Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/319

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But I was aware that, when we Europeans tried to transplant to America certain species of domestic animals, the figures of mortality at first were much more considerable than those of the mortality of our army; that the figures of the sacrifices bearing on the race were much higher than those of the mortality of children in Algiers. However, to-day, those animals are acclimated in America, and prosper so well that certain species have run wild, and are, so to speak, become indigenous.

Relying upon these facts, I said, almost from the first of my lecturing The time will come when Frenchmen will be acclimated in Algeria.

The event has justified me sooner than I hoped. Public documents this year, containing the quinquennial census, show, relatively to the preceding period, an increase of more than 25,000 souls. But, what is more important, they establish that this increase is almost entirely due to the excess of births over deaths.

So that the sacrifices of the French in peopling Algeria already begin to bear fruit; and certainly the time will come when that country, conquered by our armies, will be, for the descendants of our first colonists, as salubrious as France is for ourselves. Then Algeria will truly be the France of the South.

But the sacrifices which accompany colonization are none the less sad, and it is often asked if there are no means of diminishing them. Unhappily, this is always difficult, often impossible.

However, here are two facts that I ask you to reflect upon:

Some of our colonies have the reputation of being particularly unhealthy, and it is said that in them manual labor is impossible for Europeans. The worst of these are on the western coast of Africa. Now, listen to the statement of Captain Bolot, commanding a company employed in the construction of a pier at Great Bassam, made to Captain Vallon, from whom I drew the fact: "A single Sunday put more men in the infirmary than three days of work under the hot sun." This is because the Sunday was given, not to work, but to debauchery.

Captain Vallon profited by the experience thus acquired. In his cruises to Gaboon he maintained on board his ship severe discipline and regular work. When not at sea, he made the sailors of the Dialinate work regularly in the full sun, but he forbade all excess, and in this way he preserved his own health and that of his crew.

I will give you another and much more important example, as it constitutes a true comparative experience.

It is another of the colonies I referred to as devouring Europeans. I mean the Isle of Bourbon, at the east of Madagascar, almost under the tropics—on one of the. warmest points of the globe.

The tables of mortality of this island show a frightful excess of deaths over births. Judged alone by these tables, we must admit that the inferences drawn are perfectly justified. But these tables are true