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reposed awhile from the destruction of man! Ambition, interest, revenge, rouse the ever-watchful passions within us; the trumpet sounds to arms, and its notes thrill through the kindling frame ; all the surpassing pomp of martial array glitters before us, to dazzle the senses, and to madden the soul ; 'the rapture of the strife' burns in our bosoms, and the emulous love of glory hurries us forward into the field where Death gathers his great har vest, and Havoc rds over the smoke and clash of battle. We resemble the bull in the Spanish arena, phrenzied by the scarlet shawl that fluttered before him, and rushing blindly on the knife of the metador.' We resemble the race horse in others of the countries of Europe, where he is placed on the course unincumbered by bridle or rider, but with streaming ribbons on his head, and little bells with jagged points suspended over his back. He might, if he would, stand still at the starting post; for there is nothing to force him from it, but the bugle's ring. The gazing multitudes shout; he is animated or startled by the sights and sounds about him ; he begins to move ; his movement shakes the bells, which jingle in his ears and prick his flanks, and he dashes forward in the race for life or death, self-impelled, and self-spurred to the goal. Is not this a true picture of our own lives? Are not we also, in the sanguinary wars which from time to time convulse the world, the self-immolated victims of our own headlong passions and unreasoning animal instincts ? Oh, when will civilised communities learn that war, even upon those rare occasions when it is hallowed by a just and high cause, is after all but a necessary crime, and the scourge of our kind! When will they conspire, not in overreaching and encroaching upon one the other, but in bringing their choicest oblations, the flowers and fruits with which the bounteous hand of Heaven begems the unspoiled earth, and the aspirations of a fraternal concord, to lay them lovingly together on the altar of Peace ?
Remote as that auspicious day may seem to be, certain it is, that in nothing is the progress of refinement more visibly manifest, than in the gradual melioration of the belligerent usages of the European race; and equally certain it is, that though religion has been the incentive or pretext of many wars, yet, that the general influence of christianity has been signally promotive of this melioration. Alexander III. spoke the true voice of the gospel, when he interposed as mediator between Henry of England and Louis of France. Among other good things,' said he, which render men lovely to their fellows and pleasing to God, that good we deem to be specially acceptable, which infuses charity into their hearts, and binds together their souls. This is PEACE; which dispels hatred, casts aside rancour, drives away envy, and shakes off rage which pacifies the mind, conciliates the heart, tranquillises the breast, and harmonises the will. It is this we seek to plant, to propagate and nourish in the soil of the church; this we would bring to fruit among princes, kings, and great men.'
The first mention we find made of the employment of pigeons as letter-carriers, is by Ovid in his · Metamorphoses,' who tells us that Taurosthenes, by a pigeon stained with purple, gave notice of his having been victor at the Olympic games, on the very same day to his father at Egina.
Pliny informs us, that during the siege of Modena by Marc Antony, pigeons were employed by Brutus to keep up a correspondence with the besieged.
When the city of Ptolemais, in Syria, was invested by the French and Venetians, and it was ready to fall into their hands, they observed a pigeon flying over them, and immediately conjectured that it was charged with letters to the garrison. On this the whole army raising a loud shout, so confounded the poor aërial post, that it fell to the ground; and on being seized, a letter was found under its wings from the sultan, in which he assured the garrison, that he would be with them in three days, with an army sufficient to raise the siege.' For this letter the besiegers substituted another, to this purpose, that the garrison must see to their own safety, for the sultan had such other affairs pressing him, that it was impossible for him to come to their succour;' and with this false intelligence they let the pigeon free to pursue his course. The garrison, deprived by this decree of all hope of relief, immediately surrendered. The sultan appeared on the third day, as promised, with a powerful army, and was not a little mortified to find the city already in the hands of the christians.
Carrier pigeons were again employed, but with better success, at the siege of Leyden, in 1675. The garrison were by means of the information thus conveyed to them, induced to stand out, till the enemy despairing of reducing the place, withdrew. On the siege being raised, the Prince of Orange ordered that the pigeons who had rendered such essential service, should be maintained at the public expense; and that at their death, they should be embalmed and preserved in the townhouse, as a perpetual token of gratitude.
