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be unavailing to fix upon any particular kind of gooseberry as the best, as every year produces new varieties. In the fruit catalogue of the Horticultural Society there are nearly two hundred kinds enumerated, of which about a hundred and fifty are the large Lancashire gooseberries.
" The cultivation of gooseberries forms a pleasing occupation amongst the manufacturers of that part of the kingdom ; and the custom has doubtless a tendency to improve both the health and the morals of the people. Any pursuit which makes men acquainted with the peculiarities of vegetable economy, in however small a degree, has a beneficial effect upon the heart and understanding; and it is certainly better for weavers and nailers to vie with each other in raising the largest gooseberries, than in those games of chance or cruel sports, to which the few leisure hours of the working classes are too often devoted.”
How strangely does the Peach reciprocate kind offices with the Nectarine! It is quite an anomaly.
" The Peach and Nectarine, (amygdalus Persica.) The peach, when growing naturally, is rather under the middle size of trees, with spreading branches, of quick growth, and not long lived. The blossoms come out before the leaves are fully expanded; they are of a gay delicate colour, but with little odour. The fruit is round, with a furrow on one side, and with a delicate downy skin. Sickler considers Persia as the original country of the peach, which in Media is esteemed unwholesome ; but when planted in the alluvial soils of Egypt, becomes pulpy, delicious, and salubrious. The peach also, according to Columella, when first brought from Persia into the Roman empire, possessed deleterious qualities, which Knight concludes to have been from those peaches being only swollen almonds, or imperfect peaches, and which are known to contain the prussic acid, a poisonous substance. The flesh of the almond is at this day considered as poisonous on some parts of the continent. The tree has been cultivated from time immemorial, in most parts of Asia. At what period it was introduced into Greece is uncertain. The Romans seem to have brought it direct from Persia, during the reign of the Emperor Claudius. It is first mentioned by Columella, and afterwards described by Pliny. The peach was introduced into England about the middle of the sixteenth century, where it is always cultivated against walls or under glass. The peach is more grateful to the palate than perhaps any other fruit raised in England, either naturally or by art, with the exception of the luscious, mellow-flavoured pine apple. It surpasses the grape in richness, and is more delicate than the melon.
“Linnæus divides the peach into two varieties, that with downy fruit, or the peach, commonly so called, and that with smooth fruit, as the nectarine. "There are various instances of both fruits growing on the same tree. Thus, trees raised from the stone or seed, have not only borne fruit having one part of the tree the downy coat of the peach, and on another the smooth coat of the nectarine, but they have exhibited varieties even closer than that, for single fruits have been produced with the coat of the peach on the one side, and that of the nectarine on the other.
“ The French consider them as identical, and arrange the peach into VOL. 11. (1841.) no. iv.
four divisions. 1. The free stone peaches, the flesh of whose fruit separates readily from the skin and the stone ; 2. The free stone nectarines, or smooth peaches ; 3. The cling-stone peaches, whose flesh is firm, and adheres both to the skin and the stone; 4. The cling-stone smooth peaches. The double blossomed peach is one of the most ornamental of spring flowering trees. It is about three weeks later of blossoming than the common peach.
“In the warmer parts of Asia the peach is very generally cultivated, and in many it grows abundantly without culture.
“On some parts of the American continent also, the peach grows readily, and in great plenty. Captain Head, in his Rough Notes, mentions the beauty and productiveness of the peach trees which are scattered over the corn fields in the neighbourhood of Mendoza, on the east side of the Andes; and the same traveller notices dried peaches as an article of food in the mountainous parts, to which they must of course be carried from the plains.
“In many parts of the United States, peach trees grow in extensive plantations. They continue without culture; and the fruit is of little value, except in the distillation of peach brandy, and the fattening of hogs. The following account of the peach orchards in the United States, and of a variety of peach which the describer obtained from that country, was communicated to the Horticultural Society in 1815, by Mr. John Braddick, of Thames Ditton :
"Some years ago, when travelling through Maryland, Virginia, and the neighbouring provinces of the United States of America, I had an opportunity of observing the mode in which the peach trees of those provinces were cultivated, which was invariably from the stone of the peach, the plant being never budded, but always remaining in a state of nature. In the middle and southern provinces of the United States, it is no uncommon circumstance for a planter to possess a sufficient number of peach trees to produce him, after fermenting and distilling the pulp, from fifty to one hundred gallons of peach brandy; the manufacturing of this liquor, and the feeding of hogs, being the principal uses to which the peach is applied in those countries. A peach orchard usually contains a thousand or more standard trees. The tree being raised in the manner I have detailed, it is easy to conceive that the fruit growing on them must be an endless variety, scarcely two trees producing exactly alike; and although by far the greater number of trees, in any of these orchards, will always be found to produce fruit below mediocrity in point of flavour, yet a judicious observer will never fail, among so great a number, to pick out a few trees, the race of which may be considered worthy of preserving.
“The peach is said to have been first cultivated in England about the middle of the sixteenth century. Gerard describes several varieties of peach as growing in his garden. Tusser mentions it among his list of fruits in 1557.”
Art. XII.-Hints to Teachers in National Schools. Edited by the
Rev. Henry Hopwood. London: James Burns. This work is a selection from various authors, principally of modern date, on the subject of education. It seems to be intended for the use of teachers in infant schools. The directions as to them are elaborate enough, and certainly leave nothing to be desired in the way of addition. Yet, even with regard to this class of scholars, the directions are vague and indefinite. They may assist the teacher in directing him how to teach, but not what to teach, which is the more important; for it does not signify much how that is taught, which, when learned, is of little or no value.
