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What Burbank Still Plans to Do

Condensed from the Popular Sclence Monthly (April '26)
H. H. Dunn

୧୯ WHAT is yet to be done?" Luther

Burbank repeated my question in a tone of gentle scorn. "Everything! I have made only a beginning in the development of plants in the service of man. In the next five years I hope to produce plants with grains and fruits larger than any we have at present, with more varied flavors and colors, with better storing and shipping qualities, with more nutriment and less waste, and with every poisonous or injurious > element eliminated.

"There is hardly a day in which I do not learn something new from the plants in my garden. In the years to come I hope to be able to do more useful work than I have done, even in the fruitful years just passed."


Luther Burbank stood on threshold of his 78th year that morning I talked with him in Santa Rosa. Behind him lay more than 50 years of continuous effort. But in the active mind of Burbank, the wizard of growing things, is supreme confidence that he will fill his unique place in the world for many years. Calm, temperate, industrious, he works ten hours a day, six days a week. A patient man, he has grown and destroyed nine million specimens of one variety of plant to obtain a single perfect one. It is since he passed his 70th milestone that Luther Burbank has brought his most important plant developments to completion. last few years he has produced his composite black walnut tree, which in ten years attains the size of a 50year-old wild black walnut and has a the wild tree; his chestnut tree, that fine-grained and valuable as begins to produce at six months and is in full bearing in two years; his late

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bearing cherry tree, with clusters of cherries nearly an inch in diameter; a mulberry tree with leaves twice as large and thick as the ordinary mulberry, worth millions to the silk industry of the Orient.

He has brought out a new wheat having heads inches longer than any other. This wheat, suitable for all climates, has seven to ten more grains to the head, ripens earlier, and resists He disease better than other kinds. has perfected a beardless, hull-less white barley almost indistinguishable from wheat, with six to eight grains added to each head; and a new rye that grows twice as high as any other and has five to seven more grains to the head.

The Burbank free-stone prune, six inches in circumference, has added millions to the incomes of California fruit growers. He has raised a sunflower with a head 18 inches in diameter, which grows with its blossoms turned toward the earth, so that the birds cannot harvest the seeds; and a new asparagus with stalks nearly three inches in diameter and as tender at the base as at the tip. Most remarkable of all the Burbank wonders is a spineless cactus, a wonderful cattle food.

In the last two years Burbank has presented to the world a new type of corn with more and larger kernels and shorter stalks than any other species. More than 15,000 experiments were necessary to develop this, and one of his plans for the future is to add more and larger kernels to each ear of this corn.

"What we need most today," Mr. Burbank said to me, "is not more varieties of food-producing plants, but those we greater production from


have, so that the same number of acres with the labor of fewer men shall produce many times as much food.

"In the next few years I hope to produce fruits that will have the power to resist heat, cold, dampness, and the attacks of fungi and insect pests. I hope also to produce fruit without seeds, stones, spines, or thorns.

"The world needs, and we shall develop, better fiber plants; better coffee and tea plants; more productive spice shrubs; trees that will produce pure rubber in larger quantities and can be tapped as are maple trees. Now, in the tropical rubber forests, the gathering of the rubber means the destruction of the tree.

"We need, too, nuts which contain more oil, new and better dyewoods, plants that will produce starches in profitable quantities, and plants that will yield better perfumes than the synthetic perfumes now manufactured. We need trees exclusively for wood pulp, and other trees that will grow more rapidly than wild trees and produce larger quantities of timber.

"Every one of these developments, and thousands more, are within our reach. Man is just beginning to realize that he may some time control certain forces of nature and guide them to produce desired results with a rapidity and sureness hitherto undreamed of.”

Luther Burbank's first important contribution was the Burbank potatɔ. For this discovery he received $150, and with this modest capital and a supply of his famous tubers, he left his native state of Massachusetts for California. If he had been able to patent this improved potato and had received a royalty of one cent on each bushel that has been grown and sold, he would today be the world's richest


Burbank believes that the most important lesson he has learned in more than a half century of study of nature is that the laws applicable to the production of improved plant life may be

applied with equal success to the im provement of human beings.

"One law governs all; it governs the plants and it governs us," he said earnestly. "In human breeding, as in plant breeding, there is no satisfactory substitute for intelligent selection and crossing. Here in America, nature is forming a mighty combination of various races. If the right principles are followed, we may hope for a race far better and stronger than Americans of today; a magnificent race. But crossing, even when guid ed by intelligence, produces a myriad of inferior types while producing a few good types. Often, I have pro duced a million plant specimens to find one or two superlatively goodand then destroyed all the inferior specimens.

