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SCIENCE SKETCHES 



SCIENCE SKETCHES 



SCIENCE SKETCHES 



DAVID STARR JORDAN 



Nebi anti Enlargtli Cbftion 




CHICAGO 
A. C. McCLURG AND COMPANY 



CorVRlGHT 

Uy Ax t\ McClvri; anp Co. 



TO 

HULDAH HAWLEY JORDAN. 



PREFACE. 



" I "HIS volume is made up of sketches 
reprinted from various periodicals, and 
coming under the general head of popular 
science. Most of these articles have been 
freely retouched since their original appear- 
ance. The volume corresponds in part to 
the first edition of " Science Sketches," pub- 
lished in 1887. Eight of the articles are the 
same, being printed from the same plates, 
with a few verbal changes. For certain 
others of the first edition, — the accounts of 
"Agassiz at Penikese," "The Fate of Icio- 
dorum," "The Story of a Strange Land," 
and "How the Trout came to California," — 
articles written since 1887 have been sub- 
stituted. The author wishes to express his 
especial obligations to Messrs. D. Appleton 



• 



vi PREFACE. 

& Company for permission to reprint the 
six articles which have appeared in the 
" Popular Science Monthly." He is also 
indebted for similar permission to the pub- 
lishers of the " American Naturalist/' " St. 
Nicholas," " Recreation," and the "Riverside 
Natural History," from each of which pub- 
lications one article has been taken. 

Leland Stanford Jr. University, 

Palo Alto, Cal., April 30, 1896. 



CONTENTS. 



-•- 



Chapter Page 

I. The Story of a Salmon 9 

II. Johnny Darters 20 

III. The Salmon Family 35 

IV. The Dispersion of Fresh-Water Fishes 83 
V. Agassiz at Penikese 133 

VI. An Eccentric Naturalist 153 

VII. A Cuban Fisherman 170 

VIII. The Fate of Iciodorum 181 

IX. The Story of a Stone 224 

X. An Ascent of the Matterhorn . . . 232 

XI. The Story of a Strange Land .... 256 

XII. How the Trout came to California . . 267 



Science Sketches. 



THE STORY OF A SALMON. 

IN the realm of the Northwest Wind, on the 
boundary-line between the dark fir-forests and 
the sunny plains, there stands a mountain, — a 
great white cone two miles and a half in perpen- 
dicular height. On its lower mile the dense fir- 
woods cover it with never-changing green ; on its 
next half-mile a lighter green of grass and bushes 
gives place in winter to white ; and on its upper- 
most mile the snows of the great ice age still 
linger in unspotted purity. The people of Wash- 
ington Territory say that their mountain is the 
great ** King-pin of the Universe," which shows 
that even in its own country Mount Tacoma is 
not without honor. 

Flowing down from the southwest slope of 
Mount Tacoma is a cold, clear river, fed by the 
melting snows of the mountain. Madly it hastens 
down over white cascades and beds of shining 
^nds, through birch-woods and belts of dark firs, 
to mingle its waters at last with those of the great 
Columbia. This river is the Cowlitz ; and on its 
bottom, not many years ago, there lay half buried 



12 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

to the left, but swimming right on up-stream just 
as rapidly as they could. And these great salmon 
would not stop for them, and would not lie and float 
with the current. They had no time to talk, even 
in the simple sign-language by which fishes express 
their ideas, and no time to eat. They had im- 
portant work before them, and the time was short 
So they went on up the river, keeping their great 
purposes to themselves ; and our little salmon and 
his friends from the Cowlitz drifted down the 
stream. 

By-and-by the water began to change. It grew 
denser, and no longer flowed rapidly along; and 
twice a day it used to turn about and flow the other 
way. Then the shores disappeared, and the water 
began to have a different and peculiar flavor, — a 
flavor which seemed to the salmon much richer and 
more inspiring than the glacier-water of their native 
Cowlitz. There were many curious things to see, 
— crabs with hard shells and savage faces, but so 
good when crushed and swallowed ! Then there 
were luscious squid swimming about; and, to a 
salmon, squid are like ripe peaches and cream. 
There were great companies of delicate sardines 
and herring, green and silvery, and it was such 
fun to chase and capture them ! Those who eat 
sardines packed in oil by greasy fingers, and 
herrings dried in the smoke, can have little idea 
how satisfying it is to have a meal of them, plump 
and sleek and silvery, fresh from the sea. 

Thus the salmon chased the herrings about, and 
had a merry time. Then they were chased about 
in turn by great sea-lions, — swimming monsters 



THE STORY OF A SALMON. 1 3 

with huge half-human faces, long thin whiskers, and 
blundering ways. The sea-lions liked to bite out 
the throat of a salmon, with its precious stomach 
full of luscious sardines, and then to leave the rest 
of the fish to shift for itself. And the seals and 
the herrings scattered the salmon about, till at last 
the hero of our story found himself quite alone, 
with none of his own kind near him. But that 
did not trouble him much, and he went on his 
own way, getting his dinner when he was hungry, 
which was all the time, and then eating a little 
between meals for his stomach's sake. 

So it went on for three long years ; and at the 
end of this time our little fish had grown to be a 
great, fine salmon of twenty-two pounds' weight, 
shining like a new tin pan, and with rows of the 
loveliest round black spots on his head and back 
and tail. One day, as he was swimming about, idly 
chasing a big sculpin with a head so thorny that he 
never was swallowed by anybody, all of a sudden 
the salmon noticed a change in the water around 
him. 

Spring had come again, and the south-lying 
snow-drifts on the Cascade Mountains once more 
felt that the " earth was wheeling sunwards." The 
cold snow waters ran down from the mountains and 
into the Columbia River, and made a freshet on the 
river. The high water went far out into the sea, 
and out in the sea our salmon felt it on his gills. 
He remembered how the cold water used to feel 
in the CowHtz when he was a little fish. In a 
blundering, fishy fashion he thought about it; he 
wondered whether the little eddy looked as it used 



14 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

to look, and whether caddis-worms and young 
mosquitoes were really as sweet and tender as he 
used to think they were. Then he thought some 
other things ; but as the salmon's mind is located 
in the optic lobes of his brain, and ours is in a dif- 
ferent place, we cannot be quite certain what his 
thoughts really were. 

What our salmon did, we know. He did what 
every grown salmon in the ocean does when he 
feels the glacier-water once more upon his gills. 
He became a changed being. He spurned the 
blandishment of soft-shelled crabs. The pleasures 
of the table and of the chase, heretofore his only 
delights, lost their charms for him. He turned 
his course straight toward the direction whence 
the cold water came, and for the rest of his life 
never tasted a mouthful of food. He moved on 
toward the river-mouth, at first playfully, as though 
he were not really certain whether he meant any- 
thing after all. Afterward, when he struck the full 
current of the Columbia, he plunged straightfor- 
ward with an unflinching determination that had 
in it something of the heroic. When he had passed 
the rough water at the bar, he was not alone. His 
old neighbors of the Cowlitz, and many more from 
the Clackamas and the Spokan and Des Chiites 
and Kootanie, — a great army of salmon, — were 
with him. In front were thousands pressing on, 
and behind them were thousands more, all moved 
by a common impulse which urged them up the 
Columbia. 

They were all swimming bravely along where the 
current was deepest, when suddenly the foremost 



THE STORY OF A SALMON, 1 5 

felt something tickling like a cobweb about their 
noses and under their chins. They changed their 
course a little to brush it off, and it touched 
their fins as well. Then they tried to slip down 
with the current, and thus leave it behind. But, 
no ! the thing, whatever it was, although its touch 
was soft, refused to let go, and held them like a 
fetter. The more they struggled, the tighter be- 
came its grasp, and the whole foremost rank of the 
salmon felt it together ; for it was a great gill-net, 
a quarter of a mile long, stretched squarely across 
the mouth of the river. 

By-and-by men came in boats, and hauled up the 
gill-net and the helpless salmon that had become 
entangled in it. They threw the fishes into a pile 
in the bottom of the boat, and the others saw them 
no more. We that live outside the water know 
better what befalls them, and we can tell the story 
which the salmon could not. 

All along the banks of the Columbia River, from 
its mouth to nearly thirty miles away, there is a 
succession of large buildings, looking like great 
barns or warehouses, built on piles in the river, 
high enough to be out of the reach of floods. 
There are thirty of these buildings, and they are 
called canneries. Each cannery has about forty 
boats, and with each boat are two men and a long 
gill-net. These nets fill the whole river as with 
a nest of cobwebs from April to July, and to 
each cannery nearly a thousand great salmon arc 
brought every day. These salmon are thrown in a 
pile on the floor ; and Wing Hop, the big Chinaman, 
takes them one after another on the table, and with 



1 6 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

a great knife dexterously cuts off the head, the tail, 
and the fins ; then with a sudden thrust he removes 
the intestines and the eggs. The body goes into a 
tank of water ; and the head is dropped into a box 
on a flat-boat, and goes down the river to be 
made into salmon oil. Next, the body is brought 
to another table ; and Quong Sang, with a machine 
like a feed-cutter, cuts it into pieces each just as 
long as a one-pound can. Then Ah Sam, with a 
butcher-knife, cuts these pieces into strips just as 
wide as the can. Next Wan Lee, the ** China boy," 
brings down a hundred cans from the loft where the 
tinners are making them, and into each can puts a 
spoonful of salt. It takes just six salmon to fill a 
hundred cans. Then twenty Chinamen put the 
pieces of meat into the cans, fitting in little strips 
to make them exactly full. Ten more solder up 
the cans, and ten more put the cans into boiling 
water till the meat is thoroughly cooked, and five 
more punch a little hole in the head of each can to 
let out the air. Then they solder them up again, 
and little girls paste on them bright-colored labels 
showing merry little cupids riding the happy salmon 
up to the cannery door, with Mount Tacoma and 
Cape Disappointment in the background; and a 
legend underneath says that this is ** Booth's,'* or 
** Badollet's Best," or '* Hume's," or " Clark's," or 
** Kinney's Superfine Salt Water Salmon." Then 
the cans are placed in cases, forty-eight in a case, 
and five hundred thousand cases are put up every 
year. Great ships come to Astoria, and are loaded 
with them ; and they carry them away to London 
and San Francisco and Liverpool and New York 



THE STORY OF A SALMON. 1/ 

and Sidney and Valparaiso; and the man at the 
corner grocery sells them at twenty cents a can. 

All this time our salmon is going up the river, 
eluding one net as by a miracle, and soon having 
need of more miracles to escape the rest ; passing 
by Astoria on a fortunate day, — which was Sunday, 
the day on which no man may fish if he expects to 
sell what he catches, — till finally he came to where 
nets were few, and, at last, to where they ceased al- 
together. But there he found that scarcely any of 
his many companions were with him ; for the nets 
cease when there are no more salmon to be caught 
in them. So he went on, day and night, where the 
water was deepest, stopping not to feed or loiter on 
the way, till at last he came to a wild gorge, where 
the great river became an angry torrent, rushing 
wildly over a huge staircase of rocks. But our 
hero did not falter; and summoning all his forces, 
he plunged into the Cascades. The current caught 
him and dashed him against the rocks. A whole 
row of silvery scales came off and glistened in the 
water like sparks of fire, and a place on his side 
became black-and-red, which, for a salmon, is the 
same as being black-and-blue for other people. 
His comrades tried to go up with him; and one 
lost his eye, one his tail, and one had his lower 
jaw pushed back into his head like the joint of a 
telescope. Again he tried to surmount the Cas- 
cades; and at last he succeeded, and an Indian on 
the rocks above was waiting to receive him. But 
the Indian with his spear was less skilful than he 
was wont to be, and our hero escaped, losing only 
a part of one of his fins ; and with him came one 

2 



1 8 SCIEXCK SKETCHES. 

Other, and henceforth these two pursued their 
journey together. 

Now a gradual change took place in the looks 
of our salmon. In the sea he was plump and 
round and silvery, with delicate teeth in a sym- 
metrical mouth. Now his silvery color disap- 
peared, his skin grew slimy, and the scales sank 
into it; his back grew black, and his sides turned 
red, — not a healthy red, but a sort of hectic flush, 
lie grew poor; and his back, formerly as straight 
as need be, now developed an unpleasant hump at 
the shoulders. His eyes — like those of all enthu- 
siasts who forsake eating and sleeping for some 
loftier aim — became dark and sunken. His sym- 
metrical jaws grew longer and longer, and meeting 
each other, as the nose of an old man meets his 
chin, each had to turn aside to let the other pass. 
His beautiful teeth grew longer and longer, and 
projected from his mouth, giving him a savage 
and wolfish appearance, quite at variance with his 
real disposition. For all the desires and ambitions 
of his nature had become centred into one. We 
may not know what this one was, but we know that 
it was a strong one ; for it had led him on and on, 
— past the nets and horrors of Astoria; past the 
dangerous Cascades ; past the spears of Indians ; 
through the terrible flume of the Dalles, where 
the mighty river is compressed between huge 
rocks into a channel narrower than a village 
street; on past the meadows of Umatilla and 
the wheat-fields of Walla Walla; on to where the 
great Snake River and the Columbia join ; on up 
the Snake River and its eastern branch, till at last 



THE STORY OF A SALMON. 1 9 

he reached the foot of the Bitter Root Mountains 
in the Territory of Idaho, nearly a thousand miles 
from the ocean which he had left in April. With 
him still was the other salmon which had come 
with him through the Cascades, handsomer and 
smaller than he, and, like him, growing poor and 
ragged and tired. 

At last, one October afternoon, our finny travel- 
lers came together to a little clear brook, with a 
bottom of fine gravel, over which the water was 
but a few inches deep. Our fish painfully worked 
his way to it; for his tail was all frayed out, his 
muscles were sore, and his skin covered with un- 
sightly blotches. But his sunken eyes saw a ripple 
in the stream, and under it a bed of little pebbles 
and sand. So there in the sand he scooped out 
with his tail a smooth round place, and his com- 
panion came and filled it with orange-colored eggs. 
Then our salmon came back again ; and softly cov- 
ering the eggs, the work of their lives was done, 
and, in the old salmon fashion, they drifted tail 
foremost down the stream. 

They drifted on together for a night and a day, 
but they never came to the sea. For the salmon 
has but one life to live, and it ascends the river but 
once. The rest lies with its children. And when 
the April sunshine fell on the globules in the gravel, 
these were wakened into -life. With the early au- 
tumn rains, the little fishes were large enough to 
begin their wanderings. They dropped down the 
current in the old salmon fashion. And thus they 
came into the great river and drifted away to the 
sea. 



20 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



JOHNNY DARTERS.! 

ANY one who has ever been a boy and can 
remember back to the days of tag-alders, 
yellow cowslips, and an angle-worm on a pin-hook, 
will recall an experience like this : You tried some 
time to put your finger on a little fish that was 
lying, apparently asleep, on the bottom of the 
stream, half hidden under a stone or a leaf, his 
tail bent around the stone as if for support against 
the force of the current. You will remember that 
when your finger came near the spot where he was 
lying, the bent tail was straightened, and you saw 
the fish again resting, head up-stream, a few feet 
away, leaving you puzzled to know whether you 
had seen the movement or not. You were trying 
to catch a Johnny Darter. Nothing seems easier, 
but you did not do it. 

Having by well-understood stratagem succeeded 
where you failed, allow us to give you that ac- 
quaintance which he so deftly declined. 

In all clear streams from Maine to Mexico the 
Johnny Darters are found ; and the boy who does 
not know them has missed one of the real pleas- 
ures of a boy's life. All of them are very little 
fishes, — some not more than two inches long, and 

1 The original version of this paper was the joint work of the 
late Professor Herbert Edson Copeland and the writer. — D. S.J. 



JOHNNY DARTERS. 21 

the very largest but six or eight. But small though 
they are, they are the most interesting in habits, 
the most graceful in form, and many of them the 
most brilliant in color of all fresh-water fishes. 
The books call them " Darters ; " for one of the first 
species known was named Boleosoma^ and that in 
Greek means " dart-body," — a name most appro- 
priate to them all. The realistic dwellers in the 
Ohio Valley call some of them "Hog-fish," and 
the boys call them "Johnnies." Certainly the 
boys ought to know, — and Johnnies they are, and 
Darters they are; so Johnny Darters they shall 
be. Their first introduction to science was in 1819, 
when Rafinesque gave to them their scientific 
name of Etheostoma. This name seems to mean 
" strainer-mouth ; " but the " eccentric naturalist," 
whose peculiar use of the Greek language was not 
the least of his eccentricities, says that it means 
" various-mouth," because no two of those he 
knew^ have the mouth alike. But whatever it 
may mean, Etheostoma is their name, and Rafi- 
nesque their godfather; and we may call them 
Johnnies for short. 

Rafinesque said of the Johnnies that he knew 
"they are good to eat fried." I suppose that 
he had tried them; but we have not. We should 
as soon think of filling our pan with wood-warblers 
as to make a meal of them. The good man goes 
a-fishing not for " pot-luck," but to let escape "the 
Indian within him." 

The Johnny Darter deserves our especial atten- 

1 These were Etheostoma flabellare^ Percina caprodes^ and Diple- 
sion blennioides* 



22 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

tion in this Centennial year, for he is altogether an 
American product. He has all that ardent desire 
for perfect freedom that is supposed to be native 
to this continent. Unless all appearance of cap- 
tivity be concealed in a well-kept aquarium, he 
will quickly lie on the bottom, dead. Here, at 
the beginning (for much as we may regret the 
fact, the death of some individual must precede 
our acquaintance with the group, and even to some 
extent with the individual himself), we observe 
two noteworthy facts : the fish in dying does not 
turn over, and does not rise to the surface. On 
dissection, we find that the air-bladder is only 
rudimentary, being structurally, but not function- 
ally, present, — a distinction not without meaning 
in these days of evolutionary hypotheses. If our 
tank be so arranged that the conditions are nearly 
natural, there being an abundance of stones and 
weeds on the bottom, our Johnnies will cheerfully 
live with us, and we shall be ready to study their 
individual peculiarities, or, as Boyesen's " Scientific 
Vagabond " would have said, their " psychology." 

For it must be known that while all fish are fish, 

• 

they are so only as all men are men. The chil- 
dren of one family are not more unlike one another 
than the fishes of one brood might be if the sickly 
ones and the lazy ones were as carefully guarded 
as are ours. As it is, they have their individuality. 
One is constantly darting over and among the 
stones, never resting, moving his head from side 
to side when his body is for a moment still. An- 
other will lie for hours motionless under a stone, 
moving only for a few inches when pushed out 



JOHNNY DARTERS. 23 

with a Stick. These peculiarities of temperament 
are important factors in the problem of life ; and 
from such differences under varying conditions, 
may have resulted forms which we now designate 
as different species. 

But we must leave these general questions for 
the present, and tell the story of the Johnny Dart- 
ers that live in our aquarium.^ 

First of these in size and therefore in dignity 
comes the Log Perch or Hog-fish {Percina ca- 
prodes Rafinesque). This is the giant of the 
family, — the most of a fish, and therefore the 
least of a darter. It may be readily known by its 
zebra-like colors. Its hue is pale olive, — silvery 
below, darker above. On this ground-color are 
about fifteen black vertical bars or incomplete 
rings, alternating with as many shorter bars which 
reach only half-way down the side. The hind- 
most bar forms a mere spot on the base of the 
tail, and there are many dots and speckles on the 
fins. The body is long and slender, spindle-shaped, 
and firm and wiry to the touch. The head is flat 
on top, and tapers into a flat-pointed snout which is 
squared off at the end like the snout of a pig ; and 
this resemblance is heightened by the form of the 
small mouth underneath it. From this pig-like 
snout has come the scientific name caprodes. 
This IS a translation of the older name of " hog- 
fish," which Rafinesque heard applied to it in his 
time, arid which is still used in the same regions. 

Percina reaches a length of six or eight inches, 

1 At Indianapolis, Indiana. All the species here mentioned, and 
some others, are found in the White River, near Indianapolis. 



24 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

and it may readily be caught on a small hook 
baited with a worm. We often meet an urchin 
with two or three of them strung through the gills 
on a forked stick, along with " red-eyes," ** stone- 
toters," ** horny-heads," and other ** boys' fish." 
At such times we generally buy the hog-fish for a 
cent, cut it open to look at the air-bladder, which 
the books say it does not have, and then lay it 
away with the rest of our treasures in the bottle 
of alcohol. We find Percina usually in rapid and 
rather deep water, — as deep as we can wade in 
when seining in hip-boots. We rarely find them 
small enough for ordinary aquarium purposes ; and 
the living specimen before us, though wonderfully 
quick and graceful in its movements, has shown 
little that is noteworthy, save his courage, his fond- 
ness for angle-worms, and a possible disposition to 
bury himself in the sand. There is something in 
the expression of his face, as he rests on his " hands 
and feet" on a stone, that is remarkably lizard- 
like, suggesting the Blue-tailed Skink {Enmeces 
fasciatus). 

We next come to the fine gentleman of the 
family, the Black-sided DdiVtQV (^Hadropterus aspra 
Cope and Jordan). This one we may know by its 
colors. The ground hue is a salmon yellow; the 
back is regularly and beautifully marbled with black 
in a peculiar and handsome pattern. On the sides, 
from the head to the tail, runs a jet-black band, 
which is widened at intervals into rounded spots 
which contrast sharply with the silvery color of the 
belly; or we may say that on each side is a chain 
of confluent round black blotches. Sometimes 



JOHNNY DARTERS, 25 

the fishes seem to fade out ; these blotches grow 
pale, and no longer meet; but in an instant they 
may regain their original form and shade. This 
latter change can be induced by the offer of food, 
and it is of course due to muscular action on the 
scales which cover the darker pigment. A male 
in our aquarium underwent almost instantly an en- 
tire change of coloration upon the introduction of a 
female fish of the same species recognized by him 
as his affinity. Although the two have been to- 
gether for some weeks, the novelty has not yet 
worn off; and although his colors vary much from 
one hour to another, he has never yet quite re- 
verted to his original hues. The form of the black- 
sided darter is more graceful than that of any 
other, and his movements have litjle of that angu- 
lar jerkiness which characterizes his relatives. 

The fins of Hadropterus, like those of Percina^ 
are long and large, the number of dorsal spines 
being about fourteen. A notable peculiarity in 
both species is the presence of a row of shields, or 
enlarged scales, along the middle line of the abdo- 
men. These may help to protect that part from 
the friction of the stony bottom. They seem to 
be shed sometimes ; but when or why this happens 
we do not know. Hadropterus delights in clear 
running water, and may be found in most streams 
south and west of New York. It is especially de- 
sirable for aquaria, being hardier than any other 
fish as pretty, and prettier than any other fish as 
hardy, and withal with " a way of his own," as an 
Irish laborer, Barney MuUins, once said to us of 
Thoreau 



26 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

One of the most simply beautiful of all fishes is 
the Grccn-sidcd Darter (^Diplcsion bknnioides Rafi- 
ncs(|uc). He is not, like the PaxilichtJiySy an ani- 
mated rainbow; but he has the beauty of green 
^rass, wild violets, and mossy logs. As we watch 
him in the water, with his bright blended colors 
and gentle ways, once more, with Old Izaak, ** we 
sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and pos- 
sess ourselves in as much quietness as the silent 
silver streams which we see glide so quietly by us." 
Inuring the ordinary business of the year Diple- 
sion, like most sensible fishes and men, dresses 
plainly. It is not easy to get time for contempla- 
tion when the streams are low and food is scarce. 
Besides, a plain coat may ward off danger as well 
as facilitate attack. At all times, however, he may 
be known by these marks: the fins are all large; 
the back is covered with zigzag markings, while 
on the lower part of the sides are eight or nine 
Z£/-shaped olive spots. These are more or less con- 
nected above, and sometimes form a wavy line. 
The eyes are prominent ; the snout is very short 
and rounded ; while the little inferior mouth is 
puckered up as if for saying ** prunes and prisms, 
prunes and prisms." But when the first bluebirds 
give warning by their shivering and bodiless notes 
that spring is coming, then Diplcsion puts on his 
wedding-clothes, and becomes in fact the green- 
sided darter. The dorsal fins become of a bright 
grass-green, with a scarlet band at the base of each ; 
the broad anal has a tinge of the deepest emerald ; 
while every spot and line upon the side has turned 
from an undefined olive to a deep rich green, such 



JOHNNY DARTERS, 2/ 

as is scarcely found elsewhere in the animal world 
excepting on the heads of frogs. The same tint 
shines out on the branching rays of the caudal fin, 
and may be seen struggling through the white of 
the belly. The blotches nearest the middle of the 
back become black, and thickly sprinkled every- 
where are little shiny specks of a clear bronze- 
orange. In the aquarium Diplesion is shy and 
retiring, — too much of a fine lady to scramble for 
angle-worms or to snap at the " bass-feed." She 
is usually hidden among the plants, or curled up 
under an arch of stones or in a geode. 

We never tired of watching the little Johnny, or 
Tessellated Darter {Boleosoma nigrum Rafinesque). 
Although our earliest aquarium friend, — and the 
very first specimen showed us by a rapid ascent 
of the river-weed how '* a Johnny could climb 
trees," — he has still many resources which we 
have never learned. Whenever we try to catch 
him with the hand, we begin with all the uncer- 
tainty that characterized our first attempts, even 
if we have him in a two-quart pail. We may know 
him by his short fins, his first dorsal having but 
nine spines, and by the absence of all color save a 
soft yellowish brown, which is freckled with darker 
markings. The dark brown on the sides is ar- 
ranged in seven or eight eez-shaped marks, below 
which are a few flecks of the same color. Cover- 
ing the sides of the back are the wavy markings 
and dark specks which have given the name of the 
** Tessellated Darter ; " but Boleosoma is a braver 
name, and we even prefer " Boly " for short In 
the spring the males have the head jet-black ; and 



/ 



28 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

this dark color often extends on the back part of 
the body, so that the fish looks as if he had been 
taken by the tail and dipped into a bottle of ink. 
But with the end of the nuptial season, this color 
disappears, and the fish regains his normal strawy 
hue. 

The head in Boleosoma resembles that of Diple- 
sion ; but the habit of leaning forward over a stone, 
resting on the front fins, gives a physiognomy even 
more frog-like. His actions are, however, rather 
bird-like ; for he will strike attitudes like a tufted 
titmouse, and he flies rather than swims through 
the water. He will, with much perseverance, push 
his body between a plant and the side of the aqua- 
rium, and balance himself on the slender stem. 
Crouching cat-like before a snail-shell, he will snap 
off the horns which the unlucky owner pushes tim- 
idly out. But he is often less dainty, and seizing 
the animal by the head, he dashes the shell against 
the glass or a stone until he pulls the body out or 
breaks the shell. Boly, alas ! is the " Quaker of 
our aquarium " only in appearance. 

Gayest of all the darters, and indeed the gaudiest 
of all fresh-water fishes, is the Rainbow Darter 
{Pcccilichthys cceruletis Storer). This is a little fish, 
never more than three inches long, and usually 
about two. Everywhere, throughout the northern 
parts of the Mississippi Valley, it makes its home 
in the ripples and shallows of the rivers and in the 
shady retreats of all the little brooks. The male 
fish is greenish above, with darker blotches, and 
its sides arc variegated with oblique bands alter- 
nately of indigo-blue and deep orange, the orange 



JOHNNY DARTERS. 29 

often edged with patches of white. The cheeks 
are deep blue, the breast deep orange ; while the 
expanded fins are gorgeous in scarlet, indigo, and 
crimson. The female, as is usually the case when 
the male of the species is resplendent, is plainly- 
colored, — a speckly green, with no trace of blue 
or orange. 

When the War of the Rebellion broke out, there 
were some good people who were anxiously look- 
ing for some sign or omen, that they might know 
on which side tlie ** stars in their courses " were 
fighting. It so happened that in a little brook in 
Indiana, called Clear Creek, some one caught a 
rainbow darter. This fish was clothed in a new 
suit of the red, white, and blue of his native land, 
in the most unmistakably patriotic fashion. There 
were some people who had never seen a darter 
before, and who knew no more of the fishes in 
their streams than these fishes knew of them, by 
whom the coming of this little " soldier-fish " into 
their brooks was hailed as an omen of victory. Of 
course, these little fishes had really " always been 
there." They were there when America was dis- 
covered and for a long time before, but the people 
had not seen them. The warblers lived, you re- 
member, in Spalding's woods at Concord; but 
Spalding did not know that they were there, and 
they had no knowledge of Spalding. So with the 
darters in Spalding's brooks. Still, when the day 
comes when history shall finally recount all the 
influences which held Indiana to her place in the 
Union, shall not, among greater things, this least 
of little fishes receive its little meed of praise? 



30 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Pcecilicktkys is a chubby little fish, as compared 
with the other darters. In its movements it is 
awkward and ungraceful, though swift and savage 
as a pike. One of the mildest of its tricks which 
we have noticed, is this. It would gently put its 
head over a stone and catch a water-boatman by 
one of its swimming legs, release it, catch it again 
and again release it, until at last the boatman, evi- 
dently much annoyed, swam away out of its reach. 
It will follow to the surface of the water a piece of 
meat suspended by a string. It is more alert in 
discovering this than a hungry sunfish or rock- 
bass, and it can be led around like a pet lamb 
by a thread to which is fastened a section of a 
worm. 

A more beautiful fish than this — beyond ques- 
tion the handsomest of them all — is the Blue- 
breasted Darter {Nothonotus camurus Cope). It is 
a deep olive-green little fish, sprinkled over with 
dots of carmine like a brook trout. Its breast is of a 
deep ultramarine blue, and its fins gayly variegated 
with blue, yellow, and crimson. But we hardly 
learned to know it as an aquarium acquaintance ; 
for we found it but twice, both times in the clearest 
of water, and our specimens never survived con- 
finement more than two or three hours. We can 
only say of their habits that they died where other 
darters lived, and that before they died all other 
fishes seemed cheap and common beside them. 

The darter of darters is the Fan-tail (^Etheostoma 
Jlabellare Rafinesque). Hardiest, wiriest, wariest 
of them all, it is the one which is most expert in 
catching other creatures, and the one which most 



JOHNNY DARTERS. 3 1 

surely evades your clutch. You can catch a 
weasel asleep when you can put your finger on 
one of these. It is a slim, narrow, black, pirate- 
rigged little fish, with a long pointed head, and a 
projecting, prow-like lower jaw. It carries no flag, 
but is colored like the rocks, among which it lives. 
It is dark brown in hue, with a dusky spot on each 
scale, so that the whole body seems covered with 
lengthwise stripes ; and these are further relieved 
by cross-bands of the same color. Its fins, espe- 
cially the broad fan-shaped caudal, are likewise 
much checkered with spots of black. The spines 
of the dorsal fin arc very low ; and each of these in 
the male ends in a little fleshy pad of a rusty-red 
color, the fish's only attempt at ornamentation. 

The fan-tail darter chooses the coldest and swift- 
est waters ; and in these, as befits his form, he leads 
an active, predatory life. He is the terror of water- 
snails and caddis-worms, and the larvae of mosqui- 
toes. In the aquarium this darter is one of the most 
interesting of fishes; for though plainly colored 
it is very handsome, and in its movements is the 
most graceful of all the darters. Its mouth opens 
wider than that of any of the others, and it is fuller 
of bristling teeth. Its large, yellow-rimmed black 
eyes are ever on the watch. The least of a " fish " 
and the most of a darter, the fan-tail is worthily 
left as the type of the genus Etheostoma, in which 
it was first placed by its discoverer, Rafinesque. 

We often brought home with us a ** Johnny," 
** Speck," or ** Crawl-a-bottom," of a different type 
from any of those whose habits we already knew. 
It had a very sharp nose which projected over its 



30 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Pcecilichthys is a chubby little fish, as compared 
with the other darters. In its movements it is 
awkward and ungraceful, though swift and savage 
as a pike. One of the mildest of its tricks which 
we have noticed, is this. It would gently put its 
head over a stone and catch a water-boatman by 
one of its swimming legs, release it, catch it again 
and again release it, until at last the boatman, evi- 
dently much annoyed, swam away out of its reach. 
It will follow to the surface of the water a piece of 
meat suspended by a string. It is more alert in 
discovering this than a hungry sunfish or rock- 
bass, and it can be led around like a pet lamb 
by a thread to which is fastened a section of a 
worm. 

A more beautiful fish than this — beyond ques- 
tion the handsomest of them all — is the Blue- 
breasted Darter {Nothofiotus camurns Cope). It is 
a deep olive-green little fish, sprinkled over with 
dots of carmine like a brook trout. Its breast is of a 
deep ultramarine blue, and its fins gayly variegated 
with blue, yellow, and crimson. But we hardly 
learned to know it as an aquarium acquaintance ; 
for we found it but twice, both times in the clearest 
of water, and our specimens never survived con- 
finement more than two or three hours. We can 
only say of their habits that they died where other 
darters lived, and that before they died all other 
fishes seemed cheap and common beside them. 

The darter of darters is the Fan-tail (^Etheostoma 

flabellare Rafinesque). Hardiest, wiriest, wariest 

^ them all, it is the one which is most expert in 

ling other creatures, and the one which most 



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ices- 3x "nit aqruariinT zfru^ danir if niu n-~ zi\l m hc 
ijnteres£ii|: cc :nfiiitif . i":»* mniij- ri:a:n\^ r/M.r.-:: 
it 2S TfT}' LHudsiiiDi:. imz. 'nL 13 iDr^^'i!ini:rr:f- i^ rr»i 
most cr^accfzl cc ill ih^ dznirrv. Iif^ Tn:nn± :»:ii^nf 

of brist]in^ teerb- Its i£:r^t.. ytij z^-y-Trr-^^cz rijijr.i: 
e\"es are erer on the Trsrzih. Tbf- jf-isc :c a ** "^fTr, " 
and the most of a darter- rbr fL^y-t^l if ut-.'-nh^y 
left as the type of the i:^ r-jif ^xLr,'^s:'.''7rs , It. ^>,!ch 
it was first placed by its discoverer^ R,tf.r^c^c;;:v\ 

We often brouc^t hon^e \%ith i:s a "lohnrA\'' 
" Speck," or " Crawl-a-bottoni,*' of a o:::oront :\ :>o 
from anv of thofc whoso h.ibits wo a'ro.^vh kr,v"\\. 
It had a ver>' sharp nose which prv\ioclCvl v>\ or ils 



32 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

mouth ; its body was exceedingly slim and round, 
as transparent as jelly, but bard and firm to the 
touch. Its belly and much of its back were quite 
bare of scales, and those along its sides were small 
and inconspicuous. After much searching through 
the scattered descriptions which Eastern naturalists 
have given us of the darters found in their bottles 
of alcohol, we decided that our little friend was the 
Pellucid Darter {Ammocrypta pellucida Baird), 
better called the " Sand Darter " for reasons soon 
to be given. 

Our aquarium had been arranged for the con- 
venience of our other Etheostomine friends, and 
the bottom was thickly covered with stones among 
which a small fish might easily hide. Several days 
passed after the introduction of the first Ammo- 
crypta ^ which survived the change of water, when 
wc noticed that it had disappeared. Careful search 
among the stones and around the geode only made 
it the more certain that it had gone, and increased 
our wonder as to the way; for surely it had not 
been eaten, nor had it jumped out, unless, like 
Ariel, it could assume a "shape invisible." Finally, 
after going over every inch of the ground, there 
was discovered, under the nose of Boleosoma^ 
which was standing as usual on its hands and tail, 
the upper edge of a caudal fin, and on each side 
of Boly's tail appeared a little black eye set in a 
yellow frame. Plairolepis was buried ! Was he 
dead? Slowly one eye was closed in a darter's 
inimitable way, — for they can outwink all animals 

1 Or, as wc then called it, Pleurolepis ; this name being earlier, 
but already preoccupied by a genus of extinct ganoid fishes. 



JOHNNY DARTERS. 33 

in creation except owls, — and a touch of a finger 
on its tail showed that it had lost none of its activ- 
ity. It was quite improbable that it had been 
buried so completely by accident. We therefore 
cleared of stones a small spot, leaving the hard 
white sand exposed, and awaited developments. 
Then for days we watched it closely, only to learn 
that it could bury itself with great celerity, for it 
was not caught in the act. But our patience was 
at last rewarded ; for one morning, as we came out 
to breakfast, it put its nose, that we now know has 
a tip nearly as hard as horn, against the bottom, 
stood up nearly straight on its head, and with a 
swift beating of the tail to right and left was in less 
than five seconds completely buried. The sand 
had been violently stirred, of course; and just as 
it had nearly settled, probably in less than half a 
minute, its nose was put quietly out, and settling 
back left the twinkling eyes and narrow forehead 
alone visible. 

Since then we have kept scores of them in an 
aquarium arranged especially for their conven- 
ience, and have often seen them burrow into the 
sand. They will remain buried so long as the water 
is pure and cool. Indeed, we now rely almost en- 
tirely on them to warn us when the water needs 
changing. When this need is felt, they come out 
of the sand and lie on the bottom panting vio- 
lently. We have been unable to discover any im- 
mediate incentive for the act. It seems to be 
entirely . unpremeditated. A number of them in 
confinement lie helplessly on the bottom, motion- 
less and slowly breathing, when one suddenly 

3 



34 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Starts and buries his head and neck in the now 
whirling sand, by a motion as quick as thought ; 
his tail beats frantically about, and when again the 
clean sand lies smooth on the bottom, the little eyes 
are looking at you like two glistening beads, as if 
to witness your applause at so clever a trick. • 

We have never seen Ammocrypta taste of food, 
nor do we ever expect to do so ; for although its 
mouth bristles with teeth, its small size forbids an 
attack on any game which we can offer. Its qui- 
escent habits and the character of the bottoms to 
which it confines itself seem to indicate that its 
prey is minute if not microscopic. But speculation 
about what we do not know as to its food might 
lead us to speculation as to the origin of its char- 
acteristic features, — how, for instance, the hard 
snout, the transparent muscles, and the burrowing 
habits are consequent on its loss of scales, or how 
the loss of unnecessary scales and of pigment cells 
is consequent on its burrowing habits. Then, 
when we have finished these matters, we might 
inquire how it came about that there are ** Johnny 
Darters" at all, and why no other continent has 
them. And we might go on with endless queries 
like these, which would take us far beyond the 
purpose of this article. We have wished only to 
introduce our aquarium friends, and to commend 
them to all lovers of beautiful things in Nature. 



THE SALMON FAMILY, 35 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 

OF all the families of fishes, the one most inter-^ 
esting from almost every point of view is 
that of the SalmonidcBy the Salmon family. As 
now restricted, it is not one of the largest families, 
as it comprises less than a hundred species ; but in 
beauty, activity, gaminess, quality as food, and 
even in size of individuals, different members of 
the group stand easily with the first among fishes. 
The following are the chief external characteristics 
which are common to the members of the family 
as here understood ; the ArgentinidcB and the Sa- 
langidce^ usually included with them, being here 
placed in separate groups : — 

Body oblong or moderately elongate, covered 
with cycloid scales of varying size. Head naked. 
Mouth terminal or somewhat inferior, varying con- 
siderably among the different species, those having 
the mouth largest usually having also the strongest 
teeth. Maxillary provided with a supplemental 
bone, and forming the lateral margin of the upper 
jaw. Pseudobranchiae present. Gill-rakers vary- 
ing with the species. Opercula complete. No 
barbels. Dorsal fin of moderate length, placed 
near the middle of the length of the body. Adi- 
pose fin well developed. Caudal fin forked. Anal 
fin moderate or rather long. Ventral fins nearly 



36 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

median in position. Pectoral fins inserted low. 
Lateral line present. Outline of belly rounded. 
Vertebrae in large number, usually about sixty. 

The stomach in all the Salmonidce is siphonal, 
and at the pylorus are many (15 to 200) com- 
paratively large pyloric coeca. The air-bladder 
is large. The eggs are usually much larger than 
in fishes generally, and the ovaries are without 
special duct, the ova falling into the cavity of the 
abdomen before exclusion. The large size of the 
eggs, their lack of adhesiveness, and the readi- 
ness with which they may be impregnated, render 
the Salmonidce peculiarly adapted for artificial 
culture. 

The Salmonidce are peculiar to the North Tem- 
perate and Arctic regions, and within this range 
they are almost equally abundant wherever suitable 
waters occur. Some of the species, especially the 
larger ones, are marine and anadromous, living and 
growing in the sea, and ascending fresh waters to 
spawn. Still others live in running brooks, en- 
tering lakes or the sea when occasion serves, but 
not habitually doing so. Still others are lake 
fishes, approaching the shore or entering brooks 
in the spawning season, at other times retiring to 
waters of considerable depth. Some of them are 
active, voracious, and gamy ; while others are com- 
paratively defenceless, and will not take the hook. 
They are divisible into eight easily recognized 
genera, — CoregonuSy PlecoglossuSy BrachymystaXy 
StenodtiSy Thymallus, OncorhynchuSy Salmo, and 
Salvelinus, These groups may be discussed in 
rder. 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 37 

The genus Coregonus, which includes the vari- 
ous species known in America as lake white-fish, 
is distinguishable in general by the small size of 
its mouth, the weakness of its teeth, and the large 
size of its scales. The teeth, especially, are either 
reduced to very slight asperities, or else are alto- 
gether wanting. The species reach a length of 
one to two feet or more. With scarcely an ex- 
ception they inhabit clear lakes, and rarely enter 
streams except to spawn. In far northern regions 
they often descend to the sea ; but in the latitude 
of the United States this is rarely possible for 
them, as they are unable to endure impurities in 
the water. They seldom take the hook, and rarely 
feed on other fishes. From their restriction to the 
waters of the different lake systems in which they 
live, numerous local varieties have been developed 
both in Europe and America, distinguished by 
characters less constant and less important than 
those which separate the different species. Euro- 
pean writers have somewhat inconsistently re- 
garded these varying and intangibly different 
forms as distinct species, and many of them have 
come to the conclusion that almost every lake 
system of Scandinavia, Scotland, and Russia has 
several species which are peculiar to it. Dr. Giin- 
ther observes that " the species of this genus are 
not less numerous than those of SalmOy some hav- 
ing a very extended geographical range, whilst 
others are confined to very limited localities. 
They are less subject to variation than the trout, 
and therefore more easily characterized and dis- 
tinguished. Hence we find that naturalists who 



38 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

look with distrust on the different species of Salmo 
are quite ready to admit those of Coregonus,*' 

It seems to me, however, that the variableness 
in Coregonus has been underestimated. The Amer- 
ican species at least are all fishes of wide range, 
varying considerably with their surroundings. 

None of the other species reach the size, or have 
the value as food, of our common white-fish. The 
species of Coregonus differ from each other in the 
form and size of the mouth, in the form of the 
body, and in the development of the gill-rakers. 
These differences have led to the establishment of 
about five sections, or subgenera, the extremes of 
which differ remarkably, but which gradually pass 
from one into another. Of the species, the follow- 
ing are among the most noteworthy: — 

Coregonus oxyrhynchus — the Schidbel of Hol- 
land, Germany, and Scandinavia — has the mouth 
very small, the sharp snout projecting far be- 
yond it. No species similar to this is found in 
America. 

The Rocky Mountain White-fish (^Coregonus 
williamsoni) has also a small mouth and project- 
ing snout, but the latter is blunter and much 
shorter than in C oxyrhynchus. This is a small 
species abounding everywhere in the clear lakes 
of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, 
from Colorado to Vancouver Island. It is a hand- 
some fish, and excellent as food. 

Closely allied to Coregonus williamsoni is the 
Pilot-fish, Shad-waiter, Round-fish, or Menomonee 
White-fish {Coregonus quadrilateralis). This spe- 
cies is found in the Great Lakes, the Adirondack 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 39 

region, the lakes of New Hampshire, and thence 
northwestward to Alaska, abounding in cold deep 
waters, its range apparently nowhere coinciding 
with that of Coregonus williamsoni. 

The common White-fish {Coregonus clupeiformis) 
is the largest in size of the species of Coregonus, 
and is unquestionably the finest as an article of 
food. It varies considerably in appearance with 
age and condition, but in general it is proportion- 
ately much deeper than :any of the other small- 
mouthed Coregoni. The adult fishes develop a 
considerable fleshy hump at the shoulders, which 
causes the head, which is very small, to appear 
disproportionately so. The white-fish spawns in 
November and December, on rocky shoals in the 
great lakes. Its food, which was for a long time 
unknown, was ascertained by Dr. P. R. Hoy to 
consist chiefly of deep-water crustaceans, with a 
few moUusks, and larvae of water insects. "The 
white-fish," writes Mr. James W. Milner, " has 
been known since the time of the earliest explorers 
as pre-eminently a fine-flavored fish. In fact, there 
are few table-fishes its equal. To be appreciated 
in its fullest excellence, it should be taken fresh 
from the lake and broiled. Father Marquette, 
Charlevoix, Sir John Richardson, — explorers who 
for months at a time had to depend on the white- 
fish for their staple article of food — bore testimony 
to the fact that they never lost their relish for it, 
and deemed it a special excellence that the appe- 
tite never became cloyed with it." The range of 
the white-fish extends from the lakes of New York 
and New England northward to the Arctic Circle. 



40 SCIENCE SKETCHES 

The " Otsego bass " of Otsego Lake in New York, 
celebrated by De Witt Clinton, is the ordinary- 
white-fish. 

Allied to the American white-fish, but smaller 
in size, is the Lavaret, Weissfisch, Adelfisch, or 
Weissfelchen {Coregonus lavaretus), of the moun- 
tain lakes of Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden. 
Several other related species occur in northern 
Europe and Siberia. 

Another American species is the Sault White- 
fish, Lake Whiting, or Musquaw River White-fish 
(Coregonus labradoricus). Its teeth are stronger, 
especially on the tongue, than in any of our other 
species, and its body is slenderer than that of the 
white-fish. It is found in the upper Great Lakes, 
in the Adirondack region, in Lake Winnepesaukee, 
and in the lakes of Maine and New Brunswick. It 
is said to rise to the fly in the Canadian lakes. 
This species runs up the St Mary's River, from 
Lake Huron to Lake Superior, in July and August. 
Great numbers are snared or speared by the In- 
dians at this season at the Sault Ste. Marie. 

The smallest and handsomest of the American 
white-fish is the Cisco of Lake Michigan (Coregonus 
hoyi). It is a slender fish, rarely exceeding ten 
inches in length, and its scales have the brilliant 
silvery lustre of the Moon-eye and the Lady-fish. 

The Lake Herring, or Cisco (^Coregonus artedt)^ 
is, next to the white-fish, the most important of the 
American species. It is more elongate than the 
others, and has a comparatively large mouth, with 
projecting under jaw. It is correspondingly more 
voracious, and often takes the hook. During the 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 41 

spawning season of the white-fish the lake herring 
feeds on the ova of the latter, thereby doing a 
great amount of mischief. As food, this species is 
fair, but much inferior to the white-fish. Its geo- 
graphical distribution is essentially the same, but 
to a greater degree it frequents shoal waters. In 
the small lakes around Lake Michigan, in Indiana 
and Wisconsin (Tippecanoe, Geneva, Oconomo- 
woc, etc.), the Cisco has long been established; 
and in these waters its habits have undergone 
some change, as has also its external appearance. 
These lake ciscoes remain for most of the year in 
the depths of the lake, coming to the surface only 
in search of certain insects, and to shallow water 
only in the spawning season. This periodical dis- 
appearance of the Cisco has led to much foolish 
discussion as to the probability of their returning 
by an underground passage to Lake Michigan 
during the perfcds of their absence. One author, 
confounding ** cisco '* with " siscowet," has assumed 
that this underground passage leads to Lake Su- 
perior, and that the cisco is identical with the 
fat lake trout which bears the latter name. The 
name ** lake herring " alludes to the superficial 
resemblance which this species possesses to the 
marine herring, a fish of quite a different family. 

Closely allied to the lake herring is the Blue-fin 
of Lake Michigan and of certain lakes in New 
York {Coregonus nigripinnis) , a fine large species 
inhabiting deep waters, and recognizable by the 
blue-black color of its lower fins. In Alaska and 
Siberia are still other species of the cisco type 
(jCoregonus laurettcSy C merkiy C. nelsoni) ; and in 



42 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Europe very similar species are the Scotch Ven- 
dace (Coregonus vandesius) and the Scandinavian 
Lok-Sild (lake herring), as well as others less 
perfectly known. 

The Tullibee, or " Mongrel White-fish " {Corego- 
nus tullibee), has a deep body, like the shad, with 
the large mouth of the ciscoes. Fishermen think 
it a hybrid between Coregonus clupeiformis and C 
artedi. It is found in the Great Lake region and 
northward, and very little is known of its habits. 
A similar species (^Coregonus cyprinoides) is re- 
corded from Siberia, — a region which is pecu- 
liarly suited for the growth of the Coregoni^ but in 
which the species have never received much study. 

Allied to the Coregoni is Plecoglossus altiveliSy a 
small fish of the waters of Japan and Formosa. It 
has small, compressed, serrated, movable teeth in 
the jaws. This is said to be an annual fish, the life 
of each individual ceasing at the emi of the season 
of reproduction. 

Another little-known form, intermediate between 
the white-fish and the salmon, is Brachymystax 
lenocky a large fish of. the mountain streams of 
Siberia. Only the skins brought home by Pallas 
about a century ago seem to be known as yet. Ac- 
cording to Pallas, it sometimes reaches a weight of 
eighty pounds. 

Still another genus, intermediate between the 
white-fish and the salmon, is Stenodtis^ distin- 
guished by its elongate body, feeble teeth, and 
projecting lower jaw. The Inconnu, or Mackenzie 
River Salmon (^Stenodus mackenzii) belongs to this 
genus. It reaches a weight of twenty pounds or 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 43 

more, and in the far north is a food fish of good 
quality. Little is recorded of its habits, and few 
specimens exist in museums. Species of Stenodus 
are said to inhabit the Volga, Obi, Lena, and other 
northern rivers ; but as yet little is definitely known 
of them. 

The Grayling (TX^waZ/wj), termed by Saint Am- 
brose " the flower of fishes," is likewise interme- 
diate between the white-fish and the trout, having 
larger scales and feebler teeth than the latter. 
The teeth on the tongue, found in all the trout and 
salmon, are obsolete in grayling. The chief dis- 
tinctive peculiarity of the genus Tkymallus is the 
great development of the dorsal fin, which has 
more rays (20 to 24) than are found in any other 
of the Salmonidce, and the fin is also higher. All 
the species are gayly colored, the dorsal fin es- 
pecially being marked with purplish or greenish 
bands and bright rose-colored spots; while the 
body is mostly purplish-gray, often with spots of 
black. Most of the species rarely exceed a foot in 
length, but northward they grow larger. Grayling 
weighing five pounds have been taken in England ; 
and according to Dr. Day, they are said in Lap- 
land to reach a weight of eight or nine pounds. 
The grayling in all countries frequent clear, cold 
brooks, and rarely, if ever, enter the sea, or even 
the larger lakes. They are said to congregate in 
small shoals in the streams, and to prefer those 
which have a succession of pools and shallows, 
with a sandy or gravelly rather than rocky bottom. 
The grayling spawns on the shallows in April or 
May (in England). It is said to be non-migratory 



44 SCIEXCE SKETCHES. 

in its habits, depositing its ova in the neighbor* 
hood of its usual haunts. The ova are said to be 
far more delicate and easily killed than those of 
the trout or charr. The grayling and the trout 
often inhabit the same waters, but not altogether 
in harmony. It is said that the grayling devour 
the eggs of the trout. It is certain that the trout 
feed on the young grayling. As a food-fish, the 
grayling, of course, ranks high; but the true 
sportsman will hardly seek such fish as these to 
fill his frying-pan. They are considered gamy 
fishes, although less strong than the brook-trout, 
and perhaps less wary. The five or six known 
species of grayling are very closely related, and are 
doubtless comparatively recent offshoots from a 
common stock, which has now spread itself widely 
through the northern regions. 

The common Grayling of Europe (Tkymallus 
thymallus) is found throughout northern Europe, 
and as far south as the mountains of Hungary and 
northern Italy. The name Thymallus was given 
by the ancients, because the fish, when fresh, had 
the odor of water thyme, — an odor which the 
duller sense of the moderns now fails to detect. 
Grayling belonging to this or other species are 
found in the waters of Russia and Siberia. 

The American Grayling {Thymallus signifer) is 
widely distributed in British America and Alaska. 
In several streams in northern Michigan and in 
Montana occurs a dwarfish variety of this species, 
known to anglers as the Michigan Grayling {Thy- 
mallus signifer ontariensis)} This form has a 

* TkymtUius tricolor Cope = Tkymallus motitanus Milner. 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 45 

longer head, rather smaller scales, and the dorsal 
fin rather lower than in the northern form {sig- 
nifer) ; but the constancy of these characters in 
specimens from intermediate localities is yet to be 
proved. It is probable that the grayling once had 
a wider range to the southward than now, and that 
so far as the waters of the United States are con- 
cerned, it is tending towards extinction. This 
tendency is, of course, being accelerated in Michi- 
gan by lumbermen and anglers. The colonies of 
grayling in Michigan and Montana are probably 
remains of a post-glacial fauna. 

The genus Oncorhynchus contains those species 
of SalmonidcB which have the greatest size and 
value. They are in fact, as well as in name, the 
king salmon. The genus is closely related to 
SalmOy with which it agrees in general as to the 
structure of its vomer, and from which it differs in 
the increased number of anal rays, branchiostegals, 
pyloric coeca, and gill-rakers. The character most 
convenient for distinguishing Oncorhynchus^ young 
or old, from all the species of Salmo, is the num- 
ber of developed rays in the anal fin. These in 
Oncorhynchus are thirteen to twenty, in Salmo nine 
or ten. 

