Page images

owers did we

ing brought it into use over the whole civilized and speedy death. No art, no precaution, no exworld. By no means. This experiment at Barce ertion, could avert a terrible and universal pestilona, owing to the absence of journals and news lence, in which, men and animals alike would perish papers, those modern vehicles and wings of intelli without hope of escape, and without alleviation of gence, was unknown to the world generally, at the their terrible and fatal agonies. time of making it, as it ever was to Fulton. And, How very little reflection suffices to show us how besides, wno can tell but that in like manner many thoughtless and short-sighted we mortals are; and inventions, which constitute at once the pride and how wise and benevolent is that Omnipotent Being, profit of the present age, may have existed centuries who knows what we need better than we ourselves ago, in countries of forgotten civilisation.-A Year do, and who makes all things work together for our in Spain by a young American.

good! We cannot turn our attention to a single subject without rejoicing that we have God to watch

over us, and to protect us against the silliness of ON THE VARIATIONS IN THE WEATHER. our own wishes, and the selfishness, the unwise There is scarcely any one subject upon which

selfishness, of our own hearts. mankind display more shortsighedness and inconsistency than they do upon the weather. When exceedingly fine and pleasant weather cheers us, and makes all things around us seem doubly beautiful, we are almost sure to exclaim that we wish such weather could last forever!

In exclaiming thus we consult only our feelings; and leave our interests wholly out of consideration. It would undoubtedly be very delightful to bask in eternal sunshine, and be fanned by perpetual zephyrs. But though this uniform pleasantness of season would be very 'agreeable to our feelings, would it be equally serviceable in maturing those various productions of nature from which we derive nourishment while we are in health, and mitigation and cure when we are diseased? Many of the most

THE SPOTTED KANGUROO. valuable of our articles of food, and of our medici There exist several species of the Kanguroo, all nal roots and shrubs, owe their perfection to weather of which are natives of New Holland. The habits which is as little soothing as possible to our taste of this animal have been well described by Mr. and feelings. The comparatively valueless beau Cunningham, in his “ Two Years' Residence in ties of the hot-house would grow wild and untend New South Wales." We make the following ed in all parts of the world were the weather always extracts from his account: alike and every where mild. But we should pay The Kanguroos make no use of their short fore

legs except in grazing, when they rise upon them sacrifice for them the less comely but more service and their tail, bring their hind legs forward, and able alimentary and medicinal productions of the go nibbling upon all fours, pulling up occasionally field and garden. If an equal temperature were some favorite plant with their fore paw, and sitting perpetually kept up in all places, and during all bold and erect upon their hind legs and tail, times, two-thirds, at least, of our natural produc while they slowly bite and nibble it, shifting it from tions would disappear from the world. Instead of paw to paw, like a boy protracting his repast on a each nation and each country possessing something juicy apple. When chased, they hop upon their peculiar to itself and valuable to all, all nations hind legs, bounding onwards at a most amazing would both possess and be destitute of precisely rate, the tail wagging as they leap, and serving the same number and kind of articles. To say them for a balance. They will bound over gullies, nothing of the deplorable state to which mankind and down declivities, the distance of thirty yards, would be reduced were they deprived of the largest and fly right over the tops of low brushwood; so portion of the valuable things which they now enjoy, that, in „such places, dogs stand very little chance this condition of things would put an instant and with them; but in a clear open country soon tire inevitable end to commercial intercourse between them out. The dogs seize them generally by the distant people. We, as well as the natives of Hin hip, and throw them over; then fasten upon their dostan, should have spices, but we should be des throats and finish them. But few dogs will attack titute of those articles which we now have in such a large Kanguroo singly, some of the two hundred abundance, that over and above supplying our own weight size often hopping off with three or four wants, we are enabled also to supply those of the assailants hanging about them; and I was informed dusky denizens of the East.

of one that actually carried a man to some distance. Moreover, the most terrible consequences would When a dog gets up close to a large Kanguroo, it result from an equalisation of the earth's tempera will often sit upon its tail and haunches, and fight ture. Those wild and rustling winds which we so the dog, turning adroitly round and round, so as much complain of, and which mainly arise from the always to face him, and pushing him off with the different temperature of different portions of our fore paws; or it will seize and hug him like a bear, globe, would cease, indeed, to annoy us with their ripping him up with the long sharp claw on its powa howling rudeness. But what would be the effect erful hind leg. They are constantly indeed cutting, of the consequent stagnation of the air? Why, in and often killing, dogs with this terrible weapon, stead of being the most refreshing and the most which will tear out the bowels at a single kick: healthful ministers to our health and comfort, it and a large Kanguroo is, on this account, very would become putrefied. We could not avoid in dangerous even for a man to approach, when set at naling it, yet to inhale it would be instant disease bay.



