« PrécédentContinuer »
The Botanist may profit by Mr. Stackhouse's “ Observations on preserving Specimens of Plants." From Mr. Maton's notices of “the Orcheston long Grass,” we find that “ the crops of this grass, 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 of 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 one year. The first crop. has ufually 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 sl. 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 same valley, some of the grasses may be seen to put on an uncom. mon luxuriancy; and, perhaps, in proportion as meadows in other parts of the kingdom approach more nearly in circumstances and litu. ation to that of Orcheston, the more limilar their produce will be found."
In his “ History of the Tipula Tritici," Mr. Kirby obferves, with much good sense, and in the spirit of true philosophy:
“ We are very apt to think, that if certain noxious species of ani. mals could be annihilated, it would be a great benefit to the human race; an idea that arises only froin our short-sightedness, and our ig. norance of the other parts of the great plan of Providence. We lee and feel the mischief occafioned by such creatures, but are not aware of the good ends answered by them, which probably very much exceed it. I have heard of farmers, who, after having taken great pains to deftroy the rooks from their farms, upon being successful, have fuffered infinitely more in their crops, from the great increase of the larvæ of infects, before kept under by these birds, than they ever did from the rooks themselves. The same might be the case, could we annihilate the Tipula of the wheat ; for
chain of creation is so closely connected on each side with others, and all paris so combine into one whole, that it seems not easy to calculate the consequences that would arise from the entire removal of the most in. fignificant, 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 Somersethhire, near the little village of Berrington,
there has been discovered a cavern of considerable extent, in which was found a great collection of human bones. From the top and fides 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 fubftance, which at first is in a itate 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
tances 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 freth quantities of calcareous earth, and the bones were in some places completely incorporated with the folid rock. Every degree of intermediate folidity 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 confiderable attention, and I found that there was adhering to the surface of many of them, a substance which resembled the spermaceti I have before described, in the Philofophical 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 fingular accumulation of human bones.''
Of the Mus Burfarius, as described by Dr. Shaw, we cannot , resist the temptation of communicating some particulars to our readers.
" The Mus burfarius belongs to a particular divifion 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 proaches 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, caudâ tereti brevi subnudâ, genis faccatis, una guibus palmarum maximis fosforiis.
“ Ath-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 fome Indian hunters in the upper parts of Interior Canada, and sent down to Quebec. It is now in the possession of Governor Prescot." B 2
For the description of the Tabularia magnifica (of which is given 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 Folwhele’s Description of the Indigenous Plants of Devonshire before us. These plants are as follows : “ Rubia peregrina. Hedges near Exeter, Plymouth, Sidmouth, Dunster.” Turner and Sowerby. “Wild .
o Madder, near Exmouth, plentifully. High Road from Exeter to Newton. W. In the Wafte called the Torrs, between Puslinch 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 Barnitaple to Bideford, and also near Braunton, and in various other places. W. A. Polwhele.
“ Anchufa femperirrens, near Liskead' and Barnstaple.” Turner and Sowerby. “Evergreen Alkanat common in the lanes near Barnftaple. Polwhele. “ Sedum Anglicum." Common near the fea, in Cornwall and Devonshire. Turner and Sowerby. “ English Stonecrop, Rocks, stones, and driftsands.” Polwbele. 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. It delights in a loofe foil, as the roots run a great depth into the earth. It grows on Kenton 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 predeceffors; in point of entertainment, 'for common readers, it has greatly the advantage over the preceding volumes.
Planta's History of the Helvetic Confederacy.
(Concluded from Vol. VII. P. 382.)
chery and cruelty displayed by Charles, Duke of Bur
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 Besançon on the fixth of February ; and on the twelfth appeared before Orbe, and spread a numerous host all over the adjacent country. The Conf deraies loft no time in assembling their forces. They met from all quarters : Berne and Friburg fent garrisons to Iverdun and Granson, but finding that the former poft could not be maintained, they removed their men to Granfon, 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 the 25th he carried the town by storm, but had not as yet made any impression upon the castle. The Confedecates, 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 fent into the garrison an emitrary, to acquaint them that the Confederates were in the utmost discord, that the Burgundi. ans had taken and burnt Friburg, and that Berne was on the point of faring the same 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 emiliary vindicated his master by specious pretences, and folema alleverations, and positively declared that no harm should befall them, if they repared 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 infults 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 pow consisted of near twenty thousand men, had marched round the lake to Neuchattel, and on Saturday, the third of March, arrived at Vaumarcus, where they began skirmishing with the Burgundian qut-posts, and encoun. fered a battery, which they could not filence. The report of the artillery brought the Duke instantly out of his intrenched camp. His van, confitting of ten 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 entruted
to John Duke of Cleves. The ground was very uneven, and so in. tersected 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 poft on an emi. nence. They were soon joined by those of Berne and Friburg. As they approached the enemy, they, according to their usual practice, fell on their knees to implore a blessing from on high. The Burgundians, imagining this detachment to be the whole of the army, mif. took 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 evo. lutions, ordered their ranks to retreat, in order to allure the Con. federates to a more advantageous ground. At this inftant came for. ward more of the confederate banners, and the feigned retreat of the Burgundians was foon converted into a real flight ; they fell back upom 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 ftratagem, 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 fides ; and not even trusting to the security their strong camp
; might have afforded, fled in all directions,
* Thụs 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 provifions ; 120 pieces of ordnance; most of them culverines ; 400 magnificent tents, some of filk lined with vel. vet and embroidered with gold and pearls ; 600 richly decorated flags. In the Duke's tent they found the ļargest 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, loft 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 lofs at one million of forins, and the whole bonty is said to have amounted to thrice that y alue. But the greatest loss of all was the loss of reputation. The name of Charles no longer struck terror around him ; his allies be. came lukewarm : the Duke of Milan and the King of Sicily, the latter of whom had made a will in favour of Charles, publicly de. serted him : even Jolantha wavered in her 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 pura pose of levying recruits in Savoy and the neighbouring provinces.”