Page images

hot weather, two or three days suffice for met within a fossil state, in the more completing the process; and, what is more ancient strata of the earth, and especiextraordinary, if one of the rays be severed ally in the vast deposits of chalk, where from the body, it soon after becomes itself they occur in great numbers, filled with a living star-fish, similar to the one from silex, and destitute of spines ; though the which it was separated.

tubercles or eminences to which they were The sea-stars are divided into several attached, are usually very distinct, and genera, which we shall not attempt to cha- well preserved. Of the general appearance facterize. The common species on our of these fossil remains, our sketch gives coasts (asterias rubens) is, doubtless, known an accurate idea.

M. tɔ all our readers who have visited the sea.

The sea-urchins are of a globular figure, more or less flattened; they are enveloped in a shell or calcareous crust, composed of angular portions, joined together with the A NEW ENGLAND CENTENARIAN. utmost nicety, and pierced with numerous The Boston Spectator gives an account ranges of little holes, disposed with great of the religious exercises in Bridgewater, regularity, whence are protruded delicate Massachusetts, on the occasion of Deacon membranous tubes, or suckers, capable of John Whitman's arriving at the age of being withdrawn at will; they serve as

100 years: we presume that the implithe respiratory apparatus, .by means of city of the people in that neighbourhood which the circulating Auid is subjected to prevented any thing like ostentation on the action of the water; they also assist in that occasion. progression, and are the arms or feelers by The writer of the account says : which the objects of prey are secured. “Deacon Whitman is a man of rather more Besides these organs, (the disposition o

than middling stature, stout built, large which varies in different species,) the shell features, roman nose, looks as healthy as is covered with long spines, generally arti

a youth, and enjoys good health. His mençulated on small prominences, and move tal faculties, which were well cultivated, able at will, so as to enable the animal, scarcely seem to be impaired; he conwith the assistance of the tubular arms, to

verses with fluency and ease; his mecreep slowly along. The apparatus of the



very correct; he is rather deaf, mouth is very complicated, and furnished

can see to read but little of late, though with five teeth, capable of crushing the formerly a distinguished reader; he walks smaller kinds of shell-fish, on which these as well as most men at seventy-five. animals subsist. The size, arrangement, “ Deacon Whitman entered the church, and figure of the spines vary according to and took his seat in an arm-chair in species, which we may observe amount front of the pulpit. He appeared calm to upwards of a hundred ; indeed, one and serene, grave and dignified, and hundred and seven distinct species are in seemed to appreciate the high honour the museum at Paris,

of appearing in the courts of the Lord, an hundred years old. The assembly was the largest that was ever witnessed in that place of worship, and intense interest was generally visible.

“ The sermon was preached by the Rev. B. Standford, from 2 Tim. iv. 6; For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.'

“ At the close, the Rev. B. Sandford said, "Before you is a rare spectacle. Deacon Whitman is to-day 100 years old. We cannot learn that any man in old Bridgewater has ever before arrived to this great age. We here witness a scene of most uncommon occurrence; one which none of us ever before witnessed, and one which we shall probably never again be

hold. His health is firm, his reason reFossil Echinus.

991 10 12 tains its seat and sceptre, his memory is The shells of sea-urchins are abundantly unimpaired, he can relate occurrences

[ocr errors]


which took place more than ninety years

BOTANY.--No. XXXIV. ago ; he converses with ease and intelligence on all subjects, but especially on the pro- In the course of the year, which is just vidences of God and his word. By reason departing, the Weekly Visitor has given an of deafness, the daughters of music have account of thirty-two orders or botanical not their charms, yet so perfect are the families. A sketch has thus been prepowers of his body and mind, that it can sented of some of most curious and be said of him, almost with the same pro interesting groups of plants, especially those priety as is recorded of Moses, his eye in our own country, with their respective was not dim, nor his natural force abated.' family distinctions, uses, and places of Deacon W. has lived to a great age, he has abode. Technical distinctions constitute lived to see three generations come on and the very basis of botanical knowledge, and pass off the stage of life, and he now form the logic of the science; for without beholds a fourth. He has been father of them it is impossible to tell whether we fourteen children, eight of whom are living. have an accurate notion of any plant's exHe has had twenty-nine grand-children, ternal structure, or whether we shall be twenty-two great-grand-children, and his able to describe it in terms sufficiently descendants have been sixty-five.

