Page images

his nephew were volunteers, serving without pay, for the attainment of a great national Objeco, men er senin, clear trening, on the bright Jupiter, we prosecuting which they have lost their all.

from us. But when we look at the bright Orion, or From Hull, Captain Ross proceeded to London, the Great Bear, we are beholding substances which. and received the most gratifying testimonials of

are ten thousand times that remoteness from us. public approbation of his services.

The idea frequently overwhelms me, as I stand So incredulous had been the public of the possi and view them, and think that I, a petty human bility of his having returned in safety, that when being, have the faculty, and can exercise the power, the news of it first reached London, it was taken of looking through millions of millions of miles of as a hoax, and although a meeting of the subscrib extended space, and that I am at that moment ers to Captain Back's expedition was convened in actually doing so, and that such an anazing expanse order to take measures immediately to recall that is visible to my eye, and perceptible by my congallant and self-devoted individual, Mr. Perry, the scious, though, in comparison, insignificant soul.Governor of Hudson's Bay Company, in assenting The Sacred History of the World. to take the preliminary steps for expediting such recall, yet spoke of the return of Captain Ross as far from certain. Having appeared, however, in person, all doubts were at an end; and orders from the Hudson's Bay Company, have been sent to transmit by express to Captain Back, the gratifying intelligence of the safe return of those, of

whom, amidst the discouragements and uncertainties of all others, he had not despaired, and for the chance, desperate as it seemed to most, of rescuing whom, he willingly incurred the risk of much toil and suffering, and the imminent hazard of a lingering and protracted death.

Truly enviable, indeed, will be his feelings, when he hears of the safety of his friend, and finds, moreover that after justly entitling himself to the whole merit of such a sacrifice as his attempt implies, he may be very honorably, and for the most sufficient reasons, exempted from the hardships and perils of farther prosecuting it.


ON THE HEAVENLY BODIES. One of the greatest circumstances which fixes the attention in the contemplation of the heavenly bodies that form our system, is the surprising distances at which they are placed, and the stupendous amount of space which they occupy by their

THE NEW ZEALANDERS. circuits. Our Earth is about 90 millions of miles In general, the New Zealanders are a tall race from the sun; Saturn is above 800 more millions of men, many of the individuals belonging to the further off ; and the next and most remote that we upper classes being six feet high and upwards. know, which is connected with us, the Uranus, is They are also described as strong, active, and twice that mighty distance. Mr. Hornsby has almost uniformly well-shaped. Their hair is commade the following calculations of the absolute dis monly straight, but sometimes curly: Crozet says tances of the planets from the sun in English he saw a few of them with red hair. Cook describes miles:

the females as far from attractive; but other observMercury 36,281,700 | Mars 142,818,000

ers give a more flattering account of them. Mr. Venus 67,795,500 Jupiter 487,472,000 Savage, for example, assures us that their features Our Earth 93,726,900 Saturn 894,162,000 are regular and pleasing; and he seems to have

The Uranus is twice that of Saturn. The fact is been much struck by their “ long black hair and sublime, and vast beyond the power of our words dark penetrating eyes," as well as “their wellto express, or of our ideas to conceive. This last formed figure, the interesting cast of their counteplanet of our system rolls in an oval circuit, of nance, and the sweet tone of their voice.” Captain which 1788 millions of miles is the diameter; and, Cruise's testimony is almost equally favorable. therefore, goes round an area of 5000 millions of The dress of the two sexes is exactly the same, miles. Our system occupies this amazing portion and consists of an inner mat or tunic, fastened by a of space; and yet is but one small compartment of girdle round their waists, and an upper cloak, which the indescribable universe. Immense as is an area is made of very coarse materials for ordinary wear, of 5000 millions of miles, yet it is but a very little but is of a much finer fabric, and often, indeed, part of the incomprehensible whole. Above 100, elaborately ornamented, when intended for occa000 stars, apparently suns like ours, shine above sions of display. Both these articles of attire are us; and to each of these, that analogy would lead always made of the native flax. The New Zeaus to assign a similar space: but of such marvellous landers wear no covering either for the head or the extent and being, although visibly real from the feet, the feathers with which both sexes ornament existence of the shining orbs that testify its certainty the head being excepted. to us, the mind, with all its efforts, can form no The food upon which they principally live is the distinct idea.

root of the fern-plant, which grows all over the Another consideration is astounding :-when we country. This root, sometimes swallowed entirely,

and sometimes only masticated, and the fibres rejected after the juice has been extracted, serves the New Zealanders not ouly for bread, but even occasionally for a meal by itself. When fish are used, they do not appear, as in many other countries, to be eaten raw, but are always cooked, either by being fixed upon a stick stuck in the ground, and so exposed to the fire, or by being folded in green leaves, and then laid between heated stones to bake. But little of any other animal food is consumed, birds being killed chjefly for their feathers, and pigs being only produced on days of special festivity. The first pigs were left in New Zealand by Captain Cook, who made many attempts to stock the country both with this and other useful animals, most of whom, however, were so much neglected that they soon disappeared.

Cook likewise introduced the potato into New Zeiland; and that valuable root appears to be now pretty generally cultivated throughout the northern island. The only agricultural implements, however, which the natives possess are of the rudest description; that with which they dig their potatoes being merely a wooden pole, with a cross-bar of the same material fixed to it about three feet from the ground. Mr. Marsden saw the wives of several of the chiefs toiling hard in the fields with no better spade than this; among others the head wise of the great Shunghie,who, although quite blind, appeared to dig the ground, he says, as fast as those who had their sight, and as well, first pulling up the weeds as she went along with her hands, then setting her feet upon them that she might know where they were; and, finally, after she had broken the soil, throwing the mould over the weeds with her hands.

Still this great solitude is quick with life, Myriads of insects, gaudy as the flowers They flutter over, gentle quadrupeds. And birds that scarce bave learned the fear of inan, Are here, and sliding reptiles of the ground, Startlingly beautiful. The graceful deer Bounds to the wood at my approach. The bee, A more adventurous colonist than man, With whom he came across the eastern deep, Fill the savanpas with his murmurings, And hide his sweets, as in the golden age, Within the hollow oak. I listen long To bis domestic hum, and think I hear The sound of that advancing multitude Which soon shall fill these deserts. From the ground Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn bymn Of Sabbath worshippers. The low of herds Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain Over the dark brown furrows. All at once A fresher breeze sweeps by, and breaks my dream, And I am in the wilderness alone.


From the New York Knickerbocker.



These are the gardens of the desert, these The boundless ynshorn fields, where lingers yet The beauty of the earth ere man had sinned ; The prairies. I behold them for the first, And iny heart swells, while the delighted sight Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch Iu airy undulations, far away, As if an ocean in its gentlest swell Stood still, with all its rounder billows fixed And motionless forever. Motionless ? No, they are all unchained again. The clouds Sweep over with their

shadows, and beneath The surface rolls and fuctuates to the eye ; Dark hollows seem to glide along and chase The sunny ridges. Breezes of the South! Who toss the golden and the flame-like flowers, And pass the prairie-hawk, that, poised on high, Flaps bis broad wings, yet moves not-ye have played Among the palms of Mexico, and vines Of Texas, and have crisped the limpid brooks That from the fountains of Sonora glide Into the calm Pacific-have ye fanned A nobler or a lovelier scene than this? Man hath no part in all this glorious work: The hand that built the firmament hath heaved And smoothed these verdant swells, and sown their

slopes With berbage, planted them with island

groves, And hedged them round with forests. Fitting floor For this magnificent temple of the skyWith flowers whose glory and whose multitude Rival the constellations! The great Heavens Seem to stoop down upon the scene in love ; A nearer vault, and of a tenderer blue, Than that which bends above the eastern hills.

THE JABIRU. The South American Jabiru is more than four feet high, and is six in length from the tip of the beak to that of the claws. It has a large black bill above thirteen inches long, and three in. thicknes3 at the base. The head and most of the neck of this bird are covered with a black and naked skin, thinly scattered with a few gray hairs. The general color of the plumage is white, but about the lower part of the neck is a large band of beautiful red. In the rainy season the Jabiru grows fat, and the natives consider it at that time .excellent eating. These birds live in flocks, building their nests in trees banging over the water and laying two eggs. They feed chiefly on fish.

A YOUNG POET'S OWN EPITAPH. A few weeks before John Keats died of decline, at Rome, a gentleman, who was sitting by his bedside, spoke of an inscription to his memory. Keats desired that there should be no mention of his name or country. “ If there be any thing," he said, “ let it be, Here lies the body of one whose name was writ in water."


ITALIAN BANDITTI. The banditti of Italy are what the forest outws of England were in the days of Robin iood. They are not of the poorest or the vilest of the inhabitants. They generally possess - little field and a house, whither they retire at ertain seasons, and only take the field when the hopes of plunder allure them, or the fear of a stronger arm drives them to the woods and ocks. They live under various chiefs, who, vhile their reign lasts, are absolute; but as they are freely chosen, they are as freely deposed, or sometimes murdered, if they offend their subjects.

Many of the stories of the Roman and Neapolitan banditti are far from being of a tragical nature. The brigands were often facetious and full of frolicsome tricks at the not very serious expense of those they waylaid, while at times they were the butts and victims to those who fell in with them.

Mac Farlane relates that as Lady Bwas travelling from Rome to Naples, with rather a numerous suite, she “fell among thieves.” The robbers had a tolerably good booty, but there was one excellent laugh against them. Her lady ship's medical attendant had a large medicine chest in the carriage; this was immediately broken open by the robbers, who thought the neat and strong mahogany cases must contain jewels or other valuables. They were disappointed and somewhat puzzled, when they found a number of square crystal bottles. Two of the robbers took out each one of these bottles, whose medical contents were bright, and liquidthe one like rosano, the other like maras-china di Zara. The two robbers concluded at once they were nothing else than these favorite liqueurs, or some foreign cordial of a similar nature and excellence; and anxious for the first draught, each put his bottle to his mouth, and did not withdraw it until he had taken a hearty swig. Then, indeed, the bottles were withdrawn and dashed, with curses to the earth; and the two rogues, with terror in their countenances, threw themselves on the doctor, in the same breath, threatening to kill him, and begging to know whether they were poisoned, and he could cure them? The worthy practitioner, who was an Irishman, and as such fond of a joke, would have had here a good opportunity of indulging in one, by making the trembling fellows believe for a while that they had swallowed some infernal poison, worse than the acqua tophana; but under circumstances, and in the presence of armed banditti, he thought it more prudent to tell them that they had only swallowed a little medicine, which could do them to harm, however badly it might taste; and to reserve his laugh at them for taking his physic for sweet waters till a more convenient opportunity.

“In the next little anecdote,” says Mac Farlane, “another brigand of another band cut a still more ridiculous figure. My friend Mr. Wa merchant of Naples, was travelling post with a Swiss merchant, and had nearly reached the city of Capua, which is only about fourteen miles from Naples, when his carriage was suddenly stopped. It was night, but a beautiful moon-the moon of Naples, which, as the witty Marchese Caraccioli used to say, was worth a London sun, illuminated the scene, and allowed W to see that there were only three or four brigands near the coach, and that they had not yet knocked the postilion off the

horses. W- took his measures accordingly with great presence of mind and boldness. As the foremost brigand came to the side of the carriage, within reach, bawling and cursing for those within to come out and be robbed, he caught hold of the ruffian by the breasts of his jacket, and called out to the postilion to gallop off for Capua, here he should be well rewarded. The postilion, who had known him before on the road, took W at his word, and, with a boldness rarely found in his class, whipped his horses, that went off, (as Neapolitan horses generally will do,) an end.' As the postilion's whip touched the withers of his steeds, a bullet whizzed past his head, but missed its aim. Away then went the carriage and the merchants and the robber as swift as the old witches in Goethe's Faustus; W who was a robust man, keeping a firm hold of the robber, who dangled,-his head and shoulders in, and the rest of his body outside of the vehicle,- like a lamb or a calf over a butcher's cart. W -'s companion occasionally assisted him. After numerous but vain struggles to extricate himself from their grasp, the captured brigand, whose legs were bruised in the cruellest manner against the rapid carriage wheels, and his breath almost bumped out of his body, protested it was all a mistake, and begged most piteously to be released. The merchants, however, kept the prize they had made in so curious a manner, and soon arrived at Capua. This being a fortified town, most awkwardly for travellers, placed on the high road, they had to wait some time until a letter was sent to the commandant, and permission obtained to admit them. When the drawbridge was lowered, they rolled over it, with the robber still dangling at the coachside, and delivered him at the guard-house. The next morning the mer. chants appeared before the justice of peace, and after their depositions had been rocoivad, the brig

and was given over to the civil authorities, and cast into prison, where he lay for many months without being brought to judgment. What finally became of him I know not; but I remember very well, that my friend W- though he was rather proud of the novel exploit, had so much trouble in consequence of it, and the somewhat peculiar course of Neapolitan justice, that he used often to wish he had left the fellow in the road.”

