Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/130

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
122
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Correspondence.



DO ANIMALS REASON?

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

Dear Sir: In connection with the discussion of the interesting subject Do Animals Reason? permit me to relate the following incident in support of the affirmative side of the question:

Some years ago. before the establishment of the National Zoölogical Park in this city, Dr. Frank Baker, the curator, kept a small nucleus of animals in the rear of the National Museum; among this collection were several monkeys. On a hot summer day, as I was passing the monkey cage I handed to one of the monkeys a large piece of fresh molasses taffy. The animal at once carried it to his mouth and commenced to bite it. The candy was somewhat soft, and stuck to the monkey's paws. He looked at his paws, licked them with his tongue, and then turned his head from side to side looking about the cage. Then, taking the candy in his mouth, he sprang to the farther end of the cage and picked up a wad of brown paper. This ball of paper he carefully unfolded, and, laying it down on the floor of the cage, carefully smoothed out the folds of the paper with both paws. After he had smoothed it out to his satisfaction, he took the piece of taffy from his mouth and laid it in the center of the piece of paper and folded the paper over the candy, leaving a part of it exposed. He then sat back on his haunches and ate the candy, first wiping one paw and then the other on his hip, just as any boy or man might do.

If that monkey did not show reason, what would you call it?

Yours etc., H. O. Hall,

Library Surgeon General's Office, United States Army.

Washington, D. C, October 2, 1809.

 

Editor's Table.

 
HOME BURDENS.

THE doctrine has gone abroad, suggested by the most popular poet of the day, that "white men" have the duty laid upon them of scouring the dark places of the earth for burdens to take up. Through a large part of this nation the idea has run like wildfire, infecting not a few who themselves are in no small degree burdens to the community that shelters them. The rowdier element of the population everywhere is strongly in favor of the new doctrine, which to their minds is chiefly illustrated by the shooting of Filipinos. We do not say that thousands of very respectable citizens are not in favor of it also; we only note that they are strongly supported by a class whose adhesion adds no strength to their cause. It is almost needless to remark

??that a very few years ago we were not in the way of thinking that the civilized nations of the earth, which had sliced up Asia and Africa in the interest of their trade, had done so in the performance of a solemn duty. The formula "the white man's burden" had not been invented then, and some of us used to think that there was more of the filibustering spirit than of a high humanitarianism in these raids upon barbarous races. Possibly we did less than justice to some of the countries concerned, notably Great Britain, which, having a teeming population in very narrow confines, and being of old accustomed to adventures by sea, had naturally been led to extend her influence and create outlets for her trade in distant parts of the earth. Be this as it may, we seemed to have our own