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This is a reproduction of a book from the McGill University Library 

Title: The beauties and wonders of nature and science : a collection 

of curious, interesting, and valuable information, for the 
instruction and improvement of the enquiring mind. 

Author: Gilbert, Linney 

Publisher, year: London : Thomas Holmes, [cl 840] 

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ISBN of reproduction: 978-1-926671-38-3 

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McGill University Library 


The Greenwich Railway. 






CTurious, Interesting, Sr Valuable Information, 




Assisted by his Literary Friends. 

The Peak, Derbyshire. 




( Successor to Edward Lacey,) 




T. H. Shobe, Printer, 30, Old Street, St. Luke’s. 




“ There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Thar, are dreamt of in your philosophy,’* 


The Editor of the following pages has culled a few of Nature s gems, 
but claims only the string that binds them ; from the unbounded mine of 
Creation’s wonders, he has selected a few of the most prominent, as 
affording only a sample of infinite wisdom and goodness ; to mention all, 
would require a library. As a fitting accompaniment, he has added 
some of the brightest conceptions of man’s vast ingenuity, which he has 
endeavoured to describe, faintly, but truly. 

To trace with minuteness, or follow in any manner that could be 
said to approach to fidelity of description, the mighty progress of science 
within the last half century, would be a gigantic task, which the Editor 
has neither attempted nor pretented to have accomplished. To follow in 
its wake, at a very humble distance, has been to him a pleasure and 
duty ; and if his labours induce but one inquiring mind to participate in 
that pleasure, his purpose will be gained— his utmost wishes realized. 
At the very threshold of science, many, too many, “shrink back 
affrighted these pages, it is hoped, will prove, that if it is not wholly 
“ a path of primrose dalliance,” it is, at least, free from those difficulties 
which it is usually imagined environ it. 

Like the Trumpeter in the Fable, if he did not fight himself, he has 
blown the pas de charge to other’s valor ; let us hope that he may be 
permitted to join in the Te Deum of victory. 

Where all is beautiful, it is difficult to select the brightest, yet the 
Editor trusts that he has neglected nothing which could in any way 
increase his reader’s store of intelligence and pleasure. 

He also takes the opportunity of returning his best acknowledgments 
to several talented friends, who have enriched the work with the results 
of their researches. 


Pearl Fishery of Ceylon j 

Mount Vesuvius and city of Naples 
The Falls of Niagara 
The Maelstrom 

Dangers of the Whale Fishery 

The Avalanche 

Geological Appearances 

Balloon Ascent 

Bell Rock Lighthouse 

Thames Tunnel 

The Greenwich Railway 

The Thames at Sheerness 

Comparative Magnitude of Rivers 

Strata of the Earth 

Volcanic Islands off the Azores 

Overflowing of the Nile 

Arterial System 

New London Bridge 

Great Wall of China 

Peter Botte’s Mountain 

Fingal’s Cave 

Spectre of the Brocken 

Source of the Thames 

Houses under Railway, near Deptford 

Whale Fishery 

New Houses of Parliament 

The Rialto, Venice 

The Cave of Elephanta 

Comparative Heights of Buildings 

Barcelona Gate 

Tower of London 

Bird's-eye View of the Greenwich 

Cachelot Fishery 
Uses of the Diving Bell 
Venous System 

The Crater of Mount Vesuvius 
Railway Viaduct 
The Semiphone 
Signs of (he Zodiac 
Leaning Tower of Pisa 
Eddystone Lighthouse 
Times Printing Machine 
The Rock Bridge of Virginia 
Old London Bridge, in 1666 
London Bridge, pulled down 1831 
The Present Bridge 
Tombs of the Kings of Arragon 
The Monastery of the Grand Char- 

Old St. Paul’s Cathedral 

The Devil’s Bridge, near Aberyswith 


Comparative sizes of the Planets 

Prismatic Variations 

Railway Engine 

The Telegraph 

The Peak, Derbyshire 

Railway Tunnel 

Celestial Globes 


couxi; sts. 

Page. , 

Adam’s Peak, at Ceylon 104 

Adelsberg Cave, in Carniola 218 

Admiralty Telegraph, description of . 271 

Alcantara, Bridge of 207 

Alps— Mont Blanc 1 

“ Great St. Bernard ..... ..... 6 

“ Chamois Hunting in 9 

Aqueduct of Segovia 211 

Aragon. Kings of, their Tombs 213 

Arch extraordinary, Natural one ... 67 

Arterial System 68 

Astronomy, on the study of 233 

Atmosphere the, description of 250 

Aurora Borealis, phenomena of the . . 255 

Avalanches, description of 6 

“ at Lewes in Sussex .... 9 

Balloons, History of 133 

Barcelona, description of City ...... 219 

“ Gate of 220 

Barras, the Bear Hunter, Anecdote of 28 
Barometer the, described .......... 264 

“ Musical one 265 

Bear Hunter, death bed of 9 

“ Hunting in the Pyrenees 9-28 

Bell Rock Light- House 160 

Birmingham Railway, description of 94 
Block Machinery at Portsmouth, des- 
cription of 122 

Breakwater at Plymouth, account of 144 


Bridges, Natural 185 

“ Rock at Virginia 187 

“ Golling, in the Tyrol 188 

“ Rialto at Venice 189 

“ Primitive Suspension, in 

South America, 191 

“ of the Himalaya “ 

Bridge of Alcantara, Spain 207 

Brocken, Spectre of the 62 

Cataract of Lauffen 86 

Catchelot Fishery, description of ... . 115 

Caverns — Peaks of Derbyshire .... 59 

Caves, extraordinary ones. 65 

“ of Elephanta, description of . . 215 

** of Adelsberg 218 

Celestial Globe, description of 244 

Ceres, the Planet 243 

Ceylon, Pearl Fishery of 1 48 

Chain Pier at Brighton, description of 1 39 

Chamois Hunting in the Alp3 9 

Chartreuse Grande, Monastery of . . . 224 

China, Wall of, description of 165 

Clouds, Theory of 251 

Coal, description of 46 

“ mode of working the mines of . 49 

Coral Reefs of Australasia 223 

Colosseum at Rome, description of .. 152 

Comets. 244 

Danube, description of the ltivev .. 85 




Dew, Phenomena of 253 

Diving Bell, History of the 124 

Description and Uses of. 125 
Operations of, on the 
wreck of the Royal 

George 129 

“ Blasting Rocks by means 

of 130 

“ Apparatus of Mr. James 131 

Earth, Strata of 44 

Earth, as a Planet, described 238 

Eclipses 246 

“ the Great Solar one of 1 838 

Edfou, ruins of 232 

Edystone Light-House 154 

Elephanta, Cave of 215 

AStna, description of 14 

“ Ascent of ]g 

Eye, the, compared with Optical In- 
struments 268 

Falls of the Clyde gg 

Fata Morgana, description of 102 

Fingal’s Cave, description of 65 

Fire Damp, dangers of 167 

" Safety Lamp, value of . , 168 

Ganges, River, description of 83 

Gas, History of 5 q 

Geology, Study of 42 

Geysers, (hot springs) description of 39 

Giant’s Castle in Franconia 109 

Giralda, at Seville, description of. . . . 203 

Globe, Celestial, description of • 244 

Golling, Bridge and Waterfall, in the 

Tyrol 188 

Grace Darling, her gallant conduct . . 164 

Grand Junction Railway gg 

Grande Chartreuse, Monastery of. . . . 224 

Great Western Railway gg 

Greenwich Railway gg 

Health Promoted by Railway Tra- 
velling 98 

Hecla, Mount, description of 24 

“ Ascent of 25 


Hecla, Eruptions of 26 

Hoar Frosts, Phenomena of. 253 

Hot Springs of Iceland 39 

Human Frame, description of ..... . 68 

Human Life, average duration of. . . . 72 

Islands, Volcanic, description of ... . 35 

Juno, the Planet. 243 

Jupiter, the Planet 241 

Lauffen on the Rhine, description of 86 

Light-Houses, History of 162 

“ Edystone 154 

“ Bell Rock 160 

“ Longstone 164 

Light, Theory of, fully described .... 266 

Logan Stones of Corn wall 221 

London Bridge, Old 184 

“ New 190 

Lungs (human), description of 70 

Luxor Obelisk at Paris 211 

“ Ruins of, in Egypt 227 

Maelstrom, Whirlpool of 57 

Manchester and Liverpool Railway. . 89 

Mars, the Planet 241 

Menai Bridge, description of, . 193 

Mercury, the Planet 237 

Minar, Tower of, at Delhi 204 

Mirage, description of 99 

Monk Suspension Bridge near Leeds 116 
Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, 

description of 224 

Monument of London 208 

Mont Blanc, description of 1 

“ Ascents to 2 

Moon, the description of 239 

Mosque of St. Sophia 207 

“ of Omar at Jerusalem 210 

Mountains, description of j 

“ Mont Blanc 1 

“ St, Bernard 6 

“ Pyrenees ]Q 

“ Comparative heights of, 

in the world 12 




Mountains, Mode of ascertaining the 

height of 13 

" Burning 14-18.24 

“ Peter Botte’s 30 

“ The Brocken 62 

“ Adam’s Peak 104 

Napoleon’a Triumphal Pillar at Paris 208 

Neva, description of the River ...... 85 

Newspapers, History of 183 

Niagara, Falls of 52 

Niger, description of the River 86 

Nile, overflowing of 79 

Notre Dame, Cathedral of 205 

Obelisk of Constantius, at Rome .... 228 

Optical Illusions, the Mirage 99 

“ Fata Morgana 102 

Pallas, the Planet 243 

Paper, invention of. 176 

“ Making, materials for ...... 177 

" “ by Machines 178 

Papyrus, Ancient 174 

Parliament Houses of, New 196 

Pasley, Colonel’s, mode of blowing up 

the wreck of the Royal George .. 129 

Pearl Fishery at Ceylon, description of 148 
Peter Botte’s Mountain, description of 30 

“ Ascent of 31 

Pisa, Leaning Tower at 206 

Planets, table of their mean 

distances &c, 235 

“ Description of all the 236 

Plymouth Breakwater, description of 144 

Pompey’s Pillar 145 

Porcelain Tower, at Nankin 205 

Printing Machine, the Times, des- 
cription of 171-3 

“ Process of 180 

“ Stereotype 181 

Pulse, the, description of 71 

Pyrenees, Bear Hunting in 9-28 

Description of 10 

“ Effects of a Storm in 63 

Dangers of Travelling in . . 64 


Pyramids of Egypt, description of . .. 197 

Railways, History of., 87 

“ Manchester and Liverpool 89 

“ Greenwich 92 

“ Birmingham 94 

" Grand Junction 95 

“ Great Western “ 

“ Southampton 96 

“ Monopoly of “ 

“ Englishman’s opinion of . . 97 

“ Yankee’s opinion of ..... . “ 

:t Cockney Lady’s precau- 
tions on travelling by . . 98 

“ Benefit of, on health, ..... 98 

“ Mileage Duties 99 

Rain, cause of 252 

Rhine, description of 84 

Rhone, description of 85 

Rialto at Venice 189 

Rivers, description of. 73 

” Comparative length of 78 

Nile 79 

“ Thames 82 

“ Ganges . 83 

“ Vistula 84 

“ Tiber “ 

“ Rhine “ 

“ Danube 85 

“ Rhone “ 

“ Neva « 

“ Niger 86 

Riukand of Norway 27 

Rocks, Labyrinth of, in Silesia 164 

“ blasting of, by the Diving Bell 131 

Rock Bridge at Virginia, N. A 187 

Ruins of the Colosseum at Rome .... 152 

“ of Thebes, description of .... 226 

“ Luxor 227 

“ Edfou 232 

Safety Lamp, value of 188 

Salisbury Cathedral, description of . . 202 

Saturn, the Planet 242 




Scratckell’s Bay, Isle of Wight ..... 147 I 

Smoking Cataract, (the Riukand) ot 

Norway 27 

Snow, description of 259 

“ Sellers of Italy, trade of 260 

“ bouses of the Esquimaux 261 

Solar System, description of 234 

Southampton Railway, description of . 96 

Spectre of the Brocken 62 

Sphinx at Egypt 212 

Steam, familiar description of 274 

“ Engine, History of. 275 

“ As a locomotive power .... 278 

“ Boats, invention of 279 

“ Progress of, in England .... 280 I 

Sterolyping, description of 181 

St. Paul’s Cathedral, description of. . 202 

“ Old Cathedral 228 

St. Peter’s at Rome, description of .. 199 

Stonehenge, description of ........ 107 

Storm in the Pyrenees, description of 63 

Strata of the Earth, Table of 44-5 

Strasburg Cathedral, description of . . 201 

Submarine Weighing Machines .... 132 

Sun, the, description of 236 

Suspension Bridges, Menai 193 

“ over the Avon. . 194 

“ over the Aire . . “ 

“ the Monk .... 195 

“ over the Tees . . 192 

Sword Fish, its enmity to the Whale. 120 
Telegraph, Admiralty, described .... 271 
Telegraph, Davy’s, electrical .... 273 

Thames, description of 82 

* Tunnel, full description of.. 141 


Thames Tunnel, Mode of working at 142 
•• Shield used at .... “ 

Thebes, Ruins of 226 

Thermometer the, described 262 

Tiber, description of 84 

Times Newspaper Establishment. ... 170 

“ Printing Machine, description 

of 171-3 

Tombs of the Kings of Aragon 213 

Tower of London, description of .... 230 

Trajan’s Column at Rome 209 

Venus, the Planet 238 

Venous System, description of 68 

Vesuvius, description of 18 

“ Eruptions of 20 

“ Ascent of 20 

Vesta, the Planet 243 

Vistula, description of 84 

Volcanic Islands, description of ... . 35 

Waterfalls and Cascades, Niagara .. 52 

“ Pola Phucha 55 

“ Clyde.. 56 

Waterspouts, causes of 256 

Whale Fishery, full description of .. 110 

“ Dangers of 117 

“ On the Coast of Ireland 120 

Whales, Description of 110 

“ Habits of 115 

Whirlpools 57 

Whirlwinds, causes of 256 

Winds, Theory of 250 

Wreck Weighing Machines, des- 
cription of 132 

Writing, invention of 182 


Thk summit of this mountain is a ridge, nearly horizontal, lying east 
and west ; the slope at each extremity is inclined from 28 to 30 degrees ; 
the south side between 15 and 20, and the north side about 45 or 50. 
This ridge is so narrow as scarcely to allow two people to walk abreast, 
especially at the west end, where it resembles the roof of a house. It is 
wholly covered with snow, nor is any bare rock to be seen within 150 
yards of the top. The surface of the snow is scaly, and, in some places, 
covered with an icy crust, under which the snow is dusty, and without 
consistence. The highest rocks are all granites, those on the east side 
are all steatites, those on the south and the west contain a large quantity 
of schoerl, and a little lapis corneus. Some of these, especially those 
on the east, which are about 150 yards below the summit, seem to have 
been lately shivered with lightning. Sir George Shuckburgh made the 
height of Mont Blanc, by trigonometrical measurement, 15,973 English 
feet, or nearly three miles above the level of the sea. M. de Saussure 
found, by his electrometer, that the electricity of the air on the summit 
of the mountain, was positive. Water boiled at 68,993 degrees of a 
thermometer, which rises to 80 with the barometer, 27 French inches 
high. The wind was north, and extremely piercing on the summit, hut 
southward of the ridge the temperature of the air was agreeable. The 
experiments with lime water and with the caustic alkali, show that the air 
was mixed with carbonic acid, or fixed air. Mont Blanc is the highest 
of the Alps, and encompassed by those wonderful collections of snow 
and ice, called the Glaciers. Of these glaciers there are five, which 
extend almost to the plain of the vale of Chamouni, and are separated 
by wild forests, corn fields, and rich meadows, so that immense tracts of 
ice are blended with the highest cultivation, and perpetually succeed to 
each other, in the most singular and striking vicissitude. All these 
several valleys of ice, which lie chiefly in the hollows of the mountains, 
and are some leagues in length, unite together at the foot of Mont 

The summit of these mountains was deemed inaccessible, before 
Dr. Paccad, a physician of Chamouni, reached it, in August, 1786. 
Soon after it was again successfully attempted by M. de Saussure, in 




1787, and it has been several times accomplished since, particularly by 
Mr. Auldjo, very recently. 

Although it is scarcely six miles and three quarters in a straight line 
from the priory of Chamouni to the top of Mont Blanc, it requires, 
nevertheless, eighteen hours to gain the summit, owing to the bad roads, 
the windings, and the great perpendicular height of the mountain. To 
the priory the journey was free from danger, or even difficulty ; the road 
being either rocky or covered with grass ; but thence, upwards, it was 
wholly covered with snow, or consisted of the most slippery ice. The 
ice valley on the side of the hill must be passed, in order to gain the 
foot of that chain of rocks bordering on the perpetual snows which 
cover Mont Blanc. The passage through this valley is extremely 
dangerous, since it is intersected with numerous wide, deep, and 
irregular chasms, which can only be crossed by means of bridges, 
naturally formed of snow, and these, often very slender, extended as it 
were over an abyss. The difficulties they had to encounter in this 
valley, and the winding road they were obliged to take through it, 
occasioned their being more than three hours in crossing it, although in 
a straight line its breadth is not above three quarters of a mile. 

After having reached the rocks, they mounted in a serpentine direction 
to a valley filled with snow, which runs from north to south to the foot 
of the highest pinnacle. The surface of the snow in this valley has 
numerous fissures, and when this is broken perpendicularly, affords 
an opportunity of observing the successive horizontal layers of snow, 
which are annually formed. 

The party passed the night at a height of 3,100 yards above the 
priory of Chamouni, and 4,250 yards above the level of the sea, which 
is 200 yards higher than the Peak of Teneriffe. They dug a deep hole 
in the snow, sufficiently wide to contain the whole company, and covered 
its top with the tent cloth. In making this encampment, they began to 
experience the effects of the rarity of the atmosphere. Robust men, to 
whom seven or eight hours’ walking, or rather climbing, were an 
absolute nothing, had scarcely raised five or six shovels full of snow, 
before they were under the necessity of resting and relieving each othe 
almost incessantly. One of them had gone back a short distance to fil 
a cask with some water which he had seen in one of the crevices of the 
snow, but found himself so disordered in his way, that he returned 
without the water, and passed the night in great pain. The principal 
inconvenience which the thickness of the air produces, is an excessive 
thirst. They had no means of procuring water but by melting the snow, 



and the little store which they had carried with them afforded but a 
feeble supply for twenty men. 

This region of the mountain presents to the view nothing but snow of 
the purest and most dazzling whiteness, forming a very singular contrast 
with the sky, which appears remarkably black. “ No living creature,’’ 
says our author, “ is to be seen in these desolate regions, nor is the 
least trace of vegetation to be discovered. It is the habitation of cold 
and silence ? My guides were so firmly prepossessed with the fear of cold, 
that they shut every aperture of the tent with the utmost exactness ; so 
that I suffered very considerably from the heat and vitiated air, which 
had become highly noxious, from the breaths of so many people in so 
small a room. I was frequently obliged, in the course of the night, to 
go out of the tent in order to relieve my breathing. The moon shone 
with the brightest splendour, in the midst of a sky, black as ebony. 
Jupiter, rayed like the sun, arose from behind the mountains of the east. 
The light of these luminaries was reflected from the white plain, or 
rather basin, in which we were situated, and, dazzling, eclipsed every 
star, except those of the first and second magnitude. At length we 
composed ourselves to sleep. We were, however, soon awakened by the 
noise of an immense mass of snow (Avalanche) which had fallen down 
from the top of the mountain, and covered part of the slope over which 
we were to climb the next day. 

“ We began our ascent to the third and last plain, and then turned on 
our left in our way to the highest rock, which is on the east part of the 
summit. The ascent is here very steep, being about thirty-nine degrees 
inclined to the horizon, and bounded on each side by precipices. The 
surface of the snow was so hard and slippery, that our pioneers were 
obliged to hew out their footsteps with hatches. Thus we were two 
hours in climbing a hill of about 530 yards. Having arrived at this last 
rock, we turned to the westward, and climbed the last ascent, whose 
height is about 300 yards, and its inclination above 28 or 29 degrees. 
On this peak the atmosphere is so rare, that a man’s strength is exhausted 
with the least fatigue. When we came near to the top, I could not 
walk fifteen or sixteen steps without stopping to take breath, and I 
frequently perceived myself so faint, that I was under the necessity of 
sitting down from time to time, and in proportion as I recovered my 
breath, I felt my strength renewed. All my guides experienced 
similar sensations in proportion to their respective constitutions. We 
arrived at the summit of Mont Blanc at eleven o’clock in the forenoon. 

I now enjoyed the grand spectacle that was under my eyes. A thin 



vapour suspended in the inferior regions of the air, deprived me of the 
distinct view of the lowest and most remote objects, such as the plains of 
France and Lombardy; but I did not so much regret this loss, since I 
saw with remarkable clearness, what I principally wished to see, viz.— 
the assemblage of these high ridges, with the true forms and situations 
of which I had long been desirous of becoming thoroughly acquainted. 
I could scarcely believe my eyes— I thought myself in a dream when I 
saw below my feet so many majestic peaks, especially the Needles, the 
Midi Argentiere, and Geant, whose bases had proved so difficult and 
dangerous of access. I obtained a perfect knowledge of their proportion 
to, and connexion with, each other; of their form and structure; and a 
single view removed more doubts, and afforded more information, than 
whole years of study. While I was thus employed, my guides pitched 
my tent, and were fixing my apparatus for the experiments I had proposed 
to make on boiling water, but when I came to dispose my instruments for 
the purpose, I was obliged, almost at every instant, to desist from my 
labours, and turn all my thoughts to the means of respiration. When it 
is considered that the Mercury in the barometer was no higher than 16 
inches and a line (17 — 145 inches English), and that this air had conse- 
quently little more than half the density of that on the plains, the breathing 
must necessarily be increased, in order to cause, in a given time, the 
passage of a sufficient quantity of air through the lungs. The frequency 
of respiration increased the circulation of the blood ; more especially as 
the arteries on the surface of the body had not the pressure they were 
usually accustomed to. We were all in a feverish state, as will be seen 
in’ the sequel. While I remained perfectly still, I experienced but little 
uneasiness, more than a slight oppression about my heart; but on the 
smallest bodily exertion, or when I fixed my attention on any subject for 
some minutes together, and particularly when I pressed my chest in the 
act of stooping, I was obliged to rest, and pause for two or three minutes. 
My guides were in a similar condition. We had no appetite, and our 
provisions, which were all frozen, were not well calculated to excite it 
Nor had we any inclination for wine or brandy, which increased our 
indisposition, most probably, by accelerating the circulation of the blood. 
Nothing but fresh water relieved us, and much time and trouble were 
necessary to procure this article, as we could have no other than melted 
snow. I remained on the summit till half-past three, and though I did 
not lose a single moment, I was not able to make all those experiments in 
four hours arid a half, which 1 have frequently done in less than three 
hours by the sea side. We returned much easier than I could have 

Ituil way Travelling. 



expected, since in descending we did not experience any bad effects from 
the compression of the thorax, our respiration was not impeded, and we 
were not under the necessity of resting, in order to recover our breath 
and strength. The road down to the first plain was, nevertheless, by no 
means agreeable, on account of the great declivity ; and the sun shining so 
bright on the tops of the precipices below us, made so dazzling an 
appearance, that it required a good head to avoid growing giddy from 
the prospect. We pitched our tent again on the snow, though we were 
more than four hundred yards below our last night’s encampment, 
I was here convinced that it was the rarity of the air, and not the fatigue 
of the journey, that had incommoded us on the summit of the mountain ; 
otherwise we should not have found ourselves so well, and so able to 
attack our supper with a good appetite. 1 could now also make my 
meteorological observations without any inconvenience. I am persuaded 
that the indisposition in consequence of the atmosphere, is different in 
different persons. For my part, I felt no inconvenience at the height of 
four thousand yards, or nearly two miles and a quarter, but I began to 
be much affected when I was higher in the atmosphere. The next day 
we found that the ice in the valley which we had passed in our first day’s 
journey, had undergone a considerable change, from the heat of the two 
preceding days, and that it was much more difficult to pass, than it had 
been in our ascent. We were obliged to go down a declivity of snow, of 
no less than fifty degrees of inclination, in order to avoid a chasm which 
had happened during our expedition. We at length got down as low as 
the first eminence on the side, about half after nine, and were perfectly 
happy to find ourselves on a foundation which we were sure would not 
give way under our feet.” 

We cannot close our account of this mighty work of Nature, better 
than by quoting the following beautiful apostrophe to it : 

— — — “ Rise, O ever rise ! 

Rise like a cloud of incense from the earth ! 

Thou kingly spirit throned among the hills ! 

Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven ! 

Great hierarch ! tell thou the silent sky, 

And tell the stars, and tell yon rising run, 

Earth with ten thousand voices praises God !” 

- Coleridge. 



Though it cannot boast of the height of its great neighbour, 
yet it rears its head in proud majesty. This mountain is situate in 
Savoy and Switzerland, between Valais and the Valley of Aoust, at the 
source of the rivers Drance and Doria. The top is always covered with 
snow, and there is a large monastery, called Hospice of Great St. Ber- 
nard, near to one of the most dangerous passages of the Alps. In these 
regions, the traveller is often overtaken by the most severe weather, even 
after days of cloudless beauty, when the glaciers glitter in the sunshine, 
and the pink flowers of the rhododendron appear as if they were never 
to be sullied by the tempest. But a storm suddenly comes on, the roads 
are rendered impassable by drifts of snow, the avalanches sweep the 
valleys, carrying trees and crags of rock before them. The hospitable 
monks, though their revenue is scanty, open their door to every stranger 
that presents himself. To be cold and weary, to be benighted, constitute 
the title to their comfortable shelter, their cheering meal, and their 
agreeable converse. But their attention to the distressed does not end 
here. They devote themselves to the dangerous task of searching for 
those unhappy persons who may have been overtaken by the avalanche 
or the sudden storm, and would perish but for their charitable succour. 
Most remarkably are they assisted in these truly Christian offices. They 
have a breed of noble dogs in their establishment, whose extraordinary 
sagacity often enables them to rescue the traveller from destruction by 
the overwhelming avalanche. 


Are the most dangerous and terrible phenomena to which the valleys 
embosomed between high snow topped mountain-ranges are exposed. 
They are especially frequent in the Alps, owing to the steepness of their 
declivities, but they are also known in other mountain regions, as in the 
Pyrenees and in Norway. They originate in the higher region of the 
mountains, when the accumulation of snow becomes so great, that the 
inclined plane on which the mass rests can no longer support it. It is 
then pushed down the declivity by its own weight, and precipitated into 
t^e subjacent valley, where it often destroys forests and villages, buries 



men and cattle, and sometimes fills np rivers, and stops their course. 
Besides what is covered with masses of snow, persons are often killed, 
and houses overthrown, by the sudden compression of the air, caused hy 
the incredible velocity with which these enormous masses descend. 
There are four different kinds of avalanches; viz. — drift, rolling, sliding, 
and glacier or ice avalanches ; of which the first commonly take place in 
the early part of winter, the second and third at the end of winter or in 
spring, and the last only in summer. The drift or loose snow avalanches 
(the Swiss call them staub lauinen) take place when heavy snow has 
fallen in the upper region of the mountains during a still calm, and this 
accumulated mass, before it acquires consistency, is put in motion by a 
strong wind. The snow is driven from one declivity to another, and so 
enormously increased in its progress, that it brings down an incredible 
volume of loose snow, which often covers a great part of a valley. The 
damage caused by these avalanches is, however, generally not very great, 
because most of the objects covered by them may be freed from the snow 
without having sustained great damage; but they often produce such a 
compression in the air, that houses are overturned, and men and cattle 

The rolling avalanches are much more dangerous and destructive. 
These take place when after a thaw the snow becomes clumsy, and the 
single grains or flocks stick to one another, so as to unite into large hard 
pieces, which commonly take the form of balls. Such a ball, moved by 
its own weight, begins to descend the inclined plane, and all the snow it 
meets in its course downwards sticks firmly to it. This snow mass, 
increasing rapidly in its progress, and descending with great velocity, 
covers, destroys, or carries away, every thing that opposes its course — 
trees, forests, houses, and rocks. This is the most destructive of these 
avalanches, and causes great loss of life and property. In the year 1749, 
the whole village of Reuras, in the Canton of the Grisons, was covered, 
and, at the same time, removed from its site, by an avalanche of this 
description ; but this change, which happened in the night time, was 
effected without the least noise, so that the inhabitants were not aware of 
it, and on awaking in the morning could not conceive why it did not 
grow day. A hundred persons were dug out of the snow, sixty of whom 
were still alive, the interstices between the snow containing sufficient air 
to support life. In 1806, an avalanche descended into Yal Calanca, 
likewise in the Canton of the Grisons, transplanted a forest from one 
side of the valley to the other, and placed a fir tree on the roof of a 
parsonage house. In 1820, sixty-four persons were killed at Fettan, in 



the high valley of Engadin, in the country of the Grisons, and in the 
same year eighty-four persons and four hundred head of cattle, in 
Obergestelen, and twenty-three- persons at Brieg, both situated in the 
Canton of Wallis. In the same country the village of Briel was almost 
entirely covered by an avalanche in 1827. 

Many thousands of strong trees are destroyed by these avalanches, 
either by being broken off near the ground, or by being rooted up, 
strewed to pieces, and thus precipitated into the valley. Where these 
avalanches are of common occurrence, the inhabitants of the valleys 
know the places where they come down, and by observing the changes of 
the weather, they are able to foretel the time of their descent. The 
sliding avalanches originate on the lower and less steep declivities, when 
after a long thaw in spring, those layers of the snowy-covering which are 
nearest the ground, are dissolved into water, and thus the bond is loos- 
ened which unites the mass to its base. The whole snowy-covering of a 
declivity then begins to move slowly down the slippery slope, and to 
carry before it any thing which is too weak to withstand its pressure. 
When an object does not directly give way to the mass, it is either borne 
down by the snow accumulating behind it, or the whole mass divides and 
proceeds in its course on each side of it. The ice or glacier avalanches 
are nothing but pieces of ice, which formerly constituted a part of a 
glacier, but, loosened by the summerheat, are detached from the principal 
mass, and precipitated down with a noise like thunder. They are 
commonly broken into small pieces by the rocks which they meet with in 
their progress. When seen from a distance, they resemble the cataracts 
of a powerful stream. In the valley of Grindelwald, Bera, they may 
often be seen, and at the base of the Jungfrau, the thunder which 
accompanies their fall is almost continually heard. They are less 
destructive than the other avalanches, because they descend upon places 
which are not inhabited. 

Occasionally the avalanches change their character in their progress. 
When the declivity is not too great, and the ground under it not too 
slippery, the mass of snow begins to slide, but arriving at a precipitous 
descent, its velocity and its masses are considerably increased, and it 
begins to roll. If in this stage of its course it meets a strong craggy 
rock, the mass is instantly divided into innumerable small pieces, and 
thus it appears at the end of its progress like a drift avalanche. 

These phenomena are commonly known by the name of avalanches 
in France, but situate between the ranges of the Alps, they have the 
names of lids, lits or lydts. In Italy they arecalled Lavina: in Ger 0 .- ^ 



L'ahnen; in the neighbourhood of the Pyrenees, Congeres ; and in 
Norway, Snee Shred, and SneeFo'nd. 

In the winter of 1837, there was an immense fall of snow at Lewes, in 
Sussex, which one might almost call an Avalanche. One of the streets 
of Lewes runs by the side of Immense rocks or hills, and upon the 
setting in of a very sudden thaw, down came an enormous mass of snow. 
Cottages were overwhelmed, several persons perished, and numbers of 
cattle were destroyed. Fatal as this was, yet from it we can form but 
a very faint idea of those awful and terrific falls, witnessed in the Alps, 

“ Aghast, beneath it the pale victim sees 
The falling promontory — sees — and dies.” 


With a full knowledge of the dangers to be encountered, the chase of 
the Chamois is, with the hunters, an insurmountable passion. Saussure 
relates, that he knew one who was on the point of marriage, but could 
not restrain his adventurous pursuit. “ My father and grandfather were 

both killed following the sport,” said he, to M. de S , “and I am so 

certain that I shall be killed myself, that I call this bag, which I always 
carry with me when hunting, my minding -sheet. I am sure that I shall 
have no other, and yet if you were to offer to make my fortune, upon 
condition that I should renounce the chase of the Chamois, I should 
refuse your kindness.” Our author adds, that he went several journeys 
on the Alps with this young man; that he possessed astonishing skill 
and strength, but his temerity was greater than either, and that two years 
after he met the fate which he anticipated, by his foot failing on the 
brink of a precipice to which he had leaped. 

Death-bed scene of a Bear Hunter of the Pyrenees. — The 
father of the celebrated Fonda, himself y’clept, “ le pere des Chasseurs 
de la vallie d’ Ossau,” was a most determined and successful beaT 
hunter. He had killed, with his own hand, ninety-nine bears. When 
he was upon his death-bed, and after he had received absolution of his 
sins, he observed to the priest, that he had still one heavy cause of 
uneasiness and regret on his mind. “ What can that be ?” said the 
priest, “ you have conducted yourself honourably in your transactions 
with your fellow men, and you die in the true faith, and pardoned for 
your sins.” “ What you say is very true,” answered the dying man, 
“ but would that I had killed my hundredth bear.” 



Are that chain of mountains which divide the Spanish peninsular from 
France, and which extend from the Cap de Cevere to the south-east of 
Colliouvre, or rather from the Cap de Creus, near Rosas, upon the 
shores of the Mediterranean, to the point of Figuier, near Fontarabia, on 
the Bay of Biscay. It is almost generally supposed that the Pyrenees 
are an isolated chain of mountains, from the fact, that their extremities 
drop into the sea, hut a reference to their geographical position will 
determine that the Pyrenees form but a part of the samelineof mountains 
both of France and Spain. In short, the Pyrenees appear to be attached 
on the east, to the great chain of the Alps, by the Montaane Noire , and 
to the west at the point of Figuier , and from thence to Cape Ortegal, in 

The length of the Pyrenees from east to west is about 200 miles, and 
their breadth very varied. It is greater in the centre, than towards 
the extremities of the chain, but may throughout be averaged at sixty 
miles. The Pyrenees are seen from a great distance, from whichever 
side they are regarded. One of the most favourable points from which 
to enjoy a view of this magnificent chain, is from the hills called Peek 
David, to the south of Toulouse, There the spectator is placed nearly 
in front of the centre of the range, sufficiently distant to admit of a vast 
horizon, and yet near enough to distinguish the most remarkable 

From the Pech David the Pyrenees may be seen for more than 150 
miles. The appearance they present is extremely imposing. They seem 
to form one single mountain, increasing in height towards the east, but 
broken into summits of various forms and characters. But the aspect of 
the mountains is not always the same, depending entirely on the state of 
the atmosphere, the hour of the day", and the season ; and during the 
prevalence of the west and north winds, they are shrouded in mists. 

Naturalists consider that the southern coasts of the Pyrenees are the 
most steep and rapid; and this is confirmed by modern travellers. On 
the Spanish sides, the ascents are invariably more steep and rugged, and 
consequently more difficult and fatiguing. Almost the whole of the 
French valleys either ascend gradually to the central ridge, or by a 
succession of basins. On the Spanish frontier this is seldom the case 
and in the vicinity of the highest mountain, Mont Perdu, the summits 



decrease in altitude very suddenly, dwindling almost into insignificance 
at its base, while on the French side of that mountain, there are very 
many summits but little inferior in height to its own. The Pyrenees 
contain a great number of valleys. All the great ones are transversal. 
They begin at a Col, in the ridge of the central chain, and taking their 
course directly to the north or south, they form nearly a right angle 
with it. 

There are few of the valleys of the Pyrenees, which, throughout their 
course, do not present a succession of basins. These basins are formed 
by the mountains which border the valley receding from the banks of 
the river, and leaving a circular hollow, where there is so slight an 
acclivity, that the stream indulates slowly, until at the extremity of the 
basin, where it resumes its original character, and runs through their 
gorges, and dashes over their precipices. These basins are in general 
considerably elevated above each other, and are joined together by 
narrow and deep ravines, rapidly inclined plains, or by a slope of rock, 
so very perpendicular, that the river dashing over forms a cataract from 
the basin above to that beneath. The climate of the two extremities of 
the Pyrenees is much warmer than that of their central districts. 
Their proximity to the sea, their comparatively slight elevation above the 
level of the ocean, and their distance from the great mountains, are the 
principal cause of this great difference of temperature. With the excep- 
tion of the high valleys, the climate is in general very genial, the winter 
is very mild, the cold by no means severe, and the snow which falls 
very rarely remains beyond a day or two in the lower valleys; the 
summers are very warm, too warm for comfort, if the mountains were 
not near enough to fly to. Thunder storms are very frequent in the 
summer, but are seldom of long duration, and are accompanied with 
welcome rains, which greatly cool the atmosphere. The Pyrenees 
abound in mineral springs, which have acquired great celebrity from the 
wonderful cures that they are said to have effected. 

The following will shew the estimated heights of the principal moun- 
tains of the Pyrenees. Mont Perdu, 11,283 feet ; Maladitta, 10,857 feet; 
Le Pic Blanc, 10,205 feet; Tournavacas, 8,500 feet; Canigon, 9,290 
feet; Pic d’ Abizon, 8,344. 

The most lofty mountains in general form parts of extensive chains ; 
but there are many instances of great elevation being attained by 
isolated peaks. Instances of the former are familiar in the Alps, the 
Carpathians, the Himalaya, and the Andes; of the latter the towering 
summits of Aitna, Tenerifie, and Mouna Boa, in the Sandwich Islands 
But such detached elevations are either active or extinct volcanoes. 





Country where situate. 

in English 

1 Dhawala Gira . 

. . Thibet . 

. 26,462 

2 Jewahir . 

. Jewahir. 

. 25,749 

3 Jamatura 

. Malown . 

. 25,500 

4 Black Peak 

. Do. 

, . . 21,155 

5 Petcha . 

. China 

. 21,000 

6 Moonakoah 

. Sandwich Isles 

. ' . . 18,000 

7 Lebanon 

. Asiatic Turkey 

. 9,520 

8 Ararat 

. Ditto 

. 9,500 

9 Carmel . 

. Do. 

. 2,200 

10 Tabor . 

.Do. . 


. 2,000 

I 1 Chimboraco . 

. Quito 

. 21,464 

12 Cotopaxi (Volcanic) 

. Ditto 

. 18,870 

13 Imbubara (ditto) 

. Ditto 

. 8,970 

14 Blue Mountain 

. Jamaica 

. 8,180 

15 Peaks of the Topian 

ridge United States 

. 16,300 

16 Rocky Mountains . 

. Do. . 

. 12,500 

17 Allegany Mountains 

. Do. . 

. 3,010 

18 Katskill 

. Do. . 

. 3,000 

19 Mount St. Elie 

. Mexico 

. 18,222 

20 Popocatepetl 

. Do. . 


. 16,365 

12 Geesb. . 

. Abyssinia . 

. 15,050 

22 Peak of Teneriffe . 

. Canary Isles 

. 12,358 

23 Nieuweldt 

. South Africa 

. 10,000 

24 Table Mountain . 

. Do. . 


. 3,582 

25 Mont Blanc . 

. Alps . 

. 15,735 

26 St. Bernard . 

. Do. 

. 11.006 

27 Simplon 

. Do. . 

. 11,000 

28 St. Gothard . 

. Do. . 

. 9,075 

' 'l 


IM, "’ i||| 

^b' m yfy. ' 

|K : ;| 




Country where situate. 


in English feet 

29 Mount Perdu 

. Pyrenees 

. 11,209 

30 Etna (Volcanic) Sicily 

. Sicily 

. 10,963 

31 Olympus 


. 6,600 

32 Vesuvius (Volcanic) 


. 3,978 

33 Hecla (Do.) . 

. Iceland 

. 3,690 

34 Stromboli 

. Lipari 

. 3,020 

35 Gibraltar 

, Andalusia . 

. 1,439 

36 Montmartre . 

Paris . 


37 Ben Nevis . 

. Invernesshire 

. 4,358 

38 Snowdon 

Carnarvonshire . 

. 3,571 

39 Ben Lomond 

. Stirlingshire 

. 3,240 

40 Skiddaw 

. Cumberland 

. 3,055 

The great pyramids ofEgyptand St. Paul's Cathedral are thelower figures. 


The height of mountains exercises an important influence on the climate 
and productions of the regions where they occur, and it becomes an 
important point to determine their respective altitudes. This has usually 
been attempted hy two methods ; by geodesical mensuration, and by 
marking the difference of the barometrical columns on their summits, 
and at their bases. The first is the most accurate, when we can obtain a 
level base at a moderate distance from the height to be ascertained, and 
when the measurements of the angles are carefully taken by expert opera- 
tors, and with good trigonometrical instruments. The use of the baro- 
meter is confined to accessible heights, but it is much more easily 
managed under such circumstances, and requires little more than atten- 
tion to the true height of the barometrical column, corrected for the 
temperature of the instrument, and of the ambient air. In variable 
climates, accuracy would require synchronous observations at the foot 
and on the summit of the height to be ascertained ; but in tropical 
climates, or even in the South of Europe, the barometer scarcely varies 
throughout the year, at the level of the sea, and therefore such measure- 
ments are more easily made. An instrument invented by the Bev, 
F. Wollaston has been used to measure great elevations, by marking the 
temperature at which water boils at the base and the summit. This, 
though an ingenious instrument, is so liable to accidents in carriage, that 
it isseldom used. 




It takes its Dame either from athuna, a furnace, or cetuna, darkness. 
This mountain, famous from the remotest antiquity, both for its hulk 
and terrible eruptions, stands in the eastern part of the Island of Sicily 
in a very extensive plain, called Pal di demoni, from the notion that it 
is inhabited by devils, who are supposed to torment the spirits of the 
condemned in the bowels of this volcano. There is much difference of 
opinion as to the height of this mountain, as also its circumference. 
Pindar, who lived 435 B. C., calls it the JPillar of Heaven, on account 
of its great height. The upper regions of iEtna are so cold, as scarcely 
to be available for the purposes of tillage and cultivation. Lower down 
commences the large woody regions, which consist of large forest trees. 
Below these lie the plains, which are mostly laid out in vineyards, the 
slope of them being very gradual; and here it is that, when the liquid fire 
arrives, there is most cause for alarm. At the very top it is perpetually 
covered with snow, from thence the whole is supplied with that article 
so necessary in a hot climate, and without which, the natives say, Sicily 
could not be inhabited. 

In the middle of the snowy region stands the great crater, or mouth 
of AEtna; it is a little mountain, about a quarter of a mile perpendicular, 
and very steep, situate in the middle of a gently-inclining plain, of about 
nine miles in circumference. It is entirely formed of stones and ashes, 
in the middle of a hollow of about miles in circumference, but by 
some writers it is considered more : the inside is crusted over with 
salts and sulphur of different colours. It goes shelving down from the 
top like an inverted cone, the depth of which nearly corresponds to the 
height of the little mountain. From many parts of this place issue 
volcanoes of sulphureous smoke, which, being much heavier than the 
circumambient air, instead of ascending in it, roll down the side of the 
mountain, till, coming to a more dense atmosphere, it shoots off horizon- 
tally, and forms a large track in the air according to the direction of the 
wind. In the middle of this funnel is the tremendous and unfathomable 
gulf, so much celebrated in all ages, both as the terror of this life and 
the place of punishment in the next. From this gulf continually issue 


terrible and confused noises ; which, in eruptions, are increased to such 
a degree, as to be heard at a prodigious distance. 

Sir William Hamilton experienced a great difficulty of respiration, 
from the too great subtilty of the air, independent of that which arose 
from the sulphureous smoke of the mountain ; but other visitors take no 
notice of this. Sir William Hamilton’s barometer stood at 18 inches 
and 10 lines ; Mr. Brydone’s, at 19 inches 6J lines. In these high 
regions, there is generally a very violent wind ; which, as other travellers 
found blowing constantly from the south, is, perhaps, most frequently 
directed from that point. Here Mr. Brydone’s thermometer fell to 27 
degrees. The top of HEtna being above the common region of vapours, 
the heavens appear with exceeding great splendour. It was noticed by 
one who ascended at night, that the number of stars seemed to be 
infinitely increased, and the light of each of them appeared brighter than 
usual ; the whiteness of the milky way was like a pure flame, which shot 
across the heavens, and with the naked eye they could observe clusters 
of stars, which were invisible from below. Those meteors called falling 
stars, appeared as much elevated as when seen from the plains below. 
To have a full and clear view from the summit of HEtna, it is necessary 
to be there before sunrise, as the vapours raised by the sun in the day 
time will obscure every object. 

Here Sir William Hamilton had a view of Calabria, in Italy, with the 
sea beyond it, the Lipari Islands and Stromboli, (another volcano about 
70 miles distant,) appeared just beneath their feet; the whole island of 
Sicily, with its rivers, towns, as seen on a map. Massa, a Sicilian author, 
affirms that the African coast, as well as that of Naples, can be seen from 
the summit of JEtna ; this has been denied by modern writers. The 
visible horizon, however, can be no less than nine hundred miles in 
diameter. The pyramidal shadow of the mountain reaches across the 
whole island, and far into the sea on the other side, forming a visible 
track in the air; which, as the sun rises above the horizon, is shortened, 
and at last confined to the neighbourhood of HEtna. 

This mountain is divided into three zones, called Regione culta, or 
fertile region; the Sylvosa, or woody region, and the Regione deserta, 
or desert zone. The form of HEtna is that of a cone, very broad at the 
base ; which is more than forty miles in circumference. From the bottom, 
you ascend ten leagues, before reaching its summit; on the south side, 
and on any of the other sides, the way not being so straight, is con- 
siderable longer. HEtna is entirely composed of substances that have 
been discharged by the volcano, in its various explosions. 



It appears, from the quantities of marine bodies deposited all over the 
lower part of ./Etna, that it must have been once covered by the sea, to 
at least one half of its present height. It is the opinion of M. Houel, 
(who is acknowledged to have surveyed it with greater accuracy than 
any other traveller,) that the whole island of Sicily, and the greater part 
of Mount /Etna, have been formed under water. But the period when 
the eruptions from this volcano first commenced, the manner in which 
the sea subsided, and the precise time at which it fell so low as its 
present level, on the shores of Sicily, are facts concerning which we 
have no certain knowledge. The general principle, however, M. Houel 
thinks may be regarded as undeniable. When this mountain stood half 
under water, the currents of the ocean would gradually accumulate upon 
it large masses both of its own productions, such as shells and bones of 
fishes, and of various other matters, which would beintermixed with theother 
volcanic matters, discharged from the focus of the burning mount. In 
a long series of ages, these strata ofheterogeneous matters would naturally 
become so considerable, as to form the enormous mass of mountains, 
with which the volcano is now surrounded. The current of the ocean 
might often convey the volcanic matters to a considerable distance from 
the volcanic focus: and there are mountains at no small distance from 
/Etna, which seem to have been produced in this manner. Those of 
Carlintini, at the distance of fifteen leagues, consist chiefly of a mixture 
of pozzolana, with calcareous matters. At Lintini, and in places around 
it, there are distinct beds of pozzolana, scoriae, and real lava, as well as 
others, in which all these matters are blended together in a mass of 
calcareous matter. At Palazzolo, about twenty-four miles from the city 
of Syracuse, the sides of the hills having been cut by the streams, which 
run down them in many places to a considerable depth, display 
huge masses of lava, and extensive beds of pozzolana. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Noto, there are also volcanic productions to be found. At 
Pachimo, where the island of Sicily forms an angle, there is a range of 
hills, extending for several miles, which consist all of pozzolana. The 
woody region, especially the east side, called Carpinetlo , abounds with 
large chesnut trees ; the most remarkable of which has been called, from 
its size, the “ chesnut tree of a hundred horse” — the circumference of 
which is said to have been two hundred and four feet. In Piedmontese, 
or Regione culta, is the river Acis, so much celebrated by the Foets, in 
the fable of Acis and Galatea. It bursts out of the earth, at once, in a 
large stream, runs with great rapidity, and about a mile from its source 
throws itself into the sea. Its water is remarkably clear, and so extremely 



cold, that it is reckoned dangerous to drink it, it is said, however, to have, 
a poisonous quality, from being impregnated with vitriol, in consequence 
of which cattle have been killed by it. It never freezes, but is said often 
Y> contract a greater degree of cold than ice. 

The majestic forests of Etna afford a singular spectacle, and bear no 
resemblance to those of any other country ; their verdure is more lively, 
and the trees of which they consist of a greater height. These 
advantages they owe to the soil on which they grow ; for the soil 
produced by volcanos is particularly favourable to vegetation, and every 
species of plant grows here with great luxuriance. In several places, 
when we can view their interior parts, the most enchanting prospects 
are displayed. The hawthorn trees are of an immense size, and are cut 
fantastically, so as to represent orange trees; the beeches appear like so 
many ramified pillars, and the tufted branches of the oak like close 
bushes, impenetrable to the rays of the sun. The appearance of the 
woods in general is exceedingly picturesque, by reason of the great 
number and variety of the trees, and the inequality of the ground, 
which make them rise like seats in an amphitheatre, disposing them also 
in groups and glades, so that their appearance changes to the eye at 
every step; and this variety is augmented by accidental circumstances, 
as the situation of young trees among others venerable for their 
antiquity; the effects of storms, which have often overturned large trees; 
while stems, shooting from their roots, like the Lernoean hydra, show a 
number of heads, newly-sprung, to make up that which has been cut off. 

There have been nearly forty eruptions of Etna from the first which 
Diodorus Siculus speaks of (but does not fix the period at which it 
happened), until the last which occurred in November, 1832, the 
descriptions of which differ only in the extent of damage done. 
Having given one of these awful visitations in our account of Vesuvius, 
we do not deem it necessary further to notice them here, as it is scarcely 
more than a change of place and dates. 

All travellers agree, that even in the height of summer, the cold of 
.Etna is the most piercing that they ever experienced, and a very recent 
one says, “The cold was so great that the wine bad become quite thick, 
and on entering the stable, the guide found the mules trembling from 
its effects, notwithstanding that they had plenty to eat during our absence.” 



This celebrated Volcano is situate on the shores of the Bay of Naples, 
to whose singularity and beauty it adds in a striking degree. A 
volcanic mountain might be considered as any thing but a pleasant 
neighbour, yet, except when it is in a state of violent eruption, the 
Neapolitans look upon it without dread. Though Herculaneum, Pompeii, 
Stabia, and other places of less note, lie buried by the lava and other 
matter thrown out by the volcano, still many beautiful towns and villages 
flourish around Vesuvius with numerous and happy populations. Some 
of these places are not only built over ancient interred cities, but have 
themselves in modern times experienced the violence of the Volcano, and 
been wholly or partially destroyed by vast rivers of lava. This is 
particularly the case with Torre del Greco, where the road is deeply cut 
through a bed of lava, and where other broad beds of the same material 
(which in some places have encroached far into the sea, forming little 
volcanic promontories) are found on every side of the town. The 
inhabitants however, in their attachment to the spot, have always persisted 
in building their houses above those that have been buried, thus keeping 
up, as it were, a struggle with one of the most fearful powers of nature. 

The mountain is little more than four miles from the City of Naples, 
and, owing to the transparency of the atmosphere, seems even less. It 
rises quite alone from the plain, declining on one side to the shores ofthe 
sea, and on the other towards a chain of the Apennines. 

Its base occupies an irregular space, said to be about twelve miles 
round, it rises conically to the height of somewhat more than three 
thousand feet, where it terminates in two mamillae or breasts, one of 
which is called Somme, the other being that of the great Crator of the 
Volcano. From its form and entirely isolated situation, itlooks like some 
tumulus or sepulchral barrow, except where broken by some chasms, and 
covered by courses of the lava, which have not yet had time to acquire a 
superficies of soil and vegetable matter. Mount Vesuvius is cultivated 
and inhabited for two thirds of its height. The soil that accumulates 
over (and is mainly produced by volcanic matter of different natures) is 
wonderfully firm and admirably adapted for vineyards. Here are 
produced the far famed Lacryma Christi, (tears of Christ) the Greco and 
other wines of superior quality. 

RBT; •: 



The ascent to the Mountain, though steep and very rugged, may be 
performed on mules or asses, as far as what is called the Hermitage of 
San Salvatore, a lonely little building on a flat, from which rises the crater 
or terminating cone ofVesuvius. But, hence, the remainder of the ascent, 
which may be about one fourth of the entire height of the mountain, is 
difficult and fatiguing in the extreme. The outer sides of the acute cone 
by which you have to climb, are nothing but a deep accumulation of 
cinders, ashes, and other yielding volcanic matter, into which your legs 
sink, and where you lose, at least, one out of every three steps you take. 
Even hardy and active men have been known to throw themselves down 
on the sides of the cone in a complete state of exhaustion, long before 
they could reach the top; but the summit once gained, fatigue is repaid 
by prospects of beauty, which are scarcely rivalled upon earth. Naples, 
and all the towns which we have mentioned, lie at your feet; before you 
flows the magnificent bay, studded with islands; and inland stretches 
the luxuriant plain of Campagna Felice, with cities and towns, and with 
villas and hamlets, almost too numerous to count, while the sweeping 
chain of the Appenines forms the extreme back ground to the picture. 

We have noticed the views first, as they are of greater interest than 
the interior of the crater. This is nothing, in ordinary times, but a 
great funnel, shaped hollow, round the edges of which you can walk in 
perfect safety, and look down the curious depth. A modern writer, 
who descended into it in the summer of 181(5, when the mountain had 
been inactive for some years, emitting only from time to time a little 
smoke, thus describes his progress Provided with ropes, which the 
ciceroni, or guides, held at the edge of the hollow, he and a friend went 
down the shelving side, for about 150 feet, when they landed on a circular 
flat, that sounded hollow beneath their feet, but presented nothing very 
remarkable, except a number of furmorali, or little holes, through which 
smoke ascended. The interior of the crater was coated with lapilla and 
sulphur, and in color a yellowish white. The fumes of the sulphur and 
the pungent smoke, from the little holes at the bottom of the crater, 
compelled a very speedy retreat, which was made with some difficulty, 
and without any addition to their knowledge of volcanos. It must be 
observed, that this principal crater on the summit of the mountain, is 
always considerably altered in its form and features when the eruption 
proceeds from it, and, moreover, that it is by no means the sole vent 
which the subterranean fire of Vesuvius finds. On the contrary, the 
fire and lava often issue from the sides of the mountain, far below, while 
the superior funnel only emits smoke. In the winter of 1820, a mouth 



was found at the foot of the superior cone, and nearly on a level with 
the Hermitage of San Salvatore. To use a homely comparison, this vent 
was not unlike the mouth of a baker’s oven, hut a considerable stream 
of lava, which, when in a state of perfect fusion, resembles molten iron, 
issued from it, and flowed down a chasm in the direction of the Torre del 
Greco, the place which has so often suffered from the eruptions. A 
singular and deliberate suicide was committed here. An unhappy French- 
man walked up the mountain, and threw himself in at the source of this 
terrific stream. The men who conducted him said afterwards, that he 
had a quantity of gunpowder about his person ! He scarcely could 
have needed its agency, for the intense fire must have consumed him, 
skin, flesh, and bones, in a very few seconds. But though the eruptions 
of Mount Vesuvius do not always proceed from the grand crater, it must 
also be said, that those that do, are by far the most sublime in their 
effects, and that nothing can well be imagined more picturesque and 
striking, than to see, by night, the summit of that lofty cone, crowned 
by fire, as it frequently is, for many succeeding weeks. The finest view 
under those circumstances, is from the bay, over the waters of which it 
often happens that the moon throws a broad path of silvery light in 
one direction, and the volcano the blood-red reflection of its flames in 

The earliest and one of the most fatal eruptions of Vesuvius that is 
mentioned in history, took place in 79, during the reign of Titus. All 
Campagnia was filled with consternation, and the country was over- 
whelmed with devastation in every direction, — towns, villages, palaces, 
and “all which they inherit,’’ were consumed by molten lava, and 
hidden from the sight by showers of volcanic stones, cinders, and ashes. 
Pompeii had suffered severely from an earthquake sixteen years before 
the eruption of 79, and had been rebuilt and adorned with many a 
stately building, particularly a magnificent theatre, where thousands 
were congregated to see the gladiatorial show’s, when this tremendous 
visitation burst upon the devoted city, and burying its site to a 
considerable depth with the fiery materials thrown from the crater. 
“ Day was turned into night,” says a classic author, “ and night into 
darkness — an inexpressible quantity of dust and ashes was poured out, 
deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two entire cities, Herculaneum 
and Pompeii, while the people were sitting in the theatre.” 

It was during the eruption of 79, that Pliny, the Naturalist, fell a 
victim to suffocation, as did Agrippa. The particulars of the eruption of 
1779 are known to every school-boy, and although vividly described by 



Sir William Hamilton, (an eye witness,) it is unnecessary to emote, 
because their details, able as they are, would be but a repetition of the 
younger Pliny, and Dion Cassius, with modern dates. We shall close 
our article by an able description of the eruption of 1822, from the pen of 
the writer we have before quoted. 

“ The volcano Lad been unusually quiet for several months, without 
so much as a wreath of smoke proceeding from the great crater, or from 
any part of it, when suddenly, on a Sunday evening, late in the month 
of October, two columns of fire were seen to ascend from the summit of 
the great cone. The quantity of fire was inconsiderable. The burning 
stones and other ignited matter, seemed all to fall back into the broad 
crater, from which they were ejected, and there was no appearance that 
this would be any thing more than one of the frequent minor eruptions 
that cause neither mischief nor alarm. During the night the eruption 
continued as it had begun. On Monday the mountain offered only a 
small column of smoke. When the sun set, and darkness came on, the 
fire was again visible on the top of the cone, but during the whole of 
Monday night there was no increase, and on Tuesday morning the 
volume of smoke was as insignificant as on the preceding day. But 
about two hours after noon on Tuesday, all at once, a rumbling noise, of 
terrific loudness, was heard, and the next instant an immense column of 
fleecy smoke burst from the great crater, and towered slowly and 
majestically upward, until it attained an extreme elevation in the atmos- 
phere, when it spread itself laterally, and for some time continued to 
present a consistent and defined form, like that of the Italian pine tree. 
In this it was an exceedingly beautiful object, its form being graceful; 
and its flaky white color relieved by the deep pure blue of an Italian sky. 
But soon other throbs and groans of the volcano were heard, smoke of a 
dark brown color burst from the crater, the head of the gigantic column 
swelled in size, and spreading in all directions, and becoming darker 
and darker, soon covered every part of the sky, and lost all shape. By 
this time alarm had struck not only the population in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the mountain, but the inhabitants of Naples itself, 

“ All thronged to the shores of the bay, or to the hills, or to the outside 
of the town, to gaze with terrified looks at Vesuvius. But it was not 
until the fall of night that the scene displayed all its terrors. Then an 
immense pillar of fire was seen to rise from the cone, and red-hot stones, 
and disrupted rocks, to ascend with it, and in their descent either to fall 
back into the crater, or to roll down the outside of the cone with fearful 
violence and rapidity. To this there was no pause. The pillar of fire 



never grew paler or less, and the burning stones and rocks succeeded 
each other without intermission or decrease. If our readers could 
imagine ten thousand pieces of ordnance, discharging red-hot shot in 
the air, in conjunction with ten thousand of the greatest rockets, still 
they would leave an inadequate idea of this mighty eruption, and of the 
noise that accompanied it. 

“ The column of fire threw a horrid blood glare over part of the bay, 
and a small portion of the sky, while from the dense clouds of smoke 
that continually increased, the most vivid forked lighning flashed at 
every second. The ghastly blue of these long zig-zag flashes contrasted 
strangely with the red color of the volcanic fire, and, as they darted on 
either side, and high above the head of the pillar, rising from the crater, 
they produced an effect which baffles all description of the pen, or the 
ingenuity of the pencil. To all this must be added, that a continuous 
issue of lava now came from the cone, and rolled down towards the sea, 
as a vast river of fire, whils t another stream of lava, scarcely less in magnitude, 
but not visible from Naples, flowed in the direction of the now disinterred 
city of Pompeii. Through the crowded city terror seemed to keep all eyes 
open, and numerous processions with figures of Madonnas and Saints, were 
seen hurrying to particular churches, and the suburbs facing Vesuvius, to 
implore the protection of Heaven. On theroad to Porticithe scene was still 
more melancholy — thousands and thousands of affrighted peasants from 
villages on the mountain’s sides, and towns-people from Portici, Resina, 
the Torre del Greco, and other villages, were flying towards Naples, 
with such of their property as they could remove, or were lying out in 
the fields, or on the road near to the walls of the capital. The aged and 
the infirm, weeping women, and helpless children, were huddled together, 
with the conviction that their homes, their gardens, and their vineyards 
must inevitably be consumed and buried by the descending lava. 

“The writer reached Resina, and thence walked up the Mountain to the 
Hermitage of San Salvatore, which is situated on a flat at the foot of the 
terminating cone, in which is the great crater. Here he found several 
English, and among them some ladies, whose anxiety to view this sublime 
spectacle near at hand had conquered their fears. From the Hermitage he 
advanced nearer to the cone, and then descended into a hollow, through 
which the great river of lava was flowing. As he approached it, he saw 
it come in contact with a fine large vineyard. The low dried vines were 
set on fire immediately, and, blazing all over in an instant, the destruc- 
tive element spread to another and another vineyard until considerable 
mischief was done. 



“ The lava, as in every eruption He has seen, so far from being rapid, 
was exceedingly slow in its course, flowing only a few feet in a minute. 
At this time it seemed tending directly to the unfortunate town of Terre 
del Greco, which it threatened to overwhelm, hut it afterwards turned 
aside, and following another hollow rolled into a wide and deep chasm 
of the mountain. He then attempted to ascend by the side of this burn- 
ing river towards the cone, but its heat, which set fire to brushwood 
and little trees at several feet distance, became insupportable. At every 
throe of the volcano the mountain shook beneath his feet, and he was 
already so near that the lapilla from the crater fell upon him like hail. 
This sort of ash, which is called lapilla, is an exceedingly light and 
porous substance, resembling pumice stone ; and though it fell so thickly, 
and in pieces as large as walnuts, it caused little annoyance. But the 
heat, as it has been said, was insupportable ; and as the fumes of the 
sulphur became still more so, causing a most disagreeable sensation of 
suffocation, he returned to the hermitage. In a short time the quantity 
of smoke was so great, and was so black, that it obscured the lava that 
produced it. Nothing could now be seen distinctly, except the lightning 
flashing through a pitchy sky, and a part of a column of fire from the 
crater, looking a lurid red. The noise, tremendous even as far off asNaples, 
wasataspotsonear the Hermitage utterly astounding. Itshouldbe noticed 
that this noise was produced by the passage through the air, of the matter 
which the volcano ejected, and then the fall of that matter; for the forked 
lightning wasunaccompanied by thunder — itonly played close round and 
above the crater, and seemed produced by electric fluid issuing thence, 
and to depend on the dense black clouds that flanked the ascending 
column of fire. 

“The violence of this eruption was little abated for two days and nights. 
Fortunately, however, the lava, in the course it took, did not find any 
town or village to destroy, and the lapilla, and ashes or dust that fell in 
almost inconceivable quantities in every place in the neighbouhood,were 
not difficult to remove, and indeed (that being the rainy season) were 
mainly washed away by the heavy rains shortly after. 

“ When the smoke cleared away from the mountain, which it did not for 
many days, it was perceived that the eruption had carried away the edges 
or lips of the crater, and materially altered the shape, and lowered the 
cone of Vesuvius. The lava, by this time, though its outer coating had 
cooled to such a degree that you could walk over it, still burned beneath; 
and it was many days more before what had been rivers of liquid fire 
became cold. 



“ Solid ridges were then seen of what looked like hard, black, brittle 
stone, or rather like what smiths and iron founders call clinkers. 

“ The main stream of lava was about fifty feet wide on an average. h 
ran for more than a mile, and had not the eruption ceased and stopped at 
its fountain head, even in the direction it had taken, it would have soon 
destroyed a beautiful district between Vesuvius and the sea.” 


Is situate on the southern side of the Island of Iceland, at a distance 
of a few miles from the sea coast; aDd though neither so grand as a 
mountain, nor so terrible as the centre of volcanic action, as some of its 
neighbours, Hecla has been more celebrated than any of them, because, 
from its position, it has been more frequently seen by strangers, and 
because it has been more frequently in a state of eruption, than any of 
the other volcanos. The height of Hecla. from the level of the sea, is 
between four and five thousand feet. Prom some points of view, its 
summit is divided into three peaks, of which the central peak is the 
loftiest and most acuminated : from other directions it seems to terminate 
in a single massy cone, like the volcano of vEtna. 

One of the most singular features of Hecla, as compared with other 
volcanos, is the remarkable manner in which immense heaps of lava 
that have flowed from the mountain during different eruptions, are 
ranged round its base ; so as to form a sort of rampart, from forty to 
seventy feet high. All travellers have been struck by the continuity and 
bright glazed appearance of these walls. Von Toil calls them “ high 
glazed cliffs,” “ lofty glazed walls," not to be compared to any thing he 
had ever before seen: and they are described by another writer, as 
“immense rugged vitrified walls," going all round the base of the 
mountain. To explain part of this appearance, it mav be necessary to 
say, that when the lava passes from its liquid state, and cools, it some- 
times retains a shining vitreous coat, not unlike glazed bricks, or some 
of the refuse from the glass works. Beyond and above this immense 
rampart little more lava occurs ; the rest of the mountain being composed 
almost entirely of sand and slags. 

In 1772, the late Sir Joseph Banks, and another gentleman, ascended 
Mount Hecla ; they found the whole country for more than two leagues, 
wholly destitute of vegetation, the soil consisting of red and black 



cinders, scoriae, pumice stone, and other volcanic results, whilst here 
and there it rose into little hills and eminences, which were of greater 
size in proportion to their vicinity to the base of the mountain. These 
eminences, which were hollow within, were craters through which the 
subterraneous fire had at different times run. The largest of them, 
called Raud-Oldur, was described by Sir Joseph Banks, as a crater, 
with an opening half a mile in circumference, and about one hundred 
and forty feet deep, having its western side destroyed ; what remained 
being entirely composed of ashes, cinders, and pieces of lava, in various 
states. Near to this crater the party pitched their tents, in the midst of 
a scene of almost inconceivable horror and desolation. 

When they continued their route, and came to the rampart already 
described as surrounding the base of Hecla, they experienced considera- 
ble difficulty in climbing and crossing it, for they frequently found the 
lava lying in detached masses, with deep holes between them. Having 
at length surmounted this difficulty, they found themselves on compara- 
tively easy ground, and continued their ascent on their western side. 
Soon, however, they were somewhat alarmed, by hearing a cracking 
beneath their feet. On stooping to examine whence this proceeded, they 
discovered that the whole mountain was composed of loose materials, 
easily broken, of sand and pumice stone, lying in horizontal strata, 
every where full of fissures. Still continuing their ascent, they passed 
over a series of sloping terraces, and perceived that ihe sides of the 
mountain, from its summit to its base, were deeply scarred with ravines, 
formed originally by the descent of lava, but now serving as water 
courses and beds for the winter torrents. It was night when they 
gained the summit, and stood beside the great crater, on a spot covered 
with ice and snow. The* snows are not, however, of the nature of 
glaciers, as, except such portions as lie in hollows and clefts, they 
generally melt in the course of the summer. The cold at this time 
(June) was so exceedingly severe, that the clothes of the travellers were 
covered wiih ice, and as stiff as buckram ; the water which they carried 
with them, was all frozen. Here and there on the mountain top, they 
found great heat issuing from the ground, and melting the snow for a 
little space round its vent. One of these spaces was so hot, from steam 
and smoke, that they could not remain on it; but they nowhere saw 
traces of the dangerous bogs, the water-falls, the hot springs shooting 
in every direction, or the devouring flames which the natives had stated 
to exist. 

The silence and the solitude of the spot were awful. It was midnight, 



but, in thatnorthern latitude, as bright as day ; the prospect was splendid. 
On one side (the east) they beheld an immense range of glaciers, beyond 
which the volcano of Hoerdabried shewed its peak, which had the 
semblance of a huge castle; on the north were lofty hills and lakes. 
The prospect seems to be the only thing which was interesting to our 
travellers. They descended on the western side by a deep ravine, which 
commenced at the top of the cone, and continued to the very foot of the 
mountain, and which appeared to be the bed of an immense stream of 
lava, and which is said, by the Native-chronicles, to have been formed 
by the great eruption of 1300, that rent the mountain in twain. Large 
masses of rock, seeming as cast from the crater, still hung over the edges 
of the ravine, and greater heaps of melted and burnt substances were 
found at the bottom of this singular and immense chasm. When this 
mountain was ascended in 1810, it was found to emit a much greater 
degree of heat. Hot vapours issued from several parts of the central 
peak, and the heat of the ground was so great, that on removing a few of 
the slags from those a little below, they were too hot to be handled. 
On placing a thermometer amongst them, it rose to 144 degrees. This 
last visit was made on the southern side, and the ascent was found 
tolerably easy, until the upper and steepest part of the cone was reached. 
This was covered with loose cinders; so loose, that the travellers 
frequently lost in one step the ground they had gained by several. 
During the ascent the mountain was for a while enveloped in dense 
clouds, which prevented their seeing the chasms in its sides, and they 
encountered some danger by crossing a narrow ridge of slags, that 
connected one of the lower peaks with the highest. This passage, during 
which they had a precipice on either side of them, they effected by 
balancing themselves like rope dancers. They found those superior 
craters very incompletely defined, their sides and lips being much 
shattered and broken away. 

The last great eruption of Mount Hecla was in 1766. It broke out 
suddenly, and was attended at its commencement bv an earthquake. It 
lasted, without intermission, from the 15th of April to the 7th of Septem- 
ber, and did immense damage. The horses were so terrified, that they 
ran about wildly, till they dropped dead with fatigue. The people living 
near the mountain lost their cattle, which were either choked with the 
volcanic ashes, or starved before they could he removed to grass. A 
few lingered for a year, and on being opened, the stomachs of these were 
found to be loaded with ashes. 

Other volcanos in Iceland, though less frequently in action, have 



caused much greater mischief than Hecla. In 1755, one of these threw 
out ashes that fell like rain on the Feroe Islands, at the distance of more 
than three hundred miles. But the last great eruption in 1783 was the 
most terrific on record. This proceeded from the Shaptaa Jokul. Many 
thousands of lives were destroyed; not absolutely by fire or ashes, but 
by starvation, the consequence of the burning up of all the vegetation on 
which the flocks and herds subsisted, and of the total disappearance of 
fish from the coasts. At that unhappy season, an enormous column of 
fire cast its glare over the entire island, and was seen from all sides at sea, 
and at the distance of many leagues. Issuing forth with the fire, an 
immense quantity of brimstone, sand, pumice stone, and ashes, were 
carried by the wind, and strewed over the devoted land. The continual 
smoke and steam darkened the sun, which in colour looked like blood. 
The whole face of the island has been changed by these terrific convul- 
sions, and it is estimated that one continued surface of sixty thousand 
square miles has been subjected to the force of subterraneous fire in this 
part of the world. 


The Maane Elv (river) takes its course through the valley from west 
to east, and empties itself into a branch of the lake called Tindsjoen, 
which is 612 feet above the level of the sea. This river has its outlet 
from another lake, Mjos Yandet, considerably higher, at a short distance 
from which it rushes over perpendicular rocks, at the extremity of the 
valley, forming at its fall the celebrated Rieukard or Smoking Cataract. 
The valley is inclosed to the south by the mountain Gousta, one of the 
highest in Scandinavia, and by a lower ridge of mountains towards the 
north. The Gousta mountain is estimated, as being at least 6,000 feet 
above the level of the sea. At a distance of about five English miles up 
the valley, a smoke or vapour, rising up among the wild black grey 
mountainous country is now seen, which alternately rises and falls, 
denoting the nearer approach to the Riukand, and giving the first im- 
posing impression of the stupendous dimensions of this magnificent 
cataract. Proceeding farther the traveller arrives at the commencement 
of the so called Maristein (Mary’s Path), and has a distinct view of the 
fall, being then opposite to it, at the distance of less than half an English 
mile. From this spot the fall is seen to the greatest advantage. It 
precipitates itself down the rocks with a tremendous roar, through a 
cavity in the rocks not more than twelve feet wide, having the appearance 



of a vast quantity of foam, dividing and convulsing itself in a great 
variety of forms, as it dashes headlong towards the bed of the river, 
which to some considerable distance is completely covered with a kind 
of froth, the vapour of which rises like smoke, to a considerable height 
among the adjacent mountains. In the bottom of the valley, into which 
this cataract precipitates itself, is a basin or reservoir, in the form of a 
wedge between two high mountains, whose naked and apparently smooth 
sides seem to form an angle of 50 or 60 degrees with the horizon. 

In order to come to the top of the fall, one is either obliged to go by a 
path four English miles round the mountain, or to pass up the Maristein, 
which runs in a zigzag direction in the side of the mountain, to a height 
of seven hundred or eight hundred feet; in some places so narrow, that 
one cannot place the feet side by side ; and whence one false step would 
inevitably precipitate the traveller into the gulf below. Those who are 
apt to be giddy, crawl along this path on their hands and feet, but the 
mountaineers go up and down with the greatest facility. As it is 
almost impossible to get to the foot of the cataract, it is difficult to 
measure its perpendicular height, and on this subject authorities differ 
from between five hundred and six hundred to nine hundred feet. Some 
English travellers have given the latter height ; truth may lie between, 
and we may call it seven hundred feet high. In winter the particles of 
water freeze, and form a curious natural filagree work, while a kind of 
tube forms itself around the fall, through which the water dashes with a 
fearful noise. The fountain of the Gousta, the rocks of the Riukard, and 
the other mountains, are of mica slate, chlorite slate, and the transition 


Barras, a celebrated Chesseur, related to Mr. Murray, the following, 
among many of his adventures. It seems that he had discovered a 
cavern, in which a bear had taken up his winter quarters, and from 
which he immediately determined to dislodge him. Single handed he 
did not dare to attempt this, and accordingly he chose one of his most 
hardy companions to join him in the attack. The place which the bear 
had chosen for his retreat, was an almost inaccessible cave, on the sides 
of the Pic du Midi, and among its darkest forests. When the two 
hunters arrived at the entrance of the cave, they consulted as to the best 
mode of rousing the animal, and getting him to leave it. Barras 
proposed that he should enter the cave and wake him, while his compa- 



nion stood guard without. This extraordinary mode of disturbing the 
bear’s slumbers was adopted, and the sentry having promised by the 
blessed Virgin to stand by his friend, the other prepared to enter the 
cave. For a considerable distance the cavity was large enough to permit 
of the daring hunter walking upright, but decreasing in height, he had to 
grope his way on all fours. While proceeding in this manner, the bear, 
roused by the slight noise which the hunters had made at the entrance 
of his chamber, was heard approaching. To turn and run away was 
hopeless; the bear was too near to permit of this being attempted; so 
that to throw himself on his face, and take the chance of the animal’s 
passing over him, was the only hope of escape. Barras did so, and the 
bear walked over him, without even saluting him with a growl. His 
companion at the mouth of the cave did not get off so easily ; for 
expecting that he would certainly have some warning of the approach of 
the animal, he was not altogether prepared for the encounter when he 
appeared, and ere he had time to lift his gun to his shoulder, he was 
folded in the deadly embrace of the giant brute. Within a few yards of 
the cave, the precipice was several hundred feet in depth, and in the 
struggle, both bear and man rolled over it together. Barras, eager to 
aid his friend, followed the bear after it had passed over him, but reached 
the mouth of the cave just as the bear and his comrade were disappearing 
over the edge of the precipice. Horror-struck at the dreadful fate of his 
friend, and without the slightest hope of saving him, Barras rushed 
forward to decend the mountain side, and rescue, if possible, his mangled 
body; when the first glance into the gorge below, revealed to him his 
friend, dangling by his clothes among the branches of a thick shrub, 
which, growing out of a fissure in the precipice, had caught him in his 
fall, while the bear, less fortunate, had descended to the bottom. To 
release his friend from his precarious situation was no easy matter; but 
by the aid of the long sashes which the mountaineers almost always 
wear, he at last effected it, and drew him to the platform from which he 
had been so rudely hurled. The bear had lacerated him severely ; but 
he was no sooner on his legs, than expressing his confidence that the 
bear had been killed by the fall, he proposed descending to the foot of the 
precipice, to ascertain the result. This, with much difficulty, they 
effected, and to their great satisfaction as well as profit, found, among 
the rocks below, the object of their search, in the last agonies of death. 
Sure of their prize, they returned to the Eux Chaudes, the wounded man 
greatly exhausted by loss of blood ; and Barras, returning next morning 
to the field of battle, accompanied by a band of villagers, triumphantly 
carried off the spoil. 



