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NOTICE OF TAE ARAUCARIA IMBRICATA, or Chili pine.
this tree was stunted in its growth by too long confine(Nat. Fam. Conifere. Diecia monadelphia.)
ment in the green house. Plants may be raised either By WILLIAN Raid, Lecturer on Natural History.
from seeds or cuttings.
The tree here engraved from the accurate pencil of Mr Stewart, is one of two growing in the open air in the Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, and reared under the fostering care of Mr M‘Nab. They are now 27 years old, and were planted out in the open air 17 years ago. They are in full vigour, have attained the height of 11 feet, and are beautiful specimens of the Chili pine.
They are almost completely acclimated, and bear the winter well, only requiring protection by matting in very severe frosts. The soil is the common mould of the garden. From the thriving condition of these trees, there: is little doubt but, in the course of time, they will grow to nearly their full natural size. The low temperature, especially during winter, no doubt retards their growth considerably; for, even in the south of England, the same species expand more rapidly. It is exceedingly interesting, however, to find that at least one species of the araucaria will flourish in the open air in this country, more especially as within a couple of miles of the spot where the tree above figured now grows, we find large fossil trunks of a species of araucaria enveloped
among the sandstone strata of the districts and under This is one of the noblest of the pine tribe, and per
such circumstances as leave no doubt but that in a forhaps one of the most magnificent trees in the world. It
mer era such trees flourished in their full perfection in is a native of the Cordilleras, in Chili, where it forms
this district. I shall take an opportunity, in a future extensive forests. The limit of its range extends from
number, to describe some of the other species of the 36° of north latitude, to 46° of south, thus embracing a
araucaria, and also point out the resemblance of their considerable portion of the great mountain range of the
internal structure to that of the fossil trees of Craigleith Andes. It fixes its roots among the bold rocky slopes
and Granton quarries. of the mountains and in the moist boggy valleys, forming
THE IDENTITY OF LIGHT AND ELECTRICITY.--The dense forests of towering trees. So completely do these
idea has long existed, that heat, light, electricity, and maghuge monarchs of the mountain take possession of the
netism, are but modifications of one great power prevailing soil, that few other plants or trees can rear their heads
in nature. About sixty years ago, Dr Hutton expounded
his views on this subject to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, within their dominions. According to Pavon, the fe. and arrived at this belief from a priori reasoning. Mr Famale tree attains a height of 150 feet, while the male raday has come to a similar conclusion by the test of exonly rises to 40 or 50 feet. The trunk grows straight, periment, and, at a late meeting of the Royal Society of and without knots, and is covered with two barks, which, London, has demonstrated, that a ray of light may be elecin old trees, are from five to six inches thick, and of a trified and magnetized, and that lines of magnetic force corky nature, from both of which a resin flows. In
may be rendered luminous. His principal experiment was
as follows: A ray of light issuing from an Argand lamp is young trees, the trunk is studded with leaves, which continue to be renewed for twelve to fifteen years,
first polarized in the horizontal plane by reflection from a
glass mirror, and then made to pass for a certain space when they disappear. The branches proceed from the
through glass composed of silicated borate of lead, on its trunk at intervals, in whorls of from six to eight. emergence from which it is viewed through a Nichol's eye. They are largest near the ground, and at the top termi- piece capable of revolving on a horizontal axis, so as to in. nate in a pyramidal head. The leaves are ovolanceo- terrupt the ray, or allow it to be transmitted alternately late, sessile, verticillate, and in whorls of seven to eight;
in the different phases of its revolution. The glass is then they remain attached to the tree for sever:al years. The
placed between the two poles of a powerful electro-magnet male and female catkins are produced on separate trees.
