Изображения страниц

are thoughts that brenthe, and words that burn," deeds which demand the loftiest strain, and the finest chord. Here, the “bard of Avon” went, and behold the result; the genius of Shakspeare communed with the genius of history, and Lear, Henry VIII., and Richard III. were produced.

But-and if the student be neither statesman, painter, nor poet-if he simply desire the improvement of his mind, the cultivation of his intellectual faculties, what study en so well conduce to both-what will so readily give him a desire for knowledge, and a love for literature, as the study of history? Tiere he tastes, and it gives him a thirst for more; and the youth, who had disposition for mental culture, has often been enticed by its beauties to urge on his course in pursuit of more ; he has found additional interest at every step, new light has dawned on his path, fresh flowers have burst into being at his feet; he has lived in a kindlier, gentler atmosphere; the air has been balm to his lips and fragrance to his soul; instead of being a torment to himself, and an annoyance to others, he has found unspeakable pleasure in his new sequirement, and has been able and willing to impart gratification to those around him. The study of history has led, and will lead, to the study of general literature; and thus, will inforin the mind, soften the heart, and elevate the soul of the stadent.


ATTRACTION. HAVING defined the laws by which motion is governed, we proceed to consider some of the causes capable of producing it, and to describe those forces which variously tend to effect movement or sustain inertia. Of these forces, attraction is second to none, as regards the importance of its all-prevailing influence. We may trace its operations, in uniting atoms into masses, masses into worlds, worlds into systems, until we are lost in the boundless immensity of the universe.

Attraction is that principle by which bodies are mutually impelled and maintained together. It is classified according to the causes producing it, and the circumstances attending its operation; being, therefore divided into the attraction of gravitation, molecular attraction, comprehending cohesive, adhesive, and chemical attraction, and the attractions of electricity and magnetism, which latter will be treated of under the articles electricity and magnetism.

Gravity, or the attraction of gravitation, is that power by which bodies, at sensible distances, tend towards each other. The falling of bodies, and the resistance we experience in moving them from the earth, which is commonly called weight, are illustrations of this power; in fact, the weight of a body is an expression of its gravity. By the attraction of gravitation, all substances tend towards the earth; and the apparent exceptions of smoke, steam, &c., are found in vacuo to descend as completely as a piece of metal. That the earth has this power is at once evident; but that all bodies possess a similar attraction is not so clear: and to explain why the effects of gravity, in other bodies, are so small, and, indeed, in many instances, totally imperceptible, we must consider the great law of gravitation, that “gravity is as the quantity of matter;" from which it will be evident, that, if the

quantity of matter which a body contains be minute, its power of attraction will be proportionately small, and, consequently, overpowered by the vast superiority of the earth's attraction. Two balls, at a small distance apart, let fall from a height at the same instant, have a tendency to approach each other; but, owing to the much greater attraction by which they are brought to the earth, their tendency to each other is totally imperceptible. If, however, they could be so placed as to be out of the sphere of any attraction but their own, they would then come together; and, if each of the balls contained an equal quantity of matter, they would meet midway between the startingpoint of each: if unequal, they would meet as much nearer the startingpoint of the larger, as it contained more matter than the other. The effect of the gravitation of terrestrial bodies, where the quantity of matter they contain is considerable, is frequently appreciable; mountains, for example, are found sensibly to affect bodies freely suspended in their vicinity.

But the power of gravity which one body exerts towards another differs with the distance between them. This difference is fixed and uniform ; the power decreasing as the square of the distance increases. For instance : suppose a body, A, exerting a power of gravitation equal to 1, upon another body, C, placed at a certain distance from it; if C be removed to twice the distance from A, then the power of A to attract it will be reduced to 1, for the increase of distance-twice or two, being squared, gives 4, which is the ratio in which the power 1 must be decreased, that is, 1 = 4, ort But, in calculating the influence of the earth's gravity, we shall become involved in absurdities, unless care be paid to one point. Thus, for example, we might reason that, because any thing weighed an ounce at three feet from the earth, at six it would weigh but a quarter, which is obviously erroneous : we must however remember that, the power of the earth's attraction residing in the centre, we are 4,000 miles from the seat of attraction; and, therefore, a body would not lose a quarter of its weight, unless removed another 4,000 miles, that is, above the earth's surface.

As the attraction of gravity exists between masses of matter, at sensible distances from each other, so the molecular attraction exerts its influence, between the particles of which the mass is composed at insensible distances. Of this there are three kinds: first, cohesive, or that which maintains similar particles together. By this power all homogeneous masses are preserved firm and solid. It is this power which causes the resistance we meet with in breaking bodies : in some, as in glass, being overcome with facility; in others, as iron, not without great difficulty. The quantity of matter also greatly affects the strength or weakness of the resistance-a poker being much more difficult to break than a wire. The adhesive attraction is similar to cohesive, only that it exists between dissimilar particles; as, for example, gum, paste, and glue with card, wood, &c. It is by this attraction that, when we dip our hands in various fluids, part adheres to our skin ; and to this also may be referred the property which very fine tubes, sponge, and other porous substances have of raising water, called capillary attraction, from capillaa hair. The last, and most complicated of all we have named, is chemical attraction; but as we shall have to describe it more fully when treating of chemistry, we shall merely add, that it is a force acting between the particles of different substances, and is characterized by producing a change of properties.


