Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Pettenkofer and Voit have shown that the fattening of animals is best produced by beginning with a liberal diet, rich in nitrogenous matter, and moderately so in fats, and, as the frame enlarges, increasing the latter principle and decreasing the -former. The refuse of wool, horn, feathers, leather, etc., long regarded as utter waste, has been utilized by L'Hote for the manufacture of ammonium sulphate.

In metallurgy, Percy has shown that manganese can be used instead of nickel in the manufacture of German silver. A very remarkable discovery of a new class of explosives has been made by Dr. Sprengel. These are produced by the combination of non-explosive elements; thus, a mixture of nitro-benzol with the acid, both quite harmless by themselves, forms an explosive thirty-eight times more powerful than nitro-glycerine.

A fact of much importance to the iron manufacture of the West is the discovery that a cretaceous coal found at Trinidad, Colorado, produces excellent coke. Coke is required in the blasting of iron, and has hitherto been imported into the West in large quantities from Pennsylvania, the coal of the Rocky mountains being supposed to be incapable of producing that article. Several new minerals have been discovered, one of which, the peolite, an apparent variety of opal, was found in the geyser regions of the Yellowstone.

Traces have been found in Palestine of a pre-historic population, resembling in habits the reindeer-hunters who dwelt in the caves of Dordogne, France. The supposed discovery of the site of ancient Troy by Dr. Schliemann has attracted much attention ; doubts, however, are entertained by eminent English ethnologists of the identity of the ruins. This doubt rests on the fact that the treasure obtained by Dr. Schliemann bears characters that differ from those used by the Trojans. The discovery of Esquimaux implements and remains of habitations in Polaris Bay, latitude 81° 34', leads to the supposition that those people once dwelt as far north. The geological researches of Mr. James Geikie, as described in his recent work, “ The Great Ice Age,” lead us to believe that the glacial epoch was not continuous but intermittent, and that man lived in Great Britain certainly during the temporary recessions of the ice, if not before its appearance.

Experiments on the digestibility of animal food indicate that about half the hay and straw consumed by oxen is digested. In milk production, it is ascertained that up to a certain point increase of rich food produces increase of milk and improves its quality, but beyond that point it has no effect. Attempts to increase the relative quantities of caseine and fat in the milk by increasing food more or less rich in those substances have proved futile. The results of these experiment are that too

caseine different breeds of cattle must be resorted to rather than alterations in the composition of food.

It has been ascertained that in the raising of such crops as buckwheat, rye, etc., a supply of potassium to the growing plant is essential to the production of starch in the grain. This was determined by growing the plants in water containing solutions of the various substances known to exist in the perfect grain. When all the elements were supplied the plant flourished and matured its grain ; when potassium was absent, it did neither.

An important invention has been effected by Mr. E. F. Loiseau in a machine for utilizing coal waste or slack, and rendering it serviceable for fuel. The slack being combined with common clay and milk of lime, is turned out in egg-shaped nodules. The invention of fireless locomotives for street cars, and their successful application in New Orleans and Chicago, has also been effected. A steam boiler, filled three-fourths full of cold water, is supplied at the beginning of every trip with one hundred and seventy to one hundred and eighty pounds pressure from a producing boiler located at one end of the road. Any speed up to twenty miles per hour can be obtained.

Even the grotesque facts of science have had an accession in the discovery in Colorado of the remains of an extinct monster related to the rhinoceros and resembling the elephant. It had horns in pairs on different parts of the head. Some had huge

nose. The long suspected existence of gigantic cephaloda in American waters has lately been justified by the capture of a squid or sepia in Fogy Bay, Newfoundland. The length of the body was seven feet, and the circumference five feet. It had two tentacular arms twenty-four feet long, and eight pedal appendages six feet long and nine inches in circumference.

THE PEABODY EDUCATIONAL FUND. REV. DR. BARNAS SEARS, the General Agent of the Peabody Fund, contributes the following sketch to the “ ANNUAL":

The letter announcing and creating the Peabody endowment was dated February 7, 1867. In that letter, after referring to the ravages of the late war, the founder of the Trust said: “I feel most deeply that it is the duty and privilege of the more favored and wealthy portions of our nation to assist those who are less fortunate.” He then added : “I give one million of dollars for the encouragement and promotion of intellectual, moral, and industrial education among the young of the more destitute portions of the Southern and Southwestern States of the Union.”

