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preaching dissolution; and having satisfied the visitor of the fetid nature of the vapour, the guide draws back the fowl, and while it yet lives, cuts its throat in the name of God, in oider that it may be lawfully eaten, being one of his perquisites. In the lower part of the cave were seen the skeleton of a fox, the body of a pigeon, or the remains of some other small bird, which had ventured within range of the destructive atmosphere. The extent of the vapour depends on the season of the year. In August it was dry, and nearly clear of bad air. The guide declares that the richest treasure would reward the man who had sufficient skill to dispel the enchantment. Many lives have been lost in it. A peasant disappointed in love, rushed into the infectious air, and met instantaneous death. On another occasion, a person seeking shelter in the cave from a storm, without being aware of his danger, was killed by its noxious vapours; and the guides have sometimes fallen a sacrifice to their zeal.
Mr. Faraday read a paper containing several new facts in addition to those already given by Dr. J. R. Johnson on the natural history of the genus planaria. These animals are found in ponds, pools, and streams, upon the leaves of plants, or in the mud, and are allied to the hirudo (leech). They are flat; some are furnished with two distinct eyes; others have a series of dots round the margin of the head, which are supposed to answer the purpose of the visual organs. The reproductive power of these
animals is most extraordinary; if one be cut into halves, the anterior half soon acquires a new tail, and becomes a perfect animal; in like manner the posterior half puts forth a new head at the place of suction, in which eyes are produced, and which ultimately renders the animal perfect. If cut into three, four, or even up to ten pieces, all the pieces live, have supplied to them what was wanting, and each becomes a complete animal! If the head of a plavaria be split, sometimes the cleft will close, but new eyes will appear in the new matter; at other times the cut edges will heal up, in such a way that the new matter completes in each half the form of a head, with a new eye, &c.; thus two heads are produced. If the division be made still lower, a doublebodied animal is produced in fourteen or fifteen days; and it is remarkable to observe that the two halves rarely sympathise with each other, but almost always endeavour to go in opposite directions. At times, so great is this apparent aversion, that the double planaria is torn asunder by its own exertions, and becomes two distinct and perfect animals. Mr. Faraday proved and illustrated these facts, and others in connexion with the natural history of the planaria, by the aid of living animals on the table, and large drawings. At the close of his observations, he energetically called upon the members individually to contribute as much as possible to the intellectual pleasure of the weekly meetings;—a call which doubtless will not remain unheeded.
Voyage of Discovery to the Pacific.—His Majesty's ship Beagle, commanded by Captain 11. Fitzroy, has lately sailed for the above object. The expedition will commence scientific operations on the coast of Patagonia, at the Rio Negro, and examine the coast so far as the southern part of the Gulf of St. George, at which place the late surveys of Captain King, in the Adventure, began. There are many points on this coast, particularly to the southward of the Rio Negro, which are laid down at random, having never been closely examined. The Falkland Islands form also an important point for survey ; these, with the exception of the eastern islands, never having been thoroughly examined. The exterior coasts of the archipelago of Terra del Fuego, and the shores of the principal channels, will employ the officers of the Beagle a considerable time, as well as the dangerous coast
of the continent in the Pacific Ocean to the southward of Chiloe, which is rendered more so from its boisterous climate, and exposure to the south-west gales. The most interesting part of the Beagle's survey will be among the coral islands of the Pacific Ocean, which afford many points for investigation of a scientific nature beyond the mere occupation of the surveyor. The attention of Captain Fitzroy and his officers will be directed to many useful inquiries respecting these islands, and the hypothesis of their being formed on submarine volcanoes will be put to the test. The lagoons, which are invariably formed by the coral ridge, will be minutely examined; and the surveys of them will form, with those of Captain Beechey in his late voyage, the basis of comparison with others at a future period, by which the progress of the islands will be readily detected. In her course through the Polynesian Archipelago, the Beagle will visit and ascertain the position of many islands which are doubtful; and others, whose existence is also uncertain, will either be correctly laid down or expunged from the charts. The coast of New South Wales will probably be visited; and in the progress towards Torres Straits, inside the Barrier Reefs on that coast, the position of several doubtful points, essential to navigators, will be ascertained; after which the Beagle is expected to return by the Cape of Good Hope to England.
