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BOTANY. No. I.
stance in the structure of its flower or fruit, INTRODUCTION.
which leads us to look for it in some corIn the 12th verse of the first chapter of ner or division of a natural order, and the Genesis, the Hebrew original informs us description of it is presently found. that the earth brought forth the sprouting The science may appear intricate and herbage of each plant, seeding seed after its abstruse at first, but the pains taken at the kind, which the Septuagint renders by beginning, have the twofold advantage of saying that the earth produced the herbage saving us from disappointed toil afterof a plant, sowing seed after its genus and wards, and of giving quickness to the eye after its affinity. To divide plants into by directing the judgment. Those are not génera by fixing upon some characteristic to be listened to who would check the mark of distinction, and to collect these career of improvement, either by displaygenera in groups or orders according to ing the difficulties of new systems, or by their affinity, or, in plainer terms, their antiquated encomiums upon those that are points of mutual resemblance, are the old. In the Weekly Visitor we propose principal objects and business of a sys- briefly to state the leading characters of tematic botanist. The characteristic marks an order or family of plants; to describe in question must be sought for in the seed, the principal genera, or members, of that or in those parts which immediately minis- family, and to endeavour, with all the vater to its production. These parts, taken riety of illustration our limits will permit, to together, are known under the general de give the student a perspicuous idea of an nomination of a flower, but in various in- order. The objects of study shall be such stances, as in the case of mosses, lichens, as are generally within reach, and will sea-weed, &c., though they are subservient either be familiar to the reader, or be pointed to the defence and preservation of the seed, out to him by such characters that he yet they have not the most distant simili- cannot fail to recognise them. He must tude in appearance to the divisions of a
not expect entertainment in the bare readblossom. It is an established maxim of ing of technical characters, he must seek botany, invariably followed by those who for that in examining recent specimens. have and are contributing to enlarge the It will be our business to point out the road boundaries of this science, that the tokens to a genuine acquaintance with the organiof discrimination are to be looked for zation, the peculiarities of form, and the among the organs which provide a lodge connecting links of resemblance which obtain ment and decoration for the seed, whether among vegetables; and by explaining each they be accessible to the unassisted eye, or term just before we use it, to save the whether the aid of a magnifier is necessary reader the uninteresting toil of an elemenfor their investigation.
tary course of preparation. While the student of vegetable nature All the wisdom which created beings continued to look for primary notes of possess, apart from that which is made distinction between one plant and another known to them by express revelation from in the stem or leaves, the history of plants God, is derived from a contemplation of was merely a collection of unconnected the works of the Almighty Creator. The statements. But when botanists began to rudiments and first beginnings of the vastudy them in reference to their fructifica- rious arts which contribute to the sustention, or mode of bearing seed or fruit, ance and adornment of life, had no other what had once been little more than a dis- original than those lessons which men jointed narration of facts, soon assumed learn from the observations of the laws and those symptoms of connexion and regu- productions of created nature. larity which belong to a science. There was therefore, that botany is the study of a cernot merely knowledge of things, but the tain department of God's creation, is to method of acquiring fresh knowledge, and pronounce its highest recommendation ; for of delivering it to others. Before the in- we know, all that is useful, and all that is vention of any system, when we had found lovely, proceed from this Fountain, and cana plant, with the name and properties of not be made the agent of evil, but by a which we wished to be made acquainted, we sinful abuse of them, and by a perverse might open a portly folio, with the happy thwarting of their original tendency. The peradventure, that we might be obliged to investigations which this science invites us read the volume quite through, before we to are peculiarly fitted to meet and contend inet with a description of the plant which we with that spirit of unbelief which is more held in our hand. But now, after examin- or less arising in our depraved hearts. We ing a plant, we soon discover some circum- are too apt to think that we are altogether
too inconsiderable for God, amidst the infi- | lesson out of God's word; they may nitude of his works, to feel a special inter- hear ministers set forth the character of est in our welfare; that he is too highly God as revealed in scripture: they may exalted to take pleasure in our love and go farther; they may gain a correct duty, or to be oftended at our disobedience. theoretic knowledge of the only plan of But Wisdom, addressing us from her seat salvation, so as to be able to talk of it amidst the objects of vegetable nature, tells fluently, and to argue for it vehemently; us how unlike to the image which unbelief and yet, they may never have felt the draws of the Deity, is that portraiture set power of the divine word, been humbled before us in every little plant that enlivens by it in heart, and been brought to repent the solitary and waste places of the earth. truly before God. Religion may be with Each one of them bears its individual them the business of the ear which and appropriate testimony to the infinite hears, and of the tongue which talks,length and breadth of that kind and gra- not yet of the heart which feels, and of cious care which is extended over all the the soul which falls prostrate in selfworks of God. Provision is not only abasement before the God who gave it. made for its growth, and the increase of My brethren, examine your own selves. its kind, but a certain measure and allot- Let each think, Has all my religion and ment of beauty is bestowed upon it, not knowledge of God been but the hearing detected perhaps by the common observer, of the ear? Have I, like the Samaritans, but recognised and understood by the ex- been worshipping I know not what ? like perienced eye of a botanist. In this study, the Athenians, been building an altar to as well as in all the Divine dispensations, the unknown God? Have I talked of “The works of the Lord are great, sought repentance, yet never repented ? of faith, out of all them that have pleasure there yet never believed ? of good works, yet in." Psa. cxi. 2.
