Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/648

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628
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ago, although there is little doubt that it is now extinct. The Baron, moreover, does not believe that its extinction was due to destruction by the hunters, but that it was a survival from a past age, doomed to

PSM V20 D648 Rhytina stelleri reconstructed.jpg
Fig. 3.—Rhytina stelleri, reconstructed.

extinction, which overtook it when it was driven from its pastures on the shore of Behring Island. It attained a length of twenty-five feet, and had a skin composed of horny tubes, sometimes an inch long, wrinkled like the bark of a tree, which served to protect it from the ice and rocks on which it fed. It had no teeth, but its jaws were covered with an undulating surface of horny, tubular matter; and it was a vegetable-feeder, resembling in habits and qualities the other members of the family.

 

THE MACHINERY OF ELECTIVE GOVERNMENT.
By Professor GOLDWIN SMITH.

IT is not necessary, for the purpose of this paper, to enter into any comparison between hereditary and elective government. Manifest it is that the era of elective government has come. In the communities of the New World, the latest development of humanity, the hereditary principle, has failed to take root; the monarchy of Brazil being merely a European dynasty in exile, the life of which hangs by a thread. In the Old World dynasticism is plainly in a state of decadence, the forms surviving longest, as might have been expected, where the substance had been most completely abolished. The era of elective government has come, and in the wise ordering of it, so as to give public reason the upper hand, and to reduce as far as possible the influence of passion, class interest, selfish ambition, faction, and corruption, lies the political hope of the world. If hereditary monarchy and aristocracy are dead or doomed, dead also is the light hope of the Revolution that all the evils of government would be swept away and the reign of reason and justice at once opened, if only monarchy could be overthrown. The divinity of the people has proved almost as unlike reality as the divinity of kings. It is time that the form of government should, if possible, be settled, and the political revolution