The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Great Round World and What Is Going On
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Title: The Great Round World and What Is Going On In It, Vol. 2, No. 11, March 17, 1898
       A Weekly Magazine for Boys and Girls

Author: Various

Editor: Julia Truitt Bishop

Release Date: August 19, 2006 [EBook #19081]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Cover Illustration, Globe
Copyright, 1898, by The Great Round World Publishing Company

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MARCH 31st, 1898

And will be issued with Number 73 of

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This chart is arranged in three plates and is so planned that the history of any State may be traced from date of discovery to the present time. Or the important items of history in any period may be quickly ascertained.

For example, the question is asked, "Name the divisions of this country in the year 1600 in order of size?" Turning to the circle for this period the answer is easily ascertained, and is "Province of Louisiana, New Spain, Virginia, Florida."

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To obtain an answer to such questions from any history would necessitate a waste of much time. This chart is in itself an

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Vol. II., No. 11.            MARCH 17, 1898             Whole No. 71

With the Editor

Spain and the Cuban situation continue to form the great centres of interest in this week's news. With the continuation of active preparations on the part of the United States and Spain, the crisis seems to be rapidly approaching. It is to be hoped that each will succeed in making itself so strong that war may be averted because of its probable magnitude. The presence of two strong fleets, opposed to each other, on the high seas could not but prove a menace to the interests of other nations; the prospect of this may of itself lead to a peaceful conclusion through the intervention of some one of the great powers. War seems a glorious thing to those who have not known its horrors; to experience it is quite another thing. In any event it would mean to many loss of fathers or brothers, destruction of property, paralysis of business—and all for what? That some point might be attained, some pride gratified, some enemy humbled—results as easily accomplished by arbitration the great blessing of the century. We may not ourselves be able to do anything to avert war. Each of us, however, can do his share[322] toward creating a sentiment in favor of peace, and thus overcome the effect of the mischief-makers who, crying war at the top of their lungs now, will be the first to shirk duty if we have to fight.


We take pleasure in announcing that the publication of "The Great Round World, and the People Who Lived on It," by Mme. Z. A. Ragozin, the first numbers of which appeared in The Great Round World some months ago, will be continued shortly. Serious illness of the author has until this time interfered with its continuation.


Our new premium catalogue which was announced several weeks ago will be mailed with No. 73 of The Great Round World, for March 31st. Every subscriber will get a copy. Others can have it on application.


Answers to Correspondents

We have received the following very interesting letter from the City of Mexico:

Dear Editor:

I read in one of last July's numbers of The Great Round World a request for further information about the Empress Carlotta or the Emperor Maximilian.

We have a little summer home in the same town of Cuernavaca where they had their residence.

I don't wonder that they chose it for a summer home, it is such a beautiful spot and the climate perfection. It is fifty miles in air-line from the City of Mexico.[323]

Their residence in Cuernavaca was an old place called "Jardin de la Borda." The house is of no importance, but the garden is one of the beautiful sights of Mexico; though now in a state of ruin, it is all fountains, terraces, lakes, flowers, and trees.

The Emperor also had his shooting-lodge about three miles out, with a small house on the grounds. Madame D—— (who was maid of honor to the Empress) told my mother that it was used simply as a resting-place for the huntsmen and a place of picnicking by the court. It is called "Casa del Campo." It is also in a ruinous state, is rented for $100 per year silver, and is used as a kind of beer-garden.

About ten miles from the town of Cuernavaca there is the magnificent hacienda of Atlascomulco, originally owned by Hernan Cortez. The greater portion of the building stands as Cortez left it, the walls being in many places five feet thick.

In the orchard attached is a small one-story house where Maximilian spent many hours of his stay at Cuernavaca; and there in a small room he signed the famous "Banda Negra" (Black Decree) which caused him to be so hated and which hastened his fall.

There are still to be seen the table, chair, and pen said to have been used by Maximilian when he signed the Black Decree.     John R. D., Jr.


New Books

From Germany we have received a most interesting little publication for our girls, and also a most valuable chart which will interest their elders.[324]

"Fuer fleissige Kinderhaende. Anleitung und Muster fuer Bekleidung einer Puppe. Von Julie Lutz, Lehrerin der Frauenarbeitsschule, Heilbronn," is the title of the former. We hope to see an English edition of this some time soon, for many of our readers may not find German so easy to understand. However, even though this has the directions in German, it will be very much appreciated by all.

It consists of a good strong portfolio, or case, containing a number of patterns for doll clothes, printed on heavy strong paper, so that they may be cut out and used over and over again. Each pattern is in a strong envelope, so that it may be kept separate, and on each envelope is a picture of the garment, to aid in putting it together. With the pattern is a pamphlet giving (in German) full and careful directions.

