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NOTICE OF THE ARAUCARIA IMBRICATA, or Chili pine.
i mine (Nat. Fam. Coniferæ. Diecia monadelphia.) By Willian Raud, Lecturer on Natural History.
This is one of the noblest of the pine tribe, and per. haps one of the most magnificent trees in the world. It is a native of the Cordilleras, in Chili, where it forms extensive forests. The limit of its range extends from 36° of north latitude, to 46° of south, thus embracing a considerable portion of the great mountain-range of the Andes. It fixes its roots among the bold rocky slopes of the mountains and in the moist boggy valleys, forming dense forests of towering trees. So completely do these huge monarchs of the mountain take possession of the soil, that few other plants or trees can rear their heads within their dominions. According to Pavon, the fe. male tree attains a height of 150 feet, while the male only rises to 40 or 50 feet. The trunk grows straight, and without knots, and is covered with two barks, which, in old trees, are from five to six inches thick, and of a corky nature, from both of which a resin flows. In young trees, the trunk is studded with leaves, which continue to be renewed for twelve to fifteen years, when they disappear. The branches proceed from the trunk at intervals, in whorls of from six to eight. They are largest near the ground, and at the top terminate in a pyramidal head. The leaves are ovolanceolate, sessile, verticillate, and in whorls of seven to eight; they remain attached to the tree for several years. The male and female catkins are produced on separate trees. The cones, which grow from the end of the boughs, are from three to four inches in diameter. The seeds, of which there are two under each scale, are wedgeshaped, and about an inch in length. The Indians eat these seeds, and distil a liquor from them. The wood is of a white colour, hard, and solid. The araucaria was first introduced into Britain in the year 1796. A plant was raised in the hot-house at Kew, and afterwards planted out in the open air, where it is found to stand the winter with the aid of matting in the severe weather. In 1836, according to Mr Loudon, its height, after 40 years, was 12 feet. But Mr M.Nab informs me that
this tree was stunted in its growth by too long confinement in the green house. Plants may be raised either 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 coun. try, 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 district, and under such circumstances as leave no doubt but that in a for. mer era such trees flourished in their full perfection in this district. I shall take an opportunity, in a future number, to describe some of the other species of the araucaria, and also point out the resemblance of their internal structure to that of the fossil trees of Craigleith and Granton quarries.
THE IDENTITY OF LIGHT AND ELECTRICITY.-The idea has long existed, that heat, light, electricity, and magnetism, are but modifications of one great power prevailing in nature. About sixty years ago, Dr Hutton expounded his views on this subject to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and arrived at this belief from a priori reasoning. Mr Faraday has come to a similar conclusion by the test of experiment, and, at a late meeting of the Royal Society of London, has demonstrated, that a ray of light may be electrified and magnetized, and that lines of magnetic force may be rendered luminous. His principal experiment was as follows: A ray of light issuing from an Argand lamp is first polarized in the horizontal plane by reflection froin a glass mirror, and then made to pass for a certain space through glass composed of silicated borate of lead, on its emergence from which it is viewed through a Nichol's eyepiece capable of revolving on a horizontal axis, so as to in. terrupt the ray, or allow it to be transmitted alternately in the different phases of its revolution. The glass is then placed between the two poles of a powerful electro-magnet arranged in such a position, as that the line of magnetic force resulting from this combined action shall coincide with, or differ but little from, the course of the ray in its passage through the glass. It was then found, that if the eye-piece had been so turned as to render the ray invisible to the observer looking through the eye-piece before tho electric current had been established, it becomes visible whenever, by the completion of the current, the magnetic force is in operation, but instantly becomes again invisiblo on the cessation of that force by the interruption of the circuit. Further investigation showed that the magnetic action caused the polarized ray to rotate, for the ray was again rendered visible by turning the eye-piece to a certain extent. The direction of rotation was to the right, on application of the south pole, and the reverse on applica
tion of the other, and its rotatory action was directly in proportion to the intensity of the magnetic force.
