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In the above diagram, A B represents a cylindrical glass vessel, about ten inches in height, by five inches in diameter; and it is furnished with a smaller inserted vessel, CD. A ring of zinc, o p, is supported by the glass plug k, and on pouring diluted sulphuric acid into the vessel, the water is decomposed, and hydrogen gas liberated. The stop-cock and pipe a is then inserted, and as the gas forms in the vessel C D, the sulphuric acid is displaced, ascending into the upper vessel A B. When all the acid is thus driven up, the zinc ceases to operate, the vessel C D is filled with gas, and it may be considered fit for use.
To produce the instantaneous light, it is merely necessary to place a piece of spongy .platinum in the small vessel P, and on turning the stop-cock d it will become red-hot, and the stream of hydrogen will ignite.
The rod c hf, passing through the stem b, is merely employed to adjust the distance at which the vessel P should be placed.
Among the practical and useful inventions of the present day, the floating breakwater of Mr. White, for which he has received a patent, promises to hold a respectable place. This contrivance consists of a series of square frames of timber, connected by mooring chains or cables, attached to anchors or blocks; they are disposed so as to enclose either a rectilineal or a curvilineal space for the reception of ships, which may ride there, protected from the breaking of the sea or surf. These frames consist of logs of Quebec yellow pine, from thirty to fifty feet long, and from eighteen to twenty inches thick. The logs are bolted together so as to form a square frame, consisting of two parallel frames. The separate frames are connected by ropes or chain cables, secured to anchors or mooring blocks. The height of these frames may be increased by logs or pieces of timber on the tops of the frames, not exceeding five tiers in a vertical position, for the purpose of breaking the waves more completely in places where the water is violently agitated. The advantages of this breakwater have been actually experienced at Deal, and certified by some respectable persons of that place. The inventor recommends it particularly for fishing coasts, where the surge often prevents boats from putting oft" and landing: and also for bathing places, where it will always produce smooth water, and protect the machines.
SELF -PROTECTING LOCK.
A very ingenious lock has lately been contrived by a Swedish mechamc, the
object of which is to ensure the punishment, as well as the detection, of any person who may attempt to introduce a false or counterfeit key. We are led to notice this contrivance from the analogy that it bears to an article in the Century of Inventions, in which the marquis of Worcester proposes to catch the hand o. any intruder as a " mouse is caught in a trap." A lock of the former description may readily be constructed; as a small lever inside may be connected with a pistol, and the real key so contrived that it will give motion to the bolt without discharging the pistol.*
PRODUCT FROM COMPRESSED GAS.
We have just been favoured with a small portion of a fluid resembling naphtha. It is of a very peculiar nature, and was taken from a vessel which had been employed as a reservoir for compressed gas. On the application of a moderate degree of heat, we have been enabled to collect a permanently elastic fluid, or carburetted hydrogen gas, in an aeriform state. We propose pursuing this interesting fact in pneumatic chemistry, and will lay the result before our readers on a future occasion.
"Good morrow to my worthy masters and mistresses j and a merry Christmas to you all.". The Bellman.
I Have ever been an enthusiastic admirer of all those seasons and commemorations that tend to bring mankind together, and that awaken our sympathies and our friendships, through the influential enticements of hallowed custom and timehonoured authority. Anniversaries of all kinds have their pleasures and their uses; in a sacred character we must believe that they have still more largely their benefits; but, even in a worldly point of view, I should deem that mind devoid of
* We have given publicity to this Swedish man-trap, without any wish on our part, and we are pretty sure without any wish on the part of our correspondent, to see it adopted in practice. It may he very good in science, but not quite so equitable in legislatipn, to constitute Sir. Pistol, judge, jury, and executioner. The Turkish mode of administering justice by spring-guns, &c. is happily on the decline in this country, and we have no wish to see it extended. Besides, they are not all burglars who use a false key, a ladder, or a rope ; and a house is sometimes clandestinely entered for other' purposes than to carry off the goods and chattels, and for which the summary punishment of a bullet would be vastly disproportioned to the transgression.—Ep.
much of the " milk of human kindness" which could not enter with alacrity upon the charities they create, and the peace they promise. Christmas, however, of all the holydays, which like stars bespangle the year's calendar, Christmas is, to me, the most delightful, the happiest, merriest, best. There is a redeeming splendour and beauty in all its observances—in its muster of families, its ancient carols, its mummers, its wassail-bowls, its gambols about the hearth and beneath the misletoe, in its holly-crown'd brow, its frost-bespangled mantle, nay even—when we can contemplate it in health and hope—iu its untainted carpet of snow, which o'ercanopies the sleeping flowers, and supplies the exhausted stream. Now is it that "rustic mirth goes round," now that *' the long loud laugh sincere " vindicates the blessings and the bounty of Providence; now that the grey-headed grandfather surrounded by his descendants, even to the second and third generation, fancies his strength renewed, and, in the gambols of his grandchildren, again seems to dance the "morrice" or hunt the slipptr. Assuredly these are delights an.i deceptions which sweeten the later ages of man, and even smooth the descent to "earth" again in the latest " stage" of his "eventful history."
I have already said that it is not in its sacred character that I speak of the joyous season, for that, as has been elsewhere expressed, is a subject confessedly above the mere periodical essayist. To those whose peculiar province it is to enforce them, do I leave the task of pointing out the holy season's enlivening provinces/its deathless hopes, its assurances of immortality; for me it is enough to notice its worldly comforts, and its earthly hilarity. Perhaps there is little in antiquity more curious than the Christmas carol. To a very remote period specimens of that song of gratitude and rejoicing have been handed down to us; and in Mr. " Brand's Antiquities," and also in a very rare book published in Edinburgh in 1621, and entitled "Ane Compendious Booke of Godly and Spiritual Songs," are many quaint and interesting evidences of the estimation in which it was held by our ancestry and their contemporaries. For myself, however, I confess to the preference with which I estimate some more modern versions of the same song of love; and when, as I lie awake on Christmas morn, listening to the energetic but rough psalmody of some village choir, I catch any offering to the Star of Bethlehem beyond the common and hacknied mouth-sacrifice of former years, I conceive myself amply repaid for the. endurance of a sleepless
pillow; and like the Numidian, with his fresh and " untasted spring," "deem it luxury." One of these fortunate novelties I well remember; it may not be discordant to my good-natured readers, if I here endeavour to tune it to some issues. Time may have a little crumbled the pile which my memory erected, but enough of the structure will, I trust, yet remain, to show the " form and pressure" of the invention.
Sleep no more, for the Star has arisen on high.
No proud pomp marks his coming, 'no pride
And the serpent is bruis'd, and dispelled the night That long wrapp'd the aw'd world in a mantle of fear:—
And healing and peace (the soft breath of his wing)
Are shed over the just by the world's SaviourKing.
Now rejoice, for commissioned he comes from above, And his message is bounteous, his advent is grace,
Lo I about him, as angels, are Mercy and Love, And thtyshout ,."lhere is freedom for man's fallen race!"
Then Christians rejoice ! from your chains ye are free 1
For Death, Death, he hath swallowed in Victory!
Almost coeval with the carol, and as if the one were an overture or accompaniment to the other, next in my catalogue of Christmas comforts, appear that tribe of mimics, which are neither of to-day, nor yesterday, denominated mummers—-those children of grotesque pranks and dramatic affectations. Caricaturing nature as they do,they are yet of it, and in the laughter and merriment they create, we forget to be critics, and cannot choose but laugh in the fashion of Democritus, rather than frown in the style of Diogenes. What if "St. George of England" and "old Father Christmas" strut and fret their hour upon a borrowed stage in trappings begged from the paper hangers and milliners of their acquaintance, though their swords, like Harlequin's, is but a lath, and their shield the decorated and disguised cover of a saucepan, yet are they brief chronicles of the "olden time" for all these things, and can even illustrate the fashion of the present. At all events, they are not a whit more ridiculous, than the horse spectacles, and many of the foreign adaptations of greater and patent theatres, and as has been well observed, it is assuredly preferable "to participate in the glories, the generosity, and the prowess" of these domestic comedians—" to having a barbarous Tartar or eastern spectacle spurred, nolens volens, down our throats at one classical theatre; or to being chilled, and deluged, and trampled to death beneath horses' hoofs at another." Well, well! may we all join in the prayer that " old Father Christmas may never be forgot," for "if e'er that dreadful hour should come" when the hero shall be shorn of his beams,'" desolate will be the dwelling of Morna," and doomsday will be near.
