Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/114

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istence with, the depersonified rainbow, or reduce it to the state of a thing, but even then invest it with a marvelous function. Some have made of it a celestial bow, which they place in the hands of a god; with the Lapps, it was the bow of the god of the thunder, by means of which he shot off his arrows of fire; with the Australians, it was the phallus of the god of the sky, which grazed the earth as it passed; with the Samoyeds and the Kamtchatdales, it was the hem of the clothing of Billoukai, the god of the thundering sky; and among the classic ancients, it was the scarf of Iris, the fair messenger of the gods. In Polynesia and with the Germans, Hindoos, Persians, and Arabs, the rainbow was regarded as a bridge uniting the abode of the gods with that of men; the road over which souls traveled; with the Jews, it symbolized the alliance of God and man; with the Greeks and Romans, it was a sign of war or of storms.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from Ciel et Terre.


IT is quite evident that the history of the American people would be very different from what it is, or from what it will be, had they not on the very threshold of their existence encountered a race of warlike savages, and had not their stability been still further threatened by a later introduction of slave labor from Africa. Had the immigration to this country been strictly confined to members of the Caucasian family, there would undoubtedly exist a mutual feeling of physiological and social harmony—since they all stand on a plane of civilization which is common to the American; but so soon as the latter came in contact with races which were aliens and strangers to the Anglo-Saxon blood, and which were several thousand years behind it in point of civilization, an inevitable clashing of interests began which prevails to this day, and which will continue until the race differences are eradicated. No one, however, who has given serious attention to the political and social questions of this country can fail, even at this day, to perceive that, in spite of statutes and of prejudices, there are influences at work which tend to fuse our heterogeneous population into one common whole. Whether these influences are active so far as the colored or negro race is concerned is not very readily determined, since accurate statistics bearing on this point are wanting; yet indirect evidence, inconclusive as it may be, strongly favors such a view. The remarks in this paper will, therefore,