arranged in such a position, as that the line of magnetic
force resulting from this combined action shall coincide The cones, which grow from the end of the boughs, are
with, or differ but little from, the course of the ray in its from three to four inches in diameter. The seeds, of
passage through the glass. It was then found, that if the which there are two under each scale, are wedge-eye-piece had been so turned as to render the ray invisible shaped, and about an inch in length. The Indians eat to the observer looking through the eye-piece before the these seeds, and distil a liquor from them. The wood electric current had been established, it becomes visible is of a white colour, hard, and solid. The araucaria was whenever, by the completion of the current, the magnetic first introduced into Britain in the year 1796. A plant force is in operation, but instantly becomes again invisible was raised in the hot-house at Kew, and afterwards
on the cessation of that force by the interruption of the
circuit. Further investigation showed that the magnetic planted out in the open air, where it is found to stand
action caused the polarized ray to rotate, for the ray was the winter with the aid of matting in the severe weather.
again rendered visible by turning the eye-pieco to a cerIn 1836, according to Mr Loudon, its height, after 40 tain extent. The direction of rotation was to the right, on years, was 12 feet. But Mr M‘Nab informs me that
application of the south pole, and the reverse on applica
tion of the other, and its rotatory action was directly in
Literature. proportion to the intensity of the magnetic force.
GEOLOGY. — Impressions in Mill-stone Grit.—There A History of the British Freshwater Alge. By ARTHUR has lately been discovered in a quarry in Nottingham
Hill Hassal, F.L.S., 2 Vols. 8vo. 1845. shire, belonging to Mr Rhodes of Twintwistle, some remarkable impressions as of the footsteps of some animal. The first volume contains an introductory account of The quarry is composed of sandstone or mill-stone grit,
the structure of the Algæ and Confervæ-the reprolying below the coal measures, with a dip to S.Š.W. On one portion, five distinct impressions are perceptible
ductive organs consisting of cytoblasts, spores, and zoosin a line; each of these are from 10 to 12 inches in length, pores, with a description of the genera and species. by 41 inches in breadth. They are irregularly oval, with
The genera amount to nearly one hundred. The a depression in the middle, and narrow towards one of the ends. They extend over the slab in nearly a linear series second volume contains one hundred plates, illustrative to the distance of 11 feet. The three uppermost of the of the microscopic structure, and the characters of the series of impressions are the most perfect. They are similar to each other, except that the straighter side of the
various families and species. This is the only work of one is placed alternately with that of the other. One end the kind devoted to British Freshwater Algæ,--an inof each is depressed in the bed obliquely downward for teresting department of botany hitherto little pursued in about four inches, while the other end is scarcely sunk below the level surface. At this end, several waved or ruf.
this country, and contains many new genera not noticfled folds appear in the rock, as if they had been made by ed previously. These families constitute the minutest the body pushing the soft sandy mass before it. The ina cumbent beds of sandstone contain casts of these hollow
and simplest forms of vegetable life, many species being impressions. Various other impressions, of similar form, barely visible in water, or not thicker than a hair. are found in more irregular positions in the same slab. They inhabit lakes, pools, running streams, and stagANALYSIS OF THE POTATO.---PHILLIPS.
nant ditches, and are found attached to stones, wood, One hundred parts contain
or other larger plants. They form organised food for Water, 75-700 Silica,
(003 Starch, 15-880 Alumina,
animals, and in their decayed state, for larger plants
0101 Sugar, .666 Lime,
0-088 Their simple cellular structure and mode of propagaPotateine, 1.780 Magnesia,
gation are also most instructive to the physiological Gum,
1.260 Sulphuric acid Albumen, 2.100 Chlorine,
botanist. The work bears the spirit of true science and Ligneous fibre, 1.370
the love of science. We shall return to it afterwards. Potash, 1.010
100090 The sound potato has an acid reaction, the diseased an
Foreign works on same subject, “ Vaucher Histoire alkaline. It is supposed that this alkali is ammonia, pro
des Conferves d’Eau Douce;" “ Annales de Science duced from the decomposition of the albumen. Professor Naturelle;" “ Hugo Mohl in Linnæa," &c. Liebig discovered casein in considerable quantity in the potato this season in place of albumen. From the great
A Gallery of Literary Portraits. By GEORGE GilfillAX. tendency of this substance to pass into decomposition, he
Edinburgh. 1845. endeavours to account for the unusual decay of the tuber. The potateine of Phillips consists of colouring matter, and As no man, according to the ancient adage, should be an essential oil which gives the peculiar flavour to the farinaceous matter of the potato.
