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WONDERS OF SCIENCE.
(Natural Size of the Drop.)
It is not certainly known when or by whom the microscope was invented. On the one hand, we are told that one Drebell, a Dutchman, had the first microscope in the year 1621, and that he was reported to have been the inventor of the instrument. On the other hand, the invention is claimed by Francis Fontana, a Neapolitan, in 1646, who dates it from the year 1618. Thus far, however, appears to have been distinctly ascertained, that they were first used in Germany about the year 1621. The telescope is generally believed to have been invented in the year 1590; and, as a microscope is only a telescope inverted, the invention of the one may be readily believed to have originated in the use of the other.
It may, perhaps, be matter of doubt which of these instruments has introduced the most wonderful facts to our notice. If the telescope has brought us acquainted with vast bodies which we had not previously conceived to exist, and thus unmeasurably extended our conceptions of the vastness of the universe, and the power of its Creator, it is no less true that the microscope, though perhaps with less imposing pretensions, has laid open to us most unexpected revelations of the wisdom, the power, and the providence of the Almighty, by discovering to us innumerable orders of living beings, endowed with numerous capacities, and provided with ample means of enjoyment.
An example which partially illustrates this last remark is supplied in the engraving prefixed to this article, which represents a single drop of water as it appears through a microscope, peopled with various species of minute animals called animalcules, of the habits of some of whith we propose to give a brief account.
It may be observed in general of the microscoplc orders of animals, that the smallest which have ever come under notice have been discovered in water. Not that we may infer from this that there are not creatures of equally diminutive size inhabiting the air, or creeping upon the earth; the reason is simply that, from the transparency of water, and from its confining the creatures in it, we can more easily bring the assistance of the microscope to bear on the examination of them. Of these, indeed of all animated beings, the monas is the most simple. The termo is the most minute creature of this genus, being so extremely delicate and transparent as often to elude the highest magnifying powers, and seeming to blend with the water in which it swims. Another and very minute class of animalcules is that which has been termed by Mr. Baker the hair-like insect, on account of its shape, being extremely slender, and frequently a hundred and fifty times as long as it is broad. These creatures are so small, that millions of millions of them might be contained in the space of a square inch. Yet low in the scale of being as they may appear to stand, owing both to their extreme minuteness and the simplicity of their structure, even these, in common with those orders of inferior animals with which we are more ordinarily conversant, exhibit indications of sagacity, and of the formation of habits. They seem, for example, to be fond of society; for, aster viewing for some time a quantity of them taken up at random, the observer will see them disposing themselves in a kind or regular order. If a multitude of them are put into a jar of water, they will form themselves into a regular body, and ascend slowly to the top. When they are weary of this situation they form themselves into a kind of rope, which slowly descends as low as they intend ; but if they happen to be near the side of the jar, they will descend upon it. In one experiment, a small quantity of matter, containing these animalcules, having been put into a jar of water, it so happened that one part went down immediately to the bottom, while the other continued floating at the top. When things had remained for some time in this condition, each of these swarms of animalcules began to grow weary of its situation, and appeared disposed to change it. Both armies, therefore, set out at the same time, the one proceeding upwards, and the other downwards, so that after some hours' journey, they met in the middle. A desire of knowing how they would behave on this occasion engaged the observer to watch them carefully, and, to his surprize, he saw the army that was marching upwards open to the right and left to make room for those that were descending. Thus, without confusion or intermixture, each held on its way; the army that was going up marching in two columns to the top, and the other descending in one column to the bottom, as is each had been under the direction of intelligent leaders. Another very singular animal, whose existence and habits have been discovered by the microscope, has been dignified with the name of the Proteus, from its assuming so great a variety of shapes as scarcely to be recognised as the same animal in its different transformations. Its general shape bears a considerable resemblance to that of the swan, and its changes are chiefly effected by its neck, which it sometimes extends to a considerable length, and sometimes disposes of it altogether. It also appears to have the power of increasing its transparency or opaqueness at will. There are no eyes, nor any opening in the head like a mouth, to be discerned; but its actions clearly prove that it possesses the faculty of vision; for though multitudes of other animalcules swim about with it in the same water, and its own progressive motion is very swift, yet it never strikes against any of them, but directs its course between them with astonishing dexterity. Another and a very perfect animal is discovered by the microscope in rain water, which has stood for some days in leaden gutters, or hollows on the tops of houses. This is called the vorticella, or wheel-animal. Its most remarkable distinction is the apparatus from which it
* The noble darings of the human mind, Inspired by science, should be unconfined, Nor suffer men, like grovelling worms, to lie Supine on earth, but boldly wing the sky.”
The French writer who calls himself Reinser the 2d, and who was certainly a philosopher of the modern school, possessed considerable merit: we apprehended, nowever, that his plan for flying, like that which he proposed for the establishment of a Universal Republic, in which every description of Human Nature is to be winged for celestial flight, and united under the sole Empire of Reason, is only adding one more to the many of those
derives its name, and which, from all descriptions, would appear strongly to resemble the paddles of a steam-boat. They change their shape considerably, in different views, but it seems pretty evident that they are circular wheels, which perform entire revolutions, and are provided with cogs similar to those on the balance-wheel of a watch. All the actions of this creature, says an observer, indicate sagacity and quickness of sensation. At the least touch or motion in the water, they instantly draw in their wheels; and it is conjectured that the eyes of this creature are placed somewhere about this apparatus, as while in the maggot state its motions are slow and blundering, but after the wheels are protruded, they are performed with great regularity, swiftness, and steadiness. It is by these rotatory organs, also, that they are supposed to breathe.
Some very important discoveries have lately been made by Ehrenberg in his observations on these singular beings. By feeding infusoria with very pure coloured substances, as indigo and carmine, he has ascertained the existence of mouths, stomachs, and intestines, and many interesting particulars relating to their structure and functions. But, perhaps, the most astonishing view of these animals, and of the wonders of the microscopic world in general, is presented by a recent improvement in the solar microscope—we refer to Mr. Gould's instrument constructed under the direction of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Carey, the optician, – the extraordinary effect of which is daily exhibited at No. 287 Strand. It acts on the general principle of the solar microscope, but is supplied with an artificial and most brilliant light, produced by the mixture of hydrogen and oxygen gases on lime. The writer had recently an opportunity of witnessing the effect of this extrordinary instrument, and, without describing in detail the beauties of the horrors which it brought to light from the invisible world, (in doing which he would be obliged to draw very largely on the faith of his readers,) he may give some general idea of the spectacle, by stating that the instrument magnifies three hundred thousand times, so that a drop of water appears to cover a surface of a hundred square feet!
We cannot but anticipate some important accessions to physical science from this extraordinary instrument, and we confidently recommend it to the notice of our readers as a source of much instruction and amuse ment.—The Tourist.
loughby, he remarks, has expressed himself in these terms: “It will some day be said, “Bring me my wings,” just as a person now says, “Get ready my carriage.” 'or his own part, he cannot see the squirrel and the fish both flying, without thinking that Man, who has in his muscles a prodigious intuitive source of motion, ought to render himself more capable of flying than any of those animals: and he reasons on the small quantity of necessary resistance to the weight of the body, from the ease with which porters are every day seen to mount a staircase, or even a ladder, bearing a load of three or four hundred weight, which they sustain alternately on a single leg. IIe remarks, that the wings of a bird are in general of greater proportionate dimensions in the smaller than in the larger species; which he ascribes to the property possessed by the air, of augmenting the resistance of a body according to the weight that it bears. This he illustrates, by comparing the weight of a duck, and the size of its wings, with those of a goose; supposing the latter to be seven times the weight of the sormer, yet to have wings less than thrice the size. From this analogy, he considers that the wings for a man of common stature need only be about thirty feet long, and weigh about fourteen or fifteen pounds. The mechanism of these wings and the manner of fixing them, are minutely detailed by the author, who also has a helm or tail six feet long, composed of three reeds, in the same manner as the wings. But though this sanguine projector seemed confident of the practicability of his plan, we were not in the smallest degree astonished at the result, which our Flying Philosopher honestly relates. “In the trial which I made,” says he, “I was raised from the earth at the third or fourth exertion.” But, alas! the Flying Philosopher appears to have literally depended too much on a broken reed; for he adds, “I
We are ourselves inclined to imagine, that the art of flying in the air may in some measure be practicable, but not on the precise plan of this really ingenious Frenchman, who, in legislation, like the generality of political and philosophical speculators, too little regards the potent influence of human passions; and, in science, vainly expects Art to surpass the operations of Nature, and overcome her invincible agents. In a judicious combination of the mechanical powers, with due attention to the source of what may be denominated AErostation, must be sought, as we apprehend, whatever can rationally occupy an enlightened mind on this curious and interesting subject.—Anecdote Library.
