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Of all the trees which have adorned “ noble palm,” that rears its lofty tuft the pages of history and poetry, the date over the wild waste which spreads around palm stands pre-eminent. It has lent its it. It is from this circumstance in its name to a magnificent and multiform or- history, that the palm, with that elegance der of trees, which, though differing from of choice for which the ancients were so each other in the structure of their fruc- remarkable, was selected as the approtification, are grouped together under the priate emblem of victory and distinction. common appellation of palmæ, or the On the ancient coins we often see the palms. Nor is the palm more distin- palm branch, or more properly speaking guished in history, than conspicuous in its leaf displayed, sometimes in the hand the forest; for while in the distant land- of a genius, or the allegorical figure of a scape the other trees lose their particula- city, at others placed in those beautiful rities in one continuous surface of undu- representations of urns which form the lating verdure, the eye singles out the highest decoration of antique medallions.



In the latter instance a palm leaf, set in an sheath of leathery texture, which, by urn, denoted some kind of public games, bursting on one side, makes way for the in which the candidates contended for the emergence of the flower. The calyx, or mastery. The Roman coins often exhi- the leaves that compose the flower, are, bit, especially those struck in the time of as usual in the palms, six in number. The Hadrian, types or symbolic representa- stamens, or the threads, which are surtions of cities and countries, which were mounted by heads or anthers replete with female figures, with a picture of that pro- fertilizing dust, are six. In the fertile, or duction for which the country was most fruit-bearing flowers, there are also six remarkable. As, for example, Alexandria leaves, forming the calyx or perianth. is represented by a female with some ears The fruit, or date, is superior, that is, of corn in her hand, to denote the abun- placed above the point at which the calyx dance of choice grain produced in that and the stamens grow. Into a small ring, neighbourhood. While Judea is inti- at the base of the fruit, the stamens are ininated by the similitude of a palm tree; serted; and they, in the early stages, comsince it was noted as the region of pose a small circle of palisades about it. palm trees. And it is not unworthy the All the palms bear a fruit which partakes attention of the christian reader, that the more or less of the drupaceous character, well-understood symbol of victory thus by which we understand a nut placed represents a country whose inhabitants within a pulpy or softish substance. were Israelites, to whom “ pertaineth In the date palm the shell is rethe adoption, and the glory, and the co-markable for its membranous or filmy venants, and the giving of the law, and texture; which may be split into threads the service of God, and the promises ; adhering to the fleshy pulp at the top and whose are the fathers, and of whom, bottom. The fruit is ripened in clusters as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who of prodigious size, and in various parts of is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” | the east it forms one of the staple articles

of diet. It is gathered with particular care and ceremony, expressive of that dependence which man has upon it for his subsistence.

The palm is of tardy growth, but in process of time it reaches to a great height. The trunk is single, as in all other palins, with one exception, the urna palm of Egypt, and is roughened by the scars of fallen leaves.

The natives of the South Sea islands often ascend the cocoa-nut trees by embracing the stem with their hands, while the feet advance from ring to ring; but in the palm, the many eminences upon the trunk, in addition to the rings, offer a natural ladder of very easy ascent. In the illustration at the head of this article, these inequalities are strongly represented. The apparent ease with which the Pitcairn islanders climbed the cocoanut tree, tempted the writer of this paper

to try the experiment; but it proved easier 9

in theory than in practice, and showed par

the superiority of early habit, when im

pressed upon us by the calls of necessity. (a, cluster of fruit; b, barren flowers; c, fertile The tuft of leaves which form the beauflowers; e, barren flower; d, when opened display: tiful and stately crown of the palm, exemtheir early stage; s, fertile flower with six imperfect plifies the unceasing bounty of Heaven; for,

as fast as the outer leaves fall off below, In the date palm, the barren and pro- fresh ones sprout forth at the top, so that we ductive flowers occur in different trees. have an uninterrupted pedigree of leaves : In the barren tree, the expanded clusters like the generations of men, the old ones die of Aowers are wrapped up in a simple' away, and younger ones grow up to fil




their places. From the bosom of each of the only stream on that side of the island, these leaves a sheath protrudes itself, which nearly all the palms growing there were in time bursts and discloses a large cluster found by this party, while the others found of flower-buds. The pollen-bearing flowers nothing except when any one happened disperse their fine powder in that vast re- unthinkingly to approach the stream. pository of seminal life, the atmosphere,

L. for the use of the fertile tree, while the latter, after receiving this necessary help to vivification, ripens its clusters into thickly The Rev. Mr. Carlile of Dublin says: studded bunches of a wholesome and - There are two objections which are agreeable fruit. The notion alluded to by Plutarch, that which seem

sometimes brought against the Scriptures,

to neutralize one another. the palm rises with accelerated force against

When the minute and affectionate interest any weight that can be placed upon it, which the Bible represents the Deity as seems to have arisen from observing that

manifesting in the affairs of mankind is to while other trees bend their boughs under

be discountenanced, the world is reduced the swelling harvest of yellow autumn, the to a mere speck in creation, altogether unpalm sull continues to ascend higher and

worthy of his particular regard. But if any higher, unchecked by the cumbrous load of those miracles recorded in the Bible are of fruit that clusters about its top. In Psalm xcii. 12, it is said that the over this our planet and the whole plane

to be disputed, which imply absolute power righteous shall fourish like a palm tree.” The tary system, the world assumes an extragood man is thus likened to a tree, which in ordinary importance; the arresting its stature soars above all the inhabitants of rotatory motion, or turning it back into the forest, is ever crowned with leafy ho- another direction, or even the drying up of nours of reviving green, and surpasses all

a few fathoms of water on the surface of it, other trees in value and utility.

not amounting to one hundred thousandth The palm selects those little spots in the

part of its diameter, are represented as sandy waste, which are rendered fertile by operations

on so extensive a scale as to be a spring of water, so that the appearance

altogether incredible. a palm tree becomes an indication to the

Both of these objections are equally inway-worn traveller that some refreshing consistent with the modern principles of draughts are at hand, which may be obtained by digging a short depth below the the world or the universe be finite, the

philosophizing. If God be infinite, and surface of the earth. This well-known

comparative bulk of any part of the universe fact illustrates what we are told in Exod.

can never have any value in any calculaxv. that when the children of Israel came tion in which his power is concerned. A to Elim, they found twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees; where, exhausted tion to him. It is as easy for him to change

universe and a point bear the same proporwith drought, labour, and impatience, they the motion of a world as of a gnat : to dry pitched their camps, and experienced one

up an ocean as to exhale a drop of dew. of the most pleasing vicissitudes to be

He is as intimately acquainted with a nest found in the sphere of earthly enjoyments of ants as with the solar system, and takes It has grown into a maxim among travel

as deep an interest in the welfare of each in lers, that " where you see a palm tree,

proportion to their respective value. We there you will find water, if you take the

have a right, therefore, to demand that a pains to dig for it.” When at the island

man who adheres to either of these objecof Bonin, a few days' sail from Macao in tions, shall, at the same time, abandon all China, the writer inverted this rule in re

science which is founded on mathematical ference to the cabbage palm. For in quest demonstration. of the delicious vegetable, which consists of the budding and unexpanded leaves and flowers borne at the top of the tree, various foraging parties were sent by the different It is more than probable that from the messes on board of one of his Majesty's earliest period of human existence, the ships, who wandered at large through the magnificent spectacle of the heavens, bewoods with little success. The writer met spangled with brilliant orbs, attracted the one of these parties who were complaining attention of mankind. The regular vicissi. of their ill luck: he advised them to fol. tudes of day and night must early have led low a stream of water, and not to diverge him to observe the path of that great lumififty yards from its banks. As this was 'nary, the “ ruler of the day,” with whose



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of the lens

its parts.

oblique annual course he would soon learn | pearances with which we become to identify the variety and succession of the quainted by its means. seasons. As population increased, the cul- The glasses employed for optical purtivators of the soil sought and obtained poses are denominated lenses, and are some knowledge of the celestial motions, formed by the process of grinding into the that they might with certainty determine following figures, both the " seed time and the harvest." In pastoral life also, such knowledge would be found essential to regulate the migrations Axis of the shepherd ; and history informs us that the Chaldeans, enjoying the leisure of Figure 1. Represents a prism as viewed such a life, with the facilities of the spa- end-wise, and is in shape like an equilateral cious and unclouded horizon of their native triangle. plains, were among the foremost in observ.

2. A plane glass, which is perfectly flat ing and recording the more striking of the on both sides, and of equal thickness in all celestial phenomena.

It has been said, that “ an undevout as- 3. A spherical lens, or perfect globe, all tronomer is mad." And if our remote an- the points on its surface being equally dis cestors of the earliest ages could find, “in tant from its centre. looking through nature up to nature's God,” 4. A double convex lens, which is a son their hearts warmed, and their devotional lid piece of glass, having two convex sporfeelings increased with every new accession rical surfaces, each in shape like the outside to their knowledge, which must necessarily of a watch-glass. have been acquired with unassisted vision, 5. A plano convex lens, which is ftat on what must have been the feelings of asto- one side and convex on the other. nished and pious excitement, in him who 6. A double concave lens, which is confirst directed that wondrous instrument, the cave (or hollowed out like the inside of a telescope, to the starry heavens! It imparts watch-glass) on both sides, and may be a range of ken more than possessed equally or unequally concave. oy eagles' eyes, and exhibits to our finite 7. A plano concave lens, which is flat powers a magnificent view of the immensi- on one side and concave on the other. ty, the beauty, and the harmony of that 8. A meniscus, which is a lens, one of universe, of which the world we inhabit whose surfaces is convex, and the other forms so insignificant a member. And ex- concave. As the convexity exceeds the perience teaches us, that the boundary of concavity, it may be regarded as a convex our vision thus extended, lies nowhere but lens. in the imperfection of our telescopes ; for 9. A concavo-convex lens, which also who can say how far the universe extends, has one of its surfaces convex and the other or where are the limits of it?—where the concave, but as the concavity exceeds the Creator stayed “his rapid wheels," or convexity, it may be regarded as a concave where he “fixed his golden compasses ?” | lens. That man is little to be envied (be his ac- An imaginary line passing through the quirements or possessions what they may) centres of the curved surfaces, and perpenwho can with a cold indifference view these dicular to the plane surfaces of lenses, is wondrous scenes ; more especially if, un called their axis: thus, in the figure below, derstanding the nature and constancy of the let a B represent a double convex glass, the celestial motions, he cannot both feel and surfaces being segments of the two equal acknowledge that “the heavens declare the circles, then a line passing through the two glory of God, and the firmament showeth centres c c of the circles would be called the his handywork.

axis of the lens; the same holds good of all It is our present object to bring before the other lenses, as shown in our former our readers a familiar account of the figure. principles of that instrument by which our faculty of vision is so much assisted ; and after explaining the shape and arrangement of those glasses which constitute the telescope, and in that form produce such remarkable effects, we purpose introducing, by way of illustration, a short descriptive account of those celestial bodies and ap- The peculiar properties of such of these


lenses as are more immediately connected, would distinctly see a perfect image of the with our subject, in the refraction of the object c formed on the ground glass, and rays of light, (that is, bending the rays, or by steadily keeping the eye in the same causing them to change their course,) we position, the ground glass may be removed, shall now explain.

and the image will appear in the same spot It must be premised that rays of light suspended in the air. What an astonishproceed in straight lines, but are diverted ing effect is thus produced by a convex from their course, or refracted, as it is lens ! the object supposed to be very remote termed, when they pass from one medium at c, is suddenly transported as it were to to another, as shown by the following fami- h, from which the eye must undoubtedly liar instance: A straight stick when partly receive a very different impression from immersed in water, appears to be bent up- what it would do if, withdrawing the lens, wards, at the surface of the fluid; which is it were to view the object c immediately. an optical deception, and arises from the The focus h, where the image of the distant rays of light being bent or changed in the object is formed, has a remarkable property; direction of their course, as soon as they and we shall digress in this place to speak reach the surface of the water, in passing of it. Suppose the sun to be the object at out of it. The density of the water being c, the rays which fall on the lens are all so much greater than that of the air, is the collected at h, and being endowed with the cause of this great refraction, and produces quality of heating, it is natural that the the apparent distortion of the stick.

concourse of so many rays at one point Let us now consider the refraction of should produce a degree of heat, capable rays by a convex lens, which suppose to be of setting on fire any combustible matter A B in the figure below, whose axis is in that might be placed there; hence a conthe direction of the straight line c D, and let vex lens is commonly denominated a burn

ing glass. The image formed at the focus h will be an inverted image of the object c, as will readily be understood from the following figure.


Athere be an object at c, which imagine to be at a great distance from the lens. This object diffusing rays of light in all directions, some of them will pass through the Suppose the man at A was observed lens 'a B, as ce, cf, and cg, of which through a lens at B, the rays which fall ce in the direction of the axis of the lens upon the lens will, as before stated, be rewill suffer no refraction, but continue the fracted, and form an image on the other same rectilineal course towards D. The side. We before had occasion to remark, other two rays of and cg (as well as all in- that those rays which pass through the termediate rays) in passing through the lens centre of the lens in the direction of its nearer the edge, will be so refracted both axis, suffer no refraction; the same is true at entering and departing, that they will of all rays which pass through the centre, afterward meet the axis, as at h the focus whether they fall upon the surface in the of the glass, where they will (if not inter- direction of the axis or otherwise, because cepted) cross each other's path, and con- the opposite surfaces in the direction of tinue in the same straight lines Bi and a k. such rays are parallel to each other. ThereThe rays of light of and cg would, if no fore the image of the man's head must be lens had interfered, have continued onward formed in the line a b, which is the direcin the direction they first had; but under- tion of the ray passing from the crown of going refraction at A B, they are compelled his head through the centre of the glass, to change their directions, and proceed as if and that of his feet in the line c d, forming they had emanated from the point h, where an inverted image of the man. an image of the object c would be formed. The image d b may now be considered a If a piece of ground glass, transparent new object, and by placing another lens at paper, or a plate of glass having one sur- c, an additional image of this image would face covered with a dried film of skimmed be formed at e f, exactly in the same man. milk, be held up at h, a person looking at ner as if d b was a real object. But since it from D a few inches behind the glass, the new image must be inverted with

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