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of light literature to learn that, with the “ marble sculpture is too pale for us ; exception of the Napiers, scarcely any fa- we know not what it means; it does mily has produced so continuous a series of “ not embody life to our eyes. remarkable men as that to which Richard “ back our gilt, grinning, waggle-headed Brinsley Sheridan owed his descent. For “ Joss, with flags and beating of drums; five generations—each succeeding each know not him you would present in the inalienable heritage of intelli- “ to us,—the ideal god of the hushed gence—the Sheridans are noted in the ." and shadowy temple of genius. Give biography of their country ; Richard us back (among the rest) our drunken, Brinsley only becoming more known "swindling, drivelling SHERIDAN ; we than others because his career was more “ will not consent to be contradicted, rein the eye of the world. Did these five “ buked, and informed that the man we generations of men-poor, uninfluential, " have libelled as mean and monstrous in and, till lately, only remotely connected “all his actions, had common faults, like with titled races-owe to their own common men,—but, shooting beyond natural superiority, or not, the public “them in many great and noble qualities, mention thus accorded them?
“and in a surpassing ability of brain, It will, perhaps, seem trivial to mix “left a name to be remembered, and a with remarks on these greater lives any “history which, if fairly written, would, deprecation of attacks on myself; but, in “in spite of his misfortunes, be as just a one of the three abusive works which source of prideto his descendants, as the called forth this letter, the author has memory was to him of the usefullynot even had patience to wait for the occupied, intelligent, active-minded gedeath of those she would assail, but “nerations of men whom he happily presents us with scenes and interviews " claimed as forefathers. We will not be with the living; which, if all resemble .“ told this, even by those who belong the one she professes to have shared " to him, and to whom both his faults with me, might take their place among " and his merits must be better known the “ imaginary conversations of Walter
" than to strangers.” Savage Landor.” I have no recollection Such a history, nevertheless, I-whatever of the author, or of hearing Sheridan's grand-daughter-hope to supthe stories she professes to have told me. ply. Not taken, like these poorly-con
I could of my own knowledge contra- cocted sketches, from sources whose diet and disprove many of the assertions “veracity” the authors have never she makes respecting other persons, and examined,” but from sifted evidence many of the cruel anecdotes told of and real matter. Not from repeated exthem. And I know not whether to tracts copied out of one bookseller's smile or sigh when, after mentioning preface into another; nor including such sundry reports to my prejudice, and then foolish forgeries as the "epistle from describing how she found me different Miss Linley to a female friend," which from those reports, and how I received is quoted by “Grace and Philip Wharher “with frank and simple courtesy” ton;" but from family papers and royal (a painful lesson not to receive such and other letters in the actual possession persons at all), she nevertheless persists of the living representative of the Sheriin believing the account she had heard dans,--the present member for Dorto be correct, and my dissimilarity from chester,--a portion of which papers were that account to be a mere temporary in the hands of Tom Moore, for extract suspension of evil !
and guidance, while working (so unwilThis is the secret of all such biogra- lingly as it now appears) at the Life he phies. "I MISJUDGED” is not the lan- undertook to execute. guage possible to these greedy censors of I will conclude this protest in better their fellow-creatures. Rather, their lan- words than my own; in words quoted from guage would be,~“Give us back our the remarks of that very old-fashioned
gross-painted wooden images; this biographer, Sir Robert Naunton, at the
close of his "Fragmenta Regalia," or “ not looke in their face, nor make our “Notices of the Lives and Characters “ addresses unto them, otherwise than of Queen Elizabeth's Courtiers.” And I “ with due regard to their honour, and quote him for the benefit of those authors “ with reverence to their vertues." who impudently affirm of a dead servant So spake Sir Robert Naunton ; writof the State, that he merited a felon's ing of the reign of Queen Elizabeth: destiny, and of the Publisher who has and I copy his true sentences as a rebukthought fit to give so discreditable a ing lesson in this reign of Queen Vicmemoir to the world.