Expl.ANATIon of Words, PHRASEs, &c.
A Bon chi EN 11, NE vieNT JAMAIs UN Box os. Fr. (pron. ah bong she-ang elemeh ve-ahn zhama zun bong os.) “A j bone i. not always come to a good dog:" or, merit does not always receive its deserts.
Ab origiNE. Lat. “From the origin.”
An ovo Usque Ap MALA. Lat. “From the eggs to the apples;” or, from the beginning to the end of the entertainment; eggs having been formerly served at the beginning, and apples at the end, of a Roman feast. It may be used figuratively, to denote the beginning and end of an intellectual banquet.
Absente M LEdit cum EBRio Qui Litigat. Lat. from Syrus: “He hurts the absent who quarrels with a drunken man;" that is, the drunken man is not the same as when he is sober, and therefore you do the sober man an injury, by harming the body when influenced by liquor,
DAughter of heaven, fair art thou! the silence of thy face is pleasant ' Thou comest forth in loveliness. The stars attend thy blue course in the east. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon? They brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, light of the silent night ! The stars are ashamed in thy presence. They turn away their sparkling eyes. Whither dost thou retire from thy course when the darkness of thy countenance grows 7 Hast thou thy hall, like Ossian | Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief? Have thy sisters fallen from heaven? Are they who rejoice with thee, at night, no more ? Yes! they have fallen, fair light! and thou dost often retire to mourn. But thou thyself shalt fail, one night, and leave thy blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their }. they who are ashamed in thy presence will rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy brightness. Look from thy gates in the sky. Burst the cloud, O wind, that the daughter of night may look forth ! that the shaggy mountains may brighten, and the ocean roll its white waves in light.
The best part of beauty is that which a picture canno express.-Lord Bacon.
That which is not for the interest of the whole hive, cannot be so for any single bee.—Marcus Aurelius.
The present week has been the great Anniversary Festival of the religious community of this country. Clergyman and delega ted laymen from every part of the Union have been congregated in this city, for the purpose of celebrating the Anniversaries of the religious institutions of a naticial character that form so prominent a trait in the features of the present day. As might be expected on such occasions, the first talent of the religious conomy is put in requisition, to render the exercises interesting. We intend next week to notice them more particularly.
JT. No room for news, and none of importance if we had room
NEW YORK SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF KNOWLEDGE AND INDUSTRY. PREAMBLE.