The island called the Mauritius aud the Isle of Bourbon, lie near to 
each other, off the east coast of Africa, having, however, the great island 
of Madagascar between them and that continent. They were first 
discovered in the sixteenth century, by Pedro Mascarenhas, a Portuguese, 
from whom the group to which they belong is sometimes called that of 
the Mascarenhas. Its discoverer himself gave to. the Mauritius the 
ame of Ilia do Cerus. The Portuguese, however, never formed a 
settlement here, and in 1598, the island was taken possession of by the 
Dutch admiral, Van Nek, who called it by the name by which it is now 
commonly known, after Maurice, Prince of Orange. The Dutch finding 
it of little use, although they had began to colonize it in 1640, abandoned 
it altogether in 1712, and in 1721, the French, who had been already for 
some time in possession of the neighbouring Isle of Bourbon, began to 
colonize it. From them it received the name of the Isle of France, and 
they retained it until 1810, when it was taken from them by the English. 
It still remains a British Colony. 

The Mauritius is extremely mountainous, and exhibits in every part of 
it the marks of volcanic action. Some of the mountains are between 
two and three thousand feet in height, and are covered with snow during 
a great part of the year. Among them are several that assume the most 
singular and fantastic shapes ; but the most extraordinary of any in its 
appearance, is that which bears the name of Peter Botte, from a person, 
who is said, by tradition, to have climbed to its summit many years ago, 
and to have lost his life in coming down again. This, however, is mere 
rumour, and even if the attempt was actually made by the person in 
question, it is evident that the fate which overtook him must have 
rendered it impossible to say whether he succeeded or not. 

In point of fact, the top of the mountain has been usually regarded as 
quite inaccessible, notwithstanding the boast of a Frenchman about forty 
years ago that he succeeded in reaching it. The attempt has also been 
several times made by our own countrymen, since the island became a 
British possession, but always in vain, until the period which we are 
about to describe, and which was accomplished in 1832. The account 
of it was read before the Geographical Society, by Mr. Barrow, and 
savs, “ Irom most points of view it seems to rise out of the range which 
runs nearly parallel to that part of the sea coast which forms the bay of 



Port Louis, (the capital situated on the west side of the island) but on 
arriving at its base, you find that it is actually separated from the rest of 
the range by a ravine, or cleft of a tremendous depth. The mountain 
appears to be about eighteen hundred feet high. 

“ Captain Lloyd, chief civil Engineer, accompanied by Mr. Dawkins, had 
made an attempt in 1831 to ascend the mountain, and had reached what 
is called the neck, when they planted a ladder, which did not, however, 
reach half-way up the perpendicular face of rock beyond. Still Captain 
Lloyd was convinced that with proper preparations the feat might be 
accomplished. Accordingly, on the morning of the 7 th September, 1832, 
that gentleman, along with Lieut. Philpot, 29ta Regt., Lieut. Keppel, R.N. 
and Lieut. Taylor, set out on the bold and perilous adventure. ‘ All our 
preparations being made’ says Lieut. Taylor, who furnished Mr. Barrow 
with the account, ‘ we started, and a more picturesque line of march I 
have seldom seen. Our van was composed of about 15 or 20 Sepoys, in 
every variety of costume, together with a few negroes carrying our food, 
dry clothes, &c. Our path lay up a very steep ravine, formed by the 
rains in the wet season, which having loosened all the stones, made it 
any thing but pleasant; those below were obliged to keep a bright look out 
for trembling rocks, and one of these missed Keppel and myself by a 
miracle.’ Along this path, which was not a foot broad, they picked their 
way for about four hundred yards, the negroes keeping their footing firm 
under their loads, by catching hold of the shrubs above them, as they 
proceeded. “On rising to the shoulder of the mountain,” continues the 
narrative, “a view burst upon us which quite defies my descriptive 
powers. We stood on a little narrow ledge, or neck of land, about 20 
yards in length, on the side which we mounted; we looked back into the 
deep wooded gorge we had passed up while on the opposite side of the neck, 
which was between six and seven feet broad, the precipice went sheer down 
fifteen hundred feet to the plain. One, extremity of the neck was equally 
precipitous, and the other w'as bounded by what to me seemed the most 
magnificent sight I ever saw. A narrow, knife-like edge of rock, broken 
here and there by precipitous faces, ran up in comical form to about 
three hundred and fifty feet above us, and on the very pinnacle old Peter 
Botte frowned in all his glory. 

“ After a short rest we proceeded to work. A ladder had been left by 
Lloyd and Dawkins last year; it was about twelve feet high, and reached 
about half way up the face of the perpendicular rock. The foot which was 
spiked rested on a ledge, which was barely three inches on each side. A 
graplmel-line had been also left last year, but was not used. A negro of 



Lloyd’s clambered from the top of the ladder, by the cleft in the face of 
the rock, not trusting his weight to the old and rotten line. He carried 
a small cord round his middle, and it was fearful to see the cool, steady 
way in which he climbed, where a single loose stone, or false hold 5 must 
have sent him down into the abyss; however, he partially scrambled 
away, till at length we heard him halloo from under the rock “ all right.” 
These negroes use their feet exactly like monkeys, grasping with them 
every projection, almost as firmly as with their hands. The line which 
he carried up was made fast above, and up it we all four “ shinned” in 
succession. It was, joking apart, awful work. In several places the 
ridge ran to an edge not a foot broad, and I could as I held on, half 
sitting, half kneeling, across the ridge, have kicked my right shoe down 
to the plain on one side, and my left into the bottom of the ravine on the 
other. The only thing which surprised me, was my own steadiness and 
freedom from all giddiness. I had been nervous in mounting the ravine 
in the morning, but gradually I got so excited and determined to 
succeed, that I could look down that dizzy height without the smallest 
sensation of swimming in the head; nevertheless, I held uncommonly 
hard, and felt very well satisfied when I was safe under the neck, and 
a more extraordinary situation I never was in. The head, which is an 
enormous mass of rock, about thirty-five feet in height, overhangs its 
base many feet on every side. A ledge of tolerably level rock, runs 
round three sides of the base, about six feet in width, bounded every 
where by the abrupt edge of the precipice, except in the spot where it is 
joined by the ridge, up which we climbed. In one spot, the head, 
though overhanging its base several feet, reaches only perpendicularly 
over the edge of the precipice, and most fortunately it was at the very 
spot where we mounted. Here it was that we reckoned on getting up ; 
a communication being established with the shoulder by a double line of 
ropes, we proceeded to get up the necessary materials , Lloyd’s portable 
additional coils of rope, crowbars, kc. JBut now the question, and a 
puzzler too, was, how to get the ladder up against the rock. Lloyd had 
prepared some iron arrows, with thongs, to fire over, and having got up 
a gun, he made a line fast round his body, which we all held on, and 
going over the edge of the precipice on the opposite side, he leaned back 
against the line, and fired over the least projecting part. Had the line 
broken, he would have fallen at least 1800 feet. Twice this failed, and 
then he had recourse to large stone with a lead line, which swung diago- 
nally, and seemed to be a feasible plan. Several times he made beautifu 
heaves, but the provoking line would not catch, and away went the stone 



are below; till at length JKolus, pleased, I suppose, with his perseverance, 
gave us a shift of wind for about a minute, and over went the stone, and 
was eagerly seized on the opposite side. “Hurrah, my lads! steady’s the 
word.” Three lengths of the ladder were put together on the ledge, a 
large line attached to the one which was over the head and carefully 
drawn up, and finally, a two inch rope, to the extremity of which we lashed 
the top of the ladder, then lowered it gently over the precipice, till it 
hung perpendicularly, and was steadied by two negroes, on the ridge 
below. “ All right, now hoist away,” and up went the ladder, till it 
came to the edge of our ledge, when it was lashed in firmly to the rock. 
We then hauled away on the guy to steady it, and made it fast; a line 
was passed over by the lead line, to hold on, and up came Lloyd 
screeching and hallooing, and we all three scrambled after him. The 
union-jack and a boat-hook were passed up, and old England’s flag waved 
freely and gallantly on the redoubted Peter Botte. 

No sooner was it seen flying than the Undaunted frigate saluted in the 
harbour, and the guns of our saluting battery replied ; for though our 
expedition had been kept secret till we started, it was made known the 
morning of our ascent, and all hands were on the look out, as we after- 
wards learnt. We then got a bottle of wine to the top of the rock, 
christened it “ King William’s Peak,” and drank his Majesty’s health 
hands round the Jack, and then hip, hip, hip, hurrah ! 

“ I certainly never felt any thing like the excitement of that moment ; 
even the negroes, down on the shoulder, took up our hurrahs, and we 
could hear far below the faint shouts of the astonished inhabitants of the 
plain. We were determined to do nothing by halves, and accordingly 
we made preparations for sleeping under the rock, by hauling up blankets, 
pea jackets, brandy, cigars, &c. Meanwhile, our dinner was preparing 
on the shoulder below, and about 4. p. m., we descended our ticklish 
path, to partake of the portable soup, preserved salmon, &c. Our party 
was now increased by Dawkins and his cousin, a Lieutenant of the Talbot, 
to whom we had written, informing them of our hopes of success ; but 
their heads would not allow them to mount to the head or neck. After 
dinner, as it was getting dark, I screwed up my nerves, and climbed up to 
our queer little nest at top, followed by Keppel and a negro, who carried 
some dry wood, and made a fire in the clift under the rock. Lloyd and 
Phillpots soon came up, and we began to arrange ourselves for the night, 
each taking a glass of brandy, to begin with. I had on two pair of 
trousers, a shooting jacket, waistcoat, and a huge flushing jacket over 
that, a thick woollen sailor’s cap, and two blankets, and each of us 




lighted a cigar, as we seated ourselves to wait for the appointed hour for 
our signal of success. It was a glorious sight, to look down from that 
giddy pinnacle, over the whole island, lying so calm and beautiful in the 
moonlight, except where the broad black shadows of the other mountains 
intercepted the light. Here and there we could see alight twinkling in the 
plains, or the fire of some sugar manufactory; but not a sound of any 
sort reached us, except an occasional shout from the party down on the 
shoulder (we four being the only ones above). At length, in the 
direction of Port Louis, a bright flash was seen, and after a long interval 
the sullen boom of the evening gun. We then prepared our pre-arranged 
signal, and whiz went a rocket from our nest, lighting up, for an instant, 
the peaks of the hills below us ; and then leaving us in darkness. We 
next burnt a blue light, and nothing can he conceived more perfectly 
beautiful than the broad glare against the overhanging rock. The wild 
looking groups we made in our uncouth habiliments, and the narrow 
ledge on which we stood, were all distinctly shown, while many of the 
tropical birds, frightened at our vagaries, came glancing by the light, 
and then swooped away, screeching into the gloom below; for the gorge, 
on our left, was as dark as Erebus. We burnt another blue light, and 
threw up two more rockets, when our laboratory being exhausted, the 
patient-looking insulted moon had it all her own way again. We now 
rolled ourselves up in our blankets, and having lashed Phillpots, who is 
a determined sleep walker, to Keppel’s leg, we tried to sleep, but it blew 
strong before the morning, and was very cold. We drank all our 
brandy, and kept tucking in our blankets the whole night, without 
success. At day-break we arose, stiff, cold, and hungry; and shall 
conclude briefly, by saying, that after about four or five hour’s hard 
work, we got a hole mined in the rock, and sank the foot of our twelve 
foot ladder deep in this, lashing a water barrel as a land mark at the 
top, and, above all, a long staff, with a union-jack flying. We then, in 
turn, mounted to the top of the ladder, to take a last look at a view, such 
as we might never see again, and bidding adieu to the scene of our toil 
and our triumph, descended the ladder, to the neck, and casting off the 
guys and training lines, cut off all communication with the top.” 

The adventurous party descended in perfect safety from this perilous 
attempt, which was one ;f the most daring that ever was accomplished. 



Numerous islands of this description have, at various periods of the 
world, made their brief appearance, and then are in “the deep cavern 
of the ocean buried.” In the night of the first of February, 1811, flames 
were observed issuing from the sea, at the distance of about a mile and 
a half from the west end of St. Michaels, and soon after a most awful and 
tremendous explosion took place, throwing up, from a depth of forty 
fathoms, cinders, ashes, and stones, of immense size. 

Quantities of fish, as if boiled, floated on the surface of the sea towards 
the shore, and a dangerous shoal was thus formed. On the thirteenth of 
June, two columns of white smoke were seen rising from the sea at this 
spot, and the Sabrina, British sloop of war, supposing it to be the result 
of an engagement, made sail towards it. For two or three days previous, 
however, repeated shocks of an earthquake had been felt at St Michaels, 
which threw down several cottages, and portions of the cliff, towards the 
north west, but these ceased so soon as the volcano broke out. On the 
eighteenth it was still raging with unabated violence, throwing up, from 
under the water, large stones, cinders, ashes, &e., accompanied with 
several severe concussions. About noon on the same day, the mouth of 
the crater just showed itself above the surface of the sea, where there 
was formerly forty fathoms of water, at 3 p. m. it was about thirty feet 
above the water, and about a furlong in length. On the nineteenth it 
was about fifty feet high, and two thirds of a mile in length, still raging 
as before, and throwing up large quantities of stones, some of which fell 
a mile distant from the volcano. The smoke drew up several water 
spouts, which, spreading in the air, fell in heavy rain, accompanied with 
vast quantities of black sand. On the twentieth the Sabrina proceeded 
on a cruise, leaving the volcano about 150 feet high, still raging as 
formerly, and increasing in size ; when she returned on the fourth of 
July, it was found quite quiet, and a complete island formed. The 
captain and several officers landed upon it, and found it very steep, and 
between 200 and 300 feet in height. It was with difficulty they were 
able to reach the top, which at last they effected in a quarter where there 
was a gentle declivity, but the ground, or rather ashes, composed of 
sulphureous matter, dross of iron, &c. ; was so very hot to their feet 
that they were glad to return, affter having taken possession of the island 



in the name of His Britanic Majesty, and left an English Union- Jack 
flying on it. 

The circumference of the island, which was of a circular form, was 
at this time about a mile. In the middle was a large basin of boiling 
water, whence a stream, about six yards across, ran into the sea on the 
side facing St. Michael, and at the distance of fifty yards from the shore 
the water, although thirty fathoms deep, was too hot to hold the hand in. 
In short, the whole island appeared as a crater ; the cliff on the outside 
as walls, steep within and without. The appearance of the volcano, 
prior to the crater showing itself above the surface, as seen from the 
nearest point of St. Michael, on a cliff about 400 feet above the sea, was 
that of an immense body of smoke, revolving in the water almost hori- 
zontally, in varied involutions, when suddenly would shoot up a column 
of the blackest cinders, ashes, and stones, in form like a spire, and rising 
to windward at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees from the perpendicular. 
The columns of ashes, &c., at their greatest height, formed into branches, 
resembling magnificent pines, and as they fell mixing with the festoons 
of white smoke, at one time assumed the appearance of plumes of black 
and white ostrich feathers, at another, that of light wavy branches of the 
Weeping willow. These bursts were accompanied by explosions of the 
most vivid lightning, and a noise like the continual fire of cannon and 
musketry ; and as the cloud of smoke rolled off to leeward, it drew up 
the water spouts above mentioned, which formed a beautiful, and strik- 
ing addition to the scene. 

Subsequently this islet sunk gradually into the sea, and in the middle 
of October no part was left above the water, but a dangerous shoal re- 
mained in the place, and exists to this day. In February, 1812, smoke 
was again discovered issuing out of the sea near the spot. Another of 
these volcanic islands suddenly rose from the bosom of the sea, opposite 
to Sicily, July 1831, and is thus described by a party of English gentle- 
men, who visited it. They left the shore of Sciacca at 9 o’clock in the 
evening. There was a beautiful bright moon, and they were further 
favored by a gentle breeze blowing from land in the direction of the 
island. A little before sunrise they were awakened by violent explosions, 
that warned them that they were near the volcano ; and, rising, they saw 
at a short distance two hills surmounted by a column of smoke. The 
curious island of Pantellaria, which has evidently been thrown up in the 
same manner, by a sub-marine eruption, though it is now inhabited, and 
partially cultivated, was seen in the distance to the west. They calcu- 
lated that they had sailed about 36 miles, and that the new island was 

Volcano Island, oft llic Azotes. 



about equi-distant from Sciacca and Pantillaria. It had arisen from a 
sand bank, which was previously covered (though not with deep water) 
by the sea, and well known to mariners by the name of “ Nerita.” This 
sand bank itself, which extends for some distance, is probably the resul t 
of some anterior volcanic convulsion. 

J ust as they were within a few oars’ length of the new island, the sun 
rose in all its glory behind the dark crater, revealing its form, and shin- 
ing through the dense smoke with singular effect. They began their 
examination at the north west of the volcano, where it presented the 
form of a round hill, rising about 120 feet above the level of the sea. 
They weredeterred from acloser approach bya thick cloud of white smoke, 
which issued from the side of the hill, on a level with the sea. They 
rowed the boat round the island, keeping about twenty feet from it, 
until they came to the north east point, where they found that the island 
was some feet higher than at the part previously examined, and that there 
was a piece of flat sandy shore, which seemed to afford a good landing 
place. As, however, nobody had hitherto set foot on this new produc- 
tion of nature, some apprehensions as to the safety of so doing, or whether 
they would not be swallowed up, were entertained by the Sicilians. 
After some minutes of hesitation, one of the sailors leaped ashore, and 
found tolerable firm footing. The English gentlemen followed him, but 
the sailor was still reluctant to proceed, or to ascend the side of the 
volcano. Mr. Wright (one of the party) advanced a few steps, and 
perceiving some bright yellow stones which had very much the appearance 
of gold, he picked up some of them, and cried out, “Run, run, my 
friends ! here is gold, here is gold !” This temptation was irresistible ; 
every man left the boat ; or, to use the words of one of the party, “ they 
all leaped on shore like so many devils careless of life, through the 
avidity to obtain part of the treasure;” but it is needless to say this was 
only a ruse. Finding that they nowhere sank much deeper than the 
ankle in the sandy soil, they readily followed Mr. Wright’s example, and 
climbed up to the ridge of the island, at the part where it was lowest. 
Having reached this point with some difficulty, they stood on the edge 
of the crater, that was flanked on either side by a cone or peak, of 
superior elevation. The form of the crater was very irregular ; within 
it, and 45 feet below its lip, or edge, on which they stood, and nearly 
on a level with the surface of the sea, they saw two small lakes of boiling 
water. One of these lakes was about 150 feet in circumference, the 
vther not more than 30 feet. In'the first, the color of the water was a 



light yellow, in the second a reddish yellow ; they bubbled here and 
there, and emitted vapour. The master of the boat (a Maltese) boldly 
climbed to the top of the highest cone, an exploit not performed without 
danger, as on that part the island descended almost perpendicularly to 
the sea, whose waves had began already to destroy it, and occasionally 
carried away large masses at a time. 

Mr. Wright and his party returned to the strip of beach where the 
boat was secured, and were amusing themselves by examining and col- 
lecting the curious ashes, lapilla, and stones, which were there deposited, 
when a rumbling noise, and smoke, accompanied by a most pungent 
sulphureous smell, arose from the crater, and compelled them to embark. 

They rowed round to the south eastern point of the island, where they 
found a strip of beach like that which they had left, and lying on 
it, half dead and stupified, a fine large sword fish. This they secured, 
and carried back with them to Sciacca, where they found it weighed 
upwards of sixty pounds. The fate of the fish must have arisen from 
its coming too near the hot and contaminated water, which on all sides 
surrounded the island to a greater or less distance. Indeed, when the 
party started from this point to continue the circumnavigation of the 
island, they were obliged to keep nearly a mile at sea to steer clear of a 
new sub-marine crater, which was forming there, the eruption from 
which had changed the color of the waves from blue to deep yellow, and 
for the space of half a mile made them foam and roar in a fearful manner. 
Even at the distance at which they kept their boat, the air was so charged 
with sulphur, that it almost suffocated them. As they doubled this 
south eastern extremity, they saw immense clouds of smoke, now black, 
now white, rising as it were from a rent in the bosom of the sea, and 
attaining an elevation of 2,000 feet. 

Having gone entirely round the island, they ascertained that its form 
was circular, and that it was then about two miles in circumference, but 
evidently diminishing every day. In October 1831, this island was 
visited again, and although only two months had elapsed, it had been 
reduced to one seventh of its former circumference. Peaks and elevations 
had sunk into the sea ; there only remained one, which was much lowered 
and no longer retained the appearance of a volcanic crater. This rose 
in the centre of the island; it was an irregular cone in shape, and com- 
posed of fine, heavy, black sand, and very ficable scoriae. All the rest of 
the island was a plain, whose level part, which, like the hill, was composed 
of black sand, and scoriae, mixed here and there with fragments of lava. 



that seemed to contain a good deal of iron. No smoke then issued from 
any part of the island, but wherever the visitors dug a little in the plane 
a strong heat with smoke escaped. There remained, however, asmall lake, 
the waters of which seemed, from the steam rising on the surface, to he still 
boiling ; these waters had changed their color from yellow to a brownish 
black. In a few months this island had disappeared, and the sea 
between Sciacca and Pantellaria was perfectly clear. 


Near to the Volcanic Mountains of Iceland, the traveller frequently 
finds his course interrupted by frightful ruts in the earth, and deep 
fissures in the lava. He treads upon ground which sounds hollow 
beneath his feet, and then he frequently hears the rushing of water in 
the chasms over which he is walking, and at other times, where aper- 
tures occur on the thin crust of the earth, he sees steam issuing from the 
subterranean conduits, and towering in the air. 

The volcanic fires which pour forth such terrific eruptions from 
Mount Hecla, theyokuls and other craters, though, generally speaking, 
they do not exert their fiery energies, except after intervals of years, are 
not yet extinct, but burning, unseen, extend far from the craters them- 
selves, and convert the waters that flow near them into boiling fluid, 
and highly rarified vapour, which, at certain vents, maintain perennial 
eruptions. Instead of fire, smoke, liquid lava, lapilla and ashes, those 
vents, or aqueous craters, discharge columns of steam, and spouts of 
boiling water, and instead of years, in most cases, only a few hours inter- 
vene between the efforts. The most important of these issues is at Hanka- 
dal, considerably in the rear of Hecla, whose three snow clad summits, 
towering over a ridge of intervening hills, are, however, visible from the 
spot. Here, within a very limited space, are some dozens of Geysers ; 
the clouds of vapour they are constantly emitting being visible at the 
distance of several miles. The term “ Geyser” is derived from the 
Icelandic verb, “ Geysa, to rage, to burst forth violently.” The most 
important of the fountains at Hankadal, is called the “ Great Geyser.” 
It is surrounded by a large circular mound, formed by the earth and 
matter it has ejected and deposited during the course of ages. Inter- 



nally this mound is hollow, presenting a basin of about one hundred and 
fifty feet in circumference, which is usually filled to the depth of about 
four feet with boiling water, beautifully clear and crystaline. In the 
middle of this basin, a pipe or funnel, about ten feet in diameter, 
but wider at the top, descends perpendicularly in the earth, to the depth 
of nearly eighty feet. It is this tube that is the vent of this subterranean 
action of fire and water. The bottom and sides of the basin, within the 
mound, are covered with whitish siliceous incrustations; rendered 
perfectly smooth by the constant action of boiling water. Two small 
channelsfrom the sidesof thebasinopen, and allow almost constant passage 
to some of the water. This water, still hot, and strongly impregnated 
with mineral matter, on leaving the mound through a turfy kind of soil, 
and by acting on the peat, mosses, and grass, gradually produces some 
of the most beautiful specimens of petrefaction ; leaves of the birch, and 
other stinted trees, which grow in that inhospitable climate, are also found 
incrusted, so as to appear as of white stone, yet still preserving, not 
merely their general form, but their minutest fibres, unaltered. 

The eruptions of the great Geyser occur at irregular intervals : low 
reports, and slight concussions of the ground, give the first signal of 
coming violence. These symptoms are succeeded by a few jets, thrown 
up by the pipe or funnel, in the centre of the basin ; and then after a 
pause of a greater or less number of minutes, a rumbling noise is heard 
underground; louder reports succeed, and concussions, strong enough 
to shake the whole mound ; in the interior of which, the water boils with 
increased violence, and overflows the edges of the capacious basin. 
Other reports soon follow, being louder and more rapid than the pre- 
ceding, and not unlike the discharge of a piece of artillery. Then, with 
an astounding roar, and immense velocity, the water rushes through the 
pipes, and rises into the air, in irregular jets, which are surrounded 
and almost concealed by accompanying volumes of steam. To these 
first jets, loftier and more defined ones succeed, and these are generally, 
a central or main jet, presenting a column of boiling water, from nine 
to twelve feet in diameter, from fifty to seventy feet in height, on an 
average. Sometimes the main jet exceeds a hundred feet in height, and 
other geysers are said to throw water, though not in such a volume, to-a 
greater elevation. As the jets of the great geyser issue from the central 
pipe, the rvater in the basin, near the pipe, is raised about a foot and a 
half, and as the columns descend into the orifice, from whence they are 
ejected, the water every where overflows. Unlike the eruptions of fire, 
from the crater of a volcano, which often last for days, without any 
apparent diminution or pause, these boiling fountains seldom play 



longer than six or seven minutes at a time; then the action of the central 
pipe ceases, dense steam covers for a while the basin, and when that 
moves off, nothing is seen but a sheet of clear hot water, and all is quiet, 
until after an interval of some hours faint reports announce the approach 
of a fresh eruption. In August 1815, its eruption occurred pretty 
regularly every six hours, and some of the columns of water rose to the 
height of one hundred and fifty feet. Earthquakes, by intercepting the 
subterranean currents of waters, or by opening new channels, and giving 
other directions to those waters, by disrupting the earth, here, or by 
filling up former crevices — these, and by other processes, not easily 
detected, exercise an immediate and great influence over these fountains. 
During the dreadful earthquake that shook the island to its very centre 
in 1784, not only did the greater geysers shoot up with increased 
violence, but no fewer than thirty-five new boiling fountains made their 
appearance; many of these have since wholly subsided. There is 
one of these geysers, which is called “ the Strockr,” and D. Hen- 
derson says, that he discovered the key to its action, and by which 
he thought he could make it play whenever he had inclination 
to do so. He threw in a quantity of the largest stones which he could 
collect; presently it began to roar — he advanced his head, to look down 
the pipe or funnel, but had scarcely time to withdraw it, when the 
founfain shot up the jets of boiling water, carrying the stones with them, 
and attaining a height, which he calculated at two hundred feet. Jets 
surpassed jets, until the water in the subterranean cavern being spent, 
only columns of steam were emitted, and these continued to rise and to 
roar for nearly an hour. The next day he repeated the experiment, with 
the like success ; and leaving the spot to go on his journey, he says, that 
he often looked back on the thundering column of steam, and reflected 
with amazement at his having given such an impulse to a body which 
no power on earth could control. 

From the quantity of vapour emitted from these numerous vents, it 
often happens that the steam unites, and, forming a vast cloud, ascends, 
rolls and spreads itself, till it completely covers the confined horizon, 
and eclipses the mid-day sun. The effect produced by the reports and 
loud roaring of these fountains during the stillness of the night, is 
described as being peculiarly impressive. On the brow of the neigh- 
bouring hill, nearly two hundred feet above the level of the great geyser, 
there are several holes of boiling clay, some of which produce sulphur and 
efflorescence of alum. On the reverse of the same hill, and at its base, 
are more than twenty other hot-springs. Near Eey Kium, there are some 



springs which do not erupt, but regularly contain water, at the tem- 
perature of 200 degrees of Fahrenheit, and are used by the Icelanders, 
for boiling, washing their clothes, and other domestic purposes. It has 
been calculated that, during an eruption, one of these geysers throws up 
59,064 gallons of water every minute. Numerous hot-springs exist in 
the bed of a considerable river, and the quantity of boiling water they 
emit is so great, that it cannot be kept under by the cold water of the 
river, but forcing its way upwards, it bubbles and spouts above the 
surface of the stream. The mechanism of these geysers must be simple 
to have lasted for so many ages. They are mentioned by Saxo in his 
history of Denmark, and this shows that they must have existed for about 
six hundred years. 


The name is derived from two Greek terms, — gea , the earth, and 
logos , a discourse; and its object is to investigate the nature and 
properties of the substances of which the solid crust of the earth is 
composed ; the laws of their combination, as constituting the elements 
of rocks and other stony masses ; the arrangement of these different 
masses, and their relation to each other ; the changes which they appear to 
have undergone at various successive periods ; and, finally, to establish a 
just theory of the construction of that solid crust. A large portion of the 
solid materials of the earth is arranged in beds, varying in extent and 
thickness, but everywhere indicating the operation of one common agent. 
These beds are sometimes slightly coherent, as when composed of clay 
or sand : but at other times they are consolidated stony bodies, arranged 
in parallel layers, which are often subdivided into thinner portions, by 
seams or joints, and preserve their parallelism for a great extent, 
whether their position be horizontal, or at different degrees of inclination. 
Such beds are termed strata, and the general fact is expressed by the 
term stratification. Sometimes we find a succession of strata of the 
same rock in juxta-position : at other times there are strata of different 
substances, interposed or alternating with the principal rock. The 
position of strata in plains is generally but little inclined towards the 
horizon; butas we ascend mountains, the strata are usually inclined, some- 
times nearly or even absolutely vertical. When a mountain or chain of 


mountains is lofty, it is not unusual to find the strata inclined from the 
centre or axis of the chain towards either hand, and in’such cases we 
generally find the strata reposing on a different kind of rock, which has 
no appearance of having a seamed or stratified structure. Hence the 
two great divisions of stratified and unstratified. Sometimes mineral 
bodies form irregular masses, entirely in the rocks in which they occur, 
varying in weight from a few grains to many tons, without any 
perceptible trace of the mode of their introduction. Occasionally long 
fissures occur, which are not filled up by any solid material ; sometimes 
also cavities are left in the more solid species of rocks, the sides of 
which are lined with crystalline bodies, of various kinds. Sometimes 
these fissures and cavities are of enormous extent, forming vast caverns 
in the bowels of the earth, which are either empty, or filled with water. 
Such is the general structure of the solid crust of our earth. But when 
we examine the rocks more minutely, we find other striking peculiarities 
belonging to each, which, besides the order of their superposition, mark 
different eras in their formation. Minute examination of the organic 
remains, collected from several strata, has established the fact, that 
comparatively but few of the fossil animals are of the same species with 
those of the same families now living, and we cannot doubt but that they 
have wholly disappeared (genera and orders) from the face of the earth. 
It is only in the upper deposits that any species, identical with those 
now existing, have been detected. Where the organic bodies are 
completely fossilized, very few, if any, living species can be recognized ; 
and, generally, the recent species most nearly allied to the fossil are now 
no longer to be found in the adjacent seas or regions. Thus the fossil 
shells and corallines of northern countries, in both continents, have their 
congeners (when such are known) generally in tropical climates, and the 
fossil trees of the British coal fields have a greater affinity to the tree 
ferns and cyacadece of southern regions, than to any sort of European 
vegetation. But it may be asked, how can Geologists fix so exact an 
order of succession ? The answer to this is most complete, and they 
come to the conclusion from unerring data. Every stratum contains, 
within its own domain, records of its past history, written in characters 
intelligible to all nations, which no possible events can falsify or destroy, 
and which have enabled the Geologists to arrive at some conclusions, 
possessing all the certainty of mathematical demonstration. The 
following table will give a good general idea of the distribution of the 
strata, as regards the United Kingdom. 

General outline of the order of succession of rocks, which compose the crust of the earth. 

Nature of various rocks and soils. Situations where they are found. 



< Thick beds of clay ..... The Weald of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex 

V Yellow sand, with beds of iron ore .... Neighbourhood of Hastings, Isle of Purbeck. 

V Argillaceous sandstone .... - Flat pavement of London, very often 

Limestones of different qualities .... Portland building stone. 






Nature of various rocks and soils. Situations where they are found. 






































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It has been truly observed, that “ The Geologist may be considered 
as tne historian of events relating to the animate or inanimate creation, 
previous to that period when sacred history begins, or the history of 
man, in relation to hi3 highest destiny. Although it belongs to the 
geologist to study the events that have occurred within his province 
during the more modern ages of the world, as well as those which are in 
progress in our day, his especial object is to unfold the history of those 
revolutions by which the crust of the globe acquired its present form 
and structure. The solid earth, with its stores of organic remains 
which now rises above the surface of the sea, may be compared to a vast 
collection of authentic records, which will reveal to man, as soon as he 
is capable of rightly interpreting them, an unbroken narrative of events, 
commencing from a period indefinitely remote, and which, in all 
probability, succeeded each other after intervals of vast duration. 
Unlike the records of human transactions, they are liable to no suspicion 
that they have been falsified through intention or ignorance. In them 
we have neither to fear the dishonesty of crafty statesmen, nor the 
blunders of unlettered, or wearied transcribers. The Mummies of 
Egypt do not more certainly record the existence of a civilized people in 
remote ages, on the banks of the Nile, than do the shells entombed in 
solid stone, at the summit of the Alps and Pyrenees, attest that there 
was a time when the rocks of those mountains occupied the bottom of a 
sea, whose waters were as warm as those within the tropics, and which 
were peopled by numerous species of animals, of which there does not 
exist now one single descendant.” With such objects in view, and the 
temptations so great to enter into detail upon this beautiful science, we 
are warned by our limits to confine ourselves to a brief description of 
the mineral kingdom, and particularly of Great Britain and first, of 
COAL. If we examine a piece of this substance, particularly the 
Newcastle, we find it a compact, shining, stony body; but there are a 
few fragments even of a moderate size, in which we may not discover 
some parts very like charcoal, and very often with the distinct structure 
of wood, or other vegetable matter. Such appearances are most 
frequently observed in the slaty coal of Staffordshire, Scotland, and other 
parts. It is stated, that in all varieties of coal found at Newcastle coal- 
field, more or less of the fine, distinct net-like structure of the original 
vegetable texture can always be discovered. The vegetable origin of coal 
is further illustrated by the vast quantities of fossil plants found in the 
sand stones and shoals, which are interstratified with beds of coal. These 
are often in an extraordinary state of perfection, for the most delicate 



leaves are spread out on the stone like the dried plants an the paper in 
theherberiumof abotanist. In the greater proportion of fossil plants of the 
coal measures, there is little appearance of woody matter; stems of a foot 
and a half in diameter have been found, with the external form perfectly 
preserved; but having only a coating of coaly matter of inconsiderable 
thickness, the interior part consisting of sand stone or clay, with now and 
then some more coaly matter, in the centre, indicating, as it were, the 
pith. But trunks of trees, in which the woody texture was preserved 
nearly throughout the whole stem, have often been met with : they have 
been seen in the coal mines of Westphalia sixty feet in length, and two 
remarkable fossil trees in the coal measures have occurred in Great 
Britain. In a bed of sand stone, near Gosforth, about five miles from 
Newcastle, a stem was found which measured 72 feet in length, and 4 
feet in width at its lower end, and from which it tapered gradually. It 
was in a compressed state, as'if flattened by great incumbent pressure, 
so that the above dimensions of the width are not the true diameter of the 
stem. There were no roots attached, but there were large knots, and 
other places where branches appear to have been broken off. 

It is the general opinion of geologists, that our beds of coal have been 
produced by vast quantities of plants, carried down from the land, and 
accumulated at the bottom of the soa during the long succession of ages ; 
the numerous alternations amounting to many hundreds, sometimes 
thousands, of sand stones, shales, and beds of coal, proving a long dura- 
tion of theprocessof deposition. The character of thevegetationindicates 
not only a tropical, but also an insular climate; that is, the plants must 
have grown on islands in a very moist atmosphere, and in a heat as great 
or even greater than that of the West Indies. To account for the 
extraordinary luxuriance of the vegetation, Brongniart a (French 
naturalist, to whom society is indebted for most valuable and accurate 
information upon the subject of fossil botany) has suggested that there 
was probably a much larger proportion of carbonic acid gas in the 
atmosphere of that period than now exists; that gas, being one great 
source of vegetable matter in the growth of plants. As any great 
proportion of carbonic acid gas would render the air unfit to support 
animal life, the absence of the remains of land quadrupeds among such 
accumulations of terrestial plants certainly gives some countenance to 
the conjecture. This mode of accounting for the deposition of our coal 
beds is greatly in conformity with what must be now going forward in 
many parts of the earth, to prepare beds of coal for distant ages. Every 
river must carry down more or less of the trees, or other plants, which 

48 BliOLOOY. 

either fali accidentally into it, or are swept from the banks by the 
force or undermining action of the stream, and the accumulation of 
such vegetable matter at the mouth of the larger rivers must be very 

It may be said, however, that granting this transportation of trees and 
plants by rivers, granting their sinking to the bottom of the sea, and 
their alternation there, in layers with beds of sand and clay, still their 
conversion into coal has to be accounted for; a substance not only 
different in appearance, but also in properties, from the substance of trees 
and plants. Here the researches of chemical science have come to our 
aid, for the conversion of vegetable matter into coal, has been proved by 
the observations of Dr. MacCulloch on peat-hogs, and by a series of 
experiments in the laboratory, instituted by that gentleman. 

Coal, freed from its adventitious earthy matter, which is merely 
mechanically mixed with it, is resolvable into the same ultimate elements 
as wood, and MacCulloch ascertained that the action of water on turf or 
submerged wood, is sufficient to convert them into substances, capable 
of yielding bitumen on distillation, and black and brittle, like those 
varieties of coal called, by mineralogists, legnite and jet ; and he is further 
of opinion, that great pressure, and long continued action, may have 
produced the other modifications. Thecoalso produced, differs, however, 
very materially in appearance and properties, as fuel, from the coal of our 
mines, and the last link of the chain between a lump of Newcastle coal, 
and a growing tree, is yet wanting. 

There are in England and Wales 12 great coal fields, but as Northum- 
berland and Derham supply almost exclusively London, we shall 
confine our observations to those great deposits. The length of the 
coal field from the Tees to the Coquet, is almost 55 miles ; its greatest 
breadth between the mouth of the Tyne and western pits, about 22 miles. 
The coal measures are not spread horizontally over the area, but lie in 
an inclined position, and in different parts of it. The consequence of this 
is, that the same seams are formed at much greater depths from the 
surface in one colliery than in another. Nor will two distant parts of 
the field give the same sucession of strata, in a vertical section, either as 
regards the beds of stone or the seams of coal, in point of quality and 
thickness ; the same seam of coal swells out in one place, and in another 
thins off so much as not to be worth the working, and the same thing 
occurs with the sand stone and shale; a bed of stone, or seam of coal, 
which in one pit is scarcely perceptible, will increase in another pit to 
several feet. Neither is it to be understood that these coal strata are 



continuous over the whole area; although that they were once so is 
more than probable. 

This deep furrowing of the land, which is common more or less to 
every coalfield in the island, has been ascribed by geologists to the action 
of great floods, at a period antecedent to all human records, carrying 
along with them gravel and blocks of stone, which have ploughed up the 
ground, and borne off the loosened materials, to be afterwards deposited 
in different parts, leaving behind them extensive valleys. The effect of 
this action has been called denudation by geologists, and the valleys 
so formed, which are not peculiar to coal fields, but exist in many parts 
of England, are called valleys of denudation. No bed of coal is 
uniformly good throughout any great extent ; the high main coal is for 
many miles so deteriorated in quality, and so mixed up with stone, that 
it becomes worthless in many places. The coal-seams worked on these 
fields vary from 18 inches to 14 feet in thickness ; but in the thick seams 
there is always a considerable portion of such bad quality as not to be 
saleable at a profit, and the best quality is seldom more than 6 or 7 feet 
thick. The best beds are those called by miners the high main and the 
low main; and, deep as the latter is, it is considered as quite a superior 


No instances occur in this country of beds of coal lying so near the 
surface, that they can be worked in open day like stone quarries, nor are 
they often found on the side of a hill so that they can be worked 
horizontally. When a coal field is to be ivon, that is worked, the first 
step is to sink a perpendicular, circular shaft, like a great well, in order 
to get at the coal, and by which the miners or pit-men descend, and the 
coal is brought to the surface. The sum required for winning a bed of 
coal is so great, that it is usually done by a company of speculators. One of 
the difficulties in sinking a shaft is, passing through quick-sands; another 
is the immense quantities of water which are met with in certain parts 
of the stratification, generally within 40 or 50 fathoms of the surface, 
which is always damned back by a tub : the depths of the mines vary 
very much ; in one place near Jarrow, five miles from the Tyne, he high 
main of coal is found 42 feet under the surface, while at Jarrow lake it is 
1 ,200 feet from the ground. This great depth is not reached by one 
perpendicular shaft, but by a shaft and steam engine under ground, witn 




descending inclined planes (steam engines were first used in mines in 
1804). The pit being sufficiently sunk to a seam of coal, the excavation 
begins by cutting out the coals literally into what are called galleries. 
One set of workmen is employed in digging out the coal and another in 
removing it to the bottom of the shaft, from whence it is drawn up by 
machinery to the surface. The work of the miners is very laborious, 
especially where the seams are so thin as to prevent their being in an 
erect posture. 

The chief accidents to which collieries are exposed are inundations of 
water, and explosions of gas. The quantity of water which flows into 
the mines is sometimes quite enormous, and the expense of working it 
off by pumps of steam power, is one of the heaviest charges of a colliery. 
It very often happens that a man is drowned by an accidental opening 
into an old working, filled with water. 


The discovery of this beautiful means of light is not so modern as one 
is apt to believe from its recent adoption; for we find in the philosophical 
transactions of 1667, a paper by one Thomas Shirley, in which he speaks of 
the burning well near Wigan, in Lancashire, and confutes the opinion that 
the waters of that well were inflamable, as was then believed ; and adds, 
that the flame produced, was by the combustion of bituminous fumes 
issuing from the water, and that it proceeded from the coal-bed which 
underlies all that part of the country. 

The first published accountof making coal gas was by Dr. Hales, in 1726, 
who produced 180 cubic inches of gas from 158 grain of Newcastle coal, 
and this only by way of experiment to prove the elasticity of the gas. 
A letter in the same publication, in 1739, lays claim to the discovery for 
one Eobert Boyle much earlier, as that person died in 1691. Subse- 
quently, the attention of many eminent chemists was constantly directed 
to this object, and to no one does it appear is the merit due of making it 
an economical means of light but to Mr. Murdoch, who first applied 
it for lighting his then residence at Redruth, in Cornwall. This was in 
1792, and five years subsequently he made a similar use of gas in 
Ayrshire, and in 1798 he partially lighted with it the manufactory of 
Messrs. Boulton and Watt, at Soho, near Birmingham. In 1802, at the 
illumination for the peace of Amiens, the whole of the extensive premises 
at Soho was entirely lighted by gas. Mr. Murdoch in 1806 received the 

Fulls of Niagara 



gold medal from the Royal Society, for his successful erection of a gas 
apparatus for the manufactory of Mr. Lee, at Manchester. The public 
attention in London was shortly after called to it by a German named 
Windsor, who gave lectures on the subject at the Lyceum theatre in the 
Strand. Windsor, a man of enterprise, was but a very indifferent 
chemist, and although he succeeded in raising a company to prosecute 
his object, yet his views, and the expectations which he raised, were so 
extravagant that his scheme fell to the ground. It must be conceded to 
him, however, that he was the first who directed public attention to the 
introduction of gas in London, and that the first street lighted with it 
was Pall Mall, and its continuing exclusively so, for several years was by 
his sole influence. In 1809, the National Light and Heat Company 
applied for an Act of Parliament to establish a joint stock company, but 
they were strongly opposed by Mr. Murdoch, on the grounds of priority of 
invention, and the application was refused ; they renewed their claim with 
better success the following year, and the Act was granted ; this was the 
first of the chartered companies. A new charter, giving increased power 
and for raising more capital, was granted to this company in 1812, at 
which time the public became sensible of the advantage of gas as a brilliant 
and economical light, and applications for it came pouring in. Many 
of the parishes of the Metropolis discarded their ugly, uncouth looking 
lamps, which, as to giving light, did but “ make darkness visible,” and 
so successful was the original companies in 1823 (for by this time there 
were several) that, before a Parliamentary Committee, it was proved, the 
consumption of coal was 20,678 chaldrons annually, producing an 
average of 680,000 feet of gas every night, which was distributed through 
London by means of 122 miles of pipe; supplying upwards of 30,000 
burners, and giving a light equal to 30,0001bs. of candles. Such has 
been the increase of gas lighting since, that this particular company have 
nearly quadrupled their supply, while the whole of the gas companies in 
London are estimated to consume more than 200,000 chaldrons of coal 
per annum, and to distribute through nearly 600 miles of pipe 7,000,000 
of cubic feet of gas every 24 hours, on an average of the whole year, 
giving a light equal to what would be obtained from 300,000 lbs. of 
candles! Although in London the progress of gas until 1813 was very 
slow, yet in the manufacturing districts it was making rapid strides, by 
Mr. Clegg at Halifax, and Mr. Pemberton at Birmingham, at both of 
which places the success of the experiment was equal to the talent with 
which it was carried on. 



All travellers are agreed that this is the greatest of nature’s wonders, 
and that language is incapable of conveying an adequate description of 
its beauties, its immensity — creating wonder, terror and delight to 
every eye that looks upon it, and defying delineation by pencil or pen. 
“ It has, tome,” says Mrs. Trollope, “something beyond its vastness: 
there is a shadowy mystery hanging about it, which neither the eye nor 
the imagination can picture; but I dare not dwell upon this; it is a 
dangerous subject, and any attempt to describe the sensations must lead 
to nonsense.” The river Niagara takes its rise in the western extremity 
of lake Erie, and after flowing about 34 miles, it empties itself into lake 
Ontario. It is from half a mile to three miles broad, its course is very 
smooth, and its depth considerable. The sides above the cataract are 
nearly level, but below the falls the stream rushes between very lofty 
rocks, capped with gigantic trees, and this, forming such a contrast to the 
level shore above, gives reason to suppose that in some long by-gone time 
the level has been ploughed up by volcanic force. The great body of 
water, as may be supposed, does not precipitate itself in one complete 
sheet, but is separated by islands, and forms three distinct falls. One 
of these, called the Great Fall, or, from its shape, the great Horse Shoe 
fall, is on the Canadian side. Its beauty is considered to surpass that of 
the others, although its height is considerably less. Its exact dimensions 
can only be conjectural: its circumference is reckoned at 1,100 feet, with 
a perpendicular height of 165 feet. The chief points and features of this 
sublime scene are (besides the great Horse Shoe fall) the “Table Rock,” 
“Goat Island,” and the “ American Fall,” with a small section thereof 
separated at the top by a projecting rock, exclusive of other parts less 
remarkable or striking. “ I will not attempt a general description,” 
says a recent visitor, “of what nature never intended should be copied, 
for were I able to paint with human accuracy the different portions of 
this stupendous cataract, with its ever ascending column of misty spray, 
and give to the iris with which the morning and evening sun adorns the 
wild scene, all the beauty and loveliness of its primitive colors, yet would 
there be wanting the everlasting and deafening thunder, which nearly 
destroys the sense of hearing, as well as the superior interest which 
reality must ever possess over the most accurate and masterly copy 



The distance from the inn where I lodged to the nearest part of the great 
Horse Shoe fall is about 300 yards, yet the concussion of air caused by 
the cataract is so great, that the window frames, and indeed the whole 
fabric, are continually in a tremulous motion, and in winter when the 
wind drives the spray in the direction of the buildings, the whole scene 
is coated with sheets of ice. Reason and imagination are alike confounded 
at the awfulness and grandeur of the scene, so completely does the first 
view of this mighty cataract absorb all human faculty, except to see and 
wonder ! The first distinct view from the elevated Table land, or 
‘ Mountain,’ as it is called, is of a tolerably compact column of white 
mist, ascending perpendicularly to a vast height, when it apparently 
encountered a current of upper air, which broke it into small fleecy clouds 
that floated horizontally towards the sunny west, as far as the eye could 
reach. As I approached nearer, this column was truly beautiful, and 
before I had reached the immediate vicinity of the cataract, the sun had 
so far declined that his slanting rays were magically reflected in a beauti- 
ful bow thrown across the river, varying in its splendour according to 
the density of the ascending spray. The most interesting and beautiful 
point of view is from a cliff opposite to Fort Schloper cataract ; although 
much less magnificent, yet it excites much more interest than any other 
station, having a delightful view of the steep and lofty cliffs composed of 
earth and rocks, which are generally quite perpendicular; here, however, 
one half of the Horse Shoe fall is concealed by the projecting cliff, but 
its partial view is beautiful in the extreme. The descent to the bottom 
of these falls is accomplished by very long pine trees formed in the shape 
of ladders, on which a visitor can descend to the bottom amidst a variety 
of huge rocks and pendant trees, which ever and anon seem to threaten 
him with destruction. The color of the water of these cataracts depends 
upon the state of the atmosphere, the force and height of the wind and 
sun; at times the spray rises above the falls, and seems to mingle with 
the clouds ! The stream descends very rapidly for nearly eight miles 
below the falls, and is not safely navigable until it reaches Queen’s Town, 
which is quite ten miles from the cataract. It is reckoned that the 
quantity of water which rushes over the falls is 674,000 tons per minute.” 
‘‘ Beyond the Horse Shoe is Goat Island,” says the lady we have 
already quoted from, “and beyond Goat Island, the American fall, bold, 
straight, and chafed to snowy whiteness by the rocks which oppose its 
course, but it does not approach in sublimity or awful beauty to the 
wondrous crescent on the other shore. There the foam of the mighty 
cauldron, into which the deluge pours the hundred silvery torrents 



congregated round its verge, the smooth and solemn movement with 
which it rolls its massive volume over the rock, the liquid emerald of its 
long unbroken waters, the fantastic wreaths which spring to meet it, and 
then the shadowy mist that veils the horrors of its crash below, constitute 
a scene almost too enormous in its features for man to look upon; 
‘ Angels might tremble as they gaze,’ and I should deem the nerves 
obtuse, rather than strong, which did not quail at the first sight of this 
stupendous cataract.” 

Near Goat Island the river is 200 feet deep, and has at all points a 
fine view of the- rapids of the American cataracts; it is a vast sheet, 
and has all the sublimity that height, and width, and uproar can give, 
but it has none of the magic of its rival about it. The furious velocity 
with which they rush onward to the abyss is terrific, and the throwing 
over a bridge was a work of noble daring. It has been attempted to 
establish, with some degree of accuracy, the precise distance to which the 
rumbling sound of the falls could be heard in a calm and still summer 
night ; and one, who resided several years near the spot, asserts that 
eighteen or twenty miles is the extreme distance. After the American 
war three of our large ships, stationed on Lake Erie, were declared unfit 
for service and condemned. Permission was obtained to send them over 
the falls : the first was torn to shivers by the rapids, and went over in 
fragments; thesecond filled with water before she reached the falls, but the 
third, which was in better condition, took the leap gallantly, and retained 
her form till she was hid in the cloud of mist below, A reward of ten 
dollars was offered for the largest fragment of wood, which should be 
found from either wreck, five for the second, and so on. One morsel 
only was seen, and that, only about a foot long, was mashed as by a vice, 
and its edges notched like the teeth of a saw ! 

In 1827 a few individuals purchased a large schooner of 140 tons burden. 
This vessel was towed dowm the river, to within half a mile of the 
“ rapids,” when it was cut adrift and left to its fate. The rapids are 
caused by numerous ledges of rock from two to four feet high, extending 
wholly across the river, over which the water successively pitches, for 
about the distance of a mile immediately above the main cataract. The 
vessel got safely over the first ledge, but upon pitching over the second 
her masts went by the board, she sprang a leak and filled with water, but 
contrived, nevertheless, to float, though shecbanged herposition to stern 
foremost, in which manner she took her last plunge over the main fall, 
her bowsprit being the last part that was visible of her : she, of course, 
never rose more, but numerous fragments of her timbers and planking 



were picked up some miles below in very small pieces, bruised, torn and 
shivered. There were two bears and some other animals on board other, 
but the bears seem to have had misgivings of the safety of the voyage, 
and therefore when she sprang a leak and floated stern foremost they 
stepped overboard, and with much difficulty succeeded in swimming 
ashore, after having been carried half-way down towards the main 
cataract by the rapidity of the current. No trace of the smaller animals 
was ever discovered. It is the opinion of those who have been long 
resident near the cataract, that not even the different sorts of fish that 
happen to be forced down the falls ever escape with life, and in corrobora- 
tion of this, numerous dead fish are daily seen below the gulf; wild fowl, 
too, unmindful of their danger, or floated down while they are asleep, 
never escape destruction if once driven within the verge of the main 


In no part of the United Kingdom is there so many beautiful objects of 
natural scenery in a small space as in the county of Wicklow, which 
adjoins the city of Dublin, and none more so than those of Bray, 
Inneskerry, the Dargle, and 

“ The vale of Avoca where the bright waters meet.” 

Of the three water falls, Pola-Phuca is the most striking and remarkable. 
The Dargle is not properly a water fall, though the citizens of Dublin are 
pleased to call it so. Powerscourt cascade descends from a vast height 
(and the view, with Grattan’s house in the distance, is truly beautiful), 
but the stream of water is inconsiderable, except during or immediately 
after wet weather ; in dry weather it has the appearance at a short 
distance, of a fine silver thread gliding down the face of a steep rock. 
Pola-Phuca, or, as it is sometimes written, Poulia-Phouka , is formed by 
the descent of the waters of the Liffey, a considerable stream, which in 
leaping down several progressive ledges of rocks, brawls and foams till the 
precipitated waters form a vortex below of great depth, and is supposed 
by the peasantry to be unfathomable. Pola-Phuca is understood to 
signify Pucks or the Devil's hole, a very expressive term, suggested by 
the whirpool. It is not far from Kossborough, on the left of the road 
leading from Blessington to Balymore, and is one of the great attractions 
of the good citizens of Dublin, and all visitors to that part of “ Erin’s 
green isle.” There is a bridge higher up the river, which contrasts 
strongly with the masses of rock, and increases greatly the picturesque 


The river Clyde, near the town of Lanark, is, according to the opinion 
of all travellers, a situation of the most romantic and picturesque beauty 
of scenery unsurpassed in Europe. The falls of Clyde have been long 
celebrated; they are sometimes called “ Linns,” which comes from the 
Gaelic Leum, a fall of water. The first precipice over which the river 
rushes on its way from the hills, is situated about two miles above 
Lanark, and is known by the name of Bonnington Linn. It is a per- 
pendicular rock of about 20 or 30 feet high, over which the water, after 
having approached its brink in a broad sheet, smooth as a mirror, and 
reflecting the forests that clothe its margin, tumbles impetuously into a 
deep hollow or basin, where it is instantly ground into froth. A dense 
mist continually hovers over this boiling cauldron. From this point 
downwards the channel of the river assumes a chaotic appearance; instead 
of the quiet and outspread waters above the fall we have now a confined 
and angry torrent, forcing its way with the noise of thunder between 
steep and meeting rocks, and over incessant impediments. The scenery 
on both sides, however, is exquisitely rich and beautiful. A walk of about 
half a mile, which may be said almost to overhang the river, leads to the 
second and most famous of the falls, that called Corra Linn , from thecas- 
tleof Corra, now’ in ruins, which stands in its vicinage. The tremendous 
rocks around, the old castle on the opposite bank, a corn mill on the 
rock below, the furious and impatient stream foaming over the rock, the 
horrid chasm and abyss beneath the feet, heightened by the hollow 
murmur of the water and the screams of wild birds, form a spectacle at 
once tremendous and pleasing. A summer house is situated on a high 
rocky bank that overlooks the Linn. From its uppermost room it affords 
a very striking prospect of the fall ; for all at once, on throwing your 
eyes towards a mirror on the opposite side of the room from the fall, you 
see the whole tremendous cataract pouring, as it were, upon your bead. 
The Corra Linn, by measurement, is 84 feet in height. The river does 
not rush over it in one uniform sheet like Bonnington Linn, but in three 
different, though almost imperceptible, precipitate leaps. On the southern 
bank, and when the sun shines, a rainbow is perpetually seen forming 
itself upon the mist and fogs arising from the violent dashing of the 
waters. A short distance below Corra Linn is another fall called 

The Maelstrom. 



Dundaff Linn, the appearance of which is also very beautiful, though it 
is only about three and a half feet high. About three miles farther 
down, and a considerable way past the to\yn of Lanark, is the last of the 
falls, called Stonebyres Linn. It is a precipice, or rather a succession of 
three precipices, making together a height of 64 feet. The same general 
features of rugged rocks, here appearing in all their dreary barrenness, 
there concealed by trees and shrubs, of wild birds winging their flight 
over the bounding cataract, and mingling their screams with its roar, 
and of cultivated nature in its most luxuriant beauty, contending all 
around with the sublimity of the ceaseless torrent, belong, in degree, as 
much to Stonebyres as to Corra Linn. There is a peculiar phenomenon 
to be seen here, that of the incessant endeavours of the salmon in 
spawning season, to mount the lofty barrier by which they find their 
migration from the sea opposed. It is needless to say, that their efforts 
are unavailing, the trout, however, have been noticed to spring up 
Dundaff Linn apparently without much difficulty. 


Whirlpools are occasioned by currents meeting with sub-marine 
obstacles, which throw them into gyration. When the movement is 
rapid, the centre is the most depressed portion of the rotating circle, and 
objects drawn within it are submerged at that point. The Maelstrom 
on the coast of Norway is a whirlpool of this kind, the perils of which 
are probably much exaggerated. The flood tide setting from the south 
west, amongst the Loffoden isles, especially when it meets with a strong 
gale from the northwest, produces a great agitation of the waves, and a 
whirpool is formed, the roaring of which is heard at the distance of many 
miles. Its agitated vortices are dangerous to vessels, and it is said 
that seals and whales, when caught with its eddies are unable to extricate 
themselves from destruction. It is now well ascertained that Charybdes, 
in the Strait of Messina, owes its terrors to the imagination of seamen in 
the infancy of navigation, and all its celebrity to poetic fancy. Such is 
the dry detail, which an eminent philosopher gives of this long famed 
whirlpool, stripping it by a few matter offsets of most of its highly poetic 
trappings ; yet, plain and unvarnished as the truth may be, we cannot 
deny ourselves the pleasure of quoting a truly graphic description, from 
Fraser’s Magazine, for September 1834, of the supposed situation of a 



doomed ship nearing the terrible Maelstrom. “ And now the breeze, 
which had been long flagging, lulled into a calm, and soon alow continual 
hum, like that of an army of bees, which seemed to rise out of the stilled 
ocean, became audible to every ear; not a word was spoken, every one 
held his breath whilst he listened with an intensity of eagerness that 
betokened the awe that was fast filling the heart. ‘ It is the Moskoes- 
trom,’ cried the boatswain! ‘The Moskoestrom !’ echoed the crew. 

‘ Away men !’ shouted the mate, down to the hold, bring up the spare 
sails, clear the deck, set up a spar for a mast, away,— away !’ The din 
of preparation drowned the stern hum of the distant whirlpool ; there was, 
however, an anxious pause when the new sail was set into the air ; and 
experienced sailors suffered themselyes to be cheated with the hope, that 
there was still beeeze enough to make the good ship answer her helm. 
But, alas! the heavy canvas refused to expand its folds, and not a breath 
of wind ruffled the dull surface of the sullen waters. They had not 
another hope ; the sailors looked on one another with blank dismay, and 
now they heard, with awful distinctness, the roar of the terrible 
Maelstrom, and the frowning rocks of Loffoden were but too plainly 
visible on the right. It became evident to all, that the ship, borne 
along by the tide, was fast approaching the dreadful whirlpool. The 
vessel continued slowly to approach, and the certainty of unavoidable 
death became every moment more overpowering and intense. At first 
the sailors stood together in a group, gazing gloomily upon one another, 
but as the roar of the whirlpool became louder and louder, and the 
conviction of inevitable destruction became stronger, they all dispersed 
to various parts of the ship. * * * It was a beautiful day, the sun 

shone forth without a cloud to dim his lustre, the waves sparkled beneath 
his influence, and the white plumage of a thousand busy sea birds became 
more dazzling with his rays. The Isle of Moskoe was close at hand, and 
looked cheerful and inviting, but the ship was not to approach nearer to 
its shores, — the stream which bore her along never suffered any vessel 
to pause in its career. And now there arose at some distance ahead of 
the vessel, a horrible and dismal bellowing or howling, as some Leviathan 
in his agony, and when those on deck, who had still ears for exterior 
sounds, looked forward to ascertain its cause, they beheld a huge black 
monster upon the surface of the sea, struggling against the irresistible 
stream, and with his immense tail lashing the waters into foam, as he 
vainly strove to escape from destruction. They beheld him borne awe.y 
by the might ofhis furious enemy; and they heard his last roar above the 
noise of the whirlpool, as he was sucked down into the never satisfied 



abyss, and disappeared from their eyes to be torn to atoms ; for such is the 
fate of every thing that seeks the depths of the Maelstrom. The ship 
glides along faster and faster, she begins to toss and roll uneasily in the 
angry rapids that boiled around her, — her race is, nearly run. Terrible, 
terrible moment ! The ship hurries on to her doom with mad impetuosity. 
She is in the rapids ! she hurries along swift as a flash of fire. She is in 
the whirl of water! round, round, round she goes,; her inmates catch 
hold of her bulwarks and of each other ,to steady themselves. And now 
Her bowsprit is under the waves, and a wild shriek of despair rises into 
the sky! The whirlpool, with greedy jaws, has sucked her under.” 

The water of the whirlpool is said to be 40 fathom deep, and at ebb its 
noise is as loud as a cataract. In 1645 it was so violently agitated by a 
storm, that in Moskoe the houses were so shaken as to cause the stones to 
fall to the ground. Fragments of vessels wrecked in the Maelstrom are 
frequently seen on the coast, brought up by the return of the tide, their 
edges mashed and jagged as with a saw, which would induce the belief 
that the bottom is composed of sharp rocks. 


No county in England possesses a greater variety of scenery than 
Derbyshire, or presents more striking geographical contrasts, than its 
northern and southern portions. The latter is a beautiful fertile district, 
in no way distinguished from other midland counties, but the northern 
part abounds with hill and dale, and the scenery is always romantic and 
frequently even sublime. A chain of hills arises, which extends to the 
borders of Scotland. Those hills are at first of small elevation, but being 
in their progress piled on one another, they form very elevated ground in 
the tract called “the High Peak.” The mountains of the peak, although 
inferior to those of Cumberland, constitute the loftiest and most consider- 
able range in the midland regions of the kingdom. The highest points 
are Axe-edge, which is 2,100 feet above the level of Derby, and 
Kinder-seout, which is 1,000 feet higher than the level of Buxton. About 
700 eminences and 50 rocky caverns, dells and valleys, have been 
enumerated in the region of the peak; the most celebrated is the “ Peak 
Cavern,” sometimes called “ Devil’s Cave,” and more frequently “ Auld 

This is situate in Castleton Dale; the dale is six miles long and nearly 



two miles broad, and is calculated to be one thousand feet below the 
level of the surrounding country. It has been much celebrated, not 
because it is in that respect superior to many other valleys in Derbyshire, 
but from the lovely contrasts it presents to the sterile, bleak and desolate 
mountain tracts which surround it. The cavern itself is one of the most 
magnificent and extraordinary works of nature. It is almost impossible 
to conceive a scene more romantically beautiful, than the entrance to this 
cave. On each side the huge grey rocks rise almost perpendicularly to 
the height of nearly three hundred feet, having on the left the rivulet 
which issues from the cavern, and foams along over crags and broken 
limestone. The mouth of the cave is formed by a vast canopy of rock, 
which assumes the form of a depressed arch, nearly regular in its structure, 
and which extends in width one hundred and twenty feet, is forty-two 
feet in height, and above ninety feet in receding depth. This gloomy 
recess is inhabited by some poor people, who subsist by making pack- 
thread, and by selling candles, and officiating as guides to visitors. Their 
rude huts and twine-making machines produce a singular effect, in 
combination with the natural features of the scene. After penetrating 
about thirty yards into this recess, the roof becomes lower, and a gentle 
descent conducts by a detached rock to the immediate entrance to the 
interior, which is closed by a door kept locked by the guides. At this 
point the light of day, which had gradually softened into the obscurity of 
twilight, totally disappears, and torches are employed to illuminate the 
further progress through the darkness of the cavern. The passage then 
becomes low and confined, and the visitor is obliged to proceed twenty or 
thirty yards in a stooping posture, when he comes to another spacious 
opening, whence a path conducts to the margin of a small lake, called 
“ First water;” this lake is about fourteen yards long, and in depth three 
or four feet: upon it is a small boat filled with straw’, on which the 
visitor lies, and is thus conveyed into the interior of the cavern under a 
massive arch of rock, which is about five yards through, and in one 
place descends to within eighteen or twenty inches of water. Beyond the 
lake a spacious vacuity of two hundred and twenty feet in length, two 
hundred feet broad, and in some parts one hundred and twenty high, 
opens in the bosom of the rocks ; but the absence of light precludes the 
spectator from seeing either the sides or the roof of this great cavern. 

It is traversed by a path cdnsisting of steps cut in the sand, conducting 
from the first to the “ second water.” Through this, visitors are 
generally conveyed upon the backs of the guides. Near the termination 
of this passage, before arriving at the water, there is a projecting pile of 



rocks, popularly called “ Roger Rain’s House,” from the incessant fall 
of water through the crevices in the rocks. A little beyond this spot is 
the entrance of another hollow, called the “ Chancel.” At this point 
the rocks appear broken and dislocated, and the sides and prominent 
parts of the cavity are incrusted with large massesof stalectite. In the 
“ Chancel” the stranger is much surprised and impressed by hearing the 
deathlike stillness of the place suddenly interrupted by a burst of vocal 
music, from the upper regions of the cavern. The tones are wild and 
discordant, but, heard in such a place, and under such circumstances, 
produce a powerful impression. At the conclusion of the performance, 
the singers display their torches, and eight or ten women and children — 
the inhabitants of the huts at the entrance — appear ranged on a hollow 
of the rock, about fifty or sixty feet from the ground. From the 
“ Chancel” the path leads onwards to the “ Devil’s Cellar,” and thence 
a gradual and somewhat rapid ascent of about one hundred and fifty feet 
conducts to a spot called the “ Halfway House.” Farther on, the way 
proceeds between three natural arches, to another vast cavity, which is 
denominated “ Great Tom of Lincoln,” from its resemblance to the form 
of a bell. A very pleasing effect is produced, when this place is illumi- 
nated by a strong light. The arrangement of the rocks, the spiracles of 
the roof, and the flowing stream, unite to form a scene of no common 
interest: the distance from this spot to the termination of the entire hollow 
is not considerable. The vault gradually descends, the passage contracts, 
and at last nearly closes, leaving only sufficient room for the passage of the 
water, which appears to have a communication with the distant mines 
of the Peak Forest. The entire length of this wonderful cavern is 750 
yards, and its depth 207 yards. It is wholly formed of limestone strata, 
which abound in marine exuviae, and occasionally exhibit an intermixture 
of chert. Some communications with other fissures open from different 
parts of the cavern, but none of them are comparable to it in extent and 
appearance. In general, the access to the cavern is easy, but in very wet 
weather it cannot be explored, as it is then nearly filled with water, which 
rises to a considerable height even at the entrance. In the inner part of 
the cavern a singular effect is produced by the explosion of a small 
quantity of gunpowder, when inserted in a crevice of the rock. The 
report seems to roll along the roof and sides, like a heavy and continuous 
peal of thunder. 



Although the height of the Hartz Giant, the Brocken is only three 
thousand four hundred feet above the level of the sea; yet, it being isolated 
from its diminutive brethren, and no other mountains of equal altitude 
intervening to obstruct the view, we have consequently a more extensive 
prospect than from one of much greater height in the Tyrol or Switzer- 
land; but those persons who tell us that the Baltic, the German Ocean, 
and the Yosges Mountains are visible, we may be assured are most 
imaginative tourists. However, Magdeburg, with the Elbe, Erfurt, 
Gotha, and Wilhelmshohe at Cassel, may be distinctly seen, together with 
the towns of Brunswick and Wolfenbiittel. The surrounding country 
is also exceedingly interesting, as it affords numerous excursions, and at 
the same time a fund of amusement to the imaginative tourist, for he is 
now in the region of enchantment; and every hill, glep, and wood, has 
been the theatre of some supernatural legend. The Spectre of the 
Brocken is an aerial figure, which is sometimes seen among the Hartz 
Mountains in Hanover. This atmospherical phenomenon has been seen 
by many travellers, one of whom has described it as follows: “ Having 
ascended the Brocken for the thirtieth time, I was at length so fortunate 
as to have the pleasure of seeing this phenomenon. The sun rose about 
four o’clock, and the atmosphere being quite serene towards the east, its 
rays could pass without any obstruction over the Heinrichpoke mountain. 
About a quarter past four I looked round to see whether the atmosphere 
would permit me to have a free prospect to the southwest, when I 
observed at a great distance, Achtermannshoue, a human figure of a 
monstrous size ! A violent gust of wind having almost carried away my 
hat, I moved my hand towards my head, and the colossal figure did the 
same. The pleasure which I felt at this discovery can hardly be 
described ; for I had already walked many a weary step in the hope of 
seeing this shadowy image without being able to gratify my curiosity. 

I made immediately another movement by bending my body, and the 
colossal figure before me repeated it. I was desirous of doing the same 
thing once more, but my colossus had vanished, I remained in the same 
position waiting to see whether it would return, and in a few minutes it 
again made its appearance on the Achtermannshoue. I then called the 
landlord of the neighbouring Inn, and having both taken the position 
which I had taken alone, we saw two colossal figures, which repeated 

Spectre of the Brocken. 



their compliments by bending their bodies as we did ; after which they 
vanished. I particularly noticed that this phenomenon was frequently 
very weak and faint, but sometimes strong and well defined. The time 
to ascend the Brocken is in the month of September, that being the only 
month in the year when the fogs and steams of this northern clime will 
allow an uninterrupted view. It is not advisable to attempt an ascent 
to the Hartz without a guide, as these mountains abound with 
dangerous marshes. 


The storm came on towards the end of spring, 1836, and though it 
raged with unwonted violence, it was for the first three or four days almost 
disregarded. The peasantry believing that a limited period was assigned 
for this warring of the elements, never thought of the sufferings to which 
they would be subjected, should the period be unusually lengthened. 
Accordingly they adopted no precautionary measures, they collected no 
provisions; they did not conceive it necessary to withdraw the shepherds 
and their flocks from the mountains, and they felt no uneasiness as to 
their safety. The fourth day passed, then a week, and still no abatement 
in the violence of the storm. “ It seemed,” says an eye witness, “ as if 
the mountains which surround our valley were fighting against each 
other, and their weapons, the thunders and the lightnings. The incessant 
peals, hurled from one summit to another, rolled back again with more 
stunning crashings, the lightning played around our cottages, and during 
the darkness of the nights illuminated the mountain tops, whose fantastic 
looking peaks everyinstant seemed shrouded in a blaze of light, while the 
rain descending in torrents, which no cottage roof could resist, and which 
threatened to sweep our dwellings from their foundations, and wash us into 
the river, whose swollen waters, rising far above the limits of their highest 
floods, were already robbing us of our property. Our thoughts were first 
directed to the dangers of our shepherds and their flocks, but to whom 
it was impossible to render assistance; the strongest man amongst us 
could not have braved the hurricane for an hour, so we were obliged to 
leave them to their fate ! Weeks succeeded weeks, and still the terrible 
scene was the same. There was no abatement in the thunderings, no 
interval in the lightnings, no cessations in the rains; gave ourselves 



up for lost, and believed that ‘ the end of all things was at hand,’ It 
became apparent that death by famine or by perishing in the waters, 
which raged around us, was the fate which awaited upon all of us. 
Silent, stupified sorrow overwhelmed us, and our feelings were fast drying 
up ; when, in the end of the sixth week, peace again reigned in the valley, 
and the clouds cleared away. The change which the first knowledge of 
the fact wrought upon our despairing minds may be conceived, but cannot 
be described.” 


