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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction--Volume 13 by Various

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[Illustration: PORTRAIT of the late SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, Bart.]

* * * * *

THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION:

CONTAINING

ORIGINAL ESSAYS; HISTORICAL NARRATIVES; BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS;
SKETCHES OF SOCIETY; TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTIONS;
NOVELS AND TALES; ANECDOTES;

SELECT EXTRACTS

FROM

NEW AND EXPENSIVE WORKS;
_POETRY, ORIGINAL AND SELECTED:_
THE SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS;
DISCOVERIES IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES;
_USEFUL DOMESTIC HINTS;_

&c. &c. &c.

* * * * *

VOL. XIII.

* * * * *

LONDON
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J. LIMBIRD, 143, STRAND.
_(Near Somerset House.)_

1829

* * * * *

PREFACE.

* * * * *

We begin to think that a long Preface in this season of _ennui_ would be
almost as tiresome as tragedy in warm weather, and much more so than the
trite three-line Prologue in Hamlet. Our materials are collected from all
quarters, with but little of our own; so that we might praise all the
authors without the charge of uncommon vanity; but panegyric savours much
of the poppy, and we must use it accordingly.

Our thanks are first due to such Subscribers as have, by personal
observation and research, enabled us to throw a light on certain obsolete
customs or portions of our domestic history; for these contributions form
a prominent feature of the Correspondence of THE MIRROR; it being our
object, in this department, to gather facts rather than to draw only upon
the invention of our friends. In support of this system we could select
many specimens from the Correspondence of the present volume, the
interest of which is, we hope, be equal to any of its predecessors.

The _Selector_ will be found to contain many valuable extracts from New
and Costly Works, in almost every class of literature; and the piquancy
of the _Notes of a Reader_ may be turned to as a convenient little
treasury, into which readers of all tastes may dip with pleasure and
advantage.

The _Sketch Book_ contains rather an unusual number of Narratives, some
of them of extraordinary interest, and written in the best style of the
best authors.

The _Spirit of Discovery_ will be considered characteristic of our times,
by illustrating the real economy of science in its application to the
conveniences of every-day life. As a collateral branch of this division
is _The Naturalist,_ under which head we have endeavoured to identify THE
MIRROR with Zoology, as one of the most popular studies of the day.

The _Spirit of the Public Journals_ breathes not a few of the sweetest
and most recent poetical compositions from the pens of celebrated authors,
some of whose names are passports to high excellence.

The _Engravings_ have, probably, been criticised upon first impression;
so that we can only hope they have merited the applause of our
Subscribers. We may be permitted to remark that some of the illustrations
relate to scenes and subjects of no ordinary attraction in Antiquarian
Remains, and Architectural Improvements of yesterday; a few of these have
been executed at a considerable cost to the Proprietor; for which extra
exertion he has been more than requited by the increased demand.

Several current _Novelties_ will be found described at length in this
volume--as the circumstantial and accurate accounts of the Colosseum--and
the New Swan River Settlement, the last of which is illustrated with an
Engraved Chart.

Strenuous as have been our exertions for past patronage, we shall not
relax in the ensuing volume. An entirely new Type has been prepared for
this purpose, and we feel confident that we shall be enabled to keep pace
with the increased typographical beauty of the MIRROR, as well as with
the improved spirit of its Engravings.

June 27, 1829.

* * * * *

LIST OF ENGRAVINGS.

VOL. XIII.

_PORTRAIT of the late SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, Bart._

Bruce Castle, Tottenham.

Old Elephant, Fenchurch Street.

Macclesfield Bridge, Regent's Park.

Rupert's Palace, Barbican.

Hanover Lodge, Regent's Park.

Grove House, ditto.

Colosseum, Exterior, ditto.

Marquess of Hertford's Villa, ditto.

Doric Villa, ditto.

Colosseum, Interior, ditto.

Kirkstall Abbey.

Warwick Castle.

Old Covent Garden Market.

York Terrace, Regent's Park.

Snow Flakes, Magnified.

Rugby School.

Miners of Derbyshire.

Fortune Playhouse, Barbican.

Epsom New Race Stand.

Old Charing Cross.

Exeter 'Change, Strand.

Hyde Park Grand Entrance.

Talipot Tree.

Glowworm.

Deathwatch, Magnified.

Chester Terrace, Regent's Park.

Guy's Cliff.

Roman Altar.

Gower's Tomb.

Hirlas Horn.

Old Somerset House.

Harrow School.

Sussex Place, Regent's Park.

Clarendon House, Piccadilly.

Relic of John Buryan.

Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park.

Chart of the Swan River Settlement.

Laleham Park, the Residence of the Young Queen of Portugal.

Holland House, Kensington.

Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park.

Residence of T. Campbell, Esq.

Labyrinth at Versailles.

* * * * *

MEMOIR OF SIR HUMPHRY DAVY, BART.

The present may be regarded as a chemical age; for so extensive, rapid,
and important have been the late acquisitions in the science of chemistry,
that we may almost claim it as the exclusive discovery of our own times.
The popularity and high estimation in which it is held may be ascribed to
three causes: 1. The satisfaction which is afforded by its results.
2. Its utility in all the arts of life. 3. The little previous
preparation which an entrance on its study requires. To these may be
added, the new interest conferred upon the science by the discoveries of
Black, Priestly, and Lavoisier, which had already introduced into
chemical science the long-neglected requisites of close investigation and
logical deduction; but it was reserved for Sir HUMPHRY DAVY to
demonstrate the vast superiority of modern principles, by the most
brilliant career of discovery, which, since the days of Newton, have
graced the annals of science.