styled happy till his death,—so no man should be dissected till after that event. There has always appear
ed to us something cruel in sticking a pin or a pen Proceedings of societies.
through any human being, and then holding him up to Royal Society of Edinburgh - Monday, 15th December.
the gaze of the public writhing upon a piece of paper. A paper was read by Professor Forbes on the topography
It may do all very well with the public, who know noand geology of the Cuchullin Hills, island of Skye, and on thing about the victims; but what strange emotions it the traces of ancient glaciers there indicated.
raises in the breasts of the wives, daughters, sons, and The Professor recognized very striking remains of gla- familiar acquaintances of such, when, sitting down to cier action on the lower ranges of rocks forming these breakfast, they see poor papa impaled and wriggling on hills. At the head of Loch Scavig, these strix and grootings run in a south direction. On the west side of a long
the pasteboard. What aggravates the thing is, that in ridge which bounds the border of this loch, they run
most of these cases, it is only a vision of the man, or a west in the valleys; on the north side they run north. lle
sort of spectral illusion formed upon abstract principles also found, in various localities, oblong dome-shaped hil- --or more commonly, a man of seeming flesh and blood, locks, similar to the noches montonnées of the Alps, but only made up of shreds and patches of the same smoothed and striated on every side except on that to- man's ideas gleaned from his works. He who knows wards the lower part of the valleys. He also found erra
an eminent man best, is the least inclined thus to show tic blocks of several tons weight resting on the tops of hillocks.
him up or eviscerate him. We, by no means, however, Dr Traill also read a notice regarding the recent erup
mean to accuse the author of this amusing volume of tion of Mount Hecla, and the shower of volcanic dust undue cruelty. Mr Gilfillan is a humane and generwhich fell in Orkney and Shetland Islands. The distance ous-hearted man, as well as an acute observer ; a which the dust must have travelled is 700 miles. It con- forcible writer, though over-fond of ambitious style, sists of a fine impalpable powder.
and one who has studied books and men ton—who Royal Scottish Society of Arts.-At the Meeting seems to have read and relished modern literature, of the Society 8th December, 1. A notice of a Patent and who has a kindly and kindred feeling for genItalian Cement, by Mrs Marshall, was read, and its merits ius. The “ Gallery” includes some five-and-twenty of referred to consideration of a Committee. 2. Account of experiments on electro-culture, by Professor A. Fyfe. In
the most eminent authors of the day, and the bulk of this paper the result of trials on the application of elec
the sketches, eschewing generally, though not always, tricity to vegetation, as recommended by Dr Foster, were
mere personal gossip, consists chiefly of critiques on detailed, and Dr Fyfe concluded that no beneflt whatever the literary and oratorical talents of the respective indiwas observed to follow the application of electricity to viduals. In this lies the forte of the author. His erigrowing plants, either by the mode recommended by Dr ticism is smart, discriminating, not over-deep or always Foster, or by galvanic electricity; at the same time he profound, but never dull or prosing. A little more pracwas far from asserting that electricity might not be found beneficial. 3. Notice of a new Tablet for representing
tice will subdue and polish a style, which, as we have music, by Mr J. Gall, jun. 4. Description of model of
said, savours of the ambition we have referred to. The Screw Bridge, by Mr J. Stevens, Edinburgh. 5. Speci- extracts to be afterwards given will afford a sample of mens of Sculpture in soft slate, by A. Munro.
Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. By Thomas
Gleanings. Carlyle. 2 vols. — Two thick volumes of original docu.
WORDSWORTH. ments, carefully edited, and containing much interesting
Wordsworth's mission has been a lofty one, and loftily matter, to which we shall afterwards refer. It is under
fulfilled.--to raise the mean, to dignify the obscure, to restood a Life of Cromwell, by the editor, is to follow. veal that natural nobility which lurks under the russet
gown and the clouted shoe; to extract poetry from the Outlines of Astronomy, illustrative of the Perforated cottage, and from the turf-fire upon its hearth, and from Planisphere. By J. Mollison.-A little work calculated the solitary shieling, and from the mountain tarn, and to impart a complete practical view of Astronomy, the from the grey ancestral stone at the door of the deserted Planisphere serving all the purposes of a celestial globe,
mansion, and from the lichens of the rock, and from the
furze of the melancholy moor. It is to “hang a weight and with the advantage of being portable and cheap. An
of interest”-of brooding, and passionate, and poetical excellent Christmas present for youth.
feeling, upon the hardest, the remotest, and the simplest Tales of an Old Bachelor. By Thomas Aird.—The col.
objects of nature—it is to unite gorgeousness of imagina
tion with prosaic literality of fact—it is to interweave lected prose sketches of a mind deeply imbued with the
the deductions of a subtle philosophy with the “ short and feelings and fancy of the poet.
simple annals of the poor.” And how to the waste and
meaningless parts of creation has he, above all men, given Report of Proceedings and Correspondence of the Free a voice, an intelligence, and a beauty! The sweet and Church relative to Refusal of Sites.-A subject not exactly solitary laugh of a joyous female, echoing among the hills, within our province, except in so far as it comes within is to his ear more delightful than the music of many for
ests. the great general principle, “Do to others as you would
A wooden bowl is dipt into the well, and comes out be done by," and which is clearly violated in this corre
heavy, not merely with water, but with the weight of his
thoughts. A spade striking into the spring ground moves spondence.
in the might of his spirit. A village drum, touched by the strong finger of his genius, produces a voice which is poe
try. The tattered cloak of a poor girl is an Elijah’s man. The Fine Arts.
tle to him. A thorn on the summit of a hill, " known to
every star and every wind that blows,” bending and whisReading the Bible in the Crypt of Old St Paul's. Painted pering over a maniac, becomes a banner-staff to his imagi. by GEORGE Harvey, R.S.A.
nation. A silent tarn collects yithin and around it the This is one of the happiest efforts of this eminent art
sad or terrible histories of a sea'; and a fern stalk floating ist. The subject is well chosen -of general, as well as
on its surface has the interest of a forest of masts. A leech of national interest-admirably suited to the present
gatherer is surrounded with the sublimity of “cloud,
gorse, and whirlwind, on the gorgeous moor.” A ram tone of the public mind, and with a unity of action, stooping to see his "wreathed horns superb," in a lake which is at a glance perceived and understood by the among the mountains, is to his sight as sublime as were spectator. In 1537 Henry VIII. first permitted a an angel glancing at his features in the sea of glass which translation of the Bible in the vernacular tongue to be
is mingled with fire. A fish leaps up in one of his tarns like circulated among, and read to, the people in public.
an immortal thing. If he skates, it is " across the image One “ John Porter" is here represented reading aloud
of a star.” Icicles to him are things of imagination. A
snowball is a Mont Blanc; a little cottage girl a Venus de from this wonderful, and, in that age, almost unknown Medicis, and more; a water-mill, turned by a heart-broken volume, to eager groups, assembled in the crypt of Old child, a very Niagara of wo; the poor beetle that we tread St Paul's Cathedral. T'here is much art in the concep- upon is " a mailed angel on a battle day;" and a day-dream tion and grouping of the three or four principal figures,
among the hills, of more importance than the dates and as well as in the subordinate groups. The picture is
epochs of an empire. Wordsworth's pen is not a fork of 60 contrived, as to represent the two prevailing opinions
the lightning-it is a stubble stalk from the harvest field.
