Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/555

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

diseases to be no more dreaded than are the diseases of temperate regions. As warm countries become better known, physicians will certainly become more skillful to treat the diseases peculiar to them.

Eapid transportation and rapid communication between the tropic and temperate regions will rob the former of many terrors. When a person can communicate with his family every few days, or by telegraph in a few hours, and when he knows he can reach his old home readily, one element which disturbed former pioneers is removed.

Eapid transportation and the discovery of the process of canning fruits, vegetables and meats, together with the process of manufacturing ice, and of cold storage methods, make it possible for a person in a hot country to enjoy the foods to which he was accustomed in his old home. This will be a great help until he has learned to use native products.

Education and good laws will remove from the Tropics many undesirable features which now repel people from the North. It has been already remarked that the people in these islands have no knowledge of sanitation, and live in utter disregard of all the well-known rules of hygiene. Some of the most striking examples of this are the living in their own excretions, sleeping in air-tight compartments, the lack of a variety of food, working long hours in the hot sun with an empty stomach, using rum, tobacco and coffee in place of food, the utter lack of any restraint of the sexual instinct by either men or women of the lower classes and by the men of all classes, producing a well-nigh universal corruption of blood.

These unsanitary and unhygienic conditions have dwarfed the tropical dwellers in body and in mind. These things cannot be laid to the climate. They are due to ignorance. The same condition would produce similar results in Pennsylvania or Connecticut, and such results were seen a generation ago in New Mexico, California and elsewhere.

The laws under which these people have been living have been monstrously bad. Marriage has in some cases been actually discouraged; there was little opportunity and little inducement to accumulate property. There were few schools, and they were of poor quality. The different races, white, Indian and African, have fully commingled, and the result the world knows is bad. The strongest arguments against the mixing of the Caucasian and the African are to be found in the West India Islands. The mixed races will be much harder to deal with than pure bloods of any race.

The climate in Cuba and Porto Rico—and the same is claimed for the Philippines—is equal to any in the States south of the Carolinas. With the masses educated and with wholesome laws, these islands will all become garden spots, and will ultimately be occupied by pure-blooded Anglo-Saxons, the present inhabitants disappearing before the stronger and purer-blooded race.