GEOLOGY. - Impressions in Mill-stone Grit.—There has lately been discovered in a quarry in Nottingham. shire, belonging to Mr Rhodes of Twintwistle, some remarkable impressions as of the footsteps of some animal. The quarry is composed of sandstone or mill-stone grit, lying below the coal measures, with a dip to S.S.W. On one portion, five distinct impressions are perceptible in a line; each of these are from 10 to 12 inches in length, by 41 inches in breadth. They are irregularly oval, with a depression in the middle, and narrow towards one of the ends. They extend over the slab in nearly a linear series to the distance of 11 feet. The three uppermost of the series of impressions are the most perfect. They are si. milar to each other, except that the straighter side of the one is placed alternately with that of the other. One end of each is depressed in the bed obliquely downward for about four inches, while the other end is scarcely sunk be. low the level surface. At this end, several waved or ruf. fled folds appear in the rock, as if they had been made by the body pushing the soft sandy mass before it. The incumbent beds of sandstone contain casts of these hollow impressions. Various other impressions, of similar form, are found in more irregular positions in the same slab, ANALYSIS OF THE POTATO.-PHILLIPS.
One hundred parts contain Water, ... , 75 700 Silica, .... 0003 Starch, .... 15.880 Alumina, ... 0101 Sugar, .... •666 Lime, ....0-088 Potateine,.... 1780 Magnesia, . . 1
Ja traco. Gum, . . . . 1•260 Sulphuric acid at Albumen, ... 2:100 Chlorine,..0062 Ligneous fibre, . . 1.370 Potash, ..... 1.010
100090 The sound potato has an acid reaction, the diseased an alkaline. It is supposed that this alkali is ammonia, produced from the decomposition of the albumen, Professor Liebig discovered casein in considerable quantity in the potato this season in place of albumen. From the great tendency of this substance to pass into decomposition, he endeavours to account for the unusual decay of the tuber. The potateine of Phillips consists of colouring matter, and an essential oil which gives the peculiar flavour to the farinaceous matter of the potato.
Literature. A History of the British Freshwater Alge. By ARTHUR
Hill Hassal, F.L.S., 2 Vols. 8vo. 1845. The first volume contains an introductory account of the structure of the Algæ and Confervæ-the reproductive organs consisting of cytoblasts, spores, and zoospores, with a description of the genera and species. The genera amount to nearly one hundred. The second volume contains one hundred plates, illustrative of the microscopic structure, and the characters of the various families and species. This is the only work of the kind devoted to British Freshwater Algæ-an interesting department of botany hitherto little pursued in this country, and contains many new genera not noticed previously. These families constitute the minutest and simplest forms of vegetable life, many species being barely visible in water, or not thicker than a hair. They inhabit lakes, pools, running streams, and stagnant ditches, and are found attached to stones, wood, or other larger plants. They form organised food for animals, and in their decayed state, for larger plants Their simple cellular structure and mode of propagagation are also most instructive to the physiological botanist. The work bears the spirit of true science and the love of science. We shall return to it afterwards,
Foreign works on same subject, “ Vaucher Histoire des Conferves d'Eau Douce;" “ Annales de Science Naturelle;"! “ Hugo Mohl in Linnæa,” &c. A Gallery of Literary Portraits. By GEORGE GilfillAX.
Edinburgh. 1845. As no man, according to the ancient adage, should be styled happy till his death,-so no man should be dissected till after that event. There has always appeared to us something cruel in sticking a pin or a pen through any human being, and then holding him up to the gaze of the public writhing upon a piece of paper. It may do all very well with the public, who know nothing about the victims; but what strange emotions it raises in the breasts of the wives, daughters, sons, and familiar acquaintances of such, when, sitting down to breakfast, they see poor papa impaled and wriggling on the pasteboard. What aggravates the thing is, that in most of these cases, it is only a vision of the man, or a sort of spectral illusion formed upon abstract principles --or more commonly, a man of seeming flesh and blood, but only made up of shreds and patches of the same man's ideas gleaned from his works. He who knows an eminent man best, is the least inclined thus to show him up or eviscerate him. We, by no means, however, mean to accuse the author of this amusing volume of undue cruelty. Mr Gilfillan is a humane and generous-hearted man, as well as an acute observer; a forcible writer, though over-fond of ambitious style, and one who has studied books and men ton—who seems to have read and relished modern literature, and who has a kindly and kindred feeling for genius. The “ Gallery” includes some five-and-twenty of the most eminent authors of the day, and the bulk of the sketches, eschewing generally, though not always, mere personal gossip, consists chiefly of critiques on the literary and oratorical taleuts of the respective individuals. In this lies the forte of the author. His eriticism is smart, discriminating, not over-deep or always profound, but never dull or prosing. A little more practice will subdue and polish a style, which, as we have said, savours of the ambition we have referred to. The extracts to be afterwards given will afford a sample of the whole.
Proceedings of Societies. Royal Society of Edinburgh --Monday, 15th December. A paper was read by Professor Forbes on the topography and geology of the Cuchullin Hills, island of Skye, and on the traces of ancient glaciers there indicated.
