The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 1, No. 15, February 18, 1897

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Title: The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 1, No. 15, February 18, 1897

Author: Various

Release date: March 11, 2005 [eBook #15325]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Emmy and the Online Distributed
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To the Subscribers of "Current Events":

I take pleasure in announcing that I have purchased the entire subscription list and good will of Current Events, and offer you in its stead The Great Round World, a weekly newspaper for boys and girls.

You will receive one number of The Great Round World for each number of Current Events due you on your subscription. I make the special offer, to send you The Great Round World every week until December 31st, 1897, if you will remit the sum of $1.25 at once.

My regular subscription price is $2.50.

If there is any special feature or department of Current Events which the majority of the subscribers would like to have continued, I will take great pleasure in arranging for it, and I trust that you may find The Great Round World a satisfactory substitute for Current Events.

William Beverley Harison.

Copyrighted 1897, By William Beverley Harison.

Rear Tenements, New York City


Vol. 1 February 18, 1897. No. 15

There is a new cause for supposing that the Treaty with Great Britain will either be defeated in the Senate, or else delayed for some time to come.

This new trouble concerns the building of the Nicaragua Canal.

It seems a remote cause, does it not? but it only shows how closely the affairs of one nation are bound up with those of all the others. No matter what our speech, our climate, or our color, we are all a portion of the great human family, and the good of one is the good of all.

The Nicaragua Canal is a water-way that will cross the narrow neck of land that makes Central America. It will connect the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.

With the help of such a canal, ships in going to the western coast of North or South America will not need to make the long and dangerous voyage around Cape Horn.

Cape Horn, you will see if you look on your map, is the extreme southerly point of South America.

There are so many storms and fogs there, that the Horn, as it is called, is much dreaded by sailors.

Since the invention of steam, all the steamships go through the Straits of Magellan, and save the passage round the Horn; but there is not enough wind for sailing vessels in the rocky and narrow straits, so they still have to take the outside passage.

The Straits of Magellan divide the main continent of South America from a group of islands, called Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn is the most southerly point of this archipelago.

The journey down the coast of South America on the east, and up again on the west, takes such a long time, that the desire for a canal across the narrow neck of land which joins North and South America has been in men's minds for many years.

A railway was built across the Isthmus of Panama to shorten the distance, and save taking the passage round the Horn. Travellers left their ship at one side of the Isthmus, and took the train over to the other, where they went on board another ship, which would take them the rest of their journey.

This plan greatly increased the expense of the journey, and the canal was still so much wanted, that at last the Panama Canal was begun.

You have all heard about the Panama Canal, which was to do the same work that the Nicaragua Canal is to do, that is, to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. You have probably heard how much time, labor, and human life was wasted over it, and how much trouble its failure caused in France.

This Canal was to cut across the Isthmus at its very narrowest point. It was worked on for years, every one believing that it would be opened to ships before very long. Many of the maps and geographies that were printed in the eighties said that the Panama Canal would be opened in 1888, or at latest in 1889.

No one expected what afterward happened. In 1889 the works were stopped for want of money; the affairs of the Canal were looked into; it was found that there had been dishonesty and fraud, and in 1892 the great Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, who built the Suez Canal, and a number of other prominent Frenchmen, were arrested for dealing dishonestly with the money subscribed for the Canal.

There was a dreadful scandal; many of the high French officials had to give up their positions, and run away for fear of arrest.

When the whole matter was understood, it was found that, for months before the work was stopped, the men who had charge of the Canal had decided that the work would cost such an enormous sum of money that it would be almost an impossibility to complete it.

They did not have the honesty to let this be known, but allowed people to go on subscribing money, a part of which they put in their own pockets, and spent the rest in bribing the French newspapers not to tell the truth about the Canal.

The worst of it was, that the money which had been subscribed was not from rich people, who would feel its loss very little, but from poor people, who put their savings, and the money they were storing away for their old age, into the Canal; and when they lost it, it meant misery and poverty to them.

So the Panama Canal failed.

But the project of making a canal was not given up. Two years before the idea of digging at Panama had been thought of, the ground where the Nicaragua Canal is being built had been surveyed, and thought better suited to the purpose than Panama.

The reason for this was, that at Panama a long and deep cut had to be made through the mountains. This had to be done by blasting, in much the same way that the rocks are cleared away to build houses. This is a long and tedious work.