Sir Humphry Davy was born December 17, 1779, at Penzance, in Cornwall.
His family was ancient, and above the middle class; his paternal great
grandfather had considerable landed property in the parish of Budgwin,
and his father possessed a small paternal estate opposite St. Michael's
Mount, called Farfal, on which he died in 1795, after having injured his
fortune by expending considerable sums in attempting agricultural
improvements. Sir Humphry received the first rudiments of his education
at the grammar-schools of Penzance and Truro: at the former place, he
resided with Mr. John Tomkin, surgeon, a benevolent and intelligent man,
who had been intimately connected with his maternal grandfather, and
treated him with a degree of kindness little less than paternal. His
genius was originally inclined to poetry; and there are many natives of
Penzance who remember his poems and verses, written at the early age of
nine years. He cultivated this bias till his fifteenth year, when he
became the pupil of Mr. (since Dr.) Borlase, of Penzance, an ingenious
surgeon, intending to prepare himself for graduating as a physician at
Edinburgh. As a proof of his uncommon mind, at this early age, it is
worthy of mention, that Mr. Davy laid down for himself a plan of
education, which embraced the circle of the sciences. By his eighteenth
year he had acquired the rudiments of botany, anatomy, and physiology,
the simpler mathematics, metaphysics, natural philosophy, and chemistry.
But chemistry soon arrested his whole attention. Having made some
experiments on the air disengaged by sea-weeds from the water of the
ocean, which convinced him that these vegetables performed the same part
in purifying the air dissolved in water which land-vegetables act in the
atmosphere; he communicated them to Dr. Beddoes, who had at that time
circulated proposals for publishing a journal of philosophical
contributions from the West of England. This produced a correspondence
between Dr. Beddoes and Mr. Davy, in which the Doctor proposed, that
Mr. Davy, who was at this time only nineteen years of age, should suspend
his plan of going to Edinburgh, and take a part in experiments which were
then about to be instituted at Bristol, for investigating the medical
powers of factitious airs; to this proposal Mr. Davy consented, on
condition that he should have the uncontrolled superintendence of the
expements. About this time he became acquainted with Davies Gilbert, Esq.
M.P. a gentleman of high scientific attainments, (now President of the
Royal Society), with whom he formed a friendship which has always
continued; and to Mr. Gilbert's judicious advice may be attributed
Mr. Davy's adoption of and perseverance in the study of chemistry. With
Dr. Beddoes, Mr. Davy resided for a considerable time, and was constantly
occupied in new chemical investigations. Here, he discovered the
respirability of nitrous oxide, and made a number of laborious
experiments on gaseous bodies, which he afterwards published in
"Researches Chemical and Philosophical," a work that was universally well
received by the chemical world, and created a high reputation for its
author, at that time only twenty-one years of age. This led to his
introduction to Count Rumford, and to his being elected Professor of
Chemistry to the Royal Institution in Albemarle-street. On obtaining this
appointment Mr. Davy gave up all his views of the medical profession, and
devoted himself entirely to chemistry.

Mr. Davy's first experiments as Professor of Chemistry in the Royal
Institution, were made on the substance employed in the process of
tanning, with others to which similar properties were ascribed, in
consequence of the discovery made by M. Seguier, of Paris, of the
peculiar vegetable matter, now called tannin. He was, during the same
period, frequently occupied in experiments on galvanism.

To the agriculturist, chemistry is of the first consideration. The
dependence of agriculture upon chemical causes had been previously
noticed, but it was first completely demonstrated in a course of lectures
before the Board of Agriculture, which Mr. Davy commenced in the year
1802, and continued for ten years. This series of lectures contained much
popular and practical information, and belongs to the most useful of Mr.
Davy's scientific labours; for the application of chemistry to
agriculture is one of its most important results; and so rapid were the
discoveries of the author, that in preparing these discourses for
publication, a few years afterwards, he was under the necessity of making
several alterations, to adapt them to the improved state of chemical
knowledge, which his own labours had, in that short time, produced.

In 1803, he was chosen a fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1805, a
member of the Royal Irish Academy. He now enjoyed the friendship of most
of the distinguished literary men and philosophers of the metropolis, and
enumerated among his intimate friends, Sir Joseph Banks, Cavendish,
Hatchett, Wollaston, Children, Tennant, and other eminent men. At the
same time he corresponded with the principal chemists of every part of
Europe. In 1806, he was appointed to deliver, before the Royal Society,
the Bakerian lecture, in which he displayed some very interesting new
agencies of electricity, by means of the celebrated galvanic apparatus.[1]
Soon afterwards, he made one of the most brilliant discoveries of modern
times, in the decomposition of two fixed alkalies, which, in direct
refutation of the hypothesis previously adopted, were found to consist of
a peculiar metallic base united with a large quantity of oxygen. These
alkalies were potash and soda, and the metals thus discovered were called
potassium and sodium, Mr. Davy was equally successful in the application
of galvanism to the decomposition of the earths. About this time he
became Secretary of the Royal Society. In 1808, Mr. Davy received a prize
from the French Institute. During the greater part of 1810, he was
employed on the combinations of oxymuriatic gas and oxygen; and towards
the close of the same year, he delivered a course of lectures before the
Dublin Society, and received from Trinity College, Dublin, the honorary
degree of LL. D.

In the year 1812, Mr. Davy married his amiable lady, then Mrs. Apreece,
widow of Shuckburgh Ashby Apreece, Esq. and daughter and heiress of the
late Charles Kerr, of Kelso, Esq. By his union with this lady, Mr. Davy
acquired not only a considerable fortune, but the inestimable treasure of
an affectionate and exemplary wife, and a congenial friend and companion,
capable of appreciating his character and attainments. A few days
previously to his marriage, he received the honour of knighthood from his
Majesty, then Prince Regent, being the first person on whom he conferred
that dignity.

