Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 131.djvu/703

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THE NEW-FOUND ENEMIES OF MANKIND.

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we must have, but what are they, if we are together?

Si quâ fata asftera rumpas. We who know what is to come, seem to trace in these loving words the lengthening shadows of the too early autumn. Have we not been haunted through these pages by the foreboding consciousness that such a life could never suffer the lingering degeneration of old age? Let us be consoled by the reflection that if the magnanimity that held its peace amidst the murmur of evil tongues was not undepressed by grief at being misjudged; if that bright, eager soul was too early wearing out its vesture of decay, it was a soul exalted above calumny and calamity, and borne by its own sustaining strength into a calmer and clearer air than that which vulgar natures breathe.

How often in later days has our country learned to regret the loss of that large and luminous mind; that sedate and temperate judgment; that wide-reaching solicitude, and that perfect self-control, for which the civium ardor prava jubentium had neither terrors nor temptations; that fine and firm intelligence, unfalteringly guided by right reason, never destitute of heart, unceasingly consulting the true and vital interests of England without dissociating them from the better future of the world!




From The Spectator.

THE NEW-FOUND ENEMIES OF MAN.

Civilized man, having conquered the most visible of his enemies, — savages and wild beasts of the more visible and tangible kind— has nevertheless not by any means attained a state of even comparative security. It is true that the newest of his enemies are minute, sometimes even of the more or less microscopic kind, but Sir Wilfrid Lawson was not far wrong when he said that an invasion from the Colorado beetle was much more to be feared than an invasion from Germany or France. With regard to the human invader, we have at least the "streak of silver sea" and a powerful navy to rely on; but with regard to the Colorado beetle, it seems that it would take its passage just as cheerfully on our own ironclads as on any other craft by which it could cross the Atlantic, and would probably have an excellent chance of landing successfully on our shores from the very navy which defends them against a less formidable foe. The Canadian minister of agriculture has just assured Lord Carnarvon that this destructive creature not only flies, but navigates smooth water, and travels — of course without charge — by railway carriages, and on all sorts of ships. Not only so, but the creature seems to have a wonderful power either of subsiding into a kind of inert life when it cannot get food suitable for it, or of getting enough food to sustain life in all sorts of situations where we should suppose that it could get none, and then returning to full activity and vigor whenever it finds itself in the neighborhood of suitable nourishment. Indeed, the Canadian minister of agriculture declares that the notion of preventing the introduction of the Colorado potato-beetle into any part of the earth with which human beings keep up active communication is perfectly chimerical. All that can be done to keep him under is to destroy the eggs and larva as effectually as possible as soon as their existence is detected, and before the beetle itself is hatched. By a sufficient expenditure of money and time, says the Canadian minister of agriculture, this may be fairly done. The eggs deposited on the under side of the leaves of the potato-vine should be destroyed as soon as discovered. The buds and leaves should be watched for grubs, which may be destroyed by the use of "Paris green," and the beetle itself should be crushed whenever seen. These remedies are, he says, fairly effectual in keeping the plague under, though of course they will add materially to the cost of potato-culture, and enhance the price of an article which it takes such elaborate care to protect. Nor is the Colorado beetle the only minute foe whose invasion we have to fear. Six of the Southern States of America are concerting measures against grass-hoppers, which infest them with a milder form of the same evil caused by the great locust invasions from which the coasts of the Mediterranean have so often suffered. Then, again, the husbandmen of the vine, in vine-growing countries, have to provide against the phylloxera plague, and the cultivators of silkworms have to provide against the pibrine plague. Worse still, there are small organisms of various kinds which are but too apt to supplant the proper ferments in all processes of fermentation, and which, if they get into the malt, spoil the beer, and if into the grape-juice, spoil the wine, and against these practically invisible enemies all sorts of expensive precautions have to be used. Lastly, and most important of all, there are certain spores which grow and multiply rapidly