Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/577

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563
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

and January. At Antibes, in particular, the water-level sunk considerably, falling about a foot during the first fortnight in January, and laying bare bottoms over which small boats had previously sailed with ease. A similar depression was noticed on the coasts of Italy, particularly at Fiumicino. A French savant, M. Daussy, has estimated the amount of this influence, and calculated that it is equal to the product of the excess of height over the normal by the density of mercury. The action of atmospheric pressure is so manifest at other points in the Mediterranean, according to Dr. Niepce, of Nice, that it almost alone constitutes the tidal force. The fact is confirmed in a paper on the climate of Venice, which has recently been published by M. Tono, of the Meteorological Observatory in that city, which shows the closest correspondence between the changes in atmospheric pressure and the rise and fall of the waters.

 

The Mound-Builders and the Southern Indians.—Dr. Daniel G. Brinton has sought to answer the question, Who were the mound-builders? by inquiring whether and to what extent the tribes who inhabited the Mississippi Valley and the Atlantic slope were accustomed to make works similar to the mounds. It is clear, from several accounts, that the Iroquois were accustomed to construct burial-mounds, and their neighbors, the various Algonquin tribes, occasionally raised heaps of soil. The Cherokees do not appear to have been real mound-builders, but they appreciated the convenience of mounds, and put their more important buildings upon them when they had them at hand. The tribes among whom we can look for the descendants of the mound-builders with the greatest probability of success are the tribes of the great Chahta-Muskokee family, which includes the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Seminoles, and Natchez. They "seem to have been a building race, and to have reared tumuli not contemptible in comparison even with the mightiest of the Ohio Valley." Cabeza de Vaca, who accompanied the expedition of Pamfilo de Narvaez in 1527, mentions a place where the natives were accustomed to erect their dwellings on a steep hill, and dig a ditch around its base, as a means of defense. All the accounts of those who participated in Hernando de Soto's expedition describe the Southern tribes as constructing artificial mounds, using earthworks for defense, excavating ditches and canals, etc. Thus, La Vega tells how the caciques in Florida formed earth into a kind of platform "two or three pikes in height, the summit of which is large enough to give room for twelve, fifteen, or twenty houses, to lodge the cacique and his attendants. At the foot of this elevation they mark out a square place, according to the size of the village, around which the leading men have their houses." Biedma says that the caciques of a certain region "were accustomed to erect near the house very high mounds (tertres tres-élevées), and there were some who placed their houses on the top of these mounds." The Huguenots who attempted to settle in Florida described similar structures as marking the sites of the houses of the chief. William Bartram, the botanist, who visited the Creeks in the last century, found that they had "chunk-yards" surrounded by low mounds of earth, at one end of which, sometimes on a moderate artificial elevation, was the chief's dwelling, and at the other end the public council-house. Large burial-mounds are also often spoken of as being made by these tribes. Many of the mounds in the Gulf States are very large. One in the Etowah Valley, Georgia, has a capacity of one million cubic feet. The Messier mound, near the Chattahoochee River, contains about seven hundred thousand cubic feet, and is twice as large as the great mound near Miamisburg, Ohio. Dr. Brinton's views are parallel, if not identical, with those worked out by the late Mr. Lewis H. Morgan, in his "Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines."

 

The Microbe of Malaria.—M. Richard, a French pathologist, announces that he has discovered the parasite of malaria in a microbe which makes its special habitat in the red globule of the blood, where it is developed in a similar manner with the weevil in the bean, and whence it issues as soon as it has reached the perfect state. When the blood of a patient suffering from an attack of fever is examined, red globules will be