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IMPORTANCE OF BRITISH INDIA TO THE
MERCHANTS AND MANUFACTURERS
OF GREAT BRITAIN
The British Empire in India extends from latitude 5° to 32° North, and from long. 70° to 92° East; it has above five thousand miles of sea-coast, and contains a native population of upwards of eighty millions of people. Although distant from us by sea more than sixteen thousand miles, the whole of this immense empire is completely subject to British authority; it is now freely open to British manufactures and British merchandise, and it thus offers a boundless and a tempting field for the enterprise of the trader, the capitalist, and the settler.
Heretofore, the trade with thfs vast empire had been confined to the East India Company, but the change of policy which has taken place on the expiration of their Charter, has rendered the whole country accessible to British subjects, from every part of the United Kingdom. Our merchants and manufacturers are thus about to acquire new interests in India; to be brought into direct communication with native tribes, of various castes and of different religions, habits, and manners; and of these people, their wants, their desires, and their acquirements, comparatively little is known in this country. We therefore propose to furnish, from time to time, really useful and practical information on this important subject, and our readers may rely upon whatever appears relative thereto in the Saturday Magazine, being drawn from proper sources, and given upon indisputable authority.
We cannot, perhaps, better convey the preparatory knowledge calculated to ensure a due appreciation of the subject, than by quoting the Evidence of the Right Honourable Sib Alexander Johnston, before a Committee of the House of Commons, relative to a collection of writings, drawings, sculptured records, and other works of art and antiquity, collected in the East, by the late Cqlonelmackenzie. This talented and public-spirited officer was Surveyor-General of India, and devoted thirty-four years of his valuable life to making this collection, the object of which was to enable the British Government and the British public to become thoroughly acquainted with the native population, their history, manners, and usages.
Our engraving, taken from an original drawing presented by Sir Alexander Johnston to the Royal Asiatic Society, contains portraits of Colonel Mackenzie, and of three distinguished Brahmins of the three leading sects in the South of India*. Through the assistance of these intelligent natives, the Colonel procured the valuable information contained in his collection, and to this source, and its continuation, we now look for a knowledge of the history, religion, philosophy, laws, manners, usages, agriculture, manufactures, arts and sciences, of the people of their respective sects.
Sir Alexander Johnston, knowing that the natives are anxious for the British Government to be accurately informed relative to their wants, their interests, and their usages, and that Parliament, in legislating for them, must be equally desirous to act upon the best information which can be obtained, called attention to the subject two years ago. He recommended that the House of Commons should take measures for completing the Mackenzie Collection, through the natives themselves, in order that the British public might be guided by correct information, in their mercantile transactions with the East,. and that the
* in the back-ground, is represented the celebrated co.ossal figure of Buddha, in a temple on a hill in the South of India; thU is a great object of worship amongst the sect of Jains, respecting whose history Colonel Mackenzie has collected much curious information.
natives should be encouraged to introduce European arts, sciences, and literature. The natural tendency of those measures would be to render the people capable of enjoying such of the rights and privileges of British subjects, and such of the free institutions of the British constitution, as might be found applicable to the state of their manners, and to the situation of their country. The following is the substance of Sir Alexander's Evidence;
During the period of ten years that I was Chief Justice and President of His Majesty's Council in the island of Ceylon, I devoted my attention to the history of every part of India, and I made two journeys by land, from Capo Comorin to Madras, for the express purpose of inquiring on the spot into the history, religion, laws, and customs of the Hindoos.
Colonel Mackenzie, with whom I was intimately acquainted, was a native of the island of Lewis. When a very young man, he was much patronized, on account of his mathematical knowledge, by Lord Seaforth, and my late grandfather Francis, the fifth Lord Napier of Merchistoun. He was for some time employed by the latter, then about to write a life of his ancestor, John Napier of Merchistoun, the inventor of logarithms, to collect for him, with a view to that life, from works relating to India, an account of the knowledge which the Hindoos possessed of mathematics and of logarithms. Mr. Mackenzie, after the death of Lord Napier, being desirous of prosecuting his oriental researches in India, Lord Seaforth got him appointed to the engineers at Madras, and gave him letters of introduction to the late Lord Macartney, then governor of that presidency, and to my father, who held a high situation under his lordship at Madura, (described by Ptolemy as the Regio Pandionis of the South of India,) anciently the capital of the Hindoo kingdom and the seat of a Hindoo college, celebrated, from the fifth to the tenth century, for the knowledge which its members had acquired in astronomy, and in mathematics. My mother, who was the daughter of Mr. Mackenzie's friend and early patron, Lord Napier, and who, in consequence of her father's death, had determined, herself, to write the life of the inventor of the logarithms, resided at that time with my father at Madura, and employed the most distinguished Brahmins in the neighbourhood in collecting information relative to the knowledge of the Hindoos in mathematics and astronomy. Knowing that Mr. Mackenzie had been employed by her father in inquiries similar to those in which she was then engaged, and wishing to have his assistance, my father invited him to Madura, and there introduced hirn to the Brahmins and other literary natives.
Mr. Mackenzie soon discovered that the roost valuable materials for an account of India, might be collected in different parts of the peninsula, and during bis residence at Madura, first formed the plan of making his collection. This afterwards became the favourite object of his pursuit for thirty-eight years, and now forms the most extensive and the most valuable collection of historical documents relative to India ever made.
It was Colonel Mackenzie's wish, if he had survived till he had completed his collection, to return to England, and to arrange it. In 1817, being myself about to return to England from Ceylon, I went to Madras to take leave of him. He, in consequence of the long friendship which had subsisted between us, and his belief that we should not meet again, addressed to mo a letter, giving a detailed account of his labours, and requesting me, in case of his death, to publish it. On my arrival in England, I explained to Mr. Grant, then Chairman of the Court of Directors, the desirableness of allowing Colonel Mackenzie to come) to England, to arrange his valuable materials. Mr. Grant liberally agreed to propose to the Court of Directors that the Colonel should come to E^Tlnnd, upon full pay and allowances for three years; but m ta~ ..man fime I received intelligence of the Colonel's death in Bengal.
Soon after, according to his desire, I published his letter, and also wrote to the Marquis of Hastings, the Governor General of India, calling his attention to the value of the Mackenzie Collection, adding, what I knew to be the fact, that the colonel had laid out upwards of 15,000/. of his own money, in making it. His lordship, a short time afterwards, purchased thu whole colletsUpu tot the East India Company, from Colonel Mackenzie's widow, for 10,000/.
There rt a catalogue of the Cellectioh in two octavo volumes, which Mr. Wilson, Professor of Sanscrit, at Oxford, formed some years ago, partly from the colonel's letter, and partly from a list which his Brahmins had drawn up previous to his death. It contains, in addition to the materials connected With the general history of India* very extensive information relative to the state of the drama, and that of painting and sculpture, in different ages, among the Hindoos. It is known to those who have attended to the subject, that dramatic compositions, and pictorial and sculptural representations, had been used from time immemorial, by the Hindoo Governments, as the most efficient medium through which they could circulate amongst the people, historical, moral, and political knowledge, and a feeling in favour of the state of society which they were desirous of supporting.
In 1806,1 sent to Mr. Fox a plan for introducing a system of government throughout British India, more in conformity than the one which prevailed, with the principles of the British Constitution; and it occurred to me, that agreeably to the ancient custom of the country, dramas, pictures, and works of sculpture, might be used as the means of circulating the requisite knowledge among the people. I therefore requested Colonel Mackenzie to make for me such a collection of works of this nature, as would enable the British Government to ascertain what had been done by such tnean9, and what measures ought to be taken, for inculcating among the people, by similar means, such knowledge as might be applicable to the system they might wish to introduce, and the state of society which they might wish to form.
I am of opinion, that Government ought now to employ the Royal Asiatic Society, to report on the particular descriptions of knowledge which have hitherto been circulated by the Hindoo Governments amongst the population, by means of paintings and other works of art, and also, of what ought now to be circulated by similar means. I am also of opinion, that able writers and artists, in this country, should bo employed to execute works, for the purpose of being sent out to India, at the public expense, and exhibited in every part of the British territories. Such measures would have the effect of raising the moral and political character of the natives, of furnishing specimens of art for their imitation, and of encouraging writers and artists in Great Britain, profitably to devote their talents to the improvement of millions of their fellow-subjects.
I think also, that considering the importance of the object, Parliament ought to authorise the necessary expenditure, to complete the Mackenzie Collection. This would show the people of India, that Parliament is anxious to obtain a thorough knowledge of the Indian Empire, for whose interest it is constantly called upon to legislate, and convince the people, that it has not only the desire, but also the means, of becoming acquainted with their institutions, and of adapting the measures which they may introduce into India, to the peculiar eircumstances of the country, and to the manners and feelings of the people.
The Brahmin who, in Colonel Mackenzie's lifetime, had the superintendence of all the learned natives employed by him, and » thoroughly acquainted with the plan upon which the colonel intended to have earned on his researches, is still alive; and Captain Harkness, of the Madras Army, who has devoted his attention for many years to the same pursuits as Colonel Mackenzie, is thoroughly acquainted with India, and also well quahhed to continue the researches in which the colonel was engaged; this gentleman is now in England, and is willing to afford his assistance. I therefore propose, that Government should authorize the Royal Asiatio Society to take such steps, tn communication with the Brahmin, and with Captain Harkness, as they may deem necessary to complete the Mackenzie Collection; and that the Governor General of India, and the Governors of Bombay and Madras, be authorized to give them assistance in every part of the British territories in India.
Kavelli Venkata Lakshmiyah, the only survivor of the three Brahmins before mentioned, is still living at Madras*, and to him Sir Alexander addressed
• He is President of the'Literary Society or Hindoosi in communication with the Royal Asiatic Society of London. The figure it the right hand of the print, holding a telescope, is a portrait ol nun, and was much like nun at the time it was taken. At the recent anniversary dinner of the Utter Society, the health of the learned Brahmin was «iven by Sir A. Johnston, and drank with great applause.
a letter, recommending him to take measures for attaining the literary and scientific objects which had been suggested. Immediately on receipt of this letter, with a copy of the Evidence, thi6 enlightened Indian, with some of the ablest of his countrymen, formed at Madras a Literary Society, consisting of two hundred of the most zealous and the best-informed natives of the place. Their principal object is to complete the Mackenzie Collection; to introduce amongst their countrymen the most useful branches of European arts, sciences, and literature; and to collect, for the Royal Asiatic Society in England such local information, relative to the domestic habits, usages, and wants of the people, as will enable traders and manufacturers in this country to know what description of articles are most suitable to the Indian market.
Following up the valuable suggestions given in his Evidence, Sir Alexander, as Chairman of their Committee of Correspondence, lately recommended to the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, the frequent publication of those important communications which the Society receives from official and other persons connected with the East, both in this country and abroad. This suggestion has been adopted, and, under the immediate direction of that powerful and influential body, a journal is to appear, in which information of the highest importance, of undoubted authenticity, and such as could be obtained through no other channel, will be periodically conveyed to the public.
It is a false and indolent humility, which makes people sit still and do nothing, because they will not believe they arecapable of doing much, for every body can do something. Every body can set a good example, be it to many or to few; every body can in some degree, encourage virtue and religion, and discountenance vice and folly; every body has some one whom they can advise and instruct, or in some way help to guide through life. Miss Talbot.
Assure yourself, that employment is one of the best remedies for the disappointments of life. Let even your calamity have the liberal effect of occupying you in some active virtue, so shall you in a manner remember otners, till you forget yourself.—Pratt.
Every day is a little life, and our whole life but a day repeated; whence it is that old Jacob numbered his life by days • and Moses desires to be taught this holy arithmetic, to number not his years but his days. Those, therefore, that dare lose a day, are dangerously prodigal; those tuat dare mispend it, desperate. Bishop Hall.
The sacted duty of an adviser (one of the most inviolable that exists,) would lead me, towards a real enemy, to act as if my best friend were the party concerned.—-burhb.
