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SIGNS OF THE SEA, AS VIEWED PROM THE SHORE D!» A NIGHT IN THE AUTUMN OF 1833.
Swells there some Spirit hercl The light, that flows
From the Fair harbinger of nature's rest,
Lach little feathcr'd billow's snowy breast.
Some Spirit stirs! Quick wends her passage home
Thick-gathering vapours shroud the starry dome,
As if she knew 'twould be a fearful night.
Wakes there some Spirit here? In lawless ire.
Bursts the wild thunder, streams the liquid tire;
While mingling cries, of piety and fear,
Saves there no Spirit now! Yes, timely yields
Some pow'r unseen, but felt, the sceptre wields,
The viewless Hand that rais'd, witholds the rod,
That Hand is Thine, my God! M. K. C
The words commonly used to signify play, are these four; relaxation, diversion, amusement, and recreation. The idea of relaxation is taken from a bow, which must be unbent ffhen it is not wanted, to keep up the spring. Diversion signifies a turning aside from the main purpose of a journey, to see something that is curious and out of the way. Aransement means an occasional forsaking of the Muses, when a student lays aside his books. Recreation is the refreshing of the spirits when they are exhausted by labour, rt that they may be ready in due time to resume it again. From these considerations it follows, that the idle man, *ho has no work, can have no play: for how can he be relaxed who never is bent? how can he turn out of the rad, who is never in it? how can he leave the Muses who ss never with them? how can play refesh him, who is never exhausted with business? .jones of Nat/land.
Writ's we rise fresh and vigorous in the morning, the world seems fresh too, and we think we shall never be tired of business or pleasure; but by that time the evening is come, we find ourselves heartily so; we quit all its enjoyments readily and gladly; we retire willingly into a little cell; we lie down in darkness, and resign ourselves to the arms of sleep, with perfect satisfaction and complacency.
Apply this to youth and old age,—life and death.
The morality of an action depends on the motive from which we act. If I fling half-a-crown to a beggar, with intention to break his head, and he picks it up and buys ■victuals with it, the physical effect is good ; but with respect to me the action is very wrong. So religious exercises, if not performed with an intention to please God, avail us nothing. As our Saviour says of those who perform them
from other motives, "Verily, they have their reward.''
Let your love he pure, without passion, for this will wear awav'vnth age and time; when love, true, cordial, Christian
love! will out-last, will out-live, even death itself. Isaac
It is observable how God's goodness strives with man's refractoriness. Man would sit down at this world,—God kids him sell it and purchase a better; just as a father, who bath in his hand an apple and a piece of gold under it: the child comes, and, with pulling, gets the apple out of his father's hand; his father bids him throw it away, and be will give him the gold for it, which the child utterly refusing, eats it, and is troubled with worms; so is the carnal and wilful man with the worm of the grave in this world, and the worm of conscience in the next. Herbert.
Cottscixnce is undoubtedly the grand repository of all those pleasures which can afford any solid refreshment to the soul; when this is calm and serene, then, properly, a in»n enjovs all things, and, what is more, himself; for that he must d'o, before he can enjoy any thing else. It will not drop, but pour in oil upon the wounded heart; it will not whisper, but proclaim a jubilee to the mind.—South, _
ON THE FORMATION OF
AN JIERJlAliTUM, OR COLLECTION OF DRIED PLANTS. A Taste for Natural History, long cultivated among the higher and middle ranks of society, has, of late years, made considerable progress also among the humbler classes. The Spitalfields' weavers used to be celebrated for their researches after insects. If not scientific entomologists, they were diligent and successful collectors, knew, at least, the English names of the insects they met with, and in their excursions frequently took specimens of great rarity and esteem. They were noted also for the nice and beautiful manner in which they preserved their insects; an operation, the successful performance of which the delicate state of their hands, so essential to those employed in the manufacture of silk-goods, was well calculated to ensure. The weavers of Norwich might boast, from among their ranks, of those who were scarcely less noted for their attainments in Botany, and their diligence and success in collecting plants. And among the operatives of Manchester are now to be found many who have made no inconsiderable advances, in both the above departments of Natural History. The names of Hobson of Manchester, and Weaver of Birmingham, deserve to be recorded for posterity with veneration. The latter, from a small beginning, has opened, in his own town, a splendid museum of general Natural History, which contains, besides many other objects of great interest, a most beautiful and extensive collection of British insects, the result entirely of his own personal industry and perseverance. The late Edward Hobson, originally (as we are informed,) a porter to a house in Manchester, "with only a common reading and writing education, but with the blessing of good natural talents, and by the most determined and vigorous perseverance at all times, when unoccupied in the duties of his station, had become a thoroughly skilful botanist, mineralogist, geologist, entomologist, nay, almost a general naturalist." This extraordinary man published, some years ago, collections of dried specimens of British mosses; a work, which, for its accuracy, and the beauty with which it was executed, would have done honour to a professor.
The list might easily be swelled by the mention of other names of self-taught naturalists in humble life, from among the mechanics of Coventry, Dudley, and, no doubt, of all our populous towns.
We hail these events with unfeigned satisfaction and delight, convinced as we are of the advantages that must accrue, in a moral point of view, both to the individuals themselves and to the country at large, if, in the place of amusements which are calculated to brutalize the minds of those who engage in them, such rational and innocent pursuits could be substituted as have a directly opposite tendency.
Entertaining such sentiments on the advantages to be derived from extending a taste for natural history more generally among the mass of the people, we need make no apology for presenting our readers with some hints on the formation of an Herbarium, or collection of dried plants, confining ourselves chiefly to what we conceive to be the best and readiest method of preserving the specimens for that purpose. It was a maxim of Linnams, that an Herbarium is a far better help to the student than the best of mere artificial representations, such as drawings and engravings of plants, and that it is a thing essential to every botanist. The use of such a collection is obvious; you have the plants themselves,—the very original handy works of nature before your eyes to consult and examine, and to compare with others whose species it may bo
wished to ascertain; they are always at hand, and ready to refer to, even at those seasons of the year, the dreary months of winter, when it is impossible to procure the living plants, or, at least, to procure them in their best array. It may be added, too, that there is no inconsiderable pleasure attending the very act of collecting, and the subsequent arrangement and inspection of the various specimens. None but a collector can know the satisfaction to be felt by the addition to any particular genus, or family of plants, of the one remaining species which alone is wanting to complete the series and make it perfect. But how are such delicate and perishable things as flowers, the very emblems of short-lived fading beauty, to be preserved, so as to retain even a faint semblance of their original comeliness? That is the question. It is not possible to preserve them in all their bloom and freshness. Dried specimens, deprived
of their juices, and flattened by pressure, cannot, in the nature of things, be equal to living ones. Form,' texture, and, still more, colour, will, unavoidably, be more or less impaired bythe very means employed to effect their partial preservation. But if only enough of the characters of plants can be retained in a dried state, to serve at once as a very great help to the student, and, at the same time, to afford a set of agreeable objects to the eye, that is enough to lead us to the attempt, and to justify the practice.
Let the specimens, then, be gathered, if possible, in dry weather, and never on any account put in water, with a view to keep them fresh after they are gathered and previously to their being pressed between paper; a practice which would tend to increase the quantity of moisture in the plants, and, consequently, add to the difficulty of drying them. Then take some leaves of
paper—say, coarse blotting-paper, or the like— the more porous or spongy the better, and heat them at the fire, till they become as hot as they can well be made without scorching them. Place the specimens, having first spread them a little, so as to display their several parts to advantage, between two of these leaves so heated; lay them one tier over another, between boards or other fiat surfaces, and press them with a moderately heavy weight. This process of heating the paper and shifting the specimens should be often repeated; twice, or at least once a day, till the juices of the plant have evaporated. By this method, the specimens, if not very robust or fleshy ones, will generally be sufficiently dried in the course of a week, or even in less time. The advantages of this plan are, not only that the plants will be more thoroughly dried, and in a shorter time, and, therefore, will be less likely to become mouldy or to decay, but, also, that they will generally retain their colour, both of the flowers and leaves, much more perfectly than they would have done if dried by means of a slower process, and without the aid of artificial 'heat. Small specimens, and such as are slight in substance, may be merely placed between the blank leaves of a book, (not a printed book,) and kept in the pocket; the warmth of the pocket having the same effect as heating the paper. The great principle, in short, is to dry the specimens thoroughly and quickly. And hence it is, that such as have been preserved in hot climates, are generally found to retain their colour and beauty more perfectly, than those preserved in cold and moist ones.
