Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/320

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308
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

only when we take the population en masse. Now, the people composing it form naturally two parties. One includes the great proprietors, the great planters, the leading merchants, and all those who belong to them, who, so to speak, lead the life of colonists. It is to such, and to such alone, that the desolating figures referred to apply.

The other part of the population is composed of people who till the ground with their hands, and who are disdainfully called by the name of poor whites. These are the descendants of the first colonists, who were all too poor to buy slaves, too proud to enter into the service of others, and who accepted for themselves and their posterity the life of small farmers. This last population keeps very much by itself; it has multiplied, and not only become prosperous, but its physical type has improved so much that travellers all speak of the personal beauty, both of the men and the women, of this race.

So, in this same Island of Bourbon, the rich planter and the working-men in cities, perish from the life of excess and debauchery, for which they are too much inclined in the colonies. The poor whites, who devote themselves to the cultivation of the earth, which is said to be impossible for the European under the tropics, have continued to develop, and have gained in all respects, because they have joined to moderate labor a sober life and pure manners.

Gentlemen, there is in this fact a practical lesson. Perhaps some among you will leave France; perhaps you will go to the colonies or to Algeria to seek your fortune! Let me impress upon you the history of the poor whites of the Isle of Bourbon—they have found that, to maintain health of the body, one of the best means, undoubtedly, is to preserve the health of the soul.

 
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ON THE DIGESTIBILITY OF VEGETABLE AND ANIMAL FOODS.
By PROFESSOR VOIT,
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH.
(Abstract by M. Andre Sanson)

AT the session of the Munich Academy of Science, December 4, 1869, Voit detailed the chief results of investigations made in his laboratory by Drs. Bischoff, Forster, Hoffmann, and Meyer, students of medicine, as to the differences which exist between animal and vegetable substances in point of digestibility, both in the carnivora and human beings; and also as to the importance of nutritive salts and condiments. These results have such a bearing upon alimentary hygiene that we have thought it desirable to give an extended analysis