toria. The good old man has found his Sir Robert Naunton speaks thus : place among “ the graves of persons at “ I have delivered up my poor essay. rest ;” but his noble rules survive : “ “I cannot say I have finished it, warning those who attempt the biogra“ for I know how defective and im phies of their superiors in intellect and “perfect it is. I took it in con fame, not to dash into such histories "sideration how easily I might have the easy “stain of pollution ;” to master “dashed into it much of the staine of
so as not to err animo, or of "pollution, and thereby have defaced set purpose," — to avoid the "defacement “that little which is done ; I professe I of men departed, their posterity yet re" have taken care to master my pen, maining," -and to beware how they " that I might not erre animo; or of set trample on the graves of those whom
purpose discolour each or any of the living they never would have dared to
parts thereof . . . that modesty in me address, save with courtesy and due “ forbids the defacements in men de obeisance. Wishing his words what " parted; their posterity yet remaining; weight they may obtain among minds so “.. and I had rather incur the cen inferior to his own, “sure of abruption, than to be conscious
I am, dear Sir, 6 and taken in the manner, sinning by “ eruption, or trampling on the graves of
Yours obliged, “persons at rest, which, living, we durst
BY WILLIAM POLE, F.G.S.
Who does not love diamonds ? Where mind; while the merest tyro in science is there a mind in which the bare men may find in it the most instructive tion of them does not excite a pleasant topics of study. Shall we look at it in emotion? Is there any one of rank too an artistic point of view? The diaexalted to care for such baubles? The mond is one of the most beautiful things highest potentates of the earth esteem in nature. No painter, were he ten them as their choicest treasures, and times a Turner, could do justice to its kingdoms have been at war for their effulgence ; no poet, were he ten times a possession ; while there is none so low Shakspeare, could put its lustre into or so poor as to be unable to find plea- words. Light was the first and fairest sure in the admiration of their splendour. gift of heaven to man; the diamond is Shall we turn to the domain of intellect, fairer than light itself; it is light, only where surely the gewgaws of ornament seven times beautified and refined. should be lightly esteemed? The dia For one half the human race diamonds mond offers to the philosopher one of are delirium--the true eyes of the basithe most recondite and subtle problems lisk : their power over the sex we dare that have ever engaged the human not do more than hint at, and the
woman who would profess herself in- duce from this part of the world has different to their fascination simply gradually fallen off
, and is now entirely belies her feminine nature. One of superseded by the more recently disthe most extraordinary romances in covered mines of the Brazils. the history of the world was all about The existence of these was revealed a diamond necklace; and who would to the eastern world by an accident in venture to number the true romances the year 1727. A Portuguese of the occurring every year of
our lives name of Bernardino Fonseca Lobo, when in which diamonds take part ? As at the gold mines of Minas Geraes, saw regards the less decorative
the the miners using, as card counters, small diamond forms altogether an exception stones which they said were found in to the usual idea of the propriety of the gold washings, and which he, having ornament. A man who bedizens him- seen similar ones in the East Indies, conself with gold or jewels in general is jectured to be rough diamonds. He rightly pronounced an empty fop; but brought a quantity to Lisbon, where his the wearing of a fine diamond will only suspicion was confirmed, and public atmark its possessor as having a superior tention was at once drawn to the rich taste for what is most admirable and discovery. The European dealers, who beautiful among the productions of had hitherto obtained their stones from nature. The minerals we call gems, India, fearing that they would be deprejewels, "precious" stones, par excellence, ciated in value, spread the report that are the most noble objects of inorganic the pretended Brazilian diamonds had creation ; and the diamond is the queen been surreptitiously sent from Goa to of them all.
