Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

gods, and appeals to the oracles, failed, and were at last relinquished. One thing is very remarkable,— that the year of the pestilence was unusually free from all other diseases; but if any one was labouring under sickness before, it generally ended in this disease. The first symptoms were violent heat in the head, redness and inflammation of the eyes. The throat and tongue became bloody, and the breath foul and noisome, with sneezing and hoarseness, and a heavy cough settling on the chest. Then it attacked the stomach, and utterly disordered it; and painful bilious vomitings succeeded. Hiccup, with convulsion, and a strong spasmodic affection of the nerves, followed, and continued in some cases for a considerable time.

The body was not outwardly to the touch very hot, but was flushed and livid—covered with Dimples and blotches. But there was so much internal heat, that it made the sufferers unable to endure any clothing. They were glad to expose themselves to cold airand cold bathing; and their thirst was unquenchable. Restlessness and want of sleep continually harassed them —yet they did not fall away; but the body appeared for a time to maintain its strength, till in seven or nine days they were overcome by the internal inflammation. Or, if they got over this stage of the disease, it then seized their bowels, and by ulcerations and violent looseness exhausted them, and so carried them off. The disease appeared to begin with the head, and to descend gradually to the lower parts of the body—and the last struggle was in the extremities. Some of those, who did survive, were so altered in mind, that they did not know their relations, nor even appeared to retain a sense of their own identity. Thucydides also mentions that the mode of treatment, which seemed to suit one patient, was utterly destructive to others; and strength or weakness of former constitution, formed no judgment as to the probability of getting over the disease. The historian also notices the dreadful lowness of spirits which the disease produces, and its ill effects. Those, that withdrew from society, died themselves, desolate and deserted; and those of more generous principles, who neglected their own safety in attendance on their friends, fell a still more frequent sacrifice. Under the violence of the calamity, men also lost all recollection of the difference between things sacred and profane. The temples were filled with corpses, and the rites of decent burial disregarded. The dreadful state to which the Athenians were reduced seemed to break down all sense of right and wrong. They were led by observing the indiscriminate sufferings of the good and the bad, to abandon themselves to their licentious and unbridled passions; for, in addition to the disregard which their duties seemed to manifest to the good, they did not fear that they should live to be brought for their actions before any human tribunal,—and thus they thought only of immediate gratification.

The whole forms a dreadful picture of the desperate depravity to which men maybe reduced, when suffering under a calamity that frees them from all human restraint, while at the same time they are not under the influence of religious principles. It cannot, indeed, be denied, that fearful excesses have been committed in places visited by pestilence, even where a better faith has been established. Yet, on those occasions, the gloom of the picture has been relieved by some of the finest instances of Christian charity and self-devotion, that history can produce. We may, perhaps, have an opportunity in a future article of recording some of these deeds of heroic benevolence.

Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since fiction can only please by its resemblance to it.—Shaftesbu Rv.

JEREMY TAYLORS NIGHTLY PRAYER

For himself and his friends, was for God's merciful deliverance and preservation

"From the violence and rule of passion, from a servile will, and a commanding lust; from pride and vanity; from false opinion and ignorant confidence;

"From improvidence and prodigality; from envy and the spirit of slander; from sensuality; from presumption and from despair;

"From a state of temptation and hardened spirit; from delaying of repentance and persevering in sin; from unthankfulness and irreligion, and from seducing others;

"From all infatuation of soul, folly and madness; from wilfulness, self-love, and vain ambition; from a vicious life and an unprovided death."

THE BILLS OF MORTALITY. Having observed in the Saturday Magazine an enquiry into the origin and nature of the Registers of Mortality, I conclude that any further information on the origin of a practice so exceedingly valuable and necessary, will not be without its use, nor wholly devoid of interest, to the majority of your readers.

The establishment of Bills of Mortality in Great Britain, owes its origin to the frequent and alarming devastations caused by the plague, and to the serious loss of life which attended its appearance in this country. However great the cause for this alarm might really have been, it is well known, that the horror of taking so disgusting a disease, the awful rapidity of the approach of death after receiving the infection, and the great doubt and shade which was thrown around all its transactions, especially with regard to the real state of the patients, and to the actual number of sufferers by the disorder, conspired to increase the alarm to a frightful extent, and to raise and multiply unfounded and injudicious reports as to its fatality. To prevent the constant recurrence of these annoyances, the government devised the establishment of such weekly bills of the deaths in the metropolis, or in the cities, towns, and boroughs, in which a tendency to this awful disease was apprehended, as would enable the inhabitants to judge of the real progress made by the calamity, and of the actual grounds which they had for apprehension of danger or for fear.

