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... ON THE DISPERSION OF SEEDs. This problem has been executed in six different ways at least, more or less simple. These are, the exaltation of the seeds of plants on elastic stems so as to be exposed to the action of the winds; power of floating through water till they meet, point of attachment; their transportation by anima to which their receptacles or investments have serve as food; transportation by the coats of animals i. provision in the form of wings, through which the winds may act more effectually on thein, and lasti an elastic power in their receptacle, through whic they are forcibly rejected by the parent plant. , , , The first contrivance is so general, and appears to be so necessary a portion of the structure of the plant, that its design for the end in question is seldom noticed. Yet he who examines the grasses will not doubt of the consequences produced by the exaltation and elasticity of the stem, though he should choose to doubt that the dispersion of seeds was at least one end in view. In the mosses this intention can scarcely be questioned, since no other purpose can be assigned to the delicate and elastic foot-stems by which the seed-vessels are elevated above the plant. In these the flower blows in the bosom of the leaves; and almost everywhere else, throughout the vegetable world, where the flower blows, there does the seed also ripen, and thence is it dispersed. Here it is not so : the seed-vessel becomes raised far beyond the place of the flower, through the subsequent growth of a singularly elastic stem, there to ripen its contents, and to be exposed to those forces which may disperse widely as the winds themselves, those seeds which, light as the breeze that bears them, are of such high importance in the great economy of vegetation. - - If the floating of seeds through water, is a concrivance which, like the action of the winds, appears too much akin to what we carelessly term accident, to deserve notice : yet thus chiefly are the naked coral rocks of the great Pacific Ocean clothed with vegetation, and rendered fit for the habitation of man. Are we entitled to give the name of accident to that cause, or combination of causes, by which so great an end is produced, even though metaphysics, and religion equally, did not show that there can be no accident to the Creator and Governor of all things : The buoyancy of a cocoa-nut, the resisting investments, and the vitality of seeds, were not necessities; but there can be no accident when the end in question is thus attained ; and when, without it, all those previous and wonderful contrivances by which these islands are created in the ocean would have been useless, while we can even believe that the importaut cocoa-palm was created a maritime plant for this very purpose. As much is it accident, that the same fluid which produces fire and maintains the life of animals, is also the highway of a bird through the clouds, and the moving power of a ship across the ocean ; but this question will be set at rest, by producing a distinct provision for securing the end proposed in the transportation of seeds through water. And this is found in the seeds of the submarine plants. These might have been carried any whither : but how were the seeds of the fuci to root themselves amid the waves 2 The contrivance is equally simple and effectual. They are surrounded by a mucilage which water cannot dissolve, and which enables theim to adhere to whatever solid body they touch. Nor is this the only subsidiary contrivance to prove that the power of water is one of the agents which the Creator has intentionally adopted for the disper
sion of seeds. The down of the willow-seed is both
- * - its ship and its balloon; the tree is the inhabitant of rivers; and thus it is contrived that both the winds and the water shall convey its posterity, even to distant regions. There is a rudeness of expedient, it may be said, and equally an appearance of accident, in ordering that the seeds of plants shall be dispersed through the coats and wanderings of animals. But neither was this undesigned, when the provisions for that end in the structure of the seeds in question are so remarkable, and often so accurately mechanical. All know the hooks on the bur, and those on the seeds of the adhesive o and the geum, as all can equally see or infer the consequences : while the carrot, . others of the umbelliferous plants, afford further examples of an expedient, to which neither intention hor mechanical contrivance can be denied. If there is at first sight a similar appearance of accident in dispersing the seeds of plants through the digestive organs of animals, the intention is here also rendered evident, by a still more complicated system of contrivance. The fruit is the food of the animal; but the seed is protected from the action of the digestive powers by its investments; as it is also empowered to defy the animal chemistry by its vitality, even appearing to be thus quickened for its peculiar destimation. Nor let this mode of dispersing seeds be thought of small moment; since it is one of the roads through which the coral islands become clothed with that vegetation which has rendered them what they now are. But the following contrivances are so obviously mechanical, that it is impossible to doubt the design, or to avoid admiring the beauty and ingenuity of the mechanisms. If, in the case of the winged seeds, aid is derived from the adventitious power of the winds, the variety of resource through which that is brought into action is well deserving of attention. The lime and the ash offer instances of wings, of the simplest nature; and in the seeds of the fir tribe there is a similar contrivance, but of a more delicate structure. But the far greater number of these mechanisms are produced from down, various in disposition as in strength ; and often presenting arrangements of singular beauty and delicacy. There is no one of those structures more beautiful than that which occurs in the dandelion. Let him who can doubt that the most exquisite art designed and executed this most common, but not less wonderful piece of mechanism, examine a single star with its attached seed, the lengths of the stems, the mode of their divergences from the receptacle, and that accuracy in those divergences, which causes the edge of each star so to unite, that a continuous surface is the consequence, and meither interval nor irregularity exists. But that surface also forms a globe: while this must result, not merely from the distribution of the seeds, but from a mode of expansion in the receptacle, on drying, which, if aught ever appears to be casual and uncertain, would seem to be under the guidance of chance alone. Nothing appears intended here, yet the end is ever gained : and far more remarkably still is it gained, when not one of these receptacles is globular, nor even of a spherical surface; and when, beyond all this, few are in any manner regular in their forms, while scarcely any two are rigidly alike. Yet the result is ever the same. Be the receptacle what it may, the downy surface is a globe : while we can at least see that this was necessary, since thus it is enabled to evade, till the seeds are ripe for dispersion, the winds which would otherwise have carried them prematurely off, and defeated the Creator's intention. He who can look even at this common and despised object, and not see in it a power which basiles all calculation, added to the most consummate art, may cease to study the Creator's works, for creation can teach him nothing. Even he who rejects or disdains these higher thoughts, should cease to pride himself on his talents for observation and reflection, if he is not struck by the efficacy of this most artificial and beautiful structure, for the intended ends; seeing that the storm passes over it unfelt, till the hour of its ultimate destiny is arrived. -- - - - . The last provision of contrivances for dispersing the seeds of plants is founded on that most inexplicable property of matter, elasticity, so largely used throughout all creation ; and it is the most purely mechanical, since it depends upon no extraneous aid. Under this principle the seed-vessel, or some part connected with it, is provided with a latent spring, to be brought into action as soon as the seeds are fit for dispersion, and not before. It is either incomplete, or dormant, under a detent or check, like the spring of a gun-lock. This alone is an ample proof of design; because it is a train long laid, and implying foresight. And the action of the spring is prepared as gradually as the ripening of the seed, under an adaptation equally bespeaking the nicest care; while the detent, when present, is also formed in a special part of the seed-vessel, destined to give way when its services are no longer wanted, or would be prejudicial. - - ... " In the Cardamine impatiens, and hirsuta, the valves of the pod are detained at the point, and they discharge the seeds with great force, by curling back when disengaged. In the Geraniums, the long beak of the seed forms the spring, and the detent is at the seed-vessel, which is also contrived to be but half a capsule, that its contents may escape. In the Broom, the crackling of which in a hot day is familiar, each valve recoils in a spiral direction when the detent yields, as is the case with many of this tribe : and in some of the familiar ferns it is also the recoiling elasticity of a spring, under different modes, which produces the desired effect. " The peculiarity of circumstances under which a similar invention in the Mesembryanthemums acts, adds much to our impression of the wisdom and foresight that have been exerted on this subject. In all the preceding instances, it is through the drying of the parts that the springs are brought into action: but had this been the case with that plant of the desert, the seeds would have fallen on an arid sand, and have failed. It is therefore commanded that the springs which have been constructed in the calyx, should close in dry weather, and open on the occurrence of moisture. Thus also is it with the rose of Jericho (Anastatica), where the seed-vessel is rolled along the sands by the winds, until, meeting with a moist spot, it opens and parts with its seeds in that only place amid the parched plain where provision has been made for their vegetation. Can anything have been neglected, where calculations so minute as this exist? And can this be aught but the result of thought and design, as of universal knowledge and perfect foresight? These are contrivances for a great and valuable end, which we can especially appreciate, because we can compare them with our own designs; and as well might the inventor of the catapult and the cross-bow doubt his own ingenuity and intentions as those of the Creator.
[Abridged from Macculloch s Proofs and sllustrations of the Attributes of God.]
INVENTION OF THE MICRoscope AND THE TELESCOPE.
It has been well observed that about the same time when the invention of the telescope showed us that there might be myriads of other worlds claiming the Creator's care, the invention of the microscope proved to us that there were in our own world myriads of creatures, before unknown, which this care was preserving. While one discovery seemed to remove the Divine Providence further from us, the other gave us most striking examples t at it was far more active in our neigh ourhood than we had supposed : while the first o the boundaries of God's known kingdom, the second made its known administration more minute and careful. -- * * * * * * It appeared that in the leaf and in the bud, in solids and in fluids, animals existed hitherto unsuspected : the apparently dead masses and blank spaces of the world were found to swarm with life. And yet, of the animals thus revealed, all, though unknown to us before, had never been forgotten by Providence. Their structure, their vessels and limbs, their adaptation to their situation, their food and habitations, were regulated in as beautiful and complete a manner as those of the largest and apparently most favoured animals. The smallest insects are as exactly finished, often as gaily ornamented, as the most graceful, beasts, or the birds of brightest plumage. And when we seem to go out of the domain of the complex animal structure with which we are familiar, and come to animals of apparently more scanty faculties, and less developed powers of enjoyment and action, we still find that their faculties and their senses are in exact harmony with their situation and circumstances; that the wants which they have are provided for, and the powers which they possess called into action. So that Müller, the patient and accurate observer of the smallest and most obscure microscopical animalcula, declares that all classes alike, those which have manifest organs, and those which have not, offer a vast quantity of new and striking views of the animal economy, every step of our discoveries leading us to admire the design and care of the Creator. We find, therefore, that the Divine Providence is, in fact, capable of extending itself adequately to an immense succession of tribes of beings, surpassing what we can image or . could previously have anticipated; and thus we may feel secure, so far as analogy can secure us, that the mere multitude of created objects cannot remove us from the government and superintendence of the Creator.—WHEwell.
PHosp HORIC LIGHT rMitted BY FLOWERs. - - - - -
- - - - - t IN the garden of the Duke of Buckingham, at Stowe, on the evening of Friday, September 4th, 1835, during a storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied by heavy rain, the leaves of the flower called (Enothera macrocarpa, a bed of which is in the garden, immediately opposite the windows of the manuscript library at Stowe, were observed to be brilliantly illuminated by phosphoric light. During the intervals of the flashes of lightning, the night was exceedingly dark, and nothing else could be distinguished in the gloom except the bright light upon the leaves of these flowers. "The luminous appearance continued uninterruptedly for a considerable length of time: it did not appear to resemble any electric effect; and the opinion which seemed most probable was, that the plant, iike many known instances, has a power of absorbing light, and givine it out under peculiar circumstances.—Magazine of Popula, Science. -- - - - - - - - ------- - - - - - --- - -
How difficult a thing it is to persuade a man to reason against his own interest, though he is convinced that equity is against him.—TRUs LER.
THE celebrated Camphor Tree of Sumatra is one of the largest trees of the forests of that island; it is also found in Borneo, and several other eastern islands of the East Indian Archipelago. The greatest part of the Camphor, however, which is brought to Europe, is produced by a species of laurel (Laurus camphora). That which is afforded by the tree now under notice, seldom reaches our market, being carried chiefly to China, where it fetches a very high price. That which is received in England comes from Japan, in casks and chests. The Camphor yielded by the Dryobalanops camphora, is found occupying portions of about a foot, or a foot and a half, in the heart of the tree. The natives, in searching for the camphor, make a deep incision in the trunk, about fourteen or eighteen feet from the ground, with a billing, or Malay axe, and when it is discovered, the tree is felled, and cut into junks a fathom long. The same tree yields a liquid or oily matter, which has nearly the same properties as the camphor, and is supposed to be the first stage of its formation. The precise age when this tree begins to yield camphor has not yet been satisfactorily ascertained, but the young trees are known to yield only oil, that is, camphor in a liquid state. The method of extracting the oil, is by making a deep incision with a small aperture, into the body of the tree, and the oil, if any, immediately gushes out and is received in bamboos. The product of a middling-sized tree is about eight China catties, or about eleven pounds, and a large tree will yield nearly double that quantity. It is said that trees which have been cut for the purpose of obtaining the oil, and left standing in that state, will often produce camphor eight or ten years after, but it is of an inferior quality. Camphor is also prepared, in China, from the leaves and branches of a tree, called by the Chinese tehang. They take some branches fresh from the tree, chop them very small, and lay them to steep in springwater for three days and three nights. After they have been soaked in this manner, they are put into a kettle, where they are boiled for a certain time, during which they are kept constantly stirred with a stick made of willow. When they perceive that the sap of these small chips adheres sufficiently to the stick in the form of a white frost, they strain the whole, taking care to throw away the dregs and refuse. This juice is afterwards poured gently into an earthen basin, well varmished, in which it is suffered to remain one night. Next morning it is found coagulated and formed into
a solid mass. To purify this first preparation, they procure some fine earth, which, when pounded and reduced to a very fine powder, they put into the bottom of a basin made of copper; over this layer of earth they spread a layer of camphor, and continue thus until they have laid four strata. The last, which is of very fine earth, they cover up with the leaves of the penny-royal plant; and over the whole they place another basin, joining it very closely to the former by means of a kind of red earth that cements their brims together. The basin, thus prepared, is put over a fire, which must be managed so as to keep up an equal heat: experience teaches them to observe the proper degree. But above all they must be very attentive lest the plaster of earth which keeps the basins together should crack or fall off, as in that case the spirit would evaporate, and the whole process be spoiled. When the basins have been exposed to the necessary heat, they are taken off, and left to cool; after which they are separated, and the sublimated camphor is found adhering to the cover. If this operation be repeated two or three times, the camphor is found purer, and in larger pieces. Whenever it is necessary to use any quantity of this substance, it is put between two earthen vessels, the edges of which are surrounded with several bands of wet paper. These vessels are kept for about an hour over an equal and moderate fire; and when they are cool, the camphor is found in its utmost perfection, and ready for use. The Greeks and the Romans appear to have been unacquainted with this valuable drug, and we are indebted to the Arabians for a knowledge of it. The chemical properties of Camphor are thus described.—“Camphor is a vegetable substance, of an oily nature, combustible, odoriferous, volatile, concrete, and crystalline.” Its smell is strong and penetrating; its inflammable nature is so great, that it will burn when floating on the surface of water. A curious rotatory movement takes place among small particles of Camphor when sprinkled on the surface of water; and if a cylindrical piece of Camphor is partly plunged in the liquid, it is dissolved, not equally over the whole immersed portion, but with great rapidity at that part which is on a level with the surface of the water. Camphor is much used in the preservation of subjects of natural history from insects; its powerful odour destroys the more minute species, and deters the larger from approaching, and it is also used in medicine as a sedative.
The beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets, could have its origin in no other way than by the purpose and command of an intelligent and powerful Being. He governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as the lord of the universe. He is not only God, but Lord or Governor: we know him only by his properties and attributes, by the wise and admirable structure of things around us, and by their final causes; we admire him on account of his perfections, we venerate and worship him on account of his government.—SIR Is AAc Newton.
Living in an age of extraordinary events and revolutions, I have learned from thence this truth, which I desire might thus be communicated to posterity; that all is vanity which is not honest, and that there is no solid wisdom but in real piety.—Evelyn's Epitaph by himself.
LONDON: " JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, west STRAND.
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ON WIGS AND HEAD-DRESSES.
