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THE PENRHYN SLATE QUARRY
Is considered one of the great-
The solid masses of slate which are taken from this quarry are from 80 to 100 feet in height; and when the sun shines they exhibit with great brilliancy all the colours of the rainbow. The business of separating the layers from the main body appears a dangerous employment, particularly when it is necessary to split the rock from the summit. This is effected by fastening a small beam to the top, with ropes at each end, as represented in the sketch.
Upon this beam, four, five, or six men, frequently stand, and with their iron crows and sledge hammers, flake off the slate from the sides in masses, six or seven feet in length, from two to eight in breadth.
The various pieces of slate are shaped upon the spot, according to the purposes for which they are intended, such as gravestones, chimney-pieces, covering of houses, cisterns, rails, &c. The rude slates are first reduced to shape and size by a small edged tool, the slate being first laid upon the edge of an iron plate, fixed in an upright position; they are then taken to the scraper, who, with a small piece of thin steel takes off the rough parts and reduces the surface to a level; and are afterwards piled up in grosses for exportation. Formerly they were conveyed to the port at a very heavy expense, by means of carts, drawn along the ordinary road, but afterwards an iron rail-road was formed, which reaches from the quarry to Port Penrhyn, a distance of six miles. Upon this line are several inclined or sloping planes. The waggons are now made of iron, and each holds about half a ton ; several of them can be drawn by one horse, so that six or eight horses now perform the work which formerly required sixty or eighty. At Port Penrhyn the slates are shipped, not only for all parts of Great Britain, but even for the United States of America.
The expense of the inclined planes, and rail roads, connected with this quarry, and incurred by the late Lord Penrhyn, in diminishing the labour of conveying the slates, is said to have been upwards of £ 170,000.
View of a Slate Quarry.
The Puma lies concealed in the underwood, and does not have recourse to caverns for shelter. It ascends and descends the highest trees with swiftness and ease, though it may be considered rather as an inhabitant of the plains than of the forests. Its depredations are generally confined to quadrupeds of a middling size, as calves, sheep, &c.; but against these its ferocity is more insatiable than its appetite, destroying many at an attack, but carrying away perhaps only one. If it have more than sufficient for a meal, it will cover and conceal the residue for a second repast.
D'Azara possessed a tame puma, which was as gentle as a dog, but very inactive. It would play with any one; and if an orange were presented to it, would strike it with the paw, push it away, and seize it again, in the manner of a cat playing with a mouse. It had all the manners of a cat, when engaged in surprising a bird, not excepting the agitation of the tail; and when caressed purred like that animal.
An incident occurred a few years back, not far from New York, which disproves the assertion that the puma will not attack a man. Two hunters went out in quest of game on the Katskill mountains, in New York, each armed with a gun, and accompanied by his dog. They agreed to go in contrary directions round the base of a hill, and that, if either discharged his piece, the other should cross the hill as expeditiously as possible, to join his companion. Shortly after separating, one heard the other fire, and hastened to his comrade. After searching for him for some time without effect, he found his dog dead and dreadfully torn. Knowing from this circumstance that the animal shot at was large and * ferocious, he became more anxious, and assiduously continued his search for his friend; when his attention was suddenly directed, by a deep growl, to a large branch of a tree, - where he saw a puma couching on the body of the man, and directing his eyes toward him; apparently hesitating whether to descend and make an Bttack oh the survivor, or to relinquish its prey and take to flight. Conscious that much depended on celerity; the hunter discharged his piece, and the puma, raor^ tally wounded, and the body of the mail, fell together from the tree. The surviving dog then flew at the fallen beast, but a single blow from its paw laid the dog dead by its side.
Finding that his comrade was dead, and that there was still danger in approaching the' wounded animal, the man prudently retired, and brought several persons to the spot, where the unfortunate hunter, the puma, and both the dogs, were all lying dead together.
Major Smith witnessed an extraordinary instance of the great ferocity of this animal, when engaged with its food. A puma, which had been taken and was confined, was ordered to be shot, which was done immediately after the animal had received its food: the first ball went through his body, and the only notice he took of it was by a shrill growl, doubling his efforts to devour his food, which he actually continued to swallow with quantities of his own blood, till he fell.
Notwithstanding such instances of the violence of disposition of this animal, it is very easy to be tamed. The same gentleman saw another individual that was led about with a chain, Carried in a waggon, lying under the seat upon which his keeper sat, and fed by flinging a piece of meat into a tree, when his chain was coiled round his neck, and he was desired to fetch it down; an act which he performed in two or three bounds, with surprising ease and docility.
A tame puma, which died recently, was some time in the possession of Mr. Kean the actor. It was quite docile and gentle. After the death of this animal, it was discovered that a musket-ball, in all probability, had injured its skull, which was not known in its lifetime.—Cuvier's Animal Kingdom.
A VISIT TO A SALT MINE.
The following account of a visit to the Salt Mine at Ischl is extracted from a lively and agreeable little volume* just published by Dr. Tobin, who accompanied the late Sir Humphry Davy on his visit to the Continent, from which that great philosopher did not live to return.
"I went with a very large party, consisting of almost all the strangers in Ischl, to visit the Salzberg, the salt mountain or rather mine, which was to be illuminated for the visitors. We set Out at about one o'clock, a long string of carriages, and after an hour's drive through a very pleasant valley, we arrived at the foot of the mountain which contains the mine. Here a number of miners were waiting with sedan chairs for the ladies, many of whom however preferred walking up the mountain, and in about three quarters of an hour we arrived at the chief entrance ■of the mine. We were now to be attired, as is usual on entering the mines, in a long white mantle or frock, and a large wide broad brim, the latter to hinder us from knocking our brains out, and the former to keep our clothes clean. Here was confusion dire j
• Journal of a tour in the years 1828-29, through Styria, Carniola, and Italy, whilst accompanying the late Sir Humphry Daw, by J, J. Tobin, M.D, London, Orr, Paternoster Row.
this frock was too, small, this too long; this lady had no brimmer, this gentleman could find no stick. I laid hold of the first frock and hat I met with, but up Came a lady and begged I would exchange with her, as her frock was so long she could not walk in it, ahd mine so short that it did not reach to my knees. Dressing at length finished, the ladies were placed in their Carriages, that is two in each wheelbarrow, face to face, with a miner before to pull, who Carried a lamp in his hand, and another to push behind, and between every two barrows went another miner bearing a paper lanthorn. The gehtlemen were of course oil foot, with the exception of one or two gouty invalids.
"Ih this guise, with half-a-dozen miners going before carrying lamps, the whole train entered the passage, and in a few seconds Inst sight of daylight. After a iong, wet, and (in spite of our many lamps) dark journey through this narrow and low passage, where my head was continually coming in contact with the roof, We came to the Rutsch, or slide, which leads down into the salt-chamber. The Rutsch is formed of the trunks of two large fir-trees laid close together, rounded and polished, and placed in an oblique direction, in an angle of about forty degrees. A miner, with a lamp in one hand, places, himself astride these trees, and holds with his other hand a cord which is fixed to the rock on the sides. The person who wishes to descend seats himself behind the miner, and holds him by the shoulders. The miner then lets the cord slip through his hands, and down they go like lightning into what seems an abyss of darkness: safe at the bottom, he gives a shout that the next couple may follow. When the slide is very Iong, as in the mines at Hallein, near Salzberg, the miner always sits upon a thick leather apron, and when alone makes no use of the cord, but rushes down with fearful speed into the salt-cave below. When we arrived at the slide, and the ladies had all got out of their barrows, after much discussion and many fears and doubts, they consented thus to descend, as the miners assured them it was more dangerous to do so by the steps cut in the nick, at the side, which were exceedingly steep and very wet. Having reached the bottom of the slide, which ends in a slight curve, to break the impetus of the descent, we found ourselves in an immense cavern or room, excavated in the rock, about twelve feet high, and from ten to twelve thousand in circumference, supported in the middle by a massive pillar of rock, and lighted up by some hundred lamps, which, however, only served to give the scene a more awful and gloomy appearance. The visitors, whose number was considerable, in their long white mantles and hats, looked like spectres wandering in the shades of the nether world. The roof and walls of this cavern were covered with minute crystals of salt, not, however, sufficiently large to give to it the glittering appearance which I had expected. The mountain contains a great many of these salt-chambers, which at different periods are filled with fresh water, conducted into them by wooden pipes. When this has dissolved a sufficient quantity of salt, which operation occupies some months, it is drained off through a deep perpendicular shaft, near the middle of the cave, and is then conducted through wooden pipes, often for a very great distance, to the boiling-houses, where it undergoes the process of evaporation.
