Зображення сторінки

no doubt that in this country at the present time, / hot is poisonous, whilst that of another may be there are various native medicines used with suc- eaten with impunity. Different parts too of the cess by old women and such like practitioners, same plant in some cases possess different properwhich on account of their efficacy might be advan- ties: thus the fruit of the Podophyllum peltatum is tageously introduced into regular practice, and “esculent, the leaves poisonous, and the root highly which would be, were it not for the want of botani- medicinal.” But even where the general law holds cal knowledge and investigation among country good, still there is use in investigation, because practitioners. This supposition is borne out by although the same quality may appertain to two the remarks before quoted from Dr. Lindley; to plants, yet they may have that quality combined the effect, that every country has native medicines with others which differ. Every plant therefore adapted to the proper treatment of its diseases. needs trial, before we can ascertain with certainty And not only might they do good to medicine, thus its virtues. But it is often said that we possess a directly, but they might also do it indirectly, by sufficient number of medicines in each class, if we meeting pretenders on their own grounds: they knew how to use them, and when. As to this, it might examine scientifically any medicine which may be partly true; but in the first place, there are they used ; and if it were good, might use it them- no bounds to the variations of disease, and each selves and recommend it to the profession; if ineffi- one may require a different specimen from a whole cient, they might be able to give good reasons for class. Secondly, it is not generally for the possesrejecting it. By means of their botanical know- sion of one property only that a medicine is useful ledge they could oftentimes do this without any and valuable, it is most usually for the combination previous experiments. The absence of this plan of several; and we certainly have not enough of has been one cause of the success of that singular these, and could not have too many: for if we look humbug Thomsonianism.

at the subject in an arithmetical point of view, the But without the knowledge and study of botany, variation in the exact medical qualities is innumewe would not only be prevented by ignorance from rable, and each variation may have a peculiar use. conferring these benefits upon our profession; but Thirdly, neither could we have too many of those the want of interest about them would probably medicines possessing anomalous properties, such cause us to pay little attention to such things. for instance as those of nux-vomica; and we know Moreover from the very want of this knowledge, a not but that some of our native plants may furnish physician would be deterred from approaching any medicines possessing such qualities. But moreover thing appertaining to the science. For instance, and lastly, the most efficient of our medicines, those in judging whether a plant was an efficient medi- which offer almost the only conclusive proofs of cine or not, he would have no a priori circum- the utility of the science of medicine, are not those stance to guide him; and although not exactly which possess any particular, definite medical profeeling it to be presumption, yet from feeling that perty, but they are those that act in a manner he was rather ignorant of the subject, he would which we do not understand, and which we thereshrink from approaching it. And indeed the gene-fore entitle alterative; as for instance, sulphur in ral apathy on this subject is owing to this con- the mineral, and cinchona in the vegetable world. sciousness of ignorance, together with the want of Not only may this efficiency be found in one genus interest and example; and on account of the want of an order, and not in another; but even in one of the necessary botanical knowledge, the igno- species, and not in others; as for example, Sarsarance of the particular plants which would proba- parilla—the roots of some species of Smilax posbly prove medicinal.

sessing the virtues of this medicine, and others not. Secondly, the vast field for discovery which is What may we not expect then, from a further open to us in the United States, offers a further in- investigation of the five thousand species now inducement to the study and investigation of this cluded in the botanical catalogue of the United science. It is indeed a general rule, that the indi- States; of the many yet to be described ? G. vidual genera of each natural order of plants pos- Williamsburg, Va. sess similar medicinal properties: thus the Magnoliaceæ are in general, tonics. And this fact will in most cases serve as a guide to the botanist in his

TO MISS A. M. Amedical investigations, where others would have none at all. But to this general rule there are a

OF RICHMOND. number of exceptions. Thus the same natural or- The hand that prints these accents here der, Artocarpeæ, contains the nutritious Cow-tree

Was never clasped in thine, and Bread-fruit, and the poisonous Upas and Ficus

Nor has thy heart, with hope or fear,

E'er trembled back to mine. toxicaria. The different species of Lobelia differ

And yet from childhood's early years much in their properties. Even in varieties of the

Some being like to thee,same species this difference is occasionally found :

Unseen amid my doubts and fears, thus the root of one variety of the Jatrophad mani

Hath sweetly smil'd on me.

And oft in dreams I've twined the wreath fries. In the last two ways an immense number
Above her eye of flame,

of duplicates have been introduced, which are of
Then listened if some bird might breathe
The music of her name.

no use whatever they are stowed in lumber-rooms.

At the same time, many of these duplicates are of
And ost have vainly sought to trace
Amid the fair and young,

old books--not of the popular kind which has caused The living type of her sweet face

new editions to be printed; and their scarcity and On Fancy's mirror flung.

value is such that enormous prices are paid for them But in its unresembled form

to such dealers as may accidentally obtain them. The shadow dwelt with me,

Now Mons. Vattemére proposes that complete cataTill unperceived, life-like, and warm,

logues of all these duplicates shall be printed, or It softly fell on thee.

rather, that each library, in its regular catalogue, Then into substance passed the shade

shall state the number of copies it has of each work. With charms still more divine,

These catalogues shall be sent to the principal liAs on thy face its features played

braries in the world. By this means, every one And lost themselves in thine.

will be able to see what every other has to spare, and what it needs in return; and a reference to its own catalogue will show how far an exchange will

be mutually beneficial. After which, the interMonsieur Alexandre Vattemere's System of change of a few letters, and the transportation of a Exchanges.

few boxes of books, will render each one more The expedient of exchanging what we possess, complete, without taking from any what is of much but do not want, for what we want, but do not pos- pecuniary value; for old books cannot be sold for sess, is one of the earliest and most universal ; and much to the dealers, although they will extort the one most frequently resorted to where the usual large sums for them, when they find libraries in medium of exchange, money, is not easily pro- want of them. cured. But this method of supplying our mutual There is another and very peculiar benefit arising wants, practised in the casual manner in vogue from this system, which has been felt in many among those whose slender means compel them to cases. Manuscript works, of which immense pumit, is obviously different from a system of exchan-bers exist that have not been printed, and will not ges, as the organized body-organized to some ex- be printed, but which are of the highest valuetent--of merchants, who transact the world's com- historical records, not well enough written to be mercial business, is different from so many trudging read with pleasure, but authentic, and sometimes pedlers. The reduction of a rude practice, the the only materials from which the history of their offspring of savage instinct, to a regular system, is times can be gleaned. These precious documents a step in civilization; and this step, so far as it re- are dispersed ;-one volume is in the Vatican

, lates to the exchange of literary and scientific spe- another in Munich, another in some convent in cimens, is ascribed principally to the judgment, Spain ; some of them in garrets or cellars. No zeal, and manly perseverance of Mons. Vattemére. booksellers will buy them; nobody will decypher

The vulgar practice, (known in our country by their contents, unless he has a political intrigue to the term swapping,) too inconvenient for men whose unravel, a history to write, or something to do time is of value, has not much prevailed between which cannot be done without them;

and as these the literary and scientific institutions of Europe : literary workmen do not live in every obscure rebut the duplicates, when not suffered to remain as gion, no call whatever is made for some of these useless lumber, have been sold to traders, and by works; they moulder in the dark; and with them them hawked about where they were most likely perish the records of many interesting events, and to be sold for profit. The great loss attending this many important discoveries in science,-for it is alproceeding; the tendency of it to disperse and de- most certain that some knowledge in the arts stroy some of the rarest works, or leave them in been lost, or buried in obscurity, not, we hope, bethe obscurity of book-stalls; these and other con- yond the power of systematic research to bring siderations prompted Mons. Vattemére to make the again into use. exertions which have already been eminently bene- “ You Americans," says Mons. Vattemére, “ want ficial, and insured for his name an honorable place much that we can spare ; and you can furnish.us among those of the benefactors of mankind. with much that will cost you nothing, but which To illustrate the operation and uses of this sys- will be invaluable to us.

We want all your

State tem, I shall first consider it in reference to libraries. papers, your bills proposed in Congress, and in the The public libraries, belonging to the universities, State Legislatures-all that you order to be printed i governments, cities and towns of Europe, have nothing of it should be omitted; though it be stale been gradually accumulated, partly by the purchase to you, it is new to us; and without it our politiof books from the shops, the purchase of private cians cannot legislate intelligently, because they libraries, and partly by the bequest of private libra- cannot adopt their measures to the condition of a

