Harper's Weekly 06/05/1875


SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE.

The Smithsonian Institution has lately under-
taken an exploration which promises very im-
portant results in the interest of American ar-
chæology. It is well known that on some of the
islands off the south coast of California there
have been found some extremely interesting re-
mains of prehistoric occupation on the part of
the aboriginal tribes of the country, these con-
sisting of stone implements in great variety,
soap-stone bowls, bone and shell ornaments, etc.,
forming a valuable collection already obtained
for the National Museum. With a view of ex-
hausting the locality and securing whatever may
still remain of interest, the services of Mr. Paul
Schumacher
, who had previously explored the
region, have been secured by the Smithsonian
Institution, and he left San Francisco early in
May, with four laborers, for the scene of action.


The Treasury Department kindly gave him
transportation on the revenue steamer Rush,
and the War Department supplied tents and
camp equipage. It is expected that this inves-
tigation will occupy several months, and that
the results will be almost as interesting in their
relations to American archæology as those of
Di Cesnola in Cyprus and of Schliemann in
Troy to that of the Old World.


The special object of this Investigation is the
furnishing of material for the grand display to
be made at the Centennial by the combined ef-
forts of the Smithsonian Institution and the In-
dian Bureau.


The number of Petermann'sMittheilungen for
March, 1875, contains its usual annual report
upon the population of the earth, made by Messrs.
Behm and Wagner. The footing for the year
1874 is as follows:

Europe
Asia
Africa
America
Australia and Polynesia
Total

The seventh annual report of the Commission-
ers of Fisheries of the State of New York, trans-
mitted to the Legislature February 1, 1875, con-
tains a great deal that is interesting and useful
in connection with the measures for supplying
the rivers and lakes of the United States with
food fishes. A noteworthy feature of the report
consists in the large number of embellishments
it contains, such as the New York shad-hatching
camp and the method of taking the spawn from
the fish, plates representing the black bass, the
salmon-trout, the brook trout, and the true salm-
on, showing the appearance of some of them at
different ages. There is also a plate represent-
ing the typical shad hatching box as invented by
Seth Green.


Under the head of “Shad Hatching” the Com-
missioners report the hatching and turning into
the Hudson River in 1874 of over 5,000,000
young shad; and they announce that the yield
of mature shad for the past year has been 100,000,
showing a steady increase in the number from
year to year. They state that larger hauls were
made in the nets last season than have been
known for many years, and that the fish have
been every where more abundant, this being ac-
companied by a corresponding fall in price, the
prevailing rates being one-third of those that
had ruled previously. They think, however,
that if they could procure a much larger number
of spawning shad, they could accelerate the pe-
riod when the price shall be as low as was ever
known in the country, and they attribute their
difficulties in procuring these to the great num-
ber of stake nets stretched across the river at
many points from its mouth up to Albany, which
thus impede the movements of the fish. They
earnestly urge that a close time be established,
of at least from Saturday night until Monday
morning, during which no fish shall be taken,
and the nets shall be raised, under a very severe
penalty.


The shad-hatching season of 1874 commenced
on the 18th of May and terminated on the 1st of
July, making a period of about six weeks.


The Commissioners, after a careful considera-
tion of the facts, are decidedly of the opinion
that the experiment of introducing shad into the
Great Lakes has been a success, and that there is
every reason to believe that when deposited in
the rivers the young will mature in the lakes
and return to their starting-point.


The distribution of black bass, which has been
going on for several years, has been continued
during 1874, amounting in number to 365; of the
Oswego bass, 533; while 1279 of other allied spe-
cies have been sent out. These operations have
already resulted in a greatly increased yield in the
general fisheries of the State, so that lakes where
nothing could be taken but a few years ago now
furnish satisfactory fishing to many persons.


In regard to other fish, the Commissioners
report the addition of 527,000 white-fish and
180,000 salmon-trout, with a large number of
eggs sent to many parties who desire to make
experiments upon them. The Commissioners
speak in terms of approbation of the efforts now
making on the part of the United States to in-
troduce the California salmon into such waters
as are not suited to the species of Maine, and
cite several instances where the young have been
taken after introduction into the streams of New
York, showing surprising vigor and rapidity of
growth.


The report contains some reference to the ac-
tion taken by the Commissioners in regard to
the propagation of the grayling, and they think
that the addition of this species may be one of
some practical importance, as it certainly is a
matter of much interest. A considerable por-
tion of the report is devoted to the considera-
tion of the injurious effect of pound nets and
other modes of trapping fish, and they strenu-
ously urge the passage of laws to prohibit their
use entirely, or at least to regulate their employ-
ment at certain seasons and in certain localities.
They point particularly to the use of these nets
in the great South Bay of Long Island, where, in
their opinion, in consequence of the multiplica-
tion within the last few years, line fishing has
been almost entirely destroyed.