WE, whose names are hereto annexed, believing that the wellbeing of society depends upon industry, intelligence, and virtue; that ignorance and idleness are the principal sources of pauperism and crime; and that these evils may be greatly diminished by the benevolent and well-directed efforts of an extensive association of our citizens, do hereby form ourselves into a society to be called, THE NEw York Society for the Phomotion of KNow LEDGE AND IN dustry, and do make and ordain the following
Coxstitution. Art. I. The objects of this Society shall be, 1st. The diffusion and extension of useful knowledge and common education. 2d. The encouragement of industry, and the elevation of the moral condition of the indigent; and also, but only so far as may be compatible with these objects, the relief of their necessities. A Rt. II. No religious or political discussions shall be allowed in the society; no political or sectarian publication shall be distributed by it; and no preference shall be given by its members, as such, on account of religious or political distinctions. Art. III. The management of the affairs of this society shall be vested in a Board of Managers, composed of five members from each ward, who shall have the controul of the funds of the society, and who may make any regulations or by-laws concerning the same not inconsistent with this Constitution. Nine members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. ART. IV. Sec. 1. The members of this society shall meet in , their respective wards on the last Wednesday of May in each year, to choose delegates—five to be chosen from each ward; – which delegates, when chosen, shall constitute the Board of Managers of the Society. Sec. 2. The Board of Managers shall choose their own officers, and the President of the Board shall be President of the society. ART V. Sec. 1. The members of the society belonging to the different wards, shall constitute Ward Associations of the society. Sec. 2. The Ward Associations shall meet as often as they may think necessary, and at such other times as may be recommended by the Board of Managers. Sec. 3. The Ward Associations shall, severally, choose annually a President and two Vice Presidents, a Secretary and Treasurer. Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the Secretaries to keep minutes of all the proceedings. Sec. 5. The Treasurers of the Ward Associations shall pay the moneys in their hands monthly (after making provision for their anecessary expenses) to the Treasurer of the Board of Managers. Sec. 6. The ward Associations shall cause their respective wards to be completely districted, and shall assign to each district some one or more individuals, who shall be called the Ward Visiters of the society. Sec. 7. The Ward Visiters of each district shall make a record of the names of all such persons as may be directed by the Board of Managers. Sec. 8. Copies of the Records kept as aforesaid, or of such parts thereof as the Board of Managers may direct, shall be furnished by the Ward Visiters to the Ward Associations, and by the Ward Associations to the Board of Managers, as shall be required by
lein. Sec. 9. It shall be the duty of the Ward Visiters to aid in procuring relief for the sick from the Public Dispensary, or otherwise —to procure to be sent to school, as far as practicable, such children as do not attend school, and may be received there—and also to get into the free schools for adults, whenever such schools shall be rovided, such persons as ought to be taught there—to encourage ndustry, by procuring employment for those unemployed—to inculcate, as far as possible, a sense of moral duty and a feeling of self respect—and to obtain from individuals and the public authorities such necessary relief as may be furnished, without encouraing idleness or vice. They shall keep and render to the Ward ''...'. accounts of all moneys and donations received and distributed by them, and shall pay over, when required by said Associations, any balances in their hands. Sec. 10. No person belonging to any district shall receive any relief without the bounds thereof, nor without the knowledge of the Visiters of that district. Sec. 11. No person of intemperate habits shall receive any pecuniary relief through the medium of the society, except in cases of dangerous illness. ARt. VI. Every person who shall subscribe this Constitution, and o one dollar or more into the treasury, annually, shall be a member of this society; and every person who shall pay ten dollars or upwards at any one payment, shall be a life member
ARt. VII. The Mayor and members of the Common Council shall be, ex officio, members of the Board of Managers.
Art. VIII. No alterations shall be made in this Constitution, except concurred in by two thirds of the Ward Associations. *
By-Laws of the Board of MANAGERs.
1. The Board of Managers shall meet the second Wednesday of every month. ..?. There shall be a Prosidort of the Board and two Vice Presidents, a Treasurer and two Secretaries, one of whom shall be the Corresponding Secretary.
3. There shall be the following Standing Committees of the Board:-1. A Standing Committee shall be appointed to inquire into, and report, from time to time, upon the best means o; sing useful knowledge, and extending common education. 2. A Standing Committee shall be appointed to inquire and report in like manner upon the best means of finding employment for those who want it, and such other standing committees shall be ap pointed as may be necessary.
4. All committecs shall be appointed by the presiding officer of the Board, as occasion may require, unless otherwise ordered by the Board.
REGULATIONs Adopted by THE Board of MANAGERs.
1. The records to be kept by the ward visiters shall contain the names in their respective districts—of all persons, who may be proper subjects for a common school education, and have not the means of procuring it, distinguishing betweeu those who are under four years of age, those who are between four and sixteen years, and those who are above sixteen—of all persons who are in want of employment, or of the necessaries of life, or in imminent danger of the want of such necessaries, distinguishing the occupations of all males on such record.
2. Statistical returns shall be made from these records once every year by the ward associations, but these returns shall not include the names of individuals.
3. All bills against the Society shall be paid by the Treasurer, when approved by the President and Recording Secretary.
BoARd of MANAGERs. First Ward.—John Y. Cebra, David Clarkson, Oliver Cobb, John I. Labah, J. J. Rosevelt, jun. Second Ward.—Walter Bowne, William Van Wyck, Benjamin Demilt, Silas Brown, Saul Alley. Third Ward.—James Munroe, Ralph Olmsted, Robert Sedgwick, Thomas Herttell, William H. Aspinwall. Fourth Ward.—Charles G. Ferris, Isaac Peirce, Geo. S. Mann, Linus W. Stevens, Joseph N. Lord. Fifth Ward.—Anthony Lamb, David Banks, John R. Murray, George F.White, James Campbell. Sirth Ward.—John T. Irving, J. R. Rhinelander, Daniel E. Tylee, Henry Durell, Shivers Parker. Serenth Ward.—Ja's R. Whiting, Zebedee Ring, Perez Jones, Timothy Hedges, Samuel Akerly. Eighth Ward.—Hendrick Booram, James Lynch, Frederick A. Tallmadge, Francis D. Allen, Redwood Fisher. Ninth Ward.—Henry Meigs, Ja's N. Wells, Robert Halliday, Charles Oakley, Silas M. Stilwell. Tenth Ward.—Stephen Allen, P. S. Titus, Eliphalet Wheeler, M. M. Quackenboss, Morris De Camp. Ełerenth Ward.—Samuel C. Ellis, Henry P. Robertson, Fyler Dibblee, Lewis Willcocks, Peter Stuyversant. Twelfth Ward.—Charles H. Hall, Peter Cooper, George B. Thorp, David Cargill, Isaac L. Varian. Thirteenth Ward.—James Palmer, Jacob Westervelt, E. D. Comstock, Isaac D. Merrit, Nathán Roberts. Fourteenth Ward.—Joseph Curtis, Charles Dusenbury, Philip W. Engs, Austen Baldwin, John L. Moffitt. Fifteenth Ward.—James B. Murray, Samuel Cowdrey, Samuel Ward jun. Benjamin Birdsall, Abraham Mason.
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WEEKLY ABSTRACT OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE.
NEW YORK, SATURDAY, MAY 18, 1833.
SoME of our readers may think we are giving our paper too theological a character, for one devoted to general knowledge. But we can assure them, that it is the furthest thing imaginable from our design, to give it a theological character at all. We wish to fix in the mind of every reader the grand distinction between the necessary and the gratuitous insertion of theological ideas. There are some subjects of general knowledge, (and therefore subjects on which we must treat, in furnishing the system complete,) which unavoidably involve disputed points of theology. Those points we cannot evade, and treat fully on these subjects. But in all such cases, we shall take care to give a full view of the case, leaving the reader at perfect liberty to draw his own conclusions, as well ourselves ours. Whenever we express an opinion on any disputed point, as is natural and proper that we should do, it will always be understood as our opinion, which we would be far from forcing upon any man. The evidences on the subject will be before the reader, and it will be for him to judge for himself, whether we have come to a correct conclusion or not. Our opinion will not hurt him, any more than his will injure us. Nor will it have any more weight than it is fairly entitled to by the evidences in the case, all of which we shall honestly present, as far as they are within our reach. And while we thus treat subjects of this nature, we shall most scrupuiously avoid the gratuitous insertion of any thing of a theological character whatever. We would call the attention of the reader to our miscellaneous selections, to our poetry, to anything, in fine, where the nature of the case has permitted us to keep aloof from the conside
ration of theological points, and would ask if we have
not manifested, by the care we have taken in this respect, a disposition to steer as clear as possible of everything of the kind. Not a gratuitous article, not a gratuitous sentence, not a gratuitous word, tinctured with theology, has found place in our columns, nor will it find place hereafter. Our motto is, “Every thing in its place:” theology when we cannot do our duty without it; but none at any other time, in a work of this kind. With these remarks, rendered somewhat necessary to guard against misapprehension, we will resume the subject of history. In our introduction to this department of our work, it will be recollected that, reasoning from the fact, that events have transpired which will never be forgotten, we came to the analogical conclusion, that history cannot be of very ancient date, inasmuch as it contains no notice of any events whatever beyond a certain period; or, in other words, that no events occurred, that the human race did not exist, prior to that period, and that we are to expect to find a history of them during the time they have existed. In casting about sor this history, we find the Bible the most ancient of any extant, and, at the same time, the most regular and connected of any thing claiming to be a history of the world's infancy. We find likewise the general current of tradition running the same way. We also find, that all the pretended accounts of a contrary character are totally unfounded, and that the mere speculations of philosophers in relation to the subject, are the most whimsical and contradictory conceivable. From these considerations we come to the conclusion,
that the Bible contains the true history, and the best history, of that period of the world. As historians, then, we feel bound to make it our guide in treating on that period. Following this history, we learn that, upon the transgression of Adam and #. as already related, they were expelled from the garden, to guard which against their future intrusion, cherubim were stationed at its entrance, which was on the eastern side, (rather a literal circumstance,) together with a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the tree of life, lest the human pair should partake of its fruit, and thus avert the threatened mortality by rendering themselves impervious to the shafts of death. It is not for us to say, that there could have been no such literal fruit. We leave this with the same geniuses with whom we lest the case of the temptation—those geniuses who, in order to know that there could be no such fruit as here described, must necessarily know all that can be, and must therefore be omniscient. Expelled from their earthly Paradise, our first parents commenced their mortal career. In process of time. they had a son whom they called Cain, which signifies possession. Some time after, they had another, whom they called Abel, which means vapour. Abel was a shep herd, and Cain a husbandman. They both brought of ferings to the Lord ; Cain of the fruit of the ground, and Abel of the firstlings of his flock. Abel's offering was accepted; Cain's rejected. Cain was wroth, and rose against Abel when they were in the field, and slew him. For this diabolical act, God pronounced a curse upon Cain. declaring that the earth should not yield to him her increase, and that he should be a fugitive and a vagabond. Cain, in the agony of his spirit, and on the verge of despair, exclaimed, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Having expressed his fear that he should suffer death from the hand of man in consequence of his murder, the Lord set a mark upon him, to prevent his being killed. After this, Cain went and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden, where he built a city, and called it after the name of his son Enoch. One of the descendants of Cain was Lamech, who had two wives Adah and Zillah, and who appears to have been the first bigamist, as was his progeniter the first murderer. One son of Lamech by Adah was named Jabal, who was the father, that is, the first, of those that dwell in tents, &c. Jabal's brother, Jubal, was the father of those that handle the harp and organ. Tubal-Cain, a son of Lamech by Zillah, was an instructor in brass and iron work. Thus we perceive, that several important arts were known in a very early age of the world. Lamech appears likewise to have been a murderer, as well as a bigamist; for, addressing his wives he says: “Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech; hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.” Who it was that Lamech slew, the account does not say. The next character of note that is mentioned in the Bible, was Seth, a son of Adam, born after the death of Abel. He was named Seth by his mother, because he supplied the place of Abel. Seth had a son by the name of Enos; and “then,” says Moses, “began men to call upon the name of the Lord”—a very peculiar passage this, showing that men were not accustomed to pray till this period. Whether this is meant of every individual, or of men in general, is worthy of consideration. It is