Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/251

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TIN AND ITS NATIVE LAND.

grand epoch in human history; and, on the other side, the appearance of the mineral, not resembling any metallic substance, and the rarity of its deposits, supposed knowledge among the first miners of which we have hardly any other evidences. What country, then, in which tin is produced, was sufficiently civilized more than fifty centuries ago for its people to have knowledge enough of mineralogy to recognize the metal in the dark mineral that contains its oxide; and which had such a social organization as to make practicable the different operations and enterprises on which its extraction depends?" M. Germain Bapst expressed the opinion, three years before our first visit to Pérak, in one of the most remarkable and interesting works that have been published on the subject, that this country was the peninsula of Malacca.

A curious relation has been traced between the names which the Malays of the peninsula give to tin and' lead—tima pouté (white), tin, and tima itam (black), lead—and the names given by Pliny—plumbum candidum (white lead, or tin), and plumbum nigrum (black lead, or lead); and also between the Malay tima and the English, Dutch, and Danish tin, the German zinn, and the Swedish tenn. Etymologists ask if this Malayan application of tin at a time when the kassterides islands, as yet without a name, were lying in the solitude of their dense forests, and the primitive populations of Switzerland, who also used tin for the ornamentation of their earthen vessels, had not yet built their lake villages, did not start from Malacca, and, carried by slow migrations, but directly, and over the heads of the Assyrians and Greeks, reach the extremity of Europe at a much later period.

Thus, this peninsula of Malacca, which is now covered by virgin forests inhabited by wild orang-sakeys, dotted with swamps that have to be crossed on elephants' backs, peopled by rhinoceroses and tigers, may at that time have been at the head of the world's civilization, and had its railroads, telegraphs, telephones, temples and theatres, artists and journalists, deputies and bankers, speculators and pickpockets—everything, in fact, that appertains to the last expression of progress, but under very different forms—perhaps even its Eiffel Tower in bamboo—while Europe was still in the period of its orang-sakeys. Such is the way of the world. Why should not every country have its turn?—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

 


 
A satisfactory report has been made of the results of the first year's working of the new educational programme of the Central Provinces of India, in which special provision is made for technical education.