State of Commerce The state of trade,
during the past year has, according to the statements which are circulated in "the City," been of a much more favourable character than might have been expected. According to the returns which have been made, a considerable increase lias occurred both as regards the import and export trade of the country. It would appear, that the total value of the exports of British manufactures and produce, in the year just ended, taken at the official rates of valuation, is 61,140,000/. while, in the last year, the value of exports was 56,200,000/. and, in 1829, but 52,797,0001. As regards the import trade, during the last year, the value of goods imported is calculated at 46,245,000/., while in 1830 the value of the imports was 43,980,000/. In the exportation of foreign and colonial merchandize, from this country, there has been a falling off from 10,600,000/. in 1830, to 8,550,000/. in the year just ended. The principal increase, in the exportation of British manufactured goods, in the year which has just ended, is in the article of cotton goods; the declared official value of the shipments of this article, in the last year, is 35,660,000/., while, in 1830, it was but 32,160,000/., and, in 1829, only 29,312,000/.; in cotton yarn the increase, in the exports, has been from 4,500,000/. in
1829, to 5,650,000/. in 1831. In woollen manufactures there has been a considerable increase also; the declared official value of the exports of woollen manufactures, in
1830, was 5,372,000/. and in the year just ended 5,559,000/. In the article of machinery exported, a gradual decrease is taking place in the exports; the declared official value of machinery and mill-work, exported in 1829, was 263,000/., and in the last year only 208,000/. In brass and copper manufactures, the increase in the exports has been from 675,000/. in 1830, to 998,000/. in the last year. In linen manufactures, the increase has been from 3,000,000/., in 1830, to 3,266,000/. in the year just ended.
Slavery in England.—Although we have given this heading to the following statement, which has found its way into most of
the newspapers in the kingdom, we trust for the honour of human nature that it is greatly exaggerated "The number of persons of both sexes employed in the naxspinning mills at Dundee, under eighteen years of age, is 1073. Of these, the majority is under fourteen; a considerable number are under twelve ; some are under nine; and a few betwixt six and seven years of age are admitted, and compelled to labour along with the rest. At some of the mills, the children labour thirteen hours twenty minutes per day, or 79| houre per week, exclusive of the time allowed for meals, which in some instances is one hour per day; and in others it is curtailed to fifty minutes, although frequently the distances betwixt the mills and the homes of the children are considerable. None labour for a shorter period than 12J hours per day, or 74 per week. This takes place in Dundee, where the operatives have benefit from occasional competition for labour amongst the masters. But in mills situated in solitary or thinlypeopled parts of the country, the hours of labour sometimes extend to 14j and 15 hours per day, which, when the hour of fifty minutes for meals, and the time spent in going to and returning from work, and in other unavoidable avocations, are deducted, will not leave more than betwixt six and seven hours for sleep. The table shows the stated hours of labour at the Dundee mills. But if time be lost by the stoppage of the machinery, or from any of the various causes which are constantly recurring to occasion this, the time has to be made up; so that the children are frequently made to labour for a number of hours in succession greater than any indicated in the table—it being customary in some of the mills to keep them working till within a quarter to twelve o'clock of a Saturday night! Frequently, too, during the period occupied in repairing or adjusting the machinery, the children are locked up either in the flats of the mills, or within the walls of the establishment, and this period is not counted to them as one of labour. Any dispute about odd time is generally decided against the children, on the plea that ten minutes or a quarter of an hour is little or nothing to them individually, but a good deal to their masters."
If this statement be true, we must consider the following as something more than an imaginary picture.
"Take a little female captive six years old; she shall rise from her bed at four o'clock in the morning of a cold winter's day; but before that she wakes, perhaps half a dozen times, and says, ' Father, is it time t Father, is it time?' And at last, when she gets up, she feels about in the dark for her clothes, and puts her little bits of rags upon her weary limbs—weary with the last day's work; she trudges onward through rain and snow to the mill, perhaps two miles, or at least one mile; and there, for 12, 14, 15, 16, or even 18 hours, she it obliged to work, with only thirty minutes' interval. The girl I am speaking of died; but she dragged on that dreadful existence for several years."—Sptech at the Huddersfetld Meeting.
The Slave Trade.—The Convention between the French and the English Governments, for the more effectual suppression of the Slave Trade, which was alluded to in the King's Speech at the opening of the Session, has been printed, and laid on the tables of both Houses of Parliament. It was signed at Paris, on the 20th of November 1831. The negotiators were Lord Granville, the British Ambassador, and M. Sebastiani, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
As all the world was convinced that nothing but a mutual right of search could prevent the shameful breaches of the French law by French subjects, in continuing,, by smuggling, the abominable traffic in human flesh, this great point has at length been conceded to justice and humanity. The right, however, is subjected to some restrictions, which will not materially lessen the efficiency of the measure, while they tend to prevent misunderstanding, inconvenience, or collision. The merchant-vessels of the two nations can only be visited on suspicion of having slaves on board, along the western coast of Africa, from the Cape de Verds to the distance of 10 deg. south of the Equator, around the Isle of Madagascar, within a circle of 20 leagues, around the Isle of Cuba, Porto Rico, and along the coasts of Brazil, to the same distance. In order to reduce as much as possible the chances of mistake or indiscretion, the search even within these limits can only be made by ships of war, commanded by officers with the rank of post-captain, or lieutenant at least. By another article of the Convention, even the number of searching vessels must be limited, and in no case shall the number of cruisers belonging to one of the parties exceed double that of the other. The names of the vessels employed must be given by the one nation to the other. A fourth regulation requires the commandant of the cruiser, when he overtakes a suspicious vessel, to show the order which confers upon him the right of search. The vessels captured for having taken part in this "infamous traffic" are to be given up, along with their crews, to the jurisdiction of the nation to which they belong. No right of search is permitted in any case over national ships or men of war.
Such are the chief provisions in this important treaty, which has filled up a great
chasm in the sanctions given by international law to the claims of justice and the rights of humanity.
The public income and expenditure for the year ending the 5th of January 1832, has been printed, by order of the House of Commons. The expenditure for the year is 47,123,2981. 3s. lid. and the income 46,424,4401. 17s. 11JW. showing an excess of expenditure over income of 698,8571. 5s. lljri.
Diminution of Coin.—It is stated by Mr. Jacob, in his elaborate and very interesting "Historical Inquiry into the Production and Consumption of the Precious Metals," lately published, that the quantity of Gold and Silver Coin has decreased no less than 17 per cent, within the last twenty years; and to this cause he attributes the present low profits of the master, and low wages of the work-people. Mr. Jacob estimates the stock of Coin in existence in 1809 at 380 millions, and in 1829 at only £313,388,500. for which reduction he accounts from the fact of the gold and silver mines being less productive than formerly, while the quantity of the precious metals used in the fabrication of jewelry, and other articles of plate, has been continually increasing. He estimates that not less than £5,612,611 has been consumed annually since 1809 in utensils and ornaments, and that two millions pass every year into Asia ; or, adding both together, that in twenty years £152,252,220 has been thus employed. Deducting the whole amount in existence in 1829 from that in 1809, we find a deficiency of no less than £66,611,440, or nearly one-sixth part of the whole.
The total annual receipts of Missionary, Bible, Education and Tract Societies, from 1827 to 1832, were 619,645/.
Hops.—According to an official statement, 47,122 acres of land were in cultivation of Hops, in England and Wales, in the year 1831 ; and the duty was paid on 30,622,921 bushels of malt.
Measuring by the Magnet.—At the great scientific meeting held at York, in September, in order to lay the foundation of '' the British Association for the Advancement of Science," a paper was read by the Rev. W. Scoresby, in which he laid down the principles of a new method of measuring solid rocks and masses of matter by the aid of the magnet. He had found, by a variety of experiments, that the magnetic influence permeates all substances so as to act (with power proportioned to the thickness of the interval) upon the compass. His powerful magnets had enabled him to ascertain within the eighth of an inch the thickness of a mass of freestone on the Manchester and Liverpool Railway. The whole paper is interesting, but this leading fact is important and popular enough for the general reader. In mining experiments and in civil engineering, what an advantage it must be to find a means of measuring the thickness of strata by the invisible wand of magnetic influence; strata, too, inaccessible perhaps by other means. Mr. Johnson alludes to the paper in the " Edinburgh Journal of Science." We find an abstract of it in the supplement to the "Repertory," and in the "Philosophical Magazine;" and it is given in full in the "Philosophical Transactions."
Yeomanry Cavalry. — The number of corps in England and Wales is ninety-four, of men 19,047, and the expense in 1831 was 145,679/. 0«. 0-J<l. The King's Cheshire has the largest complement of men, 727 ; and the Taplow (Bucks,) Tetbury, and Winterborne (Gloucester,) the smallest, 46 each. Twenty-three of these corps have an Adjutant at 8s. per diem, as they consist of 300 rank and file and upwards; there is also an allowance of constant pay for a serjeant-major, at 5s. 2d. per diem, for corps of not less than three troops.
Emigrants.—By a return just published, we learn that emigration was greatly upon the increase during the year 1831. During the half-year ended the 5th July 1831, the total number of emigrants who left the United Kingdom, were—to the United States, 15,724; British North American colonies, 49,383 ; Cape of Good Hope, 58; Van Diemen's Land, 423; making a total of 65,588.
Military Asylums.—The following is an abstract of a Parliamentary lteturn of the expenses of the Military Asylums, since their first establishment in 1801, up to the end of 1830:—Chelsea, 673,153/. 9s. lljd. Isle of Wight, 29,294/. Is. Id.; Southampton, 91,7271. 9s. 5-irf.; making a total of 794,1751. Is. There are at present in the Chelsea Asylum, 677 boys, 202 girls, making a total of 879. Since the foundation of the Asylum the numbers received there have been—boys 5,036, girls 1,721; total 6,757. Apprenticed since that period,
boys 1,469, girls 1,171 ; total 2,640. Volunteered to the army, 1,496. From the Southampton Asylum 219 boys joined the army from 1817 to 1823. At the end of the same return is a statement of all the sums received, including the King's Bounty, by the Hibernian Society for the Care of Soldiers' Children, from its establishment in 1764 to 1830; the amount is 323,879/. 17s. Id. The number of boys who have volunteered to the army from that establishment is 904.
Importation of Wheal for 1831.—From the official documents, published monthly, it appears that on the 1st of January 1831, there were in warehouse 116,718 qrs. of wheat, and 131,770 cwt. of flour—that during the course of the year there have been imported (including the quantity on hand at the beginning of it) 1,966,555 qrs. of wheat, and 1,773,019 cwt. of flour, nearly equivalent to 450,000 qrs. more, amounting both together to an importation during the year not very far removed from two millions and a half of quarters of wheat. Of these quantities there have been entered for home consumption, 1,212,009 qrs. of wheat, and 1,000,331 cwt. of flour; and there remained in warehouse on the 1st of January 1832, 710,033 qrs. of wheat, and 666,156 cwt. of flour. Under these circumstances the average price of wheat for the year 1831 has been nearly 66s. 4c/. Comparing this price with those of the two former years, the result is as follows :—
Average Price of Wheat per quarter in
1829 .... 66s. Id.
1830 .... 63s. 2d.
1831 .... 66s. 4rf. nearly; being an excess of 3s. 2d. over the average of the year 1830, and a decline of 3d. from that of the year preceding, and exhibiting a near approximation towards an uniform steadiness of price. The greatest fluctuation that has occurred during 1831, in the price of wheat, is between 75s. Id., the price of the last week in February, and 59s. 2d., that of the last week of December.
Population of Paris.—The Annuary of the Bureau des Longitudes for the year 1832 gives the progress of the population of Paris during the year 1830. Births, 28,587, of which 14,488 were boys, and 14,099 girls. The number of infants born in wedlock, as well at the houses of the parents as in the hospitals, was 18,580, of which 9,392 were boys, and 9,188 girls. The number of infants born out of wedlock, as well in private houses as in the hospitals, was 10,007—of
which 5,096 were boys, and 4,911 girls— of these 10,007 natural children, 2,258 were adopted by the parents, and 7,749 were abandoned. The number of deaths in that year was 27,466:—15,664 occurred at private houses; 10,754 at civil hospitals; 606 at military hospitals; 67 in prisons; and 375 were deposited at the Morgue.
