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But what is time? What outward glory? Neither
Who might have wandered with thee.-Mother's love,
Doth all too often harshly execute
For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds
By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed,
And cheering oft-times their reluctant gloom.
That smile forbids the thought; for on thy face Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn,
To shoot and circulate; smiles have there been seen;
VALLEY OF THE AMAZON.
It is our anxious desire to bring before the readers of the "Miscellany" every species of information which is calculated to make them wiser and better, to make the present world full of rational enjoyment, and the future world rich in hope. In order to carry this properly into effect, we must devote no inconsiderable part of our early numbers to the laying of sure foundations. We do this advisedly, and with the fullest conviction on our minds that many well-intentioned periodicals have failed in producing that effect which they probably wished to produce, not from the building of structures which were in themselves fair withal to look upon, but from the said structure being founded on the sand. This we have seen, and this we shall endeavour to avoid. We can, of course, do little upon any one subject in a single number, because the name of our subjects is "Legion." But we ourselves are not few, neither are we unknown to the world; and therefore we hope to do good, and to find our reward in the cordial approbation of an instructed and grateful public.
In taking natural subjects, or events in the history of the human race, there is one sort of artificial memory which wonderfully abridges the labour of knowing, and increases the facility of remembering this consists in what may be technically called " mapping,"-making the map of the world, whenever we cast our eyes upon any
part of it, instantly render up all of nature or all of the story of man which it has to reveal.
The simplest way of doing this, is to take the valleys of the rivers. The river is the source and centre of fertility, the means of inland communication, and the grand attraction for human beings, as best adapted for supplying plenty of food, and promoting that intercourse by means of which man improves man, "as iron sharpeneth iron."
The most splendid river on the surface of our globe is unquestionably the Amazon, which mingles its waters with the Atlantic tide almost directly under the equator. It may be possible that the Mississippi, in North America, discharges an equal, or perhaps a superior quantity of water; but the Mississippi is, for great part of its course, smouldering in the ruins which its own violence has made. Its immediate banks are, in many places, unprofitable bluffs of sand; while behind these there are miles and miles of pestilent marshes, rank with the most deadly effluvia, and tenanted by the most loathsome reptiles.
The Amazon, mighty as it is, partakes of none of those characters. It rolls its mighty flood silently to the sea; and ship or shallop may proceed with perfect safety, upwards or downwards, upon it, for more than two thousand miles, without the slightest interruption of either rock or rapid.
Then its branches partake of much of the
majesty of rivers of the first class; and the greater number flow through countries where nature displays the utmost exuberance of its bounty. Taken on the straight line, the source of the river Madera, in Bolivia, not far from the once-celebrated Potosi, is fifteen hundred miles to the southward of the confluence of the Amazon with the Atlantic; and the Araguay, in the western part of Brazil, rises in latitudes nearly as far to the south. The northern affluents of this mighty river are of smaller dimensions and of shorter course; though one of them, the Negro, rising in Northern Peru, not far from Popian, is equal to at least a dozen of the river Thames. Considering these circumstances, which we have underrated rather than exaggerated, it may with truth be said that, taking it on the straight line-which, of course, is less than the absolute extent of the river,the valley of the Amazon, in one continuous portion of the most fertile surface of the earth, is more than two thousand miles long, and fifteen hundred miles broad. It thus contains not less than three millions of square miles of surface; and this, considering its extreme fertility, would be capable of supporting the whole of the human beings now resident on the face of the earth. The number of these is reckoned at about nine hundred millions; and this would be only three hundred to the square mile, which is considerably more than two acres for each individual; and we must not measure the fertility of tropical America by what we experience in this country, because a banana plantation bears fruit all the year round, and supplies more human food from a single acre than could be supplied by ten acres of the best corn land in England.
It is true, that this stupendous valley is not, in the mean time, so peopled and so cultivated; but assuredly there is no fault in nature, no reason, in the kindness of the Creator of the valley, why this should not be the case. On the other hand, it is really one of the chosen spots of nature, as the thickness and splendour of its forests, and the countless myriads of its flowers, its birds, and its mammalia, abundantly testify. The tradewind of the Atlantic is always upon it, bringing the means of fertility. Its trees are festooned with climbing plants of the most exquisite colours; and whenever a little clear spot occurs amid the magnificent foliage, the breeze over it wafts a perfume of plants of the amaryllidea, which no human pen can describe.