Amid the infinite varieties of form, colour, texture, and substance, exhibited by different plants, it is of course to be expected, that some should
prove better adapted to undergo the operation of drying, than others, and should display afterwards a more exact representation of their living characters. Ferns, grasses, and more especially mosses, dry readily, and with little loss of their original beauty. Plants of a succulent and fleshy nature, such for example, as stone-crops, or the common houseleek, are more difficult of preservation, and suffer more by the operation. The foliage and stalks of some species, will almost invariably turn black in drying; and the colour of the flowers will often undergo considerable alteration. Yellow colours appear to be in general the most permanent; blue and purple are more liable to fade; and white is very apt to change to brown. There are, however, exceptions to these rules. The entire plant, or at least every part of it, flower, seed-vessel, leaves, stem, and root, should be preserved if practicable, because all and each of these, possess their peculiar characters. This direction, however, it is, of course, impossible strictly to observe in the case of trees and shrubs, and large herbaceous plants. Of such, little more than a sprig can well be preserved as a specimen for the herbarium.
When the specimens are thoroughly dried, they should be fixed by means of paste or gum, on a leaf of stiff white paper, one species only on a page, 'and with the name of the plant, the place of growth, and time of gathering written below. Or, a still better way of mounting them on the paper, is to secure them by means of narrow straps of paper, let in through a small slit cut in the mounting-sheet, on each side the stem or other part of the specimen, and applied in various places as occasion requires. The straps are to be pasted to the back of the sheet, go as to bind the plant firmly clown to the page, (see No. I). For plants which grow in close tufts, and bear a thick matted foliage, like many of the small alpine species, a needle and thread, or silk, may be used on the same principle as the paper straps, which in such cases cannot well be employed. The ends of the thread are to be secured by pasting a small piece of paper over them, on the back of the sheet; (see No. 2.) In recommending the use of paste for the above purpose, it must be observed, that being a farinaceous substance, (that is, made of flour,) it is apt to attract various minute insects, which will prey upon it, gnaw holes in the paper, and make sad havoc of the specimens. In order to prevent these ill consequences, let a very small portion of that rank poison, corrosive sublimate, be mixed up with the paste, previously to its being used. This treatment will both effectually defend it against the attacks of insects, and also prevent it from ever becoming mouldy. Paste so medicated, constitutes a better cement for the purpose, than gum or glue.
A difficulty, perhaps, may occur, in determining the size of the paper on which the specimens are to be finally fixed. It is certainly desirable, for neatness and uniformity's sake, that all the pages should be of the same size; but then, while a large paper will be full small enough for some specimens, it will be more than sufficient for minute plants, and those of humble growth; and botanists in general, hold it to be an objectionable practice, to mount different plants, that is, plants of more than one species, on the same page. Now here, as in all like cases, there will probably be a variety of opinions. On such points, much must be left to the taste and judgment of the collector himself. In order, however, to fix on some dimensions for the paper, it may be stated, that a moderate folio of about fifteen inches by ten, may, perhaps, on the whole be as eligible a size as any. The taller specimens may be divided in two, and the two halves placed side by side, in order to bring them within compass of the page, (see No. 3); or, with a view to the same end, the stems of some plants, (as for example, of the grasses especially and plants of that nature,) may be crankled thus, (see No. 3 and 4,) a method, which will practically reduce their height, without in reality depriving them of their natural dimensions. Or, again, they may be placed diagonally, that is, from corner to corner of the page. The larger ferns, likewise, may most advantageously be bent towards the top of the frond, and the upper portion turned back in an oblique direction, (see No. 5;) this will bring a tall specimen within the area of the paper, and, also, have the additional recommendation of exhibiting the fructification of the fern, which, it is well known, grows on the back of the frond. Contrivances in short, of this kind, will readily present themselves to an ingenious mind; and it is not necessary to enter into more minute details.
There are little difficulties and inconveniences, be it remembered, to be encountered, more or less, in most things, even in our pleasures and recreations, and if they cannot be wholly avoided, they may generally be met and remedied in part. We believe that the very act of surmounting such obstacles, adds a relish to the pursuits in which they occur. After the specimens are mounted, they should be arranged either in systematic or in natural order, and deposited in pasteboard cases, made like a portfolio, or the binding of a book; and, above all, care must be taken to preserve them from damp, which, next to insects, is the worst enemy to the collector, and the most destructive of the fruits of his labours.
