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zeal, that Ducange thinks Constanti- formed, by order of the French govern. nople contained at one time thirty-five ment, about the year 1788, in which a different charitable institutions of this committee of medical persons and arnature. Those who travelled to the chitects, gave their united opinions as holy land were there received gratis to the general rules which ought to be into commodious hotels, and from these observed in all buildings of this nathe caravansaries of the East have taken ture. Their principal remarks are these their origin-buildings which a few -that all the wards should be sepacenturies ago attracted so much admi- rate that a free communication, by ration from Europeans, accustomed to means of covered galleries, should be the hostelleries of their own countries, kept up between all parts of the house at that time at once dear and filthy. -so large as to admit of the utmost The Emperor Julian attributed in a purity of air, and to be serviceable, as great measure to these charitable insti- promenades, for the convalescents. tutions the rapid progress of Christian The hospitals of this city, and of ity, and had it in view to attempt the Glasgow, have been long regarded with re-establishment of Paganism by simi- much admiration by all visitors; and lar means. “We pay not sufficient at- the Lunatic asylum, lately erected in tention (says he in a letter to Arsaces, the latter city, is perhaps the most sovereign pontiff of Galatia) to those noble monument of the professional means which have most contributed to talents of the late Mr Stark.* Q. the extension of the Christian super Edinburgh, March 1817. stition—I mean kindness to strangers, and attention to the burial of the poor. Erect forthwith, in all your cities, hos

SITTING BELOW THE SALT." pitals for the reception of strangers,

MR EDITOR, not only those of your own faith, but all indifferently; and if they stand in In your last Number I read a short need of money, let them bé supplied paper, entitled, “ On sitting below the by the imperial officers.”

Salt,” in which the author gives seIn the Byzantine historians, and in veral quotations to prove thať the anthe ancient charters, these hospitals cient custom mentioned in the “ Black receive different names, as Nosoco- Dwarf,” and “ Old Mortality,” of mium, retreat for the sick-Xenodo- placing the guests above or below the chium, Xenon, retreat for strangers salt, according to their respective digPtochium, Ptochodochium, Ptochotro. nities, was not a mere fabrication of

the writer's brain. In common with phium, hospital for the poor and mendicants-Brephotrophium, asylum for your correspondent, I have heard men indigent children ---Orphanotrophium, of information, and even of antiquarian orphan hospital-Gerocomium, hospi- research, express their doubts as to tal for old men -Pandochæum, gratui

the existence of such a custom during tous hotel or caravansary-Morotro- any period of our history. phium, hospital for idiots.

Being an ardent admirer of the two In the very interesting work of works which have recently called our Durand, entitled, “ Parallele des Edie attention to this fashion fices de tout genre,

we find a com

cestors, and as it is in these works parative view of the plans of a great ables' me to judge, that such a prac

alone, in as far as my information enmany different hospitals of various kinds, such as those of Milan, Geneva, tice has been alluded to in modern Plymouth, St Louis at Paris,

Langres, times, I feel anxious to contribute tothe Incurables at Paris, the Lazaretto wards the exculpation of their myste

rious author, from the charge of for persons afflicted with the plague at Milan, &c.—The great hospital at mingling the spirit of fiction with the Milan, on account of its vast dimene voice of truth. sions, and the form of a cross in which

In addition, therefore, to the proofs it is built, and also on account of the which have been adduced in your first numerous galleries which every where Number, I beg leave to call your atsurround the building, was long look

tention to the following extracts, which ed upon as the best model of hospital have escaped the notice of J. M.; and architecture. The architects of the which, besides shewing the universalidifferent hospitals in Paris, as well as

* The reader may find much information those of this country, have all taken upon this interesting subject, in Beckmann's useful hints from it. A report was History of Inventions, vol. 4.

our an



ty of the practice, are somewhat curió Revels, by Ben Jonson, I find the folous in themselves, and worthy the lowing passage :perusal of your readers.

Merc. He will censure or disI find the distinction of seats, in re course of any thing, but as absurdly lation to the position of the salt-vat, as you would wish.-His fashion is, familiarly known to English writers as not to take knowledge of him that is far back as 1597, at which time were beneath him in clothes.--He never published the earlier works of Joseph drinks below the salt." -Act II. Scene Hall, successively bishop of Exeter III. and Norwich, and one of our first legi And in the “ Unnatural Combat of timate satirists. As Hall's satires have Massinger, the same custom is alluded never been printed in a commodious to. form, they may not have fallen into “ Stew. My Lord much wonders, the hands of the generality of your

That you that are a courtier as a soldier, readers, and as the one which contains

In all things else, and every day can vary the illusion to the custom in question Your actions and discourse, continue conis short, and affords a good example To this one suit. of that writer's style, I shall insert it Belg. To one ! 'tis well I have one at full length.