The chart is the 1897 edition of Dr. Berghaus' celebrated "Chart of the World," published by Justus Perthes, Gotha. Size is about 40×62 inches, mounted on linen, and folded in a case; or as a wall-map with rollers.

In Europe, this chart is to be found in almost every railroad or steamship office, as well as in schools, business offices, and private houses, where it is used for general reference. Besides being the latest and most complete map of the world, with the very latest information as to boundaries, it contains ocean currents, direction of trade-winds, steamship and sailing vessel routes, coaling-stations, and railroads (even the new trans-Siberian railroad, about which we wrote in a recent number) of all countries; and much other valuable information.[325]


Current History


The Maine affair is still the most important item of current history.

The Board of Inquiry has returned to Havana and is still carrying on its investigation, and until this body makes an official report to the United States Government, we should, as Captain Sigsbee telegraphed the night of the explosion, suspend judgment.

There has been no way of ascertaining the results of the Board's inquiries. The testimony of eye-witnesses of the disaster, sailors and divers, was heard on board the Mangrove, anchored near the wreck. A number of photographs of the Maine have been taken under water, by a man employed by the Board. These photographs are deemed very important, as the Board can get a much clearer idea of the position of the débris than they could from the descriptions of the divers. The belief is widely entertained that the Board will report that the disaster was caused by an explosion from the outside. How the two countries will act after such a report is delivered, can only be surmised. Of course, Spain will make her own thorough investigation; the divers have already been permitted to examine the wreck to a certain extent. It is very hard to believe that the Spanish Government had anything to do with the explosion. Individuals,[326] acting for themselves and not in touch with the Government, probably "assassinated" the boat—if she was "assassinated." In that case, the United States can with justice claim an indemnity.

If, however, it can be proved that Spanish officers knew that there was a mine under the Maine, and did not take the trouble to tell Captain Sigsbee, the United States would undoubtedly consider it a casus belli (that is, a cause of war), unless Spain promptly agrees to make good the loss.

As we told you last week, it is said that no dead fish were found in Havana harbor after the explosion. Another significant report is, that there was no large wave directly after the explosion took place. If these reports are true, they would almost preclude the possibility of its having been an outside explosion.

It was reported that Weyler, while Captain-General of Cuba, had caused Havana harbor to be filled with mines and torpedoes, and that he alone had the plans.

In a letter to a New York paper, however, General Weyler absolutely denies this, and he writes that he has had nothing to do with the mines and torpedoes in Havana harbor.

One sensational report printed in a New York paper was that, shortly before the explosion took place, the guard on the Maine noticed a very distinct ripple on the water, as if a small boat was being propelled close to the vessel.

Many similar reports have reached the United States, and it is hard to know what to believe. One of the New York papers has been telling so many lies that the Government was compelled to stop this particular journal from sending any messages at all over[327] the cable from Havana to Key West. This paper then sent its news to Europe, and from there cabled to New York. Over this circuitous route came most marvellous tales, and it is needless to say that most of them were lies pure and simple. The editor of one enterprising journal is reported to have wagered $50,000 that he will cause war between the United States and Spain.


The wounded sailors from the Maine have all been transferred from Havana to Dry Tortugas. Dry Tortugas is an island east of Key West. These sailors say that the Spaniards treated them with the utmost kindness.

The first body from the Maine was brought to Key West last Thursday. All flags in the city were at half-mast, and although the body was that of an unidentified seaman, it was given the burial of a naval hero. Captain McCalla, of the Marblehead, with Fleet Chaplain Lee Boyce and a guard of honor of forty sailors, received the body, and it was borne in state through the quiet streets of the city to the graveyard on the outskirts. The sailors were drawn up facing the grave; the chaplain read the service, and the body was lowered to its resting-place. The simple ceremony was then ended by the ship's bugler sounding the recall, and the guard at "shoulder arms" marched back to the pier.

It is reported that the uninjured survivors of the Maine feel very much distressed over orders they are said to have received from the Navy Department. All but five of the men are ordered to report for ser[328]vice on the ships of the fleet at Key West. Naturally, they are desirous to get to their friends in the North, and an effort will be made to induce the Navy Department to allow them to do so.

It seems that, of the men killed on the Maine, a great number were natives of foreign countries. The governments of these countries have demanded an explanation of the disaster, and in case it is found that the explosion was due to faults of construction or carelessness, an indemnity will undoubtedly be demanded; or, if Spain is responsible for the disaster, she will be called upon to pay this indemnity.

