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The only mines of rock-salt in England are those near Northwich in Chester, discovered about a mile from the town, in the year 1670. The beds of salt in these mines are found from 80 to 140 feet below the surface of the earth. They vary in thickness, and lie in a waved direction. The first stratum, or bed, is from fifteen to twenty-one yards in thickness, in appearance resembling brown sugar-candy, perfectly solid, and so hard as to be broken with great difficulty by iron picks and wedges. This part of the business, however, has lately been much accelerated by gunpowder, with which the workmen loosen and remove many tons together. Beneath this stratum is a bed of hard-stone, consisting of large veins of flag, intermingled with some rock-salt, the whole from twenty-five to thirty-five yards in thickness. Under this bed is a second stratum, or mine, of salt, from five to six yards thick, many parts of it perfectly white, and clear as crystal; others brown; but all less impure than the upper stratum. The whole mass of salt is covered by a bed of whitish clay, used in the manufacture of Liverpool ware.
Rock-salt pits are sunk at a great expense, and are very uncertain in their duration; being frequently destroyed by the brine springs bursting into them, and dissolving the pillars that support the roof; through which the whole work falls in, leaving vast chasms in the surface of the earth. In forming a pit, a shaft, or eye, is sunk, similar to that of a coal pit, but more extensive. When the workmen have penetrated to the salt rock, and made a proper cavity, they leave a sufficient substance of .the rock (generally about seven yards in thickness) to form a solid roof; and, as they proceed, they hew pillars out of the rock to sustain the roof, and then employ gunpowder to separate what they intend to raise. This is conveyed to the surface in large craggy lumps, drawn up in capacious baskets. The largest rock-salt pit now worked is in the township of Wilton, near Northwich. This has been excavated in a circular form, 108 yards in diameter; its roof is supported by twenty-five pillars, each three yards wide at the front, four at the back, and its sides extending six yards. Each pillar contains 294 solid yards of rock-salt; and the whole area of the pit, which is fourteen yards hollow, includes 9160 superficial yards, being little less than two acres of land. We may easily conceive that
when this wonderful place is well lighted up, the reflection of the torches from so many brilliant surfaces must have a very surprising effect.
[Abridged from Wood's Zoogrophy.]
THE HAPPY MAN.
By SIR I1ENRY WOOTON, Provost of Eton, who died 1639, aged 7».
How happy is he born or taught.
That serveth not another's will;
And simple truth his highest skill:
Whose soul is still prepared for death;
Of princes' ear, or vulgar breath:
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Nor ruin make oppressors great:
Or vice: who never understood
Nor rules of state, but rules of good ■
More of his grace than gifts to lend;
With a well-chosen book, or friend.
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall;
PUBLUHID IN WlKlI NuUBEBS. PMCI OKI PtKKT, AND IN MONTHLY PARTS, MIICI SlXHHCZ, BT
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The Peak of Derbyshire, in which this stupendous cavern is situated, gives name to a large tract of hilly country in the county of Derby, between the Derwent and the Dove, and is separated from Staffordshire by the last named river. This district is a region of bleak barren heights and long-extended moors, interspersed with deep valleys through which many small streams take their course. The High Peak is peculiarly liable to violent storms, during which the rain descends in torrents, and frequently occasions great damage. The country abounds in mines of lead, iron, coal and antimony.
On the summit of an almost inaccessible rock is seated the little town of Castleton, so called from a very ancient castle, the ruins of which remain. From some of the ornaments still remaining in one of the walls, it is supposed to have been a Norman structure, and is said to have been built by William Peveril, the natural son of William the Conqueror. Its historical interest has been revived by Sir Walter Scott, in his novel of Peveril of the Peak; but it was not, as might be inferred from that work, in the possession of the family of the Peverils, at so late a period as the Restoration. At the base of the huge rock on which stands this curious remnant of antiquity, is the mouth of the celebrated Peak Cavern, commonly called the Devil's Hole.
The entrance is situated in a gloomy recess, between two ranges of perpendicular rocks, having on the left, a rivulet, which issues from the cave, and pursues its foaming course over broken masses of limestone. A vast canopy of rock overhangs the mouth of this stupendous cavity, forming a low arch, ] 20 feet in width and 42 in height, Vol. I.
At the first entrance, the spectator is surprised to find that a number of twine-makers have established their residence and manufactory within this tremendous gulf, and the combination of their rude appearance and machines, with the sublime features of the natural scenery, impresses the mind with an indescribable emotion of awe. After proceeding about ninety feet, the roof becomes lower, and a gentle descent conducts by a detached rock to the inner entrance, where the blaze of the day wholly disappears, and all further researches must be pursued by torch-light.
The passagejiow becomes extremely confined, and the visiter is obliged to proceed about twenty yards in a stooping posture j but on his arrival at a spacious
opening called the Bell House, he is again enabled to stand upright, and proceed without inconvenience to the brink of a piece of water, where a small boat is ready to convey him to the interior of the cavern ; to reach which, he has to pass beneath a massy rock, which stoops to within twenty inches of the water. To perform this uncomfortable part of his journey, he has to extend himself on his back in the boat, with the dripping rock within a few inches of his face.
On landing on the opposite side, he finds himself in the second apartment, a spacious chamber, about 220 feet long, 200 broad, and in some parts 120 feet high; but, from the want of light, neither the roof nor the distant sides of this vast cave can be plainly discerned.
Near the ending of a shallow stream, called the Second Water, is a jutting pile of rocks, called Roger Rain's House, from the circumstance of water continually dripping from the crevices of the roof.— After passing along a narrow passage, with occasionally more spacious openings, he arrives at another large apartment, called the Chancel, where the rocks appear much broken, and the sides are curiously covered with stalactites*. Here the stranger is generally surprised by an invisible concert, which bursts in discordant tones from the upper regions of the chasm; 'yet," says a respectable tourist, " being unexpected, and issuing from a quarter where no object can be seen, in a place where all is still as death, and calculated to impress the imagination with solemn ideas, it can seldom be heard without that mingled emotion of awe and pleasure, astonishment and delight, which is one of the most interesting feelings of the mind." At the conclusion of the strain, the choristers (consisting of eight or ten women and children)-are seen ranged in a hollow of the rock, about fifty feet above the floor, with lighted torches in their hands.
After passing the Cellar, as it is called, and the Halfway House, neither of which is particularly deserving of attention, the visiter proceeds beneath three natural arches to a vast concavity, which, from its resemblance to a bell, is called the Great Tom of Lincoln. From this point, the vault gradually descends, the cavity contracts, and at length leaves no more room than is sufficient for the passage of the stream, which continues to flow through a channel under ground. The entire length of this wonderful cavern is 2250 feet, and its depth from the surface of, the mountain about C20.
A curious effect is produced by the explosion of a small quantity of gunpowder, wedged into the rock in the interior of this cave; for the sound appears to roll along the roof and sides, like a tremendous and continued peal of thunder.
The effect of the light, on returning from these dark recesses, is particularly impressive; and the gradual illumination of the rocks with dim, golden, or rather sulphureous, haze, which becomes brighter as the entrance is approached, is said to exhibit one of the most interesting scenes that ever employed the pencil of an artist, or fixed the admiration of a spectator.
i • The water of many springs contains an acid, called carbonic acid, in sufficient quantity to dissolve a part of the chalk and limestone over which it Mal thus charged, the water, after passing through the pores of the rock, deposited the chalk in many curious forms, like icicles; these are called Halachln. Water of this description possesses a petrifying property, and object steeped in it are said to become petrified, that is, converted into stone; though, in reality, they ore only encrusted with the chalk which the water contains.
THE CRUELTY OF SHOOTING SWALLOWS. When I see boys or grown-up men amusing themselves on a summer's evening with shooting swallows, I am willing to believe that they do not think of the misery which they are causing. To kill a swallow flying may be a very difficult thing; and shooting of
this kind may be thought very good practice: but God Almighty did not make swallows that they might be put to death for amusement or for practice. Some birds do a great deal of harm to our fields and gardens; and to destroy them seems to be a matter of self-defence: but the poor swallow does us no harm at all: there is reason to think that he is sent to do us good. When he is darting through the air, and wheeling round and round so swiftly that the eye can hardly follow him, he is catching flies, which are intended to be his food. Many thousands and millions of flies are destroyed in this way: and if they were all suffered to live, they would in time cover the earth; and we should be as badly off as the Egyptians, when God sent upon them the plague of flies and other insects. We ought to feel much obliged to the swallows for lessening the number of these troublesome guests.