This was, it is believed, and is currently reported by most historians to be the primary cause, of the establishment of bills of mortality in this kingdom. These weekly bills so became swoln into yearly, and from the period of this their first and early origin, they have been continued, and are now the greatest and most valuable sources to which the statistician can apply for information of the important points, of the increase and decrease of the population, either in the kingdom at large, in peculiar cities, or in provincial towns; of the waste of human life at its different stages, and of the comparative degrees of salubrity and sickliness in the different towns and parishes of Great Britain.

The first period at which we find the government issuing orders for keeping Parish Registers, is in the year 1538, in the reign of our eighth Henry, about the time when Thomas Cromwell was appointed the king's vicegerent for ecclesiastical jurisdiction. In this capacity, Cromwell issued several injunctions to the clergy, one of which ordains that "every officiating minister shall, for every church, keep a book wherein he shall register every marriage, christening, and burial." This injunction then goes on to direct the time and manner in which such entries shall be made omission in which, is made, by the same law, penal. Sundry proclamations and orders were subsequently issued in order to enforce the proper degree of attention to be paid to this injunction, but from the fewness of registers which now stand on record as having been compiled at this period, little can be said in favour either of the strictness with which the laws themselves were enforced, or of the regularity and closeness of the attention which was paid by the authorities to this injunction. Indeed, so gross was the neglect of the parish officers in observing this law, and so small was the advantage derived from its formation, that Elizabeth, in order to put a stop to such shameful oversights, and to prevent the recurrence of so great and crying an evil, was obliged to render imperative a law, which forbad any other substance than parchment being used in the preservation of the Parish Registers: this order was the more necessary, as the principal ground upon which the negligence of the culpable officers was over-looked, was that the registers being formerly kept on loose and detached sheets of paper, were not only mislaid and lost, but also decayed and destroyed by age, damp, and perhaps by means less fair than these. This injunction being supposed more formal, was more readily and even better obeyed than the former ones, indeed few of the few ancient registers which are now extant, date their commencement before this queen's reign.

However well this last order might have been obeyed in-fcomparison to the preceding ones, still, to use a trite and somewhat vulgar expression—"bad is the best"—for very few records are now standing to prove that much attention was even then bestowed on these truly-interesting and valuable documents. That registers of some kind of the number of yearly births, marriages, and deaths, were kept, we have, however, undoubted and incontestible proof still; although of the gross number of deaths which occurred in the metropolis of London, we possess a pretty accurate account; yet until a much later period no important step was taken to distinguish, in this account, anything more than the sex of the deceased, and the disease of which they died.

It was not, I believe, until as far down as the year 1728, that we have the slightest mention or the remotest allusion made to the ages of those, whose yearly burials we find accurately noted. In the beginning of that year, however, the Bills returned the numbers dying between the ages of three and five, five and ten, ten and twenty, &C. &c. This method of keeping the Bills being a great and striking improvement on the old plan, and being continued for the space of ten years, afforded means, although but scanty, for ascertaining the waste of human life in its different stages. This task appears to have been undertaken by Mr. George Smart, a city accountant, who soon after produced a table of the probabilities of human life in London from these materials. Little is known concerning this table, as belonging t6 Mr. Smart; it may however be recognised, when I mention that it is the same table as that commonly called Simpson's Table of the Probabilities of Life in London.

The London Bills of Mortality are founded upon the reports of sworn searchers, whose duty it is to view every corpse after death, and to deliver their reports to the parish clerks. These persons are compelled, under pain of a heavy penalty, to keep a regular account of all the burials which take place in the districts to which they belong; and, once in each year, a regular account is made up which forms the basis of the Bills of Mortality, and from this future ages seek the means of regulating the probabilities of human life, and of calculating and forming rules to solve all

questions in which life and death are the principal objects of consideration.

The Bills of Mortality in many parts of the kingdom of Great Britain are exceedingly defective, from several remote causes; principally, however, from the peculiarities attending the different religious sects, which form no inconsiderable proportion of the population of the three kingdoms. Many dissenters, the Jews, the Roman Catholics, and others, have each different places and modes for the burial of their dead—these, therefore, can form no portion of the annual accounts published by the parish clerks. Some few persons, from choice or convenience, burv their dead without the burial rites.