"Inferior human beings, of course, cannot be treated as if they were inferior plants. But if civilization is to endure, some way must be found to produce more of the fit, and fewer of the unfit. Like plant development, racial improvement is a matter of heredity, selection, proper crossing, and environment. We must begin with the child. To improve the race, the children of the race must be healthy. I could not work successfully with diseased plants that would spread disease among the other plants. Mar. riage of the physically, mentally and morally unfit should be prohibited, and that prohibition made absolute.

"For half a century there has been growing steadily in my mind the knowledge that in the development of the plant lies a great object lesson for human beings. This fact I consider my most valuable discovery. I have proved it many times, and I may state it in two sentences:

"First, that plants are pliable and amenable to the wishes of man, and that they may be bred and trained and developed just as animals may be bred and trained and improved. Second, that the human plant, the child, may be trained, developed and improved just as, under the hand of a skilled botanist, the best that is in each plant may be brought out."

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Horse Bandits and Opium

Condensed from The Forum (April '26)
Ken Nakazawa

OST of the opium traffic in China is conducted by "Ma Fei," horse bandits, that powerful, well organized, ably directed band of outlaws in Manchuria, and unless we find the means to control these bandits, we cannot hope to suppress the traffic in narcotics.

Ma Fei includes men of all classes and conditions. There are common robbers as well as political exiles. There are soldiers out of pay, and aspirants for governmental positions. This turning of soldiers into bandite Occurs quite frequently, as can be seen from the adage that "To maintain soldiers is to maintain robbers."

It may seem strange that aspirants for governmental positions should attempt to realize their ambition by entering the ranks of Ma Fei. But, as a little study of Who's Who in China will prove, the Chinese Government actually does give high positions to > bandit leaders.

As there are many who conduct banditry as an avocation-tradesmen and farmers who participate in order to tide over hard times it is impossible to determine the number of men who constitute Ma Fei. All we know is that Ma Fei consists of about 95 divisions, and that each of these divisions has one leader and from 40 to

1000 men.

They are


Ma Fei are thoroughly acquainted with the land they work on, and move about with the stealth and swiftness of the fabled ghost riders. well supplied with firearms, from machine guns down to revolvers. they are not well equipped with ammunition, and seldom waste it. one found wasting bullets is given three incense sticks; which means that he must stand guard until three incense sticks burn to ashes.



is sometimes demanded in terms of powder as well as of money.

Because terrorism is an effective weapon, Ma Fei are highly vindictive, punishing their enemies with unspeak able atrocities. It is not unusual for them to carry off the wife and children of their enemy, and sell them into slavery, or torture them to death, writing in the meantime to the enemy of the treatment his loved ones are receiving at their hands.

We can surmise the extent of the power wielded by Ma Fei from the fact that the Government often offers Anhigh positions to some of them. other proof of their power is the existence of the system of burglar insurance which is conducted, not against Ma Fei, but in cooperation with them. The express company where the insurance is sold, insures the safe transportation of luggage on the strength of the pact it has made with the bandits.

Like other bandits, Ma Fei rob, kidnap, and blackmail. But in most cases they indulge in these pursuits in order to earn the cost of opium production. That is why they are comparatively inactive-that is, inactive as robbers-during the opium season between June and August. During

this period they are too busy with the care of the great secret gardens to waylay travelers, or kidnap them for ransom. They hide themselves in the forests of the northwestern part of Kirin province, and grow the "dream flowers," or protect those who grow them.

This care of the great secret gardens is an ideal occupation for Ma Fei. In the first place, the dream flowers do not require much care, needing but to be thinned and seeded occasionally. In the second place,

they bring enormous profit, which amounts to about $200 per capita-a profit which it takes an average farmer in China about four years to earn.

Opium is manufactured from the sap extracted from the capsule of white poppies. The capsule is cut near the stem, at first lightly, then deeply. The sap which flows from the cut is gathered, boiled down, bottled, and buried in the ground. It is really better to sun-dry the sap than to boil it, forthen the product will be pink in color instead of brown, and have a much better flavor. But Ma Fei do not like to risk discovery.