Unpawn'd in these days; every cast com“A gentle Squire would gladly entertaine

mander Into his house some trencher-chaplaine ;

Is not blest with the fortune, I assure you. Some willing man that might instruct his But why the question ? does this offend

him ? And that would stand to good conditions. Stew. Not much, but he believes it is the First, that he lie upon the

truckle-bed, Whiles his young maister lieth o'er his head. You ne'er presume to sit above the salt.Second, that he do, on no default,

Act III. Scene I. Ever presume to sit above the salt.

“ It argues little (says Gifford on Third, that he never change his trencher the above passage) for the delicacy of twice.

our ancestors, that they should admit Fourth, that he use all common courtesies ; Sit beare at meales, and one half rise and but in truth they seem to have placed

of such distinctions at their board ; wait. Last, that he never his young master beat,

their guests below the salt, for no betBut he must ask his mother to define,

ter purpose than that of mortifying How many jerkes she would his breech them.' should line.

That this custom was not limited All these observed, he could contented be to our own island, but was familiar To give five markes and winter liverie." at least in France, is evinced by the

Satire VI. B. 2d.

following passage from Perat, who In an entertaining old book, by flourished about the middle of the sixNixon, entitled, Strange Foot-Post, teenth century. In speaking of the with a packet full of strange petitions, manners suitable to men of noble birth, London 1613, 4to, the author, speak- in regard to the different kinds of ridiing of the miseries of a poor scholar, cule and pleasantry, he says of one makes the following observations : species, “ Neque ejusmodi dicacitates

Now, as for his fare, it is lightly nobilitatem honestant: quamvis enim at the cheapest table, but he must sit clientium caterva, amicorum humiliunder the salt, that is an axiome in ores, totaque omnino infra salinum stisuch places :-then having drawne his pata cohors, scurrantem dominum, et knife leisurably, unfolded his napkin (ut ait Flaccus,) imi Derisorem lecti, mannerly, after twice or thrice wiping cachinnationibus suis insulsis adulari his beard, if he have it, he may reach soleant; ii. tamen,” &c.-De Inst, the bread on his knife's point, and Nob. p. 36. fall to his porrige, and between every The foregoing quotations, however sponefull take as much deliberation as curious in themselves, may, I fear, in a capon craming, lest he be out of his regard to the subject which they are porrige before they have buried part intended to illustrate, have appeared of their first course in their bellies.' redundant or unnecessary to some of (F. 3.)

your readers, particularly after the In the works of our early dramatists satisfactory instances brought forward there are not unfrequent allusions of by J. M. of the prevalence of the a similar nature.

same custom. Thus, in the play called Cynthia's On a general view, it would form a





curious subject of research, and might bining, in their persons, the different throw considerable light on the man characters of both parties? Or, 2dly, ners and institutions of our ancestors, Did these opposite extremes unite in to investigate thoroughly the history the person of an individual on either of this singular fashion, and to mark side of the table, placed immediately the different changes which an indi- in front of the salt-vat? Or, 3dly, Was vidual of talent and enterprise was al- there no such“ union of extremest lowed to make in taking up his posi- things” permitted, but a vacant space tion at table, according to the increase or gap opposite the salt-vat on both of his wealth and consequent utilitysides, leaving a blank in the fair chain and the effects of such changes on his of gradation, similar to that which has general habits, and on the behaviour been caused in the scale of nature's of those who were formerly his com works by the extinction of the mighty panions in obscurity.

Mastodon, which formerly inhabited The passages quoted by J. M. from the salt-licks of North America ? that most curious work, the Memorie Hoping that the preceding quotaof the Somervilles, clearly demonstrate tions, observations, and queries, may the wide distinction of rank that existo meet with a favourable reception, if ed in this country at comparatively a not on their own account, at least from recent period, between noble and igno- the chance of their exciting the attenble tenures-between the Goodman, tion of others more able to communiRentaller or Yeoman, and the Laird or cate information on such curious to

Baron. It would be an interesting pics, I remain, respectfully, your obeinquiry, to trace the circumstances dient servant,

P. F. which contributed to break down the Edinburgh, 1st May, 1817. jealous barriers of feudal honours, and to point out the period and manner in which the nature

of the holding came to be at last almost overlooked in aug.

