« ZurückWeiter »
incredible that some animals, in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment; and that others, which are covered with scales or shells which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever. A plant, with its flowers, fades and dies immediately if exposed to the air without having its root immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quicksilver, it might preserve, for a considerable space of time, its vegetable life, its smell, and colour. ' If this be the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting froin distant countries those delicate plants which are unable to sustain the inclemency of the weather at sea, and which require particular care and attention. I have seen an instance of common flies preserved in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine, apparently about the time when it was bottled in Virginia to be sent hither (to London). At the opening of one of the bottles, at the house of a friend where I then was, three drowned flies fell into the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked that drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun, I proposed making the experiment upon these : they were therefore exposed to the sun upon a sieve, which had been employed to strain them out of the wine. In less than three hours, two of them began by degrees to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions of the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs, wiped their eyes with their fore-seet, beat and brushed their wings with their hind-feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves in Old England, without knowing how
they came thither. The third continued lifeless till sunset, when, losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away
I wish it were possible, from this instance, to invent a method of embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they may be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for, having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death the being immersed in a cask of Madei. ra wine, with a few friends, till that time, to be then recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since, in all probability, we live in an age too early and too near the infancy of science to hope to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection, I must, for the present, content myself with the treat which you are so kind as to promise me, of the resuscitation of a fowl or a turkey-cock.
LORD BROUGHAM'S PORTRAIT OF DR.
The following admirable sketch of the character of Franklin is from a new work by Lord Brougham, recently published in London, entitled " Statesmen in the time of George III.” It has not been published in this country:
“ One of the most remarkable men, certainly, of our times as a politician, or of any age as a philosopher, was Franklin, who also stands alone in combining together these two characters, the greatest that man can sustain, and in this, that having borne the first part in enlarging science by one of the greatest discoveries ever made, he bore the second part in founding one of the greatest empires.
“In this truly great man everything seemed to concur that goes towards the constitution of exalted merit. First, he was the architect of his own fortune. Born in the humblest station, he raised himself, by his talents and his industry, first, to the place in society which may be attained with the help only of ordinary abilities, great application, and good
but next, to the loftier heights which a daring and happy genius alone can scale; and the poor printer's boy, who at one period of his life had no covering to shelter his head from the dews of night, rent in twain the proud dominion of England, and lived to be the ambassador of a commonwealth which he had formed, at the court of the haughty monarchs of France who had been his allies.
“ Then he had been tried by prosperity as well as adverse fortune, and had passed unhurt through the perils of both. No ordinary apprentice, no commonplace journeyman, ever laid the foundation of
his independence in habits of industry and temperance more deep than he did, whose genius was afterward to rank him with the Galileos and the Newtons of the Old World. No patrician born to shine in courts, or assist at the councils of monarchs, ever bore his honours in a lofty station more easily, or was less spoiled by the enjoyment of them, than this common workman did when negotiating with royal representatives, or caressed by all the beauty and fashion of the most brilliant court in Europe.
Again, he was self-taught in all he knew. His hours of study were stolen from those of sleep and of meals, or gained by some ingenious contrivance for reading while the work of his daily calling went
Assisted by none of the helps which affuence tenders to the studies of the rich, he had to supply the place of tutors by redoubled diligence, and of commentaries by repeated perusal. Nay, the possession of books was to be obtained by copying what the art he himself exercised furnished easily to others.
Next, the circumstances under which others succumb, he made to yield and bend to his own purposes; a successful leader of a revolt that ended in complete triumph, after appearing desperate for years; a great discoverer in philosophy, without the ordinary helps to knowledge; a writer famed for his chaste style, without a classical education ; a skilful negotiator, though never bred to politics; ending as a favourite, nay, a pattern of fashion, when the guest of frivolous courts, the life which he had begun in garrets and in workshops.
Lastly, combinations of faculties, in others deem. ed impossible, appeared easy and natural in him. The philosopher, delighting in speculation, was also eminently a man of action. Ingenious reasoning, refined and subtile consultation, were in him combined with prompt resolution and inflexible firmness of purpose. To a lively fancy he joined a
learned, a deep reflection; his original and inventive genius stooped to the convenient alliance of the most ordinary prudence in every-day affairs; the mind that soared above the clouds, and was conversant with the loftiest of human contemplations, disdained not to make proverbs and feign parables for the guidance of apprenticed youths and servile maidens; and the hands that sketched a free constitution for a whole continent, or drew down the lightning from heaven, easily and cheerfully lent themselves to simplify the apparatus by which truths were to be illustrated or discoveries pursued.
“ His discoveries were made with hardly any åpparatus at all; and if, at any time, he had been led to employ instruments of a somewhat less ordinary description, he never seemed satisfied until he had, as it were, afterward translated the process, by resolving the problem with such simple machinery that you might say he had done it wholly unaided by apparatus. The experiments by which the iden. tity of lightning and electricity was demonstrated, were made with a sheet of brown papar, a bit of twine, a silk thread, and an iron key.
“ Upon the integrity of this man, whether in public or in private life, there rests no stain. Strictly honest and even scrupulously punctual in all his dealings, he preserved in the highest fortune that regularity which he had practised as well as inculcated in the lowest.
“In domestic life he was faultless, and in the intercourse of society delightful. There was a constant good humour and a playful wit, easy and of high relish, without any ambition to shine, the natural fruit of his lively fancy, his solid, natural good sense, and his cheerful temper, that gave his con. versation an unspeakable charm, and alike suited every circle from the huinblest to the most elevated. With all his strong opinions, so often solemnly declared, so imperishably recorded in his deeds,