Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/267

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wicked indulgences, they performed their duty till the measuring-worms ceased to be, and the place that knew them knows them no more. Go on, good sparrow! "But we have not the space to give the eloquent apostrophe in which the author encourages the sparrow to go on with his good work.

 

Death of Mr. Thomas Belt.—With deep regret we have to announce the death of Thomas Belt, geologist and naturalist. He died, September 22d, at Denver, Colorado, of rheumatic fever. The following biographical notice is from the London Athenæum: "The son of the late Mr. George Belt, nurseryman and seedsman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Thomas Belt was a practical botanist almost from his infancy, and his scientific tastes were further developed in the two schools which he attended—the earliest presided over by Dr. J. C. Bruce, of antiquarian fame, and the second by the late John Storey, a man second to none of his day as a north-country botanist. In the latter establishment young Belt had as schoolfellows two boys who have since stamped their names in the annals of science—Prof. G. S. Brady and H. B. Brady, F.R.S. In 1851 Thomas Belt joined in the first great gold rush to Australia, and since that time his life has been that of a hard-working, successful mining engineer. He visited all parts of the world in the course of his profession, but whether as a digger in Victoria, as a manager of mines in Central America, or as a prospector in the wilder parts of Russia, the engineer was always a naturalist at heart. He was an excellent observer, and a certain speculative tendency led him to group his observations so as to bring out their full theoretical bearings. He was minutely accurate in his description of facts, and bold in his generalizations. He covered so much ground that some of his theories may not bear the test of further research, but some will stand, and all bear witness to the singular grasp of his mind. The chief results of his work are to be found in his papers read before the Geological Society (of which he became a Fellow in 1866), and in a most interesting book entitled 'The Naturalist in Nicaragua,' and published in 1874. In biology Mr. Belt was an advanced evolutionist, and in geology an ultra-glacialist. In both branches of science his papers were suggestive m the highest degree. What he did was so good that much was expected of him, and his sudden loss is an irreparable one to the rapidly-thinning group of eminent Tyneside naturalists to which, by right of birth, he belonged."

 


NOTES.

The American Public Health Association will hold its sixth annual meeting at Richmond, Virginia, beginning on the 19th and ending on the 22d of November. The first days of the session will be devoted to the report and evidence submitted by the Yellow Fever Commission recently named by the Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital Service.

The project of a railroad across Newfoundland is again being agitated. Such a railroad would have the effect of shortening by one thousand miles the ocean-voyage from this continent to Europe. It is stated in the Polytechnic Review that the Government of Newfoundland has agreed to vote an annual subsidy, and to make a grant of lands in aid of the enterprise. Among the incidental benefits to be derived from such a line of railway may be named the opening up of vast deposits of copper, iron, coal, nickel, lead, and other minerals. Furthermore, it would cut through the great pine and spruce forests of the interior of Newfoundland.

Sir George Nares, who commanded the expedition of the Alert and Discovery to the polar regions, is about to make another scientific voyage to the South Pacific. He will first make soundings in the track of navigation between New Zealand and Feejee, and will then ascertain the positions of the different reefs and islets off the northwestern coast of Australia.

Dr. J. S. Meyer, of Virginia City, Nevada, claims that he has discovered the "lost art," known to the ancient Egyptians, of tempering copper so as to produce an edge which will cut like steel.

The Government in India is introducing agricultural schools. The native methods are wretchedly poor, and little wonder is it that the famines are occasionally dreadful. "The curse of Indian agriculture" is said to be the inveterate custom in many places of using the cattle-manure for fuel. To stop this a law is recommended for the compulsory planting of fuel trees, which also would have a good climatic effect.