The species of Oncorhynchus have long been 
known as anadromous salmon, confined to the 
North Pacific. The species were first made known 
one hundred and thirty years ago, by that most 
exact of early observers, Steller, who described and 
distinguished them with perfect accuracy, under 
their Russian vernacular names. These Russian 
names were, in 1792, adopted by Walbaum as 



46 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

specific names, In giving to these animals a scientific 
nomenclature. Since Steller's time, writers of all 
degrees of incompetence, and writers with scanty 
material or with no material at all, have done their 
worst to confuse our knowledge of these salmon, 
until it became evident that no exact knowledge of 
any of the species remained. In the current sys- 
tem of a few years ago, the breeding males of the 
five species known to Steller constituted a separate 
genus of many species (Oncorhynchus Suckley) ; the 
females were placed in the genus SalmOy and the 
young formed still other species of a third genus, 
called FariOy supposed to be a genus of trout 
The young breeding males {grilse) of one of the 
species {Oncorkynckus nerkd) made still a fourth 
genus designated as Hypsifario. Not one of the 
writers on these fishes of twenty-five years ago 
knew a single species definitely, at sight, or used 
knowingly in their descriptions a single character 
by which species are really distinguished. Not less 
than thirty-five nominal species of Oncorhynchus 
have already been described from the North Pa- 
cific, although, so far as is now known, only the 
five originally noticed by Steller really exist. 
The descriptive literature of the Pacific salmon 
IS among the very worst extant in science. This 
is not, however, altogether the fault of the authors, 
but it is in great part due to the extraordinary 
variability in appearance of the different species of 
salmon. These variations are, as will be seen, due 
to several different causes, notably to differences 
in surroundings, in sex, and in age, and in con- 
ditions connected with the process of reproduction. 



THE SALMON FAMIL K 47 

The writer and his associate, Professor Charles H. 
Gilbert, have had, under the auspices of the United 
States Fish Commission, better opportunities to 
study the different species of Oncorhynckus than 
have fallen to the lot of any other ichthyologists. 
The following discussion of the different species 
is condensed from our report to the United States 
Census Bureau, portions of which were published 
in the " American Naturalist " for March, 1 88 1 . En- 
tirely similar conclusions have been independently 
reached by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, who visited Alaska 
in 1880, and whose means of studying the species 
have been scarcely less extensive. 

There are five species of salmon (^Oncorhynckus) 
in the waters of the North Pacific. We have at 
present no evidence of the existence of any more 
on either the American or the Asiatic side. These 
species maybe called: (i) the Quinnat, or King 
Salmon, (2) the Blue-back Salmon, or Red-fish, 
(3) the Silver Salmon, (4) the Dog Salmon, and 
(5) the Humpback Salmon; or (i) Oncorhynckus 
tsc/tawytschay (2) Oncorhynckus nerka^ (3) Oncorkyn- 
chus kisutchy (4) Oficorkynckus ketUy and (5) Onco- 
rhynchus gorbuscha* All these species are now 
known to occur in the waters of Kamtschatka as 
well as in those of Alaska and Oregon. These 
species, in all their varied conditions, may usually 
be distinguished by the characters given below. 
Other differences of form, color, and appearance 
arc absolutely valueless for distinction, unless 
specimens of the same age, sex, and condition 
are compared. 

The Quinnat Salmon {Oncorkynckus tsr^^''o*'*'tscka) 



46 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

specific names, In giving to these animals a scientific 
nomenclature. Since Steller's time, writers of all 
degrees of incompetence, and writers with scanty 
material or with no material at all, have done their 
worst to confuse our knowledge of these salmon, 
until it became evident that no exact knowledge of 
any of the species remained. In the current sys- 
tem of a few years ago, the breeding males of the 
five species known to Steller constituted a separate 
genus of many species (Oncorhynchus Suckley) ; the 
females were placed in the genus Salmo, and the 
young formed still other species of a third genus, 
called Fario, supposed to be a genus of trout 
The young breeding males {grilse) of one of the 
species {Qncorhytichus nerkd) made still a fourth 
genus designated as Hypsifario. Not one of the 
writers on these fishes of twenty-five years ago 
knew a single species definitely, at sight, or used 
knowingly in their descriptions a single character 
by which species are really distinguished. Not less 
than thirty-five nominal species of Oncorhynchus 
have already been described from the North Pa- 
cific, although, so far as is now known, only the 
five originally noticed by Steller really exist. 
The descriptive literature of the Pacific salmon 
is among the very worst extant in science. This 
is not, however, altogether the fault of the authors, 
but it is in great part due to the extraordinary 
variability in appearance of the different species of 
salmon. These variations are, as will be seen, due 
to several different causes, notably to differences 
in surroundings, in sex, and in age, and in con- 
ditions connected with the process of reproduction. 



THE SALMON FA MIL Y. 47 

The writer and his associate, Professor Charles H. 
Gilbert, have had, under the auspices of the United 
States Fish Commission, better opportunities to 
study the different species of Oncorkynchus than 
have fallen to the lot of any other ichthyologists. 
The following discussion of the different species 
is condensed from our report to the United States 
Census Bureau, portions of which were published 
in the " American Naturalist " for March, 1 88 1 . En- 
tirely similar conclusions have been independently 
reached by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, who visited Alaska 
in 1880, and whose means of studying the species 
have been scarcely less extensive. 

There are five species of salmon (^Oncorkynchus) 
in the waters of the North Pacific. We have at 
present no evidence of the existence of any more 
on either the American or the Asiatic side. These 
species maybe called: (i) the Quinnat, or King 
Salmon, (2) the Blue-back Salmon, or Red-fish, 
(3) the Silver Salmon, (4) the Dog Salmon, and 
(5) the Humpback Salmon; or (i) Oncorkynchus 
tscliawytsckay (2) Oncorkynchus nerka, (3) Oncorkyn- 
chus kisutcky (4) Oncorkynchus ketUy and (5) 07ico- 
rkynchus gorbuscha* All these species are now 
known to occur in the waters of Kamtschatka as 
well as in those of Alaska and Oregon. These 
species, in all their varied conditions, may usually 
be distinguished by the characters given below. 
Other differences of form, color, and appearance 
are absolutely valueless for distinction, unless 
specimens of the same age, sex, and condition 
are compared. 

The Quinnat Salmon {Oncorkynchus tsckawyiscka) 



46 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

specific names, In giving to these animals a scientific 
nomenclature. Since Steller's time, writers of all 
degrees of incompetence, and writers with scanty 
material or with no material at all, have done their 
worst to confuse our knowledge of these salmon, 
until it became evident that no exact knowledge of 
any of the species remained. In the current sys- 
tem of a few years ago, the breeding males of the 
five species known to Steller constituted a separate 
genus of many species (Oncorhynchus Suckley) ; the 
females were placed in the genus Salmo, and the 
young formed still other species of a third genus, 
called FariOy supposed to be a genus of trout 
The young breeding males (^grilse) of one of the 
species {Oncorhytichus nerkd) made still a fourth 
genus designated as Hypsifario* Not one of the 
writers on these fishes of twenty-five years ago 
knew a single species definitely, at sight, or used 
knowingly in their descriptions a single character 
by which species are really distinguished. Not less 
than thirty-five nominal species of Oncorhynchus 
have already been described from the North Pa- 
cific, although, so far as is now known, only the 
five originally noticed by Steller really exist. 
The descriptive literature of the Pacific salmon 
is among the very worst extant in science. This 
is not, however, altogether the fault of the authors, 
but it is in great part due to the extraordinary 
variability in appearance of the different species of 
salmon. These variations are, as will be seen, due 
to several different causes, notably to differences 
in surroundings, in sex, and in age, and in con- 
ditions connected with the process of reproduction. 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 47 

The writer and his associate, Professor Charles H. 
Gilbert, have had, under the auspices of the United 
States Fish Commission, better opportunities to 
study the different species of Oncorhynchus than 
have fallen to the lot of any other ichthyologists. 
The following discussion of the different species 
is condensed from our report to the United States 
Census Bureau, portions of which were published 
in the " American Naturalist " for March, 188 1, En- 
tirely similar conclusions have been independently 
reached by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, who visited Alaska 
in 1880, and whose means of studying the species 
have been scarcely less extensive. 

There are five species of salmon (jOncorhynclms) 
in the waters of the North Pacific. We have at 
present no evidence of the existence of any more 
on either the American or the Asiatic side. These 
species maybe called: (i) the Quinnat, or King 
Salmon, (2) the Blue-back Salmon, or Red-fish, 
(3) the Silver Salmon, (4) the Dog Salmon, and 
(5) the Humpback Salmon; or (i) Oncorhynchus 
tscJtawytscha^ (2) Oncorhynchus nerka^ (3) Oncorhyn- 
chus kisuUhy (4) Oncorhynchus keta^ and (5) Onco- 
rhynchus gorbuscha. All these species are now 
known to occur in the waters of Kamtschatka as 
well as in those of Alaska and Oregon. These 
species, in all their varied conditions, may usually 
be distinguished by the characters given below. 
Other differences of form, color, and appearance 
are absolutely valueless for distinction, unless 
specimens of the same age, sex, and condition 
are compared. 

The Quinnat Salmon {Oncorhynchus tsc/tawytscha) 



46 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

specific names, in giving to these animals a scientific 
nomenclature. Since Steller's time, writers of all 
degrees of incompetence, and writers with scanty 
material or with no material at all, have done their 
worst to confuse our knowledge of these salmon, 
until it became evident that no exact knowledge of 
any of the species remained. In the current sys- 
tem of a few years ago, the breeding males of the 
five species known to Steller constituted a separate 
genus of many species (Oncorhynchus Suckley) ; the 
females were placed in the genus Salmo, and the 
young formed still other species of a third genus, 
called FariOy supposed to be a genus of trout 
The young breeding males {grilse) of one of the 
species (Qncorhynchus nerkd) made still a fourth 
genus designated as Hypsifario. Not one of the 
writers on these fishes of twenty-five years ago 
knew a single species definitely, at sight, or used 
knowingly in their descriptions a single character 
by which species are really distinguished. Not less 
than thirty-five nominal species of Oncorhynchus 
have already been described from the North Pa- 
cific, although, so far as is now known, only the 
five originally noticed by Steller really exist. 
The descriptive literature of the Pacific salmon 
is among the very worst extant in science. This 
is not, however, altogether the fault of the authors, 
but it is in great part due to the extraordinary 
variability in appearance of the different species of 
salmon. These variations are, as will be seen, due 
to several different causes, notably to differences 
in surroundings, in sex, and in age, and in con- 
ditions connected with the process of reproduction. 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 47 

The writer and his associate, Professor Charles H. 
Gilbert, have had, under the auspices of the United 
States Fish Commission, better opportunities to 
study the different species of Oncorhynclms than 
have fallen to the lot of any other ichthyologists. 
The following discussion of the different species 
is condensed from our report to the United States 
Census Bureau, portions of which were published 
in the " American Naturalist " for March, 1 88 1 . En- 
tirely similar conclusions have been independently 
reached by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, who visited Alaska 
in 1880, and whose means of studying the species 
have been scarcely less extensive. 

There are five species of salmon (jOncorhynchus) 
in the waters of the North Pacific. We have at 
present no evidence of the existence of any more 
on either the American or the Asiatic side. These 
species may be called : ( i ) the Quinnat, or King 
Salmon, (2) the Blue-back Salmon, or Red-fish, 
(3) the Silver Salmon, (4) the Dog Salmon, and 
(5) the Humpback Salmon; or (i) Oncorhynchus 
tscltawytschuy (2) Oncorhynchus nerkUy (3) Oncorhyn- 
chus kisutchy (4) Oncorhynchus keta, and (5) Ojico- 
rhynchtis gorbuscka. All these species are now 
known to occur in the waters of Kamtschatka as 
well as in those of Alaska and Oregon. These 
species, in all their varied conditions, may usually 
be distinguished by the characters given below. 
Other differences of form, color, and appearance 
are absolutely valueless for distinction, unless 
specimens of the same age, sex, and condition 
are compared. 

The Quinnat Salmon {Oncorhynchus tsc/tawytscha) 



46 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

specific names, in giving to these animals a scientific 
nomenclature. Since Steller's time, writers of all 
degrees of incompetence, and writers with scanty 
material or with no material at all, have done their 
worst to confuse our knowledge of these salmon, 
until it became evident that no exact knowledge of 
any of the species remained. In the current sys- 
tem of a few years ago, the breeding males of the 
five species known to Steller constituted a separate 
genus of many species (Oncorhynchus Suckley) ; the 
females were placed in the genus SalmOy and the 
young formed still other species of a third genus, 
called FariOy supposed to be a genus of trout 
The young breeding males (grilse) of one of the 
species (Oncorhyfichus nerkd) made still a fourth 
genus designated as Hypsifario, Not one of the 
writers on these fishes of twenty-five years ago 
knew a single species definitely, at sight, or used 
knowingly in their descriptions a single character 
by which species are really distinguished. Not less 
than thirty-five nominal species of Oncorhynchus 
have already been described from the North Pa- 
cific, although, so far as is now known, only the 
five originally noticed by Steller really exist. 
The descriptive literature of the Pacific salmon 
is among the very worst extant in science. This 
is not, however, altogether the fault of the authors, 
but it is in great part due to the extraordinary 
variability in appearance of the different species of 
salmon. These variations are, as will be seen, due 
to several different causes, notably to differences 
in surroundings, in sex, and in age, and in con- 
ditions connected with the process of reproduction. 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 47 

The writer and his associate, Professor Charles H. 
Gilbert, have had, under the auspices of the United 
States Fish Commission, better opportunities to 
study the different species of Oncorhynchus than 
have fallen to the lot of any other ichthyologists. 
The following discussion of the different species 
is condensed from our report to the United States 
Census Bureau, portions of which were published 
in the " American Naturalist " for March, 1 88 1 . En- 
tirely similar conclusions have been independently 
reached by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, who visited Alaska 
in 1880, and whose means of studying the species 
have been scarcely less extensive. 

There are five species of salmon (jOncorhynchus) 
in the waters of the North Pacific. We have at 
present no evidence of the existence of any more 
on either the American or the Asiatic side. These 
species may be called : ( i ) the Quinnat, or King 
Salmon, (2) the Blue-back Salmon, or Red-fish, 
(3) the Silver Salmon, (4) the Dog Salmon, and 
(5) the Humpback Salmon; or (i) Oncorhynchus 
tscltawytscha^ (2) Oncorhynchus nerkUy (3) Oncorhyn- 
chus kisutch, (4) Oncorhynchus keta, and (5) Onco- 
rhynchtis gorbuscha. All these species are now 
known to occur in the waters of Kamtschatka as 
well as in those of Alaska and Oregon. These 
species, in all their varied conditions, may usually 
be distinguished by the characters given below. 
Other differences of form, color, and appearance 
are absolutely valueless for distinction, unless 
specimens of the same age, sex, and condition 
are compared. 

The Quinnat Salmon {Oncorhynchus tschawytscha) 



48 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

has an average weight of 22 pounds, but individ- 
uals weighing 70 to 100 pounds are occasionally 
taken. It has about 16 anal rays, 15 to 19 branchi- 
ostegals, 23 (9+14) gill-rakers on the anterior 
gill arch, and 140 to 185 pyloric cceca. The scales 
are comparatively large, there being from 130 to 
155 in a longitudinal series. In the spring the 
body is silvery, the back, dorsal fin, and caudal fin 
having more or less of round black spots, and the 
sides of the head having a peculiar tin-colored 
metallic lustre. In the fall the color is often black 
or dirty-red, and the species can then only be 
distinguishe<3 from the dog-salmon by its technical 
characters. 

The Blue-back Salmon {Oncorhynchtis nerkd) 
usually weighs from S to 8 pounds. It has about 
14 developed anal rays, 14 branchiostegals, and 
75 to 95 pyloric cceca. The gill-rakers are more 
numerous than in any other salmon, the number 
being usually about 39 (16 + 23). The scales are 
larger, there being 130 to 140 in the lateral line. 
In the spring the form is plumply rounded, and 
the color is a clear bright blue above, silvery be- 
low, and everywhere immaculate. Young fishes 
often show a few round black spots, which disappear 
when they enter the sea. FaH specimens in the 
lakes arc bright red in color, hook-nosed and slab- 
siilcd, and bear little resemblance to the spring 
run. Young spawning male grilse are also pecu- 
liar in appearance, and were for a time considered 
as forming a distinct genus, under the name of 
** J/y/sUjUn\> KcNN^fyi'' This species appears to 
bo sometimes landlocked in mountain lakes, in 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 49 

which case it reaches but a small size. Such 
specimens, called **Kokos" by the Indians, have 
been sent us from Lake Whatcom, Washington 
Territory, by Mr. T. J. Smith of Whatcom. 

The Silver Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) reaches 
a weight of 3 to 8 pounds. It has 13 developed 
rays in the anal, 13 branchiostegals, 23 (10+13) 
gill-rakers, and 45 to 80 pyloric cceca. There are 
about 127 scales in the lateral line. In color, it is 
silvery in spring, greenish above, and with a few 
faint black spots on the upper parts only. In the 
fall the males are mostly of a dirty red. 

The Dog Salmon {Oncorhynchus keta) reaches an 
average weight of about 12 pounds. It has about 
14 anal rays, 14 branchiostegals, 24 (9+15 ) gill- 
rakers, and 140 to 185 pyloric cceca. There are 
about 150 scales in the lateral line. In spring it 
is dirty silvery, immaculate, or sprinkled with small 
black specks, the fins dusky. In the fall the male 
is brick-red or blackish, and its jaws are greatly 
distorted. 

The Humpback Salmon (JDncorhynchus gorbus- 
cha) is the smallest of the species, weighing 
from 3 to 6 pounds. It has usually 15 anal rays, 
12 branchiostegals, 28 (13+15) gill-rakers, and 
about 180 pyloric coeca. Its scales are much 
smaller than in any other salmon, there being 180 
to 240 in the lateral line. In color it is bluish 
above, silvery below, the posterior and upper parts 
with many round black spots. The males in fall 
are red, and arc more extravagantly distorted than 
in any other of the Salmonidce. 

Of these species the blue-back predominates in 

4 



50 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Frazer River, the silver salmon in Puget Sound, 
the quinnat in the Columbia and the Sacramento, 
and the silver salmon in most of the streams along 
the coast. All the species have been seen by us 
in the Columbia and in Frazer River; all but the 
blue-back in the Sacramento and in waters tribu- 
tary to Puget Sound. Only the quinnat has been 
noticed south of San Francisco. Its range has 
been traced as far as Ventura River. Of these 
species, the quinnat and blue-back salmon habitu- 
ally *'run** in the spring; the others in the fall. 
The usual order of running in the rivers is as fol- 
lows : nerkay tschawytsduiy kisutch, gorbuscha^ keta. 

The economic value of the spring-running sal- 
mon is far greater than that of the other species, 
because they can be captured in numbers when at 
their best, while the others are usually taken only 
after deterioration. To this fact the worthlessness 
of Oncorhynchus keta as compared with the other 
species is probably wholly due. 

The habits of the salmon in the ocean are not 
easily studied. Quinnat and silver salmon of all 
sizes are taken with the seine at almost any season 
in Puget Sound. This would indicate that these 
species do not go far from the shore. The quinnat 
takes the hook freely in Monterey Bay, both near 
the shore and at a distance of six to eight miles out. 
We have reason to believe that these two species 
do not necessarily seek great depths, but proba- 
bly remain not very far from the mouth of the 
rivers in which they were spawned. The blue-back 
and the dog salmon probably seek deeper water, 
as the former is seldom or never taken with the 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 5 I 

seine in the ocean, and the latter is known to enter 
the Strait of Fuca at the spawning season, therefore 
coming in from the open sea. The great majority 
of the quinnat salmon, and nearly all the blue-back 
salmon enter the rivers in the spring. The run of 
both begins generally at the last of March ; it lasts, 
with various modifications and interruptions, until 
the actual spawning season in November ; the time 
of running and the proportionate amount in each 
of the subordinate runs varying with each different 
river. In general, the runs are slack in the sum- 
mer and increase with the first high water of 
autumn. By the last of August only straggling 
blue-backs can be found in the lower course of 
any stream ; but both in the Columbia and in the 
Sacramento the quinnat runs in considerable num- 
bers at least till October. In the Sacramento the 
run is greatest in the fall, and more run in the 
summer than in spring. In the Sacramento and 
the smaller rivers southward, there is a winter 
run, beginning in December. The spring salmon 
ascends only those rivers which are fed by the 
melting snows from the mountains, and which have 
sufficient volume to send their waters well out to 
sea. Those salmon which run in the spring are 
chiefly adults (supposed to be at least three years 
old). Their milt and spawn are no more devel- 
oped than at the same time in others of the same 
species which are not to enter the rivers until fall. 
It would appear that the contact with cold fresh 
water, when in the ocean, in some way causes 
them to run towards it, and to run before there 
is any special influence to that end exerted by the 



52 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

development of the organs of generation. High 
water on any of these rivers in the spring is always 
followed by an increased run of salmon. The 
salmon-canners think — and this is probably true — 
that salmon which would not have run till later 
are brought up by the contact with the cold water. 
The cause of this effect of cold fresh water is not 
understood. We may call it an instinct of the 
salmon, which is another way of expressing our 
ignorance. In general, it seems to be true that in 
those rivers and during those years when the 
spring run is greatest, the fall run is least to be 
depended on. 

As the season advances, smaller and younger 
salmon of these species (quinnat and blue-back) 
enter the rivers to spawn, and in the fall these 
young specimens are very numerous. We have 
thus far failed to notice any gradations in size or 
appearance of these young fish by which their 
ages could be ascertained. It is, however, prob- 
able that some of both sexes reproduce at the age 
of one year. In Frazer River, in the fall, quinnat 
male grilse of every size, from eight inches up- 
wards, were running, the milt fully developed, but 
usually not showing the hooked jaws and dark 
colors of the older males. Females less than eigh- 
teen inches in length were rare. All of either 
sex, large and small, then in the river, had the 
ovaries or milt developed. Little blue-backs of 
every size, down to six inches, are also found in 
the upper Columbia in the fall, with their organs 
of generation fully developed. Nineteen twentieths 
of these young fish are males, and some of them 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 53 

have the hooked jaws and red color of the old 
males. 

The average weight of the quinnat in the Colum- 
bia, in the spring, is twenty-two pounds; in the 
Sacramento, about sixteen. Individuals weighing 
from forty to sixty pounds are frequently found in 
both rivers, and some as high as eighty or even 
one hundred pounds are recorded. It is questioned 
whether these large fishes are those which, of the 
same age, have grown more rapidly ; those which 
are older, but have for some reason failed to 
spawn ; or those which have survived one or more 
spawning seasons. All these origins may be pos- 
sible in individual cases ; we are, however, of the 
opinion that the majority of these large fishes are 
those which have hitherto run in the fall, and thus 
having spawned not far from the sea, have survived 
the spawning season of the previous year. 

Those fish which enter the rivers in the spring 
continue their ascent till death or the spawning 
season overtakes them. Probably none of them 
ever return to the ocean, and a large proportion 
fail to spawn. They are known to ascend the Sac- 
ramento to its extreme head-waters, about four 
hundred miles. In the Columbia they ascend as 
far as the Bitter Root Mountains and at least 
to the Spokane Falls, and their extreme limit is 
not known. This is a distance of six to eight 
hundred miles. At these great distances, when 
the fish have reached the spawning grounds, be- 
sides the usual changes of the breeding season, 
their bodies are covered with bruises, on which 
patches of white fungus develop. The fins become 



54 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

mutilated, their eyes are often injured or destroyed, 
parasitic worms gather in their gills, they become 
extremely emaciated, their flesh becomes white 
from the loss of oil ; and as soon as the spawning 
act is accomplished, and sometimes before, all of 
them die. The ascent of the Cascades and the 
Dalles probably causes the injury or death of a 
great many salmon. 

When the salmon enter the river they refuse to 
take bait, and their stomachs are always found 
empty and contracted. In the rivers they do not 
feed ; and when they reach the spawning groimds, 
their stomachs, pyloric coeca and all, are said to be 
no larger than one's finger. They will sometimes 
take the fly, or a hook baited with salmon roe, in 
the clear waters of the upper tributaries, but there 
is no other evidence known to us that they feed 
when there. Only the quinnat and blue-back 
(there called red-fish) have been found at any great 
distance from the sea, and these (as adult fishes) 
only in late summer and fall. 

The spawning season is probably about the same 
for all the species. It varies for each of the differ- 
ent rivers, and for different parts of the same river. 
It doubtless extends from July to December. The 
manner of spawning is probably similar for all 
the species, but we have no data for any except the 
quinnat. In this species the fishes pair off"; the 
male, with tail and snout, excavates a broad, shal- 
low ** nest" in the gravelly bed of the stream, in 
rapid water, at a depth of one to four feet; the 
female deposits her eggs in it, and after the exclu- 
sion of the milt, they cover them with stones and 



THE SALMON FAMILY, 55 

gravel. They then float down the stream tail fore- 
most. As already stated, a great majority of them 
die. In the head-waters of the large streams, un- 
questionably, all die; in the small streams, and 
near the sea, an unknown percentage probably sur- 
vive. The young hatch in about sixty days, and 
most of them return to the ocean during the high 
water of the spring. 

The salmon of all kinds in the spring are silvery, 
spotted or not according to the species, and with 
the mouth about equally symmetrical in both 
sexes. As the spawning season approaches, the 
female loses her silvery color, becomes more slimy, 
the scales on the back partly sink into the skin, 
and the flesh changes from salmon red and be- 
comes variously paler, from the loss of oil; the 
degree of paleness varying much with individuals 
and with inhabitants of different rivers. In the 
Sacramento the flesh of the quinnat, in either spring 
or fall, is rarely pale. In the Columbia a few with 
pale flesh are sometimes taken in spring, and a 
good many in the fall. In Frazer River the fall 
run of the quinnat is nearly worthless for canning 
purposes, because so many are " white-meated." 
In the spring very few are " white-meated ; *' but the 
number increases towards fall, when there is every 
variation, some having red streaks running through 
them, others being red toward the head and pale 
toward the tail. The red and pale ones cannot be 
distinguished externally, and the color is dependent 
on neither age nor sex. There is said to be no diff"er- 
ence in the taste, but there is no market for canned 
salmon not of the conventional orange-color. 



56 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

As the season advances, the difference between 
the males and females becomes more and more 
marked, and keeps pace with the development of 
the milt, as is shown by dissection. The males 
have (i) the premaxillaries and the tip of the lower 
jaw more and more prolonged, both of the jaws 
becoming finally strongly and often extravagantly 
hooked, so that either they shut by the side of 
each other like shears, or else the mouth cannot be 
closed. (2) The front teeth become very long and 
canine-like, their growth proceeding very rapidly, 
until they are often half an inch long. (3) The 
teeth on the vomer and tongue often disappear. 
(4) The body grows more compressed and deeper 
at the shoulders, so that a very distinct hump is 
formed; this is more developed in Oncorhynchus 
gorbuschUy but is found in all. (5) The scales dis- 
appear, especially on the back, by the growth of 
spongy skin. (6) The color changes from silvery 
to various shades of black and red, or blotchy, ac- 
cording to the species. The blue-back turns rosy 
red, the dog salmon a dull blotchy red, and the 
quinnat generally blackish. The distorted males 
are commonly considered worthless, rejected by 
the canners and salmon-salters, but preserved by the 
Indians. These changes are due solely to influences 
connected with the growth of the reproductive or- 
gans. They are not in any way due to the action 
of fresh water. They take place at about the same 
time in the adult males of all species, whether in the 
ocean or in the rivers. At the time of the spring 
runs all are symmetrical. In the fall all males, 
of whatever species, are more or less distorted. 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 57 

Among the dog salmon, which run only in the fall, 
the males are hook-jawed and red-blotched when 
they first enter the Strait of Fuca from the outside. 
The humpback, taken in salt water about Seattle, 
have the same peculiarities. The male is slab- 
sided, hook-billed, and distorted, and is rejected 
by the canners. No hook-jawed females of any 
species have been seen. It is not positively known 
that any fully hook-jawed male survives the repro- 
ductive act If any do, the jaws must resume the 
normal form. 

On first entering a stream the salmon swim 
about as if playing. They always head towards the 
current, and this appearance of playing may be 
simply due to facing the moving tide. Afterwards 
they enter the deepest parts of the stream and 
swim straight up, with few interruptions. Their 
rate of travel at Sacramento is estimated by Stone 
at about two miles per day ; on the Columbia at 
about three miles per day. Those who enter the 
Columbia in the spring and ascend to the moun- 
tain rivers of Idaho, must go at a more rapid rate 
than this, as they must make an average of nearly 
foar miles per day. 

As already stated, the economic value of any 
species depends in great part on its being a 
"spring salmon." It is not generally possible to 
capture salmon of any species in large numbers 
until they have entered the rivers, and the spring 
salmon enter the rivers long before the growth of 
the organs of reproduction has reduced the rich- 
ness of the flesh. The fall salmon cannot be taken 
in quantity until their flesh has deteriorated ; hence 



58 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

the dog salmon is practically almost worthless, ex- 
cept to the Indians, and the humpback salmon 
is little better. The silver salmon, with the same 
breeding habits as the dog salmon, is more valu- 
able, as it is found in the inland waters of Puget 
Sound for a considerable time before the fall rains 
cause the fall runs, and it may be taken in large 
numbers with seines before the season for entering 
the rivers. The quinnat salmon, from its great size 
and abundance, is more valuable than all the other 
fishes on our Pacific coast taken together. The blue- 
back, similar in flesh, but much smaller and less 
abundant, is worth much more than the combined 
value of the three remaining species of salmon. 

The fall salmon of all specifes, but especially of 
the dog salmon, ascend streams but a short dis- 
tance before spawning. They seem to be in great 
anxiety to find fresh water, and many of them 
work their way up little brooks only a few inches 
deep, where they perish miserably, floundering 
about on the stones. Every stream, of whatever 
kind, has more or less of these fall salmon. 

It is the prevailing impression that the salmon 
have some special instinct which leads them to 
return to spawn in the same spawning grounds 
where they were originally hatched. We fail to 
find any evidence of this in the case of the Pacific 
coast salmon, and we do not believe it to be true. 
It seems more probable that the young salmon 
hatched in any river mostly remain in the ocean 
within a radius of twenty, thirty, or forty miles of 
its mouth. These, in their movements about in 
the ocean, may come into contact with the cold 



THE SALMOX FAMIL K 59 

waters of their parent rivers, or perhaps of any 
other river, at a considerable distance from the 
shore. In the case of the quinnat and the blue- 
back, their " instinct " seems to lead them to ascend 
these fresh waters, and in a majority of cases these 
waters will be those in which the fishes in question 
were originally spawned. Later in the season the 
growth of the reproductive organs leads them to 
approach the shore and search for fresh waters, 
and still tlie chances are that they may find the 
original stream. But undoubtedly many fall salmon 
ascend, or try to ascend, streams in which no salmon 
was ever hatched. In little brooks about Pugct 
Sound, where the water is not three inches deep, 
are often found dead or dying salmon, which have 
entered them for the purpose of spawning. It is 
said of the Russian River and other California 
rivers, that their mouths, in the time of low water 
in summer, generally become entirely closed by 
sand-bars, and that the salmon, in their eagerness 
to ascend them, frequently fling themselves en- 
tirely out of water on the beach. But this docs 
not prove that the salmon arc guided by a mar- 
vellous geographical instinct which leads them 
to their parent river in spite of the fact that the 
river cannot be found. The waters of Russian 
River soak through these sand-bars, and the salmon 
instinct, we think, leads them merely to search 
for fresh waters. This matter is much in need of 
further investigation ; at present, however, we find 
no reason to believe that the salmon enter the 
Rogue River simply because they were spawned 
there, or that a salmon hatched in the Clackamas 



60 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

River is more likely, on that account, to return to 
the Clackamas than to go up the Cowlitz or the 
Des Chiites. " At the hatchery on Rogue River, 
the fish are stripped, marked, and set free, and 
every year since the hatchery has been in opera- 
tion some of the marked fish have been re-caught 
The young fry are also marked, but none of them 
have been re-caught." The shad is another spe- 
cies of fish supposed to possess this remarkable 
homing instinct. Shad have been planted in the 
Sacramento River, and considerable numbers de- 
scended from this plant have been already taken 
in the Columbia River and in Monterey Bay, but 
not a single one, so far as known to me, in the origi- 
nal stream, the Sacramento. 

In regard to the diminution of the number of 
salmon on the coast we may make these observa- 
tions. In Puget Sound, Frazer River, and the 
small streams, there appears to be little or no evi- 
dence of diminution. In the Columbia River the 
evidence appears somewhat conflicting. The catch 
in 1880 was considerably greater than ever before 
(nearly 540,000 cases of 48 pounds each having 
been packed), although the fishing for three or 
four years has been very extensive. On the other 
hand, the high water of that year undoubtedly 
caused many fish to become spring salmon which 
would otherwise have run in the fall. Moreover, 
it is urged that a few years ago, when the number 
caught was about half as great as in 1880, the 
amount of netting used was perhaps one eighth as 
much. With a comparatively small outfit the can- 
ners caught half the fish; now, with nets much 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 6 1 

larger and more numerous, they catch them nearly 
all, scarcely any escaping during the fishing season 
(April I to August i). Whether an actual reduc- 
tion in the number of fish running can be proved 
or not, there can be no question that the present 
rate of destruction of the salmon will deplete the 
river before many years. A considerable number 
of quinnat salmon run in August and September, 
and some stragglers even later ; these are all which 
now keep up the supply of fish in the river. The 
non-molestation of this fall run, therefore, does 
something to atone for the almost total destruction 
of the spring run. This, however, is insufficient. 
A well-ordered salmon hatchery is the only means 
by which the destruction of the salmon fisheries of 
the Columbia River can be prevented. 

The fact that the humpback salmon runs only 
on alternate years in Puget Sound (1875, 1877, 
1879, etc.) is well attested and at present unex- 
plained. Stray individuals only are taken in other 
years. This species has a distinct run in the United 
States in Puget Sound only, although individuals 
(called " lost salmon *') are occasionally taken in 
the Columbia and in the Sacramento. 

Numerous attempts have been made to introduce 
the quinnat salmon into the waters of the Eastern 
States and of Europe. Individuals thus planted 
have been taken in several different localities, but 
as yet not in any considerable number. 

The genus Salmo comprises those forms of 
salmon and trout which have been longest known. 
As in related genera, the mouth is large, and the 
jaws, palatines, and tongue are armed with strong 



62 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

teeth. The vomer is flat, its shaft not depressed 
below the level of the head or chevron (the ante- 
rior end). There are a few teeth on the chevron; 
and behind it, on the shaft, there is either a double 
series of teeth or an irregular single series. These 
teeth in the true salmon disappear with age, but 
in the others (the black-spotted trout) they are 
persistent. The scales are silvery, and moderate 
or small in size. There are 9 to 1 1 developed rays 
in the anal fin. The caudal fin is truncate, or va- 
riously concave or forked. There are usually 40 
to 70 pyloric coeca, 11 or 12 branch iostegals, and 
about 20 (8-|-i2) gill-rakers. The sexual pecu- 
liarities are in general less marked than in Onco- 
rhynchus ; they are also greater in the anadromous 
species than in those which inhabit fresh waters. 
In general, the male in the breeding season is 
redder, its jaws are prolonged, the front teeth en- 
larged, the lower jaw turned upwards at the end, 
and the upper jaw notched, or sometimes even 
perforated, by the tip of the lower. All the species 
of Salmo (like those of Oncorhynchus) are more or 
less spotted with black. 

Two species (salmon) are marine and anadro- 
mous, taking the place in the North Atlantic occu- 
pied in the North Pacific by the King Salmon of 
species of Oncorhynchus, The others (trout), form- 
ing the sub-genus Salar, are non-migratory, or at 
least irregularly or imperfectly anadromous. They 
abound in all streams of northern Europe, north- 

\ Asia, and in that part of North America which 

west of the Mississippi Valley. The black- 

tted trout are entirely wanting in eastern 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 63 

America, — a remarkable fact in geographical dis- 
tribution, perhaps explained only on the hypoth- 
esis of the comparatively recent and Eurasiatic 
origin of the group, which, we may suppose, has 
not yet had opportunity to extend its range across 
the plains, unsuitable for salmon life, which separate 
the upper Missouri from the Great Lakes. 

The Salmon {Salmo salar) is the only black- 
spotted salmonoid found in American waters tribu- 
tary to the Atlantic. In Europe, where other 
species similarly colored occur, the species may 
be best distinguished by the fact that the teeth on 
the shaft of the vomer mostly disappear with age. 
From the only other species positively known 
(Salmo tnittd) which shares this character, the 
true salmon may be distinguished by the presence 
of but eleven scales between the adipose fin and the 
lateral line, while Salmo tmtta has about fourteen. 
The scales are comparatively large in the salmon, 
there being about one hundred and twenty-five, in 
the lateral line. The caudal fin, which is forked 
in the young, becomes, as in other species of sal- 
mon, more or less truncate with age. The pyloric 
coeca are fifty to sixty in number. 

The following account of the coloration of 
the salmon is from Dr. Day's *' Fishes of Great 
Britain : " — 

" Color in adults superiorly of a steel blue,' becoming 
lighter on the sides and beneath. Mostly a few rounded 
or ;c-shaped spots scattered above the lateral line and 
upper half of the head, being more numerous in the 
female than in the male. Dorsal, caudal, and pectoral 
fins dusky; ventrals and anal white, the former grayish 



64 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

internally. Prior to entering fresh waters these fish are 
of a brilliant steel blue along the back, which becomes 
changed to a muddy tinge when they enter rivers. After 
these fish have passed into the fresh waters for the pur- 
pose of breeding, numerous orange streaks appear in the 
cheeks of the male, and also spots or even marks of the 
same, and likewise of a red color, on the body. It is 
now termed a * red-fish.' The female, however, is dark in 
color, and known as * black-fish.* * Smolts ' (young river 
fish) are bluish along the upper half of the body, silvery 
along the sides, due to a layer of silvery scales being 
formed over the trout-like colors, while they have darker 
fins than the yearling * pink ; ' but similar bands and spots, 
which can be seen (as in the parr) if the example be held 
in certain positions of light. * Parr ' (fishes of the year) 
have two or three black spots only on the opercle, and 
black spots and also orange ones along the upper half of 
the body, and no dark ones below the lateral line, al- 
though there may be orange ones which can be seen in 
its course. Along the side of the body are a series ( 1 2 to 
15) of transverse bluish bands, wider than the ground 
color and crossing the lateral line, while in the upper half 
of the body the darker color of the back forms an arch 
over each of these bands, a row of spots along the middle 
of the rayed dorsal fin and the adipose orange-tipped." 

The dusky cross-shades found in the young sal- 
mon or parr are characteristic of the young of 
nearly all the Salmonidce. 

The salmon of the Atlantic is, as already stated, 
an anadromous fish, spending most of its life in the 
sea, and entering the streams in the fall for the 
purpose of reproduction. The time of running 
varies much in different streams and also in dif- 
ferent countries. As with the Pacific species, these 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 65 

salmon are not easily discouraged in their prog- 
ress, leaping cascades and other obstructions, or, 
if these prove impassable, dying after repeated 
fruitless attempts. 

The young salmon, known as the " parr," is 
hatched in the spring. It usually remains about 
two years in the rivers, desciending at about the 
third spring to the sea, when it is known as 
" smolt." In the sea it grows much more rapidly, 
and becomes more silvery in color, and is known 
as ** grilse." The grilse rapidly develop into the 
adult salmon; and some of them, as is the case 
with the grilse of the Pacific salmon, are capable of 
reproduction. 

After spawning the salmon are very lean and 
unwholesome in appearance, as in fact. They are 
then known as " kelts." The Atlantic salmon does 
not ascend rivers to any such distances as those 
traversed by the quinnat and the blue-back. Its 
kelts, therefore, for the most part survive the act 
of spawning. Dr. Day thinks that they feed upon 
the young salmon in the rivers, and that, therefore, 
the destruction of the kelts might increase the 
supply of salmon. 

As a food-fish, the Atlantic salmon is very 
similar to the Pacific species, neither better 
nor worse, so far as I can see, when equally 
fresh. In both the flesh is rich and finely fla- 
vored; but the appetite of man becomes cloyed 
with salmon-flesh sooner than with that of white- 
fish, smelt, or charr. In size, the Atlantic salmon 
does not fall far short of the quinnat. The aver- 
age weight of the adult is probably less than 

5 



66 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

fifteen pounds. The largest one of which I find 
a record was taken on the coast of Ireland in 
1 88 1, and weighed eighty- four and three-fourths 
pounds. 

The salmon is found in Europe between the lati- 
tude of 45° and 75°. In the United States it is 
now rarely seen south of Cape Cod, although for- 
merly the Hudson and numerous other rivers were 
salmon streams. Over-fishing, obstructions in the 
rivers, and pollution of the water by manufactories 
and by city sewage are agencies against which the 
salmon cannot cope. 

Seven species of salmon (as distinguished from 
trout) are recognized by Dr. Giinther in Europe, 
and three in America. The landlocked forms, 
abundant in Norway, Sweden, and Maine, which 
cannot, or at least do not, descend to the sea, are 
regarded by him as distinct species. *' The ques- 
tion,** observes Dr. Giinther, " whether any of the 
migratory species can be retained by artificial 
means in fresh water, and finally accommodate 
themselves to a permanent sojourn therein, must 
be negatived for the present." On this point I 
am compelled to disagree with Dr. Giinther. I 
have compared numerous specimens of the com- 
mon landlocked salmon {Salmo salar sebago) of 
the lakes of Maine and New Brunswick with land- 
locked salmon {Salmo salar hardini) from the 
lakes of Sweden, and with numerous migratory 
salmon, both from America and Europe. I can 
have no hesitation in regarding them all as specifi- 
cally identical. The differences are very trivial in 
kind, and not greater than would be expected on 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 6/ 

the hypothesis of recent adaptation of the sal- 
mon to lake-life. We have, therefore, on our 
Atlantic coast but one species of salmon, Salino 
salar. Dr. Francis Day, who has very thoroughly 
studied these fishes, takes, in his memoir on ** The 
Fishes of Great Britain and Ireland,** and in other 
papers, a similar view in regard to the European 
species. Omitting the species with permanent 
teeth on the shaft of the vomer (sub-genus Salar), 
he finds among the salmon proper only two 
species, Salmo salar and Salmo iruita. The latter 
species, the sea-trout or salmon-trout of England, 
is similar to the salmon in many respects, but has 
rather smaller scales, there being fourteen in an 
oblique series between the adipose fin and the 
lateral line. It is not so strong a fish as the sal- 
mon, nor does it reach so large a size. Although 
naturally anadromous, like the true salmon, land- 
locked forms of the salmon-trout are not un- 
common. These have been usually regarded as 
different species, while aberrant or intermediate 
individuals are usually regarded as hybrids. 

The present writer has examined many thou- 
sands of American Salmonidce, both of Oncorhyn- 
chits and Salmo. While many variations have 
come to his attention, and he has been compelled 
more than once to modify his views as to specific 
distinctions, he has never yet seen an individual 
which he had the slightest reason to regard as a 
" hybrid.'* It is evident that in America but few 
species of salmonoids exist, and that these arc 
subject to many variations. It is certainly illogical 
to conclude that every specimen which does not 



68 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

correspond to our closet-formed definition of its 
species must therefore be a " hybrid " with some 
other. There is no evidence worth mentioning, 
known to me, of extensive hybridization in a state 
of nature in any group of fishes. This matter is 
much in need of further study; for what is true of 
the species in one region, in this regard, may not 
be true of others. The species of trout, also, may 
perhaps hybridize, while Salmo salar and the 
species of Oncorhynchus certainly do not. Dr. 
Giinther observes : — 

"Johnson, a correspondent of Willughby, had already 
expressed his belief that the different salmonoids inter- 
breed ; and this view has since been shared by many who 
have observed these fishes in Nature. Hybrids between 
the sewin {Salmo trutta cantbricus) and the river- trout 
{Salmo farid) were numerous in the Rhymney and other 
rivers of South Wales before salmonoids were almost ex- 
terminated by the pollutions allowed to pass into these 
streams, and so variable in their characters that the pas- 
sage from one species to the other could be demonstrated 
in an almost unbroken series, which might induce some 
naturalists to regard both species as identical. Abundant 
evidence of a similar character has accumulated, showing 
the frequent occurrence of hybrids between Salmo fario 
and S, irutta. ... In some rivers the conditions appear 
to be more favorable to hybridism than in others, in which 
hybrids are of comparatively rare occurrence. Hybrids 
between the salmon and other species are very scarce 

everywhere." 

• 

The black-spotted trout, forming the sub-genus 
Salary differ from Salmo salar and Salmo trutta in 
the greater development of the vomerine teeth, 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 69 

which are persistent throughout life, in a long 
double series on the shaft of the vome'r. About 
seven species are laboriously distinguished by Dr. 
Giinther, in the waters of western Europe. Most 
of these are regarded by Dr. Day as varieties of 
Salmo fario. The latter species, the common 
river-trout or lake-trout of Europe, is found 
throughout northern and central Europe, wher- 
ever suitable waters occur. It is abundant, gamy, 
takes the hook readily, and is excellent as food. 
It is more hardy than the different species of charr, 
although from an aesthetic point of view it must 
be regarded as inferior to all of the Salvelini, 
The largest river-trout recorded by Dr. Day 
weighed twenty-one pounds. Such large indi- 
viduals are usually found in lakes in the north, 
well stocked with smaller fishes on which trout 
may feed. Farther south, where the surroundings 
are less favorable to trout-life, they become mature 
at a length of less than a foot, and a weight of a 
few ounces. These excessive variations in the 
size of individuals have received too little notice 
from students of Salmonidce. Similar variations 
occur in all the non-migratory species of Salmo 
and of Salvelinus, Numerous river- trout have 
been recorded from northern Asia, but as yet 
nothing can be definitely stated as to the number 
of species actually existing. 

In North America, only the region west of the 
Mississippi Valley, and the valley of Mackenzie 
River, have species of black-spotted trout. If we 
are to follow the usage of the names " salmon " 
and " trout," which prevails in England, we should 



70 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

say that it is only these Western regions which 
have any trout at all. Of the number of species 
(about twenty in all) which have been indicated 
by authors, certainly not more than four can 
possibly be regarded as distinct species; and of 
these four, two are, as will be seen, still extremely 
doubtful. The other names are either useless 
synonymes, or else they have been applied to 
local varieties which pass by degrees into the 
ordinary types. 

Of the American species the Rainbow Trout 
(Salmo irideus) most nearly approaches the Eu- 
ropean Salmo fario. It has the scales compara- 
tively large, although rather smaller than in Salmo 
farioy the usual number in a longitudinal series 
being about 135. The mouth is smaller than in 
other American trout; the maxillary, except in 
old males, rarely extending beyond the eye. The 
caudal fin is well forked, becoming in very old 
fishes more nearly truncate. The color, as in all 
the other species, is bluish, the sides silvery in the 
males, with a red lateral band, and reddish and 
dusky blotches. The head, back, and upper fins 
are sprinkled with round black spots, which are 
very variable in number. In specimens taken in 
the sea, this species, like most other trout in sim- 
ilar conditions, is bright silvery, and sometimes 
immaculate. This species is especially charac- 
teristic of the waters of California. It abounds in 
every clear brook, from the Mexican line north- 
ward to Mount Shasta, and occasionally in coast- 
wise streams to Alaska. No specimens have been 
anywhere obtained to the eastward of the Cascade 



THE SALMON FAMILY, 7 1 

Range or of the Sierra Nevada. It varies much 
in size ; specimens from northern California often 
reach a weight of six pounds, while in the Rio San 
Luis Rey, the southernmost locality from which I 
have obtained trout, they seldom exceed a length 
of six inches. Although not an anadromous spe- 
cies, the rainbow trout frequently moves about in 
the rivers, and it often enters the sea. Several at- 
tempts have been made to introduce it in Eastern 
streams. It is apparently more hardy and less 
greedy than the American Charr, or Brook Trout 
{Salvelinus fontinalis). On the other hand, it is 
distinctly inferior to the latter in beauty and in 
gaminess. 

The Steel-head (^Salmo gairdnen) is a large 
trout, of twelve to twenty pounds in weight, found 
very abundantly in the mouth of the Columbia 
and other rivers, in the spring, at the time of the 
early salmon run. These are evidently spent 
fishes. This fact would indicate a spawning time 
later (probably midwinter) than that of the sal- 
mon, and their occurrence in the river at the 
salmon run is evidently due to a return toward the 
sea. Steel-heads are occasionally taken in the Sac- 
ramento, but in the Columbia they are abundant. 
They are rejected by the salmon fishermen, as 
their flesh is pale, and the bones are much more 
firmly ossified than in the species of Oncorhynchus, 
The soft characters of the bones in the latter 
group, as compared with those of the larger trout, 
is one feature of their excellence as food, espe- 
cially in the canned condition. 

Comparing the steel-heads with the rainbow 



TiTT^ tsaz 12; 





iecfdedly the 

:rtack-3potted 

fwrfuratas 

x^ ^z£. it tbe Red- 

as atnch smaller 

:r seel-head, the 

=««£ being 150 

iy '.arger, and 

ioL tKettt on 

in; CQ-ngue. 

BMV irideus 

iKy&iss is, as 

bt almost 

>o± on the 

iiKT jaw and 

t r have not 

-seoBs to be 



THE SALMON FAMILY. 73 

constant in all varieties of Salmo mykiss, at all ages, 
it will furnish a good distinctive character. The 
red-throated trout is found in every suitable river 
and lake in the great basin of Utah, in the streams 
of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, on both 
sides of the Rocky Mountains. It is also found 
throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British 
Columbia, and Alaska, probably no stream or lake 
suitable for salmonoid life being without it. In 
California the species seems to be comparatively 
rare, and its range has not been well made out. 
Large sea-run individuals apparently analogous to 
the steel-heads are sometimes found in the mouth 
of the Sacramento. In Washington Territory and 
Alaska this species regularly enters the sea. In 
Puget Sound it is a common fish. These sea-run 
individuals are more silvery and less spotted than 
those found in the mountain streams and lakes. 
Numerous more or less tangible varieties of Salmo 
mykiss occur, one of the most marked of which is 
the beautiful trout {Salmo mykiss henshawt) found 
in Lake Tahoe, the finest of all the mountain lakes 
of the Sierra Nevada. The size of Salmo mykiss 
is subject to much variation. Ordinarily, four to 
SIX pounds is a large size ; but in certain favored 
waters, as Lake Tahoe, and the fjord bays of the 
Northwest, specimens from twenty to thirty pounds 
are occasionally taken. No attempt has been 
made (1880) to transport this, the finest known 
species of black-spotted trout, to Eastern waters. 
The writer thinks it much worthier of experiment, 
in this regard, than the rainbow trout. The 
great variety of the waters in which it occurs 



I 



seems to promise a ready adaptation to other 
surroundings. 

The Rio Grande Trout {Salmo mykiss spUurus) 
is a large and profusely spotted trout, found in 
the head-waters of the Rio Grande, the mountain 
streams of the great basin of Utah, and as far 
south as the northern part of Chihuahua. Its 
scales are still smaller than those of the red- 
throated trout, to which it bears much resem- 
blance, and of which it is probably simply a local 
variety. 

The genus //KcAohas been framed for the Huchen 
orRothfisch(//acAi?^afAc)ofthe Danube, — a large 
salmon, differing from the genus Salmo in having 
no teeth on the shaft of the vomer, and from the 
Salvelini at least in form and coloration. The 
real characters of the genus, which seems to be 
distinct from Salvcliftus, have not yet been 
worked out. The Huchen is a long and slender, 
somewhat pike-like fish, with depressed snout and 
strong teeth. The color is silvery, sprinkled with 
small black dots. It reaches a size little inferior 
to that of the salmon, and it is said to be an 
excellent food-fish. Little is known of its habits. 
It has, however, the reputation of being unusually 
voracious for a salmon. 

The genus Salveliniis comprises the finest of the 
SalmonidtB, from the point of view of the angler 
or the artist. In England the species are known 
as charr, in contradistinction to the black-spotted 
species of Salmo, which are called trout. The 
former name has unfortunately been lost in Amer- 
ica, where the name "trout" is given indiscrimi- 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. 75 

nately to both groups, and, still worse, to numerous 
other fishes {Cestretis, Micropterus, Hexagratnmus) 
wholly unlike the Salmonidce in all respects. It is 
sometimes said that the " American brook-trout is 
no trout, nothing but a charr," almost as though 
" charr " were a word of reproach. Nothing higher, 
however, can be said of a salmonoid than that it is 
a " charr." The technical character of the genus 
Salvelinus lies in the form of its vomer. This is 
deeper than in Salmo; and when the flesh is re- 
moved the bone is found to be somewhat boat- 
shaped above, and with the shaft depressed and out 
of the line of the chevron. Only the chevron is 
armed with teeth, and the shaft is covered by skin. 
In one species (5. namaycush) the chevron sends a 
projection backward which bears teeth ; these teeth 
appearing, unless the flesh is removed, as if stand- 
ing on the shaft of the bone. 

In color all the charrs differ from the salmon 
and trout. The body in all is covered with round 
spots which are paler than the ground color, and 
crimson or gray. The lower fins are usually edged 
with bright colors. The sexual differences are not 
great. The scales, in general, are smaller than in 
other SalmonidcBy and they are imbedded in the skin 
to such a degree as to escape the notice of casual 
observers and even of most anglers. 

" One trout scale in the scales I 'd lay 

(If trout had scales), and 't will outweigh 

The wrong side of the balances." 

Lowell. 

