Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/709

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

he was only about eighteen months old. Sometimes the whole history of a lifetime will be flashed before the mind as in an instantaneous picture. That this occurs sometimes when death, or peril of death, is imminent, is quite certain. It may be that this occurs very frequently before actual death; but this we cannot know, as all the instances of which we have accounts are those in which a man has described his sensations after having been saved from dying—especially from drowning. "When all hope of being saved is gone," says the author, "and the very struggle with the water is now made without conscious effort, it would seem that, without being prompted by the will, the memory suddenly grasps at once the deeds of the life that now appears about to close, and at the same time—and this is the most singular fact of the phenomenon—recognizes the usual rectitude or wrong of each act [?]. There is," he continues, "a case of this kind recorded of an English naval officer, who thus remembered the events of his life at the moment when he was struggling hopelessly in the wake of the ship from which he had fallen; and he confessed that he had been especially struck by the sudden coming into his thoughts of a schoolboy lie that he had long forgotten."

 

Economic Statistics of the World.—A general review of the economic statistics of the world in 1877 is published by Professor Neumann Spallart, of Vienna; from it we take the following statements:

Railways.—In the last three decades the network of European railways has risen from 9,000 kilometres (5,580 miles) in 1847 to 154,200 kilometres[1] (95,604 miles) in 1877. Of these 154,200 kilometres 27,500 are in Great Britain and Ireland; 24,800 in Austro-Hungary; 23,400 in France; 18,000 in Russia; 30,000 in Germany. The remainder is distributed among the smaller states. According to these figures Europe has 150 kilometres of railway for each thousand square kilometres and 4·8 kilometres per 10,000 inhabitants. These ratios are exceeded in Belgium, Great Britain and Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, etc.

America.—In 1830 the United States had 42 kilometres of railway; now they have 128,000 kilometres (79,360 miles), or 133 kilometres for every 1,000 square kilometres of surface, and 28 kilometres per 10,000 inhabitants. In the remainder of this continent there are 17,000 kilometres of railway, of which Canada has 7,000.

In India and Ceylon there are 11,000 kilometres, or 46 kilometres per 1,000 square kilometres of area and 12 kilometre per 10,000 inhabitants. In Africa there are 2,800 kilometres, whereof 1,800 belong to Egypt. Australia and New Zealand possess 4,000 kilometres of railway.

On all these railways are employed 62,000 locomotive-engines, 112,000 passenger carriages, and 1,500,000 freight-cars; they annually carry 1,150,000,000 passengers, and 16,000,000,000 quarters of freight.

Marine.—The merchant marine of Europe embraces in all 7,400 ocean steamships with a tonnage of 3,000,000 tons, of which totals the United Kingdom contributes 5,200 steamships and over 2,000,000,000 tons of freight.

Telegraphs.—At the beginning of 1877 Europe had 351,000 kilometres of telegraph lines, whereof 65,000 belonged to Russia, 54,000 to France, 48,000 to Germany, 40,000 to the United Kingdom. America had then 183,000 kilometres. The dispatches sent over European lines numbered 82,000,000 in 1876; those sent over American lines amounted to 23,000,000. Asia and Australia have each 38,000 to 39,000 kilometres, transmitting 2,500,000 dispatches. In Africa there are only 15,000 kilometres, almost exclusively in Egypt, Algiers, and Tunis, and the number of dispatches sent is 1,200,000. There are 560 submarine cables, representing a total length of 65,000 nautical miles.

Postal Service.—The postal service now extends to the uttermost bounds of civilization, embracing the whole globe, from Hammersfest to New Zealand.

In Europe over 3,000,000,000 letters and postal-cards are carried yearly. In this total the United Kingdom is represented by over 1,000,000,000; Germany by 700,000,000; France by 366,000,000; Austro-Hungary by 300,000,000; Italy by 120,000,000. This would give for England 33 letters per

  1. One kilometre is about 58of a mile.