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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction by Various

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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. XVII, NO. 490.] SATURDAY, MAY 21, 1831. [PRICE 2d.

* * * * *

[Illustration: OLD HOUSE IN SOUTHWARK.]

This crazy, but not unpicturesque building, was taken down in the autumn
of last year, in forming an approach to the New London Bridge. It stood
on the eastern side of the High-street, and is worthy of record among
the pleasing relics of antiquity, which it has ever been the object of
_The Mirror_ to rescue from oblivion. Its style of architecture--that of
the seventh Henry--is interesting: there is a florid picturesqueness in
the carvings on the fronts of the first and second stories, and probably
this ornament extended originally to the uppermost stories, which had
subsequently been covered with plaster.

We remember the house for the last twenty years, but cannot trace this
or any other alteration in its front. The windows, it will be seen, are
of different periods, those on the right-hand second and the left-hand
third floor being of the oldest date.

Apart from these attractions, and as a specimen of the olden domestic
architecture of the metropolis, the annexed Cut bears an historic
interest, in its having been the residence of the ill-starred Anne
Boleyn, queen of Henry the Eighth. The interior was in palatial style,
having been elaborately finished; and in one of the apartments, we learn
that the royal arms were very conspicuous.

In early times, Southwark was one of the most celebrated of the
metropolitan suburbs; and it is much to be regretted that the liberality
of our times has not encouraged the production of its ancient history.
Every one at all familiar with London is aware of the antiquity of St.
Saviour's Church, the original foundation of which was from the profits
of a ferry over the Thames, whence its original name, St. Mary Overy, or
"over the ferry." This was some time before the Conquest; but the church
was principally rebuilt in the fourteenth century. We have spoken of its
ancient fame elsewhere.[1] Bankside, its name in spiritual and secular
story, is likewise of some note. The early Bishops of Winchester had a
palace and _park_ here; remains of the former were laid open by a
fire about seventeen years since. Then, who does not remember, in the
love of sports and pastimes, the bull and bear-baiting theatres, and
the uncouth glory of the Globe theatre, associated with the poet of all
time--Shakspeare. Southwark was, therefore, a fitting site for a royal
palace for occasional retirement, and its contiguity to the Thames must
have enhanced its pleasantness.

Miss Benger, in her agreeable _Memoirs of Anne Boleyn_, does not
mention the Queen's abode in Southwark; but the date of the architecture
of the annexed house, and its closer identification with Queen
Elizabeth, render the first mentioned circumstance by no means
improbable. Previous to the marriage of Anne Boleyn, we learn that Henry
passed not a few of his leisure hours "in the delightful society of Anne
Boleyn." "Every day they met and spent many hours in riding or walking
together." Her family at this time resided at Durham House, on the site
of the Adelphi, and Anne frequently made excursions with Henry in the
vicinity of London.

Of the antiquity of this district we could quote more proofs. The
_galleried_ inn-yards, and among them that at which the Pilgrims
sojourned on their road to Canterbury, are among them. In our last
volume too, at page 160, we engraved an ancient Vault in Tooley-street,
the remains of the "great house, builded of stone, with arched gates,
which pertained to the Prior of Lewis, in Sussex, and was his lodging
when he came to London." Not far from this was "another great House of
Stone and Timber," which, in the thirteenth century, was held of John,
"Earl Warren, by the Abbot of St. Augustins, at Canterbury." Stowe
says--"It was an ancient piece of worke, and seemeth to be one of the
first builded houses on that side of the river, over against the city:
it was called the Abbot's Inne of St. Augustine in Southwark."

There was also another "Inne" near this spot, which belonged to the
Abbey of Battle, in Sussex, and formed the town residence of its Abbots.
This stood on the banks of the Thames, between the Bridge House and
Battle Bridge, which was so called, "for that it standeth on the ground,
and over a water-course (flowing out of Thames) pertayning to that
Abbey, and was therefore both builded and repayred by the Abbots of that
house, as being hard adjoyning to the Abbot's lodging." Its situation
is known by the landing-place called Battle Stairs. On the opposite
side of Tooley-street is a low neighbourhood of meanly-built streets
and passages, still denominated the Maze, from the intricacies of a
labyrinth in the gardens of the Abbot of Battle's Inn, and which fronted
its entrance-gate.

With these few quotations of the ancient importance of Southwark, we can
but repeat our regret that no regular history of this district has yet
been published. There are three or four gentlemen resident there, whose
antiquarian attainments highly qualify them for the task. The public
would surely find them patronage.

The Engraving is from an original sketch by an ingenious Correspondent,
M.P. of Upton, near Windsor, whom we thank for this specimen of good
taste. We are always happy to receive antiquarian illustrations of our
Metropolis, and in this instance the zeal of the artist, who resides
twenty miles distant, deserves special mention.

[1] See _Mirror_, vol. xiii. p. 227. Gower is buried here,
Fletcher and Messenger too; and not long since the bones of
Bishop Andrews chapels for the New London Bridge approach.--See
also _Mirror_, vol. xvi. p. 297.

* * * * *

PARLIAMENT.

(_For the Mirror._)

The following particulars, which have been gleaned from several
sources, relating to the British Parliament, may be acceptable at the
present time, when the English people are in hopes of a renovation of
that Constitution which has been, and will still continue to be, the
admiration of the civilized world:--The word Parliament was first
used in 1265; and the Commons were admitted at this time, though not
regularly represented. The parliament called at Shrewsbury, in 1283,
by Edward I., was the first to which cities and towns were summoned to
send representatives. It was also the first that granted aids towards
the national defence of the three denominations of knights, citizens,
and burgesses, as well as by the lords spiritual and temporal. In this
parliament the representatives sat in a separate chamber from the barons
and knights. The Commons consisted of two knights for each county, two
representatives for the city of London, and two for each of the
following twenty towns only:--

Winchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Bristol, Exeter, Lincoln,
Canterbury, Carlisle, Norwich, Northampton, Nottingham, Scarborough,
Grimsby, Lynn, Colchester, Yarmouth, Hereford, Chester, Shrewsbury,
Worcester.

From this it appears that there were not representatives of any towns in
the counties of

Westmoreland, Lancaster, Derby, Durham, Stafford, Warwick, Leicester,
Rutland, Suffolk, Hertford, Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Buckingham,
Berks, Oxford, Wilts, Somerset, Gloucester, Dorset, Sussex, Surrey.

In after times, burghs that were summoned frequently prayed the Crown to
be excused from sending representatives, on the account of their being
compelled to pay 3s. 4d. a day to each member for his maintenance, while
attending in his place; yet the allowance was made on a plan so strictly
economical, that the knights of Berkshire were only allowed for six
days, those for Bedfordshire for only five days, and those for Cornwall
for only eleven days, when called to a parliament at York. Sheriffs,
in their write for elections to parliament, sometimes omitted one
or more burghs in a county, and at other times sent writs to the same
burghs--and this, for aught known to the contrary, without instruction
from the king or his council. Where burghs were poor, there were many
such omissions, by favour of the sheriff, for a space of nearly three
hundred years. Upon petition of the town of Torrington to Edward III.,
in 1366, he directed a letter to the bailiff and good men of the town,
excusing them "from the burden of sending two representatives to
parliament, as they had never been obliged so to do till the 24th of his
reign, when," says the king, "the sheriffs of Devonshire maliciously
summoned them to send two members to parliament."

