Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

more, clouding, like the veins in marble, into irreg- genians, descended from the latter, carried it to ular forms, placed without order, and confounded great perfection. The Romans devoted themselves with one another. The tints and shades of these to agriculture with extraordinary zeal and success : colors vary almost to infinity, and, in their mixture, and several of their treatises on this subject are stili present curious, and sometimes very singular, shapes. extant. In fact all the celebrated states of antiquity Banks, rivulets, and trees, and often animals and rivalled each other in promoting and improving this human figures, are to be distinguished; and, with important art. a little assistance from the imagination, complete During the ages of anarchy and barbarism, which pictures are perceived.

succeeded the fall of the Roman empire, agriculture

was almost wholly abandoned. Pasturage was preAGENT. A person empowered to act for ferred to tillage, on account of the facility with which another; his employer being bound by his actions. sheep, oxen, &c. can be driven away or concealed

on the approach of an enemy. The wild hordes AGRICULTURE. The art of cultivating the which successively overran and subdued the fairest earth, so as to increase the quantity and improve the portions of the earth, had little knowledge of, and quality of its vegetable production. This may be still less inclination for husbandry. Like all savaconsidered the most ancient, and is certainly the ges, they had the greatest aversion to labor, and most important, of all arts. It forms the basis of their only delight was in idleness and debauchery, society, and constitutes the grand distinction between war and the chase. Long time is required to change savage and civilized life. In the necessity of culti- the character and habits of a people, and accordingrating the earth for subsistence, social order com- | ly agriculture, together with all the useful arts, lanmenced. The wandering life of a nation of hunt- guished for centuries. But when at length new ers admits of little or no improvement. Agriculture light began to break in on the nations, it could not has the merit of having reclaimed mankind from fail to attract the earliest attention, and has been adthis hopeless state ; by drawing them together in vancing to perfection, and acquiring fresh imporcommunities, and imposing on them the necessity tance to the present time. of a fixed habitation. Hence the ancient nations, Agriculture is now probably better understood, amongst which this art originated, held it in the than it was by any of the ancient nations. The apgreatest veneration. The Egyptians considered it plication of modern science, particularly chemistry, as a gift from their Gods, and even paid divine hon- to it, has greatly accelerated its improvement. ors to the ox, on account of his usefulness in agricul- Britain, especially during the last half century, tural labors. The ancient Romans venerated the has made the greatest efforts to advance her husplough, and in the earliest and purest times of the Re- bandry; and with signal success. The value of her public, the greatest praise of an illustrious citizen was, agricultural products has doubled during this period, to be called an industrious and skilful husbandman. and actually exceeds those of France, though that

We learn from the writings of Moses, that agri- country has twice the territory, a third more popuculture was the primitive employment of man. The lation, greater natural fertility, and a climate adapearth no longer yielded her productions spontane- ted to every variety of vegetable growth. The ously after the fall. It had been cursed with bar- French agriculture, previous to the revolution, sufreoness for Adam's transgression; and, under the fered, in common with other species of industry, new constitution of things, could be made to minis- from the effects of bad government, and a worn out ter to his wants, only by patient toil, and careful and and antiquated system opposed to all change, and assiduous cultivation. He was therefore “sent forth therefore hostile to improvement. But, a better from the garden of Eden to till the ground;" and it state of things has succeeded that great event. The is probable that Adam and his immediate descend large domains have been broken up and divided, ants were instructed in this art by God himself.: small farms created, vexatious regulations and

