Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors]

ART. XXV.-Sketches of Venetian History. 12mo. pp. 446. London: Murray, 1831.

SHAKSPEARE, Mrs. Radcliff, Byron, the Carnival, have all contributed to present Venice to our eyes, constantly surrounded with captivating associations. But whatever may be the dream-like beauty of her streets, when lighted by the rays of the moon, the pages of her political history exhibit as much of blood, injustice, tyranny and fraud, as those of any other city or state upon the face of the earth. The romantic character, which we are apt, from the reading of poetry and novels, to attribute to her, does not appear at all in her annals, either during the period when she exercised independent power, or when she was enslaved. We know of no history that presents fewer subjects for interesting sketches' than that of Venice. There is such a uniformity of treachery, cruelty, hypocrisy and ingratitude in the chronicle of her deeds, that we have no great desire to know more of them, than is absolutely necessary to persons of ordinary information. For this reason the volume before us may be useful to those who have neither the leisure nor the disposition to penetrate the tomes of Sismondi and Daru. It is carefully compiled, and neatly written, but by no means

[ocr errors]

free from prejudice and ignorance on some points of religion. Though decorated with plates and wood cuts, it is one of the gravest numbers of the Family Library that we have yet seen-perhaps, we might justly add, the least entertaining.

ART. XXVI.-Narrative of Discovery and Adventure in the Polar Regions. Second Edition. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1831. THIS second edition of the very valuable account of the Polar Discoveries, which was published as the second volume of the Edinburgh Cabinet Library, is enriched with a very affecting description of the failure of the last expedition of the whole fleet. We extract the following melancholy episode from this fatal history, as a specimen of the nature of the disasters to which the unhappy sufferers were exposed :

[ocr errors]

'One of the largest of these squadrons, and that whose eventful story we can relate in the greatest detail, consisted of six very fine vessels, the St. Andrew of Aberdeen, the Baffin and Rattler of Leith, the Eliza Swan of Montrose, the Achilles of Dundee, and the French ship Ville de Dieppe. They began by making themselves fast to some icebergs, but soon quitted these in order to attempt a passage in different directions. On the 19th a fresh gale sprang up from the SS. W., and drove in upon them masses of ice, by which they were soon beset, in lat. 75° 10' N., long. 60° 30′ W., about forty miles to the southward of Cape York. They ranged themselves under the shelter of a large and rugged floe, having water barely sufficient to float them. Here they formed a majestic line behind each other, standing stem to stern so close as to

afford a continual walk along the whole line of their decks; being at the same time so pressed against the ice that in some places a boat-hook could with difficulty be inserted in the interval. In the evening of the 24th the sky darkened, the gale increased, the floes began to overlap each other, and press upon the ships in an alarming manner. The sailors then attempted to saw the ice into a sort of dock, where they hoped to be relieved from this severe pressure; but soon a huge floe was driven upon them with a violence completely irresistible. ** Pursuing its career, it reached successively the Baffin, the Achilles, the Ville de Dieppe, and the Rattler, and dashed against them with such tremendous fury that these four noble vessels, completely equipped and fortified, and which had braved for years the tempests of the Polar deep, were in a quarter of an hour converted into shattered fragments. The scene was awful,— the grinding noise of the ice tearing open their sides; the masts breaking off and falling in every direction; amid the cries of two hundred sailors leaping upon the frozen surface, with only such portion of their wardrobe as they could snatch in a single instant. The Rattler is said to have become the most complete wreck almost ever known. She was literally turned inside out, and her stem and stern carried to the distance of a gunshot from each other. The Achilles had her sides nearly pressed together, her stern thrust out, her decks and beams broken into innumerable pieces. The Ville de Dieppe, a very beautiful vessel, though partly filled with water, stood upright for a fortnight, and greater part of her provisions and stores were saved; as were also some of those of the Baffin, two of

to

whose boats were squeezed pieces. All the other boats were dragged out upon the ice, and were claimed by the sailors as their only home. Not far from the same spot, the Progress, of Hull, was crushed to atoms by an iceberg on the 2nd of July; and on the 18th of the same month the Oxenhope, also of that port, became a total wreck.

The Resolution (Philip) of Peterhead, Laurel of Hull, Letitia and Princess of Wales of Aberdeen, had advanced considerably farther to the north-west, being in lat. 75° 20′ N., long. 62° 30′ W. They were laying side by side, and, having cut out a dock in the ice, considered themselves perfectly secure. But the gale of the 25th drove the floes upon them with such fury that the sides of the Resolution and Letitia were pierced; they were filled with water to the deck, and pressed so forcibly against the Laurel which lay between them, as almost to raise that vessel out of the water. This last, however, remained for the present in safety, and the seamen busied themselves in placing on board of her the provisions and stores of her two wrecked companions. But, on the 2d of July, she, along with the Hope of Peterhead, was exposed to a gale, if possible, still more terrible than the former, when they both shared the disastrous fate of the Resolution and Letitia. The Hope, which was standing in the water clear and secure, was overwhelmed with such rapidity that in ten minutes only the point of her main-top-gallant-mast was seen above the ice.'

There is also, in this new edition, a more precise account than formerly of Captain Ross's objects in the expedition which he is now employed in, together with a small chart of his route.

626

MISCELLANEOUS INTELLIGENCE,

Connected with Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Hint to Emigrators. By felling the trees that cover the tops and sides of the mountains, (says de Humboldt,) men in every climate prepare at once two calamities for future generations, the want of

fuel and the scarcity of water.

Euler. This celebrated mathematician, before his death, expressed a wish that for each forty consecutive years after his decease, the memoirs of the St. Petersburgh Academy of Sciences should contain a portion of his posthumous papers. This request has been religiously complied with, the forty years having terminated in 1823. But there still remained fourteen more dissertations of Euler's, which are now published in the eleventh volume of the memoirs of that Academy.

Disease of the Lungs.-A communication was made last month to the Academy of Sciences in Paris, by M. Perrot, of the discovery of a plant in the Alps which is effectual in the cure of diseases of the lungs.

Royal Society.-The sum of 8000l., bequeathed by the late Earl of Bridgewater to the President of the Royal Society, was left to that officer with a direction that he should use his own discretion in choosing the person or persons who should write the essays, for which this money was intended to be the reward. Mr. D. Gilbert, who hap pened to be the president, called on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to aid him in his choice. We take the liberty of submitting that it would have been a far more useful and liberal plan to have admitted the whole body of scientific persons in this country to a general concursus.

Best Sand or Emery Cloth.Take a piece of calico, 32 inches wide, of a smooth strong thread, and as little dressed as possible. Stretch it between frames, and then cover it with a size composed of 2 lbs. of glue, dissolved in 6 quarts of hot water, and mixed with two quarts more of water in which half an ounce of alum has been boiled. This mixture should be boiled, and poured out, and left to cool. As soon as the coat of size is put on the calico, stretch it again to a width of 36 inches. When this coat is dry, put another coat on it of the following size: 4 lbs. of glue, three quarts of hot water, one pint of the first size, one ounce of gum arabic, one ounce of gum tragacanth. Whilst this coat is wet, sift over it the emery, sand, or glass powder, as evenly as possible; and when dry, brush it to remove the large particles. If another coat of strong size and emery be put over this again it will make capital and durable emery cloth.

Royal Geographical Society."The President and Council of the Royal Geographical Society of London give notice, that his Majesty's annual donation of fifty guineas, as due for this year, will be presented to the author of the best communidescriptions, which may be sent to cation of either of the two following the Society on or before the second Monday of March, 1832; provided that it appears to the council worthy of such distinction, viz :—

1. "A detailed account, accompanied by sufficient plans and views, of any important geographical discovery not previously published, and

in which the author shall have been personally engaged.

2. "The establishment of any of those lost sites of antiquity which are materially connected with the geography of history, and which thus rank with modern discoveries of equal value.

"Further; next year's premium will be bestowed on the best communication of the following kinds (also if considered worthy of it), which may be sent before the second Monday of March 1833, viz :

1. "A manual for the assistance of travellers; enumerating concisely, but clearly, the objects to which the attention of a geographical inquirer should be especially directed, and indicating the means by which the information he requires may be most readily obtained. It should describe the instruments by which positions are determined, elevations and distances measured, magnetic phenomena observed, and peculiarities of temperature, atmosphere, and climate, compared; giving directions, also, for adjusting the instruments, formulæ for registering the observations, and rules for working out the results. It should also indicate some of those minute observations regarding the division of trades and occupations, the prevalence of marriages, and other data, from which valuable statistical inferences may frequently be drawn, where exact information is unattainable. And, to render it more generally useful, it should further consider, that there are various classes of travellers; and that, for the use of pedestrians, who may be obliged to carry, and often to conceal, their implements, the lightest and most portable, consistent with minute accuracy, should be devised and suggested.

