Page images

nerves which are called par vagum sympathetic, as the loins and kidneys, the patient is affected with lowness of spirits from the first attack of the inflammation.


oN AlphabeticAL writing.

It is impossible for imagination to form an idea of a discovery more important, and more conducive to the convenience of the human race, than that of alphabetical writing, nor is there any one whose origin is involved in greater obscurity. A thousand fanciful theories, a thousand absurd opinions, have been broached on the subject, and it is extremely difficult to select from the mass any thing satisfactory, or even probable. As alphabetical writing, or signs meant to signify certain sounds, which either alone, or combined, formed words to signify not only certain things and actions, but qualities and abstract ideas, must have been too artificial to have occurred in the early ages of the world, we are led to suppose, and many instances concur to confirm the supposition, that pictorial writing was the first on use. Among the ruins of Babylon, large bricks have been found on which are figures of animals of various species, and in various attitudes, painted to resemble life, with the colours burnt in, (as Herodotus asserts, who flourished more than 400 years before Christ,) and which were probably the records of certain events. Nearer to our times, on the discovery of Merico, where man seemed but little advanced from primeval simplicity, the same method of recording transactions of importance was employed. The Mexican monarch employed a number of artists, to paint on cotton cloths historical pictures of the principal national events; and some of these were sent, on the landing of Cortez, to transmit to the Court representations of the ships, the horses, the cannon and other arms, and the men, together with any occurrences that deserved record. But this method of writing was extremely defective, and incapable of expressing more than a few striking circumstances, without showing the connexion, and without the possibility of embodying thought, or describing qualities not visible to the eye. To remedy in some degree this effect, hieroglyphical characters were used, consisting of symbols, which were supposed to bear some analogy to the #. intended to be expressed: thus, a cu cle represented eternity, because it has neither beginning nor end; a new born child, the rising-sun, because just entering on its journey of life; an eye, knowledge, for very obvious reasons. This method of recording things, visible and invisible, was exceedingly inadequate to the purpose for which it was designed; it required great space to express a few things, and was incapable of doing so in any degree clearly and fully: in consequence, this kind of writing was enigmatical and confused, easily misinterpreted, and therefore the source of endless mistakes: it could not be brought into general use, but was chiefly confined to the priests, who employed the o characters as a sacred kind of writing, calculated to give an air of mystery to their learning and religion. The next improvement in the art of writing appears to have been the invention of arbitary characters, which possessed no resemblance or analogy to the objects they were intended to represent. Such are those of the Chinese, which do not express any simple sound, by the combination of which words are formed, but every single character is significant of an idea; this necessarily renders the required characters exceedingly numerous, and that people has accordingly nearly 80,000 of them, which, to read and write with correctness, require the study of a whole life. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Chinese make no advances in science; their learned men grow grey in acquiring the rudiments of knowledge, —they spend their whole time in the portico of the temple, and are cut off by death before they can be properly prepared to enter it. " Three characters are supposed to have been originally

hieroglyphics, but to have been abbreviated in the sonn, for the sake of expedition and ease in writing them. That they are a kind of hieroglphics, or characters standing for things, independent of sound, is evident from their being understood by several nations ignorant of the Chinese lan: uage; they resemble in this respect our arithmetical figures, which have no dependence of words, but denote the same object in almost . nations of Europe, though each calls them by different names. Although this mode of writing possessed many advantages over that by hieroglyphics, it was still too imperfect and laborious to satisfy mankind, who are always pressing forward towards perfection, though they never completely attain it., Reflecting men began to consider that, though the number of words that compose a language is very great, yet the number of articulate sounds used in forming those words is but small; they therefore invented marks for those simple sounds, which being combined in various ways, would serve to express every word that is used to express ideas and abstract thoughts. Men did not, however, reach this perfection of invention at once; they first, it is supposed, formed an alphabet of syllables, beyond which some nations of India and Ethiopia have not yet advanced: even this must have been a great improvement, and enabled writers to express words to which hieroglyphics were inadequate ; but it was still a cumbrous and imperfect method, with which men could not be long content. “At length,” says Dr. Blair, “some happy genius arose, and tracing the sounds made by the human voice to their most simple elements, reduced them to a very few yowels and consonants; and by affixing to each, of these the signs which we now call letters, taught men how, by their combinations, to put in writing all the different words, or combinations of sound, which they em. ployed in speech. By being reduced to this simplicity, the art of writing was brought to its highest state of per fection. Who this happy genius was, we have now no means of ascertaining. His name has sunk in the dull waters of oblivion, but it deserves to be immortalized much more than those of warriors, poets, or historians; his invention has enabled authors to hand down their works to the latest posterity—if they deserve to be thus honoured; to carry their researches into the arcana of science, and to give to the world the result of those researches, without being compelled to spend the greatest part of their lives in act quiring a knowledge of the vehicle by which the result of them conld be recorded. The period, too, when this invention took place, is equally unknown: though CADMUs is said to have first taught letters to the GREERs, it by no means follows that he was the inventor. Cadmus is supposed to have been contemporary with David, or as some think, with Joshua ; but alphabetical writing seems to have been in use long prior to the time of Moses: it is the fashion to ascribe the discovery of the arts and sciences of remote antiquity to the Egyptians, but we have no certain proof that they were the ingenious authors of this admirable discovery. The alphabet of Cadmus consisted of only sixteen letters; the rest having been added at different periods, as marks were wanting to express simple sounds not already provided for. The Roman alphabet, now in use in most parts of Europe and America, is merely a variation of the Greek; the Greek characters, especially those used in the oldest inscriptions, greatly resemble the Hebrew and Samaritan,which are universally allowed to be the same which Cadmus carried from Egypt, or Phonicia, to Greece; the arrangement, likewise, of these different alphabets, is another proof of their common origin. The alphabets of different languages contain a different number of letters;–the English has 26; the French, 23; the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan, 22 each; the Arabic, 28; the Persian, 31; the Turkish 33; the Georgian, 36; the Coptic 32; the Muscovite, 41; the Greck, 24; the Latin, 22; "the Sclavonic, 27; the Dutch,

* X, Y, Z, are found only in words that are derived from the Greek; —W is of Saxon origin.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

WE this week present our readers with a representation of the appearance of the heavens on the morning of the 13th of the present month. This phenomenon was far more extensive than was at first supposed. We find notices of it in our exchange papers from every quarter. We have not as yet ascertained its limits; for it was witnessed wherever we have heard from—how much further remains to be ascertained. It was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable phenomena ever seen by mortal eyes. We copy the following article in relation to it from the Newark Sentinel of Freedom.

A magnificent meteoric display was witnessed in this vicinity early on Wednesday morning. We learn from those whose privilege it was to see it, that the air was literally filled with shooting or falling stars for nearly two hours, say from four until towards six o'clock. They were seen shooting in every direction from a great height, and were falling in a continual brilliant shower towards the earth. As usual in such displays, their size and brilliancy were variable. A teamster who was on the road during the time, compared the scene, in this respect, to a heavy fall of snow, though the luminous bodies moved with incomparably greater celerity. Others say they were visible down to the horizon; some descending obliquely, but more generally in a perpendicular direction, and sometimes tapering off to a narrow stream. We do not learn that

the hissing noise which sometimes accompanies these phenomena was heard on this occasion. The boatmen at the wharves, we understand, were greatly terrified at the apparent falling of the heavens. he papers since received from the different sections of the country speak of the atmospherical phenomenon.The Baltimore papers represent it to have been particularly splendid over that city. The American of Thursday says, the meteors were seen soon after midnight, and increased until the heavens were filled in every direction. About half past five, it seemed to rain fire. An appearance similar to that described by the correspondent of the N. Y. Daily Advertiser was seen coming towards the west till the bright trail formed the figure 3, after which the ends uncurled, turning towards the east till they came together, and after spreading into the appearance of a light cloud, being visible ten minutes, disappeared. Another writer says, the light in his chamber was so great that he could see the hour by his watch over the mantel. Supposing it to be fire, he sprang to the window, and beheld the fiery rain descending south and north, in torrents. Occasionally a large body of apparent fire would be hurled through the atmosphere, which without noise exploded, when millions of fiery particles would be cast through the surrounding air. The shed in his yard seemed covered with stars.-The Gazette says, at twenty minutes past five, a meteor about six inches in diameter, probably the same spoken of above, exploded with considerable noise perpendicularly over the N. W. part of the city; the blaze was so splendid as to give the appearance of sunrise. It shot in the direction of the N. o leaving a stream of light, which assumed a serpentine form, apparently of 30 feet in length, and lasted more than one minute.


The same phenomena, though of unequal splendor, were seen at New Haven. The balls were of various sizes and degrees of splendor, mostly mere points. One was judged to be nearly as large as the moon another shot off to the N. W. precisely as at Baltimore, leaving a phosphorescent train of peculiar beauty; which finally assumed the figure of a serpent folding itself up, until it appeared like a small luminous vapor, and after several minutes, was borne away eastward by the wind. The flashes of light were so bright as to awaken people in their beds.

In Philadelphia the scene does not appear to have been as brilliant, or as accurately noted, as in Baltimore and New York.

The atmospherical phenomenon was noticed, we learn, in all the towns around us. With one exception, as far as our reading serves, this appears to have been the most remarkable appearance of meteors that has been witnessed. Humboldt speaks of a similar exhibition, which he saw at Cumana, in South America, on the night of the 11th November—one day before the present instance—in 1779. The night had been cool and extremely beautiful: towards morning, thousands of fire-balls succeeded each other during four hours, in a regular direction from north to south. During that period, there was not an instant when any calculable space was not filled with them-most of

them leaving luminous traces behind.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

terest. And perhaps there are few spots in Venice more adapted to produce this effect, than that which forms the subject of the above engraving—the Ponte dei Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs, connecting the Ducal Palace with a state prison. The former was an erection of the ninth century, and is built in a style of rather Saracenic than Gothic, like most of the other buildings of Venice. The latter was built at a subsequent time, in consequence of a circumstance which is thus stated by Coryat, in his “Crudities.” —“Before this prison was built, which was not (as I heard in Venice) above ten years since, the town's prison was under the duke's palace, where it was thought certain prisoners, being largely hired by the king of Spain, conspired together to blow up the palace with gunpowder, as the papists would have done the Parliament House in England; whereupon the senate thought good, having executed those prisoners that were conspirators in that bloody design, to remove the rest to another place, and to build a prison where this now standeth.” The history of this latter edifice offers nothing to notice but what is of a painful and revolting character. It is, in fact, one of those scenes of torture, murder, and arbitrary and inhuman confinement, which are commonly to be found in countries which, like Italy, have suffered under the rule of superstition and tyranny. It is thus described by Mr. Hollier, in his Journal" of "too through this and other countries, a work which strongly exhibits the most desirable qualifications of a traveller—acute, persevering, and impartial observation. “Our next walk was to the Bridge of Sighs, and then down to view the dungeons. The Bridge of Sighs was, without question, a very correct appellation for that miserable path which led the poor unfortunate objects of tyrannical hatred or superstition to such a Tartarus of woe as is there witnessed. Descending by a steep and narrow stone staircase, just wide enough to admit one person at a a time to walk, we arrived, after traversing a passage of the same dimensions, at some holes, ranged in rows along this horribly confined place, and withal so low as obliged us to stoop our chins nearly to our knees to enter them, and, when in, we found it impossible to stand upright; some of them were all but dark, the greater number of them completely so. And below these another range, inferior in every sense, more close, more loathsome, and into which neither the light nor breath of heaven could possibly enter, as they are situated below the level of the canals. Surely the poor creatures destined to be inmates of these abodes of wretchedness must, on entering them, have bid a final adieu to hope in this world.” The Ponte dei Sospiri is, as has been said, the avenue from this prison to the palace. It is a covered bridge or gallery, considerably elevated above the water, and divided by a stone wall into a passage and a cell; it was into the latter that prisoners were taken, and there strangled.

The most interesting of these buildings, the Ducal Palace, remains to be noticed. This magnificent structure was for ages the seat of one of the most powerful and terrible governments of Europe. “It is what you may call Arabesque, if you will, but it reverses the principles of all other architecture; for here the solid rests upon the open, a wall of enormous mass rests upon a slender fret-work of shafts, arches, and intersected circles.” Near the principal entrance is a statue of the Doge Foscaro in white marble and opposite to the entrance are the magnificent steps called “The Giant's Staircase,” from the colossal statues of Mars and Neptune, by which they are commanded. Here the Doges of Venice received the Symbols of sovereignty; and upon the landing-place of these stairs, the Doge Marino Faliero was beheaded. “Here,” says Mr. Roscoe, “the senate, which resembled a congress of kings rather than an assemblage of free merchants, the various councils of state, and the still more terrible inquisitors of state, the dreaded “ten,' held their sittings. The splendid chambers in which the magnificent citizens were accustomed to meet, where their deliberations inspired

the Ottomans, are still shown to the stranger; but the courage, the constancy, and the wisdom which then filled them are fled.” The council of ten above alluded to were a Criminal Court, instituted in 1325, and investsd with full inquisitorial authority. Their official duration was at first limited to ten days, then, after several intermediate changes, it was extended to a year, then to five years, and at length they became a permanent body. The primary object of their constiution was to extinguish the remains of a conspiracy against the state; but in their subsequent history they taught a lesson frequently reiterated since—namely, the madness of confiding unlimited power to irresponsible hands. The hall of the Council is still visited by strangers as an object of much interest. It is ornamented with some splendid productions of Paul Veronese, and others. The frieze in this room is divided into compartments, each containing the portraits of two of the Doges. One of these tacitly, but very impressively, tells of the tragical end of the original, containing, instead of a portrait, a black curtain, painted in the frame, with the name of the noble delinquent inscribed at the foot of it. There is, perhaps, nothing more remarkable in the internal history of Venice, than the secresy and dispatch with which the police department was conducted, owing chiefly to the inquisitorial power possesed by their magistrates. An instance of this is related by Mr. Roscoe, in his elegant annual for 1830, with which we will close this sketch. “A French nobleman, travelling through Venice, and being robbed there of a considerable sum of money, imprudently indulged in some reflections on the Venetians, observing, that a government which was so careful in watching the proceedings of strangers might bestow a little more attention on the state of their own police. A few days afterwards he left Venice, but he had only proceeded a very short distance when his gondola stopped. On demanding the reason of the delay, his gondoliers replied that a boat was making signals to them. The Frenchman, disturbed at this incident, was meditating on the imprudence of which he had been guilty, when the boat which had been following his gondola came up, and the person in it requested him to go on board. He obeyed. “Are you not the Prince de Craon 4' said the stranger. ‘I am." ‘Were you not robbed last Thursday !” “I was.” “Of what sum to “Five hundred ducats.” “Where were they to “In a green purse. “Do you suspect any one o’ ‘My valet de place.’ ‘Should you know him again?’ ‘Certainly." The stranger then pulled aside a mantle, beneath which lay a dead man, holding in his hand a green purse. “Justice has been done,' said the stranger; ‘take your money; but beware how you return to a country, the government of which you have despised.’”—The Tourist.

constitution of the UNITED states

Article II.

Section I. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the vice-president, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows:

Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the congress: but no senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall he appointed an elector.

[The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign

[ocr errors]

-- “Christendom with hope, and struck dismaw in t and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the govern...” • * pe, y in the souls of ment of the United States, directed to the president of the ... - *This elegant work was printed solely for private distribution senate. The president of the senate shall, in the presence ** among the author's friends. of the senate and house of representatives, open all the

* *


certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The parson having the greatest number of votes shall be the resident, if such number be a majority of the whole numr of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the house of representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for president; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list, the said house shall in like manner choose the president. . But in choosing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote: A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the president, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the vice-president. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the senate shall choose from them by ballot the vice-president.]" The congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States. No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States. In case of the removal of the president from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the vice-president, and the congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the president and vice-president, declaring what officer shall then act as president, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a president shall be ... The president shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period . other emolument from the United States, or any of em. Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:-" I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Section II. The president shall be commander-inchief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment. He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the president alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments. The president shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their Qext session. Seetion III. He shall from time to time give to the congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge

* This clause is annulled. See amendments, art. 12

necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary oceasions, convene both houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper: he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers: he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States. Section IV. The president, vice-president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.


Section I. The judicial powers of the United States shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. Section II. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made under their authority;-to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all eases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;-to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;—between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state, claiming land under grants of different states, and between a state or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the congress shall make. The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any state, the trial shall be at such place or places as the congress may by law have directed. Section III. Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

ARTicle iv.

Section I. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Section II. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.

A person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.

No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in conse: quence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be duc.

« PreviousContinue »