Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/883
these researches at a certain date, under appropriate pains and penalties. Precisely the same was the case with Darwin: he was able to pursue his inquiries calmly and dispassionately; able always to take two or three years, if his task could not be finished in one, and in no fear of unpleasant consequences if some idea which he had taken up should lead to nothing. But, if we say to a youth, or, worse still, to a child, 'You must, by a given date, reach a certain standard of knowledge, a certain grade of culture, to be judged of in a summary way . . .,' we place him in the very conditions wherein study becomes unsanitary, even ruinous, and that the more decidedly the more immature the brain." This is the tendency in hosts of schools, where everything is made to depend on examinations, the winning of honors at exhibitions, or on prizes and competitions.
Troubles of a Transfusionist in the Olden Time. The "Union Médicale" quotes from an old book a curious story of the troubles which beset a physician who experimented in transfusion of blood in the seventeenth century. A Dr. Denys, of Rheims, a strong believer in transfusion, tried that remedy, using calf's blood, with great success, upon a young man whom he found mad in the streets. The patient recovered, and continued well for two months, when he relapsed into dementia. A second experiment worked improvement, but not a cure. The young man soon lost his senses entirely, and his wife brought him again to Denys. A new operation only increased the patient's pains, and he died in a few hours. The widow then brought suit against Denys for killing her husband, and the doctor brought a counteraction against the woman for trying to poison him. The suit went in favor of the woman, but was afterward carried, through a course of appeals, to the Parliament. The case seems ultimately to have been discharged, but an edict was issued forbidding the practice of transfusion, under pain of corporal punishment.
Fertilizers and Savages.—"To what extent is the use of agricultural fertilizers known among uncivilized people?" is one of the questions raised in a paper by Mr. G. Browne Goode, on "The Uses of Agricultural Fertilizers by the American Indians and the Early English Colonists." Mr. Goode finds clear evidence in his historical readings that the Indians of New England used and taught the early settlers to use the menhaden as a manure. The aboriginal name, munnawhattcaug, whence our menhaden is derived, means fertilizer, and another name, paghaden, is derived from a verb which means to enrich the land. Governor Bradford tells, in his "History of Plimouth Plantation," how the Indian Squanto taught the colonists in planting their corn, that, "excepte they got fish, and set with it (in these old grounds), it would come to nothing." George Mourt, in a journal published in 1622, in speaking of the planting, says, "According to the manner of Indians, we manured our ground with herrings, or rather shads." No other direct reference to its use by Indians is quoted, but several instances are found in which the employment by the colonists of fish for manure is mentioned. Dr. Rau has met with but one allusion to the use of fertilizers by uncivilized races. It is in the writings of Garcilasso de Vega, who mentions the use of guano by the Peruvians. Mr. H. H. Bancroft has found in a translation of the Quiche MS., by Brasseur de Bourbourg, a notice of the Maya custom of cutting and burning the growth on the corn-fields, and allowing the ashes to remain as manure. This, however, was accidental rather than intentional fertilization, as the main object of the burning was to clear away rubbish. Professor Atwater has learned that the Indians of the north shore of Lake Superior use white-fish and lake-trout in manuring their fields, and Mr. Dall says that the Indians of Alaska have learned a rude system of agriculture from the Russians.