March 7th it was reported that Señor Gullon, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, had intimated to Minister Woodford that the Spanish Government desired the recall of Consul-General Lee from Havana.

This news created great excitement. Our Government promptly cabled to Minister Woodford, refusing to recall General Lee, and Spain officially retracted the request, and the incident was practically closed.

A minister exercises his functions only by permission of the country to which he is sent. If at any time that country has reason to object to his presence, it can demand his recall, or, by withdrawing his exequatur, make him at once a private American citizen, and nothing more.

An exequatur is the written official recognition of a consul or minister, which is issued by the government to which he is accredited, authorizing him to exercise his powers in the place to which he is sent.[329] We have already explained, in connection with the De Lome incident, how a country may dismiss a diplomatic representative.

If Spain had demanded Lee's recall, or dismissed him for any reason which she considered sufficient, there would have been no just ground for offence. It would not even have been necessary for her to explain her reasons.

Spain's action in intimating that she desired the recall was a courteous way of putting the matter. President McKinley, in refusing to consider it, took a wise course, for the recall of General Lee at this critical time might have added to the strained relations existing between the countries; besides, General Lee is so thoroughly acquainted with the situation in Cuba that it is to the best interest of this country to retain him.


Reports from Cuba as to the insurgents' cause have this week been perceptibly fewer. It is known that a number of filibustering expeditions have landed, and the Cubans feel very much elated. They say that the Maine disaster has helped them in this country, for it has increased the feeling against Spain.

The condition of the reconcentrados is terrible. You will remember that General Weyler issued a decree that the farmers with their families, and the people who lived out in the country, should leave their homes and come into the towns. This was done because it was believed that these people were supplying the insurgents with food and aiding them in other ways. Of course, when these poor people were[330] herded together in and around the cities and towns, a great many of them had no possible way of making a living. Starvation has resulted, and thousands of these reconcentrados, as they are called, are dying. It is estimated that there are very nearly 300,000 of them, and what food and clothing they need must be given to them. The Spaniards, as can be imagined, have not been very charitably disposed toward these poor people, and the United States has generously come to the rescue. Tons of food and clothing have already been sent to the island, and almost every day we read of some vessel starting for Cuba with supplies for these unfortunate people.

The United States Government has deemed the matter important enough to despatch two gunboats, the Montgomery and Nashville, with provisions to Matanzas and Sagua la Grande, Cuba.

The supplies have been sent to Key West, to be forwarded from there in the vessels selected.

Spain, through her representative at Washington, Señor du Bosc, objected to the use of war-vessels for this purpose, and it was at first decided to send the supplies in the despatch-boat Fern, in many respects better fitted for such a purpose. Finally, however, orders were sent to Key West to carry out the original plan.

That Spain objects to the visits of our war-ships to these Cuban ports may lead to further complications, for with equal reason she can exclude our ships from Havana harbor, and this would prevent us from protecting our own citizens who are in Havana.

The fact that relief expeditions are sent by us is in itself an acknowledgment on our part that we either[331] do not consider Spain able to care for these poor people, or that we think that she wilfully refuses to do so. Spain could settle the question at once by properly providing for them. This, however, she has not attempted to do.


March 7th a bill was introduced by Chairman Cannon, of the Appropriations Committee, entitled, "Making Appropriations for the National Defence."

It was as follows: "That there is hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasury, not otherwise appropriated for the national defence, and for each and every purpose connected therewith, to be expended at the discretion of the President, and to remain available until June 30, 1899, fifty million dollars."

This bill, it was reported, was the outcome of a conference held at the White House. The situation was considered so serious that it was necessary that an immense appropriation should be made for national defence.


Talk of the United States buying Cuba has revived during the last week. The Spaniards seem to think better of this than they did some months ago, and it is reported that one paper in Madrid has come out in favor of selling the island to this country.

It is a question whether it would be wise for this country to buy Cuba. It would involve the expendi[332]ture of $300,000,000 or $400,000,000; and, again, the people who live on the island might not be a desirable addition to the voting population of the United States. Spain has misunderstood this country in regard to the purpose of our proposed intervention in Cuba. She believes that we would intervene in order to obtain possession of the island. The truth is, that the only reason for our stopping the war would be for the sake of mercy, for the war that is going on in Cuba is uncivilized and horrible.

About twenty-five hundred men have been sent to Cuba recently as reinforcements to the Spanish army, and Spain is putting forth the greatest efforts to stop the revolution before the rainy season sets in. Five torpedo-boats are to be towed from Madrid to Havana. It will be unfortunate for Spain if she has no better luck towing these boats than she had with her immense dry-dock, which we told you about several weeks ago.


The Vizcaya, which left New York on February 25th, arrived in Havana safely. The Almirante Oquendo, a sister ship of the Vizcaya, has also reached Havana.

The Oquendo is a very powerful vessel, 340 feet long, 65 feet wide, and can steam 20 knots an hour. She is said to have cost $3,000,000. She left the Canary Islands on February 15th, the day the Maine blew up.

The men on board, of course, had not heard of the catastrophe, and when they saw the wreck they could not imagine what it meant. With these vessels and[333] the Alphonso XII. in Havana harbor, it is said the war fever has attacked the city, and the Spaniards there are anxious to fight the United States.


Conflicting reports have reached us as to whether Spain has bought war-ships in England or not during the last week. It is, however, reported on good authority that Spain has negotiated a large loan in London; the amount is not known. Several vessels have been in course of construction for Brazil and Chile, and now that they are almost completed, it is said that the Spanish Government, by agreeing to pay immense sums, is attempting to secure them. It does not seem likely that Chile would give up a battle-ship just now, as the relations between that country and the Argentine Republic are very strained. There is no doubt, however, but that Spain is increasing the efficiency of her navy, which is beginning to assume very formidable proportions.

The United States is also busy putting the older ships in good order, and rushing the work on those being constructed. The Government, it is reported, has the details of construction of many boats now building on the other side. One report was that the United States had an option on every ship being built in Europe, except, of course, vessels being built for Spain. This report, however, has not been confirmed. For the United States to have the option on a ship means that no other nation will be allowed to buy that ship unless the United States decides that she does not wish to have it herself.[334]

The Spaniards are disturbed at the news of an American squadron at Hongkong, on the coast of China. If you will look on your map, you will find that the Philippine Islands are not very far from Hongkong. These islands belong to Spain, and in the event of a war between the United States and Spain, great damage could be done by this fleet.


The monitor Terror has arrived in New York harbor from Hampton Roads. This boat is 249 feet long, 56 feet wide, and can steam 12 knots an hour. The Puritan and Miantonomoh are two boats in the same class as the Terror, and for harbor defence they are unsurpassed. Very little surface is exposed to the fire of the enemy, as they are very low in the water; so low, that often, when in a sea-way, the waves wash over everything but the smoke-stacks and the turrets, so you can see how very difficult it is to do any damage to these formidable boats. They are all provided with rams. A ram is a very heavily reinforced projecting bow. Many war-vessels are built this way, so that they may run down and sink their antagonists in time of war. You will remember that the famous Confederate ram Merrimac employed this mode of attack as a last resort, in her famous fight with the Monitor during the Civil War. She was not successful, for she did not strike the Monitor squarely. With their immense weight these monitors could pierce with their rams the armor of almost any ship and sink it.



On Wednesday, February 23d, M. Zola was found guilty of publishing a letter criticising the Government for its conduct in the Esterhazy court-martial and declaring the innocence of Albert Dreyfus. This letter was published in the Paris Aurore, whose editor is M. Perreux. M. Zola was sentenced to one year's imprisonment, and was also fined 3,000 francs, or about $600. As we told you in our last number, M. Perreux was condemned to serve four months in prison and pay 4,000 francs. In summing up—that is, in making his final address to the court—M. Labori, counsel of M. Zola, made touching references to the unhappiness of the Dreyfus family, the courage of the wife of the prisoner, and the letter from the disgraced man in September, 1897, protesting his innocence. The remarks made a great sensation in the court-room, many people weeping.

The jury was out but a very short time, and returned with the sentence as stated above, which is the maximum penalty for the crime for which Zola was arrested. Civilized nations feel very sorry for France, for she has lowered herself in the eyes of the world. It is almost universally believed that Zola proved his charges, and outside of France Dreyfus is believed to be innocent.

It would seem that the French Government is bound to uphold the decision of the court-martial at any cost, so as not to be compelled to recall Dreyfus and have a new trial. It is deemed necessary to suppress the Dreyfus agitation.

Four newspapers in Paris, including the Aurore, have been notified that unless they cease their attacks[336] they will be prosecuted by the Government. Many correspondents have been warned to write in different vein about the case. Colonel Picquart, as we told you last week, has been obliged to leave the army, and the Government has dismissed M. Le Blois, Perreux's counsel, and one of Zola's witnesses, who was a deputy mayor in Paris.

We think you would like to hear something about Devil's Island, the place where Albert Dreyfus is confined. This island is one of a group, twenty-seven miles northwest of Cayenne in French Guiana. Get your map of South America, and you will be able to put your finger on the spot. In 1852 the French Government established a penal colony on these islands. A penal colony is one formed of convicts sent out from the mother country. Many of these colonies have proved successful, particularly the ones where the prisoners are allowed to work and build up their own homes for themselves. Australia was settled in this way, and it has developed wonderfully.

From reports, Dreyfus is having a very hard time on Devil's Island. He is not allowed to speak to any one, and lives in absolute solitude. It is said that his hair has turned grey, and his confinement in other ways is aging him rapidly. He is allowed to write, but his letters simply declare his innocence over and over again. It was rumored some time ago that Dreyfus had escaped, and since then the French Government has ordered the officials of the convict settlement to telegraph every day to Paris the fact that the prisoner is safely under guard.

Political prisoners are usually allowed to have their wives with them, but, although Mme. Dreyfus[337] has made strong efforts, France will not allow her to be with her husband.

There is a man living in Rome who is said to have been imprisoned on Devil's Island for several years. His name is Gen. Paolo Tibaldi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on the island for conspiring against Napoleon III. He says that when he was there the island was a bare rock without a tree or a blade of grass, and the heat of the sun was terrible. The provisions supplied daily by the Government were a pound and a half of the worst kind of bread, for each convict, a piece of old meat or salt fat, beans or rice, a little oil, and also a kind of spirits called tafla. The general claims that the treatment to which the captives were subjected was most severe. They were chained by the keepers, fed on bread and water for months, and beaten with ropes. Five thousand dollars was raised in France to rescue General Tibaldi, but that only made matters worse, and he suffered added torments. Finally, public opinion in France combined with the press in his behalf, and the General was freed.


The trouble in West Africa promises to become such an important item of current history that it might be well to look into it more deeply, and try and get a clear idea of the difficulty.

France undoubtedly wishes to have dominion over the countries lying between her western and eastern possessions in Africa. On the west coast she owns the Senegal River and the town of St. Louis. The Central Soudan also belongs to France, and on the[338] east coast, opposite Aden, the two towns of Obok and Tanjurrah fly the French flag. The problem has been to acquire the lands intervening, so as to make one unbroken line. You can see what an advantage this would be; for, with the Nile on one side and the Niger on the other, it would be comparatively easy to ship valuable products from the interior to the markets of the world.

Since 1880, France has spent great sums of money in trying to bridge over the space lying between her possessions, and step by step her empire has pushed its way from the Senegal to the Niger.

England had been confined to the coast. She owned Sierra Leone, the Gambia Settlements, the Colony of Lagos, and the Niger Protectorate. The Royal Niger Company owned the hinterland of Lagos, which means the country back of Lagos, and this is the only hinterland that England did own. France, owning the country back of the English Colonies, effectually checks their development.

Until 1890 there was a dispute between England and France about their West African possessions. In 1890 there was a difficulty about territory on the Lower Niger, and this was settled for a little while by a treaty which marked out the British "spheres of influence" by a line drawn from Say on the Niger to Lake Chad. Say is directly west of Sokoto, and you can easily find Lake Chad on your map, for it is a very large lake. To the south, the British were supposed to control "all that properly belongs to the kingdom of Sokoto."

If France has invaded this kingdom they have broken the treaty, and they are in the wrong.[339]

On the other bank of the Niger, England, through the Royal Niger Company, has made treaties with the native chiefs, and thus gained a good foothold.

In 1893, France conquered and annexed Dahomey, which is on the coast; but England controlled the hinterland of Dahomey through the treaties her company had made with the chiefs. France chose to set aside these treaties, and said that, having been made with savages, they were not valid. During the last three years she has sent out expeditious from St. Louis and Dahomey, and gained a great deal of territory which England believes she ought to control.

So that is the way the matter is at present. France has the possession of countries for which England can show her treaties.

For the benefit of commerce, it would be well that victory should lie with England, for she would open the country to the commerce of the world, while France alone would benefit should she control this rich land.


We told you two weeks ago of the change of Presidents in the Republic of Venezuela.

The new President, Gen. Ignacio Andrade, starts his administration with the prospect of serious trouble in his country.

The State Department at Washington was notified, shortly after General Andrade's election, that a revolution had broken out at Valencia. This is a town two hundred miles west of Caracas, and situated in the mountains, which, starting here, extend down the whole western coast of South America.[340]

The cause of the revolution is not known, but it is supposed to be on account of the succession of General Andrade.


The Chinese puzzle still remains unsolved.

Mr. Labouchere, the editor of London Truth, has some very good ideas to offer; he says: "What, in the name of goodness, have we got to quarrel about in China? Russia is striving to get an access to the Pacific which will not be ice-bound in winter. It is a reasonable desire, and will not hurt us. Russia is not our commercial rival, and is not likely to be. Germany has obtained a pied-à-terre (foothold) in China. On the part of a great commercial power this, also, is not unreasonable. It may not suit us, but it is considerably less than we have got, and we have no right to object. Considering the position which we have so long occupied, and still occupy, in China, this snarling and blustering at the first appearance of a stranger on the scene is more offensive and contemptible than the conduct of the dog in the manger."

Commenting on what Sir Michael Hicks-Beach said in reference to keeping treaty ports open in case of war, Labouchere says: "Having heard a cock crow on a neighboring dunghill, he thought it necessary that the majestic voice of Britain should be heard also."

It was reported in our last number that England and Germany have agreed to combine and lend China the $80,000,000 which she is to pay to Japan.

It is not known whether Japan will release her hold on Wei-Hai-Wei even if she gets this money.[341]

England, in consideration of this loan, would certainly expect favors from China as regards the Yangtse-kiang Valley, and Germany would undoubtedly expect to have no more trouble with China because of her seizure of Kiao-Chou. Many other concessions will undoubtedly be demanded, and we may be sure that Russia will have something to say.

It is also reported that the Government at Pekin will try and settle its difficulties by allotting "spheres of influence" to the great powers. This was done in West Africa, where it is causing much trouble between France and England. The Chinese evidently do not realize how elastic these "spheres" are.


It is to be wondered whether or not Emperor Kuang Hsu, of China, realizes the danger that threatens his kingdom. He is known as the Son of Heaven and Brother of the Sun. These titles would seem to indicate that he is a person of great character and capable of ruling the Empire. The truth is, he is a very weak young man, and the country is really ruled by the Empress Dowager. She is sixty-three years old, and for many years has controlled every action of the Emperor. She has supervised his education, selected his wives, and really held the Emperor squarely under her thumb.

The Emperor is securely hidden away behind the thick walls of his palace, and his private quarters are known as the Purple Forbidden City. Very few people have set eyes upon the monarch; and among Europeans and Americans, only ambassadors are permitted to see him.[342]

He is said to have a very ugly temper, and to do foolish things when he cannot have his own way. This must happen very often, for the Empress Dowager sees that his way is made hers.


Russia has followed Germany's example, and demanded from China a lease of Port Arthur and Talien-Wan, granting to her all sovereign rights over these ports for the same period and on the same conditions as in the case of Germany at Kiao-Chou Bay.

At first, China was disposed to refuse this demand; but Russia threatened to move troops into Manchuria if the demand was not acceded to, and China, making a virtue of necessity, yielded.

This lease gives to Russia what she has so long wanted—that is, a port on the Asiatic coast which is not frozen up in winter. She now has her "sphere of influence" located in a way most satisfactory to herself.

If China leases many more ports to the great powers she may secure the materials for a "concert of powers" which will prove as useful to her as it has been to the Sultan of Turkey.


It is reported that there are 10,000 men on the trail between Skaguay and Dyea in Alaska.

The rush is now at its height, for now that the warmer weather is coming, the perils of the Klondike will be fewer for some months.

Some very thrilling tales have reached us from the Pacific coast, although the newspapers are very reti[343]cent about publishing reports of accidents. It would seem that some agency is suppressing accounts of ill-starred ventures. Certainly, the papers hold out the golden possibilities of the trip, while the dangers and privations are kept well in the background.

Thousands of men are setting out for the gold country to-day. Every small town and village of the United States has its quota of Argonauts, and they are pouring west to take ship for the Klondike. In Greek mythology there is a story about a man named Jason, who set out to find the Golden Fleece. The ship he sailed in was named the Argo. In 1849, when the people of the United States had the gold fever so badly, and the rush to California was very much like that to the Klondike to-day, the men who started from the East to go to the Pacific coast by ship were called Argonauts. Afterward it became a common term, and all people setting out for the gold-mines were designated by this title.


The reindeer which were bought in Scandinavia by the United States for use in Alaska, and shipped to New York, are to be sold. They were to have been used for relief expeditions, but it has been found out that supplies are more abundant in the Klondike than was first reported.

There are five hundred and thirty-seven of these reindeer, and it is to be doubted whether they will sell for as much money as they have cost. To buy them in Lapland, Norway, and Sweden involved an expenditure of $50,000, and to bring them to this country was a very expensive undertaking.



There are more rumors of trouble in India. In and about Bombay there is a strong feeling of discontent among the natives because of the plague measures. You will remember what was written in July last in The Great Round World about the curious customs of the different races in India; how they refuse to depart from these customs for fear of losing caste, which they hold more dear than life itself.

The great Sepoy Mutiny was partly occasioned by the use of cartridges which were thought to have lard on them; from these cartridges the native soldiers had to remove the ends before putting them in the muskets, and they said that it was intended that they should bite off this larded end and thus lose caste.

Many of these natives will not drink milk, others will not touch lard, and none of them must eat food prepared or handled by certain persons.

In order to stop the spread of the plague, certain rules had to be made, and it is these rules which cause so many outbreaks among the natives.[345]

The population of India is enormous, and a general outbreak would necessarily be a very serious matter.


The re-election of Paul Krüger as President of the South African Republic, while fortunate for the citizens of that country, is thought to be detrimental to British interests in South Africa, for since the Jameson Raid, about which we told you in No. 20 of The Great Round World, Oom Paul has not held the English in high favor.

President Krüger received three-quarters of the votes in the late election. His rivals were General Joubert, Vice-President of the Republic, and Schalk Burger, a member of the Executive Council. The President's term is five years.


A VERY important event in South Africa is the completion of the railway between Cape Town and Buluwayo. Look on your map and see what a great distance this is. It is just about as far as New York is from New Orleans. The road is to be continued to Lake Tanganyika (Buluwayo lies about mid-way between Cape Town and the southern extremity of this Lake). It is reported that this extension will cost $15,000,000. England controls this railway, and it will probably be the source of great revenue to her, for the natural treasures of this part of Africa are almost unlimited.



There is a very interesting article in McClure's Magazine for March about Andrée and his expedition. The finding of the carrier-pigeon is described. It seems that the captain of the sealer Aiken, which was cruising near Spitzbergen, saw this bird in the rigging of his boat. It was very tired, had its head under its wing, and was fast asleep. The captain shot the bird, and it fell into the sea. He did not think anything more of the matter until he happened to remember hearing about the pigeons Andrée had taken with him. He turned his vessel, and steered back to try and find the bird. Fortunately he was successful, and attached to a tail-feather of the carrier-pigeon was found a small tube with this message in it:

"July 13th, 12:30 p.m.

"Latitude 82° 2'; longitude 15° 5' east. Good progress eastward, 10° south. All well on board. This is the third pigeon despatch.


It has been proved that this dispatch really was from Andrée, and it is the only word that has been received from him since he started on his perilous trip.


England seems to be determined to keep her hold in Egypt, and, if possible, to strengthen it. Her troops there have been ordered to proceed to Khartoum and thence to Uganda, with the plan of sending them on to Fashoda in order to make it a British post.

England realizes the immense importance to her[347] commerce of keeping the White Nile Valley open and safe. It is reported that she is now conducting negotiations at Brussels and at Berlin to secure control of the territory connecting Uganda with South Africa, which she tried unsuccessfully to secure several years ago when Lord Rosebery was in power.


The news that the French liner La Champagne was overdue last month in New York, caused considerable anxiety. This increased as several days passed without bringing any news of her.

Then the steamer Rotterdam, which arrived in New York on February 27th, brought an officer and six men belonging to La Champagne. They had been picked up in an open boat in which they had been tossed about on a rough sea for six days and nights, suffering great hardships.

They announced that La Champagne had broken her shaft and was anchored, safe but helpless, off the banks of Newfoundland. They had put out in the open boat in order to seek for assistance in the regular track of the steamers, from which La Champagne had been driven.

Assistance was sent to the disabled ship, and a few days later she was brought into the harbor of Halifax.


The Cubans are keeping up an astonishingly vigorous campaign. The hardest fighting of late has taken place in the eastern part of the island.

A severe battle was fought on February 18th and 19th, at Puerto Principe, in which the insurgents[348] were worsted by Gen. Jiminez Castellanos, losing in all one hundred and eighty-one men, and being obliged to abandon more than eighty men who lay dead on the field. It is reported that included among those killed were Colonel Rodriguez, Commandant Angel Rocio, and other officers.

The losses of the Spanish were much smaller, but it is said that Lieutenant Porajo was killed. The Spaniards captured a number of horses and considerable ammunition.

In the province of Santiago de Cuba, General Pardo has been fighting with the insurgent forces under General Garcia and General Rabi. The engagements lasted through six days, resulting, it is said, in the loss of eighty men on the Spanish side. In this province the Cubans have succeeded in fortifying themselves very strongly.

A cablegram from Madrid has stated that of late there has been a great increase in the number of Spanish troops mentioned in the official news as having been killed in Cuba.[349]


Arctic exploration may be said to have begun in the sixteenth century, and since that time daring sailors of all nations have gone into the icy regions, many of them never to return.