Writs for the election of members to serve in the House of Commons are
issued under different authorities upon a general election, and upon
vacancies of particular seats during the continuance of a parliament.
In the former case, the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, pursuant to
the order in council, causes the writs of elections to be issued for all
places in England and Scotland to which such writs are usually sent. By
the Articles and Act of Union with Ireland, the Lord Chancellor then,
pursuant to the said orders, &c., causes writs to be issued and directed
by the Clerk of the Crown in Ireland to the several counties, and such
counties of cities and towns as send members to the united parliament.

It is generally supposed that the circumstance of bishops, or other
ecclesiastics having seats in the legislature, is peculiar to England.
This is a mistake;--it was characteristic of the Scottish constitution
for centuries previous to their connexion with England: so far back,
indeed, if not much farther, as the twelfth century. It is stated, in
ancient documents connected with the history of the county of Elgin, the
authenticity of which cannot be doubted, that the Abbey of Kinloss was
founded by David I., in January, 1150, and that the abbot was mitred,
and had a seat in parliament.

To the passing of a bill, the assent of the knights, citizens, and
burgesses must be in person; but the lords may give their votes by
proxy; and the reason is, that the barons always sat in parliament in
their own right, as part of the _pares curtis_ of the king; and
therefore, as they were allowed to serve by proxy in the wars, so had
they leave to make proxies in parliament; but the commons coming only
as representing the barones minores, and the soccage tenants in the
country, and as representing the men of the cities, &c., they could not
constitute proxies as representatives of others.

When it is the pleasure of the Crown to dissolve a parliament, it is
the constant practice immediately to summon another, and to make the
dissolution of the old and the calling of the new simultaneous acts.
By the Act of 7 and 8 of William III., c. xxv. s. I, forty days
should intervene between the teste and return of the writs for a new
parliament; but a longer time is necessary, and fifty days now
intervene.

Parliaments became triennial from the reigns of Edward III., but not
until 1694 had any act passed to make such duration legal. In 1716 this
was repealed, and the present act passed, making them septennial.

W.G.C.

* * * * *

SIMPLE AMBITION.

(_To the Editor._)

The following anecdote was told me last summer, in the cabriolet of a
diligence between Pau and Bayonne, and is very much at your service.
EGOMET IPSE.

About twenty-three years ago, the vane of Strasbourg Cathedral was
struck by lightning, so that it hung on one side, threatening by its
fall to endanger the lives of the people below. The alarm was so great,
that the authorities, after a special consultation, posted bills about
the streets, offering any reward that should be required to any one that
would venture to ascend and strike off the vane. While the good citizens
were reading this announcement, a peasant from the department of the
Landes passed by, and being unable to read, he inquired the purport of
the advertisement. When informed, he immediately offered his services
for that purpose, and was conducted to the mayor and the bishop, who
happened to be both in the Hotel de Ville at the time. They questioned
him, and fully acquainted him with the difficulties of the
enterprise--such as the real height, and that the upper part of the
spire could only be ascended by ladders on the outside. However, nothing
daunted, he persisted in his resolution to perform the feat on the
morrow. All Strasbourg was assembled in the open places of the city on
the next day; and, although admiring his courage as they saw him ascend,
they most prudently refrained from cheering him as he deserved. Few who
were then shading their eyes from the sun, in order to gaze on the
spire, but must have envied him the scene of surpassing loveliness that
was spread below him, although it is probable that neither the green
landscape fading into blue distance, the relics of ancient castles,
nor the beautiful Rhine glittering in sunshine, detained his regards.
He who at home, in his own barren and level sands, had been used to
no greater elevations than his stilts, was now mounting like an eagle
towards heaven, and admired by thousands. When he reached the summit,
he deliberately seated himself on the highest stone, with one leg on
each side of the vane; and while his clothes were visibly fluttered
in a strong breeze at such an eminence, he, with a hammer and chisel,
displaced the cross that had caused such alarm, It flew spinning to the
earth, and, borne away by the wind, fell in a neighbouring field, where
it sank twenty inches into the soil. The air was now rent with
acclamations towards him,

Cui robur et aes triplex
Circa pectus erat--

(for, be it remarked, he was the only person who had even proposed
to effect its removal). On his descent, he was carried in triumph to
the Hotel de Ville. Being thanked by the authorities then and there
assembled, and assured of their intense anxiety for his life ever since
he had quitted the earth, he was asked what was the recompense he
demanded? He modestly replied, "that if they were pleased with what
he had performed, he hoped they would not think him presumptuous, but
he should so much like to walk through the Arsenal, and see all its
wonderful stores and docks!"--and they could not prevail upon him to
ask more.

A week afterwards he left Strasbourg, with twenty-five Napoleons in
his pocket; and declared that he had never before spent his time so
agreeably as he did in that city, for he had seen the Imperial Arsenal,
the fortifications, and many other fine, as well as useful, sights, and
had been continually feasted gratis by the rich and the great folks.

* * * * *

RANSOMS.

(_Concluded from page_ 149.)

The queen of Edward III., after the battle of Durham, demanded of John
Copland, David of Scotland; on his remonstrance that no one but the king
had a right to his prisoner, Edward sent for him to Calais, and bestowed
on him in return for his captive, L500, in land. The Scottish monarch
paid, after an imprisonment of eleven years, 100,000 marks, and was
dismissed. Charles de Blois, at the same period paid 700,000 crowns, and
left his two sons as hostages. Michael de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, paid
L20,000. sterling, when only a simple knight. Duc d'Alencon gave for his
freedom 200,000 crowns, and actually sold part of his estate to the Duc
de Bretagne to pay it. Caprice often caused the detention of men in
captivity, from their inability to comply with the absurd demands of
their captors. Louis XI. refused to part with Wolfang Poulain, a
Burgundian officer, unless he would purchase his redemption with some
favourite hounds belonging to the Seigneur de Bossu. As Bossu did not
feel sufficiently interested in his friend's welfare to comply with the
king's wishes, and part with his dogs, some time elapsed before any
treaty could be entered into, to restore Poulain to his country.

This practice, though it undoubtedly contributed to soften the horrors
of war, often caused hostilities to be undertaken on the most absurd and
frivolous pretences. The English are represented by Comines as rejoicing
in a war with France, from a recollection of the prices they obtained
from the lords and princes they captured. Another bad effect may be
traced to it, in the violations of safe conduct, the seizure of
individuals during times of peace, which the middle ages so constantly
exhibit. Oliver de Clisson, the Constable of France, on entering into a
castle to examine its strength, at the request of the Duc de Bretagne,
in 1387, was seized, and at first commanded to be thrown into the sea.
The savage Breton afterwards being troubled in conscience, expressed his
joy that his order had not been complied with, and released Clisson on
the payment of 100,000 livres.

During the wars of Edward III. and Philip, many a soldier of fortune
amassed considerable opulence by the ransoming of his prisoners.
Croquart, a famous leader of these companies, is related to have become
extremely rich by the money he received from the ransoms of castles and
towns. In the fourteenth century several Knights of Suabia having
associated themselves together for chivalrous engagements, endeavoured
to seize a rich Count of Wirtenburg, as a _means of procuring a noble
sum of money for the ransom of himself and his family_. For this
purpose they attacked him in his castle at Wildbad, but were repulsed.
At Poictiers, the King of France was nearly torn to pieces by the
soldiers in disputing for their prize. At the Bridge of Luissac,
Carlonnet, the French commander, fell into the hands of the enemy, who
were about to end the quarrel respecting his possession by putting him
to death, when the timely arrival of an English knight rescued him from
their power. At Agincourt, eighteen French gentlemen entered into an
agreement to direct all their attacks against King Henry, most probably
with a view of acquiring a fortune by his capture; hence the contest was
the hottest about his person. After the battle of Nanci, and the death
of the Duke of Burgundy, by the sword of Charles de Beaumont, the latter
is said to have died of regret, when he became aware whom it was he had
slain, and the loss he had sustained of a ducal ransom.

