Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Super lapidem cadit

Georgius Rose, jun.
Unus Domus Parliamentari,

xvi June 1804.
sine injuria

ipsi
aut lapidi.
O durum Saxum!
O durissimum CAPUT!

THE RIVER MISSOURI. The Missouri presents a grand object of contemplation to the mind. This river which was navigated in 1805 and 1806 by captains Lewis and Clarke from its junction with the Missisippi to its source, runs a course east and south of above 3000 miles. It rises in a very elevated group of mountains situated between north lat. 44° and 45°, and about west long. 112o. The height of these moun. tains is unknown; but as their summits are perpetually covered with snow, we are sure that it at least exceeds 3000 feet. It runs in a northerly direction for nearly three degrees of latitude; then nearly south; afterwards south-east; and lastly, pearly east, over a space occupping nine degrees of latitude and thirteen degrees of longitude. Its size is fully as great above 1000 miles before it joins the Missisippi'as at the junction, yet a great number of large rivers join it in the interval. This shows the great evaporation to which it is subjected. It joins the Missisippi nearly in north latitude 39° west longitude 908 from Greenwich. After this junction it flows for 10° of lat. south, a course including the windings, certainly not so little as 2000 miles; so that the whole course of the Missouri, from its source to the ocean, exceeds 5000 miles. This is a length, of course, that will not easily be paralleled, and almost the whole of this river is navigable. What is still more important, a great part of its banks consist ip fertile plains; and from the observation of Lewis and Clarke, it would appear that a coal country occupies about 1000 miles of these plains. Well may an English philosopher of liberal views, exclaim after making these calculations- What a country is this likely one day to become!

Population of England and Wales from the Conquest to the

Revolution,

Lord Chief Justice Hale and Mr. Gregory King agree in computing the people of England at the arrival of the Normans to have been somewhat more than

In the year 1377 by a poll tax of four pence, im

2,000,000

1,367,239

· posed on every lay person, that being the 51st of

Edward III, it appears that the number of lay persons above 14 years of age were • • • •

Add half for those under that and for omis. sions

. .
For beneficed clergy

. . .
Non-beneficed clergy
For Wales
Cheshire
Durham

683,619 15,229 13,932 196,560 51,411 25,213

2,353,203

1,172,000

5,860,000

Whole population of England and Wales in 1377

About the year 1577 (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth) according to Sir Walter Raleigh, a review of all men capable of bearing arms was made and found to amount to - - - -

And estimating these at a fifth part of the population, the whole will amount to · · ·

At the Revolution in 1688, there are estimated by Gregory King's Political Observations to have been 1,300,000 inhabited houses; and Dr. Price admits from various enumerations that five and onesixths persons may be assigned to each housetherefore the stationary population was -

G. King adds for the transitory population such as sea-faring people and soldiers

And for vagrants, pedlars, &c.

6,730,000

60,000 15,000

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

The following is a summary of the comparative . statement of the population of Great Britain in the year 1811: ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 17th January 1812.

Males. Females. Total. England 4,555,237 4,944,145 9,499,402 Wales

289,414 317,066 606,480 Scotland

825,377 979,487 1,804,864 Army, Navy, &c. 640,500

- 640,500 12,551,246 Since the revolution the increase of the population of England and Wales (reckoning two thirds only of the navy and army estimate to belong to South Britain) will be 3,627,980; or about one third.

Since the Conquest the increase has been rather more than five-fold.

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

482

FOR THE PORT FOLIO.

INTRODUCTORY LECTURE ON MINERALOGY.

BY THOMAS COOPER, M. D.

We are indebted to our friend, professor Cooper, for a copy of his interesting lecture, introductory to a course, which he proposes to deliver in the university of Pennsylvania, on an important branch of natural history. Theophrastus, among the Greeks, and Pliny, among the Latins, have treated this subject very superfici. ally; Avicenna, in the tenth century, wrote a perspicuous treatise, in which he made the same division of minerals into four classes which is still observed; but he added little to what we had already learned from Pliny. In the sixteenth century, George Agricola, a Saxon, furnished ample historical details respecting the art of mining, and, in a German translation of the new Latin words which he was obliged to coin, in order to express substances, unknown to the ancients, be has left a very valuable vocabulary. In more modern times, the greatest part of Germany, Hungary, and Poland have been described: Norway has been partly travelled through. That indefatigable lover of science, the baron Humboldt, has given a most interesting account of Mexico and great part of South America. Different portions of Italy, Switzerland, and Francé, have also been examined; and a valuable account has been published, by Cuvier and Brogniart, of the structure of the environs of Paris. Much curious and useful information has resulted from the labours of professor Jameson and his pupils, and several facts have been brought to light by colonel Imrie, on the mineralogy of Great Britain. Mr. Cooper does justice to the merits of colonel Gibbs, Mr. M'Clure, and professor Cleaveland, in our own country, and we rejoice that the gentlemen to whom the government of our university is entrusted, have se. cured to us the various learning, the useful knowledge, and the fruiful resources of the present lecturer. The advantages arising from the co-operation of such a mind, in this institution, are incalculable. His loss would be a public injury.

We live upon the surface of a globe of about eight thousand miles in diameter; whose surface alone seems destined to be the babitation of living

and organized beings. We have pierced into that surface about one thousand yards; not quite so deep as the thin yellow rind of an orange, compared to its remaining bulk. Still, trifling as this shallow surface appears to be, it is of more importance to us than all the rest; for it is our all. For what other purposes the unfathomable depths of the earth's diameter have been created by the Divine Being, that Being who created them, alone can know: it is enough for us, that we are permitted to investigate as much of that surface, as is necessary to our existence, or can add to our enjoyments. Satisfied with the portion which Divine Wisdom has assigned to us, let us convert that portion to the purposes it was destined to fill, so far as we are connected with it in the scale of creation.

What then are the substances we trample upon? What are those we dig up? What are their properties? What good use can we make of them? By what appropriate nomenclature can we distinguish them? The answers to these questions, comprising by far the largest portion of really useful knowledge, are furnished by the modern science of mineralogy. It is a modern science: for although the study of mineral substances, be coeval with the days of Democritus of Abdera, of Aristotle, of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, it has been pursued with a prospect of practical utility, only within the last thirty years.

In examining the surface of our globe, and the substances through which we pierce in digging for metals and in considering the appearances that mountains, valleys, and ravines present to our contemplation in their natural state-we find, that there are a series of strata super-imposed one on the other, which, to a certain degree, have the appearance of regularity in their arrangement, and order of succession in the various countries where they have been observed: but with apparent anomalies in this respect, which repeated observations promise hereafter to explain, we find that these strata are more or less extensive that they are usually accompanied in all countries by similar deposits under similar circumstancesthat they contain various substances imbedded in them; sore common, some peculiar to each series of depositions—that certain metals and minerals are found in some strata, and seldom or never in others-that some of them are so situated as to form a dip or an angle with the horizon, of various degrees of obliquity—that others are horizontal, or nearly so that some take their figure conformably to the stratum underneath them—that others affect their own place and situation without reference to the strata above or below them—that certain organic remains of animal and vegetable substances are found in some strata which are not found in others-and in short, that each of the series of strata or depositions have characters peculiar to themselves, which those who are in search of metals, coals, salt, gypsum,

limestone, and other mineral substances that are converted, or convertible to the use of man, should make themselves acquainted with, in order to conduct their search with a reasonable prospect of success. These characters of strata, form the subject of the infant science of geology.

Moreover, as no substance can be made subservient to the use or comfort of the civilized portion of the human race, but in proportion as its properties are investigated and made known, all science consists in searching out and ascertaining the properties of the substances that surround us, in order that we may discover at the same time which of those properties we can call into play, as our wants and necessities may require. The great means of ascertaining the properties of mineral substances in particular, we derive from chemistry; whose importance or rather whose indispensible necessity becomes daily more and more manifest. But we cannot always carry in our pocket, a portable laboratory. We must often wait till we can carry home the substances whose properties we are desirous of investigating, and submit to the tedious, though satisfactory, pro cess of chemical analysis, to remove our doubts and strengthen our CODjectures.

It has been found, that the external physiognomy-the features of a mineral—those characters that the eye, the ear, the smell, the taste, the touch, can ascertain-are, to a certain degree, indeed in a very high degree, connected with the more recondite properties which the chemist alone can discover by the analytical researches of his art: so that, being made acquainted with the external appearances usually assumed by bodies possessed of similar chemical properties, we can predict with some certainty the latter from the former; and convert the science of mineralogy into the short-band of chemistry. Thus, we know by chemical analysis, the composition of the substance called gypsum, or plaster, as it is commonly called in this country: we know that it is a neutral salt, formed by the union in saturating proportions, of the acid of sulphur with the earth called lime: that it is a substance highly useful in building, in stuccowork, in cementing the burrs for millstones, in making casts of statues; and, still more than all the rest, in agriculture, forming at present the cheapest of all stimulating manures, when it can be procured within a reasonable distance of the spot where it is to be employed. No one however, can discover the lime in this mineral, or the sulphuric acid in it, unless by subjecting it to the operations of the chemist. But its chemical component parts once known, they can always be affirmed with certainty of a mineral that has the external characters, the specific gravity, the degree of hardness, tenacity, insolubility, and other marks of this mineral described by the mineralogist, however different in appearance its form may seem, to one unacquainted with the

« ForrigeFortsæt »