National Geographic : 1922 Jan
VOL. XLI, No. 1 WASHINGTON JANUARY, 1922 A British Colony with a Unique Record in Popular Government BY WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT AUTHOR OF "GREAT BRITAIN'S BREAD UPON THE WATERS: CANADA AND HER OTHER DAUGHTERS," "TIHE HEALTH AND MORALE OF AMERICA'S CITIZEN ARMY," "THE PROGRESSIVE WORLD STRUGGLE OF THE JEWS FOR CIVIL EQUALITY," "WASHINGTON: ITS BEGINNING, ITS GROWTH, AND ITS FUTURE," ETC., IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE I AM HERE for my annual visit to this Society.* In previous years, which began the year after I left office, I have taken subjects the geograph ical character of which it was difficult clearly to establish, but this year I shall conform to the proprieties of the occa sion. By good luck, Mrs. Taft and I were able to spend four weeks of January last in the Islands of Bermuda, and so delightful was our visit and so interest ing was the local suggestion, that I con cluded to make the Islands the theme of this year's talk. The Bermuda Islands are only twenty square miles, about one-fourth the size of Staten Island, but I venture to think that there is no group in any ocean so small which has played so conspicuous a part on the world's stage as the Ber mudas. They form a microcosm, the catastrophes, the vicissitudes, the political, economic, and religious controversies, and the development of whose people, as a solitary unit, far out to sea, reflect much of the world history of the English speaking peoples. And, first, what are they? and where *An address delivered before the National Geographic Society in Washington in Febru ary, 1921. are they? The answers to these geo graphical questions will explain much of their history and present condition. The Bermudas are a group of what are said to be 365 islands (one for every day in the year) in north latitude 32 degrees and west longitude 64 degrees. There are only five important islands, and the whole group are so close together that those capable of use are united by bridges and causeways, so as to give to the sojourner in his drives the impression that they are but one island, with large indenting bays and inlets. Strung together, they have the form of a fishhook with the stem pointed to the northeast and the curve of the hook to the southwest. From the northeast end to the point of the hook, you can piece out a curving drive 22 or 23 miles long, and the width of land from sea to sea through which you drive will hardly aver age a mile. The superficial area of the whole group is 19j miles. The islands are nearly 6oo miles from Cape Hatteras. the nearest mainland; they are 700 miles from Charleston, South Carolina, opposite which they lie in the Atlantic; they are nearly 700 miles from New York and about 50 miles farther from Halifax (see map, page 2).