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“THE SLEEPY DISEASE;" A SINGULAR AND FATAL SICKNESS
IN AFRICA. We entered the dwelling of old Queen Maumee, and looked around for her grandaughter, to see whom was our principal object. When I visited the place four or five months ago, this girl excited a great deal of admiration by her beauty and simplicity: she was thirteen years of age; a bright mulatto, with large and soft black eyes, and brilliantly white teeth; her figure small, but perfectly symmetrical. The old grandmother's affections seemed to be exhausted on her, with all the fire of her temperament; the more so, as the mother was dead. We entered the hut without ceremony; but on beholding the object of our search, a solemn dread seemed to come over us. She lay asleep in the adjoining apartment on a mat that was spread over the hard ground, and with no pillow. One arm was by her side, the other above her head, and she slept so quietly, and drew such imperceptible breath, that I scarcely thought her alive. With some little difficulty she was roused, and awoke with a frightened cry, a strange and broken murmur, as if she knew not whether our figures were real or only a dream. Her eyes were wild and glassy, and she seemed to be in pain. While awake there was a nervous twitching about her mouth, and in her fingers ; but being allowed to be quiet, these symptoms passed away, and she almost immediately sank into the heavy sleep in which we had found her. This poor doomed girl was suffering,—no, not suffering; for except when forcibly aroused, there appears to be no uneasiness; but she had been lingering for two months in a disease peculiar to Africa, the “sleepy disease.” It is considered incurable. The persons attacked by it are those who take little exercise, and live principally on vegetables, particularly cassady and rice. Some ascribe it altogether to the cassady, which is supposed to be strongly narcotic. Climate, doubtless, and situation, have much influence, as it is most prevalent by low marshes. Irresistible drowsiness continually weighs down the patient, who can be kept awake only for the few moments necessary for taking a little food When this lethargy has lasted about four months, then death
comes, as with noiseless tread, and only making the slumber, more sound.—Ibid.
THE MANGROVE-TREE. On our return, we passed under the branches of the mangrove-tree, and pulled some of the long fruit or seed. This singular seed is about fifteen or sixteen inches long, and in its greatest diameter not more than an inch. It is round, heavy, and pointed at both ends. When ripe, it detaches itself from a sort of acorn, to which the smaller end has been firmly joined, and falls with sufficient force to implant itself deeply in the mud. After a few days it begins to shoot, and soon becomes a tall mangrove. This tree has many strings to its bow ; for, while the seed is thus growing, the branches send down slender and cord-like shoots, perhaps thirty feet long, and less than an inch in thickness. These strike in the mud, and aid in giving sustenance to the tree. Thus there is presented the appearance of a large tree, supported by hundreds of lesser trunks, standing so thickly together as to be impassable even for small animals : differing thus far from the large Indian tree referred to by Milton, which in some respects it resembles ; for that is “ High overarch’d, and echoing walks between.”—Ibid.
CAPE-coast castle; MONUMENT of L. E. L. The landing at Cape-Coast Castle is effected in large canoes, which convey passengers close to the rocks, safely and without being drenched, although the surf dashes fifty feet in height. There is a peculiar enjoyment in being raised, by an irresistible power beneath you, upon the tops of the high rollers, and then dropped into the profound hollow of the waves, as if to visit the bottom of the ocean, at whatever depth it might be. We landed at the castle-gate, and were ushered into the castle itself, where the Commander of the troops received us in his apartment. I took the first opportunity to steal away, to look at the burial-place of L. E. L., who died here after a residence of only two months, and within a year after becoming the wife of Governor M‘Lean. A small white marble tablet, inserted among the grey stones of the castle-wall, where it faces the area of the fort, in which is its place of burial, bears the following inscription :
Hic jacet sepultum
Musis unicè amatam,
In ipso ætatis flore,
Conjux morens erexit.* In reference to Mrs. M'Lean, subsequently to her unhappy death, rumours were afloat cruel to her own memory, as to the conduct of her husband. They were all equally and entirely unfounded. It is well established here that her death was accidental.-Ibid.