Children, too, who die before the rites of baptism have been performed, are denied those of burial, and, in all probability, are not registered in many of the Bills. These must form a very important division in the total number of deaths during the year; for in Dr. Price's Northampton Table, out of 11,650 children born, during the first year of their lives 3000 died. Now, out of these, a vast number were, no doubt, unbaptized; for in many families, where the children appear to be robust and healthy, the parents prefer deferring the baptismal ceremony until they are about a twelvemonth old. Joined to this, negligence may be supposed to cause many omissions; but even putting this by no means improbable and unimportant supposition aside, the number of persons going abroad, killed upon foreign service, dying at sea, and by a thousand other casualties, must make a considerable difference in the correctness of these registers. All these various and co-operating causes being put together and considered, we may safely pronounce that there is as yet no register of mortality in which strict dependence can be placed, or which can justly represent the chances of life amongst mankind at large. P.H.

A SUNDAY HYMN, By George Wither, 1588.

Great Lotd of time! great King of Heav'n,
Since weekly thou renew'st my days,
To thee shall daily thanks be giv'n,
And weekly sacrifice of praise.
This day the light, Time's eldest born,
Her glorious beams did first display,
And then the evening and the morn
Did first obtain the name of Day.
Discretion grant me, so to know
What Sabbath-rites Thou dost require,
And grace, my duty so to do,
That I may keep thy law entire.

THE SLEEPER.

My master travelled far away,

And left me much to do; Alas! I trifled all the day,

Although my days were few.
Wand'ring and playing like a child.

And moved by every wind,
The fleeting moments I beguiled,

Forgetting that I sinned.
I went to sleep, like all the rest,

Whilst Time seemed still and dumb,
But soon he struck upon my breast,

And cried " Thy Master's come '." 'Twas grass cut down by sudden mower,

Or tree by lightning's stroke :— "Oh! time, time, time, is this the hour?"

And, trembling, I awoke. M.

To think well is the way to act rightly.—Paley.

These are the signs of a wise man: to reprove nobody, to praise nobody, to blame nobody; nor ever to speak of himself as an uncommon man.—Epictetus.

[merged small][graphic]

Craigmtllar Cistle.

arm of the sea called the Firth of Forth. The front of the building is towards the north: over one of the doors is carved a press and a cask, in allusion, it is believed, to the name of Preston. It was surrounded by a thick rampart, thirty feet high, with parapets and turrets, of which a considerable part remains. There is an inner court of considerable extent; and there is also a very large outer court; on the west side of which there was erected a presbyterian meeting-house, in consequence of the indulgence granted to that persuasion by James VII of Scotland.

The period when this castle was built is not ascertained; which probably arises from the records, and other papers of a public nature, respecting Scotland, being lost in their conveyance by sea from London to Edinburgh; when, after having been carried away by Cromwell, they were ordered to be restored by Charles II; but the rampart, as appears by the inscription upon the gate, was built in 1427.

This castle was for some time the residence of James V, when he left Edinburgh on account of the plague. It was taken, and part of it demolished, by the English, in 1543, when Henry VIII invaded Scotland, in order to compel the young Queen of Scots to marry his son prince Edward.

Mary Queen of Scots resided for some time in this castle, after her return from France, in 1561. Her French servants took up their abode in a neighbouring village, which is yet known by the name of Little France; and a room in the castle is still called Queen Mary's Drawing Room.

The castle and surrounding estate belonged, so far back as the year 1374, to the family of Preston. They now belong to the descendants of Sir Thomas Gilmour, the great Scottish lawyer, who acquired the property about the time of the Revolution.

Almost all useful discoveries have been made, not by flic brilliancy of genius, but by the diligent direction of the mind to one object. In all "trades, in all professions, success can be expected only from undivided attention

Lace Made By Caterpillars.—A most extraordinary species of manufacture has been contrived by an officer of engineers residing at Munich. It consists of lace and veils, with open patterns in them, made entirely by caterpillars. The following is the mode of proceeding adopted. Having made a paste of the leaves of the plant on which the species of caterpillar he employs feeds, he spreads it thinly over a stone, or other Hat substance, of the required size. He then, with a camel-hair pencil dipped in olive-oil, draws the pattern he wishes the insects to l|ave open. This stone is then placed in an inclined position, and a considerable number of the caterpillars are placed at the bottom. A peculiar species is chosen, which spins a strong web; and the animals commence at the bottom, eating and spinning their way up to the top, carefully avoiding every part touched by the oil, but devouring every other part of the paste. The extreme lightness of these veils, combined with some strength, is truly surprising. One of them, measuring 2&1 by 17 inches, weighed only agrainandahalf, a degree of lightness which will appear more strongly by contrast with other fabrics. One square yard of the substance of which these veils are made, weighs 41 grains, whilst one square yard of silk gauze weighs 137 grains, and one souareyard of the finest net weighs 262J grains.

