George Streynsham Master.

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marine, make stated inspections and drill
the crews. The, entire service is under the
charge and management of a general super-
intendent, whose office is a bureau of the
Treasury Department. All the officers of
the service are invested with the powers of
customs officers, which enable them to pro-
tect the interests of the government in pre-
venting smuggling, and assisting in securing
the collection of duties upon dutiable
wrecked goods. They are also required to
guard wrecked property until the owners or
their agents appear.

The officers and men of the service
are chosen without reference to any other
consideration than those of professional fit-
ness and integrity. In the introduction and


Lakes, and one on the Pacific. In each of
these the stations are distinguished by num-
bers, from one upward, beginning at the
most northerly or easterly. Each district is
under the immediate charge of a superin-
tendent, who must be a resident thereof, and
familiar with the character and peculiarities
of its coast-line. He nominates the keepers
of the stations, makes requisition for needed
supplies, etc., and pays the crews their
wages. To each district is also assigned an
inspector, who is the-commanding officer of
the revenue cutter whose cruising grounds
embrace the limits of the district. These
officers, under the direction of a chief in-
*ctor, who is also an officer of the revenue

maintenance of this principle of selection
much opposition and difficulty have been
encoimtered. In the older districts, owing
to the fact that until 1871 the keepers
of stations were regarded only as custo-
dians of public property, without respon-
sibility in the success or failure of efforts
at wrecks, surfmanship was not a standard
of qualification, and these positions were
generally made the rewards of political serv-
ice by each of the parties, as they alternately
succeeded to power \ and so, when the em-
ployment of crews was authorized, the local
politicians endeavored to control the ap-
pointment of these also. Their success soon
became only too evidgat, and it was to

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coimta'act these injurious influences fhat
the board of examination aheady men-
tioned was constituted. A thorough inspec-
tion of the service was made ; every station
was visited, the incompetent were dismissed,
and qualified men were employed in their
places. These advantageous changes in the
corps somewhat altered its political com-
plexion, and the nullification of the effort to
subordinate the service to political ends was
not quietly accepted. Threats and appeals
were in turn resorted to, to overcome the
determination of those in charge of the serv-
ice. Upon the establishment of new dis-
tricts, similar attempts to gain control of
them are generally made, but they are not
so tenaciously persisted in. These attempts
are not confined to the party in power. No
sooner is a keeper appointed from the op-
position than he is beset with solicitations
and demands to remember his party fiiends.
The official injunction, however, issued
yearly, at the commencement of the season,
to the superintendents and keepers, that only
capability and worth are to be regarded in
the choice of their subordinates, supple-
mented by the action of the examming
board, keeps the service well exempt firom
political domination.

But, it will be asked, what results have been
attained by the service ? At this writing, the
last published report is that of the fiscal year
ending June 30th, 1878. From this it appears



that during that year there were 171 disas-
ters to vessels within the limits of the opera-
tions of the service. There were on board
these vessels 1,557 persons. The number
of lives saved was 1,331, the number lost
226, and the number of days' succor afforded
to shipwrecked persons at the stations was
849. Of the 226 lost, 183 perished at the
disasters to the steamers Huron and Me-
tro^lis^ the former occurring four days
pnor to the manning of the stations, which
the appropriations for the maintenance of
the service did not then permit to take place
until the first of December, and the latter
occurring at a distance so remote firom the
nearest station as to render prompt aid im-
possible ;— defects which the reports of the
service had repeatedly pointed out, and
asked to have remedied. The loss of four-
teen others occurred where service was im-
peded by distance, or where the stations
were not open. Making allowance for these^
the loss of life legitimately within the scope
of life-saving operations, was twenty-nine.

