Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/468

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450

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cider, and sups on potatoes or cabbage greased with a bit of bacon rind. And precisely the identical testimony, varying only the staples of starvation, comes from Switzerland, Poland, and other countries. Now, all this requires something, and that something usually takes the form of something alcoholic. Poor Edgar Allan Poe produced his fascinating prose and marvelous poetry on dinners of herbs, and the well-fed, fat, greasy Honey-thunders and Podsnaps recognize the crime, not in the fact that such a man was left to eat such dinners, but that he took a glass of whisky to keep the life in his poor unnourished body while he wrote. Therefore Mr. Reed would make food as plentiful as Nature has enabled man to make it. In other words, a condition of unfedness requires the human system to crave alcoholic stimulants, and what the human system craves it must find, since the craving becomes functional, and impossible to disregard, malgre laws, systems, or statutes whatsoever. Even the children in Switzerland, says Dr. Schuler (quoted by Mr. Reed), are fed whisky between meals in order to sustain their tiny lives, the low regimen of whose mothers has given them the frailest possible hold on life to live at all. Mr. Reed believes also that, on public grounds, other effort for amelioration should be made by the State, such as shorter hours of labor, two holidays a week, etc. But as to these we will not follow him here. He makes his point, however, and his pamphlet is worth the consideration of philanthropists. It can not be denied that, with the exception of the shorter hours for labor and the general tendency to increase the number of holidays ("Labor Day," Arbor Day, Memorial Day, Lincoln Day, etc.), much of Mr. Reed's theories have got into our statute-books. And the general tendency to ameliorate the condition of the laborer, which is everywhere apparent in the United States, may fairly be alluded to here as among statutory efforts to the universal betterment.

[To be concluded.]



Regarding changes in the language of science, as illustrated in the English Historical Dictionary, C. L. Barnes pointed out, in the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, England, that the words "astronomy" and "astrology" have interchanged meanings since they were first introduced, as is shown by Evelyn's speaking, in his Memoirs, of having dined with "Mr. Flamsteed, the learned astrologer and mathematician." Gaule, in 1652, spoke of chemistry as "a kind of præstigious, cheating, covetous magick"; and even as late as 1812 Bentham spoke of the "unexpressive appellation chemistry" as the single-worded synonym for "idioscopic or crypto-dynamic anthropurgics." Atom originally meant a small interval of time—the 22.564th part of an hour. The word gas was suggested to Van Helmont by the Greek chaos. "I called that vapor gas," he said, "an ancient mystery not long from chaos." Algebra was a branch of mathematics and also the art of bone-setting, and both meanings are still used in Spain.