Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 128.djvu/778

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kilometres in length, fifty metres broad at the base, and raised five metres above the ordinary tides, to be constructed from the left bank of the mouth of the Yssel to the island of Urk, and from hence to the town of Enkhuyzen in the province of North Holland. The inclosed area will be divided into squares, and numerous pumping steam-engines will then be set to work, having a collective force of nine thousand four hundred horse-power. The commission estimates that the work will be entirely accomplished in sixteen years, and that it will cost a sum of 10,000,000l. not including the interest of the capital employed; or 1,600,000l. for preparatory works, provisional circular canals, etc., about 2,760,000l. for the construction of the dike, and the rest for the purchase of engines, the drainage proper, and the construction of reservoirs, internal canals, roads, railway lines, and works preparatory to bringing the new lands under culture.

The interest on the above sum will raise it to 13,400,000l., but one-fourth of this will be granted as a subsidy by government, which will be amply compensated by the comparatively enormous addition to its small territory.

Of the 473,000 acres to be drained, four-fifths, as we have said, are of great value, composed as they are of a bed of more than a metre thick of the most fertile mud deposited for centuries by the Yssel and other rivers of which the Zuyder-Zee is the receptacle. Only one-fifth consists of land of less value and of sands which will be useful in constructing the base of the dike, or to establish large reservoirs, indispensable in all drainage work, for the reception of the waters until they can be conveyed to the sea. Deduction being made for the land absorbed by these works, by canals, dikes, roads, etc. etc., there will remain upwards of 400,000 acres suitable for culture, and the selling value of which ought considerably to exceed the expenses of the enterprise. Every one must wish that this bold and really beneficent scheme may be carried out with complete success.

Brains — A brain attains its highest utility, as distinguished from its highest development, when it can not only absorb from others and direct its own further evolutions, but can also organize and regulate the working of other brains under its own superintendence and control. This power it is which enables the rising merchant or manufacturer to utilize other brains, to either use them for purposes of comparative mental drudgery, or to perform higher work under the immediate superintendence of the ruling brain. By such means the single brain can multiply its working indefinitely by a well-selected series of other brains under itself; a few brains of comparatively high order regulating the working of numerous brains of a lower order, which perform the purely mechanical mental work. Such is the organization of a first-rate business in full working order. Of a precisely similar nature is the co-ordinating and ruling power of such men as Cromwell, Napoleon, or Washington, whose single brains controlled nations and peoples. The highest of all forms of brain-value must be clearly differentiated from several similar but really unlike forms of control; and the rule of brute force must not be confounded with it. Such rule we see in the lower animals, where the red ant enslaves the black ant, and where the power to kill in fight enables a lower organism to subordinate another of a higher but less warlike form. A similar supremacy of mere brute force and animal courage over higher intellectual development lacking these qualities, is far from uncommon in history. In this the capacity to slay in war has exerted a supremacy which is far removed from that of one organizing brain over other brains inferior to it in power, in development, or subordinated by the pressure of the environment. The power to aid the working of one brain by a trained staff of subordinates is utilized by our legislators, and by such means it is essayed to transmute an ordinary politician into a far-sighted statesman. But this inversion of a normal process, though ingenious, is not successful, and the difference betwixt the working of a department under a natural chief is very great from its operation under a merely nominal chief. Thus it is that in most of our public institutions the character of the chief tints that of each and all of his subordinates. It is in commerce that the value of a brain capable of controlling other brains, and so increasing its utility, is best seen. In the professions this employment of vicarious brains is either entirely impossible, or, if possible, only to a very limited degree.

Medical Examiner