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PRINCIPAL RIVERS OF AFRICA.
The Nile. The Nile, as already stated, has two sources, at a great distance from each other. The first of those is situated nearly in the centre of Abyssinia, and rises in a small spring near the market-place of Sacala. From this fountain issues a rivulet, which flows northward into the Lake of Dembea. From the opposite side of the lake issues a river, supposed to he a continuation of the rivulet, which flows at first in a southerly direction, but afterwards sweeps to the north-west, under the name of Bahr el Azrek, or Blue River, and was supposed by Bruce and others to be the true Nile. On the other hand, at the distance of about seven hundred miles westward of the spring of Sacala, a river, called Bahr el Abiad, or White River, is formed by the confluence of several small streams, descending from the Donga Mountains, and takes a north-easterly course, till it meets the Bahr el Azrek. Their united waters constitute the Nile; and, notwithstanding Mr. Bruce's authority, a preference is now given to the Abiad as the main stream. During its passage through Upper Egypt, the stream is confined between two ranges of mountains, with only a narrow level space on each side ; but, in the lower part of the country, the valley expands into the Delta, and the river divides into several streams before it reaches the sea. The ancients
reckoned seven of these outlets; but the only two of mag nitude remaining, arc those of Rosetta and Damietta.
The Niger. The Nigeria supposed, by Major Laing, to originate near the ninth parallel of north latitude, and about ten degrees of west longitude, in a range of mountains called Lomah; but Mr. Park considers its source to be in a spring near the eleventh parallel of latitude, and fifth degree of longitude. It at first Hows towards the north, then, turning to the north-east, passes through Lake Dibbie, and reachos Tinibuctoo. In this part, it is called by the natives Joliba. From Timbuctoo, under the name of Quorra, it takes a south or south-eastern course, passes Boussa, where Mr. Park, unhappily, lost his life, waters Funda, and, soon afterwards, according to Mr. Lander, divides into numerous streams, forming a Delta, of which the Benin river in the west, and the Rio del Rey in the east, are the boundaries; the main stream issuing into the Gulf of Guinea, near Cape Formosa. The course and termination of this River have long been subjects of speculation : but the recent discoveries of the brothers Lander have thrown much new light on the question, which, it is expected, will be greatly increased by the present expedition.
PRINCIPAL RIVERS OF AMERICA.
In America, we meet with rivers exceeding in length any that are known in the Old World; but they mostly consist of a series of streams, connected in succession with each other, and ultimately finding their way to the sea by one common channel.
The St. Lawrence.
The St. Lawrence is an instance of this kind: it was formerly considered as issuing from Lake Ontario; from which it runs a course of more than 600 miles, and empties itself into the gulf called after itself. Bat it is now usual to take into the account of its length the Lakes Ontario and Erie, with their connecting stream, and the river Miame, which, rising near Fort St. Mar)', in the state of Ohio, runs into the Erie, and is the reputed head of the St. Lawrence. In this sense, the length is increased to upwards of 1180 miles. The volume of water which it pours into the ocean is immense; for it is not less than ninety miles wide at its mouth, and its channel, which is very deep, receives nearly all the rivers that have their sources in the extensive chain of mountains, called the Lands Height, which separates the waters that fall into Hudson's Bay from those that enter the Atlantic. Some geographers consider the lakes Huron, Michigan, and Sui>erior, with their connecting rivers, Detroit and St. Marv-, as a continuation of the St. Lawrence, and thus extend its length to upwards of 2000 miles. The Rio De La Plata.
