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and in an instant it was whirling in the air on the point of the spear, the weapon having passed within an inch of the point of the tail. At sunset we could see the Al Bu Mohammed marching in the distance to the left, across the Tharthar. At 9h. 30m. we reached our camp in safety, after a ride of upwards of 50 miles. From the ruins the Sinjar mountains are seen high in the N.W. "16th.-At 6 A.M. the Arabs struck their tents, and marched along the stream till 7h. 10m., then halted and pitched. To-day the Yezidis are coming in by scores, men, women, and children, flying from the Turks under Hafiz Pasha, who has already conquered nearly all the district of Sinjar.
On the 15th, they came to Nejm's camp; and he insisted upon our party and the Sheikh's halting to feed, which we did, the Arabs all going on. Nejm, with Zeidan, is pitched to-day near a pool of rain-water, which, though horrid stuff, is delicious after the Tharthar water. Nejm's feed was like the others; except that, to show us greater respect, he covered the whole dish over with about two stones of butter, so that I was obliged to thrust my arm up to the elbow through butter, in order to grope underneath for rice and a bit of mutton. After all had been demolished, I went out, to the great wonder of the Arabs, to measure the dish, it being the largest I ever saw. It was made of pieces of wood fastened together by twine; and I found its diameter exactly 4 feet 9 inches, and that it contained to-day, at one time, the divided carcasses of four full-grown sheep: as to the quantities of rice, melted butter, and sour milk, I should be afraid to hazard a guess. In the evening we rode on to our "19th. There being plenty of grass, did not move. This was about the hottest day I ever felt. "20th.-Halted. I observe the valley of the Tharthar gets broader, and has lately been cultivated, the water-courses, and even the shapes of the fields, being still visible. The stream here winds more than above. At 9 A.M. a camel with two people on his back came up to the tent, and one of them was no other than Mohammed el Faris, Sheikh Shammar, ruler of upwards of 12,000 families. He was a fine-looking young man, with large eyes, a slightly aquiline nose, and wore his hair in long plaited tresses, hanging over his shoulders. He was very well dressed; but appears to have discarded the effeminate practice of wearing shoes, and even trousers. He made many excuses for being away so long, declaring that the instant he learned our being in his camp, he mounted on his return, and had been in the saddle since yesterday at noon. The news of his arrival soon spread; and in an hour the tent and the whole front of it presented a dense mass of the wildest human beings I ever saw. Every naked rascal, as he arrived, went up to the Sheikh, and, having kissed him, sat down to light his pipe without the slightest ceremony. The Pasha's present, consisting of a full suit of clothes, was brought forward, and while the letter accompanying it was being read, every man stood up, and when finished, all called out "God lengthen Ali Pasha's days!" The dresses were put on the Sheikh; but they did not appear to sit easy. The Kashmir turban was too heavy for the head, and was taken off and presented to the person sitting next him. The other articles were soon dispersed in a similar manner, and in 20 minutes Mohammed wore only his own Bedwin dress. "Yesterday I felt rather heavy, and to-day was seized with very strong fever and dysentery, I suppose owing to bad water and the intense heat; but the Arabs declare it is owing to having eaten some small fish shot yesterday by Sayyed Hindi in the Tharthar. "About noon old Dukheil came to visit the Sheikh, and brought the disagreeable intelligence of the Aneizah having sent three ghazas, or plundering parties, into Mesopotamia: they severally crossed the Euphrates at Hillah, Jubbah, and above Anah, and were last heard of going towards the Tarmiyah. I consequently determined to be off for Tekrit before things got worse, and there see what is to be done. The plan laid down by the Sheikh and the old men for us, was to start after dusk for Dukheil's camp at Sultaniyah, stay there all to-morrow, then at night to go on, and hide next day in the thick wood about Kharneinah, and get into Tekrit on the third morning. I seemingly agreed to it, but, after a private consultation with Sayyed Hindi, determined upon quite an other mode of proceeding as soon as we were clear of the tents. I got several of the chiefs to point out on the compass the bearing of Sultaniyah: this was done in presence of the Arabs going with us, and they were satisfied that we could not now go wrong. After dinner, though far from well, I determined to be off, when the Sheikh brought me a present of a horse trained to plundering excursions, which he declares will, if it should come to a run, carry me off from all the Aneizah.