“After quitting Quilan,” says Murray, “the road begins rapidly to 
ascend the ridge of the Corbieres, which divide the department of the 
Aude from Roussillou. Upon reaching the summit of the ridge the 
road winds through a labyrinth of stony mounds ; not a leaf or plant of 
any kind is to be seen ; it seems as if some tremendous waterspout had 
created this scene of dessolation, and washed the whole soil into the 
plains. My companion (a lady), born in the plains of the north, had 
never seen hills or mountains in her life before, and as some of her friends 
at Perpignan had been kind enough to apprize her of the dangerous 
nature of the descent into Roussillou, she had ever since we left Quilan 
been incessantly talking about it, and as she approached it, became ex- 
ceedingly alarmed and terrified. The summit of the ridge is quitted by 
a narrow passage, the entrance to which has in other times been guarded 
by a fort built upon the plains of Roussillou, and distinguish the road 
corkscrewing down the mountain into the valley many thousand feet 
below. Few roads, even, the higher Pyrenees, are more rapid in their 
descent than this, and none of them narrower or worse defended, without 
any parapet, and hanging like a shelf on the mountain side. Having 
passed the old fort and put the drag chains upon the wheels, the conductor 
set off at full gallop down the descent. The lady screamed, but, with 
the noise of the Dilligence, and the rain which fell in torrents, no one 
could hear her but myself; she shut her eyes, siezed hold of me, and, 
fortunately for herself, fainted. The rocks were almost over our heads 
when we were going down at this rate; an immense block of, perhaps, 
twenty or thirty tons weight, detached from its place by the rains of the 
preceding night, came over the mountain side, and dashing upon the 
narrow road a few hundred yards in advance of us, carried one half of it 



m the valley. Here was a pretty situation to be placed in, a fainting lady in 
my arras, with the knowledge that a few seconds would decide whether 
we were to pass the breach which had been made, or accompany the rock 
in its descent. To pull up was impossible, the rate at which we were 
going, and the impetus given to the carriage, totally precluded it, even 
had there been harness for the horses to hold back with, which there was 
not. As we approached, a cry of horror came from those in the “Blan- 
quete ’ (the upper part of the Dilligence), who could see the danger, and I 
thanked God that the lady was insensible. What, if any of the leaders 
swerved from the path! what, if the conductor had not a steady head, and 
still steadier hand ! were thoughts of the moment. I threw the lady upon 
the seat, and climbing through the window of the coup^ to the side of 
the driver, urged him to keep the heads of the leaders well to the rock ; 
so that they (if it was yet possible to pass) might not see the danger and 
start from it. Most fortunately he was a steady fellow ; he did as he 
was desired, and we galloped over the remaining shelf, barely broad 
enough for the wheels to run upon ; and, turning round, I could see an 
additional portion of the road roll down the precipice from the shock 
which the Dilligence had given it. The danger was seen and passed in 
the tenth part of the time which I have taken to relate it, and we arrived 
in safety at the bottom.” 


The island of Staffa is one of the Hebrides or western isles of Scotland, 
and lies a fewmiles to the west of Mull, within a sort of bay formed by the 
projecting extremities of the island. It is very small, being scarcely a 
mile in length from north to south, and about half that extent at its 
greatest breadth from east to west. The island is a mere mass of lava 
and basalt (from basal, iron ; it is a heavy, hard stone, chiefly black or 
green, consisting of prismatic crystals, the number of whose sides is 
uncertain. English miners call it cockle , the German schoerl). The 
columns of the latter substance, which compose the chief part of it, are 
generally hidden between a thin layer of soil; but in many places, even 
of the surface of the island, they are to be found shooting out through 
this acquired covering, and the stone is every where come at on digging 
a few feet down. Around almost the whole circumference of the island 
the rock stands bare to view. The grassy top of the isle seems to be 



supported nearly all round on a range of pillars ; in some places, indeed, 
so low as to be almost on a level with the surface of the water, but the 
greater part elevated far above it, and in some places rising into the air to 
the lofty height of 150 feet. The name of this extraordinary isle, 
accordingly, describes it by its most remarkable feature, Staffa, which is 
a Norse term for staffs or columns. 

The highest part of the line of pillars is at the southern end of the 
island, and it is here that the celebrated natural excavation, called 
Fingal’s cave, is situated. Its opening is very near the south east corner, 
and it extends nearly due north. The name by which it is commonly 
known in Gaelic, is the cave Fiuhn Mac Coul, or as Macpherson has 
called it in his Ossian, Fingal. This version, although it comes from a 
respectable source (Sir Joseph Banks), has been greatly doubted: and 
the name of the cavern is said to be called Uamh an Binn — Cave of 
Music ; and there is a tradition attached, that it was the work of Fingal 
or Fion — macool. 

The excavation is a vast opening, 42 feet in width at the mouth, 
extending 227 in depth, and gradually diminishing from nearly 100 feet 
to about 50 feet in height, supported throughout on both sides by per- 
pendicular columns of extraordinary regularity. The opening is 
surmounted by a noble arch, and from this to the farther extremity of the 
cave, the roof extends in an unbroken surface, composed in some parts 
of smooth and unvariegated rock, in others of the ends of pillars stuck 
together in groups, or bunches, and with stalagmitic substance, which 
fills up the interstices, displaying a species of mosaic work of great 
regularity and beauty. On the west side the wall of pillars is 36 feet in 
height, but on the east, although the roof is of the same elevation, they 
spring from a much higher base, and are themselves only 18 feet in 
height. Along this side is a narrow foot-path raised above the water, 
which covers the floor, along which it is possible for an expert climber to 
make his way to the further end of the cave, although the attempt is 
rather hazardous. The proper and usual mode of viewing the cave, is 
by entering it in a boat, but even this can only be done with safety when 
the weather is tolerably calm. From the opening being so spacious there 
is abundance of light to the extremity, and from the same cause the 
waves, when there is a heavy sea, will come into it with great force. It 
is said, that there is, very far in the cave, a hole in the rock below the 
water, which makes a singularly agreeable sound on the flux and influx 
of the tide. It is this melodious murmur of the waters passing into it, 


which has doubtless given origin to its common name of the Cave 
of Music. 

The basaltic pillars of this cave are of one ingredient only, which is a 
granular splintery material, resembling clinkstone, highly colored with 
iron, hut a greenish black hue. Between the several pillars has exuded 
a yellowish substance, producing every where a deep contrast of two 
distinctly defined colors, which admirably relieves what would otherwise 
be the sombre aspect of the base. 

The stone is in many places richly colored with light green, yellow and 
orange, produced by different species of lichen growing on it. “It would 
be no less presumptuous than useless (says a modern writer), to attempt a 
description of the picturesque effect of that to which the pencil itself is 
inadequate. But if this cave were even destitute of that order and 
symmetry, that richness arising from multiplicity of parts, combined with 
greatness of dimensions, and simplicity of style which it possesses ; still 
the prolonged length, the twilight gloom, half concealing the playful and 
varying effects of reflected light, the echo of the measured surge as it 
rises and falls, the transparent green of the water, and the profound and 
fairy solitude of the whole scene, could not fail strongly to impress a mind 
gifted with anysense of beauty in art or in nature. If to those be added, 
that peculiar sentiment with which nature, perhaps, most impresses us, 
when she allows us to draw comparisons between her works and those of 
art, we shall be compelled to own it is not without cause, that celebrity 
has been conferred on the Cave ofFingal.” 

Extraordinary Natural Arch. — At Himiskretschen in Bohemia, 
there is what is called, the Prebischethor. This extraordinary caprice of 
nature has all the appearance of a triumphal arch of the most colossal 
proportions; and, being situated in the midst of the wildest secenery, 
forms, as it were, a frame to the immense picture seen through it in the 
distance. The top of the arch is upwards of 1,400 feet above the level 
of the sea ! Nearly adjoining, there is also an isolated rock in the shape 
of a cone, and an inaccessible chasm 1 ,200 feet in depth. 



" What a piece of work is man.’* 

“ H ow noble in reason/ *>ow infinite in faculties ! in form and moving how express 
and admirable! in action b» u.« angel! in apprehension how like a God ! the 
beauty of the world! the paragon of animals !” 


It is the too generally received opinion, that the study of the mechanism 
of the human body is dry and uninteresting, except to those who are 
intended for the medical profession ; besides, too, the repulsive circum- 
stances of the dissecting room are always conjured up in the mind, and 
the heart revolts from it, as if it were a science of blood and horrors. 
True it is, that to make a good surgeon, a man must be well acquainted 
with Anatomy; for one might as well expect a watchmaker to mend our 
watches or our clocks, without seeing the works, as to hope relief from 
the skill of thesurgeon or the physician, who is ignorant of the complicated 
structure of the human body, the knowledge of which can only be gained 
by practical Anatomy. Second only to the beautiful sciences of 
Astronomy and Geology, is the knowledge of the mechanism of our own 
species; and one more calculated to give us the most sublime notions of 
the power and goodness of that Almighty Being, 

“ Who formed, directs, and animates the whole,” 

cannot be studied. 

Well, indeed, might the great Poet of Nature, in his own beautiful 
terms of exalted admiration, exclaim, “ What a piece of work is man!” 
Let the most ordinary observer look to the wonderful mechanism of the 
wrist; how great are the powers of motion, how admirably adapted for 

Venous System. ! Arterial System. 



the purposes of action ; — the elbow, how powerful must be the muscles 
and tendons, to enable it to lift such heavy weights, and perform with 
such ease all its various and beautiful functions ; — theexquisite distribution 
of the nerves in the hands and feet, which give us the sense of feeling; — 
the delicate organs of the eye, the ear, the taste, the smell ; all are 
calculated to feed the contemplative mind, from never-ending sources of 
wonder and admiration. So true is it, that 

“ The proper study of mankind — is man.” 

In the construction of the haman frame, and essential to life, are 
numerous bones for strength, hundreds of muscles and tendons for 
action, nerves spread every where for sensation, hundreds of arteries to 
carry out the blood, hundreds of veins to bring it back again into the 
system, and hundreds of glands performing all kinds of secretions, besides 
an infinite number of tubes to absorb and convey nutriment to the 

The heart is the centre of the system, from which the blood circulates 
through the frame by thousands of arteries, giving warmth, life and motion. 
The blood is driven from the heart of a human being in the form and 
force of water, forced by a common syringe ; the blood in a man weighs 
about 301bs., and our being depends upon its action, by the constant 
circulation from the heart. Until the discoveries of the great Harvey, 
this action was never perfectly understood. This stock of precious fluid 
is not allowed by nature to remain at the extremities of the arteries, but 
is instantly taken up by another set of tubes (the veins) and brought 
back again to the heart. The arteries into which the blood is forced, 
branch in every direction through the body, like the roots, branches, 
and leaves of a tree, running through the substance of the bones, and 
through every part of the animal system, till they are lost in such fine 
tubes, as to be wholly invisible. 

In this manner they distribute nourishment, supply perspiration, 
and renew all waste of the skin ; and by passing through the glands in 
every part of the body, all the animal secretions are elaborated. Four 
thousand times in every hour each cavity of the heart is called into 
action, and all the blood in the body passes through the heart fourteen 
times in every minute. In the parts where the arteries are lost to sight, 
the veins take their rise, and in their commencement are also imper- 
ceptible. The blood is then of a dark colour, and as it returns to the 



heart with less impetus, there is always twice as much blood in the veins 
as in the arteries. As the blood in this discolored state has lost some of 
its vital power, it is drawn through the lungs, and its color restored; 
but on its passage back to the heart, it also receives a supply of a new 
fluid, extracted from the food in the stomach and intestines: the process 
of digestion is not within our province to describe. 

The bones are provided as a substantial frame for the body, giving firm- 
ness and shape, and acting as levers for themuscles, made ofproportionate 
strength, as weight or other circumstances require. The bones in the 
legs of all animals are solid, and men’s bodies being supported by two 
limbs only, the bones of those limbs are therefore more solid than those 
of quadrupeds. There are 248 separate bones in the human body, and 
they classed under those of the head, the trunk, and the extremities. 


The human lungs, like those of the inferior animals, vulgarly called 
“the lights,” are soft spongy substances, which, when healthy, will float 
in the water (this test, as a proof of life having once existed in the foetus, 
is very doubtful). Their use is to assist in the purification of the blood. 
In fishes this duty is performed by the gills : and in insects, no air being 
admitted by the mouth, their blood is ventilated through the medium of 
small holes arranged along their sides. When “ holding our breath,” 
we soon experience a feeling of suffocation ; this is merely a nervous 
impression, produced by the blood passing impure through the lungs 
to the left side of the heart ; and it indicates the necessity of respiring 
fresh air to purify that fluid. The sensible change which the blood 
undergoes in passing through our lungs, is observed in its colour, 
characterised as veinous blood. It enters the lungs of a blackish or 
deep purple colour, but in leaving them it is of a bright Vermillion red, 
and it is then called arterial blood. This change is owing to the action 
of the inhaled air. The lungs, with the exception of the air tubes 
(branches of the windpipe that perforate them in every direction), are 
one mass or net work of blood vessels. These, when approaching to the 
surface of the lungs, divide into an infinitude of small branches, the 
coats of which are so extremely thin, that the air we breathe readily acts 
through them, and makes the requisite changes. The circulation of the 
blood, from the time it leaves the lungs until it returns again, is very 



simple. The first stage of its progress is occupied in passing from thelungs 
to the left cavity of the heart; the left cavity of the heart then contracts 
and forces it along the arteries (the vessels that pulsate), and by them 
it is conveyed to every part of the body to bestow nourishment upon the 
different parts. All the demands of the system in the way of nutrition 
being supplied, the blood returns through the veins to the right cavity 
of the heart, and from thence to thelungs to be purified. When purified 
in the lungs it pursues the same route anew. By the preceding 
description it will be seen, that the colour of the blood becomes changed 
during its passage through the lungs, from a deep purple to a bright red. 
In the arteries it is always of the Vermillion colour, and in the veins it 
is uniformly blackish or deep purple. One vessel excepted, professional 
men never let blood from an artery, for if once cut, an artery of any 
considerable size is not likely to stop bleeding unless it be tied at the 
point with a thread. The exception to this rule is a small artery which 
may be felt, and in many persons seen, pulsating on the temples. This 
vessel is sometimes opened in apoplexy, and in very dangerous cases of 
disease of the head. If an artery is punctured, the blood comes out in 
jets at intervals, but from a vein it flows in a continuous stream. 


In the new born infant is from 130 to 140 beats per minute, but 
decreases in frequency as life advances ; so that in a middle-aged adult in 
perfect health, it is from 72 to 75. In the decline of life it is slower than 
this, and falls to about 60. It is obvious, that if a medical practitioner 
should be ignorant of this, he would commit the most awful blunders, 
and might be liable to imagine a boy of ten years of age to be labouring 
under some disease, because his pulse had not the slow sobriety of his 
grandfather’s. A more likely error is to mistake the influence of some 
temporary cause for the presence of some permanent disease. Thus, in a 
nervous patient, the doctor’s knock at the door will quicken the pulse 
between 15 or 20 beats a minute. Celsus named this eighteen centuries 
ago, (and its truth is acknowledged now), and recommends the careful 
physician not to be in a hurry to feel the pulse of his patient. But if 
these sources of error are avoided, yet the quickness of the pulse will 
afford the most important information. If in a person, for example, 
whose pulse is usually 72, the beats rise to 98, some alarming disease is 



certainly present; or, on the other hand, should it have permanently sunk 
to 50 beats, it is but too probable that the source of the circulation, the 
heart itself, is laboring under some incurable disease, or that some other 
of the springs of life is irremediably injured. Supposing, again, the pulse 
to be 72, each beat ought to occur at an interval of five- sixths of a 
second; but should any deviation of the rhythm be perceived, the pulse 
is said to be irregular. The varieties of the irregularity are infinite, but 
there is one so remarkable as to deserve particular mention. It will 
happen sometimes, that the interval between the two beats is so much 
longer than expected, that it would seem that one beat had been omitted; 
in this case the pulse is said to be an intermittent one. When the 
action of the heart is irregular, the beat of the pulse is so also; but it will 
occasionally happen, that the latter irregularity takes place without the 
former one, from some morbid cause existing between the heart and the 
wrist. Sometimes there is no pulsation at all perceptible at the wrist — 
this may proceed from so great a langour of the circulation, as not to be 
felt at the extremities, or from the radical artery (the one generally felt) 
being ossified, or from an irregular distribution of the arteries of the 
fore arm. 


Nothing is more proverbially uncertain than the duration of human 
life, where the maxim is applied to an individual ; yet there are few things 
less subject to fluctuation than the average duration of a multitude of 
individuals. The number of deaths happening amongst persons of our 
own acquaintance is frequently very different in different years, and it 
is not an uncommon event that this number shall double, treble, or even be 
many times larger in one year than in the next succeeding. If we consider 
larger societies of individuals, as the inhabitants of a village or small 
town, the number of deaths is more uniform; and instill larger bodies, as 
among the inhabitants of a kingdom, the uniformity is such that the 
excess of deaths in any year above the average number seldom exceeds a 
fractional part of the whole. In the two periods, each of fifteen years, 
beginning at 1780, the number of deaths occurring in England and Wales 
in any year did not fall short of or exceed the average number of one 
thirteenth part of the whole, nor did the number dying in any yeaT differ 
frcm the number of those dying in the next by a tenth part. 



The size and course of rivers are chiefly determined by the height and 
direction of the mountain chains, in which they originate. Thus the 
Rhine, the Danube, and the Rhone, the largest rivers in Europe, take 
their rise in the Swiss Alps. The great rivers of Asia have their 
origin in some of its lofty central chains. The northern rivers, the 
Irtish, Ob, Yenisei, and Lena may all be traced to the Altai; the IIo- 
yang-hoand Yangtse Kiang of China, arise in the mountains forming the 
eastern abutment of the central table land'of Asia; whilst the southern 
ramparts of that table land contain the sources of the great river of 
Cambolia, the Irowaddy, the Brahmaputa, the Ganges, and the Scind 
or Indus. In Africa, the Nile has one of its sources in the lofty 
mountains of Abyssinia, and the other in the more distant central chain ; 
the Niger rises in the western chain, runs eastward, is deflected in the 
kingdom of Houssa towards the south and west, and finally pours its 
waters into the Atlantic in the Gulf of Guinea. In America the Madalina 
and Maranon, spring directly from the Cordillera of the Andes, that 

“ Giant of the western star 

With meteor standard to the winds unfurl’d, 

Looks from his throne of clouds o’er half the world,” 

which also contain the principal sources of the Orinoco ; whilst the more 
sluggish streams of the Paraguay and Parana derive their waters from 
the lower transverse chain, stretching to the coast of Brazil. In North 
America the Arkansas, Red River and Missouri, the great feeders of the 
Mississippi, spring from the northern Andes, where also are the sources of 
the Columbia to thewest, and of the Saskatchewan theprincipal stream, which 
flowing into Lake Winnipeg, becomes thus a part of that vast chain of 
lakes or seas, the outlet of which is the St. Lawrence. The channels of 
rivers are partly produced by the action of their own waters; but, 
undoubtedly, also by some cause which disturbs the original arrangements 
of the solid materials of the earth. Thus earthquakes have often opened 
passages for rivers, through barriers of rocks and mountain chains. 
Rivers occupy the lowest parts of valleys through which they flow, and 
when they are very large, their declivities are generally small. The 
surface of the Maranon, 3,000 miles from the sea, has only an elevation of 



1,235 English feet, which would give less than five inches per mile for 
the mean declivity, but from the point to which the tides of the ocean 
reach the declivity, is considered not above 0.2 inch per mile. The 
Ganges from Hurwar, where it issues from the depths of the Himalaya, 
has a mean declivity of four inches per mile; that of the Volga is about 
five inches. The general form of the channels of rivers, however, 
especially in a champaign country, indicates that, if not wholly formed, 
they are greatly modified by the actions of their waters. In fact, their 
beds are usually proportional to the force of the stream ; on the banks 
of many large rivers we can still trace the different heights, at which the 
waters have flowed formerly. Playfair mentions the existence of four or 
five successive terraces on the Rhine, each of which has evidently been 
formed in succession by the river; and, hence, he concludes that the 
Rhine once flowed 360 feet above its present level. Similar remarks 
were made on the upper Rhone, by Saussau. The general effect of the 
action of the water must be the erosion of the channels in the lapse of 
ages; and even in the rocky beds of rivers, this action of water is per- 
ceptible. Thus the waters of the Niagara have apparently worn away 
the limestone rock of the falls, and found a deep ravine through the stony 
bed, six miles in length from Queenstown, where the cliffs terminate 
abruptly to the present site of the falls. The undermining of the cliffs 
by this stupendous cataract, has caused a recession of the Falls, equal to 
about 18 feet in thirty years ; but we cannot hence infer the length of time 
that this cataract has existed, because we have no certainty of the 
equability of the disintegration, nor of the other causes which may have 
aided or facilitated the process. The currents of large rivers may 
frequently be traced by their color to great distances in the ocean. Thus 
the Ganges, when in flood, discolors the sea in the Gulf of Bengal to the 
distance of sixty miles, and its mud covers the bottom at eighty miles 
from the land. The mud of the Orinoco is carried far into the Atlantic, 
and on examining water drawn from the sea, in latitude 8 degrees 20 
minutes north, that is in the parallel of the Orinoco, and 200 miles 
from its embouchure, Traill ascertained that the specific gravity of the 
water suddenly fell below what it is was to the north and to the south of 
this parallel. The enormous mass of water discharged by the Maranon, 
according to Sabine, discolors the ocean, and has even considerable 
rapidity in a direction inclined to that of the equinoxial current, at the 
distance of 300 miles from the American coast. Fresh water may be 
obtained from thesurface of this current, at a great distance from theshore. 
The periodical inundations of rivers depend on great falls of rain, in 



mountainous regions, or on the melting of snows in the neighbourhood 
of their sources. The period depends on the return of these seasons in 
different places. Within the tropics the rainy season is usually about 
the time when the sun passes the meridian towards the tropics, and 
continues until his return to the same place. The floods of the Maranon 
and La Plata, cover a vast extent ofunexplored country. The rise of the 
Orinoco commences in May, its inundation begins in June, and the 
waters return to their channel in September; from which time they 
decrease until April of the succeeding year. The inundations of the 
Lower Mississippi begin in March, are at their height in June, and the liver 
is lowest in October. The waters at their height, 1000 miles from the sea, 
attain a rise of 50 feet; at 300 miles, of 25 feet; and at 100 miles, of 12 
feet. The western bank of the Mississippi forms a vast series of lakes, 
which are dried up in Autumn into arid plains, interspersed with swamps, 
but the delta below the juncture of Red River is a dismal swamp, 
scarcely elevated above the sea. In the Red River, the Arkausas, and the 
Lower Mississippi, are found those enormous rafts of drift wood formed 
during the river floods, which sometimes extend for ten or twelve miles 
in one mass, rise and fall with the stream, yet have a luxuriant vegetation 
on their summits. The inundations of the Ganges follow a nearly similar 
course ; the waters begin to increase in April, when the rains commence 
in the mountains in which it has its sources; the rate of its increase is 
about three inches daily, until the month of July, when the rains 
descend in torrents in the plains. The increase of the river is then 
more rapid, being about five inches daily, and the country for 1 00 miles 
along its banks presents in the end of July the appearance of a vast lake, 
interspersed with isolated villages and woods. The general height of 
the inundation waters in Bengal is about twelve feet, but in some places 
they have a depth of more than thirty feet. The great rivers of Ava, the 
Indus, the Euphrates, and the Tigris, have all theirperiods of inundation 
depending on the circumstances determining the setting in of the rains, 
in which they originate. 

The inundations of the Nile have long been celebrated ; shortly after 
the commencement of the rains on the mountains of Abyssinia, in June, 
tne river begins to rise, and attains its greatest height in August. In 
Cairo, the greatest rise is 28 feet; at Rosetta it is no more than four about 
the middle of August, when the valley of Egypt, with a mean breadth 
of three or four leagues, and the greatest part of the Delta, are covered with 
one sheet of water. Its increase is irregular, and it decreases gradually 
until the following May. As soon as the waters are within their own 



channel, the soil, moistened and enriched by the sediment deposited 
from the inundation, is diligently cultivated by the natives ; by such 
inundations the hanks of rivers are usually elevated above the adjacent 
plains, and when the stream carries down much mud and gravel, the 
whole bed of the river may become considerably raised above the level of 
the country, through which it flows. 

When river courses lie amongst mountains, they are subject to sudden 
breaks, which, according to their depth, give rise either to rapids or 
to cataracts. There are many picturesque waterfalls in Scotland, as the 
Cascade of Fyers, and that at Lochleven Head in Inverness-shire, Bruar 
Cascade, in Athole, the Devon Lynn, in Clackmannonshire, and the 
magnificent falls of the Clyde, near Lanark. The most stupendous 
cascade in Great Britain is the fall of Glomach, in the county of Ross. 
At the head of a wild and solitary glen, seven miles from the inn of 
Shealhouse, the river Girsac is precipitated in one unbroken fall of more 
than 300 feet. At the distance of about fifty feet from the bottom, the 
water impinges on a shelf, whence it falls into a dark pool, amidst naked 
perpendicular rocks. When the river is in flood, it descends in one 
unbroken sheet of above 380 feet in height. Wales and Cumberland can 
boast of many cascades on a smaller scale. The cataracts of Dahl in 
Sweden, of the Staubach in the Alps, of Tivoli and Terni in Italy, the 
less considerable cascades of Mavianeria, the far famed Styx (of Homer), 
in Arcadia, and the fall of the Rhine at Shauffhausen, are amongst the 
most celebrated in Europe. A cataract may exist in a comparatively flat 
country, from a sudden sinking in its level. The stupendous cataract of 
Niagara, in which a large and rapid river 1650 feet in width, precipitates 
itself by two channels in one vast leap of 160 feet perpendicular, is an 
instance of such an occurrence. The celebrated cataract of Tequendama, 
near Bogota, though found by Humbolt to be far less lofty than had 
been supposed by Bouguer, is still of stupendous height, and one of the 
most magnificent in the world ; a river half the depth of the Seine at Paris 
is precipitated into a rocky gulf, at two bounds, to a depth of 540 feet. 
The cataract of the river Shirawati, in the Indian province of Canara, 
exceeds in beauty and sublimity every waterfall which has been hitherto 
made known in Europe. The country around the village of Haliali, about 
three miles north west of the fall, presents the richness of a tropical 
forest mingled with cultivation. The traveller comes suddenly on the 
river: a few steps more, over huge blocks of granite, is a fearful chasm, 
rocky, bare, and black, which is a thousand feet deep! — the bed of the 
river is a quarter of a mile broad, but the fall is elliptical with a sweep of 



about half a mile. This body of water rushes at first for about 300 feet, 
over a slope at an angle of 45 degrees in a sheet of white foam, and is then 
precipitated to the depth of 850 feet more into a black abyss, with a 
thundering noise. It has, therefore, a depth of 1150 feet; in the rainy 
season the river appears to be about 30 feet in depth at the fall; in the 
dry season it is much lower, and it is divided into three cascades of varied 
beauty and astonishing grandeur, but the smaller streams are almost 
dissipated in vapour before they reach the bottom. The number of 
considerable rivers, which fall into the sea in different parts of the old 
continent, is 430, and those of the new continent 140; but this seeming 
disproportion is amply compensated by the vast dimensions of the latter. 
Several attempts have been made by philosophers, to compute the quantity 
of water which rivers discharge into the ocean, but it is a problem 
scarcely admitting of any solution, beyond a probable approximation. 
From the observations of Father Eiccioli, on the discharge of the river 
Po, it has been calculated, that the water poured out by all the rivers of 
the globe is equal to 41 cubic miles daily, or 14,965 cubic miles annually; 
this computation is probably too high. The greatest estimate of the 
mean annual fall of rain, of dew, &c., is not above 34 inches for the whole 
earth, and the superfices of the globe being 196,816,658 square miles, 
this will afford a mass of water equal to 105,614 cubic miles, as the whole 
that is precipitated on the earth. But from this must be deducted all 
that falls on the ocean, which, if we consider the precipitation in the 
ratio of their surfaces, will give 38,271 cubic miles, as the water that 
falls on the land; ofthis quantity, however, at least two thrids are expended 
in irrigating the soil, or in sustaining vegetable life, and are restored to 
the atmosphere, by the process of evaporation; so that no more than 
12,757 cubic miles will become the annual tribute of the rivers of the 
globe to the ocean. This estimate differs less from that founded on the 
tables of Cotte, than some later speculations on this subject, in which 
we suspect that the mean annual rain and the quantity returned by the 
rivers to the sea are considerably underrated. The length of the course 
of 22 of the principal rivers, and the area of their respective domains or 
basins, were calculated with much care, and given in a tabular form in 
the Essay on Physical Geography, in the last edition of the Encyclopedia 




I Thames . 



C’oswald Hills, Gloucestershire 


in English miles. 


2 Seine 


• • 


3 Ebro 


• • 


4 Rhone 


• • 


5 Tagus 

Spain and Portugal . 


6 Vistula . 




7 Elbe 

Germany . 

• • 


8 Rhine 


• • 


9 Dnieper . 




10 Danube . 

Germany . 



11 Euphrates 


Asiatic Turkey . 



12 Ganges . 




13 Ho-yang-ho 





13 Yang-tsi-Kiang 




• • 


15 Enesia . 




• i 


16 Gambia . . 





• • 


17 Niger . 


Nigritia . 


• • 


18 Nile . 


Egypt and Abyssinia . 


• • 


19 Susqueharmah 


United States . 

• « 


20 St. Lawrence . 


Canada . . . 

• * 


21 Orinoco 


Columbia . 

• • 


22 La Plata 


La Plata and Brazil . 


• • 


23 Amazon 



» • 


24 Mississippi . 


United States . 


• • 



The swell of this river varies in different parts of its channel. In 
Upper Egypt it is from 28 to 30 feet, at Cairo it is about 23 feet, whilst 
in the northern part of the Delta it does not exceed 4 feet, which is owing 
to the artificial channels and the breadth of the inundation. Yet the four 
feet of increase is as necessary to the fertility of the Delta as the 23 or 
30 elsewhere. The river begins to swell in June, but the rise is not 
rapid or remarkable until early in July ; the greatest height is attained 
about the autumnal equinox, and the waters remain nearly level until the 
middle of October. After which the subsidence is very invisible, and 
the lowest point is reached in May. These phenomena, however 
striking, are by no means peculiar to the Nile ; they are more or less 
common to all rivers whose volume is annually augmented by the 
periodical rains which fall within the tropics; but there is no river, the 
annual swelling of which is so replete with important consequences, or 
so essential to the existence of a nation. This is because Egypt depends 
wholly upon the Nile for its fertility, and wherever the influence of its 
inundation does not extend, there the soil is desert. Rain very seldom 
falls in Egypt. The irrigation which the land receives by the direct 
overflow of the Nile, and by the means of the canals which convey its 
waters where the inundation does not directly extend, is quite essential 
to that fertility for which Egypt has in all times been proverbial. 

The inhabitants of Egypt have, with great labour, cut a vast number of 
canals and trenches through the whole extent of the land. These canals 
are not opened until the river has attained a certain height, nor yet all 
at the same time, as then the distribution of the water would be unequal. 
The sluices are closed when the water begins to subside, and are gradually 
opened again in autumn, allowing the waters to pass on to contribute to 
the irrigation of the Delta. The distribution of the Nile water has 
always been the subject of distinct and minute regulations, the necessity 
for which may be estimated from the common statement, that scarcely 
a tenth part of the water of the Nile reaches the sea in the first three 
months of the inundation. These regulations must be obviously necessary, 
where fertility so essential depends upon one great fertilizing power. 
Lower Mesopotamia, which in the time of Herodotus competed the palm 
of exuberant production with Egypt, is now a desert, in consequence of 



the abandonment of a system of irrigation, which is said to he nearly 
analogous to that which continues to fertilize the land of the Nile during 
the inundation, the whole level country appears like a series of ponds and 
reservoirs, and it is not merely the saturation of the ground, but the 
deposit of mould or soil, which takes place during the overflow, that is 
so favourable to the agriculture of Egypt. This mud contains principles 
so favourable to vegetation, that it is used as manure for those places 
which have not been adequately benefited by the inundation, and on the 
other hand, when the deposit has been complete the people are said to 
mingle sand with it to abate its strength. The cultivation of the ground 
commences as soon as the waters have returned, and where the soil has 
been sufficiently saturated the labors of agriculture are exceedingly light. 
The seed is sown in the moistened soil, and vegetation and harvest follow 
with such rapidity as to allow asuccession of crops wherever water can be 
commanded. The influence of the river upon the condition and appear- 
ance of the country, can only be estimated by comparing its aspect in 
the season which immediately precedes, with that which follows the 
inundation. Volney has illustrated this, by observing, that the surface of 
the land successively assumes the appearance of an ocean of fresh water, 
of a miry morass, of a green level plain, and of a parched desert of sand 
and dust. It was the feeling generally entertained of their entire 
dependence upon the river, which led the Egyptians to deify their Nile, 
which had its appointed priests, festivals and sacrifices ; and even now, 
under the Moslem religion, the reverence in which the Nile is held, as it 
is still called the “ most holy river,” and the ceremonies which take 
place on its yearly overflow, prove the value which the Egyptians set 
upon this bounty of nature, and their gratitude for it. 

“ Glad to meet 

The joyless desert, down the Nubian rocks, 

From thundering steep to steep he pours his urn, 

And Egypt joys beneath the spreading wave.” 


Although the Nile is, almost without exception, the minister of good to 
Egypt, there are yet cases in which the excess of its waters have 
occasioned no small loss both of life and property. In September, 1818, 
Belzoni witnessed a deplorable scene, owing to the river having risen 
3| feet above the highest mark left by the former inundation. Ascending 
with uncommon rapidity, it carried off several villages and some hundreds 
of their inhabitants. Excepting an unusual rise, in consequence of the 



scarcity of water the preceding season, the Arabs had recourse to 
their wonted expedient of erecting fences of earth and reeds round the 
villages, to keep the water from their houses. But on this occasion, the 
pressure of the flood baffled all their efforts. Their cottages built of 
earth, could not stand against the current, but were, as soon as the water 
touched them, levelled with the ground. The rapid stream carried off all 
that was before it; the inhabitants of all ages, with their corn and cattle, 
were washed away in an instant. In Upper Egypt, where the villages 
are not raised above the level even of the ordinary inundations, the natives 
depend for their safety upon artificial barriers. At Agalta, whither he 
went to procure the assistance of the camaikan or magistrate, he found 
the said functionary in great alarm, expecting every hour to be carried 
away by the Nile. “ There was no boat in the village, and should the 
water break down their weak fences, the only chance of escape was by 
climbing the palm trees, till Providence sent some one to their relief. 
All the boats were employed in carrying away the corn from villages that 
were in danger. Both in Upper and Lower Egypt the men, women, and 
children, are left to be last assisted, as their lives are not so valuable as 
corn, which belongs to the pacha! As this village was four feet below 
the water, the poor Fellahs were on the watch day and night round their 
fences. They employed their skin machines or bags to throw out the 
water which rose from under the ground; but if their fences should be 
broken down, all would be lost.” At another village described by the 
traveller, the distress of the people was very great; some of them had 
taken refuge on a spot where there were only a few feet of land uncovered ; 
and the water, he adds, was to rise twelve dftys more, and after that to 
remain twelve days at its height, according to the usual term of the 
inundation. In a distance of 1,350 nautical miles from the mouth of the 
Tacazze to the Delta, the Nile does not receive a single tributary stream 
from either east or west, which, as remarked by Humboldt, is a solitary 
instance in the hydrographic history of the globe. The great canal which 
runs through Cairo, is cleaned periodically, and when the water in the 
Nile has risen to a certain height, it is opened with great ceremony; the 
day is kept as a holiday, a grand festival takes place, and the 
most extravagant joy animates the inhabitants. The other canals are then 
allowed to be opened. 


Has its source in the Cotswald Hills, Gloucestershire, and forms a stream 
near Lichlode, navigable for barges. The chief spring, or Thames head, 
is about three miles from Cheltenham, and from whence it runs its 
silvery course to Oxford, Henley, Staines, Kingston, Richmond, 
Brentford, Hammersmith, Battersea, Vauxhall; its broadest part in 
London is from Westminster bridge to that of Blackfriars ; its course in 
the Metropolis is semicircular, and it falls into the sea at Shearness ; it is 
one hundred and eighty miles in length, and is navigable for one 
hundred miles. It has fourteen bridges over it, and the flux of the tide 
reaches to Teddington locks ; it flows up for four hours and a half, and 
its reflux occupies seven hours and a half, except at Neap tides, when it is 
five hours running up and seven hours down. Its greatness and its 
glories are to be found in the history of the country. Its commercial 
importance is felt in the remotest regions, where the enterprise of man 
has led him; the flags of all nations wave over its broad bosom, and the 
forests of masts ever seen on its flowing tides, bespeak the value it is to 
the civilized world. Its natural advantages are incalculable. So true it 
is, as the poet sung — 

— —Majestic Thames, 

Rich river, richer than Pactolus streams, 

Than those renowned of yore by poets, roll'd 
O’er intermingled pearls and sands of gold; 

How glorious thou, when from Old Ocean’s urn, 

Loaded with India’s wealth, thy waves return. 

Alive thy banks ! along each bordering line 
High culture blooms, inviting villas shine ; 

And while around ten thousand beauties glow, 

These still on those redoubling lustre throw. 


Of all the rivers of India the Ganges is the most sacred. It is, in the 
estimation of the natives, a god, and the most secure way to Heaven is 
through its waters. Hence, whenever it is possible, the Hindoo comes 

* For a most interesting detailed historical account of this beautiful river, see 

Tomhleson’s " Thames and Medway,” illustrated with highly splendid steel plates, sold 
at half its published price, hv Lacey, 76, St. Paul’s Church Yard. 

Source of the Thames. The Thames at Sheemess. 



to its banks to die, and piously drowns in it his parents and relations, 
to secure their eternal happiness. With the converse of the feeling of the 
Ghiber, who would consider the eternal fire the object of his worship, 
polluted by the touch of a corpse, the Hindoo casts the dead, naked, into 
the sacred stream; so that those who sail upon the Ganges, have often 
to make their way through shoals of livid corpses floating down to the 
sea, in various stages of corruption. This stream rises among the roots 
of the Hienalaya mountains, on the Indian side of the range. It very 
soon becomes of considerable depth, and navigable for the light barks of 
the country ; but before the confluence with the Jumna, it is fordable in many 
places. The depth of the Ganges is not materially influenced by the melting 
of the snows, though, like all other tropical rivers, it overflows the 
surrounding plains in some places for more than one hundred miles in 
extent, at which time nothing is visible but the lofty palm trees, the 
villages, which are built on elevated sites, and a few mounds, the ruins of 
former hamlets. Travelling is, at this period, performed in boats, in 
which the Hindoo skims over his rice fields and gardens, which are then 
imbibing the moisture necessary to their fertility. The prospect is 
singular but monotonous, as every field is similar to the next, and the 
appearance of the country, upon the subsidence of the waters, is any 
thing but picturesque. At the distance of five hundred miles from the 
sea, the Ganges is thirty feet deep at low water, and never becomes 
shallow, until at its mouth, the bars and banks of sand, thrown up by the 
contending waters of the rivers and the sea, choke its channel, and 
render it unnavigable to large vessels. At the distance of two hundred 
miles from the sea, the river separates into two branches, the eastern, 
which flows towards the south east, retaining the original appellation, 
and the western branch assuming the name of the Hoogly. Except in 
the rainy season, the surface of the waters, rarely ruffled by the winds, 
is as smooth as a mirror. Towards the mouth this tranquillity is twice a 
day disturbed, by the tide rushing with indescribable violence against 
the stream, with what is called the mascaret or bore , and endangers the 
banks which encounter it; but words fail to convey an adequate idea of 
the awe and terror it inspires, when, bursting as thunder, it shakes the 
shores like an earthquake. Still less can the calculation of the number 
of cubic feet of water, which the streams hurl headlong every moment 
against the opposing waves of the ocean, give any conception of the 
magnificence of the struggle. 


Is the largest river in Poland proper. Its source is in Mount Crapacb, 
on the borders of Silesia and Upper Hungary, crosses little Poland, a 
part of Masoria, of great Poland and of Prussia, and falls just below 
Dantzic, into the Baltic. In its course it passes by Cracow, Sandomir, 
Warsaw, Thorn and Culm; it is 650 miles in length. 

The far-famed 


With all its classic associations, is now shrunk into an inconsiderable 
stream, and “none so poor to do it reverence.” Shorn of its former 
greatness, “ its destiny,” says a French author, “ is altogether strange. 
It passes through a corner of Rome as if it did not exist. No one 
deigns to cast his eyes towards it; no one speaks of it, no one drinks 
its waters, and the women do not even use it for washing. It steals 
away between paltry houses, which conceal it, and hastens to precipitate 
tself into the sea, ashamed of its modern appellation — Teveri .” 


Is one of the noblest rivers in the world, and from the varied and 
beautiful scenery on its banks, is, perhaps, the most interesting. It rises 
in the Canton of the Grisons, from three principal sources; the first is 
in the mountain of Crispalt, north east of St. Gothard,and unites at 
Dissentis with the second, which comes from the Leumanian mountain; 
both unite with the third, which comes from a glacier in the Andula, 
about twenty leagues from Reecheman, where is the union of all the 
three streams ; here it takes the name of the Rhine, and is 230 feet wide 
it is 840 miles long, and is navigable to the extent of 630 miles. 


Is the second largest river in Europe, being inferior only to the Volga. 
Its rise is in the Black Forest, Germany, runs in an easterly direction 
through Austria, Hungary, part of Turkey in Europe, and discharges 
itself into the Black Sea, after a rapid course of 1,833 miles, previously 
having received thirty navigable rivers and ninety streams. 



Is a large river in the south of Europe; it rises in the central and highest 
part of Switzerland, from the glacier of Furca, and runs across the 
Valais, to the lake and city of Geneva, after which it separates Bresse 
from Savoy and from Dauphiny as far as Lyons; then turning southward, 
it enters Lyonnois and Languedoc, which are on the west, and 
Dauphiny with Provence lying to the east, and thence proceeds into the 
Mediterranean. This river is computed to be 510 miles in length. 


“ This glorious river,” says a modern traveller, “is, perhaps, the 
only object in St. Petersburg whose beauty and grandeur are wholly 
unmixed with meanness and bad taste. To drink the waters of the 
river, is worth a journey to Russia of itself. It is the most delicious 
draught imaginable, and has, besides, a medical property, favourable to 
most constitutions; it is found, on analysis, to contain much carbonic 
acid, without any metallic parts, except a scarcely perceptible quantity 
of common salt.” The waters of the Neva are perfectly blue and 
transparent. The river at its broadest part is about three quarters of 
a mile wide, and is deep enough to bear ships of moderate bulk, but a 
bar across it prevents vessels, drawing more than 7 feet, from going higher 
up. On one side is a quay of granite, ten feet above the level of the 
water, and two miles and a half in length. The ice on the Neva seldom 
breaks up before the 25th of March, and never later than the 27th of 
April ; the earliest period of its freezing is the 20th of October, and 
the latest the 1st of December. In its course it sends out two broad 
arms on the right shore, the former being called the Nevka, and the 
next, more westward, called the Little Neva. The Great Neva is 
traversed by two bridges of Pontoons, the largest is Isaak’s bridge ; it is 
130 fathoms long, and rests on 120 barges, built expressly for this 
purpose, each being held in its place by a couple of anchors. To let 
ships through, two bridges are made, which are opened only at night. 
The mechanism of these bridges is so simple, that on the coming down 
of the floating ice in Autumn they can be taken to pieces in less than 
two hours, and the public is deprived of the use of them only a very 
short time before the freezing of the Neva. As soon as the ice is iixed, 



they are again put up, and remain till the spring, for the safety and 
convenience of the public. On the breaking up of the ice of the Neva, 
at that season of the year, they are a second time taken asunder, and 
only reinstated when the ice of the Ladoga has floated by, which 
frequently takes four or six weeks in passing. 


Tt is not exactly known in what part of the Kong Mountains 
(Northern Africa), this river has its origin. It is here called, Joliba or 
D’joliba, that is, “ the great water,” or “the great river.” Where the 
river descends from the mountain region it forms some cataracts, which 
interrupt the navigation near Bammakoo, not far from the western 
boundary of Bambarra. From this point it runs through the hilly 
country and the plain, commonly between extremely low banks, towards 
the east and north east. Numerous valleys, and some considerable 
places, stand upon this stream. Below Sego the river divides into two 
branches, which again unite at Isaca, a village situated at a con- 
siderable distance below. Afterwards it falls into the eastern part of a 
large lake called D’ebbee, or D’ebo, and issuing from it on the northern 
side passes to Timbuctoo. In this tract the river is navigated by vessels 
from 60 to 80 tons burden, and drawing 6 or 7 feet water. 


Its greatest height is 75 feet ; this is when, by the melting of the 
snow in the mountains, the lake and river are unusually swollen. 
At low water it is not more than 20 feet, hut fifty is the general average. 
However, it is not the height of the fall, but the immense body of water 
broken into spray in the most picturesque manner over rocks, that 
constitute the great beauty of the cataract. It cannot bear the slightest 
comparison with that at Terni, which tumbles from a height of 800 
feet, and forms three splendid and separate falls, neither with that at 
Staubach, in the valley of Lauterbrunn, which descends in a single leap 
930 feet. The fall, however, is seen to the best advantage at 
Neuhausen, but in order to view the magnificent rainbow formed by the 
spray, the spectator must be on the spot before 9 o’clock in the morning. 


The many advantages attendant upon this expeditious mode o£ 
travelling has been fully demonstrated ; fourteen years of continued 
success (the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened in the Autumn 
of 1825), and its general adoption throughout Europe and America, 
yield the most convincing proofs of its benefits to the civilized world. 
Greatly as travelling had improved within the last thirty years, in all 
parts of the United Kingdom; and, which, for speed and convenience 
was unequalled in the world ; yet, the introduction of steam power, as a 
means of water conveyance had been so successful, that it opened a 
wide field for the application of it to land carriage, and of which, as was 
to be expected, our many clever Engineers did not fail to avail them- 

Various were the machines and steam carriages which were invented, 
tried, and partially succeeded; Mr. Goldsworthy Gurney, Mr. Hancock, 
Colonel Masseroni, and many other ingenious men, had devoted their 
great talents to the accomplishment of so desirable an object; but with- 
out impugning, in the slightest degree, the merits of their several 
inventions, or detracting from the great ingenuity displayed by those 
gentlemen, it is sufficient here to say that they were all more or less 

The advantage of rail roads over the common roads, consists in the 
great diminution of friction which they occasion, whereby any given 
weight may be drawn through equal distances, at a much less expense 
of power. Many experiments have been made in order to ascertain the 
economy of power which they produce. The most moderate calculations 
estimate the resistance on a level turnpike road, to be more than seven 
times as great as that on a level railroad ; while, by some experiments, 
it has been found, that the traction of the wheels on a level road, as to 
that on a good railroad, is twenty to one ! It is thus evident that a smooth 
wheel will roll along a smooth plane of iron, much easier than it will roll 
along aplane covered with rough or loose stones ; for, in thelatter case, it has 
either to be lifted over the inequalities, or it has to push them on one 
side as it passes, or to crush them. But the crushingof the rough material, or 
thepushingit aside, is so much waste of power; hence thegreat advantages 
of a smooth surface. The late Mr. Telford, the eminent Engineer, made 



the following calculation of the draught upon various roads then in 
use: — 

“ On well made pavement, the draught is . .33 lbs. 

On a broken stone surface, or old flint road . . 65 “ 

On a gravel road ...... 147 “ 

On a broken stone road, upon a rough pavement foundation 46 “ 

On a broken stone surface, upon a bottoming of concrete, 

formed of Parker’s cement and gravel . . . 46 “ 

Although the 'principle of Railroads has been adopted from the year 
1602, in the various collieries of the county of Northumberland, yet, the 
rails being composed of wood, and very rudely made, were imperfect and 
perishable ; they were constantly out of repair, and the expense of keeping 
them useful was very considerable. The advantages even of these rude 
railways were still great, inasmuch as it was calculated that while a 
horse load upon a common road was 17 ewt., upon these wooden rail- 
roads it was more than double, or 42 cwt,, and this advantage seems to 
have sufficed for the object in view, for no other attempts were made at 
improvement. Until within a very few years, railroads have been 
used as auxiliaries to canals, and then only for short distances, or 
where the nature of the ground precluded the application of inland 
navigation ; and as the number of canals increased, and served the pur- 
poses for which they were intended, the ingenuity of man may almost 
be said to have slept on the farther improvement of railways by the 
addition of steam power. Between fifty and sixty years ago, iron was 
substituted for wood on railroads, and the tram road (sometimes called 
the plate railroad) was first adopted. It consisted of cast iron rails about 
four feet long, having a flange or upright ledge three inches high, to 
keep the wheel upon the horizontal part, which was about four inches 
wide, and another flange at the other side, projecting downwards to 
strengthen the rail ; these rails were fixed together and fastened securely 
to stone supports. At first they were made to rest on transverse blocks, 
stretched across the whole breadth of the railroad, or upon short square 
wooden sleepers (stone blocks are now used). Since the close of the 
last century, railways have multiplied greatly in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the Collieries. In Glamorganshire alone it is estimated 
that there are three hundred miles of railways. These are, however, all 
detached, isolated, and private undertakings, appropriated only to the 
conveyance of the mineral produce to those points where water commu- 



nication was already established. The Stockton and Darlington 
Bailway was the first empowered by Parliament, to convey general 
marcbandise and passengers ; this was opened, as we have before stated, 
in 1825. It was about twenty-five miles in length, but consisted only 
of a “ single railway,” having at intervals of every quarter of a mile, 
“ sidings” to allow of the carriages passing each other. 


The project of a railway between these two great towns was first 
entertained in 1822, and a company formed, but from the great oppo- 
sition to it in committee, it was not until 1826 that the Act of Parliament 
passed, upon which the company could proceed in their project. The 
railroad was commenced in June of that year, under the direction of 
Mr. George Stephenson. It was proposed to lay the railway as 
nearly as possible in a straight line, between the two places ; the 
nature of the country rendered this undertaking a task of no ordinary 
difficulty. Tunnels were to be made, eminences were to be excavated, 
artificial mounds to be erected, and a moss (Chat Moss), four miles in 
extent, was to be drained, levelled in the centre, and embanked at each 
end ; this Chat Moss was a huge bog, so soft and spungy that cattle 
could not walkover it: the bottom is composed of clay and sand, and 
above this, varying in depth from ten to thirty-five feet, is a mass of 
vegetable pulpy matter. This barren waste is in area about twelve 
square miles, according to the lowest calculation, contains sixty 
millions of tons of vegetable matter, and so spongy was it that men 
could only walk over it in the driest weather ! We have thus alluded to 
some of the difficulties to be overcome ; there were several others nearly 
as great, but the genius and perseverance of the Engineer, Mr. Stephen- 
son, triumphed over all, and the whole line of thirty-one miles was 
completed. The rails are of wrought iron, and made in lengths of five 
yards each, weighing thirty-five pounds per yard ; the blocks and 
sleepers are some of stone and some of wood ; they are laid along about 
eighteen miles; the wood sleepers are made of oak or beech, and are 
principally laid across the embankments and across the districts of moss, 
wherever it is suspected the road may subside a little. The stone blocks 
are set firmly into the permanent road, which consists of a layer of broken 
rock and sand, about two feet thick, one foot of which is placed below 



the blocks, and one foot distributed between them, serving to keep them 
in their proper positions. They are placed at intervals of three feet; in 
each block two holes six inches deep, and one inch in diameter, are 
drilled, and into these are driven oak plugs. The rails are supported at 
every three feet on cast iron chairs or pedestals, into which they are 
immediately fitted and securely fastened ; the chairs are placed on the 
blocks and firmly spiked down to the plugs, the whole forming a work 
of great solidity and strength: the rails are about two inches in breadth, 
and rise an inch above the surface; they are laid down with extreme 
correctness, and consist of four parallel rails about four feet eight inches 
apart, allowing two trains of carriages to pass in opposite directions with 
perfect safety. Under the warehouses at Liverpool there are four 
distinct railways, for the greater convenience and facility of loading and 
unloading the waggons. The principles followed on this railroad, were 
(after solidity) the making it as far as possible level and straight. With 
the exception of the two inclined planes at Rainhill, where the inclination 
is one in ninety-six, there is no greater inclination than in the ratio of 
one in 880. Along the whole extent there are no abrupt curves ; the 
curvature rarely exceeds a deviation from a straight line of more than 
four inches in twenty yards, 

Locomotive power being resolved upon, a premium of £500 was 
offered for the best engine ; this was furnished by Mr. Booth, and the 
“Rocket” made the trial of 70 miles in less than six hours and three 
quarters, the engine weighing 4 tons 5 cwt., dragging a gross weight of 
three tons for every one of its own weight. The speed at which the 
Rocket travelled was frequently 18 miles an hour, and occasionally 
sometimes twenty. At length, after a little more than three years, this 
stupendous undertaking was completed, and it was opened on the 15th of 
September, 1830. The total cost of it was £820,000. 

The railway was opened by the passage of eight locomotive engines, 
all built by Messrs. Stephenson and Co. To these were attached 28 
carriages of different forms and capacities, containing altogether a 
company of six hundred persons. Preparations were made on a scale of 
great magnificence, to render this ceremony of no ordinary kind, and 
some of the most distinguished persons in the country were invited and 
attended, to go first over that ground which has since become the scene of 
daily traffic. The Northumbrian, an engine of 14 horse power, took the 
lead, having in its train three carriages. The performance of the engines 
was extremely satisfactory, until they reached Parkfield, 17 miles from 
Liverpool, when they were stopped to renew the feeders and to take in a 



fresh supply of fuel. Here several of the company alighted from the 
different carriages; on again starting, that fatal accident happened to 
Mr. Huskinson, which, after a few hours of extreme suffering, terminated 
his life. On the following day the Northumbrian left Liverpool with 130 
passengers, and arrived at Manchester in one hour and fifty minutes. 
In the evening it returned with 21 passengers and three tons of luggage, 
in one hour and forty eight minutes; and on Friday, the 7th of Sept., 
six carriages commenced running regularly between the towns, accom- 
plishing the journey in much less than two hours. On the 20th of 
November, 1830, one of the engines went over the distance in the space of 
one hour ! two minutes of which time was taken up in oiling and 
examining the machinery about midway. No carriages were attached to 
this engine, and it had only the additional weight of three persons. On 
the 4th of December following, the “Planet” locomotive engine took 
the first load of merchandize which passed along the railway between 
Liverpool and Manchester. Attached to the engine were 18 waggons, 
containing 200 barrels of flour, 34 sacks of malt, 63 bags of oatmeal, and 
135 bags and bales of cotton. The gross weight drawn, including the 
waggons and engine tender, was about 80 tons. The speed over level 
ground was at the rate of 12 to 14 miles per hour. The train was 
assisted up the Whiston inclined plain by another engine, at the rate of 
nine miles an hour; it descended the Sutton inclined plain at the rate of 
16J miles per hour, and the average rate of the remaining part was 12§ miles 
an hour. The whole journey was performed in 2 hours and 54 minutes, 
including three stoppages of five minutes each, for oiling, watering, and 
taking in fuel. This was the greatestperformance heretofore accomplished 
by any locomotive power, but it was only the commencement of much 
greater speed. The “ Samson” engine, on the 25th of February, 1831, 
started with a train of thirty waggons from Liverpool, the gross weight 
of the whole being 164j tons ! and with this enormous weight it 
averaged a speed of 20 miles an hour, on level ground ! It was assisted 
up the inclined plane by three other engines, and arrived in Manchester 
within 2 hours and 34 minutes from first starting; deducting 13 minutes 
for stoppages employed in taking in water, &c., the net time of travelling 
was 2 hours and 21 mile. The quantity of coke consumed by the 
engine in this journey was 1,376 lbs,, being not quite one third of a 
pound per ton per mile. By taking the average speed throughout at 
13 miles an hour, the same work would have required seventy good 
horses. The locomotive (or travelling) engines which are employed on 
this railway, are all what are called high pressure engine. One of 



Watt's' most ingenious contrivances was his condensing apparatus, by 
which, previous to every stroke of the piston, he created a vacuum in the 
part of the cylinder through which it had to be driven, and thereby 
enabled it to be sent forward through that space with a much inferior 
pressure of steam to what would otherwise have been required. But in 
the steam engines affixed to coaches, it is found convenient to dispense 
with this apparatus on account of its complexity, its weight, the room 
which it would occupy, and, above all, the constant supply of cold water 
which would be requisite to keep it in action. The consequence is, that 
in these engines, and others similarly constructed, a much greater force of 
steam is necessary to make the piston do its work; and they are on that 
account denominated high pressure engines. It is only within the last 
thirty years that they have been introduced, and the most remarkable 
proofs of their power have been afforded on the railways. The mail 
trains now go the whole distance from Liverpool to London in nine 
hours ! 


This undertaking lays claim to early notice, in consequence of its 
being the first of the bold attempts to bring locomotive power so near 
to the populous parts of this great city, that has been completed. It 
was designed and executed under the personal superintendence of 
Lieutenant Colonel Landmann, R. E., ably assisted by the taste and 
skill of Mr. Mac Intosh, the Architect. It was begun in 1834, and was 
opened from the Spa Road to Deptford, 8th February, 1836 — from 
London to Deptford, 14th December, 1836, and from London to 
Greenwich, 24th December, 1 838. It commences at Duke Street, London 
Bridge, and terminates in London Street, Greenwich. This Railway is 
supported entirely upon arches (of which there are about 1,000), under 
these are shops, &c., from the letting of which the Company expect to 
derive great emolument. These arches are erected in the most substan- 
tial manner, and, for the purpose of additional security, cross walls are 
built between the arches, over which the rails are laid for the trains, and 
the intervals are filled with concrete. By this means the mass is 
rendered one solid piece, and the weight of the carriages is spread over 

a large space. The Railway is 25 feet wide, with 22 feet in the clear 

that is to say, between the parapets which run from end to end, full 
breast high, so as to prevent accidents. The actual length of the 
Railway is three miles and a quarter, so that the absolute saving of 



distance is a mile and three quarters, and the time occupied in going to 
Greenwich, and back to the London Terminus, rs exactly a quarter of 
an hour. 

Mr. Herepath (no mean authority in these matters), although originally 
opposed to the design, thus pithily describes the Railway, in what has 

been aptly called his amende honorable to the Company ; “ The 

prevailing character of the work may be summed up in uniform neatness 
and strength without heaviness.” The locomotive engines on this Railway 
are upon an entirely new construction ; the frames are so formed that 
the wheels cannot deviate from the rails at any speed, and their revolv- 
ing motion can be instantly changed to a sliding motion; thus the trains 
being powerfully retarded by friction, are speedily brought to rest, and 
the risk of accident to the passengers is very materially diminished 

The trains start from each station every twenty minutes. An incident 
is said to have occurred (worth recording), upon an early trip, by Mr. 
I. Y. Akerman, the Secretary, and some of the Directors, in trying the 
Engines from Bermondsey Lane to Deptford, and back. On their 
return a splendid rainbow spread a vivid arch from one end of the road 
to the other, and such was the cheering effects on their minds, that, to 
commemorate so auspicious a circumstance, the Company adopted the 
sigh on one of their banners (when the railway was first opened), with 
the motto, in hoc signo vinces — (in this sign is victory). 

The undertaking has been eminently successful ; and is now also the 
London Terminus of the Croydon Railway, to which it is joined at 
New Cross; and it will be the outlet for the Dover and Canterbury, 
Brighton, and other railways, when completed. As we have before 
said, it is intended to build shops and dwelling houses under the 
arches. At the Deptford end there are two neat dwelling houses already 
tenanted, which may be considered as specimens. These houses 
contain six rooms each, and, though small, appear to be very comfortable. 
The passing of the trains over is said to be only like the noise resembling 
thunder, but from the rapidity of the motion is away in an instant- 
others describe it as that of a heavy waggon, but not in a greater 
degree disturbing the tenants than the passing of waggons in a crowded 
street of London. The noise is less than may be supposed, in consequence 
of the solidity of the arches, and the smoothness of the railway, which 
materially decrease the vibration. 



Although we cannot exactly pin our faith to the flourish of Mr. 
Arthur F reeling, in his very clever “ Railway Companion,” that this is 
a Roman work, conceived in a Roman spirit, and accomplished with 
Roman perseverance and determination,” yet we join him in belief that 
it is destined to be “ the great highway for the northern portions of the 
kingdom, to communicate with the Metropolis.” Like all schemes for 
public advantage, the projectors of this railway had to combat with 
no ordinary degree of prejudice and opposing interests, and they deserve 
infinite credit for their spirit and resolution in accomplishing their 
great design, amidst such numerous difficulties ; — difficulties, which can 
only be estimated by a knowledge of the Parliamentary struggle to 
obtain their act of incorporation, and by many natural obstacles which 
they had to overcome. When these are considered, it is not surprising 
to find, that the expense of this railway nearly doubled the estimate, 
which was £2,400,456. The entrance at the London Terminus in 
Euston Square, is by an elegant archway having two wings; it is built of 
fine stone from the Fall Quarry, at Bromley, in Yorkshire ; it is of the 
Greek Doric order, and the portico is seventy-four feet in height. On 
either of the wings are booking offices, waiting rooms, &c. The whole 
front is three hundred and sixteen feet, and forms a truly elegant 
entrance, worthy the vastness of the work and the genius of the architect. 

The first object which engages the attention at this front, is the 
immense tunnel, called the “ grand excavation;” this is nearly a mile in 
length ; it is crossed by seven bridges, the sides are supported by walls 
about twenty feet high, surmounted by a neat iron railing, with brick 
piers, coped with stone; these walls are the internal segment of a curve, 
the inclination inwards being, perhaps, two inches to a foot of rise. At 
every interval of twenty feet is a pier, four feet six inches in width; the 
whole has a most massive and imposing effect. Through this excavation 
the carriages are drawn by means of an endless rope, connected with the 
stationary engine at Camden Town. This rope is 10,950 feet in 
length, seven inches in circumference, and weighs about 11 tons 12cwt. ; 
it runs over hollowed iron sheaves, turning on an axle in an iron frame, 
placed at a distance of twenty-four feet; there are four lines of rails in this 
tunnel. The railway proceeds by the following places : Watford, Box- 

under Railway, near Deptford. 



moor, Birkhamstead, Tring, Leighton Buzzard, Roade, Bilsworth, 
Weedon, Crick, Rugby, Brandon, Coventry, Hampton to Birmingham, 
at all of which places are principal stations, to receive passengers and 


Continues the line of the London and Birmingham, by Wolverhampton, 
Stafford, Whitmore, Crave, Hartford, and Warrington, where, at the 
Newton bridge station, it unites itself with the Manchester and 
Liverpool lines of railway. The Grand Junction obtained their Act of 
Parliament in May, 1833, and in the following year they had an 
amended Act, which enabled them to purchase the Warrington and 
Newton railroad, and thus complete their original intention. The plan, 
estimates, &c., were laid down by Mr. Stephenson, but the railway was 
finished under the superintendence of Mr. Locke, and it was opened 
without any display (with well directed taste, as the recollection of the 
fatal accident to Mr. Huskisson on the same line of road, was yet green 
in the memory), on the 4th of July, 1837. The total expense being 
£1 512,150.0: 4d. “On this railway,” says Mr. Freeling, “there are 100 
excavations and embankments. In the formation of which, 5,500,000 
cubic yards of earth and stone have been cut and removed, three 
millions of which have been employed in the embankments ; the 
remainder has been for the most part laid out for spoil. In the line 
there are about 109,000 distinct rails, which rest upon 436,000 chains, 
which are supported by four hundred and thirty-six thousand blocks of 
stone. The railway passes under 100 bridges, two aqueducts, and 
through two tunnels; it passes over 50 bridges and 5 viaducts; the 
latter are stupendous erections. In the formation of the line, upwards 
of 41, 440, 000 lbs. of iron have been used for rails and chains, and 
upwards of 656,940 cubic yards of stone for blocks to support them.” 
This account (immense as it is) is said to be rather under than over 

The next railway, which is calculated to be of the most beneficial 
advantage to the commerce of this country, is 


The London Terminus of this great and important undertaking is 



situated near the end of Praed Street, Paddington. This railway was 
opened for passengers as far as Maidenhead on the 4th of June, 183S; 
its route is Uxhridge, West Drayton, Slough, Maidenhead ; and it is 
intended to he continued by Wallingford, Chippenham to Bath, (with 
a branch to Bristol,) and from thence by Glastonbury, Bridgewater, 
Taunton, Tiverton and Exeter. By the report of the Parliamentary 
Committee on railways, it appears, that the cost of the locomotive engine 
on this line varies from £1,850 to £2,100! 


This company obtained their Act of Incorporation on the 25th 
of July, 1834, and the railway was opened on the 1st of May, 1838. 
The estimated cost of the entire line, including locomotive engines, 
station houses, and every other item, is £1,700,000, being at the rate of 
£21,000 per mile, an outlay which (if not exceeded) will be infinitely below 
any other railway. The London Terminus is at the Nine Elms, near 
Vauxhall, and the line taken is, Wandsworth, Wimbledon, Kingston, 
Walton, Weybridge, Woking, Farnborough, Hartley Row, &c. to 

The United Kingdom is intersected in every possible direction with 
railways, and much as we admire that species of expeditious travelling, 
still we cannot but regret that many of the well-appointed coaches have 
been taken off the road, because there were various conveniences and 
comforts belonging to them. 


“ The abuse of greatness 

Is when it disjoins remorse from power,’* 

says the poet, and more than one of the railways is settling down into 
a very comfortable monopoly. We are glad, therefore, to find that the 
Committee of the House of Commons upon railways, have recommended 
some Legislative restriction, to prevent 41 the injurious effect of the railway 
system upon the poorer class ofpassengers, which will be more severely felt in 
proportion as other means of cheap travelling by stage coaches, carriers, 
carts and waggons, are graudally superseded.” And it has been already 
shown, that the interests of private companies, and of the public, may he 
at variance; it is also doubtful, whether the same observations be not 
applicable to the cost of conveying goods by railroads.” 



Aa intelligent writer of the present day thus describes his feelings: — 
41 A pleasurable wonder takes possession of the mind as we glide along 
at a speed equal to the gallop of a race horse. It may be supposed that 
so great a speed would almost deprive the traveller of breath, and that 
he could not fail to be unpleasantly conscious of the velocity with which 
he cuts through the air. The reverse is, however, the case ; the motion is 
so uniform, and so entirely free from the shaking occasioned by the 
inequality or friction of common roads, that the passenger can scarcely 
credit he is really passing over the ground at such a rapid pace ; and it 
is only when meeting another train that he is fully aware of the velocity 
of his career. The novelty of the scene is delightful : now, where the 
natural surface of the ground is highest, we travel embosomed in deep 
recesses ; and then, where the ordinary course of the road would lead 
through a valley, we “ ride above the tops of the trees,” and look down 
upon the surrounding country. The reflecting traveller probably falls 
into a pleasing vision, arising out of the triumph of human art. He* sees 
the period fast approaching, when the remotest part of his own country 
shall be brought into easy and rapid communication ; and he looks beyond 
this probable event of a few years, to the more distant day, when other 
nations shall emulate these gigantic works of peace. He sees the evils 
arising out of the difference of language, and soil, and climate, all 
vanishing before the desire of mankind for peaceful and commercial 
intercourse; and as he knows that the prejudices, and mistaken interests, 
which separate one district of the same nation from another, are broken 
down by such noble inventions as these; he feels that the same spirit of 
civilization which results from the exercise of our reason (which is 
bestowed by a beneficent Providence), will eventually render all men as 
brethren and children of one great Father.” 

And now for 

A Yankee’s Opinion of Railroads.— ^ I like railroads — any one can 
hate railroads, despise railroads, and rail at railroads — but I like railroads. 
I like to arrive at the railroad-office a quarter of an hour before starting: 
I like to be shewn into a nice warm room, where a quarter-of-an-hour 
passes quicker than five minutes in a dirty coach-office, or a coffee-room, 
where the waiters try to look you into a glass of brandy and water, for 
the sake of the house, or out of a sixpence for the sake of themselves. I 




like to go in at one door and out at the other — a thing you can never do 
in prison. I like to have my luggage and baggage taken from me where 
it is taken care of, and hate to have it wetted on the top of a coach, or 
stolen at a coach office while the book-keeper is looking at some lady at 
a crossing, who does not wish to wet the flounces of her gown. I like to 
have to do with porters who charge nothing for being civil, and cannot 
put their hands in their breeches-pockets, which is a vulgar and idle habit. 
I hate to wait for any thing. Men must wait, and horses must; and 
pretty women must wait, when agreeable young men, whom they admire, 
are engaged to charming young women (precisely my case); but steam- 
coaches know no dependence and are never in love. I like the ample 
room of a steam-coach, where there is no necessity for your neighbour, 
should she be old and ugly, to lay her soft head upon your soft shoulder. 
I like to travel fast. I dread vicious horses; I feel for distressed ones. 
I hate going down hill — drag-chain breaking, coach upsetting, coachman 
dying, leaving a wife and 12 children; myself with a broken leg going to 
married next week. 7 ’ 

That prince of punsters, Hood, has a funny story of a cockney lady, 
who, anxious to secure her own place in the Railway-train, from Liege to 
Bruges, travels three or four times over the same ground ; and one of 
whose sage precautions is, to get farthest from the engine, because, as 
she gravely says, “ it must bust fust." 


An impression is current that this method of travelling is injurious to 
health. We cannot suppose that our readers are influenced by such 
prejudices; and we believe that it is a work of supererogation, to apply 
other than the language of ridicule to such an absurd notion ; but should 
any timid person hesitate in such matter, we quote the opinion of Dr. 
James Johnson, a physician of first rate talent and deserved eminence, to 
cure any apprehensions which he may entertain. Contrasting Railway 
travelling with that by Coach, the Doctor says, “ The former 
equalises the circulation, promotes digestion, tranquillises the nerves, and 
often causes sound sleep during the succeeding night ; the exercise of 
this kind of travelling being unaccompanied by that lassitude, aching and 
fatigue, which, in weakly constitutions, is the invariable accompaniment 

the mib age. 


of ordinary travelling ; and which so frequently, in such constitutions, 
produces sleepless nights.” 

44 The Railroads bid fair to be a powerful remedial agent in many 
ailments to which the metropolitan and civic inhabitants are subject; and 
to thousands of valetudinarians in the Metropolis, the ride to Tring and 
back twice or three times a week, would prove a means of preserving 
health , and prolonging life , more than all the Drugs in Apothecaries' 


The following duties were paid, as under, by the various companies — 
from July, 1837, to January, 1839, by Birmingham and London, 
£10,995, 12s. Id ; the aggregate number of miles travelled during that 
period, being 24,111,560. The Grand Junction, from July 4, 1837, to 
January, 1839, £17,032, 19s. lOd. ; number of miles, 32,702,384. The 
Liverpool and Manchester, from January, 1836, to January, 1839, 
£21,397, 2s. 8|d. ; number of miles, 41,082,500. London and South 
Western, from May, 1838, to January, 1839, £1,524, 19s. 3d ; number 
of miles, 2,927,928. And the Great Western, from January 4, 1838, to 
January, 1839, £2,229, 10s. Id ; number of miles, 4,280,048. 



Every traveller in the East has described in glowing terms this visual 
phenomenon, which really “please the eye but vex the heart;” and, while 
the body is suffering the most dreadful torture of thirst, when crossing 
the deserts of Egypt, Syria, or Persia, appears like a transparent lake, 
or flowing river, reflecting on its glassy bosom all surrounding objects. 
Conceive, if possible, the horror and disappointment, on finding it an 
optical illusion ! 

Thus speaks an eye witness of this “ mockery of woe.” “ Conceive an 
European in those countries, travelling with 

‘ Some great caravan, from well to well, 

Winding as darkness o’er the desert fe'l,’ 



the ground beneath him like unto the hot ashes of a forge, and the air 
around glowing as the vapour of a furnace. No water of any kind has 
been seen for days, and the scanty supply of the skins reduced to such a 
small quantity, as to render what little is left as precious as gold. 
Every eye is dim, every tongue, swollen, parched and rent, cleaves to 
the roof of the mouth, and the Arabs begin to talk of killing the very 
camels for the sake of the water which these provident animals always 
keep in a large bag — the fifth stomach. In such circumstances it is 
easily to be imagined with what delight the traveller, in the very heat 
of the day, perceives before him one or more clear glassy lakes ! He 
cannot utter the joyful cries of ‘ water, water,’ but puts his beast to its 
utmost speed, and if he thinks of any thing but the instant means of 
allaying his burning throat, it is to wonder that none of the natives, 
whose wants are equal to his own, does not seem similarly excited by the 
appearance. But the traveller soon finds, to his cost, that he cannot 
reach the water for which he longs. The shore of the lake recedes as he 
approaches, and its dimensions are consequently contracted, until, if he 
proceeds, it disappears, and is frequently formed anew at a distance 
beyond him ! Pausing to consider this phenomena, the traveller will 
easily perceive that it is the Siraub of which he has heard ; but the most 
attentive consideration will not enable him to detect any difference in 
the exhibition from that which is presented by the appearance of real 
water ! Often the clear, calm azure, reflects the surrounding objects with 
precision and distinctness, and frequently the whitish, vibratory 
volume, exhibits the contours of the reflected objects as badly terminated 
with that sort of indecision which always accompanies such representa- 
tions in water slightly ruffled by the wind. Local circumstances some- 
times contribute to give more striking effect to the illusion. In Lower 
Egypt, for instance, the villages, in order to avoid the effects of the 
inundations of the Nile, are built on small eminences, scattered through 
a plain of vast extent. Towards the middle of the day, when the ground 
was heated, each village often appeared to the French army, during the 
campaign in that country, as if surrounded to the distance of a league 
by a lake, in which, underneath the village, a distinct reversed image of 
it was represented. This illusion is altogether so perfect, and so 
strong, that, in our own case, after repeated experience, we always 
in the first instance took the Siraub for real water, unless, when from 
local knowledge, or the circumstances of the place, we knew its existence 
to be impossible or unlikely.” 

This phenomena is not confined to the land. It is more frequently 


observed at sea; hence the name ( Mirage , sea vision), which the 
French sailors gave it. 

We shall quote one or two remarkable cases of this optical illusion, 
and then endeavour to give a philosophical explanation of its causes. 

At sea the mirage is usually noticed by the form, distinguished by 
the term “ suspension the object is then represented as above the 
water, painted, as it were, on the sky. None more striking of which 
appears to be recorded, than that which was observed by Captain 
Scoresby, on the 28th of January, 1820, in the Greenland Seas. The 
sun was very brilliant, and his rays unusually ardent during the day. 
In the evening a light breeze sprung up, and most of the ships navigating 
at the distance of ten or fifteen miles (about eighteen or nineteen sail), 
appeared then to undergo a great change of magnitude and form, and 
■When examined from the mast head with a telescope, exhibited some 
very extraordinary appearances, differing in almost every point of the 
compass. One ship had an inverted image above it, another two 
distinct images in the air, a third was distorted by elongation, the masts 
being nearly of twice the proper height, and others underwent contraction. 
All the images of the ships were accompanied by a reflection of -the ice, 
in some places in two strata. 

The. images of the mirage are usually vertical; that is, presenting the 
appearance of one object above another, like a ship above its shadow in the 
water. Occasionally, but very rarely, they are lateral or horizontal, 
(viz.) one or more images are represented upon the same plane with the 
object. This form of the phenomena was seen by M. M. Jurine and 
Soret, onthe lake of Geneva, in September, 1818. A bark, near Bellerive, 
was seen approaching Geneva by the left bank of the lake, and at the 
same time an image of the sails was seen above the water, which, instead 
of following the direction of the bark, separated from it, and appeared to 
appraoch Geneva by the right bank of the lake ; the image moving from 
east to west, while the vessel moved from north to south. When the 
image separated from the object, it was of the same dimensions as the 
bark, but it diminished as it receded, so that when the phenomena 
ceased it was reduced one half ! 