The Nicaragua Canal will be 159 miles long, while the Panama, if it is ever completed, will be only 59 miles; but of these 159 miles, 117 are through the Nicaragua Lake and the San Juan River—water-ways already made by nature. For the remaining distance, there are other river-beds that will be used, and only 21 miles will actually have to be cut through.

The main objection to this route for the Canal is, that there is a volcano on an island in the Nicaragua Lake, and there are always fears of eruptions and earthquakes in the neighborhood of volcanoes. A great eruption of the volcano might change the course of a river, or alter the face of the country so much, that the Canal might have to be largely remade.

The building of this Canal will cost hundreds of millions of dollars—two hundred millions, it is said.

Nicaragua is not a rich-enough country to be able to pay for this, and it is here that the subject touches the closest interests of other countries, and is serious enough to overthrow a much-desired treaty.

If the Canal is to be built, it must be built by a country rich enough to pay for it.

The country which builds the Canal will have the right to collect a toll from every vessel passing through, and also to defend it, and prevent the ships of an enemy from using it.

The United States is naturally anxious to be the country that controls the Canal. But England does not appear to want us to have entire control.

England owns the greater part of the Suez Canal, which joins the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. This Canal, you will see by looking at the map, makes a short cut to Asia, and saves ships the long journey round Africa and the Cape of Good Hope.

England finds this Canal very useful; it makes a great deal of money for her, and she would like to have just as large a share of the Nicaragua Canal That is at least what the Senators say.

When the Treaty was mentioned in the Senate, Senator Morgan at once demanded that his Nicaragua Canal Bill should be acted upon.

His bill provides that the United States Government shall furnish the money for the Canal, and in return shall own nearly the whole of it, and have the right to say who shall have charge of its affairs.

No sooner had his request been made in the Senate, than a protest came from Mr. Rodriguez, the Minister for the Greater Republic of South America, who was received by President Cleveland a week or two ago.

He said that Nicaragua would not consent to any such arrangement, and would not allow the United States to have so much control of the Canal. He added that if Senator Morgan's bill were passed, Nicaragua would not allow the building of the Canal to go on without entirely new arrangements.

The Senators are very angry about this. They think that Nicaragua has been told to say this by England, to prevent the matter of the Canal being settled before the Arbitration Treaty is made with England.

They say if the Treaty is accepted in its present form, and ratified before the Nicaragua Canal Bill is passed, England will have the right to take a hand in the Canal question.

An interest in the Nicaragua Canal would give England a right to use both the short water-ways of the world, and, with her great navy, it would give her rights that might be very dangerous to us.

The excitement about the Canal has taken away all hope of the Treaty being acted upon by Congress this session. When it does come up, the Senators intend to have it so worded that the Nicaraguan affairs cannot be interfered with by England.

The idea of the Treaty seemed a splendid thing for us, and all lovers of peace will grieve if some satisfactory understanding is not arrived at; but we must not neglect our own best interests.

There is a good deal being said about King Oscar of Sweden and Norway being chosen as the umpire, in case the members of the Arbitration Committee are unable to agree.

Many people are saying that King Oscar would not make a fair umpire, and that he would lean to the side of England in every matter that came up.

A treaty was made in Stockholm, in 1855, between Sweden and Norway, and France and England, which they say binds King Oscar to agree with England.

This treaty said that the King of Sweden agreed not to sell to Russia, or allow her to use, any portion of his kingdom; and that if Russia made any offers for land, the King of Sweden was to tell England and France at once.

England and France, in return for this, promised to help Sweden with men and ships in case of any trouble with Russia.

This treaty is not binding any longer. France has put it aside, and has made friends with Russia on her own account. It would not be possible for her to keep to her agreement if she wished to.

The old agreement being broken, England and Sweden will have to make a new one, to bind them together again.

Nothing has been heard of such a treaty, so it is to be supposed that none exists.

In this case, there is no reason why Oscar of Sweden should not be the umpire chosen.

It would, of course, be more agreeable to us if the umpire were not a European ruler. England would be sure to object to an American umpire, and neither Asia nor Africa could give us a person capable of filling the office, so it looks very much as though the only person to be found, who understands diplomacy well enough to be of use, would be a European sovereign.