The Bio de la Plata, estimated by the vast body of water that it pours into the ocean, is one of the largest rivers in the world. It is a continuation of the Paraguay, which has its sources in numerous streams, rising among the Cordilleras of Brazil. Most of these streams are themselves large rivers; and the combined waters are often so swollen by the periodical rains as to spread over the flat country to an extent of full three hundred miles; so that the canoes of the natives are navigated over the tops of the tallest trees. At Corrientes, after a splendid course of foil 1300 miles, the Paraguay is joined by the Parana, a great river, which, rising in Brazil, brings with it the contents of numerous streams which flow into it during a course of 1G00 miles; so that at its junction with the Paraguay it is the larger of the two, and supersedes it as to name. At this point, according to some, both rivers lose their name and, that of Rio de la Plata, or Plate River, is substituted, from the following occurrence: Sebastian Cabot, who first went up this river so far' as the union of the Paraguay and Parana, entered the latter channel, and, routing the natives, took from them a vast booty in gold and silver. Supposing, therefore, that these metals abounded in the neighbourhood, he gave the river its present name, which it retains, although experience has proved that it has no precious metals on its banks; the plate of which Cabot robbed the Indians having been brought from Peru. Notwithstanding this anecdote, most writers continue the name of Parana to its junction with the Uruguay, and do not allow the Plata to commence
till then. The Uruguay is a noble river, and, though not equal to either the Parana or Paraguay for length of course, which is about 1100 miles, surpasses both in the rapid accession of waters it receives, which makes it, near its confluence with the former, fully equal, if not superior, in breadth. From this, and other accumulations, the Plata now forms an cestuary of fresh water, without parallel in the rest of the world for breadth and magnificence. The current flows into the sea in such quantities, and with such force, that its fresh water remains long unmixed with the briny waves of the ocean. At Buenos Ayres, which lies about 200 miles from its mouth, the river is about thirty miles broad; and at its mouth,betweenCnpes St. Anthony and St. Maria, its breadth is not less than 170 miles.
The Amazon, Or Maranon.
The Amazon, or Maranon, was, till lately, esteemed the longest river, not only of America, but of the whole world: recent discoveries, however, have transferred that honour to the Mississippi. It is, nevertheless, a magnificent river, and formed by the united waters of the Ucayale and the Tunguragua, aided by the Apurimac and its confluent streams. The Beni, or Paro, which rises among the mountains surrounding La Paz, in Upper Peru, and consists of the waters collected from various streams descending from the hills, is one of the head waters of tho Ucayale, and the origin of the Maranon. Among other accessories, it receives the waters of the Tunguragua, which issues from a lake in the Cordilleras of Lima, and by accessions from numerous rivers, some of which are of considerable magnitude, becomes a large river, known by the names of Maranon and Orellana. After this it receives the Ucayale, besides other large rivers, which drain a considerable part of South America; so that at its entrance into tho Atlantic it is nearly 180 miles in breadth. The force wfth which this immense body of water is poured into the ocean is manifested by its remaining unmixed with those of the sea, for a space of eighty leagues. Its banks are covered with forests, and its swellings from periodical rains frequently convert the adjacent country into a fresh-water lake, several hundred miles in extent.
The Mississippi is the common channel by which all the rivers that have their rise in the immense valley between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghany chain, arc carried to the ocean; and for the length of its course, added to the quantity of water which it discharges, may be justly ranked among the greatest rivers of the globe. The Mississippi has its source in some lakes, among which the principal are the Red Cedar and Leech Lakes, and, following a very winding channel, which receives continually fresh accessions of water by the junction of numerous large rivers, falls into the Gulf of Mexico, by several outlets. Its length is about 2400 miles; and in this sense it falls considerably short of the Maranon: hence, in geographical works of some years' standing, the latter is spoken of as tho longest river in the world. But since the Missouri, which flows into it, and rivals it in breadth, has been explored, the length of that river and its auxiliaries, the Yellowstone and Bighorn, are taken into the measurement, to the extent of 3700 miles; of which the Mississippi occupies only between 1300 and 1400; that is, from its junction, a little above the town of St. Louis. The sources of the Missouri, the Yellowstone, and the Bighorn, are within a few miles of each other, among the Rocky Mountains; and their united stream receives in its way several rivers, particularly the Platte and the Kansas. After its junction with the latter, the Missouri becomes very broad; and, pursuing its westerly direction, joins the Mississippi, at the distance of 2400 miles from its source. It is subsequently enlarged by the Ohio, and the Rio Roxo, or Red River, both of considerable magnitude. After this, the Mississippi inclines to the south-cast, and, dividing into several branches, makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico; the main stream passing by New Orleans, and entering the Gulf 102 miles below that city. The Mississippi is subject to two rises in the year: one about January, occasioned by periodical rains that fall towards the lower part of its course; and the great flood, in summer, is produced by the melting of the ice in the upper part of the continent, where the Missouri and other tributary springs have their origin.
The Oronoco is distinguished by its very singular and irregular course. It appears to be the outlet to most of the rivers by which the territories of the present Republic of Columbia are watered; the source of many of its waters is in the northern part of the great chain of the Cordilleras, and others arise from the high lands with which the eastern part of that country is covered. It enters the Atlantic by many channels opposite to the island of Trinidad; the most southerly of these is the principal mouth, and full eighteen miles in width; the navigation of all of them is extremely dangerous. The course of the river, when it enters the sea, is so powerful, that it preserves the freshness of its waters for the distance of thirty-six miles from its mouth. The beauty and grandeur of its banks surpass all description. Forests of the most superb verdure are crowded with monkeys, and birds, of the most various and brilliant colours; and sometimes immense plains form an horizon of sixty or ninety miles in extent.
It is subject to an annual inundation, which begins in April, and ends in August, and sometimes extends for 600 miles in length, and from sixty to ninety in width. Its banks are but thinly inhabited, and its streams are much infested by the alligator, which grows there to an immense size.
Termination Of Rivers.
The sea is the general receiver of rivers; but some are intercepted in their course, and form lakes, which frequently discharge their waters on the lowest side, or, in the form of cataracts, into the next valley, through which they continue their course to the ocean, or to some intervening lake. In many cases, the superfluity of water is taken off by evaporation and absorption. When the basin of the lake is of sufficient capacity to allow a quantity of water equal to what it receives to be taken away by absorption, or exhausted by evaporation, it becomes the final receptacle of the rivers which flow into it. Such is the case with the rivers terminating in the Caspian and Aral lakes, or seas. In some of the sandy plains of the torrid zone, the rivers divide off into different branches, which are gradually exhausted by the increased absorption and evaporation caused by the heat of the climate.
Some rivers are much increased by frequent rains or melted snows. In Peru and Chili, are small rivers which flow only during the day, because they are fed by the melting of the snow from the summit of the Andes, which takes place only while the sun shines upon them. In Hindoostan, and on both sides of the extreme parts of Africa, rivers exist, which, though they flow both night and day, are, from the accession of snow-water, much greater by day than in the night. In these places, also, the rivers are nearly dry in the summer, but overflow their banks in the rainy or winter season.
Inundations Of Rivers.
All considerable rivers, and especially such as rise in the tropical climates, have their periodical overflowings, which are, in some cases, to such an extent, that the adjacent country is inundated many miles around. The only
instance of this kind with which the ancients were familiar was that of the Nile; and, being ignorant of the cause, they looked upon it as a prodigy, for which they could not account. Subsequent discoveries have shown that a periodical increase is common to many rivers, and that it is pro duced by the rains and melted snows upon the mountains whence they derive their source. The inundations of the Nile, the most regular, if not the most extensive of any, are caused by the periodical rains, which descend on the mountains in the interior of Africa, where it originates; the rains commence in April ; the river begins to overflow in June; is at its height in September; and returns within its banks in October. The Ganges, the Indus, and the great rivers of Siam, in Asia; the Senegal, in Africa; the Oronoc0» the Maranon, and Paraguay or La Plata, in South America, are all more or less subject to similar inundations; but at different times of the year, according to the promoting cause. Such as are swollen by rains, are usually highest in winter, or immediately after the rainy season; those which derive their increase from snow, which is in some places melted in spring, in others in summer, and in some countries between both those seasons, have their inundations accordingly. The Tigris rises twice in the year: first, and most remarkably, in April, in consequence of the melting of the snows in the mountains of Armenia; secondly in November, through an accession from the periodical rains.
The most remarkable case of the rise and fall of a river in Europe, is that of the Volga, which, in May and June, is filled with water, and overflows its shelves and islands; though, at other times, it is so shallow as scarcely to afford navigation for loaded ships.
Evanescent (or Disappearing) Rivers.
Some rivers suddenly disappear in their course; hiding themselves, as it were, in the earth, either partially or altogether: in the former case, they re-appear at a distance from the point of their immersion, as new rivers; in the latter, they are lost entirely.
The Tigris, about twenty miles from its source, meets with a mountainous ridge at Diglou; and, running under it, flows out on the opposite side: after passing through the lake Erzen, it again disappears, and flows about eighteen miles underground, when it breaks out afresh. In our own country, we have examples of this disappearing and rising again of rivers, in the Mole, in Surrey, and the small rivers Hamps and Manifold, in Derbyshire. The Mole is lost soon after it has passed by Box Hill, and reappears a little before it reaches Leatherhead; the Hamps has an underground passage of seven miles; and the Manifold, a similar course of five miles in extent.