exact to convey our ideas to another. It “ Deacon W. was blessed with pious was from a conviction of their importance and faithful parents, and was from a child that the writer introduced many of them into a subject of serious impressions. When the earlier numbers of these papers. And the Rev. Mr. Whitefield visited this region, though they might seem strange to the eye, he heard him gladly, and believed in and hard in the pronunciation, none of Christ. He made a public profession of them were used without a familiar explanareligion in 1766, professed then the faith tion, as will be seen by turning to the peculiar to the pilgrim fathers, to which he Weekly Visitor for January 20, where there has ever since unwaveringly adhered. For is an assemblage of technical terms; but seventy years he has honoured the cause they are all explained, and most of them of Christ, and for thirty years he has sus illustrated by figures. The reader is retained the office of deacon).

quested to master these, and then his way “ He has always been a thorough tempe- will be smoothed in the examination of all the rance man. He has honoured the cause of papers. In setting forth so many technie Christ, and kept the faith. He now feels calities, the writer was influenced by an * ready to be offered, and the time of his honest wish to initiate those into the mysdeparture is at hand.'

teries of botany, who might be desirous of « The Rev. B. S. then turning to Deacon studying it as a science, without having the W., thus addressed him :" Venerable means of purchasing introductory books man, thou art highly exalted and blessed adapted for that purpose. He remembers of the Lord, far above thy fellows. Thou with what eagerness, when a youth, he hast felt the frosts of a hundred win- embraced the opportunity of studying the ters, and the genial warmth of a hun article of botany in a few numbers of “ Dr. dred summers. All thy early mates and Gregory's Cyclopædia,” and with what youthful companions are silent in the dust. severity he used to upbraid himself for not Many are the vicissitudes thou hast wit- rising a longer time before six, the appointed nessed, in the history of the church and hour of labour, to make the most of the the world. Thou hast lived to see the advantage. If this book should be at present peculiar era, when light and know- hand, it will be seen that the article reledge shine with splendour, and the radi- ferred to is an entire composure of technical ant beams are rapidly gilding the dark explanations, without a single " pretty nations of the earth, plainly indicating the story to enliven or sweeten the subject. approach of the latter day glory. Thy But to these he applied himself, without heart rejoices in the signs of the times. once dreaming that it was dull employBut the almond blossoms, and thy great | ment, from a belief that they formed the age, proclaim the sands of thy glass to be portal of botany, through which it was few. God has blessed thee, and granted absolutely necessary to pass, in order to the desire of thy heart, to see this day, relish whatever was delightful, interesting, and to appear in the house of the Lord. or scientific within its purlieus. And And now we seem to hear thee say, in the time, that has altered many an early imlanguage of Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest pression, has made no change in this. thou thy servant depart in peace.''

When the writer commenced these

botanical papers, he imagined that he was terms, would be unable to exchange their writing for some who had, like him- sentiments about it. It might have a self, a great desire to obtain a systematic very pretty green leaf,” a

“ beautiful acquaintance with the subject, but who blossom of such a colour," and so forth, had few means and little time to gratify it; but this would be all. How far calcuhe therefore introduced as much science as lated such remarks would be to impart he could put within a limited space, con instruction and delight, can easily be unscientiously doing as he would have been derstood without the help of either argudone by. Since he began the study of ment or example. But when we have botany, he has obtained an insight into learned to denote each several member of a various departments of knowledge, and flower by its appropriate name, and to de has, on all occasions, found that no solid scribe its lineaments in significant phrases, pleasure or lasting improvement is to be we are able, from experience, to collect secured, till the student has made up his different kinds into families by features of mind to overcome the dryness of elementary reciprocal likeness; and can withal trace detail ; till, in fact, he is content to become their harmonies of structure, habit, and a child, and learn the alphabet and syl- uses : it is then we may adopt the language labic combinations of the science. The of David, and say, “ In wisdom bast thou Weekly Visitor being intended rather for made them all.” We may indeed, with an general readers than for the regular student, unlimited confidence, take it for granted great pains have been taken to divest thé that the works of the Deity are all framed subject as much as possible of its pecu- in wisdom; but it is one thing to presume, liarities, in order to render it less appa- and another thing to know that they are so. rently artificial and discouraging:

