Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

a

supposed or real inability of the parent to send to school, owing to indigent circumstances and the lack of means to procure necessary clothing and books. This class is quite limited in the rural districts, where the people, though not wealthy, usually have a competence of the necessaries of life, but is largely represented in cities, where the number of illiterates reaches so large a per cent. of the entire population, and where suffering and want, though somewhat disguised, form a striking contrast to the elegance of metropolitan display. There are families, it is true, that cannot send to school for these causes, but they are comparatively few, and the legislature in its wisdom, very judiciously excepts those who may have a reasonable excuse, from the penalty for non-attendance, and we believe that the law of last winter, before mentioned, will be the means of prompting many parents and guardians to a proper discharge of their moral and now legal duty, either to send their children to the public school or to provide for their instruction by some other proper means.

If enforced it will extend to the offspring of negligent parents the advantages they need to prepare for the duties of after life, as intelligent and worthy citizens, while it will not infringe upon the rights of any, nor cause undue hardships by reason of its rigor or severity. Such is the nature of the compulsory attendance law as it stands upon the statute records of the state, to take effect and be in force from and after the first day of September next.

We do not propose to take up the time of this Association in a discussion or extended consideration of the constitutionality of this law. Should this be questioned, the judiciary department, on proper presentation, will pass upon the question. Suffice it to say that as it interferes with no right or personal duty, as it only seeks to secure to all the benefits of a common educational training, as its passage was urged and indorsed by many prominent members of the bar and bench, as well as by a large number of the prominent educators of the state, and as it is not in conflict with any of the provisions of the constitution as interpreted by competent legal talent; we may justly conclude that it will not be set aside unless repealed by legislative authority.

Will the law be enforced? To this important question no definite answer can as yet be given. This will depend in a great measure upon the intelligence, public spirit and enterprise of the residents of the several school districts in the state. In the more favored localities, where schools are well supported, where competent teachers are

[ocr errors]

employed, not term by term, but by the year, and retained for their worth and merit, where school buildings are furnished with improved seats and extensive apparatus, where the school grounds are decorated and attention given to æsthetic culture as well as to mental discipline, we may reasonably anticipate that the law will be executed, in a measure, at least, and that resident children, unless properly excused, will receive instruction appropriate to their years. Yes, we venture the assertion that in many cities and in rural districts too, new faces will scan the teacher during the next school year, and that many school registers will contain the names of pupils that have not been recorded before.

In many instances, new burdens and increased responsibilities will be laid upon the teacher, for among those to be brought into the public school by the provisions of this law, there are many that know little or nothing of the meaning of discipline, or the occasion for restraint. These must be taught the first lessons that pertain to good citizenship, obedience to proper authority, and compliance with the rules of well regulated society. This requires that our teachers keep themselves supplied with an abundance of patience, a full stock of sympathy and good humor, supplemented by a ready and willing disposition to labor for the improvement of the rude and uncultivated, as well as for those who enjoy more healthful surroundings, and the benefits of a more liberal culture.

The teacher's field for labor is to be extended, and the true teacher will be zealous to share in the labors of this extended work, and in after years participate in the honors of those of whom it can be said, your duties to your pupils, to the profession and yourself, have been well and faithfully performed.

We rejoice in the fact that since the organization of the public school system, no retrograde movements have been made. Under the direction of salutary laws, by the guidance of competent teachers and the supervision of experienced officers, the public schools of Wisconsin are a source of pride to our people and an ornament to the state; and as teachers, we appeal to the patrons of our schools to assist in the work of molding of public sentiment, in educating the masses to comprehend the utility and necessity for school instruction, that the compulsory attendance law may reach and benefit those for whom it was intended, well knowing that the provision, to be effective, must be upheld and supported by popular sentiment.

When all shall enjoy and improve the opportunities offered by the

[ocr errors]

public school, crime and degradation will diminish. "For sale or rent” will be inscribed on the prison door and the culprit's cell. Then will intelligent good will control the base and guide the wrong, and the visible results of culture and discipline be seen on every hand. This grand Zobject may well engage the worthy efforts of talented men and women, and we trust that the popular sentiment of the state will sustain and enforce the legislative enactment, by which all shall enjoy the opportunities for mental development, on which the success of the individual, and the prosperity of our free institutions so materially depend.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Instead of following the scientific order of things and investigating all the orders of the Mandibulata at present, let us turn our attention next to the most conspicuous and showy of all the orders, viz., the Lepidoptera.

For a detailed history of the metamorphoses which the insects of this order undergo, the reader is referred to any work on natural history, as this interesting topic is never slighted. In order to preserve Lepidoptera in good condition for the cabinet it is necessary that they be handled as little as possible. The net must be made of the very lightest material consistent with durability, and the insects should be consigned directly from the net to the cyanide bottle, without their being so much as touched with the hand. Whenever it becomes necessary to set them for the cabinet the pliers should be in constant requisition, and in most instances it will be found advantageous to seize an insect by the antenna. There is thus the least liability to positive injury.

But the insects must first be caught. The net device has already been suggested, but with this we may not usually expect to catch the nocturnal lepidoptera. For these, the most useful plan adopted is what is called sugaring. A thick treacle is made of brown sugar or molasses mixed with stale ale or lager beer. The addition of a little gin or New England rum is sometimes of advantage. At nightfall this mixture is applied with a brush to the trunks of trees and the collector goes with his lantern and cyanide bottle and captures the prey at his leisure in the evening. It is well for the amateur in the business to note a few items which he may as well glean from others,

a

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

experience. On windy nights it is found that a mixture of beer and molasses will not so soon evaporate as a mixture of beer and sugar, that“sugaring" has come to mean among collectors the application of beer and molasses as a lure for night-flying lepidoptera. Also, it is well for him to apply the bait on the leeward side of the trees, as the moths flying to windward attracted by the bait, thus succeed in finding it with far less difficulty. A wooded, and if possible, neglected locality is desirable. The cover formed by weeds and undergrowth constantly neglected is quite necessary to the protection of the larvæ and pupæ both from insectivorous birds and from inclement winters. I shall never forget the curt remark that the lamented Dr. Le Baron, state entomologist of Illinois made to me. It was a text with a volume of suggested sermonizing in it both for the entomologist and per contra for the horticulturist. Said he "The sluggard's garden is the entomologist's paradise."

It is well for the collector to be provided with bottles of various sizes. Large-bodied moths yield slowly to the effects of the cyanide, and are sure to ruin smaller moths in the same bottle. This suggests that chloroform is often found useful. This may be applied with a camel's-hair brush, but the insect should thereafter be left in the poison bottle, as it is quite likely to recover from the anesthetic effects of the chloroform if it is left in the pure air. The collector must not forget that the application of chloroform to the insect's mouth-parts is not likely to produce any particular effects. To insure the chloroform's being taken into the circulation it must be applied to the abdomen for obvious structural reasons. In dealing with lepidoptera however, it is well if the collector can dispense with all liquids, for their use oftener spoils the specimen than improves it.

It will soon be discovered that the nocturnal lepidoptera are frequently in much better condition than the diurnals. This is plainly because they are fresher from the pupa state. Hence, the natural thought is why not collect pupe and allow the imagines to emerge in confinement? This is precisely what is done. Cocoons from the trees and pupæ from the ground are gathered and retained until the time arrives for the transformation which we expect. The larvae also may be collected and fed in confinement and their transformations watched with both pleasure and profit.

The cases of whatever kind in which the pupæ are kept must be supplied with moisture sufficient to insure a damp atmosphere. Thus the imago when it appears will be able to expand to its normal size.

The larvæ must be supplied with food from the plant upon which they have been feeding, for most of them are too fastidious to change their diet even to a plant which the botanists would consider very closely allied.

Large bodied moths hatched in confinement may be killed by the use of a liquid solution of potassic cyanide if one is especially careful in its use.

A small glass tube drawn out by being heated in an alcohol lamp may be used for the purpose. The smaller end may be dipped into the solution and thrust into the body of the insect, when a single puff of breath at the larger end will send the cyanide at once into the circulation. Insects killed in this way are thus rendered almost absolutely secure against museum pests, but the manipulator must never forget that he is dealing with a virulent poison and not inadvertently draw his breath when he should expel it, or he might himself be at once ready for transfixion by some scientific Brobdingnagian of whom Gulliver unfortunately failed to tell us. The insects must now be set, i.e. they must be arranged in such a position as seems to be necessary or desirable for their proper exhibition in a cabinet. Two strips of nicely smoothed soft pine, say eighteen or twenty inches long, are to be nailed to supports at the ends in such a way as to leave space enough between the strips for the body of the insect. Covering this opening on the under side is to be nailed a strip of thin cork or corn stalk to receive the pin on which the insect has already been impaled. The wings of the insect are then to be brought to any desired position by means of the setting needle, and held in position by narrow strips of paper pinned to the board. The insect must remain upon the setting board until it is thoroughly dried, when it will retain its position permanently. The beginner will in all likelihood not throw the forewings up enough to display the insect to the best advantage. It is a good rule to bring up the fore wings until their lower edges lie in a line perpendicular to the axis of the body. By noticing wood cuts of insects wherever available, the reader will at once appreciate the importance of this suggestion. It must also not be forgotten that during this whole operation an insect need never be brought in contact with the hand except possibly in the operation of pinning. It will be found advantageous also to eviscerate the larger night flying moths. Cotton may be used to replace the contents of the abdomen, and the insects are thus rendered less liable to attract museum pests or to become temporarily offensive.

To distinguish the diurnal from the nocturnal lepidoptera is not

« ÎnapoiContinuați »