Before quitting this subject, it may be observed that the value of a
prisoner's liberty was a regularly transferable property. Coeur de Lion
was sold to the emperor Henry; Philip Augustus bargained for him; and
his ransom reduced England, from sea to sea, to the utmost distress.
Louis XI. bought the bastard of Burgundy from Rene, Duc de Lorrain,
for 10,000 crowns, and also William of Chalons, Prince of Orange, for
20,000, from Sieur de Groste. Joan of Arc was sold to the English for
10,000 livres, and a pension of 300. In the case of the Earl of
Pembroke, who became the property of Du Guescelin, as part of the
purchase-money for some estates in Spain, he had sold to Henry, King of
Castile, the constable lost his expected 120,000 livres by the death of
his prisoner; as this nobleman was in a bad state of health, his bankers
at Bruges wisely declined paying the money until he became _sound and
in good condition_. (_Quand il serait sain, et en bon point._)
The earl dying before he left France, Du Guescelin lost both his estates
and money. One of the family of the Blois was presented to his
favourite, the Duke of Ireland, by Richard II., who disposed of his
master's bounty to Oliver de Clisson for 120,000 livres. Zizim, the
brother of Bajazet, Emperor of the Turks, after being defeated by his
brother in an attempt to seize the throne, fled to the Knights of Rhodes
for succour. They, fearing the vengeance of the Sultan, transferred him
to Louis XI. who fulfilled his trust faithfully, and kept him for the
knights, though offered all the relics that the east abounded with, and
even the kingdom of Jerusalem, by Bajazet, for his prisoner. After being
given into the custody of the Pope by Louis, and a six years' residence
at Rome, he was sent back to France, as the king had found out that he
might be of service in his engagements with Constantinople; he was,
however, not restored to his brother in the condition which the Flemings
had stipulated the Earl of Pembroke to be restored; for before his
redelivery to the French, he is supposed to have been poisoned.

H.

* * * * *

THE EQUESTRIAN STATUE OF PETER THE GREAT.

(_To the Editor._)

This stands upon a rock, which was found in a morass near Lachta, in
Karelin, at a distance of eleven versts, or about 41,250 English feet.
The dimensions of this stone were found to be 21 feet by 42 in length,
and 34 in breadth; its weight is calculated at 3,200,000 lbs. or 1,600
tons. The mechanism for its conveyance was invented by Count Carbury,
who went by the name of Chevalier Lascuri. A solid road was first made
from the stone to the shore; then brass slips were inserted under the
stone to go upon cannon balls of five inches diameter, in metal grooves,
by windlasses worked by 400 men every day, 200 fathoms towards the place
of destination. The water transport was performed by what are called
camels in the dockyards of Petersburgh and Amsterdam.

E.A.B

* * * * *

SONNET TO HOPE.

(_For The Mirror._)

As some lone pilgrim through Night's dreary scene,
With cautious steps scarce venturing on his way,
Views the chaste orb of Evening's soft-eyed Queen
Gild the blue east, and scare those mists away
Which from his sight each faithful light obscur'd,
And led him wildering, sinking pale with fear!
Not he more bless'd by Cynthia's light allur'd,
Onward his course with happier thoughts doth steer,
Than I, O Hope! blest cheerer of the soul!
Who, long in Sorrow's darkening clouds involv'd,
When black despair usurp'd mild Joy's control,
Saw thee, bright angel, fram'd of heavenly mould,
Dip thy gay pallet in the rainbow's hue,
And call each scene of Peace and Mirth to view.

_The Author of "A Tradesman's Lays."_

* * * * *

The income of a Russian metropolitan does not exceed 800l. a-year; that
of an archbishop, 600l.; and of a bishop, 500l.; sums apparently as
small as persons of their rank can possibly subsist on, even in Russia.
They are, however, allowed a considerable sum annually for purposes of
charity.

* * * * *

THE SKETCH-BOOK.

* * * * *

A SCENE FROM LIFE.

(_For the Mirror._)

Truth is strange--stranger than fiction.
LORD BYRON.

"And so the Fernlands is to be sold at last," I said, casually meeting
Mr. Nibble, our under-sheriff--"Poor N----, I am grieved for him, he has
struggled hard against oppression."

"It is quite true, sir," replied the man of the law, "a horning came
down last night, but it will answer no end--for Messrs. Sharke and
Scrapepen, have advertised the whole of the property for public roup
on Tuesday next."

The Fernlands estate had been the family property of the N----s since
the conquest for aught I know. The present representative, after having
sent his sons out into the world, as all Scotchmen do, to fight their
way, (one of whom by the by was accumulating a snug fortune in India)
got involved in some commercial speculation, for which he was wholly
unfitted, being anything but a business man. He was a worthy
unsuspecting fellow, but at last saw his way clearer, and as he thought
got out, though a very heavy loser. In consequence of this scrape he
wrote to his son in India, to say, that unless he could remit him a
large sum, which he named, it would be impossible to keep his ground
at Fernlands.

Very soon afterwards his late partner, who was a good sort of fellow
too, failed, and N---- was paralyzed on receiving a letter from the
attorney to the assignees to say, that not having regularly gazetted his
retirement from the concern, he had rendered himself legally liable to
the creditors of the late firm of ---- and Co., and unless N---- paid
the balance which remained due after the assets of the bankrupt's estate
had been ascertained, that immediate steps would be resorted to, to
compel him. The matter soon got abroad, and all N----'s other creditors
also pressed forward to crush him--well, to make a disagreeable story
short, the end is as I have previously related. Poor N---- is to be
ruined to pay another man's debts, after a vast deal to do with law and
lawyers, and much heat on both sides.

I had taken great interest in the matter from the first, and it was with
deep feelings of sorrow that I saw this excellent family likely to be
driven from the home of their forefathers, by the merciless and often
unjust hand of the law. N---- was, I believe, generally liked, and no
person in need, in the district where he resided, looked up to the
_Laird_ for advice or assistance in vain. You may judge therefore
of the public sensation. While these matters were pending, N---- looked
with the deepest anxiety for the arrival of a letter from his son in
India; and every day did he send his servant express to the little
post-office at ----, but in vain.

At last the fatal day of sale arrived. N----, in the depth of his
distress had early sent for me to consult whether even at the eleventh
hour something could not be done to avert the calamity. A sinking man
catches at a straw. It wanted less than three hours of the time of sale
when I entered the grounds of Fernlands. The gate was half off its
hinges, the posts plastered with advertisements of the sale; and people,
as always happens in such cases, were already pouring towards the house
more from a motive of curiosity than from an intention of purchasing
anything. As I advanced towards the scene of action, I could observe
that the shrubberies were injured, and the rare plants and flowers
which both N---- and his wife had valued so much--for they were fond
of the study of nature--exhibited evident tokens of the mischief of
the careless multitude thronging to the show. The day was clear and
beautiful, the breeze played through the leafy wilderness with a joyous
effect; the contrast between the peace and harmony of nature, and the
discord and tumult of man and his deeds, was affecting. But such
thoughts were soon chased away from my mind, as I advanced over a
portion of the lawn towards the stables, I saw N----'s favourite mare,
and the old pony, Jack, (whom I recollected as the companion of N----'s
boys, and as tractable as a dog,) in the hands of a rascally sheriff's
officer, who was showing them to a horse-dealer from a neighbouring
town. The lawn in the front of the house was covered with straggling
groups of people, either discussing the event of the day, or examining
some of the furniture which was strewed there.

"Eh, sirs!" said an old man, brushing a tear from his eye, "I never
thoucht to ha' seen the like o' this day's wark--and my forbears have
had a bit o' farm under the laird's a hundred an' saxteen year, and
better nor kinder folk to the puir man never lived."

Mr. Nibble, who was Messrs. Sharke's agent, was bustling about, and
I found him engaged with a fat, pompous little fellow, the auctioneer,
from a neighbouring town.

"Sad business this, Mr. ----," said he, "Fernlands is in a sad taking
about it, I believe, but things of this kind will occur, you know; and
I always say what can't be cured must be endured, eh."

I turned with an ill-concealed expression of disgust from this man, and
entered the house in search of my friend, for N---- would not quit the
old place to the last. There is something melancholy in viewing a sale
at any time--the disarrangement of the furniture--the cheerless and
chilling aspect of the rooms--the dirt, the bustle, and the heartless
indifference one witnesses to the misfortunes of others--all come home
forcibly to the feelings. After stumbling and striking my shins amongst
piles of chairs, and furniture, and carpets, disposed in lots over the
now comfortless apartments, I at last reached the study door where I had
spent many a happy hour with N----. I entered; the room was stripped of
part of its furniture, the books lying dispersed in heaps over the floor
or on the massive table, at the side of which N---- was seated on the
only chair left in the apartment. He was at first unconscious of my
entrance.

"My dear sir, this is kind indeed," he said as I advanced, struggling
with his feelings, "but take a chair," and he glanced round the room
with a bitter smile, as he observed there was none, "my friends are kind
you see, they think chairs are useless things...."

The loss of his land affected him more than I can describe. He had been
brought up upon it, and it had become as it were part and parcel of
himself; it was not an ordinary loss. The noise and bustle in the house
and sundry interruptions from inquisitive eyes, warned us, as N----
said, that "we must jog." As we were rising, I accidentally inquired
whether he had received his letters that morning. "Good God!" he
exclaimed, "I totally forgot, and poor Andrew I fancy is too much
occupied in bemoaning the fate of the horses, to have thought of it;
but we can get them when I return with you this afternoon."

"Delays are dangerous," I replied, "we will not throw a chance away."

We hastened to the stable, and I despatched the servant on my own horse,
with the utmost expedition to the post-office at ----.

N---- sauntered through a private path in the shrubbery towards the
entrance of the grounds, and I made my way through the careless throng,
who had no thought what their own fate might be perhaps to-morrow--to
Mr. Nibble, and urged him to delay the sale for an hour, but he said it
was impossible, he would not hurry it for half an hour or so, but that
they were already pressed for time. The landed property was first to be
brought to the hammer. I mechanically followed the steps of N----, and
when I overtook him, we saw through a break in the wood, from the
increased density of the mob and the elevation of the auctioneer, that
the sale was commencing.

We gave up all for lost. At this moment I fancied I heard the noise of
a horse urged to full gallop. The blood rushed to our hearts; we sprung
through the trees towards the road; in another moment Andrew was in
sight, urging his horse to his utmost speed. The instant he saw us he
waved his hat, "A packet from abroad, sir," he sung out as he
approached, "from our young master, I'm sure."

"God be praised, you are saved," was all I could utter; poor N---- was
faint with sudden joy and hope. We tore open the envelope, which
contained bills from his son in India to a large amount. I saw N---- was
unable to think, and without more ado, I squeezed his hand, seized the
letter, and put spurs to my horse. The bidding had commenced when I
reached the wondering crowd, who rapidly fell back as they saw me
approach. But why should I tire you any longer; in a couple of hours
Fernlands remained unpolluted by one of the mob, or legal harpies who
had invaded it. You may guess the rest....

A friend related the preceding incident to me; the reader may suppose
him to be addressing myself. The leading circumstances are strictly
true, the names and some trifling matters alone being altered. The story
is invested with interest from its great similarity to a portion of the
plot of the "Antiquary;" I have the strongest reason to believe, from
the intimate acquaintance the great novelist possessed with the country,
that he drew Sir Arthur Wardour's similar escape from ruin, from a
recollection of the event briefly related above.

VYVYAN.

* * * * *

SELECT BIOGRAPHY.

* * * * *

PAGANINI, THE VIOLINIST.

By aid of the _Foreign Quarterly Review_, we are enabled to submit
to our readers the following very interesting Memoirs of this eccentric
genius.

By the way, we are happy to find that the above work is enabled to
maintain the high character with which it started. It argues well for
the literary taste of this country, by cherishing acquaintance with
continental literature, and thus strengthening our resources at home.

Nicolo Paganini was born at Genoa, in February, 1784. We are not
informed as to his father's profession, if indeed he had any: all that
we are told is, that his chief pursuit was to improve his circumstances,
which were not the best in the world, by speculating in the lottery, so
that when his little son, Nicolo, began at an unusually early age to
give strong indications of musical talent, it seemed to him as if the
wheel of fortune had at last been propitious, and he accordingly lost
no time in setting to work to make the most of his prize. Having some
skill on the violin himself, he resolved to teach him that instrument;
and as soon as he could hold it, put one into his hands, and made him
sit beside him from, morning to night, and practise it. The incessant
drudgery which he compelled him to undergo, and the occasional
starvation to which he subjected him, seriously impaired his health,
and, as Paganini himself asserts, laid the foundation of that
valetudinarian state which has ever since been his portion, and which
his pale, sickly countenance, and his sunk and exhausted frame so
strongly attest. As his enthusiasm was such as to require no artificial
stimulus, this severe system could only have been a piece of cool and
wanton barbarity. He already began to show much promise of excellence,
when a circumstance occurred which not only served to confirm these
early prognostications, but to rouse him to exert all his energies.
This was no other than a dream of his mother, Theresa. An angel appeared
to her; she besought him to make her Nicolo a great violin player; he
gave her a token of consent;--and the effect which this dream had upon
all concerned, we sober-minded people can have no idea of. Young
Paganini redoubled his perseverance. In his eighth year, under the
superintendence of his father, he had written a sonata, which, however,
along with many other juvenile productions, he lately destroyed; and
as he played about three times a week in the churches and at private
musical parties, upon a fiddle nearly as large as himself, he soon began
to make himself known among his townsmen. At this time he received much
benefit from one Francesco Gnecco, who died in 1811, and whom he always
speaks highly of.

In his ninth year, being applied to by a travelling singer to join him
in a concert, he made his first public appearance in the great theatre
at Genoa, and played the French air "La Carmagnole," with his own
variations, with great applause.

His father now resolved to place him under the tuition of the well-known
composer, Rolla, and for that purpose took him along with him to Parma.
The particulars of their interview afford a striking proof of the
proficiency which he had by this time acquired. As Rolla happened to be
ill and lying in bed, the party were shown into the ante-chamber, when,
observing upon the table one of the composer's newest concertos, the
father beckoned to his son to take up his violin and play it, which he
did at sight, in such a way that the sick man immediately started up,
demanded who it was, and could scarcely be prevailed upon to believe
that the sounds had proceeded from a little boy, and his intended pupil;
but as soon as he had satisfied himself that that was really the case,
he declined to receive him. "For God's sake," said he, "go to Paer, your
time would be lost with me, I can do nothing for you."

To Paer accordingly they went, who received him kindly, and referred
him to his own teacher, the old and experienced "Maestro di Capella"
Giretti, from Naples, who gave him instructions for six months, three
times a-week in counterpoint. During this period he wrote twenty-four
Fugues for four hands, with pen, ink, and paper alone, and without any
instrument, which his master did not allow him, and, assisted by his own
inclination, made rapid progress. The great Paer also took much interest
in him, giving him compositions to work out, which he himself revised:
an interest for which Paganini ever afterwards showed himself deeply
grateful.

The time was now come when Nicolo was destined, like other youthful
prodigies, to be hawked about the country, to fill the pockets of his
mercenary father, who managed to speculate upon him with considerable
success in Milan, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Leghorn, and most of the
upper and central towns of Italy, where his concerts were always well
attended. Young Paganini liked these excursions well enough, but being
now about fifteen years of age, he began to be of opinion that they
would be still more agreeable if he could only contrive to get rid of
the old gentleman, whose spare diet and severe discipline had now become
more irksome to him than ever. To accomplish this desirable object, an
opportunity soon offered. It was the custom of Lucca, at the feast of
St. Martin, to hold a great musical festival, to which strangers were
invited from all quarters, and numerous travellers resorted of their own
accord; and as the occasion drew near, Nicolo begged hard to be allowed
to go there in company with his elder brother, and after much entreaty,
succeeded in obtaining permission. He made his appearance as a solo
player, and succeeded so well, that he resolved now to commence
vagabondizing on his own account--a sort of life to which he soon
became so partial, that, notwithstanding many handsome offers which
he occasionally received to establish himself in several places,
as a concerto player or director of the orchestra, he never could be
persuaded to settle any where. At a later period, however, he lived for
some time at the court of Lucca, but soon found it more pleasant and
profitable to resume his itinerant habits. He visited all parts of
Italy, but usually made Genoa his head-quarters, where, however, he
preferred to play the part of the dilletante to that of the virtuoso,
and performed in private circles without giving public concerts.

It was not long before he had amassed about 20,000 francs, part of which
he proposed to devote to the maintenance of his parents. His father,
however, was not to be put off with a few thousands, but insisted upon
the whole.--Paganini then offered him the interest of the capital, but
Signor Antonio very coolly threatened him with instant death unless he
agreed to consign the whole of the principal in his behalf; and in order
to avert serious consequences, and to procure peace, he gave up the
greater part of it.

It was early in 1828 when Paganini arrived at Vienna, where he gave
a great many concerts with a success equal, if not superior, to any
which had hitherto attended his exertions. His performance excited the
admiration and astonishment of all the most distinguished professors and
connoisseurs of this critical city. With any of the former all idea of
competition was hopeless; and their greatest violinist, Mayseder, as
soon as he had heard him, with an ingenuousness which did him honour,
as we ourselves have reason to know, wrote to a friend in London, that
he might now lock up his violin whenever he liked.

In estimating the labour which it must have cost a performer like
Paganini to have arrived at such transcendent excellence, people are
often apt to err in their calculations as to the actual extent of
time and practice which has been devoted to its acquisition. That the
perfect knowledge of the _mechanique_ of the instrument which his
performance exhibits, and his almost incredible skill and dexterity
in its management must necessarily have been the result of severe
discipline, is beyond all question; but more, much more, in every case
of this kind, is to be ascribed to the system upon which that discipline
has proceeded, and to the genius and enthusiasm of the artist. The
miraculous powers of Paganini in the opinion of his auditors were not
to be accounted for in the ordinary way. To them, it was plain that they
must have sprung from a life of a much more settled and secluded cast
than that of an itinerant Italian musical professor. It was equally
clear, from his wild, haggard, and mysterious looks, that he was no
ordinary personage, and had seen no common vicissitudes. The vaults of
a dungeon accordingly were the local habitation which public rumour, in
its love of the marvellous, seemed unanimously to assign to him, as the
only place where "the mighty magic" of his bow could possibly have been
acquired. Then, as to the delinquency which led to his incarceration,
there were various accounts: some imputed it to his having been a
captain of banditti; others, only a carbonaro; some to his having killed
a man in a duel; but the more current and generally received story was,
that he had stabbed or poisoned his wife, or, as some said, his
mistress; although, as fame had ascribed to him no fewer than four
mistresses, it was never very clearly made out which of his seraglio it
was who had fallen the victim of his vengeance. The story not improbably
might have arisen from his having been confounded with a contemporary
violin-player of the name of Duranowski, a Pole, to whom in person he
bore some resemblance, and who, for some offence or other having been
imprisoned at Milan, during the leisure which his captivity afforded,
had contrived greatly to improve himself in his art; and when once
it was embodied into shape, the fiction naturally enough might have
obtained the more credence, from the fact that two of his most
distinguished predecessors, Tartini and Lolly, had attained to the great
mastery which they possessed over their instrument during a period of
solitude--the one within the walls of a cloister, the other in the
privacy and retirement of a remote country village. At all events, the
rumours were universally circulated and believed, and the innocent and
much injured Paganini had for many years unconsciously stood forth in
the eyes of the world as a violator of the laws, and even a convicted
murderer--not improbably, to a certain extent, reaping the golden fruits
of that "bad eminence;" for public performers, as we too often see, who
have once lost their "good name," so far from finding themselves, in the
words of Iago, "poor indeed," generally discover that they have only
become objects of greater interest and attraction. How long he had lived
in the enjoyment of this supposed infamy, and all the benefits accruing
from it, we really cannot pretend to say; but he seems never to have
been made fully aware of the formidable position in which he stood until
he had reached Vienna, when the Theatrical Gazette, in reviewing his
first concert, dropped some pretty broad hints as to the rumoured
misdeeds of his early life. Whereupon he resolved at once publicly to
proclaim his innocence, and to put down the calumny; for which purpose,
on the 10th of April, 1828, there was inserted in the leading Vienna
journals a manifesto, in Italian as well as German, subscribed by him,
declaring that all these widely-circulated rumours were false; that at
no time, and under no government whatever, had he ever offended against
the laws, or been put under coercion; and that he had always demeaned
himself as became a peaceable and inoffensive member of society; for the
truth of which he referred to the magistracies of the different states
under whose protection he had till then lived in the public exercise of
his profession.

The truth of this appeal (which it is obvious no delinquent would have
dared to make) was never called in question, no one ever ventured to
take up the gauntlet which Paganini had thrown down, and his character
as a man thenceforward stood free from suspicion.

His whimsicalities, his love of fun, and many other points of his
character, are sometimes curiously exemplified in his fantasias. He
imitates in perfection the whistling and chirrupping of birds, the
tinkling and tolling of bells, and almost every variety of tone which
admits of being produced; and in his performance of _Le Streghe_
(The Witches) a favourite interlude of his, where the tremulous voices
of the old women are given with a truly singular and laughable effect,
his _vis comica_ finds peculiar scope.

His command of the back-string of the instrument has always been an
especial theme of wonder and admiration, and, in the opinion of some,
could only be accounted for by resorting to the theory of the dungeon,
and the supposition that his other strings being worn out, and not
having it in his power to supply their places, he had been forced from
necessity to take refuge in the string in question; a notion very like
that of a person who would assert, that for an opera dancer to learn to
stand on one leg, the true way would be--to have only one leg to stand
upon. We shall give Paganini's explanation of this mystery in his own
words:

"At Lucca, I had always to direct the opera when the reigning family
visited the theatre; I played three times a week at the court, and every
fortnight superintended the arrangement of a grand concert for the court
parties, which, however, the reigning princess, Elisa Bacciochi Princess
of Lucca and Piombino, Napoleon's favourite sister, was not always
present at, or did not hear to the close, as the harmonic tones of
my violin were apt to grate her nerves, but there never failed to be
present another much esteemed lady, who, while I had long admired
her, bore (at least so I imagined) a reciprocal feeling towards me.
Our passion gradually increased; and as it was necessary to keep it
concealed, the footing on which we stood with each other became in
consequence the more interesting. One day I promised to surprise her
with a musical _jeu d'esprit_, which should have a reference to
our mutual attachment. I accordingly announced for performance a comic
novelty, to which I gave the name of 'Love Scene.' All were curiously
impatient to know what this should turn out to be, when at last I
appeared with my violin, from which I had taken off the two middle
strings, leaving only the E and the G string. By the first of these
I proposed to represent the lady, by the other the gentleman; and I
proceeded to play a sort of dialogue, in which I attempted to delineate
the capricious quarrels and reconciliations of lovers--at one time
scolding each other, at another sighing and making tender advances,
renewing their professions of love and esteem, and finally winding up
the scene in the utmost good humour and delight. Having at last brought
them into a state of the most perfect harmony, the united pair lead off
a _pas de deux_, concluding with a brilliant finale. This musical
scena went off with much eclat. The lady, who understood the whole
perfectly, rewarded me with her gracious looks; the princess was all
kindness, overwhelmed me with applause, and, after complimenting me upon
what I had been able to effect upon the two strings, expressed a wish to
hear what I could execute upon one string. I immediately assented--the
idea caught my fancy; and as the emperor's birthday took place a. few
weeks afterwards, I composed my Sonata 'Napoleon' for the G. string, and
performed it upon that day before the court with so much approbation
that a cantata of Cimarosa, following immediately alter it upon the same
evening, was completely extinguished, and produced no effect whatever.
This is the first and true cause of my partiality for the G. string; and
as they were always desiring to hear more of it, one day taught another,
until at last my proficiency in this department was completely
established."

We know no one who has been more cruelly misrepresented than the
subject of this notice. In reality a person of the gentlest and most
inoffensive habits, he is any thing rather than the desperate ruffian
he has been described. In his demeanour he is modest and unassuming;
in his disposition, liberal and generous to a fault. Like most artists,
ardent and enthusiastic in his temperament, and in his actions very much
a creature of impulse; he is full of that unaffected simplicity which we
almost invariably find associated with true genius. He has an only son,
by a Signora Antonia Bianchi, a singer from Palermo, with whom he lived
for several years until the summer of 1828, when he was under the
necessity of separating from her in consequence of the extreme violence
of her temper; and in this little boy all his affections are
concentrated. He is a very precocious child, and already indicates
strong signs of musical talent. Being of a delicate frame of health,
Paganini never can bear to trust him out of his sight. "If I were to
lose him," says he, "I would be lost myself; it is quite impossible I
can ever separate myself from him; when I awake in the night, he is my
first thought."--Accordingly, ever since he parted from his mother, he
has himself enacted the part of the child's nurse.

* * * * *

Why is Mr. Whitbread in his brewery like the Jerusalem coffee-house?
Because _He-brews_ drink therein.

W.G.C.

* * * * *

THE NATURALIST.

* * * * *

THE SUSTILLO.

A caterpillar, which the Indians name sustillo, and by which a paper
is fabricated, very similar to that made in China, is bred in the pacae,
a tree well known in Peru. In proportion to the vigour and majestic
growth of this tree, is the number of the insects it nourishes, and
which are of the kind and size of the bombyx, or silk-worm. When they
are completely satiated, they unite at the body of the tree, seeking the
part which is best adapted to the extension they have to take. They then
form, with the greatest symmetry and regularity, a web which is larger
or smaller, according to the number of the operators; and more or less
pliant, according to the quality of the leaf by which they have been
nourished, the whole of them remaining beneath. This envelope, on which
they bestow such a texture, consistency, and lustre, that it cannot be
decomposed by any practicable expedient, having been finished, they
all of them unite, and ranging themselves in vertical and even files,
form in the centre a perfect square. Being thus disposed, each of them
makes its cocoon, or pod, of a coarse and short silk, in which it is
transformed from the grub into the chrysalis, and from the chrysalis
into the papilio, or moth. In proportion as they afterwards quit their
confinement, to take wing, they detach wherever it is most convenient
to them, their envelope, or web, a portion of which remains suspended
to the trunk of the tree, where it waves to and fro like a streamer,
and which becomes more or less white, according as the air and humidity
of the season and situation admit. This natural silk paper has been
gathered measuring a yard and a half, of an elliptical shape, which
is peculiar to all of it.

W.G.C.

* * * * *

DESCRIPTION OF A BEAUTIFUL TREE.

_By John F.M. Dovaston, Esq. A.M., of Westfelton, near Shrewsbury._

"_Hamlet._ Do you see nothing there?
_Queen._ Nothing at all; yet all that is I see."
_Hamlet._

"You cannot see the wood for trees."
_Ray's Proverbs._

It was now the middle of May; the trees had fully put forth their
bright, fresh leaves, and the green fields were luxuriant in a profusion
of flowers. We had travelled through a fine country; when, descending
the slope of a wooded valley, we were struck with delight and admiration
at a tree of extraordinary appearance. There were several of the sort,
dispersed singly, and in groups over the plains and grassy knolls. One
we shall attempt to describe, though well aware how feeble is the most
florid description to depict an idea of so magnificent an object. In
height it exceeded 50 ft., the diameter of its shade was nearly 90 ft.,
and the circumference of the bole 15 ft.: it was in full leaf and
flower, and in appearance at once united the features of strength,
majesty, and beauty; having the stateliness of the oak, in its trunk and
arms; the density of the sycamore, in its dark, deep, massy foliage;
and the graceful featheriness of the ash, in its waving branches, that
dangled in rich tresses almost to the ground. Its general character as
a tree was rich and varied, nor were its parts less attractive by their
extreme beauty when separately considered. Each leaf was about 18 in. in
length; but nature, always attentive to elegance, to obviate heaviness,
had at the end of a very strong leaf-stalk divided it into five, and
sometimes seven, leafits, of unequal length, and very long oval shape,
finely serrated. These leafits were disposed in a circular form,
radiating from the centre, like the leaves of the fan palm, though
placed in a contrary plane to those of that magnificent ornament of the
tropical forests. The central, or lower, leafits were the largest, each
of them being 10 in. in length, and 4 in. in breadth, and the whole
exterior of the foliage being disposed in an imbricated form, having a
beautifully light and palmated appearance. The flowers, in which the
tree was profuse, demand our deep admiration and attention: each group
of them rose perpendicularly from the end of the young shoot, and was in
length 14 in., like a gigantic hyacinth, and quite as beautiful, spiked
to a point, exhibiting a cone or pyramid of flowers, widely separate on
all sides, and all expanded together, principally white, finely tinted
with various colours, as red, pink, yellow, and buff, the stamina
forming a most elegant fringe amid the modest tints of the large and
copious petals. These feathery blossoms, lovely in colours and stately
in shape, stood upright on every branch all over the tree, like flowery
minarets on innumerable verdant turrets. We had thus the opportunity of
ascertaining that it belonged to that class of Linnaeus consisting
entirely of rare plants the Heptandria, and the order Monogynia; the
natural order Trihilatae; and the _A'_cera of Jussieu.

The natives informed us that the fruit ripens early in autumn, and
consists of bunches of apples, thinly beset with sharp thorns, each when
broken producing one or two large kernels, about 2 in. in circumference,
of the finest bright mahogany colour without, and white within; that the
tree is deciduous, and just before its fall changes to the finest tints
of red, yellow, orange, and brown. When divested of its luxuriant
foliage, the buds of the next year appear like little spears, which
through the winter are covered with a fine glutinous gum, evidently
designed to protect the embryo shoots within, as an hybernaculum, from
the severe frosts of the climate, and which glisten in the cold sunshine
like diamonds. It has the strange property of performing the whole of
its vigorous shoot, nearly a yard long, in the short space of three
weeks, employing all the rest of the year in converting it into wood,
adding to its strength, and varying its beauty. The wood when sawn is
of the finest snowy whiteness. The tree is easily raised; indifferent
as to soil, climate, or situation; removed with safety, of quick growth,
thrives to a vast age and size; subject to no blight or disease; in the
earliest spring bursting its immense buds into that vigour, exuberance,
and beauty, which we have here feebly attempted to describe. The natives
said it was originally brought from the east of Asia, but grows freely
in any climate, and in their tongue its name is designated by a
combination of three words, signifying separately, a noble animal,
an elegant game, and a luscious kernel. Had Linnaeus seen this tree,
he would have assuredly contemplated it with delightful ecstacy, and
named it the _Ae'_sculus Hippocastanum.--_Magazine of Natural
History._

* * * * *

SPIRIT OF THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.

* * * * *

CIGAR-SMOKING.

The Surgeon-General of the Forces has recently made public his
belief, that never, till within the last twenty years, did he see so
many young men with pale faces and emaciated figures, and he attributes
the existence of the evil to the use of Cigars. The unreflecting
servility with which men adopt new and foreign practices, is fully
exemplified in the present case; for it is notorious that the practice
of cigar-smoking, the modern foppery from Regent-street to Cheapside and
Cornhill, was an importation of the Peninsular War; the imitation having
been begun by the Spaniards, whose models are what are usually called
the _savages_ of America. The dietetic mischief, and consequent
paleness of complexion and emaciation of muscle, which are attributable
to the use of cigars, belong, no doubt, to an injury inflicted, perhaps,
in more ways than one upon the aids and organs of digestion; nor is
that hypothesis at all inconsistent with what we hear from so many
cigar-smokers, namely, that their cigar is their dependence for
digestion! That, after having impaired the organ, or weakened its tone,
or dried up the salival menstruum, they should need a stimulant, even in
the very form of the bane which injures them, is only of a piece with
all that has been said of drinking, and especially of dram-drinking,
with which latter debauch, the debauch of cigar-smoking has the closest
possible alliance. We never pass one of those stifling rendezvous in the
metropolis--a cigar-shop, open till the latest hours--without mentally
classing it with the gin-shops, its only compeers!

Exclusive of the low habit of imitation, a dulness and feebleness of
understanding, an absence of intellectual resources, a vacuity of
thought is the great inducement to the use of this, as of all other
drugs, whether from the cigar-shop, or the snuff-shop, or the gin-shop,
or the wine-cellar; a truth by no means the less certain, because it
happens that men of the highest powers of mind are drawn into the vice,
and made to reduce themselves, by their adoption and dependence upon it,
to the lowest level of the vulgar; but, at the same time, it is not to
be denied, that a great support in defence of cigar-smoking is found in
the medical opinions sometimes advanced as to its salutary influence.
Now, if we admit, broadly and at once, that there may be times and
circumstances in which the inhaling the hot smoke of a powerful narcotic
drug is useful to the human body, must it follow that the habitual
resort to such a practice, and this under all circumstances, is useful
also, and even free from the most serious inconveniences?

It is the admitted maxim, that if smoking is accompanied by spitting,
injury results to the smoker; and the reason assigned is, that the
salival fluid, which should assist digestion, is in this manner
dissipated, and taken from its office. But may not the habitual
application of the narcotic influence to the nervous system have its
evils also? May it not weaken or deaden the nervous and muscular action
which is needful to digestion? And may not even the excessive quantity
of the matter of heat, thus artificially conveyed into the body, tend to
a desiccation of the system, as injurious under general circumstances,
as it may be beneficial under particular ones?

Smoking invites thirst; and there is little risk in advancing, that
whatever superinduces an unnatural indulgence in the use of liquids is
itself, and without farther question, injurious, even if the liquids
resorted to are of the most innocent description; but, in point of fact,
the cigar-smoker will usually appease his thirst by means of liquors in
themselves his enemies!

It is said, however, that the use of cigars is beneficial when we find
ourselves in marshy situations, with a high temperature, and generally,
whenever the atmosphere inclines to the introduction of putridity and
fever into the system. We believe this; and perhaps a useful theory of
the alternate benefit and mischief of cigar-smoking may be offered upon
the basis of that proposition. When and wherever the body requires to
be _dried_, cigar-smoking may be salutary; and when and wherever
that _drying_, or desiccation, is injurious, then and there
cigar-smoking may be to be shunned. We know that, while surrounded by
an atmosphere overcharged, or even only saturated with moisture, moist
bodies remain moist, or do not part with that excess of moisture from
which a drier atmosphere would relieve them; and that living bodies,
so circumstanced, are threatened with typhus and typhoid fever. It is
highly probable, therefore, that narcotics, in such cases, may allay
a morbid irritability of the nerves, or effect a salutary diminution
of healthful sensibility; under such circumstances, the desiccating
and sedative effects of tobacco-smoking may prove beneficial; while,
in all ordinary states of the system and of the atmosphere, the
same desiccative and sedative influences may produce immediate evil
consequences, more or less readily perceptible, and undermine, however
gradually, the strength of the constitution.--_United Service
Journal._

* * * * *

THE NEW COINAGE.

Why does not some man of public research enlighten the public on the
proceedings at the Mint? The whole system is as little comprehensible
by the uninitiated as the philosopher's stone. The cost of the Mint is
prodigious--the machinery is all that machinery can be; yet we have one
of the ugliest coinages of any nation of Europe. A new issue of coin is
about to be commenced.

"It appears, from the king's proclamation, that the new coinage
will consist of double sovereigns, to be each of the value of 40s.;
sovereigns, each of 20s.; and half-sovereigns, 10s. silver crowns,
half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences. The double-sovereigns have for
the obverse the king's effigy, with the inscription, 'Gulielmus IIII.
D.G. Britanniarum Rex. F.D.;' and for the reverse, the ensigns armorial
of the United Kingdom contained in a shield, encircled by the collar of
the Order of the Garter, and upon the edge of the piece the words 'Decus
et Tutamen.' The crowns and half-crowns will be similar. The shilling
has on the reverse the words 'One Shilling,' placed in the centre of
the piece, within a wreath, having an olive-branch on one side, and an
oak-branch on the other; and the sixpences have the same, except the
word 'Sixpence' instead of the words 'One Shilling.' The coppers will
be nearly as at present."