In the early ages of the world, before mankind burdensome impositions removed, and a general had become very numerous, and whilst every spirit of enterprise and inquiry excited. Lombardy tribe or family could range over a large extent and Flanders have long been celebrated for their of country, their principal wealth consisted in flocks flourishing agriculture. England is indebted to the and herds, and their chief employment in the care Flemish farmers, who came over to that country as of them. This continues to be the condition of the far back as the Norman conquest, for many valuaNomade nations of Northern Asia to the present ble improvements. In all parts of Germany, increasday; and under such circumstances agriculture is ing attention is paid to this subject, both by the but little attended to. The Egyptians were undoubt- governments, and by enlightened individuals. Nor, edly the first people, who applied themselves suc- has the general spirit of improvement been confined cessfully to the cultivation of the earth; and they to Europe. In our own country, the condition of were invited to it by the extraordinary fertility and agriculture is rapidly meliorating. Societies for the productiveness of their soil, occasioned by the annual diffusion of useful information have been created, overflowings of the Nile. The wealth and power better modes of tillage have been introduced, imwhich they acquired from this source, and their ex- proved breeds of domestic animals procured, new traordinary advances in knowledge and the arts, are articles of cultivation recommended, and men of infully attested by those wonderful monuments still telligence and capital are more and more devoting remaining of their former greatness. The Greeks themselves to this most healthful, interesting and probably borrowed their agriculture, as they did important of all human employments. their arts and early principles of science from the Egyptians. The Chaldeans and Phænicians held AIR. In Natural Philosophy, is that fluid, transhusbandry in the highest estimation. The Cartha- parent substance which surrounds our globe, reach

war.

ing to a considerable height above its surface; and floats in those seas, that it devours whole squadrons this ocean of air is the great labratory in which in a very little time, and occasions the necessity of most of the actions of life go on; and on the com- | sheathing the bottoms of the vessels with copper. position of which they depend. Though invisible, except in large masses, without smell or taste, yet ALABASTER. A well known mineral, used it is a substance possessing all the principal attri- by architects, statuaries, plasterers and others. It butes of matter; it is impenetrable, ponderable, is a sulphate of lime. Alabaster is found of various compressible, dilatable, perfectly elastic, and its par- colors and kinds; snowy white, yellow, variegated, ticles are operated on like those of other bodies, by reddish, and in masses of various shapes and sizes. chemical operations. It is indispensable to the lite Most of the alabasters are interspersed with veins of all organic beings; animals respire it incessantly, of different colors. Alabaster is found in many difand decompose it; a part of its oxygen is trans- ferent parts of the world, and in abundance in sevformed into carbonic acid, and this combination pro- eral places of England. In general, it is so soft, that duces caloric, which contributes principally to the it can be cut with a knife; yet it admits of a fair preservation of animal heat. Vegetables imbibe the polish. The clearness and fineness of this stone carbon which the carbonic acid, diffused through renders it in some measure transparent, whence the air, contains. The air is the agent of combus- it has been occasionally employed for windows. tion; the particles of bodies combine with its There is a church in Florence still illuminated by oxygen and evolve light and heat. Air is also the alabaster windows; instead of panes of glass, there principal mediuin of sound.

are slabs of alabaster nearly fifteen feet high, each

of which forms a window, through which the light AIR-GUN. An instrument by which air, after it is conveyed. When a candle or lamp is put into a is condensed into an enclosed cavity, may be let out vase of this kind, it diffuses a very agreeable and in sufficient quantity to discharge a bullet through delicate light, and is therefore much used for that the barrel of the gun, with great force. Air may description of statuary. be condensed into ten or fifty times smaller space; its elastic force being thus rendered equal to gun- ALAY, or Triumph. The name of a ceremony powder, which itself is merely concentrated air set practised by the Turks at the cominencement of at liberty by heat. Steam confined in the like man- We are informed by baron Tott, who saw ner is a less convenient variety of the same power. the ceremony which accompanied the breaking out

of the war between Russia and the Porte, that the AIR-PLANT. A singular plant, which grows alay consists of a kind of masquerade, in which the suspended from the ceiling of a room, and derives different tradesmen exhibit to the spectators the imits nutriment from the air.

