« السابقةمتابعة »
larging the mind, and imbuing it with a genuine love of nature.. The Author has evidently spared neither time nor labour to render her sketch as complete as possible. The authorities she has chiefly consulted, are, Evelyn's Sylva, Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Sir James Smith's Introduction, Dr. Woodville's Medical Botany, Withering's Systematic Arrangement, Bonnet, Du Hamel, Philosophical Transactions, &c. A sketch of the contents will give our readers a general idea of the work.
Letter I. Structure of a tree-sap-vessels-secretions. II. Propulsion of sap-colour of leaves in autumn. III. Formation and function of leaves. IV. Insensible perspiration, and absorbent powers of leaves. V. Names and functions of roots. VI. Blossoms and nectaries. VII. Vegetable Calendar-moral improvement derivable from Botany. VIII. Conversation on Botanical studies. IX. Forest trees. X. Adaptation of plants to their places of growth. XI. Pleasures of a country life-corn-flowers. XII. Adaptation of plants to the wants of man. XIII. Vegetable motion. XIV. Dissemination of seed, and process of vegetation.'
The work is written in a pleasing, and, on the whole, unaffected style, and displays much good sense, correct taste, and pious feeling. We wish that initials or plain English names had described the Correspondents, instead of Lælius and Orontes, Timoclea and Calista. The taste for this sort of poetical names is quite gone out, and they are apt now to excite nausea. The following remarks on the pleasures of the garden, will shew that the Author is not a mere anatomist of flowers, one whose chief delight consists in classifying them.
It may be justly questioned whether works of art, however rare and splendid, can yield, for any length of time, the pleasure which is continually excited by the renovation of flowers in the spring, when they come up with the smiling faces of old friends, and seem to look cheerfully on all around. How many feelings and ideas are associated with them! Pure and innocent as themselves, they are the first objects of infantine regard: they offer to the youthful mind a never-failing source of rational enjoyment; they are cheering in old age, and yield a calm and elegant satisfaction, which pleases without agitation, and has a beneficial effect upon the health and mind. The old man, who walks abroad in a fine spring morning, when the air is fresh, and the flowers are opening to the sun, feels his spirits renovated, and his heart expands with joy. The productions of the woods and hedges remind him of those which he has gathered with companions who have perhaps long since departed. Something of melancholy feeling may be connected with the recollection of them; but it is a melancholy which bids fair to render the heart better. He recals to mind the seasons in which he has seen them bloom and fade around him, and they appear as so many emblems of his own mor
VOL. XVIII. N. S.
tality. He may sigh to think that all flesh is but as grass, and the goodliness thereof as a flower of the field; yet they still remind him that as the loveliness of nature is restored by the breath of the vernal season, so shall the dead arise from the winter of the grave to light and immortality. He remembers that there is a country which the sacred writers compare to a garden, watered by the river of life, and producing a tree whose fruit shall never fail; in which the unfading Rowers of kindness, benevolence, and piety, transplanted from the bleak and charlish atmosphere of this lower world, where, even now, they bring forth abundant fruits of refreshment and consolation, shall blossom for ever with their beauty undiminished, and their lustre unimpaired.' pp. 77–79.
From the chapter on Forest trees, we shall select another specimen.
• Having seated ourselves beneath the shelter of a group of aged pines, through the branches of which the wind swept with a hollow sound, that seemed like the wild requiem of departed greatness, we fixed our eyes on the view beneath and around us. That view was no other than the beautiful retreats of Hawkstone, diversified with verdant lawns and rugged rocks, bold declivities mantled with extensive woodlands, and dells that seemed the chosen retreats of tranquil dryads. It was almost fearful to look down on the imposing mass of foliage that waved below.
“ There the grey smooth trunks
Seem'd shrunk and shorten’d to its topmost bough." • In the distance, a fine group of fir-trees appeared, like dark green pyramids, devoid of motion, bringing to recollection the purpose to which their inflammable qualities were applied by the unhappy Ceres, when seeking the lost object of her affections.
« At Etna's flaming mouth two pitchy pines,
Nor fears the cutting wind, nor heeds the snows." • The pinus sylvestris, or Scotch fir, frequently produces an imposing effect in woodland scenery, especially when contrasted with others of a different character. Those which we observed from the Castle Rock were beautifully relieved by several graceful varieties of the betula alba, or birch-tree, the foliage of which continually plays about with every breath of wind. The bark of this interesting tree is similar to leather in pliancy; and so incorruptible in its nature, that, according to the testimony of Pliny and Plutarch, the books of philosophy and religion, written on it, and deposited in the tomb which contained the body of Numa Pompilius, were discovered at Rome, four hundred years afterwards, in such high preservation, that Petilius, the pretor
undertook to read them by command of the senate. The bark consists of ten or twelye laminæ, white and thin, like paper, for which it vas used by the ancients. The Norwegians find the bark extremely convenient for the covering of their houses, on which they lay turf of the thickness of two or three inches. The Swedish fishermen make shoes of it; and the Kamschatkadales use it for their hats. The yegetable productions of different countries are uniformly adapted to the wants of the inhabitants. The northern lakes are shaded with large birch-trees ; the bark of each is amply sufficient for a single canoe. This valuable tree affords the Laplanders fuel for the fires, which they are obliged to keep to defend themselves from the gnats, when in summer they pitch their tents upon the mountains. When covered with the skin of the rein-deer, the tender leaves and branches of it form their beds. It abounds with resinous matter. If an incision is made in the bark at the rising of the sap, a sweet liquor distils, which is capable of being rendered a pleasant wine. The birch, when in full vigour, generally grows in the form of an inverted pyramid, but varies considerably, according to its age and situation. The most elegant varieties grow in the romantic vale of Slugwy, near Bettws, in NorthWales. The birch furnishes food to many kinds of moths, particularly the beautiful agaricus muscarius. There are three species of this elegant tree, the betula alba, already noticed, the alnus, alder, or owler, and the nana, dwarf-birch, found in great perfection on the mountains and wet heaths of Scotland. It is a curious circumstance, that plants which grow on elevated situations, are also generally found in marshes; probably, because the clouds which rest on the sunimit of mountains keep the air in a moist state, as do also fogs, the clouds of the lower atmosphere, in meadow-land.
• The fraxinus excelsior, or ash-tree; the Venus of the forest, with light quivering foliage and silver rind, rose gracefully on an opposite bank, elegantly contrasted with the stately though compressed foliage of the ulmus campestris, or elm. The loppings of the ash are used, in some parts of England, for the feeding of cattle, when, in autumn, the grass begins to fail. A curious petitiou is still extant, in which the inhabitants of Colton and Hawksheadfells remonstrated, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, against the number of forges in the country, because they consumed all the loppings and croppings of the ash, the sole winter food for their cattle. The roots run near the surface of the earth, and extend to a great distance, whence it is destructive to the herbage of upland pastures; but, if planted on the side of ditches, or in low boggy meadows, the roots act as under-drains, and render the ground about them firm and hard : the wood is, however, in this case, of little value. Pliny notices this curious fact. He mentions that timber-trees, which grow in moist and shady places, are not so close, compact, or durable, as others differently situated. For this reason he preferred the timber-trees of Tuscany to those of the Venetiaa side of the country. Long before the time of this illustrious naturalist, experience justified the same opinion. The spear of Agamemnon was formed of a tree, which braved the fury of the tenipest. Dydimus mentions the reason for this choice : " Because,” '
said he, "being continually weather-beaten, it becomes harder and tougher." Seneca observes, that wood exposed to the wind is strong and solid; and, that Chiron made the spear of Achilles from a mountain-tree.
'Our attention was next engaged by a deep and ancient wood, principally composed of beech, which mantled a precipitous descent, immediately below the Castle Rock. In the spring, the foliage of this noble tree, (fagus sylvatica,) feathering almost to the ground, is exquisitely beautiful. Of a light delicate and lively green, it is perhaps unequalled by any of the forest-trees. When standing singly, or in groups, their old phantastic roots are frequently covered with a profusion of wild flowers. In the deep shade of extensive beechwoods, however, nothing will grow; and their gay smooth trunks, extending as far as the eye can reach, give an impression of boundless solitude and interminable shade.
"There oft the muse, what most delights her, sees
Art. X. 1. Attachment to Life. A Sermon on Occasion of the Death of the late Rev. John Owen, M.A. One of the Secretaries of the British and Foreign Bible Society, &c. Preached Oct. 27, 1822, at Rev. Dr Winter's Meeting-house. By Joseph Hughes, M.A. One of the surviving Secretaries. 8vo. pp. 50. London. 1822. 2. The Character and Happiness of them that die in the Lord. A Sermon preached Oct. 13, 1822, in Park Chapel, Chelsea, on Occasion of the Death of the late Rev. John Owen, M.A. Minister of Park Chapel, &c. By William Dealtry, B.D. F.R.S. Rector of Clapham, &c. Svo. pp. 48. London. 1822.
THESE are two very different, but alike impressive and peculiarly interesting discourses. Mr. Hughes was doubtless led by his own feelings into the train of thought which forms the ground-work of his Sermon. It is not many years since it appeared very problematical, which of the two, his deceased colleague or himself, would first have a period put to his active labours. He whom Providence has spared, must have had at that time a near view of eternity, which would give him an opportunity of deliberately estimating the strength and the reasons of his own attachment to life; and it must be with pecu
liar feelings, of whatever character, that he finds himself the survivor. It might be that those feelings would partake of a sort of envy towards the labourer who had first obtained his dismission and his reward. Or it might be, that the feeling of gratitude would prevail, at being the one that is left. Or a conviction that this ought to be the predominant sentiment, may have dictated these reflections on the proper grounds of an attachment to life. It is altogether a very fine discourse. Mr. Hughes has chosen for his text the affecting language of the Psalmist : “O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I
go hence and be no more.” He considers the principle of attachment to life, first, as it may have a criminal source; secondly, as it may be innocent; thirdly, as it may be laudable.
, Under the first head occurs a very striking passage.
• 1. Life may inspire a criminal attachment, warranting our censure.
• The most obvious and aggravated case is that in which the attachment has its foundation in the opportunities which life affords, of procuring “the wages of unrighteousness," and " the pleasures of sin.' Did you notice those last expressions," the pleasures of sin ?" They are borrowed, indeed, from the writings of one that was in. spired. But what a strange association of terms! My brethren, the Apostle was amply justified in presenting such an association, strange as it may appear, and mortifying to our common nature as it unques. tionably is, It implies a reproach, which, as far as we know, or are willing to conjecture, is due, exclusively, to mankind. For, were it possible for us to ascend into heaven, we should there witness "pleasures,” but no “ sin ;" on the contrary, were it possible for us to go down into hell, we should there witness “ sin,” but no « pleasures :" returning from those heights and from those depths, to this intermediate world, we should there again witness an appalling phenomenon, a monstrous spectacle, which has no place either in the celestial or in the infernal regions,-demanding the sad confession, that we inhabit that province of the empire of God, in which "pleasures” and “sin," are mingled with each other ;-"sin" contaminating "pleasures,” and “pleasures” nourishing and invigorating “sin.” It is for the sake of these disgraceful “ pleasures that wretched thousands wish to retain their hold of existence ; and emerge from ailments into health, from want into opulence, from obscurity into distinction, and from trouble, of whatever kind, into ease and prosperity. Well may it be said to them, when vexed, disappointed, and alarmed, • Ye ask, and receive not; because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it on your lusts." ;
The laudable attachment to life which a saint and philanthropist may be allowed to cherish, as described in the following paragraphs, admirably introduces a more particular reference to the lamented occasion,