2. "A statement of the principal desiderata in local geography, an

NO. IV.

cient and modern; bringing into one view what has been already done, and pointing out the most eligible routes that travellers can now pursue, in endeavouring to extend the range of minute and exact geographical knowledge.

3. "Copious tables, shewing the changes which have occurred in the nomenclature of places at successive periods of history, and giving references to the authorities."

Oxydation of Iron.-It is a curious fact, only very recently ascertained on the new rail-roads, and not yet accounted for, that if two bars of wrought iron be laid down in an open road, and that one of them forms part of a rail-road over which heavy carriages pass, and the other be left untouched, the latter shall speedily decay with rust, while the former shall scarcely be at all affected.

Sir. W. Scott.-The popularity of this distinguished poet on the continent may be estimated by the fact, that in a recent publication called the "Finnish Pastime," and published in the language of Finland at Stockholm, translations of his poetry hold a distinguished place amongst brief versions from Homer, Anacreon, Sappho, and other ancient and illustrious poets. We believe there is no instance on

record of any person enjoying, through the medium of literature alone, during his lifetime, such an extensive reputation as Sir Walter Scott. It is delightful to know that this singular good fortune occurs in the case of one whose personal worth distinguishes him amongst the long line of British bards, as much as his unusual accession of cotemporary fame.

Conversation at a distance.-One of the poets has put into the mouth of a madman, a petition to the gods to "annihilate both time and space."

2 T

-But the object of the prayer has been very recently realized on the Liverpool rail-road, the miraculous powers of which we are now more than ever unable to anticipate. It has been proposed that a tube shall be carried along the course of the rail-road, through which a conversation between Liverpool and Manchester may be carried on! There is no knowing the uses to which this facility may be put. The two sheriffs of London when in their proper seats at the Old Bailey, which are nearly the whole breadth of the court from each other, converse by means of a tube in secresy and confidence, whilst the intermediate area is all bustle and confusion.

French Patent Laws.-A proprietor of a French patent, may, at a very moderate expense, make any alteration or improvement of his specification during the time for which it is granted, such alterations however being thrown open to the public at the time when the patent, if no change had been made, would expire.

London University.—The valuable collection of coins belonging to the late Earl of Guildford, is destined for the London University. The most seasonable present to this establishment would be a modicum of common sense to certain of its professors, by whose conduct it is now turned literally into a bear-garden, where the sciences of hatred, malice, and uncharitableness are almost the only ones that are cultivated.

New Metal. The celebrated Barzelius has published an account of the discovery of a new metal by his friend Seftström, in the mine of Taberg, in Smöland. This metal forms a reddish salt which has the singular property of becoming perfectly colourless when dissolved in water. Berzelius and his friend

have given to this metal the name of Vanadium, after the Scandinavian deity Vanadis, (a most unseasonable compliment paid by science to superstition).

IN THE PRESS.-A second series of Tales of a Physician, by W. H. Har rison.

Memorials of the Stuart Dynasty, by Robert Vaughan, author of "the Life and Opinions of Wycliffe," 2 vols. 8vo.

A Text Book of Popery, comprising a brief History of the Council of Trent, &c., by J. M. Cramp.

An Edition in one Volume, 12mo, of the Memoirs of the late Jane Taylor, by her brother, Isaac Taylor. A novel entitled Atherton, by the author of Rank and Talent. The scene is cast in the days of Wilkes and Junius, and Dr. Johnson.

The Canon of the Old and New Testaments ascertained; or the Bible complete without the Apocrypha, and underwritten Traditions, by Archibald Alexander, D.D., with introductory remarks by John Morrison, D.D.; of Trevor Chapel, Brompton.

Richard Baynes's general Catalogue of Books in all Languages and Classes of Literature.

A Second Edition of Mr. Daw

son's work on the present state of Australia.

The Records of a Good Man's Life, by the Rev. Charles B. Tayler.

A New Edition of the Deliverance of Switzerland, &c., by H.C. Deakin. Also, a Second Edition of his Portraits of the Dead.

The Rectory of Valehead, Third Edition, with considerable additions.

An Essay on the influence of Temperament in modifying Dyspepsia, or Indigestion, by Dr. Thomas Mayo.

A New Edition of Mr. Babbage's Table of Logarithins.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »