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Lessons of the War


OME months ago I had occasion to send a message to school officers urging them to increase materially the time and attention devoted to instruction bearing directly on the problems of community and national life. I called attention then to the fact that this was not a plea for a temporary enlargement of the school programme appropriate merely to the period of the war, but a plea for the realization in public education of the new emphasis which the war has given to the ideals of democracy and to the broader conceptions of national life.

The American Red Cross devotes itself to the extension of our ideals and the spirit of humanity. Nowhere can its cause be exerted to better advantage than in the schools, and I have already approved the widespread plan which brings young people into junior membership.

I am told that the articles from THE RED CROSS MAGAZINE, which in spirit explain and extend these interests, are being used as reading lessons in thousands of schools, and that the coming numbers of the magazine will contain articles especially designed for this patriotic purpose. This plan is excellent, and I look forward to a willing coöperation among school officers to carry out the idea to the fullest extent.

Worder Welan

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Flying the five-barred flag of the republic. These boats are of great aid when the rivers burst the dykes and flood the land

Fighting Floods in China

Nearly a million people driven from their homes without shelter and without food for the winter. Plans for preventing such disaster in the future

By Edgar Pierce Allen


IFTEEN thousand square miles of land under an average of four feet of water, nearly a million of people destitute or threatened with destitution, a large proportion of whom have fled to the cities for refuge and more of whom may be expected to do so as the rigors of the North China winter and the exhaustion of their own supplies of food begin to press upon them. Such is the tale of the flood in the southern part of the Chinese province of Chihli.

The Chinese people in a long fight lasting many years against floods have been unable to control the hostile forces of nature, and indeed have done but little in the matter of prevention. The only capacity in relation to these hostile forces of nature, which in their long experience of subjection they have acquired, is a capacity for uncomplaining acceptance, not only for themselves, but also, alas, for their neighbors. One is forced at first to admire the stoicism and the docility of the crowd, the actual cheerfulness of the individual. Neither manly curse nor woman's wail is heard, every unexpected wetting raises a laugh. In the first day or so of the flood in the foreign settlements at Tientsin, before the innumerable craft that soon navigated the streets had made their appearance, from bath-tub through improvised rafts to sampans and junks, a corpulent Chinaman might be seen wading in water to his middle down the centre of the road, with all the dignity of a Lord Mayor leading his procession. Where else than in China would a cook continue to prepare meals for his masters in a detached kitchen, flooded only not so high as to reach the hearth of the cooking stove, moving about on a platform of planks laid on stools, and serving the dishes through the kitchen window, reached by another plank bridge from the back steps?

Not since the fabled days of the Great Yu, the Compeller of Waters, has any serious.

effort been made in China to remove the causes of flood. Rather has everything been done, from de-forestation downward, to increase the danger. The Chinese method of flood control is the tinkering method of dyking and more dyking until the silted bed of the stream in the alluvial plains on the seaward side of North China are above the level of the land, and the breaking of a dyke means the emptying of the stream. The absence of central and organized control leaves it possible for local officials and even the people of threatened districts to anticipate nature by breaking dykes to save themselves by letting out the threatening waters upon their neighbors, as well as to refuse to open sluices that might relieve threatened districts because the opening may cause damage to their own crops, encroaching, in some places, upon the dry beds of disused water courses.

The floods have been caused by heavy rains in western Chihli and in Shansi, the next province to the west of Chihli, at the sources. of the numerous rivers which, after successive combinations finally deliver all their waters to the one main outlet of the Haiho, as the short stretch is called between the confluences at Tientsin and the sea, twenty-nine miles. away from Tientsin as the crow flies but some fifty-five as the river winds. In time of stress this one poor outlet, itself requiring constant dredging to maintain Tientsin as a port, cannot do the work that is thrust upon it; neither for that matter can the tributary rivers above it hold safely all the waters poured into them by innumerable lesser streams with their sources in the mountains to the west. The low country west of Tientsin is flooded periodically. The village people keep boats, their villages are built on mounds; when they cannot plant, they fish. Tientsin itself has not been flooded since 1893. The interval has been long enough to make men lose their caution. The walled city of Tientsin-there are no walls now, but broad boulevards, the razing of the

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