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warm the air in raw, inclement summers.
He told me he did not
doubt in eight years more that he should be able to supply the governor's gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate; but he complained that the stock was low, and entreated me to give him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers. I made him a small present, for my lord had furnished me with money, on purpose, because he knew their practice of begging from all who go to see them.
I saw another at work to calcine ice into gunpowder, who likewise showed me a treatise he had written concerning the malleability of fire, which he intended to publish.
There was a most ingenious architect, who had contrived a new method for building houses, by beginning at the roof, and working downwards to the foundation; which he justified to me by the like practice of those two prudent insects, the bee and the spider.
In another apartment I was highly pleased with a projector who had found a device of ploughing the ground with hogs, to save the charges of ploughs, cattle, and labor. The method is this: in an acre of ground, you bury, at six inches distance, and eight deep, a quantity of acorns, dates, chestnuts, and other masts or vegetables, whereof these animals are fondest; then you drive six hundred or more of them into the field, where in a few days they will root up the whole ground in search of their food, and make it fit for sowing. It is true, upon experiment they found the charge and trouble very great, and they had little or no crop. However, it is not doubted that this invention may be capable of great improvement..
I went into another room, where the walls and ceilings were all hung round with cobwebs, except a narrow passage for the artist to go in and out. At my entrance he called aloud to me not to disturb his webs. He lamented the fatal mistake the world had been so long in, of using silk-worms, while we had such plenty of domestic insects, who infinitely excelled the former, because they understood how to weave as well as spin. And he proposed, further, that by employing spiders, the charge of dyeing silks would be wholly saved; whereof I was fully convinced when he showed me a vast number of flies most beautifully colored, wherewith he fed his spiders; assuring us that the webs would take a tincture from them; and as he had them of all hues, he hoped to fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he could find proper food for the flies, of certain gums, oils, and other glutinous matter, to give a consistence to the threads.
There was an astronomer who had undertaken to place a sun-dial upon the great weathercock on the town-house, by adjusting the annual and diurnal motions of the earth and sun, so as to answer and coincide with all accidental turning of the winds.
I visited many other apartments, but shall not trouble my reader with all the curiosities I observed, being studious of brevity.
I had hitherto only seen one side of the academy, the other being appropriated to the advancers of speculative learning, of whom I shall say something when I have mentioned one illustrious person more who is called among them the universal artist. He told us he had been thirty years employing his thoughts for the improvement of human life. He had two large rooms full of wonderful curiosities, and fifty men at work; some were condensing air into a dry tangible substance, by extracting the niter, and letting the aqueous or fluid particles percolate; others, softening marble for pillows and pin-cushions; others, petrifying the hoofs of a living horse to preserve them from foundering. The artist himself was at that time busy upon two great designs; first, to sow land with chaff, wherein he affirmed the true seminal virtue to be contained, as he demonstrated by several experiments, which I was not skillful enough to comprehend. The other was, by a certain composition of gums, minerals, and vegetables, outwardly applied, to prevent the growth of wool upon two young lambs, and he hoped in a reasonable time to propagate the breed of naked sheep all over the kingdom.
We crossed a walk to the other part of the academy, where, as I have already said, the projectors in speculative learning resided.
The first professor I saw was in a very large room, with forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to look earnestly upon a frame which took up the greatest part of both the length and breadth of the room, he said, perhaps I might wonder to see him employed in a project for improving speculative knowledge by practical and mechanical operations. But the world would soon be sensible of its usefulness, and he flattered himself that a more noble, exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attaining to arts and sciences, whereas, by his contrivance, the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labor, may write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study. He then led me to the frame, about the sides
whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the room. The superficies* was composed of several bits of wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than others. They were all linked together by slender wires. These bits of wood were covered on every square with paper pasted on them ; and on these papers were written all the words of their language in their several moods, tenses, and declensions, but without any order. The professor then desired me to observe, for he was going to set his engine at work. The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the edges of the frame, and giving them a sudden turn, the whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He then commanded six-and-thirty of the lads to read the several lines softly as they appeared upon the frame, and where they found three or four words together that might make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining boys, who were scribes. This work was repeated three or four times, and at every turn the engine was so contrived, that the words shifted into new places as the square bits of wood moved upside down.
Six hours a day the young students were employed in this labor; and the professor showed me several volumes in large folio, already collected, of broken sentences, which he intended to piece together, and out of those rich materials to give the world a complete body of all arts and sciences, which, however, might be still improved, and much expedited, if the public would raise a fund for making and employing five hundred such frames in Lagado, and oblige the managers to contribute in common their several collections.
