VOL. 1 NOVEMBER 11, 1897. NO. 53
Copyright, 1897, by THE GREAT ROUND WORLD Publishing Company.
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The British soldiers are doing some very fine work on the Indian frontier.
During the past week an engagement has taken place in which some of the hardest fighting of the war occurred.
According to the despatches, the Afridis occupied some rising ground which was known by the name of the Dargai Ridge. It was necessary for the British troops in their advance to pass across this ridge, and so the Afridis had to be dislodged from it.
A detachment of soldiers was sent forward to perform this task, and accomplished it so easily that in a very short space of time the enemy had all been driven off, and the village of Dargai was in flames.
The tribesmen seemed to have been completely routed, and to have left the country, so no particular pains was taken to fortify and hold the conquered ridge; instead the preparations for the advance were hurried forward.
The routing of the Afridis occurred on Monday; the British troops were ready to start early on Wednesday morning, but just as all was in readiness for the move, the tribesmen suddenly reappeared in greatly increased numbers, and swarming in on every side reoccupied the ridge.
This was a severe blow to the British, because the work of dislodging the enemy had to be done all over again. The Afridis lay right in the path of the British, and must be made to move.
This time the task was more difficult.
The Afridis had taken up a much stronger position than the one they had occupied on Monday, and had established their main body on an exceedingly steep hill, about a thousand feet high, which commanded the route the advancing army was obliged to take.
The height and the steepness of the hill were, however, but a small part of the difficulty with which the British forces had to contend. The real serious point lay in the fact that there was but one path by which the summit of the hill could be reached, and this was only wide enough for one man to pass at a time. It was therefore impossible to send large bodies of troops against the enemy, and there was the terrible danger that sharpshooters might pick off the men one by one as they tried to ascend the path.
The work had, however, to be done, and an English regiment and two troops of native soldiers were sent forward to storm the hill.
Between the position occupied by the English and that held by their foes lay an open space of rough and rocky ground, which was within rifle range of the Afridis.
Stationing some of their best shots half-way down the hill, the tribesmen waited patiently while the English made their way across the open space.
The advance was extremely difficult owing to the rough nature of the ground, the soldiers having actually to climb from rock to rock.
As soon as the English were well within rifle range, the tribesmen, who had not fired a shot until the troops were in the bad ground, opened such a deadly fire on them that the on-coming troops were checked. All this time the British artillerymen were assailing the sharpshooters with shot and shell, trying their best to drive them off the side of the hill. In spite of their best efforts the enemy never wavered, but held their position.
The fight began to look serious for the English, and might have gone against them but that the general in command, realizing that the men could no longer stand against the deadly fire of the enemy, ordered a fresh regiment, the Gordon Highlanders, to go to the assistance of the struggling troops.
It is customary for a general to keep a portion of his army in reserve, so that should the battle seem to be going against him, he can send fresh soldiers into the fight to strengthen the weak places. The tide of battle has again and again been turned by bringing in these reserves at the right moment.
The accounts we read of battles tell us how these reserve troops fret, and fume, and worry, as they are kept resting idly while the roar of battle rages around them. It would seem as if the men became so eager and impatient that when at last the order to advance is given, they dash into the fray with a zest and fury which carries everything before it.
The affair of the Dargai Ridge seems to have been no exception to this rule.
The Gordon Highlanders had been held back all the morning, and no sooner was the order to advance given them than they made what is described as a "magnificent rush" across the open space.
The enemy poured a rain of bullets upon them, but so eager and excited were the men that they hurried on caring for nothing but the advance.
Half of their number fell, killed or wounded, but, undaunted, the others dashed forward, and finally reached the foot of the hill, where the overhanging rocks protected them from the enemy's fire.
After pausing a few moments to recover their breath, they began to climb the hill, and twenty minutes later they had gained the crest and dislodged the enemy.
All England is ringing with the praises of these brave men. General Lockhart, who commands one wing of the frontier army, has personally thanked the Gordon Highlanders for their gallant conduct. He told them that this brave deed of theirs was one which might worthily be placed side by side with the other great records which this famous regiment has made for itself in the past.