The minds of the youngest children who are capable of any instruction at all possess the faculty of memory strongly, but that of reasoning very imperfectly. Hence they should be taught, when in that state, such matters or truths as properly belong to the memory only; which if they do not learn then, they would have to learn afterwards when they possess the reasoning faculty, and would be capable of instruction of a higher order, and would find this kind of learning by rote tedious and irksome.
The next stage of youth commences when the reasoning faculty begins to exercise itself. Whatever instruction has not been acquired in the preceding ståge is to be completed now; and with it is to be inculcated that kind of learning which we may call scientific, to distinguish it from learning by rote, or by art. Where rules are founded on reasoning, as in Arithmetic, the reasons should be given with, and as explanatory of, the rules ; for if we give the rules without the reasons, we inculcate a theory without the learner's participation (as a French author judiciously observes); we are still teaching by rote, and are educating youth as if they did not possess the reasoning faculty.
It is a melancholy truth that this is the great and universal fault of our English system of mathematical education, as we have stated more at large in our review of Dr. Gregory's Hints to Teachers in our number for July last. The work before us does nothing to remove this evil, but, on the contrary, tends to the perpetuation of it, by blinding the reader to its existence. The truth is, that the books used in all our schools, public and private, do not afford this information, but studiously withhold it. This important branch of instruction, therefore, depends on the explanation which the teachers may give by word of mouth, and the teachers, themselves, are in general ignorant of it. We select the following passage from our author, as one of the best in the whole work : “ The teacher should depend mainly for his success upon his powers of rendering the instruction he conveys attractive to his pupils ; and he will chiefly be liable to failure in this respect when he deserts the natural method of imparting knowledge, and neglects to assist this method with the lights of
* Lacroix. Essais sur l'enseignement.
constant and varied illustration. Such a method will enable the teacher to rule rather by love than by fear. He will not endeavour to coerce his pupil to remember a general truth which he does not understand ; but by presenting to him, in a plain and familiar manner, certain simple elements, from which the general truth springs, he will enable him to understand and to remember it, at the same moment, by a pleasurable exercise of the mind." (Page 163.) This is, no doubt, a pleasing picture, but it is of what ought to be, not of what is, the case. The real state of things is exactly the contrary. The certain simple elements are uncertain and unexplained ; perhaps unknown to the teachers. What are we to expect from this system of education, when those who manage it are satisfied with it? They have to learn that it is defective and inefficacious, before they will attempt to improve it.
We cannot, therefore, say anything in favour of this work, or of those of which it is a compilation or abridgment, except on the score of good intentions ; but undoubtedly very misguided ; we wish we could add not injurious in their effect, as reconciling the public to a system of education which tends rather to stultify than to enlighten the scholars.
Art. XIII.-A New Decimal System of Money, fc. By Decimus
MASLEN, Esq. London : Smith, Elder, and Co. Why, this will never do, Mr. Decimus Maslen ! you can never overturn by any proposed theory, however perfect, compact, and simple it may appear, the established order, say, if you please, absurd prejudices, of a people. When you talk, for example, of remodelling the months of the year, so as to have ten instead of twelve months, with many other cut and dry improvements, we can only set you down as a well-meaning visionary, who has no right conception of life, of habits, or of the regular irregularity of men's thoughts and ways. Whatever, therefore, may be the beauties, simplicities, and contemplated advantages of your proposed system of arithmetical calculations, and mercantile reckonings, we can only express the opinion that they are impracticable, and that the attempt never will or can be made to remodel them according to your views or recommendations. As well think of forming the English and all languages upon some pleasant and easily understood principles. But enough.
Art. XIV.— The Calcutta Monthly Journal, 8c. London: Ostell. This "Repository of Intelligence throughout the British Dominions in the East, forming an Epitome of the Indian Press,” presents strong claims upon the attention of our readers. Two numbers are before us, and they realize the expectations which the title and description given have raised within us.
Art. 1.—London, Historical and Descriptive, Vol. I. Edited by CHARLES
KNIGHT. London: Knight and Co. ABSTRACTS of, and extracts from, this first volume of Knight's London will afford to our country cousins delightful antiquarianism and gossip, and may tempt several of our readers to put themselves in possession of the pictured metropolis of Great Britain of the world, be it in a political, a commercial, or a religious sense that our observations are taken.
London, indeed, is one of the most ancient cities of Europe. What is more, it has, for six or seven centuries, occupied a prominent part in the History of nations. Doubtless it was a town and a mart of figure during the Roman sway in England. The " London Stone,” and the many roads constructed by the conquerors of the world somewhere about two thousand years ago, which branched from or led to this Babel, all bespeak not only a high antiquity, but a proud pre-eminence. Then think of the country's fortunes and vicissitudes identified with the condition and progress of the “Great Metropolis,” through Saxon, Norman, and modern times! Why, the laws and customs of the city are amongst the most significant and glorious things that mankind have ever framed and abided by; not to speak of the exploits and triumphs of the citizens in the cause of freedom, of general civilisation, and as the most forward in the march of universal philanthropy.
The work, several parts of which are now before us, has adopted a novel method of recording the wonders, and illustrating the character and history of London in all its strange varieties. It does not present a continuous or regular history of any one part or any one time; but in a pleasant and popular manner seeks, by separate and distinct papers, to convey a faithful, a vivid, and also a picturesque idea of characteristic features,-topographical, historical, and chronological,-aided by the resources of graphic art. And yet, as we have intimated, it is neither a topographical, nor a chronological publication, if thereby be meant continuity and connexion of parts, such as a comprehensive survey and history would suggest.
VOL. III. (1841.) NO. II.