D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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I have visited the provinces of Parana and Rio Grande and tlie
state of Montevideo, and what I have to say relates only to those
regions. Being neither an agriculturist nor a zootechnist, I have had
to limit myself to incomplete observations, and have endeavored to
see how those cattle which are described as half wild, and are without
any apparent direct relations with man, have been able to adapt them-
selves in a definite manner to the different conditions of their life.

Nothing can be more interesting than to study those conditions in
which cattle live and are propagated without stables and without an
assured supply of food ; nothing more instructive than to observe how
the time of heat, and consequently of births, the proportion of the
young, and even their survival, are differently regulated according to
the character of the country, in consequence of different physical con-
ditions. Nothing, moreover, can be more curious than to study the
habits of these supposed wild cattle, to see them living in isolated
societies, possessing real notions of what is belonging to them, and
each member of the community keeping his place. These facts are
of further importance, because they have served for the empirical
basis of the actual conditions, as they will have to serve as the basis
of an improved system of breeding. In all these countries the life of
the cattle is wholly free. The stock-raiser, or estancier, is the owner
of a very extensive tract of pasture-land, and he leaves the animals to
live upon it, feed themselves, and multiply at their will. The stock,
even in the wildest and least populous regions, form small herds of
from one hundred to one hundred and fifty head, which are made up
of steers, cows, calves, and bulls ; but are always composed of the
same individuals, and always inhabit the same very limited region of
the campo, and the animals pass their lives within this region without
being confined by any inclosure. The distinctive character of the

* M. Couty was recently charged by the Minister of Agriculture of Brazil to visit the
southern part of the empire and the neighboring states for the information of the depart-
ment. The paper of which the most essential parts are here given embodies the results
of his inquiries.


groups is especially curious in tlie more populous regions, as the south-
ern part of Rio Grande or Montevideo, where herds may be seen al-
most in contact without mixing, coming together and making them-
selves up generally without trouble ; and they live thus side by side
for years without becoming acquainted with each other. Each herd
is so coherent that, when one of its members takes fright and runs
away, all will follow it. In consequence of this habit, it is very diffi-
cult, when cattle are sold, to separate them from the herds and to get
them along for the first few leagues. If they are not watched, they
will escape, pass by thousands of other animals without noticing them,
and join their companions again. They cease, however, to seek to go
back after they have been driven to a considerable distance.

The cattle in these herds also propagate in freedom. Traveling in
Parana at a time when the pasturage was excellent and the cattle were
in good condition, in January, I saw numerous vigorous bulls living
as peacefully as could be with the cows.

The care given by man to the cattle enjoying this freedom of lifo
and procreation, although very restricted, is greater than has been
represented. A rodeo, or gathering of the different herds at a singh
point, is held at determined periods, both in Parana and the Oriental
Republic. The assemblage may take place near the buildings in an
estancia of moderate size, often in an inclosed space of suitable capaci-
ty called the mangueira. In extensive estancias having numerous
herds, as it would be almost impossible to collect ten or twenty thou-
sand head at a single point, several rodeos are made in different parts
of the campo, always at the same points. In other estancias, notably
in Parana, one or two grand rodeos a year are made at the mangueira,
and several smaller rodeos at less intervals. The task of driving the
cattle up to the rodeo is not a hard one. The beasts stagger along,
and go in a mass toward the habitual point of gathering, generally
with the bulls at their head The assemblies are kept up for a greater
or less length of time, and the peons circulate around the herd, shout-
ing so as to accustom the animals to the presence of man, and to the
custom of coming up. The rodeo gives an opportunity to judge of the
condition of the flocks, when and what proportion of them may be
ready for sale ; to practice treatment or different operations ; to give
the stock salt in Parana, and medical attention in other regions ; to
mark them and castrate them. Each estancia has its particular mark —
often several marks ; for in many estancias all the children have their
share of the cattle, and, as the slaves also are sometimes allowed to own
stock, confusion would result if means were not taken to jirevent it.

