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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sand inhabitants (Black's "London," p. 5). Finally, Torquemada, cited by Clavigero (ib., vol. ii, p. 360, note), boldly writes "one hundred and twenty thousand houses"; and now Mr. Spencer not only calls this Indian pueblo a "great city," but informs us that it contained "one hundred and eighty thousand houses." Torquemada had doubled the first estimates, and Mr. Spencer not only accepts the doubling, but adds upon some special authority an extra "sixty thousand houses," thus showing a tendency of mind to adopt the most extravagant views, where degrees exist. At five inmates to each house, it would give nine hundred thousand inhabitants. No doubt Mr. Spencer can furnish an authority of some kind for his "one hundred and eighty thousand houses," but that would not mend the matter, as the statement is simply so preposterous that Mr. Spencer is without excuse.

Nor is this the end of the difficulty. There can scarcely be a doubt that the houses in this pueblo, like those of the Indian tribes in New Mexico, and in Yucatan and Central America of the same period, were generally large joint-tenement houses, large enough to accommodate from ten to fifty and a hundred families in each. This, if true, raises the absurdity to the maximum point. Zuazo and the anonymous conqueror, who stated the population of Mexico at "sixty thousand persons," came the nearest to a respectable estimate, as they did not more than double the probable numbers.

I will say nothing of the annual number of human sacrifices stated at "twenty-five hundred in Mexico and adjacent towns," and, "far more than twenty-five hundred in other parts of the country," nor of the ten thousand dancers, who could dance in the courts of the great teocalli. By this carelessness concerning his statements, to put it in the mildest form, Mr. Spencer will inevitably draw and write upon some of his later works the old charge, fulsius in uno fafalsus in omnibus.M.

 

 

A MINIATURE CYCLONE.

Messrs. Editors.

The cyclone which visited a section of Montgomery County on the afternoon of the 3d of September, 1879, although insignificant in its extent and destructive power, when compared with some of those which occasionally ravage other regions of the country, possessed certain features that render it worthy of study. Its dimension and effects were such as to bring it within the compass of close examination, enabling the observer to view the phenomenon as a whole. It was a perfect little cyclone in itself, with the conflicting currents, the roaring noise, the numerous distinct whirls and the double cones in the air, with the uprooted trees on earth, all presenting a combination of features whose investigation may lend important assistance to the student of these universally interesting catastrophes.

A paper on this subject was read at one of our meetings, presenting such facts as had come at that time under the observation of the writer. Having made further explorations in conjunction with a friend who is also much interested in the phenomenon, we are prepared by a visit of inspection over the whole course of the storm, from its origin to the place of final disappearance, to make a statement of the principal facts just as they were seen.

The tree, which appears to have been the first object struck by the tempest, stands in the edge of a field prepared for sowing wheat, and covered with piles of manure. This tree was not uprooted, but the limbs were much blown about, some of them twisted round the main stem, and the singular appearance was presented of strands of manure blown into slight crevices of the trunk—sucked in, as it were, up to the height of fifteen or twenty feet; the heaps of manure were of course widely scattered.

Coming out of the field referred to, the storm fell in its fury on a family graveyard. Two large tombstones, ten feet apart, secured by iron pins let into an horizontal stone slab, were thrown flat in opposite directions, the one to the east and the other to the west of the path of the storm. The tombstones were three feet high, two feet wide, and six inches thick, weighing over three hundred pounds each. The general width of the current at this place appeared to have been about forty yards; but a tree one hundred yards cast of the graveyard was much broken. Passing next through a corn-field, where the stalks in the middle lay in the direction of the path, and those at the edge leaned generally toward the center, on into a potato-patch, where some of the vines were blown out of the ground, bringing the tubers with them, the tufted weeds sharing the same fate, the winds, truly winged, vaulted over the fence without disturbing a rail, or the trees of a wood in their course for a space of some sixty yards. Then the whirling current descended, prostrating some trees as it entered a field, where it leveled the grass as if a roller had passed along, and made three distinct shallow holes in the ground, at least a foot in length. A few stones lying near, out of their previous place, appear to have been used by the wind as an agent in digging these holes.

After leaving this field, there was an interval of perhaps half a mile in which were but slight traces of the storm. It then swooped down upon a forest thick with large trees, a number of which were uprooted, lying in different directions, and others with their upper limbs and tops much twisted