He assured me that this invention had employed all his thoughts from his youth; that he had emptied the whole vocabulary into his frame, and made the strictest computation of the general proportion there is in books, between the numbers of particles, nouns, and verbs, and other parts of speech.
I made my humblest acknowledgments to this illustrious person for his great communicativeness, and promised, if ever I had the good fortune to return to my native country, that I would do him justice, as the sole inventor of this wonderful machine, the form and contrivance of which I desired leave to delineate upon paper. I told him, although it were the custom of our learned in Europe to steal inventions from each other, who had thereby at least this advantage,
The surface; the exterior part or face of a thing.
that it became a controversy which was the right owner, yet I would take such caution that he should have the honor entire without a rival.
We next went to the school of languages, where three professors sat in consultation upon improving that of their own country.
The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles; because, in reality, all things imaginable are but nouns.
The other was a scheme for entirely abolishing all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great advantage in point of health as well as brevity: for it is plain that every word we speak is in some degree a diminution of our lungs by corrosion, and consequently contributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them such things as were necessary to express the particular business they are to discourse on. And this invention would certainly have taken place, to the great ease as well as health of the subject, if the women, in conjunction with the vulgar and illiterate, had not threatened to raise a rebellion, unless they might be allowed the liberty to speak with their tongues, after the manner of their forefathers; such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the common people.
THE common fluency of speech in many men, and most women, is owing to a scarcity of matter, and a scarcity of words; for whoever is a master of language, and hath a mind full of ideas, will be apt in speaking to hesitate upon the choice of both; whereas common speakers have only one set of ideas, and one set of words to clothe them in; and these are always ready at the mouth; so people come faster out of church when it is almost empty, than when a crowd is at the door.
AN old miser kept a tame jackdaw, that used to steal pieces of money and hide them in a hole, which the cat observing, asked “Why he would hoard up those round shining things that he could make no use of?" "Why," said the jackdaw, "my master has a whole chest full, and makes no more use of them than I."
JOSEPH ADDISON was born in 1672, and died in 1719. His name is a synonym of rhetorical elegance; and to say that the style of a composition is "Addisonian "is to give it the highest praise for finish and classic regularity. Addison's style, however admirable it may have seemed to his contemporaries, cannot safely be taken as a model by a writer of the present day it is too cold and elaborate, and conveys an idea of formality which is not in harmony with the spirit of our time. Addison's fame as a writer rests mainly on his contributions to the Spectator, Tatler, and Guardian, periodicals which clearly illustrate the manners and morals of the time, and which contain many of the finest specimens of English literary workmanship. To these periodicals Addison was the principal contributor, and with these his name will have its most enduring association. He was a poet and a dramatist; but, except perhaps his tragedy of Cato, his efforts in these departments of literature are not held in very high esteem by the authorities of to-day. *Addison led an easy and somewhat luxurious life. He held a high office in the government, had an ample income, and in the literary society of that brilliant period occupied, by general acquiescence, the foremost rank. No student of English literature can afford to neglect the essays of Addison, which illustrate the very best literary achievements of English writers, in delicacy of sentiment and felicity of expression.
AMERICAN INDIAN TRADITIONS OF THE SPIRIT-WORLD.
THE American Indians believe that all creatures have souls, not only men and women, but brutes, vegetables, nay, even the most inanimate things, as stocks and stones. They believe the same of all the works of art, as of knives, boats, looking-glasses; and that, as any of these things perish, their souls go into another world, which is inhabited by the ghosts of men and women. For this reason they always place by the corpse of their dead friend a bow and arrow, that he may make use of the souls of them in the other world, as he did of their wooden bodies in this. How absurd soever such an opinion as this may appear, our European philosophers have maintained several notions altogether as improbable. I shall only instance Albertus Magnus,* who in his dissertation upon the loadstone, observing that fire will destroy its magnetic virtues, tells us that he took particular notice of one as it lay glowing amidst an heap of burning coals, and that he perceived a certain blue vapor to arise from it, which he believed might be the substantial form; that is, in our West-Indian phrase, the soul of the magnet.
There is a tradition among the Indians, that one of their country
* A Dominican friar and bishop of the eleventh century. He was an eminent mechanician and mathematician, and is said to have been a searcher after the philosopher's stone.