The intervention of man is also illustrated in the efforts at cross-
breeding. I was surprised at the manner in which this is attempted
in South America. Everybody wants to acclimatize the races of Eu-
rope, and to improve the meat and fattening qualities of the stock ;
and; to this end, thorough-bred bulls (Herefords, and especially Dur-


hams) have been imported at great expense. An owner desiring to
improve the stock of an estaucia containing twenty thousand head, will
procure three or four Durham bulls, and then will be astonished that
the desired effect is not more rapidly produced. He ought not to for-
get that cross-breeding can not succeed between races so different ex-
cept upon the condition that the new blood is continually renewed. To
transplant the most artificial breed, and the one most difficult to main-
tain, into a dried-up southern campo, is one of the aberrations which a
complete ignorance of European breeding" and the taste for imitation
alone can explain. It is also surprising that hardly anything has been
done, in a region where everything is so favorable, to improve from
themselves the races which have akeady become adapted to the me-
dium and been molded by it. Cross-breeding, although it is highly
esteemed, has been tried only in a limited number of estancias, and the
selection of the best native stock has not been seriously attempted on
any of the estates that I have observed. Although backward in respect
to selection, the intervention of man has brought about an improve-
ment in a no less important point of view, in the shape of measures to
secure a more regular supply of food. In Parana the grass of the
campos is burned at the dry season, in September and October of each
year, certain parts, bounded by streams or ditches, being reserved to be
burned later, so as to secure a succession of pasturage. In this state,
as farther south, another equally simple means of preserving the nat-
ural food has been much employed. The most moist, least exposed,
or best parts of the campo are inclosed, forming hivernadas, if the
tract is large, potreiros^ if it is small, for the cattle which are to be fat-
tened. No inclosures large enough for all the stock have been made
yet. These means, however, do not create new food, but only utilize
that which already exists, and are of no use when a reserve of food is
most necessary — that is, after frosty weather, and at the end of long

Two other measures might be adopted to assure a regular supply
of pasturage, but they have hardly been tried. The easier course
would be to install regular irrigation. In Parana the country is hilly,
and the water-courses are everywhere maintained through the hot sea-
sons. Farther south, it might be possible to irrigate large tracts
through the whole year. Estanciers who, like M. Carlos Reyles at
Durasno, have instituted irrigation on a considerable scale, have real-
ized increased profits from it. Nevertheless, it is easy to count the
breeders who have tried irrigation. There is probably not one in Pa-
rana, where, if you suggest it, the breeder will answer that an ex-
cess of water will promote the growth of worthless plants. The con-
dition of the cattle might be improved, and the return from them
increased, by dividing the enormous droves, which may now count
from four to thirty thousand head, into herds of from five hundred
to a thousand head. Now, all the half-wild cattle — hravos, as they


call them — have an extreme fear of man ; it is dangerous to approach
them on foot. They are prone to abandon their calves, and give
them insufficient food. On the other hand, the cattle in small herds,
or manses, breed much better and more rapidly. In Parana, many
estanciers have, besides the droves of hravo cattle, four or five hun-
dred head of manse cattle, which are kept to be milked ; the lat-
ter live in the same campo, equally free with the others, but nearer
the buildings. Nothing can be more surprising than to observe the
differences in the aspect and in the productiveness of the two classes,
whose conditions differ only in their having a greater or less famili-
arity with man. Ultimately, when these regions shall have become
more populous and divided into smaller estates, the manse cattle will
predominate, and systematic breeding Avill take the place of the pres-
ent free-range practice ; but at present the fact must be recognized
that the rearing on a grand scale of the half -wild stock is the only sys-
tem that gives retunis ; this method is, however, I am assured, com-
petent to produce a stock equal to some of the better-managed races
of Europe, The natural physical conditions under the operation of
which the production of cattle must be maintained and promoted in
these regions, are liable to considerable variation, even within the lim-
ited territory which I have visited.

