Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

home influences. To this end, children sent to reformatories should be kept there long enough to secure the purpose of their detention, and should not be released to return to early vicious associations, or to be placed in homes so near the place of their first offences, as to be easily brought back to vicious courses or criminal association. Homes should be found for them, chosen and supervised by competent persons, where they can begin life anew, freed from the contamination of city vices, the temptation of evil examples, and the risk of evil companionship, where they can find new friends and help in making a fair place in the race of life.

roth. The question of industrial technical training ought to be solved in some of the existing reformatories. The inmates too often find themselves discharged with a fair elementary school knowledge, but without any handicraft by which they can earn a livelihood.

With the steady support of the public, the Charity Organization Society may grow into a recognized bureau of information, doing here by voluntary labor, what is done elsewhere at great expense and with much official circumlocution, by census reports and statistical returns. Just as the society has reduced the charges upon both public and private charity, by demonstrating the mischief of indiscriminate alms-giving, so it can in time point to the results it has gathered by studying the influences, for good or evil, of the penal and reformatory institutions in and near the city. There is too little absolute information to enable even official persons to speak with authority of the work our Penal and Reformatory Institutions are doing, of the improvements needed in their systems of admission and discharge, and of the results of their training, both as matter of prevention and reform. Such a task is too large for any individual, but it is one that falls in with the work undertaken by the Society for Organizing Charity. To it the public and the authorities will in time learn to look for the knowledge that is needed to make provision for the classes coming to and leaving the penal and reformatory institutions of this city and of the State.

J. D. ROSENGARTEN.

ENGARTEN.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

CLIMATIC INFLUENCES ON MANKIND.

A NORTHERN gentleman who had been spending the winter A at Austin, told me, on a warm day of last May, that it was no wonder that the people of the South had so little energy, the climate being so enervating. He was a graduate of Yale College, and had travelled extensively in Europe ; hence, he may be presumed to represent the average Northern opinion in regard to our climate. A Southern clergyman, a college graduate and a D. D.. expressed similar views to me last summer. In short, I have heard so many say the same thing, both at the North and the South, that I know this to be a general opinion. Hence, hundreds and thousands of Southern young ladies and gentlemen have been and are being educated at the North. That the want of energy, the lack of Southern authors, Southern periodicals, and high mental culture, which is said, and truly said, to prevail at the South in comparison with the North, is not caused by climate, I intend to prove by showing that the principal religions of the world originated in warm climates; for these have caused the best brain-work in the world; also that civilization began in such climates, and there attained its greatest development.

By warm climates, I mean those as warm or warmer than that of the Southern cotton States bordering on the Gulf of Mexico. The countries of Europe along the Mediterranean, have climates so mild that the orange, olive, lemon, fig, and pomegranate are cultivated in the open air. This is done in Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece, and a large portion of Asia Minor. Orange trees are now growing in the grounds of the Vatican at Rome, and also at Athens in Greece. Smyrna, east of Greece in Asia, furnishes many of the figs of commerce, and Spain sends her oranges to Northern Europe. Travellers tell us of the delightful climate of Persia, where during “ the long spring and summer the plains are covered with flowers, the air is laden with perfume, and the melody of birds, winds and waters fills the air. The fields are covered with grain, which ripens in May; the grapes, apricots, and peaches are finer than those of Europe. The rose bush, the national emblem of Persia, grows to the size of a tree and is weighed down by its luxuriant blossoms." Such is the description of the lovely valley of Schiraz, at one end of which are situated the ruins of Persepolis, the ancient capital of Persia.

The work of civilization has been done by three great races, the Semitic, the Aryan, and Turanian, as men are now classed. This classification has been recently established by the study of languages, to which that of the Sanscrit has largely contributed. This old language of India is now taught in many of the universities of Europe and America, and its study has revealed to us the most ancient literature of the world, that of the Hindoos, and also caused the ethnology of Blumenbach, and his classification of mankind into five great races, to be no longer used. This has been done by the comparison of the Sanscrit with the Persian, the Greek, Latin, Keltic, Teutonic and Slavonic, which proves that these seven races all had a common origin; for a comparison of the languages of these people shows that the roots of their most common words are the same, as is also their grammatical construction. Any one who has studied the subject cannot have the least doubt but that these seven languages are all children of one mother tongue, the Aryan.

The Aryans were a pastoral people, dwelling on the great plains east of the Caspian Sea, long before the historical period. There the Aryans lived in a mild, warm climate, where many semitropical animals roamed over the plains of Central Asia, and fed upon its luxuriant vegetation. The animal and vegetable remains of Northern Asia and Europe, and also of North America, prove beyond question that the Northern Hemisphere once had a much warmer climate than at present. Elephants have been found quite recently imbedded in the ice on the banks of the rivers in Northern Siberia, as far north as latitude 75°, one so perfect that its flesh was eaten by the wolves when a part of its icy covering fell off. An eye removed from the socket of one of these animals is now in the museum at Moscow. But the change came, and this change from warm to cold may have caused the Aryans to emigrate. The Kelts, the Teutons; and Slavs went north of the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus into Europe; and the Hindoos, the Persians, the Greeks and Romans all went southward.

The Semitic race includes the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Phænicians, the Hebrews, and other Syrian tribes, also the Arabs and Carthaginians. The languages of these people all show a common origin. Their civilization began before that of Greece and Rome. Their countries are all in tropical and semi-tropical regions.

To the Turanian race belong the Chinese, the Tartars, Japanese, Turks, and a great host of inferior races.

I. To what race did the Egyptians belong ? Ethnologists are not agreed on this point.

Alfred Maury (Revue d. Deux Mondes, September, 1867) says that “according to all appearances, Egypt was peopled from Asia by that Semitic race which comprised the tribes of Palestine, Arabia, and Ethiopia. Its ancient civilization was, consequently, the sister of that which built Babylon and Nineveh. In the valley of the Nile, as in those of the Euphrates and Tigris, religion gave the motive to civilization, and in all these nations there was a priesthood in close alliance with an absolute monarchy.” M. de Rouge is of the same opinion, that the Egyptians were of the same family as the Asiatic tribes on the shore of Syria. There is also proof that a large portion of the original population of Egypt came down the Nile from Africa. Here, then, as in many other cases, a new civilization may have come from the union of two different races—one Asiatic, the other African. Asia furnished the brain, Africa both brain and fire, and from the immense vital force of the latter and the intellectual vigor of the former, sprang that wonderful civilization in Egypt, which illuminated the world for at least five thousand years, as a light in its Southern sky.

According to the concurrent testimony of the early Greek historians and other writers, Egyptian civilization began on the Upper Nile, and first came from Meroe, in Ethiopa. The remains of temples, pyramids, paintings, at Meroe and other ancient cities of Ethiopia show that the old civilization of Ethiopia was like that of Egypt. The civilization of Egypt was the great school to which men from Greece and other countries came to be educated. Here Moses, Pythagoras, Herodotus and Plato were taught. Here Thales, the celebrated mathematician and founder of the Iorfic Sect, came to study geometry, astronomy, and philosophy. Returning to Greece, he taught his countrymen that the heaven is divided into five zones, and the solstitial and equinoctial points. He also corrected their calendar, and made their year 365 days. He is said to have been so well acquainted with celestial motions as to be able to predict an eclipse ; for the Egyptians, his teachers, knew the form of the earth and the length of the year, and could calculate eclipses of the sun and moon.

Archimedes, who was one of the most famous mathematicians of antiquity, also was a student in Egypt. He flourished about 250 years before Christ, and some of his works on the higher branches of mathematics are still extant.

At Alexandria, in Egypt, Euclid the great mathematician was born, lived and taught and founded a mathematical school about 300 years before the Christian era. His Elements of Geometry has long been a text-book in the schools of Europe and America. These are our teachers in some of the most important branches of science. Let us not forget that they learnt their lore in the schools of the South.

The architecture of the Ancient Egyptians is well-known. In massiveness and grandeur it far excels that of the moderns. An obelisk of a single stone which weighs 300 tons has found its way from Egypt to New York.

The Egyptians, says Wilkinson, were unquestionably the most pious nation of all antiquity. The oldest monuments show their belief in a future life, and Osiris the Judge is mentioned in tombs erected two thousand years before Christ. Herodotus says, “ They are of all men the most excessively attentive to the worship of the gods.” Ethical ideas underlay their worship, and formed part of their contribution to the thought of the classical world. Minos and Rhadamanthus, the judges of the dead in the Greek mythology, seem to have been a reflex of the Egyptian belief as to future judgment, as reflected in their “Book of the Dead.” How far Egyptian ideas are reproduced in the Mosiac faith of the Hebrews is a matter of much dispute. But some even of orthodox commentators are inclined to believe that their influence was considerable; and one New Testament writer reminds us that Moses was “ learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” On the whole, therefore, we may claim for this Southern land that its religion, as well as its scientisic thought, has passed into the history of the world, and has become the birthright of all nations.

II. Tyre, once mistress of the seas and one of the chief cities of Phænicia, was on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the northern part of Palestine. It was noted for its commerce, the wealth, luxury and enterprise of its inhabitants. The ceramic art of the Greeks and Romans is now known to have been derived from Egypt and Phænicia, as is clearly shown by the late wonderful discoveries of

« VorigeDoorgaan »