The Kang iroo may be domesticated. “One of the larges, tame Kanguroos I have seen in this country (says Mr. Cunningham) is domesticated, and a mischievous wag he is, creeping and snuffing cautiously towards a stranger, with such an innocently expressive countenance, that roguery could never be surmised to exist under it; when, having obtained as he thinks, a sufficient introduction, he claps his fore paws on your shoulders, as if to caress you, and raising himself suddenly upon his tail, administers such a well put push with his hind legs, that it is two to one but he drives you heels over head! this is all done in what he considers facetious play, with a view of giving you a hint to examine your pockets, and see what bon bons you have got for him, as he munches cakes and comfits with epicurean goût; and if the door is ajar, he will gravely take his station behind your chair at meal time, like a lackey, giving you an admonitory kick every now and then, if you fail to help him as well as yourself.”

peds on board the Clio is a female Ant-Bear or Ant-Eater. This animal is seldom if ever seen in this country, and we believe this is the second one that has lived to reach here. It is about seven feet in length and two high, and is perfectly harmless, although it has strength sufficient to master a tiger. When she lies down to repose, her tail serves as a shield from the weather, it being large enough to cover the whole body-when viewed in this situation she resembles a straw mat spread upon the ground. Its food consists entirely of eggs. M. Buffett has the carcass of the young, which died on the passage, preserved in spirits, which is a great curiosity.


Curious Typographical Anecdote. It is well known to literary people, that, in preparing works for the press, it is usual for the printer, after the proof sheets have been seen by the author, to go over them again, and clear them of what are called typographical errors, such as wrong spellings, inaccu racies of punctuation, and similar imperfections. In perform ing this office for a celebrated northern critic and editor, a printer, now dead, was in the habit of introducing a much greater number of commas than it appeared to the author the sense required. The case was provoking, but did not produce a formal remonstrance, until Mr.W-n himself accidentally afforded the learned editor an opportunity of signifying his dissatisfaction with the plethora of punctuation under which his compositions were made to labor. The worthy printer, coming to a passage one day which he did not understand, very naturally took it into his head that it was unintelligible, and transmitted it to his employer, with a remark on the mar. gin, that there appeared some obscurity in it.” The sheet was immediately returned, with this reply, which we give rerbatim. “Mr. J. sees no obscurity here, except such as arises from the quantity of commas, which Mr. W—A seems to keep in a pepper-box beside him, for the purpose of dusting all his proofs with.”


American Vines. There is perhaps no vegetable in America that strikes the mind with greater surprise than the wild vine. I have seen one with a stem nine inches in diameter, and heard of others measuring eleven inches. Some detached irees have their tops closely wreathed with the vines in a manner that forms an elegant and umbrageous canopy, into which the eye cannot penetrate. In the woods they overtop the tallest trees, and from thience hang the pendulous twigs almost to the ground, or pass their ramifications from the branches of one tree to others, overshadowing a considerable space. In many instances their roots are at the distance of several feet from any tree, and their tops attached to branches at the height of sixty or eighty feet, without coming in contact with the trunks of trees, or any intermediate support To make the case plain, I have only to say, that the positions of some of those vines have a near resemblance to the stays, and some other ropes of a ship. The question, how they have erected themselves in this manner, is frequently put. Boats that descend the Ohio are often moored without any other cable than a small vine. If a notch is cut in the stem of the vine in the spring season, clear and tasteless water runs out, not in drops, but in a continued stream. I have several times quenched my thirst from sources of this kind.— Flint's America.