If the umpire must be such a person, King Oscar of Sweden is the most desirable of them all.

He is, besides, almost the only European ruler who is free to accept the office.

The royal families of Germany, Russia, Denmark, and Greece are all related to England, and therefore could not be chosen. Austria and Italy are too hemmed in by other countries, and too much bound by treaties, to be free to give any decision that might offend Europe.

Sweden and Norway are cut off from the rest of Europe by the Baltic Sea, and for this reason have not needed to burden themselves with as many ties as the other powers of the Continent.

King Oscar is moreover a quiet, sensible man, who would be likely to help the Committee to arrive at wise and just conclusions.

There is another advantage in choosing King Oscar. The royal family of Sweden is only eighty years old, and has not those centuries of traditions behind it, which make other royal houses so difficult to deal with.

Oscar II., the present King, is the grandson of the famous French Marshal, Bernadotte, for whom Napoleon secured the throne of Sweden and Norway.

He is a man who loves learning, and encourages clever people, and is very simple in his ways.

His eldest son, Prince Oscar, wished to marry one of the ladies of his mother's household, Lady Ebba Munck, but she was not a person of sufficient rank to marry the heir to a throne.

A prince, you know, cannot marry any one he chooses. There are very strict laws about this, and the marriage of a prince is not considered a marriage at all, unless his wife is of royal blood.

King Oscar told his son that the marriage was impossible, but when Prince Oscar said he would rather give up his right to the throne than the lady he loved, King Oscar permitted him to do so, and made a special decree, allowing the marriage of his son with Lady Ebba.

King Oscar could have prevented this if he had chosen, and it must have caused him much pain to have his eldest son give up his right to the throne, and to know that, if he and all his other sons died, neither Prince Oscar nor any of his sons could ever come to the throne because of this marriage. But he loved his son better than his pride, and so Prince Oscar married Lady Ebba, and Prince Carl will be King of Sweden and Norway when his father dies.

Oscar of Sweden did a most kind and amiable thing for some of our countrymen last year.

A party of Americans were travelling in Norway, and two of them, Mr. and Mrs. Youmans, of New York, were drowned in one of the lakes. They were driving, and the horses becoming frightened, backed over the bank into the water.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Youmans were much respected and loved, their goodness and charity were unbounded, and much sorrow was felt when the news of their dreadful end was cabled to this country.

King Oscar not only expressed his sorrow for the accident, but ordered that a marble monument should be placed on the spot where they had met their death.

During the twenty-seven years that Oscar has been on the throne, his country has been peaceful and prosperous.

From Cuba, the news comes that another gunboat has been captured.

The story of the capture is that the boat, the Cometa, had been sent to a certain post on the coast to prevent the landing of any filibustering parties.

The Cubans found that the vessel anchored at night, at a spot from which she could easily be attacked from the shore.

Attack on Spanish Gunboat.

One night they opened fire on the vessel, struck her in several places, and damaged her. During the confusion on the ship, several boat-loads of Cubans put off from the shore and boarded the Cometa.

A terrible fight took place. The commander and half the sailors were killed, and the rest surrendered. The Cubans then burned the vessel.

This news comes from the Cuban side.

The Spaniards deny that any such fight took place, and the Admiral of the fleet declares that he will have the Cometa come into Havana harbor, with all her flags flying, to show that she has not been burned.

It is so difficult to get at the truth of these reports.

The news of General Weyler is, that he has left Havana once more, and is marching through the western end of the island, to convince himself, and the authorities in Spain, that the rebellion is over, and the island has been pacified.

He declares that he has not met a single Cuban in all his marches, that there are no insurgents round Havana, and that sugar-grinding will be begun very shortly.

This is what General Weyler says of himself.

The Cubans, on their side, say that it is true that Weyler never sees any of the rebels, for the simple reason that he knows perfectly well where they are, and carefully avoids going anywhere near them.

They had a great plot laid to make him aware of their presence.

They prepared an ambush for him—which means that they set a trap for him. Weyler was walking into it, and in a few minutes would have been surrounded by the Cubans, who had planned to take him prisoner, when unfortunately one of the Cuban guns went off. The Spaniards were instantly warned that they were in danger, made a hasty retreat, and the Cubans lost their prize.