We should also remember, that the swallows come to England to build their nests. They set about this very soon after their arrival; and when their young ones are strong enough to fly, they all leave the country. It is hardly possible, therefore, to kill a swallow, without robbing some little birds of a father or a mother. The female swallow leaves her nest on a summer's evening, and fills her beak with flies.— But she does not catch them only for herself: she has some young children at home, and she is thinking of them all the time that she is gliding through the air after her prey. When she is returning to her nest with her mouth full of food, she is suddenly struck with a shot, and down she drops to the ground, bleeding and dead. Her little ones go without their supper for that night i they pass all the time in a sad and piteous chirping; and their father does not know how to quiet them, when he finds himself in the nest without his partner. After a sleepless night, he sets out to catch some flies; but he does not know how to feed them as their mother did; and before the evening is over, he too is shot dead by some person who is practising the art. of shooting flying. The young ones now begin to suffer seriously from hunger: they open their little beaks, but no mother comes to put any thing into them. They see the old birds go backwards and forwards to another nest which is close by, but their own turn never comes. At night they get very cold. Their mother used to cover them with her wings, and with the soft feathers of her breast; but now they have nothing to warm them. In the morning, two or three of them are dead. The chirping becomes fainter and fainter: no little heads are seen stretching out and asking for food: they shake and quiver against each other at the bottom of the nest; and after a few hours they all die of hunger. E. B.
THE BOOK OF PSALMS. What is there necessary for man to know, which the Psalms are not able to teach? They are, to beginners, an easy and familiar introduction, a mighty augmentation of all virtue and knowledge; in such as are entered before, a strong confirmation to the most perfect amongst others. Heroical magnanimity, exquisite justice, grave moderation, exact wisdom, repentance unfeigned, unwearied patience, the mysteries of God, the sufferings of Christ, the terrors of wrath, the comforts of grace, the works of Providence over this world, and the promised joys of that world which is to come, all good necessarily to be either known, or done, or had,—this one celestial fountain yieldeth. Let there be any grief or disease incident to the soul of man, any wound or sickness named, for which there is not in this treasurehouse a present comfortable remedy at all times ready to be found ?—Hooker. •
It is no small commendation to manage a little well. He is a good waggoner that can turn in it little room. To live well in abundance, is the praise of the estate, not of the person. I will study more how to give a good account of mv little, than how to make it arch bishop Hall.
FUNERAL IN OTAHEITE.
In the Twenty-fifth Volume of the Family Library, the Mutiny of the Bounty, is the following account of a native funeral, in the Island of Otaheite, which was attended by Sir Joseph Banks, then a private gentleman, accompanying the expedition fitted out for the main purpose of observing the transit of Venus over the sun's disc, which happened in the year 1769.
An old woman having died, Mr. Banks, whose pursuit was knowledge of every kind, and who to gain it, made himself one of the people, requested he might attend the ceremony, and witness all the mysteries of the solemnity of depositing the body in the Morai, or burying-place. The request was complied with, but on no other condition than his taking a part in it. This was just what was wished. In the evening, he repaired to the house of mourning, where he was received by the daughter of the deceased and several others, among whom was a boy, about fourteen years old. One of the chiefs of the district was the principal mourner, wearing a fantastical dress.
Mr. Banks was stripped entirely of his European clothes, and a small piece of cloth was tied round his middle. His face and body were then smeared with charcoal and water, as low as the shoulders, till they were as black as those of a Negro: the same operation was performed on the rest, among whom were some women, who were reduced to a state as near nakedness as himself: the boy was blacked all over: after which the procession set forward, the chief mourner having mumbled something like a prayer over the body.
It is the custom of the Indians to fly from these processions with the utmost precipitation. On the present occasion, several large parties of the natives were put to flight, all the houses were deserted, and not an Otaheitan was to be seen. The body being deposited on a stage erected for it, the mourners were dismissed to wash themselves in the river, and to resume their customary dresses, and their usual gaiety.