One of the boldest deeds of resistance to the brigands was performed by a major of Murat's staff, a native of one of the German cantons of SwitzerJand. His name was Vollf. This officer was travelling post from Naples to Rome with despatches, in a little low, open caleche; he had not even a servant with him. In the Pontine Marshes he was stopped by six sturdy and well-armed brigands. Expecting no resistance from a single man, the robbers stood by the door of the carriage, uttering tremendous curses and commanding him to descend. This he presently did; but as he left his seat he grasped a readý brace of pistols and crossed his arms under his military cloak; and as he touched the ground he pressed a trigger on either side of him, and two of the brigands, who were almost in contact with his person, fell dead by the carriage. Ilis sabre was as ready as his pistols-with it he cleft the head of one robber who fell, and wounded another, who then, with his two unhurt but terrified companions, took to fight, and left the officer master of the field.

the sowing could be done to the greatest advantage? Certainly not himself; for before any man could have found out the way and the time of doing the very simplest thing that the humblest laborer has occasion to do, the term of his life would have been out, and he would have been in his grave. Indeed his term would have been but short, for he would have died of hunger before he had been long in existence.

This debt to society is not confined to those in humble life; for the higher the station, the debt is the greater; because all civilization, all knowledge, and all enjoyment, except those which man has in common with the beasts, had their origin in society, and were by society brought to the condition in which we find them. We are, in fact, debtors to society for the wisdom and the improvements of more ages than we have years to spend in it. That wisdom and those improvements are talents committed to our care, and if we do not hand them down to the generation which is to come after us, in a more valuable condition than we ourselves received them in, we are shamefully ungrateful to our fathers, and cruelly unjust to our children.

The common boast of a rich man that, “ he can pay his way, and is obliged to nobody," is a very silly boast; for the man is a debtor to others for all that he possesses; and of course the larger his possessions are, the more he is in debt. That debt is, however, due only to society generally; and therefore no individual member of society is entitled to ask payment of it. It is not a debt which can be paid with money. It must be paid in conduct; and in doing those particular duties which belong to his station,

In like manner, the man who is destitute, who possesses nothing, and has nothing to do, is not independent of society, for to society he is indebted sur his very powers of doing; and if he has had opportunities of turning those powers to account, and has neglected them, he is more deeply and more criminally a debtor. However wretched he may feel, or may be in reality, he is still much better than if he were not in society; for then he would be without the abilities of doing; whereas, the very worst that can happen in society, is being without the opportunity or the will of turning those abilities to account. It is not always very easy to distinguish between the want of opportunity and the want of will, because there is a will to find opportunity, as well as a will to improve it, when it is known: and in both cases, the proverb,

" where there is a will there is a way,” holds true.


SOCIETY If people always knew and kept in mind the obligations they are under to society, they would be much better members of it, and much happier in every respect. Robinson Crusoe, on the desert island, before he got his man Friday,” is a picture of solitude which every body knows. But the picture of solitude there given, though it be pleasantly painted, is far from being true. All the arts, stratagems, and contrivances which Crusoe puts in execution, are derived from society. Crusoe is not a solitary, nor even a savage; and though his means of gratification are different, his desires are just the same as if he had been all the time in a civilized land.

We who have lived all our time in society, can form no notion of what a wretched and destitute creature man would be if he were alone, and had never profited by the aid, the instruction, or the example of others. But it is certain, that the very humblest individual in the country--he who knows the least and fares the worst-owes far more to society than he does to himself. The good institutions, and all that is excellent in society, are the result of the labors of the wise and the good through many ages, -- from the very beginning of civilization indeed; for nations are the scholars and imitators of nations, just as men are the scholars and imitators of men.

Thus, when we reflect duly, we discover that every man who earns his bread in society, is indebted to society for it. Take a man who digs the ground:-how did he find out that digging the ground would make it more fertile? Where did he obtain a spade? Who taught him how to use it? Who instructed him as to the roots which it is best to plant, and the seeds which it is best to sow; or who told him the times at which the planting and

THE ACTING OF CHILDREN. The acting of children in adult characters is of very ancient date. Labathiel Pavy, a boy who died in his thirteenth year, was so admirable an actor of old men, that Ben Jonson in his elegant epitaph on him, says, the fates thought him one, and therefore cut the thread of life. This boy acted in “Cynthia's Revels" and " The Poetaster," in 1600 and 1601, in which year he probably died. The poot speaks of him with interest and affection.

Weep with me all you that read

This little story;
And know for whom a tear you shed

Death's self is sorry.
'Twas a child that did so thrive

In grace and feature,
That heaven and nature seemed to strive

Which owned the creature.