The Cubans are in strong force round Havana; they are further than ever from being pacified; the rebellion is by no means over, and Weyler's telegrams are not deceiving any one any more.

The General is not in favor in Spain, his reports are no longer believed, and he will most likely be ordered home before long, and some one else be sent to Cuba in his stead.

Spain is in a very unhappy state at present. The people are angry at having spent so much money, and wasted so many lives, over the wars in Cuba and the Philippine Islands, without arriving at any result, and they are blaming the Government for not trying to bring about peace.

It is more than likely that a change in the government will soon take place.

The present Government is very angry with Weyler, because it has come to light that many of the marches he has cabled about to Spain have not been made at all. He has taken the train wherever he could, and if he has seen no bands of insurgents from the car windows he has telegraphed that peace was restored, and no more rebels were to be found in the province.

The latest news of all is, that the Spanish Government in Madrid is preparing a paper which will be sent to Cuba very shortly. It offers the Cubans Home Rule, and gives them a great many rights that they do not now possess.

While the Cubans are pleased at this, they have not much faith in the offer, and say that unless the United States promises to see that Spain carries out her promises, they will not consider the offer at all.

The principal Cubans are waiting to see the actual paper before they say much about it.

In the mean while, many of the Spanish soldiers are deserting from their own ranks, and going over to the Cuban side.

The Spaniards have been offering every inducement to get the Cubans to desert, and go over to them, but hardly any have done so—the only person of importance being the infamous Dr. Zertuccha, who betrayed Maceo.

A telegram from Havana says that a major in the Spanish army, with 100 men and 50,000 rounds of ammunition, joined General Gomez the other day. At Puerto Principe, a Spanish colonel, with a whole company of well-armed men, also went over to the Cubans.

The Cubans think this is a very favorable sign for them, and look for a speedy end to the war.

The filibustering steamers Three Friends and Dauntless have been released.

Their owners have had to promise to give them up again whenever they are wanted. They have also had to give the court some money, which they will lose if the ships are not brought back when the court calls for them.

If the cases of piracy and filibustering against them are found to be true, the ships will become the property of the Government, and the owners will lose them altogether.

The United States cruiser Montgomery has been ordered to Key West, to prevent filibustering parties going over to Cuba, and the Raleigh, which has been doing this duty, has gone to be repaired.

People who are interested in the comfort of the poor of New York are very glad to know that some dreadful rear tenement houses in Mott Street are to be taken away by order of the Board of Health.

We all read about tenement houses, and we all feel sorry that many of the houses for the poor to live in are not as comfortably built as they might be.

Very few of us know the discomforts that the poor have to endure, who are obliged to live in the old, badly planned tenement-houses.

Poor people must live near their work, because they cannot afford to pay car-fares back and forth every day. So the tenement-houses are generally built in neighborhoods where the work is being done, and people have to take them clean or dirty, well or badly built, because they must make their home in that neighborhood.

In some of the older and poorer tenements, many families live on the same floor; they are crowded together in the most dreadful manner, and instead of having plenty of light, air, and water to help make them endurable, they have little or none of any of these necessary things.

In these houses the want of water is one of the greatest evils. Instead of giving each tenement a nice sink, and a water-boiler at the back of the stove, so that people can have hot and cold water all the time, there is no water put into any of the rooms.

Outside on the landing there is water, and a rough sink, which the tenants of each floor use in common. They have to go into the hall to fetch every drop of water they use, and this is the only place they have to empty the dirty water away.

In some houses the sinks are not on every floor, and in these, the poor women have to drag their heavy buckets of water up and down the stairs.

The tenements are not heated. Each tenant has to keep his own rooms warm.

Every drop of warm water they need for cooking or washing has first to be boiled over the stove, and so the poor are forced to use a great deal more coal than more well-to-do people need.

It is not because they don't pay the landlords enough rent that the poor have no comforts in their homes. So many families can be packed into one floor, that landlords find tenement-houses pay them extremely well.

Many of the tenement-houses have been allowed to get so dilapidated, that the Board of Health has taken the matter in hand, and has been trying to make the landlord have them properly drained, and cleaned, and repaired.

It came to the knowledge of this board that there were some rear tenements in Mott Street, which were in a frightful condition.

They had been built at the back of some houses fronting on Mott Street—in fact, they had been put in the little spot of ground that had been the yard belonging to the front houses.

