Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/172

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ances in civil life following the commercial panic of 1893 was shown by the 'Coxey army of 1894' and the Chicago riots.

It is interesting to read the various causes given for financial panics and political upheavals even by historians. In 1837, the cause was said to be the State Banks. In 1857, it was the too rapid railroad expansion. In 1873, it was the reaction from the lavish expenditures attending the civil war and the contraction of the currency. In 1893, it was the low tariff and the 'free silver craze.' All of these may have been contributory causes, but if my assumption is correct that deficiency of rainfall is the paramount cause in this chain of events, then vast political and historical changes have been brought about, and the thoughts of men have been swayed by opinions which are akin to superstitions, because they attribute to human action what is due largely to natural causes beyond the control of man.

The recent period of financial distress (1893-97) in the United States was also a period of financial distress in Europe. This may have been due to the fact that Europe depends to a large extent on the United States for its food supply; or to the fact (which recent observations seem to indicate) that long periods of drought and excessive rainfall embrace a large part of the world, if not the whole world, in their operations, and are due perhaps to changes taking place in the sun.

The following extract from an American newspaper reprinted in the English periodical 'Nature,' 1895 (Vol. 53, p. 78), shows that severe droughts in other parts of the world were coincident with the one in the United States:

The long drought, which has caused so much inconvenience and damage this fall, seems to have prevailed all round the world, if not in every part of it. Europe has experienced it almost equally with this country, and in Australia it has been more severe than here. So great was the distress in New South Wales, that the Government appointed a Sunday in September as a day of prayer for rain, and special services in accord with the proclamation were held in all the churches of every denomination in Sydney and throughout the province. The drought occurred in the antipodean spring, and greatly retarded planting operations, as well as doing great general damage. In many districts the grass was literally burned off the earth, and the mortality among stock was great. The railway trains carried supplies of water from lakes and rivers to all stricken points along the lines, selling it at the rate of 25 cents a thousand gallons. The water supply of many towns entirely failed, the inconvenience experienced was acute everywhere, and many agriculturists were ruined.

The existence of this drought is confirmed by recent meteorological reports from Australia. (See 'Science' of January 11, 1901, p. 75. A note concerning a simultaneous drought in Great Britain is found in 'Nature,' 1895, Vol. 53, p. 597.). These years were followed by rapid changes in political parties in Europe, especially in Great Britain and France.