Imágenes de páginas
PDF

turned to our cutter for the night. The shore and the boats were filled with people, young and old, fishing for the coal-fish, which bears different names, cuddy, sithe, sillock, &c, according to the period of its growth, not attaining its full size till the fourth year of its age. It affords a plentiful harvest to the fisherman. The readiness of these and other fish to bite on this prosperous evening, was quite astonishing. The real benefit which the islanders derive from this easy substitute for more adventurous and far more lucrative sea-fishing, may be questioned. There are few people, to whom the temptation to the indolent enjoyment of slender profits, purchased at the cost of little labour, is more agreeable, and consequently more dangerous, than to these islanders: a people when fairly put upon their mettle, capable of arduous and daring exertion, but ready to grasp at every pretext for avoiding it, when not absolutely necessary. The coal-fish furnishes not only food, but oil to the rude lamp of the Highlander. Thus, according to the benignant economy of Providence, the ocean supplies, at his own door, the materials for illuminating the page, from which the light of fancy, of reason, or of religion, beams on the mind of the imaginative and intelligent native of these dark and stormy regions.

Egg, Rum, Muck, and Canna, form the group called the Small Isles. Egg contains 6000 acres, of which one sixth is arable. Its population has been diminished by emigration. These islands constitute one parish, served by two ministers, one of whom is a missionary. The Catholic priest who officiates in Egg and Canna, resides in the former. It must be regretted, that the School of the Gaelic School Society has been discontinued, that institution shifting the position of its schools, in order to diffuse instruction to the utmost extent of its funds.

Rum, a huge pile of mountains, is famous for its breed of horses, originally planted here by a vessel belonging to the Spanish Armada, and for the production of a beautiful blood-stone. To the mountains of Rum Sir Walter Scott has most appropriately applied the epithet "dark." Of this island Dr. Macculloch observes: "There is a great deal of stormy magnificence about the lofty cliffs, as there is generally all round the shores of Rum; and they are in most places as abrupt, as they are inaccessible from sea. The interior is one heap of rude mountains, scarcely possessing an acre of level land. It is the wildest and most repulsive of all the islands. The outlines of Halival and

Haskeval are indeed elegant, and render the island a beautiful and striking object from the sea. In some places, extensive surfaces of bare rock are divided into polygonal compartments, so as to resemble the grand natural pavements of Staffa, but with an effect infinitely more striking. If it is not always bad weather in Rum, it cannot be good very often, since, on seven or eight occasions that I have passed it, there has been a storm, and on seven or eight more in which I have landed, it was never without expectation of being turned into a cod-fish."

The mountainous islands among which Rum is prominent, are, in fact, barrier crags which intercept the vapours of the Atlantic. Thus Ireland, to borrow the peculiarly poetical metaphor of a physician residing in Cornwall, who has written a book in commendation of its climate, serves as " an umbrella" to that fortunate extremity of our island. But to the difference of climate resulting from local circumstances, we shall have occasion to advert hereafter; a subject on which the pedestrian can offer the testimony of personal experience.

The principal curiosity in Canna, is a rock possessing magnetic influence, which affects the compass. "But such disturbances," says Macculloch, " are neither peculiar to that point, nor even to this island. Deviations of the needle, produced by the influence of rocks or land, are very frequent throughout all the basaltic islands of this coast, and, in many places, the influence is such, and so extensive, as to affect the ordinary variation of the compass when at sea." The scenery of this island is highly picturesque.

Muck yields good pasturage. This island frequently suffers extremely from the want of fuel, occasioned by the deficiency of peat, a source of wealth and comfort, the value of which can be only fully appreciated when severely felt. The peat is conveyed to Muck from the main-land in boats, often so heavily laden as to risk being swamped. We found Egg subject to a similar inconvenience, caused by the perpetual rain, which had prevented the drying of the peat. The more prompt and industrious among the highlanders will not, however, admit this excuse, and assert that whenever the people are quick in seizing the opportunity, they infallibly secure a good dry stock of fuel. On the opposite coast the peat is piled under the roofs of the houses. It is thought that the increased facilities for procuring coal, would enable the people to purchase it often at a cheaper rate than peat.

