Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/296

This page has been validated.

284 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion, but treating them with the greatest consideration, in order to win their confidence, to get down to their level, to think their thoughts, to charm from them the sibylline secrets. It sounds something like the old Jesuit relations to hear of Mr. Cushing at Zuñi eating vile food, wearing savage costume, worshiping Nature-gods, subjecting himself to long fastings and vigils, committing to memory dreary rituals, standing between disarmed Indians and their white enemies on every hand, in order to save their contributions to the early history of mankind. You will recall the fact that an honorable senator more than a year ago offered, as an argument against sudden disruption of tribal affinities, an elaborate scheme of the Wyandotte Confederacy."

 

Farming in Japan.—According to the report of Consul Van Buren, the Japanese farmer holds in public opinion and estimation an exalted position. He is owner of the soil he tills, is generally represented by members of his class as officers in the agricultural villages, and has electoral rights which are in some instances exclusive. His position has been raised, and his privileges have been increased, during the last two years. A considerable percentage of the land-owners are able to employ laborers, and are thus not themselves tied to labor; but the farm-work allows no rest, for in the mild climate the hardier crops may be raised in the winter as well as others in the summer. Almost every farmer can read, write and keep his farm accounts. He sends his sons to school, and his daughters are taught needlework and music at home. The labor on the farm is all mere hand-work; a plow is seldom seen, but a kind of long-toothed harrow is sometimes used to follow the mattock. The laborers are treated with great kindness. Those engaged in the cultivation of tea, silk, and sugar, need more skill than the others, and are paid higher wages. They live almost entirely on vegetable food, refraining from the use of meat by virtue of religion, custom, popular prejudice, and necessity. Their clothing is extremely light, and does not cost more than about four dollars a year. Several holidays are allowed each year for religious festivals and family celebrations, and the laborers generally have small gardens attached to their cottages. Women and children are employed in tea-picking, and in the lighter and in-door operations of silk-culture, and are paid for skill. The labor employed on the cotton plantations is not skilled, and is paid for at low rates. A farming population of 15,500,000 is engaged on 12,000,000 acres of land, giving about three quarters of an acre to each person. The tillage is of the most thorough order. Two crops are raised each year, so that the producing capacity of the land is double what it appears to be.

 

Animal Plagues.—Mr. George Fleming, in his recent work on "Animal Plagues," remarks that no description of disease, sufficiently exact to be identified with the type of which pleuro pneumonia is an example, is found till about two hundred years ago. Even then, the earliest record suggesting that disease is of a doubtful character. It dates from 1613, when there had been a course of years marked by phenomenal disturbances, mildew, and blight. Oxen and cows died in great numbers from a pulmonary phthisis that appears to have been brought on in part by severe cold after intense heat. Men also were attacked with dysentery and malignant fevers. In 1713, again, a "cattle-plague," distinctly so described, raged over Europe, and wild creatures suffered with the tame. In 1725 a wet and chilly year of blight was followed by an exceedingly dry and hot one; honey-dew and rust were abundant on the crops and foliage; a great mortality prevailed among cattle; while the deer perished in numbers, and even the fish suffered. In 1769, after a rainy year and a bad harvest, a lung-disease, called murie in Franche-Comté, raged among the cattle and horses in the north of France; but it appears to have been less virulent than genuine bovine contagious pleuro-pneumonia. About 1779 the last-named disease, now thoroughly ascertained and distinguished from other cattle-plagues, appeared in Upper Silesia and Istria; then, after holding its ground there for many years, it spread to Bavaria. It was carried into France during the wars of the French Revolution, into Italy in 1815, and into Holland and Belgium in 1827. Having established itself upon the Continent, it was introduced into England in 1841, when