We now arrive at the most important result of Sir Humphry Davy's labours,
viz. the invention of the SAFETY-LAMP for coal mines, which has been
generally and successfully adopted throughout Europe. This invention has
been the means of preserving many valuable lives, and preventing horrible
mutilations, more terrible even than death; and were this Sir Humphry
Davy's only invention, it would secure him an immortality in the annals
of civilization and science. The general principle of this discovery may
be described as follows:

"The frequency of accidents, arising from the explosion of the fire-damp,
or inflammable gas of the coal mines, mixed with atmospherical air,
occasioned the formation of a committee at Sunderland, for the purpose of
investigating the causes of these calamities, and of endeavouring to
discover and apply a preventive. Sir Humphry received an invitation, in
1815, from Dr. Gray, one of the members of the committee; in consequence
of which he went to the North of England, and visiting some of the
principal collieries in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, soon convinced
himself that no improvement could be made in the mode of ventilation, but
that the desired preventive must be sought in a new method of lighting
the mines, free from danger, and which, by indicating the state of the
air in the part of the mine where inflammable air was disengaged, so as
to render the atmosphere explosive, should oblige the miners to retire
till the workings were properly cleared. The common means then employed
for lighting the dangerous part of the mines consisted of a steel wheel
revolving in contact with flint, and affording a succession of sparks:
but this apparatus always required a person to work it, and was not
entirely free from danger. The fire-damp was known to be light
carburetted hydrogen gas; but its relations to combustion had not been
examined. It is chiefly produced from what are called blowers or fissures
in the broken strata, near dykes. Sir Humphry made various experiments on
its combustibility and explosive nature; and discovered, that the
fire-damp requires a very strong heat for its inflammation; that azote and
carbonic acid, even in very small proportions, diminished the velocity of
the inflammation; that mixtures of the gas would not explode in metallic
canals or troughs, where their diameter was less than one-seventh of an
inch, and their depth considerable in proportion to their diameter; and
that explosions could not be made to pass through such canals, or through
very fine wire sieves, or wire gauze. The consideration of these facts
led Sir Humphry to adopt a lamp, in which the flame, by being supplied
with only a limited quantity of air should produce such a quantity of
azote and carbonic acid as to prevent the explosion of the fire-damp, and
which, by the nature of its apertures for giving admittance and egress to
the air, should be rendered incapable of communicating any explosion to
the external air. These requisites were found to be afforded by air-tight
lanterns, of various constructions, supplied with air from tubes or
canals of small diameter, or from apertures covered with wire-gauze,
placed below the flame, through which explosions cannot be communicated;
and having a chimney at the upper part, for carrying off the foul air.
Sir Humphry soon afterwards found that a constant flame might be kept up
from the explosive mixture issuing from the apertures of a wire-gauze
sieve. He introduced a very small lamp in a cylinder, made of wire-gauze,
having six thousand four hundred apertures in the square inch. He closed
all apertures except those of the gauze, and introduced the lamp, burning
brightly within the cylinder, into a large jar, containing several quarts
of the most explosive mixture of gas from the distillation of coal and
air; the flame of the wick immediately disappeared, or rather was lost,
for the whole of the interior of the cylinder became filled with a feeble
but steady flame of a green colour, which burnt for some minutes, till it
had entirely destroyed the explosive power of the atmosphere. This
discovery led to a most important improvement in the lamp, divested the
fire-damp of all its terrors, and applied its powers, formerly so
destructive, to the production of a useful light. Some minor
improvements, originating in Sir Humphry's researches into the nature of
flame, were afterwards effected. Experiments of the most satisfactory
nature were speedily made, and the invention was soon generally adopted.
Some attempts were made to dispute the honour of this discovery with its
author, but his claims were confirmed by the investigations of the first
philosophers of the age."[2]--The coal owners of the Tyne and Wear
evinced their sense of the benefits resulting from this invention, by
presenting Sir Humphry with a handsome service of plate worth nearly two
thousand pounds, at a public dinner at Newcastle, October 11, 1817.

In 1813, Sir Humphry was elected a corresponding member of the Institute
of France, and vice-president of the Royal Institution; in 1817, one of
the eight associates of the Royal Academy; in 1818 created a baronet, and
during the last ten years he has been elected a member of most of the
learned bodies of Europe.

We could occupy many pages with the interesting details of Sir Humphry
Davy's travels in different parts of Europe for scientific purposes,
particularly to investigate the causes of volcanic phenomena, to instruct
the miners of the coal districts in the application of his safety-lamp,
and to examine the state of the Herculaneum manuscripts and to illustrate
the remains of the chemical arts of the ancients. He analyzed the colours
used in painting by the ancient Greek and Roman artists. His experiments
were chiefly made on the paintings in the baths of Titus, the ruins
called the baths of Livia, in the remains of other palaces and baths of
ancient Rome, and in the ruins of Pompeii. By the kindness of his friend
Canova, who was charged with the care of the works connected with ancient
art in Rome, he was enabled to select with his own hands specimens of the
different pigments, that had been formed in vases discovered in the
excavations, which had been lately made beneath the ruins of the palace
of Titus, and to compare them with the colours fixed on the walls, or
detached in fragments of stucco. The results of all these researches were
published in the Transactions of the Royal Society for 1815, and are
extremely interesting. The concluding observations, in which he impresses
on artists the superior importance of permanency to brilliancy in the
colours used in painting, are especially worthy the attention of artists.
On his examination of the Herculaneum manuscripts, at Naples, in 1818-19,
he was of opinion they had not been acted upon by fire, so as to be
completely carbonized, but that their leaves were cemented together by a
substance formed during the fermentation and chemical change of ages. He
invented a composition for the solution of this substance, but he could
not discover more than 100 out of 1,265 manuscripts, which presented any
probability of success.