Nor is this extreme richness of the land all that this choice spot of the earth has to boast of The river itself, while it unites the extreme boundaries, and might be rendered, in itself and its affluents, a perfect highway for a hundred nations, is rich in the means of life. The manati (the pala vaca of the Spaniards) inhabits the broad waters of the Amazon in countless thousands. It belongs to the cetacea, or whale tribe; but it is one of the fresh water ones, and its flesh and fat have none of the offensive qualities of those which inhabit the sea. It grazes the weeds on the banks, or those which are sub merged by the water; and it is so plentiful that, in many parts of the country, its flesh is sold in the shops, and very much resembles veal,
Will the reader come with us again to the.. valley of the Amazon, for we cannot see it all at once ?
MORE PROGNOSTICS FOR 1837. Vox Stellarum.
| tirely escape. Numerous plots cautiously hatched in the country; of which a great many are discovered by the rural police, and crushed in the egg; others not suspected till they are matured and take wing.
June.-Herschel seen at the Cape of Good Hope, with the naked eye.
August. The sun in Aquarius, which means, the sun at a watering-place; and portends great inundations at Margate, Ramsgate, &c., of visitors. September. The dykes of Holland filled with Great scarcity in Ireland of tranquillity ; the very bogs agitate.
November. During this month many dark affairs will be discovered by candle-light.
December. An alderman hung in chains. Turkey, the great subject of conversation at the Mansion-house. Reasons to complain of the state of Chili. Friesland obtains great accessions to its territory.
SUSSEX ROYAL INSTITUTION, AND MANTELLIAN MUSEUM, BRIGHTON.
THE want of a local Institution, devoted to Science and Literature, had long been felt and regretted at Brighton, a place which, with all its varied and powerful attractions, was deficient in any public establishment bearing an intellectual character, and calculated to interest and gratify the educated classes who form so large and influential a portion of its visiters. Several attempts have been made to supply a deficiency so generally felt and deplored; but all had failed of success, until at the commencement of the last year an endeavour was made, which we are happy to announce has been crowned with complete success. Two gentlemen, whose names are most honourably associated with literature and science, Mr. Horace Smith and Mr. Ricardo, in conjunction with other individuals, imbued with similar tastes, and actuated by kindred feelings, set on foot a society, which was based on the public exhibition of the celebrated collection of fossil organic remains, which had been collected by Dr. Mantell, at Lewes, and which a year or two previously had, at the instance of the Earl of Egremont, been removed to Brighton.
The plan of the Institution comprised the establish. ment of a library and reading room, the exhibition of Dr. Mantell's collection, the delivery of lectures, the holding conversazioni, &c., &c. The Earl of Egremont accepted the office of patron; and, with his accustomed munificence, bestowed the splendid donation of 1000; four noblemen, connected with the county, became the vice-patrons; Davies Gilbert, Esq., V.P.R.S., took on him the office of president; and the vice-presidents, subordinate of him and council, were selected from the rest of the intelligent members of the society; Mr. G. F. Richardson, known in the literary world by various publicatious, chiefly connected with German literature, was appointed curator and librarian; and various gentlemen of the town and county, contributed presents of books and specimens. A graduated scale of subscriptions was formed, which was rapidly filled. The museum was opened, and daily attended by numbers of fashionable visitants; lectures were delivered on geology and its auxiliary sciences; and the whole establishment has progressed in the most favourable manner, exhibiting every appearance of permanent and extended success; adding a new source of attraction to the place, and bestowing a higher and more intellectual character on its attractions and pursuits. In compliment to the venerated nobleman who had become their patron, the members of the society determined to hold their anniversary on the 19th of December, his lordship's birthday. Accordingly, on Monday last, the following arrangements were made for celebrating at once the fête of the Institution and of its patrón.
At twelve o'clock, a meeting for the despatch of business was held at 20 Steine, when various honorary members were elected; at two, Dr. Mantell delivered a lecture at the Town Hall to the members and their friends, at which 600 or 700 persons were present; and a dinner took place at the Old Ship, at six in the evening, at which about 120 guests sat down: Davies Gilbert, Esq., in the chair. Various addresses were made to the company; and though it might seem invidious to particularize, where all was replete with feeling and talent, yet we cannot but refer to the speeches of the Rev. J. S. M. Anderson, in proposing the health of the revered chairman, and of Dr. Mantell, in returning thanks for his own health, as admirable specimens of animated and impressive oratory, Horace Smith, Esq., recited the following lines, as introducing the health of the Earl of Egre.
SONG FOR THE ANNIVERSARY-DINNER OF THE
19th Dec., 1836.
THOUGH Brighton, the pride of our island, was hail'd
A fane from the strife of opinion apart,
By the study of nature, the culture of mind;
This want to supply, we instinctively turned
The gratitude, homage, and love of our town;
His princely donation a basis supplied
For our young institution, which, thriving apace,
That to Brighton it gives new attraction and grace.
Have ennobled our title, our efforts have crowned.
These were succeeded by the following poetical effusion, delivered by Mr. G. F. Richardson, after the health of Dr. Mantell:
When wrapt in primal night Creation lay,
Since Leibnitz, Werner, Cuvier brought to view
And as a Newton bids us gaze on high,
And "look through Nature up to Nature's God!"
The party separated about eleven, highly gratified with their mental feast.
Among those present were the Duke of St. Alban's, Sir Francis Burdett, Sir Edward Codrington, Sir Richard Hunter, Sir Ralph Rice, Sir James Fellowes, Mr. Murchison, the geologist, &c., &c.; the gallery was crowded with ladies, admitted after dinner, as spectators, who witnessed with evident delight the gratifying proceedings of the evening.
The enjoyment of the party was renewed at the conversazione of the following evening; when Mr. Richardson read an "Essay on the Poetry of the Hebrews;" the Rev. Mr. Edwards, a paper on the "Equation of Time;" and Mr. Murchison described a series of interesting investigations respecting the "Geological Structure of the Cliffs of the west of England and of Wales."
We shall, from time to time, lay before our readers some account of the proceedings of this Society, which bids fair to assume an important rank among the institutions of the country; originating as it does under circumstances more than commonly favourable to its permanence and success; placed in a town the resort of the intellectual, and educated, and wealthy classes; honoured with the sanction of Royalty, for their Majesties have recently bestowed their sanction, and allowed it be entitled "The Sussex Royal Institution;" and, above all, directed and controlled by the energies and the genius of Dr. Mantell; who, in addition to his being one of the first geologists and falæontologists of the age, is also one of the most popular of teachers, and the most entertaining, as well as instructive of lecturers, the Society cannot fail to attain permanence and prosperity, and confer advantages not only on the town and county in which it is situated, but also to contribute, in an important degree, to the advancement of science, and the general diffusion of knowledge.
THE WESTERN EMIGRANT,
A PRIZE POEM,
BY MRS. SIGOURNEY, OF HARTFORD, AMERICA.
AMID those forest shades that proudly rear'd
"Boy, thou hast never seen
Such glorious trees; and when their giant trunks
Fall, how the firm earth groans! Rememberest thou
"Father, the brook
That by our door went singing, when I launched
Of our first home, from whence the fragrant peach
"What, ho! my little girl,"-and with light step
"See, dearest, see
Yon bright-wing'd parroquet, and hear the song
"I had a robin that did take the crumbs Each night and morning, and his chirping voice Did make me joyful as I went to tend
My snow-drops. I was always laughing there, In that first home. I should be happier now,
Methinks, if I could find among these dells
Slow Night drew on,
Spake bitter things. His wearied children slept,
And he, with head declin'd, sat listening long
Dashing against their shores. Starting, he spake-
Of shapeless logs, and this lone hermit-home."
-Placid and grateful to his rest he sank,-
Elements of Plane Geometry, Theoretical and Practical, including Plane Trigonometry, Mensuration of Plane Surfaces, and Geometrical Analysis. By TнOMAS DUNCAN, A.M., Professor of Mathematics in the University of St. Andrews. Maclachlan and Stewart, Edinburgh. 1833.
in the three kingdoms could be illuminated by its radiance.
We do not say this casually, as things are sometimes said by reviewers who neither understand their book, nor know its author. We love the mathematical sciences, for we know that in them is contained the mighty lever which has cast the idols of superstition down from their bases, and placed in their stead that illustrious personification of truth, by means of which human and divine knowledge have stricken hands, and glorious light and liberty have renovated the world. We also know Professor Duncan; that is, we once knew him, year after year, week after week, and day after day, for a longer period than the Grecian armies beleaguered the towers of Ilium; we know that he was then the foremost teacher of mathematics, in point of clearness and effect, that had ever come within the scope of our information,—and it was not very limited; and his book tells us that, far from falling off, he has gone on improving.
THOUGH this work was published three years before we acquired the faculty of speech, or cut our teeth, (of which we purpose to make vigorous, but, we trust, not unseasonable, use,) yet it has come so recently under our notice, that we cannot help saying a few words respecting it. Those words cannot be many; and it may readily be supposed, that a systematic classbook upon the elements of plane geometry, drawn up expressly for the students of a university, cannot have the most powerful attractions for the readers of popular or miscellaneous writing. This book, however, is an exception: its subject is one of the most interesting to which the lovers of sound knowledge can pay attention, and one which has been literally tabooed to the great majority, not only of tolerably learned persons generally, but of those who actually have professional need of it, by the crabbedness of the elementary works. We say it with regret, but we say it from long personal experience, that there is a grievous lack of geometrical knowledge among the engineers, architects, surveyors, and other professional persons in this country, to whom geometry is more essential than any other science; and were we to enumerate all the bunglings and blunders in the execution of import-parison of straight lines and angles, the simplest of ant works, which have resulted from this deficiency, we should require to bespeak more than six months of the "Miscellany " for this list alone.
Euclid's Elements, as restored by Simpson, and as rendered more elegant by Playfair, are delightful books to such as can read them with understanding; but they are sealed books to every one who has not a Columbus going before him to break the egg. In the very first book of Euclid there are many subjects mixed up not germain to each other, and between the one and the other of which there is no passage for the young learner, however desirous he may be of learning. Even at the very fifth proposition,-the far-famed pons asinorum,—there is a mixture of shadowy matters, all true, no doubt, and beautifully true, but so dimly seen by the tyro, that for one student who passes this "bridge" triumphantly, ten, at least, stand still, and know no more of geometry.
Professor Duncan's elementary work unravels all these conclusions; and though it carries the student through the whole of plane geometry, including the mensuration of lines, angles, triangles, and surfaces,
yet so clear in its expression, and so gradual in its steps, that we could hardly imagine it possible for even a boy of eleven years of age to fail in understanding every word of it, without the assistance of a teacher. To borrow an expression, it is indeed "one perfect chrysolite," transparent, and without a single flaw; and earnestly do we wish that every school-boy
These are the grounds upon which we cordially recommend this volume, as the most simple, the most beautiful, and, notwithstanding its simplicity and beauty, the most profound that was ever written on the subject.
To give extracts of such a work, or even an analysis of it, would not suit our publication; but we may mention the general contents of the eleven books of which it consists. Book first is devoted to the com.
all geometrical subjects, and not confused by any reference to squares or other areas. Book second is devoted to the circle, and to lines in and about the circle, which is the next step in point of simplicity. Book third is devoted to the comparison of triangles and squares, which are the simplest of all geometrical figures. Book fourth is devoted to proportion; and the doctrine of equal ratios, which is so unwedgable in Euclid's Elements, is rendered exceedingly simple. The fifth book contains the application of the doctrine of proportion to the proper subjects of plane geometry, lines, angles, and plane surfaces. The sixth book contains the elements of plane trigonometry. The seventh book contains their applications. The eighth book contains the mensuration of plane surfaces. The ninth book contains their application to the different kinds of surveying. The tenth book explains the geometry of the circle. The eleventh and last book exhibits a brief but very clear system of geometrical analysis; and to the whole there are appended very useful exercises on the different parts. Such are the contents of Duncan's "Elements of Plane Geometry."
His "Elements of Solid Geometry" are also before us; and we shall take an early opportunity of briefly adverting to them. We hope he will go on, and let us have other two volumes on general quantity; namely, the determinate, the indeterminate, and the differential analysis, in the same clear and masterly style as the present volumes.
CONTENTMENT.-Is that beast better that hath two or three mountains to graze on, than a little bee that feeds on dew or manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the storehouses of heaven, clouds, and Providence? Can a man quench his thirst better out of a river than a full urn, or drink better from the fountain which is finely paved with marble, than when it wells over the green turf?-Jeremy Taylor.
MISERY.-Were we called upon to name the object under the sun which excites the deepest commiseration in the heart of Christian sensibility, which includes in itself the most affecting incongruities, which contains the sum and substance of human misery, we would not hesitate to say, 66 'an irreligious old age."-Hannah
EAR-RINGS. The progress of civilization is slow,