The operation of the differences as a whole is revealed in the
variations in the annual sales in the several regions. In Parana the
proportion of animals sold is excessively small, being only about one
twentieth of the total number of cattle for each year, but it is regu-
lar ; while it rises to from one tenth to one eighth in Rio Grande and
Montevideo, and to a still higher figure farther south, but is very
irregular, falling sometimes below that which rules in Parana. That
even the larger proportion of sales is smaller than that which obtains
in Europe, is easily explained by reference to the differences in the pre-
vailing conditions ; but why such differences should exist between two
regions of South America where the same system of raising is prac-
ticed, is an interesting subject of inquiry. The animals grow quite
slowly in Parana, and are hardly ready to send to market till they are
four or six years old, and are well developed and shapely ; in the
southern districts they are as a whole smaller, but are more rapidly
developed, and are sold when only three or four years, or even less
than three years, old. Then, while in Europe, nearly every cow is ex-
pected to give a calf each year, in Rio Grande and Montevideo the
number of calves is only eighty per cent., in Parana only fifty per
cent, that of the cow. In Parana the calves are nearly always born
at or near the same time of the year, between September and Novem-
ber, while in Rio Grande and ]\Iontevideo the time of calving varies
with different years, and even in the same year on different estates,
and the proportion of calves is likewise irregular. The estancias of
Montevideo are liable to visitations by epidemics which often carry off


tliousands of head of stock ; those of Parana are liable to a single
affliction which is troublesome, the grub, from which the more south-
ern districts are comparatively free. In Parana, the animal having
passed his first year, continues to grow regularly and safely ; in the
southern districts he is exposed to many dangerous affections. The
Parana animal has symmetrical proportions, a good size, well-developed
bones, a thick hide well provided with hair, horns firmly planted and
curved ; the color only is variable. The southern stock, although
faster growing, are irregular in then- proportions, smaller than those
of Parana, and do not give as much clear beef.

These diversities are attributable to differences in the media in
which the cattle live. The seasons at Parana are regular. One, from
D(!cember till the end of March, is marked by heavy rains coinciding
with great heat ; the other, including the rest of the months, is without
rains or storms, but has abundant dews — a season of seven months of
drought. The seasons are irregular in the southern regions. The
wintei's are colder than in Parana, and are attended with heavy frosts.
Long storms are not infrequent, and are often destructive to stock.
The rains are not to be depended upon, but the heaviest of them fall
in the winter ; and the dry seasons come at irregular intervals. Calves
are regularly born in the same months in Parana, because the animals,
after having been exhausted by the long drought, have recovered their
strength in the rich pasturage of December and January, and are in
the best condition for heat in the following months. The seasons of
calving are irregular in the southern districts because the times when
the rains fall and the pastures are good, on which the procreative abil-
ity of the animals depends, are irregular.

These facts are very remarkable, for they show that reproduction
is not regulated directly by the climate or the season, but indirectly,
through the condition of the pasturage. The further development of
the young animal is also affected by the same condition. The Parana
calf, born during the dry season, is badly nourished at first, but find-
ing the pastures rich just when it has grown large enough to graze,
and beginning at the same time to receive an abundance of milk from
its mother, it takes on a rapid development, and soon becomes strong
enough to endure the coming dry season. This season carries off all
the weaker animals, especially those that are calved at a later than the
normal time, and has in this manner contributed to the perfection and
perpetuation of the characteristics of the breed.

The case is quite different in the- south, where the increase and
growth of the animals are as irregular as the seasons ; great losses
occur under exceptional conditions of weather ; and herds are some-
times reduced one half in consequence of long droughts.

The capacity of the stock in Parana to endure the long annual
droughts is doubtless increased by certain accessory features in the
nature of the soil and in the wooded growth. The soil is clayey, and


not easily permeable by water. It accordingly retains the moisture,
and is fitted to form the bed of streams -which never become dry. The
pasture-lands are diversified with woods which are wanting in the more
southern districts, and these give the animals shelter when they need
it, and furnish them with a certain amount of browse, though it be of
inferior quality, when the grass fails. There are other differences,
mostly relating to matters of detail, which have not yet been suffi-
ciently studied to make their bearing well understood, but all of which
appear to illustrate the fact that the life of the stock, its increase, and
its development, depend on the complex relations of certain physical
conditions, such as the temperature, the time and amount of rains, the
character of the soil, the presence or absence of wood, all of which act
through their influence upon the supply of pasturage and food. A
careful stud}^ of the media in which the cattle live and by which their
development is governed and their habits are regulated, the points of
difference between them, and the varying effects they produce in the
animals exposed to their influence, might result in adding another page
to what has been written on progressive evolution and adaptation. —
Translated from Hevue Scientijique.


A]\[OXG the original cultivators of astronomy who give honor
alike to the American name and to the science of the age, a
distinguished place must be assigned to Charles Augustus Young,
the present Professor of Astronomical Science in the College of New
Jersey, at Princeton. He was born at Hanover, New Hampshire, De-
cember 15, 1834, and may be said to have had astronomy in his blood,
being descended from professors of that science on both sides for two
generations. Ilis father. Professor Ira Young, occupied the chair of
Natural Philosphy and Astronomy in Dartmouth College ; and his
mother's father, Professor Ebcnezer Adams, held the same position in
that institution still earlier. He fitted for college at home, and grad-
uated at Dartmouth at the head of his class in 1853.

After graduation he was for three years a teacher of classics in
Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. In 1856 he accepted the
appointment of Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and
Astronomy in Western Reserve' College at Hudson, Ohio, and the next
year he married Miss Augusta J. Mixer, of Concord. He remained at
Hudson till 1865, and during the time of his connection with the "West-
ern Reserve College his vacations were spent in astronomical work for
the survey of the Western and Northwestern lakes. At the same time
he deviated from his peaceful college occupations into the profession of
war. He became a military captain, and commanded a company of


one-hundred-days men, mostly composed of the students of the col-
lege, who had volunteered at the call of Governor Tod, of Ohio, in
1862. The company was ordered to Yieksburg as escorts to a cartel
of exchanged prisoners, and Professor Young's health received injuries
during the expedition from which he has never entirely recovered.

He returned to his native town of Hanover in 1865, to take the
]>rofessorship of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy in Dartmouth Col-
lege, the same which had been held by his grandfather, and his father,
who died in 1858. He was connected with this institution until 1877.
During this time he was actively engaged on several astronomical ex-
peditions. He was a member of the party which, under the charge of
Professor J. H. C. Coffin, observed the eclipse of August 7, 1869, at
Burlington, Iowa. Professor Young had devoted himself with great
assiduity to spectroscopic investigations, and he had charge of the
spectroscopic observations of the party. It was there that he discov-
ered the green line of the corona spectrum, and identified it with the
*' 1.474" line of the solar spectrum. It may be observed that Professor
Ilarkness also discovered the same line on the same occasion, at Des
3Ioines, though, on account of the inferior power of his instrument, be
did not identify it correctly. In the winter of 1870-'71 Professor
Young was a member of the Coast Survey party which, under the
charge of Professor "Winlock, observed the eclipse of December 22d
at Jerez in Spain. It was on this occasion that Professor Young made
his interesting discovery of what is called the "reversing layer" of
the solar atmosphere, giving a bright-line spectrum correlative to that
of the ordinary dark-line spectrum of sunlight. This remarkable ef-
fect is thus described by Professor Young, in his new work on the
sun : " At a total eclipse of the sun, at the moment when the ad-
vancing moon has just covered the sun's disk, the solar atmosphere of
course projects somewhat at the point where the last ray of sunlight
has disappeared. If the spectroscope be then adjusted with its slit
tangent to the sun's image at the point of contact, a most beautiful
phenomenon is seen. As the moon advances, making narrower and
narrower the remaining sickle of the solar disk, the dark lines of the
spectrum for the most part remain sensibly unchanged, though becom-
ing somewhat more intense. A few, however, begin to fade out, and
some even turn palely bright a minute or two before the totality be-
gins. But the moment the sun is hidden, through the whole length
of the spectrum, in the red, the green, the A-iolet, the bright lines flash
out by hundreds and thousands, almost startlingly ; as suddenly as
stars from a bursting rocket-head, and as evanescent, for the whole
thing is over within two or three seconds. The layer seems to be only
something under a thousand miles in thickness, and the moon's mo-
tion covers it very quickly."