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The sad catastrophes of the Huron and
Metropolis contributed largely in securing
the passage of the effective bill of June,
1878, which was introduced and warmly
advocated by Hon. S. S. Cox, and which

nufhber of persons on board the vessels
involved was 6,287 ; the number saved was
5,981 ; the number lost 3o6,t and the num>
ber of days relief afforded to shipwrecked
persons at the stations, 3,716.

resuscitation: ejecting water from body.

established the service on a stable basis,
with powers and functions somewhat com-
mensurate with its purposes and capabili-
ties.* From November, 187 1, the date of
the inauguration of the present system, to

It should be observed that during the
first of these seven years the service was
limited to the coasts of Lon^ Island and
New Jersey; the two following years, to
those coasts, with the addition of Cape Cod;

resuscitation: restoring respiration.

the 30th of June, 1878, the number of disas-
ters stated to have occurred within the field
of operations of the service was 578; the

* In this connection, acknowledgments are also
due to the Hon. Charles 6. Roberts, who made an
exhaustive report upon the subject from the Com-
mittee on Commerce, seconded by an extremely
able speech. The measure was also warmly sup-
ported by the Hon. Messrs. Covert, Conger, Ycates,
Crapo, Dunnell, Brogden, Pugh, and others. In
«rious years the service was also much indebted

the next year, to the foregoing, with the ad-
dition of the coasts of New England and
the coast from Cape Henry to Cape Hat-
teras ; the next, to the foregoing, with the ad-

to Senators Stockton, Hamlin, Boutwell, Chandler
and Frelinghuysen, and to Representatives Newell,
Haight, Lynch, Hale of Maine, Hooper, Cox and

t This number includes the 183 persons who per-
ished at the wrecks of the Huron and Metr^iis
and the 14 others above referred to.

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dition of the coast from Cape Henlopen to
Cape Charles ; the next, to all the foregoing,
with the addition of Florida and the lake
coasts ; and the last year, to the coast at pres-
ent included.

It is not claimed that the entire number
of persons designated in the above figures
as saved would have perished but for the
aid of the life-saving crews, since not un-
frequently, in cases of shipwreck by strand-
ing, a portion of the imperiled succeed in
escaping to the shore, as did several in
the instance of X\it Huron ; and it often
happens that the sudden subsidence of the
sea spares the threatened vessels from de-
struction. , But it is certain that a large
proportion of the number would have per-
ished. A closer approximation to the real
efficacy of the service could be reached,
if statistics of the loss of life in former
years upon the coasts where life-saving sta-
tions are now established could be obtained.
Unfortunately no such record exists, except
an imperfect one, consisting of meager data
relative to disasters between 1850 and 1870
in the vicinity of the rude station-huts
of the Long Island and New Jersey coasts.
It is known that this record by no means
includes near all the disasters which oc-
curred on these coasts. A comparison,
however, of the record of the service since



aniiuai jcuuv,iiuii 111

the loss of life of about 87 per cent !

The record is a shining one. How much
of it is due to official organization may read-
ily be conceived, but it is less easy to real-
ize how much of it belongs to the gallant
crews of the stations, some of whose hard-
ships, together with the methods they em-
ploy, the foregoing pages disclose. The pro-
fessional skill of these men, their unfaltering
energy and endurance, their steady bravery
in the hour of supreme ordeal, and at all
times their sober fidelity to duty, however



Vol. XIX.— 25.

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hard or irksome, are beyond all tribute.
None can better know it than the officers
in charge of the service, whose main reliance
must be, after all, upon the manly virtue of
these crews. What, indeed, can ever stand
in lieu of men !

Many things are yet needed in aid of the
labors of the crews. Numerous articles of
outfit and equipment are required, which the
appropriations, so far, have not been suffi-
cient to provide ; an imperative need is an
additional man for each station ; at present,
when a wreck occurs, the station is left with-
out a proper custodian, who would thus be
provided to guard the public property and
to keep the house in the state of comfort-
able preparation befitting the return firom a
rescue of the exhausted crew, with a con-
voy of drenched, frozen, wounded, and fam-
ished people. In the routine of station
duty, another man would also greariy re-
lieve the others, now too severely tasked.
Another urgent requirement at many of
the stations is horses, which Congress
should provide. The heavy draught labors
involved in hauling a ponderous load of ap-
paratus for miles to a wreck would thus be
spared the men, giving them time and

strength for their daring and perilous work
of rescue. Another need, surely, is pensions
for those who are permanently disabled in
the line of their duty, and for the widows and
orphans of those who perish in the endeavor
to save life firom shipwreck. The guns trained
to destroy life in the service of the country
carry this grateftil condition. The guns train-
ed to save life, no less in the service of the
country, have an equal right to carry it also.
What soldiers have a better claim to this form
of public remembrance than the noble beach-
men who surrender life, as did those in North
Carolina, in 1876, when endeavoring to res-
cue the sailors of the Nucva Oitavia f

In the thought of this deed let us dose.
A gallant soul whose name honors the rolls
of the Life-Saving Service, once said :
" When I see a man clinging to r* wreck, 1
see nothing else in the world, and I never
think of family and fiiends until I have
saved him." It is certain that this is the
spirit which pervades the men of the coast
All report, all record testifies to it, and every
winter their deeds sublimely respond to the
divine declaration : " Greater love hath no
man than this, that a man lay down his life
for his friends."




Nature has endowed the strawberry
plant with the power of taking root and
growing readily at almost any season when
young plants can be obtained. My best
success, however, has been in November
and early spring. The latter part of May and
the month of June is the only time at which
I have not planted with satisfactory results.
In northern latitudes early spring is prefer-
able, for at this season the ground is moist,
showers are abundant, and the impulse of
growth is strong. The weather is cool also,
and therefore the plants rarely heat or dry
out during transportation.

In the south, autumn is by far the best
time to plant When the young plants are
grown on the same place they may be trans-
ferred to the fruiting beds and fields any time
between July and the middle of November.
The earlier they are set out, if they can be

kept growing during the remainder of the
hot season, the larger will be the yield the
following spring. As a rule, plants cannot
be shipped firom the north to the south un-
til cool weather. The forwarding to the
latitude of Richmond begins in September,
and to points fiirther south in October and
November; firom Florida to Louisiana I
hear of almost unvarying success.

Of late years the practice of growing
plants in pots, and sending them out as the
florists do flowers has become very preva-
lent. These potted plants can be set out in
July, August, and September, and the ball
of earth clinging to their roots prevents
wilting, and, unless they are neglected, in-
sures their living. Pot-grown plants are
readily obtained by sinking two and a half
or three inch pots up to their rims in the
propagating beds, and filling them with rich
earth mingled with old thoroughly rotted

n the illustrations of this paper the berries are drawn from nature and are represented at their actual size.

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compost, leaf mold, decayed sods, etc., but
never with fresh unfermented manure. 1
have found the admixture of a little fine
bone meal with the soil to be a strong aid
to vigorous growth. The young runners
are then so guided and held down by a
small stone or lump of earth, that they will
take root in the pots. In about two weeks
they fill the pots with roots, which so inter-
lace as to hold the ball of earth compactly
together during transportation. This ball
of earth with the roots separates readily from
the pot, and the plant, thus sustained, could
be shipped around the world if kept from
drying out and the foliage protected from

cal flavors, we can set out tlie plants in the
summer or autumn of the same year and
within eight or ten months gather the fruits
of our labors. If the season is somewhat
showery, or if one is willing to take the
trouble to water and shade the young plants,
ordinary layers, that is, plants that have
grown naturally in the open ground, will
answer almost as well as those that have
been rooted in pots. The fact that they do
not cost half as much is also in their favor.
As the autumn grows cool and moist,
layer plants can be set out profitably in large
quantities. The chief danger in late plant-
ing results from the tendency of the plaiits to


the effects of alternate heat and cold. The
agricultural editor of the " New York
Weekly Times " writes me that the potted
plaDts are worth their increased cost, if for
no other reason, because they are so easily
planted in hot weather.

The chief advantage of summer planting
lies in the fact that we obtain a good crop
the following season, while plants set out in
spring should not be permitted to bear at
all the same year. If we discover in May
or June that our supply is insufficient, or
that some new varieties offer us paradisai-

be thrown out of the ground by the action
of the frost, and a few varieties do not seem
sufficiently hardy to endure severe cold. I
obviate this difficulty by simply hoeing upon
the plants two or three inches of earth just
before the ground freezes in November or
December. This winter covering of soil en-
ables me to plant with entire success at any
time in the fall — even late in November —
instead of spring, when there is a rush of
work. The earth is raked off the plants in
March or April, as soon as severe freezing
weather is over ; otherwise they would decay.

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alogues very
soon loses all
value except
as history.
Varieties most heralded to-day will soon
exist only in name. The reasons can readily
be given. The convex heart of every straw-
berry blossom will be found to consist of
pistils, and usually of stamens ranged around
them. When both stamens and pistils are
found in the same blossom, as is the case
with most varieties, it is called a perfect
flower; but there are occasionally straw-
berry flowers which possess stamens with-
out pistils, and far more often others which
have pistils without stamens, and either
of these two if left alone would be barren ;
the staminate or male flowers are always
so, but the pistillate or female flowers, if
fertilized with pollen from perfect-flowered
plants, produce fruit. This fertilizing is
effected by the agency of the wind or by
insects seeking honey.

The ovule in the ovarium to which the
^a leads, represents, at maturity a seed

d«uius>, Lu WHICH lic ucvcr ^ivc2> a. uaujc \3f

reason of the fact — ^noted elsewhere than in
the fruit garden — ^that most of these new
strawberries in no respect surpass or even
equal their parents. The great majority,
after fruiting — which they do when two
years old — are thrown away. A new variety
which is not so good as the old ones from
which it came should not be imposed upon
the public. But they often are, sometimes
deliberately, but far more often for other
reasons ; as for instance, through the enthu-
siasm of the possessor. It is his seedling :
therefore it is wonderful. He pets it and
gives it extra care, to which even veiy
inferior varieties generously respond. Again,
a fruit-grower sends out second and third
rate kinds from defective knowledge. He
has not judiciously compared his petted
seedlings with the superb varieties already in
existence. It is soon discovered by general
trial that the vaunted new-comers are not
so good as the old, and so they also cease
to be cultivated, leaving only a name.

Among the innumerable candidates for
favor, here and there one will establish itself

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by persistent well-doing as a standard sort.
VVe then learn that some of these strawberry
princes, like the Jucunda and Triomphe de
Gand, flourish only in certain soils and lati-

tudes, while others, like the Charles Down-
ing and Monarch of the West, adapt them-
selves to almost every condition and locality.
Varieties of this class are superseded very

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slowly; but it would seem, with the excep-
tion of Wilson's Albany and Hovey's Seed-
ling, that the standards of one generation
have DDtbeenihe favorites of the next. The
demand of our age is for large fruit. The
demand has created a supply, and the old
standard varieties have, given way to a new
class, of which the Monarch and Seth Boy-
den are types. The latest of these new
mammoth berries is the Sharpless, originated
^^ Mr. J. K. Sharpless, of Catawissa, Pa.,
the life-size engraving of a cluster on

descriptions of over 250 kinds, and to this
I refer tlie reader.

The important question to most minds
is not how many varieties exist, but what
kinds will give the best returns. In the
brief limits of this paper I shall, therefore,
confine myself to those sorts which, from
trial and observation, I know to be excellent.

If one possesses tlie deep, rich, moist
loam that has been described, almost any
good variety will yield a fair return, and the
best varieties can be made to give surprising
results. For table use and general cultiva-
tion, north and south, east and west, I would

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recommend Charles Downing, Monarch of
the West, Seth Boyden, and Kentucky
Seedling. These varieties are all first-rate in
quality, and they have shown a wonderful
a.daptation to varied soils and cUmates. They
have been before the public many years, and
have persistently proved their excellence.
Therefore, they are worthy of a place in
every garden. With these valuable varieties
for our chief supply, we can try a score of
other desirable kinds, retaining such as prove
to be adapted to our taste and soil

If our land is heavy, we can add to the
above, in northern latitudes, Triomphe de
Gand, Jucunda, President Wilder, Forest
Rose, President Lincoln, Golden Defiance,
Sharpless, and Pioneer.

If the soil is light, containing a large pro-
portion of sand and gravel, the Charles
Downing, Kentucky Seedling, Monarch of
the West, Duchess, Cumberland Triumph,
Miner's Prolific, Golden Defiance and
Sharpless will be almost certain to yield a
fiine supply of large and delicious berries,
both north and south.

Let me here observe that varieties that
do well on light soils also thrive equally

well and often better on heavy land. But
the converse is not true. The Jucunda,
for instance, can scarcely be made to exist
on light land. In the south it should be
the constant aim to find varieties whose
foliage can endure the hot sun. I think
that the Sharpless, which is now producing
a great sensation as well as mammoth ber-
ries, will do well in most southern localities.
It maintained throughout the entire summer
the greenest and most vigorous fohage I
ever saw. Miner's Prolific, Golden Defi-
ance, Early Hudson, and Cumberland
Triumph also appear to me peculiarly
adapted to southern cultivation.

As we go north the difficulties of choice
are not so great. Coolness and moisture
agree with the strawberry plant. There the
question of hardiness is to be first consid-
ered. In regions, however, where the snow
falls early and covers the ground all winter,
the strawberry is not so exposed as with us,
for our gardens are often bare in zero
weather. Usually it is not the temperature
of the air that injures a dormant strawberry
plant, but alternations of freezing and thaw-
ing. The deep and unmelting snows often


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yet mentioned. The four great require-
ments of a market strawberry are product-
iveness, size, beauty, and — that it can
endure long carriage and rough handling

producing smaller berries with each succes-
sive season. The Wilson is perhaps the
best berry for preserving, since it is hard
and its acid is rich and not watery.


wx^c^viiiii|^ ^lo xxi\i».\i. xan-^^x-y piatiicvi mail an

Other kinds together. It is so enormously
productive, it succeeds so well throughout
the entire country, is such an early berry,
that, with the addition of its fine carrying
qualities it promises to be the great market
berry for the next generation also. But
this variety is not at all adapted to thin,
poor land, and is very impatient of drought.
In such conditions the berries dwindle rap-
idly in size, and even dry up on the vines.
Where abundant fertility and moisture can
be maintained the yield of a field of Wil-
sons is simply marvelous. On a dry hill-
side close by, the crop from the same variety
may not pay for picking. Plantations of
Wilsons should be renewed every two years,
since the plant speedily exhausts itself.


A rival of the Wilson has appeared with-
in the last few years, — the Crescent Seed-
ling, also an early berry, originated by Mr,
Parma lee, of New Haven, Conn. At first,
it received unbounded praise ; now, it gets
too much censure. It is a very distinct and
remarkable variety, and, like the Wilson, I
think,willfill an important place in strawberry
culture. Its average size does not much
exceed that of the Wilson ; its flavor, when
fully ripe, is about ^qual in the estimation
of those who do not like acid fruit. In
productiveness, on many soils, it will far ex-
ceed any variety with which I am acquainted.
It is just this capacity for growing on thin.

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poor soils — anywhere and under any cir-
cumstances — that gives to it its chief value.
In hardiness and vitality, it is almost equal
to the Canada thisde. The young plants
are small, and the foliage is slender and
delicate; but they have the power to live
and multiply beyond that of any other
variety I have seen. It thrives under the
suns of Georgia and Florida, and cares
naught for the cold of Canada ; it practically
extends the domain of the strawberry over
the continent, and renders the laziest man in

Online LibraryGeorge Streynsham MasterThe Century, Volume 19 → online text (page 60 of 160)