Now we must observe, what the master of the Mint and the people about
him ought to have observed before, that there is in the first instance
a considerable expense incurred in the coinage of the double-sovereigns,
without any possible object, except the expense itself may be an object,
which is not impossible. We shall have in this coin one of the most
clumsy and useless matters of circulation that could be devised. The
present sovereign answers every purpose that this clumsy coin can be
required for, and even the single sovereign would be a much more
convenient coin for circulation if it were divided, as every one knows
who knows the trouble of getting change. The half-sovereign is in fact
a much more convenient coin. But on this clumsy coin we must have a
_Latin_ inscription, as if it were intended only for the society of
antiquaries, or to be laid up in cabinets, which we acknowledge would be
most likely its fate, except for the notorious bad taste of the British
coinage. Of much use it is to an English public to have the classical
phraseology of Gulielmus Britanniarum Rex, put in place of the national
language. Then too we must have the collar of the Order of the Garter
to encircle the national arms, of which this Order is nonsensically
pronounced "Decus et Tutamen." The Glory and Protection. The Order of
the Garter the _glory and protection_ of England! We are content to
let this absurdity stay in Latin or Sanscrit; English would be shamed by
it. The Order of the Garter which goes round the knee of any man, who
comes with the minister's fiat on the subject, and which has no more
relation to British glory or British defence than the Order of the Blue
Button or the Yellow frog of his majesty the Emperor of China; and this
is to go forth on our national gold coin! and for fear that the folly
would not be sufficiently spread, it is to be stamped on our crowns and
half-crowns! The shillings and sixpences luckily escape: plain English
will do for them. And all this goes on from year to year, while we have
in the example of France a model of what a mint ought to be. Every
foreigner makes purchases at the French mint; and the series of national
medals executed there is a public honour and a public profit too. But
whoever thinks of purchasing English mintage except for bullion?--With a
history full of the most stirring events, we have not a single medallic
series--we have scarcely a single medal. But we have in lieu of those
vanities a master of the mint, who is tost new into the office on every
change of party, who has probably in the whole course of his life never
known the difference between gold and silver but by their value in
sovereigns and shillings; but who, in the worst of times, shows his
patriotism by receiving a salary of no less than five thousand pounds
a year?

_Monthly Magazine._

* * * * *

SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY.

* * * * *

HYDROSTATICS AND PNEUMATICS.

(_Cabinet Cyclopaedia_, vol. xvii.)

_Easier to swim in the Sea than in a River_.

Sea water has a greater buoyancy than fresh water, being relatively
heavier; and hence it is commonly said to be much easier to swim in
the sea than in a river: this effect, however, appears to be greatly
exaggerated. A cubic foot of freshwater weighs about 1,000 ounces; and
the same bulk of sea water weighs 1,028 ounces; the weight, therefore,
of the latter exceeds the former by only 28 parts in 1,000. The force
exerted by sea water to support the body exceeds that exerted by fresh
water by about one thirty-sixth part of the whole force of the
latter.--_By Dr. Lardner._

_Ice lighter than Water_.

It is known that in the process of congelation, water undergoes a
considerable increase of bulk; thus a quantity of water, which at
the temperature of 40 deg. measures a cubic inch, will have a greater
magnitude when it assumes the form of ice at the temperature of 32 deg.
Consequently ice is, bulk for bulk, lighter than water. Hence it is
that ice is always observed to collect and float at the surface.--A
remarkable effect produced by the buoyancy of ice in water is observable
in some of the great rivers in America. Ice collects round stones at the
bottom of the river, and it is sometimes formed in such a quantity that
the upward pressure by its buoyancy exceeds the weight of the stone
round which it is collected--consequently it raises the stone to the
surface. Large masses of stone are thus observed floating down the river
at considerable distances from the places of their formation.--_Ibid_.

_Domestic Use of the Hydrometer_.

The adulteration of milk by water may always be detected by the
hydrometer, and in this respect it may be a useful appendage to
household utensils. Pure milk has a greater specific gravity than
water, being 103, that of water being 100. A very small proportion of
water mixed with milk will produce a liquid specifically lighter than
water.--Although the hydrometer is seldom applied to domestic uses,
yet it might be used for many ordinary purposes which could scarcely
be attained by any other means. The slightest adulteration of spirits,
or any other liquid of known quality, may be instantly detected by it;
and it is recommended by its cheapness, the great facility of its
manipulation, and the simplicity of its results.--_Ibid._

* * * * *

THE GATHERER.

A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
SHAKSPEARE.

* * * * *

The late Lord Clonmel, who never thought of demanding more than a
shilling for an affidavit, used to be well satisfied provided it was a
good one. In his time the Birmingham shillings were current, and he used
the following extraordinary precaution to avoid being imposed upon by
taking a bad one:--"You shall true answer make to such questions as
shall be demanded of you touching this affidavit, so help you God.
Is this a good shilling?"

* * * * *

SCRAPS.

The _Court Journal_, describing a Study in Windsor Castle,
says--"The first of a series in the plain _English_ style. The
ceiling is white, with a cornice of simple _Grecian_ design!"

According to a recent traveller, fat sheep are so plentiful in the
Brazils that they are used as _fuel_ to feed their lime-kilns.

Supposing the productive power of wheat to be only six-fold, the produce
of a single acre would cover the whole surface of the globe in fourteen
years.

A Philadelphia Paper announces the arrival of the Siamese Twins in that
city, in the following manner:--"_One_ of the Siamese twins arrived
here on Monday last, accompanied by his brother."

The term Husting, or Hustings, as applied to the scaffold erected at
elections, from which candidates address the electors, is derived from
the Court of Husting, of Saxon origin, and the most ancient in the
kingdom. Its name is a compound of _hers_ and _ding_; the former
implying a house, and the latter a thing, cause, suit, or plea; whereby
it is manifest that _husding_ imports a house or hall, wherein causes
are heard and determined; which is further evinced by the Saxon _dingere_,
or _thingere_, an advocate, or lawyer. [_Hus_ and _thing_ (thong)
a place enclosed, a building roped round.]--_Atlas._

Segrais says, that when Louis XIV. was about seventeen years of age, he
followed him and his brother, the Duke of Orleans, out of the playhouse,
and that he heard the duke ask the king what he thought of the play they
had just been seeing, and which had been well received by the audience:
"Brother, (replied Louis,) do not you know that I never pretend to give
my opinion on any thing that I do not perfectly understand."

* * * * *

ELECTIONEERING ADVICE.

Among the curious _Autograph Letters_, at Sotheby's late sale,
there was a curious one of _Sarah_, Duchess of Marlborough, dated
August 16th, 1740, viz. A canvassing letter in favour of two Members for
Reading; with the following electioneering advice:--"_Nothing but a
good Parliament can save England next Session; they are both very honest
men, and will never give a vote to a Placeman or a Pensioner._"

P.T.W.

* * * * *

THE NATIONAL DEBT.

George the Third came to the throne in 1760, and found the national debt
120 millions; he reigned 59 years, and left the national debt 820
millions, 700 millions more than at his accession, increasing on the
whole period about 36 thousand per day, or nearly 23 pounds per minute.
At the beginning of his reign the taxes amounted annually to 6 millions;
at the ending 60 millions.

* * * * *

PLURALITIES.

In the year 1238, it was agreed in an assembly of divines at Paris,
that none could without forfeiture of eternal happiness, possess two
benefices at the same time; one being worth fifteen livres Parisis,
each about 2s. 6d. sterling.

N.B. There does not appear to be any such decision by any assembly of
divines in England, at least not since the reformation.

G.K.

* * * * *

COMPUNCTIOUS VISITINGS.

It is said of a certain physician that he never passed the churchyard of
the place where he resided, without pulling forth his handkerchief from
his pocket, and hiding his face with it. Upon this circumstance being
noticed by an acquaintance, he apologized for it by saying, "You will
recollect, sir, what a number of people there are who have found their
way hither under my directions. Now, I am always apprehensive lest some
of them recognising my features should lay hold of me, and oblige me to
take up my lodging along with them."

* * * * *

IMPROMPTU ON THE BURIAL OF SHUTER, THE ACTOR.

Alas! poor Ned!
He's now in bed,
Who seldom was before;
The revel rout,
The midnight shout,
Shall never know him more.

Entomb'd in clay,
Here let him lay,
And silence ev'ry jest;
For life's poor play
Has past away,
And here he sleeps in rest.

* * * * *

_Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset
House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic;
G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen
and Booksellers._

* * * * *

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