the Hope. It lay a short distance from the shore, and the sailors had to drag it to the water's edge.

As soon as the Hope arrived in Melville Bay, where the meteorite was found, the whole crew, armed with shovels and picks, went ashore and began digging around it.

The job of digging it out of the frozen ground was enough to have discouraged these men at the outset. It was half covered with snow, and frozen solidly to the surrounding earth. The sailors had to dig through seven feet of frozen ground before they finally reached the lower surface of the meteorite, then more digging followed, and at last, after five days of this hard work, it was free and ready to be moved.

By means of some strong derricks which they had brought for the purpose, the monster was finally lifted and dragged to the shore.

Here another kind of derrick, made like those that are used for lifting heavy guns on board ship, was brought into service, and the mass of metal was slowly lifted and lowered into the hold.

The ship had been lightened as much as possible to make room for this enormous weight, but for all that the vessel was sunk much too deep in the water for safety when she finally started on her homeward journey.

Scientists say that the meteorite is a mass of metal, and is practically composed of material similar to the steel armor used for armor-plates. All are agreed that it is the largest meteorite ever discovered.

Lieutenant Peary also brought back with him a party of Esquimaux, who are to spend the winter building an Arctic exhibit for the Natural History Museum. The materials they will use have all been brought back by Mr. Peary. They are to build a little scene which will show the Esquimaux in their national costume, occupied in some of the typical Arctic employments. The figures that will illustrate these pictures will be modelled after the Esquimaux themselves.

There are six Esquimaux in the party brought back on the Hope—three men, a woman, a boy, and a girl. They, men and women alike, wear trousers of polar-bear skins, sealskin coats, moccasins made from tanned sealskins, and fur hoods.

To make them more comfortable, Lieutenant Peary had allowed them to pitch a tent for themselves on the deck, and here the family was established, in company with their four favorite dogs, from whom they could not bear to be parted. These dogs are very useful in the polar regions. They can draw sledges over the ice, and are used by the natives much as the people of warmer climates use horses.

Lieutenant Peary also brought back with him some relics of the unfortunate Greely expedition which went to the Arctic regions in 1881, to establish an observation station for our Government. Owing to the non-arrival of expected supplies, the Greely party suffered the most terrible hardships, and was eventually rescued at Cape Sabine in Grinnel Land in 1883, after eighteen of the party had perished from cold and hunger.

Greely established the station, and, after his rescue, was raised to the rank of general, and was given a special government appointment for his services.

When Lieutenant Peary arrived in New York, he was asked whether he thought that Andree had been able to reach the Pole in his balloon.

He said that he feared it had not been possible for him to do so. According to all he could hear, the winds had been unfavorable all summer, and the chances were that the adventurer had been carried in an opposite direction to the one he had intended to take.

In regard to his being rescued and ever reaching the land of the living again, Lieutenant Peary said he feared the chances were very slight. It all depended on the place where the balloon had descended.

If it had fallen north of Spitzbergen, it seemed unlikely that he would ever be heard of again; if, however, the winds had carried it southward, he might have taken refuge on an ice-pack, and would be floated southward with it, and eventually rescued.

Dr. Nansen, in his recent famous voyage, proved that there is a strong current flowing across the Polar Sea. By following this, a ship could be carried from one side of the Arctic Ocean to the other.

When Dr. Nansen went north it was his hope to get his ship, the Fram, into the pack, or rough ice that was being carried along in this current, and drift with it across the Pole.

He did not succeed in reaching the Pole, but his ship did drift across the Polar Sea exactly as he had supposed it would do.

It is Mr. Peary's belief that if Andree gets on to the pack-ice, he may drift southward as Nansen did. Mr. Peary does not believe that any of the pigeons carried by Andree could live in the Arctic cold, and be able to fly southward with a message.

* * * * *

The fastest ocean voyage on record has just been made by the magnificent North German Lloyd steamer, Kaiser Wilhelm the Great.

The speed record has hitherto been held by the Lucania, which made the trip from Queenstown to Sandy Hook in five days and seven hours, but that great record has now been beaten. At the rate at which the new German steamer travels, she can make the trip in four days and twenty-one hours.

The Kaiser Wilhelm does not, however, travel over the shorter route from Queenstown, but comes the longer way, from Southampton. She made this trip in five days and twenty hours, beating the St. Paul by two hours all but five minutes, and on her return trip beat her own record by thirteen hours.