P. S. Q. R.

[graphic][ocr errors]

LONDON :,Published by JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, West Strand; and iold by all Booludlei*.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

[graphic][merged small]

THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT, Or, Eve's Apple Tree Op Ceylon.

The island of Ceylon is situated between the sixth and tenth parallels of North latitude; winter is consequently unknown, and it enjoys a summer which may be styled perennial. The. richness and variety of its natural productions are indescribably great, though it is remarkable that ihe soil of the country contains a very small proportion of vegetable matter j a fact attributable, probably, to the high temperature of the climate *, which produces rapid decomposition, and to the heavy rains which prevent its accumulation. The soils, according to Dr. Davy, are derived from the decomposition of gneiss, of granitic rock, or of clay iron-stone; and in many cases, quartz constitutes more than nine-tenths of the whole. Of this the principal cinnamon-garden, in the neighbourhood of Colombo, is a singular instance; in many places the surface of the ground is as white as snow, being a pure quartz-sand: a few inches below the surface, where the roots of the plant penetrate, it is of a gray colour, and, upon being analyzed, was found to consist of more than ninety-eight parts of siliceous sand, to one part of vegetable matter. It would appear, therefore, not a little surprising, that cinnamon should succeed best on so poor a soil, but this success is attributable to the operation of other circumstances.

The peculiarities of the climate of Ceylon cause its productions to differ very much on the opposite coasts; the Falmyra-tree (Borassus flabeViformis,) for instance, which is extensively cultivated on the northern side, is hardly to be met with on the south; while, on the contrary, the Coco-tree, fCocos uuci/eraj, which forms a sort of continuous garden in the south, cannot be grown on the north: in, fact, all vegetable productions requiring a moist soil succeed best on the south-west side, and those requiring a dry one, on the north and north-east sides of the island. The seeds of all European plants degenerate very much, and, in a few years, yield but very indifferent returns: to preserve the quality, the importation requires to be renewed almost every year; but some of the indigenous plants flourish with wonderful vigour.

Dr. Davy remarks, that the geology and mineralogy of Ceylon, have not yet received that attention which their importance demands; the same observation is fairly applicable to the other branches of the natural history of this beautiful and valuable possession of the British Empire. We are thus unfortunately precluded from giving any very detailed description of the botanical curiosity, of which we this week present an engraving, executed from original drawings, kindly furnished to us with that view, by the Right Hon. Sir Alexander Johnston, who, while inquiring into the history of the island, had drawings made of a great many of the trees, plants, and other vegetable productions, to which any religious, political, or moral interest was attached by the native Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans, or early Christians. To that gentleman is to be ascribed, amongst other plans for the improvement of the island of Ceylon, and the developement of its resources, the suggestion, in the year 1810, of establishing a botanical garden near Colombo, which was accomplished, and of having the Linncan system translated into the Singhalese and Tamul languages, and some of the

• The following result* are given by Dr. Davy as the annual mean temperature at the different places indicated, viz.,

Trincornale, on the N.E. coast 80° 4'

Colombo, on the S.W. coast 79 0

Kami;, in the interior 73 5

The summit of Adam's Peak, about 7000 feet abave the sea, varied

ablest of the natives regularly instructed in botany. We are indebted to Mr. Moon, the late superintendent of the garden, for having arranged, according to that system, a valuable catalogue of Ceylonese plants, in the English and Singhalese languages.

The subject of our sketch occurs in this catalogue, as the Tabernamontana dichotoma of the Hortns Kewensis. Its native name is Diwi Kaduru,, and nine species of the tree are enumerated. Kaduru signifies "forbidden," and Diwi "tiger's." It thrives in a low situation with a light mixed soil, and is found near Colombo.

The flower of this extraordinary production is swd to emit a fine scent; the colour of the fruit, which hangs from the branches in a very peculiar and striking manner, is very beautiful, being orange on the outside, and a deep crimson within; the fruit itself presenting the singular appearance of having had a piece bitten out of it. This circumstance, together with the fact of its being a deadly poison, led the Mohammedans, on their first discovery of Ceylon (which they assigned as the site of Paradise), to represent it as the " forbidden fruit" of the garden of Eden; for, although the finest and most tempting in appearance of any, it had been impressed, such was their idea, with the mark of Eve's having bitten it, to warn men from meddling with a substance possessing such noxious properties f.