In the east, the employment of pigeons for the conveyance of letters is still very common; particularly in Syria, Arabia, and Egypt. Every bashaw has generally a basket full of them sent him from the grand seraglio, where they are bred, and in case of any insurrection, or other emergency, he is enabled by letting loose two or more of these extraordinary messengers, to convey intelligence to the government long before it could be possibly obtained by other means.
In Flanders great encouragement is also still given to the training of pigeons; and at Antwerp there is an annual competition of the society of pigeon fanciers.
In the United States, they have been also recently employed with very nefarious success, by a set of lottery gamblers. The number of tickets drawn at Philadelphia were known by this mode of conveyance
within so inconceivably short a period, at New York; or if drawn at New York, known at Philadelphia, and so with other towns, that the greatest frauds have been committed on the public by those in possession of this secret means of intelligence.
In England the use of carrier pigeons is at present wholly confined to the gentlemen of the fancy, who inherited it from the heroes of Tyburn; with whom it was of old a favourite practice, to let loose a number of pigeons at the moment the fatal cart was drawn away, to notify to distant friends the departure of the unhappy criminal.
The diligence and speed with which these feathered messengers wing their course is extraordinary. From the instant of their liberation, their flight is directed through the clouds at an immense height to the place of their destination. They are believed to dart onwards in a straight line, and never descend, except when at a loss for breath ; and then are to be seen commonly at dawn of day, lying on their backs on the ground, with their bills open, sucking in with hasty avidity the dew of the morning. Of their speed the instances related are almost incredible.
The consul of Alexandria daily sends dispatches by this means to Aleppo in five hours, though couriers occupy a whole day in proceeding with the utmost expedition from one town to the other.
Some years ago, a gentleman sent a carrier pigeon from London by the stage coach to his friend at Bury St. Edmunds, together with a note, desiring that the pigeon, two days after his arrival there, might be thrown up precisely when the town clock struck nine in the morning. This was done accordingly, and the pigeon arrived in London, and flew to the Bull Inn, Bishopsgate, into the loft, and was there shown at half-past eleven o'clock, having flown seventy-two miles in two hours and a half. At the annual competition of the Antwerp pigeon fanciers in 1819, one of thirty-two pigeons belonging to that city, that had been conveyed to London, and there let loose, made the transit back, being a distance in a direct line of one hundred and eighty miles, in six hours !
It is through the attachment of these animals to the place of their birth, and particularly to the spot where they have brought up their young, that they are thus rendered useful to mankind.
When a young one flies very hard at home, and is come to its full strength, it is carried in a basket, or otherwise, about half a mile from home, and there turned out; after this it is carried a mile, then two, four, eight, ten, twenty, etc., till at length it will return from the furthermost parts of the country.
[Our friends will remember what was said by one of the speakers at the anni
versary meeting, and act on the hint :~"It frequently happened, that animals located themselves just where they were well treated. If carrier-pigeons were not supplied with oats at home, they would not be such fools as to fly from France to London with the price of stocks. England had better beware lest sailors should imitate carrier pigeons, and take their own course, when they were not treated well at home.”]
DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
We presume that our readers generally are interested in every effort which is put forth to ameliorate and improve the moral condition of man, whether he dwell on the sea or on the land, whether at home or abroad. Under this impression we introduce the following items of information.
Through the Church and Wesleyan Missions, converts to the christian faith have been obtained in various parts of this extensive island ; but still it is one of the dark places of the earth, and is yet full of the habitations of cruelty. This will appear from the following extracts, taken from the private communications of a devoted missionary, to a mutual and revered friend in this country.