[The following excellent letter, containmenting or disparaging gentility. ing an account of the fall of volcanic dust

On a more minute investigation, it in Barbadoes, has been communicated to would be equally curious to examine us by a friend.] specific distinctions which existed

SIR, between the two men who were placed In compliance with your request, I together, the one above and the other have drawn up a detail of the circuma below the salt-vat, and to study that stances (as far as I was an eye-witness) beautiful combination of character, by of the fall of volcanic dust in the island which they formed the links in the of Barbadoes, which occurred on May social chain which united the nobility 1st, 1812, and which was produced of one end of the table, with the hum- by an eruption of the volcano in the ble tenants of the other,---leading by neighbouring island of St Vincent, an almost imperceptible transition from lying to leeward, or to the westward the meanest appendage of a feudal of Barbadoes. feast, to the mailed retainer and the I was at that time resident on the plumed baron.

north-east coast of the island of BarBut I am unwilling to anticipate the badoes, or in what is termed the windobservations of your correspondent, ward part of that island, about eleven who will, I trust, make good his pro- miles from the principal town. On mise, of favouring the public with a the shore of this district, it may

be continuation of his remarks.

proper to remark, there is almost conIn the meantime, to exercise the stantly a heavy surf rolling, produced learning and ingenuity of your anti- by the trade-wind impelling the sea quarian friends, I beg leave to propose on a coast completely iron-bound by the following queries, the solution of rocks and rocky shoals. which will tend greatly to facilitate the During the night preceding May labours of future inquirers.

1st, I was awakened by what I took 1st, Were the two great classes of to be signal-guns of distress from some society assembled at the same table, ships wrecked at no great distance ; connected by means of two individuals in a very short time the explosions on each side, seated together, the one became so frequent, as to induce me as it were placed opposite to the upper rather to believe that they proceeded or noble half of the salt-vat, the other from two vessels engaging each other. to the lower or ignoble half, and come In the town, these explosions, as I

understood afterwards, were regarded At this time, a perfect calm, and as the discharges of cannon ; so much the most remarkable stillness, uninso, that the garrison of St Ann's castle terrupted by the usual noise of the was kept under arms for the remainder surf of the sea, was observable, and of the night.

was rendered more evident by the The explosions having ceased, no crash of the limbs of the trees of a thing occurred to excite my attention very large wood which was adjacent during the remainder of the night; to the house, and which formed an but when I arose, on the light of morn- awful contrast to the extreme stillness ing beginning very faintly to appear, I of the atmosphere. On holding a was struck with surprise on approach- lantern to some of the trees, I found ing the window, by seeing what I took that the limbs of the more flexible to be a very dense black cloud threat ones were bent almost to the ground ening rain, as a thunder storm was not by the weight of the dust which adto be expected at that period of the year: hered to them. The fall of dust dur. the horizon, along the edge of the sea, ing the period of darkness was inceswas clearly defined by the morning sant, but at some times it was harder light; but, immediately above it, the and thicker than at others. It ceased black cloud seemed to fringe the sur between twelve and one o'clock. I face of the sea, and to cover the whole first began to discover the sashes of atmosphere. At this time I had not the windows, and the outlines of the observed


fall of dust ; but I was trees, soon after twelve ; and at one I afterwards informed by my servants, could plainly distinguish the lurid red that particles of dust had been falling clouds of a fiery aspect which hung low, for the greater part of the night, though and swept past the island ; it was at in small quantity! On returning to this time that I was first struck by the the other part of the room, and fixing noise of a tremendous surf, and on my eyes steadily on the window, I looking to the sea I evidently saw it was greatly astonished by the gradual lashing the shore, having, as it would disappearance of the faint light which appear, risen to its utmost height and had been visible before, and in a few fury from a state of perfect quiescence minutes afterwards, by finding that I in the shortest possible space of time; had totally lost sight of the sash of as during the period of darkness not the window-an occurrence which I the slightest murmur of the sea could well knew never takes place in the be heard. most stormy or in the darkest night of The aspect of the country around the West Indies. I groped my way was now become wintry and dreary; to the window, and touched the glass the sugar canes were level with the without seeing it; and on opening the earth; the smaller plants were laid sash, I first perceived that particles prostrate:' and the limbs of the trees of dust were flying about; but the were either broken off or bent downdarkness was so profound, that I could wards, as the wood was flexible or not discover the outline of the neigh- brittle,-and the whole surface of the bouring hills, the trees around the soil was covered with grayish ashes to house, or, in short, any one object. the depth of an inch. I soon after quitted the house, and The next morning I rode to the found that the earth was covered with beach, and could easily perceive, by