They came up so close to the front buildings that, by stretching out your arms, you could almost touch the front wall of one house and the back wall of the other. The actual distance apart was a little over seven feet.

This would have been bad enough, but worse was to come. After a time, warehouses were built over the surrounding back yards, and at last these poor tenements had brick walls round their sides and backs, to within eight inches of the windows, and all the light they got was given them by the seven-foot court that divided them from the houses in front.

Just imagine the darkness and the stuffiness of these rooms. Think how awful they must have been in the summer, with not a breath of air reaching them from any quarter. The tenants were obliged to go up to the roof and sleep there, for the rooms were unbearable.

The people who lived on the lower floors paid less rent than those on the top, because when you got up to the top floor there was a faint glimmer of daylight.

The tenants were put to the expense of burning lights all day long, because neither sun nor light could reach them.

When the Board of Health found out about these horrible places, and learned that little children were being born and brought up in them, an order was at once given that the rear tenements should be torn down.

But the owner objected. He tried to pretend that his houses were fit for people to live in, and went to law to prevent the Board of Health from interfering.

This was last September. Ever since then the matter has been in the courts before the judge.

People have still been living in these awful dens, getting sick, and losing their children, and spending more money for doctors and medicine than would have paid their car-fare to healthier and more comfortable homes.

The court has at last decided that these rear tenements are dangerous and unhealthy, and the Board of Health will have them pulled down in a very short time.

Many of our wealthy people wish so sincerely that poor people should have more comforts, that they are spending their money in building beautiful model tenement-houses, which will give the tenants every possible comfort for the same amount of money that they now have to pay for the dark, wretched places they live in.

One gentleman, Mr. D.O. Mills, felt so sorry for the men who had no homes, and were obliged to take board in these wretched tenements, that he is building a model lodging-house for them.

This house is down-town, where the men need it. It is large enough for 1,500 men to sleep in, and for each to have a comfortable room to himself.

The house is to be heated throughout, and there are to be elevators to take the men upstairs. The arrangements for washing and bathing are splendid, there is any amount of hot and cold water, and a laundry, with all the newest arrangements for washing and drying clothes quickly, where the men can go and wash their own clothes, and have them clean for the morning.

There are also comfortable rooms, where the men can read and write and play games. All the books and papers and games will be ready for them in the rooms, for it is Mr. Mills' wish to make the lodging-house a home to the men, so they may find their amusement at home, and not be tempted to go to saloons.

All they are to be charged is twenty cents a night. For this they will have all the comfort, warmth, and cleanliness that a man could wish for.

There is to be a restaurant in the house, where the lodgers can buy their meals. Their food will not be given them for the twenty cents, but it will be made as cheap as possible, and will be of the best kind, and cooked in the nicest way.

It is to be hoped Mr. Mills' experiment will be such a success, that many others will follow his example. This lodging-house is on Bleecker Street, and work is already commenced on it.

A sailor who has just come back from Japan brings word that sixteen American sailors are in prison in Siberia for trying to kill Russian seals, and carry away their fur to market.

The story the man tells is that in October, 1895, the American schooner Saitans was cruising in the Okhotsk Sea, off the Siberian coast. Some of the men landed on an island, and while they were ashore a heavy gale sprang up, and, to save herself, the Saitans put out to sea, leaving the men behind.

They remained where they were for five days, and then they were found by a Russian man-of-war. They were accused of trying to catch seals, and were sent to prison for five months.

The following May, one of the United States cruisers went to the port where the men were imprisoned, and the officers saw them.

The men begged the officers to do something for them, because they had been told that when their five months' imprisonment was over, they were to be arrested again, and sent back to prison once more.

The officers asked the police about this, and were told that it was all nonsense; the five months would be up in a few weeks, and the men set at liberty. The officers were satisfied that this was the truth, and went away.

But when the five months were up, the sailors found that their fears were only too well grounded. They were rearrested, and sent back to prison for eighteen months.

The sailor who brings this news says that, when he reached the port where the men are imprisoned, he managed to be taken to see them, and found them working on some Russian fortifications.

He says the men were very unhappy, and had almost lost their courage. Their second sentence will not be over till October, and they are afraid that they will be rearrested, and imprisoned once more, unless something is done for them.