The colonel and officers of the regiment were also thanked for their fine leadership.
We told you some time ago about the effect the Highlanders have on foreign enemies, and also of the many daring deeds of their pipers, and how these men had saved their own lives time and again by blowing on their bagpipes at critical moments.
An incident occurred in the fight on the Dargai Ridge which illustrates this fact.
The Gordon Highlanders rushed forward to the charge with colors flying, and the bagpipes shrilling forth their martial tunes.
One of the pipers who was leading the rush (playing as he ran) was shot through both ankles, and fell to the ground. It was impossible for him to walk, but without a moment's hesitation he scrambled to a sitting posture, and, putting his beloved pipes to his mouth, continued his playing as unconcernedly as if nothing had happened.
He knew that the sound of his pipes encouraged his brother soldiers, and he played on unheeding the bullets that whistled around him.
The report that mentions this story says it was only one of many exhibitions of coolness and courage shown by the Gordon Highlanders in their brave charge.
It is said that while the British are full of pride over the conduct of the Highlanders, they are very uneasy at finding the enemy so well supplied with rifles and ammunition, and so well drilled in the use of their weapons.
Every one is wondering where the rebels obtained this large supply of ammunition, and once more the Ameer of Afghanistan is suspected of bad faith.
It is certain that the arms could not have been bought of English or continental merchants, because the laws are very strict in India, and forbid the introduction of arms, except for government uses. To be brought in by European merchants they would have had to be very cleverly smuggled, and this would have been such a difficult affair that it is thought to have been impossible to bring large quantities of arms into the country that way. It is therefore hinted that they have come from the Ameer's famous factory at Cabul, as it would have been easy for him to supply the tribesmen from his side of the border without being found out.
In the heart of his country this ruler has established an arsenal which is managed by Englishmen who are in his service. The factories are fitted out with machinery imported from England, and when in full working order can turn out twenty thousand cartridges and one hundred and fifteen rifles a day, and two field guns a week.
In 1896 it was known that the Ameer had already manufactured enough breech-loading rifles to give arms to fifty thousand soldiers. It is uncertain what became of this store, but it was supposed that they were being kept for the Afghanistan troops. Now the English are wondering whether the Ameer has not been quietly supplying their enemies with weapons and ammunition.
The latest reports from the seat of war state that the tribesmen are offering a determined resistance to the English advance, and from all one hears some serious work lies before the British army in India.
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Spain's answer to President McKinley has been cabled over to us. The text of the letter has not been made public yet, but one of our newspapers has cabled a statement from Madrid telling us what it is all about. This statement has been confirmed by Senor Dupuy de Lome, the Spanish Minister in Washington, and so we may have confidence in it.
It would appear that the answer was discussed at a cabinet meeting in Madrid on Sunday; a draft of the answer was then prepared and sent to the Queen, who immediately gave her consent.
The tone of the answer shows that the present ministry of Spain is anxious to keep on the best of terms with the United States, and does not want a war with us any more than we do with them.
The answer is said to call the attention of the United States to the fact that since the note was presented by General Woodford to the Duke of Tetuan, there has been a complete change in the Spanish Government, and that the present ministry has decided to alter the policy of Spain in regard to Cuba, and give the island a form of government that cannot fail to meet with the approval of the United States.
According to this statement, which, as we have said, Senor de Lome declares to be correct, Spain says that she is now making an honest effort to win back the friendship of her Cuban subjects, and as a proof of this has recalled General Weyler, and sent out in his stead a man who is charged to take all the necessary steps toward providing Cuba with liberal Home Rule.
The friendly offices of the United States will be asked to assist Spain in restoring peace and contentment in Cuba.
The note goes on to add that while the Spanish Government does not hold us responsible for all the filibustering that has been done, it will ask us to do all in our power to prevent any more expeditions from leaving our shores.
In reference to filibustering, it may be of interest to you to know that the work of playing policeman for Spain has already cost us nearly two million dollars. We are obliged to keep a fleet of revenue cutters on the watch for these expeditions, and it would seem that we have tried to do our duty very thoroughly. That we have not succeeded in capturing many of the contraband vessels should be no great reproach to us. Spain has sixty vessels patrolling the coast of Cuba, and has only been able to seize one filibuster, the Competitor.