In addition to the actual profit on the crop, Ma Fei collect a fee for protecting the growers. The average fee is from $40 to $70 worth of opium for each "One Hand Knife." The term One Hand Knife means two men, because of the fact that in harvesting opium two men work side by side, one knifing the capsules and the other collecting the sap. As there are vast numbers of growers working under their protection, this fee amounts to thousands of dollars. The yearly output of opium in Manchuria is about 50,000 pounds, and uine-tenths of this opium is produced by, or under the protection of Ma Fei.

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should be reenforced; that the Govern. ment should find some profitable form of livelihood for the people in Manchuria, and thereby keep them from the lure of opium money. But no one knows how effective and feasible these measures are.

There is, however, one thing we can do, one long, fundamental course we can take. We can help the Chinese to have more constructive patriotism, and less hero worship. The Chinese are great hero worshippers. They are always waiting for some such superman as Chang Liang, Con Ming, or Tseng Con Ming to appear and lead them into fame and fortune. And one of the easiest ways to become a hero in their eyes is to collect a number of men and defy the Government. Fundamentally China is a democratic country, and the people have the right to banish any ruler who has proved himself unworthy of his position as the Son of Heaven. In the last 2000. years China has been governed by many dynasties succeeding one another, not through inheritance, but by the right of conquest, and whenever a new dynasty came into power certain subjects of the former dynasty have shown their courage and loyalty by turning themselves into bandits and defying the new Government. These subjects have performed many remarkable feats, and the memory of their heroic deeds is treasured and glorified in the literature of the country.

It is this tendency to idolize the anti-governmental heroes that must be toned down. It is a slow, laborious task, requiring years and years of ef fort; but it must be done if we would free China from the grip of bandits. In this respect I am glad that America is spreading Christianity in that country, and at the same time educating Chinese students in accordance with Western ideals. Many wonders are being worked by sons of the dragon who have been educated in America. May this work of christianizing and westernizing the Chinese continue, and drive from its throne the power behind the opium traffic.

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The Unions Lose San Francisco

Condensed from The American Mercury (April '26)

David Warren Ryder

until the triumphant campaign of 1876 in San Francisco was trade unionism an active, go-getting, bellicose force in America. It was the brilliant effectiveness, political and otherwise, of Dennis Kearney's Workingmen's Party that gave unionism in the Middle West and East the encouragement it then SO desperately needed, and prepared the way for that gigantic organization, the American Federation of Labor.

In San Francisco unionism grew like a weed, and a decade after the campaign saw almost every skilled trade unionized. Not a hammer was lifted, a brick laid, or a pipe fitted without the sanction of the unions. Let an employer discharge a drunken or incompetent workman without the union's consent and he found himself facing a strike, compelled to reinstate the discharged workman, and pay him and his fellows for the time they were out. Here are some rules that were rigidly enforced in the building industry alone:

The roofers' union would not allow an asphalt heater to commence work before eight o'clock; the rest of the crew had to loaf half an hour while the asphalt was heating.

The bricklayers' union limited the number of bricks a member was allowed to lay in a day, and prohibited apprentices for many years.

No plumber was allowed to bend a pipe to fit into an offset, but was required to use more fittings instead, to cause more work.

Detailed reports had to be made. Men who did more work than the standard set by the union were disciplined for their efficiency.

No employer was allowed to stay on a plumbing job more than two hours a day.

The plasterers' union demanded double time for Saturday morning, and strictly prohibited labor-saving devices.

That was the Golden Age of unions, and their power in industry was matched by their power in politics. Not until 1912 was their political power finally shattered. When their downfall came at last, it was a debacle indeed. To-day, though they still exsist on paper, they are wholly impotent. It was the old, old story of what happened to the calf when it got too much rope. For years the unions had their own way, grew in size and strength, seized more and more power. During the

war there was not even a show of opposition to them. What they asked for they got, and they asked for plenty. Finally in December, 1920, there came the show-down.

The public was showing, by an increasing reluctance to build at ali, that it was tired of being made the goat. The unions made new wage demands. The contractors not only refused to acquiesce, but countered with a proposal for decreases in certain crafts. After several weeks of bickering the entire dispute was submitted to a wage arbitration board, both sides agreeing in writing to abide by its findings. That award reduced wages in seventeen of the fifty-two building trades crafts by 7.2 per cent. The unions refused to accept the award, and on May 9th the whole building trades group struck, tying up the whole city.

Up to this time the community at large had taken no more than a perfunctory interest in the matter. Now it became a community catastrophe: something had to be done. A group of business and professional men met and decided to try the open shop-in other words, to tackle the unions head on, and try to dispose

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