This remarkable class of optical illusions is thus accounted for: 
when a ray of light strikes obliquely, a medium less refracting than 
that in which it was previously moving, it is turned back into its original 
medium, and a direction is given to it precisely similar to that which 
would have been the result of a reflection taking place at the common 
surface of the two mediums. Now the sand of the desert, or the surface 



of the sea, being heated by the rays of the sun, communicates a portion 
of its warmth to the stratum of air immediately superposed, which then 
dilates and becomes consequently less dense, aud, therefore, less 
refracting than the superior. Thus, when an observer looks at an object 
above the horizon, the rays which, in coming to him, traverse a layer of 
air of uniform density, will exhibit it in the natural position, while the 
light directed obliquely towards the surface of the earth will be bent 
downward, and so come to the eye as if from an object placed inversely 
and below the former. 

M. Monge, in Egypt, and Dr. Wollaston, in England, made experiments 
at the same time, and both came to the same conclusion. 


f Or Fairy Morgana), of the Bay of Riggio, in the Straits of Messina, 
Sicily, may be considered as of the same class of optical illusions. The 
inhabitants of this part of Sicily (Calabria) are exceedingly superstitious 
and ignorant; hence, when the “Fairy” makes her appearance (which, 
by the way, is very rare), the people hail it with exultation and joy, 
running down to the sea side, clapping their hands, and shouting out, 
“Morgana! Morgana! Fata Morgana!’’ 

The most reasonable description of this phenomenon is from the pen 
of Manesi, a Dominican Friar, in 1773; who declares that he saw it 
three several times, and that its beauty surpassed every thing which he 
had ever seen or heard of in the world. Making allowance for his 
evidently exaggerated statement, still we must give the worthy father 
credit for something like fidelity of description, particulary, too, as he 
is confirmed in some of the main facts by writers of credit, and who are 
less imaginative; but let the friar speak for himself. “ When the rising 
sun shines from a point, whence its insident ray forms an angle of 45 
degrees on the sea of Riggio, and the bright surface of the water in the 
hay is not disturbed, either by the wind or the current, the spectator 
being placed on an eminence of the city, with his back to the sun and 
his face to the sea'; on a sudden he sees appear in the water, as in a 
catoptric theatre, various multiplied objects, i. e. numberless series of 
pilasters, arches, castles, well delineated regular columns, lofty towers, 
superb palaces with balconies and windows, extended alleys of trees, 
delightful planes with herds and flocks, &c., all in their natural colors 



and proper action, and passing rapidly in succession along the surface of 
the sea, during the whole short period of time that the above mentioned 
causes remain. But if, in addition to the circumstances before described, 
the atmosphere be highly impregnated with vapour and exhalations, not 
dispersed by the wind nor rarefied by the sun, it then happens that in 
this vapour, as in a curtain extended along the channel to the height of 
about thirty palms, and nearly down to the sea, the observer will behold 
the scene of the same objects not only reflected from the surface of the 
sea, but likewise in the air, though not in so distinct or defined a manner 
as in the sea. And again, if the air be slightly hazy and opaque, and 
at the same time dewy and adapted to form the iris, then the objects 
will appear only at the surface of the sea, but they will be all vividly 
colored or fringed with red, green, blue, and other prismatic colors.’ 
He adds (simply enough), that all the objects exhibited by the Fata 
Morgana , are derived from real objects on shore, reflected in all senses, 
magnified, mingled and multiplied. We shall pass over the friar’s 
attempt at an explanation of this phenomenon, and quote a more recent 
and more philosophical author, who says, “ that, by the form and 
situation of the Faro of Messina (the strait), the current from the south, 
at the expiration of which the phenomenon is most likely to appear, is so 
far impeded by the land, that a considerable portion of the water returns 
along shore, that it is probable the same coasts may have a tendency to 
modify the lower portion of air in a similar manner, during the southern 
breezes, or that a sort of basin is formed by the land, in which the lower 
air is disposed to become calm and motionless ; that the Morgana 
presents inverted images beneath the real objects, and that these inverted 
images are multiplied, laterally as well as vertically ; that in the a'irial 
Morgana, the objects are not inverted , but more elevated than the 
original objects on the shore, and that the fringes of the prismatic colors 
are produced in falling vapours, and to be explained by the principles of 

Although we have been “ somewhat lengthy” in describing these 
phenomena, yet we are sure our readers will thank us, by briefly 
showing them how an imitation of them “in little” may be produced. 
Dr. Wollaston usually employed fluids, but the following is much more 
simple ; take a red hot poker and look along the side of it, at a paper ten 
or twelve feet distant, a perceptible refraction will take place at three 
eighths of an inch from it. A letter more than three eighths of an inch 
distant will appear erect as usual; at a less distance will be a faint 
reversed image of it, and still nearer to the poker a second erect image ! 



Sir David Brewster has since produced a beautiful imitation of the 
phenomena of the Mirage , by the simple method of holding a heated 
iron over a mass of water. As the heat descends through the fluid, 
there is a regular variation of density, which gradually increases from 
the surface to the bottom. If the heated iron be withdrawn, and a cold 
body substituted in its place, or even if the air be allowed to act alone, 
the superior strata of water will give out their heat, so as to have an 
increase of density from the surface to a certain depth below it. 

Through the medium thus constituted, all the phenomena of unusual 
refraction may be seen in the most beautiful manner, the variation of 
density being produced by heat alone. Brewster has also produced the 
same effects with plates of glass. 


Few Europeans have reached the top of this extraordinary mountain ; the 
last ascentwasmade in 1819, by Mr. Marshall and friend, from whose very 
interesting account we copy the following : — “ Starting from the City of 
Kandy, and proceeding south west to the mountain, the travellers were 
three days performing thirty-nine miles, so rugged in parts, and in others 
covered with trees and low jungle, was the country they had to traverse. 
On the third day they saw the few huts of the natives, built on the 
extreme jagged points of the loftiest mountains, to escape the elephants. 
At the end of this day’s journey, they were only eighteen miles from the 
foot of the peak, or the upper cone, yet it took them two days to perform 
that distance. On the fourth day there was a considerable degree of 
ascent in their road, and they found the trees covered with moss or 
lichen. For some distance their pathway lay along the ridge of a narrow 
hill, on each side of which flowed a river. These rivers at some places 
fall over stupendous precipices, forming cascades of great magnitude. 
From the height of one of these cascades, the whole mass of water 
which passed over the rock seemed to rise again in white vapour. 
Above these impetuous rivers rose lofty ranges of peaked mountains, 
the whole presenting one of the most magnificent pictures in the world. 

The peak has always been considered by the natives as a Holy Mount, 
and pilgrimages were very often made to it. The returning Pilgrims, as 
an act of charity and duty, disposed of their walking staves on the face 
of the hill, so as to assist future travellers in their ascent. When Mr. 



Marshall came to a very steep part of the road, he found a succession of 
these walking sticks stuck firmly in the earth, and bundles of rods laid 
horizontally behind them, by which means tolerable steps were formed. 
As, however, pilgrimages by the road they came had almost wholly ceased, 
since the dominion of the English, all these conveniences were rapidly 
going to decay. On the sixth day of their journey, when they were 
four days going about six miles, the guides were frequently at a loss to 
distinguish the path they ought to follow from the tracks of wild 
elephants through the jungle. On reaching the top of a very high hill, 
they had a near view of the peak, which rose before them like an immense 
acuminated or sharp pointed dome. The next morning our travellers 
approached a small river; from this the pathway went up a narrow 
rugged ravine: in the wet season, this is the bed of a torrent, and 
impassable. Thick jungle and lofty trees threw a wild gloom over this 
hollow, and intercepted the view. Their way was now more difficult than 
ever, as the superior portion of the peak consists of an immense cone of 
granitic rock, but very partially covered with vegetation. The track over 
several places of this cone is quite abrupt, and where the pathway leads 
over a bare declevitous rock (tending to some fearful precipice), there 
are steps cut in the stone, and iron chains so fixed as to lie along the 
steps, for the purpose of assisting passengers in ascending and descending. 
Mr. M. and his friend reached the top of the cone about two hours after 
they had begun to ascend at its base ; they found that its narrow apex, 
which was only twenty-three paces long by eighteen broad, was sur- 
rounded by a wall, in which there were two distinct openings to admit 
pilgrims, corresponding with the two tracks, by which alone the mountain 
could be ascended. The elevation of this apex is 6,800 feet above the 
level of the sea; the granitic peak or cone resting upon a very high 
mountain, belonging to the chain which forms the rampart of the upper 
country. Nearly in the centre of the enclosed area they saw a large rock, 
one side of which is shelving, and can be easily ascended. On the top 
of this mass, which is of granite, there stands a small square wooden 
shed, fastened to the rock, as also to the outer walls, by means of heavy 
chains. This security is necessary, to prevent the edifice being hurled 
from its narrow base, by the violence of the winds. The roof and posts 
of this little building, which is used to cover the Sri Fade, or holy 
foot mark, was adorned with flowers and artificial figures, made of party 
colored cloth ; this foot they found to have been made in part by the 
chisel, and partly by elevating its outer border with mortar; all the 
elevations which mark the spaces between the toes of the foot, have been 



made by lime and sand. The impression, which is five and a half feet 
broad, and nearly two feet deep, is encircled by a border of gilded copper, 
in which are set a few valueless gems. This foot mark is an object of 
deep reverence by the pilgrims, some of whom believe it to be that of 
their god Buddhoo; but the Arabs gave it to Adam our first father. 
Mr. Marshall found about fifty pilgrims here, who had ascended the 
peak in an opposite direction ; they performed their devotions without 
taking any notice of the travellers, and then left the mountain suddenly, 
without looking on either hand. On the shelf of the rock on which the 
foot is traced, there is also a small , temple, dedicated to Yishnu, whom 
the pilgrims propitiate with offerings of small sums of money. Mr. 
Marshall and his friend remained upon the peak all night, to watch the 
singular atmospheric effects, and the rising of the sun in the morning. 
“ By midnight,” says he, “ the clouds had subsided to the lower strata 
of the atmosphere, and appeared to be all lying on the surface of the 
earth. The moon shone bright, by which means we had a magnificent 
view of the upper surface of a dense stratum of white fleecy cloud. It 
is impossible to convey in words the grandeur of the scene. The 
surface of the earth was overspread with a covering, resembling the finest 
white down, through which many dark colored mountains and cliffs 
projected. Could we conceive a white sea studded over with islands, 
extremely various in size and figure, a faint idea may be formed of the 
prospect from the peak during the night. The clouds continued to rest 
undisturbed on the bosom of the earth, until a little after six o’clock. 
For sometime before sunrise the sky towards the east had a bright flame 
colour, indicative of the approach of day. The sun burst forth suddenly 
in all his glory; not a cloud intervened to dim his splendour. Immediately 
after the rising of the sun, the shadow of the peak appeared like an 
immense cone or triangle, stretching to the edge of the western horizon. 
In a few minutes the base of the shadow approached the foot of the 
mountain. Soon after the appearance of the sun, light floating vapours 
began to rise from the upper surface of the clouds, which were quickly 
dissolved in the superincumbent stratum of the transparent air. The 
travellers descended the cone by the opposite route, leading to Saffragam, 
which they found to be still more abrupt than the one by which they had 
ascended. In several places it led them across bare, slippery, precipitous 
rocks. There were no steps cut, as on the other side of the cone, but in 
the more difficult and dangerous places there were strong iron chains, 
fastened to the rock, to assist ascent and descent. At two or three turns 
the view downward was grand and awful in the extreme, the cone at 


i 07 

these points seeming to overhang the lower mountain, by which means 
the eye plunged perpendicularly about the base of the peak. Meanwhile, 
the sun, shining brightly upon the space where the view terminated at 
the bottom of the mountain, increased thereby the sublimity of the 
prospect. It is impossible to describe the terrific grandeur of the scene ; 
but, indeed, the prospect is so frightful, that I believe it is rarely 
contemplated' with due composuxe. 


Stonehenge is the most remarkable ancient monument now remaining 
in this island; nor, indeed, is there known anywhere to exist so stupendous 
an erection of the same character. Even in its present half-ruined 
state, the venerable pile retains a majesty that strikes, at the first glance, 
both the most refined and the rudest eye; and the admiration of the 
beholder grows and expands as the more distinct conceptions of the 
original plan of the structure gradually unfolds itself from amidst the 
irregular and confused mixture of the standing and fallen portions, 
which, for a short time, perplexes the contemplation. Stonehenge stands 
at a short distance from Amesbury, Wiltshire, on the brow of one of 
those broad and gentle elevations which undulate the vast level of 
Salisbury Plain. The direction of the entrance, or avenue, is from north 
east to south west; and this appears to have been the only entrance to 
the enclosue in which the building stands ; which is formed by a circular 
ditch, 369 yards in circumference, and having a slight rampart on the 
inner side. The building stands in the centre of this circular area. An 
■outer circle of enormous upright blocks, having others upon them, as the 
lintel of a door is placed upon side posts so as to form a kind of 
architrave, has enclosed a space of 100 feet in diameter. The upright 
stones in this circle had been originally thirty in number; but only 17 
of them are now standing. That portion of the circle which faces the 
north east is still tolerably entire, and the doorway at the termination of 
the avenue may be said to be in perfect preservation. It consists of two 
upright stones, each 13 feet in height, and between 6 and 7 feet in 
breadth, with a third block placed over them, of about 12 feet in length, 
and two feet eight inches in depth. The space between the two posts is 
five feet, which is rather a wider interval than occurs between any two other 
pillars. Through the circle the broad side of the stone is placed in the 



line of the circumference, so that there must have been more of wall than 
of open space, in the proportion of 6| to 5. The imposts are fixed upcsa 
the uprights throughout, by the contrivance called a tenon and mortise ; 
the ends of the uprights being hewn into tenons or projections, and 
corresponding hollows being excavated in the imposts. They are oval 
or egg shaped. Of course, there are two tenons on each upright, and two 
mortises in each of the imposts, which are of the same number with the 
uprights. The principal workmanship must have been bestowed upon 
these fittings ; for, although the marks of the hewer’s tool are visible upon 
the other parts of the stones, their surface has been left, upon the whole, 
rude and irregular. They are made to taper a little towards the top ; but 
even in this respect they are not uniform. Within this great circle there 
is another, formed by stones, not much smaller, but also much ruder in 
their outline; of these there had originally been 40, but only 20 of them 
can now be traced. This circle has never had any imposts ; it is about 
84 feet in diameter, and consequently the interval between it and the 
outer circle is 8 feet. 

The next enclosure has been formed of only 10 stones; but they are 
of very majestic height, exceeding that of the outer circle. They have 
been disposed in five pairs, and in the form of a half-oval, or rather of a 
horseshoe; the upper part, facing the north end or great door; the two 
pairs, at the termination of the curve, which are distant from each other 
about 40 feet, are each sixteen feet three inches in height; but the height 
of the next two pairs, is 17 feet 2 inches; and that of the last pair, the 
station of which has been directly facing the opening, was twenty one feet 
and a half. A striking effect must have been produced by this ascending 
elevation. A variety and a lightness must also have been given to the 
structure, by the arrangement of the stones here, not at equal distances, 
as in the two exterior rows, but in pairs; the intervals between each two 
pairs being much greater than that between the two stones composing 
each pair. The uprights of this row have imposts over them, as in the 
outer circle. One of these imposts is 16 feet 3 inches long ; of course the 
imposts here not forming a continuous architrave, are only five in 
number. Of the five pairs, or rather trilithons (that is, combinations of 
three stones), although some of the shafts have been injured and mutilated, 
all are still in their places, except the fifth, or that which faced the 
entrance: this trilithon fell down on the 3rd January, 1797, and the 
stones now encumber a flat one, of about 15 feet in length, which lay at 
their base. Lastly, there appears to have been a fourth enclosure, 
formed originally (as Stockely thinks) of 19 stones, but only II now 



remain entire or in fragments. These seem also to have been arranged 
in the shape of a half-oval, with the open part, as in the case of the other, 
to the north east. Although greatly inferior in height to those last 
described, they are still taller than those of the second circle. The most 
perfect, according to Sir R. C. Hoare (see his History of, South Wilts, 
London, 1812), is seven and a half feet high, and 23 inches wide at the 
base, and twelve at the top. Like the second circle this row has never 
had any imposts. 

A variety of absurd legends are connected with the origin and purposes 
of this erection; but it is now universally admitted, that the view taken of 
its origin, by Stockely (1740), is the correct one, viz: — that it is a 
Druidical temple of the ancient Britons. It has also been the subject of 
wonder how the immense stones came there — this has been set at rest by 
Sir R. C. Hoare, who proves that those of the outer circle, and the five 
trilithons of the grand oval, are of the same kind with those which are 
found in different parts of the surface of the Wiltshire downs, and are 
there called Sarsen Stones, i. e., stones taken from their native quarry in 
their rude state — they being a fine grained species of silicious sandstone. 
Those forming the smaller circle and the smaller oval, are again quite 
different. Some are an aggregate of quartz, feldspar, chlorite, and 
horneblende; one is a silicious schist; others are hornstone, intermixed 
with small specks of feldspar and pyrites. What is called the altar, 
being the stone now covered by the centre trilithon, is a micaceous fine 
grained sandstone. It is still a matter of speculation by what mechanical 
power they were placed in their situations. At Averbury, in the same 
county, there are also some remains of what is supposed to have been the 
largest Celtic, or Druidical temple in Europe. 

The Risenberg, (Giant’s Castle) in Franconia. — It is a rock of 
most stupendous height, and the number of recesses, windows, arches, 
rooms, &c. in its interior is truly astonishing. But the attention is 
forcibly struck with a most singular freak of nature, the form of a human 
being of gigantic dimensions, in the rocky roof of one of the halls — the 
head, limbs, and ribs are distinctly developed. The castle derives ics 
name from this figure. 



Although there is little doubt that the Norwegians were the first who 
engaged in the catching of these Monsters of the deep, yet it is certain 
that the inhabitants of the coast on the Bay of Biscay were the first who 
followed Whale fishing in a systematic manner, and for commercial 
purposes. The Bay being soon thinned of fish, the whalers removed 
their trade to the coasts farther north, and, by degees, carried on their 
enterprises on the shores of Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. 
Thus began the northern whale fishery about the middle of the sixteenth 

The earliest Whaling Voyage made by the English, was by some mer- 
chants of Hull, in 1598, who fitted out some ships expressly for that 
purpose. The Dutch, French, Danes, &c. quickly followed, — both in 
England and Holland the fishery was carried on exclusively by chartered 
companies, till about a century ago, when the trade was thrown open in 
both countries, previous to which it was anything but a source of 
profit even to the monopolists. 

In 1732 the British Parliament adopted a scale of premiums, to give 
encouragement to the fishery. Thus a bounty was offered of 20 shillings 
per ton, and, in 1749, it was doubled; but as this was found to lead to 
great fraud, it was first reduced to 30s. per ton, and altogether withdrawn 
in 1824. The only competitors to the British in the fiishery now are the 
Americans, Hamburghers, and Russians. 

The whale ships are strongly-made vessels, of from 3 to 400 tons 
burden ; and they leave the country in time to reach Shetland by the 
first of April, where they complete their ballast and get thence to the ice, 
about the end of May. This rule is not so strictly observed as formerly, 
fish being now frequently sought with success, as early as April, and as 
late as September or October. Their scene of action too is changed’ 
instead of the Arctic Ocean on the east coastof Greenland being chosen as 
formerly, the whalers now proceed directly through Davis’ Straits, to the 
great inland sea, called Baffin’s Bay, which lies on the other side of Green- 
land. In those high latitudes whales still exist in very large numbers; 
but, from the prevalence of ice bergs, the fishery in Baffin’s Bay is more 
perilous than that which used to be carried on in the animal's m ire 
ancient haunt. 

Whale Fishery. 



Since the year 1790, the trade from London, and the other parts of the 
kingdom, and the number of whale ships have been greatly reduced. So 
great was the consumption of whalebone in England, that it is said that 
more than £100,000 annually was paid to the Dutch for several years. 
The first blow to the trade was abolishing the fashion of wearing those 
frightful looking things, called “ Hooped Petticoats,” the users of which 
Pope ridiculed as 

" Stiff with hoops, and armed with ribs of whale 

the use of gas lights still further depressed the trade in oil. 

The crew of a whaler consists of a Master, Surgeon, and forty or fifty 
men, who are divided into several classes, as, harpooners, boat steerers, 
line managers, carpenters, coopers, &e. She is commonly provided with 
six or seven boats, which, as affording the principal means by which the 
fishery is to he carried on, are hung round her in such a manner, as to 
admit of being detached and launched with the greatest possible 
expedition. After the whale is killed and cut up, the bone and blubber 
are stowed in the ship, but the attack upon the animal, and all the 
operations of its capture and destruction, are carried on in the boat. 
The chief instruments with which every boat is provided, are two 
harpoons, and six or eight lances. The harpoon is made wholly of iron, 
and is about three feet in length ; it consists of a shank, with a barbed 
head, each barb, or wither as it is called, having an inner or smaller barb 
in a reverse position. This instrument is attached by the shank to a 
line or rope of about two inches and a quarter in circumference, and 120 
fathoms in length. Each boat is furnished with six of these lines, 
making in all 720 fathoms, or 4320 feet. The use of the harpoon, 
which is commonly projected from the hand, but sometimes forms a sort 
of gun, is merely to strike or hook the fish : it is by the lance that its 
destruction is accomplished. This is a spear of the length of six feet, 
consisting principally of a stock or handle of fir, fitted with a steel head, 
which is made very thin, and exceedingly sharp. 

The lance is not flung from the hand like a harpoon, but held fast, as 
it is thrust into the body of the animal. 

The common Greenland whale ( Balcena mysticclus ) is not unusually 
58 or 60 feet in length, by 30 or 40 in circumference : this gives a 
weight of about 70 tons, equal to 200 fat oxen. Captain Scoresby 
(Journal of a voyage to the Northern Whale Fishery, 1820) says, that 
of 322 whales, in the capture of which he was personally connected, no 



one, he believes, exceeded 60 feet in length. A few instances, he adds, 
may have occurred, in which eight or ten feet more had been attained ; 
but there is no evidence that the animal has ever been seen of a greater 
length than 70 feet. There is, however, another species (called by 
Linnaeus (Balcena pkysalisj, known by the name of “ razor back” 
among the whalers, which reaches a larger size, being sometimes 100 or 
150 feet long. It is, most probably, the most bulky and powerful of 
created beings : the name of razor back, which is given to it, is from a 
small horny fin, or protuberance, running along the ridge of the back, 
and is no great favourite with the whalers, being more active and 
difficult to capture than the common, or what they call the right fish , 
and very far from being so valuable a prize when caught. The whale is 
popularly considered as a fish, but, except that it lives in the water, it 
has little or no similarity to the class of auimals properly so denominated. 
It is viviparous, i.e. brings forth its young, not enclosed in an egg, but 
alive and full-formed, it has usually but one at a time, which it suckles with 
milk drawn from its teats. It is considered as belonging to the class of the 
Mammals, the same under which man is comprehended. It is also like man, 
a warm blooded animal ; the blood, however, being of considerably higher 
temperature than of the human species ; finally, it is provided with lungs 
like the human species; and can only breathe by putting its head out of 
water. The skin of the whale is dark colored, smooth, and without 
scales. Its form in the middle is cylindrical, from which it gradually 
tapers to the tail. This part of the animal is only five or six feet long, 
but its width or extent from right to left, its position being horizontal or 
flat upon the water, is sometimes twenty-five feet long ; the power of this 
bony fan is prodigious. It is the instrument by which the animal 
principally makes its way through the water, and is also its most 
effective weapon of defence. Towards the head it likewise possesses two 
fins or swimming paws, as they have been termed, attached to the under 
part of the belly ; but the chief use of these seems to be to balance it or keep 
it steady as it moves along. About a third part of its whole length is 
occupied by its enormous head, which is cleft in two by a mouth, the 
opening of which extends to the neck ; the head of the whale is the most 
peculiar and remarkable part of its structure ; this species has no teeth, 
but in their room two fringes, as they may be called, consisting of a 
series of blades of an elastic substance, covered on the interior edges 
with hair attached to the upper gum; this is the substance known by the 
name of whalebone. The blades are broadest at the upper extremity, 
where they are inserted in the gum, and are of the greatest length in the 



middle of the series or row, on each side of the mouth ; the greatest 
length varies from ten to fifteen feet, and the breadth of the gum is 
usually in a full grown fish from ten to twelve inches. There are 
upwards of three hundred blades in each series or side of bone, as the 
whale fishers term it. The use of this part of its structure to the animal 
is to serve as a net or sieve, in which to collect its food. As it proceeds 
with distended jaws through the ocean, the water rushes through this 
sieve; but even the minutest living creatures are detained by it, 
and are made, in so many successive accumulations, to form mouthful 
after mouthful to this mighty destroyer. The eyes of- the whale are 
placed immediately above the corners of the mouth ; they are singularly 
disproportionate to the size of the animal, being scarcely larger than those 
of an ox. No trace of an ear is to be discerned till after the removal of 
the skin, and the hearing of the whale is accordingly very imperfect. 
On the most elevated part of the head are the nostrils or blow-holes, 
being two longitudinal apertures of six or eight inches in length ; 
through these, when the creature breathes, a jet of moist vapour is snorted 
forth to the height of eighteen or twenty feet, and with a noise which 
may be sometimes heard at the distance of several miles. 

The open mouth of a whale is a capacious cavern, capable of containing 
a ship’s jolly boat full of men. Captain Scoresby describes its dimen- 
sions as being commonly six or eight feet wide, ten or twelve feet high 
in front, and fifteen or sixteen feet long ; the throat, however, is very 

The part of the whale which gives the chief value to the fish, is what 
is called its blubber , being that substance from which train oil is 
obtained ; this substance, which is really the fat of the animal, lies 
immediately under the skin, encompassing the whole body, fins and tail. 
“ His color,” says the author, from which we have quoted largely, “ is 
yellowish-white, yellow or red. In the very young animal it is always 
yellowish-white. In some old animals it resembles the color of the 
salmon; it swims in water; its thickness all round the body is eight or 
ten or twenty inches, varying in different parts as in different individuals; 
the lips are composed almost entirely of blubber, and yield from one to 
two tons of oil each ; the tongue is chiefly composed of a soft kind of 
fat, that affords less oil than any other blubber. * * * The blubber 
in its fresh state is without any unpleasant smell, and it is not until after 
tlve termination of the voyage, when the cargo is unstowed, that a Green- 
land ship becomes disagreeable.” 

Vae omy operation performed upon the whale in its native region 




after its capture, is the process called “ flensing ,” that is, the clearing 
the carcase of its bone and blubber. This is effected by bringing the 
dead animal alongside the ship, and after it has been secured, then 
sending down the men upon it, having their feet secured with spurs to 
prevent them from slipping, who, by means of knives and other proper 
instruments, cut off the blubber in slips. 

After one side has been cleared there is a contrivance for turning the 
fish over upon the other. The blubber is received from the flencers by 
the boat-steerers and line-managers, who, after dividing it into smaller 
pieces, hand it over to two men, called Kings , by whom it is finally 
deposited in the ship’s hold. While the process is going on, various 
birds of prey attend in great numbers, and bears and sharks are at no 
great distance, ready to fall upon the remainder of the carcase before it 
sinks into the deep. The operation of flencing is commonly performed 
by British fishers in about four hours. Even this part of the business 
is far from being free from its perils ; “ Flensing in a swell,” says Captain 
Scoresby, “is a most difficult and dangerous undertaking, and when the 
swell is at all considerable it is commonly impracticable. No ropes nor 
blocks are capable of bearing the jerk of the sea. The harpooners are 
annoyed by the surf, and repeatedly drenched with water, and are like- 
wise subject to be wounded by the breaking of ropes or hooks of tackles, 
and even by strokes from each other’s knives. Hence, accidents in this 
kind of flensing in particular are not uncommon. The harpooners not 
unfrequently fall into the fish’s mouth, when it is exposed by the removal 
of a surface of blubber ; where they might easily be drowned, but for the 
prompt assistance which is always at hand. Some years ago I was 
witness of a circumstance in which a harpooner was exposed to the 
most imminent risk of his life at the conclusion of a flensing process, by 
a very curious accident. This harpooner stood on one of the jaw bones 
of the fish with a boat by his side. In this situation, while he was 
in the act of cutting the kreng (the skeleton) adrift, a boy inadvertently 
struck the point of the boat hook, with which he usually held the boat, 
through the ring of the harpooner’s spur, and, in the same act, seized 
the jaw bone of the fish with the hook of the same instrument. Belore 
this was discovered the kreng was set at liberty, and began instantly to 
sink. The harpooner then threw himself towards the boat; but, being 
firmly entangled by the foot, he fell into the water. Providentially he 
caught the gunwale of the boat with his hands, but, overpowered by the 
force of the sinking kreng, he was on the point of relinquishing his 
grasp, when some of his companions got hold of his hands, while others 



threw a rope round his body. The carcase of the fish was now 
suspended entirely by the poor fellow’s body, which was consequently so 
dreadfully extended that there was some danger of his being drawn 
asunder. But such was his terror of being taken under water, and not 
indeed without cause, for he never could have risen again, that notwith- 
standing the excruciating pain he suffered, he constantly cried out to his 
companions to ‘haul away the rope.’ He remained in this dreadful state 
until means were adopted for hooking the kreng with a grapnel, and 
drawing it back to the surface of the water. His escape was singularly 
providential, for had he not caught hold of the boat as he was sinking, 
and met with such prompt assistance, he must infallibly have perished." 


The Cachelot, or as it is more usually called, the Spermaceti Whale, 
is more slender and possesses much greater activity than the common 
whale ; it remains a much longer time under water when struck by the 
harpoon; but is an object of greater anxiety to catch, because of its 
greater value, from it possessing those two precious drugs, spermaceti 
and ambergris. The whole oil of the fish is easily converted into the 
former, and the ambergris is formed in a bag three or four feet long, in 
round lumps from one to twenty pounds weight; but it is only in the 
oldest and largest Cachelots, that these drugs can be extracted. 


With all its enormous physical strength, the whale is singularly gentle 
and harmless ; so remarkably so indeed, that it has been characterized 
by those who have had the best opportunities of observing it, as a stupid 
animal. The absence of ferocity is, however, no proof of this, and, 
indeed they are indicative of a great degree of sagacity. It exhibits the 
usual instinctive sense of danger when it perceives the approach of its 
natural enemy — man ; and both before and after it has been struck with 
the harpoon, it most commonly adopts the very best expedients open to 
it for a chance of escape. If a field of ice be near, for instance, it makes 
for the water under it, whither it cannot be followed by the boat, and 
even when it tries to release itself merely by a precipitate plunge 
downwards into the sea, it would be difficult to say how it could act 
more wisely, with a view to snap the line to which it has got attached, 
ii these efforts were not met on the part of the crew in the boat with the 



most energetic application of those resources of art, dexterity and 
decision, which are peculiarly at the command of man, it would 
probably be in every case successful ; but if the whale be not allowed to 
he a very intellectual animal, its affections, at least towards its own 
kind, appear to be deep seated and strong. The fishers, indeed, are in the 
habit of taking advantage of the love of the old whale for its offspring to 
entice it into their snares, and the artifice often succeeds when probably 
no other would. The cub, though of little value in itself, is struck to 
induce the mother to come to its assistance. “ In this case,” says 
Captain Scoresby, “she joins it on the surface of the water whenever it 
has occasion to rise for respiration, encourages it to swim off, assists its 
flight by taking it under her fin, and seldom deserts it while life 
remains. She is then dangerous to approach; but affords frequent 
opportunities for attack. She loses all regard for her own safety in 
anxiety for the preservation of her young, dashes through the midst of 
her enemies, despises the dangers which threaten her, and even 
voluntarily remains with her offspring after various attacks on herself 
from the harpoons of the fishers. 

“In June 1811, one of my harpooners struck a sucker, with the hope of 
its leading to the capture of the mother. Presently she arose close by 
the ‘fast boat,’ and seizing the young one, dragged about one handled 
fathoms of the line , out of the boat with remarkable force and velocity. 
Again she arose to the surface ; darted furiously to and fro; frequently 
stopped short or suddenly changed her direction, and gave every 
possible intimation of extreme agony. For a length of time she 
continued thus to act though closely pursued by the boats, and, inspired 
with courage and resolution by her concern for her offspring, seemed 
regardless of the danger which surrounded her. At length one of the 
boats approached so near that a harpoon was hove at her. It hit, but 
did not attach itself. A second harpoon was struck ; this also failed to 
penetrate : but a third was more effectual and held. Still she did not 
attempt to escape, but allowed other boats to approach ; so that in a few 
minutes three more harpoons were fastened, and in the course of an 'houT 
afterwards she was killed.” 

Cachclot Fislin y. 



We shall now proceed to describe the process of whale catching and 
its pleasant accompaniments, in the words of Captain Scoresby. 
“ Whenever a whale lies on the surface of the water, unconscious of the 
approach of its enemies, the hardy fisher rows directly towards it, and in 
an instant, before the boat touches it, buries the harpoon in its back ; the 
wounded whale, in the surprise and agony of the moment, makes a 
convulsive effort to escape ; this is the moment of danger. The boat is 
subjected to the most violent blows from its head or its fins; but 
particularly from its ponderous tail, which sometimes sweeps the air 
with such tremendpus fury that boat and men are exposed to one 
common destruction. The whale on being struck dives into the water 
with great violence. It appears, from the line which it draws out, that it 
goes down at the rate of eight or ten miles an hour. The moment that 
the wounded whale disappears or leaves the boat, a jack or flag, elevated 
on a staff, is displayed ; on sight of which those on watch in the ship 
give the alarm by stamping on the deck, accompanied by a simultaneous 
and continued shout of 4 a fall.’ At the sound of this the sleeping crew 
are roused, jump from their beds, rush upon deck with their clothes tied 
by a string in their hands. The cry of 4 a fall’ has a singular effect on 
the feelings of a sleeping person unaccustomed to the whale fishing 
business, and has often been mistaken for a cry of distress. The 
rapidity with which the line is drawn out by the whale occasions so 
much friction as it passes over the edge of the boat, as frequently to 
invelope the harpooner in smoke, and it is only by pouring water upon 
the wood that it is prevented from catching fire. Frequently also, the 
whole line in the first boat is run out before another has arrived. When 
this result seems approaching, the crew raise first one oar and then 
others, according to the exigency of the case. If the line at any time 
runs foul and cannot be instantly cleared, it will draw the boat under 
water, on which the only chance of the crew saving their lives is each to 
catch hold of an oar and leap into the sea ; the utmost care is necessary 
in the boat to avoid being entangled in the line as it is drawn out. Scoresby 
relates a case, in which a man, having chanced to slip his foot through 
a coil, the line drew him forward to the boat’s stem, and then snapped 
off' his foot at the ankle. Another anecdote is related of a harpooner, 


who, when engaged in lancing a whale into which he had previously 
struck a harpoon, incautiously cast a little line under his feet that he 
had just hauled into his boat, after it had been drawn out by the fish. 
A painful stroke of his lance induced the whale to dart suddenly down- 
wards; his line began to run out from beneath his feet, and in an instant 
caught him by a turn round his body. He had just time to cry out, 
“clear away the line; oh! dear,” when he was almost cut asunder, 
dragged over board and never seen afterwards. The line was cut at the 
moment, but without avail. 

The fish generally remains about half an hour, but sometimes a great 
deal longer, under water after being struck ; and then it often rises at a 
considerable distance from the spot where it had made its descent. 
Immediately that it reappears, the assisting boats make for the place 
with the utmost speed, and, as they reach it, each harpooner plunges his 
harpoon into its back, to the amount of three or four, or more, as 
circumstances direct, and according to the size of the whale. Most 
frequently, however, it descends for a few minutes after receiving the 
second harpoon, and obliges the other boats to wait its return to the 
surface before any further attack can be made. It is afterwards actively 
plied with lances, which are thrust into its body, aiming at its vitals. 
At length, when exhausted by numerous wounds and the loss of blood, 
which flows from the huge animal in copious streams, it indicates the 
approach of its dissolution by discharging from its blow-holes a mixture 
of blood along with air and mucus, and finally of blood alone. The sea 
to a great extent around is dyed with its blood, and the ice, boats and 
men, are sometimes drenched with the same. Its track is likewise 
marked by a broad pellicle of oil, which exudes from its wounds, and 
appears on the surface of the sea. Its final capture is sometimes 
preceded by a convulsive and energetic struggle, in which its tail, reared, 
whirled, and violently jerked in the air, resounds to the distance of 
miles. Inlying it turns on its back or on its side, which joyful 
circumstance is announced by the captors with the striking of their 
flags, accompanied with three lively huzzas. The exhaustion which the 
whale exhibits on returning to the 'surface after its first plunge, is to be 
attributed to the immense pressure it has sustained from the water, from 
the great depth to which it had descended. At the depth of eight 
hundred fathoms, as Captain Scoresby calculates, this pressure must 
be equal to 211,200 tons. “ This,” he adds, “ is a degree of pressure of 
which we can have but an imperfect conception. It may assist our 
comprehension, however, to be informed that it exceeds in weight, sixty 


of the largest ships of the British Navy when manned, provisioned, and 
fitted for a six month’s cruise.’’ 

A whale has been sometimes captured and killed in little more than a 
quarter of an hour, and instances, on the other hand, have occurred in 
which the contest has lasted from forty to fifty hours ; the average time 
under all circumstances is from two to three hours. There is a remarkable 
case related, of one vigorous whale who broke away from its pursuers 
with a boat and twenty-eight lines of cord, the united length of which 
was 6,720 yards, or upwards of three and a half English miles ; he was 
attacked again, and before he was captured he took the enormous 
quantity of 10,440 yards of line, or nearly six miles. 

We have described the immense power in the tail of these monsters; 
we shall now quote two jremarkable instances of the exercise of this 
tremendous organ. “ A large whale harpooned from a boat of the 
Resolution of Whitby, became the subject of a general chase on the 
23rd of June, 1809. Being myself in the first boat which approached the 
fish, I struck my harpoon at arm’s length, by which we fortunately evaded 
a blow which appeared to be aimed at the boat. Another boat then 
advanced, and another harpoon was struck, but not with the same result ; 
for the stroke was immediately returned by a tremendous blow from the 
fish’s tail. The boat was sunk by the shock, and at the same time 
whirled round with such velocity that the boat-steerer was precipitated 
into the water on the side next to the fish, and was accidentally carried 
down to a considerable depth by its tail. After a minute or two he 
arose to the surface of the water, and was taken up along with his com- 
panions into my boat.” In some instances the boat, instead of being 
struck into the water, has met with the equally alarming fate of being 
projected by a stroke of the powerful animal’s head or tail. “ Captain 
Lyons, of the Raith of Leith,” says our author, “ while prosecuting the 
whale fishery on the coast of Labrador, in the season of 1 802, discovered 
a large whale at a short distance from the ship. Four boats were 
dispatched in pursuit, and two of them succeeded in approaching it so 
closely together that two harpoons were struck at the same moment. 
The fish descended a few fathoms in the direction of another of the 
boats, which was on the advance, rose accidentally beneath it, struck it 
with its head, and threw the boatmen and apparatus about fifteen feet in 
the air ! It was inverted by the stroke, and fell into the water with 
its keel upwards. All the people were picked up alive, except one man. 
who got entangled in the boat, fell beneath it, and was unfortunately 
drowned : — the whale was afterwards killed.” The annals of the whale 



fishery abound with fearful narratives of the dangers from icebeTgs 
closing upon the ships or dashing them to pieces, many of which are of 
absorbing interest ; but which our limits will not allow us to detail. 


Next to the harpooners, the whale may he said to fear the attack of 
this little but very active enemy, at the sight of which, the huge animal 
seems to be frightened and agitated in a most extraordinary degree, and 
attempts to fly from his pursuer, whose active exertions quickly overtakes 
his monster prey — “I have been a spectator,” says Anderson, “of these 
attacks. The whale has no instrument of defence hut his tail, and with 
that it endeavours to strike its enemy, and a single blow taking place would 
annihilate its adversary; but the sword fish is as active as the whale is 
strong, and easily avoids the stroke; then bounding into the air, it falls 
upon its enemy, and endeavours not to pierce it with its pointed beak, but 
to cut with its toothed edges. Succeeding in this, the sea is all round 
dyed with blood, proceeding from the wounds of the whale; while, the 
enormous animal vainly endeavouring to reach its invader, he strikes 
with his tail the surface of the water, making at each blow a noise louder 
than the report of a piece of ordnance. The whale has still another enemy, 
which is called the ‘Biller.’” Those fish are armed with strong and 
powerful teeth — they attack the whale in a body, completely surrounding 
it, in the same style that dogs attack a bull, until at last their huge enemy 
is torn down. — It is said that the “Billing]” eat the tongue only of the 
whale which they have thus conquered. 


The following account appears in the report of the Committee on Public 
Works in Ireland, and is therefore worthy of credit. It is an extract of a 
Ltter'from the Commander of the Coast Guard. “ It is very extraordi- 
nary, but still very true, that this coast ( one of the best coasts in Europe, 
abounding from the most productive whales, both Spermaceti and Green- 
land, to the common herring ) posseses the worst and most ignorant race of 
fisherman, and (with few exceptions) very indifferent boa tsmen. But the 
cause of these remarks may be easily accounted for; their poverty, which 
prevents them from procuring proper stout vessels for so dangerous 
coast, and almost total absence of all patronage and support, to follow up 



with energy and spirit the unbounded sources of wealth, which nature has 
thrown within their grasp. It may appear still more extraordinary to 
those connected so extensively in the Greenland and South Sea whale 
fishery, that they should so long have remained in ignorance, that those 
fish abound on the coast which I have described. In order to give proof 
of so bold an assertion, I shall state some circumstances which came under 
my immediate observation, in my own vessels, and at a subsequent period, 
in command of a revenue cutter. On a visit, in company with the Eev. 
Mr. Mahon to the Sun Fishery at Bofin’s Island, we strayed on a blustry 
day to observe the coast and breakers; at a short distance from the shore 
we saw several large fish, which I supposed to be grampusses, or finners, 
that had taken shelter under the lee of the island; still looking closely at 
them, they advanced towards the rocks immediately under the cliffs, 
where we had a perfect view of them, at a distance of 500 yards, with a 
spy glass, their double tufted heads quite conspicuous, and no intervening 
back fins, I decided at once on their species. In the month of July, after 
the sun fishery, a large spermaceti whale was drifted on shore dead, at 
the Bay of Bunowen, in Connemara, about two leagues from Cliffden or 
Ardbear Harbour; in cousequence of the ignorance of the peasantry and 
the boatmen, and their continual squabbling and fighting, three fourth’s 
of the oil was lost; the surface of the bay was dyed with a rainbow tinge, 
from the floating particles of oil. Shortly after, an immense fish was 
towed into the island of Teuk, by three of the island fishing boats ; the 
monster was observed floating about a mile from the island, and had 
been very recently killed, but how, could not be ascertained; this fish 
completely filled up the small and only inlet in the island, and measured 
in length thirty three yards ; it was claimed by the proprietor, I believe, 
the Archbishop of Tuam, who, I had been informed, gave it up to the 
islanders. A small village near the place where they had towed it, 
shortly became deserted, the inhabitants never calculating on the foetid air 
caused by their imprudence. The islanders were two months employed 
in cutting up and launching over the cliffs the bones and remains of their 
prize. About the beginning of August, in beating down Blacksod Bay, 
with light airs, and near the island of Inniskeas, two large whales came 
alongside the cutter; the day very fine, and making but little way, 1 
ordered the gig and jolly boat out, and pursued them and had the men 
been sufficiently acquainted with the art, I shonld have succeeded in 
killing them; they allowed me to go alongside them, and 1 was only 
prevented from striking them by the bowman, who intercepted me at tne 
moment by panic, being fearful of the event, by a lash of the tail. "Vt.jat 



the result might have beeu I know not, but nothing could have been 
easier accomplished than striking them, and only in fifteen fathoms water. 
I had been after these whales three hours, and they never went above 300 
yards from our boats, and at that distance turned their huge heads 
towards the boats, and got away. I gave up following them towards 
evening; had I struck them at the commencement of our chase, when they 
were perfectly tame, I might have succeeded, even with the sun fish 
spear and line, owing to the small depth of water. ” 


These unparalleled machines were the invention of Mr. Brunei, sen., 
the celebrated Engineer, who took out a patent for them in 1802, and in 
1804 Government resolved to erect a set of them: this was accordingly 
done, and forty-four machines were set to work by a steam engine of 
thirty-two horse power, erected by Boulton and Watt. The manual 
labor required is simply to supply the wood as it is wanted, and to 
remove the blocks from one machine to another till they are completely 
finished. In order to convey some idea of these machines, and the effects 
they produce, we shall trace the whole process, from the rough timber to 
the finished blocks. By means of four sawing machines, distinguished 
for the ingenuity of their construction, (viz.) the straight cross-cutting 
saw r , the circular cross-cutting saw, the reciprocating ripping saw, and 
the circular ripping saw, the timber is cut into parallelopipeds of the 
proper size for the blocks. The blocks in this rude state are taken to the 
boring machines, of which five are used for the purpose of boring a hole 
for the centre pin, and another at right angles of this at the same time for 
the commencement of the mortice which is to contain the sheave. 
From this machine, the blocks are taken to the morticing machines, of 
which three are used. These beautiful machines give motion to one or 
more chisels in a vertical direction, which mortice out the cavities for 
the reception of the sheaves. A chip of the thickness of a piece of 
pasteboard is cut out with the most wonderful accuracy, and these chips 
are prevented from accumulating by means of a piece of steel at the 
back part of each chisel, which drives them out. The chisels make 
from one hundred and ten to one hundred and fifteen strokes every 
minute. When the cavities are morticed out, the blocks are taken to 
the corner saws, of which there are three, by which the angles are cut 
off in succession, hy means of a circular saw fixed on a maundril. When 



the blocks are thus sawn into a polygonal figure they are carried to the 
shaping engine ; the object of which is to shape them to the segment of 
a large circle. For this purpose ten blocks are fixed by their extreme 
ends between the rims of two equal wheels, fastened upon the same axis. 
These wheels are then made to turn with amazing rapidity, so as to 
bring the blocks successively against the edge of a fixed gouge, which 
thus cuts them to the proper curvature. 

A progressive motion is also given to the gouge, in order to give the 
blocks their proper curvature, in a direction at right angles to the planes 
in the wheels, between which they are fixed. When one side of the 
blocks is thus shaped, all the ten are, by an instantaneous movement, 
turned a quarter round, so as to expose another side to the gouge, which 
shapes them as before ; and in this way the third and fourth sides are 
formed of the proper shape. Three of these engines are used for blocks 
of different sizes. 

The blocks are now taken to the scoring engine, which is intended to 
form the score or groove round the largest diameter, for the reception of 
the ropes or straps of the blocks. By the above machines the shells of 
the blocks are formed. The next part of the operation is the formation 
of the sheaves, which are made of lignum vitae. By means of two saws, 
the straight saw and the circular saw, the tree of lignum vitae is cut into 
pieces approaching to a circular shape, and nearly of the intended 
sheave. These pieces are taken to the crown or trepan-saw, with a 
centre bit in its axis. When the wood is properly fixed, the saw is 
applied against it, and cuts it into a circular form with great rapidity, 
while it, at the same time, forms a hole exactly in the centre. 

The sheaves are now taken to the coaking engine; a machine of 
splendid ingenuity. It is employed to form in the centre of the sheave 
a cavity of the shape of three small semicircles, arranged at equal 
intervals round the centre hole formed by the crown saw. This cavity 
is intended for the reception of the coak or metal bush, which is made 
of copper, zinc and tin, and cast of the same shape as the cavity now 
formed. When the coaks are inserted into the sheave, the drilling 
machine is employed to perforate the three semicircular projections of 
the coaks and the wood beneath, in order to fasten the coaks by copper 
pins put in these holes. The pins being placed into the holes, then 
drilled, are rivetted by means of the rivetting hammers, which are made 
to strike a heavier blow at the end of the operation. The sheave is now- 
carried to the broaching engine, and fixed to an axis revolving vertically. 
A broach or cutter is inserted in the hole in the centre of the coak, for the 



purpose of enlarging it and making it truly cylindrical. The sheaves are 
then finished by the face-turning lathe, which has a sliding rest that 
supports the turning tool, and moves it slowly across the face of the 
sheave. As the face of the sheave which is thus turned is composed 
partly of the metal coak and partly of wood, and as it has been found by 
experience that different velocities are required for turning wood and 
metal, the machine has a very ingenious contrivance for changing the 
velocity when the tool passes from the wood to the metal. 

Besides the machines already mentioned, there are five others, (viz.) 
the turning lathe, by which the iron pins are cut to their proper diameter ; 
the polishing engine, by which they are polished, and which is sure to 
detect those that have flaws in them ; the machine for boring very large 
holes in any position, which is used for the largest size of blocks ; the 
machine for making dead-eyes, and the other for making tree-nails, used 
in fastening the planks to the timbers of ships. 

By this machinery the blocks are made with the nicest precision ; a 
quality which was always found wanting in those made by hand, which 
oftentimes rendered them unserviceable at the moment when the 
quickness of their movement was intimately connected with the fate of 
the ship. 

To give a pretty accurate idea of the expedition of these beautiful 
works, we will state the number of blocks that can be made per day. 
The first set of machines make those from four to seven inches in length 
at the rate of 700 per day; these have wooden pins. The second set 
make those from eight to ten inches in length at the rate of 520 per 
day; these have iron pins. The third set make those from eleven to 
eighteen inches in length at the rate of 200 per day; so that upwards of 
1,400 blocks may be made daily! All the blocks for the service of the 
Navy are supplied from these machines. 


Xne first diving bell which we read of in Europe was tried at Cadiz, 
ty two Greeks, in the presence of Charles the Fifth, and many thousand 
spectators ; it resembled a large kettle inverted. The first introduced into 
tms country was in the reign of Charles the Second, by one Phipps, an 
American biack-smith, and who, from the fortune which he acquired by 
V- »vig down to a rich Spanish Galleon, laid the honours of the Mulgrave 
family, tne head of which is now the Marquis of Normandy. 

Operations on the wreck of the Royal George, sunk atSjiithead, in 1782. 



But the first Bell of any note, was one made by Doctor Halley, and is 
most commonly represented in the form of a tunicated cone, the 
smallest end being closed, and the larger one open. It is weighted with 
lead, and so suspended that it may sink full of air, with its open base 
downwards, and as near as may be parallel to the horizon, so as to be 
close to the surface of the water. 

Mr. Smeaton’s diving bell was a square chest of cast iron, four feet and 
a half in height, four feet and a half in length, and three feet-wide, and 
afforded room for two men to work in it. It was supplied with fresh 
air by means of a forcing pump. This was used with great success at 

The diving bell invented by Messrs. Cottam and Hallen, which is 
shown daily at the Polytechnic Institution, Langham Place, Regent Street, 
is composed of cast iron, open at the bottom, with seats around, and i 3 
of the weight of three tons; the interior for the divers is lighted by open- 
ings in the crown, of thick plate glass, which is firmly secured by brass 
frames, screwed to the bell; it is suspended by a massive chain to a large 
swing crane, with a powerful crab, the windlass of which is grooved 
spirally, and the chain passes over four times into a well beneath, and to 
which is suspended the compensation weights, and is so accurately arranged 
that the weights of the bell is, at all depths, counterpoised by the 
weights acting upon the spiral shaft; the bell is supplied with air by two 
powerful air pumps, of 8 inch cylinder, conveyed by the leather hose to 
any depth. 

To illustrate the principle of Messrs. Cottam and Hallen’s diving beli, 
you have only to take a glass tumbler, plunge it into water with the mouth 
downwards; you will find that very little water will rise into the tumbler, 
which will be evident if you lay a piece of cork upon the surface of the 
water, and put the tumbler dver it, for you will see that though the cork 
should be carried far below the surface of the water, yet that its upper 
side is not wetted, the air which was in the tumbler having prevented the 
entrance of the water ; but as the air is compressible, it could not entirely 
preclude the water which, by its pressure, condensed the air a little. 

Mr. Spalding’s bell varies considerably from the above. It has a 
bell-like form, and is suspended by four ropes, with ballast weights, by 
means of which the mouth of the bell is always kept parallel to the 
surface of the water. By these weights alone the bell, however, will not 
sink; another is therefore added, by means of which it can be raised or 
lowered at pleasure. In descending, this balance weight hangs concher- 
abiy below the bell — in case the edge of the bell is caught Sy any 



obstacle, the balance weight is immediately lowered down, so that it 
may rest upon the bottom. By this means the bell is lighteneo, *md all 
danger of oversetting is removed ; for being lighter without the balance 
weight than an equal bulk of water, it is evident that the bell will rise 
as far as the length of rope affixed to the balance weight will permit. 
This serves therefore as a sort of anchor, to keep the bell at any desired 
depth. Instead of wooden seats, ropes are used, suspended by hooks 
across the bottom of the bell, and on these the diver stands; two 
windows made of strong thick glass are fixed near the top of the bell. 

Two air casks (each will contain forty gallons) having a flexible tube, 
are attached with a cock to discharge the hot air when needed. By 
another very ingenious contrivance, the diver can raise the bell to the 
surface, or stop it at any desired depth, and thus safety is preserved, 
although the communicating rope with those above may be broken. 
This is accomplished by affixing a second bell of smaller dimensions 
over the large one; in the top of which is a cock, which can be opened 
by the diver to let the air escape from the upper bell ; there is also 
another cock in the top, which permits the air to pass out of the great 
bell and rise into the smaller one. There is also space left between the 
two bells, so that the water has free entrance into both, and when the 
bell is first let down the upper cock is opened, therefore the air escapes 
and lets in the water. In this state the bell is lighter than an equal 
bulk of water without the balance weight, though, with the addition of it, 
it is heavier. Now, if the divers wish to raise themselves, they turn the 
lower cock, by which a communication is made between the bells, and 
the quantity of air rushing from the lower to the upper bell forces the 
water out, and this air being replaced from the air barrel, thus renders 
the bell lighter, by the whole weight of water which is displaced. 
Therefore, if a certain quantity of air is admitted into the upper cavity, 
the bell, with the balance, will descend very slowly ; if a greater quantity, 
it will remain stationary, and if a larger quantity of air is still admitted, 
it will rise to the top. 

The diving bell which is commonly used, resembles a large box 
without its bottom; it is in length six feet by five and a half, and is 
four and a half high. It is formed of cast iron, very thick, and its own 
weight sinks it; it is made in one piece, air tight, and the thickness of 
the sides prevents the possibility of its being injured by fracture in 
descent; its weight is about four tons. In the top of this bell is a round 
aperture, communicating by a number of small circular holes with the 
interior, where the holes are all covered and closed by a piece of thick 



leather, which acts as a valve and admits air. A strong leather hose 
is screwed on to the external aperture, and from two holes near its side6 
rise two strong chains, uniting in a ring, by which the whole machine 
is to he suspended. In the top are cemented twelve thick lenses, to 
admit light. 

At the ends of the bell are two seats, placed at such a height that the 
top of the head is but a few inches below the upper part of the bell ; and 
in the middle, about six inches below the lower edge, is placed a narrow 
board on which the feet of the divers rest. On one side, nearly on a 
level with the shoulders, is a small shelf with a ledge to contain tools, 
chalk for writing, and a ring to which a rope is tide. A board is con- 
nected with this rope, which is held by the man above, who thus can 
receive and reply to any message. On the top of the bell on the inner 
side, it is usual to have some contrivance by which stone or other 
bodies may be suspended from the bell. The leather hose is connected 
with a double condensing pump, usually worked by four men. In order 
to give motion to the bell, it is suspended by a windlass purchase tackle, 
which is fixed on a moveable platform having four wheels ; the wheels 
move along an iron railway, which is itself fixed on another platform, 
having, by the same means, a motion in a direction transverse to the 
former, at right angles to each other. Thus, by two iron railways 
established on beams, and supported by piles, the lower being fixed in 
the direction of the length of the wall, and the upper being on the lower 
moveable plane, it is possible to give the bell any position which may 
be required. 

Taking into account the extensive use of the diving bell for the last 
fifteen years, at Plymouth and other sea ports, very few accidents have 
occurred, and nothing but gross mismanagement and ignorance can now 
occasion any, the mode of using them being so simple and well defined. 
In fact, the workmen vie with each other who shall descend and work 
for hours under water, as readily as above; immense treasure, &c. from 
sunken vessels, has been recovered by means of the diving bell ; as in the 
case of the Thetis, &c. 

Mr. Babbage thus describes his feelings during a descent in a diving 
bell at Plymouth, with Mr. Harvey. “ To enter the bell, it is raised 
about three or four feet above the surface of the water, and the boat in 
which the persons who purpose descending are seated, is brought 
immediately under it. The bell is then lowered so as to enable them to 
step upon the foot board within it, and having taken their seats, the boat 
is removed and the bell gradually descends to the water. On touching 



the surface, and thus cutting off the communication with the external air, 
a peculiar sensation is perceived in the ears; it is not, however, painful. 
The attention is soon directed to another object. The air rushing in 
through the valves at the top of the bell, overflows and escapes with a 
considerable bubbling noise under the sides. The motion of the bell 
proceeds slowly and almost imperceptibly, and on looking at the glass 
lenses close to the head, when the top of the machine just reaches the 
surface of the water, it may be perceived by means of the little impurities 
which float about it, flowing into the recesses containing the glasses. A 
pain now begins to be felt in the ears, arising from the increased external 
pressure ; this may sometimes be removed by the act of yawning or by 
closing the nostrils and mouth, and by attempting to force air through 
the ears. As soon as the equilibrium is established the pain ceases ; but 
recommences almost immediately by the continuance of the descent. 
On returning, the same sensation of pain is felt in the ears, but it now 
arises from the dense air which had filled them endeavouring, as the 
pressure is removed, to force its way out.” 

“ If the water is clear and not much disturbed, the light in the bell is 
very considerable, and even at the depth of twenty feet was more than 
usual in many sitting rooms. Within the distance of eight or ten feet 
the stones at the bottom began to be visible. 

“ The pain in the ears still continued at intervals, until the descent of 
the bell terminated by its resting on the ground. 

Signals are communicated by the workmen in the bell to those above, 
by striking against the side of the bell with a hammer. Those most 
frequently wanted, are indicated by the fewest number of blows ; thus a 
single stroke is to require more air. The sound is heard very distinctly 
by those above.” 

Another method adopted of divers reaching vessels to fasten tackling 
to weigh the sunken mass, by means of buoys formed of copper, air 
tight, is by being clothed in a water proof diving dress, by which means 
they can descend to any required depth and rise at pleasure. 

Many of the guns (two of which, of large calibre, are shown to visitors 
of the Tower of London), stores, &c. of the Royal George, which sunk at 
Spithead on the 29th of August, 1782, have been recovered by means of 
the diving bell, in which men can work with equal facility at almost any 
depth in water, as upon the surface of the earth. 

Notwithstanding these attempts to lighten the wreck of the Royal 
George, in the hope of raising her by means of copper cylinders air tight, 
yet they were only partially successful, and the great obstruction caused 



by the wreck induced the Lords of the Admiralty to employ Colonel 
Pasley, R. E., to destroy the remains of the sunken vessel by the same 
process which he had successfully employed upon two steamers, which 
were sunk in the Thames, by coming in collision with each other.— The 
following is a description of the means employed by Colonel Pasley : “ At 
two o’clock on Monday afternoon, September 23, 1839, a cylinder, contain- 
ing 2,3201b. of powder, was carefully lowered to the bottom, where it was 
placed alongside the most compact portion of the wreck which has yet 
been discovered by the divers. This operation was effected by means of 
hauling lines rove through blocks attached to the bottom of the ship by 
the divers. When every thing was ready, the vessel in which the voltaic 
battery was placed, was drawn off to the distance of 500 feet, which is 
the length of the connecting wires, and instantaneously on the circuit 
being completed the explosion took place, and the effects were very 
remarkable. At first the surface of the sea, which had before been 
perfectly smooth and calm, was violently agitated by a sort of tremulous 
motion, which threw it into small irregular waves, a few inches only in 
height. This lasted for three or four seconds, when a huge dome of 
water made its appearance, of a conical, or rather bee-hive shape. At 
first it appeared to rise slowly, but rapidly increased in height and size 
till it reached the altitude of 28 or 30 feet, in a tolerably compact mass. 
It then fell down and produced a series of rings, which spread in all 
directions. The first, or outer one of these, having the aspect of a wave 
several feet in height, curled and broke, as if it had been driven towards 
the shore. Neither the shock nor the sound was so great as had been 
expected by those who had witnessed the former explosions by Colonel 
Pasley, where the quantity of powder was only 451b., but the effect 
produced on the water at the surface, considering that the depth was 90 
feet, was truly astonishing. What the effect has been upon tbe wreck 
will not be fully ascertained by the divers till the present spring tides are 
over, and the long periods of slack water at the neaps enable the divers to re- 
main for upwards of half an hour under water. In the mean time it is 
highly satisfactory to know that Colonel Pasley has completely established 
his command over the application of the voltaic battery to submarine 
purposes, and that he can now with certainty explode his charges at any 
depth of water. This will give him the power of placing his cylinders 
against the most refractory parts of the wreck, and, by blowing these to 
pieces, and dislocating the knees, timbers, and beams, enable him to 
draw the whole up, bit by bit, to the surface. Any person who has seen 
the operation of breaking up a ship on land knows that this is the only way 




of going to work with a mass so firmly bound together as a line of battle 
ships, that even the action of 57 years of decay under water goes hut a 
small way to disintegrate the parts. The manly perseverance of Colonel 
Pasley, therefore, we are well convinced, will, in the end, effectually clear 
the noble anchorage of Spithead of this extremely troublesome obstruc- 

Upon an after examination by the divers, when the tide permitted, it 
was found that the explosion had been most successful; since which 
time several other explosions have taken place, from the effects of 
which vast masses of the wreck have been forced to the surface of the 
water, and the anchorage cleared. 


In this process three men are employed in the diving bell, one holds the 
jumper or boring iron, which he keeps constantly turning, the other two 
strike alternately quick smart strokes with hammers. When the hole is 
bored of the requisite depth, a tin cartridge filled with gunpowder, about 
two inches in diameter, and a foot in length, is inserted, and sand placed 
above it. To the top of the cartridge a tin pipe is soldered, having a brass 
screw at the upper end. The diving bell is then raised up slowly, and 
additional tin pipes with brass screws are attached, until the pipes are 
about two feet above the surface of the water. The man who is to fire the 
charge is placed in a boat close to the tube; to the top of which a piece 
of cord is attached, which he holds in his left hand. Having in the 
boat a brazier, with small pieces of iron, red hot, he drops one of 
them down the tube ; this immediately ignites the powder, and 
blows up the rock. A small part of the tube next the cartridge is 
destroyed, but the greater part which is held by the cord, is reserved 
for future service. The workmen in the boat experience no shock; the 
only effect is a violent ebullition in the water, arising from the explo- 
sion; but those who stand on the shore, and upon any part of the rocks 
connected with those blowing up, feel a very strong concussion. The 
only difference between the mode of blasting rock at Howth and at 
Plymouth, is, that at the latter place they connect the tin pipes by a 
cement of white lead. A certain depth of water is necessary for safety, 
which should not be less than from eight to ten feet. 



In the ordinary Diving Bell the labors of the divers are confined to 
the spot upon which the bell rests; this greatly confines the sphere of its 
utility. A diving dress has been invented by Mr. W. H. James, by 
which he can carry on his operations without the aid of a diving bell or 
air tube. The apparatus consists of a copper hood or helmet; this may 
be made of any water-tight material, but thin copper is found to be best 
adapted for that purpose ; in front is fixed a strong plate of glass, to 
enable the divers to see the surrounding objects. Inside the helmet is a 
flexible tube, with a mouth piece at the end, which comes near the 
diver; through this the air is discharged from his lungs, and passes out 
by a valve at the top of the helmet. At the lower part of the helmet, 
and round the breast and shoulders, a water-proof garment is attached to 
the body of the wearer (this, in Mr. James’s apparatus, fits closely to the 
body, in others it is loose), and made fast by elastic bandages. To 
secure the diver from being inconvenienced by the pressure of the air 
within the helmet from becoming too great, a safety valve is added. In 
the front of the diver’s body is a portable vessel, placed round and 
adapted to the figure of the body ; this contains the condensed air, and 
which is filled by means of a condensing air pump ; it has a series of 
strong metallic tubes, or of one continuous tube, coiled elliptically round 
the body, and connected together by bands, to which straps are attached 
to secure it in its position ; there is a valve opening inwards, through 
which the tpr is forced by a pump, until it has acquired the proper 
density, which will depend on the time it remains under water ; there is also 
a tube of india rubber for conveying the air into the helmet by means of 
a valve, which is entirely under the control of the diver. Notwith- 
standing the weight of the apparatus (nearly fifty pounds) , the density of 
the water, in great depths, would render the body ofthe diver too buoyant 
to enable him to keep on his legs and perform his work; in this case it is 
usual to attach weights capable of easy removal at the pleasure of the 
diver, who, it is scarcely necessary to say, can rise or sink at pleasure. 

Diving Apparatus. — A similar Apparatus, but without the weights 
(in that case unnecessary), might be employed in mines or other places, 
filled with deleterious gases. Of late years the diving apparatus has 
been applied by Messrs, Deane, Bush, and others, as a means of fixing 
either chains suspended from windlasses, placed on lighters above, or 
else some buoyant body to foundered vessels, for the purpose of 
raising them. 



A Company has been formed for this highly praise-worthy object ; the 
following is a brief description of the method adopted in the process of 
raising sunken vessels. “ Supposing a vessel to have sunk with her 
cargo, we go (say the company) to the spot as early as possible ; the 
divers descend clothed in their diving dresses, inspect the wreck, secure 
round her strong chains, such as are used for ships’ anchors or moorings, 
which are lowered from a proper vessel floating above, and from which 
air is also supplied to the divers ; this done, they give signals to be 
furnished with India-rubber air chambers (these chambers are constructed 
of very strong fabrics, similar to the best sail cloth, with a very thick 
layer of India-rubber between such fabrics, whereby they are air and 
water-proof, and to which chambers sufficient length of pipe is attached); 
these air chambers being fixed to the links of the chains previously made 
fast round the wreck, are filled with air by the pumps, through the 
connecting tubes before mentioned ; their size and number being such 
that their buoyancy may be sufficient to again float the vessel, which can 
then be conveyed to a place of safety.” Now, it is a well ascertained fact, 
that for every cubic foot of water thus displaced, a floating power of about 
621bs. avoirdupoise is obtained ; the recovery of any weight from the bed 
ofthe sea must appear easily practicable ; thus, supposing the air chambers 
to be only 6 feet in diameter, and 18 feet long, they would contain 525 
cubic feet of air; which, if we reckon at 601 bs. per cubic feet, would give 
a sustaining power of 14 tons each; twelve of these, six on each side, 
would possess a raising power of 168 tons, sufficient to float a vessel of 
upwards of 300 tons burthen. For larger ships, however, chambers of 
12 feet in diameter, and 36 feet long (a size easily constructed), would 
possess a power of upwards of 112 tons each, and twelve of this size 
would have a power of 1,344 tons, which would raise a vessel of upwards 
of 2,000 tons burthen; and a greater power maybe obtained, either by 
increasing the number or size of the air chambers. Several vessels of 
large burthen have been raised already by these means, by the Company’s 
Engineeer, Mr. Bush. 



Passing over the fables of the ancients, who pretended to the art of 
flying, the first notion which we find of a balloon, is by the Jesuit 
Francis Lana, in 1670, who asserted the possibility of raising a vessel by 
means of metal balls, strong enough when exhausted to resist the 
pressure of the external air; but, at the same time, so thin, as in the same 
circumstances to be lighter than their bulk of air. To the possibility of 
this, he says he sees no objection, except that the Almighty would never 
allow an invention to succeed, by means of which civil government 
could so easily be disturbed. A reason of this sort was all-powerful in 
his age, which abounded in the knowledge of the minutest secrets of 
Providence ; had the good father tried the experiment, he would have 
found, that strength to resist the external air is incompatible with the 
necessary degree of thinness in the material. After Cavendish had 
ascertained how much hydrogen weighs less than air, it immediately 
occurred to Dr. Black, that a light substance filled with this gas would 
rise itself. But he did not pursue the idea further, and Carvallo, who 
tried to put it in practice in 1782, could not succeed in raising, by means 
of hydrogen, any thing heavier than a soap bubble. The next and most 
successful, were Stephen and Joseph de Montgolfier, who were paper 
manufacturers near Lyons. They were good chemists, and had studied 
natural philosophy, so that, as it has been remarked, we owe the dis- 
covery of the balloon, either to paper makers being philosophers, or 
philosophers being paper makers. Having tried in vain to confine a 
sufficient quantity of hydrogen in paper, they next applied fire under- 
neath the balloon. The experiment succeeded, and a balloon of 23,000 
cubic feet (French) was raised with considerable force ; this took place 
in 1782, and is thus described by M. M. Montgolfier: — “An organised 
body, in a state of ignition, decomposes air and furnishes chalky, 
mephitic, and imflammable gases. The state of ignition facilitates the 
union of the eletric fluid with this body of vapour ; the heat arising 
from combustion is concentrated, so as by itself to dilate the heaviest of 
the gases, and make it specifically lighter than common air ; therefore the 
balloon rises, &c. It afterwards falls to the earth, because the heat is dis- 
sipated, the vapoursare concentrated andhave losttheir electricity.” The 
first public experiment was made at Annonay near Lyons, June 5th, 1783. 



At the appointed time nothing whs seen in the public place cf the town 
but immense folds of paper one hundred and ten feet in circumference, 
fixed to a frame, the whole weighing about five hundred pounds, and 
containing 22,000 cubic feet (French measure). To the great astonish- 
ment of all, it was announced that the balloon would be filled with gas, 
and would rise to the clouds, which few would believe. On the applica- 
tion of fire underneath, the mass gradually unfolded, and assumed the 
form of a large globe, striving at the same time to burst from the arms 
which held it. At length it arose with great rapidity, and in less than ten 
minutes was at one thousand toises of elevation. It then described an 
horizontal line of seven thousand two hundred feet, and gradually sunk. 
This balloon contained nothing but heated air, maintained in a state of 
rarefaction by fire, the receptacle of which was attached underneath the 
globe of paper, which had an orifice opening downwards. Machines on 
this principle were called Montgolfier' s , to distinguish them from 
hydrogen balloons, which were made immediately afterwards. This 
success created a great sensation in France, and a subscription was 
opened to repeat the experiment upon a balloon of lutestring, dipped in a 
solution of India rubber, and filled with hydrogen; at first it failed, but 
the second time it was successful, and it ascended on the 27th of August 
from the Champs de Mars ; rose beautifully to a great height, and fell 
five leagues from Paris, after being about a quarter of an hour in the air. 
The balloon on its next ascent had occupants, viz. a sheep, a cock, and a 
duck — this was Montgolfier’s; and on the 15th of October, 1783, the first 
human being ascended one hundred feet, and again three hundred and 
twenty-four feet, the balloon being held by a rope ; this adventurous man 
was M. Pilatre de Rozier, who, with the Marquis d’Arlandes, first 
performed the daring feat of leaving the earth entirely, at the Chateau 
de la Muette near Passy, November 21st 1783, in a Montgolfier. The 
procls verbal , which bears the signatures of the great Benjamin 
Franklin and several French Noblemen, described the balloon as seventy 
feet high, forty-six feet in diameter, contained sixty thousand cubic feet, 
and carried a weight of one thousand six hundred or one thousand seven 
hundred pounds; it rose to the height of five thousand toises* in twenty- 
five minutes. However, we shall let one of the Voyageurs tell his own 
tale. Marquis d’Arlandes writing to a friend, thus describes his 
perilous and novel feat: — “We set off at fifty-four minutes past one. 
The balloon was so placed that M. de Rozier was on the west and, I on 
tne east. T'he machine, says the public, rose with majesty. I think few 

* A toise is G feet, French. French feet stand in relation to English, as 18 is to 15. 



of them saw, that at the moment when it passed the hedge, it made a half 
turn, and we changed our positions, which, thus altered, we retained 
to the end. I was astonished at the smallness of the noise or motion, 
occasioned by our departure, among the spectators, I thought they 
might be astonished or frightened, and might stand in need of encourage- 
ment (pretty cool this), I waved my arm with little success; I then 
drew out and shook my handkerchief, and immediately perceived a 
great movement in the garden. It seemed as if the spectators all formed 
one mass, which rushed, by an involuntary motion, towards the wall, 
which it seemed to consider as the only obstacle between us. At this 
moment M. de Rozier called out, “ You are doing nothing, we do not 
rise.” I begged his pardon, took some straw, moved the fire, and turned 
again quickly, but could not find La Muette. In astonishment I folio wed 
the river with my eye, and at last found where the Oise joined it. Here 
then was Conflans ; and naming the principal bends of the river by the 
places nearest them, I repeated Poissy, St. Germain, St. Denis, Seve; 
then I am still at Poissy or Chaillot. Accordingly looking down through 
the car, I saw the Visitation de Chaillot. M. Pilatre said to me at this 
moment, “ here is the river, we are descending.” “ Well, my friend, ’’said I, 
“ more fire,” and weset to work. But instead of crossing the river, as our 
course towards the Invalides seemed to indicate, we went along the lie 
des Cygnes, entered the principal bed again, and went up the stream, 
till we were above the barrier La Conference. I said to my brave 
associate, “Here is a river which is very difficult to cross.” “I think 
so,” said he, “ you are doing nothii g.” “ I am uot so strong as you,” I 

answered, “and we are well as we are.” I stirred the fire, and seized a 
bundle of straw, which being too much pressed did not light well ; I 
shook it over the flame, and the instant after 1 felt as if I had been seized 
under the arms, and I said to my friend, “ we are rising now, however.” 
“ Yes, we are rising,” he answered from the interior, where he had been 
seeing that all was right. At this moment I heard a noise high up in the 
balloon, which made me fear it had hurst; I looked up but saw nothing; 
but, as I had my eyes fixed on the machine, I felt a shock, the first I had 
experienced. The shock was upwards, and I cried out, “ What are you 
doing — are you dancing?” “I am not stirring.” “So much the 
better,” I said, “ this must be a new current, which will, I hope, take us 
off the river. Accordingly, I turned to see where we were, and found 
myself between the Ecole Militaire and the Invalides, which we had 
passed about four hundred toises. M. Pelatre said, “We are in the 
plain.” “Yes,” I said, “we are getting on.” I heard a new noise in 



the machine, which I thought came from the breaking of a cord ; t 
looked in and saw that the southern part was full of round holes, several of 
them large. I said “ we mustget down.” “Why.” “Look,” said I; at 
the same time I took my sponge and easily extinguished the fire, which 
was enlarging such of the holes as I could reach; but, on trying 
if the balloon was fast to the lower circle, I found that it easily came off ; 
I repeated to my companion, “ We must descend.” He looked round 
and said, “We are over Paris.” Having looked to the safety of the 
cords, I said “ We can cross Paris.” We were now coming near the 
roofs; we raised the fire and rose again with great ease; I looked under 
me and saw the Missions Etrangers, and it seemed as if we were going 
towards the towers of St. Sulpice, which I could see. Raising ourselves, 
a current turned us south. I saw on my left a wood, which I thought 
was the Luxembourg. We passed the Boulevard, and I said, “ Pied a 
terre.” We stopped the fire; but the brave Pilatre, who did not Jose 
his self-possession, thought we were coming upon mills, and warned me. 
We alighted at the Butte aux Cailles, between the mill Des Merveilles 
and the Moulin Vieux. The moment we touched land, I held by the 
car with my two hands; I felt the balloon press my head lightly, I 
pushed it off and leaped out. Turning towards the balloon, which I 
expected to find full, to my great astonishment it was perfectly empty 
and flattened.” 

The second voyage was that of M. M. Charles and Robert, just at 
sunset, December the 1st, 1783, from the Tuileries, in a hydrogen 
balloon of twenty-six feet diameter. After coming down, M. Charles re- 
ascended alone, and was soon one thousand five hundred toises high, or 
nearly two miles. He saw the sun rise again, and, as he says, “ I was 
the only illuminated object, all the rest of nature being plunged in 
shadow.” A small balloon, launched by Montgolfier just before the 
ascent, was found to have run a totally different course; which first gave 
rise to the suspicion of different directions in the currents of the air at 
different heights. 

The third voyage from Lyons, January 19th, 1784, was made in the 
largest Montgolfier yet constructed (onethousand one hundred and two feet 
in diameter, one hundred and twenty-six feet high), by seven persons, 
among whom were J. Montgolfier and M. de Rozier. It had been in- 
tended for six only, and these were found too many; but no persuasion 
could induce any one to abandon his place. The instant after the rope 
had been cut, a seventh person jumped in. Arent in the balloon caused 
it to descend with great velocity, but no one was hurt. 



A small balloon, not containing any living thing, crossed the Channel, 
February 1784, from Sandwich, and was found nine miles from Lisle ; it 
travelled at the rate of thirty miles an hour. 

March the 2nd, 1784, M. Blanchard made his first ascent from Paris, 
in a hydrogen balloon. He added wings and a rudder, but found them 
useless. He first carried a Parachute , or open umbrella, attached above 
the car, to break the fall in case it separated from the balloon. 

M. M. de Morveau and Bertrand ascended April the 25th, 1784, 
thirteen thousand (English) feet at Dijon. Some effect was found, they 
thought, to be produced by the use of oars. 

May the 20th, 1784. Confidence in the balloon so far established, 
that M. Montgolfier, two other gentlemen, and four ladies ascended, the 
balloon being confined by ropes. A lady (Madam Thible) ascended with 
only one other person in a fire balloon at Lyons, June the 4th, in the 
same year. 

November 25th 1783. — The first balloon was launched in England, 
from the Artillery-ground London, by Count Zambeccari; it was filled 
with hydrogen, and was ten feet in diameter; it was found near Petworth, 
forty-eight miles from London. 

Mr. Boulton (well known as the partner of the celebrated Watt) 
constructed a balloon to which a match and serpent were attached, that 
the gas might explode in the air. The object was, to see whether the 
reverberating growl of thunder is caused by echo, or by successive 
explosions ; the point remained unsettled, owing to the shouting of the 
people; but, those who did hear it, thought it growled like thunder — 
this voyage was made December 26th, 1784. 

September the 15th 1784 — The first voyage made in England by 
Yincentio Lunardi, accompanied by a cat, a dog, and a pigeon. He 
started at the Artillery-ground and descended at Standon, near Ware. 

January the 7th, 1785 — M. Blanchard and Dr. Jeffries crossed the 
Channel, it being the fifth voyage of the former in the same balloon. 
They set out from Dover and landed at Guinnes, having been compelled 
to throw out all their stock to keep the balloon from falling into the sea. 

June the 15th, 1785 — M. Pilatre de Rozier and M. Romain ascended 
from Boulogne in a Montgolfier, of thirty-seven feet in diameter, with 
the intention of crossing the Channel. They had not been twenty 
minutes in the air when the balloon took fire; both fell from a height of 
one thousand yards, and were killed upon the spot. 

July 22 — General Money ascended at Norwich ; the balloon dropped 



into the water, in which the traveller remained six hours before he was 

In 1802 (September the 21st), M. Garnerin descended successfully 
■from a balloon by means of a parachute, near the Small Pox Hospital, 
St. Pancras, London. The height from which he descended was so 
great, that he could scarcely be distinguished. At first (before the 
parachute opened) he descended with great velocity, but as soon as it 
opened, the descent became very gentle and gradual. 

In 1807, M. Garnerin ascended again from Paris, and landed at, or 
rather was dashed against Mont Tonnerre, three hundred miles from 
that city, after running great risks. 

Three voyages have been undertaken since the beginning of the present 
century, for purposes professedly scientific. In 1801 M. M. Gay 
Lussac and Biot ascended in Paris to a height of thirteen thousand feet, 
and the same year M. Gay Lussac ascended alone, to the height of 
twenty-three thousand feet; but neither voyage offers any remarkable 
circumstance, or produced any scientific result worth naming. In 1803 
Carlo Briochi, A. H.,of Naples, made an ascent with Signor Andreani 
(who had previously been the first Italian aeronaut). Trying to rise 
higher than M. Gay Lussac had done, they got into an atmosphere so 
rarefied as to burst the balloon. Its remnants checked the velocity of 
the descent, and this, with their falling on an open space, saved their 

Two other fatal accidents have occurred ; one on the 25th of May, 
1824, to a Mr. Harris, who ascended with a female named Stocks, when, 
from some mismanagement they both fell out, and the former was killed; 
and in 1837 Mr. Cocking was killed in attempting a descent from Mr. 
Green’s balloon, in a parachute. 

In November, 1836, Mr. Green (who has made his two hundredth 
ascent), accompanied by Messrs. Monk Mason, and Captain Hollond, 
started from Vauxhall Gardens in an immense balloon, and after being 
in the air all the night made a safe descent at Nassau, in Germany. 

Mrs. Graham has also ascended in her balloon many times, and upon 
one occasion, when accompanied by the Duke of Brunswick, both fell out, 
the lady was much injured. 

Mr. Hampton during the year 1839 made one or two successful 
descents in his parachute. 

Attempts innumerable have been made to guide the balloon, but all 
have been unsuccessful* indeed, it has now become a toy, and for any 



Scientific purpose, is perfectly useless; even its attraction as a holiday 
show is now worn out, for scarcely a week passes during the Vauxhall 
season but several ladies and gentlemen, ambitious of a sky-rocket 
reputation, accompany Mr. Green in his “ Monster Balloon,’’ accounts of 
which would be but so much learned lumber. It is said of Benjamin 
Franklin, that on being asked what was the use of a balloon, replied by 
asking his interrogator another question — “ What is the use of a new 
born infant ? It may become a man.” If that eminent philosopher 
was now alive, he would see that it had grown, certainly, but was as far 
off maturity as when first invented. 

The means now adopted to inflate balloons is by the ordinary coal gas. 
and they usually ascend from the immediate neighbourhood of gas 
works; this process is more expeditious and much less expensive than 
the old system. 


This beautiful object of suspensive power was begun in 1822, from 
plans by Captain Brown, who was the Engineer; under whose 
immediate superintendence it was erected and opened in 1829. To those 
who are acquainted with the town of Brighton, it is unnecessary to point 
out the advantages of such a jetty ; but, to those who have never visited 
that fashionable watering place, it may be interesting to know that the 
bold, open, lee shore of Brighton, rendered the task of embarkation or 
disembaration a work, at most times of the tide, of difficulty and danger 
— hence the necessity of the Chain Pier. 

It consists of a platform, about thirteen feet wide, and about a thousand 
feet long, suspended from eight chains passing over four towers ; the 
chains being at one end fixed in the cliff, and at the other end fastened 
to the masonry sunk in the sea. The eight chains are arranged in pairs, 
side by side, there being two pairs on each side of the platform, one 
being hung about twelve inches above the other. The parts between them 
are named bridges, and, by way of distinction, they are called first, 
second, &c., from the cliff. 

The towers are made of cast iron, and each rests upon twenty piles, 
driven with more than the usual force into the bed of chalk ; the last 
tower, and the extension of the platform, forming the pier head, rests 
upon 100 piles, well bound together, and further stiffened by piles 
driven diagonally. 

The four main chains are made of wrought iron, two inches in 



diameter, in links ten feet long, and the platform is suspended from the 
main chains by suspension rods of about one inch in diameter ; the upper 
ends of the suspension rods are inserted in hollow caps, resting on the 
joints of the main chains. It stood manfully the test of all weathers, 
until the great storm, on the 15th October, 1833, on the evening of 
which day it blew a tremendous gale from the west. The principal 
damage done then was to the second and third bridges ; the platforms of 
which were more or less destroyed, most of the suspension rods snapped, 
and the main chains were left hanging almost independent of the 
platform, one of the upper pair of chains being separated from its 
companion and twisted round the pair below it. In the first and fourth 
bridges, the only damage done was the sinking of the main chains, in 
consequence of the counter-balancing weight of the second and third 
bridges being removed, some of the suspension rodg were found bent, and 
the towers thrown a little out of their perpendicular. 

As no person was spectator of the damage done during the storm, its 
cause is only conjectural ; by some it was attributed to lightning, but 
this was disproved by the thickness of the rods and their uninjured stale 
after the storm; then it being low water at the time, the action of 
the sea was not the cause ; but it is, with great probability, attributed 
to the wind, which, being due west, would fall at right angles on the 
pier, and producing continued vibration at stated intervals, would cause 
so violent a motion as to break some of the centre suspension rods, where 
the vibration would of course be greater, and these giving way, the 
increased weight would be thrown upon the adjoining rods; and hence 
the damage done. 

It was shortly afterwards substantially repaired by stay chains being 
added, and has ever since bravely stood amidst the war of elements” 
an object of beauty and utility. 

As we have spoken of stay chains , it may not be uninteresting to 
Jescribe those which Mr. Brunei, senior, applied as additional securities 
to the two suspension bridges, which he erected for the French Govern- 
ment in the Isle of Bourbon ; where, from the violence of storms with 
which that island is so frequently visited, the greatest possible strength 
was required. Mr. Brunei obtained a proper resistance by employing a 
double system; first, the usual upper chain; secondly, lower and 
inverted chains^ united to the roadway of the bridges by vertical 
rods, which are, properly speaking, the suspending rods of the 
inverted chains. In order to give firmness to the road of the bridges, 
horizontal with the stream, the lower chains, instead of being 

on a 

Th»mee Tunnel. 



parallel plane with the upper chains, diverge from them near the points 
of support. The two bars of the inverted chains, and the lower suspen- 
sion rods, are fastened together ; the upper part of the suspending rod 
goes through the corresponding beam close to one of the upper rods, and 
is fastened by a screw to its head. The last bar of the inverted chain 
goes through the whole thickness of the masonry of the central pier of 
the bridge, and on coming out is set in a large plate of cast iron; thus a 
great part of the pier has to support the great strain or tensions 
which the inverted chains must experience during storms, and when the 
wind blows upwards. The same system is used to attach the other 
extremities of the inverted chain to the abutments ; these inverted, or, as 
they mjiy be called, stay chains , have been found fully to answer the 
purpose for which they were intended. 


This stupendous attempt — this gigantic effort of art to triumph over 
nature, was commenced in 1821, under the superintendence of Mr. Brunei, 
senior, the celebrated civil engineer, whose design has been strictly adhe- 
red to, and whose scientific perseverance has successfully combatted the 
most unparelleled difficulties. 

Two abortive attempts were made to form a Tunnel under the Thames, 
one in 1799, at Gravesend, and the other in 1804, from Rotherhithe to 
Limehouse, both of which were very soon abandoned. 

The site of that which we shall endeavour to describe is most admira- 
bly selected, and is perhaps the only spot between London Bridge and 
Greenwich where such a roadway could be attempted, without interfering 
essentially with some of the great mercantile establishments on both sides 
of the River, being situate in a very populous and highly commercial 
neighbourhood, and where a facility of land communication between the 
two shores is very desirable, and must of necessity be most advantageous, 
not only to the immediate neighbourhood but also to the adjacent 

Mr. Brunei began his operations by making preparations for a shaft 
50 feet in diameter, which he commenced at 150 feet from the river on the 
Surrey side; this he effected by constructing first on the surface of the 
ground a substantial cylinder of brick work of that diameter, 42 feet in 
height, and 3 feet in thickness. Over this he set up the Steam Engine 
necessary for pumping out the water, and for raising the earth to be taken 
from within the cylinder, and then proceeded to sink it en masse into the 



ground, in the way that the shafts of wells are usually sunk. By this 
means he succeeded in passing through a bed of gravel and sand 26 feet 
deep, full of land-water, constituting in part a quicksand, in which the 
drift makers of the former undertaking had been compelled to suspend 
their work. 

Being warned by eminent geologists of the existence of a bed of sand, 
lying at a greater depth, Mr. Brunei caused the fifty feet shaft to be 
sunk to the depth of sixty-five feet, and a smaller one was made of 
twenty-five feet diameter, destined to serve as a well or reservoir, for the 
drainage of the water; this was sunk from the lower level, but on 
approaching the depth of eighty feet the ground gave way suddenly, 
sinking the smaller shaft several feet at once, thus proving the existence 
of the bed of sand before alluded to, and which the active mind of Mr. 
Brunei had effectually guarded against, and thus succeeded in obtaining 
the desired level. This accomplished, the shaft and reservoir having 
been completed, the horizontal excavation for the body of the Tunnel 
was then commenced at the depth of sixty-three feet, and in order to 
have sufficient thickness of ground to pass safely under the deep part of 
the river, the excavation was carried on to a declivity of two feet three 
inches per hundred feet. This excavation is thirty-eight feet in breadth, 
and twenty-two feet six inches in height, presenting a sectional area ofeight 
hundred and fifty feet, and being more than sixty times the area of the 
drift which was attempted before. As an illustration of the magnitude 
of the excavation for the Tunnel, it is larger by sixty feet than the 
interior of the old House of Commons, and the base of the excavation, 
in the deepest part of the river, is 76 feet below high water mark. 

We shall now proceed to notice (too briefly, we fear) the process by 
which this great excavation has been effected, and the double roadway 
and paths which extend about eight hundred and sixty feet under the 
Biver, have at the same time been constructed within it. 

It was accomplished by means of a powerful apparatus of iron, which 
has been designated a “ shield,’’ and which consisted of twelve great 
frames, standing close to each other, like so many volumes on the shelf 
of a book-case ; these frames being twenty-two feet in height, and about 
three feet in breadth. They were divided into three stages or stories, thus 
presenting thirty-six chambers or cells for the workmen; namely, the 
miners, by whom the structure is simultaneously formed, and which serves 
as a scaffolding for them. Towards the head and foot of the shield were 
horizontal screws, a pair of which, being attached to each of the divisions, 



and turned so as to prefcs against the brickwork, and used to propel each 
division forward. 

The divisions of the shield were advanced separately and independently 
of each other by the means before mentioned ; each division with boards 
in front (known by the technical name of polling boards), supported and 
kept in position by means of jack screws, which were lodged against the 
frontof the iron frame; these boards being in succession taken down, while 
the earth in front of which was excavated, the first board being always 
replaced before a second was removed, thus forming a constant firm 

The interior is quite a fairy scene , and consists of two immense 
avenues, brilliantly lighted with gas; these avenues are divided by a 
thick wall of brick-work, which is firmly set in cement ; the middle 
wall is for greater security, while in progress, built quite solid ; but for 
convenience, light, and general effect, a succession of arches are opened 
in that middle wall, so as to admit of frequent communications between 
the two carriage ways. 

In November, 1839, the Tunnel was completed to the extent of 30 feet, 
beyond low watermark, on the Middlesex side, and then progressed 
at the weekly average rate of three feet ; the whole extent being 1,300 feet. 

To facilitate the access to the Tunnel, the carriage-way is by 
circular descents, and does not exceed, in any part the slope of Ludgate Hill, 
or Waterloo Place, Pall Mall. 

From the great success attending the completion of this stupendous 
undertaking, it is almost ungracious to notice former failures ; 
but we do so only to express our admiration at the scientific 
resources of that mind which has overcome all but insuperable obstacles. 
The works were thrice interrupted, in 1826, by the breaking off of the 
clay, leaving the shield exposed to the influx of land water for six weeks; 
on the 1 8th May, 1827, and again in January, 1828, when the river 
broke in and filled the Tunnel; this was quickly remedied by filling the 
holes or chasms with strong bags of clay ; the structure, however, on 
clearing the tunnel of the water, was found in a most satisfactory state. 

The works from that time were suspended for seven years, when they 
were again resumed, and the workmen have continued their labours, to 
the satisfactorily surmounting of all obstacles. As to the ultimate 
pecuniary success of the speculation, that may be problematical; but 
should it prove a loss to the Company, it is to be hoped Government 
will make it a “National Affair,” and take it into their own hands. 


Navigators had long complained that this, the second port in die 
kingdom, possessing, as it does, capacious anchorage, numerous inlets, 
and the advantages of the large river Tamar, which flows to the very 
walls of the dock-yard, was still exposed to gales from S. W. to S. E. ; 
which, blowing directly into the harbour, produced a heavy sea, 
and at such seasons the shipping often suffered serious damage for want 
of proper shelter. 

But it was not until 1806 that the Government, at the suggestion of 
the late Earl of St. Vincent, directed a Survey to be made by Mr. 
Whidbey, in conjunction with Mr. Rennie, who reported the practicability 
of making the anchorage safe by means of a Breakwater. The plan 
adopted was, to form an impenetrable barrier of large stones, in the mid die 
of Plymouth Sound, extending from east to west, 1,700 yards, and 
leaving an entrance on each side sufficiently capacious to allow the 
largest man-of-war an easy passage in and out of the harbour. The 
centre of the breakwater was to be 1000 yards in a straight line, continued 
350 yards more at either end, at an angle of 120°, by which form it was 
expected the force of the waves would be more effectually resisted ; the 
breadth of the base was fixed at 210 feet, at the top 30 feet, and the 
depth from the upper surface to the bed of the sea 40 feet. 

It was computed that 2,500,000 tons of stone would be required to 
construct the whole work, and the entire cost was calculated at 
£1,171,000 sterling. To facilitate the undertaking, a quarry of grey 
marble, of about 25 acres in extent, was purchased of the Duke of 
Bedford, for £10,000. This lying contiguous to Catwuter, which is at 
the head of the harbour, presented a secure spot to embark the stones. 

Twelve vessels of a suitable construction were built in the dock-yard, 
and forty others were hired to convey the stones to their appointed 
station. Several hundred artificers and labourers of all descriptions 
were engaged for the whole service. The first stone was deposited on 
the 12th August, 1812. 

The vessels were laden and discharged by means of the following 
contrivance : — small iron trucks, each capable of carrying a stone of 
from two to six tons weight, were conducted along an iron railway 
leading from the quarry, through the stern port into the vessel’s hole. 
Each vessel carried 16 of these trucks. The place where they were to 



discharge their cargo was marked by buoys, and by sights erected on the 
shore. On arriving at the spot, the trucks with their burthens were 
drawn out successively to the entrance port, the fall of which 
dropped the stone into its place, while the carriage remained suspended 
by its tackle. In this manner a cargo of eighty tons was discharged in 
forty or fifty minutes ! 

At the end of two years the breakwater was so far advanced as to 
prove a very serviceable security to the harbour. The work stood the 
utmost fury of the elements until the winters of 1816-17, when some 
damage was done to the upper stratum of stone, which was washed over 
the inner side, but produced no other mischief, and it was the opinion of 
the oldest seaman, that had it not been for the breakwater, even in its 
present unfinished state, every vessel in the Catwater would have been 
wrecked. Since which period it has only required some trifling 
repairs, not in the slightest degree affecting its solidity; and it remains a 
lasting testimonial of the Architect’s genius and foresight. 


Every traveller in Egypt has differed from the preceding one as to the 
origin and objects of this column, and the only thing in which they do 
agree is, that the name of Pompey’s pillar is a misnomer; yet it is certain, 
that a pillar of some kind was erected at Alexandria, to the memory of 
that great man, which was supposed to have been found in this remark- 
able column. Montague thinks that it was erected to the honor of 
Vespasian ; Savary calls it the pillar of Severus ; Clark supposes it 
to have been dedicated to Hadrian, according to his version of a half 
effaced Greek inscription on the west side of the base ; others trace the name 
of Diocletian in the same inscription. As no mention is made of it, 
either by Strabo or Diodorus Siculus, we may reasonably conclude that 
it did not exist at that period. The celebrated French savan, Denon, 
believes it to have been erected about the time of the Greek Emperors, 
or the Caliphs of Egypt, and dates its acquiring its present name in the 
fifteenth century. This pillar stands on a small eminence midway 
between Alexandria and Lake Marostis, about three quarters of a mile 
from either place, and quite detached. 

It is of red granite; but the shaft, which is highly polished, appears to 
be of earlier date than the pedestal, which has been made to correspond. 
It is of the Corinthian order, and while some have eulogised it as being 
a fine specimen of that order, others declare it to be in very bad taste; 




the capital is of palm leaves, but not indented. The column consists 
only of three pieces, the capital, the shaft, and the base ; and is poised 
on a centre stone of breccia, with hieroglyphics on it, less than a fourth 
of the dimensions of the pedestal of the column, and with the smaller 
end downward; from which circumstance the Arabs believe it to have 
been placed there by God. The earth about it has been examined, 
probably iu hopes to find treasure, and pieces of white marble (which is 
not found in Egypt) have been discovered connected to the breccia. It 
is owing probably to this disturbance, that the pillar has an inclination 
of about seven inches to the southwest. It is remarkable, that while 
the polish on the shaft is still perfect to the northward, corrosion has 
began to effect the southern face, owing probably to the winds passing 
over the vast tracts of sand in that direction. 

The centre part of the cap-stone has been hollowed out, forming a 
basin on the top ; and pieces of iron still remaining in four holes, prove 
that this pillar was once surmounted by a figure or other trophy. The 
operation of forming a rope ladder to ascend the column has been per- 
formed several times of late years, and is very simple. Clarke describes 
one of these which he witnessed ; a kite was flown with a string to the 
tail, and when directly over the column, it was dragged down, leaving 
the line by which it was flown across the capital. With this a rope, and 
afterwards a stout hawser, was drawn over; a man then ascended, and 
placed two more parts of the hawser, all of which were pulled tight down 
to a piece of ordnance ; small spars w ere then lashed across, commenc- 
ing from the bottom, and ascending each as it was secured, till the whole 
was complete, when it resembled the rigging of a ship’s lower masts. 
The ascending this required some nerve even in a seaman, but to the 
Turks it was fearful. The view from the top is said to be highly 
interesting, in the associations excited by gazing on the ruins of the city 
of-the Ptolemies lying beneath. Various statements have been published 
of its altitude, but the following may be relied on for its accurracy. 

feet inches 

Top of the capital to the Astragal (one stone) . 10 4 

Astragal to first plinth (one stone) . . 67 7 

Plinth to the ground . . . . 20 11 

Whole height . . . . 98 10 

Measured by line from top . . . 99 4 

sc:katcheli.*s hay. 147 

It is to be remembered that the pedestal of the column does not rest 
on the ground, 

Its elevation being 





The height of the column itself is therefore 



Diagonal of the capital 



Circumference of shaft (upper part) 



Ditto (lower part) 



Length of side of the pedestal 



Clarke’s reading of the inscription on the column is — 

“ Posthumus Prefect of Egypt, and the people of the Metropolis 
(honor), the most revered Emperor, the protecting divinity of Alexandria, 
the divine Hadrian Augustus.” 

The version of other travellers — 

“ To the Deocletianus Augustus, most adorable Emperor, tutelar deity 
of Alexandria — Pontius Prefect of Egypt dedicates this.” 

It must be recollected, that some of the characters are very faint, while 
Others are altogether destroyed by time ; hence the fancy of the travellers 
has been exerted to supply the deficiency in accordance with their 
different tastes. 


In the beautiful and sublime scenery — much of it of a kind peculiar 
to itself — the Isle of Wight is surpassed by few spots on the globe. At 
the back of the island, a considerable portion of its coast presents an 
impregnable rampart, composed for the most part of cliffs of chalk, 
intermixed with flint or clay, and in many parts rising to a height of 
some hundreds of feet above the level of the sea. Some of the most 
elevated of these rocks occur in the course of the range that extends in 
both directions, from the west point of the island, forming Alum Bay, to 
the north, and what are called the Freshwater Cliffs, to the south. An 
indention, much smaller than Alum Bay, immediately adjacent to this 
terminating promontory on the south side, is known by the name of 
“ Scratchell’s Bay.” Here is a magnificent arch of 150 feet in height, 
and is one of those numerous caves which pierce the Freshwater Cliffs ; 
some of which are 400 feet in height, and the highest (called Main Beach), 
is 600 feet high. Here, however, the precipice is not quite perpendicular, 



The singular looking rocks that are seen rising out of the water beyond 
the promontory, looking through the arch, are the celebrated “ Needles, 
a name which they derive from one of their number rising 120 feet above 
low water mark, much like a needle in shape; that, however, has long 
since disappeared (Worsley says this happened in 1764). 

Scratchell’s Bay, and all the neighbouring cliffs, are frequented by 
vast masses of sea fowls, which the country people are in the habit of 
catching by the hazardous method (practiced also at Shetland and the 
Feroe islands) of being swung over the brow of the rock by a rope made 
fast in the earth above ! Scratchell’s Bay is often visited by the tourist, 
and the most magnificent view of it is obtained by descending a very 
steep grassy slope of one of the cliffs in the neighbourhood ; but this 
should never be attempted without a guide. Nothing can be more 
interesting, particularly to those who are fond of aquatic excursions, than 
to sail between tbe cliffs and the needles. The wonderfully coloured 
cliffs of Alum Bay, tbe lofty and towering chalk precipices of Scratchell’s 
Bay, of the most dazzling whiteness, and the most elegant forms ; the 
magnitude and singularity of the spiry insulated masses, which seem at 
every instant to be shifting their situations, and give a mazy perplexity 
to the place; the screaming noise of the aquatic birds; the agitation of the 
sea, and the rapidity of the tide, occasioning not unfrequently a slight 
degree of danger; all these circumstances combine to raise in the mind 
unusual emotion, and to give to the scene a character highly singular 
and even romantic. 


The fullest as well as the most intelligent account of the pearl fishery of 
Ceylon appears in “ Memoires relatifs si l’expedition, Anglaise de l’Inde 
en Egypte, par le Compte de No6,’’ from whose highly interesting work 
we copy our statement. The pearl oyster, like the common one, lies in 
banks at greater or less depths of the sea. These banks occur on the 
western side of the island of Ceylon, about 15 miles from the sea, viz: 
Aripo, Chilow, and Condatchy, where the average depth is about 12 
fathoms ; and here the greatest of all pearl fisheries has been carried on 
for many centuries. Since the occupation of the island by the British, 
our government has continued to sell by auction the privilege of fishing 
for them ; these sales are only made for one season. The season always 
begins in April, because in those latitudes the sea is then in its calmest 
state, and it is generally continued until the middle or end of May. It 

Bell Rock Lighthouse. 



not only attracts amultitudeof Cingalese, or natives of the island, to the 
coasts, but crowdsof spectators from all parts of the vast Indian peninsular, 
whose variety of language, manners, and dress is described as being 
very striking and pleasing. The temporary abodes erected for them 
are also curious and picturesque. 

These huts are merely composed of a few poles stuck in the ground, 
interwoven with light bamboos, and covered with leaves of the cocoa-nut 
tree. The signal for commencing the fishery is given at day break by 
the discharge of a cannon, on which a countless fleet of boats that have 
started from the shore at midnight, and favoured by a land breeze, have 
reached the hanks before dawn, cast anchor in the respective parts of the 
banks for which their owners have contracted, and proceed to work. 
Government vessels are on the spot, to prevent any boat fishing beyond 
its proper limits. The boats of the pearl fishers generally carry a 
captain, a pilot, and twenty men, ten of which are experienced divers; 
the ten divers are divided into two companies of five each, and these 
companies plunge and relieve each other by turns. 

In order that they may descend through the water with greater rapidity 
to the base of the bank round which the oysters are clustered, the divers 
place their feet on a stone attached to the end of a rope, the other end of 
which is made fast to the boat. They carry with them another rope, the 
extremity of which is held by two men in the boat, whilst to the lower 
part which descends with the diver there is fastened a net or basket. 
Besides these, every diver is furnished with a strong knife to detach the 
oysters, or serve him as a defensive weapon in case he should be attacked 
by a shark. 

As soon as they touch ground, they gather the oysters with all possible 
speed, and having filled their net or basket, they quit their hold of the 
rope with the stone, pull that which is held by the sailors in the boat, 
and rapidly ascend to the surface of the water. 

There are marvellous stories told of the length of time these divers can 
remain under water ; but one who has had much experience, from a 
long residence at Ceylon, says that he never knew of a diver being longer 
than fifty seconds in his submersion. Although sharks are numerous in 
the seas round Ceylon, accidents rarely happen. This may be attributed to 
the noise and stir occasioned by the gathering of so many boats on one spot, 
and the continued plunging of the divers, which must frighten and disperse 
the voracious animals ; but the superstitious natives attribute their safety 
to certain charms which they buy of old women, who pretend they can 
bewitch the sharks, and prevent them from attacking their customers. 


Instances have however occurred, when neither the natural noise kept up 
by the boats, nor the supernatural protection, has deterred the shark, and 
the diver, by means of his knife and great dexterity, has killed the 
monster, and escaped unhurt. 

Alternately plunging and reposing, the divers continue their occupation 
until 10 o’clock in the forenoon, when the sea breezes begin to blow, and 
one of the Government vessels fires a gun, which is a signal for the whole 
flotilla to return to shore. As soon as the boats touch the beach, an 
immense number of labourers, men, women, and children, rush to them, 
and carry off the produce of the day’s fishing. Every speculator has 
his own group of huts, and in the midst of each of these is a couttd, or 
space of ground enclosed with poles and transverse pieces of bamboo, 
but open to the air. In these couttd' s are deposited the oysters as they 
are landed, and there they are left to putrefy, which they soon do under 
a burning sun. Itis a curious fact, that though these numerous coutto's , 
each containing an enormous mass of oysters, all putrefy together on a 
narrow extent of soil, and emit the most destestable odours, yet the health 
of the precarious but crowded population is by no means affected. As 
soon as the putrefaction is sufficiently advanced, the oysters are taken 
from the couttd and placed in troughs made of the trunk of trees 
hollowed ; sea water is then thrown over them. In their putrid state 
the oysters easily render the pearls they contain ; and a number of men, all 
standing on the same side of the trough, rapidly shake them out and wash 
them. Inspectors are appointed, who stand at each end of the trough to see 
that the labourers secrete none of the pearls, and others are in the rear to 
examine whether the shells thrown aside as worthless may not contain some 
of the precious substance. The workmen are prohibited, under penalty of a 
beating, to lift their hands to their mouths while they are washing the 
pearls. Yet, spite of these precautions and the vigilance of the inspectors, 
a man sometimes contrives to swallow a pearl of value. After all the 
shells are thrown out, the pearls they may have contained remain in the 
sand at the bottom of the trough. The largest of these pearls are 
carefully picked up and washed with clean water ; the next in size and 
quality are merely taken from the trough, and spread out on white 
napkins to dry in the sun ; it is not till this is done, that any attention is 
paid to the smallest pearls, which are generally left to the care of the 
women who pick and dry them. To assort the pearls afterwards, they 
make use of three sieves placed one above the other. The apertures in 
the uppermost sieve are the largest, and those of the second are larger 
than the third. Thus the pearls, which do not pass through the first 



sieve, are of the first class ; and so on to the second and third. It 
leinams, however, for an after examination, to decide on other qualities 
which give value to the pearls, as their regularity of form, colour, &c. 
It is somewhat strange, that while we in Europe most esteem the pearls 
that are purely white, the people of the island prefer those which are rose 
coloured, and the Indians, and other Orientals, those which are yellow. 

Besides these colours, pearls are found of a delicate blue tint, and 
some have a golden or a silvery tint. 

The pearl is a malady of the oyster, which requires seven years to 
develope itself completely. If the shell is not Ashed at that time, the 
animal dies, or the pearl is lost. When the season happens to be stormy, 
the oysters often suffer, and their produce is consequently diminished. 
Perhaps, on these occasions they open and disgorge their pearls. The pearl 
oyster is the same size as our own, but oval in shape and flat on one 
side. The testaceous fish enclosed in the shell has a beard like the muscle. 

At the time of this fishery at Ceylon, besides the numerous speculators 
that come from India, there arrive annually troops of Indian artizans, 
who are very expect in piercing or drilling' the pearls, and who practice 
their art on the spot for very moderate wages. These men sit in the 
open air before the hut of the fisher or speculator by whom they may be 
employed. Nothing can well be more simple than the implements they 
use ; these are merely a block of wood, in the form of an inverted cone, 
which rests on three legs, and whose upper surface is pierced with 
circular holes of various diameter, fitted to receive the variously sized 
pearls. Their drill is merely a short sharp needle, inserted in a stick 
which is made circular at the top, and set in motion by a bow like those 
used by a watch maker. 

They hold the right hand between the bow and the pearl, and move 
the bow with the left hand. Sitting on the ground cross-legged, they 
keep the block of wood between their knees, and apply the drill 
perpendicularly to the pearl, which they are said to pierce with 
extraordinary rapidity and correctness. 

During the prosecution of the fishery, few places can be more animated 
than the western point of Ceylon. The oysters, or the cleansed pearls, 
are bought and sold on the spot; and besides this trade, the confluence 
of so many crowds from different countries attracts dealers in all sorts 
of merchandize. 

The long line of huts is a continuous bazaar, and all is life and activity; 
but the fishery over, both natives and strangers depart, the huts are 
knocked down, scarcely a human habitation can be seen for miles, and 
the most dreary solitude prevails until the next year. 



Was commenced by Vespasian and finished by TituS (A. D. 79). This 
enormous building occupied only three years in its erection, and cost as 
much as would build a capital city. We have the means of ascertaining 
exactly its original dimensions, and its accommodations, from the great 
mass of wall which is still entire ; although the very clamps of iron and 
brass that held together the ponderous stones of that wonderful edifice 
were removed by Gothic plunderers, and succeeding generations have 
resorted to it as to a quarry, for their temples and their palaces ; yet the 
“ enormous skeleton” still stands in prodigious majesty ! The colosseum 
is of an oval form, and occupies the space of nearly six acres. It may 
he justly said, with Messrs. Cresy and Taylor, who visited it in 1813, 
“ to have been the most imposing building, from its apparent magnitude, 
in the world ; the pyramids of Egypt can only be compared with it in 
the extent of their plan, as they cover nearly the same surface.” The 
greatest length, or major axis, is six hundred and twenty feet, the greatest 
breadth, or minor axis is, five hundred and thirteen feet. The outer wall 
is one hundred and fifty-seven feet high in its whole extent; the exterior 
wall is divided into four stones, each ornamented with one of the orders 
of architecture. The cornice of the upper story is perforated for the 
purpose of inserting wooden masts, which passed also through the 
architrave and frieze, and descended to a row of corbels immediately 
above the upper range of windows, on which are holes to receive the 
masts. These masts were for the purpose of attaching cords to, for 
sustaining the awning which defended the spectators from the sun or 
rain. Two corridors ran all round the building leading to staircases, 
which ascended to the several stories; and the seats which descended 
towards the arena, supported throughout upon eight arches, occupied so 
much of the space that the clear opening of the present inner wall next 
the arena is two hundred and eighty-seven feet by one hundred and 
eighty feet. Immediately above and around the arena was the Podium, 
elevated about twelve or fifteen feet, on which were seated the 
emperor, senators, ambassadors of foreign nations, and other distin- 
guished personages in that city of distinctions. From the podium to the 
top of the second story, were seats of marble for the equestrian order; 
above the second story the seats appear to have been constructed of wood. 
In these various seats eighty thousand spectators might be arranged 



according to their respective ranks; and, indeed, it appears, from incrip- 
tions, as well as from expressions in Roman writers, that manv of tne 
places in this immense theatre were assigned to particular individuals, 
that each might find his seat without confusion. 

The ground was excavacated over the surface of the arena in 1813; a 
great number of substructions were then discovered, which, by some 
antiquaries, are considered to be of modern date, and by others to have 
formed dens for the various beasts that were exhibited. 

The descriptions which have reached us from historians find other 
writers, of the variety and extent of the shows, would induce the belief 
that vast space and ample conveniences were required beneath the stage 
to accomplish the wonders which were doubtless there realized in the 
presence of assembled Rome. 

Gibbon, in his twelfth book, has given a splendid description of the 
sports of the Circus, and has well observed, “ While the populace gazed 
with stupid wonder on the splendid show, the Naturalist might, indeed, 
observe the figure and properties of so many different species, transported 
from every part of the ancient world into the amphitheatre of Rome. 
But this accidental benefit, which science might derive from folly, is 
surely not sufficient to justify such a wanton abuse of the public riches.’’ 
Upon this a modern writer has added, “ The prodigal waste of the public 
riches, however, was not the weightiest evil of the sports of the Circus ; 
the public morality was sacrificed upon the same shrine as its wealth. 
The destruction of beasts became a fit preparation for the destruction of 

A small number of these unhappy persons, who engaged to fight with 
the wild animals in the arena, were trained to these dangerous exercises, 
as are the Matadors of Spain of the present day. These men were 
accustomed to exhaust the courage of the beast by false attacks ; to 
spring on a sudden past him, striking him behind ere he could recover 
his guard ; to cast a cloak over his eyes, and then dispatch or bind him 
at this critical moment of his terror; or to throw a cup full of some 
chemical preparation into his gaping mouth, so as to produce the 
stupefaction of intense agony. But the greater part of the human beings 
who were exposed to these combats, perilous even to the most skilful, 
were disobedient slaves and convicted malefactors. 

The imperial edicts against the early Christians, furnished more 
stimulating exhibitions to the popular appetite for blood, than the combat 
of lion with lion or gladiator against gladiator. The people were taught 
to believe that they were assisting at a solemn act of justice, and they 



came therefore to behold the tiger and the leopard tear the quivering 
limb of the aged and the young, of the strong and the feeble, without 
desire to rescue the helpless or succour the brave.” 

Byron gives this beautiful picture of the gladiator dying in the Circus. 

“ I gee before me the gladiator lie : 

He leans upon his hand — his manly brow 
Consents to death, but conquers agony, 

And his droop’d head sinks gradually low — 

And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow 
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, 

Like the first thunder-shower; and now 
The arena swims around him — he is gone, 

Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch wtw woo. 

He heard it, hut he heeded not — his, eyes 
Were with his heart, and that was far away ; 

He reck’d not of life he lost, nor prize, 

But where his rude hut by the Danube lay. 

There were his young barbarians all at play, 

There was their Dacian mother — he their sire, 

Butchered to make a Roman holiday — 

All this rush’d with his blood — shall he expire. 

And unavenged? Arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire l” 


The Eddystoue Rocks are supposed to have got this name from the 
great variety of contrary eddies of the tide or current among them, both 
upon the tide of flood and the tide of ebb. They are situated nearly 
S. S. W., from the middle of Plymouth Sound, off the Coast of 
Devonshire, in the south of England. The nearest land to the Eddystone 
Rocks is the point to the west of Plymouth, called the Ram Head, from 
which they are about 10 miles directly south. As these rocks were not 
very much elevated above the sea at any time, and at highwater were 
quite covered by it, they formed a most dangerous obstacle to navigation, 
and several vessels were every season lost upon them. Many a gallant 
ship which had voyaged in safety across the whole breadth of the 
Atlantic, was shattered to pieces on this hidden source of destruction, as 
it was nearing the port, and went down, with its crew, in sight of their 
native shores. It was therefore of first rate importance that these 
dangerous rocks should be pointed out by a warning light. But the 
same circumstances which made the Edd-stone Rocks so formidable to 



the mariner, rendered the attempt to erect a Lighthouse upon them a 
difficult enterprise. This task was at last undertaken by aMr.'Winstanley, 
of Little Bury, in Essex, a gentleman of fortune, but not a regular bred 
engineer or architect; and was more thanfour years in building. “ Not,” 
says the builder, “ for the greatness of the work, but for the difficulty 
and danger of getting backwards and forwards to the place. The 
difficulties were many and the dangers not less, for these rocks, lying 12 
miles from the land, are surrounded by a deep and troubled ocean, which 
covers the greater part of them, and, whenever it blows hard, rolls over 
them with resistless fury ; hence it is impossible to bring a boat close 
to them, or to land on them, except in perfectly calm weather.” At 
length, in the third year, all the work was raised, which, to the weather- 
cock at top, was 80 feet in height. Being all finished, with the lantern 
and all the rooms that were in it, they ventured to lodge there soon after 
Midsummer, for the greater dispatch of the work. But the first night 
the weather became bad, and continued stormy so long, that it was 11 
days before any boats could come near them again; and not being 
acquainted with the height of the sea rising, they were almost all the 
time drenched with wet, and their provisions in as bad a condition, 
though they worked night and day to make a shelter for themselves. In 
this storm they lost some of their materials, although they did what they 
could to save them ; but the boat then returning, they all left the. 
Lighthouse to be refreshed on shore, and as soon as the weather 
permitted they returned again and finished all; the light was put up on 
the 14th November, 1698, which being so late in the year, it was not 
till within three days of Christmas that they had relief to go on shore, 
being at the last extremity for want of provisions. 

The fourth year, finding in the winter the effect the sea had upon the 
house, the waves rolling over the lantern at times, although more than 
60 feet high, Mr. Winstanley, early in the spring, surrounded the 
building with a new work of 4 feet thickness from the foundation, 
making all solid near twenty feet high, and taking down the upper part 
of the building, and enlarging every part of it in proportion, he raised it 
forty feet higher than it was at first; and yet the sea, in time of storm, flew, 
in appearance, a hundred feet above the weather-cock ; and at times 
covered half the side of the house and lantern as if they had been under 
water ! On the finishing of this building it was generally said, that in 
the time of hard weather, such was the height of the sea, that it was 
very possible for a six oared boat to be lifted up upon a wave and driven 
thr'ugh the open gallery of the light-house. In November, 1703 the 



fabric wanting gome slight repairs, and Mr. Winstanley wem. down to 
Plymouth to superintend them. The opinion of the common people 
was that the building would not be of long duration. Mr. Winstanley 
held, however, different sentiments ; being among his friends, previous to 
his going off with his workmen to make the repairs, it was said to him, 
that one day or other the light-house would certainly overset. To this 
he is said to have replied, “ that he was so well assured of the strength 
of his light-house, that he should only wish to be there in the greatest 
storm that ever blew under the face of the heavens, that he might see 
what effect it would have upon the building.” In this wish he was too 
fatally gratified: for while he was there with his workmen and light- 
keepers, that dreadful storm began, which raged the most violently upon 
the night of the 26th November, 1703; and of all accounts of the kind 
with which history furnishes us, we have none which has exceeded this in 
Great Britain, or was more injurious or extensive in its devastations. The 
next morning when the storm was abated, nothing of the light-house was 
to be seen, it having been totally swept away by the waves of the sea ! 

The single thing left was a piece of iron chain, which had got so 
wedged into a cleft that it stuck there till li was taken out, more than 
fifty years afterwards. 

By all accounts this light-house was a polygonal (or many cornered) 
building of stone, of about a hundred feet in height, after it had received 
its last additions. The light-house had not long been down, when the 
Winchelsea, a homeward bound Virginian, was split upon the rock 
where that building stood, and most of the men were drowned. The 
great utility of the late light-house had been sufficiently evident to those 
for whose use it had been erected ; and the loss of a large merchant 
vessel coming from America proved a powerful spur to such as were 
interested, to exert themselves for its restoration. The undertaker was a 
Captain Lovell, or Lovett, who took a lease of the rock for 99 years, to 
commence from the day that the light should be exhibited ; the Captain 
engaged Mr. John Rudyerd to be his engineer or architect. The building 
was began in July, 1706; a light was up on the 28th July, 1708, and it was 
eompletely finished in 1709. The quantity of materials used in the 
instruction, was 500 tons of stone, 1,200 tons of timber, 80 tons of 
iron, 35 tons of lead ; of tre-nails, screws, and rock bolts, 2,500 each. 
Louis 14th, being at war with England during the building of this 
light-house, a French privateer made prisoners of the men at work upon 
it, and carried them, together with their tools, to France, and the captain 
was in expectation of a reward for the achievement. While the captives 

Eildystooe Lighthouse. 




lay in prison, the transaction reached the ears of Louis the 14th. That 
monarch immediately ordered them to be released, and the captors to be 
put in their place, declaring, that though he was at war with England, he 
was not at war with mankind ; he therefore directed the men to be sent 
back to England, with presents, observing, that the Eddystone Lighthouse 
was so situated as to be of equal service to all nations having occasion to 
navigate the channels that divide France from England. This 
light-house differed much from the former one, it being composed of 
wood, and perfectly round. Its entire height was 92 feet. The building, 
notwithstanding some severe storms which it encountered, particularly 
one on the 26th September, 1744, stood till the 2nd of December, 1755- 
About two o’clock on that morning one of the three men who had the 
charge of it, having gone up to snuff the candles in the lantern, found 
the place full of smoke, from the midst of which, as soon as he opened 
the door, a flame hurst forth. A spark, from some of the twenty four 
candles which were kept constantly burning, had probably ignited the wood 
work, or the flakes of soot hanging from the roof. The man instantly 
alarmed his companions; hut they being in bed and asleep, it was 
some time before they came to his assistance. In the mean time he did 
his utmost to effect the extinction of the fire, by heaving water up to it 
(it was burning four yards above him) from a tub full which always 
stood in the place. The other men, when they came, brought up more 
water from below; but as they had to go down and return a height of 
70 feet for this purpose, their endeavours were of little avail. At last 
a quantity of the lead on the roof having melted, came down in a torrent 
upon the head and shoulders of the man who remained above. He was 
an old man of 94, of the name of Henry Hall, but still full of strength and 
activity. This accident, together with the rapid increase of the fire, 
notwithstanding their most desperate exertions, extinguished their last 
hopes, and making scarcely any further efforts to arrest the progress of 
the destroying element, they descended before it from room to room, till 
they came to the lowest floor. Driven from this also, they then sought 
refuge in a hole -or cave on the eastern side of the rock, it being fortunately 
by this time low water. Meanwhile the conflagration had been observed 
by some fishermen, who immediately returned to shore and gave infor- 
mation of it. Boats of course were immediately sent out. They arrived 
at the light-house about 10 o’clock, and with the utmost difficulty 
effected a landing, and the three men, who were by this time almost in a 
state of stupefaction, were dragged through the water into one of the 
boats. One of them, as soon as he was brought on shore, as if struck 



with some panic, took flight and was never heard of more. As for Did 
Hall, he was placed immediately under medical care, but although he 
took his food tolerably well, and seemed for some time likely to recover, 
he always persisted in saying that the doctors would never bring him 
round, unless they could remove form his stomach the lead, which he 
maintained had run down his throat, when it fell upon him from the 
roof of the lantern. Nobody could believe that this notion was anything 
more than an imagination of the old man ; but on the 12 th day after the fire, 
having been suddenly seized with cold sweats and spasms, he expired ; 
and when his body was opened, there was actually found in his stomach, 
to the coat of which it had partly adhered, a flat oval piece of lead, of the 
weight of seven ounces five drachms ! An account of this most 
extraordinary case is to be found fully reported in the forty ninth 
volume of the Philosophical Transactions. 

As there was still more than half a century of their lease unexpired, 
the proprietors (who by this time had become numerous) felt that it was 
not their interest to lose a moment in setting about the rebuilding of the 

Application being made to Lord Macclesfield, at that time President 
of the Royal Society, he strongly recommended Mr. Smeaton, (who had 
recently left his business of mathematical instrument maker, and devoted 
his talents to engineering) ; so that, for the third time, this great work was 
undertaken by a self-educated architect. It being determined that the 
light-house should he built of stone, Mr. Smeaton, after several trials, 
selected that from the isle of Portland. His models and designs being 
approved by the Lords of the Admiralty, he began his operations on 
the 12th of June 1757, when the first stone was laid, and his workmen 
continued to labor as long as the weather would permit. From this time 
the building proceeded with regularity and dispatch, and with no other 
interruption than what might be expected from the nature of the work, 
until the 9th of October, 1759 , when, after innumerble difficulties and 
dangers, a happy period was put to the great undertaking, without the loss 
of life or limb to any one concerned in it, or accident by which the work 
could be said to be materially retarded. During all this time there 
had been only four hundred and twenty-one days, comprising two 
thousand six hundred and seventy-four hours, which it had been possible 
for the men to spend upon the rock ; and the whole time which they had 
been at work, was only one hundred and eleven days ten hours, or 
scarcely sixteen weeks ! It now remained only to test its durability. 
The hard weather of 1759-60 and 1761, appeared to make no impression. 


It was equally proof against the tempestuous weather which ushered in 
the year 1762, one storm of which was of extraordinary fury. 

Smeaton’s light-house has stood ever since, and promises yet to stand 
for many centuries. It is, as has been mentioned, of stone, and is a 
round building, gradually decreasing in circumference from the base up 
to a certain height, like the trunk of an oak, from which the architect 
states that he took the idea of it. On the morning after the storm had 
spent its chief fury, many anxious observers pointed their glasses to the 
spot, where they scarcely expected ever again to descern it, and a feeling 
almost of wonder mixed itself with joy and pride of their architect, as 
they, with difficulty, descried its form through the still dusk and troubled 
air. The light-house is attended by three men, who receive but £?5 
each per annum, with an occasional leave of absence in the summer. 
Formerly there were only two, who watched by turns every four hours ; 
but, one being taken ill, and dying, the necessity of an additional hand 
became apparent. After the death of his companion, the living man 
found himself in a very awkward situation. Being apprehensive if he 
tumbled the dead body into the sea (which was the only way that he 
could dispose of it), he might be charged with murder, he was induced 
for some time to let the dead body lie, in hopes that the boat might he 
able to land and relieve him from the distress he was in. By degrees 
the body became so offensive, that it was not in his power to get quit of 
it without help, for it was near a month before the attending boat could 
effect a landing, and it was not without the greatest difficulty that it 
could be done, when they could land. To such a degree was the whole 
building filled with the stench of the corpse, that it was all they could do 
to throw the body into the sea. It is related, that while two light 
keepers only were employed, they forbore, upon some disgust, to speak 
to each other. A person observing to one of them, how happy they 
might live in their state of retirement, “ Yes,” replied the man, “very 
comfortable, if we could but have the use of our tongues, but it is now 
a full month since my partner and I have spoken to each other.’’ It is 
also said, that a shoemaker was going out to be light-keeper; the boatman 
said to him, “ how cbmes it, friend Jack, that you should choose to go 
out to be light-keeper, when you can on shore, as I am told, earn half a 
crown and three shillings a-day; whereas the light-keeper’s salary is but 
£25 a year, which is scarcely ten shillings a- week ?” “ I go to be light- 

keeper,” replied the shoemaker, “ because I don't like confinement. ” 



Is situate on the reef of rocks on the eastern coast of Scotland, 
near Arbroath in Forfarshire. These rocks had always been particularly 
dangerous for shipping, and, it is said, that in ancient times the monks 
of the Abbey of Arbroath erected a bell, called the inchcape bell, on 
the rock, which was rung by machinery during the flowing and eboing 
of the tide, in a manner probably similar to the ingenious one at New 
Channel, Liverpool. The Bell Rock light-house was begun in 1807, 
and completed in 1810, by Mr. Stevenson, at a cost of £60,000. The 
rock itself measures four hundred and twenty-seven feet in length by 
two hundred broad, and is about twelve feet under water at the spring 
tides. The light-house is a circular building, forty-two feet in diameter 
at the base, and thirteen feet at the top, the masonry is one hundred feet 
high, and, including the lightroom, is one hundred and fifteen feet; the 
ascent from the rock to the top of the solid or lowest story, thirty feet, 
used to be by means of a trap ladder, but is now by brass stairs, and to 
the other rooms by wooden steps. The lower courses of stones are 
trenailed, and wedged together with oak timber, to the height of upwards 
of forty feet, or throughout the solid part of the building. At the stone 
staircase leading from the door to the first floor, the walls are of the 
medium thickness of about seven feet; this thickness gradually 
diminishes upwards, till under the cornice of the building it extends 
only to eighteen inches. The stones of the walls of the several apart- 
ments are connected at the ends with dove tailed joints, instead of 
square joggles, as in the solid and in the staircases; the floors are 
constructed in a manner which adds much to the bond or union of the 
fabric. Instead of being arched, which would have given a tendenpv or 
pressure outwards on the walls, the floors are formed of long stones 
radiating from the centre of the respective apartments, and at the same time 
forming a course of the outward w'all of the building; these floor etones 
are also joggled sideways, and upon the whole form a complete girth at 
each story. In this manner, the pressure of the floors upon the walls is 
rendered perpendicular, while the side joggles resemble the groove and 
feather in carpentry. In the stranger's room, or library, the roof takes 
an arched form, but the curve is cut only by the interior ends of the 
stones of the cornice, the several courses of which it is composed being 
all laid upon level beds; the stones used in this surprising structure. 


weighed from half a ton to two tons each. There are six distinct rooms ; 
in the lo west is the fuel and water tanks, the second contains oil cisterns, 
the third is used as a kitchen, the fourth is a bed room, the fifth is the 
library, and the sixth (which is entirely formed of iron) contains the 

The light is from oil, with argand burners placed on the faces of silver 
plated reflectors, hollowed with extraordinary accuracy to the parabolic 
curve, simply by the process of hammering; these reflectors measure 
24 inches over the lips, and the light is so powerful that it can be readily 
seen at the distance of 7 leagues, in fair weather. The Bell-rock light 
may be easily distinguished from all others, by its showing a natural or 
common bright light, alternately with a red coloured light. Two men 
constantly reside in the building, and a third is stationed on a high tower 
at Arbroath, and holds communications with the lighthouse by means of 
signals. As the light in foggy weather is not visible at any considerable 
distance, two large bells are hung in the building, and kept constantly 
ringing at those times. These bells, each weighing about 12 ewt., are 
tolled by the same machinery which moves the lights. 

To give some idea of the force which this light-house has to withstand, 
it is only necessary to quote a passage from Mr. Stephenson himself. 
“ It is awfully grand, at the time of high water, to observe the sprays 
rising on the building, and even to be on the rock at low water, when 
the waves are about to break. Being, in a manner, only a few yards 
distant, they approach as if they were about to overwhelm us altogether. 
But now that we are accustomed to such scenes, we think little of it. 
You will perhaps form a better idea of the force of the sea during these 
gales, when I relate to you, that on 15th February, a large piece of lead 
that was used as a back weight of the balance crane, weighing 4 cwt. 
3 quarters 171bs., or nearly a quarter of a ton, was fairly lifted by the 
sea, and carried a distance of six feet from the hole on which it had laid 
since the month of August. It was found turned round with the ring 
bolt downwards, and it was with great difficulty that four of us could 
muster strength enough to return it to its former shelf on the rock. ’ 

There is a legend connected with the Inchcape Bell, which most 
veritably describeth, that once “a bloodie and remorsefull Pyrate” did, 
in drunken frolic, steal from the “goode Abbotte” his warning Bell; 
and for which “ greate sinne” his vessel was afterwards driven on these 
rocks, and all on board perished all of which is duly set forth in a 
“ righte dolefull ’ ballad. 




The most celebrated light-house of ancient times was that erected 
about 283, B. C., in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, on the island of 
Pharos, opposite to Alexandria. It is from this building, or rather from 
the island on which it stood, that light-houses have in many countries 
received their generic name of Pharos; the most celebrated of modern 
times are those already described. The erection of light-houses in this 
country has not proceeded upon any systematic plan, hut in every 
instance they have been constructed simply because of the disastrous 
losses that have occurred for want of them. From this cause it arises 
that our light-house establishments in the several parts of the United 
Kingdom are conducted under an entirely different system, different as 
regards the constitution of the management, the rates or amounts of the 
light dues, and the principle on which they are levied. In England 
there are now 44 light-houses, and 13 floating lights, which are considered 
as general lights, besides 46 light-houses and 4 floating lights, which are 
local or harbour lights, making in all 107 lights. Of the general lights, 
30 light-houses, and the whole of the floating lights (13 in number), are 
under the management of the Trinity House, three are in private hands 
under leases granted by the same board, seven are in private hands under 
leases granted by the crown, and the remaining four are held by patents or 
by acts of Parliament. In Scotland there are 25 light-houses under the 
management of the Board of Commissioners for northern lights, besides 
18 local or harbour lights. In Ireland there are 24 light-houses and three 
floating lights, which are all general lights, 76 light-houses and four floating 
lights, which are harbour lights, being in the whole 168 light-houses and 
20 floating lights, constantly maintained on the coasts, and at the 
entrances of the harbours of these kingdoms. A principal object in the 
establishment of these buildings is, to give intimation to vessels 
approaching the coast during the night, as to the place in which they are. 
It is therefore of importance, that the lights exhibited on the same line of 
coast should have some essential difference, so as to be readily dis- 
tinguished by the mariners. The different appearances thus required 
are given by having two lights plaoed either vertically or horizontally 
with respect to each other, or three lights , as at the Casket rocks, or by 
causing the lights to revolve or to appear only at certain intervals, and to 
remain in sight for a given number of seconds at each appearance, or by 


the employment of lamps of different colours, as in some of the harbour 
lights which do not require to be seen at a great distance. 

The mode of lighting 1 now generally used in this country is that of 
placing an argand burner in the focus of a parabolic reflector. This 
instrument is made of silver strengthened with copper, and is about three or 
four inches in focal length, and 21 inches in diameter. The number and 
arrangement of reflectors in each light-house depend upon the light being- 
fixed or revolving, and upon other circumstances connected with the 
situation and importance of the light-house. The mode in use in the 
light-Tiouses of France consists in placing a large argand lamp, having 
four concentric wicks, and giving a very powerful light in the centre of the 
upper part of the building, and placing around the lamp a series of glass 
lenses of a peculiar construction ; thus rising a refracting, instead of a 
reflecting instrument, to collect the light, and only one lamp instead of a 
greater number. The lens employed is about 30 inches square, plano- 
convex, and formed of separate rings or zones, whose common surfaces 
preserve nearly the same curvature as if they constituted portions of one 
complete lens, the interior and useless part of the glass being removed. To 
form a lens of such magnitude out of' one piece of glass would be hardi'y 
possible, and, if it were possible, the necessary thickness of the glass 
would greatly obstruct the light; the merit of the invention consists in 
building it of separate rings. The light thus obtained is found by 
experiment to be equal to that afforded by nine common reflectors, and it 
is calculated that by a consumption of oil equal to that of 17 common 
argand lamps with reflectors, an effect is produced equal to that of 30 
lamps and reflectors. There is this further advantage in the French over 
the English apparatus, that in the English light-house of equal 
illuminating power with the French, there would be daily employment 
in trimming 30 lamps and cleaning an equal number of reflectors, which 
having a very delicate silver surface, require much care and attention, 
while in the French light-house there is only one lamp to trim, and the 
lenses being of glass require little or no labour to keep them bright ; on 
ihe other hand, these dioptric lights have not the wide dispersive range 
which is so necessary in fixed lights. On the northern and western 
coasts of France there are 80 excellent lights, and the Dutch have 20 
lights on their sea coasts and in the Zuyder Zee. The rates of light duty 
charged to vessels passing within certain limits vary considerably in 
respect of different lights: for some of those which are under the 
management of the Trinity House, as little as a farthing per ton is 
enarged on British, and a half-penny per ton on foreign vessels, while 



for other lights the rates are as high as a penny and twopence per ton 
upon British and foreign ships respectively. The ships belonging to 
countries with which we have treaties of reciprocity, are entitled to 
admission to our ports on the same terms as English vessels, and 
accordingly pay no higher rate of duties. The Trinity House has 
relinquished, in those cases, the right to any increased charge, but in the 
case of those light-houses which are held by private individuals, the 
difference is made good to those parties out of the customs revenues. 
Light dues are collected not only upon ships frequenting our ports for 
commerce, but such also as are driven in by stress of weather, or if they 
come within sight of our light-houses in their voyage from one port to 
another : this is most unjust, and has been greatly complained of by 


This is situate near the group of barren rocks, called Fern Islands, on 
the coast of Northumberland. It is only an ordinary light-house, but 
has excited much attention of late, and acquired a time-enduring 
celebrity as being the scene of the heroic efforts of Grace Darling ana 
her gallant father, in rescuing part of the passengers and crew (nine in 
number) out of 53 persons, from the wreck of the Forfarshire Steam 
Packet, on the I7th September, 1838. No eulogy, however brilliant, 
can add to the glory of this gallant achievement, performed as it was 
under the frightful dangers of a most tremendous storm. 


“ From Trautenau, I proceeded,” says a recent traveller, in his 
interesting tour in 1836, “ to visit Andersbach, the famous labyrinth of 
rocks — a natural phenomenon I believe unique of its kind, at least for 
magnitude and extent, being upwards of four leagues in length and two 
in breadth. That in Westphalia, called Exteretein, so celebrated by 
travellers, and which I had seen some years before, is a mere baby’s toy 
compared with this. In short, the only freak of Nature that I ever saw 
at all comparable to it, is that in Upper Styria, called JohnsbackerthaL 
These rocks are entirely composed of sandstone, and form a part of the 
same sandstone ridge, which runs through the province of Glatz on one 
side, and through Saxon Switzerland towards Dresden on the other. 
Among various theories that have been advanced to explain this 

Great Wall of China. 



phenomenon, it has been asserted that the water had gradually washed 
away the softer parts of the rock ; but most travellers with whom I have 
conversed upon the subject, could not reconcile this with the sharp 
angular edges of the rocks, and felt more inclined to refer it to some 
instantaneous convulsion of nature that had shivered to pieces a vast 

On a near approach the traveller might rashly fancy he was beholding 
a city of gigantic architecture in ruins, for we can literally walk through 
its interior, as we would in the squares and streets of a town, and it 
hardly requires a stretch of the imagination to say that we see dismantled 
towers, triumphal arches, dilapidated fortifications, 8cc. Tradition has 
baptized many of these masses of rock with the most fanciful appellations : 
here we have the statues of burgomasters and soldiers, there friars and 
nuns, and in another place the emperor’s throne, and, singular enough, 
he road that leads to it is over the devil’s bridge. One of the loftiest 
of these rocks, termed the watch tower, is, I should think, between four 
and five hundred feet high, but its circumference is not more than that 
of the object from which it borrows its appellation. Another of nearly 
equal altitude, which goes under the name of the Zucker hut (suo-ar 
loaf), is in form an inverted cone, and being isolated and at some 
distance from all the rest, has a most singular appearance. 


This has ever been considered one of the world’s wonders, although 
considerable doubts have been entertained of the greatness and extent 
which some writers have invested it, and perhaps the extreme jealousy 
of the Chinese to allow foreigners to go beyond certain limits, has thrown 
around it a mystery ; and hence, the many exaggerated accounts which 
have reached us of its vastness. Father Gerbillon, the Missionary, who 
passed through (according to his own account) most of its principal 
gates, and saw more of it than any other European, describes it as ‘‘ one 
of the most surprising and extraordinary works in the world; yet it 
cannot be denied, that those travellers who have mentioned it, have over 
magnified it, imagining, no doubt, that it was in the whole extent the same 
as they saw in the parts nearest Pekin, or at certain of the most important 
passes, where it is indeed very strong and well built, as also very high 
and thick.” According to this authority, from the Eastern Ocean to the 
frontiers of the province of Chan-si, or for the distance of 20ft 
leagues, it is generally built of stone and brick, with strong square towers, 



sufficiently near for mutual defence, and having besides, at every 
important pass, a formidable and well built fortress. In many places in 
this line and extent, the wall is double and even tripple. But from the 
entrance of the province of Chan-si, to its eastern extremity, the wall is 
nothing but a terrace of earth, in many places so much obliterated that 
the missionary could cross and recross it on horseback. There are 
numerous towers on this part of the wall, but they, too, are chiefly built 
of earth. The wall is in many places carried over the tops of the highest 
and most rugged rocks. Near every one of the gates, Father Gerbillon 
found a town or large village. Other writers describe, that near one of the 
principal gates which opens on the road towards India is situated Siningfu, 
a city of prodigious extent and population. Here the wall is said to be so 
broad at the top, “ that six horsemen, placed abreast, might run a race 
along it without inconvenience to one another.’’ The esplanade on the top 
of the wall is much frequented by the citizens of Siningfu, the prospect 
from it is exceeding pleasant, and the stairs which give ascent to 
the walls are broad and convenient ; they add, that from this city to that 
of Sucien it is 18 days journey on the wall ! 

The great wall, which has now, even in its best parts, numerous 
breaches, is made of two walls of brick and masonry, not above a foot 
and a half in thickness, and generally many feet a part; the interval 
between them is filled up with earth, making the whole appear like solid 
masonry and brickwork; for six or seven feet from the earth these 
encasing walls are built of large square stones, the rest is of brick, the 
mortar used in which is of excellent quality. The wall itself averages 
about twenty feet in height, but the towers, which are distributed along 
it, are seldom less than forty feet high. At their base, these towers are 
fifteen feet square, but they gradually diminish as they ascend ; both 
walls and towers have battlements. There are inclined planes as well as 
stairs to ascend to the top. The rapidity with which this work was 
completed is as astonishing as the wall itself (it is calculated as being 
1,500 miles in length), the whole is said to have been done in five years, 
by many million of labourers, the Emperor impressing three men out of 
every ten throughout his dominions, for its execution. It was finished 
205 years before the birth of Christ ; the period of its completion is an 
historical fact, as authentic as any of those which the annals of ancient 
kingdoms have transmitted to posterity: it w'as built to defend the 
Empire from the incursions of the Tartars. The contrast between the 
country within the wall and the wilds without is described as being at 
certain points most striking ; looking down from the battlements and 



towers which frequently fringed the loftiest rocks, on one side was to be 
seen a cultivated expanse covered with numberless habitations, and on 
the other all the wildness of the desert, that seemed never to have been 
trod by human footsteps, but abounded with all sorts of wild beasts. 
The view from the wall itself must be equally imposing as it traverses one 
vast plain after another, and strides over lofty mountains — its numerous 
towers here entire, and there falling into ruins, the sides of the walls here 
free and open, there overgrown with creeping plants and garlanded with 
hardy trees, that shoot from their interstices, or that spring from their 
base; the whole, to appearance, stretching out as if it were to girdle th 
globe, or as if it had no end. 


This is the most frightful accident to which coal mines are exposed ; it is the 
most frequent, and by far the most calamitous, and is thus caused : — All 
coal, even in the charcoal-like variety, called Anthracite, appears to 
contain in its natural state, while underground, a considerable quantity 
of free uncombined gas, which it parts with when exposed to the air, or 
when it is relieved from great superincumbent pressure. The gas is evolved 
from the coalin great quantity at the ordinary temperature of the mines ; and 
instances have been known of explosions on board ships laden with 
fresh worked coals. Coals lying deep give out more gas than those near 
the surface, because there are openings at the top by which it escapes ; 
but in the deep mines it cannot have such an outlet, and therefore it 
accumulates in all the fissures of the stone above the coal ; and this sort 
of natural distillation is constantly going on. The fissures of the roof are 
in some places very great, and there are sometimes miles of communica- 
tion from one fissure to another : they may be considered as natural 
gasometers, and having no outlet, and as the process of distillation is 
constantly going on, the gas becomes accumulated in them in a very 
highly condensed state, the degree of condensation depending on the 
thickness of the surrounding rock and quantity poured in. In the course 
of pursuing the workings, the miners sometimes cut across one of these 
fissures, or approach so near to it, that the intervening rock becomes too 
weak to resist the elastic force of the compressed'gas ; it gives way, and 
then, in either case, the gas rushes out with immense force. These 
blowers , as they are called, emit sometimes as much as seven hundred 
hogsheads of gas in a minute, and continue in a state of activity for 



months together. It has been found that an uniform current of gas 
existed for two years and a half in one of the mines. This gas, in the 
state in which it issues from the coal, burns with a bright flame like 
ordinary gas, hut when united with a certain portion of atmospheric air> 
the mixture becomes explosive, i. e., the whole volume of air, upon the 
approach of a flame, suddenly catches fire, and goes off like gunpowder, 
with a tremendous explosion. The frightful consequences of these ex- 
plosions have been greatly lessened, and would, with care, be prevented 
altogether, by the constant use of Sir Humphry Davy’s 


That eminent man, by numberless experiments on the nature of fire 
damp, and on the proportions with which it must be mixed with the air 
of the atmosphere to be explosive, found that in respect of com- 
bustibility, the fire damp differs most materially from the other common 
inflammable gases, inasmuch as it requires a far higher temperature 
before it can be set on fire ; an iron rod at the highest degree of red 
K-at, and at the common degree of white heat, did not inflame explosive 
mixtures of the fire damp, and an explosion only took place when a 
flame was applied. He also made the important discovery, that flame 
will not pass through a tube with a small bore ; and guided by this 
principle, he was led through a train of ingenious experiments to the 
construction of a lamp, which has saved already hundreds of lives, and 
whose value is inestimable. It is very simple in its constructiop. It is 
a lamp in which oil is burned, and there is a small bent wire, moved by 
passing through a hole in the bottom, for trimming the wick. There is 
also a cover of fine wire gauze, which is fastened upon the lamp, and 
generally locked to prevent the miners taking it off, and this cover is 
strengthened by upright wires twisted at the top to receive a ring for 
carrying the lamp. When the lamp is carried into a part of the mine 
which is highly charged with fire damp, the flame of the wick begins to 
enlarge, and the air, if it contain so much inflammable gas as to he highly 
explosive, takes fire as soon as it has passed through the gauze, and 
then burning within the lamp extinguishes the flame of the wick, by 
cutting off all communication with the pure air of the atmosphere. 
Whenever this appearance is observed, the miner must instantly 
withdraw, for although the flaming gas within the lamp cannot pass 
through the gauze so as to set fire to the explosive mixture outside, it 
makes the wire gauze so hot that it would very speedily be wasted, and 
a hole large enough to let the flame come out would be burned. 



The Autumn of 1815 is rendered memorable by the discovery of this 
lamp, one of the most beneficial applications of science to economical 
purposes ever invented. “Davy,” says his biographer, “ was led to the 
consideration of this subject by an application from Dr. Gray, now 
Bishop of Bristol, the Chairman of a Society established in 1813, at 
Bishop Wearmouth, to consider and promote the means of preventing 
accidents by fire in coal pits. Being then in Scotland, he visited the 
mines on his return southward, and was supplied with specimens of fire 
damp, which, on reaching London, he proceeded to analyze. He soon 
discovered that the carburetted hydrogen gas, called ‘fire damp’ by the 
miners, would not explode when mixed with less than six, or more than 
fourteen times its volume of air ; and furfher,thattheexplosivemixture could 
not be fired in tubes of small diameters and proportionate lengths. 
Gradually diminishing these, he arrived at the conclusion that a tissue 
of wire, in which the meshes do not exceed a certain small diameter, 
which may be considered as the ultimate limit of a series of small tubes, 
impervious to the inflamed air, and that a lamp covered with such tissue 
may be used with perfect safety even in an explosive mixture, which 
takes fire and burns within the cage, securely cut off from th6 power of 
doing harm. Thus, when the atmosphere is so impure that the flame of 
the lamp itself cannot be maintained, ‘ the Davy’ still supplies light to 
the miner, and turns his worst enemy into an obedient servant”. This 
invention, the certain source of large profit, he presented with character- 
istic liberality to the public. The words are preserved, in which, when 
pressed to secure to himself the benefit of it by patent, he declined to do 
so, in conformity with the high-minded resolution which he formed upon 
acquiring independent wealth, of never making his scientific eminence 
subservient to gain. “I have enough for all my views and purposes, 
more wealth might be troublesome, and distract my attention from those 
pursuits in which I delight. More wealth could not increase my fame 
or my happiness. It might, undoubtedly, enable me to put four horses 
to my carriage ; but what would it avail me, to have it said, that Sir 
Humphrey drives his carriage and four?” And such was the man — the 
philosopher — whose monument we look for in vain at Westminster Abhey, 
because his widow would not submit to “Priestly extortion !” 



“ The establishment of the* Times Newspaper,’” says Mr. Babbage 
(Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, C. Knight, London, 1832), 
“is an example, on a large scale, of a manufactory in which the division 
of labor, both mental and bodily is admirably illustrated, and in which 
also the effect of domestic economy is well exemplified. It is scarcely 
imagined by the thousands who read that paper in various quarters of 
the globe, what a scene of organized activity the factory presents during 
the whole night, or what a quantity of talent and mechanical skill is put 
in action for their amusement, and information. Nearly a hundred 
persons are employed in this establishment, and during the sessions of 
parliament twelve reporters are constantly attending the Houses of 
Commons and Lords, each, in his turn, after about an hour’s work,- 
returning to translate into ordinary writing the speech he has just heard 
and noted in short hand. In the mean time, fifty compositors are 
constantly at work, some of whom have already set up the beginning, 
whilst others are committing to type the yet undried manuscript of the 
continuation of a speech, whose middle portion is travelling to the office 
in the pocket of the hasty reporter, and whose eloquent conclusion is, 
perhaps, at that very moment making the walls of St. Stephen’s vibrate 
with the applause of its hearers. These congregated types as fast as they 
they are composed, are passed in portions to other hands, till at last the 
scattered fragments of the debate, forming, when united with the ordinary 
matter, eight and forty columns, re-appear in regular order on the platform 
of the printing press. The hand of man is now too slow for the demands 
of his curiosity, but the power of steam comes to his assistance ; ink is 
rapidly supplied to the moving types by the most perfect mechanism, 
four attendants incessantly introduce the edges of large sheets of white 
paper to the junction of two great rollers, which seem to devour them 
with unsatiated appetite, other rollers convey them to the type already 
inked, and having brought them into rapid and successive contact, 
re-deliver them to four other assistants, completely printed, by the almost 
momentary touch. Thus, in one hour 4,000 sheets of paper are printed 
on one side, and an impression of 12,000 copies from above 300,000 
moveable pieces of metal, is produced for the public in six hours.” 





This machine is calculated to print 4,000 impressions per hour ; and 
when the steam engine is driven with greater velocity than usual, it will 
throw off 200 or 300 more per hour. To work it, it is necessary to 
employ four men, A, B, C, D, to lay the paper on the drums , a, b, c, d, 
and four boys, E, F, G, H, to receive it at the fly boards, I, K, L, M, 
after having received the impression. It has four printing cylinders of 
cast iron, 1, 2, 3, 4, turned perfectly parallel, which are cloathed all 
round with a covering of flannel wove for that purpose. These cylinders 
revolve upon spindles in carriages, e, e, e, e, which are connected at the 
lower part of the frame to scale-beam leavers, f, f, f, f\ they are 
alternately raised and lowered by an eccentric working in one end of the 
beams, to press; and, to avoid the form, these carriages are fitted with 
the greatest care into recesses left in the side frames, and are so made, 
that a portion of them can be removed when it is required to renew the 
cylinder cloths, without deranging any other part of the machinery. 
They receive motion from two intermediate wheels, ff,g, contained in the 
square box, h, working in the driving pinion, Z, six revolutions of which 
are necessary to produce four sheets ; therefore, to print 4,000 per hour, 
the driving spindle must revolve 6,000 times in the hour, or 100 times 
per minute. This spindle is driven by a pulley and leather strap from 
the steam engine, Y, Z. The wheels upon the ends of the two outer 
printing cylinders, 1, 4, give nlotion to the two lower, laying on drums, 
c, d, and by the spindle N, and the conical or level wheels, which are 
behind the machine, put in motion the two top drums, a, b. The side 
frames of this machine are about fourteen feet in length, and two feet six 
inches in height to the level of the moving table. They are fitted with 
great accuracy together, and made parallel, having internal projecting 
flanches, and likewise rollers, upon which the printing table (carrying 
the two inking tables and form) moves backwards and forwards, which 
alternate motion it receives from an endless rack and pinion ; the rack 
is attached to the under side of the printing table, and the pinion is a 
fixture in the centre of the frame of the machine, and receives its motion 
by a pair of bevel wheels from the driving spindle. The rack is made 
with a parallel motion, by which means it is moved from one side to the 



other of the pinion. It has two radius bars, a, a, the ends of which are 
fixed to the moving table, containing the form of type and inking tables ; 
there is a centre transverse bar, b, b, which unites them, and at the other 
ends there are two parallel guide rods, c, c, which connect the rack. 

At each end of the moving table there are smooth surfaces which are 
called inking -tables, one of which is shown in the engraving, 0, the 
other being under the middle inking-rollers ; and in the centre is placed 
the type or form, P; at each end of the side frames are two troughs, Q.Q, 
which contain ink; these, when filled, will hold a sufficient quantity for 
the working off 6,000 impressions ; in each trough, there is an iron roller, 

R, called the doctor, which is kept continually revolving by a cat-gut band, 

S, S, over pulleys, while the machine is at work ; underneath this roller 
there is another roller called the vibrating roller, T, which is worked by 
an eccentric motion, and is made to receive the ink from the doctor, R, 
and then to fall upon the inking table, 0, at each termination of its 
stroke; by this means the ink is laid upon the table, and is afterwards 
equally distributed over the surface by four distributing rollers, U, U, 
at each end placed in an angular direction across the frame, which gives 
them a transverse motion over the table, and so the ink is regularly laid 
over the surface, and is preparedfor the inking rollers, V, V, V, receiving 
it, two of which are on the outside of the printing cylinders, and two in 
the centre ; these rollers have a small guide wheel at each end, upon which 
hey revolve; they are made of iron, and are covered (as well as the 
distributing and vibrating rollers) with a coating of composition, made 
by certain proportions of glue and treacle ; these rollers lay the ink upon 
the type previous to the printing rollers pressing upon it to give the 

On the ends of the spindles of the lying-on drums, a, b, c, d, there 
are small pinions, which work on what are called shape wheels, 5, 5, 5, 5 ; 
on the face of each of these wheels there is a plate that has a part of its 
circumference removed, as shown in the engraving; upon the outside of 
this cam or plate, are placed the ends of the laying-on levers, W,W,W,W, 
the height of which causes them to fall into the recess in the plate, and 
so depresses the outer end, which is kept revolving by a gut band, 
and has four brass pulleys, toothed, that touch the paper on the laying-on 
boards, X, X, X, X, and gradually draw it round the drums, a, b, c, d. 
The paper is kept in its proper position by a double set of tapes, which 
conveys it over the rollers in a zigzag direction to and from the printing 
cylinder, the direction of which is shewn by the arrows in the Engraving. 

The Devil’s Bridge, near Aberystwith. The Rock Bridge Of Virginia. 




The whole machine is'set in motion by the leather strap, Y, connecting 
with the steam engine and spindle wheel, Z. The operation of printing 
commences by the laying-on man, A, placing the paper for the levers 
and rollers, W, which revolving and falling upon the paper, instantaneously 
draw it through the tapes round the drum, C, and then round the 
cylinder, No. 1, where the form of type, P, inked by passing under the 
right hand inking rollers, V, is ready to receive it, and by the pressure 
ofthe cylinder, No. 1, the paperreceives the impression, passes up through 
the tapes, 6, 6, 6, 6, and is at lengh received at the fly board, M, by the 
boy, F. Meantime, the form, deprived of its ink, passes rapidly on under 
the second cylinder, No 2, which is lifted up with its carriage, e , by the 
eccentric motion of the lever, f, to permit the form to pass, which is 
again inked by the two middle rollers, V, (which had been supplied by the 
left-hand inking table) and is then ready for the sheet, supplied by the 
laying-on man, D, and taken by the circulating rollers through the tapes, 
round the drum, b, and down through the tapes, 7, 7, 7, and under the 
cylinder. No. 3, where it meets the form, receives the impression, and 
passes up through the tapes, 8, 8, 8, 8, on to the taking-off broard, I, 
where it is received by the boy, H ; the form, again deprived of its ink, 
the cylinder, 4, is now raised to permit it to pass, when by the eccentric 
motion of the rack underneath, it moves back again, receives the ink 
from theleft-hand inking rollers, V, and it again passes under the cylinder, 
No. 4, when the sheet laid on by the man, C, passing round the drum, d, 
meets it, receives the impression, and is carried up through the tapes, 
9, 9, 9, and is delivered to the boy, G, at the fly-board, L ; and the form 
again deprived of its ink, the cylinder, No. 3, is now raised by the 
lever, f, the form passes under, is again inked by the middle roller, V, 
passes under the cylinder, No. 2, where the sheet, supplied by the man, 
B, passing round the drum. A, and down through the tapes, 10, 10, 10, 
meets it, receives the impression, and passes round, up through the tapes, 
11, 11, 11, is received at the fly-board, K, by the boy, E; thus the 
printing-table, traversing the carriage with the greatest rapidity, throws 
off two impressions in its passage each way. 



The first manufactured paper of which we have any record, is the 
celebrated papyrus, made of a species of reed growing in Egypt, on the 
banks of the Nile. According to a passage in Lucan, which is likewise 
corroborated by other authorities, this paper was first manufactured at 
Memphis, but it has been a subject of great controversy to fix the exact 
date of its invention. 

There is no doubt, however, but that it formed, at a very early period, 
a considerable branch of commerce to the Egyptians, and was one of the 
manufactures carried on at Alexandria. It obtained an increasingimport- 
ance among the Romans as literature became more valued and diffused; 
in the Augustan age it grew into most extensive demand. We are told, 
that a popular revolt took place in the reign of Tiberius, from the scarcity 
of this valuable article. The commerce in papyrus continued to flourish 
for a long period, from the supply being unequal to the demand. Its 
value is said to have been so great at the end of the third century, that 
when Firmus, a rich and ambitious merchant, striving at empire, con- 
quered for a brief period the city of Alexandria, he boasted that he had 
seized as much paper and size as would support his whole army ! 

Papyrus was much used by St. Jerome, who wrote at the latter end of 
the fourth century. As an article of much importance in commerce it was 
made largely to contribute to the coffers of the Roman empire, and fiscal 
duties were laid upon it by successive rulers until they became oppressive. 
These were abolished by Theodoric at the end of the fifth or the 
beginning of the sixth century, this “gracious act,’’ as Cassidorus calls 
it, procured for him high praise. The exact period when this description 
of paper fell into disuse, is equally a matter of doubt and controversy as 
its introduction ; with some, it is. said to be in the fifth, and others as 
late as the eleventh century. The real date may be considered as in the 
seventh century, when the Saracens became masters of Egypt; and the 
commerce between the Egyptians and Rome was interrupted. From 
this period it is found that all public records are upon parchment 
instead of papyrus. Pliny, in his Natural History, gives an accurate 
description of the plant, and Bruce also describes the process of making 
the papyrus, which was done in his own presence. The roots of the 
plants are tortuous, the stem triangular, rising to the height of twenty 
feet, tapering gradually towards the extremity, wnich is surmounted bv 



a flowing plume ; paper was prepared from the inner bark of the stem, 
by dividing it with a kind of needle into thin plates or pellicles, each of 
them as large as the plant would admit. Of these strata the sheets of 
paper were composed ; the pellicles in the centre were considered as the 
best, and each plate diminished in value according as it receded from 
that part. After being thus separated from the reed, the pieces, trimmed 
and cut smooth at the sides, that they might the better meet together, 
were extended close to and touching each other on a table; upon these 
other pieces were placed at right angles. In this state the whole was 
moistened with the water of the Nile, and while wet was subjected to 
pressure, being afterwards exposed to the rays of the sun. It was 
generally supposed that the muddy waters of the Nile possessed a 
glutinous property, which caused the adhesion to each other of these 
strips of papyrus. Bruce, however, affirms that there was no foundation 
for this supposition, and that the turbid fluid has in reality no adhesive 
quality. On the contrary, he found that the water of this river was, of 
all others, the most improper for the purpose, until, by the subsidence of 
the fecula, it was entirely divested of the earthy particles it had gathered 
in its course. This traveller made several pieces of papyrus paper, both 
in Abyssinia and in Egypt, and fully ascertained that the saccharine juice, 
with which the plant is replete, causes the adhesion of the parts together, 
the water being only of use to promote the solution of this juice, and its 
equal diffusion over the whole. When there was not enough juice in the 
plant, or when the water failed to dissolve it sufficiently, the strips were 
united with paste made of the finest wheaten flour, made with hot water 
and a small proportion of vinegar: after being dried and pressed, the 
paper was then beaten with a mallet, by which means it was still farther 
smoothed and flattened. Paper, thus made, was esteemed according to 
its strength and whiteness. Sufficient evidence of the abundant use of 
papyrus is to be found in the fact, that nearly 1,800 manuscripts written 
on paper of this description, have been discovered in the ruins of 

Paper made of cotton entirely superseded the papyrus in the course, of 
time, as being much more durable, and better calculated for all the 
purposes to which paper is ordinarily applied. This new substance was 
called charla bombycina. It cannot be exactly ascertained when this 
manufacture was first introduced. Montfaucon fixes the time at the end 
of the ninth or early in the tenth century, a period when the scarcity of 
parchment, and the failure in the supply of papyrus, called forth the 
powers of invention to supply an adequate substitute. It was about this 



time, that the dearth of writing materials induced the Greeks to pursue the 
almost sacrilegious practice of erasing the valuable writings of ancient 
authors, that they might obtain the parchment on which these were in- 
scribed. The more abundant manufacture of cotton paper, though not 
before the destruction of much that was excellent, happily prevented a 
still more extensive destruction. Many proofs are afforded, that in the 
beginning of the twelfth century cotton paper was commonly used in the 
eastern empire for books and writings; but it was not deemed sufficiently 
durable for important documents, for which purpose parchment was still 
employed. The manufacture of this kind of paper has been a flourishing 
branch of industry in the Levantfor many centuries, and is carried on with 
great success even to the present time. The paper produced from cotton 
is very white, strong, and of a fine grain, but not so well adapted for 
writing upon as the paper which is now used. Much ingenuity must 
have been exercised to reduce the cotton to a pulpy substance, and 
ultimately render it suitable to the purpose of writing. 

After this invention the use of linen rags quickly followed, and their 
superiority being manifest, cotton was wholly laid aside. 


There is no country which has not had its learned and elaborate 
inquiries, as to the means through which Europe became acquainted, some 
time about the eleventh century withthearticleof paper. Casiri, however, 
whilst employed in translating Arabic writers, has discovered the real 
place from which paper came. It has been known in China, where its 
constituent part is silk, from time immemorial. In the thirtieth year of 
the Hegira (in the middle of the seventh century), a manufactory of 
similar paper was established atSamarcand, and in 706, fifty-eight years 
afterwards, one Youzef Amru, of Mecca, discovered the art of making it 
with cotton, an article more commonly used in Arabia than silk. This 
is clearly proved by the following passages from Muhamad A1 Gazeli’s 
De Arabicarum Antiquitatum Eruditione. “ In the ninety -eighth year of 
the Hegira,’’ says he, “ a certain Joseph Amru first of all invented paper 
in the city of Mecca, and taught the Arabs the use of it.” And as an 
additional proof that the Arabians, and not the Greeks of the lower 
empire, as it has been long affirmed, were the first inventors of cotton 
paper, it may be observed, that a Greek of great learning, whom Mont- 
faucon, mentions as having been employed in forming a catalogue of the 



old MSS. in the King’s Library, at Paris in the reign of Henry the 
Second, always calls the article “ Damascus paper." The subsequent 
invention of paper made from hemp or flax , has given rise to equal 
controversy; Maffei and Tiraboschi have claimed the honor on behalf of 
Italy, and Scaliger and Meumann for Germany; but none of these 
writers adduce any instance of its use anterior to the 14th century. By 
*ar the oldest in France is a letter from Joinville to St. Louis, which was 
written a short time before the decease of that monarch, in 1270. Ex- 
amples of the use of modern paper in Spain date from a century before 
that time, and it may be sufficient to quote from the numerous instances 
cited by Don Gregorio Mayans, a treaty of peace concluded between 
Alfonso the 2nd of Aragon and Alfonso the 9th of Castille, which is 
preserved in the archives at Barcelona, and bears date in the year 1178; 
to this we may add, the fueros (privileges) granted to Valencia by James 
the Conqueror, in 1251. The paper in question came from the Arabs, 
who, on their arrival in Spain, where both silk and cotton were equally 
rare, made it of hemp and flax. Their first manufactories were 
established at Xativa, the San Felipi of the present day, a town of high 
repute in ancient times, as Pliny and Strabo report, for its fabrication of 
cloth. Edrisi observes, when speaking of Xativa, “ Excellent and 
incomparable paper is likewise made here.” 

Valencia too, the plains of which produce an abundance of flax, 
possessed manufactories a short time afterwards; and Catalonia was not 
long in following the example. Indeed, the two latter places at this 
moment furnish the best paper in Spain. The use of the article made 
from flax did not reach Castille, until the reign of Alphonso the Xth, in 
the middle of the thirteenth century, and thence, it cannot be questioned, 
it spread to France, and afterwards to Italy, England and Germany. 
The Arabic MSS., which are of much older date than the Spanish, 
were most of them written on satin paper, and embellished with a 
quantity of ornamental work, painted in such gay and resplendent colors 
that the reader might behold his face reflected as if from a mirror. 


The rags of our own country do not furnish a fifth part of what we 
consume in the manufacture of paper. France, Holland, and Belgium, 
prohibit under heavy penalties the exportation of rags, because they 
require them for their own long established manufactories. Spain and 
Portugal also prohibit their exportation. Italy and Germany furnish 




the principal supplies of linen rags, both to Great Britain and the 
United States. They are exported from Bremen, Hamburg, Ancona, 
Leghorn, Messina, Palermo, and Trieste. The rags of our own country 
are generally pretty clean, and require little washing and no bleaching 
before they are ground into pulp ; those from Sicily are so dirty, that 
they are washed in lime before they are fit for exportation, and those 
from the north of Europe are so dark in the color, and so coarse in their 
texture, that it is difficult to believe that they could ever have formed 
part of under garments. Many experiments have been made upon sub- 
stances, proposed as substitutes for rags in the manufacture of paper. 
The bark of the willow, the beech, the aspen, the hawthorn, and the lime, 
have been made into tolerable paper; the tendrils of the vine, and the 
stalks of the nettle, the mallow and the thistle, have also been tried ; the 
bine of English hops, it is said, will furnish paper enough for our con- 
sumption, and several patents have been taken out. Straw also has been 
used, and the late Mr. Cobbett had some made from the straw of Indian 


Has nearly superseded the making of it by hand. It is exceedingly 
difficult, without wood cuts or diagrams, to explain this beautiful process, 
brought as it is, by various recent improvements, to the highest state of 
perfection; and ^ it is scarcely possible to conceive (without personal 
inspection), the wonderful celerity with which the most filthy old shreds 
are transformed, by these machines, into the purest white paper. 

Sorting and cutting the rags . — This is done by women over a wire 
frame, through which the dirt falls ; the pieces of rag, according to their 
fineness, are put into different compartments of a box, first being cut into 
the size of three or four inches square, by the blade of a long knife set 
upright upon a table. A good hand can cut and sort about a hundred 
weight a day ; the rags are then weighed and taken to the 

TV ashing Shed . — Here they are put into chests, and by the introduction 
of steam power are washed, torn and beaten; and if very dirty, they are 
boiled. The water being run off by pipes, the mass is removed to the 
press for the purpose of driving out the water which yet remains in it; 
the mass is still a dirty whited brown color, and it is now placed in the 
Bleaching Chamber . — This is composed of wood, from which the 
atmospheric air is carefully excluded. Into this chamber are conveyed 



pipes communicating with a retort, in which chlorine is formed by the 
application of heat to a due proportion of manganese, common salt, and 
sulphuric acid ; the rags are now white, hut they have an intolerable 
smell ; to free it from this it is returned to the 

W a siting Engine , when the rags are driven round as before (viz. by 
the movement of a large horizontal wheel, which is connected with 
several oval cisterns about ten feet long by five feet broad), till the 
chlorine is thoroughly forced out. They are then let offinto the 

Beating Engine. — This is similar to the washing, except that the 
knives of the roller and the plate are closer together, the roller here is 
moved with more rapidity. Having been ground here for several hours, 
the rags become pulp , very similar in its appearance to milk: the pulp, 
which is now ready, is from the machine conveyed by a valve to the 

Chest. — This is a large circular vessel which will hold several engines, 
full of pulp, or, as it is now called, stuff; the chest is twelve feet in 
diameter by five in depth. An Agitator revolves constantly round it 
to keep the stuff from sinking. At the bottom of the chest there is a 
cock, through which the pulp constantly flows into a vat , from whence it 
proceeds to the sifter (this is a wire frame, which is constantly moving 
up and down). Having passed the sifter the pulp falls like a sheet ol 
water upon the endless mire ; this wire is of the finest texture, and is 
constantly moving on at a very slow pace, with, at the same time, a 
shaking motion from side to side; the pulp (stuff) is still in a state of 
fluidity, but it soon assumes a state of consistence. Now a mire cylinder 
presses upon the pulp, and leaves some faint lines, which are sometimes 
observed in thin paper. From this cylinder its progress is onward upon 
an inclined plane, covered with flannel or felt; this absorbs gradually 
the moisture still remaining in the pulp. It is now seized by two 
rollers, which powerfully squeeze it. Here another beautiful process 
commences, viz. drying : the pulp although quite formed is still fragile 
and damp ; it is therefore passed over a large cylinder, into which heat 
is conveyed, from whence it passes over a second cylinder or drum, 
hotter than the first, and again upon a third, witha°till greater degree of 
heat ; it is then pressed on one side and passes over the smooth surface of 
a cylinder, which gives a sort of glaze or polish — and it is Paper. The 
size (made of sheeps skins, and without which we could not write upon 
paper), is now applied ; sometimes, however, it is introduced in the wash- 
ing machine. 

The paper is now mounted upon a drum, and a circular knife cuts it 
into the required lengths and breadths. The sheets are now subjected to 



rigid examination by women, to remove every knot or speck, who also 
discover any broken or torn sheet. It is now counted into quires, and 
then into mill reams of twenty quires each ; it is afterwards put into stout 
paper wrappers, which the Excisemen mark with the class of the paper, 
the number of the mill, and the duty of 3d. per lb. weight. We have 
spoken of mill reams; those can only be sold by tbe paper makers (under 
a penalty of £100), the perfect or stationer’s ream consists of 2l£ quires, 
which contains 500 sheets, fit to be printed upon, exclusive of the outside, 
or what is technically called waste. Every paper maker must take out a 
license, and every mill has a distinctive number assigned to it by the excise. 
To encourage the exportation of paper or printed books, a drawback of 
3d. per lb. weight is allowed by the Excise, a bond being given, with 
sureties, to export within a certain time. It must be observed, that 
although a sheet of paper can be made any length, so long as pulp is 
supplied, yet it cannot be made more than five feet in width. The first 
paper mill built in England was by a German, at Dartford, in the six- 
teenth century. 


It is not our intention to fatigue the reader, either with the controversy 
so long carried on (without any satisfactory result) of the origin of 
printing by moveable types, or of entering into the minutiae of this 
beautiful process by which mankind has so greatly benefited; we will 
endeavour, however, to give a general, but comprehensive description of 
the ordinary business of a printing office. First then, of the Compositor , 
who stands before a frame ; each frame has two pair of cases , the upper 
case with ninety eight partitions, which contains all the small letters, 
capitals, points, figures, &c. ; these are the Roman characters ; the lower 
case is divided into partitions of four different sizes, and in all there are 
fifty-thrse holes or boxes for the letters, apportioned in size according 
to the required want of the particular letter; as for example, the letters 
used in compositions in English are as under : 

a— 8,5C0 

h — 6,400 

o — 8,000 

V — 


b— 1,600 

i — 8,000 

p— 1,700 

w — 


c— 3,000 

j — 400 

o — 500 

X — 


d~ 4,400 

k — 800 

r — 6,200 

y — 


e — 12,000 

1 — 4,000 

s — 8,000 

i — 


f — 2,500 

m— 3,000 

t — 9,000 

SC— 1,700 

n — 8,000 

u — 3,400 


And these are not placed in their cells alphabetically, but as they are 
most frequently required ; the spaces used to divide letters and words 
are in the lower case. With a composing -stick in his left hand (this is 
a small brass frame to hold the letters temporally), the compositor picks 
upeach letter separately, places it in his stick, from which, after being filled, 
the letters are removed in amass, then forming words, to ^galley ; the page 
required being composed, it is tied tightly with thin twine and transferred 
to the chase ; this is an iron frame, in which the type is locked , by means 
of small pieces of wood being driven by a mallet tightly up the sides of 
the chase, to give the necessary margins to the pages ; the whole being in 
one complete mass, so that every letter is firmly fixed, it is called the form 
— as outer and inner form for the two sides of the paper printed. Previous 
to the forms going to press, or machine , the pages or columns of type are 
carefully corrected with the manuscript, and again revised by the 
Reader ; each compositor correcting his own matter. It is then “read 
for press,” and is printed accordingly. 

There are several sorts of printing presses, as the Columbian, Stanhope, 
&c., but where expedition, or a long number of impressions are required, 
the work is always done at “ machine.” 

After the “copies” are printed, the forms are unlocked and the letters 
distributed, that is, returned to the divisions to which each letter belongs 
in the compositor’s frame or case; when a page or form is broken by 
being badly imposed, the type thrown thus into confusion is called pie ; 
this is the approbria of the printing office, and about as welcome as the 

Printing was introduced into this country by William Caxton in 1474, 
and the first printing press was in the Almonry, Westminster Abbey. 
The first book printed was “the Game and Play of Chesse.” 


Every body has seen at the bottom of title pages the words “ stereotype 
edition,” but very few, except “the trade,” are acquainted with the 
ingenious process. The first idea of casting in metal plates emanated 
from one William Ged, a printer of Edinburgh, in 1725, and was so far 
successfully practised by him, that he was engaged by the University of 
Cambridge to print bibles and prayer books ; but, by the jealousy and 
dishonesty of his workmen, in committing wilful errors, the process was 
considered defective, and the intention quickly abandoned. About fifty 
years afterwards it was revived by Tilloch, and was subsequently 



adopted by the celebrated Didot of Paris, and ultimately brought to 
perfection by the late Earl Stanhope. It must be understood, that 
stereotype plates are only adopted for standard works, and those likely to 
have a large sale, because the outlay is considerable, although the con- 
veniences are very great, inasmuch as a reprint can take place at any 
time, and any required number, however small, can be taken off with 
the greatest facility, and the expence of recomposition in thus saved. 
We shall describe briefly the casting of the plates. The pages of the 
type are tied up separately, and the letters being rubbed over with an 
oily composition to make the mould come away freely, Gypsum 
(plaster of Paris) is then poured in a fluid state very carefully over them. 
This quickly setting, the mould is removed, and if the impression is 
perfect, the edges of the cast are dressed with a knife. The moulds are 
then baked in an oven of a settled temperature, and made by such 
means dry and hard. The mould is now placed in the casting-box 
upon what is called a floating plate , with its face downwards ; the cover 
of the casting box is then screwed down, suspended by a crane over the 
pit which contains the molten metal, gradually lowered into it, and kept 
steadily there by a lever and weight; the lid of the box being open at 
the corners, the hot metal rushes in, and the nice interstices of the 
mould are filled up. It remains here about ten mintftes, and is then 
swung into the cooling trough filled with v ater. The mould is then 
beaten away by a wooden mallet from the plate now cast, the superfluous 
metal broken off; the back of the plate is afterwards made of a sufficient 
thickness by means of a lathe (the letters standing from its face of a 
proper height), the stereotype is carefully examined, any excrescence picked 
off, and the process is complete. The plates are alittle longer (we mean 
by the margin) than the pages of the moveable types, and if kept with 
care will produce any number of impressions, equal to the ordinary type. 


In the early ages of the world a rock, a stone, or a metal plate was used 
as the means of communication. “ Come up to me into the mount and be 
there, and I will give thee tables of stone, and commandments which I 
have written.” Exodus, Chapter xxiv. Again Job, chapter xix. “Qht 
that my words were now written. That they were graven with an iron 
pen and lead in the rock for ever.” The poems of Homer are said to 
have been written on plates of lead, and many ancient documents are still 
extant in India, written upon copper ; the tablet stone is frequently met 



with, as are the sculptured rocks in the north of Europe. The Greeks 
and Romans used thin pieces of wood covered with wax. In Aristo- 
phanes, a debtor proposes to destroy his creditor’s tablet, by means of a 
burning glass while he is summing up the account. The leaves and bark 
of trees were used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans ; the latter also 
used linen painted or gummed over. Several of the Egyptian mummies 
have been found with linen manuscripts in them, and the Chinese wrote 
on silk and cotton cloths. The instrument used as a pen was a reed 
or bulrush, and these are even now used in the east to write Arabic 
characters (which are written from right to left), as being better than the 
pens made from quills : the Chinese make use of a camel’s hair penci. 
in their writing. The 44 grey goose quill” was first used about the sixth 
century. The ink upon the manuscripts dug up at Herculaneum 
appears to have been of the most durable description, as the characters 
written with it are still legible and very black. Writing upon the skins of 
animals is very ancient, and the very early copies of the Bible, preserved 
by the Jews of Cochin in India, are said to be upon leather. 


The reign of Elizabeth was the period when periodical literature first 
appeared in England. The “ English Mercurie” was published in the 
shape of a pamphlet in 1588; the first number is still preserved and to 
be seen in the British Museum; this can hardly be called a newspaper: 
the first one of a single sheet was published by Sir Roger L’Estrange, on 
the 31st of August, 1661; it was called “ the Public Intelligencer.” The 
first Gazette in England was published at Oxford (the court being there 
in consequence of the plague), November 7th, 1665; the court returning 
to London, the title was altered to “ the London Gazette.” The 
Orange Intelligencer was the third newspaper published; this was soon 
after the revolution of 1688, and was the only daily newspaper for some 
years ; in 1690 there were only nine London newspapers published 
weekly. In 1709 these were increased in number to eighteen, but still 
there was only one daily paper, which was called “ the London Courant.” 
In the reign of George I. the number was three daily, six weekly, and 
ten published three times a week. 

In 1753, the number of copies of newspapers annually published in 
the whole of England, was 7,411,757; in 1760 the circulation had in- 
creased to 9,404,790; in 1830 it amounted to 30,439,941! and since the 
reduction of the stamp duty in August, 1836, it has greatly increased. 



Although the above has been taken from a respectable source, yet it is 
doubtful if there was not some description of periodical, which was 
considered as a newspaper, anterior to the above dates, as we find that 
during the Protectorate, a memorial was presented from certain officers 
of the Post Office, praying for protection of a privilege which had always 
iten enjoyed by them, of forwarding newspapers by the post: this 
proves that the circulation of some kind of newspapers was on a 
systematic plan, prior to the year 1650. 


Was begun to be built of stone in 1 176, and was finished in 1209. It 
was nine hundred and fifteen feet long, and forty-five broad, the arches 
were nineteen in number, and, excepting the centre one, were only twenty 
feet wide. The bridge was many ages encumbered with houses on 
each side, which overhung, and leaned in a terrific manner. These at 
last becoming so dilapidated, they were wholly removed in 1756, and 
the upper part of the bridge built up in the most refined taste of that 
day; but it seems that no attempts were ever made to remove the 
unsightly and dangerous starlings upon which the piers of the bridge 
rested. The contracted space between the piers rendered the obstruction 
to the navigation of the river very great. At the ebb of the tide the fall 
of water was several feet, and the consequent sacrifice of human life 
frequently occurred. On the north east side were the water works. 
These consisted of four immense water wheels, turned by the stream, 
and which forced the water up to a basin on a tower one hundred and 
twenty feet above the level of the river. From this basin it descended 
into the main pipes, and from them it was conveyed in all directions 
through the town. These yielded to the great improvements made by 
the Water Companies, and, at last, after many patchings and contrivances, 
the bridge itself gave way to the enlarged spirit and genius of the age, 
and a Parliamentary grant produced the present beautiful Bridge, which 
!2 calculated by the solidity of its structure to last for ages. 



Tn the heart of the north Highlands of Scotland there is a narrow 
pass between the mountains in the neighbourhood of Bendearg. well 
known to the traveller who adventures into these wilds in quest of the 
savage sublimities of nature. At a little distance, it has the appearance 
of an immense artificial bridge thrown over a tremendous chasm ; but 
on a nearer approach is seen to be a wall of nature’s own masonry 
formed of vast and rugged bodies of solid rock, piled on each other as if 
the giant sport of the architect. Its sides are in some places covered with 
trees of a considerable size, and the passenger who has a head steady 
enough to look down the precipice, may see the eyries of birds of prey 
beneath his feet. The path across is so narrow that it cannot admit of 
two persons passing alongside ; and, indeed, none but natives accustomed 
to the scene from infancy, would attempt the dangerous route at all, 
though it saves a circuit of three miles. Yet it sometimes happens, that 
two travellers meet in the middle, owing to the curve formed by the pass 
preventing a view across from either side; and when this is the case, one 
is obliged to lie down while the other crawls over his body! This 
natural bridge bears a name which, however euphonous it may sound 
in Gaelic, must not be mentioned in English “ to ears polite.” The 
following legend is connected with this spot. A deadly fued had long 
existed between the families of Macpherson of Bendearg and Grant of 
Cairn, and, though apparently reconciled by the intervention of mutual 
friends the enmity still existed, and required opportunity only to burst 
forth with redoubled violence — this soon occurred One day a High- 
lander was walking fearlessly along the pass; sometimes bending over 
to watch the flight of the wild birds that built below, and sometimes 
detaching a fragment from the top to see it dashed against the uneven 
sides, and bounding from rock to rock, its rebound echoing the while 
like a human voice, and dying in faint and hollow murmurs at the 
bottom. When he had gained the highest part of the arch he observed 
another coming leisurely up on the opposite side, and being himself of 
the patrician order, called out to him to halt and lie down; the person, 
however, disregarded the command, and the Highlanders met, face to 
face, on the summit. They were Cairn and Bendearg! the two 
hereditary enemies who would have gloried and rejoiced in mortal strife 



with each other on a hill side. They turned deadly pale at this fatal 
rencounter. “I was first at the top,” said Bendearg, “and called out 
first ; lie down that I may pass over in peace.” “ When the Grant 
prostrates himself before Macpherson,” answered the other, “ it must be 
with a sword driven through his body.’’ “ Turn back then,” said 
Bendearg, “and pass as you came.” “ Go back yourself if you like it,” 
replied Grant, “ I will not be the first of my name to turn before the 
Macpherson.” This was their short conference, and the result exactly 
as each other had anticipated; they then threw their bonnets over the 
precipice and advanced with slow and cautious steps closer to each other; 
they were both unarmed, and stretching their limbs like men preparing 
for a desperate struggle, they planted their feet firmly on the ground, 
compressed their lips, knit their dark brows, and fixing fierce and 
watchful eyes on each other, stood thus prepared for the onset. They 
both grappled at the same time ; but being of equal strength were unable 
to shift each other’s position; standing fixed on a rock with suppressed 
breath, and muscles strained to the “ top of their heart,” like statues 
carved out of the solid stone. At length Macpherson suddenly removing 
his right foot so as to give him greater purchase, stooped his body and 
bent his enemy down with him by main strength, till they both leaned over 
the precipice, looking downwards into the terrible abyss. The contest 
was as yet doubtful, for Grant had placed his foot firmly on an elevation 
at the brink, and had equal command of his enemy ; but at this moment 
Macpherson sunk slowly and firmly on his knee, and while Grant 
suddenly started back, stooping to take the supposed advantage, whirled 
him over his head into the gulf; Macpherson himself fell backwards, his 
body hanging partly over the rock ; a fragment gave way beneath him, 
and he sunk farther, till catching with a desperate effort at the solid stone 
above, he regained his footing. There was a pause of deathlike stillness, 
and the bold heart of Macpherson felt sick and faint. At length, as if 
compelled unwillingly by some mysterious feeling, he looked down over the 
precipice— Grant had caught, with a death gripe, by the rugged point of a 
rock; his enemy was almost within his reach; his face was turned 
upwards, and there was in it horror and despair — but he uttered 
no word nor cry. The next moment he loosed his hold, and the next his 
brains were dashed out before the eyes of his hereditary foe ! The 
mangled body disappeared among the trees, and its last heavy and 
hollow sound arose from the bottom. Macpherson returned home an 
altered man. 



The chain of the Andes in South America presents many striking 
natural phenomena in the immense clefts which separate two contiguous 
masses of mountains, and in some instances are near five thousand feet 
deep. The valley of Icononzo is less remarkabie for its dimensions than 
for the extraordinary form of its rocks, which seem as if they were 
fashioned by the hand of man. Their naked and arid summits form a 
most picturesque contrast with the tufts of trees and herbaceous plants 
which cover the bottom of the crevasses or clefts. A little torrent has 
made itself a way through the valley, and lies sunk in a channel, which 
is so difficult of approach, that the river would hardly be passable if 
nature herself had not formed two bridges of rock, which are justly 
regarded as the greatest curiosity in that country. Humboldt and 
Bonpland crossed these natural bridges in 1801, on their route from 
Bogata to Quito. This natural arch is about forty-seven and a half feet 
long, forty-one and a half wide, and about eight feet thick in the centre. 
By careful experiments made on falling bodies, with the assistance of a 
good chronometer, combined with the measurement obtained by a 
plummet, it appears that the height of the upper of the two natural 
bridges above the level of the torrent, is about three hundred and 
thirteen feet. Sixty feet below the first natural bridge, there is another, 
formed by three enormous masses of rock, which have fallen in such a 
way as to support one another. The centre rock forms the key of the 


There is an extensive range of mountains in this State, which is called 
the Blue Ridge; near the small town of Harper’s Ferry the mountains 
rise on each side very abruptly, and their faces have a rugged and 
shattered appearance. Over the small stream, in the upper part of the 
great Valley of Shenandoah, is that splendid natural curiosity — the 
Rock Bridge. It is a noble arch of one solid mass of stone, somewhat 
curved in its highest part, and almost like the work of man. The same 
native rock forms on each side the supports of this enormous arch, which 
is said to be about eighty feet wide near the top; at the level of the 
water the width is only forty feet. The whole height from the outer top 



of the arch to the water, is about two hundred and ten feet, as ascertained 
by admeasurement with a string and a stone at the end; the vertical 
thickness of the arch is probably about thirty feet. The stream which 
runs beneath, though inconsiderable, adds to the general effect. Drops 
of water filter through the limestone and fall in quick succession from 
the arch, and, by the time occupied in their descent, their increasing 
velocity, and their full bright appearance, serve in some degree to give a 
measure of the height from which they fall, and increase the beauty of the 
scene. “Whatever may have been the origin of this bridge,” says a 
recent visitor, “ it seems pretty certain from an inspection of it, that it 
has not been produced by any sudden and violent cause.” There is 
another natural bridge in Virginia, in Scot County, which is said to be 
above three hundred and forty feet high, but is inferior to that of Cedar 
Creek in form and completeness. 


The river Salza, or Salzach, rises in the mountains of the Tyrol; but 
it is in Austria Proper that it runs the greater part of its course, at first 
pursuing a westerly direction parallel with the Noric Alps, and then 
flowing northward at no great distance from the Bavarian frontier, until 
it joins the river Inn, which forms the north O 03 tern boundary of 
Bavaria. The tourist, who is already familiar with Switzerland, would 
find much to delight and interest him, if, after lingering sometime in the 
Tyrol, he were to track the Salza at its source at Mont Brenner to its 
junction with the Inn. The valley of Salza is extensive, and the river is 
rendered impetuous by passing alternately through ravines and mountain 
defiles. The climate near the source is severe, and the snow lies there 
for several months in the year. About June the heat becomes very 
great, and the sirocco occasionally penetrates even to these regions ; but 
it seldom lasts more than a few hours, and though sensibly felt, its effects 
are greatly lessened, and its power is chiefly shown in melting the snow 
and causing a sudden flood. The Salza begins to be navigable at 
Hallien, about twenty miles above the Inn ; at five miles from its junc- 
tion it passes by Salzburg, celebrated for its saltworks. The waterfall 
of Golfing is in the upper part of its course a few miles from Hallien, 
near a mountain which rises two thousand five hundred and seventy-two 
feet above the level of the sea. Notwithstanding its grandeur, and the 
bold and romantic scenery which surrounds it, it is comparatively little 
known, owing to its lying out of the beaten path of the tourists The 

New London Bridge, — opened August 1st, 1831. 



stream has perforated the rock in its descent, and falls in a sort of curtain 
over the lower part of it into the channel at the foot. Over these 
falls, and about half way up the mountains, there is a splendid arch or 
natural bridge; and still higher, where the chasm is narrower, there is 
also a rude bridge made by hand, with a kind of balustrade for additional 
protection to the adventurous passenger. 


This city of “ bright and glittering palaces” is intersected in every 
direction by canals ; and, it is said, that there are more than 500 bridges. 
Over the grand canal, which divides the city in two equal parts, is the 
celebrated Rialto. It is affirmed by one very competent to give an 
opinion, that the term Riva-alta, or Rialto, comprehended the little island 
upon which the first church was built in Venice by the fugitives from 
the persecution of Attila, and became the nucleus of the future city; 
modern times has confined the appellation to the bridge only. 

It was commenced under the government of the Republic in 1588, 
(Pascal Cigogne being Doge), by the great Michael Angelo, and finished 
in 1594. It consists of one flat and bold arch of nearly 100 feet span, 
and only twenty -three feet above the water. The breadth of the bridge 
is forty- three feet, and is on the top divided by two rows of shops 
into three streets, of which that in the middle is the widest, and there is 
also in the centre an open archway by which the three streets communi- 
cate with one another ; the whole exterior of the bridge and of the shops 
is of marble. At each end of the bridge there is an ascent of fifty-six 
steps, and the view from the top is very beautiful. The foundation of the 
structure extends ninety feet, and rests upon 12,000 elm piles. It is 
said to have cost 250,000 ducats. 

In Shakspeare’s time it was considered the most beautiful bridge in the 
world, and this celebrity probably caused its frequent mention in his 
Merchant of Venice as a mart or exchange, “ where merchants most do 
congregate.” Our readers will also recollect Shylock’s first speech to 

“ Many a time, and oft 

On the Rialto have you rated me, 

About my monies and my usances. 1 ’ 



The first pile of this truly magnificent bridge was driven on the Sfith 
March, 1824. A cofferdam was then made; this is the name given to a 
space enclosed in a river, bydriving piles of two or three rows, the spaces be- 
tween the rows being filled up with earth, to prevent the admission of water, 
when that in the inner enclosure is pumped out. In this cofferdam the 
foundations of a pier are laid on the solid ground ; this being completed 
the first stone of the bridge was laid on the 27th of April, 1825. The 
building proceeded with great rapidity, and the first arch was keyed in 
on the 4th of August, 1827. The arcnes of the bridge being very flat 
elliptics, it was necessary that the centres (upon which the stones and 
other materials of an arch are supported during the progress of the work), 
should be particularly strong. Each centre of this bridge consisted of 
nearly eight hundred tons of timber and iron! The bridge was finally 
completed on the 31st July, 1831, having been seven years and a half in 
its building. It was opened in great state by William the Fourth, on 
the 1st of August, 1831. 

The exact situation of this bridge is 180 feet higher up the river than 
the old bridge, by which means the steep approach by Fish Street Hill is 
altogether avoided. There are five semi-elliptical arches (exclusive of two 
dry arches which pass over Thames-street and Tooley- street), the least of 
these is larger than any other stone arch of this form ever erected. The 
centre arch is 152 feet span, with a rise above high-water-mark of twenty-nine 
feet six inches ; the two arches next the centre are 140 feet in span; the 
abutments are each 130 feet in span. The roadway is fifty-three feet 
wide between the parapets, the footways occupying nine feet each ; the 
rise in the road is only one in 1 32. The length of the bridge from the 
extremities of the abutments is 928 feet ; within the abutments 782 feet* 
The bridge is built wholly of Granite, and the total quantity of stone 
used was 120,000 tons. Itcost nearly two millions sterling, partly by a 
grant from the Treasury, and the remainder by the Corporation of the 
City oi London, who are allowed to levy a tax upon coals of lOd, per 
chaldron for twenty-six years. Sir John Bennie was the Architect. 



Several bujucos are twisted together so as to form a large cable, of 
the length required to reach over the chasm of the mountains or rivers. 
Six of these are carried from side to side, two of which are considerably 
higher than the other four. On the latter are laid sticks in a transverse 
direction, and over these branches of trees as a flooring, the former are 
fastened to the four which form the bridge, and by that means serve as 
rails for the security of the passenger, who would otherwise be in no 
small danger from the continual oscillation. 


This is formed of a single rope made of bujuco, or thongs of an ox’s hide, 
and consists of several strands of six or eight inches thick. This rope 
is extended from one side of the river to the other, and is fastened ta 
each bank by strong posts. From the tartabita hangs a kind of leather 
hammock capable of holding a man, and a clue is attached at each end. 
A rope is fastened to either clue, and extended to each side of the river, 
for drawing the hammock to the side intended. On one of the banks is 
a kind of wheel or winch, to slacken the tartabita to the degree 
required, and the hammock being pushed, on first setting off, is quickly 
landed on the other side. For carrying over the mules two tartabitas are 
required, one for each side of the river, and the ropes are much thicker 
and slacker. The animal being secured by the girths round the, belly, 
neck and legs, is launched in mid air, and immediately landed on the 
opposite bank. In this manner rivers are crossed between thirty and 
forty fathoms from shore to shore, at a height above the water of twenty- 
five fathoms. 


At some convenient spot where the river is rather narrow, and the 
rocks on either side overhang the stream, a stout beam of wood is fixed 
horizontally upon or behind two strong stakes, that are driven into the 
banks on each side of the water, and round these beams ropes are 
strained, extending from the one to the other across the river, and they 
are hauled tight and kept in their place by a sort of windlass. The rope 


used in forming a bridge is generally from two to three inches in cir- 
cumference, and at least nine or ten times crossed to make it secure. 
This collection of ropes is traversed by a block of wood hollowed into a 
semicircular groove, large enough to slide easily along it, and around 
this block ropes are suspended forming a loop, in which passengers seat 
themselves, clasping its upper parts with their hands to keep themselves 
steady; a line fixed to the wooden block at each end, and extending to 
each bank, serves to haul it and the passenger attached to it from one 
side of the river to the other. The jhoola (as the bridge is called) at 
Rhampore was somewhat formidable, for the river trembles beneath in 
a very awful way, and the ropes, though they decline in the centre to 
the water, are elevated from thirty to forty feet above it; the space is 
from ninety to one hundred yards. “ It was amusing enough to see several 
of our low-country attendants,’ ’ says Frazer, “ arming themselves with 
courage to venture on this novel mode of transit, and I must confess, that 
although it was evident that the actual danger was small, it was not 
without certain uncomfortable feeling that I first launched out to cross 
the Sutlej. We found, however, that accidents do sometimes occur, and 
it was scarcely twelve months since a Brahmin, who had come from 
Cooloo, having loaded the ropes with two great a weight of his goods, 
and accompanied them himself, fell into the stream, was hurried away, 
and dashed to pieces.” 


Although, perhaps, the idea of this description of bridge may have 
been taken from the Chinese, in whose country there are several of the 
rudest and most unscientific construction, yet it was only about a century 
ago that they were adopted in this country. The first was over the Tees 
at Winch, near Durham ; it was constructed of iron wire, and was used by 
foot passengers only. In 1813 the late Mr. Telford proposed to erect a 
suspension bridge of three arches, and of two thousand feet long, over 
the Mersey, to communicate with the Bridgewater Canal. The boldness 
of the design frightened every body, and it was abandoned, Captain 
Brown was the first engineer who constructed a suspension bridge, 
capable of sustaining the heavy weights of carriages, &c. ; this was erected 
over the Tweed at Kelso, in 1820 ; it is three hundred feet in length by 
eighteen feet in width. In Paris there is a pretty suspension bridge over 
the Seine; until 1830 it bore the name of the bridge of the He, but since the 
“ glorious days’* it is called the bridge of Arcole. In the United States 


1 93 

tLere are several; the chief of which are— that at Newbury -port, over the 
Merrinack, which is a curve whose cord measures 244 feet — a second, 
over the Brandywine, at Wilmington, of 145 ft.— a third, at Brownsville, 
which measures 120 feet from point to point of suspension, and another 
close by, which has an inverted suspended arch of 112 feet cord Thp 
most remarkable in England is 


In 1818, the late Mr. Telford was employed by the then Government, 
to make surveys for the much needed improvements of the Holyhead 
road, to Ireland. Between Bangor and Holyhead, and dividing the 
main land from the Isle of Anglesea, where the latter is situate, there 
is a strait, or arm of the sea, called Menai Straits, through which the 
tide flows with great velocity, and, from local circumstances, in a very 
peculiar manner. Previous to 1818, the passage across the straits was 
accomplished by means of Ferry Boats ; these, exclusive of the delay of 
transit (no ordinary consideration, by the way, in the immense traffic with 
the Irish capital) was very frequently attended with great danger. To 
remedy this evil, Mr Telford suggested the erection of a suspension 
bridge. The obstacles to be overcome, were a rapid stream, with high 
banks : to have erected a bridge of the usual construction would have 
obstructed the navigation; besides, too, the erection of piers in the bed of 
the sea was impracticable, and the advantage of obtaining direct com- 
munication with the Sister Kingdom was of the highest importance. 

This bridge is partly of stone and partly of iron, and consists of seven 
stone arches, exceeding in magnitude every work of the kind in the world. 
They connect the land with the two main piers, which rise 53 feet above 
the level of the road, over the top of which the chains are suspended, 
each chain being 1714 feet from the fastening in the rock ; the road way 
is 100 feet above the surface of the water, at high tide ; the opening 
between the points of suspension is 560 feet; the platform is about 
30 feet in breadth. The whole is suspended from four lines of strong iron 
cables, by perpendicular iron rods, five feet apart; the cables pass over 
rollers on the top of pillars, and are fixed to iron frames under ground, 
which are kept down by masonry ; the suspending power of the chains is 
calculated at 2016 tons, the total weight of each chain is 121 tons, and 
the weight of the bridge between the points of suspension, is 489 tons. 
It is said, that “ the top masts of the first three-masted vessel which had 
passed under the bridge, were nearly as high as those of a frigate, but 
they cleared 12| feet below the level of the roadway.” As we before 




said, the idea and execution of chain suspension piers is due to Captain 
Brown, who built not only the Brighton Chain Pier, but also a very 
substantial one at Leith, which advances 233 yards into the sea; it 
consists of three arches of suspension chains, each having 209 feet in 
space; thus the pier has four supports only ; one on shore and three on 
piles in the middle of the sea. To test its capability of sustaining weight, 
a mass of 210 tons was kept upon it for some days, in addition to the 
ordinary weight of passengers, &.c. This gentleman was the builder also 
of the Hammersmith Chain Bridge. 


A very beautiful bridge has been constructed by Mr. Brunei, junior, 
across the river Avon, joining the rocks known by the name of Saint 
Vincent Rocks, at Clifton, about a mile below Bristol ; the following are 
the dimensions : — 


Distance from centre to centre of piers. . . 700 

Height of roadway above level of the water . . 240 

Width ofroadway20 feet; two footways 6 feet each, in all 32 

From the roadway to the top of the sphynx . . 100 

The gateway . . . . .40 

The base of the pier (height) . . . .120 

The road is in the centre of the bridge ; the footpaths being on each 
side, and outside of the chains and suspension rods. The Egyptian 
gateways are on a scale as large as some of the ancient ones from which 
they are copied. It will be perceived that the height from the level of the 
water is sufficient to admit of East and West Indiamen of the largest 
class to pass under it. 


A bridge of a somewhat novel construction was erected (by Mr. Leather, 
of Leeds) near Hunslet, in 1832 ; which, from its form apd contra- 
distinction to the chain suspension bridges, may not be unaptly called 
the boro and string suspension bridge. Instead of the chains, two 
strong cast iron arcs span over the whole space between the two 
abutments. These arcs spring from below the proposed level of the 

New Houses of Parliament. 


roadway, but rise in their course considerably above it; and from them 
the transverse beams, which support the platform of the bridge, are 
suspended by malleable iron rods. In the present instance, the supending 
arch is 152 feet wide, spanning over the river Aire, and the towing or 
hauling path ; and there is, besides, a small land arch of stone on each 
side. The footpaths are on the outside of the two suspending arcs, and 
the carriage-way passes between them. Each of the suspending arcs is 
in six parts, and rowelled together, and the ends fit into cups cast upon 
the springing or foundation plates, forming a ball and socket-joint. The 
cast iron transverse beams, which support the roadway, are suspended at 
about every five feet. The roadway is of timber, with iron guard plates 
on each side, and upon the top of the planking are also hard malleable 
iron bars, ranging longitudinally for the wheel racks, and transversely 
for the horse tracks. The total length of the bridge is (including 88 feet 
for two abutments) 240 feet; width of roadway, 24 feet; pathways 
7 feet each. The foundations of the bridge rest upon bearing piles, and 
the total expense was £4,200. 


This bridge, which is upon the same principle as the former, was 
built in 1827, by the same engineer, Mr. Leather. Besides the suspension 
arch, which spans over the river Aire, there are two small land arches, 
and a 24 feet elliptical arch, over the Leeds and Liverpool canal; which, 
at this point, is only about 50 feet from the river; this bridge is 


Length. ...... 260 

Span of Suspension Arch . . . .112 

Width ....... 36 

Height, from the surface of the river to the spring ) ^ 

of the suspending arcs . . . . $ 

Such are the most celebrated suspension bridges in this country (there 
are some others in the North of England and in Scotland, which we have 
not space to particularise), and it only remains to describe the principles 
upon which they are constructed. And this has been so pithily done in 
the Encyclopaedia Americana, that we close our remarks by quoting it. 



“ In these, the flooring or main body of the bridge is supported 01 
strong iron chains or rods, hanging in the form of an inverted arch, from 
one point of support to another. The points of support are the tops of 
strong pillars or small towers, erected for the purpose. Over these 
pillars the chain passes, and is attached at each extremity of the bridge 
to rocks or massive frames of iron, firmly secured under ground. The 
great advantages of Suspension Bridges consist in their stability of 
equilibrium, in consequence of which a smaller amount of materials is 
necessary for their construction than for that of any other bridge. If a 
suspension bridge be shaken or thrown out of equilibrium, it returns, by 
its own weight, to its proper place, whereas the reverse happens in bridges 
which are built above the level of their supporters.” 


The destruction of the Houses of Lords and Commons on the 15th of 
October, 1834, rendered the erection of temporary buildings necessary, 
until the plan of a splendid edifice was decided upon, equally worthy of 
this great nation and the important purposes for which it is to be used. For 
which object premiums were offered for the best design, and innumerable 
were the plans, &c. sent into the Committee of the Commons in con- 
sequence: the first prize of £1,500. was adjudged to Mr. Barry, and his 
design selected. Our engraving will give a complete idea of the 
river front, by which it will be seen that it is in the most elegant and 
elaborate style of architecture; if it has a fault (and it is ungracious to 
prejudge), it consists in its being too florid, taking into account the 
density of our atmosphere and its situation by the river side. The 
reputation which St Stephen’s Chapel has enjoyed for more than four 
centuries, as the place of legislation, has created a sort of halo around it, 
so that our modern Solons have decided it to be the only fitting site for 
their “ Palavers.’’ Although it may admit of a question, whether the 
bank of such a river as the Thames be the most elegible spot for such a 
magnificent building, there can be no doubt but that the architect, Mr. 
Barry, has made the most of the situation prescribed for him. The 
internal conveniences are as complete as the exterior is elegant; the 
latter will be a fitting and worthy companion to Westminster Abbey 
(this is no mean praise), and, together with its broad and extensive terrace 
on the river’s bank, will form a truly legitimate object of admiration 
and beauty. 




The number of pyramids in Egypt is very great; but the most 
remarkable are those at Djizeh, Sakhara, and Dashour. The great 
pyramid (that of Cheops) may be assumed to have the following 
admeasurement — viz., four hundred and eighty feet high, on a base of 
seven hundred and fifty in length, or as covering an area of about eleven 
acres, and rising to an elevation of one hundred and twenty-seven feet 
above the cross of St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

Herodotus ascribes the great pryamid to Cheops, 2095 years B. C., 
an arbitrary and savage monarch; one of the “ Shepherd Kings” who 
are supposed to have occupied the throne of the Pharoahs some time 
between the birth of Abraham and the captivity of Joseph. This 
account is so graphic, and has been confirmed by all modern writers, 
that we shall at once copy it. Speaking of Cheops, he says, “ He barred 
the avenues to every temple, and forbade the Egyptians to offer sacrifice 
to the Gods, after which he compelled the people at large to perform the 
work of slaves. Some he condemned to hew stones out of the Arabian 
mountains, and drag them to the banks of the Nile ; others were 
stationed to receive the same in vessels, and transport them to the edge 
of the Libyan Desert. In this service one hundred thousand men were 
employed, who were relieved every three months ; ten years were spent 
in the bard labor of forming the road on which these stones were to be 
drawn, a work of no less difficulty, I think, than the erection of the 
pyramid itself. This causeway is five stadia in length, forty cubits wide, 
and its greatest height thirty-two cubits. Ten years, as I have observed, 
were consumed in forming this pavement, in preparing the hill on which 
the pyramids were raised, and in excavating chambers under the 
ground. The pyramid itself was a work of twenty years; it is of a 
square form, every side being eight plethra in length, and as many 
in height. The stones are very skilfully cemented, and none of them of 
less dimensions than thirty feet. 

The ascent to the pyramid was regularly graduated, by what some call 
steps, and others altars. Having finished the first tier, they elevated 
the stones to the second by means of machines, constructed of short 
pieces of wood; from the second, by a similar engine, they were raised 
to a third, and so on, to the summit. Thus, there was as many machines 
as there was courses in the structure of the pyramid, though there might 



have been only one, which being easily manageable could be raised from 
one layer to the next in succession; both modes were mentioned to me, 
but I know not which of them deserves most credit. The summit of the 
pyramid was first finished and coated, and the process was continued 
downwards till the whole was complete. Upon the exterior were 
recorded, in Egyptian characters, the various sums expended in the 
progress of the work for the radishes, onions, and garlic consumed by 
the artificers. This, as I well remember, my interpreter informed me 
amounted to no less a sum than one thousand six hundred talents. If 
this be true, how much more must it have cost for iron tools, food and 
clothes, for the workmen ! particularly when we consider the length of 
time they were employed in the building itself, besides what was spent 
on the quarrying and carriage of the stones, and construction of the 
subterraneous apartments. According to the accounts,” he adds, “ given 
to me by the Egyptians, this Cheops reigned fifty years. He was suo- 
ceeded on the throne by his brother Cephrenes, who pursued a policy 
similar in all respects. He also built a pyramid, but it was not so large 
as his brother’s, for I measured them both. It had no subterraneous 
chambers, nor any channel for the admission of the Nile, which in the 
other pyramid is made to surround an island, where the body of Cheops 
is said to be deposited. Thus, for the space of one hundred and six 
years, the Egyptians were exposed to every species of oppression and 
calamity, not having had, during this long period, permission to worship 
in their temples. Their aversion for the memory of these two monarchs 
is so great, that they have the utmost reluctance to mention even their 
names. They call their pyramids by the name Philitis, who, at the epoch 
in question, fed his cattle in that part of Egypt.” With the exception of 
there being “no subterraneous chambers” in the pyramid of Cephrenes, 
which Belzoni has proved to be incorrect, this account may be received 
as that of any modern traveller. That the pyramids were built with 
higher objects than that of being made catacombs or tombs there can 
be no question, and the reasonable conclusion is, that they were erected 
as temples of worship. 

As we have before said, there are a number of pyramids in Egypt; the 
chief ones are those we have named. The first is situate on the west 
side of the Nile, about ten miles from its banks; and others more 
distant. Though removed several leagues from the spectator they 
appear to be quite at hand, and it is not until he has travelled some 
miles in a direct line with their bearing, that he becomes sensible of their 
vast bulk, and also of the pure atmosphere through which he had viewed 



them. They are situate on a platform of rock, about one hundred and 
fifty feet above the level of the surrounding desert ; a circumstance at 
once which contributes to their being well seen, and also to the discrepancy 
that still prevails among the most intelligent travellers as to their actual 
height. Of the several chambers in the pyramids both of Cheops and Ce- 
phrenes, and the successful efforts made by Belzoni and others to penetrate 
into them, we have not space enough to describe. The works of these travellers 
should be consulted, to elucidate further these wonderful structures. 
The base of the great pyramid is the exact size of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. 


Instead of beingcooped up like St. Paul’s, there is a noble amphitheatre 
formed by a splendid elliptical colonnade of a quadruple range of 300 
pillars. The site of this wonderful pile is upon that of the ancient 
church of Constantine; the first stone of the present edifice was laid by 
Pope Julius the second, in 1506; the first architect was Brahmante 
Lazzarri, but he dying soon after, the task devolved upon the great, the 
unrivalled Michael Angelo Buonarotti, whose sublime genius is manifest 
at every step. He kept strictly to the original design, which was that of 
a GrecTc cross, but after his death the plan was departed from, and the 
lengthy unequal Latin cross substituted ; this occasioned the great 
architectural defects of the building. Although aided by the wealth and 
power of the Roman church, yet it took 115 years and the reigns of 18 
popes to finish the temple only ! A period of 150 years more was 
occupied in building the colonnade and ornaments. Up to the year 1622 
the church cost the see of Rome forty millions of crowns, and from that 
time to 1784, ten millions more were expended : it is estimated that it costs 
now thirty thousand crowns annually to keep the immense mass in repair. 

The clear inside length of the church is six hundred and fifteen feet, 
and its breadth at the transeps four hundred and forty-eight feet ; the 
extreme height from the piazza to the cross is four hundred and sixty- 
four feet ! from the portals of the church to the extreme line of the 
ellipsis of the colonnade is nine hundred feet; so that the outside of St. 
Peter's, including its thick walls, &c., is nearly one third of a mile ! 

The masonry of the church, its cupola (which is covered on the outside 
with lead), is of Travertine stone. Vast as the structure is, it is said that 
there is a still vaster quantity of stone which remains unseen; the depth 
of the foundations, and the enormous thickness of the substructures, 



being such, that there is actually more of the material below than above 
the surface of the ground on which it stands. 

A beautiful Egyptian obelisk, which had once adorned the centre of the 
circu3 of Nero, and still remained standing on its original site, was 
removed by Domenico Fontana, one of the architects of St. Peter’s, to 
the piazza or square in the west front, which was further beautified by 
two magnificent fountains, each consisting of an immense basin nearly 
thirty feet in diameter at the level of the pavement, with a stem springing 
out of the centre, supporting two diminishing granite basins at different 
heights, and raising itself to the height of upwards of fifty feet. From 
the summit of each of these stems or shafts gushes and sparkles a 
torrent of water, the central jets of which rise to nearly seventy feet from 
the pavement in perpendicular height, and thence the water falls in 
a tripple cataract from the summit of the jets into the upper, which is 
the smallest vase or basin ; then passing over the rim of this upper basin 
in an enlarged column, it descends into the second basin, from which in 
still greater columns it drops into the lowest, the largest basin of the 
three, thus producing the beautiful effect of a cone of falling waters. 
The quantity of water thus in continual play is so great that the materials 
of the fountains are completely enveloped and hidden from view, though 
of course, from the translucency of the fluid, the general form of the 
fountain is obvious enough. The copious supply of water is brought by 
an ancient Roman aqueduct, from the Lake of Bracciano, about seven- 
teen miles from Rome; the effect of these fountains are striking and 
beautiful beyond description, and their flowing is perpetual and un- 
diminished day and night. Every thing is vast in this splendid pile, the 
interior ol which is surpassingly grand ; the figures of the Evangelists 
in the inside of the Cupola are of colossal size ; the pen in the hand of 
St. Mark is six feet long. 

The central nave is one hundred and fifty-two feet high, and eighty- 
nine feet broad ; it is flanked on either side by a noble arcade, the piers 
of which are decorated with niches and fluted pilasters of the Corinthian 
order. A semicircular vault, highly enriched with sunken pannels, 
is thrown across from side to side, and has a most splendid appearance. 
“ The Cupola” (Michael Angelo’s Cupola), says Forsyth, “ is glorious, 
viewed in its designs, its altitude, or even its decoration ; viewed either as 
a whole or apart it enchants the eye, it satisfies the taste, it expands the 
soul. The very air seems to eat up all that is harsh or colossal, and 
leaves us nothing but the sublime to feast on, a sublime peculiar to the 
genius of the architect, and comprehensible only on the spot.” The 

1. The Great Pyramid 

2. St. Peter’s at Home 

3. Strasburg Cathedral 

4. Salisbury Cathedral 

5. St. Paul's, London 
C. St. Giralda, Seville 

7. Tower of Minar, Delhi 

The tespeelive and 



Porcelain Tower, Nar 





Notre Dame, Paris 

49 1 


Monument, London 


11 . 

Leaning Tower of Pis 



bridge of Alcantara 




Mosque of St. Sophia 

proportionate heights of these several buildings 







Place Vendome, Paris 



m . 



Trajan’s Column, Rome 




Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem 



. 180 


The Luxor Obelisk, removed to Paris 




Acqueduct of Segovia 


, Constantinople 



Sphynx, Egypt 


arc shown in the cut contrasted with the height of a man of six feet. 



concave surface of the cupola is divided into compartments, and enriched 
with magestic figures of saints in mosaic and other grand works of art, 
and is brilliantly lighted from above and below. In the centre of the 
cross, where the sea of light pours down from the dome, and ten or 
twelve feet beneath the pavement of the present church, is the tomb of 
St. Peter, before which one hundred lamps are constantly kept burning. 


The present cathedral was begun in the eighth century by the French 
King Pepin, the father of Charlemagne, and finished by the latter 
monarch ; the walls of the choir still remain as originally built, but the 
rest of the ancient cathedral was destroyed in 1002. It was restored in 
1015 by bishop Werner; it is stated, that above 100,000 persons were 
employed upon it at one time upon very cheap terms, as many of them 
were paid in “ pardons and indulgences,” and yet the body of the 
church was not finished until 1275 ; the tower was yet to be built: this 
was undertaken in 1277 by Ervin de Steenbach, whose work proved him 
to have been an architect of first rate genius ; the spire was superin- 
tended, after the death of Ervin, by his son, and was completed in 1438 by 
John Hubz, By the most accurate measurement, it is four hundred and 
ninety-four feet high, being within thirty feet of the largest of the 
Egyptian pyramids. Besides its unsurpassed elevation, its structure has 
all the other characters of a perfect work. Nothing can be conceived 
more wonderful, than the consummate art by which the architect has 
combined the greatest strength with the most admirable lightness and 
airiness. The masonry does not present to the eye a solid mass, but is 
almost from the base to the summit a succession of columns and arches 
with openings between springing up, as if, instead of being supported by, 
they grew out of each other. The outline of the whole at the same time 
is one of faultless beauty, while the ornamental sculpturing is so rich 
and delicate, that its appearance has been usually compared to that of 
lace. The interior, which is very beautiful, is from east to west three 
hundred and fifty-five feet, the breadth of the nave one hundred and 
thirty-two feet, and the height is seventy-two feet. 



This is, in some respects, the most imposing structure of English 
cathedrals, and it may be said to stand completely isolated, having only on 
one side its own cloisters and chapter house : the external appearance is 
noble and striking, and the spire is the finest thing of the kind in this 
country. The inside, though it cannot vie with the magnificence of 
other cathedrals, can yet lay claim to be considered chaste and beautiful. 
The fagade of the west front is nearly in the form of a square, and is 
richly ornamented with niches, statues, tracery, &c. Over the central 
door is a large window divided into three compartments, the middle one 
rising considerably above the others. The length of this front is one 
hundred and twelve feet, but the line is extended for two hundred and 
seventeen feet farther to the south, by the west wall of the square forming 
the cloisters; east from this is the square chapter house, an octagonal 
building, fifty-eight feet in diameter by fifty-two in height. The extreme 
length of the church, externally, is four hundred and seventy-four, and 
of the transept two hundred and thirty feet; the height from the floor of 
the nave to the roof is eighty-one feet. But the glory of Salisbury 
Cathedral is its greatest central tower, with the sharp pointed spire by 
which it is crowned. The entire height is four hundred and four feet 
(according to some, four hundred and forty-three feet). It is the highest 
building of stone in England ; the tower up to the point at which the 
spire commences, is adorned with pilasters, columns, pinnacles, 8tc. : the 
spire is evidently of more modern erection, and it is said that the spire 
is, from the sinking of the tower, twenty-two inches out of the perpen- 
dicular. The cathedral (except the spire) was finished in 5260, by Giles 
de Bridport, the then bishop of the diocese. 


The following is an estimate of its dimensions : — 


From east to west within the walls .... 510 

From north to south within the doors of the Porticos . 282 

Breadth of the west entrance. .... 100 

Its circuit ....... 2292 

Its height within, from the centre of the floor to the Cross . 401 




Circumference of the Dome ..... 420 

Diameter of the Ball ...... ft 

From the Ball to the top of the Cross. . . .30 

Diameter of the Columns of the Porticos ... 4 

Their height is . . . . .48 

To the top of the west Pediment under the figure of St. Paul. 120 
Height of the Tower of the west front . . . 287 

It was commenced inl675, and finished by Sir Christopher Wren, the 
chief Architect, in 1710. It cost building £ 1 ,500,000. The extent of 
ground-plat on which it is built is 2 acres, 16 perches, 23 yards, 1 foot. 

It is built upon an eminence on the site of the ancient Gothic Cathedral 
destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666, formed entirely of Portland Stone, 
and in the purest style of Grecian Architecture, The general shape is 
that of a cross. The same architect (Wren), the same mason (Strong), 
the same Bishop (Compton), saw the first stone laid, and witnessed its 


The exterior of this Cathedral presents a grotesque grandeur 
produced by the combination of three utterly different species of archi- 
tecture. The church itself is of gothic construction, partly erected at an 
earlier period than the eighth century. The sacristy is entirely in the 
modern taste, while the court and garden adjoining with the thrice- 
famous Giralda, date from the dominion of the Arabians. This wondrous 
tower of Giralda was built towards the close of the 12th century, in the 
reign of Jacob Almanzor, by Algeber,* a famous mathematician and 
architect. Originally it rose to an elevation of 280 feet, and was 
surmounted by an iron globe of prodigious size ; which, being splendidly 
gilded, reflected, and almost rivalled the brilliancy of the sun. 
Immediately beneath this ball was the gallery, whence the mulzzims 
convoked the faithful to their stated devotions. The ascent of the tower 
is effected by a spiral stairway without steps, and of such gradual 
inclination, that a person walks up with scarce an effort, as he would 
ascend a gentle hill. In more modern times the globe has been removed, 
and a small tower of inferior diameter bas been erected above, making 

* The first who introduced Algebra into Spain. 


the entire present of the whole construction, 364 feet; more than two 
thirds of the higher pyramid. This immense mass terminates in a 
colossal statue in brass of a female, intending to represent the Faith. 
This is the famous Giralda, or weather-cock, one of the great wonders of 
Spain, and the subject of many a poetic allusion. “ It is certainly a 
little singular,’’ says a modern visitor (A Year in Spain, by a young 
American), “ that any good Catholic should have thought of setting the 
emblem of his faith for a weather-cock, to turn about with every change 
of wind ; though the different destinies which have ruled Seville, and the 
widely different religions as ages with which this same tower has been 
associated, all point to the possibility of variation. As I walked up the 
winding ascent in the interior of the tower, it was evident to me that two 
cavaliers, accoutred with spear, shield and helmet, and mounted upon 
their war horses, might easily ride side by side to the top, as is said to 
have been done on more than one occasion ; and as for the Knight of 
the Mirrors, though he told Don- Quixote many a lie, he was at least 
within bounds of probability, when he recounted his adventures with the 
giantess Giralda.” The view from this immense elevation is a very fine 
one ; the interior of the church is 420 feet by 260, with a central nave 
rising to an immense height; but the finest sight of all, is the matchless 
collection of pictures which adorn its walls ; these are by Murilla and 
Valesquez. The city of Seville is not a handsome one, and, although it 
contains some beautiful buildings, will not bear out the vain Spanish 

“ Quien no ha visto Sevilla 
No ha visto maravella,” 

which may be rendered thus, 

“ He who hath not Seville seen, 

Hath not seen strange things, I ween.” 


According to tradition, this city was founded 300 years B.C., by 
Delu ; it formerly stood on the left bank of the Jamna, and is said to 
have covered a space of 20 square miles. The emperor Shah Jehan 
built a new city in 1631, on the right bank of the Jamna; this is the 
modern Delhi. It is about 7 miles in circumference, and surrounded by 
walls constructed of large blocks of granite, having several towers and 
bastions. The city has seven gates of freestone, and contains the remains 

porcelain tower, at nankin. 


of several fine palaces, the former dwellings of the chief Omrahs of the 
empire; the palaces are each of considerable extent. There are also 
several beautiful mosques ; the largest of these, the Jumma Musjeed, 
was built by Shah Jehan, and completed in six years. The gardens of 
Shah Jehan are said to have cost a score of rupees (£1,000,000); the 
original character of which is completely lost, and they now form a neat 
park. There are also some ruins of splendid Mausoleums in good 
preservation. A remarkable tower, called the “Minar,” stands here; it 
is of great antiquity, and perfectly circular, being divided in five parts or 
stories ; it is built in a peculiar style of architecture, and is computed to 
be 262 feet in height. 


It is so called from its being entirely covered with porcelain tiles, 
beautifully painted ; the form of it is octagonal, contains nine stories, and 
is 249 feet in height; the base (which is of solid brickwork) has a wall 
12 feet in thickness, which is lessened gradually as it ascends; upon the 
top is a„pine apple upon a spire or pyramid. It has a rough marble 
balustrade surrounding it, and there is an ascent of 12 steps to the first 
floor, from whence there is access to all the other stories, but the 
staircases are very narrow, steep, and inconvenient. Upon every story 
there is a pent house on the outside of the tower, and at each corner are 
small bells, which, when moved by the wind, produce a pleasing sound. 
The interior divisions of the stories are only large pieces of timber, 
having rough boards laid across them. The ceilings of the rooms are 
ornamented with paintings, and the light to them is by lattices, made of 
wire; the niches of the wall are filled with Chinese idols, and other 
ornaments, which are said to have a very beautiful effect. It has been 
built nearly 400 years, and is still in the highest state of preservation 
and beauty. 


The present Cathedral, which dates between 1180 and 1223 as the 
period of its erection, was built upon the ruins of two churches, one of 
which may belong to late in the fourth century, and the other early in 
the fifth. The present Cathedral may be considered as uniting both 
these churches, and covering the whole space which they formerly 


occupied. The principal front is to the westward, and consists of three 
portals with apillared gallery, over which are a central and twoside windows, 
from which the light to the church is given ; and over these is another 
gallery; from these last rise two towers, each 204 feet in height, and are, 
undoubtedly, more ponderous than beautiful. The front is richly 
adorned with florid ornaments and grotesque figures. 

The walls of the church are immensely solid ; the interior is 414 feet 
in length, 144 wide, and 102 feet high. The columns which support the 
arches are nearly 300 in number, and each is formed of one block of 
stone. At the Revolution it suffered considerably, and there are only 30 
chapels which remain entire out of 48. Since the return of the Bourbons 
it has been repaired, and the choir, altar, and sanctuary, are all decorated 
in a style of extraordinary richness ; there are several paintings of merit, 
but still the character of the building is that of heaviness and gloom. 
The regalia of Charlemagne is deposited here. 


Stands at the bottom of Fish Street Hill, near the New London Bridge, 
since the building of which the space around it has been thrown open, 
and is now a very beautiful object to the sight. It is a fluted Doric 
column, two hundred and two feet in height (or, as others reckon, two 
hundred and fifteen feet), the diameter of the shaft is fifteen feet ; in the 
interior is a spiral staircase, having a gallery surrounded with an iron 
ballustrade, above which is a cippus or meta thirty-two feet high, sup* 
porting a blazing urn of brass gilt. It was begun by Sir Christopher 
Wren in 1671, and finished by him in 1677, to commemorate the 
rebuilding of the city after the great fire in 1666. That portion of the 
inscription which reflected on the Catholics has been, with very good 
taste, expunged by the City authorities. 


This celebrated Campanile , or leaning tower, is of a circular form, 
built entirely of white marble, and one hundred and eighty feet in height; 
there are two hundred and thirty steps by which you ascend to the 
summit ; on the outside of each floor is a gallery, of which there are 
eight, and is open in the interior; it was finished in 1174. The tower was 
evidently intended as a belfry for the Duomo or Cathedral, close to 

The Rialto, Venice. 



which it stands. It is a beautiful piece of architecture, but its chief 
curiosity consists in its being fourteen feet out of the perpendicular 
although it has been thought to have been built in its present inclined 
position from eccentricity on the part of the architect, yet there can be 
no reasonable doubt, but that it is occasioned by the sinking of the earth 
on one side of it. The entrance is by two beautiful bronze doors, said 
to have been brought from Jerusalem. The view of the surrounding 
country from the top is extensive and beautiful. 


Alcantara is a small frontier city of great strength, in Spanish Estie- 
madura, upon the banks of the Tagus; the town was originally built by 
the Moors, on account of the conveniences of a fine stone bridge, which 
is said to have an inscription that it was built in the reign of the Emperor 
Trajan, by the Lusitania, who were assessed to pay the expences. It 
was thus that the Moors gave to the town the name of Al-Cantara, which 
signifies the bridge. This bridge is thrown across the river at a place 
where it flows in a deep channel, between two high and steep rocks. It 
is elevated two hundred and eleven feet ten inches (some reckon it only 
one hundred and ninety-six feet) above the level of the water ; although 
it consists but of six arches, it is five hundred and sixty-eight feet in 
length and twenty-seven feet six inches in breadth; of the six arches, 
the two in the centre are ninety-four feet wide. A triumphal arch in 
honor of Trajan, rises in the centre, and a Mausoleum, constructed by 
the Roman architect (Lacer), stands at the extremity towards the town. 
This mausoleum, which owes its preservation to the enormous stones 
with which it is constructed, has been changed into a chapel, dedicated 
to St. Julian, and is now an object of veneration both to the townspeople 
and the peasantry; there is nothing else remarakable about the town, 
except the strong walls, bastions, and other works, which its situation as 
a frontier town seems to demand. 


This Mosque has been most talked of because it was anciently a 
Christian temple, and was supposed to have suggested to the Turks the 
grand dome or cupola, and which predominates in all their religious 
edifices ; if the Turks did borrow the dome from it, they have greatly 



improved upon the original, which is comparatively low and heavy, 
whilst their cupolas are lofty, light and elegant, but several of the other 
Mosques far exceed Santa Sophia in situation, boldness and beauty, 
particularly that of Sultan Achmet. The length of the Mosque of Saint 
Sophia is 114 paces; its breadth is 80, with a portico in front of 36 
feet wide ; this is supported by beautiful marble colo r> -_. t j, and commu- 
nicates with the interior by nine splendid folding doors, having some 
considerable remains of fine bas-reliefs and mosaic work ; parallel to this is a 
second portico with five gates of brass, but the ornaments have been defaced . 
The top of the Mosque has a dome of beautiful structure, said to be 113 
feet in diameter, and 189 feet in height, and is supported by immense 
pillars of white marble; it receives light from 24 wooden windows, and is 
wholly without interior ornaments, the Moslem faith not allowing of any 
statues or paintings. 


In the centre of the place, Vendome, and in the most splendid quarter 
of Paris, stands the famous triumphal pillar which Bonaparte erected to 
commemorate the success of his arms in Germany, in the campaign of 
1805. Its total elevation is 135 feet, and the diameter of the shaft is 12 
feet. It is in imitation of the pillar of Trajan, at Rome, and is built of 
stone, covered with bas-reliefs (representing the various victories of the 
French army), cast from twelve hundred pieces of cannon taken from the 
Russian and Austrian armies. The bronze employed in this monument 
was 360,000 pounds weight. The column is of the Doric order ; the 
bas-reliefs of the pedestal represent the uniforms and the weapons of the 
conquered legions. Above the pedestal are festoons of oak, supported 
at the four angles by eagles, in bronze, each weighing five hundred 
pounds. The bas-reliefs of the shaft pursue a spiral direction, from the 
base to the capital, and display in chronological order the principal 
actions of the campaign, from the departure of the troops from Boulogne, 
to the battle of Austerlitz. The figures are three feet high; their number 
is said to be two thousand, and the length of the spiral band is 840 feet. 
Above the capital is a gallery, which is approached by a winding stair- 
case within, of one hundred and seventy six steps. Upon the capital is 
the following inscription : — 



Monument eleve a la glorie de la grande armee, 


Commence le XXV. Aout 1806', termine le XV. Aout 1810, sous la 

direction de 

M. M. 1. B. Lepere et L. Gondoin — Architects. 

Over the door leading to the staircase is a bas-relief, representing two 
figures of Fame supporting a tablet, upon which is the following 



ANNO M. I). C. C. C, V. 




Foremost among the monuments of antiquity, which the hand of Time 
has left to mark the by-gone glory of imperial Rome, stands this 
beautiful column. By the description (which is still to be read) on its 
base, it was erected in the year 115, in honor of the victories of Trajan 
in his two expeditions against the Dacians ; but he was destined never 
to see this testimony of his country’s gratitude, for he died of dysentery 
at Seleucia, in 117, while engaged in his war with the Parthians, The 
column is entirely composed of white marble, having a base, a shaft in 
the Doric order, and a capital ; it is one hundred and fifty-one feet in 
height, and consists of only thirty-three blocks of marble, of which eight 
compose the base, twenty-three the shaft, and two the capital; there is a 
spiral staircase in the interior, which is entirely cut out of the same 
stones, having forty-two loop holes to admit the light ; it was anciently 
surmounted by a statue of the Emperor Trajan; but has now one of the 
apostle Peter. But the greatest beauty of the pillar consists in the bas- 
relief, which covers the whole of the shaft ; this is in the form of an 
ascending spiral riband, which has twenty-two revolutions before it 
reaches the top ; there are not less than three thousand figures beautifully 
sculptured, representing the victories over the Dacians, and two trium- 
phal processions ; the figures are each two feet in height at the bottom 




of the shaft, and double that size at the top ; the figure of Trajan 
appears at least fifty times, and the bas-relief is highly prized, as 
indicating the actual costume, warlike instruments, pontoons, &,c. of the 
period at which the column was erected. 


“ When we returned to the city (Jerusalem, says Clarke, Vol. 2., p. 
601.), we waited upon the governor to thank him for the civilities we 
had received. Upon this occasion we used all the interest we had with 
him, by means of Djezzar Pacha’s own interpreter, to obtain admission 
into the Mosque of the Temple of Solomon, or Mosque erected upon the 
site of that temple by tlfe Caliph Omar, in the seventh century (A. D. 
637). He entreated us not to urge the request, saying his own life 
would certainly be required as the price of our admission. We were 
therefore compelled to rest satisfied with the interesting view it afforded 
from his own windows, which regarded the area of the temple. The 
sight was so grand, that we did not hesitate in pronouncing it the most 
magnificent piece of architecture in the Turkish empire, and, considered 
externally, far superior to the Mosque of Saint Sophia in Constantinople. 
By the side of the spacious area in which it stands, are certain 
vaulted remains ; these plainly denote the masonry of the ancients, and 
evidences may be adduced to prove that they belonged to the foundations 
of Solomon’s Temple. We observed also that reticulated stucco, which 
is commonly considered as an evidence of Roman work. Phocas 
believed the whole space surrounding this building to be the ancient 
area of the Temple, and Golius in his notes upon the astronomy of 
Alferganes, says, the whole foundation of the original edifice remained. 
As to the Mosque itself, there is no building at Jerusalem that can be 
compared with it, either in beauty or riches. The lofty Saracenic pomp, 
so nobly displayed in -the style of the building, its numerous arcades, its 
capacious dome, with all the stately decorations of the place; its exten- 
sive area paved and variegated with the choicest marbles, the extreme 
neatness observed in every avenue towards it, and lastly, the sumptuous 
costume observable in the dresses of all the Eastern devotees passing to 
and from the sanctuary, make it altogether one of the finest sights 
Mahometans have to boast. Its supposed height is one hundred and 
twenty-five feet. 

Tombs of the Kings of Arragon. 



This obelisk was the lesser of two which stood at the entrance of tns 
Temple of Luxor, in ancient Thebes ; it is of the red granite of Syene, 
and is in height seventy-five French feet, eight to ten feet wide at the 
base, and is calculated to weigh two hundred and forty tons; it was re- 
moved from the ruins of Thebes, which is one thousand two hundred 
feet from the Nile. All the monuments of Thebes belong to a period an- 
terior to the Persian conquest, B.C. 525, and are beyond dispute theoldest 
and most genuine specimens of Egyptian architecture. Speaking of the 
magnitude of the ruins of Thebes, Belzoni says, “ It appeared to me like 
entering a city of giants, who, after a long conflict were all destroyed, 
leaving the ruins of their various temples as the only proof their former 
existence." The French, by immense labor, ingenuity, and time, (from 
the 15th of April 1831, to the 5th of August 1833,) brought it to Paris; 
the whole distance performed in the voyage was one thousand four 
hundred leagues. It is richly ornamented with Hieroglyphic characters, 
and now forms one of the many beauties of Paris. 


This is supposed to have been built by the Romans, in the reign of the 
Emperor Vespasian. Its object was to convey the water brought from 
a great distance over a steep ravine, seven hundred feet wide and more 
than ninety deep, which divided one portion of the city from the other. 
To effect this, two ranges of arches were thrown one above another. 
The upper one is on a level with the high land on either side, and has 
one hundred and fifty-nine arches. Though the middle part of the 
aqueduct is ninety-four feet from the ground, yet the bases of the 
abutments are not more than eight feet wide ; a fact which is the best 
comment upon the beauty, lightness, and perfection of the structure. 
Indeed it is even admitted, that though inferior in extent and magni- 
ficence to the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct of Segovia is yet the greater 
wonder. The stones used in the construction of this aqueduct are all 
of equal size, about two feet square, and are put together without any 
cement, depending solely upon each other to be maintained in their 
places. A very few have fallen ; but the action of the weather has 
worn away the edges of all of them, until they now appear nearly round. 
This aqueduct is one hundred and two feet in height. 

THE SPHINX —(19.) 

After innumerable difficulties and immense labor, by more than sixty 
men for seven months, Mr. Caviglia succeeded in laying open the whole 
of this extraordinary statue to its base; the huge paws were found to 
stretch out fifty feet in advance of the body, which is in a cumbent 
posture, fragments of an enormous beard were found resting beneath the 
cfnn, and there were seen all the appendages of a temple, granite table 
and altar, arranged on a regular platform immediately in front. On this 
pavement, and at an equal distance between the paws of the figure, was 
the large slab of granite just mentioned, being not less than fourteen 
feet high, seven broad, and two thick. The face of this stone, which 
fronted the east, was highly embellished with sculptures in bas-relief, 
the subject representing two sphinxes seated on pedestals, and priests 
holding out offerings, while there was a long inscription in hieroglyphics, 
most beautifully executed ; the whole design being covered at the top 
with the sacred globe, the serpent and the wings. Two other tablets of 
calcareous stone similarly ornamented, were supposed to have constituted 
part of a miniature temple, by being placed one on each side of the latter, 
and at right angles to it. One of them, in fact, was still in its place ; of 
the other, which was thrown down and broken, the fragments are now in 
the British Museum. 

A small lion.couchingin front of this edifice, had its eyes directed towards 
the Sphinx; this, and some other fragments, are all painted red; a 
color which, in Egypt, as well as in India, is appropriated to sacred purposes. 
“ The breast, shoulders, and neck,’’ says Dr. Richardson, “ which are 
those of ahuman being, remain uncovered, as also the back, which is that 
of a lion; the neck is very much eroded, and, to a person near, the head 
seems as if it was too heavy for its support. The head dress has the 
appearance of an old fashioned wig, projecting out about the ears like 
the hair of the Barberi Arabs ; the ears project considerably, the nose is 
broken, the whole face is painted red, which is the color assigned to all 
the deities, except Osiris; the features are Nubian or ancient Egyptian ; 
the expression is particularly placid and benign ; so much so that the 
worshipper of the Sphinx might hold up his God as superior to all other 
Gods of wood and stone, which the blinded nations worshipped.” As 
to toe dimensions of the figure, Pocoke found the head and neck, all that 
were then above ground, twenty-seven feet high ; the breast was thirty- 



three feet wide, and the entire length about one hundred and thirty. 
Pliny estimated it at one hundred and thirteen feet long by sixty-three 
in height. According to Dr. Richardson, the stretch of the hack is about 
one hundred and twenty feet, and the elevation of the head above the 
sand from thirty to thirty -five feet. 

According to some authors (says the Rev. Mr. Russel, from whose 
able work on Egypt we copy this), the countenance of a beautiful woman is 
combined with the body of a lion or other animal, intimating the alluring 
aspect with which vice at first assails the unwary, and the besotted mon- 
sters which she makes them when caught in her fangs. Others, again, have 
regarded them as astronomical symbols, marking the passage of the sun 
from the sign Leo into that of Virgo, and thereby shadowing forth the 
happy period when the overflowing of the Nile diffuses the blessings of 
health and plenty throughout the whole land. 

MAN— (20.) 

Average height of five to six feet. 

God spake; he look’d on Earth and Heaven 
With mild and gracious eye : 

In his own image man he made 
And gave him dignity. 

He springs from the dust. 

The Lord of the earth, 

The chorus of Heaven 
Exult at his birth. 



Aragon is one of largest provinces of Spain; yet it is, at the same time, 
one of the least populous, and the least susceptible of improvement. It 
was formerly an important kingdom, and in the preamble to one of its 
ancient laws, it is declared, that “ such was the barrenness of the country, 
and the poverty of the inhabitants, that were it not on account of tiie 
liberties by which they were distinguished from those of other nations, 
the people would abandon it and go in quest of a habitation to some 
more settled region.” Mr. Hallam is of opinion that the origin of the 
kingdom of Aragon was contemporaneous with the Moorish conquests. 
“ On both sides of the Pyrennees dwelt an aboriginal people, the last to 
under go the yoke, and who had never acquired the language of Rome.” 
After passing from the dominion of the Romans to that of the Goths, in 



470, the province fell into the power of the Moors, in 714, and was one 
of the last which was freed from them ; the inhabitants only escaping by 
parties, and at different times, A small district within it was the first 
place where the Christians re-established their power. The people are 
characterized as hardy mountaineers, but we know little of them in the 
dark period which elapsed under the Gothic dynasty. Charlemagne, in 
his conquest of Spain, the first war in which he engaged with the sole 
view to conquest, met with stout resistance here, for we find these people 
cutting off the rear-guard of the emperor, at Roncesvalles, and subse- 
quently maintaining their independence. “ The Tower of Jaca,” says 
Mr. Hallam, “ situated among long narrow ridges of the Pyrennees, was 
the capital of a little free-state, which afterwards expanded into the 
monarchy of Aragon ; such was the germe of this afterwards important 

Twenty names figure in the historian’s list of the Kings of Aragon, from 
Ramires, 1035, to Ferdinand II, 1481, by whose marriage with Isabella, 
and death of John II, in 1479, the two ancient and rival kingdoms of 
Castile and Aragon were for ever consolidated in the monarchy of Spain ; 
of which Aragon then only became, as it continues to this day, a province. 
The natures of the Aragonese rulers were as various as their fortunes ; 
and we find among their titles, the Chaste, the Conqueror, the Beneficent, 
the Just, the Great. Some of them played “ fantastic tricks,” for James I 
was made prisoner in his own palace without any communication, 
and kept in sight during every twenty days. These kings were buried 
at Saragossa ; where, in the convent of Jeronomytes, called Sancta 
Engracia, are to be seen their escutcheons, or tombs. They occupy one 
side of a cloister, amidst a mixture of ancient and modern ornaments, in 
freestone, marble-stones, and plaster, and decorated with small marble 
columns, plain and twisted. It is a desolate building of great irregularity, 
which arose from Charles 1st (1516) having ordered this cloister to be 
built pursuant to the particular request of Ferdinand, his grandfather ; 
but the money falling short, the ruins of an old cloister were used. Here 
also is buried Jerome Blancas, the highly esteemed historiographer of 
Aragon, who has not even a stone or inscription to indicate his resting 
place : although he wrote volumes to commemorate the glories of ancient 
Aragon. What is this but ingratitude ; in short, what is the whole scene 
in its crumbling decay, but a lesson upon the vanity of power and wealth; 
and as the wind sighs through the prison-like window's and beneath the 
cracking arches of this desolate place, we may meditate a motto for each 
of the regal escutcheons. “ Plow can you say to me, then, I am a king !’ 

WkM tfMtSSs 



I 3 situate in a beautiful island in the Bay of Bombay ; it is called by 
the natives, Goripura, or Mountain City-, its common name ofElephanta 
is derived from a colossal figure of an elephant, cut out of a detached 
mass of blackish rock, unconnected with any stratum below ; this figure 
has had another on its back, which has been sometimes called a young 
elephant, but there can be no reasonable doubt, from a close inspection 
of what remains, that it was a tiger. The head and neck of the elephant 
separated from the body in 1814 ; the length of this colossal figure is, 
from the forehead to the tail, 13 feet 2 inches, and the height is 7 feet 4 
inches; this figure stands about 250 yards from the landing place, on the 
south of the island. After proceeding up a valley till the two mountains 
unite, there is a narrow path, ascending which you have a beautiful view 
of the island, and of the opposite shores of Salvette. “ Advancing 
forward,” says Mr. W. Erskine, “ and keeping to the left along the bend 
of the hill, we gradually mount to an open space and come suddenly on 
the grand entrance of a magnificent temple, whose huge massy columns 
seem to give support to the whole mountain which rises above it. The 
entrance into this temple, which is entirely hewn out of a stone resem- 
bling porphyry, is by a spacious front supported by two massy pillars and two 
pilasters, forming three openings under a thick and steep rock, overhung 
by brushwood and wild shrubs. The long ranges of columns that appear 
closing in perspective on every side; the flat roof of solid rock that 
seems to bfe prevented from falling only by the massy pillars, whose 
capitals are pressed down and flattened, as if by the superincumbent 
weight; the darkness which obscures the interior of the temple, which is 
dimly lighted by the entrances, and the gloomy appearance of the 
gigantic stone figures ranged along the wall, and hewn like the whole 
temple out of the living rock; joined to the strange uncertainty that 
hangs over the history of this place, — carry the mind back to distant 
periods, and impress it with a kind of uncertain and religious awe, with 
which the grander works of ages of darkness are generally contemplated. 
The whole excavation consists of three principal parts; the great temple 
itself, which is in the centre, and two smaller chapels, one on each side 
of the great temple. These two chapels do not come forward into a 
straight line with the front of the chief temple, are not perceived on 



approaching the temple, and are considerably in recess, being approached 
by two narrow passes in the hill ; one on each side of the grand entrance, 
but at some distance from it. After advancing to some way up these 
confined passes, we find each of them conduct to another front of the 
grand excavation, exactly like the principal front which is first seen ; all 
the three fronts being hollowed out of the solid rock, and each 
consisting of two huge pillars with two pilasters. The two side fronts 
are precisely opposite to each other on the east and west, the grand 
entrance facing the north. The two wings of the temple are at the upper 
end of these passages, and are close by the grand excavation, but have no 
covered passage to connect them with it. 

From the northern entrance to the extremity of this cave is about one 
hundred and thirty and a half feet, and from the eastern to the western 
side one hundred and thirty-three feet. Twenty-six pillars, of which 
eight are broken, and sixteen pilasters support the roof. Neithpr the 
floor nor the roof is in the same plane, and consequently the height 
varies ; being in some parts seventeen and a half, in others fifteen feet. 
Two rows of pillars run parallel to one another from the northern 
entrance, and at right angles to the extremity of the cave ; and the 
pilasters, one of which stands on each side of the two front pillars, are 
followed by other pilasters and pillars also, forming on each side of the 
two rows already described another row running parallel to them up the 
southern extremity of the cave. The pillars on the eastern and western 
front, which are like those on the northern side, are also continued across 
the temple from east to west. 

Thus the ranges of pillars form a number of parallel lines, intersecting 
one another at right angles, the pillars of the central parts being con- 
sidered as common to the two sets of intersecting lines. The pillars vary 
both in their size and decorations, though the difference is not sufficient to 
strike the eye at first. The walls are covered with reliefs, and all these 
refer to the Indian mythology. The deities of the Hindoo Pantheon 
amount to three hundred aqd thirty millions, yet all these gods and 
goddesses may be resolved into three principal ones, Vishnu, Sheva, and 
Brahma, the elements, and the three females, Doorgo, Lukshumu, and 
Surnswutu, of which, together with some inferior deities, we shall give a 
brief account. Brahma is likewise styled the great one. The Hindoo 
mythology states that the world was all darkness when the self-existent 
god, Bramhu, who was desirous of forming different creatures by an 
emanation of his own glory, first created the waters and impressed them 



with a power of motion. By that motion was produced a golden egg, 
*• blazing like a thousand suns,” from which was born Brahma, the parent 
of all rational beings. He is represented with four heads and as many 
arms. His name signifies knowledge, in allusion to his creative power. 
He is the god of fate, master of life and death, and, in conjunction with 
Vishnu and Sheva, armed with almighty power, pursues throughout the 
whole creation the rebellious Deutahs or malignant spirits, who are led 
astray by Mahasoor, their chief, hurling upon them the Aguyastra, or fiery 
bolts of vengeance. Brahma is considered as the author of the Vedas; he 
is also the great lawgiver and teacher of India. The Hindoo mythology 
resembles in many respects that of the Scythians, Persians, Egyptians, 
and Greeks. Vishnu is represented as a black man, with four arms; in 
one a club, in the other a shell, in the third a chukru, and in the fourth a 
water-lily. He rides on a Guroorn, an animal half-bird half-man ; the 
Shasters give an account of ten incarnations in the character of a pre- 
server, and he is said to have brought up the sacred books from the 
bottom of the sea : his character is beneficent, and his appearance is 
gentle and pleasing. He may be said to counteract the evil produced by 
Maha Deo and his unamiable consort. Sheva, Seva, or Shiva, is represen ted 
as a silver-colored man, and many points of resemblance may be traced 
in his character to the Bacchus of classical mythology. Sheva is called 
the destroyer, and well does he merit the epithet ; the sacrifices offered 
at bis shrine, and to placate his wrath, are beyond every idea sanguinary 
and bloody : they are the most cruel of all the Hindoo rites. When the 
poor victim, a sharp hook drawn through his back, is suspended high in 
mid-air and swung round with a dizzying vehemence, the object is to 
honour Sheva; when the deluded fanatic, from some towering eminence, 
throws himself on hundreds of pikes lying concealed beneath heaps of 
lightly strewed straw, Sheva is supposed to be well pleased and to smile ; 
when the fakir lies on an iron bed of spikes, or is seated for years upon a 
monument, exposed to cold, storm, and blast, with his hands and arms 
elevated, until the course of the blood he changed, and the nails of the 
fingers protrude into the flesh, Sheva looks down with a complacent and 
benignant smile, and when the old man dies, he is sure to be received to 
the crown of paradise. 

The rock-cut temples of India are generally supposed to be of higher 
antiquity than pagodas or temples built on the surface of the earth. 




After scrambling for two hours up and down many a dangerous cliff, 
and along the brink of many a frightful precipice, we entered a nearly 
impenetrable forest, from which we only emerged to behold a repetition 
of the same savage scenery, which accompanied us to the wonderful 
grotto ; around which nature seemed to concentrate all her terrors, so as 
to render it a perfect Tartarus. A tremendous pile of rocks reared their 
giddy heights to the clouds; upon one of those lesser peaks, the majestic 
ruins of a castle threatened to crush us with its crumbling walls. The 
river Poick in one place was tearing a passage through a perfect chaos 
of shattered crags ; in another turning a mill, till at length it rushed in a 
torrent through the contracted glen beneath, and such was the violence 
of its current, that the frail bridge thrown from rock to rock, over which 
we passed, trembled beneath us. In general we see rivers tumbling 
down from tops of mountains, and then fertilize a valley ; but in this wild 
country, as if every thing in it were to border on the marvellous, we see 
a river, after its descent, enter the earth and entirely disappear. 

The entrance to the grotto is secured by a door, which, being opened, 
we were met by flocks of owls and bats, scared by the pine torches of the 
guides. We proceeded through a long spacious gallery of about a 
hundred paces, when it suddenly opened into an immense cavern of the 
most colossal height, but this was merely the vestibule to the most 
magnificent of nature’s temples; for at length we arrived beneath a vast 
dome, whose altitude, by torch light, seemed immeasurable ! This 
splendid hall was fifty-feet broad, seventy feet long, and encrusted with 
stalactites of the most surpassing beauty, sparkling like diamonds, and 
appeared worthy of being the palace of the Gnome King himself. The 
floor is quite level, and a few wooden benches and rustic chandeliers, 
told that this was the hall in which the peasants, by a merry dance, 
celebrated annually the festival of their patron saint. From hence the 
caverns branch off in different directions ; not in long galleries, but in 
a succession of grottos. Those to the left are numerous, spacious, and 
lofty ; while the others, though smaller, are more varied in their 
fantastic forms. As we advanced they became more elevated, and the 
columnsmore majestic, till, after traversing two leagues in theheart of the 

Barcelona Gate. 




earth, our progress was terminated by deep subterranean lake. Itwould 
be impossible to describe with any degree of accuracy, the varied, 
natural architecture of this city of stalactites (spars like icicles). In one 
place we appeared to wander through the aisles of a gothic cathedral, 
supported by columns of the most gigantic height, sometimes uniform 
and sometimes clustered together, as if fluted. Some of the smaller 
grottos are entirely inlaid with stalactites, and as they reflected the 
burning torches, appeared one blaze of light. The sparry masses 
exhibited every form which the invention of the guides could devise; 
in one place we had crystal cascades of the most dazzling brightness; 
in another, rows of pillars, ornamented with festoons; here triumphal 
arches, and there the Emperor’s throne surmounted by a crown. In 
short, the whole range appears as if real objects had been metamorphosed 
into crystal, by the power of some mighty magician. However, 
it is not only the beauty of the stalactites, and their innumerable forms 
that arrest our attention, but the foaming river Poick, which here again 
makes its appearance, roaring in the horrible abyss beneath, by the side 
of whose frightful gorge, and across whose rocky ridges, we frequently 
bent our course. Here the unbroken solitude that reigned, the un- 
earthly stillness, save the crash of the mighty flood, the supernatural 
appearance of every object around, might impress even the least 
imaginative w ith a sort of superstitious terror. 

On our return, the guides set fire to a bundle of straw, part of which 
they threw into the abyss beneath, when a scene of grandeur ensued 
perfectly indescribable. The whole intermediate space, from the almost 
fathomless gulf in which the river is rushing, to the loftiest above, was 
instantly illuminated by the bright glare, forming a lively representation 
of the infernal regions. The grottos at Muggendorf, in Franconia, 
however interesting, are mere mouse holes compared with this, which 
equals in colossal grandeur its own gigantic Alps. 


Barcelona is of very great antiquity, having been founded more than 
two centuries, B. C., by Hamilcar Barcas, father of the great Hannibal, 
from whom it derives its name. It made no great figure under Roman 
domination, having been eclipsed by the immense city of Tarroco, now 
Tarragona. When the Saracens overran Spain, Barcelona shared the 
common fate, and yielded to the dominion of Mahomet. Its remoteness, 
however, from Cordova, the seat of the Saracen empire, rendered its 
tenure very precarious, and accordingly, in the ninth century, if was 



recovered by Louis le Debonnaire, son of the great Charlemagne. He 
created it into a county palatinate, and vested it in the family of Bernard, 
a French noble. The Counts of Barcelona continued to yield allegiance to 
the French crown, until it voluntarily relinquished its sovereignty in the 
thirteenth century. The county became annexed to Aragon by marriage, 
as the latter afterwards blended itself with Castile, to form the present 
Spanish monarchy, whose kings still use the title of Counts of Barcelona. 
After the discovery of America, Barcelona became a vast magazine 
where goods of wool, silk, fire arms, cutlery, with almost every other 
species of manufacture, were prepared for the distant colonies of Spain. 
Such was Barcelona’s former state; her present is a very different one. 
Her manufactures of cutlery and fire arms are ruined and forgotten, the 
wines and brandies of Catalonia, the cotton and woollen goods which 
used formerly to be carried to every corner of America, are now either 
shipped away by stealth, or consumed only in Spain; and in place of the 
ships and brigs whose tall masts once looked like a forest within the 
mole of Barcelona, there are now to be seen only a paltry assemblage of 
fishing boats and felleucas, and one of its chief exports is the celebrated 
Barcelona nut, of which to England it was, in 1836, thirty thousand 
bags; the value of which was forty-five thousand pounds. 

Barcelona yields only to Madrid and Valencia in extent and popula- 
tion. Antilion estimates the latter at one hundred and forty thousand. 
The greater part of the city is ill-built, with streets so narrow that many 
of them are impassable for carriages. This is especially the case in the 
centre, where the old Roman town is supposed to have stood, from the 
ruins found there ; arches and columns of temples, incorporated with 
the squalid constructions of modern times. Here the public square, or 
Plaza, is formed with arcades and balconies ; the scene of many an 
auto-de-f&, and many a bull fight. It has, however, witnessed one 
redeeming spectacle; for it was here that Ferdinand and Isabella, 
attended by a wondering and proud array of cavaliers and courtiers, 
received from Columbus the tribute of the new found world. The 
churches of Barcelona are not remarkable for beauty, but the custom- 
house is a noble edifice, and so is the exchange. In the latter, public 
schools are established, for teaching the sciences connected with naviga- 
tion and the arts of architecture, painting, and statuary. These noble 
institutions are maintained at the expense of the city, and all, whether 
natives or strangers, children or adults, may attend the classes 
gratuitously, and receive instruction from able masters. The other 
public edifices are, the palace where the Counts of Barcelona resided, and 



in which the ancient Cortes held their sittings; convents and the 
cathedral: this was begun in the thirteenth century, but is not yet 
completed. There are also thirty-four fountains in Barcelona, in the 
various squares and public places. Barcelonetta is a suburb of Barcelona, 
inhabited principally by sailors. 


This extraordinary stone is situated at Castle Treryn, about two miles 
distant from the Land’s End. The name of Castle Treryn is derived 
from the supposition of its having been the site of an ancient British 
fortress, of which there are still some obscure traces, although the wild 
and rugged appearance of the rocks indicate nothing like art. 

The foundation of the whole is a stupendous group of gigantic rocks, 
which rise in pyramidal clusters to a prodigious altitude, and overhang 
the sea. On one of these pyramids is situated the celebrated Logan 
Stone, which is an immense block of granite, weighing above sixty tons. 
The surface in contact with under rock is of very small extent, and the 
whole mass is so nicely balanced, that, notwithstanding its magnitude, 
the strength of a single man applied to its under edge is sufficient to 
change its centre of gravity, and though at first, in a degree, scarcely 
perceptible, yet the repetition of such impulses at each return of the stone 
produces at length a very sensible oscillation ! As soon as the astonish- 
ment, which this phenomenon excites, has in some measure subsided, 
the stranger anxiously enquires how and whence the stone originated ? 
was it elevated by human means, or was it produced by the agency of 
natural causes ? Those who are in the habit of viewing mountain masses 
with geological eyes, will readily discover that the only chisel ever 
employed has been the tooth of time; the only artists engaged, the 
elements. Granite usually disintegrates into rhomboidal and tabular 
masses, which by the farther operation of air and moisture gradually 
loose their .solid angles, and approach the spheroidal form. De Luc 
observed in the giant mountains of Silesia, spheroids of this description 
so piled upon each other, as to resemble Dutch cheeses. Although the 
Druidical origin of the stone, for which so many zealous antiquarians 
have contended, may fairly be denied, still we by no means intend to 
deny that the Druids employed it as an engine of superstition; it is, 
indeed, very probable, that having observed so uncommon a property, 
they dexterously contrived to make it answer the purpose of an ordeal, 



and by regarding it as the touch stone of truth, acquitted or condemned 
the accused by its motions. Mason alludes to this supposed property in 
the following lines — 

" Behold yon huge 

And unknown sphere of living adamant. 

Which pois’d by magic, rests its central weight 
On yonder pointed rock : firm as it seems, 

Such is its strange and virtuous property, 

It moves obsequious to the gentlest touch 
Of him whose heart is pure ; but to a traitor, 

Tho’ e’en a giant’s prowess nerved his arm. 

It stands as fix’d as Snowden.” 

The rocks are covered with a species of byssus, long and rough to the 
touch, forming a kind of hoary beard. In many places they are deeply 
furrowed, carrying with them a singular air of antiquity, which combines 
with the whole of the romantic scenery to awaken in the minds of the 
poet and enthusiast the recollection of the Druidical ages. 

An act of wanton mischief was committed in 1824, by a Lieutenant 
Goldsmith, of the preventive service, who, with his men, threw down, for 
a lark , the Logan Stone from its time-honored seat ! However, the 
gentleman was obliged by the Board of Admiralty to replace it at his 
own expense, which was a task of no ordinary difficulty. 

The process of its restoration was thus described by an eye witness : 

“ Penzance , Nov. 6, 1824. 

“ The Logan rock is replaced, and rocks as before : it was put up on 
Tuesday last, after three days’ labor, by the help of three pair of large 
sheers, six capstans, worked by eight men each, and a variety of pulleys. 
Large chain cables were fastened round the rock, and attached to the 
blocks by which it was lifted. Altogether there were about sixty men 
employed. The weight of the rock has been variously computed by 
different persons, at from seventy to ninety tons. On the first day, 
when the rock was first swung in the air, in the presence of about two 
thousand persons, much anxiety was felt by those who' were present, as 
to the success of the undertaking ; the ropes were much stretched ; the 
pulleys, the sheers, and the capstans, all screeched and groaned ; and 
the noise of the machinery was audible at some distance. Many were very 
apprehensive lest so vast a weight might snap all the ropes, and tumble 
over the precipice, bearing the sheers and scaffolding away with it; 
however, the whole has gone off with great success. The materials 

Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse. 



(which were all furnished gratis, from the dock-yard at Plymouth) were 
excellent, and ingeniously managed ; and though a rope or two broke, 
and a link of one of the chains tore away a small piece of an angle of the 
rock, which was thrown with much velocity into the sea, yet the rock 
was safely supported by its complicated tackling, and stands once more 
in precisely its former position ! Lieutenant Goldsmith, who threw it 
down, was the engineer in replacing it ; and, in the opinion of many of 
the gentlemen of this town and neighbourhood, he has, by his skill and 
personal labor and attention, in some degree wiped away the disgrace to 
which he was exposed by throwing it down. 


Throughout the whole range of the Polynesian and Australasian 
Islands, there is scarcely a league of sea unoccupied by a coral reef, or a 
coral island ; the former springing up to the surface of the water, per- 
pendicularly from the fathomless bottom, “deeper than did ever plummet 
sound,” and the latter in various stages, from the low and naked rock, 
with the water rippling over it, to an uninterrupted forest of tall trees. 
“ I have seen,” says Dalrymple, in his inquiry into the formation of 
islands, “ the coral banks in all their stages j some in deep water; others 
with a few rocks appearing above the surface; some just formed into 
islands, without the least appearance of vegetation; others with a few 
weeds on the highest part ; and lastly, such as are covered with large 
timber, with a bottomless sea, at a pistol»shot distance.” In fact, as 
soon as the edge of the reef is high enough to lay hold of the floating sea- 
wreck, or for a bird to perch upon, the island may be said to commence. 
The dung of birds, feathers, wreck of all kinds, cocoa-nuts floating with 
the young plant out of the shell, are the first rudiments of the new 
island. With islands thus formed, and others in the several stages of 
their progressive creation, Torres’ Strait is nearly choked up; and 
Captain Flinders mentions one island in it covered with the Casuarina , 
and a variety of other trees and shrubs, which give food to paroquets, 
pigeons, and other birds, to whose ancestors, it is probable, the island 
was originally indebted for this vegetation. The time will come — it may 
be ten thousand, or ten millions of years, but come it must — when New 
Holland, and New Guinea, and all the little groups of islets, and reefs, 
to the north and north-west of them will either be united in one 



great continent, or be separated only with deep channels, in which the 
strength and velocity of the tide may obstruct the silent and unobserved 
agency of these insignificant, but most efficacious laborers. 

A barrier reef of coral runs along the whole of the eastern coast of New 
Holland, “among which,” says Captain Flinders, “we sought fourteen 
days, and sailed more than five hundred miles, before a passage could be 
found through them out to sea.” Captain Flinders paid some attention 
to the structure of these reefs, on one of which he suffered shipwreck. 
Having landed on one of these new creations, he says, “ we had wheat- 
sheaves, mushrooms, stag’s-horns, cabbage leaves, and a variety of other 
forms, glowing under water, with vivid tints of every shade betwixt 
green, purple, brown and white.” “ It seems to me,” he adds, “ that 
when the animalcules, which form the coral at the bottom of the ocean, 
cease to live, their structures adhere to each other, by virtue either of 
the glutinous remains within, or of some property in salt water; and the 
interstices being gradually filled up with sand and broken pieces of coral 
washed by the sea, which also adhere, a mass of rock is at length 
formed. Future races of these animalcules erect their habitations upon 
the rising bank, and die in their turn, to increase, but principally to 
elevate this monument of their wonderful labors.” He says, that they 
not only work perpendicularly, but that this barrier wall is the highest 
part, and generally exposed to the open sea, and that the infant colonies 
find shelter within it. A bank is thus gradually formed, which is not 
long in being visited by sea-birds; salt-plants take root upon it, and a 
soil begins to be formed ; a cocoa-nut, or the drupe of a pandanus, is 
thrown on shore ; land-birds visit it, and deposit the seeds of shrubs and 
trees ; every high tide and gale of wind add something to the bank ; the 
form of an island is gradually assumed, and, last of all, comes man to 
take possession. 


It has been truly observed, “ that there are few things finer in Europe 
than this monastery ;” it is situate in the lowest western chain of the 
Alps, which divides France from Savoy ; it is sixteen miles from Grenoble 
and twelve from Les Echelles in Savoy, which is on the great road from 
France to Italy, by Mount Cenis and Turin. Proceeding from Les 
Echelles to the Grande Chartreuse, you cross the Guiers Vif and 
enter trance immediately, for this little river here divides the two 


countries of France and Savoy ; your way is then along the plain, for 
three or four miles towards the mountains which surround it, and which 
rise so high, and so steep, and so without any apparent opening, that 
you cannot fancy where the road will lead to. At last when you come 
close under them, you find that an enormous notch, as it were, has been 
cut down into them from top to bottom, just wide enough to leave room 
for a roaring mountain torrent, which comes hurrying down, and 
presently falls into the Guiers Vif. 

This torrent is called the Guiers Mort (dead Guiers), as the name of 
the other means living Guiers. Up the banks of the former you must 
make your way in the deep notch before mentioned; so deep, indeed, 
that in winter the sun can hardly be seen over the tops of the cliffs, 
and so narrow that there is only room for the chafing torrent and a 
narrow road, or rather track, cut through the wood along its side. The 
trees all the way are magnificent, chiefly pines and beech, and they 
grow to an enormous size. You proceed through this sort of scenery for 
seven or eight miles, ascending all the way, and in some places the track 
is very steep, and is cut in zig zags, to render the ascent more easy ; for 
you are now going up towards the source of the dead Guiers, and the 
ground appears to rise to you, and so rapidly, that the stream comes 
down in a succession of waterfalls, and the track is now extremely steep. 
At last, when you have ascended to a great height, you find an opening 
in the mountains on your left hand, where another little torrent comes 
down into the Guiers, and this is not such a mere notch as the glen up 
which you have been toiling ; but is wide enough to have some pasture 
m it, and the green open fields look quite refreshing amidst the dark 
masses of wood around them. Along this opening you ascend some 
distance, and then, just at the head of this little valley, under high walls 
of cliff rising abruptly out of the pines, is the Monastery of the Grande 
Chartreuse. It is a very large pile of buildings, like one of our colleges, 
enclosing an oblong square, or rather cloister, the length of which is 
six hundred and seventy-two French feet. You first are shown into a large 
out building, where you leave your horses, and where you are met by 
a lay brother, who conducts you to the stranger’s room of the monastery. 
Here you may have any sort of needful refreshment except meat, for the 
monks are of the Carthusian order, which is very strict, and forbids the 
use of meat. The lay brother then attends you round the building. The 
cells of the monks are ranged along the sides of the great cloister, with 
little mottos from scripture, or from some religious book, painted outside 
the doors. Each cell includes two rooms and a sort of closet for books, 



besides a lumber or wood room, opening into a little garden enclosed 
within four walls ; but when you look beyond the walls, or rather up 
into the sky, you see the magnificent boundary wall of cliff crowned with 
pines on its summit, and a cross affixed on the highest peak of all. By 
each cell door is a small hole in the wall, at which the father’s prov'sions 
are given in to him; for they only dine in the hall on Sundays and 
holidays, and even then they do not speak to one another ; for the. rule 
of the Carthusians is one of the strictest of all the monastic orders, and 
they may not speak either to one another or to strangers without the 
leave of their superior. 

Before the French revolution the monks had a very considerable 
property in the forests which surround their monastery. But at the, 
revolution they were deprived both of their forests and their monastery; 
the former were sold to different individuals, but the latter could never 
find a purchaser; its remote situation rendering it unfit for any other 
purpose than that for which it had been originally designed. Accor- 
dingly, when the Bourbons came back in 1814, the monks returned to the 
Grande Chartreuse, and to the possession of the meadows immediately 
around it, with the liberty of getting their fuel from the adjoining forests. 
In 1830, there were about two hundred and fifty persons belonging to the 
monastery, including the fathers and the lay brothers. They visit the 
sick, and perform spiritual duties in the small chapels and churches 
scattered over the surrounding mountains. For eight months in the 
year the snow lies round the monastery, and, of course, the climate is too 
cold either for corn or fruit, but in the summer months, when strangers 
commonly visit it, the bright green of the pastures, and the magnificent 
size of the buildings, like a little habitable and humanized spot in the 
midst of the forests and cliffs, form a scene not only most sublime, but 
even cheerful and delightful. 


The ancientcity extended from the ridge of mountains which skirt the 
Arabian Desert, to the similar elevation which bounds the valley of the 
Nile on the west, being in circumference not less than twenty-seven 
miles. The modern Egyptians, either with the view of obtaining 
materials at little expense of labor, or in order that their hovels might be 
secure from the periodical inundations of the river, are commonly found 
to have built, their villages on the ruins of an ancient temple or palace, 



even on the very summit of the roof, and most elevated part of the walls. 
Hence the grandeur of Thebes must be traced in four small towns or 
hamlets, Luxor, Karnac, Medinet Abou, and Gornoo : and first, of the 


in apt) reaching this temple from the north the first object thatone sees is 
a magnificent gateway, which is two hundred feet in length, and the top 
ot it, fifty-seven feet above the present level of the soil. In front of 
the entrance are two of the most perfect obelisks in the world (one of 
these has been removed to Paris, and which we have described before), 
each consisting of a single block of red granite. Between these obelisks 
and the propylon, are two colossal statues also of red granite ; they ara 
nearly of equal size, but, from the difference of the dress, it is inferred 
that the one was a male and the other a female figure. Though buried 
in the ground to the chest, they still measure about twenty-two feet from 
thence to the top of their mitres. On the eastern wing of the north 
front of> the propylon or gateway there is sculptured a very animated 
description of a remarkable event in the campaigns of some Egyptian 
conqueror. The disposition of the figures, and the execution of the 
whole picture are equally admirable, and far surpass all ideas that have 
ever been formed of the state of the arts in Egypt, at the era to which 
they must be attributed. The moment chosen for the representation of 
this battle is that when the troops of the enemy are driven back upon 
their fortress, and the Egyptians in the full career of victory are about 
becoming masters of the citadel. Our space forbids a full description 
of this wonderful picture, of which Mr. Hamilton says, in concluding 
his remarks upon it, “ It is impossible to view, and to reflect upon a 
picture so copious and so detailed as this, without fancying that I saw 
here the original of many of Homer’s battles, the portrait of some of the 
historical narratives of Herodotus, and one of the principal groundworks 
of the description of Diodorus. And to complete the gratification, 
we felt that, had the artist been better acquainted with the rules of 
perspective, the performance might have done credit to the genius of a 
Michael Angelo or a Julio Romano. To add to the effect, in front of 
this wall had been erected a row of colossal figures of granite; fragments 
of some of them, still there, sufficiently attest their size, their character, 
and the exquisite polish of the stone.” All this magnificence is lavished 
on a gateway ! On passing it, the traveller enters a ruined portico of 
very large dimensions, and from this double row of seven columns, with 



lotus capitals twenty-two feet in circumference, conducts him to a court 
one hundred and sixty feet long, and one hundred and forty wide, 
terminated at each end by a row of colnmns, beyond which is another 
portico of thirty-two columns, and then the adytum or interior part of 
the building. It is conjectured, with much plausibility, that this is the 
edifice to which the description of Diodorus applies, as the palace or 
tomb of the great Osymandias ; allowance being made for his embellish- 
ments, in which he has introduced some of the more striking features 
that distinguish the largest buildings of Thebes. The whole length of 
this temple is about eight hundred feet. 


This is the largest now at Rome, and perhaps in the world; it stands 
in front of the Lateran Church. It was originally erected by the 
Emperor Constantius, in the Circus Maximus, after being brought from 
Egypt in a ship built expressly for the purpose. Pope Sextus the fifth 
set it up in its present place, in 1588, after it had lain on the ground, 
broken in three places, for several centuries. Though the shaft has 
sustained some damage at the base, it is still one hundred and five feet 
long, the width of the two larger sides at the base is nine feet eight 
inches and three fifths, and of the smaller nine feet. It now stands on 
a kind of pedestal, quite unsuited to the simple character of the genuine 
Egyptian supports. The whole height at present, with its pedestal and 
ornaments on the top, is about one hundred and fifty English feet, and 
the weight of the obelisk itself may probably be about four hundred and 
forty tons. It is made of the red granite of Syene. 


Tradition has invested the site of the Cathedral with an antiquity 
which does not belong it. According to such erroneous idea, it is said to 
have been originally a temple, consecrated to the Goddess Diana by the 
Romans, very shortly after their invasion of Britain. Mr. Wren, the 
son of the great Architect, in his Parentalia , completely overturns this 
notion, and proves that the first religious temple built on this spot was 
in 610, by Ethelbert, king of Kent, the first of the Saxon princes who 
was converted to Christianity by St. Augustine. It is true, indeed, that 
when the excavations were made for the foundation of the present 
Cathedral, there was found many Roman funeral vases, lacrymatorie*, 

Tower of London, 



and other things used in sepulture; next to these, rows of skeletons of the 
ancient Britons, and immediately above them Saxons in stone coffins or 
graves, lined with chalk; but this proves only that it was a very ancient 
place of sepulture, and nothing more. The original church we find 
was dedicated to St. Paul, and the old chronicles tell us that it was 
greatly indebted for its beauty of structure to St. Erkenwald, who was 
bishop of the diocese in 675. It was destroyed by fire in 961, and 
restored in one year, so that its dimensions could not have been very 
considerable. Fire again destroyed the church in 1,087, at which time 
Mamki, the Norman bishop, rebuilt it on an enlarged scale at his own 
expense. In 1135, while this building was in progress, a fire partially 
consumed it. According to ancient writers this church was six hun- 
dred and ninety feet in length, by one hundred and thirty in breadth, 
surmounted by a spire five hundred and twenty feet in height; this 
building was repaired by De Belmeis, but it was not finished until the 
time of bishop Niger, who held the see in 1,240. Some considerable 
additions were made after this, and the church was not completed until 
1,315, in the reign of Edward the Second, who was the ninth king from 
the laying of the first stone. This was the building which is called 
“ Old St. Paul's,’’ and the immediate predecessor of the present splendid 
pile. It was said to have been the largest Cathedral in the world, and 
before it was deformed by the many repairs rendered necessary by time, 
and in which a variety of incongruous ornaments were added, a most 
handsome and imposing structure; but it became a heap of inelegance 
and confusion. In 1315, the spire (which was of timber) was taken 
down and a new one erected, and a ball -with a cross was for the first 
time fixed upon it. 

The great storm of February 1, 1444 (unparalleled in this country), 
did the building immense injury, lightning setting fire to the wooden 
spire, and it was not until 1,462, that the gilded ball again ornamented the 
summit. On the 4th of June, 1561, it was again exposed to another 
dreadful conflagration. A plumber, who was repairing the spire, left his 
pan of coals there while he went to dinner ; the coals by some means 
ignited the wood, and the fire raged with such force, that in a few hours 
nothing was left of the immense pile but blackened walls. 

Although it was again rebuilt by public subscription of Queen 
Elizabeth, and all classes of her subjects, and opened for public 
worship in five years, yet it was greatly shorn of its original beauty, -and 
the spire was not rebuilt. So slight, indeed, was the whole structure 
(tiom the haste with which it was rebuilt), that before the end of the 
Queen’s reign it had so fallen into decay, that the cost of repairing it was 



estimated at £20,000, and, for want of necessary funds, the repairs were 
not commenced until 1,608, when it was become so ruinous tnat one 
hundred thousand pounds was raised for the purpose, and the reparations 
if the Cathedral were entrusted to the celebrated Inigo Jones; but these 
were stopped by the civil wars in 1,642, and the Parliament seized upon 
the remainder of the funds raised, sold the unused buildings to pay the 
troops, and it is said that even the scaffolding was sold to discharge the 
arrears of pay due to Colonel Jephson’s regiment. During this period, 
al though a part of the interior of the Cathedral was desecrated by the 
erection of barracks for troops, shops, &c., still divine service 
was performed at the east end. In this state it remained until the 
Restoration, when it was again put under repair by a public subscription, 
raised in August, 1,663, and was progressing rapidly until September, 
1,666, when the Great Fire of London reduced it to ashes, and the 
present magnificent Cathedral rose in its place ; a glorious proof of Sir 
Christopher Wren’s taste and genius. An encouraging omen is said to 
have occurred at the commencement of the present Cathedral. When 
Sir Christopher was laying down his plan for the great Cupola, it is 
related, that upon his desiring a workman to bring him a flat stone, to 
use as a station, the man obeyed him, and brought one — the fragment of 
a tombstone, upon which was the single word “ Resurgam." 


Tradition, which loves to cling to the marvellous, has also given greater 
antiquity to this building (or rather incongruous mass of erections) than 
ithas any claim to. Leaving to the more curious the question of its Roman 
origin, the most reasonable conclusion is, that of Messrs. Britton and 
Brayley, who say “ that the Londinium of the Romans, was at once a 
fortress, a fort, and a municipium, is attested by the best informed 
historians and antiquarians, and that the site of the present Tower would 
be the most likely spot to be chosen for a place of defence is deducible 
from its situation. It is a tract of land gently raised above the river, 
the Essex marshes, and those on the opposite side of the Thames, where 
a fortification was afterwards formed by the Saxons, and called South- 
wark;” and the latter adds, “that no historian who can be relied on, 
furnishes us with the slightest ground for supposing that any fortifica- 
tion of importance ever did exist here, until the erection of the Citadel 
or Keep, called the White Tower. This was built by command of the 
Conqueror, by a celebrated military architect, Gundulph, Bishop of 
Rochester; but whether there were any outer works does not appear” 



A great tempest having injured this tower in 1092, it was repaired by 
order of William Rufus, but was not finished until the reign of Henry 
the First. The moat was not added until the time of Richard the First ; 
this was done by Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, who was Regent during 
the absence of Richard in the Crusades. 

Henry the Third made it his almost constant residence during his 
troublesome reign, and added greatly to the Tower as a place of security 
and defence; and many of the buildings now extant may be dated from 
this reign (viz. 1240); such as the stone gate and bulwark to the west 
entrance. He also repaired and whitened it (hence the name of the White 
Tower which it now bears) the large tower built by the Conqueror, and 
extended the fortress by a mud wall on the west part of Tower Hill. 
Edward the First also added mnch to its strength. Edward the Fourth 
surrounded it by a brick wall. The church of St. Peter ad vincula, was 
rebuilt by Edward the First and Third. It is only remarkable as con- 
taining the earthly remains of Anne Boleyn, and Katharine Howard, 
Queen’s of Henry the Eighth ; Cromwell, the favorite and victim of that 
monarch ; Lady Jane Grey, Earl of Essex, &c. Of the other principal 
buildings within the walls of the Tower, the grand store house was begun 
by James the Second and finished by William the Third, and the small 
armory was entirely built in the latter reign. From the reign of Henry 
the Eighth it has ceased to be a Royal residence, and has only a bad 
eminence as a state prison since that period; the wise and good here 
felt the power and the tyranny of the Tudors and the Stuarts. Until the 
time of James the Second a court was held in the Tower, and the 
monarch proceeded from thence to be crowned at Westminster. In 
1792 the moat was cleansed, and sluices opened to admit the water from 
the Thames. The horse armory was, in 1825, chronologically arranged 
by Dr. Merrick, and contains many figures of ancient warriors (twelve of 
which only are authenticated), and is a very beautiful sight; there is also the 
Jewel office, which contains the “ Regalia,’’ the small armory, where the arms 
are numerous and well arranged, and a small menagerie of wild animals. 

The extent of the Tower within the walls is twelve acres and five rods; 
the exterior circuit of the ditch is three thousand One hundred and 
fifty-six feet. The ditch on the side of Tower Hill is broad and deep, 
but on the side next to the river it is narrower. On the wharf is a plat- 
form, where sixty-one nine-pounders are mounted ; these are fired on 
great occasions, such as the Queen’s Birthday, Proclamation of Peace, &c. 
The principal entrance is on the west side over a stone bridge; this is for 
carriages ; there is another entrance over a draw bridge near the south 



west angle, and a water entrance called Traitor's Gate ; state prisoners 
lysing formerly conveyed through this gate. 


The Appollinopolis Magna of the Greeks is one amongst the wonders 
of Egypt. There are now two temples in a state of great preservation ; 
one of them consisting of high pyramidal propyla, a prondos, portico, 
and sekos, the form most generally used in Egypt : the other peripteral, 
and is at the same time distinguished by having on its several columns 
the appalling figure of Typhon, the emblem of the Evil Principle. 

The pyramidal propylon, which forms the principal entrance to the 
greater temple, is one the most imposing monuments extant of Egyptian 
architecture. Each of the sides is one hundred feet in length, thirty 
wide, and one hundred high. Many of the figures sculptured on it are 
thirty feet in height, and are executed in so masterly and spirited a style, 
as to add considerably to the grand effect of the building. In each 
division there is a staircase of one hundred and fifty or one hundred and 
sixty steps, which conduct the visitor into spacious apartments at 
different elevations. The horizontal sections of each wing diminish 
gradually from one hundred feet by thirty to eighty-three by twenty, as 
appears to the eye ; although the solidity and height of the propylon give 
it more the aspect of a fortress or place of defence than of the approach 
to a religious edifice. As an explanation of this peculiarity we are told 
that the addition of these gateways to a temple, was permitted as a favor 
to such of the ancient kings of Egypt as, for their pious and beneficent 
actions, became entitled to perpetuate their names in the mansions of 
their gods. The Ptolemies, who claimed the right of sovereignty from 
conquest, indulged in the same magnificence, and built porticos, propyla, 
and even temples. Cleopatra in her misfortunes, is said to have removed 
with the most valuable part of her property to an edifice of very 
extraordinary size and structure, which she had formerly erected near 
the fane of Isis. Most probably, as Mr. Hamilton thinks, it was a 
propylon of the kind just described. Nothing could be better adapted 
for her purpose; inasmuch as the variety of apartments offered every 
convenience that could be desired, and when a small door at the bottom 
of the staircase was closed, it was perfectly inaccessible. 

In no part of Egypt are more colossal sculptures seen on the walls of a 
public building, than on the larger temple at Edfou. These we are told, 
%'“?■ extremely well executed, and in some places the colors are still com- 



pletely unchanged. Priests are seen paying divine honors to the 
Scarabceus, or beetle, placed upon an altar; an insect which is said to 
have been typical of the sun, either because it changes its appearance 
or place of abode every six months, or because it is wonderfully 
productive. Dr. Russell, of whose account of these ruins we have availed 
ourselves, laments that both these temples, though well preserved, are 
almost concealed amongst the heaps of dirt and rubbish ; indeed, the 
entrance of the larger one is occupied by several mud cottages belonging 
to the villagers, and the interior chambers of the sekos are indiscrimi- 
nately used as sinks, granaries, or stables. 

r ‘ To what base uses may we come, Horatio ?” 


The Heavens afford the most sublime subject of study which can be 

derived from science. The magnitude and splendour of the objects, 

the inconceivable rapidity with which they move, and the enormous 


distances between them, impress the mind with some notion of the 
energy which maintains them in their motions, with a durability to which 
we can see no limit. Equally conspicuous is the goodness of the great 
First Cause, in having endowed man with faculties, by which he can 
not only appreciate the magnificence of His works, but trace with pre- 
cision the operation of His laws, use the globe which he inhabits, as a 
base wherewith to measure the magnitude and distance of the sun and 
planets, and make the diameter of the earth’s orbit the first step of a 
scale by which he may ascend to the starry firmament. 

Such pursuits will enable the mind at the same time to inculcate 
humility, by showing that there is a harrier which no energy, mental or 
physical, can ever enable us to pass ; that however profoundly we may 
penetrate the depths of space, there still remains innumerable systems 
compared with which those apparently so vast must dwindle into insig- 
nificance, or even become invisible; and that, not only man, but theglobe — 
nay, the whole system of which it forms so small a part — might be annihi- 
lated, and its extinction he unperceived in the immensity of creation. If 
such be the subjects contemplated by this beautiful science (and who can 
doubt it), how delightful the means by which we can arrive at this 
great consummation ! The Copernican or Newtonian philosophy being 
admitted to be the only accurate system by which we can be guided in 
pursuing our study of Astronomy, we shall pass over all the speculative 
theories of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians (the first cultivators 



of the science of which we have any authentic account), by merely 
observing that after ages of philosophic dispute whether th e Ptolemaic, 
the Tychonic, the Cartesian, and Copernican was the true one, and when 

— “ Nature’s laws lay hid in night, 

God said, let Newton be, and all was light.” 

For he it was who laid down the laws of nature and motion ; and compar- 
ing all the phenomena in the Heavens, discovered the trm system of the 
universe ; his discoveries confirmed the accuracy of the Corpernican 
system of astronomy, and demonstrated, by irrefutable arguments, that 
it was impossible to be otherwise, without subverting all the beautiful 
regularity of the laws of Nature. 


The sun is placed nearly in the centre of the orbits of all the planets, 
and in those orbits they move round the sun, each in its periodical time. 
The sun keeps always in or near the same place, but has a central motion 
on his own axis from east to west , once in twenty-five days and a half, 
which is evident from the maculae or spots on his disk, which are 
always observed to move in the same manner ; but as the sun has no 
circular motion he can have no orbit. 

The orbits of all the planets are nearly circular, having the sun for 
their centre ; but to speak more accurately they are ellipses, having the 
sunin thefocusof each. These orbits are not all of them alike ; although 
they do not vary much, they intersect one another in lines that pass 
through the centre of the sun ; and the places of the orbits where they 
intersect are called the JCodes. 

All the planets move round the sun in the same way, which is from 
west to east, and are called primary planets . 

The number of planets at present known is eleven. They are Mercury, 
Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Herschel or Uranus, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, 
Vesta. The first five are visible tot he naked eye, and have been known 
from the earliest periods. Herschel is also visible to the eye without 
the aid of a glass on a very clear night ; the remaining four can only 
be seen by a telescope. By the Newtonian system, Mercury is placed 
nearest to the Sun, and then in succession, Venus, the Earth, Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, &c., and to these succeed the fixed stars, supposed to 
be the centres of other systems. 

Mercury and Venus, moving within the orbit of the earth, are called 
inferior planets, and as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, &c., revolve in larger 



orbits than tne Earth they hear the names of superior planets. The 
Earth has one , Jupiter four, Saturn seven, and Uranus six moons ; 
these are called Satellites, and they are denominated secondary ‘planets. 
At the same time that the Planets perform their revolutions round the 
Sun (by which the period of their year is regulated), they also revolve 
round their own axis, and by these means they have a succession of 
day and night. 




“ Mighty being ! brightest image and representative of the Almighty ! 
supreme of the corporeal world ! Unperishing in grace and of undecay- 
ing youth !” 

Astronomical calculation proves to us the immense magnitude of this - 
luminary, which, to the eye, appears little larger than the earth’s 
attendant moon; but its diameter is reckoned to be five hundred and 
thirty-nine times larger than all the planets put together ! It is the 
source of light and heat to all the planets. Of the Malculse or dark 
spots, they are supposed to be occasioned by the smoke and opaque 
matter, thrown out by volcanoes or burning mountains of immense 
magnitude, and that when the eruption is nearly over and the smoke is 
dissipated, then the fierce flames are exposed, and they appear like 
feculce or luminous spots. Though the sun is the central body of the 
system, yet it has been well ascertained that the various attractions of 
the circumvolving planets, give it a partial motion round the centre of 
gravity of the system. 

The degrees of light and heat which the planets derive from the sun, 
are always communicated in greater or smaller portions, not only in 
proportion to their distance from it, but according as its position is more 
or less oblique to any given part of the planets’ surface. This is the 
reason that we, who live at such a distance from the equator, have the 
coldest weather when the sun is nearest to us, viz. in winter ; and the 
reason of this is obvious ; for as the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit 
bears but a trifling proportion to the distance of the earth from the sun, 
and therefore, of itself, can occasion no great difference of heat and cold 
to us in the different seasons, it follows that the remarkable difference 
which we experience must be owing to the relative directions of the 
solar raya 

Thus in winter, the sun’s rays fall so obliquely upon us that any 
given number of them will not only fall with less force, but must be 
spread over a greater portion of our part of the earth’s surface. Besides, 
the sun’s continuance above the horizon being considerably shorter in the 
winter, and the nights much longer, must of course, further contribute 
to increase the cold. 

Some may imagine from this, that as the sun always gives most heat 
when his rays are the most perpendicular, the hottest, part of our 
summer should be when the sun is in the first degrees of Cancer; i. e.. 

£aturn, Jupiter, Mars. £artH. Venus. Mercury. 

Comet of 1811. Sun atul Spots. Venus. 



towards the end of July. But our experience tells us that the heat is 
generally greatest in the latter part of the summer. This may be 
attributed to the following cause. When any part of the earth’s surface 
has been fairly heated, it will retain the heat for some time; and as the 
nights, which in the middle of summer are very short, increase but 
slowly, and the days are proportionately long, the heat of the earth must 
he continually augmented in the day-time more than it is diminished in 
the night, till the sun has declined considerably from the tropic, in its 
return to the equinoctial. 

For this reason, the month of July and the greater part of August 
will be hotter than June, unless during the former months a great deal 
of rain should fall; in the same manner we find it hotter in the after- 
noon than in the forenoon. By the contrary rule, places which have 
been thoroughly cooled, will require some time to recover their heat ; 
thus the weather will be colder a month or two after the winter solstice 
than before it. 

It is to be observed, that the sun’s rays are so much refracted towards 
the earth by the atmosphere at its rising and setting, as to bring it in 
si°bt every clear day before it reaches the horizon, and keep it in view 
for some minutes after it has descended below it in the evening. 
Trvitight is thus caused ; when the sun has withdrawn from our sight 
it still continues to shine upon the atmosphere above us, from which the 
light is reflected upon us, till it is eighteen degrees below the horizon, 
after which, the part of the atmosphere above us, which is dense enough 
to reflect its rays, loses them entirely, and it becomes dark. 


Is the nearest planet to the sun, and performs his annual revolution in 
eighty-eight days of our time. He is supposed to be thirtj'-seven 
millions of miles distant from the sun, and that his own diameter is three 
thousand miles ; he is computed to move at the rate of one hundred and 
nine thousand miles an hour. His proximity to the sun prevents the 
Astronomer from making accurate observations ; but he is supposed to 
be peopled, although his light and heat are seven times greater than 
those of our own earth ; at his greatest distance, he is only twenty-seven 
and a half degrees from the sun, and at other times is so near as to rise 
and set at almost the same moment. 




Is distant from the sun nearly sixty nine millions of miles, she revolves 
round him in two hundred and twenty-four days and seventeen hours; 
and on her own axis in twenty-three hours and twenty-three min , j*ea. 
She is seven thousand seven hundred and forty-three milts in diameter, 
moves in her orbit at the rate of eight thousand two hundred and ninety- 
five miles per hour, and her diurnal rotation is one thousand nine 
hundred and forty-three miles in the same space of time. Her greatest 
distance from the sun is never more than forty-eight degrees, so that she 
never appears in the east when the sun is in the west, nor in the west 
when the sun is in the east. When Venus is observable in the morning 
before the rising of the sun, she is called by astronomers Phosphorus , 
or the morning star, and sometimes, after the sun’s setting, when she 
is termed Hesperus, or the evening star. Venus is, of all planets, the 
most beautiful, and emits the brightest rays ; she is the second planet 
from the sun. 


Like other planets, is not a perfect sphere, its equatorial diameter being 
seven thousand nine hundred and sixty- four miles, while its axis is seven 
thousand nine hundred and thirty miles; showing a difference of rather 
more than thirty miles. Her distance from the sun is ninety-five millions 
one hundred and seventy- three thousand miles, and she makes her revolu- 
tion round him in three hundred and sixty-five days six hours nine minutes 
and a quarter, which is her year. The axis of the earth is not perpen- 
dicular to the plane of her ecliptic, but inclined to it at an angle of twenty- 
three degrees twenty-eight minutes; round this axis she revolves in 
twenty-three hours fifty-six minutes and four seconds, which is the 
length of the astronomical day. 

The inclination of the earth’s axis (says Mr. Pinnock), is the principal 
cause of the variety or change of seasons ; for as the axis of the earth 
always preserves its parallelism in her revolution round the sun, at one 
part of her orbit she receives most of the light and heat on her northern 
hemisphere, and at another part on her southern, according as her north 
or south pole is turned towards the sun ; while in two points of her 
orbit both hemispheres are equally enlightened. That the earth if) r« 



globular form may be inferred by analogy ; as all the other heavenly 
bodies which are visible to us are globes, there is little reason to doub 
tnat the earth is so likewise. 

About two thirds of the earth are covered with water, whose surface is 
rounded to conform with the general shape of the earth. On this surface 
we can sail round the earth in all parts of it, and in all directions ; this 
nas been proved repeatedly by navigators. Our own experience also 
proves this; for example, when one leaves the coast in a ship, mountains, 
euifices, all prominent objects sink by degrees, and at length disappear as 
if they had sank into the ocean. Now this effect is not to be attributed 
to distance , which only causes objects to appear smaller, but when we 
lose sight of land from the deck we perceive it again by ascending the 
masts. The same is observed when a ship leaves the shore. It declines 
by little and little, and finally disappears, descending below the horizon 
like the sun at its setting. These phenomena, which are observed 
continually, and in all directions, prove that the surface of the sea is 
convex , and that it is by its interposition that distant objects are 

The motion of the earth in her orbit round the sun, is called her 
annual motion , and that round her own axis, her diurnal motion , 
which at the equator is about one thousand and forty-two miles an hour. 
The earth is surrounded by a compound fluid substance, called the atmos- 
phere, which consists of air mingled with aqueous vapours, and other 
exhalations from her surface. It has been stated before, that the orbit 
of the earth is not a perfect circle, but inclines to the Elipse, and that 
the sun is not exactly in its centre. From this cause the earth is some 
days longer in passing one half of her orbit than she is in traversing the 


Is the satellite of the earth, and while she revoives rouna, her primary 
revolves also round her common centre, the sun ; and by her thus occupy- 
ing the earth in her course round the sun, she is called a secondary 
planet, or satellite. The diameter of the moon is only two thousand 
one hundred and seventy miles, and her distance from the earth is two 
hundred and forty thousand miles. Her period of revolution round the 
sun is, of course, the same as that of the earth. That the moon is an 
opaque body, shining only with reflected light, is evident from the 
different appearances which she assumes, for if she shone by her own 



native light she would always appear full; but as she shines only by 
reflecting the light of the sun, her luminous parts put on different shapes, 
according to her situation as respects the earth. The time that elapses 
between one new moon and another, is greater than the moon’s revolution 
in her orbit; the first, which is called a lunation , being twenty-nine 
days and a half, and the second, which is denominated a periodic month, 
only twenty-seven days and a half; the reason for this is obvious, for as 
the earth during the moon’s revolution must have passed through 
nearly one twelfth part of her orbit, the moon must traverse more than 
the circumference of her’s before she can be in conjunction so as to 
become a new moon. The moon’s orbit is inclined to that of the earth 
about five degrees, and the two points where they cross each other are 
called her nodes. If the moon is in one of these at the time of her 
conjunction, she directly interposes between the earth and sun, and 
occasions a total eclipse of the latter. If she be full in one of her nodes , 
she passes through the earth’s shadow, and is herself totally eclipsed. 

The moon revolves on her axis in twenty-nine days and a quarter, 
which being exactly the time from one new moon to another, occasions 
her to present always the same part of her surface to the earth. In 
consequence of this, the earth is now seen from one half of the moon, 
while to the other half it is visible in exactly the reverse order of the 
moon to the earth. The motion of the moon in her orbit is irregular, in 
consequence of the attraction of gravitation ; for not only is she acted 
upon by the earth and sun, but also by the other planets ; and as this 
attraction varies in proportion as they approach to or recede from her, 
the accurate calculation of her motion is a matter of great difficulty. The 
moon when viewed through a telescope, presents an appearance which in- 
dicates that its surface is made up of hills, valleys, & c. Her axis is nearly 
perpendicular to the plane of the Ecliptic ; that the sun never removes 
sensibly from her equator, consequently her days and nights must be 
equal, each more than fourteen times as long as ours, and there can be 
no variety of seasons. The light emitted by the moon (beautiful as it is) 
produces no heat; for if her rays, concentrated by a powerful mirror, be 
thrown on the bulb of a thermometer, no effect is perceptible. Indeed, 
experiments have shown that the light of the full moon is three hundred 
thousand times less than that of the sun. Of the moon’s influence on the 
weather, the tides, and the human constitution, is perhaps doubtful, 
although it has the authority of great names. Madmen are called 
lunatics, from the moon’s Latin name Luna. Shakspear many times 


alludes lo its influence. “ Being governed as the sea is — by the moon,” 

“ It is the very error of the moon. 

She comes nearer to the earth than she is wout, 

And drives men mad." 


Is the first of the superior planets; his orbit is immediately above that 
of the earth, and revolves round the sun at the nearer distance of one 
hundred and forty-five millions of miles ; this planet is chiefly remark- 
able for his dull red light, which is supposed to have occasioned his 
being considered by the ancients as the God of battle. 

Mars is much smaller than the earth, being only four thousand two 
hundred and twenty-nine miles in diameter. He makes his revolution 
round the sun in six hundred and eighty-six of our days twenty-three 
hohrs and a half, with the velocity of fifty-five thousand two hundred 
and eighty-seven miles per hour. He revolves on his own axis in 
twenty-four hours and forty minutes, at the rate of five hundred and 
fifty-six miles per hour, at his equator. Mars changes like the moon, but 
never forms a crescent as the inferior planets do. From his dull light, it 
is conjectured that he is surrounded by a thick, cloudy atmosphere; his 
light is much less brilliant than Venus, though he *is sometimes, from his 
position, nearly equal to her in magnitude. The analogy between Mars 
and the Earth is closer than that of any other planet, except in relation 
to his atmosphere, which is denser than ours. 


This is the largest of all the planets, being eighty-nine thousand one 
hundred and seventy miles in diameter, about one thousand four hun- 
dred times larger than the Earth. His distance from the Sun is 
reckoned to be four hundred and ninety millions of miles, and he moves 
in his orbit at the rate of twenty-five thousand miles an hour, or about 
ojie fourth of the velocity of IHercury ; this he does in eleven years three 
hundred and fifteen days and fourteen hours; but his astronomical day 
is not half so long as ours. The diurnal rotation on his own axis is 
amazing, being at the rate of twenty-six thousand miles per hour! 
Jupiter, when viewed through a good glass, appears to have a luminous 




atmosphere, in whicn spots and streaks are seen, the latter of which are 
called Belts. That these are formed in some fluid substance is evident, 
from their frequently varying their form, number, and their direction. 
Sometimes several belts are seen across the body of the planet, sometimes 
these are joined in one broad belt, and sometimes (but very rarely) 
they appear to be in a diagonal direction. The form of Jupiter is that 
of an oblute spheroid, his equatorial diameter exceeding his axis by six 
thousand miles; this, however, is so small in comparison with his bulk, 
as to detach but little from his rotundity. The axis of Jupiter is nearly 
perpendicular to the plane of his orbit, so that he has no variety of 
seasons — and here is another proof of infinite wisdom ; for had his axis 
been much inclined, vast tracts round the Pole would have been deprived 
of the Sun’s influence for six of our years together. This planet is 
attended by four satellites, which revolve round him as their primary, 
and with him round the Sun ; these satellites were discovered by 
Galileo , in 1610, who called them Medicean stars, in compliment to the 
family of Medici, who were his patrons. 


Is next to Jupiter: this is the most stupendous planet of our system, and, 
except Uranus , the most distant ; and in consequence of his remote- 
ness, his light is but pale and feeble. Saturn is distant from the Sun 
nine hundred million of miles, and as his motion in his orbit is only 
twenty-two thousand one hundred miles an hour, he is consequently 
twenty-nine years one hundred and seventy-four days two hours in 
completing his annual revolution. The diameter of Saturn is seventy- 
nine thousand six hundred miles, so that he is about one thousand times 
as large as the Earth; for globular bodies are to each other as the cubes 
of their diameters. The inclination of his axis to the planes of his orbit 
is very small, no doubt for the same wise reason which occasioned 
Jupiter’s to be so; because, were it otherwise, each of Saturn’s poles would 
be immersed alternately, in fifteen years, in partial darkness ; at least 
it would be that period without the influence, and even the sight of 
the Sun. 

As Saturn is more than twice the distance of Jupiter from the Sun, 
the light which he receives from him must be proportionably small, 
but this deficiency is made up by his having an atmosphere resembling 
that of Jupiter, and with seven attendant satellites, but with two 



luminous rings, which encompass his body at a considerable distance 
from it, and shines with reflected light. Many conjectures have been 
formed respecting these rings, but from their immense magnitude, and 
their appearing to be opaque, shining only from reflected light, they 
are probably solid, habitable, bodies. Besides these rings, Saturn has 
seven satellites revolving round him at different distances. 

Saturn turns on his axis in ten hours and fifteen minutes, at thg rate 
of twenty-two thousand four hundred miles per hour at his equator ; 
belts similar to those of J upiter are frequently seen on his surface, which 
probably proceed from the same causes. 

Four new planets have been discovered within the present century ; 
their orbits are between Mars and Jupiter ; they are named 


Which is considered to be nearest to the Sun, and her mean distance 
from him is computed at two hundred and twenty-two millions of miles. 
She is very small, but no accurate estimate has yet been formed of her, 
some saying that her diameter is only eighty, while others reckon four 
thousand miles. She performs her revolution round the Sun in five 
years and twenty-three days; the length of her day and night is 


Is two hundred and sixty-five millions of miles from the Sun; she per- 
forms her revolution round him in four years twenty-one days and a half. 
Her diameter is estimated at one hundred and sixty miles. 


Is two hundred and sixty-five millions of miles from the Sun, and makes 
her circuit in the same time as Ceres. Herschel estimates her diameter 
at thirty miles, but others at one hundred and ten miles. 


Is two hundred and ninety millions of miles from the Sun, and is five 
years one hundred and eighty-two days and a half in performing her 
course. She appears like a star of the eighth magnitude ; the measure of 
her diameter is not known. Her orbit lies between Mars and Ceres. 




The whole starry firmament contains ninety-four constellations, and 
is commonly described in three chief parts, as'follows : — 

First— The zodiac, which contains twelve constellations, commonly 
called the twelve signs of the zodiac. The zodiac is sixteen degrees 

Second — All that space between the zodiac and the North Pole, con- 
taining the thirty-five northern constellations. 

Third — The regions south of the zodiac, containing forty-seven con- 

A constellation is a convenient portion or number of stars, whichlie 
contiguous to one another, and for the purpose of distinction is named 
after some animal or object, which if there delineated, would fill up that 
space as it appears to the eye. By this decision, the stabs are so 
distinguished from one another, that any particular star may readily 
be found in the heavens by means of a celestial globe, or map, on which 
the constellations are so delienated, that the most remarkable stars are 
placed in such parts of the figures as are most easily distinguished. 