They declare that it was not their fault that they were on the island. They insist that they were doing no harm, and their vessel put back to sea and left them in their unhappy position.



A New York newspaper has been making some experiments in signalling ships at night, which, if as successful as it is claimed to be, will be of the greatest service to sailors for all time to come.

Ships have a regular way of talking to one another, by means of flags arranged in certain ways.

This form of signalling is comprehended by all sailors. It is a universal language, and no matter from what country or in what seas ships may be sailing, the language of the flags makes it possible for them to be understood.

There has been one difficulty with the flag-signals, and that has been that they were useless at night. When it became too dark for the flags to be seen, sailors had no other means of communication.

The New York paper claims to have overcome this difficulty.

In saying that ships have no means of communicating with each other, it must not be forgotten that they can use lights and send certain messages with them. But the flag system enables them to say exactly what they wish to, while through the lights they can only show where they are, and call for help in case of accident.

The invention of the searchlight set men thinking, and at last the idea struck one man that if the searchlight were turned on the flags, it ought to be perfectly possible to see them in the darkest night.

A few nights ago two tugs went down to Sandy Hook to try if the experiment would work. To their great delight they found it did answer perfectly. The tugs were stationed about a mile and a half apart, and could read with ease the messages waved across the water.

More experiments will be made, and if on further trial the method is found to be practical, a great advance will have been made in navigation.

From Amsterdam, another report comes of a method that has been invented, to enable ships to speak directly with the shore at a distance of five miles.

This invention is in the nature of a powerful foghorn. It is, however, made somewhat like a musical instrument, so that different tones can be produced by it; and the idea is to have these tones arranged into a signalling code, after the fashion of the flag-signals, so that a conversation can be kept up in a similar way to that done with flags. G.H.R.


We have had a very large and interesting mail this week from the young friends of The Great Round World.

We take pleasure in acknowledging and publishing R.R.'s graphic and clever description of the fire near Wanamaker's in Philadelphia, Helen Z.C.'s pleasant chat about a Chicago suburb, and Seymour U.P.'s nice little note from Saranac Lake.

We also acknowledge the receipt of relief maps for the competition from Adrian Van A. and Harriot M., of Brooklyn.

Dear Editor:

I have just arrived home from school. I wish to tell you of the very large fire down-town. I go to school about one block from where the fire was. The fire started in a grocery store belonging to Hanson Brothers, about 7:30 o'clock. This grocery is No. 1317 Market Street. From there the fire spread to an umbrella store, which had the numbers 1309 to 1313 Market Street. From there a spark set fire to Wanamaker's store; it started there in the large clock tower, which soon after was a mass of flames. It fell with a loud crash soon after. The fire spread to the woodwork of the City Hall, where it was soon put out.

Wishing your magazine years of success, I am
Your reader,        R.R.
Phila., Jan. 25th., 1897.

Dear Editor:

I like The Great Round World very much, and anticipate their coming.

I receive them from my auntie of New York City. She reads them first, and then sends them to me.

They are very enjoyable, and as I am just in the interesting part of school, they help me very much. Perhaps you would like to know where Maywood is. It is a suburb of Chicago.

A very pretty place, and so much nicer than living in the city, because here we have fresh air and green grass.

Would you not rather live in the country?

We have a park here which is kept in order by the town authorities. This winter they have flooded it, and made a very nice skating pond, which is free to all.

So after school hours we boys and girls have a bonny time.

Hoping to receive an answer, I remain,
Yours affectionately,    Helen Z.C.

P.S.—These "Sylvia's Caramels" you speak of in No. 3 are what we call "Fudges."

They are very nice. We make them often.

Maywood, Ill., Jan. 25th, 1897.

To the Editor of The Great Round World:

I am an enthusiastic reader of your most interesting little paper, and would like you to send me a "Who? When? and What?" chart.

I am up in the mountains for the winter, and there is fine skating and tobogganing here, and I have also a fine big snow house. We belong to the "Pontiac Club," and can therefore skate whenever we want. Wishing your paper much success. I remain

Your fond reader,      Seymour U.P.
Saranac Lake, N.Y., Jan. 22d, 1897.

In reply to questions from Miss Lena Penn:

George du Maurier died in London, October 8, 1896, of heart disease.

There is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen in the market-place of Copenhagen. He was the author of the famous Fairy Tales which have given so much pleasure to so many millions of children.