I The student, who by his own personal industry and research has thus formed a botanical collection will have gained, in consequence, a far more intimate knowledge of plants, their nature, growth, habits, and characters, than could readily be acquired by any other means. A fund of amusement will be derived from an inspection, from time to time, of the specimens themselves, which, associated as they will ever be with the wild scenery of their native woods and mountains, will serve as interesting and agreeable memorandums, to recall to mind many a pleasurable \ excursion in the course of which they may have been i collected. He will, also, have the further advantage : (as already hinted.) of enjoying, as it were, a continual spring, and being surrounded by the gifts of Flora, at all seasons throughout the whole circle of the vear.
ON THE BLESSING OF FAMILY AFFECTION.
Thk whole human race may be considered as one great family, under the care, protection, and discipline of their Heavenly Father; and the most important duty which he requires of them is that they love one another. He graciously founds their love to himself on this basis, for he even rejects the love of those who do not love their brother also.
It is a wonderful and benevolent part of the system of Providence, that his commandments produce our greatest earthly blessings; and our perfect obedience to his laws brings its immediate reward, in conferring upon us some visible benefit; as, on the contrary, every outrage on bis commands has its attendant judgment.
In no case are the blessings annexed to well-doing so sensibly felt as in the mutual kind offices of brotherly love. From the sweet affections and good will of society, most of our temporal comforts spring; and when we obey the command of loving and serving our fellow-creatures, the benclit is retlective , we are loved and served in return: "therefore, my beloved brethren, let us love one another; for he that loveth his brother, hath fulfilled the law." If the cultiva tion of these benevolent feelings is so important a duty, and so great a blessing in extended society, where our intercourse is only occasional, of what still greater importance is it in the near and daily concerns of domestic life!
All persons, in all ages, have been deeply impressed with the value of family affection. The wise instructions of Solomon abound with injunctions on the subject: and David pronounces, " How good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, which ran down unto the beard, even unto Aaron's beard, and went down to the skirts of his clothing. Like as the dew of Hermon, which fell upon the hill of Zion; for there the Lord promised his blessing and life for evermore." This precious balm to every earthly woe, spreads itself to every department in domestic life, like "the refreshing dew of Hermon, which fell upon the hill of Zion;" it nourishes and gladdens every benevolent heart, it softens the temper, it doubles every pleasure, it lessens every care; without it human beings become savage, selfish, and morose; they lose the blessing which God has promised to it in this life, and that life for evermore, which is a heaven of love and benevolence. Mrs. Kino.
Now you sav, alas! Christianity is hard: I grant it; but gainful and happy. I contemn the difficulty, when I respect the advantage. The greatest labours that have answerable requitals, rre less than the least that have no regard. Believe me, when I look to the reward, I would not have the work easier. It is a good Master whom we serve, who not only pays, but gives; not after the proportion of our earnings, but of his own mercy. Bishop Hall.
Death finds us 'mid our play-things, snatches us
Sir Walt#r Scott. SAVINGS' BANKS.
The attention of the public cannot be drawn too closely to the advantages of these valuable institutions. Here is afforded a secure depository for the hard-earned savings of industry and toil, which have been too often lost, cither by misplaced confidence in individuals, or by idle, perhaps, too frequently, mischievous, gratifications. And this evil, in a great measure, arises from the want of ready and satisfactory means of laying by even the smallest sum of money as it could be spared. There are few, if any, of the labouring classes, however low the wages of their particular calling may be, who have not, at some time or other of their lives, a trifle more than is called for by their unavoidable necessities; and this surplus is too often expended in unnecessary indulgences, instead of being husbanded for future need -. how much we all, on various occasions in our bves, are in want of more than our immediate means afford, it has fallen to the lot of but few not to know and feel.
The greatest advantages of Savings' Banks, even in a mere pecuniary point of view, are scarcely known; as there are not many who give much consideration to the dry detail of figures; but it will be found, that even the trifling sum of one shilling, deposited weekly in a bank for savings, will, at the expiration of thirty-two years, have increased to the sum of 149/. 12s. ad., of which no less than O'G/. 2s. 5rf. will be the accumulation of Interest; which is little short of the principal from time to time deposited.
But this pecuniary advantage, however considerable, is not the greatest recommendation of these institutions. Their moral advantages are yet more important. There is a feeling of honest independence, arising from the consciousness of having secured the means of self-assistance, and of having escaped the degradation of receiving casual bounty, or parochial aid. There is a self-satisfaction, in feeling that we have possessed sufficient strength of mind and good principle to have endured the privation of indulgences, nay, perhaps, of actual comforts, for the sake of future good; and these feelings, while they offer an ample reward for any temporary mortifications that may have been endured, tend also to improve our moral habits, and to exalt us in the scale of rational beings.
Another, and not the least gratifying part of these institutions is, the mixture of good feelings which they necessarily create between the different Classes of Society. Banks for Savings, from the insufficiency of their means in the earlier years of their establishment, must necessarily lean upon the contributions of the richer portion of Society for their maintenance; and the liberal hand with which this aid has been universally granted, adds a fresh and imperishable link to the bonds of Society.
The importance of this subject has always been deeply impressed upon the mind of the writer of these remarks. But his attention has lately been more especially drawn to the subject, by a Summary of the Deposit Accounts, in the St. Mary-le-bone Bank for Savings, which has fallen into his hands. And it affords him the highest gratification, to find by the rapid increase of this Bank, (which, although not yet of four years standing, has deposits amounting to upwards of 51,000/., already lodged in the Bank of England,) that the advantages derived from these institutions, are so duly appreciated, and so eagerly sought by-that Class of Society, for whom they were intended; as is manifested by the following extracts from this account.
There were, on the 20th of last November,
Male and Female Servants 1037
Mechanics and Artizans 414
Trust Accounts, principally lor Children 5<j7
Needlewomen, Shopwomen, &:c 293
Small Dealers , J52
Labourers and Journeymen 172
Various minor Classes 205
Making a total of 3471
Deposit accounts then open in the Savings' Bank of the Parish of Marylebone, alone.
ALL FOOLS' DAY.
'Twas on the morn when April doth appear,
The following brief notice, extracted (chiefly) from Brand's interesting work on Popular Antiquities, may be deemed acceptable by our readers at the present period of the year. Like many a custom derived from remote antiquity, the fooleries of the first of April have been fancifully traced up to various origins, most of which, by their plausibility, lay great claim to our belief; the only difficulty consists in deciding between their respective merits. It will be well it any reason can be given for the existence of so absurd a custom. Poor Robin, in his Almanac for 17 GO, raises a most rational doubt, as to whether the simpleton who is sent on a sleeveless errand on this day, is a greater fool than he who sends him;—
'Tis a thing to be disputed,
Which is the greatest Foot reputed,
The French have their All Fools' Day, and cull the person imposed upon An April Fish, (Poisson d'Avril,) whom we term an April Fool. Bellinger, in his Etymology of French Proverbs, endeavours at thot following explanation of this custom. The word "Poisson," he eontends, is corrupted through the ignorance of the people from "Passion;" and length of time lias almost totally defaced the original intention, which was as follows: that, as the Passion of our Saviour took place about this time of the year, and as the Jews sent Christ backwards and forwards to mock and torment him, i. e. from Annas to Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilato, from Pilate to Herod, and from Herod back again to Pilate; this ridiculous, or rather impious, custom took its rise from thence, by which we send about, from one place to another, such persons as we think proper objects of our ridicule. Such is Bellinger's explanation.
Something like this (says the Gentleman's Magazine for July, 1783,) which we call making April Fools, is practised also abroad in Catholic countries on Innocents' Day, on which occasion people run through all the rooms, making a pretended search in and under the beds, in memory, I believe, of the search made by Herod for the disl-overy and destruction of the Child Jesus, and his having been imposed upon, and deceived by the Wise Men, who, contrary to his orders and expectation, "returned to their own country another way."
Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, speaking of " the first of April, or the ancient Feast of the Vernal Equinox, equally observed in India and Britain," tells us, "the first of April was anciently observed in Britain as a high and general festival;" adding, some few lines further, "of those traits of the jocundity of our fathers, preserved in Britain, none of the least remarkable, or ludicrous, is that relic of its pristine pleasantry, the general practice of making April Fools, as it is called, on the first day of that month; but this Colonel Pearce (Asiatic llesearches. Vol. II., p. 334,) proves to have been an immemorial custom among the Hindoos, at a celebrated festival holden about the same period in India, which is called the Hull Festival. 'During the Huli,' says Colonel Pearce, 'when mirth and festivity reign among the Hindoos of every class.