Titers are few conditions which do not entangle us with earthly hopes and fears, from which it is necessary to be at intervals disencumbered, that we may place ourselves in His presence, who views effects in their causes, and actions in their motives; that we may, as Chillingworth expresses it consider things, as if there were no other beings m the world but God and ourselves; or, to use language yet more awful "may eoinmune with our own hearts, and be stilL
Death, says Seneca, falls heavy upon him who is too much known to others, and too little to himself; and Pontanus, a man celebrated among the early restorers of literature, thought the study of our own hearts of so much importance, that he has recommended it from his tomb. "I am Pontanus, beloved by the powers of literature, admired by men of worth, and dignified by the monarchs of the world. Thou knowest now who I am, or more nmnerlv who I was. For thee, stranger, I who am in Trkness cannot know thee, but I enUeat thee to know thyself."—Johnson.
NOTES FROM A TRAVELLERS SCRAP-BOOK.
No. II. Travelling In Switzerland. Lake Of Zurich. Rocky Scenery. Swiss Lakes. Vulture's Nest. WallenStadt. The Via Mala. Sagacity Of The Mule. Splugen.
During my stay at Zurich, I became acquainted with Dr. Ebel, who is so well known to all travellers and tourists in Switzerland, by his minute and accurate descriptions of every part of that interesting land. It was at the suggestion of this gentleman that we determined to undertake a journey to the Splugen Pass, which is the most frequented route of communication in the large frontier canton of the Grisons, between Germany and Italy. This passage is very lofty, being more than 6000 feet above the level of the ocean; and there is no part of the Alps which presents more grand and awful scenery.
Through the kindness of the Doctor we were provided with an excellent guide, and furnished with all the information requisite to enable us to perform the journey with interest and comfort.
Upon quitting the town of Zurich, we embarked upon the beautiful lake of that name, in one of the boats which serve as the ordinary means of communication between the different places on its banks. As we sailed along, we had full leisure to enjoy the delightful scenery which on every side met the eye. The country around, which is fertile and well-cultivated, presented a rich and varied picture, exhibiting a constant succession of smiling and picturesque landscapes; for nowhere, indeed, does nature appear in a more pleasing and graceful form, than on the banks of this lake. We landed near Utznach; and proceeded at once to Wesen, where we supped and slept. This little town is situated at the western end of the lake of Wallenstadt; and its appearance is not very prepossessing. In 1799 and 1800, it experienced largely the horrors of warfare; as it lay, unfortunately, in the track of the armies passing to and from Italy. The Austrians and Russians, and French, alternately occupied it; and all alike plundered the poor inhabitants. The rapacity of the soldiers left nothing untouched; the very cattle upon the tops of the mountains were not even spared.
In the morning, we commenced our course upon the lake of Wallenstadt, using the ordinary mode of conveyance. The scenery which now opened upon our view was of a wholly different character from that which we had enjoyed so much the day before; but it possessed charms equally great. Rocks of a rugged form, rising precipitately out of the deep waters, and shooting up to a towering height, enclosed us on either side; and here and there were to be seen wild torrents, dashing swiftly over the mountainheights, and pouring themselves into the lake beneath, with a loud roar. The savage sublimity of the scene rendered it one of the most impressive which I had ever witnessed; and it is still powerfully riveted on my memory.
The navigation of this lake has the reputation of being extremely dangerous; and in this respect the Wallenstadt resembles those other of the Swiss lakes which are enclosed as it is by mountains. Although the danger may be somewhat exaggerated, it is nevertheless easy for one who has looked upon the frightful rocks which bound the waters of the lake to conceive, that a boat overtaken by a sudden storm would be in a position of very considerable peril; and the boats which are in general use are certainly not calculated to bear the slightest rough weather, being, as M. Simond calls them, " mere square boxes, rowing and sailing equally ill."
The most dangerous wind is that which blows from the north; it strikes against the lofty rocks which line the southern shore of the lake, and then falling vertically upon the water, furrows its surface into short irregular waves of a fearful height. The boatmen are subjected to very strict police-regulations; they are ordered, to keep always, when the weather is doubtful, close to the southern shore, which affords more places of shelter than the northern; and they are forbidden to venture out at all, during a storm. Besides, they are not allowed to make use of the same boat for more than three years.
This lake, especially its northern bank, is much haunted by the celebrated Lammergeyer, or Bearded Vulture; the largest, next to the Condor of the Andes, of all the known birds of prey. This creature is the scourge of the flocks which graze in the Alpine valleys; it attacks and carries off sheep, lambs, kids, calves, and even large dogs
Dr. Ebel tells a story of this animal, which at once illustrates its bold daring, and exhibits an instance of the cool intrepidity of those men who pursue the perilous occupation of the chase, in these wild regions. A young hunter, having discovered the nest of a Lammergeyer, on the southern shore of the lake of Wallenstadt, killed the male, and then taking off his shoes, crept along a narrow shelf of rock, till he came just under the hole where the four little ones were deposited. While in the very act of raising his left arm to take them out of the nest, the mother pounced fiercly down upon him from above, and stuck her talons in the uplifted arm, and her beak in his side. The hunter's position was perilous; for the least struggle with his powerful antagonist, might have sent him headlong down the precipice. But his presence of mind did not forsake him. He remained quite still and motionless for some minutes; then slowly resting the stock of his gun against his feet, turned the muzzle upon the poor bird, and pulling the trigger with his toe, shot her dead. The same author observes, also, that a Lammergeyer has been seen to carry off a dog before his master's eyes, to some neighbouring rocks, and there enjoy a comfortable repast, in quiet security.
We soon reached the small town of Wallenstadt, at the eastern extremity of the lake, and there we breakfasted; we then hired cars, such as are generally used for the purposes of conveyance in this part of the country, and proceeded to Sargans, along a fine valley in a high state of cultivation, with magnificent mountains on either side of us. Quitting Sargans we approached the Rhine, and continued our route along the almost ruined valley of that desolating river to Coire, the capital of the canton of the Grisons. Here we were compelled to quit our carriages, and betake ourselves to the backs of mules, for the road on which our journey lay would not allow the passage of any description of wheeled vehicle, not even of a wheel-barrow. Our intention was to proceed to Tusis, and there pass the night; and, considering the circumstance that ladies were of the party, the distance was amply sufficient.
There was an effect which these mountain journeying* never failed to produce,—to furnish us with remarkably keen appetites; it will, therefore, be readily believed, that we expected, with no small anxiety, the period of our arrival at Tusis, where we anticipated the enjoyment of a good supper, and the luxury of repose after the toils of the day. At length we reached the long-wished-for inn; and heartily glad were we all to alight from our mules, and to set the whole house in commotion, to prepare us a repast wherewith to satisfy our hunger. But before many minutes had elapsed, circumstances had occurred which rendered it advisable for us to quit Tusis immediately, and resume our journey. This was a sad disappointment, not less to the mules than to ourselves; the poor beasts were ordered back to the door; and the baggage having been fixed, and the ladies mounted, we set out again, intending to reach Andeer, or if possible, the village of Splugen itself. But our vexation soon began to dissipate, under the influence of the sublime scenery which soon broke upon our view.