The traditions which connect the history of our first parents with various localities, both in Ceylon and other eastern islands, are of such ancient date, that their origin becomes a subject of curious speculation. Adam is represented by the Moormen, or Mohammedans of Ceylon, on his expulsion from Paradise, to have lamented his offence, standing on one foqt on the summit of the mountain which now bears his name; the figure of a foot is still to be traced there, but this, the Buddhists claim as a relic of their deity. Again, the reef of rocks connecting Ceylon with the island of Ramiseram, is usually called Adam's Bridge; but the Hindus, on the other hand, term it Rama's bridge, representing their hero to have crossed it, when about to attack the giant Ravana in his strong-hold; and two large monuments, like Mohammedan tombs, on the island of Ramiseram, are represented by the Mohammedans to be the tombs of Cain and Abel. Many other instances might be adduced, but they may be more properly traced at another opportunity, with the aid of the additional information which Oriental scholars are so actively engaged in gathering for the illustration of ancient history.

t We find that these particulars were furnished by Sir. A. Johnson to Captain Grimllay, in illustration of a view of the cinnamon-sank"1 from the back of Sir Alexander's house, published by Captain G. in his beautiful work on the scenery, architecture, &c, of \Ye;ic:n India aud Ceylon

No one in his heart derides religion long. What arew*— any of us? Religion will won be our only care and friend. —Palky.

No 90und should be heard in the church but the hea^nj voice of Christian charity. The cause of civil liberty s.i.4 civil government gains as little as that of religion by c. ■ fusion of duties. Those who quit their proper chararse', to assume what does not belong to them, are, for the greeti* part, ignorant both of the character they leave, and of tin character they assume. Wholly unacquainted with tin world in which they are so fond of meddling, and iacv perienced in all its affairs, on which they pronounce T-'M so much confidence, they have nothing of politics but til passions they excite. Surely the church is a place wh« one day's truco ought to be allowed to the dissensions aw animnsitinq nf mankind.——Hiirks.

ON HABITS.

Considering how deeply the principle of imitation is implanted in human nature, and how intimately it is connected with all that we say, or think, or do; and that the effect of this principle is to establish an undistinguishing rule of action, and an indolent subservience to custom, we need not be much surprised to find man, too frequently, the mere slave of habit.

From his earliest infancy, indeed, he is occupied, almost unconsciously, in forming a system of habits, by which his daily life is regulated, and on which, more or less, his future happiness or misery depends. It can scarcely, however, be supposed, that judgment or foresight have much, if any, part, in these first beginnings; and the result must mainly depend on the associations presented to the mind of each individual, and the character of those by whom he is surrounded. In maturer years, when this system comes to be submitted to the test of a strict examination, and to be reformed by the rule of experience, often dearly bought, a task is frequently to be commenced, which' it requires all the courage of the most stout-hearted to engage in; and happy is he who, when he shall have detected the defects of the structure which has been thus almost imperceptibly raised, can set himself resolutely, and without hesitation, to pull down all that is unsightly, useless, or pernicious in its parts, even although the foundation itself is involved. Having formed his resolution, let him that instant set about the execution of it, and let him rest assured he will have occasion for all the energies he can bring to the task. If it be true that a freedom from error, and an honest reception of truth, constitute our happiness in this life, as well as our title to a better, it will follow that no sacrifice we can make in the pursuit of such an object can be too great; and if we proceed upon a well-grounded conviction that there is no uncertainty in the matter, it will also follow that the exertion must, in course of time, succeed.

But alas! We are too willing to put off the evil day, and while we are dallying with every trifle in our path, instead of resolutely girding ourselves up to the effort, time steals on, and life languishes, at best only a succession of failures which serve but more strongly to rivet our chain.

To say nothing of the acknowledged consequences of open and gross vice, how many a well-intentioned scheme do we not see frustrated by some circumstance which we readily impute to chance or accident, but which, if the truth were told, may be fairly traced to a weakness, an indecision, a want of something which we have long surrendered to the tyranny of habit, and which we have not the courage to reclaim. An undistinguishing submission to the customs of the world, a dread of its censure, and an acute sensibility of its applause; an indolent acceptance of the plausibilities of error, and an aversion to the investigation of abstract truth; are fetters which we are too willing to permit to be thrown around us, and under the constraint of which, many a good purpose languishes and dies. Yet, so satisfied are we with our bonds, so corrupt is our nature, so perversely indolent, yet so sensitively proud, there is no self-deception we would not practise, rather than encounter the evil, no error we would not fall into, rather than admit its existence.

I never think of this subject without recurring to the instructive story of Obidah and the Hermit in The Rambler. Obidah is described as setting forward on his journey through the plains of Indostan; his senses ore regaled by all that could delight or

amuse him, and forgetting the toils of his journey, he steadily pursues his path till the sun reaches its meridian height. At a little distance from the high road he espies a shady-grove, which offers a tempting invitation to screen him from the glare of the mid-day sun; he enters, and, enchanted with the spot, strolls incautiously on, amusing himself with plucking flowers and listening to the sound of birds. In these amusements his hours pass away unnoticed; having wandered from the direct path, he knew not which way to travel, and he stood pensive and confused, afraid to go forward lest he should go wrong, and yet conscious that his time for loitering had long since expired. The day draws to a close. A storm comes on, and, seeking for shelter, he arrives unexpectedly at the cell of a Hermit; his story is told, and the hermit takes occasion to read him an instructive lesson, which it will be well for us all to ponder and apply to ourselves.

"Human life," says he, "is the journey of a day; temptation succeeds to temptation, and one compliance prepares the way for another; we lose in time the happiness of innocence, and we solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. We entangle ourselves in business, iinmerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through the labyrinth of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back on our lives with horror, grief, and repentance, and wish, too often vainly wish, we had not forsaken the ways of virtue and happiness.

"Happy are they who shall learn from thy example not to despair, but shall remember that though the day is past, and their strength wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return after all his errors, and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find dangers and difficulties give way before him." H.

THE COMMON BEE.

The Common Bee, or Honey-fly, is an insect of the species of the fly with four wings. This fly is of the number of those who live in association. Man ■ has subjected them to his dominion, in order to profit by their labour; and he has assembled them in kinds of baskets, or boxes, called hives, which vary in form and size in different countries.

The Bees live in a state of society; the individuals of a hive are perfectly known to each other, and they never admit a stranger into their community, excepting accidentally at swarming-time, when circumstances can so combine, that several swarms may unite and form a social brotherhood. Every society is a monarchy governed by a queen, subordinate to whom are several hundred drones, and a multitude of labourers, according to the size of the colony. It is of the latter that we are giving an account.

These insects are called common, because they, in fact, compose the community of the hive, of which the drones only form a part during a short period of time. They are also called Working Bees, because they alone bring provisions into the hive, construct the combs, nourish the brood, defend the monarchy; in one word, because they perform all the labour useful to the community.

Some authors maintain that, in the monarchy of the Bees, a regularity and an admirable subordination are to be observed; that a well-regulated distri bution of employment is remarked, as well as perfect order and concert, which must result from niiuds conspiring to the execution of the same plan; but that which in men would be the effect of reason, correspondence, or co-operation, is in the Bees but the effect of that instinct which is implanted in them by the great Creator.

We are acquainted in England but with one sort of Bees, although the foreign naturalists mention three, and some even four; but this latter kind is very rare, and has not yet been naturalized.

It is to this small, but wonderful insect, that we are indebted for all the honey and wax which form a part of our domestic and commercial relations. When we consider that the former is amassed from those small, and to us almost imperceptible, globules which are found either in the chalice of the flowers, or exude from the trees, we cannot be sufficiently impressed with admiration at the perseverance and labour of the Bee. It appears to labour less for the preservation of its own existence, than for that of its species, and the prosperity of its populous state! The days on which the honey abounds in the flowers, and on the leaves of certain trees, the Bee is observed to be uncommonly industrious, entering and leaving the hive with wonderful rapidity. The office of collecting the farina from the plants is not, however, neglected; and it is very easy to discriminate between the Bee which has been collecting honey, and that which has been collecting only farina. The shape of the former is cylindrical, that of the latter oval.

In regard to the physical description of the Bee, the most remarkable parts of it are the head, the breast, and the belly. On the former are observed two rcte mirabile eyes placed in the side, two antenna, two hard teeth or jaws, which play, on opening or shutting, from the left to the right. These teeth enable it'to collect the wax, to knead it, to construct the cells, and to remove from the hive every obnoxious thing.

Below these two teeth we observe a proboscis, which has the appearance of a thick fleshy substance, of a very shining and chesnut colour. This substance is divided into two parts, very supple at the end, and it is only seen at its full length when the Bee is employed in collecting honey, or sipping water. This proboscis is a most wonderful machine. To the simple view, it appears enveloped with four kinds of scales, which form together a channel by which the honey is conveyed. The proboscis, which is in this channel, is a muscular body, which, by means of its muscular motions, makes the honey ascend into the gullet. If the teeth be separated, we observe, at the orifice of the proboscis, an opening, which is the mouth, and above it a fleshy substance, which is the tongue. The breast is attached to the head by a very short neck; it carries four wings on it, the two last of which are longer than the other. It has six feet, on the two hinder of which are two triangular cavities, in which the Bee, by degrees, collects the particles of farina from the plants. At the extremity of the six feet are two sorts of fangs, with which the Bees attach themselves to the sides of the hive, and to each other. From the middle of these fangs, on the four hinder legs, project four bushy substances, the use of which is to collect the dust of the flowers attached to the hair of their body. These brushes have the same use as hands.

The body, properly so called, or the belly, is united to the breast by a species of thread, and is composed of six scaly rings. The whole body of the Bee appears, even to the naked eye, to be well clothed. Age makes a little difference in them, in point of colour; those of the present year are brown, and have greyish

hair; those of the preceding year have reddish hair, and the scales less brown, rather inclining to black; their wings are also often torn and fringed at the ends, by their former flights. On the breast, and on the wings of the body, are observed small orifices or pores, in the shape of a mouth, by which the Bee respires; these are the lungs, and they are technically called stygmales; this part, which is of a wonderful construction, is common to them, as to all other insects.

The interior of the belly consists of four parts,— the intestines, the honey-bag, the venom-vessel, and the sting. The intestines serve for the digestion of their food. The honey-bag, when it is filled, is as large as a small pea, transparent as crystal, and contains the honey which the Bees have collected from the flowers, and which is disgorged into the cells to nourish the hive during the winter. That which is destined for their own nourishment never enters into it, but passes through the viscera destined to the purpose of digestion. The vessel which contains the venom is at the root of the sting, along which the Bee ejects some globules, as along a tube, in order to spread into the wound. The sting is situated at the extremity of the belly of the Bee; it is about two lines in length, and enters with great rapidity, by means of certain muscles which are placed very near the sting, and which are very perceptible on squeezing the hinder part of the Bee; its extremity is barbed, the teeth of which are turned in the direction of an arrow, which enter with facility, and cannot be extracted without causing a laceration. The wound which the Bee makes is almost always fatal to it; when it wishes to withdraw . its sting, it remains in the wound, and with it the Bee loses the vessel of venom, which is at the root of the sting, and the ligaments to which it is attached. The Bee thus wounded cannot live a long time j it perishes, after having made war, in the manner of the savages, with poisoned arrows.

These details can only produce, in every rational man, a more distinct and extensive knowledge of that infinite intelligence, which has arranged the creatures of this earth, presided at their organization, and regulated their existence and configuration. There is nothing in nature which can so forcibly demonstrate to us an equally wise and powerful Author. The insects the most vile are, perhaps, more admirable in their construction than the sun and the most brilliant stars. What proportion! what harmony! what correspondence, in every part of the Bee! How many combinations, arrangements, causes, effects, and principles, which tend to the same end, and concur in the same design! What exactness, what symmetry in its little body, apparently contemptible, and so little admired by ignorant and inattentive persons! As in the greater number of animals, so we observe in the Bee, vessels without number, liquids, motions often united in an imperceptible point,—all the organs of life, the instruments of labour, the means of escaping from their enemies, weapons to command victory, and a thousand beauties which adorn its exterior form!

Every thing in these insects announces that supreme wisdom which presided at the formation of a work, so perfect, so industrious, so superior to every thing which art could ever produce. Every thing here is for our use and benefit. The Bees, in fact, make use of their wondrous qualities only for our good. It is for us that they work; and it is towards Him, therefore, who has given to them these inclinations, that we ought to express our love and gratitude.—IIuisn on Bees.

« AnteriorContinuar »