plements of their respective arts, and their mode of

operation. The husbandnian guides his plough; AIR-PUMP. A machine for exhausting the air the joiner handles his plane; and these motley out of vessels, in the same manner as water is drawn groups, seated in splended cars, begin the procesup by a pump: The vessel from which the air is sion. Then follows the standard of their prophet thus exhausted is called the receiver, and the space Mahomet, brought from the seraglio to be carried thus left vacant in the vessel, after withdrawing to the Ottoman army. This sacred banner is viewthe air, is called a vacuum. It is one of the most ed with the most stupid fanaticism. None but curious and useful of philosophical instruments. By the emirs are allowed to touch it; and the very experiments with it, the weight, elasticity, and many look of an infidel is sufficient to profane the conother properties of the air ipay be shown in a very secrated standard. The alay having been almost siinple and satisfactory manner. If any animal is forgotten, from the long peace which preceded placed under the receiver, and the air exhausted, it the war, which we have mentioned, the Chrisdies almost immediately; a lighted candle under tians imprudently crowded to witness the exhibition. the exhausted receiver immediately goes out. Air | The emir, who preceded the holy standard cried is thus shown to be necessary to animal life and with a loud voice, “Let no infidel profane with combustion. A bell suspended from a silken thread his presence the banner of the Prophet; and let beneath the exhausted receiver, on being struck, every Mussulman who perceives an unbeliever, cannot be heard. If the bell be in one receiver, make it known, under the pain of reprobation. from which the air is not exhausted, but which is At the sound of these words, the brutal fanaticism within an exhausted receiver, it still cannot be of the Turks was roused. A thirst for Christian heard. Air is therefore proved necessary to the blood seized every breast, and a scene of massacre production and to the propagation of sound. A ensued, which language is too feeble to describe. shrivelled apple or cranberry, placed beneath an Neither the helplessness of infancy, nor the infirmiexhausted receiver, becomes as plump as if quite ties of age, nor the most affecting circumstances of fresh. They are thus shown to be full of elastic | female distress, could save the devoted Christians air.

from the knives of their religious assassins. AJACIO. An extraordinary tree, that grows on ALBINO. A term which appears to have been the shores of the Autilles Islands. St. Pierre states, first employed by the Portuguese, to designate a on the authority of Labat and du Tetre, that it grows variety in the human species that occurs among to such a prodigious size, that out of one log of it a the negroes, the peculiarity of which consists in boat can be made capable of carrying forty men. their hair and skin being perfectly white, in every This tree is also the only one, of those shores, which circumstance except color, these persons resemble is never attacked by the sea worm, an insect'so for the other natives of Africa. We are informed by midable to every other species of timber which / Wafer, who accompanied Dampier in his voyage round the world, that the same variety is occasion- | bark may well be used in the operations of tanning ally found amoug the Indians who inhabit the isth- and leather dressing. It is also sometimes used, tomus of Darien ; and albinos are also described as gether with the young twigs, for dyeing, and yields occurring among the natives of Java and Ceylon. different shades of yellow and red. With the addiThe skin of the albino is, as the name imports, liter- tion of copperas it yields a black dye. The Laplandally white, approaching to the color of milk, or to ers chew the bark of the alder, and die their leather that of a recently dead body, without that intermix. garments red with the saliva thus produced. iure of red which is found in the complexion of Europeans. Another peculiarity of the Albinos is ALDERMAN. Among the Saxons, this title the state of the eye, which is so sensible to light. denoted the second order of nobility; and was dethat they are scarcely able to keep it open in sun- rived from a word, signifying elder, and man. In shine; although in the shade, or in the dark of the England and the United States, aldermen, at presevening, their vision seems to be sufficiently perfect. ent, are officers associated with the mayor of a city, It is probable, that this peculiar color of the skin de- for the administration of the municipal government. pends upon a morbid condition of the body, induced in some places they act as judges in certain civil by some cause hitherto undiscovered. The proof and criminal cases. In London, there are twentyof this seems complete, for albinos are known to be six aldermen, who preside over the twenty-six wards born from parents whose skin has nothing unusual of the city, and from whose number the mayor is in its appearance.

elected annually. Individuals are occasionally found in Europe to whom the title of albino is applied. The European

an ALE. A fermented liquor obtained from an inalbino has nothing peculiar in his features, or in the fusion of malt; differing from beer chiefly in having formation of his body ; but his skin is of the most a less proportion of hops. We first hear of ale in delicate bue, bis hair is white and silky, the colored Egypt. The natives of Spain, the inhabitants of part of the eye is of a beautiful pink color; and, like France, the aborigines of Britain and Germany, all the African albinos, they are unable to bear the used an infusion of barley; and, it was called by light. The skin of the European albino does not, various names signifying in their respective lanhowever, exbibit that perfect whiteness which is guages, strong waler. described in the African, nor does it appear that he has necessarily any general weakness of constitution, ALGEBRA. This is a general method of reor deficiency of strength. We have a very accurate solving mathematical problems by means of equaaccount given by Saussure of two albinos that were tious, or it is a method of performing the calculations born at Chamouin in Switzerland. These young of all sorts of quantities by means of general signs or men had the white skin and hair; the rose color- characters. Some authors define algebra as the art ed eye; and their sight was delicate. What it is of resolving mathematical problems; but this is the in the constitution and habits of the parent, which idea of analysis, or the analytic art in general, rather sometimes gives rise to the peculiarity in their than of algebira, which is only a species of it. In offspring, is totally unknown.

the application of algebra to the resolution of prob

lems we must first translate the problem out of ALBUMEN. The white of an egg, and any vis- common into algebraic language, by expressing all cous fluid without taste or smell that is like it, as the conditions and quantities, both known and unthe serous part of the blood.

known, by their proper characters, arranged in an

equation, or several equations, if necessary, and ALBURNUM. A white soft substance, interme- treating the unknown quantity as if it were a diate, both in position and in texture, to the bark known one. This forns the composition. Then and the wood of trees; or it is the inner layer of the resolution or analytic part is the disentangling the bark, which has not yet attained the solidity of the unknown quantity from the several others withi the wood.

which it is connected, so as to retain it alone on one

side of the equation, while all the knowo quantities ALCHEMY. The obsolete branch of chemistry are collected on the other side, thus obtaining the which had for its object the transmutation of metals value of the unknown. into gold; the finding the panacea, or universal remedy; and some other things equally ridiculous. ALIBI. This is a Latin term, meaning elsewhere,

and is used in criminal proceedings, to signify the ALCOHOL. The purely spiritous part of all absence of the accused with respect to the place liquors that have undergone the vinous fermentation. where he is charged with having committed an ofIt is a colorless, travsparent liquor, appearing to the fence. Thus, to allege and prove an alibi, is to protest eye like pure water, and consisting of hydrogen, and establislı, by good testimony, that when the crime carbon, and oxygen. It is extremely light and in- was committed, the party was in a different place flammable, and is a powerful stimulant. This is the from that in which it is said to have liappened. usual sense of the word; but, originally, in Arabic, it signified a fine impalpable powder, in which sense ALICONDA. An African tree of Congo, of it is still used.

immense bulk. Of the bark a coarse thread is

made; the shell or rind of the fruit may be made ALDER. The alder is a tree which grows in into a nourishing pap, serves for vessels of various wet situations, and is distinguished for its flowering kinds, and gives an aromatic taste to water preserved stalks being branched. The roots and knots furnish in it. The small leaves are used as food in time of beautifully veined wood, nearly of the color of Ma- scarcity, the large ones to cover huts, and, being hogany, and well adapted to cabinet work. The burned, makes good soap.

1

ALIEN. A person born out of the country, and what we call the moral, is the unfigured senso or therefore under the dominion of a foreign power, meaning of the allegory. from the Latin word, aliemus, signifying foreigner, is called an alien. The children of citizens of the ALLIANCE. This is an agreement entered into United States, though born abroad, are entitled to between two nations, or the sovereigns which repthe rights and privileges of natural born citizens. resent them, for their mutual safety and defence. So are the children of naturalized citizens, who When the contracting parties bind themselves to were under age at the time of their father's natu- assist each other only in repelling the attack of the ralization, provided they reside in the United States. common enemy, it is called a defensive alliance; if The states, with a few exceptions, have adopted the they agree to aid each other in carrying war into principle of the English common law, by which the enemy's country, and assailing him in every not only aliens are not permitted to hold real estate, vulnerable part of his dominions, the alliance is said but if they take it by deed or conveyance, it is im- to be offensive. mediately forfeited to the state. There is no instance, however, on record that we know of, of an alien's ALLIGATION. The arithmetical rule that land having been actually confiscated. A more teaches to adjust the price of a compound of sevliberal spirit prevails through the Union, and has eral ingredients of different value. for some years been gradually displaying itself by legislative acts in several of the states.

ALLIGATOR, or American Crocodile. A forSome countries treat aliens with unreasonable midable species of animals which are seen in great severity, by throwing obstacles in the way of their multitudes in several of the rivers of Georgia and the admission, by rendering naturalization difficult, and Floridas.—The alligator, when full grown, is of proby depriving them of personal liberty. They can digious strength, activity, and swiftness in the water. neither become guardians, nor the witnesses of a Some grow from twenty to twentythree feet in length; will. All uncivilized nations treat the alien as an their body is as large as that of a horse, and nearly enemy, and out of the protection of the law. Ali- resembles a lizard. Their scales, when the animal eps are forbid the right of entering China and Japan is alive, are impenetrable even to a rifle ball, except under pain of death. But even here, as civilisa- about their head, and just behind their fore legs, tion advances, the policy of exercising such a where only they are vulnerable. The head resemprohibition will be doubted. This has already op- bles, at a distance, a great chump of wood floating erated in favor of the foreigners disposed to visit, at about upon the water; the mouth of a very large least, the former of these places.

one opens about three feet in width, displaying two

rows of very long, thick, strong teeth, which are as ALKALIES. Alkalies are saline substances pos- white as the finest polished ivory. When they clap sessing a hot and caustic taste, and readily corrode their jaws together it causes a surprising noise, and the flesh of animals; they also convert vegetable may be heard at a great distance. They have a blue to a green color, are soluble in water, and com- loud and terrible roar, which most resembles very bine in various ways with acids, forming a variety heavy distant thunder; and when hundreds of them of new bodies of very different qualities. With are roaring together, it seems as if the earth itself oils they form soaps. They are known under two were agitated. These river monsters are often seen forms, the fixed and volatile. The fixed akalies are lying in great numbers upon the banks, where they potash and soda; the volatile alkali or Ammonia, is seize hogs and other aniinals, which go to the river obtained from animal matter; and latterly, it has to drink. They sometimes attack small boats with also been procured in large quantities from the dis- such fury, as to put the lives of the boatmen in tillation of coal for gas. The fixed alkalies, potash great jeopardy. and soda, are products of the vegetable kingdomn; The females make their nests in a curious manand used largely both in medicine and the arts, ner upon the banks of rivers or lagoons, generally chiefly in medicine, in combination with acids in marshes, along which, at a short distance from the forining neutral salts. Soda is also obtained from water, the nests are arranged somewhat like an enthe salt of the sea and that of mines.

campment. They are obtuse cones, four feet high,

and about four feet in diameter at the base, built of ALLEGORY. This is a figure of rhetoric, which mud and grass. From 100 to 200 eggs are found consists in representing one subject by another analo- in one nest. The females keep near the nests, and gous to it. The subject thus represented is kept out take the young under their care as soon as they are of view; and we are left to discover it by reflection. hatched, defending them with great perseverance It may be considered as a continued simile: it is a and courage. The young are seen following the picture that is intended to attract by the objects mother through the water like a brood of chickens it presents, and instruct by its obvious meaning: following a hen. When basking in the sun on the Allegory is fable. Thus, orators and poets have shore, the young are heard whining and yelping represented a state under the figure of a vessel ; and about the mother, not uplike young puppies. When the troubles that agitate it, under those of unruly first hatched, they are very feeble and helpless, and winds and waves: by pilots they mean sovereigns large numbers of them are devoured by birds of and magistrates; and by a haven, peace or concord. prey and turtles, as well as by the male alligators, Allegory was a favorite method of delivering in- until they grow old enough to defend themselves. structions in ancient times; for what we call fables Many of the eggs also are destroyed by vultures or parables, are no other than allegories. By words and other animals, so that the race would become and actions attributed to beasts or inanimate ob- speedily extinct, were it not for the great fecundity jects, the dispositions of men were figured; and I of the females.

lay."

ALLITERATION. A figure in poetry, which free from moisture. By the drying they lose their consists in the repetition of the same letter. It is green color, and become a reddish brown. The sometimes a very great ornament. It will equally process is known to be completed by their change contribute to softness, to energy, and to solemnity. of color, and by the rattling of the seeds within the each letter of the alphabet has a peculiar char- berries. They are then packed into bags or hogsacter; thus the R will generally be found to begin heads for the market. words that imply violence; or, by metaphor, something that does violence to the imagination; as, rend, ALMANAC. A book, or diary, containing the roar, rugged: the s, such as have a reference to days of the year; the feasts of the calendar; the quiet; as still, stand, stone. These ideas may be phenomena of the tides; the rising, southing, and pursued by the reader; but they open too large a setting of the sun, moon, and other planets; the field for inquury, to be discussed in this work. occultation of the planets and stars; and the posiThe following examples will explain what is called tion and aspect of the heavenly bodies. It is supalliteration, and show, so far as they go, its influence posed to derive its name from the Arabic al and on the expression:

manach to count. Others are of opinion, that it “ Fields ever fresh, and groves forever green.”

comes from almonat, a word of German origin. - Ruin seize thee, ruthless king."

If almanacs, as is generally thought, were first

constructed by the Arabians, they were donbtless "To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's introduced into Europe by the Saracens. The cel

ebrated astronomer Regiomontanus seems to have "Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his been the first who computed an almanac, resembling doom."

those which now exist. It is said to have appeared

in 1474. The most valuable almanac published in ALLOY. A proportion of a baser metal mixed this country is called the American Almanac, printwith a finer one. Silver and gold are alloyed, in ed in Boston. It first made its appearance in 1830, order to render them of such a degree of hardness, and contains a valuable mass of miscellaneous and free from brittleness, as will fit them for use. The statistical information, in addition to the matter principal reasons alleged for alloying national coin, usually found in almanacs. are these: 1. The natural mixture of metals, which, Almanacs became generally used in Europe withwhen melted from the mine, are not perfectly pure. in a short time after the invention of printing; and 2. The saving the expense that must ensue, if they they were very early remarkable, as some now are, were to be refined. 3. The necessity of rendering for the mixture of truth and falsehood which they them hard, by mixing some parts of other inetals contained. In 1579, their effects in France were with thein, to prevent the diminution of weight in found so mischievous, from the pretended prophepassing from hand to hand. 4. The melting of for- cies which they published, that an edict was promuleign gold, or coin, that is alloyed. 5. The charges gated by Henry III, forbidding any predictions to be of coinage, which must be made good by the profits inserted in them relating to civil affairs, whether arising from the money coined, &c.

those of the state or of private persons. ALLSPICE. Pimento is called allspice, from its ALMOND. The almond-tree grows twelve or flavor, which unites that of the cinnamon, of the nut- fourteen feet high. Its pink flowers, connected in meg, and of the clove. It is, to most persons, an pairs, are remarkably beautiful, and form a great agreeable spice; and, in medicine, it is used as an ornament of the English shrubberies, particularly as aromatic. The pimento tree grows to the height of they appear in March and April, a season when few 20 feet and upwards, has numerous branches, deep other parts of the vegetable creation have recovered shining green leaves, and is adorned with white from their wintry state. Though known to the anflowers. In the whole vegetable creation there is cients from the most remote periods of antiquity, the scarcely a tree more beautiful or more fragrant than almond-tree has been cultivated in England, only this about the month of July. Branched on all since 1562, and this almost wholly on account of the sides, richly clad with deep-green leaves, which beautiful appearance of its flowers, since the climate are relieved by an exuberance of white and richly of Great Britain is not sufficiently warm for the fruit aromatic flowers, it attracts the notice of all who to be perfected. The almonds which are consumapproach it.

ed in that country and the United States are importPimento-trees grow spontaneously, and in great ed, sometimes in the shell, and often without, from abundance, in many parts of Jamaica ; but they can- France, Spain, Italy, and the Levant; and they not be propagated without difficulty. About the are packed in casks, boxes, or bales. The province month of September, and not long after the blos- of Valencia was formerly' much celebrated for its soms have fallen, the berries are in a fit state to be almonds, but the cultivation of the trees in that part gathered. At this time, though not quite ripe, they of Spain has for several years been much neglected. are full grown, and about the size of pepper-corns. The chief uses of sweet almonds are in confectionWhen the berries are quite ripe, they are of a dark ary and cooking. They are also used with raisins purple color, and filled with sweet pulps. They are in desserts after dinner; but they should be well gathered by hand; and one laborer on a tree will chewed, since every piece that is swallowed entire strip them off so quickly, as to employ three below is indigestible. in picking them up; and an industijous picker will fill a bag of seventy pounds' weight in a day. The ALMONER. This is the name of an officer in berries are then spread in a terrace, in the sun, to be religious houses, or in the household of a sovereign,

Iried, but this is an operation which requires great who dispenses charity, to the poor. The lord high eare, from the necessity of keeping them entirely I almoner of England is an officer of this description.

« ZurückWeiter »