Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/700

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who has built up a large business or accumulated a handsome domain is exceedingly averse to the prospect of having it cut up and dispersed, and is therefore careful to have but one child, so that it may descend unimpaired to him. The coincidence that France is the only country where this system prevails, and is, at the same time, the only one where the population is decreasing, is striking enough to suggest a connection between the two phenomena. The law works mischievously in this respect, and requires modification in the direction of giving the parent larger privileges of testamentary disposition.

Thus, the state should in every way and in every department of law and administration manifest its profound respect for large families; it should set the example on this point, for it is the party most largely interested.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.




AT a time when so much attention is being paid to the West Indian Islands as regards their politics, social condition, and natural history it may not be out of place to briefly consider the subject of the poisonous fishes to be found in the neighboring seas. Considering the number of unwholesome fish abounding in these waters and the numerous cases of illness caused by them, I was surprised on investigation to find that so little appeared to be known or written on the subject. During my three-years' cruise in the West Indies the study of those fishes reputed to be poisonous was forced upon me by reason of the numerous cases of illness among the sailors of my own ship. When it is asserted that there are no less than sixty varieties of noxious fishes to be found in Cuban waters alone, it seems desirable that those who are about to settle in these parts should have some general idea as to what fish to choose and what to avoid.

Colored fishermen are not too particular about hawking unwholesome fish in the streets, even when its sale is forbidden in the market, and numerous cases have come under my notice where the unwary purchaser has paid the penalty by a sharp and painful illness. One of the great delights of our sailors is to land on some sandy beach, provided with a large seining net, in order to catch fish, the consumption of which varies the monotony of salt beef and pork. On examining the hauls they made I invariably found some un-