The charrs inhabit, in general, only the clearest 
and coldest of mountain streams and lakes. They 



76 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

are not migratory, or only to a limited extent. In 
northern regions they descend to the sea, where 
they grow much more rapidly, and assume a nearly 
uniform silvery-gray color. The different species 
are found in all suitable waters throughout the 
northern parts of both continents, except in the 
Rocky Mountains and Great Basin, where only 
the black-spotted trout occur. The number of 
species of charr is very uncertain, as, both in 
America and Europe, trivial variations and indi- 
vidual peculiarities have been raised to the rank 
of species. More types, however, seem to be rep- 
resented in America than in Europe. 

The only really well-authenticated species of 
charr in European waters is the Red Charr, Salb- 
ling, or Ombre Chevalier (^Salvelinus alpinus). 
This species is found in cold clear streams in 
Switzerland, Germany, and throughout Scandina- 
via and the British Islands. Compared with the 
American charr or brook-trout, it is a slenderer 
fish, with smaller mouth, longer fins, and smaller 
red spots, which are confined to the sides of the 
body. It is a "gregarious and deep-swimming fish, 
shy of taking the bait and feeding largely at night- 
time. It appears to require very pure and mostly 
deep water for its residence." It is less tenacious 
of life than the trout. It reaches a weight of from 
one to five pounds, probably rarely exceeding the 
latter in size. The various charr described from 
Siberia are far too little known to be enumerated 
here. 

Of the American charr the one most resembling 
the European species is the Rangeley Lake Trout 



THE SALMON FAMIL Y. TJ 

{Salvelinus stagnalis). The exquisite little fish is 
known in the United States only from the Rangcley 
chain of lakes in western Maine. Quite lately 
specimens of what appears to be the same species 
have been taken in Arctic America, about Cum- 
berland Gulf. Still later, Dr. T. H. Bean has shown 
its identity with the Greenland charr. Whether 
the species still inhabits any intervening waters is 
unknown. The Rangeley trout is much slenderer 
than the common brook-trout, with much smaller 
head and smaller mouth. In life it is dark blue 
above, and the deep red spots are confined to the 
sides of the body. The species rarely exceeds the 
length of a foot in the Rangeley Lakes, but in some 
other waters it reaches a much larger size. So far 
as is known it keeps itself in the depths of the lake 
until its spawning season approaches, in October, 
when it ascends the stream to spawn. 

Another beautiful little charr, allied to Salvcliniis 
stagnalis, is the Floeberg Charr {Salvelinus arcturus). 
This species has been brought from Victoria Lake 
and Floeberg Beach, in the extreme northern part 
of Arctic America, the northernmost point whence 
any salmonoid has been obtained. 

The American Charr, or, as it is usually called, 
the Brook Trout {Salvelinus fontinalis), although 
one of the most beautiful of fishes, is perhaps the 
least graceful of all the genuine charrs. It is tech- 
nically distinguished by the somewhat heavy head 
and large mouth, the maxillary bone reaching more 
or less beyond the eye. There are no teeth on the 
hyoid bone, traces at least of such teeth being 
found in nearly all other species. Its color is 



78 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

somewhat different from that of the others, the red 
spots being large and the back more or less mot- 
tled and barred with darker olive. The dorsal and 
caudal fins are likewise barred or mottled, while in 
the other species they are generally uniform in 
color. The brook-trout is found only in streams 
east of the Mississippi and Saskatchewan. It 
occurs in all suitable streams of the Alleghany re- 
gion and the Great Lake system, from the Chatta- 
hoochee River in northern Georgia northward at 
least to Labrador and Hudson Bay, the northern lim- 
its of its range being as yet not well ascertained. It 
varies greatly in size, according to its surroundings, 
those found in lakes being larger than those resi- 
dent in small brooks. Those found farthest south, 
in the head-waters of the Chattahoochee, Savannah, 
Catawba, and French Broad, rarely pass the dimen- 
sions of fingerlings. The largest specimens are 
recorded from the sea along the Canadian coast. 
These frequently reach a weight of ten pounds ; 
and from their marine and migratory habits, they 
may be regarded as forming a distinct variety {Sal- 
velinus fontinalis immactilatus) , The largest fresh- 
water specimens rarely exceed seven pounds in 
weight. Some unusually large brook-trout have 
been taken in the Rangeley lakes, the largest known 
to me having a reputed weight of eleven pounds. 
The brook-trout is the favorite game-fish of Amer- 
ican waters, pre-eminent in wariness, in beauty, and 
in delicacy of flesh. It inhabits all clear and cold 
waters within its range, the large lakes and the 
smallest ponds, the tiniest brooks and the largest 
rivers ; and when it can do so without soiling its 



THE SALMOX FAMIL Y. 79 

aristocratic gills on the way, it descends to the 
sea and grows large and fat on the animals of the 
ocean. Although a bold biter it is a wary fish, 
and it often requires much skill to capture it. It 
can be caught too with artificial or natural flies, 
minnows, crickets, worms, grasshoppers, grubs, the 
spawn of other fish, or even the eyes or cut pieces 
of other trout It spawns in the fall, from Septem- 
ber to late in November. It begins to reproduce 
at the age of X?ko years, then having a length of 
about six inches. In spring-time the trout delight 
in rapids and swiftly running water ; and in the hot 
months of midsummer they resort to deep, cool, 
and shaded pools. Later, at the approach of the 
spawning season, they gather around the mouths 
of cool, gravelly brooks whither they resort to 
make their beds.^ 

The trout are rapidly disappearing from our 
streams through the agency of the manufacturer 
and the summer-boarder. In the words of an ex- 
cellent angler, Rev. Myron W. Reed, — 

"This is the last generation of trout-fishers. The 
children will not be able to find any. Already there are 
well-trodden paths by every stream in Maine, in New 
York, and in Michigan. I know of but one river in North 
America by the side of which you will find no paper collar 
or other evidence of civilization. It is the Nameless River. 
Not that trout will cease to be. They will be hatched by 
machinery and raised in ponds, and fattened on chopped 
liver, and grow flabby and lose their s]X)ts. The trout of 
the restaurant will not cease to be. He is no more like 
the trout of the wild river than the fat and songlcss recd- 

1 Hallock. 



80 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

bird is like the bobolink. Gross feeding and easy pond 
life enervate and deprave him. The trout that the chil- 
dren will know only by legend is the gold-springled living 
arrow of the white water ; able to zigzag up the cataract ; 
able to loiter in the rapids; whose dainty meat is the 
glancing butterfly." 

The brook-trout adapts itself readily to cultiva- 
tion in artificial ponds. It has been successfully 
transported to Europe, and is already abundant in 
certain streams in England and elsewhere. 

The " Dolly Varden " Trout (^Salvelmus malmd) 
is very similar to the brook-trout, closely resem- 
bling it in size, form, color, and habits. It is 
found in the streams of northern California, Ore- 
gon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, and 
Kamtschatka, mostly to the westward of the Cas- 
cade Range. It often enters the sea, and specimens 
of eleven pounds' weight have been obtained by the 
writer in Puget Sound. The Dolly Varden trout 
is, in general, deeper in body, and less compressed 
than the Eastern brook-trout. The red spots are 
found on the back of the fish as well as on the 
sides, and the back and upper fins are without the 
marblings and blotches seen in Salvelinus fon- 
tinalis. In value as food, in beauty, and in ga- 
miness, Salvelinus malma is very similar to its 
Eastern cousin. 

Allied to the true charrs, and now placed by us 
with tliem in the genus Salvelinus, is the Great Lake 
Trout, otherwise known as Mackinaw Trout, Longe, 
or Togue (^Salvelinus namaycusli) . Technically, 
this fish diflfers from the true charrs in having on 
its vomer a raised crest behind the chevron, and 



THE SALMON FAMILY, 8 1 

free from the shaft. This crest is armed with 
strong teeth. There are also large hooked teeth 
on the hyoid bone, and the teeth generally are 
proportionately stronger than in most of the other 
species. The great lake-trout is grayish in color, 
Hght or dark according to its surroundings; and 
the body is covered with round paler spots, which 
are gray instead of red. The dorsal and caudal 
fins are marked with darker reticulations, some- 
what as in the brook-trout. The great lake-trout 
is found in all the larger lakes from New England 
and New York to Wisconsin, Montana, and Alaska. 
It reaches a much larger size than any other Sal- 
velinuSf specimens of from fifteen to twenty pounds' 
weight being not uncommon, while it occasionally 
attains a weight of fifty to eighty pounds. As a 
food-fish it ranks high, although it may be re- 
garded as somewhat inferior to the brook-trout or 
the white-fish. Compared with other salmonoids, 
the great lake-trout is a sluggish, heavy, and rav- 
enous fish. It has been known to eat raw potato, 
liver, and corn-cobs, — refuse thrown from passing 
steamers. According to Herbert, " a coarse, 
heavy, stiff rod, and a powerful oiled hempen or 
flaxen line, on a winch, with a heavy sinker; a 
cod-hook, baited with any kind of flesh, fish, or 
fowl, — is the most successful, if not the most or- 
thodox or scientific, mode of capturing him. His 
great size and immense strength alone give him 
value as a fish of game ; but when hooked, he pulls 
strongly and fights hard, though he is a boring, 
deep fighter, and seldom if ever leaps out of the 

water, like the true salmon or brook-trout." 

6 



82 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

In the depths of Lake Superior is a variety of 
the great lake-trout known as the Siscowet (5^/- 
velinus namaymsh siskawitz), remarkable for its 
extraordinary fatness of flesh. The cause of this 
difference lies probably in some peculiarity of food, 
as yet unascertained. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 83 



THE DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER 

FISHES. 

WHEN I was a boy and went fishing in the 
brooks of western New York, I noticed 
that the different streams did not always have the 
same kinds of fishes in them. Two streams in 
particular in Wyoming County, not far from my 
father's farm, engaged in this respect my special 
attention. Their sources are not far apart, and 
they flow in opposite directions, on opposite sides 
of a low ridge, — an old glacial moraine, something 
more than a mile across. The Oatka Creek flows 
northward from this ridge, while the East Coy 
runs toward the southeast on the other side of it, 
both flowing ultimately into the same river, the 
Genesee. 

It does not require a very careful observer to 
see that in these two streams the fishes are not 
quite the same. The streams themselves are simi- 
lar enough. In each the waters are clear and fed 
by springs. Each flows over gravel and clay, 
through alluvial meadows, in many windings, and 
with elms and alders "in all its elbows." In both 
streams we were sure of finding Trout,^ and in one 
of them the trout are still abundant. In both we 
used to catch the Brook Chub,^ or, as we called 

1 Salvelinus fontinalis Mitchill. 

2 Semotilus atromaculatui Mitchill. 



84 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

it, the " Horned Dace ; " and in both were large 
schools of Shiners ^ and of Suckers.^ But in every 
deep hole, and especially in the mill-ponds along 
the East Coy Creek, the Horned Pout ^ swarmed 
on the mucky bottoms. In every eddy, or in the 
deep hole worn out at the root of the elm-trees, 
could be seen the Sun-fish,* strutting in green and 
scarlet, with spread fins keeping intruders away 
from its nest. But in the Oatka Creek were found 
neither Horned Pout nor Sun-fish, nor have I ever 
heard that either has been taken there. Then be- 
sides these nobler fishes, worthy of a place on 
every school-boy's string, we knew by sight, if not 
by name, numerous smaller fishes, Darters^ and 
Minnows,® which crept about in the gravel on the 
bottom of the East Coy, but which we never recog- 
nized in the Oatka. 

There must be a reason for differences like these, 
in the streams themselves or in the nature of the 
fishes. The Sun-fish and the Horned Pout are 
home-loving fishes to a greater extent than the 
others which I have mentioned ; still, where no ob- 
stacles prevent, they are sure to move about. 
There must be, then, in the Oatka some sort of 
barrier, or strainer, which keeping these species 
back permits others more adventurous to pass; 
and a wider knowledge of the geography of the 
region showed that such is the case. Farther 

1 Notropis megalops Rafinesque. 

2 Catostomus teres Mitchill. 

^ Atneiurus melas Rafinesque. 

* Lepofnis gibboms 'LmnTdM^. 

* Etheostoma flabellare Rafinesque. 
® Rhinichthys cUronasus Mitchill. 



DISPEKSIOX OF FRESH'irATER FISHES. 8$ 

down in its course, the Oatka falls over a ledge of 
rock, forming a considerable waterfall at Rock 
Glen. Still lower down its waters disappear in the 
ground, sinking into some limestone cavern or 
gravel-bed, from which they reappear, after some six 
miles, in the large springs at Caledonia. Either 
of these barriers might well discourage a quiet- 
loving fish ; while the trout and its active associates 
have sometime passed them, else we should not 
find them in the upper waters in which they alone 
form the fish-fauna. This problem is a simple 
one; a boy could work it out, and the obvious 
solution seems to be satisfactory. 

Since those days I have been a fisherman in 
many waters, — not an angler exactly, but one who 
fishes for fish, and to whose net nothing large or 
small ever comes amiss ; and wherever I go, I find 
cases like this. 

We do not know all the fishes of America yet, 
nor all those well that we know by sight ; still this 
knowledge will come with time and patience, and 
to procure it is a comparatively easy task. It is 
also easy to ascertain the more common inhabi- 
tants of any given stream. It is difficult, however, 
to obtain negative results which are really results. 
You cannot often say that a species does not live 
in a certain stream. You can only affirm that you 
have not yet found it there, and you can rarely fish 
in any stream so long that you can find nothing 
that you have not taken before. Still more difficult 
is it to gather the results of scattered observations 
into general statements regarding the distribution 
of fishes. The facts may be so few as to be 



86 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

misleading, or so numerous as to be confusing; 
and the few writers who have taken up this subject 
in detail have found both these difficulties to be 
serious. Whatever general propositions we may 
maintain must be stated with the modifying clause 
of ** other things being equal ; " and other things 
are never quite equal. Dr. Wilder's saying that 
" Nature abhors a generalization " is especially ap- 
plicable to all discussions of the relations of species 
to environment. 

Still less satisfactory is our attempt to investi- 
gate the causes on which our partial generaliza- 
tions depend, — to attempt to break to pieces the 
" other things being equal " which baffle us in our 
search for general laws. Scarcely anything has 
been written on this phase of the subject from an 
American point of view. This little I have tried 
to include with my own observations, in preparing 
this paper. The same problems, of course, come 
up on each of the other continents and in all 
groups of animals or plants ; but most that I 
shall say will be confined to the question of the 
dispersion of fishes in the fresh waters of North 
America. The broader questions of the bounda- 
ries of faunae and of faunal areas I shall bring up 
only incidentally. 

Some of the problems to be solved were first 
noticed by Professor Agassiz in 1850, in his work 
on Lake Superior. Later (1854), in a paper on 
the fishes of the Tennessee River,^ he makes the 
following statement : — 

1 On Fishes from Tennessee River, Alabama. American Jour- 
nal of Science and Arts, xvii. 2d series, 1854, p. 26. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH- WA TER FISHES. 8/ 

" The study of these features [of distribution] is of the 
greatest importance, inasmuch as it may eventually lead 
to a better understanding of the intentions implied in this 
seemingly arbitrary disposition of animal life. . . . 

"There is still another very interesting problem re- 
specting the geographical distribution of our fresh-water 
animals^ which may be solved by the further investigation 
of the fishes of the Tennessee River. The water-course, 
taking the Powells, Clinch, and Holston Rivers as its 
head-waters, arises from the mountains of Virginia in 
latitude 37° ; it then flows S. W. to latitude 34° 25', when 
it turns W. and N. W., and finally empties into the Ohio, 
under the same latitude as its source in 37°. 

" The question now is this : Are the fishes of this water 
system the same throughout its extent? In which case 
we should infer that water communication is the chief 
condition of geographical distribution of our fresh-water 
fishes. Or do they differ in different stations along its 
course ? And if so, are the differences mainly controlled 
by the elevation of the river above the level of the sea, or 
determined by climatic differences corresponding to dif- 
ferences of latitude? We should assume that the first 
alternative was true if the fishes of the upper course of 
the river differed from those of the middle and lower 
courses in the same manner as in the Danube, from its 
source to Pesth, where this stream flows nearly for its 
whole length under the same parallel. We would, on 
the contrary, suppose the second alternative to be well 
founded if marked differences were observed between 
the fish of such tracts of the river as do not materially 
differ in their elevation above the sea, but flow under 
different latitudes. Now, a few collections from different 
stations along this river, like that sent me by Dr. New- 
man from the vicinity of Huntsville, would settle at once 
this question, not for the Tennessee River alone, but for 



88 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

most rivers flowing under similar circumstances upon the 
surface of the globe. Nothing, however, short of such 
collections, compared closely with one another, will fur- 
nish a reliable answer. . . . Whoever will accomplish 
this survey will have made a highly valuable contribution 
to our knowledge.*' 

Certain conclusions were also suggested by 
Professor Cope in his excellent memoir on the 
fishes of the Alleghany region^ in 1868. From 
this paper I make the following quotations : — 

"The distribution of fresh-water fishes is of special 
importance to the questions of the origin and existence of 
species in connection with the physical conditions of the 
waters and of the land. This is, of course, owing to the 
restricted nature of their habitat, and the impossibility of 
their making extended migrations. With the submer- 
gence of land beneath the sea, fresh-water fish are de- 
stroyed in proportion to the extent of the invasion of salt 
water, while terrestrial vertebrates can retreat before it. 
Hence every inland fish-fauna dates from the last total 
submergence of the country. 

" Prior to the elevation of a given mountain chain, the 
courses of the rivers may generally have been entirely 
different from their later ones. Subsequent to this period, 
they can only have undergone partial modifications. As 
subsequent submergences can rarely have extended to 
the highlands where such streams originate, the fishes of 
such rivers can only have been destroyed so far as they 
were unable to reach those elevated regions, and preserve 
themselves from destruction from salt water by sheltering 
themselves in mountain streams. On the other hand, 

1 On the Distribution of Fresh-Water Fishes in the Alleghany 
Region of Southwestern Virginia. Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci., Phila., 
1868, pp. 207-247. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 9 1 

seek the highest streamlets in the mountains ; but 
except to call attention to the cavernous character 
of the Subcarboniferous and Devonian limestones, 
Professor Cope has made little attempt to account 
for it 

Professor Cope finally concludes with this im- 
portant generalization : — 

"It would appear, from the previous considerations, 
that the distribution of fresh-water fishes is governed by 
laws similar to those controlling terrestrial vertebrates and 
other animals, in spite of the seemingly confined nature of 
their habitat." 

Dr. Giinther^ has well summarized some of the 
known facts in regard to the manner of dispersion 
of fishes : — 

" The ways in which the dispersal of fresh-water fishes 
has been efiected were various. They are probably all 
still in operation, but most work so slowly and imper- 
ceptibly as to escape direct observation; perhaps they 
will be more conspicuous after science and scientific 
inquiry shall have reached a somewhat greater age. 
From the great number of fresh-water forms which we 
see at this present day acclimatized in, gradually accli- 
matizing themselves in, or periodically or sporadically mi- 
grating into, the sea, we must conclude that under certain 
circumstances salt water may cease to be a barrier at 
some period of the existence of fresh-water species, and 
that many of them have passed from one river through 
salt water into another. Secondly, the head-waters of 
some of the grandest rivers, the mouths of which are at 
opposite ends of the continents which they drain, are 
sometimes distant from each other a few miles only. The 

1 Guide to the Study of Fishes, 1880, p. 211. 



QO SC/£XC£ SA'ETVHES. 

where the CTrrents are more distinct; third, those of 
the creeks of the hili country ; fourth, those of the 
elevated moimcxfii saeams which are subject to falls and 
rapids." 

Farther on in the same paper, Professor Cope 
reaches t\i'0 important general conclusions, thus 
stated by him : — 

" I. That species not generally distributed exist in wa- 
ters on different sides of the great water-shed. 

" II. That the distribution of the species is not gov- 
emed by the outlet of the rivers, streams having similar 
discharges (Holston and Kanawha, Roanoke and Susque- 
hanna) having less in common than others having differ- 
ent outlets (Kanawha, or Susquehanna and James). 

" In view of the first proposition, and the question of 
the origin of species, the possibility of an original or sub- 
sequent mingling of the fresh waters suggests itself as 
more probable than that of distinct origin in the different 
basins." 

Two questions in this connection are raised by 

Professor Cope. The first question is this : ** Has 

any destruction of the river faunae taken place 

since the first elevation of the Alleghanies, when 

the same species were thrown into waters flowing 

in opposite directions ? *' Of such destruction by 

submergence or otherwise, Professor Cope finds 

no evidence. The second question is, " Has any 

means of communication existed, at any time, but 

C^edally since the last submergence, by which 

Ae transfer of species might occur?" Some 

cridence of such transfer exists in the wide dis- 

tdbatbn of certain species, especially those which 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 9 1 

seek the highest streamlets in the mountains ; but 
except to call attention to the cavernous character 
of the Subcarboniferous and Devonian limestones, 
Professor Cope has made little attempt to account 
for it. 

Professor Cope finally concludes with this im- 
portant generalization : — 

"It would appear, from the previous considerations, 
that the distribution of fresh-water fishes is governed by 
laws similar to those controlling terrestrial vertebrates and 
other animals, in spite of the seemingly confined nature of 
their habitat." 

Dr. Giinther^ has well summarized some of the 
known facts in regard to the manner of dispersion 
of fishes : — 

" The ways in which the dispersal of fresh-water fishes 
has been efiected were various. They are probably all 
still in operation, but most work so slowly and imper- 
ceptibly as to escape direct observation; perhaps they 
will be more conspicuous after science and scientific 
inquiry shall have reached a somewhat greater age. 
From the great number of fresh-water forms which we 
see at this present day acclimatized in, gradually accli- 
matizing themselves in, or periodically or sporadically mi- 
grating into, the sea, we must conclude that under certain 
circumstances salt water may cease to be a barrier at 
some period of the existence of fresh-water species, and 
that many of them have passed from one river through 
salt water into another. Secondly, the head-waters of 
some of the grandest rivers, the mouths of which are at 
opposite ends of the continents which they drain, are 
sometimes distant from each other a few miles only. The 

1 Guide to the Study of Fishes, 1880, p. 211. 



84 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

it, the " Horned Dace ; '* and in both were large 
schools of Shiners ^ and of Suckers.^ But in every 
deep hole, and especially in the mill-ponds along 
the East Coy Creek, the Horned Pout^ swarmed 
on the mucky bottoms. In every eddy, or in the 
deep hole worn out at the root of the elm-trees, 
could be seen the Sun-fish,* strutting in green and 
scarlet, with spread fins keeping intruders away 
from its nest. But in the Oatka Creek were found 
neither Horned Pout nor Sun-fish, nor have I ever 
heard that either has been taken there. Then be- 
sides these nobler fishes, worthy of a place on 
every school-boy's string, we knew by sight, if not 
by name, numerous smaller fishes. Darters^ and 
Minnows,^ which crept about in the gravel on the 
bottom of the East Coy, but which we never recog- 
nized in the Oatka. 

There must be a reason for differences like these, 
in the streams themselves or in the nature of the 
fishes. The Sun-fish and the Horned Pout are 
home-loving fishes to a greater extent than the 
others which I have mentioned ; still, where no ob- 
stacles prevent, they are sure to move about. 
There must be, then, in the Oatka some sort of 
barrier, or strainer, which keeping these species 
back permits others more adventurous to pass; 
and a wider knowledge of the geography of the 
region showed that such is the case. Farther 

1 NotropU megalops Rafinesque. 

2 Catostomus teres Mitchill. 

^ Amemrus melas Rafinesque. 
* Lepomis gibbosus UmxiddVLS. 
5 Etheostoma flabellare Rafinesque. 
^ Rhinichthys atrotiasus Mitchill. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 85 

down in its course, the Oatka falls over a ledge of 
rock, forming a considerable waterfall at Rock 
Glen. Still lower down its waters disappear in the 
ground, sinking into some limestone cavern or 
gravel-bed, from which they reappear, after some six 
miles, in the large springs at Caledonia. Either 
of these barriers might well discourage a quiet- 
loving fish ; while the trout and its active associates 
have sometime passed them, else we should not 
find them in the upper waters in which they alone 
form the fish-fauna. This problem is a simple 
one; a boy could work it out, and the obvious 
solution seems to be satisfactory. 

Since those days I have been a fisherman in 
many waters, — not an angler exactly, but one who 
fishes for fish, and to whose net nothing large or 
small ever comes amiss ; and wherever I go, I find 
cases like this. 

We do not know all the fishes of America yet, 
nor all those well that we know by sight ; still this 
knowledge will come with time and patience, and 
to procure it is a comparatively easy task. It is 
also easy to ascertain the more common inhabi- 
tants of any given stream. It is difficult, however, 
to obtain negative results which are really results. 
You cannot often say that a species does not live 
in a certain stream. You can only affirm that you 
have not yet found it there, and you can rarely fish 
in any stream so long that you can find nothing 
that you have not taken before. Still more difficult 
is it to gather the results of scattered observations 
into general statements regarding the distribution 
of fishes. The facts may be so few as to be 



92 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

intervening space may have been easily bridged over for 
the passage of fishes by a slight geological change affect- 
ing the level of the water-shed or even by temporary 
floods ; and a communication of this kind, if existing for 
a limited period only, would afford the ready means of an 
exchange of a number of species previously peculiar to 
one or the other of these river or lake systems. Some 
fishes provided with gill-openings so narrow that the 
water moistening the gills cannot readily evaporate, and 
endowed, besides, with an extraordinary degree of vitality, 
like many Siluroids (jClarias, Callichthys), Eels, etc., are 
enabled to wander for some distance over land, and may 
thus reach a water-course leading them thousands of 
miles from their original home. Finally, fishes or their 
ova may be accidentally carried by water-spouts, by 
aquatic birds or insects, to considerable distances." 

A somewhat detailed statement of the known 
facts, arranged in the form of twenty-eight propo- 
sitions, was given by me in 1878.^ To these some 
further data were added in a paper by Professor 
Gilbert and myself on the fishes of Arkansas and 
Texas,^ published during the past year. These 
few memoirs, four or five in number, and dealing 
chiefly with other things, give about all that has 
been done in the way of generalization on this 
subject; and in none of these is the question of 
causes or methods in distribution dealt with in 
detail or to any important extent. 

1 On the Distribution of the Fishes of the Alleghany Region, of 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, with Descriptions of new 
or little-known Species. Bull. U. S. Nat. Mus., xii. 1878, pp. 91- 

95- 

* List of Fishes collected in Arkansas, Indian Territory, and 

Texas, in September, 1884, with Notes and Descriptions. Proc. 

U. S. Nat. Mus., 1886, pp. 1-25. 



nisPEXsroAT of fresh-water fishes. 93 



We now recognize about six hundred species * 
of fishes as found in the fresh waters of North 

^ The table below shows approximately the compositiiiii rif tliu 
fresh-water fish-faana of Europe, as compared with that of North 
America north of the Tropic of Cancer. (Sec a review of Sec ley's 
"Fresh Water Fishes of Europe," The Z?/Ia/, Chicago, June, '86, j) 35.) 



PAinLIBS. 



EUKOPR. N. .AMRIH A. 



Lamprey . • 
Faddl&4ish . . 
Sturgeon . . 
Gar-pike . . . 
Bow-fin . • . 


> . Pdromytontidc, 
. . Polyodontida 
, . Acipenserida 
. Lepisosteida 
• AfHtaiidiB . 


p 




. 3 species 

__ (i 

. 10 
{< 

u 

I " 

__ {1 

. 3 " 
. 61 " 

« 

2 " 

(( 

. 12 " 

« 

(( 

3 " 
. I « 

. I " 

__ (( 

2 " 

• 3 " 
. 2 " 

__ ii 

u 

__ « 

II 

. I " 

(( 

(( 

__ « 

. 2 " 

2 " 

3 " 
I 

. I " 

. I « 


. S s|JCci«K». 
I " 
6 

3 " 
I " 


Cat-fish . . . 


■ SHiiridtB . 


25 « 

51 " 

(( 


Sucker . . . . 


. Caiostontid4B 


Iwoach . 


Cohitidet . 


Carp .... 


Cv^Ksnida 


230 " 
I " 

3 " 

5 " 
I 

28 " 


Chanidn . . 
Moon-eye . . . 
HerrincT . . . . 


, . Characinida , 
. Hiodontida . , 
C/u^eidee 


Gizzard-shad . 


. . Dorosomida 
t • Salmonidce . 


Trout-perch 
Blind-fish . . 
Killifish . . . 


, . Pcrcopsida . . 
, . Amblyopsidec 
. CvivinodoHtida 


I 

5 '' 
52 

I 

5 " 
I 

I " 


Mud-minnow . 
Pike 


. . UmbridtB . 
. Esocid<B . 


Alaska Riack-fish 
Eel .... 


. . DallndcB 
1 . Afie'uillideB 


Stickleback . . 
Silverside . . 
Pirate Perch . 
Elassoma . . 
Sun-fish . . 


, . Gasterosteidce 
, . Atherinidce . 
, . Aphredoderidce 
. Elassomidce 
Ccntrarchid(£ 


7 " 
2 " 

1 " 

2 •' 

37 " 
72 

4 " 
1 " 


Perch . . . , 


. PercidcR . . • 


Bass .... 


ScrranidcB . 


Drum . . . . 


. Sciwiiid(P- 


Surf-fish , 


Embiotocidec 


I " 


Cichlid . . . 


■ Cichlidd: . 


2 " 


Goby .... 


■ . GobiidiS . 


6 " 


Sculpin • . . . 


. CottidcB . 


21 " 


Blenny . . . . 


• Blcnnitd(L . 


« 


Cod .... 


. . GadidtE . 


I " 


Flounder . . 
Sole .... 


. . Plcuronectidee 
m Solcid<v . . 


« 

I « 


Total : Europe, 
587 species. 

According to I 
243), the total nun 


21 families ; 126 spec 

Dr. Gunther (Guidi 
liber of species no\ 


ies. North America, 34 families ; 

c to the Study of Fi.shcs, p. 
V known from the temperate 



94 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

America, north of the Tropic of Cancer, these 
representing thirty-four of the natural families. 
As to their habits, we can divide these species 
rather roughly into the four categories pro- 
posed by Professor Cope, or, as we may call 
them, — 

(i) Lowland fishes; as the Bow-fin,^ Pirate 
Perch,^ large-mouthed Black Bass,^ Sun-fishes and 
some Cat-fishes. 

(2) Channel-fishes ; as the Channel Cat-fish,* 
the Moon-eye,^ Gar-pike,® Buffalo-fishes,^ and 
Drum.^ 

(3) Upland fishes; as many of the Darters, 
Shiners and Suckers, and the small-mouthed 
Black Bass.^ 

(4) Mountain-fishes; as the Brook Trout, and 
many of the Darters and Minnows. 

To these we may add the more or less distinct 
classes of (5) Lake-fishes, inhabiting only waters 
which are deep, clear, and cold, as the various spe- 
cies of White-fish ^^ and the Great Lake Trout ; ^^ 

regions of Asia and Europe is about 360. The fauna of India, 
south of the Himalayas, is much more extensive, numbering 625 
species. This latter fauna bears little resemblance to that of 
North America, being wholly tropical in its character. 

^ Amiattis calvus Linnaeus. 

2 Aphredoderus say anus Gilliams. 

* Micropterus salmoides Lacepede. 

* Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque. 
^ Hiodon tergisus Le Sueur. 

® Lepisosteus osseus Linnaeus. 

' Ictiobus bubaluSy cyprinella^ etc. 

8 Aplodinotus grunniens Rafinesque. 

® Micropterus dolomieu Lacepede. 
1® Coreganus dupeiformiSy artedi^ etc. 
^^ Salvelinus namaycush Walbaum. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 95 

(6) Anadromous fishes, or those which run up 
from the sea to spawn in fresh waters, as the 
Salmon,^ Sturgeon,^ Shad,^ and Striped Bass ; * 

(7) Catadromous fishes, like the Eel,^* which pass 
down to spawn in the sea ; and (8) brackish-water 
fishes, which thrive best in the debatable waters 
of the river-mouths, as most of the Sticklebacks 
and the Killifishes. 

As regards the range of species, we have every 
possible gradation from those which seem to be 
confined to a single river, and are rare even in 
their restricted habitat, to those which are in a 
measure cosmopolitan,^ ranging everywhere in 
suitable waters. 

Still, again, we have all degrees of constancy and 
inconstancy in what we regard as the characters 
of a specie?. Those found only in a single river- 
basin are usually uniform enough ; but the species 
having a wide range usually vary much in different 
localities. Such variations have at different times 
been taken to be the indications of as many differ- 
ent species. Continued explorations bring to light, 
from year to year, new species ; but the number of 
new forms now discovered each year is usually less 
than the number of recognized species which are 
yearly prov^ed to be intenable. Three complete 
lists of the fresh-water fishes of the United States 



^ Salmo salar Linnaeus. ^ Acipenser, sp. 

8 Clupea sapidisshna Wilson. * Morone lincata Bloch. 

^ Anguilla anguilla Linnaeus. 

^ Thus the Chub-sucker (Erimyzon sucetta) in some of its varie- 
ties ranges everywhere from Maine to Dakota, Florida, and Texas ; 
while a number of other species are scarcely less widely distributed. 



gfi SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

have been published by the present writer. That 
of Jordan and Copeland,' pubhshed in 1S76, enu- 
merates G70 species. That of Jordan^ in 1S78 
contains 665 species, and that of Jordan^ in 1885, 
5S7 species, although upwards of 75 new species 
were detected in the nine years which elapsed be- 
tween the first and the last list. Additional spe- 
cimens from intervening localities are often found 
to form connecting links among the nominal spe- 
cies, and thus several supposed species become 
in time merged in one. Thus the Common Chan- 
nel Cat-fish* of our rivers has been described as 
a new species not less than twenty-five times, on 
account of differences real or imaginary, but com- 
paratively trifling in value. 

Where species can readily migrate, their uniform- 
ity is preserved; but whenever a form becomes 
localized its representatives assume some charac- 
ters not shared by the species as a whole. When 
we can trace, as we often can, the disappearance by 
degrees of these characters, such forms no longer 
represent to us distinct species. In cases where 
the connecting forms are extinct, or at least 
not represented in collections, each form which is 



1 Check List of the Fishes o£ the Fresh Waters of North Amer- 
ica, by Uavid S. Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. Bulletin of the 
■nffalo Society of Natural History, 1876, pp. 13J-164. 

• A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North 
flwiiii I Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, 1S7S, 

' A Catalogue of the Fishes known lo inhabit the Waters of 
SMk Amoica North of the Tropic of Cancer. Anniuil Report 
rfteCoawssionersof Fish and Fisheries for 1884 and iSSj. 
* II I I fmmMtta Kafine&quc. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES, 97 

apparently different must be regarded as a distinct 
species. 

The variations in any type become, in general, 
more marked as we approach the tropics. The 
genera are represented, on the whole, by more 
species there, and it would appear that the pro- 
cesses of specific change go on more rapidly under 
the easier conditions of life in the Torrid Zone. 

We recognize now in North America twenty-five 
distinct species of fresh-water Cat-fishes,^ although 
nearly a hundred (93) nominal species of these 
fishes have been from time to time described. 
But these twenty-five species are among them- 
selves very closely related, and all of them are 
subject to a variety of minor changes. It requires 
no strong effort of the imagination to see in them 
all the modified descendants of some one species 
of Cat-fish, not unlike our Common " Bull-head,^ 
— an immigrant probably from Asia, and which 
has now adjusted itself to its surroundings in each 
of our myriad of Cat-fish breeding streams. 

The word ** species," then, is simply a term of 
convenience, including such members of a group 
similar to each other as are tangibly different 
from others, and are not known to be connected 
with these by intermediate forms. Such connect- 
ing links we may suppose to have existed in all 
cases. Wc are only sure that they do not now 
exist in our collections, so far as these have been 
carefully studied. 

When two or more species of any genus now 
inhabit the same waters, they arc usually species 

^ SiluridiC, 2 Amciurus twbulosiis. 

7 



96 



SC/EN'CE SKETCHES- 



liave been published by the present writer. Thai! 
of Jordan and Copeland,^ published in 1876, enu-j 
mcrates 670 species. That of Jordan^ in 187^ 
contains 665 species, and that of Jordan'^ in i 
587 species, although upwards of 75 new specie^ 
were detected in the nine years which elapsed be-J 
tween the first and the last list. Additional spe^ 
cimens from intervening localities are often founc3 
to form connecting links among the nominal spe^ 



cies, and thus several supposed species bee 
in time merged in one. Thus the Common ChanJ* 
ncl Cat-fish* of our rivers has been described a ' 
a new species not less than twenty-five times, 01 " 
account of differences real or imaginary, but com ' 
paratively trifling in value. J^ 

Where species can readily migrate, their uniform * 
ity is preserved ; but whenever a form become 
localized its representatives assume some charac. 
tcrs not shared by the species as a whole. Wh^ ] 
we can trace, as we often can, the disappearance b^ 
degrees of these characters, such forms no long(,~* 
represent to us distinct species. In cases whei _ 



-1 



the 



necting forms are extinct, or at lea 



not represented in collections, each form which 



'•« 



' Check List of the Fishes o£ the Fresh Waters of North Am' ^ 
ica, by David S.Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. Bulletin of tttCt 
BufiaJo Society of Natural History, 1876, pp. 133-164. gj—^ 

2 A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of Noj, ' 
America. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, 18 
pp. 407-442. ' 

' A Catalogue of the Fishes known to inhabit ihe WalersJifc* 
North America North of the Tropic of Cancer. Annual Kcp, ,^ 
of the CommisaionetB of Fish and Fisheries for 1884 and 1SS5. ,^— 

* /i:ili/»fT«/«;«:JljfKi Raflneaque. 



i« 



< 



96 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



have been published by the present v 
of Jordan and Copcland,^ published i: 
merates 670 species. That of Jordj 
contains 665 species, and that of Jord 
587 species, although upwards of 75 
were detected in the nine years which 
tween the first and the last list. Adc 
cimens from intervening localities are 
to form connecting links among the n 
cies, and thus several supposed spec 
in time merged in one. Thus the Con 
nel Cat-fish* of our rivers has been c 
a new species not less than twenty-fi\ 
account of differences real or imaginar; 
paratively trifling in value. 

Where species can readily migrate, the 
ity is preserved ; but whenever a forr 
localized its representatives assume soi 
ters not shared by the species as a who 
wc can trace, as we often can, the disapp 
degrees of these characters, such forms 
represent to us distinct species. In Cc 
the connecting forms are extinct, 01 
I • not represented in collections, each forr 

^ Check List of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of ' 
ica, by David S.Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. B . 
Buffalo Society of Natural History, 1876, pp. 133-16. 

2 A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh \Vat( . 
America. Bulletin of the United States Geological ! 
pp. 407-442. 

8 A Catalogue of the Fishes known to inhabit tl 
North America North of the Tropic of Cancer. An 
of the Commissioners of Fish and Fisheries for 1884 *' 

* Ictalunts punctatiis Rafincsquc. 



g6 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

have been published by the present writer. That 
of Jordan and Copeland,' published in 1876, enu- 
merates 670 species. That of Jordan^ in 1S78 
contains 665 species, and that of Jordan^ in 1885, 
587 species, although upwards of 75 new species 
were detected in the nine years which elapsed be- 
tween the first and the last list. Additional spe- 
cimens from intervening localities are often found 
to form connecting links among the nominal spe- 
cies, and thus several supposed species become 
in time merged in one. Thus the Common Chan- 
nel Cat-fish* of our rivers has been described as 
a new species not less than twenty-five times, on 
account of differences real or imaginary, but com- 
paratively trifling in value. 

Where species can readily migrate, their uniform- 
ity is preserved; but whenever a form becomes 
localized its representatives assume some charac- 
ters not shared by the species as a whole. When 
we can trace, as we often can, the disappearance by 
degrees of these characters, such forms no longer 
represent to us distinct species. In cases where 
the connecting forms arc extinct, or at least 
not represented in collections, each form which is 



i Check List of the Fishes uf the Fresh Waters of North Amer- 
ica, by David S. Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. Bulletin of the 
Buffalo Society of Natural History, 1S76, pp. 133-164. 

» A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North 
America. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, 1S78, 
pp. 4C7-44Z. 

' A Catalogue of the Fishes known to inhabit the Waters of 
North America North o£ the Tropic of Cancer. Annual Report 
□f the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries for 1SS4 and 1S35. 

* Ictalurus punciatut Rafiaesquc. 



mSPEKSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. ^yj 

apparently different must be regarded as a distinct 
species. 

The variations in any type become, in general, 
more marked as we approach the tropics. The 
genera are represented, on the whole, by more 
species there, and it would appear that the pro- 
cesses of specific change go on more rapidly under 
the easier conditions of life in the Torrid Zone. 

We recognize now in North America twenty-five 
distinct species of fresh-water Cat-fishes,^ although 
nearly a hundred (93) nominal species of these 
fishes have been from time to time described. 
But these twenty-five species are among them- 
selves very closely related, and all of them are 
subject to a variety of minor changes. It requires 
no strong effort of the imagination to see in them 
all the modified descendants of some one species 
of Cat-fish, not unlike our Common " Bull-head/^ 
— an immigrant probably from Asia, and which 
has now adjusted itself to its surroundings in each 
of our myriad of Cat-fish breeding streams. 

The word ** species," then, is simply a term of 
convenience, including such members of a group 
similar to each other as are tangibly different 
from others, and are not known to be connected 
with these by intermediate forms. Such connect- 
ing links we may suppose to have existed in all 
cases. We are only sure that they do not now 
exist in our collections, so far as these have been 
carefully studied. 

When two or more species of any genus now 
inhabit the same waters, they arc usually species 

1 SilUridu:. ^ Ameiuriis u<:bulosus. 

7 



\ 



96 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

have been published by the present writer. That 
of Jordan and Copeland,^ published in 1876, enu- 
merates 670 species. That of Jordan ^ in 1878 
contains 665 species, and that of Jordan^ in 1885, 
587 species, although upwards of 75 new species 
were detected in the nine years which elapsed be- 
tween the first and the last list. Additional spe- 
cimens from intervening localities are often found 
to form connecting links among the nominal spe- 
cies, and thus several supposed species become 
in time merged in one. Thus the Common Chan- 
nel Cat-fish* of our rivers has been described as 
a new species not less than twenty-five times, on 
account of differences real or imaginary, but com- 
paratively trifling in value. 

Where species can readily migrate, their uniform- 
ity is preserved; but whenever a form becomes 
localized its representatives assume some charac- 
ters not shared by the species as a whole. When 
we can trace, as we often can, the disappearance by 
degrees of these characters, such forms no longer 
represent to us distinct species. In cases where 
the connecting forms are extinct, or at least 
not represented in collections, each form which is 

1 Check List of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North Amer- 
ica, by David S. Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. Bulletin of the 
Buffalo Society of Natural History, 1876, pp. 133-164. 

2 A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North 
America. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, 1878, 
pp. 407-442. 

8 A Catalogue of the Fishes known to inhabit the Waters of 
North America North of the Tropic of Cancer. Annual Report 
of the Commissioners of Fish and Fisheries for 1884 and 1885. 

* Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. iyj 

apparently different must be regarded a.s a distinct 
species. 

The variations in any type become, in general, 
more marked as we approach the tropics. The 
genera are represented, on the whole, by more 
species there, and it would appear that the pro- 
cesses of specific change go on more rapidly under 
the easier conditions of life in the Torrid Zone. 

We recognize now in North America twenty-five 
distinct species of fresh-water Cat-fishes,^ althoui^di 
nearly a hundred (93) nominal species of these 
fishes have been from time to time described. 
But these twenty-five species are among them- 
selves very closely related, and all of them are 
subject to a variety of minor changes. It requires 
no strong effort of the imagination to see in them 
all the modified descendants of some one species 
of Cat-fish, not unlike our Common " Bull-head,'- 
— an immigrant probably from Asia, and which 
has now adjusted itself to its surroundings in each 
of our myriad of Cat-fish breeding streams. 

The word " species," then, is simply a term of 
convenience, including such members of a group 
similar to each other as are tangibly different 
from others, and are not known to be connected 
with these by intermediate forms. Such connect- 
ing links we may suppose to have existed in all 
cases. We are only sure that they do not now 
exist in our collections, so far as these have been 
carefully studied. 

When two or more species of any genus now 
inhabit the same waters, they are usually species 

1 Siluridu:. 2 Amtiurus twbuiostis. 



98 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

whose differentiation is of long standing, — species, 
therefore, which can be readily distinguished from 
one another. When, on the other hand, we have 
" representative species," — closely related forms, 
neither of which is found within the geographical 
range of the other, — we can with some confidence 
look for intermediate forms where the territory 
occupied by the one bounds that inhabited by the 
other. In very many such cases the intermediate 
forms have been found ; and such forms are con- 
sidered as sub-species of one species, the one 
being regarded as the parent stock, the other 
as an offshoot due to the influences of differ- 
ent environment. Then, besides these " species " 
and ** sub-species," groups more or less readily 
recognizable, there are varieties and variations of 
every grade, often too ill-defined to receive any 
sort of name, but still not without significance to 
the student of the origin of species. Comparing a 
dozen fresh specimens of almost any kind of fish 
from any body of water with an equal number 
from somewhere else, one will rarely fail to find 
some sort of differences, — in size, in form, in color. 
These differences are obviously the reflex of dif- 
ferences in the environment, and the collector of 
fishes seldom fails to recognize them as such; 
often it is not difficult to refer the effect to the 
conditions. Thus, fishes from grassy bottoms are 
darker than those taken from over sand, and 
those from a bottom of muck are darker still, 
the shade of color being, in some way not well 
understood, dependent on the color of the sur- 
roundings. Fishes in large bodies of water reach 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 99 

a larger size than the same species in smaller 
streams or ponds. Fishes from foul or sediment- 
laden waters are paler in color and slenderer in 
form than those from waters which are clear and 
pure. Again, it is often true that specimens from 
northern waters are less slender in body than those 
from farther south ; and so on. Other things be- 
ing equal, the more remote the localities from each 
other, the greater are these differences. 

In our fresh-water fishes each species on an 
average has been described as new from three to 
four times, on account of minor variations, real or 
supposed. In Europe, where the fishes have been 
studied longer and by more different men, upwards 
of six or eight nominal species have been described 
for each one that is now considered distinct. 

It is evident, from these and other facts, that the 
idea of a separate creation for each species of fishes 
in each river basin, as entertained by Agassiz, is 
wholly incompatible with our present knowledge 
of the specific distinctions or of the geographical 
distribution of fishes. This is an unbroken grada- 
tion in the variations from the least to the greatest, 
— from the peculiarities of the individual, through 
local varieties, geographical sub-species, species, 
sub-genera, genera, families, super-families, and so 
on, until all fish-like vertebrates are included in a 
single bond of union. 

It is, however, evident that not all American 
types of fishes had their origin in America, or even 
first assumed in America their present forms. 
Some of these are perhaps immigrants from 
northern Asia, where they still have their nearest 



96 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

have been published by the present writer. That 
of Jordan and Copeland,^ published in 1876, enu- 
merates 670 species. That of Jordan ^ in 1878 
contains 665 species, and that of Jordan^ in 1885, 
587 species, although upwards of 75 new species 
were detected in the nine years which elapsed be- 
tween the first and the last list. Additional spe- 
cimens from intervening localities are often found 
to form connecting links among the nominal spe- 
cies, and thus several supposed species become 
in time merged in one. Thus the Common Chan- 
nel Cat-fish* of our rivers has been described as 
a new species not less than twenty-five times, on 
account of differences real or imaginary, but com- 
paratively trifling in value. 

Where species can readily migrate, their uniform- 
ity is preserved; but whenever a form becomes 
localized its representatives assume some charac- 
ters not shared by the species as a whole. When 
we can trace, as we often can, the disappearance by 
degrees of these characters, such forms no longer 
represent to us distinct species. In cases where 
the connecting forms are extinct, or at least 
not represented in collections, each form which is 

1 Check List of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North Amer- 
ica, by David S. Jordan and Herbert E. Copeland. Bulletin of the 
Buffalo Society of Natural History, 1876, pp. 133-164. 

2 A Catalogue of the Fishes of the Fresh Waters of North 
America. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, 1878, 
pp. 407-442. 

8 A Catalogue of the Fishes known to inhabit the Waters of 
North America North of the Tropic of Cancer. Annual Report 
of the Commissioners of Fish and Fisheries for 1884 and 1885. 

* Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 97 

apparently different must be regarded as a distinct 
species. 

The variations in any type become, in general, 
more marked as we approach the tropics. The 
genera are represented, on the whole, by more 
species there, and it would appear that the pro- 
cesses of specific change go on more rapidly under 
the easier conditions of life in the Torrid Zone. 

We recognize now in North America twenty-five 
distinct species of fresh-water Cat-fishes,^ although 
nearly a hundred (93) nominal species of these 
fishes have been from time to time described. 
But these twenty-five species are among them- 
selves very closely related, and all of them are 
subject to a variety of minor changes. It requires 
no strong effort of the imagination to see in them 
all the modified descendants of some one species 
of Cat-fish, not unlike our Common " Bull-head,^ 
— an immigrant probably from Asia, and which 
has now adjusted itself to its surroundings in each 
of our myriad of Cat-fish breeding streams. 

The word " species," then, is simply a term of 
convenience, including such members of a group 
similar to each other as are tangibly different 
from others, and are not known to be connected 
with these by intermediate forms. Such connect- 
ing links we may suppose to have existed in all 
cases. We are only sure that they do not now 
exist in our collections, so far as these have been 
carefully studied. 

When two or more species of any genus now 
inhabit the same waters, they are usually species 

^ SiluridiS, 2 Anuiurus tubulosus. 

7 



IC» SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

relatives. Still others are evidently modified im- 
portations from the sea; and of these some are 
very recent immigrants, landlocked species which 
have changed very little from the parent stock. 

The character and possible origin of each of the 
thirty-four families of North American fresh-water 
fishes may be briefly summarized as follows : — 

The Lampreys are evidently of marine origin, as 
the marine species are still anadromous. The 
fresh-water species, compared with the marine 
ones, are smaller in size and weaker in organiza- 
tion, and represent larval conditions or arrests of 
development of the latter form. 

The Paddle-fish is allied to extinct ganoid types. 
The group is now represented by one species in 
America and another in central Asia. 

The Sturgeons, like the Lampreys, are anadro- 
mous. But two of the American species are now 
confined to the fresh waters, and one of these be- 
longs to a peculiar genus (^Scaphirhynchus^y which 
(like Polyodon) has representatives also in central 
Asia. As to whether the parent stock in either 
case is American or Asiatic, I know of no positive 
evidence. 

The Gar-pikes and the Bow-fins are strictly 
American types allied to extinct ganoid forms, 
and doubtless developed from such in the waters 
they now inhabit. 

The Cat-fishes of America are all probably de- 
scendants of a common stock, not allied to South 
American forms, but probably finding its nearest 
relatives in India. A single species of this type 
now exists in China {^Ameiiirns cantonensis^ ', but 



D/SPERSrON OF FRESH-WATER FTS/IES. lOI 

this IS perhaps a returned emigrant from America, 
rather than a direct offshoot of the parent stock. 

The Suckers are modified Cyprinidcs^ probably 
developed originally in America, although one 
species has spread from Alaska to Siberia, and 
another very peculiar form exists in China. What- 
ever its origin, this group is now one of the most 
characteristic of our fauna. 

The CyprinidcB of western America are more or 
less closely related to Old World types, and some 
of them, like the Old World species, reach a great 
size. East of the Rocky Mountains are found a 
multitude of species, mostly of small size and 
weak organization, which seem to be degenerate 
or reduced representatives of Old World types, 
and which have for the most part no immediate 
relatives among the latter. The majority of these 
species are now placed in a single genus, Notropis^ 
which is found only in America, and is one of the 
most characteristic of our fish-fauna. 

The Ckaracins belong to the tropics, especially 
to South America. The single species which 
crosses the Rio Grande is doubtless an immigrant 
from Mexico. The same remarks apply also to 
the Cichlids, — a group especially characteristic of 
tropical America, one species of which reaches 
southern Texas. 

The Moon-eyes are characteristically American 
type, with no near relatives elsewhere in the world. 
Their ancestors were probably immigrants from 
the sea. 

The Herring permanently resident in our fresh 
waters are simply landlocked representatives of 



102 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

species still found in the sea along our coasts. 
Other species are anadromous, ascending the rivers 
in the spring. 

The Gizzard-shad is indifferently marine, anad- 
romous, or landlocked, and is still extending its 
range in sluggish waters through the agency of 
canals. 

The various forms of Salmonidce abound in the 
streams and lakes of all northern regions. The larger, 
species are marine and anadromous, the smaller 
confined to lakes and brooks ; but all seek streams 
or at least shallower waters for the purpose of 
spawning. The whole group had probably a ma- 
rine origin; the more strictly fresh-water species 
being, as is usually the case, smaller in size, weaker 
in organization, and with feebler dentition. It is 
often assumed that this group has had its origin 
in the Atlantic; but whether in America or in 
Europe, we have no means of inferring. 

The Trout-perch show a curious combination of 
characters of spiny and soft-rayed fishes. The sin- 
gle species is probably, as suggested by Agassiz, a 
relic of an ancient fauna. 

The Blind-fishes are also very unique in their 
organization. Two of the known species have 
well-developed eyes, and live in lowland streams 
and springs. Such are doubtless ancestors of the 
eyeless forms of the cave streams, but the imme- 
diate progenitors and relatives of these seem to be 
extinct. They were probably fresh-water rather 
than marine forms, and of the same general stock 
as the ancestors of the Killifishes, Mud-minnows, 
and Pike. 