In conclusion, the Commissioners state that,
without relaxing their efforts in regard to other
fish, they purpose now to devote more attention
to hatching and distributing the brook trout.
Their establishment at Caledonia has an almost
unlimited capacity, and they think they will be
able to supply trout spawn or young trout, in a
certain number at least, to almost all applicants,
and that in this way a great addition to the food
resources of the State may be secured, while the
popularity of the Commission will certainly be
increased.


Professor Alexander Agassiz announces that
the experience of the past two years has shown
the impossibility of conducting the Anderson
School upon the plan originally intended. The
trustees find themselves at the end of the means
at their disposal. To enable them to carry on
the school it is proposed to charge a fee of fifty
dollars for the season, and they hope that a suf-
ficient number of pupils can be secured to war-
rant them in going on. Even with the pro-
posed charges there will be a considerable de-
ficit (as was the case last year) to be met by the
friends of the Penikese School, the position of
the island entailing expenses which a more fa-
vored locality would not necessitate. The trust-
ees will reduce the price of board to the lowest
possible terms. Application for admission, with
statement of qualifications, should be sent at
once to the director, Alexander Agassiz, Cam-
bridge, Massachusetts. Preference will be given
to teachers. The course of studies will be an-
nounced as soon as practicable.


The latest dates from Lieutenant Cameron,
with the African exploring party, are to the 18th
of May, 1874, at which time he had entered the
Manyuema country at the southern border, and
expected to be absent from Ujiji about twelve
months.


An International Congress of Silk Culturists
is to be held at Milan during 1876, and circulars
have been distributed inviting a series of exper-
iments to be made during 1875, and a report on
the results. This has reference to various points
connected with the keeping of silk-worms, the
prevention of injurious diseases, particularly of
their “inactivity,” a disease which has produced
great injury of late years.


A serious malady has lately attacked the lem-
on plant in various parts of the world, the re-
sult, as suggested, of the forced cultivation of
the fruit. This is known as the “dry rot,” and
commences at the extremities of the plant or of
the roots, and gradually spreads throughout the
whole tree, drying up the sap in its course. It
is suggested that by grafting cuts of the wild
lemon plant on the orange-tree a new stock
may be obtained, and the fruit cultivated upon
trees which have not been subjected to a forced
growth.


Dr. Krause has found that tobacco smoke
contains a large quantity of carbonic oxide, and
he attributes the injurious after-effects of smok-
ing to this poisonous gas, some of which neces-
sarily descends to the lungs, and produces more
or less injury. According to Krause, the after-
effects are more potent the more inexperienced
the smoker, and he ascribes to the carbonic ox-
ide the unpleasant results of the first attempts
at smoking rather than to nicotine alone.


Among the noteworthy dead of the year we
may mention Baron J. F. de Waldeck, who
died in Paris on the 30th of April, at the age of
one hundred and nine. Born in Prague, he de-
voted many years of his life to travels in Africa
and America, during which he made use of his
ready pencil in the delineation of the objects of
nature and art that interested him. One of his
most prominent labors was connected with the
ancient cities of Chiapas and Yucatan, although
the accuracy of his delineations has been very
strongly called in question by Dr. Berendt
and other succeeding travelers. One of his rep-
resentations of certain carvings on an ancient
temple in Yucatan clearly indicates the head
and trunk of an elephant of some species; and
there has been an attempt to show from this
that the original artist must have been acquaint-
ed with some prehistoric American mastodon or
true elephant. A careful examination of the
original carving by a recent traveler, however,
fails to bring out the peculiar features of this
animal.


The annual report of the Supervising Surgeon
of the Marine Hospital Service of the United
States for the fiscal year 1874 has just been
published by the Treasury Department, and
constitutes a document equally interesting with
its predecessor, and of which we gave an extend-
ed notice. Since the reorganization of this serv-
ice under the direction of Dr. Woodworth its
efficiency has been vastly increased, and now
compares favorably with that of any branch of
the like service in foreign countries. Among
the results of this reorganization are a decrease
in the number of days relief furnished, an in-
crease in the number of seamen relieved, a re-
duction in the average rate of treatment, an in-
crease in the hospital dues collected, a decrease
in the average annual cost of each patient treat-
ed, and a decrease in the net cost to the govern-
ment of each patient relieved.


Full statistics of the diseases treated, the num-
ber of days of illness, the places where the serv-
ice was rendered, etc., are given, with all the ap-
propriate details. As in the preceding volume,
there are several interesting papers bearing upon
the subject of marine hospital service; among
others, one on “The Hygiene of the Forecastle;”
one on “American Commerce and the Service;”
“Unseaworthy Sailors;”“The Preventable Dis-
eases on the Rivers and Great Lakes;”“The Yel-
low Fever Epidemics of 1873 and 1874.”


Several graphic diagrams are presented ex-
hibiting the relative prevalence of ague, remit-
tent fever, rheumatism, erysipelas, consumption,
etc., in each district, and the relative proportion
of cases of these diseases in each month.



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