Abbildungen der Seite

The Botanist may profit by Mr. Stackhouse's M Observa-* tions on preserving Specimens of Plants." From Mr. Maton's notices of " the Orcheston long Grafs," we find that~

*' the crops of this grafs, within late years, have not by any means equalled what they have heretofore been. Perhaps the gradual deepen, ing of the mould may be the cause of this, as it must deprive the crop more and more cf the advantage arising from the disposition of the pebbles, which (if I might venture a conjecture) seems to be a very important peculiarity in the situation. It is certain that the space of only two acres and an half has yielded as much as ten tons of hay in •ne year. The first crophas usually been cut about the end of May, and the second in July, or (which is rare) as late as the end of August. The tithes of the meadow have been rented more than once for 5I. the produce amounting to 25 hundred weight of hay.

"The herbage of the adjoining meadows is very exuberant; and this exuberance may be traced increasing or declining according as the foil varies more or less from that of the principal meadow.

At the distance of a mile or two miles from Orcheston, but in the fame valley, some of the grasses may be seen to put on an uncommon luxurisncy; and, perhaps, in proportion as meadows in other parts of the kingdom approach more nearly in circumstances and situation to that of Orcheston, the more similar their produce will be found."

In his " History of the Tipula Tritici" Mr. Kirby observes, with much good fense, and in the spirit of true philosophy:

"We are very apt to think, that if certain noxious species of animals could be annihilated, it would be a great benefit to the human race; an idea that arises only from our short-sightedness, and our ignorance of the other parts of the great plan of Providence. We fee and feel the mischief occasioned by such creatures, but are not aware of the good ends answered by them, which probably very much exceed it. I have heard of formers, who, after having taken great pains to destroy the rooks from their,farms, upon being successful, have suffered infinitely more in their crops, from the great increase of the larvæ of insects, before kept under by these birds, than they ever did from the rooks themselves. The fame might be the cafe, could we annihilate the Tipula of the wheat; for eveiy link of the great chain of creation is so closely connected on each side with others, and all parts so combine into one whole, that it seems not easy to calculate the consequences that would arise from the entire removal of the most insignificant, if any can be deemed such, from the system."

Mr. Gibbes's "Account of a cavern lately discovered in Somersetshire" is extremely curious,

"At the bottom of a deep ravine on the north-west side of the Mendip Hills, in Somersetstiire, near the little village of Jfrnirrgton,

then there has been discovered a cavern of considerable extent, in which was found a great collection of human bones. From the top and sides there is a continual dripping of water, which being loaded with a large quantity of calcareous earth, deposits a white kind of paste on most parts of the cavern. Many of the bones are incrusted with this cement, and a large proportion of them are actually fixed in the solid rock. I suppose therefore that this substance, which at first is in a state resembling mortar, by losing its water hardens into a firm and solid stone. I had an opportunity of examining the process in every part. Had the cavern not been discovered, and these deposited sub- 1 stances not been removed, I do not doubt that the whole excavation would, in no great length of time, have been completely filled up. The water was still bringing fresrrijuantities of calcareous earth, and the bones were in some places completely incorporated with the solid rock. Every degree of intermediate solidity was plainly discernible* There were several nodules of stone, each of which contained a perfect human skull. The substance which is deposited from the water effervesces with acids, and has, in short, every character of limestone.

"I examined the bones with considerable attention, and I found that there was adhering to the surface of many of them, a substance whieh resembled the spermaceti I have before described, in the Philo* sophical Transactions for the years 1794 and 1795.

"I have to add, that this cavern was discovered about two years ago by accident, and that no satisfactory reason has been given for this singular accumulation of human bones."

Of the Mus Bursar'tus, as described by Dr. Shaw, we cannot resist the temptation of communicating some particulars to our readers.

"The Mus bur/arim belongs to a particular division in the genus, containing such species as are furnished with cheek-pouches for the temporary reception of their food. It seems not to have been yet described, or at least not so distinctly as to be easily ascertained. It approaches however to one or two species mentioned by Dr. Pallas, Mr. Pennant, and others; but differs in size, being much larger, as well as in the appearance of the fore-feet, which have claws differently formed from any of the pouched species hitherto described.

"In order to secure its knowledge among Naturalists, it may be proper to form for it a specific character, viz,

"Mus cinereus, cauda tereti brevi subuuda, genh saccath, un. [kibus palmarum maximts fojfarns.

"Ash-coloured rat, with short round nearly naked tail, pouched cheeks, and the claws of the fore-feet very large, formed for burrowing in the ground,

"The cheek-pouches are far larger, in proportion to the animal, than in any other of this tribe, and therefore have given occasion for the specific name.

"This quadruped was taken by some Indian hunters in the upper parts of Interior Canada, and sent down to Quebec. It is now in the possession of Governor Prescot."

B a For

For the description of the Tabularia magnifica (of which is giv-n a magnificent plate) we refer our readers to the volume; In the catalogue of some of the more rare plants observed in a Tour through the Western Counties of England, by Messrs. Turner and Sowerby, we particularly noticed the Devonshire!. plants; as we happened to have holwhele's Description of the Indigenous Plantsof Devonshire before us. These plants are as follows: "Rubia perigrina. Hedges near Exeter, Plymouths Sidmouth, Dunster.* Turner and Sowerby. "Wild Madder, near Exmouth, plentifully. High Road from Exeter to Newton. W. In the Waste called the Torrs, between Puflinch Bridge and Yealmton. Y. On the rocks near the bridge at Bideford, and all along the hedges on both sides of the way between Westleigh and- Bideford, and in many other places of this county. G. C. Very common in the hedges of the road from Barnstaple to Bideford, and also near Braunton, and in various other places. W. A. Polwhele. "Anchusa Ji?nperirreni, near Liskead and Barnstaple." Turner and Sowerby. "Evergreen Alkanat common in the lanes near Barnstaple." Polwhele. "Sedum Anglicum." Common near the sea, in Cornwall and Devonshire. Tamer and Sowerby. "Englrsh Stonacrop, Rocks, stones, and driftsands." Polwhele. "Crambe maritimd. Sidmouth cliffs, in inaccessible places," Turner and Sowerby. "Sea-Cole, or Colewort. This delicious vegetable grows on the sands by Slapton, and has been thence transplanted into our gardens, ft delights in a loose soil, as the roots run a great depth into the earth. It grows on Kentonr Warren. It was introduced to the London markets in the Spring of 1795, for the first time, by Mr. Curtis." Polwhele. "Lathyrus Aphaca." Cliffs near Sidmouth. Turner and Sowerby. "Yellow Vetchling. Hedges, near Chittlehamton." Polwhele. "Vicia Sylvatica. Cliffs near Ilfracombe." Turner and Sowerby. "Woodvetch, Lindridge, and the neighbourhood." Polwhele. It is satisfactory to observe the coincidence between these writers, with respect to rare plants; but we have not room to pursue the comparison.

On the whole, we have no hesitation in declaring, that this volume is, at least, equal to its predecessors; in point of entertainment, for common readers, it has greatly the advantage over the preceding volumes.

Planta's Hi/lory of the Helvetic Confederacy.
(Concludedfrom Vol. VII. p. 382..)

AFTER reading the following instance of the vile treachery and cruelty displayed by Charles, Duke of Burgundy, gundy, to a brave and unsuspicious people, we shall be prepared to derive satisfaction and pleasure from the account of his disgraceful defeat.

"Charles was too impatient to wait for the return of spring. He quitted Besancon on the sixth of February; and on the twelfth ap. peared before Orbe, and spread a numerous host all over the adjacent country. The Confederates lost no time in assembling their forces. They met from all quarters: Berne and Friburg sent garrisons to Iverdun and Granson.; but finding that the former post could not be maintained, they removed their men to Granson, where preparations were made for a very vigorous defence. The Duke led his army before this place on the .19th, and established his magnificent camp on the acclivities around it. On theajth he carried the town by storm, but had not as yet made any impression upon the castle. The Confederates, under Nicholas de Sharnachthal and John de Hallwyl, were encamped at Morat, and were waiting for additional reinforcements before they would venture to.relieve the place, which they well knew might hold out some time longer. Charles,, exasperated at the delay, opposed to his progress by so insignificant an obstacle, had recourse to treachery. He sent into the garrison an emissary, to acquaint them that the Confederates were in the utmost discord, that the Burgundians had taken and burnt Friburg, and that Berne was on the point of sharing the fame fate; and likewise to admonish them to accept of their free dismissal, which the Duke was willing to allow them, if they would immediately surrender. The garrison hinted at the example of Brie; but the emissary vindicated his master by specious pretences, and solemn asseverations, and positively declared that no harm should befall them, if they reposed full confidence in the Duke's honour and magnanimity.