On the day following, ten of the Trustees selected by him, held a preliminary meeting in Washington. Their first business meeting was held in the city of New York, the 19th of March following, at which a general plan was adopted, and an agent appointed. .

Mr. Peabody returned to his native country again in 1869, and on the ist day of July, at a special meeting of the Trustees held at Newport, added a second million to the cash capital of the fund.

As to the success of this great enterprise, it is enough to say that not a single Southern State had a modern system of public schools when the Trustees first entered upon their work, and that now no State is without such a system, existing at least in law, and that every State has either already organized or is now organizing its schools. The Trustees do not arrogate to themselves the credit of creating all these public schools, but it may safely be said that but for their efforts in some of the States they would not have existed at all, and that in others they would not have been in their present comparatively flourishing condition.

Of the fund thus donated by Mr. Peabody for promoting education in the Southern States, the amount now available is in round numbers about $2,000,000, and yields an annual income of $120,000. Besides this, there are Mississippi and Florida bonds amounting to about $1,500,000, from which nothing is realized at present. According to the donor's directions, the principal must remain intact for thirty years. The Trustees are

not authorized to expend any part of it, nor yet to add to it any part of the accruing interest. The manner of using the interest, as well as the final distribution of the principal, was left entirely to the discretion of a self-perpetuating body of Trustees. Those first appointed had, however, the rare advantage of full consultation with the founder of the Trust while he still lived, and their plans received his cordial and emphatic approbation. It seemed best to him to leave the question of the final disposition of the fund to the developments of time and the wisdom of the Trustees. The pressing need of the present seemed to be in the department of primary education for the masses, and so they determined to make appropriations only for the assistance of public free schools. The money is not given as a charity to the poor. It would be entirely inadequate to furnish any effectual relief if distributed equally among all those who need it, and would, moreover, if thus widely dissipated, produce no permanent results. But the establishment of good public schools provides

for the education of all children, whether rich or poor, and initi· ates a system which no State has ever abandoned after a fair trial. So it seemed to the donor as well as to his Trustees, that the greatest good of the greatest number would be more effectually and more certainly attained by this mode of distribution than by any other.

No effort is made to distribute according to population. It was Mr. Peabody's wish that those States which had suffered most from the ravages of war should be assisted first, and so appropriations have been made thus far in only twelve States; the other three, namely, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, will, of course, ultimately share in the benefits. Nor is distribution made in proportion to the comparative destitution of any community, but following the sound maxim of giving help to those and only to those who help themselves, the Trustees make donations from time to time at their discretion, whenever and wherever there is the most reasonable prospect of doing the most good. When any State, or any city or town within its borders, is actually taking efficient measures to support a permanent system of schools, and needs help to meet the outlay necessary in the beginning, contributions are made to supplement the public school money.

But it is clearly impossible to give assistance to all the public

schools which have been recently established in the Southern States. It was thought proper to select such as would best illustrate the system, and be, by their example, most influential in diffusing it.

For this reason it is required that all schools aided shall have at least a hundred pupils, with one teacher for every fifty; shall be properly graded and shall be continued during ten months in the year, with an average attendance of not less than eighty-five per cent. If smaller schools were accepted the number would be so great as to make the share of each quite insignificant, and besides, they would not be likely to exhibit the best models, as they could not well be graded.

To prevent collision or disorder, and to secure unity of plan and concert of action, the Trustees co-operate with the State authorities, availing themselves of the agency of each State Superintendent. They have the benefit of his more minute information, special advice, and detailed plans, while his purposes are furthered and his hands strengthened by their contributions.

The most that is given to a school of a hundred pupils is $300; to one of two hundred, $600, and so on; but this always on condition that the district shall pay at least twice, and usually much more than twice, the amount given from the Peabody Fund. No public pledge can be given that all schools which comply with the conditions may claim the amounts here named, but special arrangement must be expressly made at or near the beginning of the school year, through the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Trustees are entirely untrammeled in their action except as above indicated. They aim to secure the just mean between concentration for strength and diffusion for relief. Unable to aid all at any one time, they desire first to cultivate the most promising fields and establish radiating centres at the most conspicuous points. When these are beyond the contingency of failure, they may turn their attention and donations to others. Thus, while bound only by their own sense of what is just and proper, all may rest assured they will be fairly and generously dealt with. The character of the Trustees selected by Mr. Peabody, and chosen since to fill vacancies, is an abundant guarantee that their ripe wisdom will be, imbued with the spirit of his philanthropy.

« ForrigeFortsett »