GRATITUDE AND INGRATITUDE

Gratitude is a virtue disposing the mind to an inward sense and an outward acknowledgment of a benefit received, together with a readiness to return the same, or the like, as occasions of the doer of it shall require, and the abilities of the receiver extend to. Ingratitudf. is an insensibility of kindness received, without any endeavour either to acknowledge or repay them. Ingratitude sits on its throne with Pride at its right hand, and Cruelty at its left,—worthy supporters of such a state. You may rest upon this as an unfailing truthThat there neither is, nor ever was, any person remarkably ungrateful, who was not also insufferably proud; nor any one proud, who was not equally uugrateful.

Ingratitude overlooks all kindnesses; and this is because pride makes it cany its head so high. Ingratitude is too base to return a kindness, and too proud to regard it; much like the tops of mountains, barren indeed, but yet lofty; they produce nothing, they feed nobody, they clothe nobody, yet are high and stalely, and look down upon all the world about them. It was ingratitude which put the poniard into Brutus's hand, but it was want of compassion which thrust it into Cssar's heart.

Friendship consists properly in mutual offices, and a generous strife in alternate acts of kindness. But he who does a kindness to an ungrateful person, sets his seal to a Hint, and sows his seed upon the sand:—upon the former he makes no impression, and from the latter he finds no produc tion.—Dr. South.

THE SATURDAY MAGAZINE, No. XVI,

BEIXG THE

SUPPLEMENT FOR SEPTEMBER,

Is ready for delivery with the present Number, Pbick Onb Pbnnv.
And on the 29th Instant will he published

The MONTHLY PART for SEPTEMBER, Price 6d

Including the Supplement.

LONDON:

JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, 445, (WEST) STRAND.

Sold hy all Booksellers and Newsvcnders in the Kingdom.

Hawkers and Dealers in Periodical Publications supplied on wholesale terras by

W.S. ORR, Paternoster-Row; G. BERGEH, Holywell-st; A. DOUGLAS,

37, Portman-st. Portiuan-sq. London,

And by the Publisher's Agents in the following places-:—

A berdeen Brown and Co.

Bath George.

Birmingham Langbridge.

Bristol - Wcstlcy and Co.

Cambridge Stevenson

Carlisle Thurnam.

Ihelmsford Guy

Cheltenham \ Lovesy.

Chester Seacorae.

Chichester Glover.

Colchester Swinborne & Co.

Derby Wilkins and Son.

Devonport Byers.

Dublin Curry Jun. Sc Co.

Dundee Shaw.

Durham Andrews.

Edinburgh Oliver and Boyd.

/•>, ttr Penny and Co.

Glasgow Griffin and Co.

Worcester Deighton

Glouetster Jew.

Hereford Child.

Hull Wil5un

Lancashire and I Baneks and Co.

Cheshire J Manchester.

Lane End Watts.

Leeds Robinson.

Leicester Combe.

Liverpool Hughes.

Macclesfield Swinnertnn.

Neneastle-on- Tgnc, Fiulay *c Chax . ton; Knipson

Nottingham Wright

Oxford Slatter.

Sheffield Ridge.

Salisbury Broriie Ac Co.

Shrewsbury Eddowes.

Sunderland Marwood.

Whitby Rodgers.

C. Richards, Printer, 100, St. Martin's Lane, Charing Crosa

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

AN ACCOUNT OF THE PRINCIPAL MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD.

Those majestic elevations which are found upon the surface of the earth in almost every part of the world are termed Mountains; and the inequalities of lesser height are distinguished by the name of Hills. When several mountains occur together, covering a plain, they are called Groups, and a series several miles in length is termed a Chain, or Ridge, of Mountains. Mountain Groups are generally highest in the middle. Each group constitutes a connected whole, both in regard to its base and it* acclivity; but it is not an entire mass, being intersected in many places, though never quite down to its foot or base. Mountainous Land, is composed of single mountains collected into chains, but which, not being joined together by a central or high mountain chain, do not form : groups. Hilly Land consists of rounded and undulated elevations; it is much lower than mountain land, and by means of the plains, which sometimes constitute a part of high land, forms a transition into low land.