never performed one work from the only Botany we shall define to be that sci- motives which God approves as good ? ence which directs the intellectual facul. If so, surely something, yea, much more ties to discern, to account for, and to is still needful to my soul.-Hambleton. appreciate, that order, symmetry, and grace, which our beneficent Creator has displayed in his vegetable kingdom of na
SIMPLICITY. ture. When our minds are rightly affected, All the works of God are admirable, the pursuits and researches to which this whether we consider them in reference to science prompts, have a tendency to pro- the wisdom of their contrivance, or the duce the reflection, that if God hath not beneficence displayed in their ends. But considered it beneath the dignity of his notwithstanding the wisdom and benignity character to impress such things as little which meets us, and excites our wonder flowers, and what some call“ dull incurious at every step we advance in the kingdoms weeds," with marks of wisdom, goodness, of nature or of grace, there is nothing more and care, it cannot be inconsistent with remarkable than the simplicity of the the exalted nature of his attributes, to means by which God is pleased to accommake the interests and concerns of man plish his purposes. Examples of the simthe matters of his cognizance, the subjects plicity of wisdom are ever at hand. The of his most intimate and gracious regard. exhalations and clouds, which water and
L. refresh the earth, rise and descend through
the agency of heat alone. All the winds,
from the gentle zephyr that plays upon the REST NOT IN HEARING ONLY.
water at eventide, to the hurricane that In many ways, in public and in private, uproots the sturdiest trees, and sweeps you may have heard much of God by away the laboured monuments of man, are the hearing of the ear. Grievously as produced by one and the same cause, heat. God is forgotten in the world, much as Even that singular phenomenon, the many called christians are ashamed of water-spout, may be ascribed in some Jesus Christ, especially of his cross and measure, if not altogether, to some modiof all the peculiar doctrines of his gos- fication in the agency of heat; for it is pel, yet I am not obliged to suppose, sometimes attended with an extraordinary that worldly-minded persons never hear depression of temperature, as the writer any thing of God by the hearing of the once experienced in the southern Pacific.
On the contrary, they may hear To turn our eyes from the sublimer much. They may hear lesson after objects of nature to those that seem less assuming, we see the honey-suckle twining problem, to find what should be the nature round the neighbouring shrubs, simply of a leaf that would quiver in the lightest through the action of heat upon the sides possible agitation of the air, it could not exposed to its influence, just as a sheet of have been more clearly solved than by the paper bends when held to the fire.
mere inspection of the leaf and its leaf-stalk. As one of the most familiar instances of If the aspen leaf A were held up in the simplicity of contrivance, we might cite hand so that its edges pointed north and the aspen. Had it been proposed as a south, the edges of the stalk would point east
and west; but in B, the leaf of the elm, both of an orange colour; while in that of many the leaf and the stalk would point in the butterflies, where their numbers have been same direction; or, as commonly explained, considerable, the appearance of a shower the plane or level of the leaf is exactly of blood has been produced ; and by this perpendicular to the plane of the footstalk. fact, those bloody showers, recorded by
These instances, with a countless multi- historians as preternatural, and considered tude of others which might be drawn from where they happened as fearful prognosall quarters of creation, suggest to us the tics of impending evils, are stripped of wisdom and propriety of making simplicity
their terrors, and reduced to the class of the reigning principle of our lives. Our events which
happen in the common course plans should be simple; the means selected
of nature. That insects are the cause of for carrying them into execution simple; the these showers is, indeed, no recent discowhole bent and tenour of our conduct in very; for it is stated by Sleidan, that in the prosecuting them simple. The student in year 1553, a vast multitude of butterflies literature or science will find that his pro
swarmed through a great part of Germany, ficiency is comprehensive and well founded,
and sprinkled plants, leaves, buildings, in proportion to the simplicity of the
clothes, and men, with bloody drops, as if methods pursued. The christian whose it had rained blood. But the most interheart is longing for a solution of some diffi
esting account of an event of this kind is culties, or a right apprehension of things given by Reaumur, from whom we learn, hard to be understood, will find them in pa
that in the beginning of July, 1608, the tient and simple study of the word of God: suburbs of Aix, and a considerable extent and the man who desires to be saved from the of country round it, were covered with punishment of hell, and inherit the king- what appeared to be a shower of blood. dom of heaven, must cast away the com
We may conceive the amazement of the plexities of all other systems, and rely populace at such a discovery, the alarm of alone on the simplicity which there is in the citizens, and the grave reasonings of the Christ. Happy the hearts that “in sim- learned. All agreed, however, in attributplicity and godly sincerity, by the grace of ing this appearance to the powers of darkGod, have their conversation in the world.” ness, and in regarding it as the precursor of 2 Cor. i. 12.
some tremendous calamity. On this occasion, fear and prejudice would have taken deep root, and they might have produced
fatal effects on some weak minds, had not (Remarkable Showers.)
M. Peirese, a celebrated philosopher of It is remarkable that when insects pass that place, paid attention to insects. A from the pupa state and become perfect, chrysalis, preserved in his cabinet, exthey always discharge some substance. In plained to him the cause of this mysterious the case of several moths, it is whitish, or shower ; for, hearing a fluttering, which
apprized him that the creature had arrived cause the event which is supposed to be at its perfect state, he opened the box in prognosticated. And yet how easily might which it was kept, when the insect flew they be told that their fears were vain, and out, leaving behind it a red spot; and on that this heart-sickening tick is caused by comparing it with the spots of the bloody a small beetle which lives in timber, and shower, he found they were alike. At the is merely a call to its companion ! same time he observed there was a prodi- In closing this paper on the red showers gious quantity of butterflies flying about, produced by insects, we are reminded of and the drops of the miraculous rain, as it the crimson snow of the Alpine and Arctic was supposed, were not to be found on regions, which has recently excited so the tiles, nor even on the upper surface of much inquiry. Some have thought it of the stones, but chiefly in cavities, and places vegetable origin, and others, that it stands where rain could not easily come. Thus as a distinct genus on the very limits of did this enlightened and judicious ob- the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Baron server dispel the ignorant fears and terrors Wrangel mentions that a substance grow. which had been caused by a natural phe- ing on limestone rocks was easily detached
when placed under water, and that in three It may be well to show that a similar days it was converted into animated gloeffect has been produced in other cases. bules, like infusory animalcules, which A gardener was once thrown into great swarm about, and were preyed upon by consternation by digging up what he con- . other infusoria. It is, however, conjectured ceived to be the effect of witchcraft, por- by the Rev. W. Scoresby, that the red tending some terrible misfortune. By the colour of the snow may be traced to the advice of the parish priest, he even took a cause as the orange-coloured ice journey from Rouen to Paris, to show of the polar seas, which arises from inwhat he had found to his master; but he, numerable minute animals, similar to the happily, was wiser than his man, and pro- Bervë globulosa of Lamarck. It is about ceeded with him to an eminent naturalist. the size of a pin's head, transparent, and He pronounced the objects which had ex- marked with twelve brownish patches of cited so much alarm, the curious cases of dots. In olive-green sea-water, he estithe leaf-cutter bees; and while the gar- mated 110,592 of these in a cubic foot. dener stood aghast at his temerity, pointed A singular analogy to the case first out the grubs they contained, and thus stated is mentioned by Mr. Thomas Nicholsent him back with a light heart, relieved son, who, with two other gentlemen, made from his ignorant apprehensions. These an excursion, in 1821, to Sowallick Point, need not, however, excite our wonder, when near Bushman's Island, in Prince Regent's it has been gravely affirmed that every oak- Bay. “The summit of the hill,” he says, gall contains either a fly, a spider, or a forming the point, is covered with huge worm, and that the first foretells war, the masses of granite, whilst the side, which second pestilence, and the third famine! forms a gentle declivity towards the bay, In Sweden, the peasants consider the grub was covered with crimson snow. It was of the cockchafer as furnishing an unfail- evident, at first view, that this colour was ing prognostic, whether the ensuing winter imparted to the snow by a substance lying will be mild or severe. If the animal have on the surface. This substance lay scata bluish hue, they affirm it will be mild ; tered here and there in small masses, but, on the contrary, it be white, the bearing some resemblance to powdered weather will be severe ; and so far do they cochineal, surrounded by a lighter shade, carry this as to foretell, that if the anterior which was produced by the colouring part be white, and the posterior blue, the matter being partly dissolved and diffused cold will be most severe at the beginning by the melting snow. During this examinof the winter. A little knowledge would ation, our hats and upper garments were show them, that this circumstance of the observed to be daubed with a substance of creature having a bluish hue, arises from a similar red colour, and a moment's reits being replete with food. Every one has flection convinced us that this was disheard of what is called “the death-watch," charged by the little insects, myriads o. and of the superstitious notion, that in what- which were continually flying over our ever house its drum is heard, one of the heads, having their nests among the loose family will die before the end of the year. masses of granite." These terrors, in particular instances, where To these insects Mr. Nicholson therefore they lay hold of weak minds, especially of attributes the red snow; but though he sick or hypochondriac persons, may actually accounts for the phenomenon in the place
EAGLES IN VAN DIEMAN'S LAND.
