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Till: ROCKS <tK HELL GATE.
¦THAT HAS BEEN DONE TO Qa*ROVE 'Jiii: CHANNEL-NO DANGER OF FOREIGN WAX VESSELS COM DBa THAT WAV. The cafe passage through Hell Gate of the first class battleship Massachusetts has called \v!d<* attention to that part of the Bast Hiver and caused much comment among navigators lr.g,utry has been made as to whether the ob i-trueiions which made the river dangerous to navigation had all bee n removed, and whether the passage of the Massachusetts indicated that ether and possibly unfriendly war vessels might easily come to New-York by way of th. Bound Hell Gate, as the three-quarters of a mile at the East River opposite Astoria is called, is not'now so dangerous a spot as it was several rears ago tut it is still no place for navigators who are unfamiliar with its .hoals and rocks and rapid current. Th. improvements were begun In IKK for the fact was recognized then that th, narrow tidal strait which connects New-York Harbor wnh Long Inland Sound binned a commercial entrance secondary in importance only to the main entrance, by way of Bandy Hook. The channel turns at a rijrht angle •round Ilallet's fYint, and the curttnt runs with a velocity varying at different stages of the tide from thn • To ten njjles an hour. It runs over and around Way Beet Pot Hock. Shell Drake. Frying Pan. Mallet's Point. Negro Point. Holmea's Bo k. Hoe Uock. He : Tap. Flood i;.., and a number uf smaller rocks ar.d r»-efs. including !:• ii and Chickens. Gridiir-n and Hill Hock. Jlttwt-t-n I<r2 and 1n»;1 only about fcW/KiO v. as expended in fmiiroving the waterway, but ::: inn a project was set on foot for the re j:.oval of «\ struc tions to the depth of iwenty-i'.x feet, mean I<iw water. This would Wave thirty :.\. f.-.-t at high water. Host of the work in this direction ha? been done since I^7-1 Ainut .<i.<««uiini has been extended, but i! will require tjjjg^exp.-nditure of more than si < .:. i .i ... ad ditional to complete the work as originally eon ".eirplat-d. The obstructions at Haliet*.-: Point. Way i:..-f and Shell i >nik«- have l>e-n removed to the depth laid out in the project, but Pot 11-' k and Heel Tap are still twenty-two and twenty feet, respectively, below the surface, in :-:-ad of twenty-six feet. THE BtG BLAST OF IS7S. The greater pan of the work was done under th- direction of BrsfsjOlfTi ral John New ton, U. S. A., who was followed in command by Colonel Walter McFarlanJ and General G. L. •jjllespie. The first great work toward making '.!.• passage sat- was th*- removal of th- reef at llallet'e Point in I*9B. This reef area of about lhre«- acr**s was perforated with forty-one radial :usirie!s and with .1.-., i transverse jalleritrs, leaving \1- piers of the natural pack to support the roof. Holes were th«-n drilled into the piers .*•:<] r<H.fs. and these were charged with .-x j Wives. j n order to blow away the G3.l3Ti iibic yards of poof -i'.«.'.«ir. pounds of explosives «.-r.- used. Of this HIOS p«iunds was dynamite. ll.v'c pounds Vulcan j>owder and U.V-* pounds r r:dnjt-k. It required nine days* work to place ::.. charges in the holes which had been pre pared to receive them. When everything was complete, and an arrangements for the de etrucUon had »K-en made, the mines wei.- fired at -J.T^i p. m. ',i\ eeptetnlxr Jl. INTO. In his !•¦ lH,rt «-n the subject (Seneral Newton sail: "The • xplosicn was d:stingi:ish.-d by the absence of hurtful shocks in the atmosphere, in the water • r underground. l!i l**Cs .... demolition «.f Flood Rock by ex plosiv h was accomplished. In <.rd»-r to bring about ih»- results contemplated in the engineers' plans "J KW .ti.J«; pounds <;f explosives had to be loaded into the mines, which had l>.-<-ti prejjared ¦»ith j,-rt-at care, and to insure safety it wa? d.<id»-d to handle or.ly -ix thousand I ounds a day of the explosive material. The territory to le ihiKted covered an area of nearly nine acres. The !fi!t!e was fired from the Astoria shore about cr.e thousand ff-et away from th<- rock on the morßiris <f Octo»«r in. jssr.. and caused Its <'.• ttrucUon to a icßth of nearly thirty fe-t. Since that time there have been to great minis laid tt Hell <;ate. and the money available for th^ widening and d«-ej.enirig of the channel has been H|iilliii<| in liking out the rock that was loosened by the great explosion in IMS. That J'a-rt of Eld] <^ate uhjcli is still in a dangerous m:\v-yoi;k timiji*nb illustrated supplement. condition , i s east of Flood Rock, and the narrow n«« of the channel at that point makes naviga tion hazaidous. STILL DANGEROUS FOR LARGE SHIPS. A steamship officer, who is thoroughly con versant with the work "said: a In?