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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 vola suddenly produced, nor in such vast canic dust, that the eruption of a vol 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 vol- 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 Barsingular appearance when viewed from badoes from a continuance of the faany distance.
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 a-. not 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 :
ANECDOTES OF ANTIQUARIES.
you are not “ bronzed ;" and take length detail the amusing colloquy care you have reasonable proofs, that which took place, upon an after occawhat you publish is authentic. sion, between the venerable and the
Now, in point, Mr Editor, I will real owner of the kettle. Suffice it to tell you a story,--a story well-known, say, he was no Roman,- but a sturdy though, of course, not to nine-tenths Highlander, who would havegiven hard of your readers.
blows to any Roman who dared to inA venerable, learned, and worthy vade his kettle, or any thing else becountry gentleman, who, had he been longing to him. In a word, then, his in life, would have found a pleasure story was this ;-that his wife “Shanin contributing to your "Repertory," et” had, twelve months ago, bought happened, in the course of a forenoon this identical kettle in the town of walk, to come upon some industrious and in her way home, having indulged people who were engaged in clearing too freely to cure a cholic, mistook her away the extensive moss of In path through the moss, plumped into the course of their operations, one of what is called a peat-bog, and was them met with a substance which re- glad to quit her kettle and save hersisted his spade. The spade was self; that Duncan's description of the thrown aside, and the pick-axe grasped size, shape, &c. of the kettle, and to “ split in flinders" this resisting Janet's, exactly agreed ; and that there substance. Softly, my friend,” said was no doubt but it was their “ nown" the antiquary; “ continue with your kettle. “. If your honour will only spade, and trench round; perhaps gie me back the kettle, I'll hing it in you may raise, entire, a Roman urn. the very middle kaiber o' the pothie, -For I have always been of opinion,” to be a warning to Shanet to get trunk said he to himself, “ that this was no more." “ That is impossible Donthe line of march of the Romans.” ald," said the venerable ; “ but there The illiterate peasant knew as much is as much money for you as will buy about an urn,” as, mayhap, he did two such kettles; and in order to corabout " Roman.” But his respect for rect Janet's colics, there is, beside, a the “ venerable" was too great not to copy of Macniel's History of Will and obey his orders. Well, then, he Jean, which you may cause your son, trenched, till at last it made its ap- Peter, read to his mother again and pearance. “A Roman camp-kettle," again, and you yourself will not be with enthusiastic pleasure, said the the worse for listening to the moral antiquary to himself. “ Carry it to the tale.” Donald accepted of the boon, HOUSE, "Duncan, and I shall amply and, having repeatedly said “Got pless reward you."
He did so, and was and thank your honour,” withdrew. amply rewarded, befitting so inestima- Now, Mr Editor, this is not a ble a treasure. For in all his actings « bronze”-no story of fancy ;-some he dealt justly,-succoured the needy of your readers will at once recognize - was a repressor of vice--a promoter it, and will blame me for telling it só of industrious virtue. Such was our clumsily. venerable antiquary.
Well-I have just another story to It was placed on a table in his study, tell you, by way of introduction to He viewed it with admiration and de- our future acquaintance, and then, for light,-it confirmed him in his opin- the present, I have done. ion,-its goblet form,-its moveable A select knot of antiquaries set out semi-circular handle ;-—all conspired. to explore classic ground. “ Unquestionably," said he, the here!" exclaimed one." Now we Romans must have made this their have it-look here! look at this line of march, and not that, as some stone ; perfectly distinct and plain ! ignorant writers have asserted. mark the letters! R. I. Las clear
Pursuing these ideas, it has been as day, although our researches may insinuated that he wrote a learned dis- sometimes be covered in obscurity. sertation about this kettle, preparatory Quite plain and intelligible-R. I. L. to its being presented elsewhere. It Thus far, and no farther," he exultingis further said, that it was presented ly exclaimed; " Romani Imperii Liand received with equal veneration mes!” Theantiquaries gathered around, and thanks.
and were struck with wonder : “ We However, to make “ a long tale shall,” said one of them, “ find, to a short, ” Mr Editor, I shall not at full certainty, an urn, containing the bones Vol. I.
CHEMICAL PROCESS OF COMBUSTION.
of some valorous Roman general.” to press, furnish you with some very Let us to work, said they, with one curious matter connected with the anconcurring voice, and with their mat- cient manners and history of our countocks they set furiously to the busi- try; and I think, that out of the great
Before they had proceeded far, materials I am possessed of, the article their attention was attracted by the will be upon “ Border Bonds of Manhallooing and bellowing of a sturdy rent.”—I am, &c.
STRILA. peasant, who was hastening towards Edinburgh, 23d April 1817. the spot. When he had approached them, and stopping till he had gathered wind, he exclaimed, Hoot, hoot, lads! what's that you're about? mind It appears, from the notices inserted what the Bible says,-Cursed be he in the scientific journals, that the atwho removes a landmark.”—“Peace, tention of Sir Humphry Davy is at clown," said the junior antiquary,- present particularly directed to the
you are ignorant of the matter ; R. I. consideration of the chemical process L. that is, Romani Imperii Limes.” of combustion ; and though we do not
Hoot, toot, lads !" said the country, consider ourselves entitled to suppose man, I ken Latin as weel as you do that all our readers can possess that yoursel-Do ye think I was na bred minute acquaintance with this subject, wi' Mr Doig, at Falklan school, wha which might justify us in presenting could hae learned the very kaes that it to them in considerable detail, we biggit in the auld palace to speak yet think, that on so very interesting a Latin, as my auld granny said, gin topic it is possible to convey such genthey had only leeted till him. And eral information as may be sufficientyou say, too, I am ignorant o' the mat- ly understood by every description of ter. But faith, birky, let me tell you, readers. No phenomenon, it is eviI should ken mair o' the matter than dent, presents a subject of more intera you,--for was na I present whan auld esting speculation to a mind of just Rab Roughcast, the mason, hewed and philosophical taste. The instantane pat in that very stane, in my gutcher ous transition from a state of darkness Robin Rantletree's time. Romani to that of clear and useful illumination, Imperii Limes, wi' a ban to ye ! I be which is produced by the presence of lieve ye are nae better than a band o' a lighted taper--the beautiful form tinklers, wha wad claim Rab Innes' which the flame itself is disposed to Lands as the property of ony Roman. assume the varied tints which charBut there's auld Rab Innes himsel', acterize this appearance from the mild poor feckless body, coming-we're no blue of its base to the white or orange owre thrang neebours, yet I wadna of its waving summit-and the unfaillike to see him wranged for a' that. ing steadiness with which it maintains But I’se gae my ways, and gif he lets its place, so long as the materials of you remove the landmark, I say again, its nourishment are afforded, present accursed be he wha does sae.”' an assemblage of striking appearances,
This onset gave the antiquaries no which, but for the inattention induced stomach to encounter Rab Innes, and by its almost-habitual presence, is betthey, precipitately, took a direction ter fitted, perhaps, to awaken the inwhich separated them equally from terest of a thinking mind than any Rab Innes and young Rantletrees, other phenomenon of daily occurrence. leaving the R. I. L. in quiet posses. It is a fact, however, that the resion of the field.
searches and theories of modern che. Now, Mr Editor, you must not sup- mistry have as yet been able to adpose that I intend to throw any dis- vance but a very
towards a credit upon your Antiquarian Reper- satisfactory explanation of these aptory. Quite the reverse. All that I pearances.--The most obvious suppomean to deduce from what I have said sition unquestionably is, that the light is, a caution to you against being taken and heat which are essential to the phein by a gudewife's “ kail pat” for a nomenon, are derived from the burning “Roman camp-kettle," or by the land- body itself—and this, accordingly, it mark betwixt two decent cock lairds is universally known, was the opinion for a Romani Imperii Limes.
entertained by the followers of Stahl, In proof of my sincerity, I shall, whose doctrines exercised an unlimited D. V., before your June Number goes influence before the introduction of
the present views, over the philoso- men, accordingly, were in this state, phers and chemists of modern Europe. it was opportunely discovered, that According to this philosopher, then, when a burning body is introduced incombustion was merely the evolution to a jar of common air, the mouth of from the burning body, when placed the jar being at the same time invertin circumstances adapted to this effect, ed over water, the oxygenous portion of a peculiarly subtile and active prin- of the air is altogether consumed, and ciple, to which, from the ordinary ap- the burning body is found to have acpearance which its evolution assumes, quired an additional weight, precisely he gave the name of Phlogiston- light corresponding with that of the oxygen and heat being those properties of this which had disappeared. From this body by which it adapts itself to the discovery it was immediately concludobservation of our powers of percep- ed, that combustion is in fact nothing tion. This theory, we have said, from else than the combination of oxygen the high reputation which its author with the combustible body—that the had obtained, was long unanimously light and heat are the consequences of adopted by philosophers--and being this combination, being necessarily in perfect agreement with the most given out by the combining oxygennatural and obvious judgment of man- and that the whole process of comkind, scarcely a suspicion was allowed bustion is explained, when it is state to intervene, that there could be any ed to be the consequence of the sething imperfect or inaccurate in the paration of oxygen,-first, from the theory. The progress of philosophical other constituent of the air, and next, opinion upon this subject, however, from the light and heat which it conpresents, we think, a very instructive tained before it began to experience instance of a disposition which seems this separation,-and also, of the comuniversally characteristic of mankind, bination of this gas with the body that, we mean, of employing any fa- whose combustion was actually obvourite principle to account for every served. A few of the more intelligent appearance which presents itself, how- and cautious of the learned might still ever little warranted such an appli- entertain a very invincible opinion, cation may be by the circumstances that the phenomenon in question had most characteristic of the phenomenon not really been accounted for—but the in question. It is accordingly very great multitude of the studious, who generally known, that about the latter seldom condescend to a very careful part of the last century, and while the examination of any particular subject, doctrines of Stahl were in all their received the doctrine as impregnably vigour, the existence and properties of established—while, in the public deoxygen were discovered, and immedi- monstrations of professed teachers, the ately excited the utmost attention in difficulties that remained were either all who were devoted to philosophical entirely unnoticed, or were hastily pursuits. The discovery was, in re- concealed from the view of the curious, ality, both beautiful and instructive by ambiguous language, or unsatisface in a very uncommon degree. The tory conjecture. increased illumination communicated From the application of this stateby this gas to any ignited body which ment, however, we conceive ourselves the operator immersed in it—the pure bound to exempt all the more enlight and apparently ethereal nature of the ened and illustrious chemists. Sir gas itself-the very energetic proper- Humphry Davy, we believe, in his ties it was found to possess—and the public lectures, always expressed himvast variety of bodies into whose come self upon this subject with much beposition it was discovered to enter- coming freedom of opinion-and Dr all contributed to point out this sub- Thomson has repeatedly stated, in stance as one of the most important his excellent system, that he still instruments in the economy of nature, considered the explanation of the pheand insensibly produced a very gene
nomena of combustion as in a very ral disposition to receive its operation imperfect state. The opinion of this as a complete account of any former latter philosopher, indeed, if we are unexplained phenomena, with whose not much mistaken, has always coinexistence and properties it might have cided exactly with that which we are any connexion. While the minds of anxious at present to submit to the