(Continued from page 103.) Few perhaps would pretend entirely to exculpate the erring sons of Genins on account of their wildest excesses; but it is to be feared that the unhealthy cravings which lead directly to them are indirectly fostered by the smile of complacency, with which lesser irregularities are viewed by the public eye. How often, for instance, do we hear a man, noticeable for nothing but his scarcely pardonable oddities and intolerable ill-manners, approvingly spoken of as an "original character.” To be sure he says and does many things that no one else could, except indeed it were at the cost of his fair reputation ; but then we are told that it is his wayand everybody makes way for him accordingly. Though, if we enquire a little further, we shall probably find that he in the first instance made the said way for himself, without being at the pains to ascertain its soundness, or to satisfy himself whether it was the nearest distance between the two points of morality and usefulness ;-without, in short, seeing that his way was the best. But surely such a use of the term is a desecration of language, originality and eccentricity having nothing in common. The latter is indeed only another name for inconsistency; but originality is always consistent, both with nature and with itself. Eccentricity is for ever changing its nature with the caprice of the individual, and the protean shapes which an infinite variety of circumstances causes it to assume: originality is always essentially the same, though the images which it reflects on surrounding objects may vary in appearance, according to the density or transparency of the medium through which they are transmitted, and the different degrees of light or shade in which they are viewed, or exhibited. The one is the result of the unbridled operation of some leading propensity, to the undue subjection of the other faculties, and of course may and often will in different persons, or even in the same person at different times, consist in the most opposite extremes of folly and extravagance—always, however, to the impoverishment of the mental resources, and the injury of character in the eyes of the world. The other proceeds from the harmonious exercise of the powers of a well-disciplined mind, enriched with various knowledge, and rendered capable by education of producing the greatest amount of effort of which such a nature is susceptible. The one is like a deadened firebrand, as unsightly as it is unprofitable, and which, if you attempt to elicit one spark of lustre, may be extinguished at a breath, or may, in rekindling, burn your fingers, and cause you to regret your own imprudence in meddling with such an edged-tool of mischief. The other is like the sun - the brightest constellation in the universe of mind-the improver of all that is beautiful, and the beautifier of all that is useful, in the treasury of the soul. And being itself the fount of beauty and grandeur-of light and energy-it not only awakens uniformly and invariably sentiments of admiration in others; but contributes by its effects on the mind of its possessor to the performance of his several functions and duties with increased facility, certainty, and effect. Hence, while eccentricity, as a tempting though dangerous mark of distinctiona splendidum vitium-ought to be constantly and studiously avoided ; originality, considered as the type of self-reliance—which is the first and chief element of excellence and success-originality, as the sure and universally attainable reward of faithfulness to the trust committed to us in our natural talents ought to be as perseveringly studied and pursued.



THERE are many of the Roman series of coins deserving of particular mention. Of these, we may first describe one which celebrates the conquest of Jerusalem ; it is a coin of great interest. The inscription it bears is “ Judæa Capta;” and Judea is personified by a female weeping, in a sitting posture, under a palm-tree, the produce of that country. The obverse has the head of Vespasian ; but most commonly that of Titus, his son, in whose reign the holy city was destroyed.

There is another coin, possessing considerable interest to us, inasmuch as on it is a representation of our native country-a female sitting on a rock, with the waves dashing at her feet, and the inscription, “ Britannia." This is on several coins of Antoninus Pius; and there is a coin bearing this reverse extant, so similar to a penny-piece of George III., that, to a careless observer, the difference would scarcely be discovered. Numerous are the symbols of cities, the tutelar deities, conquests, secular games, and other matters represented on coins. Indeed, in the very short limit allowed in this miscellany, it is hardly possible more than to allude to these things.

The English penny is a most interesting and almost uninterrupted series, extending from the time of the Saxon Heptarchy to the present reign—a period of more than 1,000 years.

How amusing and delightful is it to read history, with the coins or medals of cotemporary princes before you. This study has, indeed,

much to recommend it, and affords a source of innocent recreation and sound instruction highly pleasing and useful to the young and ardent mind.

It is stated, that Alphonso, King of Arragon, had a collection of coins in an ivory cabinet, which he always carried with him, confessing that he felt himself excited to great actions by the presence of so many great men in their images. Some of our great historians and writers in this country have also made similar collections. Camden, the great historian, whose large work, “ Britannia," was first published in Latin, in 1586, illustrated his writings by ancient medals. Early in the seventeenth century, Speed's “ Chronicle” was published, and was illustrated with coins from Sir Robert Bruce Cotton's cabinet-now, with his valuable library and manuscripts, deposited in the British Museum.

In the year 1662, John Evelyn wrote his “Numismata;” or, a Discourse on Medals Ancient and Modern, also illustrated with numerous engravings of coins and medals. Thus have we endeavoured, by brief notices of some remarkable coins, and other circumstances, to enlist the sympathy of our readers ; and should these short essays prove acceptable, the subject shall be again renewed, and more lengthened explanations given.

F. S. A.


OPIUM. The class of medicinal agents termed narcotics, of which opium may be considered the type, includes those substances that induce a state of exhaustion and depression of the vital energies, as the consequence of a previous and transient excitement. The stage of depression becomes more marked as the dose is increased ; so that when excessive quantities of opium are taken the primary stimulus is altogether imperceptible, and the unfortunate individual speedily lapses into a state of deep somnolency. In such cases recourse should be immediately had to emetics and other means of removing the poison from the stomach; and subsequently, when the patient has become comatose, unwearied efforts must be made to rouse him by dashing cold water over his head and chest, the application of hartshorn to the nostrils, and the internal exhibition of brandy, coffee, and other stimulants. If once consciousness can be restored, the cure may generally be completed by forced exercise.

But in smaller doses the stage of excitement becomes more manifest. Generally this is of a pleasurable nature, the mental faculties are highly elevated, the ideas flow with ease and rapidity, care is forgotten, and the whole system is in a state of supreme ecstacy. On the other hand, the very reverse of this happy condition occurs in some constitutions, its felicity and intellectual exaltation being replaced by

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »