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and by their accumulation tend to deepen the gorges of the rocky ravines which in a few hours pour down, in a mad waste, the moisture which once supplied the springs of a thousand mountain-brooks. Swollen by the turbid floods of countless simultaneous torrents, the lowland rivers roll down vast masses of detritus, and by the inevitable laws of gravitation cover the fields of their upper valleys with the heavy particles of that diluvium, sand and coarse gravel, while the fertilizing slime is carried down to add its stimulus

to the rank morasses of a malarious delta. Thus shoaled by yearly accumulations of sand-banks, the river-beds rise higher and higher above their former channels, and in every spring when more than usually heavy snows are thawed by sudden rains the uplands send down a deluge which no dams can resist, and which often in a single hour demolishes barriers which thousands of workmen have reared by the labors of many years.

This brief summary outlines an experience which has repeated itself a thousand times from the barren slopes of Mount Lebanon to the naked terrace-lands of the Western Pyrenees, and which will not fail to enforce its terrible lessons on the inhabitants of the Western Continent, if the forests of our highland regions should be surrendered to the land-blighting axe. A few years ago a correspondent of the Popular Science Monthly described the climatic amenities of our southwestern border-states, where the sirocco of the Colorado deserts is often accompanied by violent sand-showers, which once completely obliterated in a few hours the track of the Los Angeles Railroad.' If a three weeks' shower of that sort were to descend on the garden-regions of Eastern Pennsylvania, the result would give us a fair idea of the contrast between the former and the present appearance of Asia Minor. The barren mountain-ridges that characterize the landscapes of our Bible-illustrators are as anachronistic as the siege-guns in Giorgio Vasari's “Destruction of Jerusalem.” Even during the last centuries of the West Roman Empire the luxuriant fertility of Western Asia must have surpassed anything produced by a combination of natural advantages with assiduous horticulture in the happiest valleys of our Atlantic seaboard, Gardens and forest-trees must have clothed the hills to their very summits to support the teeming population of the Roman provinces between the Caucasus and the Archipelago. On an area of thirty thousand square miles-about the size of the State of South Carolina–Mithridates raised armies that resisted the power of Rome for twenty-two years. The six west provinces were studded with towns that could emulate the luxury of Alexandria. While their own country was yet in its prime, Syria was to the citizens of Rome what modern Italy is to the rest of Europe, the Elysium of poets and pleasure-seekers. About a century after the death of Alexander the Great, some mercenaries of Gaul found their way to Asia Minor, and their return to their native country created a bonanza sensation which induced sixty thousand of their countrymen to abandon their homes and fight their way across Southern Europe, in order to reach that lubberland of the East, where the survivors actually gained a foothold and founded the province of Galatia. Cyrus the Great used to pass seven months of the year at Babylon, in a “region of perpetual spring,” as Xenophon calls it; and Hadrian, Septimius Severus, and Seleucus Nicator had their favorite country-seats in the valley of Daphne, where even a Greek could forget his native land.

And the axe alone has blighted all but a few mountain-nooks of that sea-girt Eden : the coast-regions from Gaza to Trebizond resemble the shores of the Dead Sea. Nothing short of a miracle would induce the Jews to recolonize the promised land of their fathers. In Syria, in the land of fontes umbrosi and meandering meadow-brooks, water is now as scarce as on the Staked Plains.

Judging from the descriptions of ancient geographers, the climate of the North African provinces must have resembled that of our Gulf States, and even at the end of the third century the Cyrenaica (the modern Tunis) had eighty Christian bishops and a population of ten or twelve millions : two hundred years later, famine and droughts had reduced that number to six millions; but the reckless destruction of forests continued till ninety-five per cent. of the lowland area had been reduced to absolute sterility.

Southern Europe is going the same way. The researches of Héricourt and Heinrich Barth have left no doubt that the valley of the Guadalquivir once contained the twelve-fold multiple of its present population. Greece has become a barren rock; Sicily, the pearl of the Mediterranean, a hospital of famine-typhus and ophthalmia. In the course of the last two hundred years alone, the winter floods of Southern France have caused an amount of damage that can be estimated only by thousands of millions: witness the following memoranda from Charles Ribbe's "Les Torrents et les Inondations de la Provence:” “Digne, 1762: The river Bléone has destroyed the arable part of the territory.”