* '^Irouchlv l ™ d irregular, and unless an r,ck/«hi"r B .m. 1 " ' i " iU " t " l "** the reefs li '.k 'L . •" t " 1 IXihl lhl ' tri I' PMt PI 1 of iehi ir. ,'.'¦,','" ; ,'" s ¦"¦' <:isy •""• Xl " vessels toetwdJ S,h ' S ¦'• <h: """- 1 ¦ thousand dV.'i l:;-. iX ;,'••;¦ >in ' " Illy • bout six hui tiv. i ¦ , •'^"••'ld- fot vessels drawing twenty " tt- w.," i ' ,"" f '"' t th;n tn " -Massa.hu- i ml n rouK s SiiM > •-'"•ul.l not I.ad th, public to .-trev.. that the dancers of Hell Gate 'i .... "m °, xvl : c " •""• The necessity for further "X :l: ll """"^ c >»« as «re»! to-day as it was >•¦"- aero: Shipping of all kinds is growing in size and what would have been safe wat a »£!, \\ ii * ago is the reverse to-day, because of the additional draught. In IVC, there were t i K hi steames in the merchant service drawing L' 7 fe«t and over; m 1V * there were twenty-one \esseis with a maximum draught of between -. feet and i's feet, and three steamers with a maximum draught of » feet or more- In lS!t«; th.r. w.-r. thirty steamera with a maximum draught oi J. fen o, us feet and sixteen steani «is with a maximum draught of "_ .i feet To day rhe Holland-America Line has several ves sels drawing ::•_' feet: th.- Red Star Line baa one ot th<- samt draught; and th.- Oceanic is re lster.d at .T. feet draught. These vessel* cast int.. the -ha.!, ii... giant ships of a few years ago drawing from a feet to 'J7 feet of water MifATIOX <•! THE rXIRTK liCAUIUNC: I.n.\<; ISLAM. S4HNII - - .....-.'¦ . ... Many of these vessel* ¦ uld come through Hell •¦at' if th- course were straight, and if it were knotrn that no turn had to be mads In < rder to avoid ..th-r vessels, l<ui as there la no place to turn in the narrowest part of the channel, sea captains will lit- slow to venture ... the Ik** -fool • I. i: •;• 1. - FORTIFICATIONS .'i- THE SOL'ND. The fortifications along the Sound ... I at the eastern entrance arc- of a nature to i:- • •;. pos sill.- Invaders cut. • en II the rock obstruc tions were removed. The fortifications guarding the east entrance are situated at the west end of Fisher's Island, at Fort Mansfield, near Watch Hill, at Plum Island an'] at Gardiner's Point, In these fortifications there are eight mortars. foui 12-inch, six l:»-in h. two S-lnch, five IS— it. five .".-inch and one 4.7-inch ku:^. In addition t<i these there ar^ now in <• urse of construction a number of rapid (Ire suns, by which various batteries will I. • materially strengthened. The distance between the forts at Fisher's Island an 1 Ptutn Island is so great that invading vessels might lie tempted to run the g-antlet were it net for natural obstruc tions. Isut between the two points the.,* are several latge rocks which are covered with water. but the depth is Insufficient to make the passage of a vessel of heavy draught possible. Such vessels would be compelled to avoid th> middle of the waterway and steam iKar to the fortified points. If by some miracle a warship should pass th>* fortifications at the eastern entrance, it would encounter new i IfHcutties in the form of mines. The Bound was dotted with these In the early Cays of the war with Fpain, and sin-- that time much work has been done in that direction, and ike unfriendly vessel would tin. l mines in abundance between Oull Is!and and the bat teries nearer New-York City. These are at Fort Schuyler. Fort To:t?n. Wiilet's Point and Fort Slocur-i. <;n David's Island. Distribute) among these points are twenty-four mortars, four l"-inch. four IM-inch, two . -inch, six •"• in !i rapid lire and four I.V pound guns. Some time ago a report was made to the, Secretary of War in which it was shown that a necessity existed for additional rapid tire ord nance. An appropriation baa been made since then, and it is presumed that this is being a] - plied toward making additions to the rapid lire batteries at th. fortified points en I*< ng Island Sound. The passage of th ' Massachusetts through Hell <:at- showed that under favorable condi tions. a:.d under the direction of a navigator who was thoroughly familiar with the water and its natural obstructions, a war vessel of the first lacs iiii^'.'jt go out by that passage. Bui the fact thai future f« ats of that kind have been guarded against by orders from the Secretary of the Navy snows that the experiment was con sidered hazardous: and it would be Infinitely more so if undertaken by an enemy. With the existing safeguards In the way " fortifications and natural obstructions, the work of widening and deepening the waterway at Hell Hat ¦ may ho continued without Jeopardizing the safety of the metropolis, for it is safe to say ibat no enemy could pass them and live. Hl'tuniC flnUlUtCrV:— A//- M. P. McCarthy. 19 £.^5/215/ St.. Bar Harbor. Newport JHcnOCr'B (Inrbnn IfthOiYVV School, ; Library Decorations. Ancient Architccl iiicyvjci » Jldiwn IPROIO^. urCt cathedrals. Old Masters. *^SS Fifth Ay;. (BCttCtal [Painter: — ll '> l! - I Shaw, lie West 30/JI S/., Hard Wood Finisher. fitting & Btinte:- C W ' Krail *»JJr, Art Galleries. 2GO Fifth Avc. IPiliniinOS c\ IPUIUS. (gtifaintings. Water Coloring,, Etching:, Engravings.) HvOClttVOCny 0 ifaniOUS fl>bOtOgrapb3 : — Cabinet si;e, 13 per Jo,-. 1440 Bdway HEREDITY AND HEALTH. MODERN THEORIES AS Tt t THEIR RELA TIONS THE VIEWS OF FAMILY DOC TORS AND LIFE INSURANCE MEN. C'pon few questions have nodical men been s. divided as upon the possibility of Inheriting •>| inion on this subj • : ha i und< r k-u- much i-bangi within ti,- lasi tit t • -• n or twenty years, ttul even to-daj doctorx an not unanimous on thf -vi -,¦ . t Then, aKain, there in an< Iher i lasa .1 cm ientiflc !••¦ iple who tl r^Rardins th«" phenomena of physical lif< and < ¦'.'!<;• t '.. • • 'r . ¦. t . • r\ experimentH. These men call the: . • :¦- •>¦ hlologi: ;-, and they .ir. Un iui ablj a learned lot. V- t tti-ir conclusioi an •• om thi se rea< hi .'. bj the physi cians. In general, il ma > t-. said that Incline to a ¦¦ i' \V< i -sma nn'x iloctrii quircil trait.s cam . tted tn pr«*< n; ¦ ¦..: ;is to de ¦ nlidt-m-f in t*»< |«»s- sibility <:f inheritinK physical intirmlties. The dlscover>- cf 1 acteila as the cans.- «.f most maladies h;!.-< had a revolutionary influenc. upon the old dot trine of inheritance regarding lulktculokls. Ont-f it was believed that a whole family was hopelessly doomed if either of th. parents died of this dir*a«e. "We have ripped that notion up the back," said th. medical ad viser of a leading life insurance company the oth»r day. "Phthisis Is a contagious disease, and results from association with a victim at that trouble. I should sooner look for it In th> husband than in the child of a woman who was thus affected." The doctor who passes on th. applications made to another company put the case less radically. He attached some importance to the fact that parents bad died of consumption. Rven granting thai it is purely a contagious malady, offspring sometimes appear to inherit a FUFceptibility or an abnormally lav. power of resistance to it. It Is asserted that even when the children of tuberculous parents are widely separated In their youth, and grow up apart, a larger percentage <f them develop the disease than thai of other people's children. The pre ponderance is not marked, perhaps, but there are thos« who believe that it exists. This same expert remarked, however, that formerly his company did not regard a man reasonably safe from inherited consumption until he was forty years old. whereas thej would take him now with little hesitation at thirty-five, if he then showed no Figns of the malady. Both theory a*id practice are undergoing slow changes on this point, apparently. Insanity la not regarded as a bacterial -lis rase, and yet it has a physical basis. The brain undergoes local or general changes in structure. Tht disorder cannot be acquired by association with othfr victims of it. but many experts be lieve in the possibility of inheriting a tendency to Insanity and Its liist cousin, epilepsy. Doctors recognize what they call the "insane diathesis" or a predisposition to Insanity, and then take a good deal lit stock In the notion thai this is an inherited weakness. Most life insurance com panies discriminate sharply against applicants .-.Li:-, ancestry exhibits two or three cases of insanity, or one of insanity and one of epilepsy. Cancer Is another affliction which was once be lieved to t>e transmissible to offspring, but that view of it is now almost entirely abandoned. Occasionally there are cases of death from this cause in mother or lather and son only a few years apart. But, suggestive as such a coinci dene- is, donors do not all Interpret it alik.-. One of the leading life insurance companies of this country, which puts Itsiterma up where, consumption or insanity appeals in the parents' or grandparents' history, ignitres cancer ex cept in the applicant himself. These are the three diseases to which the most attention is given by these companlea in con sidering the infirmities of parents and Brand parents, still, it la asserted thai lack of longev ity, Blight's disease and ..th. r signs of weak ness appeal to be characteristic of some fami lies and n. t of others. There is little evidence oi the Inheritance of a predisposition to apo plexy. Indeed, this trouble, which is due pri marily to a weakness of the walls , f the arteries. has '•'" ! "" I -l to i... about equally character isti< ol persona whose weight is abnormally great and those who are abnormally HrM. a great deal has been written of alcoholism and heredity. Som« of the expressions on this subject are extravagant and misleading It la particularly interesting to note whether drunk enness or other moral railings developed In parents before ... after their children were born. in the latter case heredity would seem to afford an Inadequate explanation of had habita or dis ease. Nevertheless, there la much evidence that In • n way or another immorality affects off spring, li does so chiefly by impairing the Physical stamina of the latter, and rarely by musing anj special disease. Insurance com panies pay little attention to alcoholism in the parents of applicants, not because they have no '•'¦ h " "'^ Influences, but because they can ••¦ -.../, the tatter in undersixe. light weight. nervoua weakness or other peculiarities of the • hildr. n. Such characteristics serve as a more useful guide. Perhap. the ftrm.si believers in the old Mosaic Itclaratlon about th. "sins ol th. rathers" are medical practitioners in towns of mod. rat- sixe familj physicians who know grandparent*. t« and children socially as well aa profes- Tl bservatlon almost Invariably convinces them not only thai moral Infirmitiea ' lntl n Physical weakness in th. se. - ¦ ; ¦ • ¦ nations, i vi also thai maladies '¦ "¦ "• related to immorality me* i aye tl, impress on the young. ' v " x ' fI " this effecl Is n. thing more than a ir .lisiM.j.ition. which. ..nee recognised and dealt "'"¦ may h. akllfull) antagonised by ¦ !li : - • '¦¦ rtise and .n\ ironment .i.v ttnrun, THAT l>h't\h.<. From Tl • Chicago Irter < •can. r.lantWer .V r< ' !l|Mv , « h *" '"'** extraordinary I-. A Suverkrop. „( Philadelphia who during trlpsUq South America, has for som" JearsKn contributlnß t., tlu- collectioh of his friend h,. ;:.¦ ,' r N - l - .BrowJs:. Brow Js: '¦' the Herbarium Kew X"; '-"J" 1 '" - The amazing plant which Mr. B"v*rkrop has now found is an orchid that • lL ,¦• drink whenever it feels thirsty by let ing down a tube into ,he water, the tube when not in us,- being coiled up on top of the plant "One hot afternoon." says Mr. Suverkrop -I Bat down under some brushwood at th. side of a lagoon on the Rio de la Plata. Near at hand was a. forest of dead, shorn trees, which had actually been choked to death by orchids and climbing cacti. In front of me, and stretching over the water of the lagoon and about a foot above it. was a branch of one of these dead trees. Here and there clusters of common 'planta d.-; ayre" grew on it and a network of green cacti twined round it. "Among th.- orchids 1 noted one different from th- rest, the leaves, sharp, lanceh.-ad shaped growing :i!l around the root and radiating from it. Prom the centre or axis of the plant hung a long, slender stem about one-eighth of an inch thick by one-fourth inch wide, the lower end of which was in the water to a depth of about four inches •l at once went'over to examine my discovery. Imagine my surprise, when I touched the plant, to see this centre st.-m gradually contract ami convulsively nil its. -If up in a -spiral like roll of tape. "Bui more surprising y,t was the object and construction of this stem. i found on close ex amination and dissection that it was a long, slender, flat tube, the walls about one-thirty* second of an inch thick, cellular in construction; opi n at the outer end, and connected at the In' ncr end to the roots of .i series of halrlike tubes. "By subsequent observation 1 found that when the plant was in want of water this tube would gradual unwind till i; dipped into the water. Then "it would slowly coil round and wind up, carrying with it the amount of watel that that part/of the tube which had been im mersed contained, until when the final coil was taken the water was dumped, as it were, direct into the roots of the plant. The coil remained in this position until the plant required more water. Should the plant however, be touched while the tube is extended the orchid acts like the sensitive plant (mimosa) and the coiling is more rapid "i found many of these plants, all directly over the water or over where the water had been. In the latter case it was almost pitiful to see bow this tube would work its way over the ground in search of the water that wua not." 1 L