The Professor recognized very striking remains of glacier action on the lower ranges of rocks forming these hills. At the head of Loch Scavig, these strive and grootings run in a south direction. On the west side of a long ridge which bounds the border of this loch, they run west in the valleys; on the north side they run north. lle also found, in various localities, oblong dome-shaped hillocks, similar to the noches montonnées of the Alps, smoothed and striated on every side except on that towards the lower part of the valleys. He also found erri. tic blocks of several tons weight resting on the tops of hillocks.
Dr Traill also read a notice regarding the recent eruption of Mount Hecla, and the shower of volcanic dust which fell in Orkney and Shetland Islands. The distance which the dust must have travelled is 700 miles. It consists of a fine impalpable powder.
Royal Scottish Society of Arts. At the Meeting of the Society 8th December, 1. A notice of a Patent Italian Cement, by Mrs Marshall, was read, and its merits referred to consideration of a Committee. 2. Account of experiments on electro-culture, by Professor A. Fyfe. In this paper the result of trials on the application of electricity to vegetation, as recommended by Dr Foster, were detailed, and Dr Fyfe concluded that no benefit whatever was observed to follow the application of electricity to growing plants, either by the mode recommended by Dr Foster, or by galvanic electricity; at the same time he was far from asserting that electricity might not be found beneficial. 3. Notice of a new Tablet for representing music, by Mr J. Gall, jun. 4. Description of model of Screw Bridge, by Mr J. Stevens, Edinburgh. 5. Specimens 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 Outlines of Astronomy, illustrative of the Perforated
gown and the clouted shoe; to extract poetry from the
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 forthe great general principle, “Do to others as you would
ests. A wooden bowl is dipt into the well, and comes ont 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 manThe Fine Arts.
tle to him. A thorn on the summit of a hill, “ known to
every star and every wind that blows," bending and whise Reading the Bible in the Crypt of Old St Paul's. Painted
pering over a maniac, becomes a banner-staff to his imagiby GEORGE HARVEY, R.S.A.
nation. A silent tarn collects within 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 leer
gatherer is surrounded with the sublimity of “C of national interest-admirably suited to the present
gorse, and whirlwind, on the gorgeous moor.” A tone of the public mind, and with a unity of action, stooping to see his "wreathed horns superb" in s which is at a glance perceived and understood by the among the mountains, is to his sight as sublime a spectator. In 1537 Henry VIII. first permitted a | an angel glancing at his features in the sea of glass translation of the Bible in the vernacular tongue to be
is mingled with fire. A fish leaps up in one of Es circulated among, and read to, the people in public.
an immortal thing. If he skates, it is across 3
of a star." Icicles to him are things of imac One“ John Porter" is here represented reading aloud snowball is a Mont Blanc: a little cottage from this wonderful, and, in that age, almost unknown
Medicis, and more; a water-mill, turned ." volume, to eager groups, assembled in the crypt of Old child, a very Niagara of wo; the poor beroni St Paul's Cathedral. There is much art in the concep upon is "a mailed angel on a battle day. tion and grouping of the three or four principal figures, among the hills, of more importance is"". as well as in the subordinate groups. The picture is epochs of an empire. Wordsworth's ME so contrived, as to represent the two prevailing opinions
the lightning—it is a stubble stall a of the age. On the right, are groups of the old school,
His language has not the swell
dash of the cataract-it is the ache 3 and of the old religion,-scowling priests, and squalid,
"When sleep sits drous S ignorant people; on the left, the eager listening, for the most part youthful and deeply affected converts of the
His versification has not the new. At the first glance, one is apt to think that suffi
dancy" of Spenser, nor the latt. cient interest has not been given to the reader, John
uncertain melody of Shakşen
ritual note of Sheller, set Porter. He appears an earnest, but an ordinary-looking
of Coleridge, nor the painteman; yet the object of the artist evidently seems to be, music sweet and simples to make the large venerable Bible, chained to the pillar, in its simplicity as the the prominent object in the picture, and the effects of
is to extract what is s its heart-searching contents on the hearers, the main
own heart, reflectings aetion of the scene. In this we think he has shown a
of nature, and the Os profound and philosophical artistic skill. It is difficult
soul. And here lies
paratively easy fies to throw effective expression into the countenance of an
try creaming Oneorator. This is seen even in Raphael's cartoon of Paul tion which are preaching at Athens, and in Wilkie's Knox at St An land, Grecisa drews.
very sounds: The execution of this painting is free, bold, deep-toned,
ooks and, on the whole, very effective.
mind a poes
the hands of the engraver for the last four years, and this is
ver the its first exhibition in public. It has been, we believe,
thingpurchased by a gentleman in Liverpool for one thousand
the guineas. The engraving, by Graves, promises to do
sing to every justice to the original.
Burns' Edinburgh Statue. - Mr George Thomson, the correspondent of Burns, lately proposed to the Edin. burgh Town-Council, that the statue of the poet should be removed from his monument at the Calton, and placed in the College Library. We are not insensible to the cos pliment implied in placing the statue of an uneducated s nius in the hall of a learned university ; but, as the life is not a place of popular resort, except so far as stades are concerned, we think the Royal Institution wolle swer the purpose infinitely better.
The LIFE OF THE EARTH.--Mark our planet's power EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY. - The number of students of locomotion in its diurnal movement, and in its annual attending the University this session is greater, by one course, the dignity of its march, the fidelity with which hundred and seven, than that of last year. The increase has it keeps its appointments, and the even tenor of its way chiefly been in the junior literary classes. There is a slight as it wheels its ethereal round. Behold the variety of its 1 decrease in the medical students. The numbers at present dress, the verdant drapery of spring, the flowery robe of matriculated, stand thus : summer, the russet mantle of autumn, and the eider
Literary, Law, Medicine, Divinity, of its snowy coverlet. See the flash of its eye ji
316 5 0 to 60 roras, and fire-columns in the volcanic flar in the making a total of about 1132. lightning's blaze. Hear its gentle voice in the murmurs PROFESSORSHIP OF BOTANY-Some time ago, the Town of its granite rocks, the tinkling of its driven sand, the Council of Edinburgh, as patrons of the Chair of Botany murmurs of its waters, or its louder strain in the roar of | in the University, elected Dr Balfour to the Professorship, its foaming breakers, and the awful diapason of its subter
vacant by the death of Dr Graham. After considerable raneous thunder. Listen to its breathing in the gaseous delay, the Crown, who has the nomination of the curatorelements, which exhale from its pores, or in the suffocating ship of the Botanic Gardens, appointed Dr Balfour Regius vapours which rush from its burning lungs. Nor is this Professor of Botany. Does this merely supplement or inearth life but a name to please the imagination and scare fringe upon the rights of the Town-Council? Once get a the judgment. The globe, which it animates, has a real
finger into the pie, and every body knows what will follow. dynamical existence, instinct with vital power, sustain On the previous vacancy of this professorship, the Crown, ed from perennial resources, and wielding inexhaustible without consulting the Town Council, elected their keeper energies. No created arm is needed to repair its me of the gardens. They have now an unchallenged precedent chanism, no human skill to direct its operations. The
for electing a professor also. mighty steam power, which works the wonders of our age, is but man's tool, useless unless he puides it. dead an
TRIGONOMETRICAL SURVEY OF SCOTLAND.-A party of Jess he feeds it. But the locomotive giant, which car
the engineers employed in this survey, have pitched their ries us on its shoulders, is framed by an abler artist, and
| temporary abode on the very summit of Arthur's Seat. poised by a mightier arm. It affords to man's mortal
Their small domicile, exposed to all the blasts of heaven, being a pilgrim home at first a cradle, at last a grave.
loohs, at a distance, somewhat like one of the erected ears It is the nursery, too, of his race, the gymnasium for the
of the lion couchant, which fancy has associated with the development of his intellectual powers, the elvsium of his figure of this picturesque hill, enjoyments. But while thus the self-supplied store house THE DAILY NEWS.- Amid the throes and heavings of for his physical wants, it is tributory also to his spiritual the great political world, a champion is about to enter the necessities. It is the grand penitentiary of the moral lists as an opponent to the Times. This is a bold step, world, in which are bred the spirits, and secreted the considering that the Times is the greatest giant of his peers, hearts of its inmates; and, according to the efficacy of its --in fact, one of the wonders of the age, and mightier far discipli
ipline, it may prove either the gloomy prison car than the famed Colossus of Rhodes; for he stands with one which conducts to judgment, or the triumphal chariot leg on the old and one on the new world, and his arms are which transports to victory.-N. British Review.