There are several animals distinguished by the common name of Ant-eaters, which differ much in form. They are, however, all distinguished by one characteristic; which is, that as they feed wholly on insects, they have no teeth. The tongue is the only instrument with which they seize their food, and it is long, wormlike, and covered with a glutinous moisture. From the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, the great Ant-eater is sometimes eight or nine feet in length. It is covered with very coarse and shaggy hair. Its motions are slow, but it swims well.

This creature is a native of Brazil and Guiana, and it lives wholly on ants, woodlice, and wild bees. These it collects by thrusting its tongue into their holes, and having penetrated every part of the nest, withdraws it into its mouth loaded with prey.-Its legs are so strong, that few animals can extricate themselves from its gripe. It is said to be formidable even to the panthers of America; and sometimes fixes itself upon them in such a manner, that both of them fall and perish together; for its obstinacy is so great, that it will not relinquish its hold of an adversary even after it is dead. It may, however, be tamed. The flesh has a strong disagreeable taste, but is eaten by the Indians.

A recent number of the Salem Register says, that M. Buffett, a distinguished French Naturalist, has arrived at that port, with a rare and valuable collection of birds and quadrupeds.

He has spent several years in travelling through the states of South America, particularly Brazil, and in his researches has discovered much to add to the cabinet of thin Naturalist Among the quadru

A True Jue Miller.-In the time of Joe Miller, there was an old deaf player of the name of Cross, who, being very vain, took every pains to conceal his infirmity. Joe, walking along Fleet Street with a friend, saw Cross on the opposite side, and told his acquaintance he should see some fine sport. So, beckoning Cross with his finger, he opened his mouth wide, and began to assume the attitude and gestures of one who bawls very loud to a distant object. Cross, thinking that Miller had hallooed to him, and taking that as too broad 2 signification of his infirmity, came pufling across the street as hard as he could, and “What the devil," cried he to Joe, “ do you make such a noise for? do you tŋink one cannot licar?"

Razors.-- The term razor as applied to the instrument which we shave with, is supposed to be derived from the word raze, to cut or pull down, to leave nothing standing. Razors are mentioned by Homer. Before English manufactures excelled in cutlery, razors were imported from Palermo in Italy, or rather Sicily.

[graphic][merged small]

It is not improbable that some of our readers, who reside near a great commercial port, may have seen the landing of a cargo of strange looking animals, which, turned upon their backs, appear the most helpless of creatures, and in this condition may have naturally led the spectator to imagine that they are incapable of removing from place to place, and have therefore little enjoyment of existence. These creatures, to use the language of the epicure, are fine “lively turtles”—the term “ lively” being understood to mean that they have suffered little from a long voyage—that they are in good health-and that the “green fat," the glory of aldermen, is in the most perfect state of excellence. Without asking our readers to feel any very strong interest in the prospects of high living which the arrival of a cargo of turtles offers to many individuals who are somewhat too much inclined to set a high value upon the gratifications of the palate, we may be able to satisfy a rational curiosity as to the habits of these singular animals, which offer some higher benefits to mankind than that of furnishing the most costly luxury of a city feast.

The turtle and the tortoise belong to the same group of reptiles-in fact the turtle is a tortoise which principally inhabits the water, and is only found occasionally on the land. The two varieties represented in the above plate are the Green Tortoise (a), and the Loggerhead Tortoise (6). The former is the species chiefly used for food. It is found, in great numbers, on the coasts of all the islands and continents of the torrid zone. The shoals which surround these coasts are covered with marine plants; and in these water pastures, which are near enough to the surface to be readily seen by the naked eye in calm weather, a prodigious abundance of animals, mostly amphibious,

feed, and amongst them multitudes of tortoises. Dampier, the old voyager, describing the Gallapagos Islands, says, " There are good wide channels between these islands fit for ships to pass; and in some places shoal water, where there grows plenty of turtle grass; therefore these islands are plentifully stored with sea turtle.” The tortoise, whether of the land or water species, is, as most of our readers know, protected, both on the back and belly, by a hollow shield, which is open at each end, for the issuing of the head and fore-feet at one time, and the tail and hind-feet at another.

The upper shield is termed the back-plate, or buckler; the lower, shield the breast-plate. The middle of the buckler, in most of the species, is covered by numerous pieces or plates resembling horn in texture and composition; and the beautiful substance known by the name of tortoise-shell is obtained principally from a small species called the Hawksbill. The feet of the marine tortoises are much longer than those of the land, and their toes are united by a membrane, so that they swim with great facility. The head, feet, and tail are covered with small scales. The jaws of the wide mouth are not provided with teeth, but the jaw-bones are very hard and strong, and being at the same time very rough, the animal is enabled to consume its vegetable food with ease, and at the same time to crush the shell-fish on which the marine species also feed. The green tortoise attains an enormous size and weight; some individuals measuring six or seven feet in length from the tip of the nose to the extremity of the tail, by three or four feet broad, and weighing as much as eight hundred pounds. Dampier says,

“ I heard of a monstrous green turtle once taken at Port Royal, in the bay of Campeachy, that was four feet deep from the back to the belly,

sea in calm weather, and in moon-light nights For this purpose two men go together in a small boat, which is rowed by one of them, while the other is provided with a harpoon, similar to that used for killing whales. Whenever they discover a large tortoise, by the froth which it occasions on the water in rising to the surface, they hasten to the spot as quickly as possible, to prevent it from escaping. The harpooner immediately throws his harpoon with sufficient force to penetrate through the buckler to the flesh; the tortoise instantly dives, and the fisher gives out a line, which is fixed to the harpoon, and, when the tortoise is spent with loss of blood, it is hauled into the boat or on shore "


and the belly six feet broad. Captain Rocky's son, of about nine or ten years of age, went in it (meaning in the shell) as in a boat, on board his father's ship about a quarter of a inile from the shore." The green tortoise commonly weighs from two to three hundred pounds.

The female turtle deposits her eggs on the loose sand, and leaves them to be hatched by the influence of the sun's rays. These eggs are round, and two or three inches in diameter; they are covered with a membrane something like wet parchment. They are hatched in less than a month after they are laid; and in about eight or ten days the young reptiles creep to the water,

The wood-cut at the head of this article represents the manner in which the marine tortoises are caught on the coast of Cuba, and on parts of the South American continent. The Count de Lacepede, in his History of Oviporous Quadrupeds, has described the various modes in which the business of tortoise-catching is carried on; and we shall conclude this notice with an abstract of his account. It must be remarked that the turtle is a most important addition to the ordinary mode of victualÎing a ship; and that, therefore, the war in which the human race engages against them is rendered absolutely necessary by the wants of navigators.

“In spite of the darkness which is chosen by the female tortoises for concealment when employed in laying their eggs, they cannot effectually escape from the pursuit of their enemies: the fishers wait for them on the shore, at the beginning of the night, especially when it is moonlight, and, either as they come from the sea, or as they return after laying their eggs, they either despatch them with blows of a club, or turn them quickly over on their backs, not giving them time either to defend themselves, or to blind their assailants, by throwing up the sand with their fins. When very large, it requires the efforts of several men to turn them over, and they must often employ the assistance of handspikes or levers for that purpose. The buckler of this species is so flat as to render it impossible for the animal to recover the recumbent posture, when it is once turned on its back.

"A small number of fishers may turn over forty or fifty tortoises, full of eggs, in less than three hours. During the day, they are employed in securing those which they had caught in the preceding night. They cut them up, and salt the flesh and the eggs. Sometimes they may extract above thirty pints of a yellow or greenish oil from one large individual; this is employed for burning, or, when fresh, is used with different kinds of food. Sometimes they drag the tortoises they have caught, on their backs, to enclosures, in which they are reserved for occasional use.

The tortoise fishers, from the West Indies and the Bahamas, who catch these animals on the coasts of Cuba and its adjoining islands, particularly the Caymanas, usually complete their cargoes in six we ks or two months; they afterwards return to their own islands, with the salted turtle, which is used fo: food both by the whites and the negroes. This salt Turtle is in as great request in the American colonies, as the salted cod of Newfoundland is in many parts of Europe; and the fishing is followed by all these colonists, particularly by the British, in small vessels, on various parts of the coast of Spanish America, and the neighboring desert islands.

“ The green tortoise is likewise often caught at

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Popular Poison.-When pure ardent spirits are taken into the stomach, they cause irritation, which is evinced by warmth and pain experienced in that organ; and next, inflammation of the delicate coats of this part, and sometimes gangrenes. They act in the same manner as poisons. Be sides the local injury they produce, they act on the nerves of the stomach whích run to the brain, and, if taken in large quantities, cause insensibility, stupor, irregular convulsive action, difficulty of breathing, profound sleep, and often sudden death.– The habitual use of ardent spirits causes a slow inflammation of the stomach and liver, which proceeds steadily, but is often undiscovered, till too late for relief.- London Medical Surgical Journal



dah, or saun, (for so this sort of elephant is called). It is remarkable, that in every mode of capturing If he abandon himself to the caresses of his new the wild elephant, man avails himself of the docility companions, his capture is almost certain. The of individuals of the same species, which he has hunters cautiously creep under him, and during already subdued. Birds may be taught to assist in the intoxication of his pleasure, fasten his fore-legs ensnaring other birds; but this is simply an effect with a strong rope. It is said that the wily females of habit. The elephant, on the contrary, has an will not only divert his attention from their mahouts, evident desire to join its master in subduing its but absolutely assist them in fastening the cords. own race; and in this treachery to its kind, exer Mr. Howitt made a spirited drawing of this eurious cises so much ingenuity, courage, and persever scene, from the descriptions of Captain Williamson.. ance, that we cannot find a parallel instance of The hind legs of the captive being secured in a complete subjection to the will of him to whom it similar manner, the hunters leave him to himself, was given to “ have dominion over the fish of the and retire to a short distance. In some cases he sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every is fastened at once to a large tree, if the situation living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

in which he is first entrapped allows this. But unFrom some peculiar circumstances which have der other circumstances, in the first instance his not been accurately explained, large male elephants legs are only tied together. When the females are sometimes found apart from the herd Sir quit him he discovers his ignominious condition, Stamford Raffles says, speaking of the elephants and attempts to retreat to the covert of the forest. that he met with in his journey through the south But he moves with difficulty, in consequence of the ern Presidencies to Passumah, " The natives fancy ropes which have been lashed round his limbs. that there are two kinds of elephants,—the gaja ber There are long cables trailing behind him; and the kampong, those which always go in herds, and mahouts, watching an opportunity, secure these to which are seldom mischievous, and the gaja salung a tree of sufficient strength. He now becomes gal, or single elephants, which are much larger and furious, throwing himself down, and thrusting his ferocious, going about either singly or only two or tusks into the earth. If he break the cables, and three in company. It is probable the latter kind escape into the forest, the hunters dare not pursue are only the full-grown males." They probably, him; but if he is adequately bound, he soon bein many cases, separate themselves from their com

comes exhausted with his own rage. He is then panions in search of fresh pastures. But as they left to the further operation of hunger, till he is are sometimes found in a state of considerable sufficiently subdued to be conducted, under the irritation, doing much mischief wherever they pass, escort of his treacherous friends, to an appointed it has been thought that these have been driven station, to which, after a few months' disipline, he away by the stronger males, and that they are suf becomes reconciled. fering all the agonies of unavailing jealousy. Being the finest elephants, and therefore the best adapted for sale, the hunters soon mark them for

IMITATION FROM THE PERSIAN. They follow them cautiously by day and by night, with two, and sometimes four trained females, called Koomkies. If it be dark they can hear the animal striking his food, to clean it, against Lord! who art merciful as well as just, his fore-legs, and they then approach tolerably Incline thine ear to me, a child of dust! close;—if light, they advance more cautiously. Not what I would, O Lord, I offer thee, The females gradually move towards him, apparent

Alas, but what I can! ly unconscious of his presence, grazing with great

Father Almighty, who hast made me man, complacency, as if they were, like him, inhabitants

And hade me look to Heaven, for thou art there,

Accept my sacrifice, and humble prayer. of the wild forest. It is soon perceived by them

Four things which are not in thy treasury whether he is likely to be entrapped by their arts. I lay before thee, Lord, with this petition. The drivers remain concealed at a little distance,

My nothingness, my wants, while the 'oomkies press round the unhappy goon

My sins, and my contrition'

their own.


« PreviousContinue »