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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/293

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

swers that were full of enthusiasm and unstinted praise of athletics. The replies to Mr. Odell's questions are more reserved and critical. One correspondent answered that as a general and rarely broken rule, excellence in athletics and in intellectual work are not met with at the same time in the same person; another, that "the spirit of athleticism needs controlling." Dr. Hornby, of Eton, notes that "some years ago it was quite possible for a boy who had an aptitude for cricket or rowing to attain to the highest excellence, according to the standard of that day, in athletics and school work. I doubt whether it is so now. Athletics of all kinds have become so developed and brought into a system, and, I may almost say, professional, that the time required for a very high excellence in them is, I think, a serious obstacle to a reading man or a studious boy's engaging in them with a view to athletic distinction. This is a serious evil in our day"; and Dr. Percival, of Rugby, that "the great publicity given to athletics tends to give them an undue prominence in the minds of both boys and men." These replies suggest that physical education in public schools may have been overdone and overestimated, and that the enthusiasm of a few years ago may have carried matters further than was intended.

 

The Glory of Columbus.—In his presidential address before the American Geographic Society on Discoverers of America, the Hon. Gardiner S. Hubbard claims for Columbus, in the face of the recent attempts to depreciate his work, all the credit that has at any time been given him. There was no map published until after the sixteenth century, Mr. Hubbard says, that gave a correct delineation of the seacoast of America. "It is no wonder that Columbus never comprehended the nature or extent of his discoveries. The more we study the history and geography of the times, the influence of the Church, the difficulty of determining longitude, the ignorance of the movements of the mariner's compass and of the distance to Cipango, the greater will be our admiration for Columbus. Yet a recent writer speaks of the discovery of Columbus as a blunder, and others say, as if in disparagement of his work, that he knew of the discoveries of the Northmen, and was only following their track; that the chart of Toscanelli, which Columbus took on his first voyage, indicated clearly his route; that Columbus died in the belief that he had discovered Cipango and Cathay, never realizing that it was the New World, and that Americus Vespucius is entitled to the greater credit." Sebastian Cabot is quoted by the author in testimony of the admiration with which Columbus's discovery was received at the court of Henry VII, where it was affirmed "to be a thing more divine than humane to saile by the west into the easte, where the spices growe, by a chart that was never before knowen." It is very doubtful if Columbus knew of the voyages of the Northmen, nor would such knowledge have been of much value, for Greenland was then believed to be a part of Europe and joined to Norway. If Columbus had known of their discoveries and sought the countries they had found, he would have sailed northwestward instead of westward. Many before Toscanelli and Columbus believed the world to be round, and that by sailing westward Asia might be reached. Columbus not only believed but proved it. He made no blunder, for he sought land the other side of the Atlantic, and he found it. Vespucius knew little more than Columbus of the New World, and never realized that North America and South America were one continent. The maps show that learned geographers long after the discoveries of Columbus, Vespucius, Cabot, and Magellan, did not understand the geography of the New World. "All voyages before that of Columbus had been coasting voyages, the sailors keeping in sight of land. Columbus pushed into the unknown and trackless ocean, leaving the land far behind. Good seamen were unwilling to undertake such a voyage, so convicts were obtained, liberated from prison on condition of sailing with Columbus. A brave, resolute, and selfcontained spirit was necessary to command such a crew on such an expedition. New wonders startled him each day. . . . No voyage like that was ever made before, and none like it can ever be made again, for the great discoverer solved the problem and reached the east by sailing west."

 

The Pose of Egyptian Drawings.—The first thing that a Western observer remarks