National Geographic : 1917 Feb
Photograph from Frederic C. Howe A LAPLAND WOMAN nificant. Furthermore, no State, no na tion, no continent has ever before stag gered under such an overwhelming debt. If the war were to end now, its financial obligations alone, to say nothing of the devastation, would reach a total of $60,000,000ooo. Think of a continent, with much of the flower of its brains and brawn either dead or maimed, and vast areas of its productive territory in ruins, facing a debt whose interest charges alone annually will equal the cost of six Panama canals! And that conti nent one which, before the war, sent us a million of its people every year because living was hard at home! Whoever has stood at the gate at Ellis Island and watched the human tide surge through, and whoever has traveled among the peasants of Europe must realize how narrow before the war was the margin between their total income and their nec essary outgo. Against these things must be matched the efficiency that the war has forced upon the people and the na tions and the spirit of self-sacrifice it has engendered. America has always been a polyglot nation, although all tongues do finally melt into hers. It is said that twenty years after Hudson discovered Manhat tan fourteen languages were spoken in New Amsterdam. The religious wars in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries sent thousands and tens of thousands of French Huguenots, German Protestants, and English Puritans to our shores. One American-built vessel is said to have made 116 round trips between New York and Liverpool in nineteen years, during which time it brought 30,000 immigrants to America. A MAN VALUED AT FIFTY DOLLARS The first colonial charter granted by England for the purposes of new settle ment was conditioned on homage and rent. This was the Virginia charter for the land extending from Cape Fear to Halifax, the rent of which was to be one fifth of the net produce of gold, silver, and copper. The land aristocracy was promoted by the provision that a planter might add fifty additional acres of land for every person he would transport into Virginia at his own cost. When the Pil grims were outfitting, each immigrant was rated at a capital of ten pounds. No divisions of profits was to be made for seven years. In the early days the people who came were largely of the sturdy pioneer type. A great many of them could neither read nor write, while most of those who could were able to do so only in a limited way. The transpositions in many names in America came from the carelessness or inability of public officials in spelling men's names straight in deeds, wills, and other documents. GOVERNOR BERKELEY OPPOSED THE PRINTING PRESS In 1718 three hundred and nineteen Scotch-Irish empowered their agent to negotiate terms with the Governor of Massachusetts for their settlement in that colony. Ninety-six per cent of the whole number wrote their names out in full. It has been said that at that time in no other part of the British Empire could such a proportion of men miscellaneously se lected have written their names. Twenty six per cent of the German male immi grants above sixteen years of age who came to America in the first half of the eighteenth century made their marks.