country, whose citizens are dealing with our own,, keeping the paddles of steamboat's wheels in the and exerting a constant and powerful influence, vertical position. It struck him as being a good which must be understood if it is to be of its pro- one; and he spent considerable time in making per advantage. You also want, in the libraries of calculations, drawings, etc. When he ventured to your different Legislaturés, all the public documents the city, he went to a dozen libraries, and at last of Europe ;-you will legislate in the dark if you found a volume of the London Mechanics' Magado not have them ;- you cannot adapt your course zine, in which his contrivance was shown to have to theirs, but will lose the advantage of knowing been patented ten years before, and used with some what they are about, and neither benefit by the advantage on the Danube. Not long atier, my good will of your friends, nor defeat the selfish friend was conversing with the Captain of a steampolicy of those who seek to benefit by your inat- boat, and mentioned this invention; whereupon the tention. You can furnish us with specimens in Captain told him that he had been asked to purevery branch of natural history: the block of gra- chase stock in it. “ You have seen it then; how nite, to you of no value, may be broken, and a piece does it work?” said my friend.

• It works very sent to every museum in Europe. If it be exactly well in the model ; but whether it will keep in orlike our own, we wish to know it; if it be different, der at sea, or be on the whole better than the comwe wish to know it; in any case it is interesting, mon wheel, I doubt." “ But has it not been tried and we must have it, even if we send across the on a large scale ?" inquired my friend. “No!" ocean to search for it. Your birds, your animals, said the Captain, “ the inventor can't make 'em your plants, we want them all; and you want ours. take hold. He has spent several hundred dollars, Your works of art, your machines, your buildings, and a great deal of time ; but I am afraid he will farmers' tools, and craftsmens' tools—we want mo- not get paid for it, though I confess I think well of dels or drawings of them; and in return we can it, for smooth water. But you seem to be intersend you quite as much ;—if more, it will please us ested in the matter: suppose you call on him, when the better, for we wish to deal like gentlemen— we get on shore ? Perhaps you may buy some of like friends and brothers--and not like mercena- his stock.” My friend did call on him, and found ries. You will send us an alligator, a fossil skele- the same invention, exhibited in a beautiful brass ton, a drawing of a Western burial mound; and we model ;-all of no use, except as a philosophic toy. will send you a cast of the Apollo, or whatever we A few weeks after, he found another ingenious man have that you are in need of.”

who had invented the same thing, and spent several These brief hints, to the man who thinks about weeks in experimenting; but who had given it up, as it, will indicate how efficiently the system of ex- not likely to work better than the old one. About one changes will contribute to the completeness of pub- year ago, the papers informed us that another palic museums, libraries, etc. Cui bono? Does an tent for this same invention had been obtained in American, a democrat, a man who claims the right England, and introduced in a large vessel, which to participate in the control of a nation's affairs, to would come across the ocean in a week. To assist in ruling it—does he ask this question ? Aye! crown the joke, Professor Renwick, in his new it should be so ! But does he ask it respectfully, to treatise on the steam-engine, mentions that this learn all the merits of the case; or contemptuously, contrivance was tried twenty years ago, on a ferryto signify that he sees no good in it, and therefore boat, between New-York and Jersey City. Now refers it to the class of schemes, and with a block- all this waste of time, of thought, of money spent head's logic, reasons thus :-most schemes are for patents and experiments, might have been saved, humbugs: this is a scheme; therefore this is a and probably would have been saved, had there humbug? We have persons of such intellectual been public museums to which these men had free calibre, to whom the proper admonition, sufficiently access, in which drawings and models of machirespectful, is this: you are not freemen, in the nery, and any thing like a complete collection of mental sense ; you are still under the dominion of the scientific books of the time, were to be found. vulgar prejudices, of old fashions and customs; and But if expensive and useless repetitions would are liable to be used as mere tools, when you are be avoided, still more benefit would be conferred, thought worth managing! But for the purpose of by showing these ingenious but unlearned men contributing, in a slight degree, to the knowledge what had been done before, which they might every sensible man possesses on this subject, I adopt, use, and improve upon; what parts invented, will take the familiar instance of a mechanical in- tested, proportioned, which they might combine in ventor, and show what benefit he may derive from different ways, for different uses, and from which such an institution when it is complete.

they might construct machines that otherwise they I happen to know a case that will illustrate the would not think of. matter, which I will state precisely as it occurred. It would likewise be useful in the common wants A friend of mine who was spending the Summer of life. If a man, rich or poor, wishes to build a in the country, away from all libraries of a scien- house, a shop, a barn, or construct a mill, carriage, tific character, happened to think of a mode of or any thing else, let him go to the public museum; he will find there prints, drawings, models, old and I said, 'my work will be very difficult. The dinew, of every style of building in the world; of rectors of the European institutions will not be alnew designs, not yet adopted ; and from these he lowed to recognize these private establishments, will select what best suits him ; but now he must which may be sold at auction next year for the be content to take what he sees around him, how- benefit of their creditors.' ever inferior to what he might find in a neighbor- Not daunted by these circumstances ;-for he is ing city; because neither he nor his ignorant a brave man: I know not how bullets might affect builder nor quack architect has had the means to him, but difficulties cannot frighten him; the laugh know what has been done in the world. In short, of vulgar mercenaries cannot make him truckle ; whatever a man wishes to know, whatever he the certainty of hardship cannot smother his courwishes to see, he should be able to find in a public age:-not daunted, I say, by the task before him, museum. Every branch of art, science and litera- nor discouraged by the loud and general cry, ‘imture, and every thing in the world that is worth possible ! impossible! the man's a fool! he's mad! knowing, should be represented in it; from the high- what will he make by it?' Mons. Vattemére went est conceptions in poetry, painting, sculpture and to Washington, and showed his plan to the Goarchitecture, to the humblest convenience of the vernment. It is worthy of especial notice that household; from the grandest phenomena of the every member of the Cabinet and of Congress, earth and heavens, to the plants of the garden and from the President to the last representative, gave the minerals by the road-side. Had we such places his approbation of the plan, in writing, to Mons. as these in our cities, and even in our villages, Vattemére. But the constitutional limits of the would our money be thrown away on the rude con- Federal Government obliged it to refer him to the trivances of other centuries, when science yearly State and Municipal Governments, as the only brings forth new ones of greater use and economy? powers that could aid in the great work he was eaor would our inquiring intellects be wrapped up in gaged in. He accordingly applied to them, and in mammoth newspapers, which cloy with literary slops, some cases with success. Louisiana has approthat thirst for knowledge which the poor man now priated a constant sum of six thousand dollars per anhas no means of satisfying in any other way-nay, num ; Maine has entertained the proposition very which the richest man among us can but meagerly favorably; Boston and Baltimore have bestirred supply!

themselves; and in various other parts of this coutBut from the benefits of this system we are try he has met with more or less success—I know nearly excluded; because we have no public mu- not how much : but in Quebec and Montreal he seums, and no public libraries save those belonging has produced a movement highly honorable to to Congress and the State Legislatures, and per- those cities, fifty thousand pounds each having haps those of one or two Universities, which may been appropriated for public museams, on the plan in some parts be so well known as to be admitted suggested by him. to the rank and privilege of public institutions. For all these important services he has neither Mons. Vattemére, rather satirically, expressed his asked nor accepted any other reward than the plea. disappointment at finding us so deficient. “I had sure of doing good, and the esteem and good wishes been told,” said he, “that you had public museums, which his singular zeal for the interest of science public libraries, every thing of the kind, in great and of mankind has not failed to gain for him. A abundance.” “Well,' I said, 'my work will be gentleman who well knows his ability in science, easy! we can soon establish communication with and in a certain kind of dramatic performance, told those of Europe. When I got on shore, I ran me that he could easily make twenty thousand dolto the public museum; but as I was entering, a lars per annum; but that he exercised these talents person stopped me and asked for two shillings. only so far as was necessary to supply his actual •What,' I asked myself, do they permit their wants, preferring to advocate his favorite system, servants to beg for money? the museums of Eu- without pay, rather than fill his pockets, and let the rope

forbid theirs to accept it when offered.' Well, world take care of itself. If the vulgar man of I went on, and saw many choice things, and many dollars, prudent, provident, respectable and all that

, loads of mere rubbish, jumbled together without the will say that the love of notoriety is the spring of least appearance of scientific arrangement; and all this action; if, to bring his own character up to what was my surprise to find a juggler and a learned · par,' he will cloud, with his low suspicions and pig. But when I discovered, as I soon did, that possible conjectures, the conduct of a man when what you call a public museum is merely a place he should honor and imitate, let him be told that even where the public may be admitted for pay; and the desire of vulgar popularity is more becoming that the most respectable of your libraries and a man, than the number-one principle is, which scientific institutions are accessible only to mem- moves to no action that possibly can be looked on bers, who pay considerable money, and to those as generous. Mons. Vattemére believes these great whom the members introduce, I understood my schemes improbable in the general estimation would mistake, but was only the more surprised. "Well,'' benefit the people if adopted : le boldly proposes

them, advocates them; and herein he differs from birth, removed to the town of Simsbury, in the those mean men, much meaner than cowards, who same state ; and here the subject of our sketch will not encounter the derision of blackguards, and passed the chief part of his life. He evinced at the qualified respect of pocket-noblemen, no matter an early age, an unusual fondness for study, and what the merits of the case may be if the pro- began to develope a mind of superior ability. Cirposed measures seem unlikely to be carried. cumstances, however, seemed to forbid his attain

He has returned to France. But the sugges- ing a liberal education. After reaping all the adtions he has thrown out, the success he has in some vantages he could derive from an attendance upon places met with, the almost unanimous wish in fa- the common schools, he was removed to the Gramvor of the bold measures he recommends, these are mar school at Hartford—one of the oldest, and pronot to be lost; they make some rather restless; bably the best of the preparatory schools in the they set some in doubt of the old maxim,“ nothing state. Here he remained for some time, and apliberal can be got from the rabble.”

plied himself assiduously to the usual course of a

thorough“ English education,” as also to the study of the Latin language. With his departure from this institution, closed the most of his academic

studies. He had long before imbibed a strong THE FATE OF THE GIFTED.

taste for reading, and general literary pursuits. No. III., AND LAST.

This he had cultivated to as great an extent as The reader may perhaps remember two articles his other studies would permit; and he now gave under the above title, which appeared in the Mes- his entire leisure to an attentive perusal of the senger more than two years since. The first one standard English authors, as well as to the literature was devoted to the life and writings of Chester of our own country. Poetry was his chief delight; A. GRISwold—the second one, to the late JAMES though the modesty of his genius for a long time Otis Rockwell. When those articles were pre- kept the fact in concealment; circumstances at pared, there was one with us-a loved and valued length declared him to be an a not unwelcomed friend—who felt a kindly interest in our humble worshipper at the shrine of the Muses. toil. He was anxious that the memory of genius,

We have before remarked that the greater part untimely removed, should be embalmed in the hearts of our author's life was passed in the town of Simsof the living. For our second article—that which bury. Soon after he closed his academic studies, commemorated Rockwell-he lent us his ser- and while he was anxious to enter upon the stuvice, by procuring some facts which otherwise had dies of a profession, he began to suffer from an inbeen overlooked and lost. Alas! how little did flammation of the eyes. This entirely defeated we then think that the third number of our series his plans. It gave a character to his whole would be devoted to the memory of him whose eye after-life, and in some measure, we fear, caused his then kindled with approval at our work. But death premature death. Baffled in his pursuit of a prohas found him. He has fallen in the morning offession, he attempted other occupations which seemhis days; and another flower of genius, which had ed not to clash with his bodily affliction, in the but just unfolded, has been transplanted to the gar- hope that time would restore the use of his eyes dens of God! With a heavy heart, therefore, do again, and yet suffer him to attain the object of his we come to lay our simple chaplet upon the early wishes. He remained a twelve month in Hartford, tomb of Richard Bacon, Jr.

and nearly two years in New York, engaged in We have chosen the subject of our present mercantile pursuits. But his difficulties seemed sketch, not so much for a biographical memoir, as rather to be increased than removed thereby; and, to confer a merited tribute to the memory of one disappointed, and sick at heart, he returned to the well beloved. He was of those who feel the stir- quiet of his paternal mansion. Here his literary rings of an ambitious and richly endowed spirit pursuits were renewed with redoubled vigor. When within them, but to whom it is not permitted to his own failing sight could not minister to his deenter the ranks of those who wage a warfare for sires, his kind sisters would engage his leisure by renown. He listened to the clarion call of reading to him, and assisting to write out and copy Fame, and he pined in spirit for the contest. But the productions of his own fancy. a strong hand held him back; and his only record It was at this period of his life that we became is with

personally acquainted with Bacon. He gave us “Those, the young and brave, who cherished his entire confidence, and a friendship was formed Noble longings for the strife,

which grew stronger to the day of his death. We By the road-side sell and perished,

never met with a warmer heart, nor a hand which Weary with the march of Life!"

pressed a more cordial welcome. We soon saw Richard Bacon, Jr., was born at Northington (a that his affliction was a trial hard indeed to bear. small parish of Farmington,) now Avon, in the He heard the strife of the great world around him, state of Connecticut. His family, soon after his' while he was compelled to be an unwilling lin

Vol. VII-99

« НазадПродовжити »