Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/549

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529
FULGURITES, OR LIGHTNING-HOLES.

trample upon all rights of property and person, and institute a reign of anarchy and destruction.

The spirit of revolution and disorder pervaded the whole movement, and justified the most prompt and aggressive action on the part of the police and military authorities. It is to be hoped that the civil law, in the legitimate exercise of its power, may permanently relieve society from the presence of these leading anarchists.

The municipality, too, is charged with certain obligations to its proletariat. On the proper discharge of these obligations, the contentment, sobriety, and good citizenship of the community will very largely depend. Among other things, it ought to be the care of the city that the houses built for the accommodation of this population are suitably constructed, with a due regard to the health and comfort of the inmates; that the streets where they live are properly lighted, and sewered, and cleaned; that they have an ample supply of pure water; that public baths are established for their use; that libraries and reading-rooms are established for all who will use them; that public parks are established, with some reference to the convenience and comfort of this part of the people; and that some simple entertainment, such as music in the parks, be furnished for them.

The expense both of time and money which might be involved in carrying out these and such other plans as would be instituted in behalf of this part of the city's population, would afford the most ample returns, even when considered as an investment. It would lessen the amount of disorder and crime. It would reduce the demands made upon the hospital and poor-relief funds, and it would increase the value of taxable property.

There would be no quarter of the city which was practically assigned to the criminal and degraded classes—no localities which would have the reputation of the Old Five Points of New York, or the Levee of Chicago. I do not mean that we should in this way remove all destitution, degradation, or crime, but that we would reduce these evils to their smallest dimensions; that we would advance every material and social interest of the city, and would discharge a duty that is devolved upon us by the claims of humanity, the instincts of self-interest, and the principles of the wisest political economy.


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FULGURITES, OR LIGHTNING-HOLES.

By GEORGE P. MERRILL.

THE peculiar and often disastrous results attendant upon an electric discharge have been dwelt upon since time immemorial. To even briefly refer to the numerous recorded instances of the destruction of life and property by the discharge of "heaven's artillery"