Tho news that Spain means to give Home Rule to Cuba is most welcome, and it is to be hoped that the reforms offered may be satisfactory to the Cubans, and that the war may soon be brought to a close.
The full terms of the promised changes have reached us—they give the Cubans control of educational matters, tariff, customs, charity, and public works.
A governor or viceroy is to be chosen by the mother country, and he is to have the right to choose the officers who are to form his cabinet.
There is to be a Cuban parliament, divided into upper and lower houses, which is to settle all the affairs of the island except those which concern foreign policy, naval and military matters, and the manner in which the law is to be administered. The acts of this parliament are, however, to be subject to the approval of the Governor.
The Cuban parliament is to elect the men who are to go to Spain to represent Cuba in the Cortes.
General Blanco is already on his way to Cuba. Before he left Spain he stated that he felt convinced that the United States would soon find that there was no further necessity to interfere on behalf of Cuba. He said that Spain had only the best and kindest intentions toward the Pearl of the Antilles (as Cuba is often called). He declared that peace would soon be restored.
While the reforms offered are not all that can be desired, still Spain seems sincerely to desire to restore peace to Cuba, and it therefore becomes the duty of all peace-loving people to withhold criticism, and wait to see what Spain will do before venturing an opinion.
The Cubans are not elated over the prospect. It is stated that they will refuse the Home Rule offered them, and persist in their attempts to win their freedom.
Senor Estrada Palma, the Cuban delegate in this country, declared that he was in a position to state that the Cubans will accept no compromise from Spain. They are willing to give up their lives for their country's freedom, but they will never accept Home Rule as a solution of their struggle for independence.
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The Cubans in Havana are feeling nervous about the demonstrations that are to be made in honor of General Weyler on the eve of his departure from Cuba, which is to take place on October 30th.
The Americans in the city are begging that a man-of-war be sent into the harbor to protect them, as they fear that Weyler's friends may make an attack upon them.
The demonstration is to be made by the volunteer regiments of Havana. These regiments are recruited from the Spanish merchants in the city, and are all bitterly opposed to the Cubans. They have passed resolutions approving Weyler's methods of warfare, and protesting against the promised Home Rule.
It is feared that these men may get so excited over honoring their favorite general that they may attack the Cubans or Americans in the city.
Weyler has desired that there shall be no demonstration whatever, but the commanders of the volunteers have stated that this is a matter in which they are quite unable to control their men.
In spite of the fact that the Spanish Government relieved Weyler of his duties, he still continues to rule in Cuba, having refused to give up his command until he sails.
He has issued a report in which he states once more that he has nearly crushed out the rebellion. He draws a lively picture of the desperate state of the island when he was appointed governor, and then shows the great improvements he has made.
According to his statement, Havana is in an absolutely healthy condition, and great preparations have been made for continuing the war now the rainy season is over; he also praises the fine condition of the hospitals in Havana—statements which have all been proved false time after time.
Every failure or defeat that he has met with he attributes to the want of soldiers. He declares that he had not enough men under his control properly to garrison Holguin or Victoria de las Tunas, and it was for this reason that they fell.
He has to say something in his own defence, but it is doubtful if many people will be deceived by this wonderful report.
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Spain has asked for an explanation of the Silver Heels affair.
Minister de Lome has called the attention of the State Department to the case, and asked why the officers on the revenue cutter allowed the vessel to escape them.
The collector of the port of New York has been asked to give his version of the matter. He says that in allowing the ship to get under way before he attempted to arrest her, he was acting in accordance with the wishes of the Spanish Government agent in New York, who wished to have a clear case of filibustering against the ship. It is not against the law to carry arms, and if the Silver Heels had been stopped with only a cargo of ammunition on board, it might have been difficult to prove that she was not engaged in a lawful mercantile expedition. But, had she been seized with arms, ammunition, and a number of men on board, it would have been impossible to deny the nature of her business.