There are also some rivers of Normandy, which alternately lose themselves and re-appear: these are the Rille, the Ithon, the Aure, the Sap-Andre, and the Drome. The first three disappear gradually, and rise to sight again; the Sap-Andre, after being drained of a considerable portion of its water as it flows along, is suddenly lost; but afterwards re-appears: the Drome, also, loses some of its waters in its course, and ends by falling into a cavity, without being known to rise again. The Rille, the Ithon, and the Aure, pass over a porous soil, composed of thick sand, not well compacted, which sinks suddenly down in some places, and forms large holes: and when the water overflows the meadows, it frequently makes numerous cavities in them.
The Drome, after losing some of its water in its passage, vanishes near the pit of Soucy, where it meets with a kind of subterraneous cavity, nearly twenty-five feet wide, and more than fifteen deep, into which it enters, without any perceptible motion, and never appears again.
In the vicinity of Paris, the river Jerre is lost in the same manner as the Rille.
Our limits prevent us from completing this very interesting subject in one paper; we must therefore return to it, in a future Supplement, in which the Cataracts, Waterfalls, &c, to be described, will be illustrated by some beautiful Engravings.
Published In Weekly Numbers, Price One Penny, And In Monthly Pasts. Price Sixpence, By
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND
Sold by all Booksellers awl Newsreaders in the Kingdom.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION. APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
THE GENERAL POST OFFICE.
The terra Post, as applied to the conveyance of letters, is derived from the Latin word positi, placed; the horses which conveyed them having heen placed or posted from distance to distance.
The plan of despatching letters by a regular conveyance, and at stated times, from one part of the country to another, only reached its present stateof perfection so lately as theyear 1784. Letters and packets of importance were in ancient times forwarded by means of men on horseback, or on foot, and this practice still continues in many parts of the world; hut from the uncertain times at which they started, as well as from their being only applied to the purposes of Government, they may more properly be called Couriers than Posts.
In some parts of the east they avail themselves of pigeons, these birds being known to return instinctively to their mates, at whatever distance they may be from them, as a means of forwarding information from one place to another. In former times, the Consul of Alexandretta used to send news daily, in five hours' time, to Aleppo, by means of pigeons; though these two places are three -days' journey on horseback apart The Dutch also employed the same mode of sending intelligence in several instances, particularly at the siege of Haerlem, when information was conveyed to the besieged of the approach of relief, at a time when they were on the point of surrendering.
In point of fact, Posts on their present plan, that is for the accommodation of all, are but a modern invention. In England they were first established in the reign of Charles the First, though something of the sort appears to have existed much earlier, since an Act of Parliament, dated 1548, fixes the rate of post-horses at one penny per mile. Under Elizabeth, in 1581, mention is made of the office of chief Post-master of England, and in 1631, of that of Postmaster for foreign parts: this latter office appears to have beeu first created by James the First.
In 1G35, a Letter-office was erected for England and Scotland, under the direction of Thomas Withering, and certain rates of postage were settled; but from some abuses in the execution of his office, Withering was removed, and the business was placed under the control of the principal Secretary of State. Shortly after the breaking out of the civil war, the outline of the present more extended and regular plan seems to have been conceived by Mr. Edmond Prideaux, who was appointed Attorney-general after the murder of King Charles. He first established a weekly conveyance of letters to all parts of the nation, and saved the public the charge of maintaining Post-masters, to the amount of £7000 per annum. The profits of his office appear to have been so great as to have excited an attempt on the part of the city of London, to form a rival establishment, but the affair was set at rest by a vote of the House of Commons, declaring the office to be at the disposal of parliament.
In 1657, a regular Post Office was established by the Protector and his Parliament, on nearly the same plan as that since adopted, and the rates of postage then charged were continued unaltered till the reign of Queen Anne.
After the restoration, in the year 1660, the Post Office was first established by statute, when the Commons claimed the privilege of franking their letters; but this claim was afterwards dropped, on a private assurance from the crown, that the privilege should be allowed the members. Accordingly, a warrant was constantly issued to the Postmaster-general, directing the allowance thereof to the extent of two ounces in weight, till at length, it was expressly confirmed by an Act of Parliament of the 4th of George the Third, which added also, many new regulations. Other restrictions were afterwards imposed in the 35th year of the same reign, when it was settled that " no letter sent by any member shall be exempted from the payment of postage, unless he shall be actually in the post town, or within the limits of its delivery of letters, or within twenty miles of such post town, on the day, or the day before the day, on which the letters shall be put into the office." The number was also limited to the sending of ten, and the receiving of fifteen each day. *'
In 1654, the revenues of the Post Office were farmed by John Manly, Esq., for the yearly sum of 10,000/. In 1665, the Office was settled on the Duke of York, and its produce amounted to 21,500/. Thus, in little more than ten years, the amount was doubled, and it still continued to increase until the reign of William and Mary, when it was consider
ably influenced by the state of the country, its revenue during the eight years of war only averaging 67,222/. a-year, and producing, in the succeeding four years of peace, an average of 82,319/.