How striking and interesting a contrast does the account of the interment of the King and Queen of the same Islands afford of the triumphs of Christianity, as given by Captain Byron, in his Voyage to the Sandwich Islands, in 1824. He was appointed to convey their bodies from England, where they had died of the measles, whilst on a visit to his Majesty George IV.
"As soon as the coffins were deposited on the platform, the band accompanied some native singers in a funeral hymn, which the missionaries had written, and taught them to sing to the air of Pleyel's German Hymn. We could not help reflecting on the strange combination of circumstances here before us: every thing native-born and ancient in the Isles was passing away.
"The dead chiefs lay there, hidden in more splendid cerements than their ancestors had ever dreamed of; no bloody sacrifice stained their obsequies, nor was one obscene memorial made to insult the soul as it left its earthly tenement; but instead, therewas hope held out of a resurrection to happiness, and the doctrines admitted that had put an end to such sacrifice for ever, and pronounced the highest blessing on the highest purity! Where the naked savage only had been seen, the decent clothing of a cultivated people had succeeded, and its adoption, though now occasional, promises permanency at no distant period. Mingled with these willing disciples, were the warlike and noble of a land the most remote on the globe, teaching, by their sympathy, the charities that soften, yet dignify human nature. The savage yells of brutal orgies were now silenced; and as the solemn sounds were heard, for the first time uniting the
instruments of Europe and the composition of a learned musician, to the simple voice of the savage, and words not indeed harsh in themselves, framed into verse by the industry and piety of the teachers from a remote nation, came upon the ear, it was impossible not to feel a sensation approaching to awe, at the marvellous and rapid change a few years have produced."
How To Pass Thb Day.—Arise early; serve God de voutly, and the world busily; do thy work wisely; give thine alms secretly; go by thy way sadly [gravely] ; answer the people demurely; go to thy meat appetitely; sit thereat discreetly; of thy tongue be not too liberal; arise therefrom temperately. Go to thy supper soberly, and to thy bed merrily, and sleep surely.—Dame Julia Barnes.
One morning in the month of May
I wandered o'er the hill;
My heart was heavy still.
Can God, I thought, the just, the great,
These meaner creatures bless;
The boon of happiness?
Tell me, ye woods, ye smiling plains,
Ye blissful birds around,
Can peace for man be found?
The birds wide carolled over head;
The breeze around me blow;
No bliss for man she knew.
I asked of Youth," Could Youth supply
." The joys I sought to And?"
Where age stole on behind.
I turned to Love, whose early ray
So goodly bright appears;
His light was dimm'd with tears.
I tum'd to Friendship.—Friendship mourn'd,
And thus his answer gave;—
"Were vanish'd in the grave."
I asked if Vice would Joy bestow •—
Vice boasted loud and well;
The venom'd roses fell.
Could heal the wounded breast?
For others' grief distrest.
I questioned Virtue:—Virtue sigh'd—
No boon could she dispense;
"But humble Penitence I'"
I questioned Death—the grisly shade
Relaxed his brow severe,—
"If Virtue guides thee here!" R. H.
I Envy no quality of the mind, or intellect, in others; not genius, power, wit, or fancy; but if I could choose what would be most delightful, and I believe most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing; for it makes life a discipline of goodness—creates new hopes, when all earthly hopes vanish; and throws over the decay, the destruction of existence, the most gorgeous of all lights; awakens life even in death, and from corruption and decay calls up beauty and divinity: makes an instrument of torture and of shame the ladder of ascent to Paradise; and, far above all combinations of earthly hopes, calls up the most delightful visions of palms and amaranths, the gardens of the blest, the security of everlasting joys, where the sensualist and the sceptic view only gloom, decay, annihilation, and despair 1—Sir Humphry Davy.
Bud, Leaf, and Blossom of the Baobab.
