Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/423

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From The Irish Textile Journal.

Under this heading a correspondent in Boston sends us for verification the following cutting from a magazine article of recent date:

"The finest flax grown in the north of Ireland, in order to attain its highest quality, must be sent to Belgium to be steeped in the water of a certain river. Returning from there, it is spun into superfine yarns by the best machinery and in the naturally adapted moist climate of Belfast. At that stage the product is again sent back to Belgium, where it is woven into gossamer-like fabrics, in low, damp cellars, under conditions that would not be agreeable to the north of Ireland, and the work of the Belgian hand-loom weaver must then be carried back to be bleached under the dripping skies of the Green Isle."

The writer of the foregoing is a little mixed in his ideas. The finest flax comes to us from the Courtrai district, and the "certain river" in which it is steeped is the Lys, but no flax is sent from Ireland to be steeped there. Courtrai flax is used by our spinners for the finer counts of their yarns, chiefly for hand-loom linens; but these goods are not necessarily woven in low, damp cellars on the Continent any more than in the north of Ireland, where the finest goods can be made. Some descriptions of "gossamer-like" lace are made in damp cellars in France, and from hand-spun flax of the very finest quality, worth £180 to £200 per ton. Of course, we claim for Ireland that it possesses the best climate in the world for bleaching, but only a small quantity of foreign linen is sent here to be finished.


Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: In reply to your esteemed favor of the 10th, received this morning, I have to say that while the object of the remarks quoted from the Irish Textile Journal apparently is to discredit or belittle the statements in the extract given from The Popular Science Monthly, it is the fact that these statements are only confirmed thereby in quite a remarkable manner. While, for instance, there may appear to be a contradiction in the point made by the Irish authority when he says that "no flax is sent from Ireland to be steeped" in Belgium—that is, at the present time—an examination of the text of The Popular Science Monthly will show that no statement on that subject is contained therein, and that it was not necessary to the argument. If the critic in question had been able to say that no Irish flax had ever been sent to Belgium for the specified purpose, or that no benefit would have been derived therefrom, then his remarks would have possessed a measure of weight and of justification that the mere fact of its being apparently for the moment, for undefined reasons, more advantageous to employ Belgian-grown flax does not confer upon them. The other comments made by the same journal require absolutely no reply, when it is borne in mind that the statements of The Popular Science Monthly article have reference only to the accomplishment of the highest possible excellence in a certain limited industry at a given period, and by no means can be held to apply to the production of Irish fine linen generally or permanently, or to other similar fabrics that may be produced in different parts of the world.

Yours very truly,
J. J. Menzies.
220 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, Cal.,
April 17, 1890.



Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Sir: May I ask for the publicity of your pages to aid me in procuring co-operation in a scientific investigation for which I am responsible? I refer to the Census of Hallucinations, which was begun several years ago by the Society for Psychical Research, and of which the International Congress of Experimental Psychology at Paris, last summer, assumed the future responsibility, naming a committee in each country to carry on the work.

The object of the inquiry is twofold: (1) To get a mass of facts about hallucinations which may serve as a basis for a scientific study of these phenomena; and (2) to ascertain approximately the proportion of persons who have had such experiences. Until the average frequency of hallucinations in the community is known, it can never be decided whether the so-called "veridical" hallucinations (visions or other "warnings" of the death, etc., of people at a distance), which are so frequently reported, are accidental coincidences or something more.

Some eight thousand or more persons in England, France, and the United States have already returned answers to the question which heads the census sheets, and which runs as follows:

"Have you ever, when completely awake, had a vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living being or inanimate object, or of hearing a voice; which impression, so far as you could discover, was not due to any external physical cause?"

The Congress hopes that at its next meeting, in England in 1892, as many as fifty thousand answers may have been collected. It is obvious that, for the purely statistical inquiry, the answer "No" is as important as the answer "Yes."

I have been appointed to superintend the census in America, and I most earnestly bespeak the co-operation of any among your readers who may be actively interested in