TheDrama inFranct.—The Paris theatres have produced, during the last year, 272 new pieces—two tragedies, twenty-seven dramas, nineteen comedies, twenty-one operas, thirty melo-dramas, two ballets, and 171 vaudevilles. 172 authors have received "the honours" Scribe, always the most prolific, has produced thirteen pieces.
Alpine Phenomena. — Soon after six o'clock in the morning of the 14th of November (says a letter from Bruneck, in the Tyrol), a broad stream of light suddenly descended from the centre of the firmament nearly down to the ground, and was then drawn gradually up again to the middle of the sky, whence, for several seconds, it stretched itself out towards the north in a long ray of light, which first appeared in a straight, and then changed to a wavy line; after this it gathered into a light orb, resembling a white cloud, and remained stationary in the centre of the firmament for a full quarter of an hour, when it disappeared with the break of day. The appearance was accompanied by so vivid a degree of illumination that the smallest pebble in the road was readily distinguishable, and those who were abroad at :the time were completely panicstruck. The sky, instead of being muddy with vapour, as is customary at this season, and at this time of the morning, was clear and cloudless, and the air remarkably serene and tranquil. Between five and six o'clock, however, an unusual number of falling stars were observed in various parts of the heavens.
Stali si its of Crime.—Of the French population, it is estimated that annually one individual out of every 4460 inhabitants is tried for some crime; that of 100 tried, 61 is the regular proportion of the condemned. From a table of the number of the murderers, it appears that there were, in 1826, 241; in 1827, 234; in 1828, 227; and in 1829, 231.
A Sago Tree.—The age of a sago tree at its best time is ten years, but the fruit is collected from the age of eight years to thirty-two or thirty-five, at which period it is perfectly hollow, and rots away from the
top downwards. A sago tree of ten years old will be about twenty-seven feet high, and from five to eight feet girth at the bottom, and is continually yielding its crop. When the substance of the edible sago is three or five inches thick, they cut it, and this will be in two or three months, according to the quality of the ground. The oftener it is cut the faster it grows, which is proved by those trees that are neglected, as in many of them that have not been cut for six months the fruit will not be more than six or seven inches thick, whilst another tree, within thirty yards, cut every two months, will have four inches. There are several kinds of sago trees, some of which do not produce fruit for the first sixteen years.
Indian coal.—An examination of several varieties of Indian coal was laid before the Asiatic Society of Calcutta at their meeting on the 8th of June. The coals of this country differ principally from those of Europe in the quantity of earthen ash which they leave behind on burning, and which in the best English pit-coal does not exceed one or two per cent. The Chinese coal contains very little volatile matter, and consequently burns 'slowly and without flame; it is therefore unfit for steam-engines, but it seems well adapted for purposes to which coke would be applied.
Fossil Forest. — A fossil under-ground forest, about forty feet in thickness, and extending for several miles, has been lately discovered by a pedestrian tourist in the immediate vicinity of Rome. The petrific" matter is a calc-sinter, and the discoverer of this colossal phenomenon in natural history is of opinion that it has been occasioned by an earthquake, the memory of which is lost—probably long prior to the foundation of Rome. Not less singular than the phenomenon itself is the circumstance of its having escaped the observation of the scientific for so many ages.
Culture, lleaching, and platting Straw, destined for the manufacture of Hals from what is termed, Italian Straw.—The plant which supplies the straw calculated to make the hats from what is termed Italian straw, is a species of wheat, known in Tuscany under the name Marzajolo grano gentile rosso (triticum asticum, trimenon); however, any other species of wheat will answer the purpose, since all are but modifications of the same primitive plant from the culture of different soils, in different climates: all depends, then, upon the mode of cultivation, the choice of soil, upon its exposure, tem
perature, &c. The ruling principle in this cultivation consists in making every thing bear, upon obtaining a frail, attenuated, and hunger-starved plant; in fact, to degenerate it: thus in the management of it, the object is to produce a precisely opposite result from the one commonly sought. The end of ordinary cultivation is to produce a strong plant, vigorous, and well seeded: in the present instance, the most feeble and meagre growth is the point of perfection, the grain not being a desideratum. The soil should be extremely poor and sandy; upon lofty elevations, and amid flints and peb