Scientific American Supplement No. 344

Produced by Olaf Voss, Don Kretz, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the DP Team SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 344 NEW YORK, August 5, 1882 Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XIV, No. 344. Scientific American established 1845 Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year. Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year. * * * * * TABLE OF
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 5/8/1882
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

Produced by Olaf Voss, Don Kretz, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the DP Team



NEW YORK, August 5, 1882

Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XIV, No. 344.

Scientific American established 1845

Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.

Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.

* * * * *


I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS.–The Panama Canal. By MANUEL EISSLER. I.–Historical notes.–Spanish Discoveries in Central America.–Early explorations.–Nicaragua projects.–Panama railway, etc.

Improved Averaging Machine.

Compound Beam Engine. 4 figures.–Borsig’s improved compound beam engine.

Power Hammers with Movable Fulcrum.–By DANIEL LONGWORTH. 5 figures.

The Bicheroux System of Furnaces Applied to the Puddling of Iron. 2 figures.

Gessner’s Continuous Cloth Pressing Machine. 3 figures.

Novelties in Ring Spindles. 4 figures.

Improvements in Woolen Carding Engines.

II. NATURAL HISTORY.–Metamorphosis of the Deer’s Antlers.–Annual changes. 9 figures.

Monkeys. By A.R. WALLACE.–Comparison of skeletons of man, orang outang, and chimpanzee.–Other anatomical resemblances and diversities.–The different kinds of monkeys and the countries they inhabit.–American monkeys.–Lemurs. –Distribution, affinities, and zoological rank of monkeys.

Silk Producing Bombyces and other Lepidoptera reared in 1881. By ALFRED WAILLY, Member Lauriat de la Societe d’Acclimatation de France.–An extended and important European, Asiatic, and American silk worms, and other silk producers.

III. MINERALOGY, METALLURGY, ETC.–The Mineralogical Localities In and Around New York City and the Minerals Occurring Therein.–By NELSON H. DARTON.–Chances for collecting within one hour’s ride of New York.–Methods of collecting and testing.–Localities on Bergen Hill.–The Weehawken Tunnel.–Minerals and modes of occurrence.–Calcite.–Natrolite.–Pectolite.–Datholite. –Apopholite.–Phrenite.–Iron and copper pyrites. –Stilbite.–Laumonite.–Heulandite.


Crystallization and its Effects Upon Iron. By N.B. WOOD.– Beauty of Crystals.–Nature of cohesion.–Cleavage.–Growth of crystals.–Some large crystals.–Cast iron.–Influence of phosphorus and sulphur.–Nature of steel.–Burnt steel.–Effect of annealing.

IV. ARCHITECTURE, ART, ETC.–The Cathedral of Burgos, Spain. –Full page illustration from photograph.

Description of Burgos Cathedral.

Photo-Engraving on Zinc and Copper. By LEON VIDAL.

Meridian Line.–A surveyor’s method of finding the true meridian.–By R.W. MCFARLAND.

V. ELECTRICITY, ETC.–Electro Mania. By W. MATTIEU WILLIAMS.–Example of electrical exaggeration and delusion.–Early scientific attempts at electro-motors, electric lamps, etc.

Action of Magnets Upon the Voltaic Arc. By TH. DU MONCEL. 2 figures.

Volckmar’s Secondary Batteries.

* * * * *


Every year in March the deer loses its antlers, and fresh ones immediately begin to grow, which exceed in size those that have just been lost. Few persons probably have been able to watch and observe the habits of the animal after it has lost its antlers. It will, therefore, be of interest to examine the accompanying drawings, by Mr. L. Beckmann, one of them showing a deer while shedding its antlers, and the other as the animal appears after losing them. In the first illustration the animal has just lost one of its antlers, and fright and pain cause it to throw its head upward and become disturbed and uneasy. The remaining antler draws down one side of the head and is very inconvenient for the animal. The remaining antler becomes soon detached from its base, and the deer turns–as if ashamed of having lost its ornament and weapon–lowers its head, and sorrowfully moves to the adjoining thicket, where it hides. A friend once observed a deer losing its antlers, but the circumstances were somewhat different. The animal was jumping over a ditch, and as soon as it touched the further bank it jumped high in the air, arched its back, bent its head to one side in the manner of an animal that has been wounded, and then sadly approached the nearest thicket, in the same manner as the artist has represented in the accompanying picture. Both antlers dropped off and fell into the ditch.


Strong antlers are generally found together, but weak ones are lost at intervals of two or three days. A few days after this loss the stumps upon which the antlers rested are covered with a skin, which grows upward very rapidly, and under which the fresh antlers are formed, so that by the end of July the bucks have new and strong antlers, from which they remove the fine hairy covering by rubbing them against young trees. It is peculiar that the huntsman, who knows everything in regard to deer, and has seventy-two signs by which he can tell whether a male or female deer passes through the woods, does not know at what age the deer gets its first antlers and how the antlers indicate the age of the animal. Prof. Altum, in Eberswalde, has given some valuable information in regard to the relation between the age of the deer and the forms of their antlers, but in some respects he has not expressed himself very clearly, and I think that my observations given in addition to his may be of importance. When the animal is a year old–that is, in June–the burrs of the antlers begin to form, and in July the animal has two protuberances of the size of walnuts, from which the first branches of the antlers rise; these branches having the length of a finger only, or being even shorter, as shown at 1, in diagram, on p. 5481. After the second year more branches are formed, which are considerably longer and much rougher at the lower ends than the first. The third pair of antlers is different from its predecessors, inasmuch as it has “roses,” that is, annular ridges around the bases of the horn, which latter are now bent in the shape of a crescent. Either the antler has a single branch (Fig. 3, _a_), or besides the point it has another short end, which is a most rare shape, and is known as a “fork” (Fig. 3, _b_), or it has two forks (Fig. 3, _c_). In the following year the antlers take the form shown in Fig. 4, and then follows the antler shown in Fig. 5, _a_, which generally has “forks” in place of points, and is known as forked antler in contradistinction to the point antler shown in Fig. 5, _b_, which retains the shape of the antler, Fig. 4, but has additional or intermediate prongs or branches. The huntsmen designate the antlers by the number of ends or points on the two antlers. For instance, Fig. 4 is a six-ender; Fig. 5 shows an eight-ender, etc.; and antlers have been known to have as many as twenty-two ends. If the two antlers do not have the same number of ends the number of ends on the larger antler is multiplied by two and the word “odd” is placed before the word designating the number of ends. For instance, if one antler has three ends and the other four, the antler would be termed an “odd” eight-ender. The sixth antler shown in Fig. 6 is a ten-ender, and appears in two different forms, either with a fork at the upper end, as shown in Fig. 6, _a_, or with a crown, as shown in Fig. 6, _b_. In Fig. 7 an antler is shown which the animal carries from its seventh year until the month of March of its eighth year. From that time on the crowns only increase and change. The increase in the number of points is not always as regular as I have described it, for in years when food is scarce and poor the antlers are weak and small, and when food is plentiful and rich the antlers grow exceedingly large, and sometimes skip an entire year’s growth.–_Karl Brandt, in Leipziger lllustrirte Zeitung_.



* * * * *



If the skeleton of an orang-outang and a chimpanzee be compared with that of a man, there will be found to be the most wonderful resemblance, together with a very marked diversity. Bone for bone, throughout the whole structure, will be found to agree in general form, position, and function, the only absolute differences being that the orang has nine wrist bones, whereas man and the chimpanzee have but eight; and the chimpanzee has thirteen pairs of ribs, whereas the orang, like man, has but twelve. With these two exceptions, the differences are those of shape, proportion, and direction only, though the resulting differences in the external form and motions are very considerable. The greatest of these are, that the feet of the anthropoid or man-like apes, as well as those of all monkeys, are formed like hands, with large opposable thumbs fitted to grasp the branches of trees, but unsuitable for erect walking, while the hands have weak, small thumbs, but very long and powerful fingers, forming a hook, rather than a hand, adapted for climbing up trees and suspending the whole weight from horizontal branches. The almost complete identity of the skeleton, however, and the close similarity of the muscles and of all the internal organs, have produced that striking and ludicrous resemblance to man, which every one recognizes in these higher apes, and, in a less degree, in the whole monkey tribe; the face and features, the motions, attitudes, and gestures being often a strange caricature of humanity. Let us, then, examine a little more closely in what the resemblance consists, and how far, and to what extent, these animals really differ from us.

Besides the face, which is often wonderfully human–although the absence of any protuberant nose gives it often a curiously infantile aspect, monkeys, and especially apes, resemble us most closely in the hand and arm. The hand has well-formed fingers, with nails, and the skin of the palm is lined and furrowed like our own. The thumb is, however, smaller and weaker than ours, and is not so much used in taking hold of anything. The monkey’s hand is, therefore, not so well adapted as that of man for a variety of purposes, and cannot be applied with such precision in holding small objects, while it is unsuitable for performing delicate operations, such as tying a knot or writing with a pen. A monkey does not take hold of a nut with its forefinger and thumb, as we do, but grasps it between the fingers and the palm in a clumsy way, just as a baby does before it has acquired the proper use of its hand. Two groups of monkeys–one in Africa and one in South America–have no thumbs on their hands, and yet they do not seem to be in any respect inferior to other kinds which possess it. In most of the American monkeys the thumb bends in the same direction as the fingers, and in none is it so perfectly opposed to the fingers as our thumbs are; and all these circumstances show that the hand of the monkey is, both structurally and functionally, a very different and very inferior organ to that of man, since it is not applied to similar purposes, nor is it capable of being so applied.

When we look at the feet of monkeys we find a still greater difference, for these have much larger and more opposable thumbs, and are therefore more like our hands; and this is the case with all monkeys, so that even those which have no thumbs on their hands, or have them small and weak and parallel to the fingers, have always large and well-formed thumbs on their feet. It was on account of this peculiarity that the great French naturalist Cuvier named the whole group of monkeys Quadrumana, or four-handed animals, because, besides the two hands on their fore-limbs, they have also two hands in place of feet on their hind-limbs. Modern naturalists have given up the use of this term, because they say that the hind extremities of all monkeys are really feet, only these feet are shaped like hands; but this is a point of anatomy, or rather of nomenclature, which we need not here discuss.

Let us, however, before going further, inquire into the purpose and use of this peculiarity, and we shall then see that it is simply an adaptation to the mode of life of the animals which possess it. Monkeys, as a rule, live in trees, and are especially abundant in the great tropical forests. They feed chiefly upon fruits, and occasionally eat insects and birds’-eggs, as well as young birds, all of which they find in the trees; and, as they have no occasion to come down to the ground, they travel from tree to tree by jumping or swinging, and thus pass the greater part of their lives entirely among the leafy branches of lofty trees. For such a mode of existence, they require to be able to move with perfect ease upon large or small branches, and to climb up rapidly from one bough to another. As they use their hands for gathering fruit and catching insects or birds, they require some means of holding on with their feet, otherwise they would be liable to continual falls, and they are able to do this by means of their long finger-like toes and large opposable thumbs, which grasp a branch almost as securely as a bird grasps its perch. The true hands, on the contrary, are used chiefly to climb with, and to swing the whole weight of the body from one branch or one tree to another, and for this purpose the fingers are very long and strong, and in many species they are further strengthened by being partially joined together, as if the skin of our fingers grew together as far as the knuckles. This shows that the separate action of the fingers, which is so important to us, is little required by monkeys, whose hand is really an organ for climbing and seizing food, while their foot is required to support them firmly in any position on the branches of trees, and for this purpose it has become modified into a large and powerful grasping hand.

Another striking difference between monkeys and men is that the former never walk with ease in an erect posture, but always use their arms in climbing or in walking on all-fours like most quadrupeds. The monkeys that we see in the streets dressed up and walking erect, only do so after much drilling and teaching, just as dogs may be taught to walk in the same way; and the posture is almost as unnatural to the one animal as it is to the other. The largest and most man-like of the apes–the gorilla, chimpanzee, and orang-outang–also walk usually on all-fours; but in these the arms are so long and the legs so short that the body appears half erect when walking; and they have the habit of resting on the knuckles of the hands, not on the palms like the smaller monkeys, whose arms and legs are more nearly of an equal length, which tends still further to give them a semi-erect position. Still they are never known to walk of their own accord on their hind legs only, though they can do so for short distances, and the story of their using a stick and walking erect by its help in the wild state is not true. Monkeys, then, are both four-handed and four-footed beasts; they possess four hands formed very much like our hands, and capable of picking up or holding any small object in the same manner; but they are also four-footed, because they use all four limbs for the purpose of walking, running, or climbing; and, being adapted to this double purpose, the hands want the delicacy of touch and the freedom as well as the precision of movement which ours possess. Man alone is so constructed that he walks erect with perfect ease, and has his hands free for any use to which he wishes to apply them; and this is the great and essential bodily distinction between monkeys and men.

We will now give some account of the different kinds of monkeys and the countries they inhabit.


Monkeys are usually divided into three kinds–apes, monkeys, and baboons; but these do not include the American monkeys, which are really more different from all those of the Old World than any of the latter are from each other. Naturalists, therefore, divide the whole monkey-tribe into two great families, inhabiting the Old and the New World respectively; and, if we learn to remember the kind of differences by which these several groups are distinguished, we shall be able to understand something of the classification of animals, and the difference between important and unimportant characters.

Taking first the Old World groups, they may be thus defined: apes have no tails; monkeys have tails, which are usually long; while baboons have short tails, and their faces, instead of being round and with a man-like expression as in apes and monkeys, are long and more dog-like. These differences are, however, by no means constant, and it is often difficult to tell whether an animal should be classed as an ape, a monkey, or a baboon. The Gibraltar ape, for example, though it has no tail, is really a monkey, because it has callosities, or hard pads of bare skin on which it sits, and cheek pouches in which it can stow away food; the latter character being always absent in the true apes, while both are present in most monkeys and baboons. All these animals, however, from the largest ape to the smallest monkey, have the same number of teeth as we have, and they are arranged in a similar manner, although the tusks or canine teeth of the males are often large, like those of a dog.

The American monkeys, on the other hand, with the exception of the marmosets, have four additional grinding teeth (one in each jaw on either side), and none of them have callosities, or cheek pouches. They never have prominent snouts like the baboons; their nostrils are placed wide apart and open sideways on the face; the tail, though sometimes short, is never quite absent; and the thumb bends the same way as the fingers, is generally very short and weak, and is often quite wanting. We thus see that these American monkeys differ in a great number of characters from those of the Eastern hemisphere; and they have this further peculiarity, that many of them have prehensile or grasping tails, which are never found in the monkeys of any other country. This curious organ serves the purpose of a fifth hand. It has so much muscular power that the animal can hang by it easily with the tip curled round a branch, while it can also be used to pick up small objects with almost as much ease and exactness as an elephant’s trunk. In those species which have it most perfectly formed it is very long and powerful, and the end has the underside covered with bare skin, exactly resembling that of the finger or palm of the hand and apparently equally sensitive. One of the common kinds of monkeys that accompany street organ-players has a prehensile tail, but not of the most perfect kind; since in this species the tail is entirely clad with hair to the tip, and seems to be used chiefly to steady the animal when sitting on a branch by being twisted round another branch near it. The statement is often erroneously made that all American monkeys have prehensile tails; but the fact is that rather less than half the known kinds have them so, the remainder having this organ either short and bushy, or long and slender, but entirely without any power of grasping. All prehensile-tailed monkeys are American, but all American monkeys are not prehensile-tailed.

By remembering these characters it is easy, with a little observation, to tell whether any strange monkey comes from America or from the Old World. If it has bare seat-pads, or if when eating it fills its mouth till its cheeks swell out like little bags, we may be sure it comes from some part of Africa or Asia; while if it can curl up the end of its tail so as to take hold of anything, it is certainly American. As all the tailed monkeys of the Old World have seat-pads (or ischial callosities as they are called in scientific language), and as all the American monkeys have tails, but no seat-pads, this is the most constant external character by which to distinguish them; and having done so we can look for the other peculiarities of the American monkeys, especially the distance apart of the nostrils and their lateral position.

The whole monkey-tribe is especially tropical, only a few kinds being found in the warmer parts of the temperate zone. One inhabits the Rock of Gibraltar, and there is one very like it in Japan, and these are the two monkeys which live furthest from the equator. In the tropics they become very abundant and increase in numbers and variety as we approach the equator, where the climate is hot, moist, and equable, and where flowers, fruits, and insects are to be found throughout the year. Africa has about 55 different kinds, Asia and its islands about 60, while America has 114, or almost exactly the same as Asia and Africa together. Australia and its islands have no monkeys, nor has the great and luxuriant island of New Guinea, whose magnificent forests seem so well adapted for them. We will now give a short account of the different kinds of monkeys inhabiting each of the tropical continents.

Africa possesses two of the great man-like apes–the gorilla and the chimpanzee, the former being the largest ape known, and the one which, on the whole, perhaps most resembles man, though its countenance is less human than that of the chimpanzee. Both are found in West Africa, near the equator, but they also inhabit the interior wherever there are great forests; and Dr. Schweinfurth states that the chimpanzee inhabits the country about the sources of the Shari River in 28 deg. E. long. and 4 deg. N. lat.

The long-tailed monkeys of Africa are very numerous and varied. One group has no cheek pouches and no thumb on the hand, and many of these have long soft fur of varied colors. The most numerous group are the Guenons, rather small long-tailed monkeys, very active and lively, and often having their faces curiously marked with white or black, or ornamented with whiskers or other tufts of hair; and they all have large cheek pouches and good sized thumbs. Many of them are called green monkeys, from the greenish yellow tint of their fur, and most of them are well formed, pleasing animals. They are found only in tropical Africa.

The baboons are larger but less numerous. They resemble dogs in the general form and the length of the face or snout, but they have hands with well-developed thumbs on both the fore and hind limbs; and this, with something in the expression of the face and their habit of sitting up and using their hands in a very human fashion, at once shows that they belong to the monkey tribe. Many of them are very ugly, and in their wild state they are the fiercest and most dangerous of monkeys. Some have the tail very long, others of medium length, while it is sometimes reduced to a mere stump, and all have large cheek pouches and bare seat pads. They are found all over Africa, from Egypt to the Cape of Good Hope; while one species, called the hamadryas, extends from Abyssinia across the Red Sea into Arabia, and is the only baboon found out of Africa. This species was known to the ancients, and it is often represented in Egyptian sculptures, while mummies of it have been found in the catacombs. The largest and most remarkable of all the baboons is the mandrill of West Africa, whose swollen and hog-like face is ornamented with stripes of vivid blue and scarlet. This animal has a tail scarcely two inches long, while in size and strength it is not much inferior to the gorilla. The large baboons go in bands, and are said to be a match for any other animals in the African forests, and even to attack and drive away the elephants from the districts they inhabit.

Turning now to Asia, we have first one of the best known of the large man-like apes–the orang-outang, found only in the two large islands, Borneo and Sumatra. The name is Malay, signifying “man of the woods,” and it should be pronounced orang-ootan, the accent being on the first syllable of both words. It is a very curious circumstance that, whereas the gorilla and chimpanzee are both black, like the negroes of the same country, the orang-outang is red or reddish brown, closely resembling the color of the Malays and Dyaks who live in the Bornean forests. Though very large and powerful, it is a harmless creature, feeding on fruit, and never attacking any other animal except in self-defense. A full-grown male orang-outang is rather more than four feet high, but with a body as large as that of a stout man, and with enormously long and powerful arms.

Another group of true apes inhabit Asia and the larger Asiatic islands, and are in some respects the most remarkable of the whole family. These are the Gibbons, or long-armed apes, which are generally of small size and of a gentle disposition, but possessing the most wonderful agility. In these creatures the arms are as long as the body and legs together, and are so powerful that a gibbon will hang for hours suspended from a branch, or swing to and fro and then throw itself a great distance through the air. The arms, in fact, completely take the place of the legs for traveling. Instead of jumping from bough to bough and running on the branches, like other apes and monkeys, the gibbons move along while hanging suspended in the air, stretching their arms from bough to bough, and thus going hand over hand as a very active sailor will climb along a rope. The strength of their arms is, however, so prodigious, and their hold so sure, that they often loose one hand before they have caught a bough with the other, thus seeming almost to fly through the air by a series of swinging leaps; and they travel among the network of interlacing boughs a hundred feet above the earth with as much ease and certainty as we walk or run upon level ground, and with even greater speed. These little animals scarcely ever come down to the ground of their own accord; but when obliged to do so they run along almost erect, with their long arms swinging round and round, as if trying to find some tree or other object to climb upon. They are the only apes who naturally walk without using their hands as well as their feet; but this does not make them more like men, for it is evident that the attitude is not an easy one, and is only adopted because the arms are habitually used to swing by, and are therefore naturally held upward, instead of downward, as they must be when walking on them.

The tailed monkeys of Asia consist of two groups, the first of which have no cheek pouches, but always have very long tails, They are true forest monkeys, very active and of a shy disposition. The most remarkable of these is the long-nosed monkey of Borneo, which is very large, of a pale brown color, and distinguished by possessing a long, pointed, fleshy nose, totally unlike that of all other monkeys. Another interesting species is the black and white entellus monkey of India, called the “Hanuman,” by the Hindoos, and considered sacred by them. These animals are petted and fed, and at some of the temples numbers of them come every day for the food which the priests, as well as the people, provide for them.

The next group of Eastern monkeys are the Macaques, which are more like baboons, and often run upon the ground. They are more bold and vicious than the others. All have cheek pouches, and though some have long tails, in others the tail is short, or reduced to a mere stump. In some few this stump is so very short that there appears to be no tail, as in the magot of North Africa and Gibraltar, and in an allied species that inhabits Japan.


The monkeys which inhabit America form three very distinct groups: 1st, the Sapajous, which have prehensile or grasping tails; 2nd, the Sagouins, which have ordinary tails, either long or short; and, 3rd, the Marmosets, very small creatures, with sharp claws, long tails which are not prehensile, and a smaller number of teeth than all other American monkeys. Each of these three groups contain several sub-groups, or _genera_, which often differ remarkably from each other, and from all the monkeys of the Old World.

We will begin with the howling monkeys, which are the largest found in America, and are celebrated for the loud voice of the males. Often in the great forests of the Amazon or Oronooko a tremendous noise is heard in the night or early morning, as if a great assemblage of wild beasts were all roaring and screaming together. The noise may be heard for miles, and it is louder and more piercing than that of any other animals, yet it is all produced by a single male howler, sitting on the branches of some lofty tree. They are enabled to make this extraordinary noise by means of an organ that is possessed by no other animal. The lower jaw is unusually deep, and this makes room for a hollow bony vessel about the size of a large walnut, situated under the root of the tongue, and having an opening into the windpipe by which the animal can force air into it. This increases the power of its voice, acting something like the hollow case of a violin, and producing those marvelous rolling and reverberating sounds which caused the celebrated traveler Waterton to declare that they were such as might have had their origin in the infernal regions. The howlers are large and stout bodied monkeys, with bearded faces, and very strong and powerfully grasping tails. They inhabit the wildest forests; they are very shy, and are seldom taken captive, though they are less active than many other American monkeys.

Next come the spider monkeys, so called from their slender bodies and enormously long limbs and tail. In these monkeys the tail is so long, strong, and perfect, that it completely takes the place of a fifth hand. By twisting the end of it round a branch the animal can swing freely in the air with complete safety; and this gives them a wonderful power of climbing end passing from tree to tree, because the distance they can stretch is that of the tail, body, and arm added together, and these are all unusually long. They can also swing themselves through the air for great distances, and are thus able to pass rapidly from tree to tree without ever descending to the ground, just like the gibbons in the Malayan forests. Although capable of feats of wonderful agility, the spider monkeys are usually slow and deliberate in their motions, and have a timid, melancholy expression, very different from that of most monkeys. Their hands are very long, but have only four fingers, being adapted for hanging on to branches rather than for getting hold of small objects. It is said that when they have to cross a river the trees on the opposite banks of which do not approach near enough for a leap, several of them form a chain, one hanging by its tail from a lofty overhanging branch and seizing hold of the tail of the one below it, then gradually swinging themselves backward and forward till the lower one is able to seize hold of a branch on the opposite side. He then climbs up the tree, and, when sufficiently high, the first one lets go, and the swing either carries him across to a bough on the opposite side or he climbs up over his companions.

Closely allied to the last are the woolly monkeys, which have an equally well developed prehensile tail, but better proportioned limbs, and a thick woolly fur of a uniform gray or brownish color. They have well formed fingers and thumbs, both on the hands and feet, and are rather deliberate in their motions, and exceedingly tame and affectionate in captivity. They are great eaters, and are usually very fat. They are found only in the far interior of the Amazon valley, and, having a delicate constitution, seldom live long in Europe. These monkeys are not so fond of swinging themselves about by their tails as are the spider monkeys, and offer more opportunities of observing how completely this organ takes the place of a fifth hand. When walking about a house, or on the deck of a ship, the partially curled tail is carried in a horizontal position on the ground, and the moment it touches anything it twists round it and brings it forward, when, if eatable, it is at once appropriated; and when fastened up the animal will obtain any food that may be out of reach of its hands with the greatest facility, picking up small bits of biscuit, nuts, etc., much as an elephant does with the tip of his trunk.

We now come to a group of monkeys whose prehensile tail is of a less perfect character, since it is covered with hair to the tip, and is of no use to pick up objects. It can, however, curl round a branch, and serves to steady the animal while sitting or feeding, but is never used to hang and swing by in the manner so common with the spider monkeys and their allies. These are rather small-sized animals, with round heads and with moderately long tails. They are very active and intelligent, their limbs are not so long as in the preceding group, and though they have five fingers on each hand and foot, the hands have weak and hardly opposable thumbs. Some species of these monkeys are often carried about by itinerant organ men, and are taught to walk erect and perform many amusing tricks. They form the genus _Cebus_ of naturalists.

The remainder of the American monkeys have non-prehensile tails, like those of the monkeys of the Eastern hemisphere; but they consist of several distinct groups, and differ very much in appearance and habits. First we have the Sakis, which have a bushy tail and usually very long and thick hair, something like that of a bear. Sometimes the tail is very short, appearing like a rounded tuft of hair; many of the species have fine bushy whiskers, which meet under the chin, and appear as if they had been dressed and trimmed by a barber, and the head is often covered with thick curly hair, looking like a wig. Others, again, have the face quite red, and one has the head nearly bald, a most remarkable peculiarity among monkeys. This latter species was met with by Mr. Bates on the Upper Amazon, and he describes the face as being of a vivid scarlet, the body clothed from neck to tail with very long, straight, and shining white hair, while the head was nearly bald, owing to the very short crop of thin gray hairs. As a finish to their striking physiognomy these monkeys have bushy whiskers of a sandy color meeting under the chin, and yellowish gray eyes. The color of the face is so vivid that it looks as if covered with a thick coat of bright scarlet paint. These creatures are very delicate, and have never reached Europe alive, although several of the allied forms have lived some time in our Zoological Gardens.

An allied group consists of the elegant squirrel monkeys, with long, straight, hairy tails, and often adorned with pretty variegated colors. They are usually small animals; some have the face marked with black and white, others have curious whiskers, and their nails are rather sharp and claw like. They have large round heads, and their fur is more glossy and smooth than in most other American monkeys, so that they more resemble some of the smaller monkeys of Africa. These little creatures are very active, running about the trees like squirrels, and feeding largely on insects as well as on fruit.

Closely allied to these are the small group of night monkeys, which have large eyes, and a round face surrounded by a kind of ruff of whitish fur, so as to give it an owl like appearance, whence they are sometimes called owl-faced monkeys. They are covered with soft gray fur, like that of a rabbit, and sleep all day long concealed in hollow trees. The face is also marked with white patches and stripes, giving it a rather carnivorous or cat like aspect, which, perhaps, serves as a protection, by causing the defenseless creature to be taken for an arboreal tiger cat or some such beast of prey.

This finishes the series of such of the American monkeys as have a larger number of teeth than those of the Old World. But there is another group, the Marmosets, which have the same number of teeth as Eastern monkeys, but differently distributed in the jaws, a premolar being substituted for a molar tooth. In other particulars they resemble the rest of the American monkeys. They are very small and delicate creatures some having the body only seven inches long. The thumb of the hands is[1] not opposable, and instead of nails they have sharp compressed claws. These diminutive monkeys have long, non-prehensile tails, and they have a silky fur often of varied and beautiful colors. Some are striped with gray and white, or are of rich brown or golden brown tints, varied by having the head or shoulders white or black, while in many there are crests, frills, manes, or long ear tufts, adding greatly to their variety and beauty. These little animals are timid and restless; their motions are more like those of a squirrel than a monkey. Their sharp claws enable them to run quickly along the branches, but they seldom leap from bough to bough like the larger monkeys. They live on fruits and insects, but are much afraid of wasps, which they are said to recognize even in a picture.

[Transcribers note 1: Changed from ‘… it not opposable’, …]

This completes our sketch of the American monkeys, and we see that, although they possess no such remarkable forms as the gorilla or the baboons, yet they exhibit a wonderful diversity of external characters, considering that all seem equally adapted to a purely arboreal life. In the howlers we have a specially developed voice organ, which is altogether peculiar; in the spider monkeys we find the adaptation to active motion among the topmost branches of the forest trees carried to an extreme point of development; while the singular nocturnal monkeys, the active squirrel monkeys, and the exquisite little marmosets, show how distinct are the forms under which the same general type, may be exhibited, and in how many varied ways existence may be sustained under almost identical conditions.


In the general term, monkeys, considered as equivalent to the order Primates, or the Quadrumana of naturalists, we have to include another sub-type, that of the Lemurs. These animals are of a lower grade than the true monkeys, from which they differ in so many points of structure that they are considered to form a distinct sub-order, or, by some naturalists, even a separate order. They have usually a much larger head and more pointed muzzle than monkeys; they vary considerably in the number, form, and arrangement of the teeth; their thumbs are always well developed, but their fingers vary much in size and length; their tails are usually long, but several species have no tail whatever, and they are clothed with a more or less woolly fur, often prettily variegated with white and black. They inhabit the deep forests of Africa, Madagascar, and Southern Asia, and are more sluggish in their movements than true monkeys, most of them being of nocturnal and crepuscular habits. They feed largely on insects, eating also fruits and the eggs or young of birds.

The most curious species are–the slow lemurs of South India, small tailless nocturnal animals, somewhat resembling sloths in appearance, and almost as deliberate in their movements, except when in the act of seizing their insect prey; the Tarsier, or specter lemur, of the Malay islands, a small, long tailed nocturnal lemur, remarkable for the curious development of the hind feet, which have two of the toes very short, and with sharp claws, while the others have nails, the third toe being exceedingly long and slender, though the thumb is very large, giving the feet a very irregular and _outre_ appearance; and, lastly, the Aye-aye, of Madagascar, the most remarkable of all. This animal has very large ears and a squirrel like tail, with long spreading hair. It has large curved incisor teeth, which add to its squirrel like appearance, and caused the early naturalists to class it among the rodents. But its most remarkable character is found in its fore feet or hands, the fingers of which are all very long and armed with sharp curved claws, but one of them, the second, is wonderfully slender, being not half the thickness of the others. This curious combination of characters shows that the aye-aye is a very specialized form–that is, one whose organization has been slowly modified to fit it for a peculiar mode of life. From information received from its native country, and from a profound study of its organization, Professor Owen believes that it is adapted for the one purpose of feeding on small wood-boring insects. Its large feet and sharp claws enable it to cling firmly to the branches of trees in almost any position; by means of its large delicate ears it listens for the sound of the insect gnawing within the branch, and is thus able to fix its exact position; with its powerful curved gnawing teeth it rapidly cuts away the bark and wood till it exposes the burrow of the insect, most probably the soft larva of some beetle, and then comes into play the extraordinary long wire-like finger, which enters the small cylindrical burrow, and with the sharp bent claw hooks out the grub. Here we have a most complex adaptation of different parts and organs, all converging to one special end, that end being the same as is reached by a group of birds, the woodpeckers, in a different way; and it is a most interesting fact that, although woodpeckers abound in all the great continents, and are especially common in the tropical forests of Asia, Africa, and America, they are quite absent from Madagascar. We may, therefore, consider that the aye-aye really occupies the same place in nature in the forests of this tropical island, as do the woodpeckers in other parts of the world.


Having thus sketched an outline of the monkey tribe as regards their more prominent external characters and habits, we must say a few words on their general relations as a distinct order of mammalia. No other group so extensive and so varied as this, is so exclusively tropical in its distribution, a circumstance no doubt due to the fact that monkeys depend so largely on fruit and insects for their subsistence. A very few species extend into the warmer parts of the temperate zones, their extreme limits in the northern hemisphere being Gibraltar, the Western Himalayas at 11,000 feet elevation, East Thibet, and Japan. In America they are found in Mexico, but do not appear to pass beyond the tropic. In the Southern hemisphere they are limited by the extent of the forests in South Brazil, which reach about 30 deg. south latitude. In the East, owing to their entire absence from Australia, they do not reach the tropic; but in Africa, some baboons range to the southern extremity of the continent.

But this extreme restriction of the order to almost tropical lands is only recent. Directly we go back to the Pliocene period of geology, we find the remains of monkeys in France, and even in England. In the earlier Miocene, several kinds, some of large size, lived in France, Germany, and Greece, all more or less closely allied to living forms of Asia and Africa. About the same period monkeys of the South American type inhabited the United States. In the remote Eocene period the same temperate lands were inhabited by lemurs in the East, and by curious animals believed to be intermediate between lemurs and marmosets in the West. We know from a variety of other evidence that throughout these vast periods a mild and almost sub-tropical climate extended over all Central Europe and parts of North America, while one of a temperate character prevailed as far north as the Arctic circle. The monkey tribe then enjoyed a far greater range over the earth, and perhaps filled a more important place in nature than it does now. Its restriction to the comparatively narrow limits of the tropics is no doubt mainly due to the great alteration of climate which occurred at the close of the Tertiary period, but it may have been aided by the continuous development of varied forms of mammalian life better fitted for the contrasted seasons and deciduous vegetation of the north temperate regions. The more extensive area formerly inhabited by the monkey tribe, would have favored their development into a number of divergent forms, in distant regions, and adapted to distinct modes of life. As these retreated southward and became concentrated in a more limited area, such as were able to maintain themselves became mingled together as we now find them, the ancient and lowly marmosets and lemurs subsisting side by side with the more recent and more highly developed howlers and anthropoid apes.

Throughout the long ages of the Tertiary period monkeys must have been very abundant and very varied, yet it is but rarely that their fossil remains are found. This, however, is not difficult to explain. The deposits in which mammalian remains most abound are those formed in lakes or in caverns. In the former the bodies of large numbers of terrestrial animals were annually deposited, owing to their having been caught by floods in the tributary streams, swallowed up in marginal bogs or quicksands, or drowned by the giving way of ice. Caverns were the haunts of hyenas, tigers, bears, and other beasts of prey, which dragged into them the bodies of their victims, and left many of their bones to become embedded in stalagmite or in the muddy deposit left by floods, while herbivorous animals were often carried into them by these floods, or by falling down the swallow-holes which often open into caverns from above. But, owing to their arboreal habits, monkeys were to a great extent freed from all these dangers. Whether devoured by beasts or birds of prey, or dying a natural death, their bones would usually be left on dry land, where they would slowly decay under atmospheric influences. Only under very exceptional circumstances would they become embedded in aqueous deposits; and instead of being surprised at their rarity we should rather wonder that so many have been discovered in a fossil state.

Monkeys, as a whole, form a very isolated group, having no near relations to any other mammalia. This is undoubtedly an indication of great antiquity. The peculiar type which has since reached so high a development must have branched off the great mammalian stock at a very remote epoch, certainly far back in the Secondary period, since in the Eocene we find lemurs and lemurine monkeys already specialized. At this remoter period they were probably not separable from the insectivora, or (perhaps) from the ancestral marsupials. Even now we have one living form, the curious Galeopithecus or flying lemur, which has only recently been separated from the lemurs, with which it was formerly united, to be classed as one of the insectivora; and it is only among the Opossums and some other marsupials that we again find hand-like feet with opposable thumbs, which are such a curious and constant feature of the monkey tribe.

This relationship to the lowest of the mammalian tribes seems inconsistent with the place usually accorded to these animals at the head of the entire mammalian series, and opens up the question whether this is a real superiority or whether it depends merely on the obvious relationship to ourselves. If we could suppose a being gifted with high intelligence, but with a form totally unlike that of man, to have visited the earth before man existed in order to study the various forms of animal life that were found there, we can hardly think he would have placed the monkey tribe so high as we do. He would observe that their whole organization was specially adapted to an arboreal life, and this specialization would be rather against their claiming the first rank among terrestrial creatures. Neither in size, nor strength, nor beauty, would they compare with many other forms, while in intelligence they would not surpass, even if they equaled, the horse or the beaver. The carnivora, as a whole, would certainly be held to surpass them in the exquisite perfection of their physical structure, while the flexible trunk of the elephant, combined with his vast strength and admirable sagacity, would probably gain for him the first rank in the animal creation.

But if this would have been a true estimate, the mere fact that the ape is our nearest relation does not necessarily oblige us to come to any other conclusion. Man is undoubtedly the most perfect of all animals, but he is so solely in respect of characters in which he differs from all the monkey tribe–the easily erect posture, the perfect freedom of the hands from all part in locomotion, the large size and complete opposability of the thumb, and the well developed brain, which enables him fully to utilize these combined physical advantages. The monkeys have none of these; and without them the amount of resemblance they have to us is no advantage, and confers no rank. We are biased by the too exclusive consideration of the man-like apes. If these did not exist the remaining monkeys could not be thereby deteriorated as to their organization or lowered in their zoological position, but it is doubtful if we should then class them so high as we now do. We might then dwell more on their resemblances to lower types–to rodents, to insectivora, and to marsupials, and should hardly rank the hideous baboon above the graceful leopard or stately stag. The true conclusion appears to be, that the combination of external characters and internal structure which exists in the monkeys, is that which, when greatly improved, refined, and beautified, was best calculated to become the perfect instrument of the human intellect and to aid in the development of man’s higher nature; while, on the other hand, in the rude, inharmonious, and undeveloped state which it has reached in the quadrumana, it is by no means worthy of the highest place, or can be held to exhibit the most perfect development of existing animal life.–_Contemporary Review_.

* * * * *



By ALFRED WAILLY, Membre Laureat de la Societe d’Acclimatation de France.

By referring to my reports for the years 1879 and 1880, which appeared in the _Journal of the Society of Arts_, February 13 and March 5, 1880, February 25 and March 4, 1881, it will be seen that the bad weather prevented the successful rearing in the open air of most species of silk-producing larvae. In 1881, the weather was extremely favorable up to the end of July, but the incessant and heavy rains of the month of August and beginning of September, proved fatal to most of the larvae when they were in their last stages. However, in spite of my many difficulties, I had the satisfaction of seeing them to their last stage. Larvae of all the silk-producing bombyces were preserved in their different stages, and can be seen in the Bethnal-green Museum. In July, when the weather was magnificent, the little trees in my garden were literally covered with larvae of more species than I ever had before, and two or three more weeks of fair weather would have given me a good crop of cocoons, instead of which I only obtained a very small number. The sparrows, as usual, also destroyed a quantity of worms, in spite of wire or fish-netting placed over some of the trees.

On the trees were to be seen–_Attacus cynthia_ (the Ailantus silkworm), the rearing of which was, as usual, most successful; _Samia cecropia_ and _Samia gloveri_, from America; also hybrids of _Gloveri cecropia_ and _Cecropia gloveri_; _Samia promethea_ and _Telea polyphemus_; _Attacus pernyi_, and a new hybrid, which I obtained this last season by the crossing of Pernyi with Royle. For the first time I reared _Actias selene_, from India, on a nut-tree in the garden, and _Attacus atlas_, on the ailantus. The _Selene_ larvae reached their fifth and last stage. The Atlas larvae only reached the third stage, and were destroyed by the heavy rains; only two remained on the tree till about the 8th or 9th of September, when they had to be removed. I shall now reproduce the notes I took on some of the various species I reared.

_Actias Selene_.–With sixty cocoons I only obtained one pairing. The moths emerged from the beginning of March till the 13th of August, at intervals of some duration, or in batches of males or females. I obtained a pairing of Selene on the 30toh of June, 1881, and the worms commenced to hatch on the 13th of July. The larvae in first stage are of a fine brown-red, with a broad black band in the middle of the body. The second stage commenced on the 20th of July; larvae, of a lighter reddish color, without the black band; tubercles black. Third stage commenced on the 28th of July; larvae green; the first four tubercles yellow, with a black ring at the base; other tubercles, orange yellow. Fourth stage commenced on the 6th of August; larvae green; first four tubercles golden-yellow, the others orange-red. Fifth stage commenced on the 19th of August; first four tubercles yellow, with a black ring at the base; other tubercles yellow, slightly tinged with orange-red; lateral band brown and greenish yellow; head and forelegs dark-brown. As stated before, the larvae were reared on a nut-tree in the garden, till the last stage. Selene feeds on various trees–walnut, wild cherry, wild pear, etc. In Ceylon (at Kandy), it is found on the wild olive tree. As far as I am informed by correspondents in Ceylon, this species is not found–or is seldom found–on the coasts, but _Attacus atlas_ and Mylitta are commonly found there.

_Attacus (antheroea) roylei_ (with sixty cocoons); three pairings only were obtained, and this species I found the most difficult to pair in captivity. Two moths emerged on the 5th of March, a male and a female, and a pairing was obtained; but the weather being then too cold, the ova were not fertile, the female moth, after laying about two hundred eggs, lived till the 22d of March, which is a very long time; this was owing to the low temperature. The moths emerged afterward from the 8th of April till the 25th of June. A pairing took place on the 2d of June, and another on the 6th of June.

Roylei (the Himalaya oak silkworm) is very closely allied to Pernyi, the Chinese oak silkworm; the Roylei moths are of a lighter color, but the larvae of both species can hardly be distinguished from one another. The principal difference between the two species is in the cocoon. The Roylei cocoon is within a very large and tough envelope, while that of Pernyi has no outer envelope at all. The larvae of Roylei I reared did not thrive, and the small number I had only went to the fourth stage, owing to several causes. I bred them under glass, in a green-house. A certain number of the larvae were unable to cut the shell of the egg.

Here are a few notes I find in my book: Ova of Roylei commenced to hatch on the 29th of June; second stage commenced on the 9th of July. The larvae in the first two stages seemed to me similar to those of Pernyi, as far as I could see. In second stage, the tubercles were of a brilliant orange-red; on anal segment, blue dot on each side. Third stage, four rows of orange-yellow tubercles, two blue dots on anal segment, brilliant gold metallic spots at the base of the tubercles on the back, and silver metallic spots at the base of the tubercles on the sides. No further notes taken.

One of my correspondents in Vienna (Austria) obtained a remarkable success in the rearing of Roylei. From the twenty-five eggs he had twenty-three larvae hatched, which produced twenty-three fine cocoons. The same correspondent, with thirty-five eggs of _Samia gloveri_, obtained twenty cocoons. My other correspondents did not obtain any success in rearing these two species, as far as I know.

_Hybrid Roylei-Pernyi_.–I have said that it is extremely difficult to obtain the pairing of Roylei moths in captivity. But the male Pernyi paired readily with the female Roylei. I obtained six such pairings, and a large quantity of fertile ova. The pairings of Roylei (female) with Pernyi (male) took place as follows: two on the 21st of May, one on the 3d of June, two on the 4th of June, and one on the 6th.

The larvae of this new hybrid, _Roylei-Pernyi_, contrary to what might have been expected, were much easier to rear than those of Roylei, and the cocoons obtained are far superior to those of Roylei, in size, weight, and richness of silk. The cocoon of my new hybrid has, like Roylei, an envelope, but there is no space between this envelope and the true cocoon inside. Therefore, this time, the crossing of two different species (but, it must be added, two very closely allied species) has produced a hybrid very superior, at least to one of the types, that of Roylei. The cocoons of the hybrid _Roylei-Pernyi_ seem to me larger and heavier than any Pernyi cocoons I have as yet seen.

The larvae of this new hybrid have been successfully reared in France, in Germany, in Austria, and in the United States of North America. The cocoons obtained by Herr L. Huessman, one of my German correspondents, are remarkable for their size and beauty. The silk is silvery white.

I have seventeen cocoons of this hybrid species, which number may be sufficient for its reproduction. But the question arises, “Will the moths obtained from these cocoons be susceptible of reproduction?”

In my report on Lepidoptera for the year 1879, I stated, with respect to hybrids and degeneracy, that hybrids had been obtained by the crossing of _Attacus pernyi_ and _Attacus yama-mai_, but that, although the moths (some of which may be seen in the Bethnal-green Museum) are large and apparently perfect in every respect, yet these hybrids could not be reproduced. It must be stated that these two species differ essentially in one particular point. _Yama-mai_ hibernates in the _ovum_ state, while Pernyi hibernates in the _pupa_ state. The hybrids hibernated in the _pupa_ state. Roylei, as Pernyi, hibernates in the _pupa_ state.

In the November number, 1881, of “The Entomologist,” Mr. W.F. Kirby, of the British Museum, wrote an article having for its title, “Hermaphrodite-hybrid Sphingidae,” in which, referring to hybrids of _Smerinthus ocellatus_ and _populi_, he says that hermaphroditism is the usual character of such hybrids.

I extract the following passage from his article: “I was under the impression that hermaphroditism was the usual character of these hybrids; and it has suggested itself to my mind as a possibility, which I have not, at present, sufficient data either to prove or to disprove, that the sterility of hybrids in general (still a somewhat obscure subject) may perhaps be partly due to hybridism having a tendency to produce hermaphroditism.”

Now, will the moths of new hybrid Roylei pernyi (which I expect will emerge in May or June, 1882) have the same tendency to hermaphroditism as has been observed with the hybrids obtained by the crossing of _Smerinthus populi_ with _Sm. ocellatus_? I do not think that such will be the case with the moths of the hybrid Roylei-pernyi, on account of the close relationship of Roylei with Pernyi, but nothing certain can be known till the moths have emerged. Here are the few notes taken on the hybrid Roylei-pernyi: Ova commenced to hatch on the 12th of June; these were from the pairing which had taken place on the 21st of May. Larvae, black, with long white hairs. Second stage commenced on the 21st of June. Larva, of a beautiful green; tubercles orange-yellow; head dark brown. Third stage commenced on the 1st of July; fourth stage on the 7th. Larva of same color in those stages; tubercles on the back, violet-blue or mauve; tubercles on the sides, blue. Fifth stage commenced on the 18th of July. Larva, with tubercles on back and sides, blue, or violet-blue. First cocoon commenced on the 10th of August. Want of time prevented me from taking fuller and more accurate notes.

_Attacus Atlas_.–For the first time, as stated before, I attempted the rearing of a small number of Atlas larvae in the open air on the ailantus tree, but had to remove the last two remaining larvae in September; the others had all disappeared in consequence of the heavy and incessant rains. These larvae were from eggs sent to me by one of my German correspondents. The pairing of the moths had taken place on the 17th of July, and the eggs had commenced to hatch on the 4th of August.

I had about eighty cocoons of another and larger race of Atlas imported from the Province of Kumaon, but only eight moths emerged at intervals from the 31st of July to the 30th of September. Not only did the moths emerge too late in the season, but there never was a chance of obtaining a pairing. In my report on Indian silkworms, published in the November number of the “Bulletin de la Societe d’Acclimatation,” for the year 1881, compiled from the work of Mr. J. Geoghegan, I reproduce the first appendix of Captain Thomas Hutton to Mr. Geoghegan’s work, in which are given the names of all the Indian silkworms known by him up to the year 1871.

Of _Attacus atlas_, Captain Hutton says: “It is common at 5,500 feet at Mussoorie, and in the Dehra Doon; it is also found in some of the deep warm glens of the outer hills. It is also common at Almorah, where the larva feeds almost exclusively upon the ‘Kilmorah’ bush or _Berberis asiatica_; while at Mussoorie it will not touch that plant, but feeds exclusively upon the large milky leaves of _Falconeria insignis_. The worm is, perhaps, more easily reared than any other of the wild bombycidae.”

I will now quote from letters received from one of my correspondents in Ceylon, a gentleman of great experience and knowledge in sericulture.

In a letter dated 24th August, 1881, my correspondent says: “The Atlas moth seems to be a near relation of the Cynthia, and would probably feed on the Ailantus. Here it feeds on the cinnamon and a great number of other trees of widely different species; but the tree on which I have kept it most successfully in a domestic state is the _Milnea roxburghiana_, a handsome tree, with dark-green ternate leaves, which keep fresh long after being detached from the tree. I do not think the cocoon can ever be reeled, as the thread usually breaks when it comes to the open end. I have tried to reel a great many Atlas cocoons, but always found the process too tedious and troublesome for practical use.

“The Mylitta (Tusser) is a more hardy species than the Atlas, and I have had no difficulty in domesticating it. Here it feeds on the cashew-nut tree, on the so-called almond of this country (_Terminalia catappa_), which is a large tree entirely different from the European almond, and on many other trees. Most of the trees whose leaves turn red when about to fall seem to suit it, but it is not confined to these. In the case of the Atlas moth, I discovered one thing which may be well worth knowing, and that was, that with cocoons brought to the seaside after the larvae had been reared in the Central Provinces, in a temperature ten or twelve degrees colder, the moths emerged in from ten to twenty days after the formation of the cocoon. The duration of the _pupa_ stage in this, and probably in other species, therefore, depends upon the temperature in which the larvae have lived, as well as the degree of heat in which the cocoons are kept; and in transporting cocoons from India to Europe, I think it will be found that the moths are less liable to be prematurely forced out by the heat of the Red Sea when the larvae have been reared in a warm climate than when they have been reared in a cold one.

“I do not agree with the opinion expressed in one of your reports, that the short duration of the larva stage, caused by a high temperature, has the effect of diminishing the size of the cocoons, because the Atlas and Tusser cocoons produced at the sea-level here are quite as large as those found in the Central Provinces at elevations of three thousand feet or more. According to the treatise on the “Silk Manufacture,” in “Lardner’s Cyclopedia,” the Chinese are of opinion that one drachm of mulberry silkworms’ eggs will produce 25 ounces of silk if the caterpillars attain maturity within twenty-five days; 20 ounces if the commencement of the cocoons be delayed until the twenty-eighth day; and only 10 ounces if it be delayed until between the thirtieth and fortieth day. If this is correct, a short-lived larva stage must, instead of causing small cocoons, produce just the contrary effect.”

In another letter, dated November 25, 1881, my correspondent says: “I am sorry that you have not had better success in the rearing of your larvae, but you should not despair. It is possible that the choice of an improper food-plant may have as much to do with failures as the coldness and dampness of the English climate. I lost many thousands of Atlas caterpillars before I found out the proper tree to keep them on in a domesticated state; and when I did attain partial success, I could not keep them for more than one generation, till I found the _Milnea roxburghiana_ to be their proper food plant. I do not know the proper food-plant of the Mylitta (Tusser), but I have succeeded very well with it, as it is a more hardy species than the Atlas. Though a Bombyx be polyphagous in a state of nature, yet I think most species have a tree proper to themselves, on which they are more at home than on any other plant. I should like, if you could find out from some your correspondents in India, on what species of tree Mylitta cocoons are found in the largest numbers, and what is about the greatest number found on a single tree. The Mylitta is common enough here, but there does not seem to be any kind of tree here on which the cocoons are to be found in greater numbers than twos and threes; and there must be some tree in India on which the cocoons are to be found in much greater plenty, because they could not otherwise be collected in sufficient quantity for manufacturing purposes. The Atlas is here found on twenty or more different kinds of trees, but a hundred or a hundred and fifty cocoons or larvae may be found on a single tree of _Milnea roxburghiana_, while they are to be found only singly, or in twos and threes, on any other tree that I know of. The Atlas and Mylitta seem to be respectively the Indian relations of the Cynthia and Pernyi. It is, therefore, probable that the Ailantus would be the most suitable European tree for the Atlas, and the oak for the Mylitta.”

_Attacus mylitta_ (_Antheraea paphia_).–I did not receive a single cocoon of this species for the season 1881. My stock consisted of seven cocoons, from the lot received from Calcutta at the end of February, 1880. Five were female, and two male cocoons; one of the latter died, thus reducing the number to six. The moths emerged as follows: One female on the 21st of June, one female on the 26th, one female on the 28th, one female on the 1st of July, and one male on the 3d of August; the latter emerging thirty-four days too late to be of any use for rearing purposes. The last female moth emerged, I think, about the end of September. These cocoons had hibernated twice, as has been the case with other Indian species. I had Indian cocoons which hibernated even three times.

_Attacus cynthia_, from the province of Kumaon.–With the Atlas cocoons, a large quantity of Cynthia cocoons were collected in the province of Kumaon. Both species had, no doubt, fed on the same trees; as the Cynthia, like the Atlas cocoons, were all inclosed in leaves of the _Berberis vulgaris_, which shows that Cynthia is also a polyphagous species. It is already known that it feeds on several species of trees, besides the ailantus, such as the laburnum, lilac, cherry, and, I think, also on the castor-oil plant; the common barberry has, therefore, to be added to the above food plants.

These Kumaon Cynthia cocoons were somewhat smaller and much darker in color than those of the acclimatized Cynthia reared on the ailantus. The moths of this wild Indian Cynthia were also of a richer color than those of the cultivated species in Europe.

During the summer 1881, I saw cocoons of my own Cynthia race obtained from worms which had been reared on the laburnum tree. These cocoons were, as far as I can remember, of a yellowish or saffron color; which I had never seen before. This difference in the color of the cocoon was very likely produced by the change of food, although it has been stated, and I think it may be quite correct, that with many species of native lepidoptera the change of food-plants does not produce any difference of color in the insects obtained. With respect to the Cynthia worms reared on the laburnum instead of the ailantus, it may be that the moths, which will emerge from the yellow cocoons, will be similar to those obtained from cocoons spun by worms bred on the ailantus, and that the only difference will be in the color of the cocoons.

The Kumaon Cynthia cocoons, as I found it to be the case with Indian species introduced for the first time into Europe, did not produce moths at the same time, nor as regularly as the acclimatized species. The moths emerged as follows: One female on the 22d of July; one female on the 25th; one male on the 3d August; one female on the 19th; one male on the 28th of August; one male on the 2d September; one female on the 3d. A pairing was obtained with the latter two. Two males emerged on the 4th of September; one male on the 6th; one male and one female on the 22d; one female on the 23d; and one female on the 25th of September. Five cocoons, which did not produce any moths, contain pupae, which are still in perfect condition; and the moths will no doubt emerge next summer (1882). As seen in my note, a pairing of this wild Indian Cynthia took place; this was from the evening of the 4th to the 5th of September. The eggs laid by the female moth were deposited in a most curious way, in smaller or larger quantities, but all forming perfect triangles. These eggs I gave to a florist who has been very successful in the rearing of silk-producing and other larvae; telling him to rear the Cynthia on lilacs grown in pots and placed in a hot-house, which was done. The worms, which hatched in a few days, as they were placed in a hot-house, thrived wonderfully well, and I might say they thrived too well, as they grew so fast and became so voracious that the growth of the lilac trees could not keep pace with the growth of the worms. These, at the fourth stage, became so large that the foliage was entirely devoured, and, of course, the consequence was that all the worms were starved. I only heard of the result of that experiment long after the death of the larvae; otherwise I should have suggested the use of another plant after the destruction of the foliage of the lilacs; the privet (_Ligustrum vulgare_) might have been tried, and success obtained with it.

Of such species as _Attacus pyri_, of Central Europe, and _Attacus pernyi_, the North Chinese oak silkworm, which I have mentioned in my previous reports, and bred every season for several years, I shall only say that I never could rear Pyri in the open air in London, up to the formation of the cocoon. As to Pernyi, I had, in 1881, an immense quantity of splendid moths, from which I obtained the largest quantity of ova I ever had of this species. I had many thousands of fertile ova of Pernyi, which I was unable to distribute. Many schoolboys reared Pernyi worms, but with what success I do not yet know. The number of fertile ova obtained from Pyri moths was also more considerable than in former years, which was due partly to the good quality of the pupae, and partly to the very favorable weather in June, at the time the pairings of the moths took place.

Leaving these, I now come to the North American species.

_Telea polyphemus_.–As I have stated in former years, this is the best North American silkworm, producing a closed cocoon, somewhat smaller than that of Pernyi, but the silk seems as good as that of Pernyi.

The cocoons of Polyphemus I had in 1881 were smaller and inferior in quality to those I had before. Those received in 1878 and 1879 were considerably finer and larger than those which were sent in 1880 and 1881; besides, they were sent in much larger quantities. The cocoons received this year (1882) are finer than those of 1881, but yet they cannot be compared with those of 1878 and 1879.

With about sixty cocoons of _Telea polyphemus_ I only obtained three pairings, which I attribute solely to the weakness of the moths, as the weather was all that could be desired for the pairings. The moths emerged from the 1st of June to the 20th of July. One male moth emerged on the 7th September. This latter was one from a small number of cocoons received from Alabama; the other cocoons of the same race had emerged at the same time as the cocoons from the Northern States. In the Northern States the species is single-brooded; in the Southern States it is double-brooded.

The larvae of Polyphemus can be bred in the open air in England, almost as easily as those of Pernyi, and even Cynthia; they will pass through their five stages and spin their cocoons on the trees, unless the weather should be unexceptionally cold and wet, as was the case during the month of August, 1881, when the larvae had reached their full size; they were reared this year on the nut-tree, and some on the oak. The species is extremely polyphagous, and will feed well on oak, birch, chestnut, beech, willow, nut, etc.

The moth of Polyphemus is very beautiful, and, as in some other species, varies in its shades of color. The larva is of a transparent green, of extreme beauty; the head is light brown; without any black dots, as in Pernyi; the spines are pink, and at the base of each of them there is a brilliant metallic spot. When the sun shines on them the larvae seem to be covered with diamonds. These metallic spots at the base of the spines are also seen on Pernyi, Yama mai, Mylitta, and other species of the genus Antheraea, all having a closed cocoon, but none of these have so many as Polyphemus.

The cocoons of the species of the genus Actias are closed, but the larvae have not the metallic spots of the species of the genus Antheraea.

_Samia Gloveri_.–Three North American silk-producing bombyces, very closely allied, have been mentioned in my previous reports; they are; _Samia ceanothi_, from California; _Samia gloveri_, from Utah and Arizona; and _Samia cecropia_, commonly found in most of the Northern States–the latter is the best and largest silk producer. Crossings of these species took places in 1880, and, as I stated before, the ova obtained from a long pairing between a Ceanothi female with a Gloveri male, were the only ones which were fertile. The Gloveri cocoons received in 1880 were of a very inferior quality, and produced moths from which no pairings could be obtained, although some crossings took place. In 1881, the Gloveri cocoons, on the contrary, produced fine, healthy moths; yet only five pairings could be obtained, with about one hundred cocoons. Besides these five pairings, a quantity of fertile ova were obtained by the crossings of _S. gloveri_ (female) with _S. cecropia_ (male), and Cecropia (female) with Gloveri (male). No success, so far as I know, was obtained with the rearing of the hybrid larvae; the rearings of the larvae of pure Gloveri were also, I think, a failure, only one correspondent having been successful; but some correspondents have not yet made the result of their experiments known to me. The larvae of _Samia cecropia, S. gloveri_, and _S. ceanothi_, are very much alike; and hardly any difference can be observed in the first two stages. In the third and fourth stages, the larvae of _S. cecropia_ and _S. gloveri_ are also nearly alike; the principal difference between these two species and _S. cecropia_ being that the tubercles on the back are of a uniform color–orange-red, or yellow–while on Cecropia the first four dorsal tubercles are red, and the rest yellow. The tubercles on the sides are blue on the three species.

The larvae of the hybrids _Gloveri-cecropia_ were, as far as I could observe, like those of Cecropia, but I noticed some with six red tubercles on the back instead of four, as on Cecropia. They were reared on plum, apple, and _Salix caprea_; in the open air.

The larvae of _Samia gloveri_ were reared, during the first four stages on a wild plum-tree, then on _Salix, caprea_, and I reproduce the notes taken on this species, which I bred this year (1881) for the first time.

Gloveri moths emerged from the 15th of May to the end of June; five pairings took place as follows: 1st, 4th, 9th, 24th, and 26th of June. First stage–larvae quite black. Second stage–larvae orange, with black spines. Third stage–dorsal spines, orange-red; spines on sides blue. Fourth stage–dorsal spines, orange or yellow, spines on the sides blue; body light blue on the back, and greenish yellow on the sides; head, green; legs, yellow. Fifth and sixth stage–larvae nearly the same; tubercles on the back yellow, the first four having a black ring at the base; side tubercles ivory-white, with a dark-blue base.

The above-mentioned American species, like most other silk-producing bombyces, were bred in the open air; but besides these, I reared three other species of American bombyces in the house, under glass, and with the greatest success. These are: _Hyperchiria io_, a beautiful species mentioned in my report for the year 1879; _Orgyia leucostigma_, from ova received on December 29, 1880, from Madison, Wis., which hatched on the 27th of May, 1881.

The third American species reared under glass is the following very interesting bombyx: _Ceratocampa (Eacles) imperialis_. The pupae of this species are rough, and armed with small, sharp points at all the segments; the last segment having a thick, straight, and bifid tail. The moths, which measure from four to about six inches in expanse of wings, are bright yellow, with large patches and round spots of reddish-brown, with a purple gloss; besides these patches and round spots, the wings are covered with small dark dots. The male moth is much more blotched than the female, and although of a smaller size, is much more showy than the female.

With twenty-four pupae of Imperialis I obtained nineteen moths from the 21st of June to the 19th of July; five pupae died. Two pairings took place; the first from the evening of the 13th to the morning of the 14th; the second from the evening of the 15th to the morning of the 16th of July.

The ova, which are about the size of those of Yama-mai, Pernyi, or Mylitta, are rather flat and concave on one side, of an amber-yellow color and transparent, like those of sphingidae. When the larvae have absorbed the yellow liquid in the egg, and are fully developed; they can be seen through the shell of the egg, which is white or colorless when the larva has come out.

The larvae of Imperialis, which have six stages, commenced to hatch on the 31st of July; the second stage commenced on the 7th of August; the third, on the 17th; the fourth, on the 29th of August; the fifth, on the 18th of September; and the sixth, on the 1st of October. The larvae commenced to pupate on 13th of October.

The larvae of this curious species vary considerably in color. Some are of a yellowish color, others are brown and tawny, others are black or nearly black. My correspondent in Georgia, who bred this species the same season as I did, in 1881, had some of the larvae that were green. In all the stages the larvae have five conspicuous spines or horns; two on the third segment, two on the fourth, and one on the last segment but one; this is taking the head as the first segment with regard to the first four spines These spines are rough and covered with sharp points all round, and their extremities are fork-like. In the first three stages they are horny; in the last three stages these spines are fleshy, and much shorter in proportion than they are in the first three stages. The color of the spines in the last three stages is coral-red, yellowish, or black. In the fifth and sixth stages the spine on the last segment but one is very short.

Here are a few and short notes from my book:

1st stage. Larvae, about one-third of an inch; head, brown, shiny, and globulous.

2d stage. Larvae, dark-brown, almost black; spines, white at the base, and black at the extremities; head shiny and light brown.

3d stage. Larve, fine black; head black; white hairs on the back; spines, whitish, buff, or yellowish at the base, and black at the extremities; other larvae of a brown color.

4th stage. Larvae, black granulated with white; long white hairs; horns, brown-orange with white tips; on each segment two brown spots. Spiracles well marked with outer circle, brown, then black; white and black dot in the center. Anal segment with brown ribs, the intervals black with white dots; head shining, black with two brown bands on the face, forming a triangle. Other larvae in fourth stage, velvety black, with coral-red spines; others with black spines.

5th stage. Larvae, entirely black, with showy eye-like spiracles, polished black head; other larvae having the head brown and black. Larvae covered with long white hair; spines black or red. No difference noticed between the fifth and sixth stages.

One larva on fourth stage was different from all others, and was described at the British Museum by Mr. W. F. Kirby as follows: “Larva reddish-brown, sparingly clothed with long slender white hairs, with four reddish stripes on the face, two rows of red spots on the back, spiracles surrounded with yellow, black and red rings; legs red, prolegs black, spotted with red. On segments three and four are four long coral-red fleshy-branched spines, two on each segment, below which, on each side, are two rudimentary ones just behind the head; in front of segment two are four similar rudimentary orange spines or tubercles; last segment black, strongly granulated and edges triangularly above and at the sides, with coral-red; several short rudimentary fleshy spines rising from the red portion; the last segment but one is reddish above, with a short red spine in the middle, and the one before it has a long coral-red spine in the middle similar to those of segments three and four, but shorter”

As soon as my Imperialis larvae had hatched, I gave them various kinds of foliage, plane-tree, oak, pine, sallow, etc. At first they did not touch any kind of foliage, or they did not seem to touch any; and I was afraid I should be unable to rear them; but on the second or third day of their existence, they made up their minds and decided upon eating the foliage of some of the European trees I had offered them. They attacked oak, sallow, and pine, but did not touch the plane-tree leaves. In America, the larvae of Imperialis feed on button-wood, which is the American plane-tree (_Platanus occidentalis_), yet they did not take to _Platanus orientalis_. After a little time I reduced the foliage to oak and sallow branches, and ultimately gave them the sallow (_Salix caprea_) only, on which they thrived very well. I was pleased with this success; as I had previously read in a volume of the “Naturalist’s Library” a description of _Ceratocampa imperialis_, which ends as follows: “The caterpillars are not common, and are the most difficult to bring to perfection in confinement, as they will not eat in that situation; and, even if they change into a chrysalis, they die afterward.”

Before I finish with _C. imperialis_, I must mention a peculiar fact. During the first stage, and, I think, also during the second, several larvae disappeared without leaving any traces. I also saw two smaller larvae held tight by the hind claspers of two larger ones. The larvae thus held and pressed were perfectly dead when I observed them, and I removed them. My impression then was that these larvae were carnivorous, not from this last fact alone, as I had previously observed it with larvae of Catocalae when they are too crowded, but from the fact that some had disappeared entirely from the glass under which they were confined. I began to reduce their numbers, and put six only under each glass, so as to be able to watch them better. Whether I had made a mistake or not previously to this I do not exactly know; but from this moment the larvae behaved in a most exemplary manner, especially when they became larger. They crawled over each other’s backs without the least sign of spite or animosity, even when they were in sleep, in which case larvae are generally very sensitive and irritable, all were of a most pacific nature. It is, therefore, with the greatest pleasure that, for want of sufficient evidence, I withdraw this serious charge of cannibalism which I first intended to bring against them.

From what has been said respecting the rearing of exotic silk-producing bombyces, especially tropical species, it must have been observed that several difficulties, standing in the way of success, have to be overcome. The moths of North American species emerge regularly enough during the months of May, June, or July, but Indian and other tropical species may emerge at any time of the year, if the weather is mild, as has been the case during this unusually mild winter of 1881-1882. From the end of December to the present time (March 14, 1882) moths of four species of Indian silk-producers, especially _Antheraea roylei_ and _Actias selene_, have constantly emerged, but only one or two at a time. These moths emerged from cocoons received in December and January last.

It is only when these tropical species shall have been already reared in Europe that the emergence of the moths will be regular; then they will be single-brooded in Northern or Central Europe, and some will very likely become double-brooded in Southern Europe. But when just imported the moths of these tropical species will always be uncertain and irregular in their emergence; hence the importance of having a sufficient number of cocoons so as to meet this difficulty, i.e., the loss of the moths that emerge prematurely or irregularly.

Before I conclude, I shall repeat what I already stated in a previous report, that the sending of live cocoons and pupae from India and other distant countries to Europe, can easily be done, so that they will arrive alive and in good condition, if care be taken that the boxes containing these live cocoons and pupae should not be left in the sun or near a fire (which has been the case before), and that they should at once be put in a cool place or in the ice-room of the steamer. The cocoons and pupae should be sent from October to March or April, according to distance, and it is most important to write on the cases, “Living silkworm cocoons or pupae, the case to be placed in the ice room.”

By taking this simple precaution, live cocoons and pupae, when newly formed, can be safely sent from very distant countries of Europe.

To continue these interesting and useful studies, I shall always be glad to buy any number of live cocoons, or exchange them for other species, if preferable.


110 Clapham Road, London, S.W.

* * * * *


A correspondent from Sheepshead Bay, a place celebrated for the size of its mosquitoes and the number of its amateur fishermen, recommends the following as a very good mixture for anointing the face and hands while fishing:

Oil of tar. 1 ounce.
Olive oil. 1 ounce.
Oil of pennyroyal. 1/2 ounce.
Spirit of camphor. 1/2 ounce.
Glycerine. 1/2 ounce.
Carbolic acid. 2 drachms.

Mix. Shake well before using.–_Drug. Circular_.

* * * * *


This most remarkable structure, in the province of the same name, adorns the city of Burgos, 130 miles north of Madrid. The corner stone was laid July 20, A.D. 1221, by Fernando III., and his Queen Beatrice, assisted by Archbishop Mauricio. The world is indebted to Mauricio for the selection of the site, and for the general idea and planning of what he intended should be, and in fact now is, the finest temple of worship in the world. This immense stone structure, embellished with airy columns, pointed arches, statues, inscriptions, delicate crestings, and flanked by two needles or aerial arrows, rises toward the heavens, a sublime invocation of Christian genius.

Illuminated by the morning sun it appears, at a certain distance, as if the pyramids were floating in space; further on is seen the marvelous dome of the transept, crowned with eight towers of chiseled lace-work, over the center of the church.

Pubic worship was held in a portion of the edifice nine years after the work was begun; from that time onward for three hundred years, various additional portions were completed. On March 4, 1539, the great transept, built fifty years previous, fell down; but was soon restored. August 16, 1642, at 61/2 o’clock, P.M., a furious hurricane overthrew the eight little towers that form the exterior corner of the dome; but in two years they were replaced, namely July 19, 1644: the same night the great bells sounded an alarm of fire, the transept having in some way become ignited. The activity of the populace, however, prevented the loss of the edifice, which for a time was in great danger.

The first architect publicly mentioned in the archives of the edifice was the Master Enrique. He also directed the work of the Cathedral of Leon. He died July 10, 1277. The second architect was Juan Perez, who died in 1296, and was buried in the cloister, under the cathedral. He is believed to have been either the son or brother of the celebrated Master Pedro Perez, who designed the Cathedral of Toledo, and who died in 1299. The third architect of the Cathedral of Burgos was Pedro Sanchez, who directed the work in 1384; after him followed Juan Sanchez de Molina, Martin Fernandez, the three Colonias, Juan de Vallejo, Diego de Siloe, the elder Nicolas de Vergara, Matienzo, Pieredonda, Gil, Regines, and others. It is worthy of note that a number of Moorish architects were employed on the work during the 14th and 15th centuries, such as Mohomad, Yunce, the Master Hali, the Master Mahomet de Aranda, the Master Yunza de Carrion, the Master Carpenter Brahen. Among the figure sculptors employed were Juan Sanchez de Fromesta, the Masters Gil and Copin, the famous Felipe de Vigardi, Juan de Lancre, Anton de Soto, Juan de Villareal, Pedro de Colindres, and many others. Our engraving is from a recent number of _La Ilustracion Espanola y Americana_.


* * * * *


By MANUEL EISSLER, M.E., of San Francisco, Cal.



When Cortez, in the year 1530, made the observation that the two great oceans could be seen from the peaks of mountains, he, in those remote days, preoccupied himself with the question to cut through the Cordilleras.

Therefore, the idea of an interoceanic canal is by no means a modern one, as travelers and navigators observed that there was a great depression among the hills of the Isthmus of Panama. As Professor T.E. Nurse, of the U.S.N., says in his memoirs:

“This problem of interoceanic communication has been justly said to possess not only practical value, but historical grandeur. It clearly links itself back to the era of the conquest of Cortez, three and a half centuries.” [1] It is a problem which has been left for our modern era to solve, but nevertheless its history is thereby rendered still more interesting, having needed so many centuries to bring it to an issue.

[Footnote 1: From Prof. Nurse’s historical essay. See Survey of Nicaragua Canal, by Com. Lull.]

Spain, which acquired through her Columbus a new empire, lying near, as it was supposed, to the riches of Asia, could not be indifferent, from the moment of her discoveries, to the means of crossing these lands to yet richer ones beyond.

India, from the days of Alexander and of the geographers, Mela, Strabo, and Ptolemy, was the land of promise, the home of the spices, the inexhaustible fountain of wealth. The old routes of commerce thither had been closed one by one to the Christians; the overland trade had fallen into the hands of the Arabs; and at the fall of Constantinople, 1453, the commerce of the Black Sea and of the Bosphorus, the last of the old routes to the East, finally failed the Christian world. Yet even beyond the fame of the East, which tradition had brought down from Greek and Roman, much more had the crusaders kindled for Asia (Cathay) and its riches an ardor not easily suppressed in men’s minds.

The error of the Spanish Admiral in supposing that the eastern shores of Asia extended 240 degrees east of Spain, or to the meridian of the modern San Diego, in California–this error, insisted on in his dispatches and adopted and continued by his followers, still further animated the earlier Spanish sovereigns and the men whom they sent into the New World to reach Asia by a short and easy route.

Nobody in Europe dreamt that Columbus had discovered a new continent, and when Balbao, in 1513, discovered the South Sea, then it was known that Asia lay beyond, and navigators directed their course there. On his deathbed, in 1506, Columbus still held to his delusion that he had reached Zipanga, Japan. In 1501 he was exploring the coast of Veragua, in Central America, still looking for the Ganges, and announcing his being informed on this coast of a sea which would bear ships to the mouth of that river, while about the same time the Cabots, under Henry VII., were taking possession of Newfoundland, believing it to be part of the island coast of China.

Although these were grave blunders in geography and in navigation, the discoveries really made in the rich tropical zones, the acquirement of a new world, and the rich products continually reaching Europe from it, for a time aroused Spain from her lethargy. The world opened east and west. The new routes poured their spices, silks, and drugs through new channels into all the Teutonic countries. The strong purposes of having near access to the East were deepened and perpetuated doubly strong, by the certainties before men’s eyes of what had been attained.

Balbao, in 1513, gained from a height on the Isthmus of Panama the first proof of its separation from Asia; and Magellan enters the South Sea at the southern extremity of the country, now first proven to be thus separate and a continent. Men in those days began to think that creation was doubled, and that such discovered lands must be separate from India, China, and Japan. And the very successes of the Portuguese under Vasco da Gama, bringing from their eastern course the expectancy of Asia’s wealth, intensely excited the Spaniards to renew their western search.

The Portuguese, led around the Cape of Good Hope, had brought home vast treasures from the East, while the Spanish discoverers, as yet, had not reached the countries either of Montezuma or of the Inca. Their success “troubled the sleep of the Spaniards.”

Everything, then, of personal ambition and national pride, the thirst for gold, the zeal of religious proselytism, and the cold calculations of state policy, now concurred in the disposition to sacrifice what Spain already had of most value on the American shores in order to seize upon a greater good, the Indies, still supposed to be near at hand. And since it was now certain that the new lands were not themselves Asia, the next aim was to find the secret of the narrow passage across them which must lead thither. The very configuration of the isthmus strengthened the belief in the existence of such a passage by the number of its openings, which seemed to invite entrance in the expectancy that some one of them must extend across the narrow breadth of land.

For this the Spanish government, in 1514, gave secret orders to D’Avilla, Governor of Castila del Oro, and to Juan de Solis, the navigator, to determine whether Castila del Oro were an island, and to send to Cuba a chart of the coast, if any strait were possible. For this, De Solis visited Nicaragua and Honduras; and later, led far to the south, perished in the La Plata. For this, Magellan entered the straits, which, strangely enough, he affirmed before setting out, that he “would enter,” since he “had seen them marked out on the geographer Martin Behaim’s globe.” For this, Cortez sent out his expeditions on both coasts, exposing his own life and treasure, and sending home to the emperor, in his second relation, a map of the entire Gulf of Mexico (Dispatch from Cortez to Charles V., October 15, 1524). For this great purpose, and in full expectancy of success in it, the whole coast of the New World on each side, from Newfoundland on the northeast, curving westward on the south, around the whole sweep of the Gulf of Mexico, thence to Magellan’s Straits, and thence through them up the Pacific to the Straits of Behring, was searched and researched with diligence. “Men could not get accustomed,” says Humboldt, “to the idea that the continent extended uninterruptedly both so far north and south.” Hence all these large, numerous, and persevering expeditions by the European powers.

Among them, by priority of right and by her energy, was Spain. The great emperor was urgent on the conqueror of Mexico, and on all in subordinate positions in New Spain, to solve the secret of the strait. All Spain was awakened to it. “How majestic and fair was she,” says Chevalier, “in the sixteenth century; what daring, what heroism and perseverance! Never had the world seen such energy, activity, or good fortune. Hers was a will that regarded no obstacles. Neither rivers, deserts, nor mountains far higher than those in Europe, arrested her people. They built grand cities, they drew their fleets, as in a twinkling of the eye, from the very forests. A handful of men conquered empires. They seemed a race of giants or demi-gods. One would have supposed that all the work necessary to bind together climates and oceans would have been done at the word of the Spaniards as by enchantment, and since nature had not left a passage through the center of America, no matter, so much the better for the glory of the human race; they would make it up by artificial communication. What, indeed, was that for men like them? It were done at a word. Nothing else was left for them to conquer, and the world was becoming too small for them.”

Certainly, had Spain remained what she then was, what had been in vain sought from nature would have been supplied by man. A canal or several canals would have been built to take the place of the long-desired strait. Her men of science urged it. In 1551, Gomara, the author of the “History of the Indies,” proposed the union of the oceans by three of the very same lines toward which, to this hour, the eye turns with hope.

“It is true,” said Gomara, “that mountains obstruct these passes, but if there are mountains there are also hands; let but the resolve be made, there will be no want of means; the Indies, to which the passage will be made, will supply them. To a king of Spain, with the wealth of the Indies at his command, when the object to be obtained is the spice trade, what is possible is easy.