This knowledge cannot be attained without A complaint is often made that botany the investigation of methodical arrangesuperabounds with crabbed terms and ments and the enlightened helps of science, punctilious niceties, as if the professors assisted by patience, assiduity, and a real had hedged up the study with a fence of love for the subject. Ushered into the thorns to prevent the approach of the temple of nature by this fair guide, we get unlearned; but this is a mistake. If you acquainted with the name and history of were to go up to a cobbler's stall, and ask each several curiosity, and discern with our him for a list of words peculiar to his own eyes, not only the wisdom and goodtrade, he would, in a short time, if he had ness, but the paternal tenderness of the civility and a ready memory, reckon up a great Architect. With what a plenitude hundred, and afterwards call to mind fifty of conviction do we say then, “How inmore which he had forgotten. Now, shall finite art Thou !” “ The earth,” says the inthe botcher of old shoes, upon the score of spired bard, “is full of thy riches;" which convenience, be allowed a privilege which the Greek version explains by rendering is denied to a botanist, who studies the the passage, “The earth is filled with thy innumerable flowers, plants, and fruits creation;" a truth which meets us at every which are scattered throughout creation ? step of our researches. It is not the plant But the advantage of technical phrases only, but the minutest particle which can will best appear from such an instance as be separated from it, which is highly orthe following :--A gentleman goes into a ganized, or, in plainer terms, bears the shop filled with mechanical or mathema- most lively characters of skill and contical instruments, and after various sorts trivance. Each little fragment of a vegehave been produced to assist him in his table bears testimony to the infinite care of explanation, he, after a good deal of pains Jehovah, and is, therefore, when rightly and time, succeeds at last in making the understood, an antidote against infidelity, master comprehend his meaning. The as well as an incentive to adore its Creator. master sends for the workman, and perhaps in less than twenty words communicates OLD HUMPHREY'S FAREWELL. the order to him, with an ease that seems The die is cast, and Old Humphrey truly astonishing. And this is done by must bid his friends farewell. When he means of certain phrases that have a use first began to comment on the things and meaning which had been previously around him, and to address his poor

obsersettled by a definition.

vations to such as might think them worth Two botanists can talk about a plant, notice, he little thought of so soon comand communicate their ideas respecting it ing to a close. He was vain enough to with the greatest facility ; but two persons, imagine, that his hearty good will would unskilled in the application of the technical so far make amends for his lack of talent,

[ocr errors]

that, for years to come, his observations have said more of myself than I ought to would be received in a kindly spirit, and have said, and thought more highly of be instrumental in calling forth the best myself than I ought to think. This is a affections of the heart, and in directing pitiful pride in an old man, who ought to many a worn and weary spirit, where know, and indeed does know, the worthtrue joys are alone to be found.

lessness of all his productions, and that in Alas! poor, purblind mortals as we his best estate he is altogether vanity. are, how little do we know, what There is yet another failing that all may happen to-morrow. I told you that must have observed in me, a bad habit of I have long had a desire to cross the passing too suddenly from the grave to the wide world of waters, to America, to see gay, from the lively to the severe. The such of my kindred and acquaintance as natural buoyancy of my thoughts renders are settled in that distant land. Events me continually liable to this infirmity: let sometimes ripen quickly! we seem hur- my friends lay hold on what is solid in my ried along by a stream of unexpected remarks, and forgive any thing that is too occurrences, all running one way, till we much like levity. find ourselves in positions that we cannot These are sad failings in Old Humphrey, alter. Yes! Old Humphrey must say but the worst of all his faults is yet to be Farewell! and it may not be amiss, on tak- named, and that is, that he has not in a ing his leave, to glance over the course he straight-forward, right on course, continually has pursued. While he has thought on dwelt on spiritual subjects; he has beat the subject in private, he feels compelled about the bush, too often contenting himself to confess some of his manifold infirmities. with an occasional allusion to godliness.

It would be a strange thing if any one Few and far between have been his earnest could express his opinions as freely as I appeals to your consciences in spiritual afam accustomed to express mine, without, fairs : he followed the will-o'-wisps of his now and then, offending the prepossessions own imagination; he has been too much like or prejudices of his friends. Old Hum- the thermometer, that accommodates itself phrey does not know to what extent he to the temperature of the atmosphere which may have trespassed in this particular, surrounds it. Oh, for a godly sincerity,an unbut this he knows, that if he believed he compromising integrity in all things. Now had ever called forth an angry feeling, I am about to take my leave, a sense of my or ruffled the temper of any of his deficiencies oppresses me. readers recklessly, thoughtlessly, or with- I could blush to think of the little that I out having their good in view, it have done, where I ought to have done would be to him a source of very bitter much; of the lightness of my language, regret.

where it ought to have been weighty! I feel It would hardly become an old man, at this moment that an old man has no busiwho has seen so much of the blessedness ness to amuse himself in blowing bubbles of a virtuous course, and the misery of and balancing straws, when all the best evil ways, to be backward in reproving energies of his heart and soul are not enough evil, even in the thing in which he himself to enable him to discharge his duty. Pass is faulty. Often have I, with an unsparing by, then, all that you have found in me hand, drawn a bow at a venture, to strike undeserving of regard, my censurable pride, another's faults, when the shaft might and my foolish levity, and if my pen has with equal justice have been directed ever been that of a ready writer in divine against my own; and, indeed, a sense of things; if ever a single sentence has escaped my own failings has often dictated my me adapted to make you wiser and better, advice to others.

let it not be forgotten. But Old Humphrey has not been con- In the midst of all his errors and his tent in waging warfare against actual sin, light-heartedness, he has that abiding conhe has often taken an arrow from his viction of the goodness of God, and that quiver to urge it home against bad habits, love for the Redeemer, which he would not churlish dispositions, and thoughtless be- be deprived of for all that this world has haviour; in doing this, he may, at times, bestow. Come, then, let us strive tohave been a little severe, but we have all gether, running the race that is set before something to forgive, and you must for- us with increased alacrity in the service of give Old Humphrey.

our common Master. Let us cling more With shame also I acknowledge a dis- closely to the cross of Christ, and seek position to prate about myself; which I more earnestly for the sanctifying influences fear is too common among us old folks. Il of the Holy Spirit, that, purged from


worldly dross, we may be made meet to ers, and will sometimes, in conjunction be partakers of the glorious inheritance pre- with a sort of carrion beetle, devour, in a pared for God's people, through Him who single day, their whole store of dried fish. has loved us, and given himself for us, and There is a singular creature called the died for us, that we might live for ever. praying mantis (mantis oratoria.) Ils

Finally, brethren, farewell ! be perfect, be name is derived from its attitude, which of good comfort, be of one mind, live in is nothing more than the posture in peace, and the God of love and peace shall which it patiently lies in wait for its be with you."

prey; for, having once set its eyes upon an insect, it rarely loses sight of it,

though it may require some hours before (Food concluded.)

it can make a capture. Should the insect The jaws of insects are admirably be over-head, and beyond its reach, it adapted to their intended services ; some slowly erects its long neck, and elevates sharp and armed with spines and branches itself on its hind legs. If this bring it for tearing flesh; others hooked for seizing, within reach, it throws open the last and at the same time hollow for suction; 1 joint of its fore-paws, and snaps the some calculated like shears for gnawing insect between the spines, set in rows on leaves; others more resembling grind the second joint. Should it prove unstones, of a length and solidity sufficient to successful, it does not retract its paws, reduce the hardest wood; and this singu- but holds them stretched out, and waits larity attends the greater part of these in- again, till the insect is within its reach, sects, that they possess, in fact, two pairs when it springs up, and seizes it. Should of jaws, an upper and an under pair, both the insect go far from the spot, it flies or placed horizontally, not vertically; the crawls after it slowly on the ground, like former, in most cases, for the seizure and a cat; and, when the insect stops, it mastication of their prey; the latter, when erects itself as before. hooked, for retaining and tearing, while the These creatures may be described as upper masticate it previously to its being cannibal insects ; and they show their swallowed.

savage habits in the earliest stage of For the most part, insects feeding on their existence. Their eggs are placed animal substances, will not touch vege in an oblong bag, of a thick, spongy, imtables, and vice versa. But to this rule bricated substance, and fastened lengththere are some exceptions.

wise to the branch of a plant. Roset, Vegetables seem to be the staple food being desirous of observing the developof earwigs, but they have shown on some ment of the insects, placed one of these occasions, not only carnivorous, but canni- egg-bags in a close glass, into which, bal propensities : thus a brood of young when the young appeared, he put difones, reared by Baron de Geer, ate the ferent sorts of plants. But vegetable dead body of their own mother, as well food not suiting their taste, they preyed as the bodies of several of their brethren, upon one another. This determined him which chanced to die.

to supply them with insect food, and he Of house-crickets, White of Selborne accordingly put several ants into the nursesays, “As one would suppose, from the glass. Then however, they betrayed as burning atmosphere which they inhabit, much cowardice as they had previously they are a thirsty race, and show a great showed barbarity; for the instant the propensity for liquids, being frequently ants were observed, the mantes attempted found dead in pans of water, milk, broth, to escape in every direction, evidently or the like.

Whatever is moist they from instinctive fear of a natural enemy. are fond of, and, therefore, they often Afterwards, he tried them with some of gnaw boles in wet woollen stockings and the common house-flies, and these they aprons that are hung to the fire. These seized with eagerness, and tore to pieces. crickets are not only very thirsty, but But notwithstanding their apparent fondvery voracious; for they will eat the

ness for flies, they continued to destroy scummings of pots, yeast, bread, and each other through savage wantonness. kitchen offal, or sweepings of almost Roset, despairing at last, from their daily any description.

decrease, of rearing any to the winged The family of the cockroaches are state, separated them into small parcels, very voracious. A small species occa- in different glasses; but here, as before, sionally met with about London, swarms the strongest of each community denumerously in the huts of the Lapland - stroyed the rest. Having subsequently

« PreviousContinue »