Years he numbered scarce thirteen,

When fates turned cruel,
Yet three filled Zodiacs had be been

The stage's jewel.
And did act, what now we moan,

Old men so duly,
As sooth, the Parcæ thought him ono,

He played so truly,

a bear to shoot at hiin; his rifle missed fire. The bear turned round, and was about to spring upon the man. “ You ought to be ashamed, you great rascal," said the hunter, '' to bite a man with a poor rifle.” Whether the bear thought this remark reasonable, or was frightened, I do not know but he ran away, and gave the hunter no more alarm,

As soon as the snow comes, and the surface is glazed and hard with a few days' cold, the Laplander puts on his snow-skates. These are made of wood, and are very narrow, but seven feet long, or more. They travel upon them with such speed, over mountains and rivers, and through the woods, night and day, that in old ignorant times, travellers took them for goblins. They chase the reindeer with them; and in deep snow, where the deer breaks through with his sharp hoofs, they often overtake him. They will go fifty miles in a day. They find it rather hard work to climb mountains on their skates; but coming down is easy enough. They place themselves in a crouching posture, with their knees bent, and body inclined backward, holding only a staff.


LAPLAND SKATE RUNNERS. The Laplanders are a quiet, good sort of people. As they never steal, locks and bolts are not used among them. You may leaye any thing in the open air, safely. They are not quarrelsome, and though the men carry knives in their belts, they never stab each other. I observed, however, that several of them understood kicking and pulling hair tolerably well.

The Laplanders do not make brave soldiers, but they bear the cold, heat, hunger and fatigue, with great patience. They are seldom troubled with any disease but the rheumatism, or something of that kind. For any pain in the limb, they put on fire, and raise a blister. For all the other complaints, they drink brandy and pepper, or brandy and gunpowder. This is a terrible dose, to be sure; but it always cures them, they say. They never take cold. Blindness is common among them, owing perhaps, to the glare of the snow, or their smoky tents.

Drunkenness is their chief fault. I knew one family to drink a barrel of brandy in four months. They buy it of the merchants.' If a Laplander earns twenty dollars by fishing, he will perhaps buy a few dollars worth of cloth, and drink out the rest during the week. These people never refuse brandy. I had some with me, that was very strong; they made wry faces at drinking it, but always wanted morc.

By the 10th of October, the country is covered with snow. At this season the bears are troublesome. They come out from their lurking places, and if they can find a horse or a cow, they kill and drag it to some den or cavern, and live upon it during the winter. The Laplanders use the rifle in hunting bears. Their powder is coarse; and the bullet is no bigger than a pea. The hunter must get pretty near to his game, therefore; which makes it dangerous work to pursue these animals. Of course, a Laplander is proud of killing one. The people say, the bear has ten men's strength, and twelve men's sense; and they think it understands their speech. I once knew a Laplander to chase

ABBREVIATIONS AND SIGNS. Abbreviations and Signs, are generally used to express in small, that which is in itself large, or in short, that which is in itself long. In this way we have London on a pocket handkerchief, England on a bit of paper, or the whose surface of the earth and all the stars in the heavens, on the surface of two little globes, a foot or eighteen inches in diameter. So also we have the whole history of the world in a small book, which we can carry in our pocket; or the principal events in a table, which we can examine at a glance.

The words of language, to which we owe so much of our knowledge and enjoyment, are nothing but signs and abbreviations. It would take years to know and months to tell, in detail, all that we mean by the short word "man;" and yet we understand it whenever we hear it spoken or see it written.

The abbreviations and signs of speech are common to us all, learned and unlearned. But there are particular abbreviations and signs, belonging to particular branches of knowledge, or science; and ihese, though they are of very great advantage to those who do know them, are puzzling to those who do not, just in the same manner as a man who knows no language but French is puzzled with English

Those signs are the Alphabets of the sciences, just as letters are the alphabets of languages; and it is just as impossible for any one to know the science without first knowing its alphabet, as it is for any one to be able to read a book without knowing the A, B, C. Learning the A, B, C, is knowing the sound of the letters, ---that is, the connexion or relation between words that are heard and words that are only seen. There is no natural relation between seeing and hearing; and therefore the A, B, C, is arbitrary, or just what they who use it choose to make it, - consequently every body must be taught it.

It is nearly the same with what may be called the “alphabets" of all the sciences; and in science, as well as in language, we very soon learn to read and understand, when we once know our A,

« PreviousContinue »