Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/152

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and girls, and perhaps its use was rendered more popular by the idea that it promoted grace in the female form. In the year 1721 an aged lady left considerable property to endow a school for spinning. The art was practiced in England in the drawing rooms and servants' halls of country houses as late as 1830. Rabbit wool is spun at Aix in Savoy at the present time. Statements were made, after the reading of Mr. Blashill's paper, that the spinning wheel is still used in Sutherland; that "home-spun" is made in the Isle of Lewis; and that the Bedouins in spinning use their fingers and no distaff.

Child Training.—The child and the man he is destined to become, said M. Berthelot in his address on Science the Educator, are not passive beings, receivers into which we can arbitrarily pour a certain sum of teaching and science, distributed more or less harmoniously—matters which they will find later in special schools and their whole life. Far from it. We should seek to develop in the child, along with memory and alertness in answering the questions of the examiner, aptitude for work and personal activity; to excite curiosity and the initiative in the young man, and to provoke in his mind suitable elaboration, a kind of digestion of the information hastily accumulated. In this way only can we make individual faculties and latent capacities really available. Plato teaches us to study the dispositions of our children and adapt our instruction to them so that it shall seem less like work and more like play. Hence in our first essay in instruction we should try to draw out the tastes and aptitudes, in order to discern what they are and put them to profitable use. We can reach this essential result only by giving the child leisure enough to develop them m the special direction it prefers. But the child must have to do the work. Now the tendency of our systems of secondary education is to do away with this leisure of work and of personal tastes. During the years of youth, perhaps the most fruitful for mental evolution, we are eager to push the child into intellectual molds. Instead of its first object being science and letters in themselves, or the seeking for scientific truth and literary beauty, which woo the child by their intrinsic attraction, reserving till afterward the more special determination of its inclination toward some particular end, our teaching is first and almost exclusively directed with reference to the examination. The highest motives of the mind are thus suppressed or diverted from infancy. Baccalaureates and the competitions of the special schools spoil the late and most precious years of youth, those in which the individual initiatives and vocations ought to appear.

Bounties and the Extermination of Noxious Animals.—We are informed by Mr. T. S. Palmer, of the Department of Agriculture, in a paper on the extermination of noxious animals by bounties, that "more than a score of animals in the United States are considered sufficiently injurious to require radical measures for their extermination. Wolves, coyotes, panthers, bears, and lynxes are very destructive, but perhaps do not cause greater loss than ground squirrels, pocket gophers, rabbits, and woodchucks. A few birds also, such as blackbirds, crows, English sparrows, hawks, and owls, are sometimes included in the category of noxious species" Remarking that the most plausible and persistent demands for protection from the depredations of wild animals have come from owners of sheep and cattle, and many of the laws offering bounties have been enacted ostensibly to encourage sheep-raising, Mr. Palmer notices the curious fact that while, no doubt, this industry has many claims for protection, "the most urgent demands for bounties in the West have come, not from the farmers or owners of small flocks, but from cattle and sheep men whose immense herds and flocks are pastured on Government lands, and who claim that the cost of protecting their herds and flocks should be borne by the county or State" In some regions the losses on account of wolves and coyotes are so serious as to threaten the success of the sheep industry. The author further shows that while bounty legislation has existed in the United States for two centuries and a half, has called for an enormous expenditure, and has been thoroughly tested in most of the States and Territories, bounties have not resulted in the extermination of a single species, and have failed even in the island of Bermuda, which has an area of less than twenty square miles. The larger