TULIPS; AND THE DUTCH TULIPOMANIA. [Most of the following remarks and statements are taken, either as extracted or abstracted and condensed, from “ Beckmann's History of Inventions.” Some of them, while they involve an important principle, and suggest some very valuable instruction, furnish a singular coincidence with events which have occurred in our own day, in connexion with the formation and progress of railways, and the ruinous speculations in some cases attending them. We shall not now enter into any inquiries concerning the origin of that destructive and most sinful love of gambling which seems inherent in our fallen nature, whether or not it is to be referred to the natural restlessness of the heart separated from God, and
• This elegant inscription may be thus translated :-"Here lies interred all that was mortal of Letitia Elizabeth M'Lean, whom, adorned with rare endowments, singularly beloved by the muses, and drawing to herself the affections of all, in the very flower of her age, an untimely death tore away, October 15th, 1838. Traveller, the marble thou beholdest, alas ! how vain a monument of grief, her mourning husband erected."
seeking for fancied happiness, among its ten thousand inventions, in the vehement excitement of passion. But so it is, that among the civilized and the savage, among the semibarbarous Russians, the mystical and philosophical Germans, the airy, pleasure-taking French, the trading, money-loving English, the plodding, gain-gathering Dutch, among high and low, refined and genteel, or coarse and vulgar, numberless instances have existed, proving that, among other epithets which have been read as descriptive of man, that which speaks of him as a gambling animal is as extensively applicable as any, and appears to be as deeply founded in his essential nature, as it now exists. If the knowledge of the disease be, according to the old proverb, half the cure, then ought the young to be admonished early on this subject, that they may begin life aware of their danger, and determined, by the grace of God, to guard against its most distant approaches, to deteet it in its most insidious disguises, and, in fact to abide here, as in all things, by the great rule of inspiration, which requires us to “abstain from the appearance of evil.”]
The greater part of the flowers which adorn our gardens have been brought to us from the Levant. A few have been procured from other parts of the world; and some of our own indigenous plants, that grow wild, have, by care and cultivation, been so much improved as to merit a place in our parterres. Our ancestors, perhaps, some centuries ago, paid attention to flowers; but it appears that the Orientals, and particularly the Turks, who in other respects are not very susceptible of the inanimate beauties of nature, were the first people who cultivated a variety of them in their gardens for ornament and pleasure. From their gardens, therefore, have been procured the most of those which decorate ours; and among these is the tulip.
Few plants acquire through accident, weakness, or disease, so many tints, variegations, and figures, as the tulip. When uncultivated, and in its natural state, it is almost of one colour, has large leaves and an extraordinary long stem. When it has been weakened by culture, it becomes more agreeable in the eyes of the florist. The petals are then paler, more
variegated, and smaller ; the leaves assume a fainter or softer green colour: and this masterpiece of culture, the more beautiful it turns, grows so much the weaker ; so that, with the most careful skill and attention, it can with difficulty be transplanted, and even scarcely kept alive.
That the tulip grows wild in the Levant, and was thence brought to us, may be proved by the testimony of many writers. Busbequius found it on the road between Adrianople and Constantinople ; Shaw found it in Syria, in the plains between Jaffa and Rama; and Chardin on the northern confines of Arabia. The early-blowing kinds, it appears, were brought to Constantinople from Cavala, a town on the eastern coast of Macedonia; and the late-blowing from Caffa, a town in the Crimea.
These flowers, which are of no further use than to ornament gardens, which are exceeded in beauty by many other plants, and whose duration is short and very precarious, became, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the object of a trade such as is not to be met with in the history of commerce, and by which their price rose above that of the most precious metals.
This trade was not carried on throughout all Europe, but in some cities of the Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, Alkmaar, Leyden, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Enkhuysen, and Meedenblick; and rose to the greatest height in the years 1634—37. Munting has given, from some of the books kept during that trade, a few of the prices then paid, of which I shall present the reader with the following. For a root of that species called the “ Viceroy,” the aftermentioned articles, valued as below expressed, were agreed to be delivered :
Florins. 2 lasts of wheat..................
448 4 ditto rye ........................