Under date of June 18th, 1837, he wrote the following affecting detail, relative both to the natives and to his own position :
This is the evening of the holy sabbath, but such a day of anxiety and fear as this has been, we have not often experienced since we have been in this land. I never saw my dear wife weep at the sound of war and tumult, until this morning, nor do I recollect any time when I felt so much for the miseries of this people, as I have done to-day. I have informed you in a former communication that the people among whom we are living are strongly opposed to christianity, and that they delight in the practices of superstition, barbarity, and cannibalism, to an awful extent;-soon after we came among them they killed and devoured one poor man near our house, and another had been selected for a similar purpose; but as I heard of their design before the fatal stroke was given, I succeeded in persuading them to spare his life. About three weeks since, all the people belonging to this place went to the Bay of Islands to join a chief called 'Pomare,' in fighting against another chief called “ Tetore, the latter occupying a place which the former wishes to possess, but which the latter will not resign. The engagement of the two parties has hitherto been a bloody one, and I fear will be much more dreadfully so before it is over ; but what we are more immediately concerned about, is founded on the following facts ;—A few days ago, our chief, who is a dreadful savage, took the lead of the fight against Tetore, who, with his tribe, rushed rather unexpectedly upon our people, and killed two of our principal chiefs, both well known to us. When the two men fell, our people endeavoured to keep their bodies from being carried away by the enemy, but failed. They got them into their possession, and after tearing out their bowels, feasted upon them until nothing of them was left but their bones. This so enraged our chief, that he renewed his hellish indignation, and in his anger killed one of the greatest chiefs of Hokianga, whose death will be revenged at a future period ; ‘and perhaps we, as living with the people who killed the above chief, shall have to flee for our lives; but as the work of destruction is still going on at the Bay in a most dreadful manner, I set out to-morrow morning for that place, for the purpose of using my influence with our people to desist. Several of the church missionaries are there, endeavouring to effect a reconciliation between the contending parties.'
In another letter, under date of August, 1838, we are furnished with a brief description of a particular rite which had but recently been performed in their midst :
A few weeks since, this place was visited by a large number of natives from a distant settlement, for the purpose of removing the bones of two persons who had died about three years since. Twenty-nine large canoes, containing, perhaps, two hundred persons of both sexes, passed our station on the occasion, presenting a scene which could not fail to impress our minds with the striking contrast there is between the land of our fathers and the dark places of the earth. The visitors were received by our people with the usual tokens of welcome, such as the firing of muskets, dancing, screaming, etc. And on the visitors landing, they had a war dance. This being ended they all turned their attention to feasting, which continued two days, and then proceeded to the more quiet part of the business,-removing the bones of the corpses. Maté, the principal chief of the tribe, was tapued, or made sacred, for the purpose of handling the bones ; and I suppose he continued so until he had deposited the skeletons in a Wahi-Tapu, or sacred place. This I believe is their usual custom. The place where the bones would be deposited would ever afterwards be shunned by every native, lest some dreadful sickness, or death, or something worse befal them. Subsequent to the removal of the bones, a mat was also rendered sacred for Maté to sit upon at a good distance from his friends and others, and a woman appointed to feed him, he being tapued would not dare to use his hands for any purpose whatever ; but sat on his mat in a state of nudity, with his hands behind him. We visited Maté and his tribe during their stay, and endeavoured to direct their attention to that solemn period when all mankind shall be raised from the dust of death to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. They listened attentively, but seemed scarcely to credit the truth of what was ad. vanced, because they could not understand how the dead could be raised. I hope however, that the seed will not altogether be lost. Maté said, he should like to have a missionary to live with him, and I hope we shall be able in some degree to meet his wishes. He and his people are remaining within a hundred and twenty miles of our station, so that we hope to be able to visit them occasionally during the summer months.
It is deeply to be regretted, that, during the past year, popery has been introduced into this island. Both a bishop and a priest had arrived from France,—had located themselves on one of the missionary stations,—and, when the last communication was sent off, were engaged in rearing a temple for their worship. We learn farther, that the Commanders of the French naval forces in those seas, have received orders from the Secretary of war, to attend to any directions they may receive from the right reverend prelate,—that one of their ships of war is now engaged in making an accurate survey of the different harbours in the island,—and, that under the superintendence of the bishop who has been constituted the • VICAR APOSTOLIC OF THE South SEA 1sLANDS,' more than twenty missionaries are stationed in different islands in the South Pacific, in some of which all the inhabitants are under the