Sir Humphry returned to England in 1820, and in the same year his
respected friend, Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, died.
Several discussions took place respecting a proper successor, when
individuals of high and even very exalted rank were named as candidates.
But science, very properly in this case, superseded rank. Amongst the
philosophers whose labours had enriched the Transactions of the Royal
Society, two were most generally adverted to, Sir Humphry Davy and Dr.
Wollaston; but Dr. Wollaston very modestly declined being a candidate
after his friend had been nominated, and received from the council of the
Society the unanimous compliment of being placed in the chair of the
Royal Society, till the election by the body in November.[3] A trifling
opposition was made to Sir Humphry Davy's election, by some unknown
persons, who proposed Lord Colchester, but Sir Humphry was placed in the
chair by a majority of 200 to 13. For this honour no one could be more
completely qualified. Sir Humphry retained his seat as President till the
year 1827, when, in consequence of procrastinated ill health, in great
measure brought on by injuries occasioned to his constitution by
scientific experiments, he was induced, by medical advice, to retire to
the continent. He accordingly resigned his seat as President of the Royal
Society, the chair being filled, _pro tem_, by Davies Gilbert, Esq. who,
at the Anniversary Meeting, Nov. 30, 1827, was unanimously elected
President.

Since his retirement, Sir Humphry Davy resided principally at Rome, where
a short time ago he had an alarming attack of a paralytic nature, but
from which he was apparently, though slowly, recovering. Lady Davy, who
had been detained in England by her own ill health, joined Sir Humphry,
at Rome, on hearing of his alarming state. Thence he travelled by easy
stages to Geneva, without feeling any particular inconvenience, and
without any circumstances which denoted the approach of dissolution: but
on Friday, May 29, 1829, the illustrious philosopher closed his mortal
career, in the fifty-first year of his age, having only reached Geneva on
the day previous. Lady Davy had the gratification of contributing, by
her soothing care, to the comfort of his last days during their stay in
Italy, and on their journey to Geneva, where they intended to pass the
summer, and hoped to have derived benefit from the eminent practitioners
of that city. Sir Humphry had also been joined by his brother, Dr. John
Davy, physician to the forces in Malta, whence he came on receiving the
intelligence of his brother's danger. But all human art and skill were
of no avail. The last and fatal attack took place at half-past two on
Friday morning, and the pulse ceased to beat shortly after. The event was
no sooner known, than the afflicted widow received the condolence and
affectionate offer of services from the most distinguished individuals of
Geneva; amongst whom we must mention M. A. de Condolle, the eminent
botanist, and M. Sismondi, the historian, both equally beloved for their
amiable character, as illustrious throughout Europe for their works. M.
de Condolle obligingly took charge of all the details of the interment of
his illustrious colleague; and the governor of the Canton, the Academy of
Geneva, the Consistory of the Geneva Church, the Society of Arts and of
Natural Philosophy and History, together with nearly all the English
resident there, accompanied the remains to the burial-ground, where the
English service was performed by the Rev. Mr. John Magers of Queen's
College, and the Rev. Mr. Burgess. The members of the Academy, in the
absence of any relation of the deceased, took their place in the funeral
procession; and the invitations to the syndicate, and to the learned
bodies who accompanied it, were made by that body in the same character.
The whole was conducted with much appropriate order and decency, and
whilst every attention and respect were paid to the memory of the
deceased, nothing was attempted beyond the unostentatious simplicity
which the deceased had frequently declared to be his wish, whenever his
mortal remains should be consigned to their last home; and which in
accordance to that wish, had been expressly enjoined to her kind friends
by the afflicted widow. In the procession, which followed the corporate
bodies and the countrymen of the deceased, were many of the most eminent
manufacturers of Geneva, and a large body of mechanics, who were anxious
to pay this tribute of regard and gratitude to one whom they deservedly
looked upon as a great benefactor to the arts, and promoter of sciences,
by the application of which they earn their livelihood.[4]

During his retirement on the Continent, Sir Humphry continued to
communicate the splendid results of his labours to the Royal Society,
and at the anniversary meeting of the year 1827, the royal medal was
awarded to him for a series of brilliant discoveries developing the
relation between electricity and chemistry.[5] Upon this interesting
occasion, Mr. Davies Gilbert spoke at some length, commencing as
follows: "It is with feelings most gratifying to myself that I now
approach to the award of a royal medal to Sir Humphry Davy; and I esteem
it a most fortunate occurrence, that this award should have taken place
during the short period of my having to discharge the duties attached to
the office of president; having witnessed the whole progress of Sir
Humphry Davy's advancement in science and in reputation, from his first
attempts in his native town to vary some of Dr. Priestly's experiments
on the extraction of oxygen from marine vegetables to the point of
eminence which we all know him to have reached. It is not necessary for
me more than to advert to his discovery of nitrous oxyde; to his
investigation of the action of light on gases; on the nature of heat; to
his successful discrimination of proximate vegetable elements; nor to
his most scientific, ingenious, and useful invention, the
safety-lamp,--an invention reasoned out from its principles, with all
the accuracy and precision of mathematical deduction."

The course of Sir Humphry Davy to the highest rank as a chemical
philosopher, was, after his appointment at the Royal Institution, rapid
and brilliant; and if he was previously aided by as few of the advantages
of fortune as any man living, he had then at his disposal whatever his
industry and talents chose to command. We have given but a hasty outline
of his labours; but it is possible that he may have left behind him much,
not yet made public, for which, science will be still further indebted to
him. His works, papers, and letters are numerous, and the greatest
portion of them are contained in the Transactions of the Royal Society.
One of the most popular and interesting of his recent papers is that on
the _Phenomena of Volcanoes_. This contains a series of investigations of
Vesuvius, made by the author during a residence at Naples in 1819-20, and
bearing upon a previous hypothesis, "that metals of the alkalies and
earth might exist in the interior of the globe, and on being exposed to
the action of air and water, give rise to volcanic fires, and to the
production of lavas, by the slow cooling of which basaltic and other
crystalline rocks might subsequently be formed." We have not space for
the details of these investigations, interesting as they would prove to
an unscientific reader; but we give an abstract of the result of Sir
Humphry's observations:

"The phenomena observed by the author afforded a sufficient refutation of
all the ancient hypotheses, in which volcanic fires were ascribed to such
chemical causes as the combustion of mineral coal, or the action of
sulphur upon iron; and are perfectly consistent with the supposition of
their depending upon the oxidation of the metals of the earths upon an
extensive scale, in immense subterranean cavities, to which water or
atmospheric air may occasionally have access. The subterranean thunder
heard at great distances under Vesuvius, prior to an eruption, indicates
the vast extent of these cavities; and the existence of a subterranean
communication between the Solfattara and Vesuvius, is established by the
fact that whenever the latter is in an active state, the former is
comparatively tranquil. In confirmation of these views, the author
remarks, that almost all the volcanoes of considerable magnitude in the
old world, are in the vicinity of the sea; and in those where the sea is
more distant, as in the volcanoes of South America, the water may be
supplied from great subterranean lakes; for Humboldt states that some of
them throw up quantities of fish. The author acknowledges, however, that
the hypothesis of the nucleus of the globe being composed of matter
liquefied by heat, offers a still more simple solution of the phenomena
of volcanic fires."[6]

We have hitherto spoken of Sir Humphry Davy as a philosopher. He was,
however, in every respect, an accomplished scholar, and was well
acquainted with foreign languages. He always retained a strong taste for
literary pleasures; and when his continued illness retarded his
scientific pursuits, he made literature his recreation. In this manner he
wrote _Salmonia: or Days of Fly-fishing_, in a series of conversations,
we gather from the Preface:--"These pages formed the occupation of the
Author during several months of severe and dangerous illness, when he was
wholly incapable of attending to more useful studies, or of following
more serious pursuits. They formed his amusement in many hours, which
otherwise would have been unoccupied and tedious." "The conversational
and discursive style were chosen as best suited to the state of the
health of the author, who was incapable of considerable efforts and long
continued exertion." The volume is dedicated to Dr. Babington, "in
remembrance of some delightful days passed in his society, and in
gratitude for an uninterrupted friendship of quarter of a century:" and
the likeness of one of the characters in the conversations to that
estimable physician abovenamed, has been considered well drawn, and
easily recognisable by those who enjoy his acquaintance.

The philosophical works of Sir Humphry Davy are written in a clear and
perspicuous style, by which means he has contributed more to the
diffusion of scientific knowledge than any other writer of his time. His
three principal works, "Chemical and Philosophical Researches," "Elements
of Chemical Philosophy," and "Elements of Agricultural Chemistry," are in
a popular and familiar style, and the two last are excellently adapted
for elementary study. His numerous pamphlets and contributions to the
Transactions of the Royal Society have the same rare merit of conveying
experimental knowledge in the most attractive form, and thus reducing
abstract theory to the practice and purposes of life and society. The
results of his investigations and experiments were not therefore pent up
in the laboratory or lecture-room where they were made, but by this
valuable mode of communication, they have realized what ought to be the
highest aim of science,--the improvement of the condition and comforts of
every class of his fellow-creatures. Thus, beautiful theories were
illustrated by inventions of immediate utility, as in the safety-lamp for
mitigating the dangers to which miners are exposed in their labours, and
the application of a newly-discovered principle in preserving the life of
the adventurous mariner. Yet splendid as were Sir Humphry's talents, and
important as have been their application, he received the honours and
homage of the scientific world with that becoming modesty which
universally characterizes great genius.

Apart from the scientific value of Sir Humphry's labours and researches,
they are pervaded by a tone and temper, and an enthusiastic love of
nature which are as admirably expressed as their influence is excellent.
In proof of this feeling we could almost from memory, quote many
passages from his works. Thus, speaking of the divine _Study of Nature_,
he has the following reflective truths:--"If we look with wonder upon
the great remains of human works, such as the columns of Palmyra, broken
in the midst of the desert, the temples of Paestum, beautiful in the
decay of twenty centuries, or the mutilated fragments of Greek sculpture
in the Acropolis of Athens, or in our own Museum, as proofs of the
genius of artists, and power and riches of nations now past away; with
how much deeper feeling of admiration must we consider those grand
monuments of Nature, which mark the revolutions of the globe; continents
broken into islands; one land produced, another destroyed; the bottom of
the ocean become a fertile soil; whole races of animals extinct; and the
bones and exuviae of one class, covered with the remains of another, and
upon the graves of past generations--the marble or rocky tomb, as it
were, of a former animated world--new generations rising, and order and
harmony established, and a system of life and beauty produced, as it
were out of chaos and death; proving the infinite power, wisdom, and
goodness, of the GREAT CAUSE OF ALL BEING!" Here we cannot trace any
co-mixture of science and scepticism, and in vain shall we look for the
spawn of infidel doctrine. The same excellent feeling breathes
throughout _Salmonia_, one of the most delightful labours of leisure we
have ever seen. Not a few of the most beautiful phenomena of Nature are
here lucidly explained, yet the pages have none of the varnish of
philosophical unbelief or finite reasoning. "In my opinion," says one of
the characters in the Dialogue, (to be identified as the author,)
"profound minds are the most likely to think lightly of the resources of
human reason; and it is the pert superficial thinker who is generally
strongest in every kind of unbelief. The deep philosopher sees changes
of causes and effects, so wonderfully and strangely linked together,
that he is usually the last person to decide upon the impossibility of
any two series of events being independent of each other; and in
science, so many natural miracles, as it were, have been brought to
light,--such as the fall of stones from meteors in the atmosphere, the
disarming a thundercloud by a metallic point, the production of fire
from ice by a metal white as silver, and referring certain laws of
motions of the sea to the moon,--that the physical inquirer is seldom
disposed to assert, confidently, on any abstruse subjects belonging to
the order of natural things, and still less so on those relating to the
more mysterious relations of moral events and intellectual natures."[7]