We were fast approaching the Via Mala, which is the name (and a very appropriate one too), given to the road, if such it can be called, which leads across one of the most remarkable gorges in Switzerland. It extends along a deep ravine, formed by the bases of mountains, rising to the height of 6000, and even 8000 feet, above the torrent which separates them. The path, which is cut" on the face of the rock, is from three to four feet in breadth; it is sometimes on the left, and sometimes on the right side of the gulf, which it crosses by three bridges; these are built at a very great height, one of them 480 feet above the river, (which is the Lower Rhine,) because there the ravine is generally much narrower; in many places, indeed, its sides are not 50 feet apart. It requires a firm head to look steadily down from this amazing height, at the struggling torrent below, which is seen dashing along, raging and foaming, and throwing its agitated waters far and wide against the rocky walls of its contracted prison; and so great is the depth, that all its mighty roarings only reach the ear in murmurs. The scenery was at times so grand and awful as to bring us to a dead stop. Here the path appeared to end abruptly at the face of a high and perpendicular rock; there it seemed to terminate at the very edge of a precipice; in some places, the path was so narrow as almost to deny a safe footing; and, as on one side of it, the mountain rose so steep as to be totally inaccessible, and on the other, fell so rapidly as to be little else than a precipice. Arm nerves were required to induce one to proceed. The road was very bad, even for us who walked, and deliberately chose our footing; how the mules kept theirs I never could discover; nor could I ever have supposed, that females would have the courage to sit perched on their backs, suspended absolutely over precipices nearly 2000 feet deep. It rather appeared, as if the mules actually desired to terrify them, for they invariably walked as close to the edge of the precipice as they could, consistently with their own safety; so close, that by no possibility could any one have alighted from a mule on that side. But this habit the creatures acquire, to give themselves as much room as possible, and to prevent the packages with which they are in general burdened, from striking against the steep banks or projecting rocks, which would inevitably, when they were treading on the smooth slippery granite, throw them from their well-poised balance, and hurl them at once down the gulf to certain destruction. If, however, the mule is left to his own sagacity, and to step where he pleases, and feels no check on his mouth, he contrives almost invariably, to steer clear of all obstacles, and to track his way, where few men could wish, and where many men would not be able, to walk or to find a footing.
To a stranger, the mode in which they are shod, appears eminently adapted to ensure their stumbling. A cat's foot stuck with pitch in an oyster-shell, will convey, perhaps, the clearest notion of it; that is, they walk with their feet in an iron cap, and that, too, over rounded rocks, as slippery as glass; along the granite tracks, where the thundering avalanches yearly sweep all before them, bringing down mountains of snow, huge masses of rocks, and numbers of
fir-trees, any thing like a road is impossible; the animals consequently wind their way over the slanting and slippery face of the native rocks, where literally, for very many yards together, I have been compelled to walk with as much caution and deliberation, as if treading on the very smoothest ice; and, in fact, without the aid of the iron pointed staff, I could not occasionally have kept my footing, but must have shuffled along on hands and knees, or walked without my shoes. Yet these sagacious creatures bore their lovely burdens in perfect safety, nor ever once stumbled; where the path was very bad, they indeed seemed to walk as much with their nose as with their feet, for it was as close to the ground, but provided they had the liberty to carry their noses just as they pleased, and to step as fast or as slow as they thought proper, it appeared to be a matter of great indifference to them, whether the road was good, bad, or indifferent.
The defile of the Via Mala is nearly four miles in length; so that by the time we had reached its termination, our minds were strongly impressed with the wildness and sublimity of its scenery. But we soon experienced an agreeable contrast to its grandeur, in the calm repose and security of the valley of Schams; which, though not possessing much natural beauty, has a peculiar charm for the traveller who just emerges from the savage gloom of the Via Mala.
When we reached the Andeer, we found that we might still push on to Spliigen; and in due time we arrived at this latter place, and made the best of our way to its inn. There we had a blazing fire quickly made, (and we stood much in need of it,) ordering a large supply of the best and driest wood that could be procured, to be brought into the room. Nor did we forget the supper; the fare was not very sumptuous, but we were not very delicate. We made ourselves tolerably comfortable, and retired to bed as heartily tired, and as reasonably happy, as people in such circumstances could be possibly expected to be.
E. D. B.
In every copse and sheltered dell,
Unveiled to the observant eye, Are faithful Monitors, who tell
How pass the hours and seasons by.
The green-robed children of the Spring
Will mark the periods as they pass, Mingle with leaves Time's feathered wing,
And bind with (lowers his silent glass.
Mark where transparent waters glide.
Soft flowing o'er their tranquil bed; There, cradled on the dimpling tide,
Nymph&a rests her lovely head;
But, conscious of the earliest beam,
She rises from her humid nest, And sees reflected on the stream
The virgin whiteness of her breastTill the bright day-star to the west
Declines, in ocean's surge to lave; Then, folded in her modest vest,
She slumbers on the rocking wave.
See Nieracium's various tribe.
Of plumy seed and radiate flowers,
And wake or sleep appointed hours.
Broad o'er its imbricated cup
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays, But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noontide blaze.