that it fell n a constant thick the mark which the sea had left on shower, occasionally with considerable the dust lying on the green sward, force; and that the windows, on the that it had risen to a height which windward side of the house, were in- had covered the whole of the sands, crusted with it: but the darkness was and reached the adjacent shrubs and so great, that a white handkerchief grass. The perpendicular height which, held close to the face could not be to have effected this, it must have seen, and it was impos sible for me to risen, I then measured, and I perfecte walk in the garden wit hout the risk ly recollect that it was very great; as, of striking against the trees or other however, I have left the memoranda, large objects. I then first remarked" (which I penned at the time) of all a smell of some burnt matter, and I the circumstances of this event in Barfancied I saw, or I really saw, on look- badoes, I will not venture to state from ing upwards attentively, a lur id red memory that measurement. appearance of the cloud s, over head, If regard be had to the relative si. through the profound darkness. tuation of the island of Barbadoes, it


is evidently a most singular circum- growing crops of corn, were neither so stance attendant on the fall of vol- suddenly produced, nor in such vast canic dust, that the eruption of a vole numbers, as those which fed on the cano taking place in the island of St foliage of the potato ; but successive Vincent, twenty leagues to leeward of generations of them continued to folBarbadoes, should have projected that low each other, so that scarcely any immense mass of heavy matter to a corn was reaped, and the island of height above the influence of the north- Barbadoes suffered a sort of famine for eastern trade-wind, so that it should many months. have been carried in a contrary direc How far the production of these cation to it, and then have been preci- terpillars was connected with the prepitated by its gravity on the island of sence of the volcanic dust, may be a Barbadoes and beyond it; for in this question difficult of solution ; but it way only can we account for the vole may not be irrelevant to mention, that canic dust having made its way seem the dust had the property, from the ingly against the trade-wind, which, large quantity of iron it contained, of at that period of the year especially, is absorbing and retaining the solar heat, steady and uniform.

so as to be painfully hot to the touch: It is also worthy of remark, that the this heated state was probably favourexplosions of the volcano should have able to the evolution of larvæ. been heard at the distance of twenty As soon as the dust was mixed with leagues, though the wind was against the soil, or was washed from it, so as the progress of the sound.

to lie in less abundance on the surface, A long period of drought succeeded the caterpillars gradually disappeared. to the fall of dust, and during that It may not be unworthy of mention, period the columns of the lighter parts that the destruction of the foliage of of the dust, which were raised and the potatoes by the caterpillars did not driven by the wind, proved a most un in any degree diminish the crop: on pleasant annoyance to those who were the contrary, the return was unusually exposed to them, and exhibited a very abundant, and ultimately saved Bara singular appearance when viewed from badoes from a continuance of the fa

mine which the loss of the crops of I may now notice an occurrence corn exposed it to. From this circumwhich took place subsequently to the stance I am induced to infer, that the fall of dust, and which I am inclined dust, though it never seemed to unite to believe was in some degree connect- intimately with the soil, had a fered with that event.

tilizing property. The chemical anaAs soon as the crop of corn (zea lysis of this dust is already before the maize and holcus sorsum), and of po- public.--I have the honour to be, sir, tatoes, (sweet potato, or 'convolvulus &c. batatas, of the West Indies) the planting of which had been long retarded by the preceding drought, and took place shortly after the fall of the dust, were established, swarms of cater MR EDITOR, pillars, of a variety of species, sudden- I HAVE just seen the first Number of ly made their appearance, and

destroy- your Magazine on a table in the study ed the growing corn and the foliage of of a much respected friend of mine, the potatoes. The sudden production whose talents have gained for him a of these animals, and their immense distinguished rank among the learned quantities, scarcely can be conceived. and elegant writers of Caledonia. It will be sufficient to mention, that, I observe you announce, that a por in one instance, in a field of potatoes, tion of the publication is to be set anot a single caterpillar was observable part as an Antiquarian Repertory.” early in the morning, and before noon As oft as you can procure well-auof the same day, they were discovered thenticated articles, connected with in such abundance as to require to be antiquity, whether they are deemed of swept up and carried off in the earthen importance in the estimation of some vessels used in the sugar manufactory of your readers, or unprofitable in that, to contain molasses, and which hold of others, you will do well to publish about five gallons each. The cater- them, for®“ even out of the chaff a pillars, however, which destroyed the pottage is made.” But beware that

any distance.


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