His language has not the swell of the thunder, nor the of the age. On the right, are groups of the old school, dash of the cataract-it is the echo of the “shut of eve,”and of the old religion,--scowling priests, and squalid,
" When sleep sits drowsy on the labourer's eye." ignorant people; on the left, the eager listening, for the most part youthful and deeply affected converts of the
His versification has not the “sweet and glorious redun
dancy” of Spenser, nor the lofty rhythm of Milton, nor the new. At the first glance, one is apt to think that suffi
uncertain melody of Shakspere, nor the rich swelling spicient interest has not been given to the reader, John ritual note of Shelley, nor the wild, airy, and fitful music Porter. He appears an earnest, but an ordinary-looking of Coleridge, nor the pointed strength of Byron-it is a man; yet the object of the artist evidently seems to be, music sweet and simple as the running brook, yet profound to make the large venerable Bible, chained to the pillar, in its simplicity as the unsearchable ocean. His purpose the prominent object in the picture, and the effects of
is to extract what is new, beautiful, and sublime, from his its heart-searching contents on the hearers, the main
own heart, reflecting its feelings upon the simplest objects action of the scene.
of nature, and the most primary emotions of the human In this we think he has shown a
soul. And here lies the lock of his strength. It is comprofound and philosophical artistic skill. It is difficult paratively easy for any gifted spirit to gather off the poe. to throw effective expression into the countenance of an try creaming upon lofty subjects—to extract the imaginaorator. This is seen even in Raphael's cartoon of Paul tion which such topics as heaven, hell, dream-land, fairypreaching at Athens, and in Wilkie's Knox at St An
land, Grecian or Swiss scenery, almost involve in their drews.
very sounds; but to educe interest out of the every-day The execution of this painting is free, bold, deep-toned,
incidents of simple life—to make every mood of one's
mind a poem--to find an epic in a nest, and a tragedy in and, on the whole, very effective. It has been in the
a tattered cloak--thus to hang a pearl in every cowslip's hands of the engraver for the last four years, and this is ear”--to find “sermons in stones," and poetry in every its first exhibition in public. It has been, we believe, thing-to have thoughts too deep for tears” blown into purchased by a gentleman in Liverpool for one thousand the soul by the wayside flower,- this is one of the rarest guineas. The engraving, by Graves, promises to do
and most enviable of powers. And hence Wordsworth's every justice to the original.
song is not a complicated harmony, but a “quiet tune,"
his instrument not a lyre, but a rustic reed-his poetic Burns' Edinburgh Statue.- Mr George Thomson, potation not Hippocrene, but simple water from the the correspondent of Burns, lately proposed to the Edin- stream-his demon no Alecto or Tisiphone, but a stingburgh Town Council, that the statue of the poet should be armed insect of the air-his emblem on earth not the removed from his monument at the Calton, and placed in gaudy tulip nor the luscious rose, but the bean-flower, the College Library. We are not insensible to the com- with its modest, yet arrowy odour--his emblem in the sky pliment implied in placing the statue of an uneducated ge- not the glaring sun, nor the gay star of morning, nor the nius in the hall of a learned university ; but, as the library “sun of the sleepless melancholy star," nor the “star of is not a place of popular resort, except so far as students Jove, so beautiful and large”-it is the mild and lonely are concerned, we think the Royal Institution would an- moon shining down through groves of yew upon pastoral swer the purpose infinitely better.
graves.-Gilfillan's Literary Portraits.
THE LIFE OF THE EARTH.--Mark our planet's power of locomotion in its diurnal movement, and in its annual course, the dignity of its march, the fidelity with which it keeps its appointments, and the even tenor of its way as it wheels its ethereal round. Behold the variety of its dress, the verdant drapery of spring, the flowery robe of summer, the russet mantle of autumn, and the eider of its snowy coverlet. See the flash of its eye jy roras, and fire-columns in the volcanic flar in the lightning's-blaze. Hear its gentle voice in the murmurs of its granite rocks, the tinkling of its driven sand, the murmurs of its waters, or its louder strain in the roar of its foaming breakers, and the awful diapason of its subterrineous thunderListen to its breathing in the gaseous elements, which exhale from its pores, or in the suffocating vapours which rush from its burning lungs. Nor is this earth life but a name to please the imagination and scare the judgment. The globe, which it animates, has a real dynamical existence, instinct with vital power, sustainved from perennial resources, and wielding inexhaustible energies. No created arm is needed to repair its me. chanism, no human skill to direct its operations. The mighty steam power, which works the wonders of our age, is but man's tool, useless unless he guides it, dead unJess he feeds it. But the locomotive giant, which carries us on its shoulders, is framed by an abler artist, and poised by a mightier arm. It affords to man's mortal being a pilgrim home-at first a cradle, at last a grave. It is the nursery, too, of his race, the gymnasium for the development of his intellectual powers, the elysium of his enjoyments. But while thus the self-supplied store house for his physical wants, it is tributory also to his spiritual necessities. It is the grand penitentiary of the moral world, in which are bred the spirits, and secreted the hearts of its inmates; and, according to the efficacy of its discipline, it may prove either the gloomy prison car which conducts to judgment, or the trinmphal chariot which transports to victory.- N. British Review.
News of the waterk. LONDON LITERARY GOSSIP.-(From our Private Correspondent).---Mr Dickens' new work, “ The Cricket on the Hearth," was subscribed a few days ago to the trade. The number taken by the booksellers was about 15,000. The last Christmas work by the same author reached a sale in two or three months of nearly 20,000 copies.
Mr Dickens, it is generally known, is to have the management of the literary department of the forthcoming daily paper. Many persons suppose that he is to be the general editor. This is not the fact. Over the political department of the journal he is not to have any control. Several writers of the highest rank in the literary world, are, if reports may be credited, engaged as contributors of lead. ing articles to the Daily News. Among them, the names of Mr Macaulay and Mr Charles Buller are confidently mentioned.
The new journal is to be conducted on a scale of splendid liberality. The reporters are to receive seven guineas per week; and eight or nine out of fourteen or fifteen engaged, are already in the weekly receipt of their salary, al. though the paper will not make its appearance for four or five weeks to come. The capital of the paper is said to be £180,000.
The publishing business has been remarkably dull for the last few months. Scarcely any new book is selling. Three-volume works of fiction fall still-born from the press. Even those written by popular authors do not, in many instances, reach a sale of 200 copies.
Periodical literature is in an equally depressed state. The circulation of the most popular and most talented of our magazines is falling at an astounding rate. One * Monthly," price half-a-crown, which, three short years ago, could boast of a circulation of nearly 5000 copies, has now only a sale of about 1200 copies.
Two or three new periodicals start with the new year. Neither of them can boast of any popular contributors, but even if they did, there would not be the slightest chance for them. It is clear, that the day of monthly periodical literature of the high-priced class is over,-never, in all probability, to return.
Of “ Panch's Almanac,” which appeared last week, upwards of 100,000 copies were sold in ten days. For the advertisements which appeared in the number, the charge was at the astounding rate of forty-five guineas per page. The money received for advertisements in that number of Punch, could not have been less than £500.
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY. - The number of students attending the University this session is greater, by one hundred and seven, than that of last year. The increase has chiefly been in the junior literary classes. There is a slight decrease in the medical students. The numbers at present matriculated, stand thus :
Literary, Law, Medicine, Divinity,
316 50 to 60 making a total of about 1132.
PROFESSORSHIP OF BOTANY.Some time ago, the Town Council of Edinburgh, as patrons of the Chair of Botany in the University, elected Dr Balfour to the Professorship, vacant by the death of Dr Graham. After considerable delay, the Crown, who has the nomination of the curatorship of the Botanic Gardens, appointed Dr Balfour Regius Professor of Botany. Does this merely supplement or infringe upon the rights of the Town-Council? Once get a finger into the pie, and every body knows what will follow, On the previous vacancy of this professorship, the Crown, without consulting the Town-Council, elected their keeper of the gardens. They have now an unchallenged precedent for electing a professor also.