"Our party, nine in number, mounted, and after taking leave and having had prayers said for our safety, we at 7h. 40m. P.M. moved on in an E. by S. direction. I soon found the Arabs were going straight for Sultaniyah, but, as I declared the compass must be right, they were easily persuaded to keep to the right of the true course. At 11h. 30m. we were going E. over sandy ground called Zobeidi.
"22nd.—At 1 A.M. kept edging to the right. At 2h. kept E. by S., and at 2h. 20m. got to the high road, when the Arabs at once discovered that I had taken them completely out of the track they intended coming by. Our object was now gained; and, having told them it would be a disgrace for us to turn back to Sultaniyah, as well as a loss of time, we must put our trust in God and go at once straight on for Tekrit. Sayyed Hindi smoothed them down, and we went on.
At 7h. 15m. halted on the bank of the Tigris. I had now almost lost all sense of feeling in the lower limbs, and became covered with a cold clammy sweat, but I never recollect having experienced so great a pleasure as I did in drinking a draught of the Tigris water after the horrid stuff we have had for the last ten days. At 8h. 10m. A.M. went on again. At 9h. 42m. went up from the hawi at Jeberaniyah, and just as we got to the high land we found footmarks of horses not an hour old, and in another minute saw the horses themselves in the bush below. Their owners sprang upon them and fell in ; we closed up, lighted matches, and got ready: they were about half a mile off, and only eight in number. The Shammar at once knew them to be Aneizah, and we prepared for a skirmish (being only nine), keeping on the high road, daring them to come on with prime abuse, but they stood still close together. My men declared it would be in vain to charge them, their cattle being fresh, while ours were done up: moreover, some of our men being on camels, we should be obliged to divide a thing not at all advisable. As long as we could see them they had not moved. The excitement of the affair caused a reaction in me, and I was now in a burning fever. As we went on, the day became dreadfully hot, the glare intolerable, and not a breath of wind stirring. I thought it was to be my last; my senses deserted me, and all I can recollect is that at 1 P.M. we got to Tekrit.
"About sunset I awoke and found myself in Haji Omar's house; covered up and in a most profuse perspiration, and consequently much easier. A small thermometer, cut to 1250 in the usual sort of leathern case, was burst in my pocket by to-day's heat.
"I find the road by Mesopotamia is not to be attempted at present, so I determine to dismiss the Arabs here, and send them down by Samarrah; and, finding myself perfectly inadequate to another day's ride, I have made up my mind to go down by water, and have ordered a kelek, or raft, to be made."
Dr. Ross afterwards met with a friend who was going down the river in a covered boat, whom he joined, and reached Baghdad on the 26th.
HOT AND COLD IRON BLAST.
IN smelting cold-blast iron, the fuel used is coke. It is put in the furnace alternately with the iron-stone, according to a specified weight of iron and measurement of coke, together with a certain quantity of limestone, to flux the iron. A strong blast of cold air is forced into the furnace by mechanical power. The smelted iron is drawn off twice in twenty-four hours.
In the hot-blast system, coal is burnt instead of coke, which effects a considerable saving of trouble and expense, attendant on the burning coal into coke. The blast, in passing to the furnace, is forced through retorts highly heated, which raises the temperature of the air in the pipes to a very high degree-so much so, that an iron rod passed into the current of air becomes red-hot instantly. By this system double the quantity of iron is smelted in the same time that is done by the cold blast.
It is obviously greatly to the advantage of the iron-master to work with the hot-blast, but the quality of the iron is greatly inferior. Were pure, unmixed, hot-blast iron to be used for casting machinery or beams, where great strain or tension is required, it would be weaker by one-third than had cold-blast been used. For casting cylinders or rollers that require to be turned, or the skin broke, it is totally unfit. It may do for stoves, plain plates, or fancy castings; any castings where a body of iron is
formed, from four to five inches in diameter, are found to be hollow on the top when cast (technically termed sunk or drawn), although the greatest precautions are taken to prevent it, and are often found drawn in the very centre. The reason of its inferiority arises from its being imperfectly smelted. Scotch coal, when burned, turns into a fine powder, through which the iron-stone, being denser, falls through before it is thoroughly melted, and lies in a dead body at the bottom of the furnace, below the blast, until it be drawn off. The limestone used for fluxing is likewise drawn off in a partially burned condition, and in some instances is used as a manure. The iron, when running off, becomes a thick coagulated mass, entirely different from that smelted by cold-blast with coke
RAMBLES OF AN AMERICAN NATURALIST.-No. III.
HITHERTO my rambles have been confined to the neighbourhood of a single spot, with a view of showing how perfectly accessible to all are numerous and various interesting natural objects. This habit of observing in the manner indicated began many years anterior to my visit to the spots heretofore mentioned, and have extended through many parts of our own and another country. Henceforward my observations shall be presented without reference to particular places, or even of one place exclusively, but with a view to illustrate whatever may be the subject of description, by giving all I have observed of it under various circumstances.
poorly suited for companionship. I here spent month after month, and, except the patients I visited, saw no one but the blacks; the house in which I boarded was kept by a widower, who, with myself, was the only white man within the distance of a pleasantly situated on the bank of Curtis's creek, a considerable mile or two. My only compensation was this: the house was arm of the Patapsco, which extended for a mile or two beyond us, and immediately in front of the door, expanded so as to form a beautiful little bay. Of books I possessed very few, and those exclusively professional; but in this beautiful expanse of sparkling water, I had a book opened before me, which a lifetime would scarcely suffice me to read through. With the advantage of a small but neatly made and easily manageable skiff, I was always independent of the service of the blacks, which was ever repugnant to my feelings and principles. I could convey myself in whatever direction the objects of inquiry might present, and as my little bark was visible for a mile in either direction from the house, a handkerchief waved, or the loud shout of a negro, was sufficient to recall me in case my services were required.
During the spring months, and while the garden vegetables are frequently employ their blacks in hauling the seine, and this in yet too young to need a great deal of attention, the proprietors these creeks is productive of an ample supply of yellow perch, which affords a very valuable addition to the diet of all. The blacks in an especial manner profit by this period of plenty, since they are permitted to eat of them without restraint, which cannot be said of any other sort of provision allowed them. Even the pigs and crows obtain their share of the abundance, as the fisherbeach. But as the summer months approach, the aquatic grass men, after picking out the best fish, throw the smaller ones on the begins to grow, and this fishing can no longer be continued, because the grass rolls the seine up in a wisp, so that it can contain nothing. At this time the spawning season of the different species of sun-fish begins, and to me this was a time of much gratification. Along the edge of the river, where the depth of water was observer would discover a succession of circular spots cleared of not greater than from four feet to as shallow as twelve inches, an the surrounding grass, and showing a clear sandy bed. These ful fish. There, balanced in the transparent wave, at the distance of six or eight inches from the bottom, the sun-fish is suspended in the glittering sunshine, gently swaying its beautiful tail and fins; or, wheeling around in the limits of its little circle, appears mother deposits her eggs or spawn, and never did hen guard her to be engaged in keeping it clear of all incumbrances. Here the callow brood with more eager vigilance than the sun-fish the little circle within which her promised offspring are deposited. If another individual approach too closely to her borders, with a fierce and angry air she darts against it, and forces it to retreat. Should any small and not too heavy object be dropped in the nest, it is examined with jealous attention, and displaced if the owner be not satisfied of its harmlessness. At the approach of man she flies with great velocity into deep water, as if willing to conceal that her presence was more than accidental where first seen. She may, after a few minutes, be seen cautiously venturing to return, which is at length done with velocity; then she would take a hurried turn or two around, and scud back again to the shady bowers formed by the river grass, which grows up from the bottom to within a few feet of the surface, and attains to twelve, fifteen, or more feet in length. Again she ventures forth from the depths; and if no further cause of fear presented, would gently sail into the placid circle of her home, and with obvious satisfaction explore it in every part.