DISPEKS/ON OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 103 

The Killifishes have their greatest abundance in 
tropical America, which is perhaps the place of 
their origin. They are especially fishes of the 
brackish waters, rarely going far out to sea. 
Some of them ascend streams; and these fre- 
quent spring waters, and waters which are clear 
and cold. 

The two species of Mud-minnow are now very 
widely separated as to habitat, although very simi- 
lar to each other in structure. The one belongs 
properly to our Great Lake Fauna, the other to 
the streams of Austria. The two are probably re- 
mains of a past fauna, in which the group was 
more fully represented. Our Mud-minnow ^ is one 
of the most tenacious of life of all our fishes, and 
will often live for weeks in damp muck after the 
waters of a pond have evaporated. 

Of the five known species of Pike, one is cos- 
mopolitan, being spread over northern Asia and 
Europe as well as America, while the other species 
are somewhat restricted in their range. The Com- 
mon Pike ^ is probably the parent stock of all ; but 
whether originally American or not, we cannot 
say. The affinities of the Mud-minnow with the 
Pike are not remote, and doubtless forms between 
the two have existed. 

The Black-fish^ of Alaska is another relative of 
the Mud-minnow and Pike. The single known 
species is found in Alaska and eastern Siberia. 
It too is probably an isolated relic of a disap- 
pearing group. 

1 Umbra limi Kirtland. * Esox lucius Linnaeus. 

8 Dallia'pectoralis Bean. 



I04 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

The Common Eel^ is more or less regularly 
catadromous. It is doubtless of marine origin; 
and the same species is widely diffused in America 
and Europe, though curiously wanting on our 
Pacific coasts, as well as in South America. 

The Sticklebacks and the Silversides are sea- 
shore fishes, the former of cold, the latter of warm 
regions. Some species of both are now permanent 
residents in fresh water. The Sticklebacks espe- 
cially show all degrees of transition, the strictly 
fluviatile forms being as usual smaller in size and 
weaker in armature than the marine ones. 

The Pirate Perches and the Elassoma are two 
very small families, related to each other, and 
distantly related perhaps to the Sun-fishes. They 
are probably remains of some older fauna, and are 
possibly allied to the Berycoids ; but this relation, 
if real, is not very close. 

The Sun-fishes are peculiarly North American, 
nothing similar being found in any other region. 
Their ancestry is probably to be sought among 
the marine Serranidce, the large-mouthed Black 
Bass^ being probably the member of the former 
group nearest the parent stock. 

The fresh-water (striped) Bass^ are evidently 
allied to the anadromous members of the same 
group. 

The Perch family is perhaps originally an off- 
shoot from the Sea Bass. It has, however, re- 
ceived a peculiar development in American waters. 

^ Anguilla anguilla Linnaeus. 

2 Micropterus salmoides Lacep^de. 

* Morone chrysops^ mississippiensisy etc^ 



DISPERSION OF FRESH- WATER FISHES. 105 

The large group or genus of Darters ^ is com- 
posed of small, brilliantly colored Perches, whose 
structure is especially adapted for life on the 
rocky bottoms of small clear streams. The re- 
lations of these species to the typical Perches 
have been admirably discussed by Professor S. A. 
Forbes, from whose paper ^ I make the following 
quotations : — 

" We must inquire, therefore, into the causes which have 
operated on a group of Percoids to limit their range to 
such apparently unfavorable conditions, to diminish their 
size, to develop unduly the paired fins and reduce the 
air-bladder, to remove the scales of several species more 
or less completely, . . . and to restrict their food chiefly 
to a few forms [of insect-larvae and Crustacea]. 

" No species can long maintain itself anywhere which 
cannot in some way find a sufficient supply of food and 
also protect itself against its enemies. In its contests 
with its enemies it may acquire defensive structures or 
powers of escape sufficient for its protection, or it may 
become adapted to some place of refuge where other 
fishes will not follow. What better refuge could a har- 
assed fish desire than the hiding-places among stones in 
the shallows of a stream where the water dashes cease- 
lessly by with a swiftness few fish can stem ? And if at 
the same time the refugee develop a swimming power 
which enables it to dart like a flash against the strongest 
current, its safety would seem to be insured. But what 
food could it find in such a place ? Let us turn over the 
stones in such a stream, sweeping the roiled water at the 
same time with a small cloth net, and we shall find larva 

^ Etheostoma. 

2 A Catalogue of the Native Fishes of Illinois. Report of the 
Illinois Fish Commissioners, 1884, p. 95. 



I06 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

of Chironomus and small Ephemerids, and other such 
prey and little else, — food too minute and difficult of 
access to support a large fish, but answering very well if 
our immigrant can keep down his size, . . . The limited 
supply of food early arrests the growth of the young; 
while every fish which passes the allowable maximum is 
forced for food to brave the dangers of the deeper waters, 
where the chances are that it falls a prey. On the other 
hand, the smaller the size of those which escape this 
alternative, the less likely will they be to attract the appe- 
tite of the small gar or other guerilla, which may occa- 
sionally raid their retreat, and the more easily will they 
slip about under stones in search of their microscopic 
game. 

" Like other fishes, the darters must have their periods 
of repose, all the more urgent because of the constant 
struggle with the swift current which their habitat im- 
poses. Shut out fi*om the deep, still pools and slow 
eddies where the larger species lurk, they are forced to 
spend their leisure on or beneath the bottom of the 
stream, resting on their extended ventrals and anal, or 
wholly buried in the sand. . . . 

"Doubtless the search for food has much to do with 
this selection in a habitat. I have found that the young 
of nearly all species of our fresh-water fishes are com- 
petitors for food, feeding almost entirely on Entomostraca 
and the larvae of minute Diptera. As a tree sends out its 
roots in all directions in search of nourishment, so each of 
the larger divisions of animals extends its various groups 
into every place where available food occurs, each group 
becoming adapted to the special features of its situation. 
Given this supply of certain kinds of food, nearly inacces- 
sible to the ordinary fish, it is to be expected that some 
fishes would become especially fitted to its utilization. 
Thus the Etheostomatina [Darters] as a group are to be 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 10/ 

explained, in a word, by the hypothesis of the progressive 
adaptation of the young of certain Percida to a peculiar 
place of refuge and a peculiar food-supply. 

"Perhaps we may, without violence, call these the 
mountaineers among fishes. Forced from the populous 
and fertile valleys of the river beds and lake bottoms, they 
have taken refuge from their enemies in the rocky high- 
lands, where the free waters play in ceaseless torrents, and 
there they have wrested from stubborn Nature a meagre 
living. Although diminished in size by their continual 
struggle with the elements, they have developed an ac- 
tivity and hardihood, a vigor of life, and glow of high 
color almost unknown among the easier livers of the lower 
lands." 

It is notev^^orthy that among the European gen- 
era of PercidcBy one of them, Aspro^ has assumed 
a similar habitat, and adapted — apparently as a 
result of Its surroundings — characters similar to 
those of Etheostoma, It is not likely that Aspro is 
an ancestor of Etheostoma^ still less likely that As- 
pro is descended from the latter genus. The simi- 
lar development of the two seems rather a case of 
analogous variation^ the influence of similar condi- 
tions in different places on similar organisms. 

It IS remarkable, also, that in mountain regions 
in v^^hich no Percidce are found, fishes very similar 
to the Darters in appearance and habits, though 
totally different in structure, have by analogous 
agencies been developed. Loaches, Cat-fishes, 
Gobies, Characins, Sculpins, in different parts of 
the world inhabit swift mountain streams, and in 
a similar way become dwarfed and concentrated, 
taking the place in their respective habitats which 



I08 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

the Darters occupy in the waters of the Mississippi 
Valley. 

By the same process of ** analogous variation *' 
the Cichlidce of South America parallel the Sun- 
fishes of the United States, although in structure 
and in origin the two groups are diverse. 

The single species each of Drum} Surf -fish? and 
Cod^ found in our fresh waters are evidently immi- 
grants from the sea, although not of recent origin. 
The several species of Sculpin have apparently 
come from two separate marine stocks, — the one 
(Coitus) comparatively ancient and probably origi- 
nating in the Pacific, the other {Triglopsis) more 
modern and descended from an Atlantic species 
{Acmithocottus quadricomisy L.). The former type 
is now diffused in all cold waters of North Amer- 
ica, Europe, and northern Asia. The latter be- 
longs only to the depths of the Great Lakes. 

The Flounders and Soles when found in fresh 
waters are merely temporary sojourners from the 
sea. 

We can say, in general, that in all waters not 
absolutely uninhabitable there are fishes. The 
processes of natural selection have given to each 
kind of river or lake species of fishes adapted to 
the conditions of life which obtain there. There 
is no condition of water, of bottom, of depth, of 
speed of current, but finds some species with 
characters adjusted to it. These adjustments are, 
for the most part, of long standing ; and the fauna 

^ Aplodinotus grunniens Rafinesque. 

2 Hysterocarpus traski Gibbons. 

3 Lota lota Linnaeus. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 109 

of any single stream has, as a rule, been produced 
by immigration from other regions or from other 
streams. Each species has an ascertainable range 
of distribution, and within this range we may 
be reasonably certain to find it in any suitable 
waters. 

But every species has beyond question some 
sort of limit to its distribution, some sort of bar- 
rier which it has never passed in all the years of 
its existence. That this is true becomes evident 
when we compare the fish-faunae of widely sepa- 
rated rivers. Thus the Sacramento, Connecticut, 
Rio Grande, and St. John's Rivers have not a 
single species in common ; and with one or two 
exceptions, not a species is common to any two 
of them. None of these ^ has any species pecu- 
liar to itself, and each shares a large part of its 
fish-fauna with the water-basin next to it. It is 
probably true that the faunae of no two distinct 
hydrographic basins are wholly identical, while on 
the other hand there are very few species con- 
fined to a single one. The supposed cases of this 
character, some twenty in number, occur chiefly 
in the streams of the South Atlantic States and of 
Arizona. All of these need, however, the confir- 
mation of further exploration. It is certain that 
in no case has an entire river-fauna^ originated 
independently from the divergence into separate 
species of the descendants of a single type. 

The existence of boundaries to the range of 

1 Except possibly the Sacramento. 

2 Unless the fauna of certain cave-streams in the United States 
and Cuba be regarded as forming an exception. 



no SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

species implies, therefore, the existence of barriers 
to their diffusion. We may now consider these 
barriers, and, in the same connection, the degree 
to which they may be overcome. 

Least important of these are the barriers which 
may exist within the limits of any single basin, 
and which tend to prevent a free diffusion through 
its waters of species inhabiting any portion of it. 
In streams flowing southward, or across different 
parallels of latitude, the difference in climate be- 
comes a matter of importance. The distribution 
of species is governed very largely by the tempera- 
ture of the water. Each species has its range in 
this respect, — the free-swimming fishes, notably 
the Trout, being most affected by it; the mud- 
loving or bottom fishes, like the Cat-fishes, least. 
The latter can reach the cool bottoms in hot 
weather, or the warm bottoms in cold weather, 
thus keeping their own temperature more even 
than that of the surface of the water. Although 
water-communication is perfectly free for most of 
the length of the Mississippi, there is a material 
difference between the faunae of the stream in 
Minnesota and in Louisiana. This difference is 
caused chiefly by the difference in temperature oc- 
cupying the difference in latitude. That a similar 
difference in longitude, with free water communi- 
cation, has no appreciable importance, is shown 
by the almost absolute identity of the fish-faunae 
of Lake Winnebago and Lake Champlain. While 
many large fishes range freely up and down the 
Mississippi, a majority of the species do not do so, 
and the fauna of the upper Mississippi has more in 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 1 1 1 

common with that of the tributaries of Lake Michi- 
gan than it has with that of the Red River or the 
Arkansas. The influence of climate is again shown 
in the paucity of the fauna of the cold waters of 
Lake Superior, as compared with that of Lake 
Michigan. The majority of our species cannot 
endure the cold. In general, therefore, cold or 
Northern waters contain fewer species than South- 
ern waters do, though the number of individuals 
of any one kind may be greater. This is shown 
in all waters, fresh or salt. The fisheries of the 
Northern seas are more extensive than those of 
the Tropics. There are more fishes there, but 
they are far less varied in kind. The writer 
once caught seventy-five species of fishes in a 
single haul of the seine at Key West, while 
on Cape Cod he obtained with the same net 
but forty-five species in the course of a week's 
work. Thus it comes that the angler, contented 
with many fishes of few kinds, goes to Northern 
streams to fish, while the naturalist goes to the 
South. 

But in most streams the difference in latitude is 
insignificant, and the chief differences in tempera- 
ture come from differences in elevation, or from 
the distance of the waters from the colder source. 
Often the lowland waters are so different in charac- 
ter as to produce a marked change in the quality 
of their fauna. These lowland waters may form a 
barrier to the free movements of upland fishes ; but 
that this barrier is not impassable is shown by 
the identity of the fishes in the streams^ of the 

1 For example, Elk River, Duck River, etc. 



112 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

uplands of middle Tennessee with those of the 
Holston and French Broad. Again, streams of the 
Ozark Mountains, similar in character to the rivers 
of East Tennessee, have an essentially similar fish- 
fauna, although between the Ozarks and the Cum- 
berland range lies an area of lowland bayous, into 
which such fishes are never known to penetrate. 
We can, however, imagine that these upland fishes 
may be sometimes swept down from one side or 
the other into the Mississippi, from which they 
might ascend on the other side. But such trans- 
fers certainly do not often happen. This is appar- 
ent from the fact that the two faunae ^ are not quite 
identical, and in some cases the same species are 
represented by perceptibly different varieties on one 
side and the other. The time of the commingling 
of these faunae is perhaps now past, and it may 
have occurred only when the climate of the inter- 
vening regions was colder than at present. 

The effect of waterfalls and cascades as a barrier 
to the diffusion of most species is self-evident ; but 
the importance of such obstacles is less, in the 
course of time, than might be expected. In one 
way or another very many species have passed 
these barriers. The falls of the Cumberland limit 

1 There are three species of Darters {Etheostoma copelandi 
Jordan; Etheostoma evides Jordan and Copeland; Etheostonia 
scierum Swain) which are now known only from the Ozark region 
or beyond and from the uplands of Indiana, not yet having been 
found at any point between Indiana and Missouri. These consti- 
tute perhaps isolated colonies, now separated from the parent 
stock in Arkansas by the prairie districts of Illinois, a region at 
present uninhabitable for these fishes. But the non-occurrence of 
these species over the intervening areas needs confirmation, as do 
most similar cases of anomalous distribution. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. II3 

the range of most of the larger fishes of the river, 
but the streams above it have their quota of Dart- 
ers and Minnows, It is evident that the past his- 
tory of the stream must enter as a factor into this 
discussion, but this past history it is not always 
possible to trace. Dams or artificial waterfalls 
now check the free movement of many species, 
especially those of migratory habits ; while, con- 
versely, numerous other species have extended 
their range through the agency of canals.^ 

Every year fishes are swept down the rivers by 
the winter's floods ; and in the spring, as the spawn- 
ing season approaches, almost every species is 
found working its way up the stream. In some 
cases, notably the Quinnat Salmon ^ and the Blue- 
back Salmon,^ the length of these migrations is 
surprisingly great To some species rapids and 
shallows have proved a sufficient barrier, and other 
kinds have been kept back by unfavorable condi- 
tions of various sorts. Streams whose waters are 
always charged with silt or sediment, as the Mis- 
souri, Arkansas, or Brazos, do not invite fishes ; and 
even the occasional floods of red mud such as dis- 
figure otherwise clear streams, like the Red River 
or the Colorado (of Texas), are unfavorable. Ex- 
tremely unfavorable also is the condition which 
obtains in many rivers of the Southwest; as for 
example, the Red River, the Sabine, and the Trin- 
ity, which are full from bank to bank in winter and 

1 Thus, Dorosoma cepedianum Lc Sueur, and Clupea chrysocfUoris 
Rafinesque, have found their way into Lake Michigan through 
canals. 

2 Oftcorhyftchus tschawytscha Walbaum. 

3 Oncorhytuhus nerka Walbaum. 

8 



114 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Spring, and which dwindle to mere rivulets in the 
autumn droughts. 

In general, those streams which have conditions 
most favorable to fish-life will be found to contain 
the greatest number of species. Such streams in- 
vite immigration; and in them the struggle for 
existence is individual against individual, species 
against species, and not a mere struggle with hard 
conditions of life. Some of the conditions most 
favorable to the existence in any stream of a large 
number of species of fishes are the following, the 
most important of which is the one mentioned 
first: connection with a large hydrographic basin; 
a warm climate ; clear water ; a moderate current ; 
a bottom of gravel (preferably covered by a growth 
of weeds) ; little fluctuation during the year in the 
volume of the stream or in the character of the 
water. 

Limestone streams usually yield more species 
than streams flowing over sandstone, and either 
more than the streams of regions having metamor- 
phic rocks. Sandy bottoms usually are not favor- 
able to fishes. In general, glacial drift makes a 
suitable river bottom, but the higher temperature 
usual in regions beyond the limits of the drift gives 
to certain Southern streams conditions still more fa- 
vorable. These conditions are all well realized in 
the Washita River in Arkansas, and in various trib- 
utaries of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio ; 
and in these, among American streams, the great- 
est number of species has been recorded. 

The isolation and the low temperature of the 
rivers of New England have given to them a very 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES, II5 

scanty fish-fauna as compared with the rivers of 
the South and West. This fact has been noticed 
by Professor Agassiz, who has called New England 
a " zoological island." ^ 

In spite of the fact that barriers of every sort 
are sometimes crossed by fresh-water fishes, we 
must still regard the matter of freedom of water 
communication as the essential one in determining 
the range of most species. The larger the river 
basin, the greater the variety of conditions likely 
to be offered in it, and the greater the number of 
its species. In case of the divergence of new 
forms by the processes called " natural selection," 
the greater the number of such forms which may 
have spread through its waters ; the more extended 
any river basin, the greater are the chances that 
any given species may sometime find its way into 
it ; hence the greater the number of species that 
actually occur in it, and, freedom of movement 
being assumed, the greater the number of species 
to be found in any one of its affluents. 

Of the six hundred species of fishes found in 
the rivers of the United States, about two hun- 
dred have been recorded from the basin of the 
Mississippi. From fifty to one hundred of these 

1 " In this isolated region of North America, in this zoological 
island of New England, as we may call it, we find neither Lepidos- 
teus, nor Amia, nor Polyodon, nor Amblodon (Aplodinotus), nor 
Grystes {Micropterus), nor Centrarchus, nor Pomoxis, nor Am- 
bloplites, norCalliurus {Chcrnobryttus)^ nor Carpiodes, nor Hyodon, 
nor indeed any of the characteristic forms of North American 
fishes so common everywhere else, with the exception of two Po- 
motis (Lepomis)^ one Boleosoma, and a few Catostomus.'' — 
Agassiz, Amer. Journ. Set. Arts^ 1854. 



Il6 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

species can be found in any one of the tributary 
streams of the size, say, of the Housatonic River 
or the Charles. In the Connecticut River there 
are but about eighteen species permanently resi- 
dent; and the number found in the streams of 
Texas is not much larger, the best-known of these, 
the Rio Colorado, having yielded but twenty-four 
species. 

The waters of the Great Basin have not yet been 
fully explored. The number of species now 
known from this region is about seventy-five. 
This number includes the fauna of the upper Rio 
Grande, the Snake River, and the Colorado, as 
well as the fishes of the tributaries of the Great 
Salt Lake. This list is composed almost entirely 
of a few genera of Suckers,^ Minnows,^ and Trout.^ 
None of the Cat-fishes, Perch, Darters, or Sun- 
fishes, Moon-eyes, Pike, Killifishes, and none of 
the ordinary Eastern types of Minnows* have 
passed the barrier of the Rocky Mountains. 

West of the Sierra Nevada, the fauna is still 
more scanty, but fifty species being enumerated. 
This fauna, except for certain immigrants^ from 
the sea, is of the same general character as that of 
the Great Basin, though most of the species are 
different. This latter fact would indicate a con- 
siderable change, or "evolution," since the con- 
tents of the two faunae were last mingled. There 

1 Catostomus^ Pantostetis^ Chasmistes. 

2 Squaliiis, Gila, Ptychocheilus, etc. 
' Salmo mykiss and its varieties. 

* Genera Notropis, CkrosomuSy etc. 

5 As the fresh-water Surf -fish (Hysterocarpus traski) and the 
species of Salmon. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. \\J 

is a considerable difference between the fauna of 
the Columbia and that of the Sacramento. The 
species which these two basins have in common 
are chiefly those which at times pass out into the 
sea. The rivers of Alaska contain but few species, 
barely a dozen in all, most of these being found 
also in Siberia and Kamtschatka. In the scanti- 
ness of its faunal list, the Yukon agrees with the 
Mackenzie River, and with Arctic rivers generally. 

There can be no doubt that the general ten- 
dency is for each species to extend its range more 
and more widely until all localities suitable for its 
growth are included. The various agencies of 
dispersal which have existed in the past are still 
in operation. There is apparently no limit to 
their action. It is probable that new " colonies " 
of one species or another may be planted each 
year in waters not heretofore inhabited by such 
species. But such colonies become permanent 
only where the conditions are so favorable that 
the species can hold its own in the struggle for 
food and subsistence. That various modifications 
in the habitat of certain species have been caused 
by human agencies is of course too well known to 
need discussion here. 

We may next consider the question of water- 
sheds, or barriers which separate one river basin 
from another. 

Of such barriers in the United States, the most 
important and most effective is unquestionably 
that of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains. 
This is due in part to its great height, still more 
to its great breadth, and most of all, perhaps, to 



Il8 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

the fact that it is nowhere broken by the passage 
of a river. But two species — the Red-throated, or 
Rocky Mountain Trout,^ and the Rocky Mountain 
White-fish ^ — are found on both sides of it, at least 
within the limits of the United States ; while many 
genera, and even several families, find in it either 
an eastern or a western limit to their range. In 
a few instances representative species, probably 
modifications or separated branches of the same 
stock, occur on opposite sides of the range, 6ut 
there are not many cases of correspondence even 
thus close. The two faunae are practically distinct. 
Even the widely distributed Red-spotted, or " Dolly 
Varden " Trout,^ of the Columbia River and its 
affluents, does not cross to the east side of the 
mountains ; nor does the Great Lake Trout * nor 
the Montana Grayling ^ ever make its way to the 
West. 

It is easy to account for this separation of the 
faunae ; but how shall we explain the almost uni- 
versal diffusion of the White-fish and the Trout in 
suitable waters on both sides of the dividing ridge? 
We may notice that these two are the species which 
ascend highest in the mountains, the White-fish in- 
habiting the mountain pools and lakes, the Trout 
ascending all brooks and rapids in search of their 
fountain-heads. In many cases the ultimate divid- 
ing ridge is not very broad, and we may imagine 

^ Salmo my kiss Walbaum {=purpuratus Pallas). 

^ Coregonuswilliamsoni G\r2ix6.. 

8 Salvelinus malma Walbaum. 

* Salvelinus namaycush Walbaum. 

^ Thymallus signifer ontariensis Valenciennes. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. II9 

that at some time spawn or even young fishes may 
have been carried across by birds or other animals, 
or by man, — or more likely by the dash of some 
summer whirlwind. Once carried across in favor- 
able circumstances, the species might survive and 
spread. 

I saw last summer an example of how such 
transfer of species may be accomplished, which 
shows that we need not be left to draw on the 
imagination to invent possible means of transit. 

There are few water-sheds in the world better 
defined than the mountain range which forms the 
** backbone " of Norway. I lately climbed a peak 
in this range, the Suletind. From its summit I 
could look down into the valleys of the Lara and 
the Bagna, flowing in opposite directions to oppo- 
site sides of the peninsula. To the north of the 
Suletind is a large double lake called the Sletnin- 
genvand. The maps show this lake to be one of 
the chief sources of the westward-flowing river 
Lara. This lake is in August swollen by the 
melting of the snows, and at the time of my visit 
it was visibly the source of both these rivers. 
From its southeastern side flowed a large brook 
into the valley of the Bagna, and from its south- 
western corner, equally distinctly, came the waters 
which fed the Lara. This lake, like similar moun- 
tain ponds in all northern countries, abounds in 
trout; and these trout certainly have for part of 
the year an uninterrupted line of water communi- 
cation from the SogneQord on the west of Norway 
to the Christianiafjord on the southeast, — from the 
North Sea to the Baltic. Part of the year the lake 



I20 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

has probably but a single outlet through the Lara. 
A higher temperature would entirely cut off the 
flow into the Bagna, and a still higher one might 
dry up the lake altogether. This Sletningenvand,^ 
with its two outlets on the summit of a sharp 
water-shed, may serve to show us how other lakes, 
permanent or temporary, may elsewhere have 
acted as agencies for the transfer of fishes. We 
can also see how it might be that certain mountain 
fishes should be so transferred while the fishes of 
the upland waters may be left behind. In some 
such way as this we may imagine the Trout and 
the White-fish to have attained their present wide 
range in the Rocky Mountain region ; and in simi- 
lar manner perhaps the Eastern Brook Trout ^ 
and some other mountain species^ may have been 
carried across the AUeghanies. 

1 Since the above was written I have been informed bv Professor 
John M. Coulter, who was one of the first explorers of the Yel- 
lowstone Park, that such a condition still exists on the Rocky 
Mountain Divide. In the Yellowstone Park is a marshy tract, 
traversable by fishes in the rainy season, and known as the " Two- 
Ocean Water." In this tract rise tributaries both of the Snake 
River and of the Yellowstone. Similar conditions apparently 
exist on other parts of the Divide, both in Montana and in 
Wyoming. 

Professor John C. Branner calls my attention to a marshy upland 
which separates the valley of the La Plata from that of the Ama- 
zon, and which permits the free movement of fishes from the 
Paraguay River to the Tapajos. It is well known that through 
the Cassiquiare River the Rio Negro, another branch of the 
Amazon, is joined to the Orinoco River. It is thus evident that 
almost all the waters of eastern South America form a single 
basin, so far as the fishes are concerned. 

2 Salve/inus /on ftnalis MitchiW. 

3 Notropis rtibricroceus Cope ; Rhinichthys atronasus Mitchill ; 
etc. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH- WA TER FISHES. 1 2 1 

The Sierra Nevada constitutes also a very im- 
portant barrier to the diffusion of species. This is, 
however, broken by the passage of the Columbia 
River, and many species thus find their way across 
it That the waters to the west of it are not un- 
favorable for the growth of eastern fishes is shown 
by the fact of the rapid spread of the Common 
Eastern Cat-fish,^ or Horned Pout, when trans- 
ported from the Schuylkill to the Sacramento. 
This fish is now one of the important food-fishes 
of the San Francisco markets. It has become, in 
fact, an especial favorite with the Chinaman, — 
himself also an immigrant, and presenting certain 
analogies with the fish in question, as well in tem- 
perament as in habits. 

The mountain mass of Mount Shasta is, as al- 
ready stated, a considerable barrier to the range 
of fishes, though a number of species find their 
way around it through the sea. The lower and 
irregular ridges of the Coast Range are of small 
importance in this regard, as the streams of their 
east slope reach the sea on the west through San 
Francisco Bay. Yet the San Joaquin contains a 
few species, not yet recorded from the smaller rivers 
of southwestern California. 

The main chain of the Alleghanies forms a bar- 
rier of importance separating the rich fish-fauna 
of the Tennessee and Ohio basins from the scan- 
tier faunae of the Atlantic streams. Yet this bar- 
rier is crossed by many more species than is the 
case with either the Rocky Mountains or the Sierra 
Nevada. It is lower, narrower, and much more 

1 Anieiurus nebulosus Le Sueur. 



122 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

broken, — as in New York, in Pennsylvania, and in 
Georgia there are several streams which pass 
through it or around it. The much greater age of 
the Alleghany chain, as compared with the Rocky 
Mountains, seems not to be an element of any 
importance in this connection. Of the fish which 
cross this chain, the most prominent is the Brook 
Trout,^ which is found in all suitable waters from 
Hudson's Bay to the head of the Chattahoochee. 
A few other species are locally found in the head- 
waters of certain streams on opposite sides of the 
range. An example of this is the little red " Fall- 
fish," 2 found only in the mountain tributaries of 
the Savannah and the Tennessee. We may sup- 
pose the same agencies to have assisted these 
species that we have imagined in the case of the 
Rocky Mountain Trout, and such agencies were 
doubtless more Operative in the times imme- 
diately following the glacial epoch than they are 
now. Professor Cope calls attention also to the 
numerous caverns existing in these mountains, as 
a sufficient medium for the transfer of many spe- 
cies. I doubt whether the main chains of the Blue 
Ridge or the Great Smoky can be crossed in that 
way, though such channels are not rare in the sub- 
carboniferous limestones of the Cumberland range. 
The passage of species from stream to stream 
along the Atlantic slope deserves a moment's 
notice. It is, under present conditions, impos- 
sible for any mountain or upland fish, as the Trout 
or the Miller's Thumb,^ to cross from the Potomac 

1 Salvelinus fontinalis. 2 j^otropis rubricroceus Cope. 

3 Cotlus richardsoni Agassiz. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 1 23 

River to the James, or from the Neuse to the 
Santee, by descending to the lower courses of the 
rivers, and thence passing along either through 
the swamps or by way of the sea. The lower 
courses of these streams, warm and muddy, are 
uninhabitable by such fishes. Such transfers are, 
however, possible farther north. From the rivers 
of Canada and from niany rivers of New England 
the Trout does descend to the sea and into the sea, 
and farther north the White-fish does this also. 
Thus these fishes readily pass from one river 
basin to another. As this is the case now every- 
where in the North, it may have been the case 
farther south in the time of the glacial cold. We 
may, I think, imagine a condition of things in 
which the snow-fields of the Alleghany chain might 
have played some part in aiding the diffusion of 
cold-loving fishes. A permanent snow-field on the 
Blue Ridge in western North Carolina might ren- 
der almost any stream in the Carolinas suitable 
for trout, from its source to its^mouth. An in- 
creased volume of colder water might carry the 
trout of the head-streams of the Catawba and the 
Savannah as far down as the sea. We can even 
imagine that the trout reached these streams in 
the first place through such agencies, though of 
this there is no positive evidence. For the pres- 
ence of trout in the upper Chattahoochee, we 
must account in some other way. 

It is noteworthy that the upland fishes are 
nearly the same in all these streams, until we 
reach the southern limit of possible glacial in- 
fluence. South of western North Carolina, the 



124 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

faunae of the different river basins appear to be 
more distinct from one another. Certain ripple- 
loving types ^ are represented by closely related 
but unquestionably different species in each river 
basin, and it would appear that a thorough ming- 
ling of the upland species in these rivers has never 
taken place. 

With the lowland species of the Southern rivers 
it is different. Few of these are confined within 
narrow limits. The streams of the whole South 
Atlantic and Gulf Coast flow into shallow bays, 
mostly bounded by sand-spits or sand-bars which 
the rivers themselves have brought down. In 
these bays the waters are often neither fresh nor 
salt; or rather, they are alternately fresh and 
salt, the former condition being that of the winter 
and spring. Many species descend into these 

1 The best examples of this are the following : in the Santee 
basin are found Notropis pyrrhomelasy Notropis niveuSy and Notropis 
chloristius ; in the Altamaha, Notropis xcsnurus and Notropis calli- 
semus ; in the Chattahoochee, iVb/r<7^/j ^^/j^/(P//^r«j and Notropis 
eurystomus ; in the Alabama, Notropis coeruleusy Notropis trichrois- 
titiSy and Notropis callistius. In the Alabama, Escambia, Pearl, 
and numerous other rivers, is found Notropis cercostigma. This 
species descends to the sea in the cool streams of the pine-woods. 
Its range is wider than that of the others, and in the rivers of 
Texas it reappears in the form of a scarcely distinct variety, 
Notropis venustus. In the Tennessee and Cumberland, and in the 
rivers of the Ozark range, is Notropis galacturus ; and in the upper 
Arkansas Notropis camurus, — all distinct species of the same 
general type. Northward, in all the streams from the Potomac to 
the Oswego, and westward to the Des Moines and the Arkansas, 
occurs a single species of this type, Notropis whipplei. But this 
species is not known from any of the streams inhabited by any of 
the other species mentioned, although very likely it is the parent 
stock of them all. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 1 25 

bays, thus finding every facility for transfer from 
river to river. There is a continuous inland pas- 
sage in -fresh or brackish waters, traversable by 
such fishes, from Chesapeake Bay nearly to Cape 
Fear ; and similar conditions exist on the coasts of 
Louisiana, Texas, and much of Florida. In Per- 
dido Bay I have found fresh-water Minnows ^ and 
Silversides^ living together with marine Gobies^ 
and salt-water Eels.^ Fresh-water Alligator Gars ^ 
and marine Sharks compete for the garbage 
thrown over from the Pensacola wharves. In Lake 
Pontchartrain the fauna is a remarkable mixture 
of fresh-water fishes from the Mississippi and ma- 
rine fishes from the Gulf. Channel-cats, Sharks, 
Sea-crabs, Sun-fishes, and Mullets can all be found 
there together. It is therefore to be expected 
that the lowland fauna of all the rivers of the Gulf 
States would closely resemble that of the lower 
Mississippi; and this, in fact, is the case. 

The streams of southern Florida and those of 
southwestern Texas offer some peculiarities con- 
nected with their warmer climate. The Florida 
streams contain a few peculiar fishes ; ^ while 
the rivers of Texas, with the same general fauna 
as those farther north, have also a few distinctly 
tropical types/ immigrants from the lowlands of 
Mexico. 

The fresh waters of Cuba are inhabited by fishes 
unlike those found in the United States. Some 

^ Notropis cercostignia ; Notropis xanocephalus. 

2 Labidesthes sicculus. ^ Gobiosoma molestum. 

* Myropkis punctatus, ^ Lepisostms tristoechus, 

• Jordanella^ RivuluSy Heterandria, etc. 
7 HeroSy Tetragonopterus, 



128 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

these lakes are still joined to Lake Michigan by 
subterranean channels. Several of the larger fishes, 
properly characteristic of the Great Lake Region,^ 
are occasionally taken in the Ohio River, where 
they are usually recognized as rare stragglers. 
The difference in physical conditions is probably 
the sole cause of their scarcity in the Ohio basin. 

The similarity of the fishes in the different streams 
and lakes of the Great Basin is doubtless to be at- 
tributed to the general mingling of their waters 
which took place during and after the glacial epoch. 
Since that period the climate in that region has 
grown hotter and drier, until the overflow of the 
various lakes into the Columbia basin through the 
Snake River has long since ceased. These lakes 
have become isolated from each other, and many of 
them have become salt or alkaline and therefore un- 
inhabitable. In some of these lakes certain species 
may now have become extinct which still remain 
in others. In some cases, perhaps, the differences 
in surrounding may have caused divergence into 
distinct species of what was once one parent stock. 
The Suckers in Lake Tahoe^ and those in Utah 
Lake are certainly now different from each other 
and from those in the Columbia. The Trout ^ in 
the same waters can be regarded as more or less 
tangible varieties only, while the White-fishes * show 
no differences at all. The differences in the present 

1 As, Lota lota maculosa ; Percopsis guttatus ; Esox masquinongy. 

2 Catostomus iahoensis^ in Lake Tahoe ; Catostonius macrocheilus 
and discobolusy in the Columbia ; Catostomus fecunduSy Catostomus 
ardens ; Chasmistes liorus and Pantosteus generosus^ in Utah Lake. 

3 Salmo mykiss, et vars. henshawi and virginalis. 
* Coregonus williamsoni. 



DISPERSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 1 29 

faunae of Lake Tahoe and Utah Lake must be 
chiefly due to influences which have acted since 
the glacial epoch, when the whole Utah Basin was 
part of the drainage of the Columbia. 

Connected perhaps with changes due to glacial 
influences is the presence in the deep waters of the 
Great Lakes of certain marine, types,^ as shown 
by the explorations of Professor Sidney I. Smith 
and others. One of these is a genus of fishes,^ of 
which the nearest allies now inhabit the Arctic 
Seas. In his review of the fish-fauna of Finland,^ 
Professor A. J. Malmgren finds a number of Arctic 
species in the waters of Finland which are not 
found either in the North Sea or in the southern 
portions of the Baltic. These fishes are said to 
" agree with their * forefathers * in the Glacial 
Ocean in every point, but remain comparatively 
smaller, leaner, almost starved." Professor Lov^n * 
also has shown that numerous small animals of ma- 
rine origin are found in the deep lakes of Sweden 
and Finland as well as in the Gulf of Bothnia. 
These anomalies of distribution are explained by 
Loven and Malmgren on the supposition of the 
former continuity of the Baltic through the Gulf 
of Bothnia with the Glacial Ocean. During the 
second half of the glacial period, according to 
Lov^n, ** the greater part of Finland and of the 

1 Species of Mysis and other genera of Crustaceans, similar 
to species described by Sars and others, in lakes of Sweden and 
Finland. 

2 Triglopsis thompsoni Girard, a near ally of the marine species 
Acanthocottus quadricomis L. 

8 Kritisk Ofversigt af Finlands Fisk-Fauna : Helsingfors, 1863. 
* Sec Giinthcr, Zoological Record for 1864, p. 137. 

9 



I30 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

middle of Sweden was submerged, and the Baltic 
was a great gulf of the Glacial Ocean, and not con- 
nected with the German Ocean. By the gradual 
elevation of the Scandinavian Continent, the Baltic 
became disconnected from the Glacial Ocean, and 
the great lakes separated from the Baltic. In 
consequence of the gradual change of the salt 
water into fresh, the marine fauna became gradu- 
ally extinct, with the exception of the glacial forms 
mentioned above." 

It is possible that the presence of marine types 
in our Great Lakes is to be regarded as due to 
some depression of the land which would connect 
their waters with those of the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence. On this point, however, our data are still 
incomplete. 

To certain species of upland or mountain fishes, 
the depression of the Mississippi basin itself forms 
a barrier which cannot ' be passed. The Black- 
spotted Trout,^ very closely related species of 
which abound in all waters of northern Asia, 
Europe, and western North America^ has nowhere 
crossed the basin of the Mississippi, although one 
of its species finds no difficulty in passing Behring 
Strait. The Trout an J White-fish of the Rocky 
Mountain region are all species different from 
those of the Great Lakes or the streams of the 
Alleghany system. To the Grayling, the Trout, 



1 Salmo fario L., in Europe ; Salmo labrax Pallas, etc , in 
Asia; Salmo gairdneri Richardson, in streams of the Pacific 
Coast Salmo mykiss Walbaum, in Kamtschatka, Alaska, and 
throughout the Rocky Mountain range to the Mexican boundary, 
and the head- waters of the Kansas, Platte, and Missouri. 



DISPEHSION OF FRESH-WATER FISHES. 131 

the White-fish, the Pike, and to arctic and sub- 
arctic species generally, Behring Strait have evi- 
dently proved no ^serious obstacle to diffusion ; 
and it is not unlikely that much of the close re- 
semblance of the fresh-water faunae of northern 
Europe, Asia, and North America is due to this 
fact. To attempt to decide from which side the 
first migration came in regard to each group of 
fishes might be interesting; but without a wider 
range of facts than is now in our possession, such 
attempts would be mere guesswork and without 
value. The interlocking of the fish-faunae of Asia 
and North America presents, however, a number of 
interesting problems, for numerous migrations in 
both directions have doubtless taken place. 

I could go on indefinitely with the discussion of 
special cases, each more or less interesting or sug- 
gestive in itself, but the general conclusion is in all 
cases the same. The present distribution of fishes 
is the result of the long-continued action of forces 
still in operation. The species have entered our 
waters in many invasions from the Old World or 
from the sea. Each species has been subjected to 
the various influences implied in the term " natural 
selection," and under varying conditions its repre- 
sentatives have undergone many different modifi- 
cations. Each of the six hundred species we now 
know may be conceived as making every year in- 
roads on territory occupied by other species. If 
these colonies are able to hold their own in the 
struggle for possession, they will multiply in the 
new conditions, and the range of the species be- 
comes widened. If the surroundings are different. 



133 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

new species or varieties may be formed with time ; 
and these new forms may again invade the terri- 
tory of the parent species, ^gain, colony after 
colony of species after species may be destroyed 
by other species or by uncongenial surroundings. 

The ultimate result of centuries on centuries of 
the restlessness of individuals is seen in the facts 
of geographical distribution. Only in the most 
general way can the history of any species be 
traced ; but could we know it all, it would be 
as long and as eventful a story as the history of 
the colonization and settlement of North America 
by immigrants from Europe. But by the fishes 
each river in America has been a hundred times 
discovered, its colonization a hundred times at- 
tempted. In these efforts there is no co-operation. 
Every individual is for himself, every struggle a 
struggle of life and death ; for each fish is a canni- 
bal, and to each species each member of every 
other species is an alien and a savage. 



AGASSIZ A T PENIKESE. 1 33 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. 

LOUIS AGASSIZ came to America in 1846, 
while in the height of his European fame. 
He came to America partly because he wished to 
test on this continent his theory of the action of 
ice, partly because he desired to see for himself 
the mighty new land where " Nature is rich, but 
tools and workmen few, while traditions there are 
none." ** He came," it was said, ** in a spirit of 
adventure and curiosity. He stayed because he 
liked a country where he could think and act as 
he pleased." 

His associates here were not more wise or more 
learned than his fellow-workers in Europe. He 
found, as others have found in America, many 
things which are crude or ridiculous or stupid. 
But there were other niatters for which he cared 
more than for the advantages of European culture. 
He found in America the spirit of progress. He 
found a people not satisfied with present achieve- 
ment, but continually striving for something bet- 
ter. He found that the desire of each generation 
was to know more and to be more than was possi- 
ble with generations preceding. He believed that 
as a teacher in America his influence would be 
tenfold greater than it could possibly be in any of 
the universities of Germany or France. He could 



134 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

make his whole strength count, because no artifi- 
cial barriers would come between him and the 
student 

From the time that Agassiz landed on our shores 
till his death, he became more and more intensely 
American. He was all the more American because 
his life in Europe had made him keenly alive to 
the evil effects of barriers of all sorts, social, politi- 
cal, economic, to all the thousand forms of injus- 
tice and oppression which accompany despotism or 
paternalism in government The American idea 
of freedom in growth and equality in opportunity 
found in him an earnest apostle, and in the ulti- 
mate triumph of this idea he had never the slight- 
est doubt. 

He was above all else a teacher. His work in 
America was that of a teacher of science, — of sci- 
ence in the broadest sense as the orderly arrange- 
ment of the results of all human experience. He 
would teach men to know, not simply to remember 
or to guess. He believed that men in all walks of 
life would be more useful and more successful 
through the thorough development of the powers 
of observation and judgment. He believed that 
the sense of reality should be the central axis of 
human life. He would have the student trained 
through contact with real things, not merely exer- 
cised in the recollection of the book descriptions 
of things. " If you study Nature in books," he 
said, " when you go out of doors you cannot find 
her." 

Agassiz was once asked to write a text-book in 
zoology for the use of schools and colleges. Of 



A GASSIZ A T PENIKESE, 1 3 5 

this he said : " I told the publishers that I was not 
the man to do that sort of thing, and I told them, 
too, that the less of that sort of thing which is 
done the better. It is not school-books we want, 
it is students. The book of Nature is always open, 
and all that I can do or say shall be to lead young 
people to study that book, and not to pin their 
faith to any other." 

He taught natural history in Harvard College as 
no other man had taught in America before. He 
was the best beloved of teachers, because he was 
the most genial and kindly. Cambridge people 
used to say that one had " less need of an over- 
coat in passing Agassiz's house " than any other in 
that city. In the interest of popular education as 
well as of scientific research, Agassiz laid the foun- 
dation of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 
Here, in the face of all sorts of discouragements, 
he worked with a wonderful zeal, — a zeal which 
showed its results in the prosperity of everything 
with which he had to do. Less energetic pro- 
fessors complained that Agassiz's department re- 
ceived too much attention. Even Emerson ven- 
tured to suggest, in one of his lectures in i864» 
that Harvard University was in danger of a one- 
sided growth. To this criticism of Emerson Agassiz 
responded in a most characteristic personal letter. 
This letter gives the key-note of the modern idea 
of university development. 

From this letter I quote a few paragraphs : — 
" You say,'* says Agassiz, ** that Natural History 
is getting too great an ascendency among us, that 
it is out of proportion to other departments, and 



136 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

yxm hint that a check-rein wonld not be amiss on 
the enthusiastic professor who is responsible for 
all this. 

" Do you not see that the way to bring about a 
well-proportioned development of all the resour- 
ces of the University is not to check the Natural 
History department, but to stimulate the others? 
Not that the Zoological school grows too fast, but 
that the others do not grow fast enough? 

'' This sounds invidious and somewhat boastful, 
but it is you and not I who have instituted the com- 
parison. It strikes me that you have not hit upon 
the best remedy for this want of balance. If sym- 
metry is to be obtained by cutting down the most 
vigorous growth, it seems to me that it would be 
better to have a little irregularity here and there. 
In stimulating by every means in my power the 
growth of the Museum and the means of education 
connected with it, I am far from having a selfish 
wish to see my own department tower above the 
others. I wish that every one of my colleagues 
would make it hard for me to keep up with him ; 
and there are some among them, I am happy to 
say, who are ready to run a race with me." 

In one of his addresses Agassiz said : — 

" The physical suffering of humanity, the wants 
of the poor, the craving of the hungry and naked, 
appeal to the sympathy of every one who has a 
human heart. But there are necessities which 
only the destitute student knows ; there is a hunger 
and thirst which only the highest charity can 
understand and relieve, and on this solemn occa- 
sion let me say that every dollar given for higher 



AG ASS I Z AT PENIKESE. 1 37 

education in whatever department of knowledge is 
likely to have a greater influence 6n the future 
character of our nation than even the thousands 
and hundred thousands and millions which we 
have already spent and are spending to raise the 
many to material ease and comfort" 

Of the older teachers of biology in America, the 
men who were born between 1825 and 1850, nearly 
all who have reached eminence have been at one 
time or another pupils of Agassiz. The names 
of LeConte, Hartt, Shaler, Scudder, Wilder, 
Hyatt, Putnam, Packard, Clark, Alexander Agassiz, 
Morse, Brooks, Whitman, Minot, Garman, Faxon, 
Fewkes, James, Niles, and many others not less 
worthily known, come to our thoughts at once as 
evidence of this statement, as well as those of 
Steindachner, J. A. Allen, Dall, Uhler, Marcou, 
Bickmore, Lyman, Girard, Ordway, St. John, 
Anthony, and others who have won celebrity in 
scientific work outside the class-room. Those 
naturalists who, like Gray, Dana, Baird, Lesley, 
Kirtland, Engelmann, Wachsmuth, Hagen, Les- 
quereux, Stimpson, and others, were not pupils, 
were associates and friends. 

Even as late as 1873, when Agassiz died, the 
Museum of Comparative Zoology was almost the 
only school in America where the eager student of 
natural history could find the work he wanted. 
The colleges generally taught only the elements of 
any of the sciences. Twenty years ago original 
research was scarcely considered as among the 
functions of the American college. Such inves- 
tigators as America had were for the most part 



138 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

outside of the colleges, or at the best carrying on 
their investigations in time stolen from the drud- 
gery of the class-room. One of the greatest of 
American astronomers was kept for forty years 
teaching algebra and geometry, with never a stu- 
dent far enough advanced to realize the real work 
of his teacher ; and this case was typical of hun- 
dreds before the university spirit was kindled in 
American schools. That this spirit was kindled in 
Harvard forty years ago was due in the greatest 
measure to Agassiz's influence. It was here that 
graduate instruction in science in America practi- 
cally began. In an important sense the Museum 
of Comparative Zoology was the first American 
university. 

Notwithstanding the great usefulness of the Mu- 
seum and the broad influence of its teachers, 
Agassiz was not fully satisfied. The audience he 
reached was still too small. Throughout the coun- 
try the great body of teachers of science went on 
in the old mechanical way. On these he was able 
to exert no influence. The boys and girls still 
kept up the humdrum recitations from worthless 
text-books. They got their lessons from the book, 
recited them from memory, and no more came into 
contact with Nature than they would if no animals 
or plants or rocks existed on this side of the planet 
Jupiter. It was to remedy this state of things that 
Agassiz conceived, in 1872, the idea of a scienti- 
fic "camp-meeting," where the workers and the 
teachers might meet together, — a summer school 
of observation, where the teachers should be trained 
to see Nature for themselves and teach others how 
to see it. 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE, 1 39 

The first plan suggested was that of calling the 
teachers of the country together for a summer out- 
ing on the island of Nantucket. Before the site 
was chosen, Mr. John Anderson, a wealthy tobacco- 
merchant in New York City, offered to Agassiz the 
use of his island of Penikese, and an endowment of 
fifty thousand dollars in money, if he would per- 
manently locate this scientific ** camp-meeting" on 
the island. To this gift Mr. C. W. Galloupe, of 
Boston, added the use of his large yacht, the 
** Sprite." Thus was founded the Anderson School 
of Natural History on the island of Penikese. 

Penikese is a little island containing about sixty 
acres of very rocky ground, a pile of stones with 
intervals of soil. It is the last and least of the 
Elizabeth Islands, lying to the south of Buzzard's 
Bay, on the south coast of Massachusetts. The 
whole cluster was once a great terminal moraine of 
rocks and rubbish of all sorts, brought down from 
the mainland by some ancient glacier, and by it 
dropped into the ocean off the heel of Cape Cod. 
The sea has broken up the moraine into eight little, 
islands by wearing tide channels between hill and 
hill. The names of these islands are recorded in 
the jingle which the children of that region learn 
before they go to school, — 



Naushon, Nonamesset, Uncatena, and Wepecket, 
Nashawena, Pesquinese, Cuttyhunk, and Penikese.' 



And Penikese, last and smallest of them, lies, a little 
forgotten speck, out in the ocean, eighteen miles 
south of New Bedford. It contained two hills, 
joined together by a narrow isthmus, a little har- 



1 40 SCIENCE SKE TCHES. 

bor, a farm-house, a flag-staff, a barn, a willow-tree, 
and a flock of sheep. And here Agassiz founded 
his school. This was in the month of June in the 
year 1873. 

From the many hundred applicants who sent in 
their names as soon as the plan was made public 
Agassiz chose fifty, — about thirty men and twenty 
women — teachers, students, and naturalists of vari- 
ous grades from all parts of the country. This 
practical recognition of coeducation was criticised 
by many of Agassiz's friends, trained in the monas- 
tic schools of New England ; but the results justi- 
fied his decision. It was his thought that these 
fifty teachers should be trained as well as might 
be in right methods of work. They should carry 
into their schools his own views of scientific teach- 
ing. Then each of these schools would become in 
its time a centre of help to others, until the in- 
fluence toward real work in science should spread 
throughout our educational system. 

None of us will ever forget his first sight ot 
Agassiz. We had come down from New Bedford 
in a little tug-boat in the early morning, and 
Agassiz met us at the landing-place on the island. 
He was standing almost alone on the little wharf, 
and his great face beamed with pleasure. For this 
summer school, the thought of his old age, might 
be the crowning work of his lifetime. Who could 
foresee what might come from the efforts of fifty 
men and women, teachers of science, each striving 
to do his work in the most rational way? His 
thoughts and hopes rose to expectations higher 
than any of us then understood. 



AGASSIZ AT PE NIXES E. 141 

His tall, robust figure, his broad shoulders bend- 
ing a little under the weight of years, his large round 
face lit up by kindly dark-brown eyes, his cheery 
smile, the enthusiastic tones of his voice, his roll- 
ing gait, like that of ** a man who had walked 
much over ploughed ground," — all these entered 
into our first as well as our last impressions of 
Agassiz. He greeted us with great warmth as we 
landed. He looked into our faces to justify him- 
self in making choice of us among the many whom 
he might have chosen. 

The roll of the Anderson School has never been 
published, and I can only restore a part of it from 
memory. Among those whose names come to my 
mind as I write are Dr. Charles O. Whitman, of 
the University of Chicago ; Dr. William K. Brooks, 
of Johns Hopkins ; Dr. Frank H. Snow, now Chan- 
cellor of the University of Kansas; Dr. W. O. 
Crosby, of the Boston Society of Natural History ; 
Charles Sedgwick Minot, Samuel Garman, Walter 
Faxon, J. Walter Fewkes, — all of these still con- 
nected with the work at Cambridge; Ernest 
Ingersoll, then just beginning his literary work ; 
Professor J. G. Scott, of the Normal School at 
Westfield; Professor Stowell, of the school at 
Cortland ; Professor Austin C. Apgar, of Trenton, 
N. J.; Professor Fernald, of Maine; Miss Susan 
Hallowell, of Wellesley College; Miss Mary A. 
Beaman (now Mrs. Joralemon, of the Belmont 
School, California) ; Mr. E. A. Gastman, of Illi- 
nois, and other well-known instructors. With 
these was the veteran teacher of botany at Mount 
Holyoke Seminary, Lydia W. Shattuck, with her 



143 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

pupil and associate, Susan Bowen. Professor 
H. H. Straight and his bride, both then teachers 
in the State Normal School at Oswego, were also 
with us. These four, whom all of us loved and 
respected, were the first of our number to be 
claimed by death. 

Among our teachers, besides Agassiz, were Burt 
G. Wilder, Edward S. Morse, Alfred Mayer, Fred- 
erick W. Putnam, then young men of growing 
fame, with Arnold Guyot and Count Pourtalfe, 
early associates of Agassiz, already in the fulness 
of years. Mrs.' Agassiz was present at every lec- 
ture, note-book in hand ; and her genial personality 
did much to bind the company together. 

The old bam on the island had been hastily 
converted into a dining-hall and lecture-room. A 
new floor had been put in ; but the doors and walls 
remained unchanged, and the swallows' nests were 
undisturbed under the eaves. The sheep had been 
turned out, the horse-stalls were changed to a 
kitchen, and on the floor of the barn, instead of 
the hay-wagon, were placed three long tables. At 
the head of one of these sat Agassiz. At his right 
hand always stood a movable blackboard, for he 
seldom spoke without a piece of chalk in his hand. 
He would often give us a lecture while we sat at 
the table, frequently about some fish or other crea- 
ture the remains of which still lay on our plates. 

Our second day upon the island was memorable 
above all others. Its striking incident has passed 
into literature in the poem of Whittier: **The 
Prayer of Agassiz." 

When the morning meal was over, Agassiz arose 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. 1 43 

in his place and spoke, as only he could speak, of 
his purpose in calling us together. The swallows 
flew in and out of the building in the soft June air, 
for they did not know that it was no longer a barn 
but a temple. Some of them almost grazed his 
shoulder as he spoke to us of the needs of the peo- 
ple for truer education. He told us how these 
needs could be met, and of the results which might 
come to America from the training and consecra- 
tion of fifty teachers. This was to him no ordinary 
school, still less an idle summer's outing, but a 
mission work of the greatest importance. He 
spoke with intense earnestness, and all his words 
were filled with that deep religious feeling so char- 
acteristic of his mind. For to Agassiz each natural 
object was a thought of God, and trifling with 
God's truth as expressed in Nature was the basest 
of sacrilege. 

What Agassiz said that morning can never be 
said again. No reporter took his language, and 
no one could call back the charm of his manner or 
the impressiveness of his zeal and faith. At the 
end he said^ " I would not have any man to pray 
for me now," and that he and each of us would 
utter his own prayer in silence. What he meant 
by this was that no one could pray in his stead. 
No public prayer could take the place of the prayer 
which each of us would frame for himself. Whit- 
tier says : — 

" Even the careless heart was moved. 
And the doubting gave assent 
With a gesture reverent 
To the Master well beloved. 



144 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

As thin mists are glorified 
By the light they cannot hide, 
All who gazed upon him saw, 
Through its veil of tender awe, 
How his face was still uplit 
By the old sweet look of it, 
Hopeful, trustful, full of cheer 
And the love that casts out fear." 

And the summer went on, with its succession of 
joyous mornings, beautiful days, and calm nights, 
with every charm of sea and sky ; the master with 
us all day long, ever ready to speak words of help 
and encouragement, ever ready to give us from his 
own stock of learning. The boundless enthusiasm 
which surrounded him like an atmosphere, and 
which sometimes gave the appearance of great 
achievement to the commonest things, was never 
lacking. He was always an optimist, and his 
strength lay largely in his realization of the value 
of the present moment. He was a living illustra- 
tion of the aphorism of Thoreau, that " there is no 
hope for you unless the bit of sod under your feet 
is the sweetest in this world — in any world." The 
thing he had in hand was the thing worth doing, 
and the men about him were the men worth helping. 

He was always picturesque in his words and his 
work. He delighted in the love and approbation 
of his students and his friends, and the influence of 
his personality sometimes gave his opinions weight 
beyond the value of the investigations on which 
they were based. With no other investigator have 
the work and the man been so identified as with 
Agassiz. No other of the great workers has been 
equally great as a teacher. His greatest work in 



AGASSIZ AT PENJKESE, 145 

science was his influence on other men. He was a 
constant stimulus and inspiration. 

In an old note-book of those days I find frag- 
ments of some of his talks to teachers at Penikese. 
From this note-book I take some paragraphs, just 
as I find them written there : — 

" Never try to teach what you do not yourself 
know and know well. If your school board insist 
on your teaching anything and everything, decline 
firmly to do It. It is an imposition alike on pupils 
and teacher to teach that which he does not know. 
Those teachers who are strong enough should 
squarely refuse to do such work. This much- 
needed reform is already beginning in our colleges, 
and I hope it will continue. It is a relic of medi- 
aeval times, this idea of professing everything. 
When teachers decline work which they cannot do 
well, improvements begin to come in. If one would 
be a successful teacher, he must firmly refuse work 
which he cannot do well. It is a false idea to sup- 
pose that everybody is competent to learn or to 
teach everything. Would our great artists have 
succeeded equally well in Greek or calculus? A 
smattering of everything is worth little. It is a 
fallacy to suppose that an encyclopaedic knowledge 
is desirable. The mind is made strong, not through 
much learning, but by the thorough possession of 
something." 

" Lay aside all conceit. Learn to read the book 
of Nature for yourself. Those who have succeeded 
best have followed for years some slim thread 
which once in a while has broadened out and dis- 
closed some treasure worth a life-long search." 

10 



146 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

" A man cannot be professor of zoology on one 
day and of chemistry on the next, and do good 
work in both. As in a concert all are musicians, — 
one plays one instrument, and one another, but 
none all in perfection." 

"You cannot do without one specialty. You 
must have some base-line to measure the work and 
attainments of others. For a general view of the 
subject, study the history of the sciences. Broad 
knowledge of all Nature has been the possession 
of no naturalist except Humboldt, and general 
relations constituted his specialty.'* 

"Select such subjects that your pupils cannot 
walk out without seeing them. Train your pupils 
to be observers, and have them provided with the 
specimens about which you speak. If you can 
find nothing better, take a house-fly or a cricket, 
and let each one hold a specimen and examine it 
as you talk." 

" In 1847 I gave an address at Newton, Mass., 
before a Teachers* Institute conducted by Horace 
Mann. My subject was grasshoppers. I passed 
around a large jar of these insects, and made every 
teacher take one and hold it while I was speaking. 
If any one dropped the insect, I stopped till he 
picked it up. This was at that time a great inno- 
vation, and excited much laughter and derision. 
There can be no true progress in the teaching 
of natural science until such methods become 
general." 

"There is no part of the country where in the 
summer you cannot get a sufficient supply of the 
best specimens. Teach your children to bring 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. 1 47 

them in for themselves. Take your text from the 
brooks, not from the booksellers. It is better to 
have a few forms well known than to teach a little 
about many hundred species. Better a dozen speci- 
mens thoroughly studied as the result of the first 
year's work, than to have two thousand dollars' 
worth of shells and corals bought from a curiosity- 
shop. The dozen animals would be your own." 

" You ^ will find the same elements of instruction 
all about you wherever you may be teaching. You 
can take your classes out and give them the same 
lessons, and lead them up to the same subjects you 
are yourselves studying here. And this method 
of teaching children is so natural, so suggestive, so 
true. That is the charm of teaching from Nature 
herself. No one can warp her to suit his own 
views. She brings us back to absolute truth as 
often as we wander." 

" The study of Nature is an intercourse with the 
highest mind. You should never trifle with Nature. 
At the lowest her works are the works of the high- 
est powers, the highest something in whatever way 
we may look at it." 

" A laboratory of natural history is a sanctuary 
where nothing profane should be tolerated. I feel 
less agony at improprieties in churches than in a 
scientific laboratory." 

** In Europe I have been accused of taking my 
scientific ideas from the Church. In America I 
have been called a heretic, because I will not let 
my church-going friends pat me on the head." 

* In this paragraph, quoted by Mrs. Agassiz (Life and Letters 
of Agassiz, p. 775), I have adopted the wording as given by her. 



148 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Of all these lectures the most valuable and the 
tiK^st charming were those on the glaciers. In 
these the master spoke, and every rock on our 
iKland was a mute witness to the truth of his words. 
Mqually charming were the reminiscences of his 
early life and of his fellow-workers in science, 
Schimper and Braun in Munich, Valenciennes and 
the rest in Paris, and of the three men he acknowl- 
cd(;c(l as masters, Cuvier, Humboldt, and DoIIin- 
jM:r. ** I lived at Munich," he once said, " for 
three years under Dr. Bollinger's roof, and my 
Hcienlific training goes back to him and to him 
alon<;/' 

lie often talked to us of the Darwinian theory, 
to which in all its forms he was most earnestly 
opposed. Agassiz was essentially an idealist All 
Ills invesligalions were to him, not studies of ani- 
inal.s or plants as such, but of the divine plans of 
which their structures are the expression. "That 
earthly form was the cover of spirit was to him a 
truth at (Mice fundamental and self-evident." The 
work of the student was to search out the thoughts 
(;f (fod, and as well as may be to think them 
ov<:r ajjain. To Agassiz these divine thoughts 
W(!re especially embodied in the relations of ani- 
mals to each other. The species was the thought- 
unit, the individual reproduction of the thought in 
the divine mind at the moment of the creation of 
the first one of the scries which represents the 
species. The marvel of the affinity of structure — 
of unity of plan in creatures widely diverse in 
habits and outward appearance — was to him a 
result of the association of ideas in the divine mind, 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. I49 

an illustration of divine many-sidedness. To Dar- 
win these same relations would illustrate the force 
of heredity acting under diverse conditions of 
environment. The sufficiency of his own philoso- 
phy Agassiz never doubted. In this confidence in 
his own mind and its resources, lay much of his 
strength and his weakness. 

Agassiz had no sympathy with the prejudices 
worked upon by weak and foolish men in opposi- 
tion to Darwinism. He believed in the absolute 
freedom of science ; that no power on earth can 
give answers beforehand to the questions which 
men of science endeavor to solve. Of this I can 
give no better evidence than the fact that every 
one of the men specially trained by him has joined 
the ranks of the evolutionists. He would teach 
them to think for themselves, not to think as 
he did. 

The strain of the summer was heavier than we 
knew. Before the school was closed for the season, 
those who were nearest him felt that the effort was 
to be his last. His physician told him that he must 
not work, must not think. But all his life he had 
done nothing else. To stop was impossible, for 
with his temperament there was the sole choice 
between activity and death. 

And in December the end came. In the words 
of one of his old students, Theodore Lyman, ** We 
buried him from the chapel that stands among the 
college elms. The students laid a wreath of laurel 
on his bier, and their manly voices sang a requiem. 
For he had been a student all his life long, and 
when he died he was younger than any of them." 



148 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Of all these lectures the most valuable and the 
most charming were those on the glaciers. In 
these the master spoke, and every rock on our 
island was a mute witness to the truth of his words. 
Equally charming were the reminiscences of his 
early life and of his fellow-workers in science, 
Schimper and Braun in Munich, Valenciennes and 
the rest in Paris, and of the three men he acknowl- 
edged as masters, Cuvier, Humboldt, and Bollin- 
ger. " I lived at Munich," he once said, ** for 
three years under Dr. Bollinger's roof, and my 
scientific training goes back to him and to him 
alone." 

He often talked to us of the Darwinian theory, 
to which in all its forms he was most earnestly 
opposed. Agassiz was essentially an idealist. All 
his investigations were to him, not studies of ani- 
mals or plants as such, but of the divine plans of 
which their structures are the expression. " That 
earthly form was the cover of spirit was to him a 
truth at once fundamental and self-evident." The 
work of the student was to search out the thoughts 
of God, and as well as may be to think them 
over again. To Agassiz these divine thoughts 
were especially embodied in the relations of ani- 
mals to each other. The species was the thought- 
unit, the individual reproduction of the thought in 
the divine mind at the moment of the creation of 
the first one of the series which represents the 
species. The marvel of the affinity of structure — 
of unity of plan in creatures widely diverse in 
habits and outward appearance — was to him a 
result of the association of ideas in the divine mind, 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. 



149 



k 



an illustration of divine many-sidedness. To Dar- 
win these same relations would illustrate the force 
of heredity acting under diverse conditions of 
environment. The sufficiency of his own philoso- 
phy Agassiz never doubted. In this confidence in 
his own mind and its resources, lay much of his 
strength and his weakness. 

Agassiz had no sympathy with the prejudices 
worked upon by weak and foolish men in opposi- 
tion to Darwinism. He believed in the absolute 
freedom of science; that no power on earth can 
give answers beforehand to the questions which 
men of science endeavor to solve. Of this 1 can 
give no better evidence than the fact that every 
one of the men specially trained by him has joined 
the ranks of the evolutionists. He would teach 
them to think for themselves, not to think as 
he did. 

The strain of the summer was heavier than we 
knew. Before the school was closed for the season, 
those who were nearest him felt that the effort was 
to be his last. His physician told him that he must 
not work, must not think. But all his life he had 
done nothing else. To stop was impossible, for 
with his temperament there was the sole choice 
between activity and death. 

And in December the end came. In the words 
of one of his old students, Theodore Lyman, " We 
buried him from the chapel that stands among the 
college elms. The students laid a wreath of laurel 
on his bier, and their manly voices sang a requiem. 
For he had been a student all his life long, and 
when he died he was younger than any of them." 



148 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Of all these lectures the most valuable and the 
most charming were those on the glaciers. In 
these the master spoke, and every rock on our 
island was a mute witness to the truth of his words. 
Equally charming were the reminiscences of his 
early life and of his fellow-workers in science, 
Schimper and Braun in Munich, Valenciennes and 
the rest in Paris, and of the three men he acknowl- 
edged as masters, Cuvier, Humboldt, and Dollin- 
ger. " I lived at Munich," he once said, " for 
three years under Dr. Bollinger's roof, and my 
scientific training goes back to him and to him 
alone." 

He often talked to us of the Darwinian theory, 
to which in all its forms he was most earnestly 
opposed. Agassiz was essentially an idealist. All 
his investigations were to him, not studies of ani- 
mals or plants as such, but of the divine plans of 
which their structures are the expression. " That 
earthly form was the cover of spirit was to him a 
truth at once fundamental and self-evident." The 
work of the student was to search out the thoughts 
of God, and as well as may be to think them 
over again. To Agassiz these divine thoughts 
were especially embodied in the relations of ani- 
mals to each other. The species was the thought- 
unit, the individual reproduction of the thought in 
the divine mind at the moment of the creation of 
the first one of the series which represents the 
species. The marvel of the affinity of structure — 
of unity of plan in creatures widely diverse in 
habits and outward appearance — was to him a 
result of the association of ideas in the divine mind, 



AGASSIZ AT PENIKESE. I49 

an illustration of divine many-sidedness. To Dar- 
win these same relations would illustrate the force 
of heredity acting under diverse conditions of 
environment. The sufficiency of his own philoso- 
phy Agassiz never doubted. In this confidence in 
his own mind and its resources, lay much of his 
strength and his weakness. 

Agassiz had no sympathy with the prejudices 
worked upon by weak and foolish men in opposi- 
tion to Darwinism. He believed in the absolute 
freedom of science ; that no power on earth can 
give answers beforehand to the questions which 
men of science endeavor to solve. Of this I can 
give no better evidence than the fact that every 
one of the men specially trained by him has joined 
the ranks of the evolutionists. He would teach 
them to think for themselves, not to think as 
he did. 

The strain of the summer was heavier than we 
knew. Before the school was closed for the season, 
those who were nearest him felt that the effort was 
to be his last. His physician told him that he must 
not work, must not think. But all his life he had 
done nothing else. To stop was impossible, for 
with his temperament there was the sole choice 
between activity and death. 

And in December the end came. In the words 
of one of his old students, Theodore Lyman, ** We 
buried him from the chapel that stands among the 
college elms. The students laid a wreath of laurel 
on his bier, and their manly voices sang a requiem. 
For he had been a student all his life long, and 
when he died he was younger than any of them." 



ISO 



SCfENCB SKETCHES. 



The next summer, the students of the first year 
came together at Penikese, and many eager new 
men were with them. Notable among these were 
Herbert E. Copeland, the ichthyologist, whose 
brilliant record was soon cut short by death ; Wil- 
liam R. Dudley, the botanist, and the anatomist 
Balfour H, Van Vleck. Wise and skilful teachers 
were present; but Agassiz was not there, and the 
sense of loss was felt above everything else. We 
met one evening in the lecture hall, and each one 
said the best that he could of the Master. The 
words that lasted longest with us were these of 
Samuel Garman, that " he was the best friend that 
ever student had." There could be no truer word 
nor nobler epitaph. We put on the walls these 
mottoes, written on cloth, and taken from Agassiz's 
lectures : — 

Stuhv Nature, not Hooks. 



These mottoes remained for fifteen years' on the 
walls of the empty building, whence they were car- 
ried as precious relics to the Laboratory at Wood's 
Hole, which has been the lineal descendant of the 
school at Penikese. 

At the end of the summer the authorities of the 
Museum closed the doors of the Anderson School 
forever, They^ had no choice in the matter, for 

1 This 13 given on the authority of Dr. Carl H. Eigenmatin. 

* Jules Marcou says (Life, Letters, and Works of Louis Agas- 

8U, vol. ii. p. Z07) : " The Anderson School of Natural History 



A GASSIZ A T PENIKESE. 1 5 1 

no college could be found which would spare the 
small sum needed for its maintenance. No rich 
men came forward as others had done in the past, 
men who would not stand by " to see so brave a 
man struggle without aid." For nearly twenty 
years the buildings stood on the island just as we 
had left them in 1874; an old sea-captain in charge 
of them until the winter of 1891, when he was 
drowned in a storm. A year or two later the 
buildings were burned to the ground, perhaps by 
lightning. 

But while the island of Penikese is deserted, the 
impulse which came from Agassiz's work there 
still lives, and is felt in every field of American 
science. With all appreciation of the rich streams 
which in late years have come to us from many 
sources, and especially from the deep insight and 
resolute truthfulness of Germany, it is still true that 
the school of all schools which has had most influ- 

at Penikese Island did not survive long after Agassiz's death. 
The appeals for aid addressed by Mr. Alexander Agassiz to the 
superintendents of public institutions and presidents of State 
Boards of Education of the several States did not find the ready 
response necessary for the support of the school ; and the Ander- 
son School was soon a thing of the past. But if its existence was 
ephemeral, it set a most beneficial example, soon followed by per- 
manent schools of the same sort . . . first those at Wood's Hole, 
Mass., one under the direction of the United States Fish Commis- 
sion, the other directed by Mr. C. O. Whitman ; second one at 
Annisquam, and afterwards at several other places on the Atlan- 
tic and Pacific Coasts under the direction of the Johns Hopkins 
University, the State University of California, and the Leland 
Stanford, Jr., University, while Mr. Alexander Agassiz . . . has 
since built a fine laboratory at Castle Hill . . . where researches 
on living marine animals are made every summer under his direc- 
tion and at his expense." 



152 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

ence on scientific teaching in America, was held in 
an old barn on an uninhabited island some eigh- 
teen miles from the shore. It lasted but three 
months, and in effect it had but one teacher. The 
school at Penikese existed in the personal presence 
of Agassiz ; when he died, it vanished ! 



AN ECCENTRIC NA TURALIST. \ 5 3 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 

IT is now nearly seventy years since the first 
student of our Western fishes crossed the Falls 
of the Ohio and stood on Indiana soil. He came 
on foot, with a note-book in one hand and a hickory 
stick in the other, and his capacious pockets were 
full of wild-flowers, shells, and toads. He wore 
" a long, loose coat of yellow nankeen, stained yel- 
lower by the clay of the roads, and variegated by 
the juices of plants." In short, in all respects of 
dress, manners, and appearance, he would be de- 
scribed by the modern name of "tramp." Nev- 
ertheless, no more remarkable figure has ever 
appeared in the annals of Indiana or in the annals 
of science. To me it has always possessed a pecu- 
liar interest ; and so, for a few moments, I wish to 
call up before you the figure of Rafinesque, with his 
yellow nankeen coat, ** his sharp tanned face, and 
his bundle of plants, under which a pedlcr would 
groan," before it recedes into the shadows of 
oblivion. 

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque was born in 
Constantinople in the year 1784. His father was 
a French merchant from Marseilles doing business 
in Constantinople, and his mother was a German 
girl, born in Greece, of the family name of Schmaltz. 
Rafinesque himself, son of a Franco-Turkish father 



'54 



SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



and a Grajco-Gcrman mother, was an American. 
Before he was a year old his life-long travels be- 
gan, his parents visiting ports of Asia and Africa 
on their way to Marseilles. As a result of this trip, 
we have the discovery, afterward characteristically 
announced by him to the world, that " infants are 
not subject to sea-sickness." At Marseilles his 
future career was determined for him; or, in his 
own language : " It was among the flowers and 
fruits of that delightful region that I first began to 
enjoy life, and I became a botanist. Afterward, 
the first prize I received in school was a book of 
animals, and I am become a zoologist and a nat- 
uralist. My early voyage made me a traveller. 
Thus, some accidents or early events have an in- 
fluence on our fate through life, or unfold our 
inclinations," ' 

Rafincsque read books of travel, those of Cap- 
tain Cook, Le Vaillant, and Pallas especially; 
and his soul was fired with the desire "to be a 
great traveller like them. . . . And I became 
such," he adds tersely. At the age of eleven he 
had begun an herbarium, and had learned to read 
the Latin in which scientific books of the last 
century were written. " I never was in a regular 
college," he says, " nor lost my time on dead lan- 
guages ; but I spent it in reading alone, and by 
reading ten times more tlian is read in the schools. 
I have undertaken to read the Latin and Greek, as 

' This and tnost of Ihc other verbal quotaHons in this paper 
are laken from an " Autobiography of Rafincsque," of which a. 
copy EHsta in the library of Congress. A few quotations have 
been gomewhat abridged. 




AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST, 155 

well as the Hebrew, Sanskrit, Chinese, and fifty 
other languages, as I felt the need or inclination to 
study them." At the age of twelve he published 
his first scientific paper, '* Notes on the Apen- 
nines," as seen from the back of a mule on a jour- 
ney from Leghorn to Genoa. Rafinesque was now 
old enough to choose his calling in life. He de- 
cided to become a merchant ; for, said he, ** com- 
merce and travel are linked." At this time came 
the first outbreaks of the French Revolution, when 
the peasants of Provence began to dream of " cas- 
tles on fire and castles combustible ;" so Rafinesque's 
prudent father sent his money out of France and 
his two sons to America. 

In Philadelphia, Constantine Rafinesque became 
a merchant's clerk, and his spare time was devoted 
to the study of botany. He tried also to study 
the birds ; but he says, " The first bird I shot was a 
poor chickadee, whose death appeared a cruelty, 
and I never became much of a hunter." During 
his vacations Rafinesque travelled on foot over 
parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia. He visited 
President Jefferson, who, he tell»k us, asked him to 
call again. In 1805, receiving an offer of business 
in Sicily, Rafinesque returned to Europe. He 
spent ten years in Sicily, — the land, as he sums it 
up, "of fruitful soil, delightful climate, excellent 
productions, perfidious men, and deceitful women." 
Here in Sicily he discovered the medicinal squill, 
which, aided by the equally medicinal paregoric, 
was once a great specific for all childish ailments. 
He commenced gathering this in large quantities 
for shipment to England and Russia. The Sici- 



156 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

lians thought that he was using it as a dye-stuff; 
" and this," said he, ** I let them believe." Nearly 
two hundred thousand pounds had been shipped 
by him before the secret of the trade was discov- 
ered, since which time the Sicilians have prose- 
cuted the business on their own account. He 
began to turn his attention to the animals of the 
sea, and here arose his passion for ichthyology. 
The red-shirted Sicilian fishermen used to bring 
to him the strange creatures which came in their 
nets. In 1810 he published two works on the 
fishes of Sicily, and for our first knowledge of 
very many of the Mediterranean fishes we are in- 
debted to these Sicilian papers of Rafinesque. It 
is unfortunately true, however, that very little real 
gain to science has come through this knowledge. 
Rafinesque's descriptions in these works are so 
brief, so hasty, and so often drawn from memory, 
that later naturalists have been put to great trouble 
in trying to make them out. A peculiar, restless, 
impatient enthusiasm is characteristic of all his 
writings, — the ardor of the explorer without the 
patience of the investigator.^ 

In Sicily, Rafinesque was visited by the English 
ornithologist, William Swainson. Swainson seems 
to have been a great admirer of "the eccentric 
naturalist," as he called him. Of him Rafinesque 
says: " Swainson often went with me to the moun- 
tains. He carried a butterfly-net to catch insects 

1 Dr. Elliott Coues has wittily suggested that as the words 
^^ grotesque" *^^\ci\iresqtte" and the like, are used to designate cer- 
tain literary styles, the adjective ** X2ifiaesque " may be similarly em- 
ployed for work like that of the author now under consideration. 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 157 

with, and was taken for a crazy man or a wizard. 
As he hardly spoke Italian, I had once to save 
him from being stoned out of a field, where he was 
thought to seek a treasure buried by the Greeks." 
Rafinesque now invented a new way of distilling 
brandy. He established a brandy-distillery, where, 
said he, " I made a very good brandy, equal to 
any made in Spain, without ever tasting a drop of 
it, since I hate all strong liquors. This prevented 
me from relishing this new employment, and so I 
gave it up after a time." 

Finally, disgust with the Sicilians and fear of 
the French wars caused Rafinesque, who was, as 
he says, ** a peaceful man," to look again toward 
the United States. In 181 5 he sailed again for 
America, with all his worldly goods, including his 
reams of unpublished manuscripts, his bushels of 
shells, and a multitude of drawings of objects in 
natural history. According to his own account, 
the extent of his collections at that time was enor- 
mous, and from the great number of scattered 
treatises on all manner of subjects which he pub- 
lished in later years, whenever he could get them 
printed, it is fair to suppose that his pile of manu- 
scripts was equally great. A considerable number 
of his note-books, and of papers for which, fortu- 
nately for scientific nomenclature, he failed to find 
a publisher, are now preserved in the United States 
National Museum. These manuscripts are remark- 
able for two things, — the beauty of the quaint 
French penmanship, and the badness of the ac- 
companying drawings. His numerous note-books, 
written in French, represent each the observations 



158 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

of a busy summer; and these observations, for 
the most part unchecked by the comparison of 
specimens, he prepared for the press during the 
winter. To this manner of working, perhaps un- 
avoidable in his case, many of Rafinesque's errors 
and blunders are certainly due. In one of these 
note-books I find, among a series of notes in 
French, the following remarkable observation in 
English : " The girls at Fort Edward eat clay I " 
In another place I find a list of the new genera of 
fishes in Cuvier's ** R^gne Animal" (1817) which 
were known to him. Many of these are designated 
as synonymous with genera proposed by Rafi- 
nesque in his "Caratteri" in 1810. With this list 
is the remark that these genera of Cuvier are iden- 
tical with such and such genera " proposed by me 
in 1 8 10, but don't you tell it ! " 

Rafinesque was six months on the ocean in this 
second voyage to America. Finally, just as the 
ship was entering Long Island Sound, the pilot let 
her drift against one of the rocks which lie outside 
of the harbor of New London. The vessel filled 
and sank, giving the passengers barely time to 
escape with their lives. '* I reached New London 
at midnight," says Rafinesque, " in a most deplora- 
ble situation. I had lost everything, — my fortune, 
my share in the cargo, my collections and labors 
of twenty years past, my books, my manuscripts, 
and even my clothes, — all I possessed, except 
some scattered funds and some little insurance- 
money. Some hearts of stone have since dared 
to doubt of these facts, or rejoice at my losses. 
Yes, I have found men vile enough to laugh with- 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 1 59 

out shame at my misfortunes, instead of condoling 
with me. But I have met also with friends who 
have deplored my loss and helped me in need." 

I shall pass rapidly over Rafinesque*s career 
until his settlement in Kentucky. He travelled 
widely in America, in the summer, always on foot. 
** Horses were offered to me," he said, " but I 
never liked riding them, and dismounting for 
every flower. Horses do not suit botanists.'* He 
now came westward, following the course of the 
Ohio, and exploring for the first time the botany 
of the country. He came to Indiana, and for a 
short time was associated with the community 
then lately established by Owen and Maclure at 
New Harmony on the Wabash. Though this 
New Harmony experiment was a failure, as all 
communities must be in which the drone and the 
worker alike have access to the honey-cells, yet 
the debt due it from American science is very 
great. Although far in the backwoods, and in 
the long notorious county of Posey, New Harmony 
was for a time fairly to be called the centre of 
American science; and even after half" a century 
has gone by its rolls bear few names brighter than 
those of Thomas Say, David Dale Owen, and 
Charles Albert Le Sueur. 

Rafinesque soon left New Harmony, and became 
Professor of Natural History and the Modern Lan- 
guages in Transylvania University, at Lexington, 
Kentucky. He was, I believe, the very first 
teacher of natural history in the West, and his 
experiences were not more cheerful than those 
of most pioneers. They would not give him at 



l6o SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Lexington the degree of Master of Arts, he says, 
** because I had not studied Greek in a college, 
although I knew more languages than all the 
American colleges united. But it was granted at 
last; but that of Doctor of Medicine was not 
granted, because I would not superintend ana- 
tomical dissections." He continues : — 

" Mr. HoUey, the president of the university, despised 
and hated the natural sciences, and he wished to drive 
me out altogether. To evince his hatred against science 
and its discoveries, he had broken open my rooms in my 
absence, given one to the students, and thrown all my 
effects, books, and collections into the other. He had 
deprived me of my situation as librarian, and tried to turn 
me out of the college. I took lodgings in town, and car- 
ried there all my effects, leaving the college with curses 
both on it and HoUey, which reached them both soon 
after ; for HoUey died of the yellow fever in New Orleans 
and the college was burned with all its contents." 

In one of his summer trips Rafinesque became 
acquainted with Audubon, who was then painting 
birds and keeping a little " grocery-store " down 
the river, at Henderson, Kentucky. Rafinesque 
reached Henderson in a boat, carrying on his back 
a bundle of plants which resembled dried clover. 
He accidentally met Audubon, and asked him to 
tell him where the naturalist lived. The ornithol- 
ogist introduced himself, and Rafinesque handed 
him a letter from a friend in the East, commending 
him to Audubon as an ** odd fish, which might not 
be described in the published treatises." The story 
of the interview is thus described by Audubon : 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST, l6l 

" His attire struck me as exceedingly remarkable. A 
long, loose coat of yellow nankeen, much the worse for 
the many rubs it had got in its time, hung about him 
loosely, like a sack. A waistcoat of the same, with enor- 
mous pockets and buttoned up to the chin, reached below 
over a pair of tight pantaloons, the lower part of which 
was buttoned down over his ankles. His beard was long, 
and his lank black hair hung loosely over his shoulders. 
His forehead was broad and prominent, indicating a mind 
of strong power. His words impressed an assurance of 
rigid truth ; and as he directed the conversation to the 
natural sciences, I listened to him with great delight. 

" That night, after we were all abed, I heard of a sudden 
a great uproar in the naturalist's room. I got up and 
opened the door, when to my astonishment I saw my 
guest running naked, holding the handle of my favorite 
Cremona, the body of which he had battered to pieces in 
attempting to kill the bats which had entered the open 
window ! I stood amazed ; but he continued jumping 
and running around and around till he was fairly exhausted, 
when he begged me to procure one of the animals for him, 
as he felt convinced that they belonged to a new species. 
Although I was convinced of the contrary, I took up the 
bow of my demolished violin, and giving a smart tip to each 
bat as it came up, we soon had specimens enough." 

A part of the story of this visit, which Audubon 

does not tell, may be briefly related here : Audubon 

was a great artist, and his paintings of birds and 

flowers excited the wonder and admiration of Rafi- 

nesque, as it has that of 'the generations since his 

time. But Audubon was something of a wag 

withal, and some spirit of mischief led him to 

revenge the loss of his violin on the too ready 

credulity of his guest. He showed him gravely 

II 



1 62 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

some ten grotesque drawings of impossible fishes 
which he had observed *' down the river," with 
notes on their habits, and a list of the names by 
which they were known by the French and English 
settlers. These Rafinesque duly copied into his 
note-books, and later he published descriptions 
of them as representatives of new genera, such as 
Pogostomay AplocentruSy LitholepiSy Pilodiclis, Po- 
macampsiSy and the like. 

These singular genera, so like and yet so unlike 
to anything yet known, have been a standing puzzle 
to students of fishes. Various attempts at identi- 
fication of them have been made, but in no case 
have satisfactory results been reached. Many of 
the hard things which have been said of Rafi- 
nesque's work rest on these unlucky genera,^ *' com- 
municated to me by Mr. Audubon." The true 
story of this practical joke was told me by the 
venerable Dr. Kirtland, who in turn received it 
from Dr. Bachman, the brother-in-law and scientific 
associate of' Audubon. In the private note-books 
of Rafinesque I have since found his copies of 
these drawings, and a glance at these is sufficient 
to show the extent to which science through him 
has been victimized. 

About this time Rafinesque turned his mind 
again toward invention. He invented the present 
arrangement of coupon bonds, or, as he called it, 
" the divitial invention." Savings-banks were pro- 

^ I am informed by Dr. J. A. Allen that there are also some 
unidentified genera of herons, similarly described by Rafinesque 
from drawings kindly shown him by Mr. Audubon. Apparently 
these also date from the same unlucky practical joke. 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST, 1 63 

jected by him, as well as " steam ploughs," ** aquatic 
railroads," fire-proof houses, and other contrivances 
which he was unable to perfect. He took much 
delight in the study of the customs and languages 
of the Indians. In so doing, if the stories are 
true, he became, in a way, associated with the ori- 
gin of Mormonism ; for it is said that his theory 
that the Indians came from Asia by way of Siberia, 
and were perhaps the descendants of the ten lost 
tribes of Israel, gave the first suggestion to Solo- 
mon Spaulding for his book of the prophet Mor- 
mon. In any case, whether, this be true or not, 
it is certain that Rafinesque is still cited as high 
authority by the Latter-Day Saints when the gen- 
uineness of the book of Mormoa is questioned. 

Rafinesque now returned to Philadelphia, and 
published ** The Atlantic Journal and Friend of 
Knowledge," ** Annals of Nature," and other seri- 
als, of which he was editor, publisher, and usually 
sole contributor. After a time he became sole sub- 
scriber, also, — a condition of affairs which greatly 
exasperated him against the Americans and their 
want of appreciation of science. He published 
several historical treatises, and contemplated a 
** Complete History of the Globe," with all its con- 
tents. An elaborate poem of his, dreary enough, 
is entitled ** The World ; or. Instability." He made 
many enemies among the American botanists of 
his time by his overbearing ways, his scorn of 
their customs and traditions, and especially by his 
advocacy of crude and undigested though neces- 
sary reforms, so that at last most of them decided 
to ignore his very existence. In those days, in 



l64 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

matters of classification, the rule of Linnaeus was 
supreme, and any effort to recast his artificial 
groupings was looked at as heretical in the ex- 
treme. The attempt at a natural classification of 
plants, which has made the fame of Jussieu, had 
the full sympathy of Rafinesque ; but to his Ameri- 
can contemporaries such work could lead only to 
confusion. Then, again, in some few of its phases, 
Rafinesque anticipated the modern doctrine of the 
origin of species. That the related species of such 
genera as Rosa^ QuercuSy Trifoliumy have had a 
common origin, — a view the correctness of which 
no well-informed botanist of our day can possibly 
doubt, — Rafinesque then maintained against the 
combined indignation and disgust of all his fellow- 
workers. His writings on these subjects read bet- 
ter to-day than when, forty-five years ago, they 
were sharply reviewed by one of our then young 
and promising botanists. Dr. Asa Gray. 

But the botanists had good reason to complain 
of the application of Rafinesque*s theories of evo- 
lution. To him, the production of a new species 
was a rapid process, — a hundred years was time 
enough, — and when he saw the tendency in di- 
verging varieties toward the formation of new 
species, he was eager to anticipate Nature (and 
his fellow-botanists as well), and give it a new 
name. He became a monomaniac on the subject 
of new species. He was uncontrolled in this 
matter by the influence of other writers, — that 
incredulous conservatism as to another's discov- 
eries which furnishes a salutary balance to enthu- 
siastic workers. Before his death so much had 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 165 

he seen, and so little had he compared, that he 
had described certainly twice as many fishes, and 
probably nearly twice as many plants and shells, 
as really existed in the regions over which he trav- 
elled. He once sent for publication a paper seri- 
ously describing, in regular natural history style, 
twelve new species of thunder and lightning which 
he had observed near the Falls of the Ohio. 

Then, too, Rafinesque studied in the field, col- 
lecting and observing in the summer, comparing 
and writing in the winter. When one is chasing a 
frog in a canebrake, or climbing a cliff in search of 
a rare flower, he cannot have a library and a mu- 
seum at his back. The exact work of our modern 
museums and laboratories was almost unknown in 
his day. Then, again, he depended too much 
on his memory for facts and details ; and, as Pro- 
fessor Agassiz used to say, **the memory must not 
be kept too full, or it will spill over." 

Thus it came about that the name and work of 
Rafinesque fell into utter neglect. His writings, 
scattered here and there in small pamphlets, cheap 
editions published at his own expense, had been 
sold as paper-rags, or used to kindle fires by those 
to whom they were sent, and later authors could 
not find them. His ** Ichthyologia Ohiensis,** 
once sold for a dollar, is now quoted at fifty dol- 
lars, and the present writer has seen but two copies 
of it. In the absence of means to form a just 
opinion of his work, it became the habit to pass 
him by with a sneer, as the "inspired idiot . . . 
whose fertile imagination has peopled the waters 
of the Ohio." Until lately, only Professor Agas- 



1 66 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

siz ^ has said a word in mitigation of the harsh ver- 

« 

diet passed on Rafinesque by his fellow-workers 
and their immediate successors. Agassiz says, 
very justly: — 

" I am satisfied that Rafinesque was a better man than 
he appeared. His misfortune was his prurient desire for 
novelties, and his rashness in publishing them. . . . Trac- 
ing his course as a naturalist during his residence in this 
country, it is plain that he alarmed those with whom he 
had intercourse, by his innovations, and that they pre- 
ferred to lean upon the authority of the great naturalist 
of the age [Cuvier], who, however, knew little of the 
special history of the country, rather than to trust a some- 
what hasty man who was living among them, and who had 
collected a vast amount of information from all parts of 
the States upon a variety of subjects then entirely new to 
science." ^ 

In a sketch of " A Neglected Naturalist," Pro- 
fessor Herbert E. Copeland has said : — 

" To many of our untiring naturalists, who sixty years 
ago accepted the perils and privations of the far West, to 
collect and describe its animals and plants, we have given 
the only reward they sought, — a grateful remembrance of 
their work. Audubon died full of riches and honor, with 
the knowledge that his memory would be cherished as 
long as birds should sing. Wilson is the * father of Amer- 
ican ornithology,' and his mistakes and faults are forgotten 

1 So early as 1844, Professor Agassiz wrote to Charles Lucien 
Bonaparte : " I think that there is a justice due to Rafinesque. 
However poor his descriptions, he first recognized the necessity 
of multiplying genera in ichthyology, and this at a time when the 
thing was far more difficult than now." 

2 Agassiz, American Journal of Science and Arts, 1854, p 354, 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 167 

in our admiration of his great achievements. Le Sueur is 
remembered as the 'first to explore the ichthyology of 
the great American lakes. Laboring with these, and 
greatest of them all in respect to the extent and range 
of his accomplishments, is one whose name has been 
nearly forgotten, and who is oftenest mentioned in the 
field of his best labors with pity or contempt." ^ 

It is doubtless true that while, as Professor 
Agassiz has said, Rafinesque " was a better man 
than he appeared/' and while he was undoubtedly 
a man of great learning and of greater energy, his 
work does not deserve a high place in the records 
of science. And his failure seems due to two 
things: first, his lack of attention to details, a 
defect which has vitiated all of his- work; and, 
second, his versatility, which led him to attempt 
work in every field of learning. As to this, he 
says himself: — 

" It is a positive fact that in knowledge I have been a 
botanist, naturalist, geologist, geographer, historian, poet, 
philosopher, philologist, economist, philanthropist. By 
profession a traveller, merchant, manufacturer, brewer, 
collector, improver, teacher, surveyor, draughtsman, archi- 
tect, engineer, pulmist, author, editor, bookseller, libra- 
rian, secretary, and I hardly know what I may not 
become as yet, since, whenever I apply myself to any- 
thing which I like, I never fail to succeed, if depending 
on myself alone, unless impeded or prevented by the lack 
of means, or the hostility of the foes of mankind." 

But a traveller Rafinesque chiefly considered 
himself; and to him all his pursuits, scientific, lin- 
guistic, historical, were but episodes in a life of 

1 American Naturalist, 1876. 



I68 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

travel. Two lines of doggerel French were his 
motto : — 

** Un voyageur des le berceau, 
Je le serai jusqu'au tombeau ** 

** A traveller from the cradle, 
I 'm a traveller to the tomb." 

Long before the invention of railroads and 
steamboats he had travelled over most of south- 
ern Europe and eastern North America. With- 
out money except as he earned it, he had gathered 
shells and plants and fishes on every shore from 
the Hellespont to the Wabash. 

Concerning one element of Rafinesque's charac- 
ter I am able to find no record. If he ever loved 
any man or woman, except as a possible patron 
and therefore aid to his schemes of travel, he him- 
self gives no record of it. He speaks kindly of 
Audubon; but Audubon had furnished him with 
specimens and paintings of flowers and fishes. 
He speaks generously of Clifford, at Lexington; 
but Clifford had given him an asylum when he 
was turned out of Transylvania University. No 
woman is mentioned in his Autobiography except 
his mother and sister, and these but briefly. His 
own travels, discoveries, and publications filled 
his whole mind and soul. 

Rafinesque died in Philadelphia, in 1840, at the 
age of fifty-six. He had been living obscurely in 
miserable lodgings; for his dried plants, and his 
books published at his own expense, brought him 
but a scanty income. His scientific reputation 
had not reached his fellow-lodgers, and his land- 
lord thought him " a crazy herb-doctor." He died 



AN ECCENTRIC NATURALIST. 169 

alone, and left no salable assets ; and his landlord 
refused to allow his friends — such friends as he 
had — to enter the house to give him a decent 
burial. He wished to make good the unpaid 
rent by selling the body to a medical college; 
but at night, so the story goes, a physician who 
had studied botany with Rafinesque got a few 
friends together, and broke into the garret and 
carried away the body, which they buried in a 
little churchyard outside the city limits, now oblit- 
erated by the growth of Philadelphia. 

American naturalists have greater honor now 
than forty years ago. Rafinesque died unnoticed, 
and was buried only by stealth. A whole nation 
wept for Agassiz. But a difference was in the 
men as well as in the times. Both were great 
naturalists and learned men. Both had left high 
reputations in Europe to cast their lot with Amer- 
ica. Agassiz's great heart went out toward every 
one with whom he came in contact ; but Rafi- 
nesque loved no man or woman, and died, as he 
had lived, alone. If sOme one who loved him had 
followed him to the last, it might have been with 
Rafinesque as with Albrecht Diirer : " ^ Emigravit' 
is the inscription on the headstone where he lies." 
But there was no one ; and there is neither head- 
stone nor inscription, and we know not even the 
place where he rests after his long journey. 

Rafinesque*s last recorded words were these: 
" Time renders justice to all alike." And to the 
justice of Time we may leave him. 



170 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 



A CUBAN FISHERMAN. 

" A H, but you must see Don Felipe, — he knows 
l\^ all about fishes ! " is the first advice which 
the naturalist receives when he begins to make col- 
lections of fishes in the markets of Havana. The 
writer once had occasion to make such a collec- 
tion, and he soon found that among fishermen 
and fishmongers the phrase " amigo de Don 
Felipe " was ever a passport to honest dealing and 
to a real desire to aid him in his work. For every 
fisherman in Havana knows Don Felipe, and 
looks upon him as a personal friend. Each one 
regards the fame which Don Felipe's studies of the 
fishes is vaguely understood to have brought him 
in that little-known world outside of Havana as in 
some sort reflected on himself. The writer was 
told, by a dealer in the Pescaderfa Grande, that 
for twenty years Don Felipe Poey was there in the 
markets every day, when at noon the fishes came 
in from the boats, and that he knew more about the 
fishes of Cuba than even the fishermen themselves. 
And now that Don Felipe no longer visits the 
markets, he is not forgotten there, and many a 
rare specimen still finds its way from the Pesca- 
derfa to Don Felipe's study in the Calle San 
Nicolas. 



A CUBAN FISHERMAN. I7I 

Felipe Poey y Aloy was born in Havana, May 26, 
1799. His father was French, his mother Spanish; 
but Poey early renounced his French citizenship 
for that of Cuba. His education was received in 
Havana, and after studying law he became, in 
1823, an advocate in that city. But his tastes lay 
in the direction of natural history, and for this 
he gradually abandoned his practice as a lawyer. 
Very early he had made discoveries of mollusks, 
insects, and especially of fishes, which were new 
to science. In 1825 he was married to Maria de 
J6sus Aguirre, a very intelligent lady who is still 
the companion of his studies. In 1826 he sailed 
for Paris, taking with him eighty-five drawings of 
Cuban fishes and a collection of thirty-five species, 
preserved in a barrel of brandy. These drawings 
and specimens he placed at the service of Cuvier 
and Valenciennes, who were then beginning the 
publication of their work on the " Natural History 
of the Fishes.*' The notes and drawings of Poey 
proved of much service to the great ichthyologists. 
A few new species were based on them, and Poey 
had the satisfaction of finding his own name and 
observations cited by Cuvier and Valenciennes 
even more frequently than those of his famous 
predecessor, Don Antonio Parra,^ who had pub- 
lished, in 1787, the first account of the Fishes of 
Cuba.2 A set of duplicates of these notes and 
drawings is still retained by Professor Poey. While 

1 Y tuve el honor de ser citado por el (Cuvier) y por su co- 
laborador Valenciennes, mas frecuentemente que D. Antonio 
Parr a. — PoEY. 

2 Diferentes Piezas de Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba. 



174 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

fishes mounted by Poey himself in the earlier days 
of his professorship. The number of these is not 
great, nor have many additions been made during 
the last twenty years. Most of the types of the 
new species described by Professor Poey have 
been, after being fully studied by him and repre- 
sented in life-size drawings, sent to the United 
States National Museum, to the Museum of Com- 
parative Zoology, or to the Museum at Madrid. 
Duplicates have been rarely retained in Havana, 
the cost of keeping up a permanent collection be- 
ing too great. As a result, Professor Pocy's work 
has suffered from lack of means of comparing 
specimens taken at different times. There is no 
zoological laboratory in Cuba except the private 
study of Professor Poey; and here, for want of 
room and for other reasons, drawings have, to a 
great extent, taken the place of specimens. 

The publication of the observations of Professor 
Poey on the animals of Cuba was begun in 185 1, 
in a series of papers entitled ** Memorias sobrc la 
Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba.*' These 
papers were issued at intervals from 1851 to i860, 
and together form two octavo volumes of about 
450 pages each. The first volume contains chiefly 
descriptions of mollusks and insects. The second 
volume is devoted mainly to the fishes. As is natu- 
ral in the exploration of a new field, these volumes 
are largely occupied with the description of new 
species. They give evidence of the disadvantages 
arising from solitary- work, without the aid of the 
association and criticism of others, and without the 
broader knowledge of the relations of groups which 



A CUBAN FISHERMAN. 1/5 

comes from the study of more than one fauna. 
On the other hand, Professor Poey enjoyed the 
great advantage of having an almost exhaustless 
supply of material ; for there are few ports where 
fishes are brought in in such quantities, or in such 
variety, as in the markets of Havana. 

It is the fashion in some quarters to decry the 
work of the describer of new forms. This is unjust 
as well as absurd. All honest study has its place ; 
and till the pioneer work of exact determination of 
species is performed, there is little opportunity for 
fruitful work on the part of the embryologist or 
the anatomist. It is of little use to record the 
structure or the development of an animal, while 
the animal itself is unknown. 

The " Memorias " were at once recognized as 
the most important work on the fishes of Cuba ; 
and as was said long ago by Professor Cope, this 
work is a si7ie qtta non in the study of the ichthy- 
ology of tropical America. 

The nomenclature and grouping of the species 
in the ** Conspectus Piscium Cubensium," contained 
in the "Memorias," was in 1862 the subject of a 
critical paper by Dr. Theodore Gill.^ This article, 
and subsequent ones by the same author, exerted 
much influence on Poey's work. He was always 
ready to profit by the suggestions and advice of 
other writers, especially of those more favorably 
situated than he in regard to libraries and muse- 
ums ; from Professor Gill's papers he gained clearer 

1 " Remarks on the Genera and other Groups of Cuban Fishes," 
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, 
1S62, pp. 235 et seq. 



1/6 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

views of the relations of forms, and of the connec- 
tion of the Cuban fauna with that of other regions. 
On the other hand, he was led to adopt, against 
his own judgment in many instances, that minute 
subdivision of genera which has been a fashion in 
American ichthyology, and which has been in 
some quarters a reproach to American science. 

In 1868 the results of the revision of his classi- 
fication were embodied in a second catalogue of 
the Cuban fishes, entitled " Synopsis Piscium Cu- 
bensium." This forms the concluding chapter of 
a series of papers, entitled " Repertorio Ffsico- 
natural de la Isla de Cuba," which embody the 
results of a general scientific survey of the island. 
Of this survey Professor Poey was director. In 
187s the entire list of species was again revised, 
and the third and best catalogue of Cuban fishes 
was published under the title of ** Enumeratio Pis- 
cium Cubensium." Besides these larger works, 
many shorter papers by Poey occur in the " Pro- 
ceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences " of 
Philadelphia, the '* Annals of the New York Ly- 
ceum," and the " Anales de la Sociedad de Historia 
Natural de Madrid." He is also the author of a 
Geography of Cuba, and of a treatise on Mineral- 
ogy, used in the Havana schools. A number of 
poems from his pen have likewise been published, 
but these I have not seen. 

The great work of Poey's life is the still unpub- 
lished '* Ictiologia Cubana." This is to contain 
a detailed account of each of the fishes of Cuba. 
It is to be composed, according to a published 
statement of Poey, which I here translate, — 



A CUBAN FISHERMAN, 1 7/ 

"of a thick volume of text, Spanish folio, and of an 
atlas of ten volumes larger folio (eighteen by thirteen 
inches). The plates are made with a light indication 
of the colors, which are described in the text. All are 
original, drawn from nature by the author. . . . The text 
contains the scientific name of each species, the common 
name, the complete synonymy, a description of the colors, 
distinctive peculiarities, relations of the varieties, compari- 
sons, critical observations, and the history of the fish. It 
contains, moreover, the characters of classes, sub-classes, 
orders, families, genera, and species. The total number 
of plates in the Atlas is 1,040. These show 758 species 
of Cuban fishes, represented by 1,300 individuals in all 
stages of growth. All except the sharks are drawn of 
life-size. These 758 species, together with 24 mentioned 
at the end of the work, make up 782 species of Cuban 
fishes. Of these, 105 are doubtful, and therefore are left 
without specific names. I hold them in suspense till I 
can receive further data from the study of other speci- 
mens. There are, therefore, 677 species well determined, 
of which more than half have been first made known by 
me. Not more than a dozen species in the list have not 
been examined by me. These are inserted on the au- 
thority of writers who claim to have received their 
specimens from Cuba, and who appear to be worthy 
of confidence. The preparation of the text has cost me 
an immense amount of time and labor, by the preparatory 
studies which it has required. In the determination of 
the species it is rarely that a single one has not occupied 
me for an entire week. I have wished to make known 
the certain as certain, and the doubtful as doubtful, so 
that I shall declare nothing to be new unless it is so in 
reality." 

The manuscripts of this great work are now in 

duplicate. Professor Poey retains one copy; the 

12 



178 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Other has been purchased by the Spanish Govern- 
ment for $4,000. It is earnestly hoped by Pro- 
fessor Poey and his friends that the Government 
will soon order its publication ; but, unfortunately, 
there seems to be no certainty of this. The manu- 
scripts and drawings of the ** Ictiologfa Cubana" 
were placed on exhibition by the Spanish Govern- 
ment in the Exposition of Amsterdam in 1883. 
In testimonial of their worth, Professor Poey has 
received from King William III. the decoration of 
the order of the ** Lion Ncerlandais." Before this, 
as the most distinguished of Spanish naturalists, 
he had received from the King of Spain the title 
of " Encomendador de la Orden de Isabella la 
Catolica." 

Among the manuscripts of Poey is one bearing 
the title of " Corona Poeyana." This is a list of 
the species of animals and plants which other natu- 
ralists have named for him as *' Poeyi*' or " Poeya- 
nus," in friendly recognition of the value of his 
work. This list is a long one, but the kindly trib- 
utes which it implies have not been undeserved. 