Pale as a pensive cloistered nun,
The Bethlem Star her face unveils, When o'er the mountain peers the sun,
But shades it from the vesper gales.
Among the loose and arid sands
The humble Arenaria creeps; Slowly the purple star expands,
But soon within the calyx sleeps.
And those small bells, so lightly rayed
With young Aurora's rosy hue, Are to the noontide sun displayed,
But shut their plaits against the dew.
On upland slopes, the shepherds mark
The hour, when, as the dial true,'
Lifts her soft eyes, serenely blue.
Gatherest thy fringed mantle round
When night-drops bathe the turfy ground. Unlike Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light; But, when the evening crescent shines,
Gives all her sweetness to the night.
Thus in each flower and simple bell,
That in our jiath betrodden lie, Are sweet remembrances who tell
How fast their winged moments fly.—C. Smith.
FAMILIAR ILLUSTRATIONS OF EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE.
Curistiakitt has every thing to hope, and nothing to fear, from Philosophy.—Chalmers.
Let not your recreations be lavish spenders of your time; but choose such which are healthful, short, transient, recreative, and apt to refresh you; but at no period dwell upon them, or make them your great employment; for he that spends his time in sports, and calls it recreation, is like him whose garment is all made of fringes, and his meat nothing but sauces; they are healthless, chargeable, and useless. And, therefore, avoid such games which require much time or long attendance, or which are apt to steal thy affections from more severe employments. For, to whatsoever thou hast given thy affections, thou wilt not grudge to give thy time. Natural necessity teaches us, that it is lawful to relax and unbend our bow, but not to suffer it to be unready or unstrung.—Jeremy Taylor.
We can scarcely imagine that any of our readers are so insensible to the beautiful arrangements exhibited in all the works of God, as not occasionally to feel a desire to investigate, and to thoroughly understand, those arrangements. We live in a world of wonders. Not only is man himself " fearfully and wonderfully made," but every object within the limits of our observation, above us, beneath us, and around us, presents some remarkable properties connected with its original structure, its gradual developement, its successive changes, or its ultimate design.
The light of modern science has revealed to us many important secrets. We say modern science, because the time was, when even in this highly-favoured land, as well as in other countries, a mysterious veil interposed between many of the most simple and most useful productions, the materials of which they were composed, and the modes of their formation.
It is not necessary for us all to become philosophers, but there is no good reason why people in general should not make themselves acquainted with some of those phenomena which are of daily recurrence, which may be as well understood by the cottager and the artisan, as by the merchant and the manufacturer, and which are equally interesting, instructive, and important to men in all the varied walks of life.
In the dark days to which we have already alluded, there were but few books, and these could be obtained only by persons possessed of wealth, and, when obtained, could be understood only by such as had participated in the scantily-diffused blessings of education. In writing books, especially on scientific subjects, it was then the fashion to employ a language (Latin) which could be read only by a select few; and, as if for the purpose of making the subject treated of the more difficult and perplexing, the authors employed such absurd illustrations and symbols, that fully justified the emphatic inquiry, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ?"—Job. xxxviii. 2.
These days have happily passed away. The age in which we live is characterized by views of natural phenomena, at once rational and consistent with facts, experiments, and observation; whilst the means employed in extensively diffusing the knowledge of such subjects receive the support, and command the approval of the patriot, the philanthropist, and the Christian.
Whatever may be the sphere of our operations,— if it be in the field, or on the mountain-top, with the Botanist,—in the forest or the menagerie with the Zoologist,—in the open plain or in the observatory with the Astronomer,—in the dark recesses of the mine, or the cleft of an over-hanging rock, with the Geologist,—in the museum with the Antiquary,—or in. the laboratory with the Chemist,—we desire to keep constantly before us the impressive truth, that the grand aim of all our labours should be, to glorify God in the contemplation of his works.
To the laboratory of the Chemist wc now invite our readers, whilst we lay before them, at intervals, a series of papers, under the above general title.
No. I. Indestructibility Of Matter.
Before \Ye ente* upon those minute details, that illustrate pi. explain the laws whose operations determine ^v ^tatohty, or accelerate, modify, and con.