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Vulcan was more renowned for his skill, than his good fortune. He formed a very brilliant, but unfortunate matrimonial connexion. His principai employment was forging thunderbolts for Jupiter, who, like other tyrants, was often in a passion. Our fellow townsman, Dr. Franklin, has protected us by one of his discoveries, from the skill of Vulcan, and the force of Jupiter; and as he also contributed to establish the liberty of our country, both these exploits have been happily commemorated in a well known line in Latin, which I need not repeat.
Vulcan's workshops were situated near Mount Etna, and he employed a number of gigantick journeymen, with only one eye in the centre of their forehead, called Cyclops. A very particular account of these people, and the adventures of Ulysses among them, you will find in the 9th book of that most amusing poem, the Odyssey. It is impossible not to remark here, how much the poets can make out of the simplest materials. This story of Vulcan, his labours, and labourers, are all derived from one of the earliest iron founders, whose workmen, to protect their eyes from the intense heat of the metal, wore a leather mask, which had one large hole in the centre; Homer transformed these poor blacksmiths into monsters, and made them immortal.
Now Geologists are divided into two parties: the first say that this globe was formed by the agency of fire, and they are called Vulcanists, from the God of fire. The others maintain that water was the agent, and are called Neptunists, from the God of that element. Perhaps you may obtain some idea of their different theories, by applying them alternately to the formation of that cumbrous, magnificent, wedding cake, which stands on the table near us, with all its ornaments of gilded box, motto shells, sugared almonds, &c. &c. In reasoning on its formation, of which I really know little more than of that of the earth, which groans under its weight; I will apply, alternately, the Neptunian and Vulcanian theories, to account for its construction. The lady here inquired, whether these theories did not interfere with the Mosaick account of the creation? I explained to her, that there was nothing irreverent in these investigations; that in the various departments of the Old Testament, the most pious and learned theologians were undecided what was exactly historical, metaphorical, or inspired-That many parts of it were mysterious, and the whole an object of faith and veneration-That men of science, who should
be the last to interfere with any thing religious, conducted their inquiries without any reference to that sacred relation. They reasoned precisely, as if no such account existed.
To commence with the Vulcanian theory, a geologist of this school would say, that water was not an adequate agent to produce the effects we witness; that there must be a great central fire to have formed this composition; that the surface exhibits the most evident marks of fusion, and in penetrating beneath it, there is a black carbonaceous crust, which is evidently the product of fire; that if it had been the product of water, instead of the irregular lava which now covers its surface, vegetation would have appeared the moment the surface was exposed, and before it could be wholly desiccated. Whereas, the slow decomposition of a volcanick surface, is here shewn by the scanty vegetation that appears; besides, the specimens of gold in a pure state, must have been the product of fire. It is quite clear, that if it had not been through the agency of the principle of calorick, which pervades and animates all creation, this production would never have existed.
The Neptunist would say, that there were too many appearances to leave any doubt about the agency of water: the amygdaloids, mandelsteins, or almond stones, by their rounded and wash appearance, had evidently been rolled in the water, and the incrustation that surrounded them was the mere induration of the deposit, in which they had been left, after the water had receded; that a further convincing proof might be found in those fossile shells, which would have been calcined by the fire. These shells resemble no species exactly, that are now found, and were evidently the tenants of those ancient waters, which once covered the globe, and have since been exhaled or contained within the bounds of the different oceans. Besides, if water had not held the whole globe in solution, how could they thus be found on its highest surfaces, and imbedded so deeply in the interiour, forming whole masses of zoolite strata. My nteresting inquirer here became impatient, which the reader may wonder had not been the case sooner, and said, that as this bridal cake was notoriously made with the help of both fire and water, why may not the geologists agree to admit the intervention of both, and thus put an end to the dispute
*For the satisfaction of the learned reader, I suggest that this shell comes the nearest to the species Uvu, genus turbo, cochlea alba ventriosa, bidens, Strys eminentibus, cxasperata.
My dear friend, this would be fatal! science is like love, if there are too many disputes, it expires in a war of words; but if it never excites any discussion, it will be extinguished in apathy.
To the Editor.
FOR THE NORTH-AMERICAN JOURNAL.