he visited, to what is it to be ascribed | There is one conclusion, which has often where this little insect is not known? This been forced upon us, namely, that under is a question, which, like many others, similar circumstances, experience will teach we must wait to have answered.
the same lesson, whether the pupil be a Roman or a Sandwich islander." It im
ports little, therefore, as matter of history, THE CHEQUERS.
whether our ancestors fell upon this mode We have often inquired, in times past, or whether they owe it to the Romans.
of facilitating the casting up of accounts, the reason and meaning of the little partycoloured squares upon the door-posts of
Every thing has two sides: the weary "mine hostess," but were never indulged traveller, in quest of a lodging, might fairly with an explanation. It has happened to greet the appearance of this little token of this practice as to
invitation ; but the man, who could find a other traditions,
many men adopt them as a part of the pa- welcome at home, would interpret it as trimony which their forefathers have left saying, that nothing is there to be disposed them, without ever knowing why, or caring of, not even the common courtesy of a wherefore. The reader will easily appre
smile, but for the consideration of money, hend its intent, however, when we say that it is the representation or picture of a board which was used by retail dealers, in early times, for the convenience of reckoning up Society of Friends, who has been several
JAMES BACKHOUSE, a minister of the their monies at night. We will suppose, years on a visit to Van Dieman's Land, for the sake of exemplification, that upon a red square, guineas were placed ; upon an
gives the following account of the ferocity
of the eagle :orange one, half-guineas ; upon a yellow one, crowns; and so onward in a descending formed us that she had witnessed the fero
“ A lady, on a visit at New Norfolk, inseries, through the seven prismatic colours of the rainbow; it is easy to see that the city of the Van Dieman's Land eagle; she business of counting would be rendered for some distance, and obliged to run to
was one day chased by one of these birds more easy and less liable to mistake by this her house for shelter from it. A similar contrivance. There seems to be no mystery involved in the matter, but what is
occurrence happened to a lady on Macunfolded in this short illustration. After quarrie plains. A couple of them have
been known to attack a horse. The wife the lapse of a little time, the chequered of Richard Barker told us, that one day board became the emblem of calculation; she observed a horse galloping backwards as we see, for instance, in the cloth upon and forwards, whilst two eagles were chasthe large table in the Court of the Exhing it; one driving it in one direction, and chequer, which takes cognizance of all the other in another : at length the horse matters relating to the revenue. The cloth seems to indicate that the questions argued head; she immediately called some of the
fell, and one of them pounced upon its there are chiefly concerned in the reckonings of money. It was afterwards used men, who drove off the ravenous birds;
beast soon regained its and as a sign of an inn, or hostlery, where
was thus delivered from destruction.” victuals were sold, or strangers lodged and entertained ; where, in plainness, goods and accommodation were exchanged for
A COURTIER ON SERIOUSNESS. money. To this day we apply the term
WHILE we laugh, my friends, all things “ counter” to a bench or table, whereon are serious around us.
God is serious, goods are served, and money taken and who exercises such patience towards us ; counted, which formerly denoted little Christ is serious, who shed his blood for square pieces of wood, or stones, em- us; the Holy Ghost is serious, who strives ployed to assist the memory in calculation, against the obstinacy of our hearts. The and corresponded to what the clown, in scriptures are serious in all they say. All “ Winter's Tale,” calls his counters.
that are in heaven and hell are serious. We were reminded of this subject by May man then trifle, whose doom is observing that a writer, in describing the settling every moment?-Sir Francis Wala objects of Pompeii, has added a note of ad-singham. miration to the recital of the fact, that
JOHN DAVIS, 56, Paternoster Row, London. chequers were painted upon the door-posts Price fd. each, or in Monthly Parts, containing Five of what is believed to be an inn, and still remain for the instruction of the curious.
W. TYLER, Printer. 4, Ivy Lane, St. Paul's.
Numbers in a Cover, 3d.