If the collector of the port can prove the truth of his statement, Spain can find no just cause of complaint against us, the revenue cutter did all that was required of her by lying in the course the Silver Heels was expected to take—that the vessel went another way was nobody's fault.
The Madrid papers think it a great pity that this affair should have occurred at a moment when Spain was trying to show her friendship for us, and declare that the officers on the revenue cutter appeared to be doing their best to avoid overtaking the ship. In Washington it is said that grave trouble may arise out of the matter.
Following right after these statements comes another from the agent of the Silver Heels.
This gentleman declares that the vessel never brought up alongside of the dock at which she is accused of having taken on her cargo. He says she was laden with coal, which she took on board at a pier on the New Jersey shore, either Hoboken or Weehawken, that she sailed down the bay and out at the Narrows under her own canvas, and never employed any tugboat. The agent states positively that the Silver Heels did not go up the Sound, and declares that if a mysterious vessel did take on a cargo and slip up the Sound, it was not the Silver Heels.
There the matter rests for the present.
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We hear from the Soudan that General Hunter is steadily advancing up the Nile.
By his orders gunboats were sent ahead of the army as far as Metemneh, which is the present stronghold of the Mahdists, and lies between Khartoum and Berber. The object of sending on the gunboats was to find out whether the city was very strongly fortified, and what were the nature of its defences.
Under cover of a heavy fire from their guns, these boats were able to reach the city and take all the observations they needed, and then, having treated the city itself to a brisk cannonading, they retreated to report.
A sad story has been telegraphed of the cruel revenge taken by the Mahdists upon a tribe of natives who refused to join them in their war against the British and Egyptians.
This tribe lived on the banks of the Nile between Berber and Metemneh, and were a quiet and industrious people, who, not wishing to mix themselves up in warfare, declined to join in it. The Mahdists, infuriated at their refusal, descended on their villages, killed every male member of the tribe, burned the houses and destroyed the property of the offenders, and carried their women off into slavery.
The British were horrified when they heard of these dreadful deeds, and vow to take a summary vengeance on the cruel Mahdists when they catch them.
It seems, however, as if they were going to have a good deal of difficulty in catching them. As yet they have not been able to come up with the enemy.
Osman Digna, the Mahdist general, steadily retreats before the British and Egyptian troops. It is supposed that it is his intention to draw the army as far as possible from its base of supplies, and then to give battle, hoping to have it completely at his mercy.
If this is his hope, he will find himself very much mistaken.
We told you in a recent number about the railway that the troops were laying across the desert. With the aid of the iron horse—as the locomotive is often called—the dreaded desert can be crossed with ease, and the invading army can have all the supplies it needs following it wherever Osman Digna leads.
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There is sad news from the Philippine Islands. A cyclone and tidal wave have visited the island of Leyte, which is one of the Philippine group, and have done a great deal of damage, sweeping over a vast tract of country and killing thousands of people.
A tidal wave, or, more properly speaking, an earthquake wave, is an extraordinarily high wave, supposed to be formed by the disturbance caused by an earthquake in the bed of the sea.
The action of the earthquake causes the waters to retreat from the shores, and gather themselves into a mighty mass, which suddenly turns and advances upon the shore in one huge wave of enormous height. This wave sweeps on over the land until it has spent its force, when the waters rush back to the sea once more.
The force of such a wave is so great that it destroys everything in its path, tearing up rocks and boulders, and carrying them along inland with it.
In 1746, when the coast of Peru was the scene of one of these catastrophes, a war-ship was lying at anchor in one of the bays. The wave came sweeping down upon it, lifted it up on its crest and bore it several miles inland, depositing it on the side of a hill.
The island of Leyte, which has just been visited by one of these terrible waves, is one of the smallest of the Philippine group. Its trade was carried on with Manila, on the island of Luzon, where the rebellion is raging. It was a thriving little island, and boasted of several busy towns, all of which have been completely ruined and in part swept away by the earthquake wave.
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At the present time Africa seems to be the storm-centre for all the warring foreign powers.
It has long been the policy of the various European rulers to conquer and hold portions of the lesser known quarters of the globe, and plant colonies there to employ their surplus population, and to increase their trade and importance.