At that time the search for "The Indies" was so diligently pushed that mariners tried every way of getting to the West. Failing to find any short route to the South, their attention was turned to the idea of passing around north of the new continent which we now call America, and this desired route was spoken of as the Northwest Passage. Expeditions have passed westward a long way in open water north of the continent, and, coming through to the Pacific, have reached the far East, but there still remains a largely unexplored and almost impassable icy barrier.

As an instance of the aim of the early expeditions, the following quotation from the old records may be interesting. It describes the object of an expedition which left England in 1553 as being "For the search and discovery of the Northern parts of the world, to open a way and passage to our men for travel to new and unknown kingdoms."

All the nations that had shipping interests were active in this search, the English especially. The Dutch sought the short cut for their merchantmen because the voyage around the Cape of Good Hope was very dangerous, being controlled by Spanish and Portuguese, who unhesitatingly preyed upon the merchant vessels that tried to pass that way. The result of the Dutch expeditions into the North was the dis[350]covery of the possibilities of the whaling industry, which they may be said to have originated, and which was a source of great profit to them for a very long period. They established a number of settlements, and explored much that had been unknown before.

Among the English expeditions, those of most importance to us in America were Henry Hudson's. He made his first voyage in 1607, representing the Muscovy Company of England. He explored the coast of Greenland on this voyage, and again in 1608; while on his third voyage he explored the coasts of North America and discovered the Hudson River. At this time he was in the employ of the Dutch East India Company. Again, in 1610, his efforts were crowned with success, and he discovered what is known as Hudson Bay.

From that time voyage after voyage was made, largely by Englishmen, and the knowledge of geography grew every year, each captain bringing back some new items of information.

Meanwhile the Russians, who had acquired Siberia, sought a Northeast Passage and explored the northern coast of their vast new territory, which reaches into the Polar regions. Although many efforts were made to pass through to China in this way, it was not accomplished until 1879, when a Russian explorer reached Bering Strait and the Pacific from the West.

Search for "the Indies" was carried on with wonderful perseverance and nerve. It is very difficult for us in these days to imagine the obstacles that these old sailors had to overcome, or the dangers their tiny craft encountered. Their little boats would now be considered absolutely impracticable for long and[351] arduous trips; and that they should have explored all they did, shows how sturdiness and courage have caused the growth of the world's known territory.

As time went on, the idea of securing the passage to the fabled lands of the riches gave place to search in the Arctic regions for the scientific knowledge that could be obtained from such expeditious. "The Indies" and their fabulous riches had become known countries which were readily reached through other routes, and the saving in time by going to them by way of the North had been found to be more than offset by the rigor and perils of an Arctic voyage, even if it could by any possibility be made.

In 1818 Sir John Barrow, who did much for scientific Arctic exploration, secured the passage of a law in England offering $100,000 to any one who would find the Northwest Passage, and $25,000 to any one who should reach the 89th parallel of latitude. This stimulated the search. The expeditions of Ross, Parry, and Franklin made trips which, although not successful to the degree of winning the reward, added much to the knowledge of the Arctic regions.

The Hudson Bay Company, incorporated in 1670, had all this time been actively at work investigating the new territory in the northern part of the American continent, and all this district became fairly well mapped out.

Modern ingenuity has not succeeded in accomplishing very much more than was done by the ill-equipped mariners of centuries ago. American expeditions and English expeditions have gone farther into the North, but they have cost more lives. They have been more venturesome and have obtained considerable scientific[352] data, but their gain is not in proportion to the advance in their facilities, and it seems to be established that the contest against the great icy fields of the Polar regions is one that will be waged a long time before man is the conqueror.

The expeditions of our own naval engineer, Peary, are well known to us; and the trip of Greely was an interesting one. This last was undertaken by the United States after agreement among the various nations of the world as to the wisdom of pushing a series of stations in the Arctic regions for observation. A number of these stations were established, and Greely had charge of the American one.

Of recent expeditions, that of Nansen has attracted most attention because he succeeded in reaching farther North than any one before him had ever been and returned to tell the tale. The case of Andrée, who sailed away last July in his great balloon, expecting to pass over the North Pole, is interesting for its novelty of plan. He was equipped with provisions to last him at least two years, and accompanied by only two comrades on his long voyage.

The question is often raised whether Arctic exploration pays. Probably by itself, that is, if it would have no bearing upon anything else, it would not pay for the lives that are lost by it and the money that is spent upon it. But when we consider that every scientific fact is an addition to our knowledge, and may influence for great good some other line of work which would seem to be in no way connected with it, it is undoubtedly true that the explorations should continue on scientific lines until no part of the globe which can be reached is unknown to man.

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Transcriber's notes:

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The remaining corrections made are indicated by dotted lines under the corrections. Scroll the mouse over the word and the original text will appear.

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