The magnitude of the stars in the constellations is distinguished 
chiefly by the letters of the Greek alphabet, that is , the first letter 
(alpha,) is placed by the largest star in the constellation, whether of 
the first magnitude or not; the second letter (beta) is placed by the 
second in lustre ; continuing in this manner to the least star in the 
constellation ; and if there are more stars than there are letters in the 
Greek alphabet, the letters of the common alphabet are introduced, 
and afterwards, if necessary, the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, See., are added. 

Some of the stars have, besides their rays and Greek letters, also 
names; as Castor, &c. 


(If anything were needed beyond the language of ridicule to dissipate 
fear in relation to these phenomena — the following able remarks from 
Mrs, Somerville must convince the most sceptical.) 

“ Only comets with retrograde motions can come into direct collision 
with the earth, and if the momentum were great the event might be 
fatal; but in general the substance of comets is so rare, that it is likely 


t,' . ■ Jii’l; 



they would not do much harm if they were to impinge ; and even then 
the mischief would probably be local, and the equilibrium would be soon 
restored, provided the nucleus were gaseous, or very small. It is, however, 
more probable that the earth would only be deflected a little from its course 
by the approach of a comet, without being touched by it. The comets that 
have come nearest to the earth were that of the year 837, which remained 
four days within less than one million two hundred and forty thousand 
leagues from our orbit ; that of 1770, which approached within about 
six times the distance of the moon. The celebrated comet of 1680 also 
came very near to us ; and the comet whose period is six years and three 
quarters, was ten times nearer the earth in 1805 than in x832, when it 
caused so much alarm. Comets in or near their perihelion move with 
prodigious velocity. That of 1680 appears to have gone half round the 
sun in ten hours and a half, moving at the rate of eight hundred and 
eighty thousand miles an hour. If its enormous centrifugal force had 
ceased when passing its perihelion, it would have fallen to the sun in 
about three minutes, as it was then only one hundred and forty-seven 
thousand miles from his surface. A body of such tenuity as the comet, 
moving with such velocity, must have met with great resistance from the 
dense atmosphere of the sun, while passing so near his surface at its 
perihelion. The centrifugal force must consequently have been 
diminished, and the sun’s attraction proportionally augmented, so that 
it must have come nearer to the sun in 1680 than in its preceding 
revolution, and would subsequently describe a smaller orbit. As this 
diminution of its orbit will be repeated at each revolution, the comet 
will infallibly end by falling on the surface of the sun, unless its course 
be changed by the disturbing influence of some large body in the 
unknown expanse of creation. Our ignorance of the actual density of 
the sun’s atmosphere, of the density of the comet, and of the period of its 
revolution, renders it impossible to form any idea of the number of 
centuries which must elapse before this event takes place. But this is 
not theonly comet threatened with such a catastrophe ; Encke’s, and that 
discovered by M. Biela, are both slowly tending to the same fate. By 
the resistance of the other, they will perform each revolution nearer and 
nearer to the sun, till at last they will be precipitated on his surface. 
The same cause may effect the motion of the planets, and ultimately be 
the means of destroying the solar system. But, as Sir John Herschel 
observes, they could hardly all revolve in the same direction round the 
sun for so many ages without impressing a corresponding motion on the 
etherial fluid, which may preserve them from the accumulated effects of 



its resistance. Should this material fluid revolve about the sun like a 
vortex, it accelerates the revolution of each comet as have direct motions, 
and retard those that have retrograde motions.” 


“ All uniformed persons regard eclipses with some degree of terror, 
and among savages it is customary to make a great noise during the 
occurrence of the phenomena, in order to prevent the evil which they 
suppose would otherwise inevitably result. A late writer has very truly 
remarked, that in times of ignorance, men are alarmed at all celestial 
pnenomena, the recurrence of which takes place at periods too remote to 
be readily calculated, and which accordingly appear to be guided by no 
fixed laws ; whilst more important and obvious appearances excite no 
surprise because they are frequent, and because they occur at well-known 
periods : thus the changes of the moon are observed without alarm, while 
the less obvious occurrence of an eclipse has scattered dismay over an 
army or a nation. An incidental and considerable assistance has been 
derived to chronology from this superstitious feeling. Eclipses were 
thought to be connected, in some secret manner, with the destinies of 
nations, and have been carefully recorded, when near the time of some 
great battle or other political event, of whose epoch we should otherwise 
remain in ignorance. Astronomical science shows how to determine 
with the greatest exactness the hour of any given eclipse ; and we are 
thus enabled to fix with precision the date of any event which may have 
been thus accompanied, to confirm the statement of an historian, or to 
correct his errors. But as the computation of eclipses is attended with 
considerable difficulty, a few only of the readers of history are able to 
carry on these researches for themselves. On this account catalogues 
of eclipses have been calculated by astronomers for many thousand years, 
by a reference to which any chronological point connected with these 
phenomena may at once be determined. 

“Eclipses take place every half year, and at each period there may be 
one, two, or three eclipses ; if one only, it must be an eclipse of the sun ; 
if two, there will be one of each luminary ; and if three, there will be two 
of the sun, with one of the moon between them. 

“ The sun is eclipsed whenever the moon comes between it and the 
earth, so that the eye of a spectator on the earth is in a straight line with 
the centres of the sun and moon. Sometimes what is called our annular 



eclipse takes place, such as that of the 15th May, 1836’, when a ray of 
light appears around the disk of the moon. This is in consequence of the 
apparent diameter of the moon being less than that of the sun ; at other 
times it is greater, and then a total eclipse takes place. 

“ The moon is eclipsed whenever the earth comes between it and the 
sun: in consequence of which it is deprived of the light of that luminary. 
As the moon revolves round the earth once in every twenty-eight days, 
it might at first be supposed that an eclipse would take place once in 
every month, as the moon must during that period pass between the 
earth and the sun. This would be the case, only tbe moon does not pass 
in an exact line between the earth and the sun : the inclination of the 
orbit of the moon-tothe plane of the eliptic prevents this occurrence taking 
place so often • hut whenever the moon passes the earth in an exact 
line with the sun, that is, whenever the three bodies are in an exact line 
with each other, the moon is eclipsed. 

“Every eighteen years and ten or eleven days the order in which 
eclipses occur, is the same as that of the previous eighteen years. It might 
therefore he imagined that a correct list of eclipses for eighteen years 
would be sufficient for all purposes; as by adding the eliptic period as 
many times as required, the period of an eclipse might be known at 
any distance of time. This would be correct if every eclipse appeared 
under precisely the same circumstance as its corresponding eclipse in the 
preceding or following period ; but this is not the case. An eclipse of 
the moon, which, in the year 565, for example, was of six digits, was in 
the year 583 of seven digits, and in 901 nearly eight. In 908 the eclipse 
became total, and it remained so for about twelve periods, or until the 
year 1088 ; this eclipse continued to diminish until the commencement of 
the fifteenth century, when it totally disappeared in the year 1413. In 
like manner an eclipse of the sun, which first appeared at the North 
Pole in June 1295. proceeded more southerly at each period. On the 
7th August, 1367, it made its first appearance in the north of Europe; 
in 1439 it was visible all over Europe ; in 1601, which was its nineteenth 
appearance, it was central in London ; in 1818, on the 5th of May, it was 
visible in London, and was again central nearly in the same place on the 
16th of May, 1836. At its thirty-ninth appearance, August 10th, 1980, 
the moon’s shadow will have passed the equator, and as the eclipse will 
take place nearly at midnight, it will be invisible in Europe, Africa, and 
Asia. At every subsequent period the eclipse will go more and more 
towards the south, until, finally, on the 30th September, 2665, which 



will be its seventy-eighth appearance, it will go off at the South Pole of 
the earth, and disappear altogether;” 

Columbus is said to have frightened the Aborigines of America into 
supplying provisions, &c. for his crew, by foretelling an eclipse of 
the Sun, which he knew from his calculations would take place at a 
particular time. An account was read during the last year at the Royal 
Astronomical Society, of some computations, agreeing with the time of an 
eclipse of the sun, observed in China, October 13, no less than two 
thousand one hundred and twenty-eight years before Christ, or four 
thousand years since. The time of the greatest obscuration has been 
computed by Mr. Rothman, to be from the solar tables of Delambre, and 
the lunar elements of Damoiseaa to have happened at eight minutes forty- 
seven seconds past noon, with ten and a half digits eclipsed, according 
entirely with the indications of the Chinese chronicles. For not pre- 
dicting this eclipse the two astronomers Ho and Hi were put to death. 

The great eclipse of the sun which took place on Sunday, May 15th, 
1836, was visible over the whole of Europe, and North America, part of 
Columbia, and Africa : in the West Indies, Denmark, Germany, and 
the northern parts of the British Isles, tunular or ring like. The 
eclipse began at Greenwich fifty-one minutes twelve seconds after one 
o’clock, arrived at its greatest obscuration at nineteen minutes six 
seconds past three, and terminated thirty-nine minutes six seconds after 
four o’clock, p.m. 


The Atmosphere is highly important, as being the cause of many 
of the phenomena we witness, in modifying the influence of others, 
and in its essential character as the supporter of animal and vegetable 
life. It is described as a thin, invisible, elastic fluid, surrounding the 
earth to the extent of fifty miles in height from its surface: it is the 
element in which we live and breathe, which contains the principles of 
life, and constitutes the power of vegetation. All the displays of beauty, 
so well adapted to cheer the spirits, to enliven the sensibilities, and to 
excite the adoration of man, would have been formed in vain, if the 
atmosphere had not been a transparent fluid. The specific gravity of 



air is eight hundred and fifty times less than that of water, so that one 
gallon of air will weigh a little less than one seventh of an ounce. This 
air we are constantly inhaling by the action of the lungs, which air 
expanding by the vital heat is expelled, and the vacuum supplied by a 
fresh inhalation. It is therefore evident, that air too much rarified is 
not proper to sustain animal existence, and that air too much condensed 
is alike unsuited for that purpose ; therefore, any effluvia raised or 
imbibed, that tends to impregnate the air with vapours, or atoms of a 
strange or unusual kind, even though of an odoriferous and agreeable 
scent, is unwholesome ; plants as well as animals will decline under 
the influence of vitiated air. The whole expanse filled with the fluid 
called air, or which we denominate the atmosphere, is the region or 
reservoir of the winds; those winds being the floating streams that run 
in currents from the surcharged, towards the exhausted parts of the 
spacious void. Wherever the air becomes rarified, or the moisture of 
its composition diminished, to that part will it rush with a force to 
the weight by which it is impelled, and that weight will be in exact 
preponderancy of the circumambient element over the specific gravity 
of the space rarified. Heat, as has been just observed, is the cause of 
this phenomenon ; for, in fact, heat engenders motion, and motion excites 
heat, so that there is a perfect reciprocity of influence. 

The component parts of air, or the atmosphere, cannot be positively 
defined, because we cannot describe that which is invisible; we discover 
fire and water as the chief ingredients, but what other elements of 
nature more subtile than fire may exist we do not know ; the electric 
fluid, though acting on combustible bodies, is perhaps only the agent that 
provokes the flame, and carries with it, or collects the fire that invests 
the surrounding space; but there is a magnetic quality in the electric 
fluid, that indicates something of nature yet undiscovered; there may 
be a distant element in this irresistible force of motion. Fire will not 
naturally adhere to indurated bodies, it requires violent and continued 
motion to infuse its particles, and to make it separate the atoms of iron; 
but lightning instantly decomposes that substance, and reduces it to a 
state of fusion. It seems likely from this experimental process, that an 
element more penetrating and keener than fire prevades the universe, 
and another still on ad infinitum. Air is indestructible: that is, you 
cannot change its nature, it will still be air under whatever process you 
may place it,— you cannot make it any thing else ; but its quality may 
alter, and it is subject to perpetual changes, such as hot, cold, moist, and 
dry’ these are variations, but only in the effect that itproduces according 



to circumstances, for it loses nothing of its substance, nor transforms 
into another element. This peculiarity also excludes the possibility of 
analysis, or divisions of its parts. The elasticity of the air which gives 
it transparency, is that quality which enables us to see objects distinctly; 
the light passes through it to the organ of sight, and pene- 
trating to the optic nerve, pictures the form of substances, by reflection, 
upon the visual tablets. Again, the atmosphere is most admirably 
adapted to sustain our existence, by the power it possesses of purification, 
and the exact adaptation of its substance for animal respiration ; were it 
more dense than it is, we should be in continual darkness ; were it more 
thin and rarified, we could not breathe in it, but must soon expire. 
The atmospheric air is composed of two gases, oxygen and nitrogen, 
with a very small proportion of carbonic acid, and water in a state of 
vapour. The two last are considered as accidental ingredients, and not 
constituent parts, as well as on account of the smallness of their quantity, 
as because they occur in different proportions at different times. 


Heat is the principal cause of winds. It must be evident, that as the 
rays of the sun descend ■perpendicularly on the earth under the torrid 
zone, that in those regions a much greater quantity of heat must be 
communicated than in the more oblique countries towards the Poles. 
The heat thus acquired, rarifies the air, and causing it to ascend ; the 
vacuum which follows is immediately filled from the north and south, 
which being of a cold nature, the fierce heats of the equatorial regions 
are so modified as to become bearable. Thus two winds, north and 
south, would be generated; but these would be afterwards modified and 
changed. For example; the diurnal motion of the earth gradually 
lessens to the Poles from the equator, where the motion is communicated 
to the atmosphere in an equal degree ; it is evident that if part of it was 
conveyed suddenly from a temperate latitude, it would not directly 
acquire the velocity of that at the equator, consequently the earth would 
outstrip it in speed, and as she moves from west to east, the mountainous 
ridges would strike against it, and, driving it forward, an east wind would 
be the result. Land and sea breezes, trade winds, regular and variable 
winds, are all accountable for on the above principle, modified, however, 
by various other influences, such as the motions of the sea under the 
guidance of the moon, chemical changes in the elementary constituents 
of the atmosphere, &c. &c. The prevailing winds in this country, as 



they were ascertained on a comparison of many years by the Royal 
Society of London, at London are, south-west winds, one hundred and 
twelve days; north-east winds, fifty-eight days; north-west winds, fifty 
days; west winds, fifty-three days ; south-east winds, thirty-two days; 
east winds, twenty-six days; south winds, eighteen days; north winds, 
sixteen days ; making altogether three hundred and sixty-five days. 


Are masses of condensed vapour, more or less opaque, formed and 
sustained by different agencies, at various heights in the atmosphere. 
They are named and classified as follows : 


First — Cirrus, or cure clouds, consisting either of white parallel lines, 
faintly pencilled on the azure sky, or of bending spreading fibres, starting 
from central points in all directions, and commonly called mare’s tails. 

Second — Cumulus, or stacJeen cloud, a spreading roundish kind of 
cloud, full of conical lumps, increasing upwards from a horizontal base. 

Third — Stratus, or fall cloud , is of a foggy, misty character, consist- 
ing of an extended, unbroken, horizontal sheet of vapour, encreasing 
from below. 


Fourth — Cirro-cumulue, or sonder cloud, a series of small, well 
defined, roundish masses, in close horizontal arrangement. 

Fifth — Cirro-stratus, or wane cloud, usually horizontal masses, 
forming a low spreading cloud, thin towards its circumference. 


Sixth — Cumolo-stratus, or twain cloud, round headed and moun- 
tainous in appearance, and seem to be a combination of the cirro- 
stratus with the cumulus. 

Seventh — Ctcmulo-cirro-slratus, or nimbus — the rain cloud, that 
form into which the other clouds revolve previously to rain. It is an 
horizontal sheet, above which the cirrus spreads while the cumulus 
enters it sideways, or from beneath. 



The cirrus appears low and thick before a storm, and is usually in a 
quarter opposite to that in which the storm arises. Steady, high winds, 
are also preceded, and attended by cirrous streaks of a torn and scattered 
character, and sometimes in the direction of the wind quite across the 

The cumulus has the densest structure, is formed in lower atmosphere, 
and moves with the current next the earth. In fair weather they will 
sometimes begin with a small lump at sunrise, increasing through the 
day and dispersing at sunset. It is a sign of rain, and encreases rapidly 
before a storm. 

The stratus is the lowest of clouds, its lower surface commonly resting 
on the earth. It is, properly, the cloud of night, appearing about 
sunset, and comprehends all those morning mists which are usually the 
precursors of fine weather. A constant intermixture of these forms 
takes place in the dull season, and if they are studied carefully, will 
soon enable a person to judge with tolerable accuracy of the nature of 
the coming weather. The final prevalence of a particular form will 
decide the weather. The cumulo-stratus precedes and the nimbus 
accompanies rain. 


There is one topic of conversation in this country which appears 
never to lose its interest. Every body can say something upon it, and 
it generally takes precedence of every thing else — we mean, of course, 
the weather. In a country like this, where it is subject to such sudden 
changes, it is rather surprising so many vague and incorrect opinions 
should exist respecting it. One person considers the influence of the 
moon the grand power which regulates the state of the weather ; another 
is equally confident that all its changes are occasioned by the wind, and 
so on. Yet very few can tell why so apparently simple a phenomena as 
rains occurs. The fact is, “doctors differ” considerably on this 
subject, and numberless theories have been propounded to explain it. 
The most probable, we think, hasbeen proposed by Dr. Hutton, which 
may be explained in the following manner : — 

If we leave a little water in an open vessel, we shall find, at the end of 
that period, that the water has dried up; or, in other w-ords, has evapora- 
ted. To explain the cause of this, many reasons have been assigned ; but 
it is unnecessary to enter upon a consideration of them at present. It is 

1. Saturn. 2. Jupiter. 3. Mars. 4. Earth and Moon. 5. Venus. 6. Mercury. 


sufficient to state, that the atmosphere has the power of absorbing, and 
holding in solution, great quantities of water. It has been calculated, 
that assuming the surface of all the water on the earth to be 130,000,000 
geographical miles, that about 6'0,000 cubit miles of water will be 
changed into vapour every year. Now, the whole of the water is preci- 
pitated to the earth again in the form of rain, and the cause of this, 
according to Dr. Hutton, will, perhaps, be understood by describing a 
simple experiment, which every one can perform himself. 

Take two beer tumblers, and into one put a little water, just enough 
to wet the sides, then hold the glass near the fire-, till the air in it, having 
become heated, has absorbed the water. If the edges of the other 
tumbler, which has been kept cool, be placed upon the one that has been 
warmed, the sides of the latter will become covered with moisture. Dr. 
Hutton explains this as follows: — “ According,” says he, “to the tempera- 
ture of the atmosphere so is its power of containing fluids in a state of 
vapour. A warm atmosphere will absorb a greater quantity of water 
than a cool atmosphere ; and if, therefore, a current of warm air mixes 
with a current of cold air, a part of the vapour held in solution by the 
former will be precipitated to the earth in the form of rain ; because the 
temperature of the warm air will be reduced by its mixture with the cold, 
and its capacity or power of containing vapour be thereby diminished. 
When, therefore, in the experiment above described, we place the tumbler 
containing cold air upon that containing warm air, holding water in 
solution, the temperature of the air is reduced, its power of holding so 
much water in solution is diminished ; and hence the water is precipated, 
and forms a moisture on the sides of the glass.” 

Some philosophers have imagined that rain is the result of an electrical 
action of the clouds upon each other; and there is very probably some 
truth in this theory, because we know how suddenly, and with what 
violence, rain is generally precipitated during a thunder storm. But there 
can be no doubt but that it is principally to the changes in the tempera- 
ture of the atmosphere we must attribute the cause of rain. 


The phenomena of dew were first satisfactorily explained by the late Dr. 
Wells ; who showed, by the most decisive experiments, that, apparently, 
all these phenomena were owing to the effects of the radiation of heat from 
the earth’s surface during the absence of the sun. It is admitted that, 



when the direct influence of the sun is removed in the evening, and the 
surface of the earth thus no longer continues to acquire heat, at that 
instant, from the ceaseless activity of heat to obtain an equilibrium, the 
surface of the earth being the warmer body, radiates a portion of its 
superfluous temperature into the surrounding space ; and thus the air, 
immediately in contact with the surface, becomes cooled below the point 
of saturation, and gives off a portion of its water in the form of dew. It is 
known, that the radiating power of bodies differ exceedingly according to 
their composition, the nature of their surface, their colour, &c. These 
differences, of course, produce corresponding effects on the deposition of 
dew ; and, as beautifully demonstrated by Dr. Wells, explains its greater 
or less deposition under certain circumstances, or its entire absence under 
others. Thus, what formerly appeared so extraordinary, viz. why, in the 
self-same state of the atmosphere, &c. one portion of herbage should be 
covered with dew, while another in the immediate neighbourhood should 
remain dry, is no longer a mystery ; but is perfectly explicable, on the 
supposition of their different radiating powers. The deposition of dew is 
always most abundant during calm and cloudless nights, and in situations 
freely exposed to the atmosphere. Whatever interferes in any way with 
the process of radiation, as might be expected, has a great effect on the 
deposition of dew. Hence the radiation of heat, and consequently the 
deposition of dew, are obviated, not only by the slighted covering or shelter, 
as by thin matting, or even muslin; by the neighbourhood of buildings, 
and innumerable other impediments near the earth’s surface ; but matters 
interposed at a great distance from the earth’s surface have precisely the 
same effect. Thus clouds effectually prevent the radiation of heat from 
the earth’s surface ; so that cloudy nights are always warmer than those 
which are clear, and in consequence there is usually on such nights 
little or no deposition of dew. From dew there is an insensible transition 
to hoar frost ; hoar frost being, in fact, only frozen dew, and indicative of 
greater cold. We observe, therefore, that frosty nights, like simply dewy 
nights, are generally still and clear. The influence of radiation in produ- 
cing cold at the earth’s surface would scarcely be believed by inattentive 
observers. Often on a calm night the temperature of a grass plot is 10 
or 15 degress less than that of the air a few feet above it. Hence, as Mr. 
Daniell has remarked, vegetables in our climate are, during ten months 
of the year, liable to be exposed at night to a freezing temperature ; and, 
even in July and August, to a temperature only two or three degrees 




Tn northern countries the aurora borealis is constantly visible during 
the winter evenings, and is frequently termed, from this circumstance, 
the northern lights. When they appear in this country, it is generally 
during the spring and autumn, but very rarely with that splendour which 
distinguishes them, when seen near the North Pole. The most remark- 
able appearance of them in England took place about thirty years ago, of 
which a very accurate description has been given by Dr. Dalton ; and as 
this will give our readers a very good idea of the phenomena, we qoute 
from it. He says, his attention was first excited by a remarkable red 
appearance of the clouds, which afforded sufficient light to read by at 
eight o’clock in the evening, though there was no moon; — 

“From half-past nine o’clock till ten p.m., there was a large, luminous, 
horizontal arch to the southward, almost exactly like those we see in the 
north; and there was one or more concentric arches northward. It was 
particularly noticed, that all the arches seemed exactly bisected by the 
plane of the magnetic meridian. At half-past ten o’clock, streamers 
appeared very low in the S.E., running to and fro, from W. to E.; they 
increased in number, and began to approach the zenith, apparently with 
an accelerated velocity ; when all on a sudden the whole hemisphere was 
covered with them, and exhibited such an appearance as surpasses all 
description. The intensity of the light, the prodigious number and 
volatility of the beams, the grand intermixture of all the prismatic colours 
in their utmost splendour, variegating the glowing canopy with the most 
luxuriant and enchanting scenery, affording an awful, but at the same 
time the most pleasing and sublime spectacle in nature. Every one 
gazed with astonishment ; but the uncommon grandeur of the scene only 
lasted about one minute; the variety of colours disappeared, and the 
beams lost their lateral motion, and were converted, as usual, into the flash- 
ing radiations, buteven then its urpassed all other appearances of the aurora, 
in that the whole hemisphere was covered with it. Notwithstanding the 
suddenness of the effulgenceat the breaking out of the aurora, there was a 
remarkable regularity in the manner. Apparently a ball of fire ran along 
from east to west, and the contrary, with a velocity so great as to be barely 
distinguishable fromone continued train, which kindled up the several rows 
of beams one after another; these rows were situate before each other with 
tneexactest order, so that the bases of each row formed a circle crossing the 
magnetic meridian at right angles ; the several circles rose one above another 



in such sort, that those near the zenith appeared more distant from each 
oilier than those near the horizon, a certain indication that the teal 
distances of the rows were either partly or exactly the same. And it 
was farther observable, that during the rapid lateral motion of the beams, 
their direction in every two nearest rows was alternate, so that whilst 
the motion of the one row was from east to west, that of the next was 
from west to east. 

The cause of the northern lights is unknown. It is supposed, and 
there are some facts which apparently support the hypothesis, that they 
are to be attributed to the passage of electricity throughout the higher 
regions of the atmosphere. At present, however, the subject is involved 
in much obscurity ; and f rom the very few opportunities that philosophers 
have of seeing the aurora, it is extremely difficult to obtain accurate data 
to reason upon. 


To the principle of electricity we refer a class of remarkable phenomena 
not usually ranked together — whirlwinds, pillars of sand, and waterspouts 
— the appearance of which being very well known from frequent 
description, we shall at once proceed to consider their nature. In the 
explanations generally given it is assumed that there are currents of air 
blowing in different directions, the oblique meeting of which causes an 
eddy or vortex, having a vacuum in its interior. Against this hypothesis 
it may be objected that, in the greater number of instances recorded, the 
air has been either calm or with a wind moderate and steady without any 
cross currents. If these meteors had a mechanical origin of this kind, 
they ought to abound most where variable winds and storms prevail, as 
on sea-coasts, near headlands, and among hills. On the contrary, they 
are most rare in such cases, rather affecting climates and seasons of hot 
still atmosphere, in desert plains or tropical seas. Besides, in order to 
form a vortex, it is necessary that a coherent body be present to deflect 
the current into the tangential motion producing the whirl. A vortex 
cannot be formed in the free atmosphere, whatever be the respective 
velocities or angle of meeting of currents, and, according to all experience, 
a shift of wind is preceded by a calm, lasting until one of the currents 
has obtained predominance. That waterspouts and whirlwinds are 
independent of motion in the air, is made evident by their having often 
a rapid progression although the air around them be still, and by their 



hating been seen even to advance against a wind then blowing; and 
when several waterspouts have been in sight at once, some have oeen 
stationary, others running about without any common direction. 

In assigning these phenomena to the agency of electricity, there are 
no conditions assumed, the existence of which can be disproved ; and it 
cannot be denied that the cause is adequate to the effect attributed to it. 
We may distinguish two kinds of them, according as the electricity has 
accumulated in the earth, and discharges, itself into the air, or, as the 
electricity is emitted from a charged cloud, exercising a powerful induc- 
tion upon the surface of the earth beneath, but without exploding. In 
the former case, which is peculiar to land, the resulting action constitutes 
the whirlwind or the pillar of sand, the different appearance of which is 
owing to the nature of the soil from which they rise. Whirlwinds are 
of most frequent occurrence in those countries not free from earthquakes, 
and dry hot seasons during a limited time of the year, such as the wide 
valley of the Mississippi. Compared with the pillars of sand they are 
more terrible in their destructive energies, but they are more casual, and 
are generally single. Pillars of sand are confined to the deserts of Africa 
and Hindostan ; they are individually less dangerous, but they are not to 
be despised if it be true that each of them may deposit a quantity of 
suffocating dusts, forming a hillock of greater height than a man, and 
that countless numbers may be stalking across the arid plain with 
inevitable speed. 

The electricity, which we believe to be the prime mover of these 
extraordinary spectacles, may possibly have different sources, and, we 
are inclined to suspect, a less superficial excitation of that in the whirl- 
wind. But, however, the charge may be derived, when it has 
accumulated to such intensity that the electrical inertia of the air is 
unable to repress it, it will rush upwards in a stream, communicating an 
ascending motion to the air, and bearing along with it whatever light 
mobile particles may be within its influence. 

If there were in the superincumbent atmosphere a sufficient mass to 
supply by induction the requisite quantity of the opposite electricity, 
then the accumulation might have been discharged in the ordinary 
manner by explosion. In the absence of this, the electricity, taking the 
direction in which it meets with least resistance, tends to dissipate itself 
in a stream through the air so long as it can force a passage. The stream 
expands in its progress by its own elasticity, so that its diameter is 
greater as it recedes from the earth, often describing very exactly an 
inverted cone. While the stream continues, the opposite kind of 



electricity is induced into the air along its path, and flows downwards 
towards the point of emission, or apex of the cone, where the primary 
charge is most concentrated. Now, it has been proved by experiment, 
that every electric current contains within itself a revolving action, the 
consequence of the attraction of the opposite electric surface. To this 
property of an electric we may therefore assign the origin of the spiral 
motion of the whirlwind, conceiving that it results from the longitudinal 
or ascending motion of the stream, influenced by the circular or revolving 
motion of the two electricities round each other. The velocity of the 
spi al motion is too great to be followed by the eye, and its mechanical 
effects, exhibited in the lifting of loaded waggons, the levelling of stone- 
walls, the cutting through fences, trees, and huts, as if with an edged 
tool, are ascribable to no other physical cause than electro-dynamic. 

Waterspouts have the same principles of action, hut in them the accu- 
mulation exists in a low heavy cloud, which has induced the opposite 
electricity into the earth beneath, without finding a prominent point to 
facilitate an explosion. The charge is gradually neutralised by combina- 
tion with that rushing in a stream from below, and carrying with it dust 
from the plain, and vapour, or rather a mist from waters. The watery 
particles being again aggregated into drops, sometimes as large as 
cherries, descend in torrents, and a circulation is thus established while 
the accumulation exists. 

The spouts or tubes, apparently let down from the cloud, are formed 
by the vapour or mist attracted by the electricity which has elongated 
itself into a protrusion by an effort to discharge itself. 


“ When icicles hang by the wall, 

And Dick, the ploughman, blows his nail, 

And Tom bears logs into the hall. 

And milk comes frozen home in pail.” 


In this, our climate, we have a very liberal acquaintance with snow, 
and though to the “ unfed sides, and loop’d and window’d raggedness” 
of many, it is felt as no flattery, yet the value and beauty of its con- 
struction is as little known to others as if it were only seen in Kamschatka. 
By the examination of a flake of snow with the assistance of a microscope, 
we are enabled to judge of its beauty and wonderful structure. 

Flakes of snow. 


It is almost trite to say, that where water is frozen the product is ice ; 
a tnick, solid, and slim, transparent substance. A comparison between 
a piece of ice, however small, and a flake of snow, will speedily convince 
the observer of the very great difference between the substances of 
hich they consist; and the difference is owing to the influence of intense 
old upon the particles in a different state of cohesion. When aqueous 
particles are closely cohered in the form of water, the influence of 
intense cold upon them produces a solid and ponderous body, viz. ice ; 
but when this description of particles is dispersed in vapours, and 
greatly rarified, they are changed by intense cold into frozen particles of 
a less dense coherence. The difference between the density of those 
particles which, when acted upon by cold, yield ice, and those which, 
exposed to the same influence, yield snow, is this, the latter are just 
twenty-four times lighter, bulk for bulk, than the former. The particles 
are not only exceedingly rarified as to their bulk, but the bulk is also 
exceedingly small ; so small indeed is it, that one such particle would 
present but a very minute object, even when viewed with the powerful 
aid of the microscope. And the process by which this is brought about 
is exceedingly curious. Millions of minute drops or points of vapour 
are floating in the upper atmosphere ; acted upon by intense cold, each 
of these drops or points is converted into a solid substance, as fine as 
one of those little motes which we can sometimes see floating in the sun 
beams. As these descend lower and lower in the atmosphere, they 
attract each other, and each flake of snow which we see glistening in 
virgin whiteness upon the ground, consists of a multitude of those minute 
atoms of frozenmatter, cohering together with themostperfectand beautiful 
uniformity ! Snow is one of the many things the usefulness of which 
men in general are apt to take small or no account of, and many even of 
those who do take the trouble to reflect on its effect upon the ground 
form a very incorrect notion of it. Judging, from its nature and 
appearance, those persons infer that snow must necessarily be injurious 
to the earth, by reason of its dampness and intense cold ; but the very 
contrary of this is the fact. The thick covering of snow which lies upon 
the ground in winter, is far from making the earth cold, but in truth, 
prevents it from being so. Were the clay exposed to the action of the 
bitter and piercing winds of winter, it would be utterly deprived of that 
genial warmth, without which the seed sown within it would not germinate. 
It is by the close and flaky covering of the shining snow, that a 
remnant of genial heat is preserved in the bosom of the earth. In vain 



do the piercing winds howl above; they cannot penetrate that mantis 
with which God has clothed the face of nature ! 

Some overwise people are in the habit of sprinkling salt upon snow 
before their doors; they could not do a more silly or injurious thing. 
The result is to change dry snow or ice at thirty-two degrees to brino 
at no degree. 


Snow is an article of absolute necessity in Italy, particulary in Sicily 
and at Naples ; to supply the latter, one of the largest capitals of Europe, 
which has a population of four hundred thousand souls, all snow 
consumers, a very extensive mountain range is put in requisition. 
From the Apennines, and from all the nearer branches of those moun- 
tains, Snow during the summer months is constantly being brought 
into the city by land and by sea, and the quantity is immense. Hun- 
dreds of men and boys are employed exclusively on this business. 

The chief supply for the city of Naples comes from Monte St. Angelo, 
the loftiest point of the bold promontory that separates the Bay of 
Naples from the Bay of Salerno, and is situate about twelve miles from 
the former; it is brought in row boats by night to Naples, and is there 
received by a number of facelvmi or porters, regularly appointed to that 
service. These porters deposit their loads in the snow custom house, a 
building called “ La Dogana della neve.” To this general depot, the 
retail dealers come to furnish themselves from all parts of the town, for 
there is scarcely a street in Naples, however miserable, but has its snow 
shop. Indeed, there is an old law by which these shops are never 
allowed to be shut in hot weather, by night or by day, and if the owner 
absents himself he must leave some one in his shop, ready to serve the 
snow should it be called for. The snow trade of Naples is a government 
monopoly, and produces a considerable revenue. Of the mountains of 
snow brought daily into Naples, some finds its way to private families, who 
use it at their meals, some to coffee houses and sorbettieri, where it is used 
in sherbet, lemonade, &c. ; but the principal part supplies the inferior 
venders of gelati and the acquaioli, or water sellers, who cool with it the 
plain beverage they sell to passengers at the corner of almost every 
street. In domestic use, snow not merely does its duty in the wine 
cooler, but is served up at table in an open vessel, out of which each 
person helps himself to a piece as he prepares to drink his wine. That 

Flakes Of Snow. 



preat luxury, an icy cold draught, is produced by covering the mouth of 
the glass tumbler with snow, and pouring the wine through it, and then 
it is truly delicious. 

While the rich are thus supplied with this luxury, the itinerant 
venders supply the poorer classes. Every summer evening, on the long 
mole, by the port, and all frequented places, these eloquent and noisy 
dealers ply their trade. Their wares of course are not so good, but then 
they are much cheaper, and they are always cold ! There for three or 
four grains the sailor, the fisherman, the thirsty calassiero, or other 
labouring man, can obtain that neplus ultra of luxury — a long mouthful 
of something cold and sweet. On the evenings of church festivals and 
holidays, the trade carried on in this way is very extensive indeed, and 
on such occasions the flying snow sellers are found in every crowded 
place, maintaining a deafening rivalry with the venders of water melons 
and other luxuries. 


Sir John Franklin, in his visit to the Polar Sea, says, “I saw one 
of these constructed by Augustus to-day. Having selected a spot on 
the river where the snow was about two feet deep, and sufficiently 
compact, he commenced by tracing a circle, twelve feet in diameter. 
The snow in the interior of the circle was next divided with a 'broad 
knife having a long handle, into slabs three feet long, six inches thick 
and two deep, being the thickness of the layer of snow. These slabs 
were tenacious enough to admit of being moved about without breaking, 
or even losing the sharpness of their angles, and they had a slight 
degree of curvature, corresponding with that of the circle from which 
they were cut. They were piled upon each other exactly like courses of 
hewn stone, around the circle, which was traced out, and care was taken 
to smooth the beds of the different courses with the knife, and to cut 
them so as to give the wall a slight inclination inwards. The dome was 
closed somewhat suddenly and flatly, by cutting the upper slabs in a 
wedge form, instead of the more rectangular shape of those below. The 
roof was about eight feet high, and the last aperture was shut up by a 
small conical piece. The whole was built from within, and each slab 
was cut so that it retained its position without requiring support until 
another was placed beside it, the lightness of the slabs greatly facilitating 
the operation. When the building was covered in, a little loose snow was 



thrown over it to close up every chink, and a low door was cut through 
the walls with a knife. A bed-place was next formed, and neatly faced 
up with slabs of snow, which were then covered with a thin layer of fine 
branches, to prevent them from being melted by the heat of the body. 
At each end of the bed, a pillar of snow is erected to place a lamp upon ; 
and lastly, a porch was built before the door, and a piece of clear ice was 
placed in an aperture cut in the wall for a window. The purity of the 
material of which the house was formed, the elegance of its construction, 
and the translucency of its walls, which transmitted a very pleasant 
light, gave it an appearance far superior to a marble building, and one 
might survey it with feelings somewhat akin to those produced by the 
contemplation of a Grecian temple raised by Phidias ; both are temples 
of art, inimitable in .their kinds.” 


In general, when heat is imparted to a body, an enlargement of bulk 
will be the immediate consequence, and at the same time the body will 
become warmer to the touch. These two effects of expansion and 
increase of warmth going on always together, the one has been taken as a 
measure of the other; and upon this principle the common thermometer 
is constructed. That instrument consists of a tube of glass, terminated in a 
bulb, the magnitude of which is considerable, compared with the bore of the 
tube. The bulb and part of the tube are filled with mercury, or some 
other liquid. When the bulb is exposed to any source of heat, the 
mercury contained in it, being warmed or increased in temperature, is at 
the same time increased in bulk, expanded or dilated, as it is called. 
The bulb not having sufficent capacity to contain the increased bulk of 
mercury, the liquid is forced up in the tube, and the quantity of expan- 
sion is dertermined by observing the ascent of the column in the tube. 

An instrument of this kind, exposed to heat or cold, will fluctuate 
accordingly, the mercury rising as the heat to which it is exposed is 
increased, and falling by exposure to cold. In order, however, to render 
it an accurate measure of temperature, it is necessary to connect with it a 
scale by which the elevation or depression of mercury in the tube may 
be measured. Such a scale is constructed for thermometers in this 
country in the following manner: — Let us suppose the instrument 
immersed in a vessel of melting ice : the column of mercury in the tube 
will be observed to fall at a certain point, and there maintain its position 
unaltered : let that point be marked upon the tube. Let the instrument 



be now transferred to a vessel of boiling water at the time when the 
barometer stands at the altitude of 30 inches : the mercury in the tube 
will be observed to rise until it attain a certain elevation, and will there 
maintain its position. It will be found, that though the water continue 
to boil, the mercury in the tube will not continue to rise, but will main- 
tain a fixed position : let the point to which the mercury nas risen in 
this case, be likewise marked upon the tube. 

The two points thus determined, are called the Freezing and the 
Boiling points. If the distance upon the tube between these two points be 
divided into one hundred and eighty equal parts, each of these parts is 
called a Degree • and if this division be continued, by taking equal divi- 
sions below the freezing point, until thirty-two divisions be taken, the last 
division is called the Zero , or nought of the thermometer. It is the point 
to which the mercury would fall if the thermometer were immersed in a 
certain mixture of snow and salt. When thermometers were first inven- 
ted, this point was taken as the zero point, from an erroneous supposition 
that the temperature of such a mixture was the lowest possible 

The degrees upon the instrument thus divided are counted upwards 
from the zero, and are expressed, like the degrees of a circle, by placing 
a small (•) over the number. Thus it will be perceived that the 
freezing point is thirty-two degrees of our thermometer, and the boiling 
point will be found by adding one hundred and eighty to thirty-two 
degrees ; it is therefore two hundred and twelve degrees. 

The temperature of a body, then, is that elevation to which the thermo- 
meter would rise when completely immersed in the component matter of 
the body. Thus, if we should immerse the thermometer, and should find 
that the mercury would rise to the division marked one hundred degrees, 
we should then affirm that the temperature of the water was one hundred 

The dilation which attends an increase of temperature is one of the 
most universal effects of heat. It varies, however, in different bodies ; 
it is least in solid bodies ; greater in liquids ; and greatest of all in bodies 
in the aeriform state. Again, different solids are differently susceptible 
of this expansion. Metals are the most susceptible of it ; but metals of 
different kinds are differently expansible. 

As an increase of temperature causes an increase of bulk, so a diminu- 
tion of temperature-causes a corresponding diminution of bulk ; and the 
same body always has the same bulk at the same temperature. 


Amongst the ancient philosophers there was a physical dogma adopted, 
viz., nature abhors a vacuum. This arose from their observing, that the 
moment a solid or a liquid was by any means removed, immediately the 
surrounding air rushed in and filled the space which the solid or liquid 
had previously occupied. It is said that for two thousand years the 
ascent of water in pipes, pumps, &c., was all accounted for by this suppo- 
sition of nature's abhorrence of a vacuum, when it happened that some 
engineers employed at Florence to raise water from what at that time was 
considered an unusually great depth, found that the water would rise no 
higher than about thirty two feet above the surface of water in the well. 
It is said that Galileo, the most celebrated philosopher of that day, was con- 
sulted in this difficulty, and that his answer was, that “ Nature’s abhorrence 
of a vacuum extended only to the height of thirty two feet, but that 
beyond this her disinclination to an empty space did not extend.” 
Some writers, however, deny this statement; while, on the other hand, 
others admit it, but think it to have been ironical. It is certain, however, 
that Galileo directed his attention to the point, experimented on it 
greatly, and soon saw the absurdity of the maxim, that “nature abhors 
a vacuum. ” The problem was successfully solved by Torrecelli, the pupil 
of Galileo ; he argued thus : — Whatever be the cause which sustains a 
column of water in a common pump, the measure and the energy of that 
power must be the weight of the column of water, and, consequently, if 
another liquid be used heavier or lighter, bulk for bulk, than water, then 
the same force must sustain a lesser or greater column of such liquid. 
Upon this reasoning, he tried experiments upon various liquids, and, 
amongst others, mercury, which is the heaviest liquid known, being about 
13J times heavier than water; it follows, therefore, that the height of a 
column of mercury must be 13| times less than a column of water which 
would be sustained by the same cause. Hence he computed that the height 
of the column of mercury would be about 18 inches. To prove this, he 
procured a glass tube upwards of 30 inches in length, and closed at one 
end, and having filled it with mercury and placed his finger on the open 
end, he plunged it into a vessel containing mercury ; instantly, on the remo- 
val of his finger, the mercury gradually fell in the tube, and finally stood 
at the height of about 28 inches This experiment immediately showed 



the absurdity of the supposition of nature’s abhorrence of a vacuum exten- 
ding to the height of 32 feet, and the true cause was soon observed. The 
atmospheric pressure acting upon the mercury contained in the cistern, 
while the surface of the mercury contained within the tube was protected 
from that pressure, supported the weight of that column ; and by the 
principles of hydrostatics, we know that the height of the column of mer- 
cury will be the same whatever be the bore of the tube; and it stands to 
reason, that as the atmospheric pressure varies, so will the weight which 
that pressure supports. The rising and falling, therefore, of the column of 
mercury within the tube will indicate the atmospheric pressure. We 
therefore now have a barometer, a term derived from two Greek words, 
signifying baros, weight, and metron , measure. 

A column of mercury the height of the barometer, and whose base is a 
square inch, will weigh about 151bs. avoirdupois ; therefore when the 
barometer stands at 30 inches, the atmosphere exerts a pressure equiva- 
lent to 15 lbs. on every square inch of mercury in the cistern; taking, 
therefore, the barometric column at thirty inches, it follows that all 
bodies at the surface of the earth sustain a pressure of 15 lbs. on every 
square inch of surface ; and, consequently, if the body of a man contains 
1500 square inches, he sustains the enormous pressure of 22, 500 pounds. 


A gentleman at Burkli, by the name of Ventain, not far from Basle, 
in Switzerland, invented, some years ago, a sort of musical barometer, 
which has been called in German, welter harfe, weather harp ; or riesen 
hctrfe, giant harp, which possesses the singular property of indicating 
changes of the w'eather by musical tones. This gentleman was in the 
habit of amusing himself by shooting at a mark from his window, and 
that he might not be obliged to go after the mark at every shot, he fixed 
a piece of iron wire to it, so as to be able to draw it to him at pleasure. 
He frequently remarked that this wire gave musical tones, sounding 
exactly an octave, and he found that any iron wire, extended in a direc- 
tion parallel to the meridian, gave this tone every time the weather 
changed. A piece of brass wire gave no sound, nor did an iron wire 
extended east and west. In consequence of these observations a musical 
barometer was constructed. In the year 1787, Captain Haas, of Basle, 
made one in the following manner; thirteen peices of iron wire, each 320 
feet long, were extended from his summer house to the outer court, 
crossing a garden. They were laced about two inches apart; the 



largest were two lines in diameter, the smallest only one, and the others 
were about one and a half. They were on the south side of the house, 
and made an angle of twenty or thirty degrees with the horizon. They 
were stretched and kept tight by wheels for the purpose. Every time 
tire weather changed, these wires made so much noise that it was 
impossible to continue concerts in the parlour, and the sound sometimes 
resembled that of a tea-urn when boiling, sometimes that of an harmonica, 
a distant bell, or an organ. In the opinion of the celebrated chemist M. 
Dobereiner, as stated in the Bulletin Technologique, this is an electro- 
magnetical phenomenon. 


The nature of light has ever been a subject of controversy. It was 
Newton’s explanation, that luminous objects give out particles of incon- 
ceivable minuteness, and move with extreme velocity. “ What mere 
assertion,” says Sir John Herschel,“ will make any man believe, that in one 
second of time, in one beat of the pendulum of the clock, a ray of light 
travels over 192,000 miles ; and would therefore perform the tour of the 
world in less time than a swift runner would make one stride?” In 
short, there is nothing like it but the influence of attraction ; which is so 
instantaneous as to admit of no calculation of time at all. A different 
theory from that of Newton was suggested by Huyghens, who supposed 
a highly elastic fluid to fill all the space, and which, when moved, pro- 
duced the effects ascribed to light. Instead of minute particles diverging 
from the luminous body, he substituted waves of vibrations, propagated 
through this elastic ether. The late Dr. Young, and some Continental 
philosophers, more recently, took up this hypothesis and supported it by 
ingenious experiments. But notwithstanding that it is the favourite 
theory of the day, difficulties appear still to encumber it. The theory 
of undulations implies the advance and recoil of the elastic medium, and 
that gives the idea of retardation. The supposition of light being the 
effect of the motion of an ether, does notfall in with our conceptions of the 
manner in which it enters into the composition of bodies, or influences 
chemical combinations, or effects the living power of animals and vege- 
tables. The merits of the two theories, however, need not be discussed 
here. It will be sufficient for our purpose to enter on the explanation of 
a few of the laws which influence a ray of light in passing through 
transparent media. 

When the ray of light passes perpendicularly from a rarer into adenser 



medium, as from air into water, it suffers no change in its direction; but 
when it passes obliquely, it takes a new direction towards the perpendi- 
cular, making a sudden angle, as if broken, — and this is refraction. Two 
circumstances, therefore, influence the ray of light ; — the angle at which 
it falls, and the density of the body into which it passes. When the ray 
passes from the denser medium into the rarer, it is again refracted, but 
away from the perpendicular, and takes its original course, provided the 
surface at which it goes out is parallel to the surface at which it entered. 
When a ray strikes upon a body that is not transparent, or only 
imperfectly so, it is in part reflected, that is, struck off again, bent back, 
or reflected, and enters the eye, conveying to us the impression of the 
form and colour of that object. But the expression which we have used 
requires explanation ; for how is it that the reflected rays should convey 
the idea of colour ? The prism is a piece of glass so formed that the rays 
must fall obliquely on one or both of the surfaces, and suffer refraction. 
Thus a ray striking into the prism is refracted; but all its parts are not 
equally refracted, and as the light consists of parts differing in colours, 
and which are differently refracted, it is divided or dissected into several 
colours, called the prismatic colours. The spectrum, as it is termed, 
thus formed, consists of seven colours; that which is least refracted 
being red, and in succession orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and 
violet. If these rays be re-compounded by passing through a convex 
lens, which, owing to the obliquity with which they fall, draws them to 
a point, the focus of the light will be again colourless. Some modern 
philosophers have reduced these prismatic colours of Newton to three 
primary colours, red, yellow and blue ; contriving, by the super-position 
of these, to produce the seven tints; while others have, on considerations 
not easy to be disproved, held that there is not any definite number of 
colours, but a gradation of tints from the extreme red to the extreme 
violet. We may now understand the reason of the colour of objects. 
When light strikes upon a body, even upon the most transparent, part 
penetrates, part is reflected, and some part is lost. A dye is a disposition 
given to the surface of cloth to repel some of the rays of light more than 
the others; and the colour will be according to the ray, or the combina- 
tion of rays, thus cast back and sent into the eye. 

And here it is natural to reflect on the variety and beauty everywhere 
bestowed through this property of the beam of light. What a dulness 
would have pervaded the surface of the earth if there had been only a 
white light! The beauties of the garden and of the landscape would 
have been lost to us. How is the beauty of the latter enhanced by the 



almost infinite variety of colour, yet still within that range whicu is 
agreeable and soothing to the eye, as well as consonant to our feelings ! 
The human countenance, too, although capable of exciting our warmest 
sympathies by form and motion alone, has that beauty perfected by colour, 
varying under the influence of emotion. 

It remains, in order that we may apply these facts to the explanation 
of the structure of the eye, to show how the rays proceeding from a body 
and falling upon a convex glass suffer refraction. The ray that strikes 
upon the centre, being perpendicular to the glass, passes on undeviatingly. 
But each ray as it strikes a point removed from the centre must 
impinge with more obliquity, in consequence of the curved surface; and 
as the refraction of all the rays will be in proportion to the obliquity of 
their incidence, they will converge towards the central direct ray. 


It is surprising that the structure of an animal body should so seldom 
be taken as a model. In the history of inventions, it appears quite 
extraordinary that the telescope and the microscope should be modern, 
when, as it should seem, the fine transparent convexity of the eye might 
have given rise to imitation, as soon as man learned to give shape to 
natural or artificial glass. It reminds us of the observation of Locke, in 
speaking of a discovery, that it proved the world to be of no great 
antiquity. Yet we must estimate the invention of the telescope and 
microscope as by far the most important in their consequences of either 
ancient or modern discoveries. The first opens to us an unlimited 
expanse, not only of new worlds, but systems of worlds, and new laws 
evinced in the forces which propel and attract these; since in the 
heavenly bodies we find no material contact, nor pressure, nor impulse, 
nor transfer of power — nor effect of heat, nor expansion of gases — nothing, 
in short, which can be illustrated by mechanism. By the microscope, 
we contemplate the minute structure of animals and things but for its 
aid invisible: the balance of the cohesive and repulsive force as they 
order the changes in the material of the world, and in that of our own 
frames. Yet these instruments are not in contrast with the eye; but 
through the comparison of them we discover the wonderful adapta- 
tions of that organ; of which it has long ago been said, that it can at one 
time extend our contemplations to the heavenly bodies and their 
revolutions, and at another limit its exercise to things at hand, to the 
sympathies and affections of our nature visible in the countenance. If 

Railway S/eam Engine, 



we put aside the consideration of the living properties of the organ, as the 
extraordinary variety and degrees of sensibility in the nerve of vision, 
and confine ourselves to points easily comprehended, as, for example, 
the mechanism of the eye, and the laws of opticts as applicable to the 
humours, we shall find enough to admire. When we look upon the 
optician’s lens, however perfect its polish may be, we can see its 
convex surface ; that is to say, the rays of light which strike upon that 
surface do not all penetrate it, but are in part reflected to our eye, which 
is the occasion of our seeing it. We do not see the surface of the corner 
of the human eye. Here, then, is an obvious superiority, £jnce it implies 
that all the rays of light which strike the corner enter it and are refracted, 
and none are returned to our eye. If we take the optician’s lens between 
our fingers and hold it under water, we can no longer see it, however 
transparent the water. The reason of this is, that the rays of light are 
reflected when entering from a rare medium into a denser, more abundantly 
in proportion to the difference of the density. When the ray of light 
has penetrated the water, it also penetrates the glass, because there is not 
that difference of density between the water and the glass which there is 
between the atmosphere and the glass. From this we may estimate the 
importance of the surface of the cornea being moistened by the tears ; for 
however thinly the water may be spread over the surface of the eye, it is 
sufficient to make those rays that would otherwise be reflected penetrate 
the cornea. The whole humours of the eye are constituted with a regard 
to this law. There is nowhere an abrupt transition from a rare to a 
dense humour. The ray is transmitted from the cornea into the aqueous 
humour, and through that humour into the lens or crystalline humour. 
Were this latter humour uniform and of the density of its central part 
throughout, the ray would be in part reflected back from its surface. 
But it is not uniform, like a mass of glass : it consists of concentric 
layers increasing in density from the surface to the centre. If we first 
look at the entire lens, and then take off its concentric layers, we shall 
see the surface of the internal nucleus more distinctly than the exterior 
and natural surface. The reason is obvious : the nucleus is so much 
more dense than the atmosphere, that the reflection of the rays from it is 
more abundant. We now comprehend how finely it is provided that the 
crystalline lens should be surrounded with the liquor Morgagni , a fluid 
which is but in a slight degree more dense than the aqueous humour. 
The exterior surface of the lens itself is only a little more dense than 
the surrounding fluid, and each successive layer, from the surface to the 
centre, is of gradually increasing density : so that if we were to describe 



the course of the rav, it would not, as we see in the ordinary diagrams, 
pass like a straight line of the pen, but in a curved line, showing the 
gradual manner in which the ray is refracted through successive trans- 
parent layers. As it enters in the anterior half of its passage, it 
encounters media of increasing density : but as it passes out behind, it is 
transmitted through media diminishing in density. The ray is nowhere 
opposed by that sudden increase of density which gives a disposition to 
reflection ; and it passes through the vitreous humour still refracted, the 
density of that humour having a just correspondence with the posterior 
surface of the lens. In the atmosphere there is a similar arrangement for 
receiving the light proceeding from the sun or stars: for as the density 
of the air diminishes as the height above the earth increases, the surface 
of our atmosphere, from its rarity, must almost resemble free space; 
consequently the light falling into itwill penetrate moreabundantly than if 
the air were compressed as it is near the earth, and were of uniform 
density. We thus see the obvious superiority in the structure of the eye 
to any thing that can be composed of glass, which is of uniform density 
throughout, and must therefore present a succession of surfaces where 
rare and dense media are abruptly opposed to the rays transmitted- 
We may observe another happy result from the peculiar structure of the 
lens. A magnifying glass is never true: an aberation of the rays takes 
place in the pencil of light, as the rays are drawn to a focus. The rays 
which penetrate near the centre are projected, so as to be drawn to their 
focus beyond those rays which pierce through nearer the edge. The rays 
penetrating this double centre of the convex glass will project the image 
to a greater distance then those penetrating nearer the circumference, and 
consequently falling more obliquely will form a focus nearer the lens. 
But in the crystalline humour of the eye, which corresponds with the 
optician's lens, the exterior layer having less density, and therefore a 
diminished property of refracting the ray, the image is carried farther off; 
and by this means it is ordered that wherever the ray penetrates, it shall 
be drawn to an accurate focus. Some modern philosophers have 
asserted that the eye is not perfectly achromatic in every adjustment. 
The term implies the property of the instrument to represent an image 
divested of the prismatic colours; those false colours which attends the 
refraction of the rays of light. If the statement be correct, it is nothing 
against our argument; nor have those inquiries advanced in any such 
view. We know that in all the ordinary exercises of the eye the image is 
perfect, having neither penumbra nor prismatic colours. This property 
of the eye results from the different media through which the ravs are 


transmitted, and the gradual transmission which we have just mentioned. 
Dolland’s achromatic glasses, a great improvement on the telescope, 
were made on this principle. He composed the object-glass of the 
telescope of crown-glass and flint-glass, so that while, by the combined 
effect of their convexities, they drew the rays of the focus, the disper- 
sive power of the one was counteracted by that of the other. Let 11s 
endeavour to explain this. A beam of light, being composed of the 
different coloured rays, passes through a prism. Instead of passing 
onward in a straight line, it is refracted in distinct, and, consequently, 
colored rays. Whilst the whole of them are bent or refracted at an 
angle, they are also diverging from one another. Their deviation from 
the straight line is their refraction-, their diverging from each other is 
their dispersion. These properties being distinct, it is conceivable 
that glass of a different chemical composition may affect the one to a 
greater degree than the other, and, therefore, that a lens may be com- 
posed of different kinds of glass (crown-glass and flint-glass, for example), 
so that the convergence of the rays into a focus may be obtained with- 
out the dispersion of the rays, and the consequent production of false 
colours round the image. This is what Dolland nearly accomplished, 
and upon these principles. That the effect of this very artificial arrange- 
ment is attained in the eye is a remarkable proof of the perfection of its 
adaption to the properties of light. The last circumstance which we 
may mention in continuing the comparison, is the drawing out of the 
tube in the telescope to accommodate the foci of the glasses to the distance 
of the object. It is sufficent to say, that the eye possesses this property 
of accommodation. That we do not understand how the operation is 
performed, only strengthens the argument in favour of the perfection of 
the eye: since the power exists, and is exercised with an ease which 
hardly permits us to be sensible of it. 


Is the invention (or rather the improvement of the French semaphore, of 
M. Chappe) by the late Sir Home Popham; it consists of an upright post 
with two indicators, which move upon centres one above another; the 
mast is made to turn round upon its axis, so as to present its arm 
successively to all quarters as may be required. The movements are 
very simple; they are effected by iron spindles and endless screws, so 
that the indices below are certain to accompany the indicators 



exactly in their movements, and place them precisely in their required 
positions, which cannot be done by the old machinery with cords, 
because these are liable to expand or contract, by wet or dry weather. 
The machinery for the set of telegraphs at the Admiralty, was constructed 
in the most substantial manner by Maudolay, in 1816. The following 
is an exact description : L. M. is a tall mast of an hexagonal form, 
framed up from six fir planks put together at the angles, and bound by 
iron hoops at different places, so as to be hollow within. The lower end, 
L., terminates in a pivot, and the mast is retained in a vertical position 
by a circular collar at O., which embraces it, and is supported in the 
roof of the building. The two arms P. M. and Q. R., are moveable upon 
centres, one at the top of the mast and the other half way down. 
When the arms are placed in a vertical position, they shut up in the 
hollow of the mast so as to be entirely concealed and for this purpose 
two of the six sides are cut away at the upper part, so as to leave an 
opening through the mast of sufficient width to allow the two arms to 
work into it. 

To communicate motion to the arms, a small toothed wheel is fixed 
upon eachatthe centre of motion, and close to its side. The teeth of those 
wheels are actuated by endless screws or worms, formed on the upper 
ends of the long spindles d. e. and f g. f which descend to the bottom of 
the hollow mast, and have small levelled wheels upon them. These 
again are acted on by wheels of similar size, fixed on the ends of short 
horizontal spindles, which have handles, /). g\, applied at the extremities. 
By turning the latter, motion is given to the vertical handles d. and 
f., and by means of the endless screws upon the ends of them, 
the wheels at M. and R., on the centres of the arms, are turned, 
and the arms are put into any required position. But in order that the 
people below may at all times know exactly what positions the arms 
stand in, two dials, m. and n., are placed on the lower part of the mast, 
each of which turns round with a motion exactly corresponding to that 
of the arms. Each arm, therefore, has four positions in which it will 
express different signals; and these positions are all made with the pointer 
at an inclination of forty-five degrees from the horizontal line. These 
signals either express the letters of the alphabet or the numerical 
characters, according to previous arrangement, which must be made 
known by exhibiting a preparatory signal before the communication is 
begun. The signal to prepare for receiving letters, is by extending the 
lower arm horizontal!/ to the right; and for the numerals, both arms 
are extended horizontally to the left. The arms are made with boards 



like Venetian blinds, and each has a piece of cast iron at the opposite 
end to counterpoise the weight, and make it move freely into all 
positions. Now it is easy to conceive, that by repeating all those 
positions with both arms extended together instead of one singly, various 
combinations may be made, sufficient to express all the remaining letters, 
and some other necessary signals. 

The first figure in the cut exhibits the whole telegraph from : ts 
foundation to its top, together with a section of the roof of the Admiralty 
in which it is fixed. The second figure shows the internal machinery 
on an enlarged scale; the third exhibits the seven different positions 
which the two arms (the only parts used in communicating information) 
are made to take, and the extreme simplicity of the contrivance becomes 
the more manifest from observing that the arms are always extended in 
right lines. The remaining thirty figures, numbered from one to fin 
(which latter indicates that the communication is completed), it will be 
seen are all combinations of some two of the seven previously explained, 
and for facility of reference are numbered to correspond ; the figure 
twenty-seven for example, consisting of those marked 2-7 in the smaller 
engraving. The figure pausa, indicates the completion of a sentence. 
Several telegraphic dictionaries have been compiled, but Sir Home 
Popham’s is the one in general use in the navy ; it consists of thirteen 
thousand words and sentences. Our cut exhibits all the signals used at 
the Admiralty; but their various interpretations are frequently changed, 
and known only to the officers engaged in that service. 


This beautiful invention is one of the first and most useful applications 
of that most extraordinary and subtle fluid, electricity. 

If a piece of zinc, and another of copper, be laced near and opposite each 
other without touching, in a vessel containing acid, such as oil of vitriol, 
diluted with water, the two metals will acquire opposite states of electri- 
city. If now a metalic wire of some length be connected by solder, or 
any very perfect metallic contract with each metal, a current of what is 
called voltaic electricity, or galvanism, will constantly flow along each 
wire, from one end of it to the other. 

This electric current possesses magnetic properties, and if the conducting 
wire be brought close over the needle of a mariner’s compass, which 
points north and south, it will turn it out of its direction, and cause it to 
point east and west, or vice versa. The wire connecting the zinc and 




copper may be of very great length, for instance, many miles, and yet it 
will produce the same effects at any part of it. 

If 26 magnetic needles, each bearing a letter of the alphabet, he fixed 
in as many coils of 26 wires, then on passing the galvanism to any one or 
other of these wires, the corresponding letter will be given as the signal, 
and letters may be signalled in succession, so as to form complete words 
and sentences. This is the elementary form of the apparatus described by 
a French philosopher many years ago; and a similar imperfect apparatus 
has recently been exhibiting publicly under a different name. The objec- 
tions are the vibrations of the needles, and the loss of time and liability 
to mistake, and also the length of space which the needles occupy, and 
the not having them all at once under view ; besides the multiplicity of 
wires, and the expence. The plan has of course been considered as no 
way adapted for practice. 

Mr. Davy has, by the application of some not generally-known princi- 
ples, brought the invention to the greatest perfection, as may be believed 
from the following description ; — Instead of 26 wires, Mr. Davy employs 
only six ; and with these he can give upwards of 200 signals, including 
the 26 letters of the alphabet. Nothing whatever is seen of magnetic 
needles; there is a small dark screen, on which the letters (either singly, 
or combined into words, or arbitraries) start into view the instant the key 
at the opposite end is touched ; and this would be the case as instan- 
taneously, even though the wires extended from London to Portsmouth 
— the length of distance, according to Mr. Davy’s ^ lan, making 
absolutely no difference whatever. The coming of a cc/nmunication 
is always preceded by a sound or alarum ; and a bell, struck by the 
action of a magnet, moved by electricity, separates the letters into words; 
the bell being rung at any distance by the electricity. The readiness, 
rapidity, and certainty of this apparatus surpasses all expectation. 


That power which can “ engrave a seal and crush a mass of obdurate 
metal like wax before it; draw out, without breaking, a thread as fine 
as gossamer, and lift a ship of war, like a bubble in the air ; or 
embroider muslin, forge anchors, cut steel in ribbands, and impel itself 
against the opposition of the very tempest.” 

One of the properties of heat is its power of expanding all bodies 
into which it enters. Thus a piece of iron made red hot, will be found 



on examination to have increased in bulk ; and ti e same effect takes 
place in all other bodies, with one or two exceptions, for which no 
explanation can be given. Now, when water is exposed to the action of 
heat, it also expands and assumes a gaseous state — and thisissfeam. In 
such condition it is very elastic, and, like the atmosphere, invisible. 
This conversion takes placeatall temperatures, from the surfaceof liquids; 
but the vaporisation, or formation of vapor, is slow, and the vapor 
produced is prevented from rising by the pressure of the atmosphere, 
which checks its further formation ; but a current of air, by removing 
the vapor previously formed, allows the formation of more, which, in its 
turn is removed, and so the process goes on until all the liquid is 
evaporated. This explains why, on a windy day, or in a situation 
exposed to a current of air, vaporisation proceeds so rapidly. 

If, however, the water be heated in an open vessel, till it attains a 
heat of two hundred and twelve degrees of Farenheit’s Thermometer, it 
is said to have reached the boiling point, and it cannot be made hotter ; 
all subsequent additions of heat going to form steam, which rises from 
that part of the vessel nearest the source of heat, and escapes from the 
surface of the water, producing that agitation commonly called boiling. 
About one thousand degrees of heat are necessary to convert boiling 
water into steam; but this accession of heat not being indicated by the 
Thermometer, is called latent heat. At two hundred and twelve 
degrees the elastic power of steam is equal to that of the atmosphere, 
and at four hundred and nineteen degrees, is one thousand and fifty 
times greater; it then exerts a pressure of nearly fifteen thousand 
pounds on every square inch of the inside of the vessel in which it may 
be confined. It has been found by repeated experience, that steam at 
the temperature of two hundred and ten degrees, occupies about one 
thousand eight hundred times the space of the water from which it is 
formed. But till the commencement of the present century this fact 
was not generally known. It was thought that the expansion was 
fourteen thousand times greater than the water which produced it ; this 
has, however, since been proved erroneous. It must not be forgotten 
that steam can be suddenly condensed, however great may be its state of 
expansion , into the same quantity of water that it formed before the 
application of heat had changed its condition, and it was for the purpose 
of making available the force so generated, that many of the first 
invented steam engines were constructed : it is the expansive force of 
steam, however, that is the prime mover of the engines of the present day. 




Dr. Lardnerhas very justly observed, that the steam engine, as it now 
exists, is not the exclusive invention of any one individual, it is a 
combination of inventions, which for the last two centuries have been 
accumulating. The first person of whom we have any record as 
having a notion of steam as a moving power, was Hiero or Hero, an 
Alexandrian mathematician, about one hundred and thirty years B. C., 
in a work written by him, and in which he describes three several methods 
of applying steam as a motive power; first to elevate water by its 
elasticity, secondly, to raise water by its expansive force, and thirdly, to 
produce a rotary motion by its re-action on the atmosphere, the last only 
was applicable to any useful purpose. The next in order was Solomon 
de Cans, a Frenchman, who in 1615 employed the elastic force of 
steam as a means of raising water. 

The third attempt to apply steam as a moving power was by Giovanni 
Branca, an Italian mathematician, who formed a boiler in the shape of 
the human head and breast ; from the mouth of the figure proceeded a 
pipe, through which the steam issued, and striking against the vanes of 
a float wheel (similar to a common water wheel or paddle), caused its 
revolution, and a pinion being attached, motion by this means was given 
to machinery, which was employed in a drug or pounding mill. 

The next person whose name is associated with the steam engine is the 
Marquis of Worcester, who in the reign of Charles the Second (1663), 
published his “ Century of Inventions,” all of which he claimed as his 
own. Among which is “an admirable and forcible way to drive up 
water by fire,” and this is supposed by some to have given the first idea 
of many great improvements of the steam engine; others deny that he 
suggested any beneficial alteration, and it is certain that engines have 
been made upon his principle and have altogether failed. Sir Samuel 
Moreland a few years after is known to have constructed an apparatus, 
of which the moving power was steam; it was exhibited before the King 
of France; but of which no drawing or description is extant. His 
estimate of the expansive power of steam, although denied by Desaguliers 
and others, was proved by Watt to be the only correct one. Dr. Papin, 
a Frenchman, was the next improver of the steam engine, by the in- 
troduction of the safety valve for the boiler; this was in 1690. 

In 1699, Captain Savery introduced his engine for raising water by 
steam ; this was, in fact, the first useful application of the power, and this 
discover*' ; s said to have been made by accident. The story runs that 



the Captain having partaken of “ potations deep,” threw the wine bottle 
into the fire ; this, however, happened to have a small portion of wine 
left in it, which was immediately converted into steam by the heat; on 
perceiving which, he immediately thought of trying what effect would 
he produced by immersing the neck in water; and having some ready 
before (brought, it is said, for washing his hands), he forthwith tried the 
experiment, and that the steam which filled the flask was condensed, and 
that the water rushed up into the flask to supply the vacuum caused by 
this condensation. This casual experiment is said to have given to 
Savery the idea of constructing an apparatus on this plan for raising 
water. Savery by this perceived that he had only to form a vacuum, 
by means of condensing steam he could then raise water thirty-four feet. 
It also occurred to him, that he might employ the expansive power of 
steam as used in De Caus’s engine, and thus force the water still 

All this Savery effected, and by so doing led the way for the brilliant 
inventions that were afterwards made in the construction of the steam 
engine ; this invention was principally devoted to raising water from 
mines, and bore the name of the “ miner’s friend.” With all its 
advantages, however, this engine did not perform well, and in 1750 
Thomas Newcomen, a smith, and John Crawley, a plumber, both of 
Dartmouth, took out a patent, which they shared with Savery. The 
next improvement was made by Humphrey Potter, when a boy; who, it is 
said, from an idle feeling to save himself a little trouble, made an im- 
provement in the uniform mode of the opening and shutting the cocks, 
by making the engine work its own. In 1718, Mr. Henry Beighton 
improved upon the idea of Potter, by the application of a piece of 
mechanism called a “hand gear;” this is a rod suspended from the 
beam of the Engine, having projecting pins, which act upon a number of 
levers, and thus effected what had been previously done by hand, or by 
Potter’s rude contrivance. Such was the state in which the steam 
engine was found by the great James Watt; he was at this time a 
mathematical instrument maker at Glasgow, who being employed by the 
University of that city to repair a model of Newcomen and Crawley’s 
engine, perceived the great loss occasioned by the injection of the con- 
densation water into the cylinder, by which it was considerably reduced 
in temperature, and when the steam was again admitted, a great portion 
of it was condensed by the cold cylinder, which caused a great ex- 
penditure of fuel. This suggested to him the condensing of the steam 
in a separate vessel, by which the cylinder would always be maintained 



at an elevated temperature, while by having the condensing vessel 
(called a condenser ) totally immersed in water, the condensation would 
be much more perfectly performed ; this he succeeded in, and hence the 
mighty power of steam has been to the present age what the invention 
of printing was to a former one. It needs not a monument in West- 
minster Abbey, however costly, nor an epitaph, however elegant, to tell 
us that neither are wanting 

“ To perpetuate a name 

“ Which must endure while the peaceful arts flourish.” 

Or that he 

“ Enlarged the resources of the country, 

“ Increased the power of man, 

“ And rose to an eminent place 
“ Among the most illustrious followers of science.’’ 


Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian, two Cornish engineers, the 
inventors of the high pressure steam engine, were the first who applied 
steam as a locomotive power; and certainly long before even Watt, who 
in 1784 first conceived the idea that two persons might probably be 
carried by an engine having a cylinder seven inches in diameter, and a 
foot stroke, the piston moving at the rate of one hundred and twenty 
feet, or sixty strokes per minute. Watt never put into practice his 
scheme, which perhaps would have failed, as low pressure engines were 
to be employed, and even his great mind had its prejudices against high 
pressure engines, from an idea of their danger. Trevithick and his 
clever partner took out a pateut in 1802 for their invention, and began 
running their carriages upon common turnpike roads in 1804; but they 
did not receive the encouragement they deserved, and their carriages 
were solely confined to run on rail, or rather tram roads at that time, 
exclusively used in the iron and coal districts. The form and arrange- 
ment of their rail road carriage was somewhat different from those 
employed on common roads, and although many improvements have 
been made since the invention of Messrs. Trevithick and Vivian, yet the 
principle is closely followed in those used now so extensively. 




In amerous have been the claimants for the honor of being the first to 
apply the steam engine for the purposes of navigation ; America claims it 
for Fitch and Fulton — England for Bell, Miller, Hulls, James Taylor and 
Symington — France for Papin, and Spain for Blascoe de Gary ; but the 
question of priority of invention rests between John Fitch and Syming- 
ton ; the former is said to have taken out a patent in New York in 1788, 
having previously explained his invention in print, 1786, while Symington 
in 1788 made his first experiment in a double keeled vessel at Dalswin- 
ton — Hulls is said to have written a discription of a steam vessel in 1736. 
However, the honor of building a vessel, which was propelled by steam, 
is due to Symington, who constructed the first steam boat in this country. 
In 1789 a second was built by the same gentleman, on a larger scale, 
which was tried on the Forth and Clyde canal. For waDt of pecuniary 
means, Symington did not pursue his labors for more than 10 years. In 
1800 he built one for the Forth and Clyde Canal Company; but this 
was abandoned by them in 1803, because the action of the paddles injured 
the banks of their Canal. The difficulties which Fulton had to contend 
with in 1806 at New York are familiar to every one. His vessel, the 
“ Clermont,' was nicknamed “the Fulton Folly.” After a trifling stop- 
page she glided along so beautifully on the bosom of the Hudson, that 

“ Who came to laugh — remained to praise.’’ 

She was 133 feet long, 7 deep, and 18 feet broad — the boiler was 
20 feet long, 7 deep and 8 broad; the cylinder was 2 feet diameter, her 
burden was 160 tons, and she performed the voyage, 150 miles, in 32 
hours ; nearly at the rate of 5 miles an hour. The alarm which she created 
to seamen and landsmen during her first voyage was ludicrous in the 
extreme. To Fulton, therefore, we are indebted for that machine of 
which the waters of half the world are now covered with its models, and 
by means of which the journey between the old and new worlds is made 
a pleasure trip of a few days. 

In England the annexed table will show the giant strides made since 
1813, in this speedy and commodious description of transit. 




The following is an authentic account of the number and tonnage of 
steam vessels, belonging to the British Empire (including the plantations), 
from 1814 to 1836 inclusive. 

Year. No. of Vessels, Amount of Tonnage. 










































































In 1813, one steam boat of sixty-nine tons, floated in solitude on the 
.British waters; and in 1839, from eight hundred and fifty to nine 
hundred vessels belonging to Britain, comprising above one hundred 
and seventy thousand tons, seventy thousand horse power — the 
capital invested in which exceeds three millions sterling! and the 
number that now sail, the tonnage and amount invested , exceeds all 

T. H. Shore, Printer, 30, Old Street, St. Luke’s.