The West Indies, the East Indies, and Australasia have all been settled in this way. Africa was the last country to excite the ambition of Europe, but its turn has come, and it is now being forced to yield up its secrets to the explorer and its riches to the trader.
Sixty years ago the map of Africa was almost a blank. Egypt and Morocco were marked out at the north and east, Cape Colony at the extreme south, and here and there a little outline of territory on the gold coast. All the rest was vaguely marked as Sahara or the Great Desert and the Soudan.
To-day the English, the French, the Germans, the Italians, the Dutch, the Belgians, and the Spanish have all planted colonies on it, and the map of Africa looks as business-like as the map of Europe.
It is not to be supposed that these various nations have taken their slices of Africa without much contention and disagreement. We have told you about the troubles with the Boers in the Transvaal, and of Germany's determination to stop the British advance in that direction.
We have also mentioned the check given by Menelik of Abyssinia to the Italians, and of the fight of the Mahdists to keep the Soudan out of the hands of Egypt and England.
Fresh trouble is now arising between the English and the French.
You must not get the idea that the English are doing dreadful things in Africa, because they are concerned in most of the troubles that are disturbing the "Dark Continent."
The fact of the matter is simply that England and France are the largest landholders in Africa, and are therefore interested in most of the quarrels. The British colonies are also much more scattered than the possessions of any of the other powers, and consequently England has more neighbors to dispute with than the others, and from this fact appears to be more quarrelsome than she really is.
The present trouble between France and Great Britain concerns the boundary line between the possessions of the two countries in Western Africa.
This line has been in dispute for nearly thirty years, and has been the subject of four treaties in ten years.
One of these agreements laid out the northern boundary line of the British possessions on the west coast, the Niger territory as it is called, but it failed to come to any decided understanding about the western boundary.
You must understand that these tracts of land which have been taken possession of by the European powers are not by any means deserted or uninhabited lands. On the contrary, many of them teem with people, and these lands on the west of Africa are especially populous. You must bear in mind that the extensive slave trade which existed for so many years was carried on with the west coast of Africa.
Many of these black people are intelligent races of men, and all are divided into tribes and kingdoms governed by rulers and kings.
To obtain possession of these lands, it has been necessary for the different nations of Europe to fight, or make treaties with numberless small native rulers and kings. The Europeans have seized the country belonging to these people, but have allowed the kings and rulers to retain their positions, provided they paid tribute and performed certain services for their conquerors. You remember about the King of Benin. He was one of these tributary kings, and his country lay in this very Niger territory about which we are now speaking.
When the French wished to define the northern boundary line between their possessions and those of the English, it was quite easy to do so, because they had already made treaties with the rulers of the various provinces and their rights in the country were established.
With the western side it was not so easy, for there were two great stumbling-blocks in the way. One was the kingdom of Gando, the other the territory of the Borgus.
You will find Gando marked on your maps on the west of the Niger territory. Borgu, or Bussang, lies just below it, and forms the northern boundary of Dahomey.
Borgu and Gando had opposed the advance of both France and England, the Borgus being an especially fierce and warlike tribe who refused to be conciliated.
After a while the British succeeded in settling their differences with the King of Gando, but Borgu was still in doubt.
In 1894 it came to the knowledge of the English that a French expedition had been sent out to make treaties with the Borgus.
Immediately the news reached them the Niger Company sent out an English expedition to Nikki, the capital of Borgu, to try and get the treaty ahead of France.
Fortune favored the English. Their party arrived three weeks ahead of the French, and the treaty had been made and all the arrangements concluded before the French expedition made its appearance.
The French were of course angry that they had been outwitted, and have ever since declared that the treaties made by the English were of no value whatever, and that France would not respect them until they had been sent by the British Government to the French for approval.
Bad feeling has existed on this point ever since, and it now seems about to break out into an open quarrel.
The French complain that the British Niger Company, which rules over the affairs of this colony, is sending officers over into the Borgu territory to incite the natives to rebellion.
This land France declares to be under her protectorate, because she refuses to recognize the English treaty.
The English say that the French have no rights whatever in Borgu, and that if they behave themselves sensibly there will be no trouble, but if they trespass on lands that are under the influence of England by right of treaty, they will have to be taught a lesson.
In the mean while a commission has been appointed to settle the question, and is now about to meet in Paris.
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The prospect of a bad strike on the Croton Valley reservoir has just been averted.
This strike appeared to be of such a threatening nature that the works were guarded by sheriffs, and the militia were called out to protect the property.
The work which is being done is the building of an enormous wall which is to act as a dam, and collect the waters of the Croton and its tributaries into one monster reservoir, for the supply of New York city.
The work has been in progress for five years, and it promises to be another four before it is accomplished.
The majority of the workmen employed are Italians, many of whom have bought little plots of land and built homes for themselves near their work.
Nearly five hundred workmen are employed, and for the convenience of these men and their families the company put up a large general store where they could get their provisions; and a boarding-house for the single men. Both of these were leased to an Italian named Joseph Rico.
It was an understood thing that the company should protect Rico from loss, and agreed between the masters and the men that any bills owing at Rico's store should be deducted from their wages.
All went well for Rico. He charged enormous prices for everything he sold, and there being no other store, the people were obliged to buy from him.
A short while ago the company put up a large addition to Rico's boarding-house, large enough to accommodate two hundred men.
When it was nearly finished word was passed round among the men that those who wished to keep their job must move into Rico's new boarding-house, no matter whether they had to give up their own little homes to do so. It was said that Rico would get the men discharged if they did not board with him, and would engage others in their place, as he meant to have his house filled.
This was more than the men would stand. They determined to go on strike, and, leaving their work, made riotous demonstrations, threatening to burn Rico's house about his ears if he did not leave the place at once. Thinking that the contractors were in league with Rico, they threatened all sorts of damage to the works if any further attempt was made to interfere with their right to live where they pleased.
So fierce were the men that they hurled rocks down into the pit that had been dug for the foundations of the wall, and began to fill up the hole that had taken so much time and money to make. Then the soldiers were sent for.
When matters had arrived at this stage the Italian consul-general in New York determined to go to Croton Landing and see if he could not arrange matters.
On his arrival he called his countrymen together and learned their grievances. As soon as he had throughly posted himself on the subject he went off to the contractors, and had a long interview with them.
They on their side stated that they had built the house because they thought it would be pleasanter for the men to live nearer their work, but they denied having given orders that the men must live in it.
On hearing this the consul went back to the strikers and soon returned with about thirty of the leaders. These men talked matters over with the contractors, and on learning that for the future they could buy their food where they pleased and live where they pleased, the men decided to go back to work, the contractors promising not to discharge any of them so long as they did their duty faithfully and well.
The Italians were very grateful to their consul for the work he had done, and in a short while the soldiers were told that they were not wanted, the sheriffs sent home, and peace once more reigned in Croton Landing.
* * * * *
There seems a possibility of the engineers' strike being brought to a close.
The employers have agreed to meet the representatives of the strikers and talk matters over with them, provided they will promise that the subject of the eight-hour working day shall not be brought into the discussion.
As this was one of the great objects of the strike, it seemed at first as if it would be impossible for the masters and men to come to an understanding.
It has been reported, however, that the strikers have agreed to withdraw their demand for an eight-hour day and that the meeting will take place.
One of the great societies of engineers is, however, holding out for the eight-hour day, and as this society includes the master-workmen of the trade, the end of the strike may still be far off.
* * * * *
While we are on the subject of strikes it may interest you to hear of a decision that has just been given in a lawsuit between a laborer and a labor union.
The workingman, who was an engineer, did not belong to any union, and did not wish to join one. The union, however, wished him to become one of its members, and great efforts were made to induce him to join. The man, however, remained firm.
When the union found that he was really determined not to join, it began to persecute him, and sending its walking delegates to follow him wherever he obtained employment, threatened his master to call all the rest of his workmen out on strike if the offending engineer was not discharged.
This happened time after time; all of his employers declared that he was a competent workman, and that they were very sorry to discharge him, but they dared not take the risk of a strike and so were obliged to let him go.