If there are any statistics of the population of the earth since Adam, we are unaware of them.

The population of the earth, estimated in 1891, was 1,487,900,000.

At the death of the Emperor Augustus, the population of the earth was estimated at 54,000,000.

Dear Mr. Editor:

My father receives your little paper, The Great Round World, every week. I like it real well, and all the rest of the people and children I have let take one of the copies liked it so well I let them take more copies. I think it a very nice little paper, and wish you success. I send you the following extract, taken from "Wit and Wisdom," showing that the X-rays are not a recent discovery altogether.

Thomas C. Scott.
Binghamton, N.Y., Jan. 25th., 1897.

"Dr. Milio, the celebrated surgeon of Kieff, while on a visit to St. Petersburg, explained the means he had invented for illuminating the body by means of the electric light to such an extent that the human machine may be observed almost as if skin and flesh were transparent. The Moscow Gazette asserts that to demonstrate the feasibility of his process, Dr. Milio placed a bullet inside his mouth, and then lighted up his face, upon which the bullet became distinctly visible through his cheek. Dr. Milio did not propose to lay bare all the secrets of the flesh, to explore the recesses of the heart, or to perform any miracles, physical or metaphysical. But he claimed to have discovered a new and effective way of dealing with gun-shot wounds: first, by means of electric illumination, he discovered the precise situation of the bullet; next, by means of magnetism, he proposed to extract the bullet, provided always that the bullet contained some portion of steel. Against leaden bullets his system is powerless, and he therefore intended to represent to the International Committee, which met at Geneva, the desirability of recommending an admixture of steel in the manufacture of all future bullets. Dr. Milio's experiments with bullets containing only a slight admixture of steel are said to have been thoroughly successful."

Dear Thomas:

Your letter is very interesting.

It has long been known that it is possible to see through matter if we only knew just how. The X-ray has shown us the way.

The Editor.

To the Editor of The Great Round World:

In your edition of Jan. 21st, 1897, you wrote of the swallowing up by the sea of Robinson Crusoe's Island, or the island of Juan Fernandez. Now I have always heard this island called "Robinson Crusoe's Island," and I think the reason is, that Alexander Selkirk was cast away there, and on his adventures the story of Robinson Crusoe was written by Daniel Defoe. But I have read "Robinson Crusoe," and the island as described by him cannot be the Island of Juan Fernandez, but must be one of the Windward Islands in the Caribbean Sea, off the mouth of the great Orinoco River in South America, and I think is the Island of Tobago; this best fits the careful description of Daniel Defoe.

In Crusoe's first exploration of the island he says:

"I came in view of the sea to the west, and it being a very clear day, I fairly descried land,... extending from the W. to the W.S.W.... It could not be less than fifteen or twenty leagues off."

There is no land situated W.S.W. from Juan Fernandez. W.S.W. from the island of Tobago lies the great island of Trinidad. When Crusoe attempts to sail around the island he says:

"I perceived a strong and most furious current."

This could be no other than the current from the mouth of the great Orinoco River.

But what settles the matter is that after Crusoe had taught Friday to speak English, he had a conversation with him, in which Crusoe asks Friday:

"How far it was from our island to the shore, and whether the canoes were not often lost. He told me there was no danger; no canoes ever lost; but after a little way out to sea, there was a current and wind always one way in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This I understood to be no more than the sets of the tide, as going out or coming in; but I afterward understood it was occasioned by the great draft and reflux of the mighty river Oroonoko, in the mouth of which river, as I thought afterwards, our island lay; and that this land which I perceived to the W.S.W. was the great island Trinidad."

I like your Great Round World, Mr. Editor, but I like Robinson Crusoe, too. I like to know just where he was cast away, and hope if I am right you will tell other boys who read "Robinson Crusoe" the true place, where Daniel Defoe describes poor Crusoe as living all those weary years.

Edgar B.
Aged twelve years.
Chicago, Ill.

My Dear Young Friend:

After the very careful work you have done on Robinson Crusoe, and the evident affection you have for him, it seems a shame to have to tell you that no such person as Crusoe existed.

As we told in The Great Round World, No. 11, a Scotchman named Alexander Selkirk was put ashore on the island of Juan Fernandez, and lived there four years and four months.

When he was rescued and brought back to England, he wrote an account of his life there.