THE arrangement of the hair, and the decoration of the head, have, in all ages, been objects of great attention among females, and the extravagance into which they have been led, in decorating this part of the person, has often been a subject of severe reproof. We meet with many instances of this in the Sacred volume, where the vanities of the Jewish women are particularly alluded to. The Jews, originally a pastoral people, acquired a taste for this method of ornamenting the person through their intercourse with the Egyptians, and with the Asiatic nations. There are no known Jewish monuments to which we can refer, but we may gather much information on the subject from the remains of Egyptian antiquity, for there is little doubt the fashions of the Jews were mostly borrowed from the people of that nation. We have already given a representation of an ancient Egyptian wig", but this kind of head-dress was seldom worn without a variety of ornaments being at the same time added; these consisted of fillets of gold, ribands of the brightest colours, flowers, particularly the lotus, of which they were extremely fond ; in some cases feathers, together with enormous ear-rings, necklaces, elegantly painted collars, &c. The first three figures in the engraving are headdresses of Egyptian females. The figure to the left shows the usual mode of wearing a wig, resembling that we have already figured; the only ornament being a narrow fillet round the crown of the head. The central figure is much more gaudily attired, and was probably an assistant at some religious ceremony; in her hand she holds a musical instrument, called a sistrum. The feathers which surmount the head-dress are variegated with green and red, an artificial lotus forms part of the ornament, fixed in a golden support; a golden fillet binds the hair, which is black; the ornament which hangs over the shoulder is of blue and gold, and the collar is elegantly worked or painted. The right-hand figure has her head covered with a cap, of a delicate fabric, and of a bright-blue colour; the rosettes of the fillet are of gold, and the ornament that depends from the top of the head is black; the ornament is in the form of a serpent. The next nation of antiquity to which we can refer on this subject is the Greeks, and the good taste of the Grecian ladies is eminently conspicuous in the adornment of the head. At first, as appears both from ancient sculpture and paintings, men and women alike wore their hair descending partly before and partly behind, in a number of long separate locks, either of a flat and zig-zagged, or of a round and corkscrew shape. A little later it grew into fashion to collect the whole of the hair hanging down the back, by means of a riband, into a single broad stream, and only to leave in front, one, two, or three long narrow locks hanging down separately; and this is the head-dress which Minerva, “a maiden affecting old fashions and formality, never seems to have quitted.” Later still the queue depending down the back was taken up, and doubled into a club, and the side-locks only continued to reach in front as low down as the bosom. But these also gradually shrunk away into a greater number of smaller tufts or ringlets, hanging down about the ears, and leaving the neck quite unconfined. So neatly was the hair arranged in
* See Saturday Magazine, Vol. XII., p. 113.
both sexes round the forehead, and in the males round the chin, as sometimes to resemble the cells of a bee-hive, and at others waves and undulations, executed in wirework. Ladies reckoned among the ornaments of the head the tiara, or crescent-formed diadem, and ribands, rows of beads, wreaths of flowers, nettings, fillets, skewers, and gew-gaws innumerable. Ear-rings of various shapes, necklaces in numerous rows, and various other trinkets, were in great request. The Roman ladies followed, to a certain extent, the fashions of the Greeks, but they seem rarely to have worn the tiara, or the net to support the hair; their mode of dressing the hair was less elegant but more elaborate, being frequently arranged in a vast number of small curls; for this purpose they made use of a hot iron, called calamistrum, and this instrument appears to have been in use among the Grecian as well as the Roman ladies. Tiaras, pins, and other articles for the decoration of the head, have been found among the ruins of Pompeii. The Roman ladies, whose hair is generally black, were extremely fond of light and auburn hair, which was brought to Rome from Germany and the northern parts of Europe. Ovid, and other Latin poets, frequently allude to this practice, and to the employment of a German nostrum to cause the hair to grow, L Say that by age, or some great sickness had, Thy head with wonted hair be thinly clad ; Falling away like corn from ripened sheaves, As thick, as Boreas blows down Autumn leaves. By German herbs thou may'st thy hair restore, And hide the bare scalp that was bald before. Women have known this art, and of their crew Many false colours buy, to hide the true; And multitudes, yea, more than can be told, Walk in such hair as they have bought for gold. Hair is good merchandise, and grown a trade, Markets and public traffic thereof made Nor do they blush to cheapen it among The thickest number, and the rudest throng. The same poet also ventures to give the ladies instruction as to the dressing of their hair. A long and slender visage best allows To have the hair part, just above the brows; So Laodameia, surnamed the fair, Used, when she walked abroad, to truss her hair. A round plump face must have her trammels tied In a fast knot above, her front to hide; The wire supporting it, whilst either ear, Bare and in sight, upon each side appear. Some ladies' locks about their shoulders fall, And langing loose, locome them best of all.
More leaves the forest yields not from the trees,
THE LIMITED POWER OF MAN.
MAN can construct exquisite machines, can call in vast powers, can form extensive combinations, in order to bring about results which he has in view. But in all this he is only taking advantage of laws of nature which already exist; he is applying to his use qualities which matter already possesses. Nor can he by any effort do more. He can establish no new law of nature which is not a result of the existing ones. He can invest matter with no new properties which are not modifications of its present attributes. His greatest advances in skill and power are made when he calls to his aid forces which before existed unemployed, or when he discovers so much of the habits of some of the elements as to be able to bend them to his purpose. He navigates the ocean by the assistance of the winds, which he cannot raise or still: