Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/39

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DETERIORATION OF AMERICAN OYSTER-BEDS.

of the militant life is intrinsic. Though very generally unsympathetic, the exchange of services under agreement is now, to a considerable extent, and may be wholly, carried on with a due regard to the claims of others—may be constantly accompanied by a sense of benefit given as well as benefit received; but the slaying of antagonists, the burning of their houses, the appropriation of their territory, can not but be accompanied by vivid consciousness of injury done them, and a consequent brutalizing effect on the feelings—an effect wrought, not on soldiers only, but on those who employ them and contemplate their deeds with pleasure. This last form of social life, therefore, inevitably deadens the sympathies and generates a state of mind which prompts crimes of trespass; while the first form, allowing the sympathies free play, if it does not directly exercise them, favors the growth of altruistic sentiments and the resulting virtues.

 

DETERIORATION OF AMERICAN OYSTER-BEDS.
By Lieutenant FRANCIS WINSLOW.
I.

A WRITER in a recent number of "Lippincott's Magazine" has called attention to the failure of the oyster-beds of the New England and Middle States, to the deterioration of those lying in Southern waters, and to the necessity for some effort, either upon the part of the national or State Governments or by individuals, to maintain the supply of oysters in sufficient numbers to satisfy the large and increasing demand of the consumers. This very desirable end, it is suggested, can be obtained by a system of oyster-culture similar to that adopted by the French Government and by various foreign oyster companies. The author's statements of facts, especially those relating to the foreign fisheries, are both interesting and in accordance with what is known by those interested in and possessing knowledge of the history of the oyster-fishery, either in the United States or abroad. The inferences drawn from the statistics collected can be accepted as just, inasmuch as they relate to the destruction or deterioration of the American beds; but that they logically lead to a belief that oyster-culture in the United States, if conducted as in France, can either supply the demand or be financially successful, is open to serious question.

There is no doubt, as stated in the article at present under review, that the natural beds of the North are practically exhausted; neither is there any doubt of the greatly diminished production of the Southern beds—that is, those of Maryland and Virginia. That the area of