An English writer named Daniel Defoe saw this book of Selkirk's, and thought it would make a wonderful story if it was well handled. Selkirk's was a mere statement of what had happened to him, and while intensely interesting, was not written to amuse people.

Defoe created an imaginary person, whom he called Robinson Crusoe, dressed up Selkirk's facts to suit the purpose of his story, and wrote the wonderful and undying story of Robinson Crusoe.

His geographical facts, no doubt, were purposely altered from Selkirk's, and were made as graphic as possible, in order to add the semblance of truth to his story. In the early years of the seventeenth century geography was very little understood. The connection between Selkirk's sufferings on Juan Fernandez, and the adventures of Robinson Crusoe have always been so thoroughly understood that, as you read in your Great Round World, the island of Juan Fernandez has been called Crusoe's Island, and Selkirk's cave and hut, Crusoe's.       The Editor.

Editor Great Round World.

Dear Sir:—Your article on salting streets has greatly roused your subscriber, my small son.

Will you kindly tell him, through your magazine, how the children may help abate the terrible cruelty? What action do you suggest for them? He has interested a number of lads in the subject, but does not know how to put forth effort—when the discovery is made that the law is violated.

Complain to party giving offence, to police, or what?

Your magazine is warmly appreciated in this household by old and young, and we hope for its continued prosperity.

Very truly,
D.K. Lippincott's Mother.
194 Fairmount Avenue, Newark, N.J.

Dear Master Lippincott:

I am delighted that you and your little friends are interested in the matter of salting the streets, and that you are eager to put a stop to such cruelty.

In the first place, you can help by telling every one about it, and by getting people, old and young, interested. Do you know that not one person to whom I have spoken about it—aside from Dr. Johnson, the people at the A.S.P.C.A., and Mr. Harison—knew anything about it? Strange, was it not? A good many things are permitted because people do not know just how dreadful they are.

As to the method of learning just where salt has been used, I know only the one of which the article tells you, and that is: if there is snow or ice in other places, and the tracks are covered with water, then you may know that there is a reason for it. And inasmuch as the water would be twenty degrees below freezing, I believe that you could determine the presence of salt by means of the mercury. If you had a thermometer which would register that number of degrees, and were to plunge it into the slush, the sensitive mercury would tell the story.

As to the person to whom you should complain: at any of the offices of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The New York Society is at 10 East 22d Street, and there are branches or agents of the Society in nearly every town of importance.

Yours sincerely,
Izora C. Chandler.


The editor is pleased to acknowledge the following clever account of Nora Perry's "A Flock of Boys and Girls," published by Little, Brown & Co., Boston.

To The Editor Of The Great Round World:

If any one wants to read an interesting book, I will tell you one of Nora Perry's books, called "A Flock of Girls and Boys." It is a collection of short stories, and tells of the scrapes they got into and how they got out of them, and it has the language boys and girls use every day. There is one story that I was especially impressed with: the name of it is "Major Molly's Christmas Promise." It was about a little girl who made a promise to a little Indian girl; and she kept her promise; and in doing that, although she did not know it, saved her mother's and father's life, besides her friends having to go to war.

Madeleine H.P.




This is a handy little book, which many a teacher who is looking for means to offer children genuine nature study may be thankful to get hold of.

Nature lessons, to be entitled to that name, must deal with what can be handled and scrutinized at leisure by the child, pulled apart, and even wasted. This can be done with the objects discussed in this book; they are under the feet of childhood—grass, feathers, a fallen leaf, a budding twig, or twisted shell; these things cannot be far out of the way, even within the stony limits of a city.

Nor are the lessons haphazard dashes at the nearest living thing; on the contrary, they are virtually fundamental, whether with respect to their relation to some of the classified sciences, or with reference to the development of thought and power of expression in the child himself.

The illustrations are few, and scarcely more than figures; it is not meant to be a pretty picture-book, yet is most clearly and beautifully printed and arranged, for its material is to be that out of which pictures are made. It will be found full of suggestions of practical value to teachers who are carrying the miscellaneous work of ungraded schools, and who have the unspeakable privilege of dealing with their pupils untrammelled by cast-iron methods and account-keeping examination records.

Sample copy, 50 Cents, post-paid

3 & 5 W. 18th St. · · · New York City