But the sacred fire suddenly burned itself out in Spain. The peninsula had for its ruler a prince who sought his glory in smothering free thought among his own people, and in wasting his immense resources in vain efforts to repress it also outside of his own dominions through all Europe. From that hour, Spain became benumbed and estranged from all the advances of science and art, by means of which other nations, and especially England, developed their true greatness.

Even after France had shown, by her canal of the south, that boats could ascend and pass the mountain crests, it does not appear that the Spanish government seriously wished to avail itself of a like means of establishing any communication between her sea of the Antilles and the South Sea. The mystery enveloping the deliberations of the council of the Indies has not always remained so profound that we could not know what was going on in that body. The Spanish government afterward opened up to Humboldt free access to its archives, and in these he found several memoirs on the possibility of a union between the two oceans; but he says that in no one of them did he find the main point, the height of the elevations on the isthmus, sufficiently cleared up, and he could not fail to remark that the memoirs were exclusively French or English. Spain herself gave it no thought. Since the glorious age of Balbao among the people, indeed, the project of a canal was in every one’s thoughts. In the very wayside talks, in the inns of Spain, when a traveler from the New World chanced to pass, after making him tell of the wonders of Lima and Mexico, of the death of the Inca, Atahualpa, and the bloody defeat of the Aztecs, and after asking his opinion of El Dorado, the question was always about the two oceans, and what great things would happen if they could succeed in joining them.

During the whole of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Spain had need of the best mode of conveyance for her treasures across the isthmus. Yet those from Peru came by the miserable route from Panama to the deadliest of climates. Porto Bello and her European wares for her colonies toiled up the Chagres river, while the roughest of communication farther north connected the Chimalapa and the Guasacoalcos in Mexico, and the trade there was limited sternly to but one port on each side. As late as Humboldt’s visit, in 1802, when remarking upon the “unnatural modes of communication” by which, through painful delays, the immense treasures of the New World passed from Acapulco, Guayaquil, and Lima, to Spain, he says: “These will soon cease whenever an active government, willing to protect commerce, shall construct a good road from Panama to Porto Bello. The aristocratic nonchalance of Spain, and her fear to open to strangers the way to the countries explored for her own profit, only kept those countries closed.” The court forbade, on pain of death, the use of plans at different times proposed. They wronged their own colonies by representing the coasts as dangerous and the rivers impassable. On the presentation of a memoir for improving the route through Tehuantepec, by citizens of Oaxaca, as late as 1775, an order was issued forbidding the subject to be mentioned. The memorialists were censured as intermeddlers, and the viceroy fell under the sovereign’s displeasure for having seemed to favor the plans.

The great isthmus was, however, further explored by the Spanish government for its own purposes; the recesses were traversed, and the lines of communication which we know to-day were then noted.

In addition to the fact that comparatively little was explored north or south of that which early became the main highway, the Panama route, there is confirmation here of the truth that Spain concealed and even falsified much of her generally accurately made surveys. No stronger proof of this need be asked than that which Alcedo gives in connection with the proposal by Gogueneche, the Biscayan pilot, to open communication by the Atrato and the Napipi. “The Atrato,” says the historian, “is navigable for many leagues, but the navigation of it is prohibited under pain of death, without the exception of any person whatever.”

The Isthmus of Nicaragua has always invited serious consideration for a ship canal route by its very marked physical characteristics, among which is chiefly its great depression between two nearly parallel ranges of hills, which depression is the basin of its large lake, a natural and all-sufficient feeder for such a canal.

In 1524 a squadron of discovery sent out by Cortez on the coast of the South Sea, announced the existence of a fresh water sea at only three leagues from the coast; a sea which, they said, rose and fell alternately, communicating, it was believed, with the Sea of the North. Various reconnoissances were therefore made, under the idea that here the easy transit would be established between Spain and the spice lands beyond.

It was even laid down on some of the old maps, that this open communication by water existed from sea to sea; while later maps represented a river, under the name of Rio Partido, as giving one of its branches to the Pacific Ocean and the other to Lake Nicaragua. An exploration by the engineer, Bautista Antonelli, under the orders of Philip II., corrected the false idea of an open strait.

In the eighteenth century a new cause arose for jealousy of her neighbors and for keeping her northern part of the isthmus from their view. In the years 1779 and 1780 the serious purposes of the English government for the occupancy of Nicaragua, awakened the solicitudes of the Spanish government for this section. The English colonels, Hodgson and Lee, had secretly surveyed the lake and portions of the country, forwarding their plans to London, as the basis of an armed incursion, to renew such as had already been made by the superintendent of the Mosquito coast, forty years before, when, crossing the isthmus, he took possession of Realejo, on the Pacific, seeking to change its name to Port Edward. In 1780, Captain, afterward Lord Nelson, under orders from Admiral Sir Peter Parker, convoyed a force of two thousand men to San Juan de Nicaragua, for the conquest of the country.

In his dispatches, Nelson said: “In order to give facility to the great object of government, I intend to possess the lake of Nicaragua, which, for the present, may be looked upon as the inland Gibraltar of Spanish America. As it commands the only water pass between the oceans, its situation must ever render it a principal post to insure passage to the Southern Ocean, and by our possession of it Spanish America is severed into two.”

The passage of San Juan was found to be exceedingly difficult; for the seamen, although assisted by the Indians from Bluetown, scarcely forced their boats up the shoals. Nelson bitterly regretted that the expedition had not arrived in January, in place of the close of the dry season. It was a disastrous failure, costing the English the lives of one thousand five hundred men, and nearly losing to them their Nelson.

At this period, Charles III., of Spain, sent a commission to explore the country. These commissioners reported unfavorably as regarded the route; but fearing further intrusion from England, forbade all access to the coast; even falsifying and suppressing its charts and permanently injuring the navigation of the San Juan and the Colorado by obstructions in their beds.

It is, however, a relief here to learn that when Humboldt visited the New World, he could say: “The time is passed when Spain, through a jealous policy, refused to other nations a thoroughfare across the possessions of which they kept the whole world so long in ignorance. Accurate maps of the coasts, and even minute plans of military positions, are published.” It is also true that the Spanish Cortes, in 1814, decreed the opening of a canal, a decree deferred and never executed.

It was reserved for our century to see this great project carried into execution, and it is but just that as a chronicler of events I should connect with the Canal of Panama the name of a family who have done much to bring the scheme, so to say, into practical execution.

As early as the year 1836, Mr. Joly de Sabla turned his views toward the cutting of a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. He resided at the time on the Island of Guadeloupe, one of the French West India Islands, where he possessed large estates. Of a high social position, the representative of one of France’s ancient and noble families, with large means at his disposal and of an enterprising spirit much in advance of his time, he was well calculated to carry out such a grand scheme.

He soon set about procuring from the Government of New Granada (now Colombia) the necessary grants and concessions, but much time and many efforts were spent before these could be brought to a satisfactory condition, and it was not until the year 1841 that he could again visit the Isthmus, bringing with him this time, on a vessel chartered by him for the purpose, a corps of engineers and employes, medical staff, etc., etc. After two years spent in exploring and surveying a country at that time very imperfectly known, he returned to Guadeloupe to find his residence and most of his estates destroyed by the terrible earthquake that visited the island in February, 1843.

Undaunted by this unexpected and severe blow, Mr. De Sabla persisted in his efforts, and in the same year obtained from the French government the establishment of a Consulate at Panama to insure protection to the future canal company, and also the sending of two government engineers of high repute (Messrs. Garella and Courtines), to verify the surveys already made and complete them.

After receiving the respective reports of Garella and Courtines, Mr. De Sabla decided upon first constructing a railway across the Isthmus, postponing the cutting of the canal until this indispensable auxiliary should have rendered it practicable and profitable. He then presented the scheme in that shape to his friends in Paris and London, and formed a syndicate of thirteen members, among whom we may recall the names of the well known Bankers Caillard of Paris, and Baimbridge of London, of Sir John Campbell, then Vice President of the Oriental Steamship Company, of Viscount Chabrol de Chameane, and of Courtines, the exploring engineer.

A new contract was then entered upon with New Granada in June, 1847, and early in 1848, the Syndicate was about to forward to the Isthmus the expedition which was to execute the preliminary works, while the company was being finally organized in Paris, and its stock placed.

The success of the undertaking seemed to be assured beyond peradventure, when the unexpected breaking out of the French revolution in February, 1848, dashed all hopes to the ground. Several of the prominent financiers engaged in the affair, taken by surprise by the suddenness of the revolution, had to suspend their payments and of course to withdraw from the Panama Canal and railroad scheme. Others withdrew from contagious fear and timidity. Finally the term fixed for carrying out certain obligations of the contract expired without their fulfillment by the company, and the concession was forfeited. Another contract was almost immediately applied for and granted with unseemly haste by the President of New Granada to Messrs. Aspinwall, Stephens and Chauncey, which resulted in the construction of the actual Panama Railroad.

These gentlemen acted fairly in the matter, and in 1849, calling Mr. De Sabla to New York, offered him to join them in the new scheme. Unfortunately they had decided upon placing the Atlantic terminus of the railroad upon the low and swampy mud Island of Manzanillo, while Mr. De Sabla insisted on having it on the mainland on the dry and healthy northern shore of the Bay of Limon. They could not come to an understanding on this point, and Mr. De Sabla, whose experience and foresight taught him the dangers that would result to the shipping from the unprotected situation of the projected part (now Colon–Aspinwall), and who well knew the insalubrity of the malarial swamp constituting the Island of Manzanillo, withdrew forever from the undertaking, after having devoted to it without any benefit to himself, the best years of his life and a large portion of his private means.

One of his sons, Mr. Theodore J. de Sabla, after having actively co-operated with Lieutenant Commander Wyse, in the original scheme of the present canal company, is now one of Count de Lesseps’s representatives in the City of New York, and a director of the Panama Railroad Company.

* * * * *


At the recent meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers, in this city, a paper on an improved form of the averaging machine was read by its inventor, Mr. Wm. S. Auchincloss.

The ingenious method by which the weight of the platform is eliminated from the result of the work of the machine was exhibited and explained. This is accomplished by counterweights sliding automatically in tubes, so that in any position the unloaded platform is always in equilibrium. Any combination of representative weights can then be placed on this platform at the proper points of the scale. By then drawing the platform to its balancing point, the location of the center of gravity will at once be indicated on the scale by the pointer over the central trunnion.

The weights may be arranged on a decimal system, with intermediate weights for closer working, or they may be made so as to express multiples or factors.

Each machine is provided with a number of differing scales, divided suitably for various purposes. When the problem is one of time, the scale represents months and days; for problems of proportion, the zero of the scale is at the center of its length; for problems for the location of center of gravity of a system from a fixed point, the zero is at the extremity of the scale, etc.

The machine exhibited has sixty-three transverse grooves, which, by arrangement of weights, can be made to serve the purposes of two hundred and fifty-two grooves.

The machine is 29 inches in length, 9 inches in width, and weighs about 13 pounds.

With the machine can be found average dates, as, for instance, of purchases and of payments extending over irregular periods; also average prices, as for “futures,” in comman use among cotton brokers. The problem of average haul, so often presented to the engineer, can be solved with ease and great celerity. Practical examples of the solution of these and a number of other problems involving proportions or averages were given by the author.

* * * * *