Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/429

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423
A ROUND-THE-WORLD BOTANICAL EXCURSION
hyphenated word was joined on the previous page because of the intervening image. — Ineuw talk 04:40, 25 January 2018 (UTC) (Wikisource contributor note)

dress and are sending their children to school. With few exceptions, the most experienced and satisfactory guides in the thermal district are young Maori women, who speak English perfectly, and, as nearly as I could determine, have about the education afforded by a first-class grammar school in our country.

On the whole, New Zealand is a remarkable country. The climate is delightful, never uncomfortably warm or uncomfortably cold, no droughts or floods, a landscape green all the year round, even deciduous exotics remaining in leaf longer than with us, a country of fertile plains, beautiful lakes and lofty forests, it is not strange that it should have the lowest death-rate in the world. In the years 1896-1907 the death-rate averaged only 9.86 per thousand. Epidemics like cholera and smallpox are unknown. In wealth, as in health, New Zealand leads the world, for in 1908 the average private wealth per capita was $1,675, and the wealth is increasing. Even teachers share in the general prosperity; I doubt whether any botanist in the world has an estate equal to that of Dr. A. P. W. Thomas, the professor of botany in the University College at Auckland.

The government is progressive, run by the people (including women) in the interest of the people; politics are not controlled by machines; there are no trusts; the government owns the railways, telegraph and telephone lines, has operated for about forty years a postal saving bank which now has about $60,000,000 in deposits, and has a life-insurance department carrying about the same amount in policies. The principal need of the country is people; there is still plenty of room, and the unusual inducements offered to colonists should attract the needed population.

The investigation for which the trip was undertaken really began when I reached Australia, for there are no cycads in New Zealand.

Australia is a large country with an area almost exactly equal to that of the United States, but with a population scarcely equal to that of Illinois. The states are few, but large, most of them being larger than Texas. They are loosely federated, but the tendency is toward closer federation. The government of the various states owns the railways and other public commodities, and the political situation resembles that in New Zealand.

The harbor at Sydney is the finest in the world. It could accommodate all the navies of all nations, and still have room enough for all the liners of the Atlantic to unload at once. While such practical features dominate in a new country, it must not be forgotten that Sydney, until very recently, had the largest pipe organ in the world, and that even now,* on account of its perfect position, the organ is probably the most effective in the world. The organist is a regular officer of the city, and gives free recitals every Sunday afternoon.