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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/482

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

as many "passes" as it pleases, provided they are not used,[1] But no railway company is to be allowed to escape an interstate character from any such pretext as that it operates entirely within a single State—the commission affirmatively holding that if any parcel, the ultimate destination of which is outside of the State in which it is shipped, is carried by a local road, that local road at once, and by the act of carrying that parcel, becomes an interstate railway,[2] This is Lord Coke's celebrated maxim, that it is the part of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction—with a vengeance!

 

GIANT REPTILES OF A PAST AGE.
By OTTO MEYER, Ph. D.

INDIANS of to-day, who are well acquainted with the history of their race, may often think with melancholy of the olden times, when their forefathers were the only masters of the country. Numerous and powerful tribes occupied the vast territory between two oceans, some hunting the deer in the forests of the East, others ruling supreme in the plains and mountains of the West. The white man was fighting hard for his existence in small settlements along the coast. But, whatever perfection in warfare and in the use of their weapons the Indians had acquired by the experience and practice of many generations, it was useless against the rising foe, who possessed and introduced entirely new arms and methods. And what is the result to-day? The majority of the tribes, and among them the most powerful ones, have been extinguished entirely; while others, sadly diminished in numbers, linger here and there, and the pale-face is met everywhere.

The same feelings of melancholy must enter the mind of an alligator of geological education, when, during a siesta in the sun, he thinks of the good old Mesozoic times and compares them with the pitiable present. "How beautiful were the Triassic and Jurassic periods, when numerous and powerful orders of reptiles were masters of the earth, when mosasaurus and other kings of the water were hunting the animals of the ocean, when gigantic dinosaurs reigned on the land, and pterodactyls populated the air! That parvenu, the mammal, was existing only in small species and struggling for an existence. But, alas! how is it now? Of

  1. Matter of Burlington and Missouri River Railway Company. It is remarkable that, of the millions of passes which four hundred railway companies find it necessary to issue in the course of their operations, the only case in which a pass has attracted the attention of the commission is one where the pass was never lifted.
  2. Bragg, J. Matter of Johnstown and Gloversville Railway Company, "First Annual Report of Interstate Commerce Commission," p. 126.