"Having wandered through these gloomy abodes of silence and night for some time, we ascended the stairs, the ladies resumed their seats in the barrows, and the procession returned as it had entered. To save my head from additional thumps to the many it had received on entering, I took the place of one of the pushers, and after a merry drive of about twenty minutes we again saw daylight, like a distant star, increasing in size till we reached the entrance of the mine. We here took off our spectre-clothes, and returned home in our usual appearance, and a merry party we were."
"ALL FOR THE BEST." No one can have lived long in the world without having observed how frequently it happens that events which, at the time they happened, were the source of bitter disappointment, have, eventually proved very blessings to us; and that many of those things which have been most anxiously desired, but which it has pleased God to withhold from us, would have proved, if granted, the origin of endless evils.
The recollection of such circumstances in our own individual case, while it renders us deeply grateful to Divine Providence for the past, should makp us trust with perfect confidence to the same Infinite Wisdom for the future.
It would be difficult perhaps to find an anecdote bearing more strongly on what we have just observed, than one which is mentioned in the life of BernArd Gili-in, that great and good man, whose pious labours in the counties of Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northumberland and York, at the period of the Reformation, procured for him the title by which he is still remembered in those parts, as " The Apostle of the North."—It appears that it was a frequent saying of his, when exposed to losses or troubles—" Ah, well! God's will be done: nothing happens which is not intended for our good: it is all for the best.'"
Towards the close of Queen Mary's reign, Bernard Gilpin was accused of heresy before the merciless Bishop Bonner: he was speedily apprehended, and he left his quiet home, "nothing doubting," as he said, 'but that it was all for the best," though he was well aware of the fate that might await him; for we find him giving directions to his steward "to provide him a long garment, that he might go the more comely to the stake," at which he would be burnt.
While on his way to London, by some accident he had a fall and broke his leg, which put a stop for some time to his journey. The persons in whose custody he was, took occasion thence maliciously to retort upon him his habitual remark. "What," said they, "is this all for the best;—you say, Master, that nothing happens which is not for our good; think you your broken leg is so intended?" —" Sirs, I make no question but it is," was the meek reply: and so in very truth it proved; for before he was able to travel, Queen Mary died, the persecution ceased, and he was restored to his liberty and friends.
ABBREVIATIONS AND SIGNS. AnBREviATioNS and Signs, are generally used to express in small, that which is in itself large, or in short, that which is in itself long. In this way we have London on a pocket handkerchief, England on a bit of paper, or the whole surface of the earth and all the stars in the heavens, on the surface of two little globes, a foot or eighteen inches in diameter. So also we have the whole history of the world in a small book, which we can carry in our pocket; or the principal events in a table, which we can examine at a glance.
The words of language, to which we owe so much of our knowledge and enjoyment, are nothing but signs and abbreviations. It would take years to know and months to tell, in detail, all that we mean by the short word "man's" and yet we understand it whenever we hear it spoken or see it written.
The abbreviations and signs of speech are common to us all, learned and unlearned. But there are particular abbreviations and signs, belonging to particular branches of knowledge, or science; and these, though they are of very great advantage to those who do know them, are puzzling to those who do not, just in the same manner as a man who knows no language but French is puzzled with English.
