Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/337

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323
THE PANAMA CANAL.

waste of strength. We can compare the arm, for instance, with a lever, the fulcrum of which is at the shoulder-joint, the point of action at the hand, and the power in the muscles. It is evident that the larger the arm of this lever is, the more energetic will the muscular effort have to be. The large man's power of endurance is less than that of the middling-sized man, because not only of the personal weight that has to be carried, but also on account of the difference in the proportional development of the respiratory system. The power of endurance may be estimated in a man at rest by taking the proportion between the height and the circumference of the breast at the height of the mammary processes. The larger the proportion of the latter element, the greater will be the power to resist fatigue. The French marine formerly accepted only those men whose breast-measurement was at least half their height. The same degree of development is required in Switzerland, and the acceptance of young men who can not display it is adjourned from year to year. Thus, looking at military aptitudes, it is middling-sized or small men that offer the greatest energy, power to resist fatigue, and activity in battle; and of this kind is the popular type of the French soldier—the petit chasseur, or the soldier of the line.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from La Nature.

 

THE PANAMA CANAL.
By STUART F. WELD.

NOT a little skepticism, and even some hostility, have existed among us as to the Panama Canal; and, perhaps, any other nation in our situation would have entertained similar sentiments. It is worthy of note, however, that the nation was not lacking in tact when it refrained from showing any such feelings during the recent visit of M. de Lesseps. De Lesseps was the guest of the United States; and it is hardly civil to criticise one's guests. He was here not as a representative of the Panama Company, but as President of the Franco-American Union. Upon the death of the first president, Edouard Laboulaye, he had been elected to this position. This Union had collected the funds destined to carry out the design of Bartholdi, and it naturally devolved upon its head to make the presentation speech on the 28th of October, the day of the inauguration of the statue. The Panama Canal had no connection with the Statue of Liberty; but every one thought of De Lesseps as the constructor of one interoceanic canal and the projector of another. It was natural, therefore, that something should be said, after all, about the Panama enterprise. A banquet was offered to De Lesseps by Cyrus W. Field, October 27th, the day before the ceremony upon Bedlow's Island. On the 2d of November, one was tendered him in like manner in Philadelphia by