In August, 1872, Professor Young was stationed at Sherman, Wy-
oming Territory, the summit of the Pacific Railroad, to make solar


spectroscopic observations in connection with the Coast Survey party.
While there he made out a catalogue of 273 lines reversed in the
chromosphere spectrum, and 104 lines modified in the spectrum of sun-
spots. In 1874 he went to Peking, China, as assistant astronomer in
the party of Professor Watson, which observed the transit of Venus.

While at Hanover Professor Young devoted most of the time
which could be spared from college duties to astronomical and spec-
troscopic observations, and he devised a form of automatic spectro-
scope which has been very generally adopted, and a description of
which was formerly given in " The Popular Science Monthly." lie
also made a great number of new and instructive observations on the
phenomena of solar prominences, and observed some remarkable ex-
plosions in the stupendous masses of vapor which are shot out hun-
dreds of thousands of miles from the solar surface. Professor Young
also, at this time, established what is known as Doppler's principle as
applied to light experimentally, and was enabled to measure the sun's
rotation by the displacement of lines in the spectrum.

But, notwithstanding his multifarious labors in the observatory,
and at distant places which he visited for observation. Professor
Young has also been active as a writer of scientific papers, and as
an astronomic teacher. Besides his elaborate courses of instruc-
tion to college classes, he has also given courses of popular lect-
ures at Peabody Institute, of Baltimore, and Lowell Institute, at Bos-
ton. He has also delivered occasional scientific lectures in different
cities, and regular educational courses at Mount Holyoke Seminary,
Williams College, St. Paul's School, and several other places. It
must be added that he has also found time, within the last few years,
to write an excellent popular treatise on " The Sun " for the " Inter-
national Scientific Series," which is now just issued.

The vigorous movement in the College of New Jersey, at Prince-
ton, for enlarged scientific teaching, which was inspired and directed
by President McCosh, led to the choice of Professor Young to take
the chair of Astronomy in that institution, and he accepted the invita-
tion in 1877. In 1878 he was in charge of the astronomical expedition
organized by the college to observe the eclipse of July 29th of that year,
at Denver, Colorado, and in which the party had excellent success.
During his residence at Princeton he has maintained his customary
activity in pursuing spectroscopic observ^ations in solar physics.

Professor Young has been honored by many recognitions of emi-
nence in his department. He is a member of the National Academy
of Sciences, a Fellow and ex- Vice-President of the American Associa-
tion for the Advancement of Science, an Associate Fellow of the Amer-
ican Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston, an Honorary Member
of the New York Academy of Sciences, and of the Philosophical So-
ciety in Philadelphia, and a Foreign Associate of the Royal Astro-
nomical Society of Great Britain.





[We copy the following interesting cor-
respondence from the pages of the " South-
ern Workman." It contains various signifi-
cant facts admirably presented.]

Singapore, May 10, ISSl.
Messrs. Editors.

IX a previous letter I spoke about a ne-
gro, S. A. Butler, a resident of Shang-
hai, China. His career is quite remarkable.
His parents were Africans, or pure negroes ;
his father a preacher in Washington, D. C.
He was educated in Paris, and there learned
to gpeak French, Italian, German, and
Spanish. I think he has an aptitude for

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 105 of 110)