REVIEW AND LITERARY ANALYSIS.
But I will not anticipate the hour when you, and I, and Rome, shall fall, my friends! Christmas shall come again, and again, if not to every one, to some of us, aud it shall come as cheerily, and as smilingly, as ever, and
u — the song shall be sung.
for since " Christmas comes but once a year," it were indeed to act the part of the surly dog in the manger, not to enjoy it ourselves, and do our best endeavours to induce others to enjoy it also. Hence is it my new acquaintance that I venture thus to introduce myself to you. It is very possible you have met me before, for I confess to having proffered you merry, and good advice in other places; but be that as it may, here, in our little ark, let us at all events be upon good terms together. We are launched upon a very deluge. The waters of opinion and criticism will roar about us, but yet as, I hope, we are each of us provided with an olive branch of peace one towards another, and (obeying the dictates of the season) are determined to bear a " good will and to live in charity with all mankind"—what have we to fear r I answer, nothing !—Farewell, then, readers of this little book! We may meet again, but in the mean time, if you will pardon me the vanity of quoting myself, "may you enjoy in perfection the joys that now surround us; until we again meet in longer days, and sunnier weather, I bid you adieu, with the sincere and hearty old English wish of a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and very many of them."
TRAVELS IN THE REPUBLIC OF ColUMBIA, IN THE YEARS 1822 AND 1823. BY G. MolI.IEN. TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH. 8v0.pp. 460. LONDON, 1824.
Keplen, in one of his reveries, imagined the globe to be a colossal animal, turning [round every twenty-four hours;
that the wood, forests, and herbage con« stituted its covering; that seas and lake* were so many humours aud abscesses ; and that man, and other diminutive creatures, were the animalculae engendered on its surface. A more natural analogy subsists in the paternal relation of the eastern to the western hemisphere. America may be termed the seed of Europe, and in her history and present state we distinctly trace the birth and progress of a new world. A vast portion of the Atlantic continent, both in its physical and social circumstances, is not advanced beyond the first stage of terrene existence. Her mighty rivers flow in their natural courses, little available to the purposes of navigation; her roads are almost impassable hollows, excavated by the torrent or the earthquake ; her immense plains are desolate and uncultivated, and her extensive forests are the abode of wild beasts who still dispute man's dominion. The manners of the people are in a corresponding state of primeval rudeness, and are little more cultivated and subdued than the country they inhabit.
But amidst this natural wildness, it is easy to discern the elements of future power and greatness: there is an abundance of the material of which empires, kingdoms, and republics may be hereafter made, and it only requires the operation of time and intelligence to shape the rude mass into polished communities, more populous and mighty than the nations of the Old World.
The state of Columbia, to which Mr. Mollien directed his inquiries, forms at the present moment the most interesting section of the late Spanish colonies. This vast Republic, extending over a surface of 29,952 square leagues, inhabited by about three millions of people, is bounded by Peru, the Caribbean sea and Atlantic ocean. Though situated within the tropics, it experiences, from the unequal elevation of the country every gradation of temperature, and from the same cause its fertility varies from the most aiid wastes to valleys teeming with abundance. The independence of Columbia may be dated from the revolt of Caraccas in 1810; but it was not till 1821 that the commonwealth assumed its present name, and the twelve provinces, of which it is composed, were united under a central government, consisting of a president, senate, and chamber of representatives.
Great difficulties opposed this interesting people in throwing off the yoke of colonial bondage: in 1812, Caraccas was rent asunder by a tremendous earthquake, which the ignorance of the people interpreted into^ an expression of the divine wrath, for their rebellion against Ferdinand, and Monteverde, taking advantage of their superstition, overran the country with a handful of Spaniards. The energies of Bolivar, however, supported by individuals scarcely inferior in talent and magnanimity .finally triumphed over these disasters, and, after a severe struggle, succeeded in achieving the independence of their country; which now exhibits in its political institutions, and the enjoyment of internal tranquillity, a higher state of social order, than any of the new republics of South America have yet been able to attain.
Having made these prefatory observations, we will introduce the reader to Mr. Mollien's book, which professes to give an account of the manners, present state, and institutions of this rising community. Travellers as frequently describe themselves as the countries they visit. What Mr. Mollien may be we are ignorant: he went to America in a French ship of war, and from the tendency of some of his observations, and the obscure manner he glided through the country, one might imagine him to be a priest, belonging to the espionnage corps of the Bourbon government, or the Holy Alliance. One thing is greatly to be regretted in our traveller: the magnificent scenery of the New World had been before described by a very superior artist to Mr. Mollien; what we now desiderated, was an estimate of the social and intellectual capabilities of the Columbians, and a nearer view of those extraordinary men, whose perseverance and patriotism have long been the theme of admiration in Europe. Instead of this, he never comes in contact with the public authorities— unless we reckon as such a government courier, with whom our author accidentally fell in, and in whose society he betrays evident symptoms of uneasiness and discomfort. It is true he saw the senatehouse, and the residence of the president; he examined the benches too, and the throne of the Liberator; but he throws no new light on the character of the hero himself, nor of his illustrious colleagues. Bolivar, we are aware, might have set out on the Peruvian expedition; but there were Santander, Montilla, Sucre, PaSs, and Bermudes,among the military—Mosquera, the leading orator of the chamber of deputies—Mutis, Caldas, and Zea, among their learned men—of whom he might have given a few particulars, either from his own observation, or from the relation of respectable persons. If he had not letters of introduction to the public men of Columbia, we can only say he was poorly provided for visiting the country, and still less for publishing a history of his travels
on his return. Indeed, we are at a loss to account sometimes for the destitute condition to which he is reduced ; at one town in particular, all the inhabitants shut their doors against him, and he is compeiled to spend a great part of the night in the streets, exposed to the refreshing dews of a tropical shower.
What confirms our impression that Mr. Mollien chiefly went to spy out the " nakedness of the land," is the eagerness with which he brings forward the dark side of the picture, and the brevity and reluctance with which he dwells on the undeniable benefits conferred on Columbia by her revolution. He evidently regrets the loss of those halcyon days of colonial bliss, when "there were only slaves, subjects, and a sovereign," and the transition to that period, when we "find only equals ready to tear each other to pieces." The estates, according to him, are falling to ruin, in consequence of the laws for the abolition of slavery. The conquerors at Corabobo, who taught Morillo to observe the rules of regular warfare, are described as chiefly maintaining themselves by " the pillage of those it is their duty to defend," and to resemble "a tribe of Bedouin Arabs, more than a regular body of troops." The soldiers they call grenadiers and hussars, he says, are without shoes, and can boast no more than one pair of pantaloons, a shirt, and a coat. General PaEs, whose skill and prowess have given the rudest shock to the Spanish power, is styled a " khan of Tartars, an Arabian sheik."
To this caricature of the army it is sufficient to reply, that those shoeless warriors often make the best soldiers, and prove more than a match for an enemy with a superior wardrobe, and whose military accomplishments consist of a long queue and five-leagued boots. As to the prevalence of the marauding system, Mollien answers that in other parts of his publication. At page 403 he says, " The roads are 'generally travelled with safety; it is an observation greatly in favour of the inhabitants, that after so many civil wars, not a robber is to be met with." A little further on he says," Property is respected, although the doors are without locks or bolts. In what part of Europe could one leave the most valuable effects, under no other protection but a bit of cord, and sleep alone in the midst of forests, surrounded with objects calculated to tempt cupidity to the utmost."