South America ; but the Portuguese Let us then have a chat about Dia- soon demonstrated their authenticity, monds, which will interest.everybody. and turned the tables upon the mer
The localities where diamonds have chants, by actually sending them to hitherto been found, are Central India, Goa, and selling them in India as native Sumatra, Borneo, the Ural mountains, produce. The discovery once made, Australia, some parts of North America, the sources of supply were soon found, and the Brazils; but the first and last and worked extensively, and proved sources only have been of any great very productive. The stones abound extent. Down to a comparatively late more or less on the great north and period the continent of India was the south ranges of the country between 13 only district of any importance, whence and 219 south latitude ; but the prindiamonds were obtained. The principal cipal working, so long known as the regions producing them were the high diamond district, and in which the valleys of the Pennar near Cuddapah, town of Diamantina lies, is a high, and of the Kistna near Ellora (and not mountainous, and sterile tract of country, far from the hill fort of Golconda, the situated between the heads of the rivers name usually associated with these Doce, Arassuahy, Jequetinhonha, and ancient and rich mines), as also a rude, the great river of San Francisco. The little known, mountainous district, con- ancient province of Bahia has also more taining the sources of Nerbudda and lately become one of the principal Sone; and a range of hills in Bundel
In 1843 a mulatto miner, who kund, between the latter river and the had gone alone into the interior to search Sonar. The produce of these mines was for new washings, was working up to enormous, both in regard to number and his ankles in water, in the bed of a size. One of the Mohammedan Em- stream at Sincora, in this province, perors, who died at the end of the when, dropping the end of his crowtwelfth century, after a long reign of bar, to rest himself, on the ground plunder, is stated to have amassed in below, he was somewhat surprised at his treasury 400lbs. weight of diamonds hearing it sound hollow. He repeated alone. In later times, however, the pro- the blow a second and a third time,
when the bar fell through. He put his riferous strata, i.e., chiefly varieties of hand into the hole, and pulled out a metamorphic mica schist, occasionally handful of diamonds. Elated with his intersected with irregular quartz veins. discovery he returned home, and offered The matrix in which the stones actually the stones for sale to some of the parties lie is a mineral called Itacolumite, from with whom he had been formerly en- the mountain Itacolumi in Brazil, where gaged. As the diamonds were of a it was first discovered. It is a silicious different quality and shape from any they conglomerate, cemented together with had seen before, they taxed him with ferruginous matter, and appears to have having discovered a new mine, which undergone plutonic action. The diafor some time he strongly denied; but, monds lie often imbedded in flaky poron being thrown into prison on the tions of this material, like the well-known charge of stealing the diamonds, he con- specimens of garnets in mica schist. In fessed his discovery, and, on promise of some parts of the Brazils the stones have making it known, was released. The been sought to some small extent by hole he had broken into produced alone working the original vein in the rocks; ten pounds of superior stones, worth but this has been troublesome and exprobably more than 100,0001. in their pensive, and recourse is had in preference rough state ; and, on the neighbourhood to the alluvial beds of streams and rivers, being searched, the produce was so where the diamonds are brought down abundant, that six or eight months with the detritus from the hills above. afterwards, from 10,000 to 15,000 people These water-courses have been always had collected on the spot, and in the considered the most productive in fine first two years it is supposed nearly stones, as well as the most profitable in 600,000 carats were extracted, to the working. Gold dust, and some few other value of above half a million of money : stones, are found along with the diamonds, an influx into the market, which for a but the latter always form the principal time very seriously depreciated the object. The colour, crystallization, and
This circumstance, however, quality of the stones, are generally combined with the increased difficulty much alike in the same district, but of extraction, the unhealthiness of the the size varies considerably, large and climate, and the high prices of provi- small being found all together. The visions, soon checked the production, great majority of stones found are of and brought matters again to a more small size ; it is said that only about normal state. Since this time another one in ten thousand will exceed, when new mine has been discovered, pro- cut, ten carats in weight, and hence the ducing good stones, and the diamond- disproportionate increase in value of large bearing district is so extensive as to sized stones. remove any fear of speedy exhaustion. The Brazilian mines were formerly
The total production of diamonds from worked by government; but bad managethe Brazilian mines has been estimated ment and the extensive system of robup to the year 1850 at upwards of beries practised by all classes concerned, 10,000,000 carats, or above two tons ; caused this plan to fail, and they are and valued at 16,000,0001. sterling. At now farmed out to private individuals, some seasons the general richness of the who carry on the workings at their own ground has been marvellous ; after a risk and profit. Slave labour is still rain the children would seek gold in the employed, but all possible precautions gutters, and often find large quantities ; are taken to prevent dishonesty. Thefts diamonds have been found in the vege- are severely punished, and rewards are table roots in the gardens, and in stones offered for integrity and success in workcarelessly thrown about the road ; even ing. The slave who finds a diamond of the fowls would pick up diamonds. 174 carats, is crowned with a wreath of
The prevailing rocks in the diamond flowers, and led in procession to the accompanied with a new suit of clothes, cutting facets upon them, on which their and permission to work for his own lustre, as now known, so much depends. profit ; minor rewards are given for Cardinal Mazarin, about 1650, invented smaller stones.