This superb tree is a native of the burning climate of Africa. It is supposed, by the inhabitants of a shore which abounds with gigantic shrubs, to be the largest and most majestic production of the vegetable kingdom; and, from its enormous size and noble appearance, it well merits the title of Monarch of the Forest. Its trunk, which is scarcely ever known to exceed fifteen feet in height, often measures no less than eighty in circumference. The lower branches, which are adorned with tufts of leaves, extend from its sides horizontally, and bending by their great weight towards the earth, form a mass of verdure no less astonishing in size than beautiful in appearance. The circumference of a full-grown tree, measuring the circle which surrounds the branches, is said in some cases to be as much as four hundred and fifty feet; when of this size, its bulk is so enormous that, at a distance, it bears a greater resemblance to an overgrown forest than to a single tree. It is beneath the grateful shade of its spreading boughs that the wearied Negroes lie down, when scorched by the burning sun of their sultry climate; and it is the friendly shelter of its overhanging branches that the benighted traveller seeks, when overtaken or threatened with a storm. The countries of Africa which are particularly favourable to the production of this tree, and in which it chiefly flourishes, are those which lie along the coast and shores of the Niger, as far down as the kingdom of Benin.
The blossoms are as gigantic in proportion as the tree which bears them: they begin usually to appear about the month of July. The fruit ripens towards the latter end of the month of October, or in the early part of November. It differs greatly in its
shape; sometimes it is found of an oblong form, pointed at both ends; at other times, it is said to be perfectly globular; and it often bears a shape in medium between these two. In its size it differs as considerably as in its shape. It is covered with a green rind or shell, which, however, as it dries, becomes of a dark fawn colour, and often assumes a deep brown. It is very prettily marked and ornamented with rays, and is suspended from the tree by a pedicle or stalk, the length of which is nearly two feet. The fruit, when broken, exhibits to the eye a spongy substance of a pale chocolate colour, containing much juice. Its seeds are brown, and in shape resemble a kidney-bean. The bark of the tree is nearly an inch in thickness, of an ash-coloured grey, greasy to the touch, and very smooth; the exterior is adorned with a description of varnish; while the inside is of a brilliant green, beautifully speckled with bright red. The wood itself is white, and very soft and penetrable, and is said to possess many very peculiar virtues, which are held in much esteem by the Negroes.
The age of this tree is not the least extraordinary part of its history. From names and dates which appear to have been carved upon some of them by Europeans, we are led to conclude that they were in existence five or six centuries ago. The leaves, when, the tree is in its earliest infancy, are of an oblong shape, about four or five inches in length, having several veins running from the middle rib of a beautiful and bright green; as the plant advances in growth, and increases in height and size, the shape of the leaves alters, and they become divided into three parts; afterwards, when the tree has attained its complete growth, and become a full-sized and vigorous vegetable, these three divisions increase to five, and the leaf assumes a shape not unlike that of the human hand.
The Negroes of Senegal dry the bark and the leaves in the shade, and then reduce them to a fine powder. This powder, which is of a green colour, they preserve in little linen or cotton bags, and term it lillo. They use it at their meals and in their cookery,—putting a pinch or two into their food, in the same manner as we do pepper and salt, not so much with an idea of giving a relish to the dish, as with a view to preserve their health, to keep up a perpetual and plentiful perspiration, and to temper the too great heat of their blood; purposes which, if we may credit the reports of several Europeans, it is admirably calculated for. There is an epidemic fever, which rages in parts of Africa generally during the months of September and October, w'hen the rains having on a sudden ceased, the sun exhales the water left by them upon the ground, and fills the air with noxious vapours. During this critical season, a light decoction, prepared from the leaves of the Baobab tree, gathered the preceding year and carefully dried in the shade, is reckoned a most serviceable remedy.
Nor is the fruit less valuable than the leaves or bark. The pulp, in which the seeds are enveloped, forms a very grateful, cooling, and slightly acid food, and is often eaten as a treat by the natives: the richer sort amongst them mix sugar with it to correct its acidity. The woody bark of the fruit, and the fruit itself when spoiled, help to supply the Negroes with an excellent soap, which they procure by drawing a ley from its ashes, and by boiling it with rancid palm-oil.
In Abyssinia, the wild bees penetrate the trunks of the Baobab for the sake of lodging their honey within them. This honey is said to possess a very peculiar and delicious fragrance and a very agreeable flavour, on which account it is more esteemed and sought after than any other.