Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/880

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

rowed from butter, is not an adulteration. But to supply sugar made from corn-starch for the ordinary sugar made from cane-juice, or to deal out milk-and-water or skim-milk for entire milk, is an adulteration—a violation of the right of the consumer to obtain his food on his own discretion." The plea that may be made, that the adulterant is as wholesome as the real article "is not to be heard at all; it belongs to the consumer to judge for himself what he will provide for his own table." Even if the falsification be not committed to injure health, it is directly objectionable on sanitary grounds, for it is a violation of a great safeguard of health. To the plea that people are not really deceived by the sophistications, but that they are understood, tolerated, and even preferred by customers, "let it be replied, if the pretense is so thin as to deceive no one, and if the admixture is in demand for use as it is, the pretense can the more easily be dropped, and at any rate the admixture must go under its own description and by its own name. Not a single article, unless indictable as a positive poison, need be withdrawn from the market."

 

Festivals of the Pagan Iroquois.—Mrs. Erminie A. Smith gave an interesting account, at the late meeting of the American Association, of some peculiar festivals and superstitions of the Iroquois Indians. About half the Iroquois, she said, are not Christians, but worship a Great Spirit, a god of love, and look to him with great confidence. Their religion is not idolatrous, but quite spiritual. Their only private worship is burning tobacco, and an occasional solitary dance of the squaws. There are eight annual festivals, at which varied Romish, Jewish, or Protestant forms have been engrafted on the ancient dancing, games, and incense-burning. The Tuscaroras of Western New York have hardly a trace of their old religion. About half the Senecas are still pagan. The Onondagas have numerous festivals, beginning with the feast at the first new moon of the new year, at which the chiefs occupy four days in narrating the teachings of Handsome Lake, who nearly a hundred years ago introduced a new form into their religion. On the next three days the chiefs and their followers "put their sins in the wampum" (i. e., confess). The clans are then divided into sides for the gambling, which lasts three days. A white dog is strangled and presented to the winning side, who decorate it and dance around it. Afterward the dog is thrown into the fire, and the sides are reunited. Then there are war-dances, and the women dance without lifting their feet from the ground. At the tapping of the maple-trees there is a war-dance to bring warm weather and make the sap flow. A seven days' festival is held at corn-planting, and there are also strawberry, bean, and green-corn festivals; the latter is preceded by a hunt. In the gambling the women sometimes play against the men for the silver brooches which cover their dresses. The last public festival is at the corn-gathering, when there is a repetition of the confession of sins. A special dance takes place at the death of a medicine-man. The property of an ordinary dead person is often played for. Friendships are cemented by dances. It is a sad fact that the pagan Iroquois are better than their Christian brethren. No wonder the missionaries have great obstacles, when all the immoral white intruders are counted as Christians. New York has much to answer for, and should care more for her Indians than for the Greenlanders and Hottentots. The author dwelt on the great influence for good of one good woman. Great results have flowed from some schools founded long ago. Mrs. Smith introduced the following names of the moons, or mouths, in the Mohawk tongue: January, old beech leaves fall; February, bull-frog on pond; March, moss all falls; April, turkeys gobble; May, plant corn; June, strawberries begin; July, corn getting ripe; August, corn quite ripe; September, all ripe and dry; October, getting cold; November, colder; December, very cold.

 

Suicide in Switzerland.—Mr. Wynell Mayow has attributed the high rate of suicide that has been remarked in Switzerland to Calvinism, and assumes that that republic "is the most Calvinistic country in the world." Mr. William Westall, in the London "Spectator," shows that he is wrong in two points. Calvinism is not the faith of the majority in the confederation,