Many other passages in _Salmonia_ gush forth with great force and beauty,
and sometimes soar into sublime truths. Thus says the eloquent author:

"A full and clear river is, in my opinion, the most poetical object in
nature. Pliny has, as well as I recollect, compared a river to human life.
I have never read the passage in his works, but I have been a hundred
times struck with the analogy, particularly amidst mountain scenery. The
river, small and clear in its origin, gushes forth from rocks, falls into
deep glens, and wantons and meanders through a wild and picturesque
country, nourishing only the uncultivated tree or flower by its dew or
spray. In this, its state of infancy and youth, it may be compared to the
human mind in which fancy and strength of imagination are predominant--it
is more beautiful than useful. When the different rills or torrents join,
and descend into the plain, it becomes slow and stately in its motions;
it is applied to move machinery, to irrigate meadows, and to bear upon
its bosom the stately barge;--in this mature state, it is deep, strong,
and useful. As it flows on towards the sea, it loses its force and its
motion, and at last, as it were, becomes lost and mingled with the mighty
abyss of waters."

"I envy no quality of the mind or intellect in others; not genius, power,
wit, or fancy: but if I could choose what would be most delightful, and I
believe most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to
every other blessing; for it makes life a discipline of goodness--creates
new hopes, when all earthly hopes vanish; and throws over the decay, the
destruction of existence, the most gorgeous of all lights; awakens life
even in death, and from corruption and decay calls up beauty and divinity:
makes an instrument of torture and of shame the ladder of ascent to
paradise; and, far above all combinations of earthly hopes, calls up the
most delightful visions of palms and amaranths, the gardens of the blest,
the security of everlasting joys, where the sensualist and the sceptic
view only gloom, decay, annihilation, and despair!"

Few of those whose fame and fortune are their own creation, enjoy, as did
Sir Humphry Davy, in the meridian of life, the enviable consciousness of
general esteem and respect, and the certainty of a distinguished place in
history, among the illustrious names of their country. "A great light has
gone out,"--short but brilliant has been his career; yet let us hope he
has but exchanged his worldly fame for unearthly immortality, to shine
amidst the never-dying lights of true glory.

[1] This apparatus is of immense power, and consists of 200
separate parts, each part composed of ten double plates, and each
plate containing 32 square inches. The whole number of double plates
is 2,000, and the whole surface 126,000 square inches.

[2] Memoir--New Monthly Magazine, Vol. I. Mr. Dillon has lately invented
an _Improved Safety Lamp_, an Engraving of which will be found at
page 137, Vol. XII. of the MIRROR.

[3] It deserves notice, that two of the most illustrious philosophers of
our times, Sir H. Davy and Dr. Wollaston, have died within the
present year.

[4] Extract of a Letter from Geneva, dated June 1, 1829--_Times_.

[5] These experiments, the last which engaged Sir Humphry Davy's
attention to any extent, were on the application of electrical
combinations, for the purpose of preserving the copper sheathing of
ships' bottoms. To this subject Sir Humphry gave much of his time,
and personally inspected all the boats and vessels on which the
trials were made. Although the theory upon which they were conducted
proved eminently correct, no advantage could be ultimately taken of
the plans which it suggested. The saving of the copper was wholly
counterbalanced by an accumulation of shell-fish and sea-weed on the
sheathing, which became sufficient, in a short time, to prevent the
proper command of the ship at the helm.

[6] Abridged in the Arcana of Science and Arts for 1829.

[7] _Salmonia_, 1st. Edition, page 161. Several beautiful Extracts from
which, will be found in Vol. XII. of the MIRROR.