In 1896 this man tried to join the union but they refused to have him, though at the same time they continued to persecute him so that he could not obtain work anywhere. Then he sued the Labor Union for damages.
The judge before whom the case was brought gave a decision in the workingman's favor, declaring that if labor unions were allowed to do any such wicked things as this, no laborer who was not a union man could be able to earn his living.
* * * * *
Preparations are being made in Honolulu for the reception of the Princess Kaiulani.
It is whispered that, in case the annexation treaty should be rejected by the Senate, Kaiulani wants to be on hand to seize the throne.
It would appear that the Hawaiians who wish to see a monarch once more on the throne of the Sandwich Islands are not agreed as to which queen they wish to serve under. There is a strong party for Kaiulani and another equally strong for Liliuokalani. Congress, however, meets in December, and it is rumored that the Hawaiian treaty will be one of the first things the Senate will consider. The rival queens will therefore not have so very long to wait before they will know whether there will be any throne left for them to fight for.
INVENTION AND DISCOVERY.
POLO STICK.—Our boys should be interested in this invention, as it suggests many ideas for the improvement of other sporting goods.
While the inventor has called his idea a polo stick, it is in fact in the glove that the novelty lies.
This is made of strong leather, and in the palm a metal plate or lock is fixed.
The glove fastens at the wrist with a strong button.
The polo stick, instead of being grasped around the stock, is held by a metal handle, in the centre of which is a hasp fitting the lock in the palm of the glove. The polo stick is thus firmly locked to the hand and practically becomes a part of the user's arm.
So strong is the lock that the stick must be splintered before it will give way.
For polo such a device is invaluable, for dropping one's stick means dismounting and losing much valuable time; but a simple locking device would be of great assistance in all games that require the stick, bat, or club to be held with especial firmness.
SPRING CASTER.—This is a very novel idea, and one which is likely to become very popular if it is found to be practical.
Between the roller of the caster and the plate which attaches it to the chair-leg, a strong spiral spring is inserted. The chair thus supported adapts itself to every movement of the sitter, and gives ease and comfort that no firmly fixed seat can do.
For writers these springs are particularly delightful, as the forward movement of the body brings the seat forward with it, and the writer can have the comfort of resting his back at the same time that he is at a convenient angle for his work.
LETTERS FROM OUR YOUNG FRIENDS.
We have received two very interesting letters, one from E.J.K., 461 West 43d Street, and one from C.H.K., 504 West 44th Street. We thank these friends for their kind letters, but are unable to print them at length.
To the Editor.
DEAR SIR:—In your article in No. 51, on the forest fires and drought following a very wet season, and remarking that we should have such extremes, is it not due—our irregularity of climate—to our careless devastating of whole portions of the country of trees? Many claim so. We are in sore need of national or state foresters. [Signed] INQUIRER.
While vegetation has something to do with the climate, the sudden changes to which we are subject are due to the configuration of the land. The Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Range rising at either edge of the continent form the immense valley through which the Mississippi takes its course; and these two factors of the high mountains and the broad plains have the greatest influence on the climate.
Our immense length of seaboard and the proximity of the Gulf Stream are also agents for engendering our variable climate.
Trees protect moisture from rapid evaporation, and a wooded country is a blessing to its inhabitants, defending their dwellings from wind in mountainous districts.
The denudation of the forests tends to destroy the moisture of the atmosphere, but has little effect on the sudden transitions from heat to cold.
MR. WILLIAM B. HARISON.
DEAR SIR:—Thank you very much for the box-kite. It arrived the day before yesterday, and works admirably.
Truly yours, ELEANOR H.
We are glad you like the kite, and that it flies well.
We witnessed a very funny attempt to fly one of our kites lately. It took the small owner of the kite, his mamma, papa, and two friends to make the effort, and even then failed, notwithstanding that the papa and the friend climbed the fence at the risk of their necks in their endeavor to reach the breeze.
On serious reflection we decided that the kite did not fly because there was no breeze to fly it with, and therefore we recommend all our young friends to wait for the breeze before they endeavor to fly their kites.