TRIGONOMETRICAL SURVEY OF SCOTLAND.---A party of the engineers employed in this survey, have pitched their temporary abode on the very summit of Arthur's Seat. Their small domicile, exposed to all the blasts of heaven, looks, at a distance, somewhat like one of the erected ears of the lion couchant, which fancy has associated with the figure of this picturesque hill.
THE DAILY NEWS.-Amid the throes and heavings of the great political world, a champion is about to enter the lists as an opponent to the Times. This is a bold step, considering that the Times is the greatest giant of his peers, -in fact, one of the wonders of the age, and mightier far than the famed Colossus of Rhodes; for he stands with one leg on the old and one on the new world, and his arms are spread over every kingdom and dynasty of the earth. Full of years, of unbounded wealth, and with that power which accumulated talent gives, he is sufficient to crunch the bones of railways, railway-schemers, and of governments too. Yet the railway king, it is said, bucks his rival, and Dickens, with the whole armoury of Punch, goes forth to the battle. Between the two rivalries, some of our best reporters and litterateurs have been summoned to London, the largesse being liberal.
CAUTION TO PUBLISHERS OF PERIODICALS.--Sheriff Clerk's Office, Auchtermuchty, November 14.-In causa, Henry Paterson, stationer, Auchtermuchty, v. the Rev. Thomas Martin, Strathmiglo. The account was for the value of the Penny Cyclopædia from July 1841 to December 1843, amounting to £2, 5s. T'he Sheriff-substitute assoil. zied the defender, the publishers having pledged them. selves, in the preface to vol. i., to complete the work in twenty yols, whereas it extended to twenty-seven vole. The Sheriff held, that the publishers were bound to com. plete the work, and that subscribers and purchasers were not bound to pay for more than twenty vols, in terms of the publisher's pledge.--Newspaper.
[If any work deserve forbearance, as to the defining of limits, it is a Cyclopedia ; and we fully believe that the projectors of the Penny Cyclopædia exerted themselves to the utmost to keep within the prescribed bounds, and probably, rather than have the work incomplete, they may have intentionally exceeded their prospectus, trusting that the generosity of their subscribers would regard the error as one leaning to virtue's side. It had been well, however, that they had taken the precaution to use the lawyer phrase of so many volumes, “or thereby," and so have forestalled litigation.--ED. T.]
NEW PLANET.-A new planet is said to have been dis. covered by a German astronomer, in the constellation Taurus, near the bright star Aldebaran. May this not be a new birth from the “ Fire Mist” of the Vestiges' school!
D'AUBIGNE's New VOLUME.--D'Aubigne spoke to me with the kindest openness and freedom of his History of the Reformation, especially the part he was then engaged upon, the length of time before he should be able to issue another volume, and the impossibility of pleasing the opposing parties in his account of the Reformation in England. He told me that he was quite beset with the multitude of letters, which were sent to him, urging him to set this, and that, and the other points in such and such a light ... It is not difficult to see on which side the sympathies of the author belong; but the tenor of the history thus far assures us that it will still be strict. ly impartial and faithful.-Cheever's Wanderings.
