Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/530

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crops by want of cultivation. It will always mean the non-cultivation or improper cultivation of thousands of acres of valuable land. It means a listless activity in the world's work that counts mightily against the wealth-producing power of a people. Finally, it means from two to five million or more days of sickness, with all its attendant distress, pain of body and mental depression to some unfortunate individuals of those five states.

While the above statistics are meager and inconclusive, and while our estimates may be open to question, yet we may be sure that malaria detracts enormously from the full wealth-producing power of the south. To substantiate this statement one has but to reflect, from his own personal knowledge, upon the number of working days that are lost in a year by white men because of chills and fevers. The writer recalls to mind many such cases within the year. Only the past summer I saw a whole family forced to leave a farm on account of malaria. While living there some one or all of them were sick the major portion of the time, and although the farm was a productive one they were scarcely able to make a living, because of their unfitness for work. In a certain railroad town with which I am familiar it is invariably the rule that some employee is 'laying off' because of chills and fever or because of some indisposition at the bottom of which is malaria.

In my summer vacation which was spent in North Carolina I had an opportunity of observing a laboring man and his family that lived near a brook in the quiet pools of which were the malarial mosquitoes, Anopheles. During my sojourn of about three weeks the head of the family 'laid off' four days from chills and fevers, and no doubt he has lost many days since during the autumn. He is a man with a delicate, pale skin and, while conversing with him, I have noted as many as two Anopheles mosquitoes on one hand at the same time. The question has often occurred to me since, whether these mosquitoes prefer to attack people with delicate skin. My own face and hands were not troubled by them, although we stood within hand-shaking distance of each other and the mosquitoes were fairly abundant. The mother and children of the family were great sufferers from malaria, especially the former, on account of which much of their earnings was used to pay doctor's fees.

In looking for a concrete effect of malaria upon agriculture, we have only to turn our attention to one of the most fertile regions of the United States if not of the world, namely, the so-called Delta region of Mississippi. It lies along the Mississippi River in the western part of the state and extends from the mouth of the Yazoo River north, nearly to the Tennessee line. It is the second best farming land in the world, having only one rival, and that is the valley of the Nile. Still this land to-day, at least much of it, can be bought at ten to