Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/850

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

One of the finest specimens of its kind in the United States is a magnificent six-by-four slab of lumachelle ("fire-marble") of fossil origin, in which the color of the original shells is so deepened and intensified that it rivals the finest fire-opal. This comes from the old, exhausted locality of Carinthia, Germany. Of alabaster, we have white, yellow, and cinnamon-gray slabs; of fossil coral, a fine slab from Iowa City. The oölite limestone from Bristol, England, is curious; the surface is highly polished, presenting a white field flecked with dark-red. Beads of gypsum satin spar and a three-inch egg of the same material are from Bideford, England.

The collection ends with an eight-by-three slab of catlinite (Indian pipestone), from Coteau du Prairie, Pipestone County, Minnesota. The head delineated on it was carved by a Washington sculptor, and came into the museum with the Abert collection, which was given to the museum.

To the energy of Professor F. W. Clarke is due the credit of forming this most interesting series of gems.


WHEN men, under the impetus of the indignation and horror that are occasioned by the commission of crimes that bear the stamp of deliberate cruelty or atrocity, undertake to apply what are popularly deemed adequately severe remedies, their action generally embodies results that, to the mind of those versed in matters of social or governmental science, are as mischievous in their tendency as the evils sought to be remedied. It not infrequently happens, in cases of crimes of deep atrocity, that citizens resolve to avenge the wrong immediately, by lynching the offender. The folly and wrong of this method of meting out punishment in a civilized community are now universally conceded by calm-thinking and intelligent men. Again, it will happen that this same spirit of impatience at the slow processes of law and of distrust in the ordinary legal methods of punishment for crime will find its expression in an equally wrong and illogical method, to wit, the adoption of legislation providing cruel methods of punishment for certain crimes, in the belief that the evil of their frequent perpetration may be remedied in that way. Upon reflection, it will be found that both methods have their origin in the same erroneous conception of the scope and object of punishment for crime.

Under the designation "cruel punishments," I include all such penalties for crimes as are designed to inflict direct physical suffering, accompanied by circumstances of ignominy. The whipping-post is