A certain time of my life was spent in that part of Anne Arundel county, Maryland, which is washed by the river Patapsco on the north, the great Chesapeake bay on the west, and the Severn river on the south. It is in every direction cut up by creeks, or arms of the rivers and bay, into long flat strips of land, called necks, the greater part of which is covered by dense pine forests, or thickets of small shrubs and saplings, rendered impervious to human foot-spots, or cleared spaces, we may regard as the nest of this beautisteps by the growth of vines, whose inextricable mazes nothing but a fox, wild cat, or weasel, could thread. The soil cleared for cultivation is very generally poor, light, and sandy, though readily susceptible of improvement, and yielding a considerable produce in Indian corn, and most of the early garden vegetables, by the raising of which for the Baltimore market the inhabitants obtain all their ready money. The blight of slavery has long extended its influence over this region, where all its usual effects are but too obviously visible. The white inhabitants are few in number, widely distant from each other, and manifest, in their mismanagement and half indigent circumstances, how trifling an advantage they derive from the thraldom of their dozen or more of sturdy blacks, of different sexes and ages. The number of marshes formed at the heads of the creeks render this country frightfully unhealthy in autumn, at which time the life of a resident physician is one of incessant toil and severe privation. Riding from morning till night, to get round to visit a few patients, his road leads generally through pine forests, whose aged and lofty trees, encircled by a dense undergrowth, impart an air of sombre and unbroken solitude. Rarely or never does he encounter a white person on his way, and only once in a while will he see a miserably-tattered negro, seated on a sack of corn, carried by a starveling horse or mule, which seems poorly able to bear the weight to the nearest mill. The red-head woodpecker, and the flicker or yellowhammer, a kindred species, occasionally glance across his path; sometimes when he turns his horse to drink at the dark-coloured branch (as such streams are locally called), he disturbs a solitary rufous-thrush engaged in washing its plumes or as he moves steadily along, he is slightly startled by a sudden appearance of the towhé-bunting close to the side of the path. Except these creatures, and these by no means frequently seen, he rarely meets with animated objects; at a distance the harsh voice of the crow is often heard, or flocks of them are observed in the cleared fields, while now and then the buzzard, or Turkey-vulture, may be seen wheeling in graceful circles in the higher regions of the air, sustained by his broadly-expanded wings, which apparently remain in a state of permanent and motionless extension. At other seasons of the year, the physician must be content to live in the most positive seclusion; the white people are all busily employed in going to and from market; and even were they at home they are
Besides the absolute pleasure I derived from visiting the habita tions of these glittering tenants of the river, hanging over them from my little skiff, and watching their every action, they frequently furnished me with a very acceptable addition to my frugal table. Situated as my boarding-house was, and all the inmates of the house busily occupied in raising vegetables to be sent to market, our bill of fare offered little other change than could be produced by varying the mode of cookery. either broiled bacon and potatoes, or fried bacon and potatoes, or cold bacon and potatoes,, and so on at least six days out of seven. But, as soon as I became acquainted with the habits of the sun-fish, I procured a neat circular iron hoop for a net; secured to it a piece of an old seine, and whenever I desired to dine on fresh fish, it was only necessary to take my skiff, and push her gently along from one sun-fish nest to another, myriads of which might be seen along all the shore. The fish, of course, darted off as soon as the boat first drew near, and during this absence the
net was placed so as to cover the nest, of the bottom of which the meshes but slightly intercepted the view. Finding all things quiet, and not being disturbed by the net, the fish would resume its central station, the net was suddenly raised, and the captive placed in the boat. In a quarter of an hour I could generally take as many in this way as would serve two men for dinner; and when an acquaintance accidentally called to see me during the season of sun-fish, it was always in my power to lessen our dependence on the endless bacon. I could also always select the finest and largest of these fish, as while standing up in the boat one could see a considerable number at once, and thus choose the best. Such was their abundance, that the next day would find all the nests re-occupied. Another circumstance connected with this matter gave me no small satisfaction; the poor blacks, who could rarely get time for angling, soon learned how to use my net with dexterity; and thus, in the ordinary time allowed them for dinner, would borrow it, run down to the shore, and catch some fish to add to their very moderate allowance.
cause why the rich and great generally labour under this disease:
Ah, this word "light" is the cause of much heaviness. A pound of feathers, it must be remembered, weighs as heavily as a pound of lead. It is a mistake to suppose, that the nearer we approach a vacuum, the more agreeable is the atmosphere. To be "light," in the opinion of most people, is to be idealess. It is most true that the more common the ideas of a composition are, the more numerous will be the audience by whom it will be understood; and this principle seems to guide the advocates of "light" reading and writing. Write that, say they, which shall require the least education and the commonest experience to understand it, and you will write that which must be popular. Compare the merits of Tacitus and Clarendon, and very few know or care anything about the matter. Discuss Pope and Dryden, and your audience is a little more enlarged. Talk of Lord Byron, and your auditors are multiplied by a hundred. Criticise the manners of a dinner-table, and the vulgarities of half-bred pretenders or low-bred Cockneys, and the very housekeepers and ladies'-maids can relish your discourse. This is the modern meaning of the term "light," and the principle of the management of more than one popular periodical.—London Magazine.
OUR LITERARY LETTER-BOX.
INTERSPERSED amongst the more agreeable compliments and "flatteries" of the majority of our correspondents, occurs an occasional remonstrance for our
attention to our friends of the "Letter-Box," we must confess that we dislike being taken roundly to task for supposed delinquencies. In all instances
what we consider a sufficient reason; or else the communication is held over, to be better answered than we could do on the instant. Let our impatient correspondents, then, not be too selfish; the "Letter-Box" is the property of all our readers, and we would rather "shut" it, than keep it "open" for the mere gratification of individuals.
IDLENESS, which is the opposite extreme to immoderate exercise, is the badge of gentry, the bane of body and mind, the nurse of naughtiness, the stepmother of discipline, the chief author of all mischief, one of the seven deadly sins, the cushion upon which the devil chiefly reposes, and a great cause, not only of melancholy, but of many other diseases; for the mind is naturally active, and if it be not occupied about some honest business, it rushes into mischief, or sinks into melancholy. As immoderate exercise offends on the one side, so doth an idle life on the other. Idleness, as Rasis and Montaltus affirm, begets melancholy more than any other disposition; and Plutarch says, that it is not only the sole neglect of certain communications. Now, as we rather "pique" ourselves on cause of the sickness of the soul, but that nothing begets it sooner, increases it more, or continues it so long. Melancholy is certainly a familiar disease to all idle persons; an inseparable where letters are not answered, our correspondents may rest assured it is for companion to such as live indolent and luxurious lives. Any pleasant company, discourse, business, sport, recreation, or amusement, suspends "the pains and penalties of idleness; " but the moment these engagements cease, the mind is again inflicted with the torments of this disease. The lazy, lolling race of men are always miserable and uneasy. Seneca well says, "Malo mihi male quam molliter esse" (I had rather be sick than idle). This disposition is either of body or of mind. Idleness of body is the improper intermission of necessary exercise, which causes crudities, obstructions, excrementitious humours, quenches the natural heat, dulls the spirits, and renders the mind unfit for employ-parents and guardians of children, in reclaiming their wayward charges. ment. As ground that is untilled runs to weeds, so indolence produces nothing but gross humours. A horse unexercised, and a hawk unflown, contract diseases from which, if left at their natural liberty, they would be entirely free. An idle dog will be mangy; and how can an idle person expect to escape? But mental idleness is infinitely more prejudicial than idleness of body: wit, without employment, is a disease. "Erugo animi, rubigo ingenii" (the rust of the soul, a plague, a very hell itself): "maximum animi nocumentum." "As in a standing pool," says Seneca, "worms and filthy creepers increase; so do evil and corrupt thoughts in the mind of an idle person." The whole soul is contaminated by it. As in a commonwealth that has no common enemy to contend with, civil wars generally ensue, and the members of it rage against each other; so is this body natural, when it is idle, macerated, and vexed with cares, griefs, false fears, discontents, suspicions, and restless anxiety, for want of proper employment. Vulture-like, it preys upon the bowels of its victims, and allows them no respite from their sufferings.
For he 's the Tityus, here, that lies opprest
Idle persons, whatever be their age, sex, or condition-however rich, well allied, or fortunate—can never be well, either in body or mind. Wearied, vexed, loathing, weeping, sighing, grieving, and suspecting, they are continually offended with the world and its concerns, and disgusted with every object in it. Their lives are painful to themselves, and burthensome to others; for their bodies are doomed to endure the miseries of ill-health, and their minds to be tortured by every foolish fancy. This is the true
"SIR,-In the 61st Number of your Journal, there are a few remarks made on Novel-reading, by one of your Letter-Box correspondents, which has induced me to relate a circumstance which may not only convince the writer that novel-reading may be advantageous, but may likewise be useful to
"When about eighteen years old, I was an associate of a few youths a little my seniors, whose chief pleasures were cock-fighting, dog-fighting, and poaching.
My parents were respectable, but not wealthy; they could not, in
justice to my other brothers and sisters, keep me idle, and they grieved to
think of the consequences likely to result from the course I was pursuing.
Every means they could think of were tried to reclaim me, but in vain. No argument they could use, no reward they could offer, no punishment they could inflict, would induce me to give up my pursuits and attend to my occupation. Things went on in this way for some years, and I was rather getting worse than better. But at last a noble thought struck my mother, who from her education knew the power of reading on the young mind. She got from a library a few good novels, which she pressed me to read. At first I refused-I would not do it. Still she persisted; and as she knew there were a number of little favours which could only be got through her intercession with my father, she perceived that I would be forced, in order to obtain her assistance and gain my purpose, to make the experiment upon which she placed her last hope and it succeeded. At first I read only a few chapters; but through time I got interested in the tale, and she paid strict attention to the kind that pleased me best. As I finished one work, she had another ready; till at last I gave up my associates, and with them my former pursuits, for such works as she was pleased to lay before me; and my reading, I am happy to say, was not
A LADY.-The word "Normal," which has in recent years been applied to schools established as models for the management of other schools by the pupils in a word, to schools for schoolmasters-is derived from the Italian word "norma," literally a carpenter's rule; and thence, as the word rule in our own language, metaphorically used as a model or pattern. For example, "La sua vita serva a norma a tutti," his life was a pattern to all.
A correspondent, who'dates from Dundee, and who assumes the cognomen of M'VULCAN, inquires what chemical preparation is used for cleaning marine shells. The best reply we can give is the transcription of the following directions for cleaning shells, given by the well-known naturalist Donovan, in his "Instructions for collecting and preserving Subjects of Natural History." We have altered and condensed the original, but we have preserved the substance, which, as the experience of a well-informed practical man, may be relied upon.
Many shells, such as the cypræa, or cowrie, possess such a natural polish as to need no cleaning, except the removal of any dirt which may adhere to them; and in cleaning others much care is needed, as, by the partial removal of the inferior layers, the appearance of the shell may often be entirely changed; a process too frequently practised by "curiosity dealers," who have various means of "n.anufacturing" very extraordinary specimens.
Shells encrusted with extraneous matter should be allowed to steep for some time in warm water, both for the sake of moistening those substances, and of extracting as much as possible of the marine salts. They may be suffered to remain in water two or three minutes without any injury. After this, brush them well, observing only that the brush be not too hard. If that prove insufficient to clean them, rub or brush them again with tripoli or emery, or put them into a mixture of from one-sixth to one-tenth part of nitrous acid to five-sixths or nine-tenths of water, according to the exigency of the case; which process may be repeated as often as will be necessary to remove the extraneous matter. Strong soap may also be used, with a rag of woollen or linen cloth to rub them, or a ley of pearlashes; and when cleansed, finish them with a soft brush and fine emery.
In some cases it may be necessary to use the acid undiluted, but this must be done with great care; the mouth of the shell should be covered with soft wax, and a careful examination should be made with a magnifying glass every time the shell is taken out of the acid, which should be every minute; and if the enamel appears in any spot, it should be coated with wax, to prevent injury when the shell is again submitted to corrosion.
It is scarcely necessary to observe, that great caution should be observed in the management of the acid; for it is within our personal experience that permanent injury has been done to the nails of persons cleaning shells carelessly.
In some cases, where the epidermis is very thick, it is necessary to make use of files, or pumice-stone, to get rid of it; and Mr. Donovan says, that even the aid of a grindstone is occasionally needful. When the shell is quite clean, polish it with fine emery, and pass a camel's-hair pencil with gum arabic over it, to heighten the colours; the white of egg is sometimes used, but is very apt to turn yellow with age, though at first it appears glaring; and varnish communicates a disagreeable smell.
Shells which have a natural polish may be rubbed by the hand with chamois leather, which will give them a bright glossy appearance. Avoid, when possible, the use of emery powder, as it is apt to injure the beautiful workings on the shells it cannot, however, be often dispensed with.
Scientific collectors endeavour to preserve one specimen at least of every shell with the epidermis on, to exhibit its natural appearance.
considered the subject think that the circumstantial evidence is strong enough, however, to rebut his denial. He was a schoolfellow of Woodfall's, who printed the "Letters; " during his political life he was placed in circumstances which enabled him to obtain some of the peculiar information which "Junius" exhibited; and his acknowledged productions are considered as having a resemblance in style to that of the "Letters." The "interest" of this literary puzzle has nearly altogether died away.
R. S.-Nitrate of soda is found in layers on the surface of the earth in the western part of South America, and is brought on mules to the coast, where it undergoes a process of refining, so that it never contains more than 5 per cent. of alloy in the original packages in the docks of London, while saltpetre, or nitrate of potash, is brought from the East Indies and Turkey with from 30 to 50 per cent. of alloy. Let our correspondent consult the last number of the Journal of the English Agricultural Society.
ED. S. WILTS, SALISBURY.-The Mosaic account of the creation is the only document referring to the origin of the present world which has any trustworthy pretence to antiquity and authenticity; and all who receive the bible as a revelation, are utterly precluded from the idea that human beings existed on our globe before the creation of Adam. True, learned men have supposed that there might have been "Pre-Adamites;" even in our own day, a book was published by a very clever and extraordinary young man, the late Mr. O'Brien, called "An Essay on the Round Towers of Ireland," in which, amongst other startling things, he affirms that the Saviour had been repeatedly incarnate, and had suffered repeatedly in the flesh, ages before Adam was created; and, moreover, he contends, in his book, that the earth was very populous when Adam was born! There is much in the early history of our world of which we are ignorant, and on which it is possible light may be thrown, especially from the literature of Hindustan, just as the tombs of Egypt have, in these modern days, revealed to us much of which no other record remains. But it is not wise to abandon the known upon a mere speculation on the unknown. The "giants" of the antediluvian time are supposed to be so termed, not from their physical but their moral characteristics-great hunters, great warriors, “men of renown" for violence and blood, rather than remarkable for extraordinary size and strength.
IN reply to "A Smatterer," who, in reference to the account of Nicolas Flamel in No. 50 of the Lond. Sat. Journal, suggests that "if it be true, as the experiments of Sir Humphrey Davy and Berzelius appear to prove, that ammonia has a metallic base, and if ammonia can be produced from hydrogen and nitrogen, may it not be inferred that gold may be produced from other known or unknown gases, and that the labours of the old celestials were not so utterly absurd ?" we can only reply, that although the wonderful discoveries of later years seem to promise ultimately to lead us so deep into the arcana of nature as to render it not improbable that the exact process by which metals are formed may at some future period be ascertained, yet it does not appear that the facts already known are sufficient to warrant our correspondent's supposition.
The "old celestials " do not appear to have made any approaches to the right path. "The theory avowed by the more recent alchemists is as follows: They believe that the metals were composed of two substances-metallic earth and an inflammable substance called sulphur. Gold possesses three principles in nearly a pure state; in other metals they are more or less corrupted and intermixed with other ingredients. Hence it is only necessary to purify them from these debasements to convert them into gold; and this is the precise object of all the different alchemical processes."
Although at various periods, and even in comparatively recent times, there have been multitudes who have pretended to be in possession of the secret, yet one circumstance seems to give the lie to all their pretensions-none of these gentlemen ever got rich.
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LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL
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SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 1840.
MACHINERY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.
which is in the custody of the lord high-chancellor, or of a keeper, or, at occasional intervals, when the office of chancellor is vacant, of a commission especially appointed for that purpose. There are several species of warrants which must, according to law or prescription, be signed (the royal signature is always at the top of the document) by the sovereign, and sealed with his privy signet. Some warrants so signed and sealed pass at once under the great
THE PRIVY COUNCIL, as a department of state, is a most ancient and important institution, and enters essentially into the machinery of government. It is emphatically called "The Council;" the "noble, honourable, and reverend assembly" of the king, and such as he wills to summon together to be his ad-seal, as a matter of course; in other cases a document having been visers. Its numbers have varied from time to time,-sometimes
they were limited by special enactment; at present they are, and have been since the Revolution, indefinite. No inconvenience arises in this respect, inasmuch as those only attend who are specially summoned. Upon extraordinary occasions, such as the accession of a new sovereign, all the members are summoned,— and all, of whatever political party they may be, obey the mandate, unless they are prevented by indisposition or by absence from the country. Usually those only are summoned who coincide with Ministers in their general policy.
previously signed by the king, is sent to the keeper of the privy seal, who makes out a writ or warrant thereupon to the chancery, where the great seal is affixed to it. The difference between the two modes of proceeding only causes a difference in the title of the warrant, the warrant or patent in the former case being said to be "By the king himself," in the latter "By writ of privy seal." It must be confessed that this is one of our old state "mysteries," the retention of which may not seem in the eyes of unlearned persons absolutely essential to our national safety in these reforming days. The office is in fact a sinecure, but one which perhaps it has been found convenient to continue, as it frequently furnishes a seat in the cabinet for an individual who, though unequal to the duties of an office requiring much active exertion, may be possessed of experience or character capable of giving weight to a government. It is also often given to young statesmen of distinguished talent, who are introduced into the ministry with a view to prepare them for higher appointments.
No person can be a member of the Privy Council, who has been born out of the dominions of the crown, unless born of English parents. No act even of naturalization can qualify a foreigner to sit in this assembly, a fact which it is interesting to know at this moment, looking to the recent event of her Majesty's marriage. The oath of a privy councillor still retains much of the old English, baronial, magna-charta sort of expression of loyalty to the sovereign; it consists of seven articles,-to advise the king to the best of his The duties of the commission of land revenue are principally to cunning and discretion-to advise for the king's honour and good manage the income arising out of the crown lands. This income of the public without partiality through affection, love, meed, (i. e. has been for many years dedicated to the construction of public hope of reward,) doubt or dread-to keep the king's counsel works, and in lieu of it, a settled annuity, called the civil list, has secret to avoid corruption-to help and strengthen the execution been granted by parliament to the reigning sovereign for life. of what shall be there resolved-to withstand all persons who would This grant of course expires with the demise of the crown, and is attempt the contrary—and in general to observe, keep, and do all subject to revision upon the accession of the successor. that a good and true councillor ought to do to his sovereign lord. expenditure of the land revenue is under the control of the board of There are many acts, such as the issuing and signing of procla- public works, to whose enterprise we are indebted for many great mations, ordering new coinage, new seals of office, the granting of improvements in the metropolis. It must be admitted that several charters to colonies or corporations, which must be performed by of the buildings executed under their superintendence are by no the sovereign"in council." As a court of justice it exercises means distinguished for refinement of architectural taste. Buckauthority, both original and in appeal, with reference to cases from ingham Palace, the National Gallery, and the new offices at the colonies, as well as from the ecclesiastical and other tribunals at Whitehall, are certainly not calculated to raise our character for the home. There has been established for some years a judicial comarts very high in the estimation of foreigners. A better order of mittee of this assembly, consisting exclusively of law lords, before things is however arising amongst us. The new houses of parliawhich all such cases are argued and decided. But they are sup-ment, designed in a great measure by Barry, promise to be a posed to be argued in the presence of the sovereign, and are formally referred to the crown before judgment is considered final. This is a great improvement upon the former system, which allowed cases to be decided by a single judge and any lay members who chose to attend a mode of administering justice which was attended with the most injurious consequences, inasmuch as the principles upon which judgments were founded varied with almost every new judge, precedents having been then altogether passed over, as having, and indeed often deserving of, no authority. The change has been highly beneficial to the country, and especially to our foreign dependencies. By recent regulations the Privy Council has cognisance of all matters relating to patent rights, thus securing to genius the fair reward of its noble occupation in inventing new machinery for the use of mankind.
The keeper of the privy seal is generally a member of the cabinet. The duties of the office are very limited. The seal is the privy signet of the sovereign, as distinguished from the great seal
truly splendid pile. His Reform Club House in Pall Mall is certainly the most beautiful edifice in the metropolis.
It would be superfluous to make many remarks upon the functions of the admiralty, or of the home, foreign, and colonial departments. The duties assigned to each of those branches of the government are too well known to require explanation in this journal. A few miscellaneous observations, however, may not be uninteresting, especially as to the foreign department. The chief of this office has under him two secretaries, one of whom is considered a permanent officer; the other is his personal confidential friend, and of course goes out of office with him whenever he resigns. The business of this department, which extends to all parts of the world where governments are established and in communication with England, is divided as nearly as possible between the two under-secretaries, who have again under them a number of clerks and writers to assist them in carrying on the voluminous correspondence of the establishment.
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