Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/588

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to foreign points. They include marbles, sandstones of excellent quality, and the Mexican "onyx" (arragonite, or carbonate of lime). Sands suitable for the manufacture of glass are abundant in the eastern part of the State. Silver occurs at one place, but the mine has been abandoned.

Prospects of Negro Education.—The problem of the comparative intellectual or ethical capacities of the Caucasian and the negro is treated by Dr. J. L. M. Curry, chairman of the Executive Committee of the John F. Slater Fund, as a speculative question that need not be studied as yet. What is called the "negro problem" is remote from its final or satisfactory solution. To settle it will require more than the thirty years that have elapsed since the Proclamation of Emancipation and more data and calmer and more scientific generalizations—free, too, from prejudice, fanaticism, sectarianism, and partisanship—than are yet at hand. The education of the negro is encompassed with peculiar complications, difficulties, and limitations. What has been accomplished is encouragement to do more. What has been attained is the demonstration that other and better things can be reached. In adopting means and methods to secure the highest results in education it must not be forgotten that the negro is still fettered by the heredity of thousands of years and by the ingrained and slowly eradicable weaknesses of slavery. It is proper to remember that African slavery has strengthened the necessary evils of the "peculiar institution" into habitudes, and that these in the course of years have become racial characteristics. Conferences were held during the last year, at which the normal and material condition of the negroes and the obstacles to their progress, the methods and means of progress, and the influence of women were discussed. Unquestionable as has been the improvement in normal and industrial work in the schools, it is equally beyond question that the instruction is not what it should be in any of them. What is called normal instruction is too often of very superficial character and a mere annex to the ordinary literary course, while what is done in manual training is unscientific and based apparently on merely utilitarian considerations. The Slater Fund has heretofore been operated in connection with the denominational and other schools already established in the South. While its managers have sought to emphasize as much as possible its peculiar objects of normal and manual training, it could not interfere with their objects or expect them to subordinate them to its purpose. The Hampton and Tuskegee Schools and the one at Montgomery are, however, not under these embarrassing conditions. A proposition is now before the trustees for establishing or aiding in establishing an independent school in which the purposes of the fund shall be predominant. The amount of the fund is $1,220,375.


A Correction.—The article on Vegetable Diet, by Lady Walb. Paget, which appeared in the Monthly for November, 1893, was reprinted from the Nineteenth Century, to which magazine it should have been credited.

The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, has the awarding of certain medals for meritorious discoveries and inventions which will contribute to the promotion of arts and manufactures, as follows: The Elliott Cresson medal, gold, for some discovery in the arts and sciences, or for the invention and improvement of some useful machine, or for some new process or combination of materials in manufactures, or for ingenuity, skill, or perfection in workmanship; the John Scott Legacy Premium (twenty dollars) and medal, bronze, for useful inventions; and the Edward Longstreth medal of merit, silver, for useful invention, important discovery, and meritorious work in science or the industrial arts, or contributions to them. Persons desiring full information on the subject may correspond with William H. Wahl, secretary.

M. Dybowski, in a recent journey in the interior of Africa, encountered a tribe who have reduced cannibalism to such a system that they have only one object of purchase—slaves to be eaten. They refuse to sell food or any other products of their country for anything else, and the surrounding tribes capture and export canoe loads of slaves for this purpose.

Attention was recently called by M. Dollo in the Belgian Geological Society to some scientific conceptions of Dante. Thus there are references in the Commedia Divina, which was published about 1320, to the facts that the moon is the principal cause of the tides; that the surface of the sea is uniform except for the waves; that there exists a centripetal force, causing bodies to fall;