"Thus influenced they .surrendered, and marched out on the 27th of February: but scarce had they passed the gates when they were seized, bound, and led through the camp among the scoffs and insults of the whole army. On the next morning four hundred and fifty of them were hanged on the trees round the town.; and on the succeeding day, one hundred and fifty more, being the remainder of this devoted band, were carried out in boats, and funk in the lake. This atrocious deed, whilst it drew upon the perfidious duke the execration of his foes, did by no means add to the love of those who were willing to befriend him.

"The Swiss army., meanwhile,, which now consisted of near twenty thousand men, had marched round the lake to Neuchattel, and on Saturday the thirdof March, arrived at Vaumarcus, where they began skirmishing with the Burgundian out-posts, and encountered a battery which they could not lilence. The report of the artillery brought the Duke instantly out of his intrenched camp. His .van, cpnsilting often thousand Lombards and Savoyards, was led by Anthony and Baldwin, two bastards of Burgundy, and the Prince of ■Orange; he headed the main body himself; and the rear he entrusted

to John Duke of Cleves. The ground was very uneven, and so intersected by torrents and ravines, as wholly to preclude the use of heavy cannon. The banners of Schwitz and Thun formed the Van of the confederate army, and took an advantageous post on an eminence. ' They were soon joined by those of Berne and Friburg. A» they approached the enemy, they, according to their usual practice, fell on their knees to implore a blessing from on high. The tSurgundians, imagining this detachment to be the whole of the army, mistook their act of devotion for an offer of surrender. Their first attack discovered their error; they were repulsed with loss; and their leaders, perceiving how unfavourable the spot was for military evolutions, ordered their ranks to retreat, in order to allure the Confederates to a more advantageous ground. At this instant came forward more of the confederate banners, and the feigned retreat of the Burgundians was soon converted into a real flight; they fell back upon their main body, and threw it into the utmost confusion. The duke flew among the disordered ranks, exclaiming that the retreat of the van was a mere stratagem, and used every effort to restore order and confidence; but all in vain: more of the Swiss banners came in fight, and a general trepidation seized the whole: they gave way on all sides; and not even trusting to the security their strong camp might have afforded, fled in all directions.

** Thus did the Confederates, in a few hours, and with the loss of only fifty men, obtain a complete victory; and, the whole Burgundian camp having fallen into their hands, they acquired a booty of which there is scarce an instance in history. Here they found abundance of ammunition and provisions; 120 pieces of ordnance; most of tftem ciJverines; 400 magnificent tents, some of silk lined with velvet and embroidered with gold and pearls; 600 richly decorated flags. In the Duke's tent they sound the largest diamond at that time known to exist; a precious jewel called the three brethren; a sword set with seven great diamonds, seven rubies, and fifty pearls; his plate, said to have been upwards of four hundred pounds in weight; great stores of rich carpets and tapestry; his golden seal, and the whole of his chancery. The nobles, who vied with each other in sumptuous attire and equipage, lost all their effects; nor could the many merchants, and upwards of 3000 women, who attended the camp, save any of their property. The loss in men did not exceed 2000, but it would have been greater had the Swiss had any cavalry. The Duke estimated his own loss at one million of florins, and the whole booty is said to have amounted to thrice that value. But the greatest loss of all was the loss of reputation. The name of Charles no longer struck terror around him; his allies became lukewarm: the Duke of Milan and the King of Sicily, the latter of whom had made a will in favour of Charles, publicly deserted him: even Jolantha wavered in h«r fidelity, and suffered her brother-in-law, the Count of Bresse, to seize on twenty thousand crowns which Charles had entrusted to one of his nobles for the purpose of levying recruits in_Savoy and the neighbouring provinces."

« ZurückWeiter »