Boat-builders are very enthusiastic over the speed of the new steamer, and declare that it is only a matter of time when boats will be built which will make the trip across the ocean in four days.

The Kaiser Wilhelm, besides being such a fleet vessel, is beautifully arranged for the comfort of passengers, and is considered a model ship in every respect.

The New York agents were so proud of their fine ship, that on her arrival here after her first trip, they issued numbers of invitations to people to visit her at her dock in Hoboken. The people responded in such vast numbers that the docks were thronged, and the assistance of the police had to be called in to prevent accidents.

At the time of the great naval review at Spithead, in celebration of the Queen's jubilee, the Teutonic, of the White Star line, was called on to take part in the review as one of the naval reserve. We told you about it on page 1,086.

Our country is also taking active steps to secure a good naval reserve.

At the present time there are forty-two vessels on the navy list which could be used for war purposes in time of need. To make the number yet larger, the Government has called upon all owners of large steamers and steam yachts to give information of the size and strength of their vessels, so that they can be added to the reserve list.

There should be a good many available vessels among the many fine yachts that sail our waters. We are as a nation extremely fond of yachting, and almost every wealthy man we have possesses a craft of some kind. Many of these yachts are models of build and speed, and should make excellent gunboats.

Some people have supposed that this inquiry into the ships available for war service must mean that we are about to fight Spain, but they are entirely mistaken. The Navy Department has realized that our navy is our weakest point, and is doing its best to get it into such a fine condition that we need not fear any foe either on land or sea.

There is an old proverb which says, "In times of peace prepare for war," and a very excellent proverb it is.

The Navy Department is also most anxious to secure more seamen to man its vessels, and to that end is opening recruiting offices in Chicago and throughout the West. We need more sailors and more officers to properly fit out our navy, and the department is making earnest efforts to secure them.

We are so short-handed at present that the cruiser Philadelphia, returning from Hawaii, was obliged to transfer part of her officers and crew to the Baltimore, which was to take her place at Honolulu. There were not enough sailors available to man the Baltimore without this exchange.

* * * * *

It is said that the health of good old Oom Paul is failing, and that he is not likely to live very long.

In spite of this, the rugged old President of the Transvaal is so anxious to be re-elected that he is going round the country making speeches and trying to secure votes, as if he were still a young man.

Oom Paul has three times been made President of the Transvaal. The presidents of the South African Republic hold office for five years, so the reins of government have been in this one man's hands for fifteen years.

He is opposed by General Joubert, the man who beat the English at the battle of Majuba Hill.

General Joubert is also much beloved by the people, and has twice before opposed Oom Paul for the office of President, but there is little chance of any other candidate being elected, so long as Paul Kruger is willing to run for office.

The Boers have a reverence and love for this great leader of theirs which is touching. They regard him as the father of their country, and feel it their duty to support him.

One old man who was asked at the last election whether he meant to vote for Kruger or Joubert, replied indignantly:

"Paul Kruger is as my father; I am as his son. Do you think I would disobey him?"

As the majority of the voters in the Transvaal seem to feel in the same way, there is little doubt that Oom Paul will be re-elected.

* * * * *

There were grave murmurs against the city government the other day.

One morning the papers appeared, telling in indignant words the story of how the aldermen of the city of New York were about to give away the right to build a railroad on the Kingsbridge Road.

Now the people who know most about city government think that the companies who desire the franchise which gives them the right to lay tracks and run cars through certain streets, should be made to pay a yearly sum to the city for the privilege.

There has been a good deal of trouble over this Kingsbridge Road franchise. Two companies have been anxious to secure it, but neither has offered to pay its real value for it.

The granting of the franchise is done by the vote of the Board of Aldermen, who pass the resolution much in the same way that Congress passes a bill, and send their resolution to the Mayor for his signature, in the same manner that bills are sent to the President.

In the matter of the Kingsbridge Road franchise neither of the companies made much headway.

Both companies were extremely anxious to get possession of the line, but the aldermen were equally divided in their favor.

At last a rumor got abroad that in their desire to get a decision the companies were trying to influence the aldermen.

A few days after this report was spread abroad, people were startled to learn that the aldermen had reached a decision, and that the franchise was to be given to the Third Avenue road, for a sum that was nothing like its real value.

There was a great outcry at once.

The memory of the "Broadway Steal" in 1886 was too fresh in people's minds for them to be willing that it should be repeated.

The newspapers started the cry, the law was invoked, and the aldermen were forbidden to pass the franchise for the Kingsbridge Road until the matter had been looked into.

The aldermen were a good deal startled when these papers were served on them. They remembered the Broadway trouble, and how three of a former board of aldermen had been sent to prison, six had had to leave the country, and four had only saved themselves from punishment by telling the story of their crimes, and helping the authorities to punish their fellow-sinners.

The recollection of this worried the aldermen, but they determined to meet the accusations against them, and asked their lawyer, Mr. Scott, to go to court, and ask the judge to allow them to grant the franchise.

Mr. Scott, however, refused. He told them that in his opinion they had not the slightest right to pass that franchise, and he would not go into court and plead for a thing which he knew to be wrong.

The aldermen, much disturbed at this, decided to let the matter of the franchise alone, and though there is some talk of looking more closely into the matter, and finding if any bribery has been attempted by the railroads, the chances are that now the danger is past the matter will be allowed to rest.

G.H. ROSENFELD.



BOOK REVIEWS.

WILD NEIGHBORS, OUT-DOOR STUDIES IN THE UNITED STATES, by Ernest Ingersoll, is a most interesting addition to the new books of the year. It treats in a charming way of some of the better-known animals of this country, and will be especially appreciated by those of our boys who love out-door sport. It will prove instructive, as well. (The publishers are Macmillan & Co., New York, and the price, $1.50.)

Part of the author's description of the panther reminds your editor of an interesting experience he had in the Adirondacks. Ingersoll says that "'the blood-curdling screams' of the puma have furnished forth many a fine tale for the camp-fire, but evidence of this screaming which will bear sober cross-examination is scant." In the fall of 1875 we were camping in a little clearing on the bank of the Racquette River; one of our guides, an impulsive Frenchman, started out alone one night, without waking us, and succeeded in shooting a deer. Down the river he came, shouting and making a terrible racket to express his delight; the whole party was awake and out of the tent by the time he reached the landing. Lifting the deer out of the boat, we hung it up on a pole between two trees, and then, brightening up the fire, sat around telling stories until old Father Nod began to remind us that it was 3 A.M., and not breakfast-time. Just then there came the most blood-curdling scream I have ever heard, and it seemed so near us that we all jumped to our feet and made a dash for the guns. Our old guide reassured us by saying that it was only a "painter," and he was "across the river." In the morning we went over early, and there, sure enough, were his tracks in the sand, looking very much like the prints of the palm of a boy's hand, with a row of little holes on one side where the claws stuck in. I am sure that if the author of "Wild Neighbors" had been with our party he would not have been so sceptical about a panther's ability to scream. We will forgive him because he tells so many good stories in this interesting book of his.

"OLD MOTHER EARTH," by Josephine Simpson and "THE STORY OF WASHINGTON," by Jessie R. Smith.

The first-named book is without doubt one of the very best in its line. It adopts a simple, direct, natural way of unfolding the subject, and cannot fail to interest the children in all they see around them.

The "Story of Washington" is a little gem. The children would be delighted to read it for themselves, and the illustrations are such that children understand. It is beautifully bound for such a cheap little book, and surely ought to find favor wherever it is carefully examined.



INVENTION AND DISCOVERY.

TYPEWRITER FOR BOOKS.—We have for years had typewriters that would write on loose pages of paper, but the making of a perfect machine that could write in bound volumes has not been successfully accomplished until the present time.

A typewriting machine can write much more quickly than any penman—and the work it does has the advantage of being easy to read, whereas very few people write a clear and legible hand.

In office work much of the writing to be done is making entries in books and copying into ledgers.

All this has had to be done by hand, and it has of course taken a much longer time to do.

By means of this new invention books can be kept and entries copied with the same neatness and speed of an ordinary typewriter.

The great difficulty in making a machine to do this work properly was that it was not possible to have the paper move back and forth as it does in typewriting machines generally. For bound books the paper must remain still, and the type moves over the page in the same manner that the pen does.

The new book typewriter has mastered this difficulty. The page is held firmly in a kind of frame, and the type moves with each letter or word that it writes.

In making entries in books, it is highly necessary to be sure that the writing is correct—and so this machine has a simple little device which lifts the type up and shows the writing underneath.

THE END

Home - Random Browse