In the last number of the North-American Review, there is a letter from two Clergymen, directors of a theological seminary in New-York, which struck me with astonishment. I do not pretend to interfere with the policy of the Institutions of that State; if they choose to appropriate funds for the support of a school conducted in such a manner, however contrary it may be to the spirit of our civil and political constitutions; the patrons of it may still persevere. But, I have noted the occurrence for the purpose of congratulating the state of Massachusetts, that through the wisdom of their legislature they are not disgraced by a school, where such despotism can be exercised. The Andover Institution, attempted unsuccessfully, to obtain the same privilege, which was wisely refused. I am told that the very same doctrine, which drew down such an unrelenting decree on the unfortunate individ al, would at Andover, have been favourably received. The College of the Sorbonne, of the Jesuits, or of the Holy Office, could not have exercised a more summary vengeance, or one dictated in a spirit of greater arrogance. Is it then compatible with our ideas of liberty, or the rights of conscience, that a power thus to punish a mere matter of opinion, unconnected with any violation of morality, should receive support and protection?
Allow me to copy for the use of these mild theologians, the following passage from a certain poet called Shakspeare, it is taken from one of his profane plays, entitled, Measure for Measure.
-Oh it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous,
Could great men thunder,
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder.
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
To the Editor.
AN ENEMY TO PERSECUTION.
Letters from Europe mention, that it is supposed to be the intention of Lord Byron, who has left England for the East, to join Lady Hester Stanhope, in Arabia. As the remarkable adventures of this distinguished lady may not be known to many of our readers, we copy the following account of them from a late French paper.
Lady Hester Stanhope, who belongs to one of the first families in England, merits a place among the most celebrated and intrepid travellers of the present age. This lady, the niece, the friend, and intimate companion of the great Pitt, who was not less attached to him by conformity of mind than by the ties of blood. She enjoys a pension from her country. Pitt, who, as is known, died without fortune, left to his neices, poor like himself, a few lines, in which he recommended them to the generosity of the people of England. After the death of her uncle, Lady Hester formed the project of travelling in the Levant. She first repaired to Malta, and from thence proceeded to Constantinople. Wishing afterwards to make a pilgrimage to Palestine, she sailed for the Holy Land, but had the misfortune to be shipwrecked off the isle of Rhodes. Cast on a barren rock, she seemed to be destined to perish of hunger; but an English ship, which appeared on the following day, took her on board and conveyed her to Syria. There she travelled in all directions, accompanied by Mr. Bruce, who has just been tried for the part he took in the escape of Lavalette. She spent several years wandering among the ruins of Palmyra and Hieropolis, and exploring the vallies of Mount Lebanon. Living for whole months on rice and water, and accustomed to the frugality of oriental habits, from being feeble and debilitated, she became a strong and vigorous Amazon. According to letters which she has addressed to her family in England, she is now at the head of three tribes of Bedouin
Arabs, who regard her as a being of superiour order. She has had several children, whom she was fond of, brought to her from England; and she declares, that she will never forsake that land of the sun, to breathe the humid and cloudy atmosphere of Great Britain. Boston Daily Advertiser.
FOR THE NORTH-AMERICAN JOURNAL.
Extract of a letter to the Editor, from a friend in Germany.
"The Baron Munchhausen (pronounced nearly Minkhhowzen, so famous for his remarkable adventures, lived in the neighbourhood of Gottingen, and was of an ancient, noble family. He was a great lover of the chace, and was famous for telling the stories which are at present under his name, whereby he acquired the very flattering appellation of Lying Munchhausen, by which he is now universally called. He has not long been dead. Though the work so extensively known as his Life and adventures is written in the first person, it is not from the worthy Baron himself, but was given to the world under the following circumstances. A person of the name of Raspe, about fifty years since, was keeper of antiquities in the electoral collection at Cassel, the capital city of the late kingdom of Westphalia, and is about thirty miles from the residence of of our Baron. Raspe was a person of very good education, and extremely well qualified for the place he held. He was however expensive in his mode of life, and fond of extravagance. Having incurred debts, which his salary did not enable him to pay, he applied his collection to the same purposes, which his worthy successors the French commissaries at a later period have much more extensively done, and plundered it of several gems. The fraud was discovered, but he succeeded in escaping to England. Here he sustained himself sometime, as waiter in a Coffeehouse in London, learning by degrees the English language, but not losing the remembrances of home.-For the credit of his native land, and to raise himself from the servants hall of a coffee-house, he committed to writing the marvellous adventures of his distinguished countryman the Baron,, and the life of Munchhausen appeared from the English Press.-Though Germany had suffered a foreign land to