The form of mountains is generally conical, that is, gradually tapering from the base upwards, and usually terminating in a more or less pointed peak. Some of the countries covered with high mountains present, in the summer, different climates at different elevations, within a very narrow compass. We may ascend gradually from flourishing and delightful rallies, decorated with corn, fruit trees and vines, to pastures covered with odoriferous alpine plants, and, near the declivities, with evergreens, and perceive the vegetation diminishing and dwindling as we advance, till, at last, all organic life ceases, and the cold prevents all further progress. ,

The first view of such amazing heights, (some of which are not less than five miles above the level of the sea, others four miles, and many two and three miles) leads to a belief that they must greatly detract from the regularity of the earth's spherical form: but on comparing them with the bulk of the earth, they sink into insignificancy, bearing in reality no greater proportion to it than a grain of sand would bear to an artificial globe of twelve inches diameter, or than the little risings on the rind of an orange bear to its fruit.

Mountains are supposed by naturalists to have different origins, and to date their commencements from various periods. I. Those which form a chain, and are covered with snow, are accounted primitive, or antediluvian, that is, to have existed before the Flood. They greatly exceed all other mountains in height; in general, their elevation is very sudden, and their ascent steep and difficult. Their shape is mostly pyramidal; they are crowned with sharp prominent rocks, from which the soil has been washed away by rain, presenting an awful and horrible aspect. Their sides are less steep, and they abound in thundering cascades, frightful precipices, and deep chasms or valleys. The depressions and excavations correspond with the quantity of water, the motion of which is quickened in its fall, and sometimes produces a sinking or inclination of the mountain. The wrecks to be found at the foot of most peaks, shew how much they have suffered from the hand of time. There the eye meets with enormous rocks, heaped upon each other in an almost inconceivable state of disorder and decay. On the summit of these mountains, which are only a series of peaks, frequently detached, the prominent rocks are covered with perpetual snow and ice, and surrounded by floating clouds, which are dispersed into dew. These primitive mountains are composed of vast masses of quartz, destitute of shells, and of all organized marine matter i

and appear to descend almost perpendicularly into the body of the earth. In their interior there are natural caverns, abounding in crystallizations of great beauty, and various minerals; but no calcareous spar, except in the fissures or rents, which have some extent and an evident direction. Of this kind are the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennines, the Tyrolese and Carpathian mountains, with some others in Europe j the Riphaean Mountains, Caucasus, Taurus, Libanus, and the Himmaleh range, in Asia; Atlas, in Africa j and the Apalachian mountains, and the Andes or Cordilleras, in America.

II. Another class of mountains are of volcanic origin. These are either detached or surrounded with groups of lower hills, the soil of which is heaped up in disorder, and consists of gravel and other loose substances. Many of these mountains are truncated, or have a funnel-shaped opening towards their summits, which are composed of, and surrounded by, heaps of lava and half vitrified bodies, making their gradual increase by strata raised up and discharged into the air, upon occasions of the eruption of subterraneous fire. Such, among many others, are Mounts ./Etna and Vesuvius, in Sicily and Naples; Adam's Peak, in the island of Ceylon; the Peak of Tcneriffe, in the Canary Isles, &c. When very high mountains of thie kind are covered with marine shells, their summits are supposed to have once constituted part of ths bottom of the ocean. These mountains are usually more easy of access than those of the first class, and have fewer springs.

III. A third rank of mountains, whether isolated or disposed in a group, are such as are composed of stratified earth or stone, consisting of different substances, of various colours. These are produced by the slow deposits of water, or by soil gained in the time of great floods. Mountains of this kind are always of small elevation compared with those of the first order, and are round at the top, or covered with soil, frequently forming a pretty flat and extensive surface; on which are found sand and heaps of round pebbles, similar to those which have been exposed to the waves on the sea beach.

The interior of these mountains consists of numerous strata, almost horizontally disposed, containing shells, marine productions, and fish bones, in great quantities. These fossils are intermixed and confounded with heaps of^organized bodies of another species," presenting a picture of surprising disorder, and affording indications that some extraordinary and violent inundation, such as the general Deluge, has accumulated in the greatest confusion and precipitation, foreign substances of very opposite qualities. Mountains of this class may be considered as composed of the wrecks of once organized bodies. In these mountains we likewise find wood, prints of plants, strata of clay, marl, and chalk j different beds of stone, succeeding each other, as slate, marble, (often full of sea shells,) plaster stone; and ochre, bitumen, mineral, salt and alum.

IV. The strata of mountains, which are lower and of more recent date, or formed by recent accidents, sometimes appear to rest upon, or to take their rise from the sides of primitive mountains, which they surround, and of which they form the first steps in the ascent; and they end by being insensibly lost in the plains. The strata of recent mountains are not always similar as to number and thickness; Some are only a quarter of an inch thick, others more than ten feet. In some places, thirty or forty beds sue

« AnteriorContinuar »