Изображения страниц

miles from it; whereas if with the same instrument an observer be contemplating the sun, bis approach in point of visual power leaves him still 90,000 miles remote. Astronomically, then, the moon is in our near vicinity.

Though on account of its nearness to us the moon is in apparent magnitude inferior only to the sun, and greatly exceeds all the other heavenly bodies, it is in fact one of the smallest of them all. Its solid contents are but one forty-ninth of those of our own planet, itself one of the smaller globes. Its diameter bears to that of the earth about the proportion of three to eleven, considerably less than one-third. And the earth seen from the moon with organs of vision and a refracting medium similar to our own, would appear thirteen times larger than the moon does to us.

Her diameter is 2,180 miles. Her substan e is more dense than that of the earth, and its specific gravity is to that of the earth as five to four. Compared with the sun, and other bodies, it would hardly bear the proportion of a marble to one of the very largest artificial globes.

It has been a controverted point, whether the moon has any atmosphere similar to our own. It would seem destitute of any such aërial envelope, or if it be at all so provided, its atmosphere is so attenuated and impalpable that it cannot be detected by any observations of ours. Stars entering or emerging from their occultations behind its disc, are not in the least discoloured, when, from their extreme closeness to the orb, they must be seen through the medium of its atmosphere, if it were so provided. Nor can those changes in the reflection of the sun's rays be perceived, which must be occasioned by the masses of vapour and cloud which an atmosphere would hold suspended over its surface. It is also deemed destitute of oceans or extensive lakes, nor can any masses of fluid be discovered in connexion with it. If these conclusions be accurate, the whole planet must totally differ from our own as to the constitution of its inhabitants, its vegetable products, its entire scenery, and aspect. We can, indeed, form no conception of a scene so dissimilar to our own; but we know it is within the reach of the wisdom and power of the Creator, infinitely to vary the adaptations and capabilities of natural beings. We see enough, more than enough, in this little world of ours, to justify our largest faith on this subject. The various localities of cold or hot, dry or moist, low or high, are so tenanted with animals and plants adapted to the conditions of their habitation, that we have but to reason from little to great, from a lake, a fen, a mountain, to a planet, in order to be convinced that there may be beings to whom a planet without air, or water, or vegetables, may be an abode abundantly provided with every source of accommodation and pleasure. To the inhabitants of the moon the earth is no doubt an object of peculiar interest, and it exerts a great influence on them and their planet. Our world, with its oceans, its atmosphere, its varied surface shining in the powerful beams of the sun, most probably appears to them of immense size, and transcendant beauty. As the moon is so contrived in relation to the earth as greatly to contribute to its beauty, and to exert on it so many beneficial influences, why should we question that the influence and benefits are reciprocal, the earth rendering back to the moon as much or more of benefit than it receives ? Algernon Wells.



They are all gone into a world of light,

And I alone sit lingering here !
Their very memory is fair and bright,

And my sad thoughts doth clear.
It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,

Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which the hill is dressed,

After the sun's remove.
I see them walking in an air of glory,

Whose light doth trample on my days;
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,

Mere glimmerings and decays.

Oh, holy hope, and high humility,

High as the Heavens above!
These are your walks, and ye have shewed them me,

To kindle my cold love.
Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just!

Shining nowhere but in the dark !
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,

Could man outlook that mark !
He that hath found some fledged bird's nest may know,

At first sight, if the bird be flown;
But what fair field or grove he sings in now,

That is to him unknown.
And yet as angels, in some brighter dreams,

Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,

And into giory peep.'
If a star were confined into a tomb,

Her captive flame must needs burn there;
But when the hand that locked her up gave room,

She'd shine through all the sphere.
O Father of eternal life, and all

Created glories under Thee!
Resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall

Into true liberty.
Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill

My perspective, still as they pass;
Or else remove me hence unto that hill

Where I shall need no glass.Henry Vaughan.


ENGLISH HISTORY-STUART LINE Anne, younger sister of Mary, and wife of Prince George of Denmark, ascended the throne without opposition on the death of William III. She announced her intention to maintain the alliances, and to adhere to the foreign policy of her predecessor. War was declared against France, on the same day, at London, the Hague, and Vienna, and the earl of Marlborough was appointed commander-in-chief of the English and Dutch forces. He opened the campaign by laying siege to Venloo, which surrendered. Ruremonde, Stevenswaert, and Liege were successively reduced, and the French driven from the Netherlands. The fleet failed in an expedition against Cadiz, but was successful in an attack upon the West India ships lying in Vigo Bay, under the protection of a French squadron. Several valuable prizes were taken, and the rest sunk. Marlborough on his return was rewarded with a dukedom. He was a man of great abilities, and almost unrivalled military genius and courage, but destitute of moral worth. Avarice was his ruling passion, and he was guilty of acts of baseness, treachery, and falsehood, which have sullied his fame, and dimmed the lustre of his achievements. His power at Court was at this time augmented by the influence of his wife, who had long been the favourite of the queen,

and who exercised over her the ascendancy of a strong and imperious mind over a weak and yielding one.

A new parliament, in which the Tories had a majority, assembled in the autumn of 1702. This party signalized its hostility to the Dissenters by the introduction of a bill against occasional conformity, which was intended to undermine the Toleration Act. After a long conflict, it was rejected by the Lords ; but was, several years afterwards, revived and passed. The attention of parliament was now directed to the affairs of Scotland. It had become necessary for the preservation of peace that the two kingdoms should be united, not merely under one sovereign, but under one legislature. The Scots were exasperated by restrictions imposed on their commerce, and by the failure of their colony on the Isthmus of Darien, which they attributed to English opposition. Other causes contributed to increase the national jealousy and discontent, and war seemed on the point of bursting out, when commissioners were appointed to negotiate a union. Terms were at length agreed upon. The succession to the united monarchy was vested in the house of Hanover; there was to be one parliament, of which sixteen Scottish peers and forty-five commoners


were to be members; the trade of the two countries was to be regulated by the same laws, and to be equally free and unrestricted; the same customs and duties were to be imposed; the Scottish courts of law were to remain undisturbed, and the Presbyterian church was to be maintained inviolate. The Act of Union was carried into effect on the 1st May, 1707, and the incorporated realms were called Great Britain.

In the meanwhile, the war had been prosperously carried on.

Admiral Rooke had captured Gibraltar, which still remains in the possession of England. Marlborough had gained the memorable victories of Blenheim and Ramilies. In Italy, the allies had won the battle of Turin. Everywhere disaster pursued the French arms, and Louis was at length compelled to sue for peace.

But the allies were elated

by success, and proposed terms so unreasonable that he preferred abiding by the chances of war, and the strife recommenced, with the same ill fortune on the part of the French, who sustained a terrible defeat at Oudenarde, losing 15,000 men. In the same year, 1708, the Pretender, son of James II., attempted to land in Scotland; the appearance of an English squadron, however, and unfavourable weather drove him back to France without having struck a blow. In 1709, the battle of Malplaquet was fought, in which 30,000 French and 20,000 English were slain. The strength of France was exhausted by her long struggle, and overtures of peace were again made, which would probably have been rejected, or modified, but for unexpected changes in the Court and Government. The Whig party had for some time ruled the country. Lady Marlborough was now, however, superseded in the queen's favour by Mrs. Masham, a protege for whom she had obtained a place in the royal household. Mrs. Masham exerted her newly obtained influence to procure the disgrace of the Whigs and the return of the Tories to office, and her schemes were promoted by the foolish prosecution of Dr. Sacheverell, a noisy and bigoted clergyman, who had preached a sermon, denouncing the principles on which the revolution had been effected, assailing the memory of the late king, and attacking the Government. He was tried before parliament for sedition, and condemned to be suspended from his office for three years, and to have

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »