illustration was the substitution of chlorate of potash. and sulphuret of antimony for mercury to fill the caps, the latter not being obtainable. These and many other similar facts might be quoted to confirm the statement of Colonel William Leroy Broun, the head of the Richmond Arsenal, and at present the superintendent of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, that "when we consider the absence of manufactories and machinery and of skilled mechanics in the South at the beginning of the war, its [the Ordnance Department] successfully furnishing ordnance supplies for so large an army during the four eventful years is a striking instance of the wonderful energy and resources and abilities of its people to overcome difficulties." We have but to look at the table of manufacturing establishments in the South at present, in comparison with past years, to realize the rapid increase in that line and the growth of skilled labor that must inevitably accompany it. From 1880 till the present there has been a wonderful forward movement. Data have not yet been collected in full by the Census Department for 1890, but the bulletins issued on the principal Southern cities all show a large increase in the number of plants of every sort, and the cities of Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Richmond, Norfolk, Savannah, Augusta, and Baltimore, all of them more than doubled, and some of them more than quadrupled the amount of capital invested in manufacturing enterprises between 1880 and 1890. Railroad mileage in the South increased from 23,811 miles in 1881 to 44,805 in 1891, and the number of cotton mills during the same period from 161 to 356. All of these facts speak for themselves, and need no comment to point out their influence upon the future. Another potent factor, in its influence in stimulating invention in the future, is the great increase in industrial and polytechnic schools in the South, and the attention now paid to the study of natural science, which was formerly neglected for the classics. As has been recently pointed out in an interesting article by Prof. Charles W. Dabney, in the early days of American history the preachers were the learned men and the leaders in educational work. Nearly all the older colleges were the offspring of the churches, and in the South this continued to be the case, not only down to the period of the war, but for a decade afterward. The University of Virginia, one of the few institutions not under church influence, was naturally the first to open advanced scientific departments. It may be mentioned also that this university was the first in the Union where the elective system was introduced, in contradistinction to the curricular method in vogue elsewhere. Harvard and other Northern colleges have in late years modeled their courses much after the Virginia plan. The South has also within its borders probably the first college in the
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/400
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.