Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/39

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sordid and selfish, and our rule has often been largely influenced and often entirely directed by the necessity of finding well-paid places for young men with influence, and also by the constant demands for fresh markets by the influential class of merchants and manufacturers.

More general diffusion of the conviction that while all share the burdens of war, such good as comes from it is appropriated by the few, will no doubt do much to discourage wars; but we must ask whether there may not be another incentive to war which Wallace does not give due weight—whether love of fighting may not have something to do with wars.

As we look backward over history we are forced to ask whether the greed and selfishness of the wealthy and influential and those who hope to gain are the only causes of war. We went to war with Spain because our people in general demanded war. If we have been carried further than we intended and are now fighting for objects which we did not foresee and may not approve, this is no more than history might have led us to expect. War with Spain was popular with nearly all our people a year ago, and, while wise counsels might have stemmed this popular tide, there can be no doubt that it existed, for the evil passions of the human race are the real cause of wars.

The great problem of the twentieth century, as of all that have gone before, is the development of the wise and prudent self-restraint which represses natural passions and appetites for the sake of higher and better ends.

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ON several occasions during the past ten years, and especially at the Brooklyn meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1894, the writer has endeavored to show that most of the newspaper stories of deaths from spider bite are either grossly exaggerated or based upon misinformation. He has failed to thoroughly substantiate a single case of death from a so-called spider bite, and has concluded that there is only one spider in the United States which is capable of inflicting a serious bite—viz., Latrodectus mactans, a species belonging to a genus of worldwide distribution, the other species of which have universally a

  1. A paper read before Section F of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the Columbus meeting in August, 1899.