Tae human mind assumes various phases accord- Perhaps some sage adviser, " terribly arched and ing to the condition in which it is placed, and the aquiline his nose," may whisper to us to let the world various external circumstances by which it is in- midits follies alone,--and if one's sole aim ought fluenced. In a rude and semi-barbarous state, we
toru :'ease the world, to soothe and flatter inhave it swayed by ideas of witchcraft and demon- stead of tö counsel, which is always an unwelcome ology, exciting gloomy and cruel, and all manner thing, even when the counsel is adopted,—the old of wayward propensities; or in its lighter fancies, gentleman, our adviser, may be right,,but on filled with aerial legends of fairies, and genii, and lighting our Torch, this soothing system did not mermaids, peopling every mountain, and grove, and enter into our consideration; on the contrary, one sea cave, with their equivocal inhabitants. All cherished aim was to endeavour, in some degree, then is fancy and wild imagination, unchecked or to do our duty,—to adopt an unflinching and undisciplined by a knowledge of facts or of sober straight-forward course, even at the risk of all reasoning. A little learning and a little refinement subordinate considerations. succeed, and then we have astrology,—a reading
We have said that certain external conditions of men's destinies in the stars,-a belief in the have a considerable influence in modifying human sway of the celestial luminaries over the creatures thought; yet it will be found that the mind, espeof the earth,—the baneful influence of the comet cially as regards its aberrations, preserves a wondertrailing its tail across the heavens—those lonely ful degree of sameness under very different circumand mysterious wanderers of the universe, now stances, and thus we may perceive not so much blazing for a few months and then disappearing
contrasts as near resemblances in the follies of refor ages; the awe inspired by the lurid meteor mote and recent times. Everybody laughs at the dashing across the sky, or the dancing northern
absurd miracle-workings of the dark ages,-the lights, presageful of wars and fierce combats. curing diseases by the touch of old bones and relics Then too, are the times of alchemy and of the of saints,—the influence of charms, and amulets, occult sciences,—the labours of philosophers to
and so forth; yet these can be matched by the transmute one metal into another,-the golden
metallic tractors of the last century, and the redreams of the experimenter in his laboratory, toil
vived mesmerism of the present. We laugh at the ing to produce the elixir of life, the grand pana- gullibility of former times,—the divining rod, palcea for old age, the spiritual drops of resuscitation. mistry, and the arts of the spae-wife, but will And these were the dreams and aberrations, not of
any but the present age believe that hundreds of the vulgar only, but of even strong and vigorous men and women, of good education and rank in minds which had not yet an opportunity to emerge life, have night after night attended séances, where from the enveloping mists of false and uncertain
bakers' and tailors' wives, in fits of assumed inspirknowledge by which they were surrounded.
ation, have astonished their dupes by pretending to When we proceed still farther, and come to a read with their fingers and toes, and tell the minstage of high and general refinement, one would utest arrangements of rooms and houses that they be apt to think that such mental aberrations would never saw, or of which they never were within disappear. When knowledge of all kinds flows hundreds of miles. Will any age but the present through the land in full stream, it might be sup
believe that impudent and lying abigails were posed that all vagaries of thought would be swept eagerly listened to and repeatedly questioned about away, and that common sense, at least, if not high mysteries of thought, even beyond the ken of their intellect, would have the universal ascendant. Yet
otherwise acute and talented interrogators? Will this result has by no means followed. On the it be believed, that learned philosophers gravely contrary, the present age is evidently more fertile
sat and countenanced the most impudent imposiin delusions than any of the preceding. Perhaps tions of itinerant quacks, with their sleeping singthey are not of so gross or so palpable a nature as ing girls and their phreno-mesmeric shoe-blacks, some of those we have enumerated as prevailing that newspaper editors puffed and blew, and books in darker eras, but though more subtle and some- innumerable lauded the new discoveries to the times more refined, they are not the less errors and skies? Alas! for poor human nature; it is ever the delusions. It would almost appear, indeed, that same,-ever ready to grasp at novelties and to the more civilized a society becomes, the more apt
swallow gilded delusions, without ever pausing to are visionary notions to spring up and flourish, look of what they are composed ! just as we find hysteries and nervous vapours to Nobody now-a-days would tolerate the old quack prevail among fine ladies, while their robust maids doctor, who in many cases, however, was an amusare exempt from any thing of the kind.
ing, clever, and self-avowed rogue. His harangues A few of the prevailing “ follies of the age,” we from his elevated stage, his pills and potions for curpropose to glance at, reserving to future opportuni-ing all diseases,-his bold assurance, and his biting ties, more minute and searching investigations. satire, would now be scouted by every peasant as THE TORCH, NO. II.
JAN. 10, 1846.