* * * * *

INDEX TO VOL. XIII

Abernetheyana
Actor, The
African Festivities
Nurse
Widow
Agave Americana
Air Balloon, Lines on
Alderman, Antiquity of
Alehouse Signs
Algiers, Sketch of the battle of
Alnwick Freemen
Altitude of Public Buildings
Alvise Sanuto, a story
Ambition, Lines on
American Comforts
Law
Sea Serpent
Song Birds
Anecdotes of Canning and Moore
Animal Food
Anne Boleyne, Marriage of
Anne of Geierstein, by Sir Walter Scott
Outline of the Story, &c.
Anticipation, Lines on
April Fools, Lines on
Arab, Lay of the Wandering
Arctic Adventures
Auctioneer's Ode to Mercury
Auctions, Antiquity of
Aurora Borealis
Austin Friars, Church of
Avver Bread
Bachelors, Advice to
Bad Writing
Ball, Lines on
Balloon Ascent, Recent
Bamborough Castle
Banana Tree
Banditti, South American
Bannockburn, a ballad
Baron's Trumpet
Bazaar, Oxford-street
Bears on the Ice
Beauty, On
Bees, Food of
Instinct of
Management of
Beet Root Sugar
Bird of the Tomb, a poem
Birds, Crop of
Birds' Nests
Bishops, Magnificent
Blackheath, Cave at
Blind Girl, The
Boarding, Custom of
Bolivar, Memoir of
Book-machinery
Box-tree, The
Boxes, The
Brazilian Slave Trade
British Artists' Society
Diorama
Broiling Steaks, a Story
Broken Heart, The
Brandon, Charles, of Suffolk
Bruce Castle, Description of
Bubble and Squeak, To make
Buckingham Palace described
Bull Fights at Lima
Bunyan's Syllabub Pot
Byron, Lord, Anecdotes of
Calenture, or Maladie de Pays
Callender, N.B.
Canadian Indians
Capuchin Interment
Carmarthen, Description of
Cat and Fiddle, Origin of
Cedar of Lebanon
Charing Cross, Old
Chart of Swan River Colony
Chatterton, the Poet
Chertsey Abbey, Stanzas on
Chester Terrace, Regent's Park
Chiltern Hundreds
Chimneys
Chinese Cities
Chinese Novels
Chosen One, The
Chromate of Iron
Church Spires
Clapperton, Captain, Death of
Clarendon House, Piccadilly
Classical Corrections
Cliffords of Craven, Legend of
Clouds and Sunshine
Coals, History of
Cochineal Insect, The
Coinage, Ancient British
College Dreams
Collop Monday
Colosseum, Description of the
Common Rights
Companion to the Almanack
Theatres
Content, Lines on
Convict's Dream, The
in New South Wales
Cook and the Cranes
Cookery and Confectionery
Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park
Cottage Gardens
Cotton Spinning
Covent Garden Market
Country Character
Cowes Regatta described
Creating Wants
Crime in Paris
Crosses, Ancient, in England
Crusades, Epitome of
Crushing to Death, Legal
Cuccu, The, Old Song
Cumberland Landlord, The
Terrace, Regent's Park
Curacoa, To make
Curious Extracts
Currants, To Preserve
Dancing, Old
Lines on
Daubenton, Death of
Dauphin of France
Davy, Sir Humphry, Death of
Days Departed, a Poem
Dead, Tributes to the
Deathwatch Magnified
Denmark, Education in
Derby and Nottingham
Dinner and Tea Table
Diorama, Regent's Park
Discovery, Expeditions of
Dorchester Church
Douglas, Tragedy of
Dreams, Lines on
Drinking, Hints on
Drunken Frolic
Dutch Language
Tale
Ear, The Human
Eating, Hints on
Eggs, To Preserve
Egyptian MS. discovered
El Borracho, a Spanish Sketch
Electricity on Animals
Elm, the Witch
Elephant Hunt in India
Skeleton
Public-house, Fenchurch-st.
Emigration to America
Swan River
Encyclopaedias, German
England and her Colonies
Epicures, English and Foreign
Epsom New Race Stand
Erie, Lake, described
Eskdale Anecdote
European Manufactures consumed in South America
Exeter 'Change, Old
Falkirk described
Falling Stones, Phenomena of
Famine in England
Farriery, Ancient, Lines on
Fashions, English
Fashion, Great World of
Field of Forty Steps
Fight in a Church
Figs
Fir Tree, Immense
First and Last Appearance
Crime
First Love, a Sketch
Fitzmaurice, the Magician
Five Nights of St. Albans
Flowers on the Alps
Flute-Playing, Lindsay on
Fontainbleau, Royal Hunt at
Foote, Miss, Lines on
Forget-Me-Not, Lines on
Fortune Playhouse described
Fossil Fish
Remains, Gigantic
Fountain, a Ballad
France, Road-Book of
Fraud, Lines on
Freezing Mixture
French Authors, Anecdotes of
Carpet
Country Life
English
Pigs
Theatres
Frogs, To tell the Weather by
Frosts, Hard in England
Fruit, Ripening
Fulminating Powder, To make
Funeral Rites of the Greeks
Gaming in S. America
Gardens, Gleanings on
Gay Widow, a Sketch
Geneva, City of
Genii, Light and Dark
Gentlemen's Fashions
Geological Changes
Geology, Conversations on
German Life
Schools
Students
Gibeon, Battle of
Gipsy's Malison
Glancin E'e
Glow-worm, The
Gold Size, To make
Good Deeds, Lines on
Good and Evil Days
Gower, the Poet, his Tomb
Grammatical Learning
Gravitation, Novel Theory of
Great Seal of England
Gresham College
Grove House, Regent's Park
Growth of Trees and Animals
Gude News
Guy's Cliff, Description of
H., Lines on the Letter
Halcyon, The
Handel, Anecdote of
Hanover Lodge, Regent's Park
Haro, or Harol, Power of
Harrow School, Description of
Hatching Birds
Heaven, Lines on
Hebrew Melodies
Hertford, (Marquess) his Villa
Hillah on the Euphrates
Himalaya Mountains
Hirlas Horn, The
Hogarth, Anecdotes of
's Paintings
Holland House, Kensington
Honest Prejudices
Hood's New Songs
Horsham, Description of
Hudson and his Pigs
Hugonots, The
Humboldt's Journey to Siberia
Hundred Pound Note
Hunted Stag, a Sketch
Hyde Park Entrance
Hydrophobia
Hieroglyphics
Idiot Girl, The, a Sketch
Idler, The
I'll come to your Ball
Image Boy, The
Independence, Irish
India, Voyage to
Indian Claystone
Corn
Mills
Indian Plaster
Insects, Changes of
Instantaneous Lights
Invitations, Various
Iona, Lines on visiting
Irish Deed of Gift
Names made English
Iron Trade, British
Isabella Colour
Italian Improvisatri
Jack of both Sides
Jerusalem, Lines on
John Bullism, Maxims of
John Dory, The
John of Gaunt
Johnson, Dr.
Journey from the Bank to Barnes
Judy, Lines to
Kenilworth, Romance of
King's Evil, Curing the
Speech in
Stag, The
Kirkstall Abbey
Kiss, Lines on
Kissing, Chapter on
Kitchineriana
Konigstein, Great Tun of
La Perouse, Fate of
Lady-Poets of England
Laleham Park
Lawyer, Epitaph on
Lead Miners of Derby
Ledyard to his Mistress
Legal Pearl Divers
Legends of the Lakes of Ireland
Leicester, Derby, and Nottingham
Lilly, the Astrologer
Lime, Effects of
Linlithgow
Loch Katrine
Lomond
London Birds
Improvements
Levels
Lines on Leaving
Lyrics
Old
Stone, Ode to
Reply of
Long Stories
Love, Course of
Lover Student, The
Lower Classes, Education of the
Luxuries, Ancient and Modern
Macclesfield Bridge, Regent's Park
Mahogany Tree
Mahomet's Standard
Man, Lines on
Man-Mountain, The
Marcel, the dancer
March, Story on a
Marlborough, Duke of
Marriage, Lines on
Mars, Mlle. and Napoleon
Matrimonial Advertisement
May Day Custom
Mekka, Description of
Melting Subject
Memento Mori
Mercy and Justice, Lines on
Mexico, or New Spain
Microscopic Examination of the Blood
Mines of Hayna, Discovery of
Mexico
Mock Suns
Moliere, Anecdotes of
Monkey, Anecdotes of
Moore, the poet
Morning Star, Lines to
Morse, or Sea-horse
Mount Arafat and Mekka
Mug-house Club, Long Acre
Murder-Hole, a Legend
Murderer's Last Night
Mushrooms, Wholesomeness of
Mutton cold, Eating
Mutton Hams
Mexican Navy
Monumental Alteration
Nancy Dawson
Napoleon, Anecdotes of
young, Anecdotes of
National Debt, Plans to pay
Navarino, Battle of
Neck, Tradition of the
New South Wales, Population of
New Year's Custom
Newton, Sir Isaac
Noses, Chapter of
Nostalagia, or Calenture
Oak, Beauty of the
Ode from the Persian
Ohio, Scenery of the
Old Rose and burn the bellows
Old Mansions
Oratorios
Oratory, British
Ornithology, Mr. Jennings on
O'Sullivan's Punch Bowl
Ossian's Hall
Othello, Performance of
Otway's Plays
Painting, Moral effects of
Palermo, Party at
Paper linen, Manufactory of
Park, Mungo, Fate of
Parliaments, Epitome of
Parr, Dr., Anecdotes of
Peg Tankards
Pendrils, Family of
Persia, Royal life in
Persian Cavalier
Petrifaction Manufactory
Planting, Notes on
Pocket Books, Useful
Poesy, The dream of
Poetical Will
Polishing Stones
Pompeii, Recent visit to
Posture-masters, Ancient
Potato Chestnuts
Growth of
Practice of Cookery
Pre-aux-clercs at Paris
Public Improvements
Punch, Anecdote of
Puns and Conundrums
Pyrometer, New
Pyrothonide
Quarterly Review, Notes from
Quartre Bras, Battle of
Queen of Portugal
Rank and Talent, a novel
Regal Tablet
Residence, Choice of a
Rest, Lines on
Retentive Memory
Riches, Lines on
River Melodies
Roads of England
Robin Hood's Grave
Robinson Crusoe's Island
Roman Altar, Description of
Rome, Effect of, on the traveller
Rooks
Roses, Culture of
Rover, dog, Anecdotes of
Roue's interpretation of death
Royal Academy Exhibition
Rugby School described
Rupert's, Prince, Palace, Barbican
Russian Botanical Garden
Russian Navy, The
Sabbath, The
Sacred Poetry
St. Christopher's, Island of
St. Paul's Cathedral
Sanctuaries, Ancient
Sarcophagus, Lines on
Sawston Hall described
Schinderhannes, the German robber
School and College
Scotch Marriages
Scottish Inns
Scotland, Road-book of
Scott, Sir Walter, Portrait of
Screws and Screw Presses
Seal's Wedding
Sensitive Plant, The
Shakspeare, a fragment
Shaving in Churchyards
Sherwood and Robin Hood
Shrubs, Transplantation of
Sight, Lines on
Silk Trade
Sleeping Girl, The
Slugs, To destroy
Sneezing among the Ancients
Snow magnified
Snow, a long one
Snow-woman's Story
Soliman the Great
Solitariness, Lines on
Somerset House, Old
Song
Songs for children
Sorrows of Rosalie, a poem
South American Manners
Spiders, Gossamer threads of
Spittlefields in former days
Spots on the sun
Spoons, Antiquity of
Springs, Temperature of
Stage, The modern
Stanging custom
Stealing a Sheet
Stroll, near London
Sugar made from Rags
Superstition
Sussex Place, Regent's Park
Swan River Colony, Described
Swearing by proxy
Tailors, On
Talipot Tree
Tanning, New process of
Tea-drinking
Temperance, Lines on
Theatres, ancient and modern
Fire in
Royal visits to
Theatrical bill of 1511
Thorwaldsen, The sculptor
Throwing stones at the devil
Tigers, To catch
Timber Trees, Description of
Tim Marcks and the Walking Scull
Times Newspaper
Travelling, Expeditious
Travelling on the Continent
Trial by Jury
Truth, a fable
Turkish Prophecy
Twenty-eight & Twenty-nine, years
University, in Yorkshire
Valdemaro, Vision of
Valentine's Day
Van Diemen's Land, Aborigines of
Vary weel while it lasts
Vegetables, To make tender
Vicar, the, Lines on
Vidocq, the French policeman
Village Funeral
Villas in the Regent's Park
Vine, The, from the German
Violets, Complaint of
Wanderer, Recollections of
War, Miseries of
Warwick Castle, Description of
Waste lands, Cultivation of
Watch, Mechanism of
Watering-place arrivals
Water bewitched
Waterloo, Battle of described
Waverley Novels
Whigs and Tories
Whitehall, Description of
Whitsun Ale
Windsor as it was
Witnesses on trials
Woman
Wonders of Art
Wreck, The, a sketch
Yew-tree, The
York Minster, Fire in
York Terrace, Regent's Park
Zoological Society, Report of

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