There is no characteristic of Poey*s work more 
striking than its entire lackof prejudice, or, in other 
words, the teachableness of the man himself. A 
certain zoologist was once described to me by Dr. 
Kirtland as " a little man who could n't be told 
anything." His character was in this regard just 
the reverse of that of Professor Poey. Among all 
the naturalists of our time, I know of none more 
willing to learn, whatever the source from which 
information may come. He has no theories which 
he is not ready to set aside when a better suggestion 



A CUBAN FISHERMAN. 1 79 

appears. Unlike some other systematic writers, 
he exhibits no preference for his own names or 
subdivisions, but is as ready, if the evidence seems 
to require it, to smother one of his own species or 
genera as those of another. His work shows little 
sign of falling off in quality. The clearness of his 
judgment and the accuracy of his memory seem 
unimpaired. It is difficult in conversing with him 
to realize that he was born in the last century, and 
that in his earlier studies he was a contemporary 
of Lamarck, Cuvier, and of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. 
Many men are older at fifty than Poey at eighty-five. 
Old age and its accompanying infirmities are 
now narrowing the circle of Professor's Poey's 
life. His walks seldom extend themselves beyond 
the confines of his study and the little courtyard, 
shaded by tropical trees, into which his door opens. 
Some two hours each day he still devotes to the 
study of fishes. He eagerly reads every new work 
on his favorite science, and is as anxious as ever 
to obtain the freshest ideas on classification, or the 
latest points in synonymy. As an evidence of his 
freedom of mind and lack of prejudice I may cite 
his acceptance of the various scientific theories 
and conclusions embraced in the name " Darwin- 
ism," and his general acceptance of the philosophy 
of evolution as developed by Herbert Spencer, an 
author for whom he has expressed to me a special 
admiration. This is the more remarkable when 
we remember that almost his whole life has been 
passed in Cuba, — a condition where all tendencies 
of society and of Church are away from such stud- 
ies and speculations. 



l8o SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

Like most men who have studied Nature for love 
of her, Poey possesses a deeply religious spirit. 
Everything to him proclaims the presence of Di- 
vinity. ** I believe with Lamarck,'* he has said, 
" that there is nothing but God in the Universe, 
and that by the word Nature we ought to under- 
stand an order of things . . . Him whose true 
name we cannot decipher; who in the burning 
bush, questioned by Moses, said, ^ I am that I am;^ 
who on Mount Sinai called himself Jehovah, and 
whom in our mortal tongue, with filial tenderness, 
we call God." ^ 

Poey is rather above the medium height, heavily 
built, and in his younger days he possessed un- 
usual physical activity and vigor.^ In appearance 
he offers a marked contrast to most of his country- 
men, the Cubans. His complexion is fair, his hair 
— now white — was never dark, and his gray eyes 
suggest the Saxon rather than the Spaniard. As 
he once said to me, ** Comme naturaliste, je ne 
suis pas espagnol: je suis cosmopolite." His full 
forehead, strong features, and handsome, smooth- 
shaven face are not misleading evidences of a pure 
and benevolent life. He has a most happy tem- 
perament, and his smile is peculiarly genial and 
cheery. Simple, direct, unaffected, he is one of 
the most delightful of men. Of all men whom I 
have known, none has better than he learned the 
art of growing old. 

1 Memorias de Cuba, vol. ii. p. 414. 
* Professor Poey died in 1891. 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. l8l 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM.' 

IF you look on a good map of France, you will 
find, a little south of the centre, a small squar- 
ish area, painted red, and bearing the name of Puy- 
de-D6me. Puy-de-D6me is a strange region, made 
up of fertile valleys separated from each other by 
ragged hills which were once volcanoes in Palaeozoic 
times. These volcanoes have long since retired 
from active life, and are black and dismal now, 
their faces scored by lava-furrows, like gigantic tear- 
stains dried on their rugged cheeks. In their cra- 
ters are ponds of black water full of perch and trout 
as black as the rocks above which they swim. The 
highest of these hills the people call the Puy-de- 
D6me, — the Cathedral-peak. There is an obser- 
vatory on the top of it, and all the country that 
you can see from the mountain-summit makes up 
the " department " of Puy-de-D6me. 

On the south side of the department, near what 
one might call the ** county line," you will find, if 
your map is a good one, the little city of Issoire. 
Issoire is a very old town. The Romans knew it. 
They found it when they invaded Gaul, 1900 years 

^ The chief present mterest of this essay is perhaps to be found 
in the fact that nearly all the historical events related in it have 
taken place since the date of its first publication in the " Popular 
Science Monthly *' in August, 1888. 



1 82 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

ago, and they called it Iciodorum. They found it 
again in the year 287, when they came up to convert 
the Gauls to Christianity, — a thing which they had 
neglected to do upon their first visit. The Romans 
brought with them a pious monk, Saint Austre- 
moine by name ; and the people of Iciodorum cap- 
tured him, and he was duly roasted in accordance 
with their heathenish customs. So, as the blood of 
the martyrs is the seed of the Church, Issoire came 
in time to be famous as having the largest church 
and the best parish schools in the whole region of 
Auvergne. 

Issoire has a long, long history, which is duly 
set forth in Joanne's " Guide-Book." Its story is 
one of castles and robbers and chivalry, with here 
and there a fair dame and an ancestral ghost, per- 
haps, but of this I am not so certain. Once Issoire 
fell into the hands of the famous knight Pierre 
Diablenoir, the Duke of Alengon. After plunder- 
ing all the shops, burning the houses, killing most 
of the people, and scaring the rest off into the 
woods, he set up in the public square a large col- 
umn bearing this simple legend, ** Ici fut Issoire!" 
( " Here was Issoire.") Were it not for this touching 
forethought, we might be to this day as ignorant of 
Issoire*s location as we are of the site of Troy. 

But the years went on, the wars were ended, the 
rain fell, the birds sang, the grass grew, the people 
came back, and Issoire arose from its ashes. To- 
day it is as dull and cosy a town as you will find in 
all France. It has now, according to Joanne, a 
population of 6,303 souls, and a considerable trade 
in grain, shoes, millstones, brandy, and vinegar. 



THE FATE OF IC 10 DO RUM. 1 83 

The streets of Issoire are narrow, and the houses 
are crowded closely together, as if struggling to get 
as near as possible to the church for protection. 
The city lies in the fertile valley of the little river 
Couze, surrounded by grain-lands and meadows. 
Toward the north a long white highway, shaded by 
poplars, leads out across the meadows and hills 
toward the larger city of Clermont-Ferrand, the 
capital of the department of the Puy-de-D6me. 
Issoire is enclosed by an old wall, and where the 
highway enters the town, it passes through a pon- 
derous gate, which is always closed at night, as if 
to ward off an attack from some other Duke of 
Alengon. 

I strolled out one midsummer afternoon on the 
road leading to Clermont. When I came to the 
city gate, I first made the acquaintance of the octroi. 
A little house stands by the side of the gate ; and 
here two or three gendarmes — old soldiers dressed 
in red coats with blue facings — watch over the 
industries of the town. Wheelbarrow loads of tur- 
nips, baskets of onions or artichokes, wagon-loads 
of hay, all these come through the city gate, and 
each pays its toll into the city treasury. One cent 
is collected for every five cabbage-heads, or ten 
onions, or twelve turnips, or eight apples, or three 
bunches of artichokes, and other things pay in pro- 
portion. This payment of money is called the 
octroi. The process of its collection interested me 
so that I gave up all idea of a tramp across the 
fields, sat down on an empty nail-keg, and devoted 
myself to the study of the octroi. 

The octroi is an instrument to advance the pros- 



1 84 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

perity of a town by preventing the people from 
sending their money away. It is a well-known fact 
that individuals become poor simply because they 
spend their money. So with cities. What is true 
of the individual is true of the community, itself 
but an aggregation of individuals. Nations, as well 
as individuals, grow rich by doing their own work. 
Commerce, as is well known, is a great drain on 
the resources of a town as of a nation. Now, if in 
some way we can keep the money of a town within 
its limits, the town cannot fail to grow rich. As 
Benjamin Franklin once observed, " A penny saved 
is twopence earned." The great problem in muni- 
cipal economics is this : How shall we keep the 
town's money from going out of it? How shall we 
best discourage buying, — especially the buying of 
articles from dealers outside? 

To meet this problem, the wisdom of the fathers 
devised the octroi. 

In view of the prospective introduction of the 
octroi into America (and I trust that I am violating 
no confidence in saying that this is the real object 
of the present visit to Europe on the part of one of 
America's foremost statesmen), it is worth while to 
examine carefully its nature and advantages. 

Years ago, before the octroi came to Issoire, the 
city was noted chiefly for the barter of farm prod- 
ucts. The farmers used to bring in grains, hides, 
cheese, and other produce, which they would ex- 
change for clothing, sugar, coffee, tobacco, and the 
various necessaries of existence. The merchants 
used to load the grain into wagons which were 
driven across the country to the city of Clermont. 



THE FATE OF ICTODORUM. 1 85 

Here the grain was exchanged for clothing, food, 
and all manner of necessaries and luxuries which 
were made in Clermont, or which had been brought 
thither from the great city of Lyons. There were 
long processions of these wagons, and all through 
the autumn and winter they went in and out And 
the Issoire people were very proud of them ; for 
neither coming nor going were they empty, and, the 
teamsters of Issoire were the most skilful in the 
whole basin of the Loire. 

But the mayor of the city and other thoughtful 
people saw cause for shame rather than for pride 
in the condition of Issoire's industries. It was 
ruinous thus steadily to carry away the wealth of 
the land and to exchange it for perishable articles. 
When a wagon-load of boots, for example, had 
been all worn out, then the boots were gone. The 
money that had been paid for them was gone, and 
so far as Issoire was concerned, it was as much 
lost as if money and boots had been sunk in the 
bottom of the sea. The money that was paid out, 
I say. Not so with the money that was paid in. 
If those boots had been bought in Issoire, the money 
that they cost would still be in town, still be in circu- 
lation, and would go from one to another in the way 
that money is meant to go. This drain must be 
stopped, and the octroi could stop it. So it was 
enacted by the Common Council of Issoire that 
" whosoever brings a pair of new boots into Issoire 
shall be compelled to pay ten francs,*' which was 
the cost of a pair of boots at Clermont. The pur- 
pose of this order was not to raise money, but to 
have boots made at Issoire, that the wearing out of 



l86 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

these necessary articles should not wear out, at the 
same time, the wealth of the town. 

** People will have boots/' the mayor said ; " they 
cannot afford to bring them in from Clermont, and 
so they will make them at Issoire, and all the boot- 
money will remain at home. It is as though, so far 
as the city is concerned, Issoire gets her boots for 
nothing. To be sure, Clermont has good water- 
power, and her nearness to the mountains makes 
the price of hides and tan-bark lower, but this has 
nothing to do with the question. Natural advan- 
tages amount to nothing when artificial advantages 
can be given by a mere stroke of the pen. The 
laws of political economy are not of universal appli- 
cation. Depend upon the octroi to make all things 
equal." 

A new boot-factory was now built at Issoire, and 
boots were offered for sale at twenty francs a pair. 
The cost of boots at Clermont was ten francs, and 
the octroi charges at the city gate amounted to ten 
francs more. Buying at twenty francs would save 
the purchaser a trip to Clermont and back, and, as 
trade is apt to flow in the direction of least resist- 
ance, after a little the Issoire boot industry became 
fairly established. There was some grumbling at 
high prices. Some of the laboring classes went 
barefooted, while the doctor and the schoolmaster 
put their boys and girls into wooden shoes, or sabots, 
such as peasant children wear. But the mayor and 
the Common Council took shares in the new factory, 
and, being members of the company, they got their 
boots at the old rate, besides having a part in the 
large dividends which the business soon began to 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 1 87 

yield. Employment was given to more workmen, 
who came over from Clermont ; the hum of machin- 
ery took the place of the creaking of farm-wagons, 
the rich began to grow richer, the poor went bare- 
footed, and the people of moderate means felt able 
to run into debt because they lived in a progressive 
town. The wives of the members of the Common 
Council bought diamonds, and the members pre- 
sented the mayor with a gold-headed cane. Soon 
other boot-factories were started, and still others, 
though, strangely enough, the more boots were 
produced, the more barefooted children were seen 
in the streets. 

By and by the tanners decided that they too 
must ask for help from the octroi. It was as bad, 
they said, for the factories to send to Clermont for 
leather as for the merchants to send for boots. In 
either case the money went out of the town, and 
was gone forever. So the octroi was levied on 
leather as well as on boots. Then the guild of 
butchers put in similar claims. To buy raw hides 
of the herdsmen out on the Puy-de-D6me was a 
part of the same suicidal policy. The octroi was 
therefore assessed on all imported skins. The 
butchers established their own stock-yards within 
the city walls, and were saved from the pauper 
competition of the mountain cattle. Then the 
mountain herdsmen drove the cattle on to Clermont, 
and Issoire was left in peace. 

But some of the boot-makers complained that 
this policy was injuring their business by greatly 
raising the price of hides, whether produced in 
Issoire or at Clermont. So the mayor sent a lette 



1 88 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

to the Issoire " Gazette," a long letter which the 
schoolmaster had helped him to compose, and in 
which he showed- conclusively that the purpose of 
the octroi was to make things, not dearer, but 
cheaper. Said he: "The ultimate result of the 
octroi is always in the end to reduce prices. The 
sole purpose of the octroi on hides, for example, 
is to educate our people in the art, so to speak, of 
raising hides. By this education, they may, by 
superior intelligence, experience in the business, 
and the acquirement of knowledge on the subject, 
be enabled to produce cowhides in such abundance, 
by new and improved methods, that they may sell 
them much cheaper than they do now, sell more 
of them, and yet realize a larger profit on each 
hide than they can do at present. If there is a 
fair prospect that this can be accomplished, who 
shall say that it is not a part of wise statesmanship 
to attempt this result? Cattle-raising is now car- 
ried on in the most primitive way, by driving the 
cattle about as though they were wild beasts from 
place to place on remote and uninhabited hills. 
The octroi will tend to encourage each householder 
in Issoire to keep his own cow, produce his own 
leather, thus diversifying his business and giving 
him some new product to sell every year, some 
new demand for labor." 

And the thoughtful men of Issoire, the leaders 
of public opinion, saw the force of this argument, 
and they were satisfied to submit to temporary in- 
convenience for the sake of the industrial education 
of the people. 

But the boot-trade was already growing slack. 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 1 89 

The market had supplied boots for all, but the 
people perversely refused to take them. The 
shop-windows were full of boots, temptingly dis- 
played in rows of assorted sizes; nevertheless, 
every person in Issoire, except those engaged in 
boot-making, seemed bent on wearing his last 
year's boots rather than to pay twenty francs for a 
new pair. The high price of leather and hides 
since the excision of the mountain cattle began 
to reduce the profits in boot-making, and so some 
of the factories threw a poorer article on the mar- 
ket, without, however, any corresponding reduction 
in price. And people found that it was cheaper 
to go to Clermont again for boots, notwithstanding 
the payment of the octroi. Accordingly, the old 
wagons were sent out once in a while, by people 
who had more cupidity than patriotism. And a 
little coterie of aristocrats who sneered at the 
mayor as a demagogue, and at the octroi as a 
" relic of the middle ages," used to wear Clermont- 
made boots and to ape Clermont fashions. But 
all good citizens discouraged this, and the main- 
tenance of the ** Issoire idea " became one of their 
articles of faith, next to those in the catechism. 

But Clermont-made boots often came in on the 
sly — no one knew how — to the dismay of the 
local dealers. The Common Council saw that this 
would not do, and that the single old soldier who 
guarded each of the city gates could not meet all 
the requirements of the octroi. So at each gate 
were placed a dozen gendarmes, in red woollen 
uniforms, with black caps fastened on by a leather 
band which went around the lower lip. And the 



igo SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

gendarmes searched every cart and every ash- 
barrel that went in or out. They watched every 
rat-hole in the wall to see if haply, by day or by 
night, boots should come into Issoire without the 
chalk-mark of the octroi. Occasionally some poor 
wretch was taken in the act of throwing boots over 
the wall, and made to pay the penalty of his crime. 
But sometimes even the gendarmes themselves, the 
guardians of the prosperity of the community, were 
seen walking about in Clermont-made boots, which 
they had obtained by a process known as ** addi- 
tion, division, and silence." The mayor noticed 
this one day, but the gendarmes had just presented 
him with a gold-headed cane. They were very 
much devoted to the Issoire idea — it was just 
before election — and on the whole he thought it 
best to say nothing about it. 

The problem now before the mayor and the 
Common Council was this : How shall we put life 
into the boot-trade? The stock was large, its 
quality was excellent, and yet for days at a time 
the boot-shops would not see a customer. Some- 
thing must be done. At last, an ordinance was 
passed that every citizen of Issoire must have at 
least one new pair of Issoire- made boots, which 
must be worn on Sunday afternoons when the band 
played in the park, — at which time the gendarmes 
would go about on a tour of inspection. When 
Sunday came, half the workingmen stayed at home 
all day, because they had not the money to meet 
the requirements of the law. 

But a few of the bolder ones went to the mayor 
and said openly: ** If you want us to wear Issoire- 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 191 

made boots, you must furnish them for us. You 
ought to do it anyhow. This city owes us a living, 
and we came over here from Clermont to get it. 
We were told that the workingman in Issoire would 
have the octroi on his side, and would not have to 
work like a slave to keep soul and body together, 
as we had to do at Clermont But it is the same 
old story here. We do all the work, and some- 
body else gets all the profits. Now we have to 
buy and pay for the boots we make ourselves. 
The cowhide .in a pair of boots costs the capitalists 
but a franc, and we, the boot- makers, pay twenty 
francs for the boots when we have made them. 
The other nineteen francs are the product of labor, 
and ought to belong to us. Our boots should be 
furnished at a franc a pair." 

So they held a mass-meeting in the caf^ of the 
Lion d*Or, and resolved that the rights of man 
were not respected in Issoire. They sent a delega- 
tion to the mayor, asking that boots for the work- 
ingman be furnished at the expense of the town. 
This would be but justice, and moreover it was 
the only way to start anew the wheels of industry. 
Money should not be locked up in the city treas- 
ury. It should go from man to man, and this 
action was sure to set it going. 

Then the schoolmaster wrote a long letter to the 
Issoire ** Gazette," and showed very clearly that 
this claim was on the whole a just one. Nobody 
understood the argument, but all applauded it 
because it looked very learned ; and, moreover, its 
conclusions were in harmony with their previous 
opinions. The schoolmaster showed that, as boots 



192 



SCIEtrCE SKETCHES. 



were worth twenty francs a pair, and the leather in 
them cost but one franc, the nineteen francs left 
were the product of labor, and should rightfully be 
returned to the laborer. Now, in Clermont, where 
boots were made by pauper labor, the boots sold 
for ten francs, and the leather in each pair was 
worth but fifty centimes. In Clermont, therefore, 
the rightful share of labor, even if labor had its 
due, which it never has in this world, was only 
nine and a half francs; that is, to labor belonged 
nine and a half francs on each pair of boots in 
Clermont, and nineteen francs in Issoirc. The lot 
of the laborer was therefore twice as delightful in 
Issoire as in Clermont, this difference being due to 
the beneficent influence of the octroi. 

And the Common Council, who were friends of 
labor, decided that hereafter the price of boots 
should be twenty francs to workingmen, but that 
nineteen francs of this should be paid as a bounty 
from the public treasury. But, " always taking 
out of a meal-bag and never putting in, soon comes 
to the bottom," as Benjamin Franklin once said, 
and there have been few shrewder observers of 
French politics than he. One morning, when the 
treasurer put his hand into the strong-box to get the 
nineteen francs to pay for one more pair of boots, 
he found it empty. There were only a bad franc, 
a fifty-centime note, and half a dozen copper sous 
and tivo-centimc pieces; nothing more. He had 
come to the bottom. 

Here was a crisis ! The mayor and the Common 
Council were called together in haste. The work- 
man Jacques, who wanted the boots, was waiting 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 1 93 

outside, a big, burly fellow, with a sledge-hammer 
fist and an unpleasant look in his eye. The mayor 
took one glance at him, and saw that he was not 
to be trifled with. Moreover, this one case was 
not to end the difficulty. The road from Clermont 
and the road across the mountains to Auriilac, the 
chief town of the next department, Cantal, were 
black with the advancing hosts of workmen coming 
to share the privileges which Issoire held out to 
the oppressed of every city. Through the win- 
dows of the H6tel de Ville the mayor could see 
them coming, and he knew that the demand of 
each one of them would be " boots." It was not 
one pair of boots to be paid for, it was a thousand ! 
There were boots enough in Issoire. The factories 
were never so prosperous, and the money they re- 
ceived from the city was kept in rapid circulation. 
The grocers got some, the butchers some, a good 
deal went to the landlady of the Golden Lion, and 
the wives of the factory-owners and the council- 
men bought diamond necklaces and bracelets to 
match the ear-rings which they had before. 

But this could not go on unless the city treasury 
could meet the demands upon it. In the words of 
a celebrated economist, '* The mill can never grind 
again with the water that is past," and, unless new 
water could be procured, grinding was over at 
Issoire. The town must have money, or else the 
factories would be closed, the supply of boots 
cease, and each citizen of Issoire would have to 
keep the wolf from the door by his own unaided 
exertions. 

It was a great crisis; but such crises, *' God's 

13 



192 



SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



were worth twenty francs a pair, and the leather in 
them cost but one franc, the nineteen francs left 
were the product of labor, and should rightfully be 
returned to the laborer. Now, in Clermont, where 
boots were made by pauper labor, the boots sold 
for ten francs, and the leather in each pair was 
worth but fifty centimes. In Clermont, therefore, 
the rightful share of labor, even if labor had its 
due, which it never has in this world, was only 
nine and a half francs; that is, to labor belonged 
nine and a half francs on each pair of boots in 
Clermont, and nineteen francs in Issoire, The lot 
of the laborer was therefore twice as delightful in 
Issoire as in Clermont, this difference being due to 
the beneficent influence of the octroi. 

And the Common Council, who were friends of 
labor, decided that hereafter the price of boots 
should be twenty francs to workingmen, but that 
nineteen francs of this should be paid as a bounty 
from the public treasury. But, " always taking 
out of a meal-bag and never putting in, soon comes 
to the bottom," as Benjamin Franklin once said, 
and there have been few shrewder observers of 
French politics than he. One morning, when the 
treasurer put his hand into the strong-box to get the 
nineteen francs to pay for one more pair of boots, 
he found it empty. There were only a bad franc, 
a fifty-centime note, and half a dozen copper sous 
and two-centime pieces; nothing more. He had 
come to the bottom. 

Here was a crisis ! The mayor and the Common 
Council were called together in haste. The worlj- 
man Jacques, who wanted the boots, was waiting 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 



193 



outside, a big, burly fellow, with a sledge-hammer 
fist and an unpleasant look in his eye. The mayor 
took one glance at him, and saw that he was not 
to be trifled with. Moreover, this one case was 
not to end Che difficulty. The road from Clermont 
and the road across the mountains to Auriliac, the 
chief town of the next department, Cantal, were 
black with the advancing hosts of workmen coming 
to share the privileges which Issoire held out to 
the oppressed of every city. Through the win- 
dows of the H6tel de Ville the mayor could see 
them coming, and he knew that the demand of 
each one of them would be " boots." It was not 
one pair of boots to be paid for, it was a thousand \ 
' There were boots enough in Issoire. The factories 
. were never so prosperous, and the money they re- 
ceived from the city was kept in rapid circulation. 
The grocers got some, the butchers some, a good 
deal went to the landlady of the Golden Lion, and 
the wives of the factory-owners and the council- 
men bought diamond necklaces and bracelets to 
match the ear-rings which they had before. 

But this could not go on unless the city treasury 
couid meet the demands upon it. In the words of 
a celebrated economist, " The mill can never grind 
again with the water that is past," and, unless new 
water could be procured, grinding was over at 
Issoire. The town must have money, or else the 
factories would be closed, the supply of boots 
cease, and each citizen of Issoire would have to 
keep the wolf from the door by his own unaided 
exertions. 

It was a grea*- -"=\s,\ but such crises, "God's 
'3 



192 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

were worth twenty francs a pair, and the leather in 
them cost but one franc, the nineteen francs left 
were the product of labor, and should rightfully be 
returned to the laborer. Now, in Clermont, where 
boots were made by pauper labor, the boots sold 
for ten francs, and the leather in each pair was 
worth but fifty centimes. In Clermont, therefore, 
the rightful share of labor, even if labor had its 
due, which it never has in this world, was only 
nine and a half francs ; that is, to labor belonged 
nine and a half francs on each pair of boots in 
Clermont, and nineteen francs in Issoire. The lot 
of the laborer was therefore twice as delightful in 
Issoire as in Clermont, this difference being due to 
the beneficent influence of the octroi. 

And the Common Council, who were friends of 
labor, decided that hereafter the price of boots 
should be twenty francs to workingmen, but that 
nineteen francs of this should be paid as a bounty 
from the public treasury. But, " always taking 
out of a meal-bag and never putting in, soon comes 
to the bottom," as Benjamin Franklin once said, 
and there have been few shrewder observers of 
French politics than he. One morning, when the 
treasurer put his hand into the strong-box to get the 
nineteen francs to pay for one more pair of boots, 
he found it empty. There were only a bad franc, 
a fifty-centime note, and half a dozen copper sous 
and two-centime pieces ; nothing more. He had 
come to the bottom. 

Here was a crisis ! The mayor and the Common 
Council were called together in haste. The work- 
man Jacques, who wanted the boots, was waiting 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 1 93 

outside, a big, burly fellow, with a sledge-hammer 
fist and an unpleasant look in his eye. The mayor 
took one glance at him, and saw that he was not 
to be trifled with. Moreover, this one case was 
not to end the difficulty. The road from Clermont 
and the road across the mountains to Aurillac, the 
chief town of the next department, Cantal, were 
black with the advancing hosts of workmen coming 
to share the privileges which Issoire held out to 
the oppressed of every city. Through the win- 
dows of the H6tel de Ville the mayor could see 
them coming, and he knew that the demand of 
each one of them would be ** boots." It was not 
one pair of boots to be paid for, it was a thousand ! 
There were boots enough in Issoire. The factories 
were never so prosperous, and the money they re- 
ceived from the city was kept in rapid circulation. 
The grocers got some, the butchers some, a good 
deal went to the landlady of the Golden Lion, and 
the wives of the factory-owners and the council- 
men bought diamond necklaces and bracelets to 
match the ear-rings which they had before. 

But this could not go on unless the city treasury 
could meet the demands upon it. In the words of 
a celebrated economist, " The mill can never grind 
again with the water that is past," and, unless new 
water could be procured, grinding was over at 
Issoire. The town must have money, or else the 
factories would be closed, the supply of boots 
cease, and each citizen of Issoire would have to 
keep the wolf from the door by his own unaided 
exertions. 

It was a great crisis ; but such crises, " God's 

13 



192 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

were worth twenty francs a pair, and the leather in 
them cost but one franc, the nineteen francs left 
were the product of labor, and should rightfully be 
returned to the laborer. Now, in Clermont, where 
boots were made by pauper labor, the boots sold 
for ten francs, and the leather in each pair was 
worth but fifty centimes. In Clermont, therefore, 
the rightful share of labor, even if labor had its 
due, which it never has in this world, was only 
nine and a half francs ; that is, to labor belonged 
nine and a half francs on each pair of boots in 
Clermont, and nineteen francs in Issoire. The lot 
of the laborer was therefore twice as delightful in 
Issoire as in Clermont, this difference being due to 
the beneficent influence of the octroi. 

And the Common Council, who were friends of 
labor, decided that hereafter the price of boots 
should be twenty francs to workingmen, but that 
nineteen francs of this should be paid as a bounty 
from the public treasury. But, " always taking 
out of a meal-bag and never putting in, soon comes 
to the bottom," as Benjamin Franklin once said, 
and there have been few shrewder observers of 
French politics than he. One morning, when the 
treasurer put his hand into the strong-box to get the 
nineteen francs to pay for one more pair of boots, 
he found it empty. There were only a bad franc, 
a fifty-centime note, and half a dozen copper sous 
and two-centime pieces ; nothing more. He had 
come to the bottom. 

Here was a crisis ! The mayor and the Common 
Council were called together in haste. The wort:- 
man Jacques, who wanted the boots, was waiting 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 193 

outside, a big, burly fellow, with a sledge-hammer 
fist and an unpleasant look in his eye. The mayor 
took one glance at him, and saw that he was not 
to be trifled with. Moreover, this one case was 
not to end the difficulty. The road from Clermont 
and the road across the mountains to Aurillac, the 
chief town of the next department, Cantal, were 
black with the advancing hosts of workmen coming 
to share the privileges which Issoire held out to 
the oppressed of every city. Through the win- 
dows of the Hdtel de Ville the mayor could see 
them coming, and he knew that the demand of 
each one of them would be " boots." It was not 
one pair of boots to be paid for, it was a thousand ! 
There were boots enough in Issoire. The factories 
were never so prosperous, and the money they re- 
ceived from the city was kept in rapid circulation. 
The grocers got some, the butchers some, a good 
deal went to the landlady of the Golden Lion, and 
the wives of the factory-owners and the council- 
men bought diamond necklaces and bracelets to 
match the ear-rings which they had before. 

But this could not go on unless the city treasury 
could meet the demands upon it. In the words of 
a celebrated economist, " The mill can never grind 
again with the water that is past," and, unless new 
water could be procured, grinding was over at 
Issoire. The town must have money, or else the 
factories would be closed, the supply of boots 
cease, and each citizen of Issoire would have to 
keep the wolf from the door by his own unaided 
exertions. 

It was a great crisis ; but such crises, ** God's 

13 



194 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

Stern winnowers," as the poet calls them, are the 
making of great men. And this crisis made a 
great man of the mayor of Issoire, or rather it 
made a background against which his greatness 
could be seen. I have forgotten the mayor's name, 
and I am very sorry for it. It was a French name 
and wholly unpronounceable to me, something like 
De Roncevalle or De Rousselieu ; but if ever the 
name of a mayor were 



" On Fame's eternal beadroll worthy to be filed," 

it is his, and it is my constant regret that I cannot 
file it there. 

And the mayor said: "All our prosperity is due 
to the action of the octroi on a single article of 
necessity, — namely, boots. This is prosperity along 
a single line only, a one-sided development of our 
industries, and from this comes our present embar- 
rassment. Put the octroi on everything, and you 
have prosperity along the whole line. Some of 
these things we can produce at home, some we can- 
not. Those that we cannot produce the people 
will have somehow, and from these you can raise 
the money to pay for the boots which Issoire recog- 
nizes as the just due of the toiling workingman." 
Here the mayor wiped a tear from his eye, and 
raised his voice a little, in the hope that perchance 
some toiling workingman might be listening out- 
side, or taking his needful midday rest at the Golden 
Lion, next door. 

** On the tea, coffee, pepper, brass, tin, dia- 
monds " (here the Common Council heaved a 
sigh), " and other articles which Issoire cannot 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 195 

produce, we will raise the income which the city 
needs. And the great charm of this tax is that 
the people will not feel it at all, for it will all be 
paid by outsiders, by these merchants from Cler- 
mont and Lyons who send their goods to our 
town. They own the goods, they bring them here, 
they pay the octroi, for we need not buy of them 
until the goods are safe inside the city gates. By 
a single stroke in financial policy, we shall keep 
our factories running, our workingmen contented, 
and make the merchants in our rival cities pay all 
our expenses. As for the other articles which we 
buy in Clermont, we can make them here, if only 
we can have the octroi to help us. Extend the 
octroi to everything, and Issoire will become a mi- 
crocosm, a little world within a world. We shall do 
everything for ourselves. There is no excuse for 
buying anything in Clermont so long as there is a 
foot of land in Issoire on which a factory can be 
built. We shall have woollen-factories, and pow- 
der-factories, and iron-foundries, and distilleries, 
and cotton-factories, and wine-vaults, and chair- 
factories, and stone-quarries, and gold-mines, and 
flouring-mills, and paper-mills, and saw-mills, and 
wind-mills, and gin-mills, and — *' 

But here the mayor began to grow a little inco- 
herent. He had been out late the night before, 
explaining the advantages of the octroi at the club 
in the Caf^ de la Comedie, and his private secre- 
tary pulled his coat in warning that he should 
bring his speech to a close. 

The mayor's recommendation was accepted in 
part. A few of the Council had been in favor of 



196 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

issuing some kind of cheap money, — some sort of 
brass or paper token, which they could make by 
machinery whenever the treasury became empty. 
But to do anything of this sort successfully would 
require the consent and co-operation of Clermont 
And the merchants and bankers of Clermont said 
that gold was good enough for them. Besides, in 
France ** the burnt child dreads the fire," and the 
best people were cowardly in the presence of great 
financial reforms. So, by way of compromise, they 
agreed to extend the octroi to twenty-seven arti- 
cles, — mostly articles of food or clothing which 
had been brought in from Clermont or from the 
mountains of the Puy-de-D6me. The workman 
Jacques was dismissed with a pair of boots, for 
which the mayor himself paid. Jacques left the 
council-chamber satisfied, and the crisis was averted. 

And now money flowed in again to Issoire. 
The farmers who brought in onions paid a little, 
the boy who pulled water-cresses a little, the milk- 
men a little, the vine-growers a good deal more, 
but most of all came in from the merchants of 
Clermont, who in spite of all discouragement still 
persisted in carrying cheap goods to Issoire. 

Prices went up, — a sure index of prosperity. It 
was easy to pay one's debts, easier still to make 
new ones ; but the great thing was that the money 
was kept in town. To go from hand to hand, from 
hand to hand, and then from hand to hand again, 
as in the endless round of the fairy tale, — that is 
what money is for. Factories sprang up as if by 
magic, and down the long white highways multi- 
tudes of the crushed and down-trodden of other 



THE FATE OF IC 10 DO RUM. 1 97 

cities were seen tramping along to share the pros- 
perity of Issoire. Five hundred soldiers in red 
and blue uniforms had taken the place of the dozen 
gendarmes, the dome of the church was gilded 
anew, and the poet wrote a sonnet in which Issoire 
was compared to the island of Calypso, and the 
mayor to Ulysses. 

But the weather was never so pleasant that 
nobody had the rheumatism. Never was country 
so happy that the grumblers all kept still. There 
were some complainers even at Issoire. Those who 
lived on incomes and endowments said that with the 
rise of prices it was every day harder to make 
both ends meet. One wealthy man who wore 
Clermont-made boots, and had furnished his sons 
with private tutors, and saddle-horses, and gold 
watches, now found it almost beyond his means to 
keep them in ordinary clothing. But he soon 
removed to Clermont, and others of the same sort 
went with him. With them, too, went the widows 
and orphans who lived on endowments, and the 
old soldiers who had government pensions. 

But the mayor said: "Let them go; it is a 
good riddance. They belong to the non-pro- 
ducing class, a class that hangs like a millstone 
on the neck of labor." 

But, in spite of all adverse influences, many peo- 
ple from Issoire visited Clermont in fine weather 
for pleasure or for trade. It was pleasant to wan- 
der about the larger town, the home of their an- 
cestors, to be a part in the bustle of its streets, and 
to breathe its metropolitan air. There were better 
opera-houses there, and picture-galleries, and there 



198 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

was a special charm in the shops where prices far 
below those at Issoire were ostentatiously fixed on 
elaborately displayed wares. And so — almost 
before the owner knew it — many an Issoire wagon 
was loaded down with cheap goods from Clermont. 
But although the octroi was paid at the city gates, 
the real purpose of the octroi was evaded. The 
money, in the first place, was spent outside the 
city. Worse than this, the octroi, instead of being 
paid by the agents of the Clermont merchants, — 
as the law intended, — was collected, as the mayor 
of Issoire now said, '* off our own people." For, if 
the octroi is to be collected in this way, " off our 
own people," it would be just as easy and a good 
deal cheaper and fairer to collect the tax in the 
usual way, in direct proportion to the value of 
each man's income or capital. 

Another ordinance was clearly necessary. The 
wagon-maker at Issoire had long since gone out of 
the business. The prices of wood, iron, leather, 
and paint were such that he could not compete 
with Clermont manufacturers. So the wagon-shop 
was closed, and carnages and vehicles of every 
description were brought over from Clermont. 
The cost of these vehicles had been a heavy drain 
upon the resources of Issoire. The octroi alone 
would not remedy this, for nothing short of abso- 
lute prohibition of outside purchase would revive 
the wagon-trade. So the mayor proposed that by 
another bold stroke the dying industry should be 
revived, while at the same time the citizens of 
Issoire should be prevented from paying the octroi. 
It was enacted that no citizen of Issoire should 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. I99 

own any sort of vehicle — wheelbarrow, cart, wagon, 
barouche, carriage, or droschke — unless said ve- 
hicle was made in all its parts at Issoire, and bore 
the signature of the mayor and the seal of the 
Common Council. This saved the city many 
thousands of francs, — for, now that the people no 
longer drove over to Clermont, the Clermont mer- 
chants sent goods to Issoire; and when they 
entered the gates, the Clermont people, paid the 
charges of the octroi. 

When the first Issoire wagon was finished, the 
maker had put such a high price upon it that no 
one would buy, and the reviving industry began 
to faint again. The wagon-maker said that he 
could n't help it. Unless he could in some way 
get wood and nails at special prices, his wagons 
would be out of the reach of all buyers. A few of 
the Common Council were in favor of releasing the 
wagon-maker from the octroi on articles used in 
the manufacture of wagojis ; but the rest were un- 
willing to do this, — because to buy these materials 
outside is another drain on the prosperity of a 
town. At last they arranged a compromise, by 
which the city gave an order for a new street- 
sprinkler and twelve rubbish-carts, to be paid for 
from the public treasury. They had no need for a 
new sprinkler then, and five rubbish-carts would 
have been enough. But a liberal order like this 
made the wagon-maker contented, and a generous 
policy was necessary to start anew the wheels of 
trade, which, in spite of all their care, were fre- 
quently becoming clogged. 

Once more the treasury was nearly empty. 



200 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

The citizens of Issoire, accustomed to having their 
taxes paid by the people of Clermont and Lyons, 
would not submit to any form of direct taxation. 
Had the Common Council said, ** We must have 
so much money; we propose to take it from your 
pockets by a pro rata assessment," the people 
would have risen as one man and put the opposi- 
tion candidates into office. Direct taxation is a 
confession of barrenness in expedients. Where 
money is to be raised, it should always be col- 
lected from foreigners, if possible. This is a 
maxim in political science, and all successful finan- 
ciers from Julius Caesar down have acted in accord- 
ance with it. 

The falling off in the Clermont trade, due to the 
new wagon law, had made a serious reduction of 
the revenue. And now appeared the wisdom of 
the mayor*s original suggestion. What Issoire 
needed was prosperity along the whole line. A 
partial octroi means only partial prosperity. A 
universal octroi insures prosperity which is un- 
bounded and universal. 

And so the schoolmaster took a copy of Littr^'s 
" Unabridged Dictionary*' and the ** Dictionary of 
the Academy," and from these he drew up a list 
of three thousand eight hundred and seventy-two 
articles on which the city government might levy 
the octroi. And the mayor and the City Council 
sat up half the night to decide just how much 
octroi each one of these articles should bear, in 
order to secure the best results to the community. 

The list began : — 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 20I 

Absinthe octroi one franc per bottle. 

Accoutrements '* five francs per set. 

Acids " one franc per litre. 

Alcohol " five francs per litre. 

Alligators ** five francs each. 

Animals (not otherwise specified) " ten centimes per kilogramme. 

Arnica " five centimes per kilogramme. 

Artichokes " five centimes each. 

And so on, down to zinc and zoophytes. 

The general effect of this law was like that of a 
refreshing rain upon a thirsty field. Everybody 
took heart, and general confidence in the future is 
the chief element in financial prosperity. But the 
law had some curious results. 

The octroi on elephants was so high as to be 
prohibitory, and the Italian organ-grinder thanked 
his stars that he and his monkey were well inside 
the city gates before the law went into effect. 
The combined tax on quadrumana and musical 
instruments was more than he could pay. Once 
within, however, he enjoyed a full monopoly; and 
this, so the schoolmaster told him, was just what 
the law originally intended, — for octroi is spelled in 
Latin " auctoritas," " by authority,'* an authorized 
monopoly. The manufacturers of dolls were much 
encouraged. Christmas was coming on; the 
children must have dolls; and the pauper doll- 
makers of Jonas, with whom Saint Nicholas had 
been in the habit of trading, were by no means 
able to pay the octroi. 

But, on the other hand, the trade in looking- 
glasses was nearly ruined. The octroi on glass, 
quicksilver, wood, tin, varnish, and glue, drove the 
mirror-maker distracted. The people took to 



202 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

polishing up tin pans, and to looking into dark 
windows or down into deep wells, in search for the 
truth that is said to lie there. Then the law offered 
some curious anomalies. For instance, a sheep 
with the wool on went through the city gates for 
fifteen francs. If the wool was taken off, it was 
charged a franc per pound, and the sheep went in 
as mutton, paying five francs. It was, therefore, 
cheaper to take a sheep to pieces outside of the 
city gate rather than within. 

Again, there was a curious complication in the 
matter of bootjacks, — a humble article of domestic 
use, manufactured in the little village of Jonas, 
just mentioned. If these were sent in as house- 
hold furniture, each paid a franc, while, as wooden- 
ware, the charge was fifty centimes. 

With the millstone-trade the results were even 
more remarkable. One of the chief articles of 
export from Issoire, in its early days, was the 
stone used in flouring-mills. In the lower part of the 
city, close to the river Couze, there is an extensive 
quarry of a coarse, hard sandstone, most excellent 
for milling purposes. It had long been a saying 
with Issoire people, " We send Clermont the wheat, 
and the stones to grind it." The Issoire millstones 
were not inferior to those quarried in Cantal, and, 
the distance from Clermont being much less, the 
Issoire millstone-cutters had almost a monopoly of 
the Clermont trade. 

In the early days of the octroi, however, the 
wagons which had formerly brought over manufac- 
tured goods in exchange for millstones were 
obliged to go to Issoire empty. Thus their owners 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUAf. 203 

had to charge for one trip almost the former price 
of two. This increased cost of transportation 
brought down the price of millstones in Issoire, 
for the competition of the quarries of Cantal made 
it impossible to raise the price at Clermont. To 
do that would be to divert the trade of the Cler- 
mont mill-owners entirely to Cantal. In such cases, 
the prices for the whole region must be governed 
by the price at the centre of trade. The profits of 
the Issoire quarry were thus materially reduced. 
The owners talked of reducing the wages of their 
employes ; but this they could not do, for the wages 
were already at the lowest point at which effective 
service could be secured. The natural remedy 
lay in an appeal to the octroi. The Council levied 
five centimes per kilogramme on all millstones 
brought into Issoire. Some of the Council thought 
this levy an absurdity, for not a single millstone 
had ever been imported. The old proverb as to 
" carrying coals to Newcastle " was intended to 
cover just such cases. But the mayor told them 
to wait and see, and the result showed his far-seeing 
wisdom. The quarry-owners doubled their home 
prices, while the octroi preserved them from loss 
through outside competition. Then followed one 
of those curious surprises which lend such zest to 
the study of French economic problems. The 
price of millstones at the quarry in Issoire was 
nearly double the price of the same millstones in 
Clermont, whither they were carried by salesmen 
from Issoire. After a time Issoire mill-owners 
began to send to Clermont for millstones, instead 
of buying them at home. It was cheaper for them 



204 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

to buy their home products in another city, to pay 
carriage both ways, and to pay the octroi at the 
city gates, than it was to send across the street in 
Issoire for the same article. Freedom from com- 
petition at Issoire enabled the quarry-owners to 
fix their own prices at home, and fhus to broaden 
the slender margin of profits which came from out- 
side trade. This peculiar condition reached its 
climax when one of Beltran's wagons from Cler- 
mont left Issoire with a load of millstones, while, 
next day, the same wagon, without unloading, car- 
ried the same millstones back to be used in the 
mills of the Issoire General Company of Flour and 
Meal ! The schoolmaster was ecstatic over the 
stimulus thus given to several industries at once. 
It was like killing many birds with one stone. 
But the Issoire Association for the Home Produc- 
tion of Millstones was not satisfied with Clermont 
competition, even in this peculiar form, and an 
increase in the octroi soon put further importations 
out of the question. 

There were also some curious omissions in the 
list, in spite of its length and complexity. An old 
woman. Widow Besoin, who lived near the Cantal 
gate, had five speckled Dominick hens, of which 
she was very fond. These hens were to her a 
source of profit as well as pleasure. She came to 
the mayor with the complaint that her neighbor, 
Farmer Bois-rouge, wIto lived just outside the city 
gate, brought in the eggs of his chickens free, and 
sold them at prices far below those she was com- 
pelled to charge for the eggs of her hens. The 
Bois-rouge chickens roamed over the whole farm 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 20$ 

and lived on grasshoppers and gleanings, while 
hers were fed on grain which had passed the octroi. 
It seems that the schoolmaster, in making up the 
octroi list, in arranging the ^'s had neglected to 
look for words beginning with oe, and so had 
omitted the word osuf, which is the French for 
** cgg»" So the Council was called together, a rate 
for ceufs was agreed upon, and Widow Besoin's 
Dominick hens were free from the pauper com- 
petition of the chickens of Farmer Bois-rouge. 

But the action of the octroi was on the whole, 
as I have said, extremely beneficial. It filled the 
treasury again, and it stimulated* a large number of 
infant industries, which had previously been unable 
to compete with established industries in surround- 
ing towns, on account of the high prices of raw 
materials, and especially of labor, at Issoire. It is 
true that workman Jacques and some of the other 
laborers complained that these high wages were high 
in name only. In Clermont men worked for three 
francs a day; but these three francs would buy 
twelve yards of calico or ten pounds of sugar, while 
the five francs received in Issoire would buy but 
ten yards of calico or eight pounds of sugar. But 
the schoolmaster wrote another letter to the 
" Gazette," showing that the question of wages 
was solved by an estimate of what the laborer 
saved, not by what he could buy with his wages. 
" Every workingman," said he, *' as statistics show, 
saves thirty per cent of his wages. In Clermont, 
therefore, the laborer lays up one franc per day, 
or three hundred francs per year. In Issoire he 
lays up one franc fifty per day, or four hundred 



206 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

and fifty francs per year, — a difference of one-half 
in favor of the workman at Issoire as compared 
with the pauper labor of Clermont." 

The workman Jacques read this aloud in the bar- 
room of the Lion d'Or, and pondered over it a 
good deal, for the logic was irrefutable; and yet 
after all these years he had not four hundred and 
fifty francs which he could call his own. 

The mayor made a speech to the workingmen, 
congratulating them on his re-election, and assuring 
them that ** for them and for them alone the octroi 
was brought to Issoire. It was the pride of Issoire 
that its workingmen were princes and not paupers. 
If they paid high prices for articles of necessity, 
it was only that they might get higher prices in 
return. You sell more than you buy, and what 
you sell, the strength of your own right arms, costs 
you nothing, and, when it is sold, is as much yours 
as it was before. It is God's bounty to the work- 
ingman. If these industries which the octroi has 
built up around you are left unprotected, you too 
would be left without defence. In the natural com- 
petition of trade, the rich grow richer and the poor 
poorer. Without the octroi we should behold here 
as at Clermont the spectacle of the chariot-wheels 
of Dives throwing dust into the eyes of Lazarus. 
But here in Issoire Lazarus is, so to speak, already 
in Abraham's bosom. The workingmen of Issoire 
have no truer friend than Issoire's mayor, and to 
cherish their interests is the dream by day and 
by night of Issoire's Common Council." 

But we must return to the boot-trade, on which 
the octroi was first established. The history of that 



THE FA TE OF ICIODORUM. 20/ 

industry is the history of all the others, for in one 
way or another all experienced the same changes 
and conditions. 

The profits were large at first, and very soon the 
Issoire Citizens' Foot-wear Manufacturing Associa- 
tion had no longer a monopoly in boots and shoes. 
The original concern still retained the city contract 
for supplying boots to the laboring-men, but the 
others found the general trade no less profitable. 

But soon an unexpected decline in boot con- 
sumption took place. People perversely wore 
their old boots, which had long passed the season 
of presentability. The children went barefooted 
or shuffled around in sabots. Even worse, many 
parents bought for their children a new kind of 
copper-toed shoe, which was made in Clermont, — 
a shoe that could never wear out at all ; one of 
the worst possible things for the shoe-trade in any 
country ! 

When it was found that boots and shoes enough 
to last for five years were for sale in the shops, it 
was evident that something must be done. The 
original concern decided to wait. It closed its fac- 
tory and discharged its workmen. But some of 
the other firms could not wait. They must have 
their money back or go into bankruptcy. Shoes 
began to come down. Every shoe-dealer was 
alarmed, and a meeting was held in the Caf(6 de 
la Comddie to see what could be done. It was 
decided to lower the prices and then to maintain 
them. Boots were rated at fifteen francs per pair, 
and shoes and slippers in proportion. But one 
dealer could not keep his promise. He had a very 



208 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

large and handsome new shop, and he had spent 
much money in fitting it up. A gentleman, named 
Shylock, from whom he had borrowed the money, 
said that he had lent money for legitimate busi- 
ness, not for speculation ; to sell shoes, not to hold 
them for higher prices. This stock of boots was 
thus forced on the market, to be sold for what it 
would bring. And other dealers had to sell for 
similar prices, or lose all chance of selling at all. 
And so Issoire was full of notices : — 



»» 



" Grand Slaughter of Boots and Shoes ! 

** Boots given away — only Five Francs a 

Pair ! 



yf 



Boots were never so cheap before, in Issoire or 
anywhere else in France. 

The Issoire Citizens' Foot-wear Manufacturing 
Company took no part in these cheap sales. Its 
agents were active, however, and they privately 
bought up a part of the stock of the smaller stores, 
and sent out several wagon-loads across the coun- 
try to Clermont, and one down the river to the 
fanners in the N-alley of the Loire. 

It was an era of cheap boots. Everybody was 
well shod. The children burned up their wooden 
shoes> or used them only for coasting in the winter, 
and there was general satisfaction. The Minister 
of Public Instruction, who spent a day in Issoire 
on his way from Marseilles to Paris, had a pair of 
now boots presented to him, and he showed them 
at houK\ as an example of what the octroi could 
do for a town. ** Roots,*' said he to the Minister of 
Fiiumcc* **arc actually cheaper to-day at Issoire 



THE FATE OF IC 10 DO RUM, 20g 

than they are at Paris or Lyons. So much has 
the octroi done for my countrymen." And the 
mayor sent a message of congratulation, remind- 
ing the people that his promises had come true. 
** The octroi has reduced the price of boots, and 
has demonstrated the truth of the paradox that the 
quickest road to low prices is to make prices high." 
The traders who had gone into bankruptcy left 
Issoire and were speedily forgotten, — except by 
their creditors, chief of whom was Monsieur Shy- 
lock. It did not much matter about them, in any 
event. Their loss was the community's gain. It 
was not Issoire's fault that they were dealing on 
borrowed capital and could not stand the strain of 
reduced prices. 

After the period of congratulation was over, the 
President of the Issoire Citizens' Foot-wear Manu- 
facturing Association called the heads of a few of 
the rival houses to his office. They agreed to- 
gether to ask for an increase in the octroi, in view 
of the depressed condition of the boot-trade, after 
which they would, in view of the increase of the 
octroi, raise the price of boots to twenty-five francs. 
They formed a new association called the Issoire 
Equitable Confidence Society, the object of which 
was to prevent the Clermont dealers from flooding 
the city with cheap boots, — a thing which the latter 
had been steadily on the watch to accomplish. 
The Equitable Society took special pains to serve 
Issoire by regulating the price of boots according 
to the city's real needs. The city had suffered 
from overproduction. Now, when any firm out- 
side the Equitable Society tried to resume work, 

14 



2IO SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

the price of boots was suddenly lowered, until the 
competing dealer would be willing to sell out on 
favorable terms to some of the society's members. 
There were a few dealers in Issoire who still 
brought boots over from Clermont. These were 
made to understand that their course of action was 
unpatriotic, and that it was displeasing to the mem- 
bers of the Equitable Society. The office of the 
octroi was visited by several men who accused one 
of these dealers of having silk stockings concealed 
in an invoice of boots from Clermont. All the 
boxes were opened and each boot examined. 
Then all were thrown in a pile by the side of the 
street. The owner gathered them up as well as he 
could ; but the street boys helped him, and before 
he knew it several boys and several pairs of boots 
were missing together. And so in a hundred ways 
the Equitable Society discouraged outside and in- 
side competition, until at last the entire boot-trade 
fell into its hands. 

But the rise in the cost of boots had its effect on 
the workingmen. Clearly the increase in the price 
of boots was due to the growth of labor, for the 
price of hides was no greater than it was before, 
while the value of hides made up into boots was 
materially higher. If a day's work was worth five 
francs before, nine francs was not too much now, 
when labor was so much more valuable to the 
capitalist. 

The big workman Jacques thought this out, and 
in the caf^ of the Lion d'Or he advised the work- 
ingmen to march in a body to the President of the 
Confidence Society to demand their rights. They 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 211 

did SO, with the master-workman Jacques at their 
head. Their demand was nine francs a day, or no 
more boots in Issoire. The president had ex- 
pected this. In fact, he had rather hoped for it ; 
and so he had kept a good stock of boots in re- 
serve for such an emergency. 

He spoke very kindly to the deputation, patted 
Jacques softly on the arm, but, in brief, said that 
the state of the trade would permit no increase of 
wages at present. Next day the doors of the fac- 
tories were closed, and each workman received his 
pay in full, and his discharge. 

For a week the factories were empty and silent. 
The Confidence Society was not idle, however, for 
a trusty messenger had been sent at once to the 
village of Jonas. He offered four francs a day to 
the Jonas men if they would come over to work in 
Issoire. Now, Jonas is a queer little town, built 
all around the brow of an old volcano. I doubt if 
there is another like it on earth. The top of the 
hill is made of hard lava, below which is a belt of 
ashes, very old and packed solid, but as easy to 
cut as cheese. Long ago the ancient Gauls bur- 
rowed into this hill and filled it with their habita- 
tions. These appear like gigantic swallows' nests 
when you look at the hill from below. One of the 
largest of these houses is used as a church, and its 
lava walls are rudely frescoed over in imitation of 
the big church at Issoire. Only very poor people 
live in Jonas now, — people who cannot pay much 
rent, and who do not mind the absence of fire in 
the winter. And the Jonas men were glad to come 
over to Issoire for four francs a day, to take up the 



212 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

work which the pampered laborers of Issoire had 
refused. 

The coming of the Jonas men was a great sur- 
prise in Issoire, and gave rise to much hard feeling. 
The workmen who were idle met them with eggs 
and cabbages, and some of them even carried 
bricks. But the gendarmes were on the side of 
the Confidence Society, and they protected the 
new men from any serious harm. So the mob 
followed sulkily in the rear, shouting, " Rats ! 
rats ! *' It sounded like " Rah, rah ! " for this is 
the way the French peasantry pronounce the word 
which we call " rats." 

Winter was now approaching, and the discharged 
boot-makers of Issoire found their condition daily 
more and more unpleasant. They had an associa- 
tion among themselves called the " Chevaliers of 
Industry." The big Jacques was master-workman, 
and they met in the caf^ of the Lion d'Or to dis- 
cuss matters of common interest. They had a 
good deal to say of the power of organized labor, 
the encroachments of capital, and maintained that 
the value of all things is due solely to the labor 
which is put upon it. The so-called raw material, 
— land, air, water, grass, cowhide, shoe-pegs, — all 
these are God's bounty to men. No one should 
arrogate these to himself, and all should be as free 
as air. All else in value labor has given. Capital, 
the interloper, has unjustly taken the lion*s share, 
and left a pittance to labor. What capital has 
thus taken is ours, for we have made it. Then the 
speaker referred to the snug little capital which 
the President of the Confidence Society had laid 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 213 

away in his strong-box, and which shone out 
through his plate-glass windows and made itself 
felt in every smirk of his self-satisfied face. An- 
other speaker said that the thief of labor was the 
worst of all thieves, and for them to despoil him 
was but to seek restoration of stolen goods. And 
the schoolmaster said that he who takes for his 
own the value labor has given is worse than he 
who robs upon the public highway, — for he adds 
hypocrisy to theft. 

Some of them counselled an immediate attack 
upon the managers of the Confidence Society, but 
the voice of master-workman Jacques was for some 
compromise which would restore them to employ- 
ment. There had been a considerable fund col- 
lected by the Chevaliers of Industry in the way 
of dues and assessments. This fund he had dis- 
tributed among the unemployed laborers, freely at 
first, but of late more sparingly. There were many 
who hoped to live through the winter on this fund, 
and these spoke in no pleasant terms of the master- 
workman's stinginess. The fund was nearly gone, 
and Jacques well knew that if work was not soon 
resumed, the order of Chevaliers of Industry would 
come to a sudden end. Organized labor without 
cash or credit is very soon disorganized. 

A few heeded his words of counsel and followed 
his lead to their homes. But the bolder spirits 
stiffened their resolve with the red wines for which 
the cafi of the Lion d'Or is so justly famous, and 
started for the residence of the President of the 
Confidence Society. They roused him from his 
bed, killed one of the Jonas men whom they found 



214 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

asleep at his door, insisted on an immediate divi- 
sion of his personal property, — which he was only 
too willing to grant, — and next morning they 
found themselves in jail, charged with robbery 
and murder. 

There was again excitement at Issoire. The 
workingmen held mass-meetings at the Lion d*Or, 
and passed resolutions of sympathy and defiance. 
The wives and daughters of the members of the 
Common Council sent bouquets and baskets of 
fruit to the prisoners, and the mayor said that he 
loved them as though they were his own sons. 
But the law in France is in higher hands than those 
of the municipality. It is swift and sure. The 
prisoners were taken to the capital city, Clermont, 
to be tried. The sympathies of the judge were on 
the side of capital, and he paid little attention to 
the plea of organized labor. ** If your theory is 
true," said the judge, ** you have no sort of claim 
on the boots you have demanded from the Presi- 
dent of the Equitable Confidence Society. All 
this labor you talk of is simply the moving of 
things back and forth. How can this confer value? 
The real work is done by the cow ; and the herds- 
men on the mountains, who are her heirs and 
assigns, are the only persons who have a natural 
lien on the boots which are made from her hide 
when she is dead. This claim the herdsmen have 
assigned to capital, and to capital, therefore, all 
the boots belong." 

It is hard to fight against monopolies. The men 
were condemned. The red flag was raised in the 
Golden Lion. A good deal was said, but nothing 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 21 S 

further was done, by organized labor toward tak- 
ing possession of its own. 

A new election was at hand, and the mayor's 
party issued a call to the workingmen to rally to 
his support 

" All who believe in the grandeur and splendor 
of France, that honesty is the best policy, that 
the tricolor should ever wave victoriously over the 
most glorious land the sun shines on, and that the 
Issoire idea of a perpetual octroi is the best secur- 
ity for the defence and development of home 
interests and the elevation of home labor; all 
who would reduce city taxes and prevent the ac- 
cumulation of money not needed for city uses, by 
the perpetuation and extension of the octroi; those 
who are opposed to all schemes tending to de- 
throne this policy and to reduce Issoire's laborers 
to the level of the underpaid and oppressed work- 
ers of Clermont and Jonas, — are called to join in 
the re-election of Mayor de Roncevalle and of his 
supporters in the Common Council." 

The mayor spoke from the steps of the H6tel 
de Ville in defence of the octroi, on the success 
of which agency he justly based his claim for 
re-election. 

He showed how the octroi had changed Issoire 
. from a dull and peaceful agricultural village with 
few industries, and those only the ones for which 
the town possessed special advantages, into a mi- 
crocosm in which a little of everything was made 
and sold. Issoire was no longer a town where 
nothing happened, and in which the procession of 
grain-wagons, the same yesterday, to-day, and 



2l6 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

tomorrow, wearied the eye and the ear with their 
ceaseless monotony. It was a city in which the 
clashing of interests and the fluctuation of prices 
made every one anxious for the morrow's sun to 
rise that he might see what would happen next. 
He spoke of the promising infant, the industry of 
boot-making, which had always stood in the fore- 
front of Issoire's development He touched lightly 
on the late labor difficulties, as a mere incident in 
the city's progress, ** a spark struck out from the 
clashing of great interests as from flint and steel." 
** Different directions may produce such," said he, 
unconsciously quoting from an earlier economist ; 
" nay, different velocities in the same direction." 
Then he spoke of the value of the octroi to the 
workingman and of the charmed life he leads at 
Issoire. He repeated all the arguments drawn 
from the prices of boots and the prices of labor 
which the schoolmaster had written out for him, 
and everything went on beautifully till near the 
close, when the master-workman Jacques rose to 
ask a question. 

" How is it," said he, ** if the lot of the working- 
man is so pleasant in Issoire, that there is not a 
single workingman from Issoire in one of the fac- 
tories in this city ? How is it that the mills are 
full of paupers and * rats * from Clermont and 
Jonas ? How is it that the census shows that 
Issoire is actually poorer to-day than she was ten 
years ago, that her pauper roll is ten times as 
large, and the only citizens who have grown rich 
are the city officers and the members of Issoire's 
iniquitous Eqyitable Ctonfidenc^e Sobieties } If the 



^ 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 21/ 

octroi is to benefit the laborers of Issoire, why 
don't you put it on the outside fellows who swarm 
in Issoire, and not on the Issoire laborers' food and 
clothing? It seems to me, sir, that when a city 
begins to fix things to help one set of men and 
then another, rather than to consider the common 
good of all, it is on dangerous ground. Once 
started on this sort of thing, everybody clamors for 
his share. Every man too lazy to work, and every 
man whose business does not pay, seems to think 
that the rest of the town owe him a living." 
Warming up with the subject, he continued : 
" Take this millstone business of yours, for ex- 
ample. It is all folly to talk of the wealth in your 
stone-quarries, if you have to hire their owners to 
work them. If we can buy millstones in Clermont 
for less than it costs to cut them in Issoire, it is 
money in our pockets to leave them in the ground. 
If any line of business needs to be constantly 
propped up, and cannot live except at the expense 
of its neighbors, it is no industry at all. It is a 
beggary. And this octroi of yours has made a 
beggar or a brigand of every industry in Issoire ! " 
But the mayor waved his hand and smiled, and said 
that some men were never satisfied. They would 
grumble about the golden pavements of the New 
Jerusalem, if they could not turn them into legal 
tender. Then he referred to a conspiracy among 
men suborned by Clermont gold, to flood the 
streets of Issoire with cheap bread and meat and 
potatoes and clothing. He asked all who wanted 
to be slaves to Clermont to rise and be counted. 
He showed that, of all people on earth, the people 



2l8 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

of France were the happiest; of all people in 
France, those of Issoire were most favored ; and of 
those in Issoire, the best of all were the working- 
men, the especial guardians of the Issoire idea. 

Meanwhile the extension of the octroi to three 
thousand eight hundred and seventy-two articles 
had greatly increased the wealth of the city, and 
the city treasurer's strong-box was so full that he 
had to make a second one, and to hire three trusty 
Clermont men to watch it day and night, and then 
three men from Jonas to watch the first three. 
What should be done with the money to keep it 
in circulation? For if it remained locked up, the 
wheels of industry would soon begin to creak, and 
creaking is a sign that wheels need oiling. 

The mayor had proposed to divide it among the 
several Equitable Confidence Societies, in order to 
encourage industry, and thus enable these com- 
panies to raise still higher the high wages of the 
men from Jonas, who were now the only laborers 
employed in Issoire. But this was objected to in 
several quarters, especially by the followers of the 
workman Jacques, who did not like to trust the 
Equitable Societies to make such a division. 

The schoolmaster wanted it divided among the 
school-children pro rata^ in proportion to their 
raggedness. This was favored by almost every 
one, because it would benefit the laboring-man and 
help on the clothing-trade; but the politicians 
objected to giving money to the poor, because 
such giving tends simply to enervate. The very 
fact that a man is poor shows that he is not fitted 
to take care of money. Some wanted the city 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM, 219 

wall built up so high that no one could see out of 
the town, and then to have the top so beset with 
broken bottles that no one could climb over. A 
few of the extreme devotees of the Issoire idea 
wanted the surplus devoted to destroying the 
roads to Clermont, that all danger from the flood 
of cheap goods with which that city stood always 
ready to overwhelm Issoire would be removed 
forever. One of the Council even wished to use it 
for the permanent closing of all the city gates ; for, 
as he said, " if we are good citizens we will have 
nothing to do with abroad." ^ 

But the private secretary of the mayor remarked 
that altogether too much had been said of this 
matter of surplus revenue. ** It is a good deal 
easier," he remarked sagely, " to manage a sur- 
plus than a deficit." Then the mayor said : " It 
is much better to have too much money than too 
little. That is what constitutes prosperity. I 
would n*t mind having a little surplus myself." 
Then the Council laughed, and each one thought 
of what he could do with his share of the surplus, 
while they discussed some plans which looked 
toward an equitable distribution of it in places 
where it would do the most good. 

The workman Jacques, who was now a member 
of the Council, and who had been selected as the 
opposition candidate for mayor, rose and said : 
" This octroi stuff is all nonsense. It is a tax to 
make things higher, and it comes out of our 
pockets. That is why we are so poor. The 
mayor says that it is collected from the Clermont 
merchants. The mayor lies. What does a Cler- 



220 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

mont merchant care whether we pay him ten 
francs for a pair of boots outside the city gates, or 
twenty francs inside, after he has paid ten francs 
toll? It is all the same to him. He loses nothing 
either way, except that our ridiculous laws have 
lost him a good customer for his woollen goods, 
and we have lost a good customer for our wines 
and wheat. If I can save ten francs by buying my 
boots at Clermont, have I not a right to save it, 
and whose business is it if I do? The octroi is 
putting into the city treasury every year fifty thou- 
sand francs more than the city has any honest use 
for, and the whole town will go into bankruptcy if 
this goes on for three years more. There is n't 
money enough in the city to keep up this surplus. 
The money cannot get out of the treasury unless 
some one steals it out and puts it into circulation ; 
and, if I understand you, gentlemen, this is just 
what you propose to do." 

This speech was the sensation of the day. It 
was spoken with a blunt earnestness such as well- 
meaning but ignorant men are often found to 
possess. Its sophistries were not at first apparent, 
for the very reason that the speaker himself did 
not know them to be sophistries. 

It was printed next morning in the Issoire 
" fitoile," and it made many converts among those 
who were unable to expose its errors. The land- 
lord of the H6tel de la Poste indorsed it, because 
the patronage of that excellent hostelry had 
greatly declined since the cessation of the barter 
with Clermont. Some of the manufacturers favored « 
it, for they were looking for wider outlets for their 



THE FATE OF ICIODORUM. 221 

trade, as the market of Issoire was soon glutted, 
and the octroi increased the cost of manufacture 
even more than it raised the price of the finished 
goods. The politicians said that Jacques* words 
might be true enough in theory, but talk like that 
would ruin any man's chances in a popular elec- 
tion. Jacques should have remembered that he 
was a candidate. 

The parish priest, who seldom meddled with 
politics, declared that the address was timely and 
patriotic, and that the real friend of the laboring- 
man was the man who gave him justice instead of 
patronage. What he needs is a free field and fair 
play. Those who coddle the working-man mean 
sooner or later to pick his pockets. He further 
said that, in his opinion, the mayor and Council 
were wrong in their theories of wealth. Their 
fundamental error was this, — that they were try- 
ing to make the people of this city grow rich off 
each other. The mayor had said that the bless- 
ings of the octroi come to certain classes, but they 
do not stop there. They diffuse themselves like 
water, and their beneficent influence is felt on 
every hand. But these benefits come to the rich 
first, and from the top they spread down very 
slowly. But the evil influences of the octroi diffuse 
themselves in the same way. The only difference 
is that they begin at the bottom with the working- 
man, and are nearly exhausted when they reach 
the top. The priest even marched in a procession 
which went through the streets, carrying banners 
inscribed ** Vive Jacques, the Master- Workman ! *' 
" A bas I'Octroi ! " " Away with Useless Taxes ! " 



222 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

For he was an unpractical man, easily swayed by 
theories rather than by emotions. 

But the reaction soon came, as it always comes 
in the politics of France. That it came so early 
was due to the Clermont newspapers. They pub- 
lished Jacques's speech in full, with words of great 
approbation. 

In the Clermont ** Liberal " were the head-lines : 
" Long live Mayor Jacques ! " *' Down with the 
Demagogues ! " ** Issoire coming to her senses ! *' 
" The Working-men repudiate the Octroi ! " "Good 
Prospects for the Clermont Trade ! " 

It was on the very eve of the election that the 
Clermont papers were received in Issoire. It was 
enough. What sophistry had seduced, patriotism 
reclaimed. The mayor said that if Jacques was 
elected, the octroi would be removed at once, 
every man in Issoire would be ruined, and the 
city, bound hand and foot, would be delivered over 
to Clermont. Ten wagon-loads of goods would be 
sent in the place of one, and not all the money in 
the whole city would suffice to pay for them. 
Then he read from the Clermont ** Liberal " an 
editorial in which Jacques was compared to 
Arnold Winkclried and to Charles Martcl and to 
Saint Austremoine, the first hero and martyr of 
Issoire. The effect was tremendous. Every word 
from Clermont in praise of Jacques was, as the 
mayor said, ** one more nail in his coffin." 

The election-day came at last — as such days 
always come. It was a bright Sabbath afternoon 
in early August, for in France elections are always 
held on Sunday afternoons. The birds sang in 



THE FATE OF IC 10 DO RUM. 223 

the poplar-trees,, the wheat-fields looked yellow 
through the city gates, the poppies along the 
hedgerows stood out in scarlet contrast, the Caf6 
du Lion d'Or was covered with flags and with red 
ribbons in honor of Jacques, while the Caf6 de la 
Com^die was similarly draped in blue in honor of 
his rival. The people were out in their best clothes 
and Issoire-made boots, and the candidates were 
among them, — all smiles and attention, though I 
thought that a slightly misanthropic expression 
lurked about the big workman's mouth. 

The bands played, and rival processions moved 
about in the street. The longest of these carried 
banners inscribed " Vive TOctroi ! A bas Cler- 
mont ! Le Surplus toujours ! De Roncevalle for- 
ever ! " Everybody seemed falling into line ; and 
so I followed, keeping step with the music. 

All at once I heard a fearful, blood-curdling 
scream. The procession swiftly dissolved, the 
music ceased, the banners vanished. I rubbed my 
eyes and looked about me. I was sitting on an 
inverted nail-keg at the Clermont gate just out- 
side the city of Issoire. The old gendarme who 
guarded the gate was slowly drawing a dripping 
sword out of a large bundle of oats, in which he 
had thrust it while performing his duty as inspec- 
tor. Within the oats was great excitement. The 
contraband pig concealed inside was lustily kick- 
ing and filling the air with his frantic screams. 

And thus I knew that the city had been saved, 
for the octroi was still going on. 

And it is going on yet. 



224 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



THE STORY OF A STONE. 

ONCE on a time, a great many years ago, so 
many many years that one grows very 
tired in trying to think how long ago it was ; in 
those old days when the great Northwest consisted 
of a few ragged and treeless hills, full of copper 
and quartz, bordered by a dreary waste of sand- 
flats, over which the Gulf of Mexico rolled its 
warm and turbid waters as far north as Escanaba 
and Eau Claire ; in the days when Marquette Har- 
bor opened out towards Baffin's Bay, and the 
Northern Ocean washed the crest of Mount Wash- 
ington and wrote its name upon the Pictured 
Rocks ; when the tide of the Pacific, hemmed in 
by no snow-capped Sierras, came rushing through 
the Golden Gate between the Ozarks and the 
north peninsula of Michigan, and swept over 
Plymouth Rock, and surged up against Bunker 
Hill ; in the days when it would have been fun to 
study geography, for there were no capitals, nor 
any products, and all the towns were seaports ; — in 
fact, an immensely long time ago there lived some- 
where in the northeastern part of the State of 
Wisconsin, not far from the city of Oconto, a little 
jelly-fish. It was a curious little fellow, about the 
shape of half an apple, and the size of a pin*s head ; 
and it floated around in the water, and ate little 



THE STORY OF A STONE. 22$ 

things, and opened and shut its umbrella pretty 
much as the jelly-fishes do now on a sunny day off 
Nahant Beach when the tide is coming in. It had a 
great many little feelers that hung down all around 
like so many little snakes ; so it was named Me- 
dusa, after a queer woman who lived a long while 
ago, when all sorts of stories were true. She 
wore snakes instead of hair, and used to turn peo- 
ple into stone images if they dared to make faces 
at her. So this little Medusa floated around, and 
opened and shut her umbrella for a good while, — 
a month or two, perhaps, we don't know how long. 
Then one morning, down among the sea-weeds, she 
laid a whole lot of tiny eggs, transparent as crab- 
apple jelly, and smaller than the dew-drop on the 
end of a pine leaf. That was the last thing she 
did ; so she died, and our story henceforth concerns 
only one of those little eggs. 

One day the sun shone down into the water, — 
the same sun that shines over the Oconto saw-mills 
now, — and touched these eggs with life ; and a lit- 
tle fellow whom we will call Favosites, because that 
was his name, woke up inside of the egg, and came 
out into the world. He was only a little piece of 
floating jelly, shaped like a cartridge pointed at 
both ends, or like a grain of barley, although very 
much smaller. He had a great number of little 
paddles on his sides. These kept flapping all the 
time, so that he was constantly in motion. And 
at night all these little paddles shone with a rich 
green light, to show him the way through the 
water. It would have done you good to see them 
some night when all the little fellows had their 

IS 



226 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

lamps burning at once, and every wave as it rose 
and fell was all aglow with Nature's fireworks, 
which do not burn the fingers, and leave no smell 
of sulphur. 

So the little Favosites kept scudding along in 
the water, dodging from one side to the other to 
avoid the ugly creatures that tried to eat him. 
There were crabs and clams of a fashion neither 
you nor I shall ever see alive. There were huge 
animals with great eyes, savage jaws like the beak 
of a snapping turtle and surrounded by long 
feelers. They sat in the end of a long round shell, 
shaped like a length of stove-pipe, and glowered 
like an owl in a hollow log ; and there were smaller 
ones that looked like lobsters in a dinner-horn. 
But none of these caught the little fellow, else I 
should not have had this story to tell. 

At last, having paddled about long enough, 
Favosites thought of settling in life. So he looked 
around till he found a flat bit of shell that just 
suited him. Then he sat down upon it and grew 
fast, like old Holger Danske in the Danish myth, 
or Frederic Barbarossa in the German one. He 
did not go to sleep, however, but proceeded to 
make himself a home. He had no head, but be- 
tween his shoulders he made an opening which 
would serve him for mouth and stomach. Then 
he put a whole row of feelers out, and commenced 
catching little worms and floating eggs and bits of 
jelly and bits of lime, — everything he could get, — 
and cramming them into his mouth. He had a 
great many curious ways, but the funniest of them 
all was what he'did with the bits of lime. He kept 



THE STORY OF A STONE, 22/ 

taking them in, and tried to wall himself up inside 
with them, as a person would " stone a well," or as 
though a man should swallow pebbles, and stow 
them away in his feet and all around under the 
skin, till he had filled himself all full with them, as 
the man filled Jim Smiley's frog. 

Little Favosites became lonesome all alone in 
the bottom of that old ocean among so many 
outlandish neighbors. So one night when he was 
fast asleep, and. dreaming as only a coral animal 
can dream, there sprouted out from his side, some- 
where near where his sixth rib might have been 
if he had had any ribs, another little Favosites; 
and this one very soon began to eat worms and to 
wall himself up as if for dear life. Then from 
these two another and another little bud came out, 
and other little Favosites were formed. They all 
kept growing up higher and cramming themselves 
fuller and fuller of stone, till at last there were so 
many and they were so crowded together that 
there was not room for them to grow round, and 
so they had to become six-sided like the cells of a 
honeycomb. Once in a while some one in the 
company would feel jealous because the others 
got more of the worms, or would feel uneasy at 
sitting still so long and swallowing lime. Such 
a one would secede from the little union with- 
out even saying " good-by," and would put on 
the airs of the grandmother Medusa, and would 
sail around in the water, opening and shutting 
its umbrella, at last laying more eggs, which for 
all we know may have hatched out into more 
Favosites. 



228 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

So the old Favosites died, or ran away, or were 
walled up by the younger ones, and new ones 
filled their places, and the colony thrived for a 
long while, until it had accumulated a large stock 
of lime. 

But one day there came a freshet in the Meno- 
monee River, or in some other river, and piles of 
dirt and sand and mud were brought down, and all 
the little Favosites* mouths were filled with it. This 
they did not like, and so they died ; but we know 
that the rock-house they were building was not 
spoiled, for we have it here. But it was tumbled 
about a good deal in the dirt, and the rolling peb- 
bles knocked the corners off, and the mud worked 
into the cracks, and its beautiful color was de- 
stroyed. There it lay in the mud for ages, till the 
earth gave a great long heave that raised Wisconsin 
out of the ocean, and the mud around our little 
Favosites packed and dried into hard rock ahd 
closed it in. So it became part of the dry land, 
and lay embedded in the rocks for centuries and 
centuries, while the old-fashioned ferns grew above 
it, and whispered to it strange stories of what was 
going on above ground in the land where things 
were living. 

Then the time of the first fishes came, and the 
other animals looked in wonder at them, as the 
Indians looked on Columbus. Some of them were 
like the little gar-pike of our river here, only 
much larger, — big as a stove-pipe, and with a crust 
as hard as a turtle's. Then there were sharks, of 
strange forms, and some of them had teeth like 
bowie-knives, with tempers to match. And the 



THE STORY OF A STONE. 229 

time of the old fishes came and went, and many 
more times came and went, but still Favosites lay 
in the ground at Oconto. 

Then came the long, hot, wet summer, when the 
mists hung over the earth so thick that you might 
have had to cut your way through them with a 
knife; and great ferns and rushes, big as an oak 
and tall as a steeple, grew in the swamps of Indi- 
ana and Illinois. Their green plumes were so long 
and so densely interwoven that the Man of the 
Moon might have fancied that the earth was feath- 
ering out. Then all about, huge reptiles, with jaws 
like the gates of doom and teeth like cross-cut 
saws, and little reptiles with wings like bats, 
crawled, and swam, and flew. 

But the ferns died, and the reptiles died, and 
the rush-trees fell in the swamps, and the Illinois 
and the Sangamon and the Wabash and all the 
other rivers covered them up. They stewed away 
under layers of clay and sand, till at last they 
turned into coal and wept bitter tears of petro- 
leum. But all this while Favosites lay in the rocks 
in Wisconsin. 

Then the mists cleared away, and the sun shone, 
and the grass began to grow, and strange animals 
came from somewhere or nowhere to feed upon it. 
There were queer little striped horses, with three 
or four hoofs on each foot, and no bigger than a 
Newfoundland dog, but as smart as ever you saw. 
There were great hairy elephants with teeth like 
sticks of wood. There were hogs with noses so 
long that they could sit on their hind legs and root. 
And there were many still stranger creatures which 



230 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

no man ever saw alive. But still Favosites lay in 
the ground and waited. 

And the long, long summer passed by, and the 
autumn and the Indian summer. At last the win- 
ter came, and it snowed and snowed, and it was so 
cold that the snow did not go off till the Fourth of 
July. Then it snowed and snowed till the snow did 
not go off at all. And then it became so cold that 
it snowed all the time, till the snow covered the 
animals, and then the trees, and then the mountains. 
Then it would thaw a little, and streams of v/ater 
would run over the snow. Then it would freeze 
again, and the snow would pack into solid ice. So 
it went on snowing and thawing and freezing, till 
nothing but snow-banks could be seen in Wisconsin, 
and most of Indiana was fit only for a skating-rink. 
And the animals and plants which could get away, 
all went south to live, and the others died and were 
frozen into the snow. 

So it went on for a great many years. I dare 
not tell you how long, for you might not believe 
me. Then the spring came, the south winds blew, 
and the snow began to thaw. Then the ice came 
sliding down from the mountains and hills, and 
from the north toward the south. It went on, 
tearing up rocks, little and big, from, the size of a 
chip to the size of a house, crushing forests as you 
would crush an egg-shell, and wiping out rivers as 
you would wipe out a chalk-mark. So it came push- 
ij^gi grinding, thundering along, — riot very fast, 
you understand, but with tremendous force, like a 
plough drawn by a million oxen, for a thousand feet 
of ice is very heavy. And the ice-plough scraped 



THE STORY OF A STONE. 2^1 

over Oconto, and little Favosites was torn from 
the place where he had lain so long ; but by good 
fortune he happened to fall into a crevice of the ice 
where he was not much crowded, else he would 
have been ground to powder and I should not have 
had this story to tell. And the ice melted as it slid 
along, and it made great torrents of water, which, 
as they swept onward, covered the land with clay 
and pebbles. At last the ice came to a great 
swamp overgrown with tamarack and balsam. It 
melted here ; and all the rocks and stones and dirt 
it had carried, — little Favosites and all, — were 
dumped into one great heap. 

It was a very long time after, and man had been 
created, and America had been discovered, and 
the War of the Revolution and the War of the 
Rebellion had all been fought to the end, and a 
great many things had happened, when one day 
a farmer living near Grand Chilte, in Outagamie 
County, Wisconsin, was ploughing up his clover- 
field to sow to winter wheat. He picked up in the 
furrow a curious little bit of" petrified honeycomb," 
a good deal worn and dirty, but still showing plainly 
the honey-cells and the bee-bread. Then he put it 
into his pocket and carried it home, and gave it to 
his boy Charley to take to the teacher and hear 
what he would say about it. And this is what he 
said. 



232 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTERHORN. 

\ N old miner of '49 whom I once met in 
•^^ California said to me, as we came in sight 
of the snowy crests of Tuolumne and Calaveras : 
"These mountains are not appreciated in Cali- 
fornia. We used to dig and dig in them, and that 
was the end of it. The fact is, stranger, a man 
ought to have two lives, — one to get a living in, 
the other to look at the mountains." 

But there are some on whom the mountains 
have the first claim ; and so there has arisen the 
Alpenclub, — the guild of mountain-lovers whose 
" feet are beautiful upon the mountains," and to 
which such men as De Saussure and Agassiz and 
Tyndall and Balfour have been proud to belong. 

And thus it happened that on the tenth day of 
August, 1 88 1, a party of young people from In- 
diana, mountain-lovers of varying degrees, walked 
over the snowy pass called the Matterjoch, which 
leads from Italy across the Pennine Alps into 
Switzerland. And ever before us and above us as 
we came up the green valley of Tournanche, ever 
before us as we toiled up the pass, — above us every- 
where, dark, majestic, inaccessible, rose the huge 
pyramid of the grandest of the Alps. No one 
who has ever seen it can ever forget its form. It 
burns itself into the memory as nothing else in all 



AN ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN. 233 

Europe does. Shut your eyes for a moment, you 
who have been at Zermatt, and straight before you 
and above you, its long hand clutching at the sky, 
you will see the Matterhorn ! It is not the highest 
mountain of the Alps. Its gigantic neighbors — 
Monte Rosa, the Mischabelhorn, the Weisshorn, as 
well as Mont Blanc — are all higher, — a little; but 
no other mountain in the world makes such use of 
its height as the Matterhorn. Other high moun- 
tains have great rounded heads, white with the 
snows of eternity. Their harsher angles are worn 
away by the long action of the glaciers. But the 
Matterhorn is a creature of the sun and frost. 
No glacier has worn its angles into curves. Its 
slopes are too steep for snow to cling to, and all 
the snow which winter or summer falls upon it 
rolls down its sides and lies in three great ice- 
heaps at the bottom. These are the Furggen 
glacier, the Matterhorn glacier, and the glacier of 
Tiefenmatten. 

We had wandered about Zermatt for a day or 
two, seeing the sights in the usual way, and all the 
while the Matterhorn hung above our heads and 
dared us to come. At last we could stand it no 
longer ; and one evening when the " stalwarts " 
were gathered together on the stone-wall in front 
of the H6tel Monte Rosa, Gilbert said unto Beach, 
" We must do something big before we leave this 
place. Let us go up the Matterhorn ! " And 
Beach said, ** We must indeed. I will go if Jordan 
will." 

But Jordan felt doubtful. He knew that a moun- 
tain which eclipsed the full moon would be a hard 



234 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

road for a heavy man to toil up. Besides, the 
story of the first climbers was fresh in his mind. 
But the boys were persistent, and they said, " You 
have talked and talked about mountains, and you 
have never done a single big thing among them ; 
and it is time you did ! " And so they kept it up. 
And I remembered that Tyndall had thought it 
worth his while to try again and again to go up 
this mountain, and so had my Italian namesake, 
the geologist Giordano. Then why not I? 

At last we three shook hands upon it, and went 
back to the hotel to make arrangements. After- 
wards three others joined us, making six in all.^ 
And we sought out "John the Baptist," and made 
him our chief guide, and directed him to provide 
food and ropes for eleven, and we were " in for " 
the Matterhorn. 

Meanwhile the boys wrote letters home, — letters 
full of descriptions of the Matterhorn, which kept 
their mothers and sisters awake o' nights for a 
week. And the sketches of the mountain with 
which they embellished them were wonderful to 
behold. In the evening some of them strolled out 
to the little graveyard at Zernij^tt, — to the tombs 
of Hadow, Hudson, and Michel Croz, the first vic- 
tims of the Matterhorn, — " for inspiration,** they 
said ; and some of them composed epitaphs, which 
they have not yet needed. 

At one o'clock the next morning the porter of 
the H6tel Monte Rosa knocked at our doors, and 

1 Professor Charles H. Gilbert, Professor Melville B. Anderson, 
Mr. William W. Spangler, Mr. William E. Beach, Mr. Walter O. 
Williams, and the writer. 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTERHORN 23$ 

announced that breakfast was ready. We rose in a 
hurry, ate everything on the table, — our invariable 
custom in Switzerland, — and by half-past one our 
alpenstocks were rattling loudly on the stone pave- 
ments of the narrow streets of Zermatt Our five 
guides were ready, each laden with ropes, ice-axe, 
and provisions, and we were on the road up the 
mountain. 

Let me say a word about the guides. Most of 
the able-bodied men in the Swiss valleys are in the 
summer guides or porters in the mountains. The 
average guide is a rather heavy, slow-spoken fellow, 
who buys a good deal of food for you and eats it 
himself, who drinks great quantities of villanous 
sour red wine at your expense, hauls you around 
like a bundle of meal, and finally, as he leaves 
you, waxes eloquent on the subject of Trinkgeld, 
But there are guides and guides, and some of them 
are men of force and intelligence, who have, and 
who deserve to have, a wide reputation. Among 
those, known all over Europe for strength and 
courage, was Michel Croz of Chamouny, who fell 
from the Matterhorn in 1865. Among those des- 
tined to be thus known is the young man whom 
we fortunately selected as our chief guide, — Jean 
Baptiste Aymonod of Val Tournanche. 

'* John the Baptist," as we called him, is a very 
robust and muscular young man of medium height, 
with a smooth face, light hair, gentle, blue eyes, and 
a firm, expressive mouth. He is soft-voiced and 
slow-spoken, — as are most of the Swiss guides, — 
and he is endowed with a graciousness of manner 
and purity of speech hardly to be looked for in a 



236 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

herdsman's boy, risking his life on the rocks and 
ice for two hundred dollars a year. His face shows 
the effects of mountaineering, for his nose has 
sometime been broken by a falling stone. 

Our next guide, Victor Maquignaz, is older than 
John, and larger, — a big burly mountaineer, brave 
and trusty, who speaks French with variations, a 
surprising dialect born of the mountains, in a high, 
uncertain falsetto, like the voice of a wheelbarrow 
that needs oiling. Next came Frangois Bic, — a tall, 
intelligent, positive fellow, a good mountaineer, but 
who would be better liked if his eye were less 
closely fixed on the Trinkgeld, Next came his 
brother, Daniel Bic, — a muscular man in full beard 
and spectacles, looking like a German Doktor^ who 
had never been up the Matterhorn before, and 
evidently wished never to go again. Finally, there 
was Elie Pession, whom we surnamed "the Invalid," 
— a strong-looking fellow with a heavy black beard, 
whose heart sank into his boots when he stood in 
the presence of danger. 

All these guides were French, and all belonged 
to the valley of Tournanche, — the deep valley 
which extends to the southward from the Matter- 
horn on the Italian side, corresponding to the val- 
ley of Zermatt, which extends on the Swiss side 
toward the northward. 

As we started out that night, it seemed that we 
had never seen the w^orld look so beautiful. The 
moon was full, and hung gracefully over the left 
shoulder of the Matterhorn, and the sky was without 
a cloud. Through dark fir-forests we went, by the 
side of a foaming torrent, then over flower-carpeted 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTERHORN 237 

pastures and steep grassy slopes, the great moun- 
tain ever in front and the glistening snows of the 
Dent Blanche and the Breithorn flanking it on 
either side. 

At sunrise we came to the first cabin, at the foot 
of the upper pyramid of the Matterhorn, on a nar- 
row crest of rocks which separates the Furggen 
glacier from the Matterhorn glacier. This cabin, 
built by the Swiss Alpenclub, is quite a comforta- 
ble place, with plenty of straw, blankets, and fuel. 
Many who climb the mountain spend the night 
here, setting out at sunrise for the summit. The 
walls of the cabin are covered with lead-pencil in- 
scriptions in every tongue. One of these, in par- 
ticular, is noteworthy as being higher above the 
sea-level than any other poetry in the English 
language. 

"Little Matt Horner 
Sat in the corner, 
S*^ And vowed he would not be climbed : 

We tried it, you know, 
But found so much snow 
We very politely declined." 

This is not much as poetry; but it is worthy of 
notice that in a climate and at an altitude in 
which ordinary spring poetry is frozen through 
and through in a minute, this little blossom has 
survived. 

For a few moments we watched the sun rising 
over the glaciers of the Weissthor pass, and then 
John the Baptist had us again under way. We 
stood right at the foot of the mountain ; but the 
nearer we came the steeper it looked, and there 



238 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

was no sign of a possible path. Precipices of bare, 
loose rocks, with gullies filled with snow and slip- 
pery ice, were before us, and nothing else. We went 
on a little way until we came to a snowy ridge, on 
which was a heap of large stones. " This," said 
John the Baptist, "was the chalet of Monsieur 
Whymper." Then the path began to grow narrow, 
and abysses opened below us. John called a halt, 
and said that we must now be very careful; we 
must watch nothing but our feet ; we must talk as 
little as possible ; we must keep our mouths shut 
and breathe through our noses; and finally, we 
must chew chocolate or caramels all the time, — 
for this, he said, would keep our throats from being 
parched. This began to look like serious work; 
so we left off looking at the sunrise and the glaciers, 
watched our shoes, chewed our chocolate, and 
moved on. 

The path started out along a shelf of rock about 
a foot wide, the surface of which, in accordance/^ 
with the southward dip of the strata, slanted toward 
the mountain. Above the path was a wall of rock 
some ten feet high, and at the top of this was a 
similar shelf, but somewhat broader than the one 
on which we were walking. Below us was a slip- 
pery wall of rock, perhaps a hundred feet high, at 
the foot of which lay the ice of the Furggen 
glacier. In summer the glacier slides away from 
the mountain, the supply of snow not being great 
enough to balance its loss by melting. Between 
the mountain and the glacier is therefore a deep 
chasm, or Bergschrund^ — a damp, chilly, un- 
inviting looking place, bordered on one side by 



AN ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN 239 

rocks, on the other by blue ice, from the edge of 
which often hang long icicles. We walked on in 
silence above this Bergsckrmtdy thinking that our 
way would be easier by-and-by, when suddenly 
our path ceased. At this point John the Baptist 
left us, and climbing fly-like up the side of the 
rock, he showed us our path about ten feet higher 
up on another shelf formed by a projecting stra- 
tum. He threw the end of his rope to the guide 
Victor, who put it around his waist. Then John 
stood in the attitude of the Colossus on the edge 
of the precipice, and hauled him up. Next came 
my turn, and I dangled serenely over the edge of 
the mountain, while John and Victor pulled on the 
rope. This mode of mountain climbing gives a 
view that you can get in no other way of the 
mountains on the other side. And so one by one 
came up the rest 

But our path did not improve as we went on. 
From this point to the top, about six hours' climb, 
there was not a single yard of level walking or, 
indeed, of any walking at all. One could not any- 
where take three steps without watching each step 
and making a mental calculation as to whether his 
feet would hold. There was hardly a place where 
a stumble or a slip of the foot would not, except 
for the help of others, send the person who slipped 
to the foot of the mountain. Every step was on 
the edge of a precipice, and every step made the 
precipice higher, — though there is little real 
choice between falling a hundred feet and falling a 
mile. The boys appreciated this, and fell not at 
all. They clung with fingers and toes to every 



240 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

projecting point, and nothing short of an earth- 
quake could have gotten that mountain away from 
them. 

I have called the Matterhorn a creature of the 
sun and frost. It is now but a wTeck, — the core 
of a far greater mountain whose rocks have been 
hurled down into the valleys by the " strong gods " 
of the sun and air, and have thence been scattered 
over Switzerland and Italy by the glaciers of the 
Great Ice Age. It stands in the altitude of perpet- 
ual frost, but bathed by the warm sunshine of Italy. 
On every clear day its rock sides become warm in 
the sun. All ordinary clouds are below its summit, 
and each cloud that touches it in summer covers 
its surface with light snow. Then this snow melts 
again in the sunshine, and causes water to trickle 
in all the joints and clefts of the rocks. Then at 
night the mountain grows cold, — in clear nights 
intensely cold, — the water freezes in these fissures, 
and expanding widens them, thus pushing the 
outermost blocks of rock nearer and nearer the 
edge of the precipice. At last a gust of wind or a 
careless foot may cause one of these loose rocks to 
topple over. Down it falls, loosening many more 
on its way, the whole series plunging with an ever- 
increasing roar till it reaches the ice of the Furggen 
glacier. Into the glacier the falling rocks dive, 
scattering the ice masses, as a stone thrown into a 
pond causes the water to spatter. Once in the ice 
the stones move on more leisurely, until after years 
they reach the point where the glacier melts and 
gives up its dead, when they pass into the universal 
rubbish-heap, — the moraine, at the bottom. These 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTERHORN 24 1 

are ^iki^ pierres qui roulenty — ** the stones that roll," 
the dread of the mountaineer. Most high moun- 
tains are fashioned by the glaciers themselves ; but 
the glacier has no hold on the Matterhbrn. Gla- 
ciers make white domes of mountains ; frost makes 
black pinnacles and spires. 

The guides had now tied us together, and the 
value of the rope in mountaineering soon became 
very evident to us. In all difficult or dangerous ex- 
cursions in the high Alps, the persons making the 
excursion are tied together by ropes. Usually four 
or five are joined to one rope, the rope being tied 
around the waist of each. It is the duty of each 
one to see that the rope below him is kept drawn 
tight, so that if any person happens to stumble or 
slip, the aid of the others will keep him on his 
feet. In very difficult excursions, like the one here 
described, usually but one person moves at a time, 
the other three on the rope each holding his po- 
sition as well as possible until the fourth one has 
reached a position of safety. 

The way we went was in most cases like this. 
First John the Baptist would scramble up some 
ledge of rocks, clinging by fingers and toes to pro- 
jecting points, or reaching some higher crag by 
means of his ice-axe. When he found a suitable 
foothold he would shout to me, and I would crawl 
up to his position, while the next man would edge 
up to where I was, — and so on. When we came 
to a specially bad place, a ntauvais pas, where the 
rocks were unusually loose and the hold precari- 
ous, I would shout up to him before following 

A 

him, " Etes-vous bien plac^?** (" Are you well 

16 



242 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

placed?**) If John was " well placed** he would 
shout, " En avance ! ** (" Come on ! **) I would 
then call out, ** Tirez ! ** (*' Pull ! **) He would 
then draw up on the rope, which action made it 
much easier for me to scramble up than it would 
have been without this assistance. Then it became 
my turn to help up the next man ; but he usually- 
crawled up unaided, — having an aversion to being 
helped, which I did not share, but for which I was 
duly thankful. 

After working along in this way for about three 
hours, John the Baptist told me to look up and I 
would see the upper hut and the ropes which came 
down from it. High above us we could see a little 
stone shanty under the shelter of a huge pinnacle of 
rock on the edge of a sharp precipice some fifty 
feet high. Down this precipice hung a rope, fast 
to an iron staple above, swinging loosely below. 
We had read in the guide-books that ** ropes have 
been placed in the more difficult places on the 
Matterhorn." We had imagined something such as 
we had seen in other mountains, — a rope railing 
alongside of a steep and narrow path. We were 
hardly expecting to go up hand over hand on a 
rope swinging loosely over infinity. 

John the Baptist started up on the rope, resting 
his toes on the projecting points of the rocks, where 
opportunity offered, until he reached a little shelf, 
an inch or two wide, where he could stand on one 
foot. It was growing very cold; the rope was 
white with frost. I put on my gloves and climbed 
up for a little distance; but when I came to rest 
my full weight of two hundred and ten pounds on 



AN^ ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN. 243 

the rope, my gloves would not cling to it. I felt 
myself slowly sliding downward. It was not a 
pleasant sensation. I thought that I should prob- 
ably stop on reaching the knot on the end of the 
rope ; but I might go too fast, and, jerking John 
the Baptist from his narrow perch, we would form 
the nucleus of a small avalanche moving towards 
Zermatt. But I stopped, and taking off my gloves 
I tried it again, — this time with better success. 

At last, after a long and toilsome scramble we all 
reached the upper hut, where we lay down on the 
hay for a little rest and another round of tough 
bread, sour wine, and chocolate. This hut I shall 
have occasion to describe farther on. 

As we went on, clouds had begun to gather 
about us, and after a little the wind rose and it 
began to snow. We lost sight of the earth alto- 
gether, and everything below us became a bottom- 
less abyss. Soon we came to the narrow ridge 
on the shoulder of the Matterhorn where for a 
short distance the northeast angle of the mountain 
which we were ascending is no wider than the 
back of a very lean horse. It is too narrow for one 
to stand on or even to sit on with comfort On 
either side as we crawled along we could look 
downward seemingly to the very bottom of things. 
Above this point the first climbers fell from the 
mountain. I asked John about it, but he would 
not talk. " I was not here then," he said. 

After this we came around to the eastern face 
again. Here we could see the summit, some five 
hundred feet above us, — a ragged wall of rock, 
steeper than any slope we had yet ascended and its 



244 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

top still seeming to hang over our heads. How to 
get up was evident from the long lines of hanging 
ropes. We went up these slowly, one after another ; 
and at last we came to prefer these ledges with 
their ropes to the lower slopes, which, although 
less steep, offer nothing but rocks and snow to cling 
to. One of these ropes had had one of its strands 
cut by the sharp edge of some rock, and the other 
two strands were partly untwisted. This rope may 
break for somebody, but it did not break for us. 

It is hard enough to climb this part of the 
mountain with the aid of the ropes. It seems next 
to impossible without it; yet some one carried 
up these ropes and the iron staples by which they 
are hung, and fastened them all there. The man 
who did this was John the Baptist. At last the 
ropes ceased, and crossing over to the north side 
of the mountain, we found there an easier slope 
by which we soon reached the summit. It was 
now a little after noon. 

The top of the mountain is a narrow crest, lying 
nearly east and west and rising toward a point on 
the Swiss side. This crest is about twenty feet 
long and from one to three feet wide. Its north 
side is a rocky slope, while the south side is nearly 
perpendicular, and at the time of our visit it was 
covered with a long overhanging snow-bank or 
** cornice." It was as cold as midwinter. The 
north wind whistled and howled, so that we dared 
not rise to our feet, and the snow fell thick and 
fast. I should hardly say that the snow fell; it 
is made up there, and every cloud which touches 
the mountain is a snow-storm. Most of the time 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTER HORN 24$ 

we could see nothing ; the whole earth was repre- 
sented by the little summit-ridge, which was all 
that we could see of the Matterhorn. Once in a 
while a little eddy in the clouds on the south side 
of the mountain would give us a glimpse of Le 
Breuil and the valley of Tournanche two miles 
below us ; and occasionally our nearest mountain 
neighbor, the Dent Blanche, disclosed her snow- 
crowned head. 

We did not stay long on the summit. It was 
not very warm, and we wished to give the others 
a chance. We wrote our names on a card, and 
placed it in an empty bottle which the mountain 
keeps as a register for visitors. Victor broke off 
with his ice-axe the uppermost point of the moun- 
tain, a piece of dark green hornblende. I put 
this in my pocket as a trophy, and we were ready 
to descend. 

In going downward, our motion was much like 
that of one of the caterpillars or ** measuring-worms " 
which come upon the maple-trees in the spring. 
The strongest guide in each section was placed last 
in the series, so as to be " well placed," and to hold 
the others back in case any one should slip. This 
guide starts first in each series, and goes down to 
the niche of the next man below him. When he is 
again ** well placed," the next man advances, and 
in turn the third and the fourth, — the one stand- 
ing lowest moving where it is possible the length of 
one section of the connecting rope, after which the 
others again edge downward to him. The progress 
is of course very slow, and three fourths of the 
time each man is engaged in resting, with his 



246 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

heels " well placed " on some projecting shelf of 
rock. 

At times in our descent we felt the force of 
the tourmenty a wind peculiar to the high moun- 
tains, — a sort of snow-laden whirlwind, or "wind 
made visible.*' This wind goes furiously over the 
mountain-side, tearing off loose rocks, starting 
avalanches, and tossing about the banks of snow. 
Whenever one of these struck us, we lay flat and 
clung to the rocks, lest we should be literally blown 
off the mountain. One of our company, I remem- 
ber, wore a narrow brimmed hat drawn down tight- 
ly over his ears ; the tourment took it and whirled 
it high into the air. The learned professor fell flat 
on the ground, while every hair of his head caught 
the rotary motion and stood straight out. 

As we went farther, we noticed more and more 
the treacherous character of the stones on the 
mountain side. The whole outer coat of the 
mountain is loose, scarcely a rock anywhere on 
the Swiss side being firmly attached. Into all 
the joints of the strata the water from the melting 
snow finds its way, and by the freezing of this 
water the joints are widened and the blocks of 
hornblende are daily pushed nearer and nearer to 
the edge. Thus nothing is firm ; nothing is stable, 
and each year the mountain offers a new face to 
the weather. 

Going down the mountain is more difficult than 
going up. This is not only on account of the men- 
tal strain of constantly looking over precipices, but 
because of the looseness of the rocks. Stepping 
down on a stone, one is more apt to detach it than 



AN ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN 247 

when he cautiously clings to it from below. How- 
ever careful we may be, some stones will fall ; and 
while this may not hurt us, it may hurt some one 
below us. Then occasionally some stone would 
detach itself naturally, and go rattling down to the 
bottom of the mountain, followed by a host of 
smaller ones, leaving as they pass a strong '* smell 
of sulphur," which, as Whymper says, "tells us 
who sent them/' 

The Matterhorn, as I have said, is one of the 
steepest and slipperiest of mountains, and every- 
where it offers but scanty hold to the climber. 
There is, however, in all this little real danger to 
men strong of limb and steady of head, accom- 
panied by good guides. But there is one danger 
which is real, one which is almost constantly pres- 
ent and against which no skill nor strength can 
wholly guard, — and that is the danger from falling 
stones. This risk would be slight with a small 
party, but our company of eleven, probably the 
largest ever on the Matterhorn, made so long a line 
that a stone loosened by the uppermost would ac- 
quire a fearful velocity before reaching the last. 
Not more than five persons should be on the 
Matterhorn at once. 

The head of our column had reached the foot of 
one of the last ropes which come down from the 
summit, and was waiting for the others to descend. 
One of the very last in the company was labori- 
ously crawling over a large projecting rock, when it 
suddenly became loosened. I remember hearing 
some one scream *' LOOK OUT ! " and then sud- 
denly it seemed to me that all sunshine and hope 



248 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

had gone out of the mountain. The great rock fell 
about thirty feet. Striking a lower shelf, it broke 
into three or four pieces. One of these, weighing 
about a hundred pounds, flew over my head and 
over the heads of John and Victor. The man be- 
low us had turned to look back when he heard the 
noise; the rock struck him in the face, knocked 
him instantly off the ledge and out of our sight, 
and then plunged down the side of the mountain. 

We were all paralyzed for an instant, — the 
guides as well as the rest. I remember calling to 
John to give me rope, so that I could go down to 
Victor, and let him go down to Gilbert. By the 
time we got down, Gilbert was struggling to his 
feet. He had fallen as far as the rope would let 
him. His face and clothes were covered with blood 
which flowed from a deep cut like a sabre gash 
across his nose and forehead. A stiff-brimmed hat 
which he wore had been cut fairly in two, and its 
resistance had helped to weaken the force of the 
blow. We decided that no bone was broken, al- 
though the wound was a most serious one. Once 
at the bottom, we could take care of him perhaps ; 
but should he faint, or be unable or unwilling to 
walk, we should have a difficult task to carry him 
down. We tied up the cuts with all the silk hand- 
kerchiefs in the party, covered them with snow, and 
put over them all a thick woollen hood, which John 
the Baptist carried for use in time of need. In five 
minutes we were moving again. We were unable 
wholly to stop the flow of blood, and our course 
was marked by a red trail. Gilbert's face was soon 
entirely covered by a red clot ; his eyelids swelled 



AN ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN 249 

SO that he could not see, and after a little he lapsed 
into a half-unconscious state, in which he seemed 
to realize only that he had fallen from the moun- 
tain, that it was very cold, and that he must always 
walk. And at times he would give up and lie down 
in the snow, when we would use every argument in 
our power to induce him to rise and go on again. 
It took us four hours to reach the upper cabin, a 
distance perhaps equal to two ** squares " in a city 
street. 

Had our wounded man been otherwise than light 
of weight, strong of limb, and immensely resolute, 
we might not have gotten down at all ; and a night 
on the bare side of the mountain meant simply 
freezing to death. It is hard enough for a well man 
to go safely down the Matterhorn, far harder than 
to go up ; but for a man blind and faint, it became 
terrible. *' C*est un homme fort et brave " (" He is 
a man brave and strong"), said John the Baptist. 
If Gilbert had been as heavy as I, we should have 
had a task indeed. I remember thinking at the 
time that it was fortunate that I was n't hit. 

At one time I saw Gilbert slip, and with Victor, 
who half led, half carried him, fall like a shot. 
But John the Baptist was always " well placed " 
and held them. At another time we heard a terri- 
ble uproar, and three or four rods away we saw an 
immense avalanche of stones coming down. This 
was made of a dozen large rocks of the size of a 
wagon, with hundreds of little ones yelping in the 
rear. It was a grand sight; but we were little in 
the mood for it. " C'est une montagne terrible " 
(" It is a terrible mountain *'), said John the Baptist. 



250 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

The guide Pession had been in a shiver of mortal 
terror ever since the accident, and for the rest of 
the day was worse than useless. " You must par- 
don him," said John the Baptist, '* for he has a wife 
and children in Val Tournanche." 

At seven o'clock we reached the upper hut. 
We put Gilbert on the hay; after which he refused 
to move, and soon went to sleep. John decided to 
remain there over night, with Victor, Spangler, and 
myself, and to send the others down to Zermatt. Af- 
ter many adventures, which I need not here relate, 
the others reached the bottom in safety. Mean- 
while, we five arranged for lodgings in the upper 
hut, some thirteen thousand feet above the sea, — 
one of the highest " houses *' in Christendom. 

This hut is simply a pile of stones more like the 
den of some beast than a cabin. It is built between 
a pinnacle of rock and a precipice, its stone roof 
rising in a slope from the edge of the latter to the 
former. The height of the room within is perhaps 
five feet on the highest or upper side. Its length 
is some ten feet, and its width about six. On 
the south end is a little door or hole for entrance, 
and on the floor on the north end are three coarse 
blankets and a few armfuls of hay. A little bench, 
a small table, a tin-pail, and a basket of shavings 
complete the equipment. 

John the Baptist sent us to bed at once, — one 
on each side of Gilbert, to keep him warm. But 
nobody kept us warm. Our clothes were wet^ and 
my off side was against a frosty rock, which carried 
away heat faster than I could generate it. The 
young man in one of Grimm's fairy-tales, who 



AN ASCENT OF THE MA TTERHORN 25 I 

" did not know how to shiver," would certainly 
have found the coveted experience there. We did 
little else all night long. Moreover, the floor was 
very uneven, and the tin wine-flask which did duty 
as a pillow was far from being *' soft as downy 
pillows are.*' There was not much encouragement 
for sleeping. All night long our patient kept on 
ascending mountains, and recalling his experiences 
of the day. At about the first watch of the night, 
he shouted out, *' Attention ! Attention toujours ! " 
At another time he called us all up with this 
remark, ** Here we will stop walking and take 
wheelbarrows.'* When everything else was quiet, 
the snow thawed on the roof and kept little streams 
of sooty water trickling over our faces. John and 
Victor lay on the bare ground ; and at intervals, 
when they could stand it no longer, they would 
kindle a fire of shavings, and wake us up to take a 
drink around of chocolate. 

I have seen cold nights elsewhere, but nothing 
to compare with this. The storm ceased early in 
the night, the clouds blew over, and a sharp, crys- 
talline midwinter coldness penetrated everywhere. 
We could every few minutes hear the mountain 
snap, as the water froze in the fissures of its rocks. 
I sometimes spend the night now-a-days waiting 
for a belated train in the little hotel of some prairie 
" railroad junction " in Indiana or Illinois, at the 
time of the January blizzards. The single window 
in the little bedroom will fit loosely in its place. 
One pane of glass may be replaced by an old hat, 
the second by a newspaper, and a third be wanting 
altogether. The bed may have but one sheet, a 



252 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

hard husk mattress, and an insufficient equipment 
of comfortless quilts, as heavy and as warm as 
though made of sheet-lead. With all these condi- 
tions and worse as I have sometimes found them, 
I have now only to lie still and think back to that 
night on the Matterhorn, and the whole atmosphere 
becomes fairly tropical. 

In the morning we rose early and went out to 
look at the sunrise. The air was intensely clear. 
The whole Matterhorn was white with new-fallen 
snow and glistening with frost. Far below us the 
clouds hung white and heavy over the valley of 
Zermatt, their thick folds hiding all of the land- 
scape which was not snow-covered, their upper out- 
lines seemingly continuous with the white surface 
of the great glaciers. Far beyond the valley of 
Zermatt rose the giants of the Oberland. Nearer 
to us were the Dent Blanche, the Weisshorn, the 
Rothhorn, the three peaks of the Mischabel, and 
to the right of these the Allalin, the Strahlhorn, 
the Rympfischhorn, and a host of other " horns," 
named and unnamed, rose before us. To the east 
was the long crescent of Monte Rosa, the Cima di 
Jazzi, the Lyskamm, Zwillinge, and Breithorn, with 
the great Corner glacier winding about their feet. 
It was the sight of a life-time, which can never fade 
from the memory. 

" With drifts of snow, fantastic wreath on wreath; 
And peak on peak against the turquoise blue. 
The Alps like towering campanili stand, 
Wondrous with pinnacles of frozen rain. 
Silvery, crystal, like the prism in hue. 
Oh, tell me, love, if this be Switzerland, — 
Or is it but the frostwork on the pane ? " — Aldrich. 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTERHORN 253 

Our invalid was better in the morning, but cold, 
disgusted, and impatient. His swollen eyelids each 
looked like a ripe plum. He said that he could 
not open his eyes. I told him to lie still and keep 
them shut then, — a remark which he thought 
peculiarly unfeeling. We decided to send this 
Knight of the Sorrowful Figure with John and Vic- 
tor down to Zermatt, while Spangler and I would 
wait and play " mumble-the peg " until their return, 
which might be next day and might be — never! 
Not a cheerful prospect; but, as the jester said 
in the woods of Arden, " Travellers must be 
contented." 

Before they had fairly started, however, we 
heard shouting from below; and soon the two 
guides Bic reached us from the lower cabin, in 
which they had spent the night. We therefore 
again moved on, but very slowly. The new-fallen 
snow made the walking very difficult, and much 
sitting down in slippery places reduced our cloth- 
ing to a total wreck, concerning which the less 
said the better. There were many " mativais pas ; " 
but we passed them all at last, and towards noon 
we reached the lower cabin. The doctor from 
Zermatt was there, and also four able-bodied ruf- 
fians bearing a sedan-chair. We were now safe 
at last; and after another drink around of choco- 
late, — there was nothing else left, — we started 
for Zermatt. 

Our welcome in the village was most enthusi- 
astic. Everybody — English, German, French — 
was delighted to see us, and the " Matterhorn- 
besteiger" were the heroes of the hour. In the 



254 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

chapel at Zermatt prayers were offered for the 
Queen of England and on our account for Pres- 
ident Garfield, and thanks were given for our safe 
return. 

As for our own party, an Englishman who was 
there afterwards said : '' I never saw anything like 
it. Every one of those Americans rushed right 
out into the street and crowded around, and I 
actually thought that every one of those ladies was 
going to kiss the Professor ! " 

But not one of them did ! 

I afterwards received from ** John the Baptist " 
the following letter, which will be of interest as 
the composition of an illiterate but very intelligent 
man. I give it literatim. It will be noticed that 
while the construction of the sentences is generally 
correct, the words are mostly spelled by ear, — 
not an easy thing to do in the French language. 

Valtournenche, le i6 Decbre, 1881. 
Monsieur Jordan. 

Cher Monsieur, — J'ai regus votres lettres le 15 cou- 

rent, laquelle a ^t^ pour moi un grand plaisir, premi^re- 

ment en aprenant que M*"." Gilbert ^tait parfaitement g^ri. 

Je regretais toujours de ne pa vous avoir pri^ de me 

donner de ses nouvelles en arivents dans votres patrie. 

Je vous prier de le saluer bien de ma part, et en meme 

tempts le remercier du cadou que vous m'avez remis 

en son nom ^ Saas. En second lieu je vois avec plaisir 

que vous ne vous etes pas contenter de me payer large- 

ment mes servisses de I'^t^ pass6. Vous voulez encore 

travailler pour me donner une renom^e parmi les Ara^ri- 

cains, s'est plus que je ne merite. Je vous en remercie 

infiniment. Je regrete beaucoup d'etre dans I'impossi- 

bilit^ de pouvour vous en rendre le reciproque. Je ne 



AN ASCENT OF THE MATTER HORN 255 

peut faire autre chose que de vous sou^ter des jours 
heureux plain de Sant^es et d' Amour pour les Alpes 
Pennines. . . . Je vous prie de saluer toutes Phonorables 
compagnie que vous aviez avec vous I'^t^ pass6. Ma- 
quignaz et les Bics vous font ses salutations. 

Recevez une bonne poign6 de main de celui qui vou- 
droit ^tre longtents 

Votre serviteur, 

Aymonod Baptiste.^ 

1 The following is a translation of this letter : — 

Val Tournanche, Dec. 16, 1881. 
Mr. Jordan. 

Dear Sir, — I have received your letter of the fifth current, 
which has been for me a great pleasure, firstly in learning that Mr. 
Gilbert was perfectly cured. I regretted always not to have asked 
you to give me news from him in arriving in your own country. I 
pray you to salute him well for my part, and at the same time to 
thank him for the present which you gave me in his name at Saas. 
In the second place, I see with pleasure that you have not con- 
tented yourself with paying me liberally for my services of last 
summer. You wish still to work to give me a fame among Ameri- 
cans. It is more than I merit. I thank you for it infinitely. I 
regret much being in the impossibility of being able to render you 
a reciprocal service. I can do nothing more than to wish you 
happy days full of health and of love for the Pennine Alps. 
... I pray you to salute all the honorable company which you 
had with you last year. Maquignaz and the Bics send you their 
salutations. 

Receive a good shake of the hand from him who would long be 

Your servant, 

Aymonod Baptiste. 



256 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND. 

In one strange land, 

And a long way from home, 

I heard a mighty rumbling, and I could n't tell where. 

Negro Melody. 

ALONG time ago — fifty thousand years ago 
perhaps, or it may have been twice fifty thou- 
sand — a strange thing took place in the heart 
of the Great Mountains. It was in the middle of 
the Pliocene epoch, — a long, dull time that seemed 
as if it would never come to an end. There was 
then on the east side of the Great Divide a deep 
rocky basin surrounded by high walls of granite 
gashed to the base by the wash of many streams. 
In this basin, we know not how, — for the records 
all are burned or buried, — the crust of the earth 
was broken, and a great outflow of melted lava 
surged up from below. This was no ordinary 
eruption, but a mighty outbreak of the earth's 
imprisoned forces. The steady stream of lava 
filled the whole mountain basin, and ran out over 
its sides, covering all the country around so deeply 
that it has never been seen since. More than 
four thousand square miles of land lie buried 
under melted rock. No one can tell how deep 
the lava is, for no one has ever seen the bottom. 
Within its bed are great clefts whose ragged walls 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND, 25/ 

descend to the depth of twelve hundred feet, and 
yet give no glimpse of the granite below, while at 
their side are mountains of lava whose crags tower 
a mile above the bottom of the ravines. 

At last, after many years or centuries, — time 
does not count for much in these Tertiary days, — 
the flow of melted lava ceased. Its surface cooled, 
leaving a high, uneven plain, black and desolate, 
a hard, cold crust over a fiery and smouldering 
interior. About the crater lay great ropes and 
rolls of the slowly hardening lava, looking like 
knots and tangles of gigantic reptiles of some 
horrible extinct sort. There was neither grass nor 
trees, no life of any sort. Nothing could grow in 
the coarse black stone. The rivers and brooks 
had long since vanished in steam, the fishes were 
all dead, and the birds had flown away. The 
whole region wore the desolation of death. 

But to let land go to waste is no part of Mother 
Nature's plan. So even this far-off corner of her 
domain was made ready for settlement. In the 
winter she sifted snow on the cold black plain, and 
in the summer the snow melted into a multitude 
of brooks and springs. The brooks gradually 
wore paths and furrows down the lava bed, and 
the sands which they washed from one place they 
piled up in another. The winds blew the se^s of 
grasses about, and willows and aspens crept up 
the mountain-sides. Then came the squirrels, 
scattering the nuts of the pine. Other seeds came, 
too, in other ways, till at last the barren hillside 
was no longer barren. 

The brooks ran over the surface of the crust 

17 



2S8 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

undisturbed by the fires within, and were clear 
and cold as mountain brooks should be; but the 
rain and melted snow will never all remain on the 
surface. Some of it falls into cracks or joints or 
porous places in the rock, and from this come 
underground streams or springs. But in this 
region a stream could not run long underground 
without coming in contact with the old still-burning 
fires. When a crust is formed over the lava, it 
cools very slowly. When the crust is a rod or 
two deep, the lava within is almost as well pro- 
tected as if it were at the centre of the earth. 

Whenever the water came down into the fire, 
the hot rocks would be furious with indignation, 
and tearing the water to atoms they would throw 
it back to the surface as steam. Then the ex- 
plosive force of the steam would in turn tear up 
the rocks, making still larger the hole through 
which the water came. When the rocks were 
very hot, a little water upon them would make a 
terrible commotion like the shock of an earth- 
quake. When much water came down, it would 
hiss and boil high in the air, as it tried to break 
the cushion of steam which came between it and 
the lava. 

And all this went on in hundreds of places and 
maybe for thousands of years. The hot rocks 
glowed and sweltered in the ground, and the cold 
snow-water crept after them closer and closer, 
while more and more vigorously the rocks re- 
sented the intrusion. Sometimes the water would 
go down in a mass through a cleft, when it would 
be hurled back bodily the very way it came. At 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND, 259 

Other times the water came down little by little, 
insinuating itself into many places at once. Then 
the hot rocks threw it back in many little honey- 
comb channels, and by the spreading of these 
channels the rocks were at last crumbled to pieces. 
The hard black lava or the glass-like obsidian were 
changed to white kaolin as soft and powdery as 
chalk. And as the water fought its way, gaining 
a little every year, steadily working between the 
joints in the enemy's armor and as surely being 
thrown back with violence if it penetrated too far, 
the animals and the plants followed in the wake of 
the water, and took possession of the territory as 
fast as it was won. 

At last the Pliocene times were over, for all 
times come to an end. The one sure thing on the 
earth is the certainty of change. With the change 
of time came on the earth's great winter. The 
snow-drifts on the lava were piled up mountain- 
high. Snow is but ice in little fragments which 
will grow solid under pressure. As the snow 
accumulated it began to move, forming great 
rivers of ice which ran down the courses of the 
streams. And as these slowly moving, gigantic 
ice-rivers tore away huge blocks of lava and pushed 
them down the mountain-sides, where the rocks 
had been softened by the action of steam, the ice 
wore out deep valleys, and everything that it 
touched was smoothed and polished. The winter 
of the great Ice age lasted a very long time, many 
thousands of years ; but, long as it was and long 
ago, it came at last to an end, — not to a full stop. 
of course, for even now some of its snow still 



260 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

lingers on the highest peaks that surround the 
lava-beds. 

Then the winters grew shorter and the summers 
longer. The south winds blew, and the ice melted 
away, first from the plain and then from the moun- 
tains. The water ran down the sides of the lava-bed, 
cutting deep gorges or canons, so deep that the sun 
can hardly see the bottom. And into the joints 
and clefts of the rocks more and more water went, 
to be hurled back with greater and greater violence, 
for all the waters of all the snow cannot put out 
a mile deep of fire. 

In the old depressions where the ice had chiselled 
away the softer rocks, there were formed lakes of 
the standing water, and one of these was more 
than thirty miles long, winding in and out among 
the mountain-ridges. In the lake bottom the water 
soaked through down to the hot lava below, from 
which it was thrown boiling back to the surface 
again, fountains of scalding water in the icy lake. 

The cold Ice age had killed all the plants in the 
region ; it had driven off the animals that could 
be driven, and had then buried the rest. But 
when the snow was gone the creatures all came 
back again. Grass and meadow-flowers of a 
hundred kinds came up from the valleys below. 
The willow and the aspen took their place again 
by the brookside, and the red fir and the mountain 
pine covered the hills with their sombre green. 
The birds came back. The wild goose swam and 
screamed, and the winter wren carolled his bright 
song, — loudest when there seemed least cause for 
rejoicing. The beaver cut his timber and patiently 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND. 26 1 

worked at his dams. The thriftless porcupine de- 
stroyed a tree for every morning meal. The gray 
jay, the ** camp-robber," followed the Indians about 
in hope that some forgotten piece of meat or of 
boiled root might fall to his share; while the buf- 
falo, the bear, and the elk each carried on his 
affairs in his own way, as did a host of lesser 
animals, all of whom rejoiced when this snow- 
bound region was at last opened for settlement. 
Time went on. The water and the fire were every 
day in mortal struggle, and always, when the water 
was thrown back repulsed, it renewed the contest 
as vigorously as before. The fire retreated, leaving 
great stretches of land to its enemy, that it might 
concentrate its strength where its strength was 
greatest. And the water steadily gained, for the 
great ocean ever lay behind it. So for century 
after century they wrestled with each other, — 
the water, the fire, the snow, the animals, and 
the plants. But the fishes that had once lived 
in the mountain torrents were no longer there. 
They had been boiled and frozen, and in one way 
or another destroyed or driven away. Now they 
could not get back. Every stream had its cafion, 
and in each cafion was a waterfall so high that no 
trout could leap up. Although they used to try it 
every day, not one ever succeeded. 

So it went on. A great many things happened 
in other parts of the world. America had been 
discovered, and the colonies were feeling their way 
toward the Pacific Ocean. And in the vanguard 
was the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark, 
which went overland to the mouth of the river 



262 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

Columbia. John Colter was a hunter in this ex- 
pedition. By some chance he went across the 
mountains on the old trail of the Nez Percys 
Indians, which leads across the Divide from the 
Missouri waters to those of the Columbia. When 
he came back from the Nez Percys trail, he told 
most wonderful tales of what he had seen at the 
head of the Missouri. There were cataracts of 
scalding water which shot straight up into the air ; 
there were blue ponds hot enough to boil fish; 
there were springs that came up snorting and 
steaming, and which would turn trees into stone; 
the woods were full of holes from which issued 
streams of sulphur; there were cafions of untold 
depth, with walls of ashes full of holes which let off 
steam like a locomotive,, and there were springs 
which looked peaceful enough, but which at times 
would burst like a bomb. 

Every one laughed at Colter and his yarns, and 
this place where all lies were true was familiarly 
known as " Colter's Hell." But for once John 
Colter told the truth, and the truth could not 
easily be exaggerated. But no one believed him. 
When others who afterward followed him over the 
Nez Percys trail told the same stories, people said 
they had been up to " Colter's Hell " and had 
learned to lie. 

But, as time passed, other men told what they 
had seen, until, in 1870, a sort of official survey 
was made under the lead of Washburne and Doane. 
This party got the general bearings of the region, 
named many of the mountains, and found so much 
of interest that the next year Dr. Hayden, the 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND, 263 

United States Geologist, sent out a party for syste- 
matic exploration. The Hayden party came up 
from Colorado on horseback, through dense and 
tangled forests, across mountain torrents, and over 
craggy peaks. The story of this expedition has 
been most charmingly told by its youngest mem- 
ber, another John Coulter. Professor Coulter was 
the botanist of the survey, and he won the first of 
his many laurels on this expedition. In 1872, acting 
on Hayden's report. Congress took the matter in 
hand, and set apart this whole region as a " public 
park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and en- 
joyment of the people," and such it remains to 
this day. 

But while only of late this region has had a 
public history, the long-forgotten years between 
the Glacial period and the expedition of Lewis 
and Clark were not without interest in the history 
of the trout. For all these years the fishes have 
been trying to mount the waterfalls in order to 
ascend to the plateau above. Year after year, as 
the spawning-time came on, they leaped against 
the falls of the Gardiner, the Gibbon, and the Fire- 
hole Rivers, but only to fall back impotent in the 
pools at their bases. But the mightiest cataract of 
all, the great falls of the Yellowstone, they finally 
conquered ; and in this way it was done, — not by 
the trout of the Yellowstone River, but by their 
brothers on the other side of the Divide. These 
followed up the Columbia to the headwaters of the 
Snake River, its great tributary, past the beautiful 
Heart Lake, and then on to the stream now called 
Pacific Creek, which rises on the very crest of the 



264 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

Divide. In the space ^ between this stream, which 
flows west to help form the Snake River, and a 
smaller stream now called Atlantic Creek, flowing 
down the east slope of the Divide, the great chain 
of the Rocky Mountains shrinks to a narrow pla- 
teau of damp meadow, not a fourth of a mile in 
width ; and some years, when the snows are heavy 
and melt late in the spring, this whole region is 
covered with standing water. The trout had bided 
their time until they found this pass, and now they 
were ready for action. Before the water was 
drained they had crossed the Divide and were de- 
scending on the Atlantic side toward the Yellow- 
stone Lake. As the days went by, this colony of 
bold trout spirits grew and multiplied and filled 
the waters of the great clear lake, where their de- 
scendants remain to this day. And no other fishes 
— not the chub, nor the sucker, nor the white-fish, 
nor the minnow, nor the blob — had ever climbed 
Pacific Creek. None of them were able to follow 
where the trout had gone, and none of them have 
ever been seen in the Yellowstone Lake. What 
the trout had done in this lake — their victories 
and defeats, their struggles with the bears and 
pelicans, and with the terrible worm, joint enemy 
of trout and pelicans alike — must be left for 
another story. 

So the trout climbed the Yellowstone Falls by 
way of the back staircase. Having once reached 
its top, it was easy to go down it on the other side. 
And in a similar way, by stealing over from Black- 

1 For a detailed account of " Two-Ocean Pass," see Evermann, 
Popular Science Monthly, June, 1894. 



THE STORY OF A STRANGE LAND. 26$ 

tail Deer Creek, they overcame the Undine Falls in 
Lava Creek and passed its steep obsidian walls, 
which not all the fishes in the world could climb. 

In the Gibbon River the cataracts have proved 
to the trout an impassable barrier ; but, strangely 
enough, its despised associate, the sluggish, chunky 
blob, a little soft-bodied, smooth, black, tadpole- 
like fellow, with twinkling eyes and a voracious 
appetite, — a fish who cannot leap at all, — has 
crossed this barrier. Hundreds of blob live under 
the stones in the upper reaches of the stream, the 
only fish in the Gibbon waters. There he is, and 
it is a standing puzzle even to himself to know how 
he got there. We might imagine, perhaps, that 
some far-oflf ancestor, some ancient Queen of the 
Blobs, was seized by an osprey and carried away 
in the air. Perhaps an eagle was watching and 
forced the osprey to give up its prey. Perhaps in 
the struggle the blob escaped, falling into the river 
above the falls, to form the beginning of the future 
colony. At any rate, there is the great impassable 
waterfall, the blob above it and below. The os- 
prey has its nest on a broken pine-tree above the 
cataract, and its tyrant master, the bald eagle, 
watches it from some still higher crag whenever it 
goes fishing. 

It came to pass at last that Marshall McDonald, 
whose duty as United States Fish Commissioner it 
was to look after the fishes wherever they may be, 
sent me to this country to see what could be done 
for his wards. It was a proud day when I set out 
from Mammoth Hot Springs astride a black cayuse^ 
or Indian pony, which answered to the name of 



266 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

" Jump," followed by a long train of sixteen other 
cayuses of every variety of color and character, 
the most notable of all being a white pony called 
** Tinker." At some remote and unidentified period 
of her life she had bucked and killed a tradesman 
who bestrode her against her will, and thereby, as 
in the old Norse legends, she had inherited his 
strength, his wickedness, and his name. And when, 
after many adventures, I came back from this 
strange land and told the story of its fishes, other 
men were sent out from Washington with nets and 
buckets. They gathered up the trout and carried 
them to the rivers above the falls ; and now all the 
brooks and pools of the old lava-bed, the fairest 
streams in the world, are full of their natural 
inhabitants. 

And so to-day in the Gardiner, the Gibbon, the 
Nez Perce, and especially in Firehole River, and 
in the dark green depths of Shoshone Lake, 
one can find angling such as Izaak Walton never 
dreamed of. And it is now, more than ever before, 
" good luck for any man to be on the good side of 
the man that knows fish." 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 267 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO 
CALIFORNIA. 

"'T^HE ultimate result of centuries on centuries 
X of the restlessness of individuals is seen in 
the facts of geographical distribution. Only in the 
most general way can the history of any species 
be traced ; but could we know it all, it would be 
as long and as eventful a story as the history of 
the colonization and settlement of North America 
by immigrants from Europe. By the fishes each 
river in America has been a hundred times dis- 
covered, its colonization a hundred times at- 
tempted. In these efforts there is no co-operation. 
Every individual is for himself. Every struggle is 
a struggle of life and death. Each fish is a canni- 
bal, and to each species each member of every 
other species is an alien and a savage." 

In the light of this statement which I had occa- 
sion to make about ten years ago, we may try 
to find out how the trout ^ came to California. 

1 I here use the word " trout," as it is used in England, for the 
black-spotted fishes of the genus Saltno which retain the teeth on 
the shaft of the vomer, and which inhabit the streams and lakes 
of regions where water is cold and clear. I distinguish the trout 
from the marine and anadromous salmon, on the one hand, and 
from the fine-scaled red-spotted charr (Saivelinns) on the other. 
If our Pilgrim Fathers had sailed from Cumberland or West- 
moreland instead of from Devonshire, they would never have 



268 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

The trout is in California now. It is everywhere 
in California. There is no brook so poor that a 
trout cannot somewhere or sometime find a place 
in it Even the driest " Arroyo Seco " has at its 
head somewhere a living spring, and here the 
trout remains until the winter rains release him. 
Moreover the trout was not always in California. 
At some time or other he came to California from 
the far Northwest. All this we know very well. 
We know it as well as we know that the sonorous 
Spanish names came to California from the South, 
or that Saxon enterprise came over the plains, 
across the Isthmus, and around the Horn. 

The records of the trout are less perfect than 
the stories of the Argonauts or the annals of the 
Mission Fathers. But some records there are, and 
whatever these records tell is true as far as it goes. 
Let us piece these records out, joining their facts 
by lines of least resistance. Let us frame a history 
of what may have been true, and it will remain 
true until some one can read the records better. 

The trout was born in Europe on the flanks of 
the glacial mountains. The salmon was its parent. 
The environment of landlocked lakes and glacial 
streams determined its character. From northern 
fjords and mossy brooks it spread over Siberia. 

called the beautiful red-spotted charr of our New England streams a 
" trout." They had never seen a charr in the South of England, and 
had probably never even heard the name. Trout and salmon they 
knew well, and gave their names to the fishes of the New World 
that seemed most like them. There is no genuine trout in 
America east of the Great Plains. The Eastern Brook Trout 
or Speckled Trout is a Charr. No higher praise can be given to 
a Sal monoid than to call it a Charr. 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 269 

No one can tell the story of its migrations from 
one great dreary river to another in this vast 
region, for no one knows what it does there to- 
day. We know that Siberia is a land of trout; 
but the names of the kinds of trout in Siberia are 
bare names to-day, as they were in the days of 
Steller and Pallas and Krascheninnikow. F^rom 
Kamchatka to Alaska across the cold Bering 
Sea is but a step for a fish of spirit, and this step 
IS often made by the trout to this day. In the 
Kamchatka rivers the trout has changed some- 
what from any of the varied forms that are known 
in Europe. Its scales are smaller (180 instead of 
130 in a line along its sides), and across its throat, 
half hidden by the branches of its lower jaw, is 
the A- shaped blotch of scarlet. Such a mark 
is known in the North as the sign-manual of the 
Sioux Indian. It is the mark of the Cut-throat 
Trout. This Trout freely enters the sea in Alaska 
to-day, and has done so ever since it came to that 
region. Thus it passes readily from one stream 
to another; one colony mixing freely with an- 
other, till from end to end of the territory the 
trout are virtually alike. In the brooks the 
trout grow slowly and in the sea rapidly, but 
the streams are clear and the sea is cold. If food 
is scarce in the rivers, there is a clear passage 
from them to the ocean, with no alkaline basin or 
mud-flat to be crossed. For these reasons the 
trout of Alaska and Kamchatka have remained 
uniform in appearance. They are all alike Cut- 
throat Trout. A hundred and fifty years ago, 
the Russians in Kamchatka called them Mykiss, 



2/0 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

From this, in 1792, the old German compiler ' 
Johann Julius Walbaum gave them their scientific 
name of Salmo mykiss, and to this day and for- 
ever Salmo my kiss ^ is the scientific name of the 
Cut-throat Trout 

Finding Alaska a good '* fishing-ground," the 
trout spread itself through all its rivers. The 
conditions of cold clear water from the mountains 
to the sea are much the same all the way from 
the Yukon to Fraser's River and the Columbia and 
even as far south as the Umpqua and the Klamath. 
To all these, one after another, the Cut-throat 
Trout came from the North. The ocean offering 
easy access from the mouth of one to the mouth 
of another, there is very little difference to this 
day among the colonies inhabiting the different 
river basins. The Mad River and Elk River in 
Humboldt County, California, mark the southern 
limit of the extension of the Cut-throat Trout 
along the west coast by processes of ordinary 
transfer from river to river by way of the sea. 

Ascending the Columbia River,^ the trout 

1 By the laws of scientific nomenclature, the oldest name of any 
species is its right name, all questions of which name is the best 
or sounds the best being disregarded. The Cut-throat Trout 
was called Salmo my kiss in Kamchatka by Walbaum in 1792, 
Salmo muikisi by Schneider in 1801, Salmo purpuratus by Pallas 
in 181 1 ; these specimens being all of the My kiss of Kamchatka. 
It was named Salmo clarkii by Richardson in 1836, from Columbia 
River specimens. A number of other names, as Salmo stellatnsy 
brevicauda, and aurora, were applied by Dr. Charles Girard to 
specimens brought in by the Pacific Railroad Survey. 

2 The Cut-throat Trout of the Lower Columbia and of Puget 
Sound cannot be distinguished from that found in Alaska. It is, 
however, sometimes given a separate name in science, as Salmd 
niykiss clarkii. 



ffOlV THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 2/1 

♦ spread itself widely in the streams of the green 
and moist region west of the Cascade Range and 
through the arid lava-strewn wildernesses which lie 
to the east. Each stream received its quota of 
trout ; but as the way was open up and down the 
stream, the species remained essentially as it was 
in Alaska. Isolation or separation from the main 
body in some way is a prime factor in the perma- 
nence of new forms. In Waha Lake^ in Wash- 
ington, a glacial lake which has now no outlet, the 
trout became entirely cut off from the parent stock, 
and a local race with shorter head and the black 
spots gathered on the tail was formed by the 
separation. In the central portion of this region, 
east of the Cascade Range, we find still the an- 
cestral forms of the nascent species which have 
sprung from Salmo mykiss. In this region the 
scales are small, but the cut-throat mark is often 
wanting, and there are still living forms that seem 
to mark a perfect transition ^ from Salmo mykiss 
to Salmo gairdneri. In the region where these 
forms are found, the true mykiss is nearly or quite 
wanting. 

The trout thus came to the fountain-head of 
the Columbia, and its great tributaries the Snake, 
the Salmon, and Clark's Fork. In this Upper 
Snake River it has become separated, since the 
last lava flows, from the parent form, and it is 

1 The Waha Lake Trout has received the name of Salmo 
mykiss bouvieri. This name was given by Major Charles Bendire, 
its discoverer, one good soldier naming it for another. 

^ These transitional forms, abundant about Walla Walla and 
in the Des Chiites River, are known 2iS Salmo mykiss j^ibbsiiyn2imtdi 
for the discoverer, George Gibbs, once governor of Washington. 



2/2 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

called Salmo mykiss lewisi. How the lewisi * 
crossed the Great Divide over to the headwaters 
of the Missouri and spread itself where it could 
in the Yellowstone Park, I have already twice 
told in my way. Dr. Barton W. Ev^ermann of 
the U. S. Fish Commission has told it in a still 
better way, for he has himself visited the Two 
Ocean Pass and caught it in the very act of 
crossing the Divide. Just south of the Yellow- 
stone Park is a great depression in the main 
divide of the Rocky Mountain chain which is re- 
duced to a quarter of a mile of low marshy 
ground. East of this marsh the Atlantic Creek 
flows eastward into the Yellowstone. West of it, 
Pacific Creek finds its way into Snake River. 
Across the marsh the streams become entangled, 
and each one sends a part of its water over into 
the other. In the spring the marsh is largely 
under water, and there is no obstacle to the pas- 
sage of the trout. For the greater part of the 
year one stream at least is open, and the trout 
can pass without hindrance from the Snake River 
to the Yellowstone, from the basin of the Colum- 
bia to that of the Missouri.^ Thus the trout 
came over into Yellowstone Lake and into the 
Yellowstone River, thence into the Missouri and 
Its great clear affluents, the Jefferson, Madison, 

^ The Trout of the Upper Missouri (and Upper Columbia) has 
been called Salmo lewisi by Girard and Salmo carinatus by Cope. 
It does not differ in any visible way from Salmo mykiss^ although 
it is now isolated from the latter, its parent stock. Trout con- 
fined to rivers are always smaller than those of the same kind 
resident in lakes. Those which enter the sea grow to a still 
larger size. 



BOiy THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORXIA. 273 

and Gallatin, and throughout the Missouri basin 
as far to the east as a decent fish can live. But 
these trout of the Upper Columbia are now 
separated by the great falls of Shoshone from 
those of the rest of the stream. They have re- 
tained their primitive characters. 

The wash of the Bad Lands in Dakota fills the 
clear river with fine clay and quicksands, and in 
yellow water over quicksand bottom one does not 
look for trout. The Black Hills of South Dakota 
are full of clear streams, but there are no trout 
in them. The bad water of the main river into 
which these streams flow shuts off the trout from 
them. The fact that the trout are shut out shows 
that conditions have not materially changed since 
the trout came into the Missouri. The cataracts 
which fall from the lava beds in the Yellowstone 
Park have also excluded trout from a great 
number of beautiful streams, as the Gardiner, Gib- 
bon, and Firehole Rivers, and the charming ex- 
panse of Shoshone ^ and Lewis Lakes. This 
shows that these waterfalls were formed before 
the trout crossed the Divide. 

From the tributaries of the Missouri or the Snake, 
the trout crossed in some way as yet unknown to the 
headwaters of the Platte, and filled all the brooklets 
of the Colorado Parks. From these it again over- 
flowed into the neighboring waters of the Upper 
Arkansas. The fact that through all these streams 
of Eastern Colorado and Wyoming the trout are 

^ In these streams are now trout in abundance, various 
species having been introduced by the U. S. Fish Commissioii 
ioi888. 

18 



274 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

substantially alike indicates that the date of crossing 
from one to the other, say from Denver to Pueblo, 
is comparatively recent The runway is not how- 
ever yet made out, but it probably lies between 
Pike's Peak and Denver, and may have been due 
to some glacial overflow from the South Platte 
into the creek called Font-qui-Bouille. The pas- 
sage from the Missouri to the Platte is older, for 
here the trout have become perceptibly changed. 
The trout of the Platte^ and Arkansas is small, 
very green in color, with very red flesh ; the spots 
are gathered chiefly on the tail, and the red cut- 
throat mark is bright. 

From the Arkansas River to the Rio Grande 
over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is again but 
a step, — a short step, but a very high one. This 
the trout has in some way crossed. Here again 
we may imagine glacial lakes now drained as the 
way of passage, or, still better, we may say we 
do not know. The transfer must have been an 
old one, for the trout in the Rio Grande ^ is visibly 
different, the difference consisting in the larger 
scales and smaller size of the black spots. Once 
more across the main divide we follow the trout, 
from the tributaries of the Rio Grande to those 
of the Colorado. Here again the point of trans- 
fer is unknown, and here once more the imagina- 
tion and the glaciers must fill up the gap. It 
is not far from Rio Chama over to the Rio San 

1 The "Greenback Trout" of the Arkansas and Platte is 
Salmo my kiss stomias Cope. 

2 The trout of the Rio Grande is Salmo mykiss spilurus Cope. 
Its range extends farther southward than any other known form, 
as far as the mountains of Chihuahua. 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 275 

Juan. In the beautiful streams of Western Colo- 
rado the trout have made themselves at home, 
and their abundance here is scarcely less than in 
their chosen haunts in Washington and Alaska. 
Already the sage-brush trail which leads to 
Trapper's Lake and the cliffs along Eagle River is 
strewn with 'tin cans, newspapers, cigar stumps, 
and other debris of civilization. Splendid trout 
still lurk in the depths of the wild cafion " de las 
Animas Perdidas," above Hermosa and Durango. 
The trout of the Colorado River ^ most resemble 
those of the Rio Grande, but they change a good 
deal with variations in surroundings. They show 
a tendency to orange rather than purple shades 
on the fins, the spots are small and largely on the 
tail, and the scales are smaller than in most of the 
others. The sides show often a red lateral band 
more distinct than in any other form thus far 
mentioned. The cut-throat mark is still clear, as 
in all trout east of the Cascades and the Sierra 
Nevada. 

In the Arkansas basin, in a bend of the main 
divide, high above the river, lies a pair of glacial 
lakes, shut in by one moraine and separated by 
another. These are the Twin Lakes, beloved of 
anglers and famous for their magnificent mountain- 
setting. In these lakes are two kinds of trout, 
different in size, color, character of flesh, way of 
living, and choice of bait. Dr. Evermann and I 
visited the lake in 1889. We found but one kind, 
the ordinary Greenback Trout of the Arkansas, 

^ The trout of the Colorado Basin is Salmo mykiss pleuriticus 
Cope. 



276 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

and went away contented with that. A much 
better angler, Mr. Charles J. Fisher of Leadville, 
was not satisfied with our conclusions, and insisted 
that we should go back with him. We did so, and 
were rewarded by many specimens of the beautiful 
" Yellow-fin Trout,*' ^ first introduced to science 
in 1889. This is a large trout with bright yellow 
fins, a yellow stripe along the sides, pale flesh, 
and the black spots very small and all gathered on 
the tail. It has not yet been found in any other 
waters. It is very different in structure and aspect 
from the Greenback Trout which swarms with it 
in the Twin Lakes. It must be descended from 
the Colorado Trout, which inhabits the other side 
of the Divide. How it crossed the Saguache 
Mountains from the Gunnison or from the Roaring 
Fork, no one can now say, but that this crossing 
was a fact I have no reason to doubt. 

At this point the " lay of the land " renders a 
diversion necessary. When you come overland to 
San Francisco by way of the Central Pacific, 
after you have passed Ogden an hour or so, you 
will notice a break in the mountains to the north- 
ward. Through this break to the Snake River the 
waters of the Great Salt Lake once flowed. It 
was not a salt lake then, and it was much larger 
than now. The old lake has been called Lake 
Bonneville. You may trace its former boundaries 
as terraces upon the slopes of the hills. You can 
see them from the car windows, looking out in 
almost any direction. Through this break once 

1 The Yellow-fin Trout of Twin Lakes is Saimo mykiss mac- 
dona/di J or d2in & Evermann. 



ffOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA. 277 

came up the trout ^ from the Snake River to 
Utah Lake, Jordan River, Bear River, and Provo 
River. It came into all the sparkling streams of 
the Uintah and the Wahsatch which now find their 
end in the salt and alkali of the Great Basin. The 
trout in Utah Lake are large with large scales and 
small spots, and the spots are scattered over the 
body fore and aft as in the trout of the Columbia. 
Another offshoot from the Columbia Trout is 
found in the bed of the old Lake Lahontan, — a 
glacial lake now long since drained, in whose basin 
lie Pyramid Lake, Truckee River, and the great 
alkaline sink of the Humboldt. In Lake Tahoe,'-^ 
the most beautiful lake in all our country, the Tahoe 
trout appears to its best advantage. It is a big 
strong gamy fish, with small scales and large black 
spots, the spots being scattered over head and belly 
as well as on the tail. The Tahoe ^ Trout is found 

• 1 The trout of the Great Basin of Utah are Salmo mykiss 
virginalis. 

2 The Trout of Lake Tahoe is Salmo mykiss henshawi Gill & 
Jordan, named for its discoverer, the well-known ornithologist. 
The same trout is found also in Feather River and Moquelumne 
Rivers, both on the west side of the Sierra Nevada. These facts 
of distribution were long a mystery, but it has been lately found 
that both were the result of artificial plants like that which has 
brought the California Rainbow Trout into Truckee River in 
competition with the " cut-throat '* henshawi. Dr. Willard Piatt 
of Prattsville, California, planted in 1884, 1,000 young trout from 
Truckee River in the streams of the Big Meadows of Plumas. 
About the same time trout were taken from the Carson River and 
placed in the Blue Lakes at the head of the Moquelumne, in 
Alpine County. 

8 The anglers find two kinds of trout in Lake Tahoe, — the Black 
Trout, or " Snipe,** which reaches a small size, and the Silver Trout, 
which reaches splendid dimensions. The largest Silver Trout on 
record was taken near Tahoe City and sent in 1878 to General 
Grant. It weighed twenty-eight pounds. I have carefully compared 



278 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

not only in Lake Tahoe and its outlet, but in 
Humboldt River and in every suitable stream and 
lake in the Great Basin of Nevada, as its cousin 
virginalis is found in the Great Basin of Utah. 
As Lake Bonneville was drained to the north, so 
was Lake Lahontan to the northeast, and the 
great Snake River found room for all their 
waters. From its great resources, it stocked them 
all with trout, and the falling of the waters has left 
these trout to isolation and therefore to change. 

Another of these old lake basins is that of 
Southeastern Oregon, the " Lake Idaho ** of 
geologists, including Malheur, Summer, Goose, 
and Christmas Lakes and their tributaries. In 
these many lakes and streams trout doubtless 
occur, and these have doubtless undergone modi- 
fications. But the varieties thus formed are yet to 
be studied and to be named. 

Coming back to the Colorado Basin, we find its 
trout spread far and wide in the mountain streams. 
Between the valley of the Colorado and that of the 
San Joaquin stands the great main chain of the 
Sierra Nevada, full of trout-brooks, made up of 
rocky walls which no trout can ever pass. To the 
southward this great wall breaks up into detached 
ranges now separated by Valleys of Death ; fiery 
deserts and alkaline sinks, some of them below 
the level of the sea ; burning wastes of cactus and 

a seven-pound " Silver Trout " taken at Tahoe City, with the 
ordinary henshawi^ and find no real or permanent difference. The 
Silver Trout are the large ones living in the depths and spawning 
in the lake. The Black Trout live near shore, and spawn in the 
stream. The Silver Trout may sometime become differentiated, 
but is not yet a separate species or subspecies. 



ffOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 279 

greasewood, enlivened only by the rattle of the 
Sidewinder. In the glacial period this region had a 
different climate. Melting ice once filled the terri- 
ble deserts of Amargosa and Panamint with sweet 
waters. In some way or other this region may 
have been traversed by the trout. I once thought 
that from the Colorado to the Kern ^ the trout must 
have come into California. It may be so ; but if our 
theories follow the line of least resistance, there is 
an easier way. If the trout came from the Colorado 
to the Kern, it has in the transition lost most of the 
red of its cut-throat mark, but not all of it. The 
scales became somewhat larger, the red band on 
the side more distinct, and the spots extended for- 
wards. In all these regards we come nearer to the 
trout of the Walla Walla region, the one we call 
Salmo mykiss gibbsii; and while it is possible that 
the Kern Trout (^gilbertt) came from the Colorado 
trout {pleuriticus)y which they greatly resemble, my 
present impression is that they did not. 

Let us try this supposition. The old mykiss 
stock filled the Columbia. After the lava flows 
had formed Shoshone and American falls, the trout 
of the Upper Columbia {lewisi) were shut off from 
the others. Perhaps the waterfall of the Cascades 
separated those of the Middle Columbia from those 
of the lower portion of the river. In any event, the 
gibbsii became somewhat different, losing in part 
its cut-throat mark, and passing into the small- 
scaled white-throated form we call the Steel-head, 

1 The Trout of Kern River is Salmo gairdneri gilbertt Jordan, 
named for its discoverer, Dr. Charles H. Gilbert, who has been 
for twenty years my colleague in the study of our fishes. 



28o SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

or Saltno gairdncrL This gairdneri we regard as a 
species different from Salmo myMss. Its mouth is 
smaller, and the sides more red. But the fading of 
the cut-throat mark is the chief sign by which we 
may know it from its ancestors; and this must 
have passed away by gentle stages, for in the Kern 
trout and the Shasta trout — its descendants, if this 
supposition is true — there are still traces of the red 
dash, which the common Steel-head no longer 
shows. 

Let us suppose that the descendants of the 
gibbsii entered the Lower Columbia when the 
blockade at the Cascades was worn through. 
They must have found the sea congenial, for with 
the gairdneri we find more of the migrating habit 
than in any of the mykiss forms. Trout who go 
to the sea must some time come back to the 
mountains, for all trout and salmon cast their eggs 
in the gravel of fresh-water brooks or cold lakes. 
Migrating trout go up all the streams from Point 
Concepcion to Vancouver Island. Ocean feeding 
makes large trout. Ten pounds is not uncommon, 
and they have been known to run as high as thirty.. 
These sea-run fishes are known as Steel-heads, or 
Salmon Trout, and are often taken for salmon. 
They are trout, nevertheless, not salmon at all. 
The name Steel-head, being used for no other fish, 
is well applied to them. 

They are a good and gamy fish in their season, 
but are not always so when taken in the rivers. 
The Steel-head spawns in the winter, later than the 
salmon, and when taken as spent fish in February 
or March, it is often coarse and poor. It then 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA. 28 1 

appears in the markets as ** Salmon" or " Salmon 
Trout." It is sold at a low price as ** poor man's 
Salmon." But to this the anglers object. For 
when it first enters the streams, the Steel-head is a 
noble fish, and worthy of the best efforts of the 
fly-fisher. Besides, the young Steel-heads on their 
way back to the sea are not less attractive to the 
lover of fishes. 

If we follow the Steel-head ^ northward, we find 
that it has invaded the waters still occupied by 
its grandfather mykiss. It has gone into Fraser 
River, where its landlocked progeny have become 
the great white trout of the Kamloops and Koote- 
nay Lakes, the Stit-tse^ of the Indians. This trout 
does not differ much from the Steel-head ; but its 
large scales, silvery color, and sleek aspect give it 
an appearance different from its cut-throat ances- 
try, which lives with it in the same waters. Differ- 
ent species the two are, beyond a doubt, yet they 
belong to the same series. They stand at opposite 
ends of a long chain that still has many links, and 
that has lost many more. For each link in the great 
chain there is a long and an eventful history. 

Allied to the Kamloops trout is another inter- 
esting form, — the Blueback Trout ^ of Crescent 
Lake and other ponds in the Olympic Mountains. 
This form has been only lately made known to 

1 The Steel-head Trout is Saltno gairdneri Richardson, named 
in 1836 for its discoverer, Dr. Gairdner, an enthusiastic young 
naturalist, stationed at Fort Vancouver, in the employ of the Fur 
Company. 

* The Stit-tse Trout is Saltno gairdneri kamloops Jordan. 

' The Blueback or Beardslee Trout of Lake Crescent is Saltno 
beardsleei Jordan & Scale, named for its discoverer. 



282 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

science through the enthusiastic devotion of Rear- 
Admiral Beardslee, who regards it as the finest of 
all trout, and who has taken specimens of ten 
pounds' weight in this wonderful lake. This form 
differs from the Steel-head in its large scales and 
large head, and is one of the best marked of all the 
trout-forms in the northwest. 

In the same lake occurs another splendid trout 
of large size, the Crescent Trout. ^ It seems to be 
also an offshoot from the Steel-head, but its head 
is quite different in cut and much larger in size. 
Its scales are considerably smaller than in the 
Beardslee trout, and in both the black spots are 
small and scattered. 

If what I think to-day is the truth for to-morrow, 
the Steel-head passed southward from the Colum- 
bia along the California coast, entering the brooks 
of the Coast Range, spawning there and passing 
back into the sea, — but not always, for some- 
times it had gone so far from the ocean that it 
could never get back in its lifetime, — the whole 
western flank of the Sierra Nevada being full 
of trout brooks. The trout came into them. They 
stayed because it was good to be there. And 
from Steel-head stock may have come the splendid 
trout of the Kern already mentioned, Salmo gaird- 
fieri gilberti. It is probably more like the original 
Steel-head than the Steel-head itself now is ; for it 
has red under the throat, like its great-grandfather 
mykiss. In any event, it fills the Kern River now, 
and is ready for any angler who invades its rocky 
fastnesses. 

J The Crescent Trout is Salmo crescentis Jordan & Beardslee. 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA. 283 

The trout in the main Kern River grow to a large 
size. Others have clambered into the mountain 
meadows, and they are very small and very bright 
in color. Those separated from the rest by the 
falls of Agua Bonita^ in Volcano Creek, on the 
flanks of Mount Whitney, are now noticeably dif- 
ferent from any other which we know. The scales 
are very small, and barely touch each other ; the 
fins and bands are yellow, and not red ; the cut- 
throat mark is yellow too, and the black spots are 
profusely scattered everywhere. In color like the 
Yellow-fin Trout of the Colorado Lakes, this Golden 
Trout of Mount Whitney is different in other re- 
spects ; and of all the trout on record it is smallest 
and prettiest. From Agua Bonita anglers have 
taken it to the east side of Mount Whitney, and it 
is now found in the rivers running down into 
Owen's Lake. 

The trout ascended the San Joaquin, sent up 
also side colonies not only to the Kern but to 
King's River, the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, 
Calaveras, Moquelumne, and all the other moun- 
tain tributaries. What changes took place in these 
streams we do not know, for it will take a long 
time to go a-fishing in them all. There is enough 
yet to be found out in the Sierra Nevada to in- 
terest ichthyologists and anglers alike for many 
future generations. 

The San Joaquin meets the Sacramento end to 
end, and the two break through the Coast Range 
to the sea. In the Upper Sacramento is occasion- 

1 The Golden Trout of Mount Whitney is Salmo gairdneri agua- 
bonita Jordan. 



284 SCIENCE SKETCHES. 

ally taken a trout which the Indians call No-Shee,^ 
or Nissuee, and which must resemble the original 
stock of the San Joaquin even more closely than 
the Kern trout does. It has the small scales of 
the Kern River fish, but the red cut-throat mark is 
gone, and the spots are few and sparse. It is a 
large trout, and is but rarely taken, the specimens 
now known being from the McCloud. 

The common trout of the Upper Sacramento 
may be descended from this; but its scales are 
larger, its body deeper, the red band on the sides 
more distinct, and there is at least a trace of the 
cut-throat mark, showing where its tribe came 
from. This trout is the one distributed from 
the hatchery at Baird as the California Rainbow 
Trout,^ and planted, often ineffectively, in many 
Eastern rivers, — ineffectively, I say, because of its 
bad habit of dropping down with the current and 
losing itself in unwholesome waters on its way to 
the sea. The true Rainbow Trout is, however, 
somewhat different. That name belongs to the 
common trout of the Coast Range ; smaller, with 
large scales, white throat, and varying much with 
streams and food. The large scales seem to mark 
a change on which we make, provisionally, a divi- 
sion of species. The little trout of the Coast 
Range ^ is likewise an offshoot of the Steel-head. 

1 The No-Shee Trout is Saltno gairdneri stonei Jordan, named 
for its discoverer Livingston Stone, the veteran fish-culturist of 
the U. S. Hatchery at Baird, California. 

2 The Rainbow Trout of the Upper Sacramento is Salmo gaird- 
neri shasta Jordan. 

8 The Trout of the Coast Range is Saltno irideus Gibbons ; the 
type locality of the species being San Leandro Creek, in Alameda 
County. 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 28$ 

For all we know it is constantly receiving acces- 
sions from the small Steel-heads which do not find 
their way to the sea. It is not always easy to tell 
where Steel-head trout leaves off and Brook trout 
begins. The Rainbow Trout occurs in the coast- 
wise brooks all the way from Oregon to the Mexi- 
can line. It abounds in Rio San Luis Rey, in San 
Diego County, and I have heard of its occurrence 
across the border in Mexico. In no two streams 
does this Coast Range trout seem to be exactly the 
same, and in all it is small, speckled, and vigorous. 
In one stream of the Redwood country, Purisima 
Creek, in San Mateo County, there is a high 
waterfall where it drops into the sea. No trout 
can climb this fall, and those who are above it have 
been there for many generations. These Purisima 
Trout, befitting their name, are the brightest in 
color of all the trout of the mountains. When the 
trout which have gone down over the Purisima 
falls reappear in other streams, as they often do, 
we can still know them by the brightness of their 
colors. 

Northward the Brook Trout, or Rainbow Trout, 
grows more distinct from its relatives. Its colors 
in Oregon and Washington are more marked, its 
scales larger, its mouth smaller. About the mouth 
of the Columbia it becomes the form known as 
Salmo irideus masoni. Here no one could fail to 
distinguish it from the Steel-head. The Steel-head, 
Cut-throat, and Rainbow are all found here, — 
three different generations of trout, each with a 
long history. Here each one is a distinct ** spe- 
cies,'* beyond all doubt or question. It is equally 



286 SCIENCE SKETCHES, 

true that in other regions these species lose their 
distinctness. In the Upper Columbia, Steel-head 
and Cut-throat seem hopelessly entangled, as in 
California the Steel-head is confused with the 
Rainbow Trout From the standpoint of the 
evolutionist this is delightful, while it breaks up 
every system or scheme of the systematic natu- 
ralist. But the angler likes it well enough ; and 
to him, whether there be one species or three, 
one variety or twenty, — all are equally delight- 
ful. And whatever the difficulties, one who writes 
on the trout of California does not willingly drop 
his pen at the end of his theme. The most charm- 
ing of fishes, the most beautiful of lands, — when 
the two are brought together, one wishes to say of 
them something better than has yet been said. 
It is with regret that he lays down the pen in con- 
fession of inability to say it. 

The habitat of each of the forms of trout is indi- 
cated in the following list : — 

CuT-THROAT Trout : Salmo mykiss. 



mykisB . . 


Alaska. 


clarki . . . 


Washington and Oregon, chiefly west of the 




Cascades. 


bouvieri . 


Waha Lake. 


le'wisi . . 


Snake River, above the Falls and Upper 




Missouri. 


Btomias . . 


Upper Platte and Arkansas. 


spiluruB . . 


Rio Grande. 


pleuriticus . 


Rio Colorado. 


macdonaldi 


Twin Lakes. 


virginalis 


Lake Bonneville. 


hensha'wi . 


Lake Lahontan. 


.? . . 


Lake Idaho. 



HOW THE TROUT CAME TO CALIFORNIA, 287 

gibbsii . . Columbia Basin, from Shoshone Falls to 

Cascades. 



Steel-head Trout: Salmo gairdneri. 
gairdneri 



kamloops 

beardaleei 

crescentiB 

Btonei 

Shasta 

gUberti . 



Coastwise streams, from Puget Sound to Pt 

Sur. 
Lakes of Upper Columbia and Fraser River. 
Lake Crescent. 
Lake Crescent. 
Upper Sacramento. 
Upper Sacramento. 
Kern River, etc. 



agua-bonita Volcano Creek, etc. 



Rainbow Trout : Salmo irideus. 

irideus . . Coast Range brooks in California. 
masoni . . Coast Range brooks in Oregon. 

The following very hypothetical diagram shows 
their relationships : — 



nYKI55 




BOUVICRI 



»GIDB5II 



MtNSHAWI 



LEWI31 



VlRGinAL15 
riACDOMALDI 



6T0raiA5 



GAIRDMEW 
5T0nEI 



AGUA-BOniTA 



GILBERTI 




5PILURU5 



PLEURITICUS 




3 blDS DS3 SIM 315