Those signs are the Alphabets of the sciences,
just as letters are the alphabets of languages; and it is just as impossible for any one to know the science without first knowing its alphabet, as it is for any one to be able to read a book without knowing the A, B, C. Learning the A, B, C, is knowing the sound of the letters,—that is, the connexion or relation between words that are heard and words that are only seen. There is no natural relation between seeing and hearing; and therefore the A, B, C, is arbitrary, or just what they who use it choose to make it,—consequently every body must be taught it.
It is nearly the same with what may be called the "alphabets" of all the sciences; and in science, as well as in language, we very soon learn to read and understand, when we once know our A, B, C, or letters. The learning of their letters being the first and humblest lesson of children at school, persons who are farther advanced in life think it beneath them to learn alphabets; and, from that silly prejudice, they remain ignorant of the sciences to which those alphabets are the keys.
Yet those alphabets are the most wonderful of human contrivances. The steam engine and gas light are mere trifles compared with the A, B, C.
The figures J, 2, 3, &c, which are the alphabet of numbers, are very curious; and enable us t;p do that in so many seconds, which, if we had no such contrivance, we could not do in as many centuries. The distance of the sun from the earth is about 190 millions of half miles, and half a mile is about a thousand paces; five miles an hour is fast walking, and the paces then are as fast as one can count distinctly. At that rate, though the first man had begun the journey, or the counting, at the moment of his creation, and he and his posterity continued at it twelve hours every day, it would have been more than 200 years after the birth of Christ before they had finished the task. By means of the alphabet of numbers, any body can do it as fast as three O's can be written. The half miles are 190,000,000; the paces in half a mile 1000: we have only to add three O's to the first of these, and we have the whole number of paces,— 190,000,000,000.
The alphabet of numbers does not, however, express the relations of numbers, and so we must have other signs for these; and, as the figures which stand for the names of numbers are different from the words, or names, which are the names of things, there are also different signs for the principal relations of numbers. But as the value of every thing that can be valued is reckoned in numbers, the relations of numbers are of very general use; and as the signs of those relations are the shortest means of expressing them, every body should be acquainted with them.
These signs are sometimes called "Algebraical" signs, and the name is far from being an improper one. "AT" means "the" and "jabr" means "to consolidate," or bring together into little space, so that the whole may be seen at once; and thus "Algebra" means "the expressing of the greatest meaning by the fewest signs." Those signs are not explained, except in the books of science, which ordinary readers are not in the habit of consulting; but they are sometimes used in other books; and as, when so used they are puzzles to many people, simple explanations of them may be useful, and these we shall give on future occasions.
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.—Johnson.
Sure am I that the discovery of a truth formerly unknown doth rather convince man of ignorance than nature of ignorance.—Raleigh.
BOSCOBEL COTTAGE. Boscobel Cottage is celebrated in English history as having been the first place of refuge in which king Charles II took shelter after his defeat at the battle of Worcester, 3rd. Sept. 1651. It is situated near the little town of Madeley, on the confines of Worcestershire and Shropshire, and was, at the time referred to, the residence of William Pendercll, a forester or servant in husbandry to Mr. Giffard the owner of the surrounding domain. To the fidelity of this man, his wife, his mother and his four brothers, Richard, Humphry, John, and George Penderell, was the fugitive king indebted for some days of concealment and safety, when even the noble and gentle who parted from him chose to remain in voluntary ignorance of the exact place of his retreat " as they knew not what they might be forced to confess."
Few palaces awake more pleasing recollections of human nature in our minds than does this lowly cottage. Its inhabitants were of the poorest among the poor, the humblest among the humble; death, on the one hand, was the certain punishment which attended their fidelity if discovered; while, on the other hand, riches, beyond any thing they could have contemplated, courted their acceptance, and might have been secured by one single treacherous word: yet did this virtuous band of brothers retain their fidelity untempted and their loyalty unshaken. In the immediate vicinity of this house stood the " Royal Oak," among the branches of which the king remained concealed while his pursuers actually passed round and under it: the original tree was, after the Restoration, speedily destroyed by the zeal of the royalists to possess relics of their sovereign's hiding place, but another, raised from one of its acorns, is still flourishing.
In the Nicobar Islands the natives build their vessels, make the sails and cordage, supply them with provisions and necessaries, and provide a cargo of arrack, vinegar, oil, coarse sugar, cocoa-nuts, cordage, black paint, and several inferior articles, for foreign markets, entirely from the cocoa-nut tree.—Forbes's Oriental Memoirs.
A Million of Bank Notes placed one above another would form a pile 41(5 feet in height, which is much higher than St. Paul's, and more than double the height of the Monument. Supposing them to be spread out, they would extend over 250,(,00 square feet, a space equal to the area of Grosvenor Square, London.
The various combinations into which the twenty-four letters of the alphabet may be arranged, amount to (520,448,401, 733,239,43!) ,1160,000.
If a person were employed telling money, reckoning a hundred pieces a minute, and continuing at work ten hours each day, he would take nearly seventeen days to tell a million. A thousand men would take forty-five years to reckon a quadrillion.
The number of miles mn by Stage Coaches in England is annually about 40,530,000. The expense of drawing coaches by horses is about two shillings per mile, so that the annual expenditure for horse-keep is about 4,000,000/.
DEATH BY BOILING.
It is not generally known that malefactors were formerly boiled to death. Two instances of this terrible punishment occur in the reign of Henry VIII. and are thus recorded in Stowe's Chronicle :—
1532. The fifth of April one Richard Rose, a Cook, was boiled in Smithfield for poisoning of divers persons to the number of sixteen, or more, at the Bishop of Rochester's Place; amongst the which Benet Curnine was one, and he intended to have poisoned the Bishop himself,—but he cat no pottage that day, whereby he escaped: marry, the poor people that eat of them many of them dyed.
1543. The seventeenth of March, Margaret Davy, a Maid, was boiled in Smithfield for poisoning three households that she had dwelled in.
Secret Of Living Always Easy.—An Italian bishop having struggled through great difficulties without complaining, and met with much opposition in the discharge of his episcopal functions, without ever betraving the least impatience, an intimate friend of his, who highly admired those virtues which he conceived it impossible to imitate, one day asked the prelate if he could tell him the secret of being always easy. "Yes," replied the old man, "I can teach you my secret, and will do so very readily. It consists in nothing more than in making great use of my eyes." His friend begged him (o explain. "Most willingly," said the bishop. "In whatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven, and remember that my principal business here is to get there; I then look down upon the earth, and call to mind the space I shall shortly occupy in it; I then look abroad into the world, and observe what multitudes there are who in all respects have more cause to be unhappy than myself. Thus I learn where true happiness is placed, where all our cares must end, and how very little reason I have to repine or complain."
Bishop Kenn's well-known doxology, "Prrise God from whom all blessings flow," cVc. is a masterpiece at once of amplification and compression,—amplification on the burden, "Praise God," repeated in each line; compression, by exhibiting God as the object of praise in every view in which we can imagine praise due to him :—praise for all his blessings, yea, for all blessings, none coming from any other source; praise by every creature, specifically invoked "here below," and in "heaven above;" praise to Him in each of the characters wherein he has revealed himself in his word— "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." Yet this comprehensive verse is sufficiently simple, that by it " Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings praise might be perfected:" and it appeal's so easy, that one is tempted to think hundreds of the sort might be made without trouble. The reader has only to try, and he will be quickly undeceived, though the longer he tries, the more difficult he will find the task to be.— Montgomery.
The Decline Of Manners.—These latter ages of the world have declined into a softness above the effeminacy of Asian princes, and have contracted customs which those innocent and healthful days of our ancestors knew not, whose piety was natural, whose charily was operative, whose policy was just and valiant, and whose economy was sincere and proportionable to the dispositions and requisites of nature. Jeremy Taylor.
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The above is a portrait of that extraordinary person, Duns Scotus, who is said to have engaged to translate the whole of the Scriptures without tasting food, and to have expired in finishing the last chapter of the Revelation.
The tradition of Scotus's wonderful fasting is amusing from its absurdity; but a short sketch of his real history may not be uninteresting.
John Duns was born towards the end of the thirteenth century, at Dunstance, in the parish of Embleton near Alnwick, Northumberland. Both Scotland and Ireland, however, claimed the honour of having given birth to this learned doctor: from the former he received the name of Scotus, or Scot. When a boy, he is said to have been educated in a convent of Franciscans, at Newcastle; and it is certain that he afterwards became a friar of that order.
Iu the year 1301, after becoming a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, he was elected professor of theology in the University; his great fame causing incredible numbers to attend his lectures.
He afterwards resided at Paris, and died at Cologne of apoplexy, on the 8th November, 1308. One writer of his life asserts, that he was buried alive, because, on the removal of his bones, he appeared to have turned himself in his coffin.
In his day he was considered a prodigy of learning, and obtained the title of the Subtle Doctor. But his learning was only in what is called the Divinity of the Schoolmen, far removed from that sound and useful learning which enables the scholar to discover the truth, and to impart the knowledge of it to others.
Among other extravagant praises heaped upon him by bis admirers, it was said, "He was so consummate Vol. I.
a philosopher, that he could have been the inventor of philosophy if it had not before existed. His knowledge of all the mysteries of religion was so profound, that it was rather intuitive certainty than belief. He wrote so many books, that one man is hardly able to read them; and no one man is able to understand them. He would have written more had he composed with less accuracy. Such was our immortal Scotus, the most ingenious, acute, and subtile, of the sons of men."
The writings of this once eminent disputant are now forgotten; but his memory has been preserved by his extraordinary portrait, and the absurd story connected with his name.
A FEMALE CHRISTIAN CHIEF OF OWHYHEE.
The name of Owhyhee (or Hawaii as it is now written) is probably familiar to most of our readers, as the scene of Capt. Cook's tragical end. It is the largest of a group of seven islands (known by the name of the Sandwich Islands) situated in the great Pacific Ocean, and which have probably, at some remote period of time, been raised from the bottom of the sea, by the force of fires confined under the surface of the earth; and struggling to make a vent for themselves. These fires are still so vigorously at work, that the island has been compared to a hollow cone, raised over a vast furnace: and some five and twenty or thirty years ago, there burst forth from the summit of-the mountain Mouna Huararai a torrent of melted matter, (lava) which overwhelmed in its course several villages, destroyed numerous plantations and fish-ponds, and filled up the bay of Kiranea to the extent of twenty miles in length, forming an entirely new line of coast.
The inhabitants of the island, at that time idolaters, attributed this calamity to the anger of their deities, and especially of the goddess Peli, whom they believed to preside over the burning mountain, and whom, when she burst forth from her abqde in streams of red-hot lava, they strived to appease by throwing hogs, and even living infants, into the liquid flame.
Kiranea, which is the name of this burning mountain, and the supposed residence of Peli, is the largest and most extraordinary volcanic crater* on the face of the globe. It is situated in the midst of a plain, fifteen or sixteen miles round, the whole surface of which, sunk from two to four hundred feet below its original level, appears rent into deep cracks, out of which vast quantities of flame, smoke, and vapour, are continually ascending: here and there a few beds of sulphur, and black pools of fresh water serve to increase the horrors of this dismal scene.
"After walking some distance," we quote the words of a person who visited it not long since, "After walking some distance over the sunken plain, which in several places sounded hollow under our feet, we came at length to the edge of the great crater. As
* A "crater," or cup, is the opening through ^Mch the fire issues from a " volcano" or burning mountain..