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public be not moved by the one than by the other. If our premises are well-grounded, it must be granted, that in the progress of manners a momentous change in favor of music has lately been effected; a change too, that makes it peculiarly incumbent upon those who undertake to convey a descriptive portraiture of the intellectual and moral features of the age, to watch and narrate the circumstances and incidents of the permanent institutions, which those who are employed in public exhibitions, in the professional propagation, or in the private cultivation of music, may from time to time engage in or attain.
There are, in art, fluctuating as well as fixed principles. These are commonly among the characteristics of national taste; they serve also to mark the changes which time and the intercourse with other countries produce. To these combinations of nature and art we may attribute the rise, the progress and the present state of music in this country. Poetry and painting are referable only to na. ture, with an allowance which the mind readily gives to the beau ideal, or to the standard of imaginary beauty.
Our admiration of the poet or the painter is guided by the resemblance which their productions bear to nature; of this every man is in a degree a judge. In singing, art has departed so widely from the primitive expression of natural passions, that there is little which affords an object of comparison. In this department of musical science, taste depends much more upon cultivation than in any other art, since the graces of singing are almost entirely factitious; many of those most in esteem are valuable only for their difficulty in execution, and the labor and practice they consequently imply, and many are such as an untaught ear would condemn as absurd : but that singing is consonant to nature in the degree that it is really good, I believe to be demonstrated by that universal testimony which the general approbation of a mixed audience never fails to bestow. The proximate cause of this almost unerring criterion appears to be in distinct articulation and pure tone, constituents of excellence which every one is capable of distinguishing.
******. [TO BE CONTINUED.)
[Furnished for the Tracts and Lyceum.] POPULAR WHIMS AND SUPERSTITIONS; Relating more especially to the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century.
The object of the Tracts and Lyceum is to enlighten the public mind, and to emancipate it from the thraldom of superstition and ignorance. Just so far as the light of science prevails, just so far will superstition and ignorance recede. The difference between a learned and ignorant man is so immense that it would require volumes to elucidate it ; but happily, the numerous interesting publications in our country on the subject of education, are redeeming us from the fetters of ignorance; and the shackles of superstition always fall before the light of science. On this score, the inhabitants of our beloved republic are far more enlightened and intelligent than those of monarchical Europe. Still the unenlightened remain in the grossest darkness; but we hope their numbers are fast diminish
Some of the popular superstitions of the present day, respecting the practice of physic, may show the errors with which physicians have to contend. They may likewise show that information has not extended among the people at large to so great a degree as is generally believed. They may be curious relics for succeeding generations. They will teach that men of the present day, who are imeducated, have made but a small advance from the Goths and Vandals of ancient Europe, and from the Greeks and Romans, who prognosticated future events from the writhing entrails of dying birds and beasts. Science, and that alone, will ultimately remove these errors ; but, in the language of an elegant writer, ‘Before truth, in its silent and disputed march, has roused the attention of the indolent, converted the supercilious, subdued the interested and obstinate, and reached the ears of all, an age has passed away.'
Whim 1st. It is a general belief that the green bark of elder, (Sambucus canadensis,) scraped up the stalk, and taken in decoction, will produce vomiting ;-scraped
down, it will produce a cathartic .operation. An intelligent physician, who heard the observation, humorously remarked, “Yes, and scraped round the stalk, it will pass directly out at the navel.'
2d. Take a live black snake, and bite him through from his head to his tail, and the teeth will never afterwards ache or rot.
3d. Another. To prevent future attacks of the toothache, extract a tooth, and bore a hole with an augur into the north side of a white-oak tree, and place the tooth therein. Plug up the hole, and the remaining teeth will never ache until the plug decays.
4th. In colic, inflammation of the bowels or inflammatory rheumatism, skin a sheep or a cat alive, or open a hen alive, and apply her, or the warm skins of the animals, to the affected part, and they will immediately relieve and cure the disease.
Remark. That warmth may be serviceable in these complaints is undoubtedly true, but the same benefit would unquestionably result from applying an emollient poultice.
5th. Steep the excrements of a sheep or lamb in cider, and give it to a patient in the measles, and it will effectually force out the eruption. This is known by the name of nanny tea.'
6th. To cure the epilepsy, or falling-sickness fits, procure the upper part of the skull of a dead man, pulverize and take it every day until the patient is cured.
7th. Wearing a red string or a string of gold beads round the neck will cure or prevent the nose-bleed. Wearing a tansy-bag on the stomach will cure worms.
Sth. Throwing a woman's milk into the fire will dry it up in her breasts. Milk a cow upon the ground, and you will dry up her milk. If you kill a toad it will cause your cow to give bloody milk.
9th. Innumerable are the whims and superstitions with regard to the cure of warts. Caustic and the knife will undoubtedly eradicate them. Sometimes they will go off of themselves.
Steal a piece of fresh meat and bury it; as the meat rots the warts will disappear. Throw the meat into a
neighbor's well, and the warts will recede, and your neighbor will have them.
10th. The membrane which frequently invests the head and body of a child at birth is called the veil ; take this veil, wash it, and lay it into a drawer. If any of your family are absent, at whatever distance, whenever you examine this veil, if it is red, you may be sure that the absent person is well, but if it is pale, you may be sure that he is dead. If you examine it every day, you can tell the day he died. 11th. Sayings upon child-birth.
• Monday, fair in the face ;
Tuesday, full of grace;
12th. Nail a horse-shoe over the threshold of your door, and it will drive off witches.
The sacred horse-shoe, guardian of the whole,
This superstition is of ancient date, but it is much believed in by the ignorant at the present day.
13th. The belief in the divining rod is prevalent. The rod is of witch-hazel, (Hamamelis virginica.) Whenever the conjuror walks over the ground where the supposed mineral is, the rod will incline towards the mine.
14th. The moon, with many people, has a great influence upon the operations of husbandry, manufactures, and many diseases. It is believed that you cannot make good soap in the old of the moon ; but if you make it in the new of the moon, and when the tide is coming in, you will uniformly be successful. So of killing hogs: if you butcher thens in the new of the moon, or when it is nearJy at its full, your pork will swell in the pot while boiling; but if you kill them at the old of the moon, or when it is in the wane, your pork will shrink in the pot. Particular attention must be paid to the state of the moon in pruning
your trees, sowing grain, and other operations of husbandry. The moon, likewise, has great influence upon the weather.
15th. Nearly akin to the superstition with regard to the moon is the belief of certain signs respecting the singing of birds, upon the weather. The whistling of a quail, the singing of the robin and of the cuckoo, and the singing of tree-toads, are certain signs of the immediate approach of rain.
16th. You must not commence any work upon Friday, or engage in any new business; if you do, you will be sure of being disappointed. · 17th. In case of amputated limbs the belief is, that the limb cut off feels every impression upon it, in the same manner that it did before it was amputated. If it is heated by the fire the patient also feels heat; if it be struck, the patient likewise feels the blow.
18th. Consumption. A superstition somewhat common among the most illiterate classes of the community is, that if the portions of the lungs which remain after a friend has died with the consumption be taken out and burnt, the remainder of the family of the deceased will never afterwards be liable to the complaint. I have known the bodies of three or four people, who had died of consumption, disinterred, some of whom had been buried six or seven years, and their viscera burnt to ashes. What is remarkable, a physician attended as master of the ceremonies.
19th. But of all the superstitions with which we have to contend, that of resorting to patent secret medicines, and to patent steam-quacks, is the most common, the most humiliating, and the most degrading. Other superstitions debase the human mind; these sport with, and destroy human life. In continental Europe the sale of secret remedies is prohibited by law, while in England and the United States, it is made profitable to the government. • Ignorance and credulity,' says Dr. Darwin, have ever been companions, and have misled and enslaved mankind'
W. April 23, 1834.