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 News of the waterk.
bones of railways, railway-schemers, and of governments LONDON LITERARY Gossip - (From our Private Corres
too. Yet the railway king, it is said, bucks his rival,
and Dickens, with the whole armoury of Punch, goes forth pondent).--Mr Dickens' new work, " The Cricket on the Hearth," was subscribed a few days ago to the trade. The
to the battle. Between the two rivalries, some of our best number taken by the booksellers was about 15,000. The
reporters and litterateurs have been summoned to London, last Christmas work by the same author reached a sale
the largesse being liberal. in two or three months of nearly 20.000 copies.
CAUTION TO PUBLISHERS OF PERIODICALS.-Sheriff Mr Dickens, it is generally known, is to have the ma
Clerk's Office, Auchtermuchty, November 14.-In causa, nagement of the literary department of the forthcoming
Henry Paterson, stationer, Auchtermuchty, v. the Rev, daily paper. Many persons suppose that he is to be the
Thomas Martin, Strathmiglo. The account was for the general editor. This is not the fact. Over the political de.
value of the Penny Cyclopedia, from July 1841 to December partment of the journal he is not to have any control. Se
1843, amounting to £2, 5s. T'he Sheriff-substitute assoil. veral writers of the highest rank in the literary world, are.
zied the defender, the publishers having pledged themif reports may be credited, engaged as contributors of lead.
selves, in the preface to vol. i., to complete the work in ing articles to the Daily News. Among them, the names
twenty vols, whereas it extended to twenty-seven rols. of Mr Macaulay and Mr Charles Buller are confidently
The Sheriff held, that the publishers were bound to commentioned,
plete the work, and that subscribers and purchasers were The new journal is to be conducted on a scale of splen
not bound to pay for more than twenty vols, in terms of did liberality. The reporters are to receive seven guineas
the publisher's pledge.- Newspaper. per week; and eight or nine out of fourteen or fifteen en
[If any work deserve forbearance, as to the defining of gaged, are already in the weekly receipt of their salary, al.
limits, it is a Cyclopædia ; and we fully believe that the though the paper will not make its appearance for four or
projectors of the Penny Cyclopædia exerted themselves to five weeks to come. The capital of the paper is said to be
the utmost to keep within the prescribed bounds, and pro£180,000.
bably, rather than have the work incomplete, they may The publishing business has been remarkably dull for
have intentionally exceeded their prospectus, trusting that the last few months. Scarcely any new book is selling.
the generosity of their subscribers would regard the error Three-yolume works of fiction fall still-born from the
as one leaning to virtue's side. It had been well, however, press. Even those written by popular authors do not, in
that they had taken the precaution to use the lawyer phrase many instances, reach a sale of 200 copies.
of so many volumes, " or thereby," and so have forestalled Periodical literature is in an equally depressed state.
litigation.--ED. T.] The circulation of the most popular and most talented of
NEW PLANET.-- A new planet is said to have been disour magazines is falling at an astounding rate. One
covered by a German astronomer, in the constellation * Monthly," price half-a-crown, which, three short years
Taurus, near the bright star Aldebaran. May this not be a ago, could boast of a circulation of nearly 5000 copies, has
new birth from the * Fire Mist” of the Vestiges' school ? now only a sale of about 1200 copies.
D'AUBIGNE'S NEW VOLUME,-D'Aubigne spoke to me Two or three new periodicals start with the new year. with the kindest openness and freedom of his History of Neither of them can boast of any popular contributors, but the Reformation, especially the part he was then eneven if they did, there would not be the slightest chance gaged upon, the length of time before he should be for them. It is clear, that the day of monthly periodical able to issue another volume, and the impossibility of literature of the high-priced class is over,-never, in all pleasing the opposing parties in his account of the Refor. probability, to return.
mation in England. He told me that he was quite beset Of “ Punch's Almanac," which appeared last week, up with the multitude of letters, which were sent to him, wards of 100,000 copies were sold in ten days. For the ad urging him to set this, and that, and the other points in vertisements which appeared in the number, the charge such and such a light... It is not difficult to see on which was at the astounding rate of forty-five guineas per page. side the sympathies of the author belong; but the tenor The money received for advertisements in that number of of the history thus far assures us that it will still be strict. Punch, could not have been less than £500.
ly impartial and faithful.-Cheever's Wanderings.
Tae human mind assumes various phases accord- Perhaps some sage adviser, “terribly arched and ang 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- | mobits follies alone,--and if one's sole aim ought fluenced. In a rude and semi-barbarous state, we to rease the world, to soothe and flatter inhave it swayed by ideas of witchcraft and demon stead of to 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 faney and wild imagination, unchecked or te 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,