Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/609

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ON THE CAUSES OF CRIME.

Mahogany is a beautiful, close-grained wood, but is used not so much on account of its strength, but more frequently because of its non-liability to shrink, warp, or twist, and from the peculiar property of taking a firm hold of glue. In the last respect it is superior to any other wood. Mahogany differs greatly in regard to its closeness, hardness, strength, and beauty. That from Honduras, called "bay-wood," is much inferior to that called "Spanish" mahogany, which comes from the West Indies; the former is much used in the construction of light textile machinery, but chiefly on account of its cheapness; and the latter is used for furniture or for other ornamental purposes. As regards strength, this wood is inferior to oak in all respects, and its great characteristic defect is unsuitability for exposure to the weather, or, indeed, for any purpose where it is made alternately wet and dry. When so subjected, it rapidly decays, and loses all its good qualities.

Oak, taken as a whole, is one of the strongest and most durable of woods, and is especially adapted for exposure to the weather of a damp climate, and is indeed suitable for almost every purpose where the properties of strength, stiffness, and toughness, combined with endurance, are required. Its value for ship-building is proverbial, and in its employment for the staves of casks, for tree nails, for carriage-wheels, and for all such purposes requiring lightness and strength in combination, it is equally useful. From time immemorial it was esteemed the best timber for heavy roofs, and the condition in which some of these grand old roofs have reached our era fully attests the wisdom of the selection.

Oak is found of many degrees of quality, but probably none, taking every property into account, is superior to that which grows in England, and which is perhaps more durable than any other. Some of the foreign oaks are as good in some respects, but, as a whole, English is the best.

 
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ON THE CAUSES OF CRIME.[1]

T

HE name of this Association fails to give a full idea of its scope and aims. In terms they seem to be limited to that class of men who have brought themselves under the penalties of the law; but the moment we begin to study the character of criminals and the causes of crime we find that we are forced back to a scrutiny of our social system and of the weakness as well as the wickedness of our fellow-men. It is because the subjects of pauperism and crime thus lead to an analysis of human nature and to the consideration of social aspects

  1. Address before the National Prison Association at Baltimore.