The reader will begin to perceive the school to which our author belongs, and the impartial and discriminating spirit in which his book is written. The truth is the ^'publication is unworthy of notice, and we are persuaded it has been translated solely from the absence of any recent work on the subject of Columbia, about which public curiosity has been greatly excited. It is for similar reasons we shall avail ourselves of its contents, and bring together a few facts on which we can rely, and which may afford some amusement and information.
REVIEW AND LITERARY ANALYSIS.
Our traveller left France in August, 1822, sailed to the United States—took a peep at the city of Washington—landed at Carthagena—ascended the Magdalena to Honda—resided several months in the neighbourhood of Bogota—and returned to the coast by the way of Panama and Chagres; whence he sailed to Jamaica, and finally returned to France through England, arriving at Paris in February, 1824; when we suppose he made his report to the minister of marine, and his labours terminated.
SANTA-FE BE BOGOTA.
This is the capital of Columbia, and contains 30,000 inhabitants. With some slight difference all the houses resemble each other; nothing serves to distinguish those of the minister, and it would be difficult to recognise the president's, were it not for the guard at the entrance. Every house has at least one saloon, and an eating room; for it is considered unpolite to receive friends, or to entertain them in a sleeping room. The kitchen is always of an immense size: there is no chimney, stoves only are used. All the houses have carpets of European manufacture; the ancient straw mats of the Indians being no longer used by fashionable people.
The furniture is simple, and usually consists of nothing more than two sofas covered with cotton, two small tables, a few leathern chairs, after the fashion of the fifteenth century, a mirror, and three lamps suspended from the ceiling.
Insincerity, indolence, and a sort of Hindoo apathy, are the predominant traits according to Mollien. To every question you ask a Columbian he answers in the affirmative; whatever favour you solicit is never refused, but the promise is forgotten as soon as made. Whatever is said to them, their features are never observed to change. Excepting the love of play and trifling occupation, which they tarry to excess, their mode of life is regular and easy. Rocking themselves in hammocks and smoking segars are favourite recreations. In all ranks there is a studied politeness, which is sometimes carried to excess. Hospitality is general among the upper classes, but without the frankness and cordiality which render it engaging. Parental respect is universal, and " sir"
and "madam" are the only titles children give to their parents. The less chaste conversation is, the more it pleases; but the license must be in the thought, not the expression.—If this observationof our traveller be correct, we may conclude the Columbians have attained a very high degree of refinement.
We recognise few traces of Spanish jealousy in the treatment of the fair sex. Far from being confined within iron gratings, diversions, balls, visits, every thing is permitted them, without their having to fear the control of their husbands, who rarely accompany them. Men and women dress in the English fashion. The latter go bareheaded, and let their hair fall in tresses on their shoulders. They often use their ruffles instead of pocket handkerchiefs, and have the strange custom of concealing their segars—for the ladies smoke !—and money in their hair. The singular manner of wearing the petticoat so close, as to show the form, which Capt. Hall remarked in Brazil, prevails among the women of the Cordillera. Marriages are chiefly formed on pecuniary considerations, and are generally unhappy. In general, the appearance of concord is preserved till the birth of the second child. They then come to an amicable rupture and separate.
ANIMALS, SOIL, AND ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY.
The principal wild animals are the jaguar, conguor, serpents, and crocodiles. The fertility of the soil varies according to the elevation of the surface. Formerly a considerable estate has been sold for a mule completely harnessed. The farm-houses are well constructed, and the barns well stocked. The territory of Columbia presents a varied aspect; the desert spaces are so great, that during whole days the traveller might fancy himself in a country where human foot had never trodden. The solitudes are as profound, the forests as impenetrable, the mountains as inaccessible, animated nature as solitary, as when the Spaniards first entered the country.
The constitution of Columbia is a popular representation; in which every individual has the right of voting, who has attained twenty-one years of age, who can read and write, and who possesses the sum of 100 piastres. Publicity of discussion, the exclusion of the principal public officers from the legislative body, and the inviolability of the members during the term of their election, are articles common to both chambers. .