On the Union of England with Scotland, in 1710, a General Post Office was established by Act of Parliament, which included, besides Great Britain and Ireland, our West India and American Colonies. This extension increased the revenue to 111,461/. What portion of this sum was produced by the respective countries does not appear, but there is reason to believe it was almost entirely Irish and English, for even so late as between 1730 and 1740, the Post was only sent three days a-week, between Edinburgh and London, and on one occasion conveyed only a single letter, which was for an Edinburgh banker named Ramsay!
In 1784, a most remarkable change took place in the mode of conveying the letters. Till this time the mails had been sent by carts, or post-boys on horseback, a mode attended with danger and delay; but in this year, John Palmer, Esq., recommended a plan to Government, calculated to increase the revenue and accommodate the public. His proposal was acceded to; he was rewarded with a large sum of money, and was afterwards appointed Comptroller-General of the Post Office. His plan was the establishment of the present Mail Coaches, which were to leave London at 8 o'clock every evening precisely, to travel at the rate of 8 miles an hour, including stoppages, so that their arrival at any place in their route might be calculated to a certainty. They were allowed to carry four passengers inside and two outside, thus offering accommodation for persons whose business required expedition and certainty; for at this time the stage coaches were much inferior in speed and comfort to what they are at present.
The first Mail Coach was established to Bristol, in 1784. From this moment the prosperity of the PostOffice increased rapidly. The revenue, which, at its first institution was not more than 5000/. a-year, and which, after the revolution of two centuries, only produced, in 1783, 146,000/. annually, yielded, thirty years afterwards, nearly 1,700,000/., yet the expense is now at a less rate per mile than upon the old plan. The total amount of the annual receipts is now about 2,400,000/. and the net revenue about 1,500,000/.
The General Post Office was originally established in Cloak-lane, near Dowgate-hill, whence it was removed to the Black Swan, in Bisnopsgate-street. On occasion of the Great Fire, in 1666, it was removed to the Two Black Pillars, in Brydges-street, Co-rent-garden; and afterwards to Sir Robert Viner's mansion, in Lombard-street, where it continued to September 23, 1829, when it was removed to a new and spacious office erected for the purpose on the site of an ancient college and sanctuary in St. Martin's le Grand.
This magnificent building was commenced in 1825, from designs by R. Smirke, Esq., and completed in 1829. It is of the Grecian Ionic order. The basement is of granite; but the building itself is of brick, entirely faced with Portland stone. It is 400 feet in length, and 80 in depth. In the centre of the front is a portico, consisting of six columns of Portland stone, resting on pedestals of granite. The vestibule, or great hall, occupying the centre of the building, forms a public thoroughfare from St. Martin's le Grand to Foster-lane. This hall is 80 feet long, 60 broad, and 53 feet high in the centre.
On the north side of the Hall are the several receivingrooms for newspapers and inland and ship-letters; and behind these, further north, are the rooms for the inlandletter-sorters and letter-carriers. These rooms extend the whole length of the front, from the portico to the north wing; that for the letter-carriers is 35 feet in height.
The mails are received at the door in the east front, north of the hall, leading to the inland offices, and arc taken into the tick-room, where the bags are opened. In this part of the building, also, are the West Indies, Comptroller's, and Mail Coach offices.
On the south side of the hall are the Foreign, Receivergeneral's, and Accountant's offices. At the east end of the hall is the Two-penny Post Office, containing the Receiving, Sorters', and Carriers' rooms. A novel mode has been adopted for conveying letters, which have come to the wrong department, from one room to another: they are placed in small wagons beneath the pavement of the hall, and made to travel through a tunnel by machinery.
On the upper stories are sleeping-rooms for the foreign clerks, who are liable to be called to duty on the arrival ot the mails. The assistant-secretary resides at the southwest extremity of the building.'
The basement story is rendered flre-proof by brick vaultings. It comprises rooms for the mail-guards, an armoury, and servants' offices. There is also some ingenious machinery for conveying coals to each story, and a simple means of forcing water to any part of the edifice in case of fire. The whole building is lighted with gas, of which there are nearly one thousand burners.
The regularity with which the business of the Post Office is conducted, is truly surprising. There are two periods of meeting in the day: one for the distribution of the letters that come up from the country, and another for the despatch of those that are to be sent down. The first commences at 6 in the morning, and the task is accomplished by half-past 8 or 9, except when the mails are delayed by the badness of the roads. The letters are counted, and the amount of postage taken, so as to check the accounts of the country post-masters; they are then examined, to tell whether the charges on them are accurate, stamped with the date, and arranged for the letter-carriers, to whom they are counted twice over. The postage is paid to the Receiver-general three times a-week, when the amount of each letter-carrier's delivery for every day is again checked.
The despatch of letters in the evening is conducted on the same admirable system as their distribution in the morning; the whole business being performed in three hours, from 5 to 8. The letters are first taken out of the receiving-house and arranged in different compartments, named after the mails sent out. This is done by the junior clerks, who thus acquire a perfect knowledge of the situation and distance of all the post towns; the senior clerks then mark on the letters the proper rate of postage, which they do at an average of one letter per second; and the letters are placed in boxes, labelled with the names of the towns. When the Receiving-office closes, the letters for each town are summed up, put in the bag, and a copy of the amount sent with them. The letter-bags, tied and sealed, are all delivered to the respective guards of the mail coaches by 8 o'clock.
According to a calculation made in the month of May, 1828, it appears that the daily average number of letters brought into London by twenty-four mails was 28,466; 15,359 of which were delivered east of Temple Bar, and 13,107 west of the same place, making, at the same daily rate, 170,802 letters each week; and 8,881,704 in the course of the year.
The following list shows the number of letters sent at the same period from various towns, together with their delivery east and west of Temple Bar.
Total. East. Weit. Cambridge .. 294 .. 145 .. 149
Leeds 246.. 191 .. 66
Cheltenham .. 232 .. 100 .. 132
York 152.. 80.. 72
Sheffield 142 .. 105 .. 37
Newmarket... 98.. 30.. 68
The following regulation for the advantage of merchants and manufacturers, is perhaps not generally known.—" Every cover containing patterns or samples of goods, not exceeding one ounce, shall be charged only as a single letter, if sent open at the sides, and without any letter, or writing therewith, other than the name of the person sending the same, the place of his abode, and the price of the article."
The Two-penny, or as it was called when first established, the Penny-Post was set up in the year 1683, by a private individual, for the conveyance of letters and small parcels; and to his assigns, government allowed an income of 200/. per annum for life, in place of the revenue arising from it. It is said, however, that after a trial in the Court of King's Bench, the projectors had the mortification to find this office adjudged to belong to the Duke of York, as a branch of the General Post Office.
The first notice of the Penny Post, however, in the Statutebook, occurs in the 9th year of the reign of Queen Anne, when it was very essentially improvod, although it may be said to have been originally instituted in 1683.
By the Two-penny Post, any letter or parcel, not exceeding four ounces in weight, can be conveyed to any distance within tlurce miles of the General Post-Office for the charge of two-pence. To any place beyond this distance, and not in the list of places to which the General Post extends, the charge is three-pence.
The number of letters delivered by the Two-penny Post, is about 40,000 daily, or 12,529,000 in the year. If this be added to the delivery of the General Post, it makes a total yearly amount of 21,510,704 letters, or about 413,000
each week. The number of letters delivered annually by the Paris Post Office, is about fourteen millions and a half, of which about nine millions and a quarter come from the departments.
It may be observed, that few institutions afford more advantages than that of Posts. Indeed their usefulness, not to say necessity, in commercial concerns, is too obvious to admit of any doubt, and the assistance they render to political transactions is little less apparent. But it is in the more confined and humble scenes of social life, that they spread comfort and joy, with a liberality which we seldom hear sufficiently acknowledged; although to them, the absent parent, child, and friend, are repeatedly indebted for the removal of anxiety and the solace of dejection.
The paper messengers of friends,
It is a happy world after all.—The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence.
In a spring noon, or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. "The insect youth are on the wing." Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their lately-discovered faculties. A bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment; so busy, and so pleased; yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others.
Other species are running about, with an alacrity in their motions, which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures. If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lake?, and of the sea itself. These are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it (which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement), all conduce to show their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side, in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather, very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always returning with the water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight it was this: if they had meant to make signs of their happiness they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view. Pali: Y.
Behold bow lovely shine the gems of rain,