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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/878

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sponded; but surely the wonderful development of the coal-tar industry, which had been and still was being carried on in such thoroughly scientific spirit, was an example which should not be forgotten. Sir Frederick Abel, the President of the British Association, where the paper was read, was struck with Dr. Perkin's remarks on the reasons why the English had been left behind in the development of that particular industry, and said that there were now great works in Germany where chemical research is carried on as an elaborate business, and was pursued by men who had acquired university degrees and distinction. He knew of one establishment where forty trained chemists were at work on the particular branch of research in which it is interested. If they could get a small army of men in England to pursue the work systematically, they might regain lost ground. In the first years of the coal-tar industry the English claimed it as particularly their own, but now they could not do so in view of the competition of the French and Germans.

 

The Available Lands of the Globe.—The subject of the lands of the globe still available for European settlement was discussed at a joint meeting of the Geographical and Economical Science Sections of the British Association. Mr. G. E. Ravenstein reviewed the capacity of different parts of the earth, excluding the arctic and antarctic regions as wholly unavailable, to accommodate population. He estimated the total number of persons whom the earth could feed at 5,999,000,000. The kind of population with which it shall be inhabited will depend to a large extent on the capacity of Europeans to thrive in strange climates. He spoke of the tendency of populations to move to the southward, but did not think tropical climates adapted to the acclimatization of European races in the sense in which the word acclimatization is generally used. The health of Europeans in tropical countries had improved in consequence of sanitary measures, but that was not all. Population in some countries did not increase; and, where they could compare the facts collected in the same country, they found that the superior race increased at a slower rate than the inferior race. That would, in course of time, keep back the growth of population, and, in fact, the whole of mankind was being gradually lifted up to a higher level. If only the superior, not the inferior, people increased, the speaker did not think the progress of civilization would be quite so steady. Mr. E. J. Marend, after his experience in Africa, was of the opinion that the prevalent idea that tropical regions are unsuited to colonization by Anglo-Saxons is mistaken. Englishmen live for years in Matabeleland, bringing up their children and keeping their health. Traders, missionaries, and Dutchmen are all able to thrive there, and the country is competent to provide the food-supplies for a large population. Sir R. Rawson believed that the proportion of land in the different zones is as follows: About fifty per cent of the whole is in the temperate zone, about forty per cent in the torrid zone, and about a tenth in the arctic zone. Before going further in dealing with a future home for the surplus population of Europe, we must ascertain the zones that are suited to a European population. The surplus population of England and the north of Europe could occupy only a temperate zone. It was also essential that we should know how much is available in each of the zones. Mr. John Mackenzie's experience had shown him that South Africa is habitable for both the north and south Europeans. The Rev. Dr. Cunningham pointed out that the intensity of production might be much increased through the direction of native agriculture by European intelligence. Mr. Wells, a traveler in Brazil, from whose papers we have quoted, called attention to an area in the south of that country which might be called the Transvaal of South America. To the northwest of Rio lay a considerable coffee-producing area, with an exceedingly healthy climate, and the productive powers of the country were very far indeed from being approximately reached. Several speakers mentioned the necessity of emigrants to the south adapting their mode of life to the changed climate, and insisted on the necessity of temperance. Dr. J. G. Garson said the question of drainage was most important, though it often occurs that the first steps toward sanitation are followed by outbreaks of fever, arising from saturation of the soil by sewage. Elevation above the