-“Gueydan, 1760 : The best parts of the fields and meadows have been swept away, and ravines now occupy their places.”—“Monans, 1729: Deserted by its peasant-population, cultivation having ceased to repay the labors of the husbandman.”—“ Commune de Barles, 1707 : Two hills have become connected by land-slides, and have formed a lake which now covers the best part of the soil.”—“Malmaison, 1768 : The inhabitants have emigrated; all their fields have been lost.”. “Hautes-Cévennes, 1771 : The ravages of the torrents can be compared only to the effects of an earthquake; half the soil in many communities seeming to have been swallowed up.'

The Ardèche, a mountain-river considerably less than a hundred miles in length, has repeatedly caused an amount of havoc resembling the devastations of an invading army. Some twenty miles above its junction with the Rhone its bed is spanned by a natural bridge, known as the Pont d'Ark, a rock-vault sixty feet wide and two hundred feet high ; but on more than one occasion that enormous tunnel has proved too small for the volume of the descending flood. In 1846, some women who were busy washing at the brink of the lower stream had barely time to flee to the hills before the valley at their feet had been turned into a raging sea. The river Po inundates its banks about twice in three years, and, according to Castellani's estimate, the amount of solid matter which those floods sweep to the shores of the Adriatic exceeds a yearly average of forty-two million cubic metres, or nearly fifty-five million cubic yards. The Adige, the Ebro, the Guadalquivir, and the Maritza have almost depopulated certain districts of their lower valleys.

But the most ruinous flood-river on earth is the Yang-tse-Kiang, the scourge of China,” as it may justly be called. In the course of the last two hundred years its torrents have fourteen times forced the massive dams of the central provinces and each time covered its banks with thousands of human corpses. In 1833 its inundation ravaged the province of Hu-Pae to an extent which can be retrieved only by the labors of many successive generations. Another terrible flood occurred but a year ago, spreading its havoc over an area of three hundred and fifty thousand square miles, including some of the most densely populated districts of Eastern China. The loss of life on that occasion has been computed to reach the appalling aggregate of seven hundred and fifty thousand, even after deducting the hundreds of thousands that succumbed to the subsequent famine and the many hundreds slain by marauders and hunger-crazed cannibals.

The floods of the Indus have more than once choked its delta with the débris of inundated cities, and the reports of Prof. Brehm prove that the yearly rise of the Nile is not by any means an unqualified blessing to the natives of the Dark Continent. America, too, has begun to suffer severely from river-floods, and it is an ominous fact that the last five inundations of the Ohio Valley showed a steady increase in the volume of the descending torrents. The Johnstown horror was caused by a, perhaps unparalleled, combination of unlucky circumstances, but that the disaster cannot be attributed exclusively to the insufficient strength of the South Fork Dam is proved by the simultaneous inundations of several river-valleys in Western New York and East Virginia.

Have the healing arts of our latter-day civilization no remedy for such affliction ? At first look the difficulties of the task might not seem to exceed the resources of modern science, the very myths of ancient times having been so often surpassed by the realities of the present age. Prometheus pilfered the fire of Jove; we have got hold of his thunder-bolts, too Our Hesperian gardens produce freedom and diamonds, as well as gold. Our travelling Arions need not bestride a dolphin to defy the winds and the tides. The good steed Bayard would be eclipsed by the iron horse, as the darts of Osiris by a Minié ball; the Ultima Thule has become a half-way station of our whaling-fleet. Thetis and the Oceanides could foreteli a sea-storm; we predict all sorts of weather, and might as well try our hands at manufacturing them.

The solution of that problem has actually been attempted in Egypt and Northern Europe. In the Landes of Gascony, and in the Belgian

Campine,” the planting of the umbrella pine (Pinus maritima) has effectually arrested the irruptions of the sea, and has given the inhabitants a new lease, not only of land, but also of life, the reduction of the pestilential marshes having perceptibly improved the healthfulness of those districts, and, it is said, diminished the frequency of morning fogs. In 1832, Mehemet Ali decided to try his luck with the wadies, or sand-plains, on the coast of Egypt. Upper Egypt, Abyssinia, and the slopes of Mount Caucasus were overrun by the tree-agents of the autocrat; trees by ship-loads and caravan-loads were landed at Cairo and distributed to the overseers of an army of Fellahs; and, according to various estimates, from nine million to fifteen million forest trees were actually planted, and so carefully nursed that eighty per cent. of them took root and helped to qualify the soil and climate for further plantations. Jules Rozet, an eminent French engineer, proposed to diminish the ravages of inundations by intersecting steep mountainslopes by ditches filled with coarse gravel and boulders. Torricelli induced the government of Tuscany to divert the waters of perilous rivers by lateral canals; and the commissioners appointed to devise means for the redemption of lands wasted by the mountain-torrents of Southern Austria made a series of experiments with the construction of artificial lakes, or reservoirs, which they hoped would prevent the too sudden descent of the highland floods.

But thus far only the plan of Mehemet Ali has led to anything like satisfactory results. Dikes are apt to prolong, rather than avert, the mischief of inundations (as the city of Sacramento, California, had a chance to ascertain at its cost); effluent canals degenerate into morasses ; and reservoirs (besides being liable to get shoaled by the accumulation of detritus) constitute a constant menace to the inhabitants of the lower river-valley. Deserts can be redeemed only by tree-culture.

Prevention, however, is better than cure, --so much so, indeed, that it is even easier to arrest the progress of a far-gone disease than to retrieve the complete loss of health. In America strictly-enforced laws for the protection of all highland woods might yet make the endeavors of the Forestry Association something more than a hopeless pull against the stream, and help us tide over the transition-period to Carl Vogt's era of nature-worship, when the physical laws of God will be so thoroughly understood that men will think it a disgrace to be sick, and nations will be ashamed of a drought."

The worst of all earthly evils might thus be prevented by a direct removal of the cause, and then it could be truly said that the lost paradise of the Eastern Continent has been regained in the New World of the West.

Felix L. Oswald.


SAW the bald cliff bathed in silver rain

While the parched fields stretched up their throats in vain :
Woe to the land whose unplucked ears have pined,
Whose harvests waste, and never yield their kind !
Know you not, wise one, with what thankless toi
You pour your love out on a desert soil ?
Still wars the heart if this be truth or non-
What the priests say,—that God has willed it so.

Dora Read Goodale.


IMPLICITY is often an attribute of genius, and, while Lincoln was

surrounded with all the pomp and circumstance of war, those near him never forgot a certain unvarying gentleness of manner, and the unaffected earnestness and simplicity with which he greeted those with whom he was daily thrown in contact. His manners came from the abounding sincerity and the soul of considerate gentleness and goodness within the man.

“Politeness” be called “benevolence well expressed.

Bancroft spoke of his “ wanness of heart,”—a comprehensive expression for the underlying sadness and tenderness of his nature. His inexhaustible fund of stories was only a foil to his intense thoughtfulness, and the bubbling fun in him, as frequent as the gravel in a fountain of July, was only a thin partition to divide the work-day world from the deep under-current of his melancholy nature.

“Levity,” Madame de Staël says, "takes away from sentiment its depth, from attention its force, and from thought its originality.” But when the most serious disquisitions about the doubtful financial state of the country, with Secretary Chase, often reminded Mr. Lincoln of a story, which he would proceed to tell his serious and solicitous Secretary of the Treasury, the quaint wisdom of the President did not seem like levity. His stories generally pointed a moral, as well as adorned the tale. I saw him often, and Shakespeare's lines always seemed happily to characterize the great patient and many-sided statesman :

Consideration like an angel came

And whipped the offending Adam out of him. With Lincoln the exercise of great privileges was ever accompanied by an overwhelming sense of his obligations to the people who placed him in office, and there was also a constant and pathetic consciousness that it was no part of his duty or destiny to elevate himself, but that his “charge to keep" was not to aggrandize himself, but to bless, to benefit, and to take away the burdens from mankind.

Mr. Lincoln's favorite place was the East Room up-stairs in the White House, overlooking the Potomac. Here he could be found as early as nine o'clock in the morning,-in the same room occupied under Garfield and under Arthur and Harrison by their private secretaries.

Here Secretaries Seward and Stanton spent many hours, and on Sunday mornings, at ten o'clock, it was Lincoln's habit to get shaved by his favorite barber, in front of a great open fireplace, which is still there. The grate usually blazed with generous hickory logs, and while the barber performed his duty the statesmen discussed the SchleswigHolstein question, or the probability that Palmerston would drag his government into the tripartite alliance, which sought, under the French "Man of December," to carry the eagles of France into the halls of the Montezumas. Lincoln made no secret of his having written a personal letter to Queen Victoria, which he always asserted tided the country

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