the perfect form of the brilliant, and The method of working for the stones had twelve large diamonds of the French is very simple. The streams are diverted,
crown cut into this shape, which has and the water exhausted as much as pos- ever since been acknowledged the best sible from the beds by pumping ; the possible for exhibiting the beautiful opgravel and alluvial soil are then exca- tical properties of the stone. vated and washed in troughs by means
Diamond cutting, in the present day, of currents of water ; the earthy particles is almost exclusively done by Jews at being first carried away, the remaining Amsterdam, where large diamond mills gravel is carefully searched for diamonds, have been established ; and it is calcuwhich are easily recognised by those lated that 10,000 out of the 28,000 acquainted with them. The process of persons of the Jewish persuasion living working is carried on as long as the dry in that city are dependent directly or weather lasts, namely, from April to the indirectly on this branch of industry.* middle of October, all vestiges of the One of the largest establishments is that diggings being soon destroyed by the of Messrs. Coster, in the Zwanenburg succeeding heavy rains. All the work Straat, who use steam-power to drive is done by hand, no machinery having their machines, and employ from 200 to been hitherto found to answer.
300 hands. Diamonds are usually found in crys- The process of cutting the diamonds talline forms—principally six, eight, and is as follows :—The rough stone is first twelve sided, called by mineralogists the given into the hands of an experienced cube, the octohedron, and the rhombic workman, who examines its natural form, dodecahedron; the two latter forms being and determines what general shape and the most common. In the rough state size it can most advantageously be made the stones are semi-transparent, but to assume. Having settled this in regard quite devoid of brilliancy ; much resem- to two diamonds, he beds each of them bling small pieces of gum-arabic. Ex- in a mass of cement placed at the end of perienced persons can, however, in this a piece of wood of a convenient size stage, easily judge of what their future for handling, and then proceeds to rub quality and value will be.
the two stones one against the other, on The rough diamonds are transmitted the principle of "diamond cut diamond,” by the owner to the coast, and shipped, changing from time to time the parts generally, at Rio Janeiro, to merchants acted on, and so bringing both stones in Europe; by far the greater part coming gradually into the form he desires. The to London. These merchants again sell mutual abrasion of the two stones prothem to other houses, whose business it duces diamond powder, which is careis to get them cut, and so to give them fully preserved for the subsequent opethe precious brilliancy which is their rations. When the diamond has received principal characteristic.
its general shape, it is sent into the mill The art of cutting diamonds into a to be finished, by cutting upon it the regular shape is of comparatively modern numerous small angular facets," as invention; they were long worn in their they are termed, which make up the natural state, or only cleaned and pol- surface. This is done by exposing the ished. It appears; during the fourteenth stone to the action of diamond powder century, some attempts were made to cut
* The writer had lately the advantage of them into regular forms, but without visiting the Amsterdam diamond works, along any view to the improvement of their with Professor Tennant, one of our best brilliancy; and it was only in the year
English connoisseurs in precious stones, and
to whose kindness he is indebted for much 1456, that a certain Louis van Berquen, of the information in the present paper. See of Bruges, discovered the principle of also Kluge’s “Handbuch der Edelsteinkunde.”