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The Botanift may profit by Mr. Stackhoufe's "Obferva tions on preferving 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 deepening of the mould may be the caufe of this, as it muft deprive the crop more and more of the advantage arifing from the difpofition of the pebbles, which (if I might venture a conjecture) feems to be a very important peculiarity in the fituation. 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 firft crop has ufually been cut about the end of May, and the fecond in July, or (which is rare) as late as the end of Auguft. The tithes of the meadow have been rented more than once for 51. the produce amounting to 25 hundred weight of hay.
The herbage of the adjoining meadows is very exuberant; and this exuberance may be traced increafing or declining according as the foil varies more or lefs from that of the principal meadow.
"At the distance of a mile or two miles from Orcheston, but in the fame valley, fome of the graffes may be feen to put on an uncommon luxuriancy; and, perhaps, in proportion as meadows in other parts of the kingdom approach more nearly in circumstances and fituation to that of Orchefton, the morè fimilar their produce will be found."
In his "Hiftory of the Tipula Tritici," Mr. Kirby obferves, with much good fense, and in the fpirit of true philosophy:
"We are very apt to think, that if certain noxious fpecies of animals could be annihilated, it would be a great benefit to the human race; an idea that arifes only from our fhort-fightedness, and our ignorance of the other parts of the great plan of Providence. We fee and feel the mifchief occafioned by fuch creatures, but are not aware of the good ends anfwered 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 fuccefsful, 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 themfelves. The fame might be the cafe, could we annihilate the Tipula of the wheat; for every link of the great chain of creation is fo closely connected on each fide with others, and all parts fo combine into one whole, that it seems not easy to calculate the Confequences that would arife from the entire removal of the most infignificant, if any can be deemed fuch, from the fyftem."
Mr. Gibbes's "Account of a cavern lately discovered in Somersetshire" is extremely curious.
"At the bottom of a deep ravine on the north-weft fide of the Mendip Hills, in Somerfethire, near the little village of Berrington,
there has been difcovered a cavern of confiderable 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, depofits a white kind of paste on moft parts of the cavern. Many of the bones are incrufted with this cement, and a large proportion of them are actually fixed in the folid rock. I fuppofe therefore that this fubftance, which at first is in a ftate refembling mortar, by lofing its water hardens into a firm and folid ftone. I had an opportunity of examining the process in every part. Had the cavern not been difcovered, and these depofited fubftances 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 ftill bringing fresh q quantities of calcareous earth, and the bones were in fome places completely incorporated with the folid rock. Every degree of intermediate folidity was plainly discernible. There were feveral nodules of ftone, each of which contained a perfect human skull. The fubftance which is depofited from the water effervefces 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 furface of many of them, a substance which refembled the fpermaceti I have before described, in the Philo fophical Tranfactions for the years 1794 and 1795..
"I have to add, that this cavern was difcovered about two years ago by accident, and that no fatisfactory reason has been given for this fingular accumulation of human bones."
Of the Mus Burfarius, as defcribed by Dr. Shaw, we cannot refift the temptation of communicating fome particulars to our readers.
"The Mus burfarius belongs to a particular divifion in the genus, containing fuch species as are furnished with cheek-pouches for the temporary reception of their food. It feems not to have been yet defcribed, or at leaft not fo diftinctly as to be eafily afcertained. It ap proaches however to one or two fpecies mentioned by Dr. Pallas, Mr. Pennant, and others; but differs in fize, being much larger, as well as in the appearance of the fore-feet, which have claws differently formed from any of the pouched fpecies hitherto described.
"In order to fecure its knowledge among Naturalists, it may be proper to form for it a specific character, viz.
Mus cinereus, caudâ tereti brevi fubnudâ, genis faccatis, unguibus palmarum maximis fofforiis.
"Ash-coloured rat, with fhort 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 occafion for the specific name.
"This quadruped was taken by fome Indian hunters in the upper parts of Interior Canada, and fent down to Quebec. It is now in the poffeffion of Governor Prefcot."
For the defcription of the Tabularia magnifica (of which is given a magnificent plate) we refer our readers to the volume. In the catalogue of fome of the more rare plants obferved in a Tour through the Western Counties of England, by Meffrs. Turner and Sowerby, we particularly noticed the Devonfhire. plants; as we happened to have Pol whele's Defcription of the Indigenous Plants of Devonshire before us. Thefe plants are as follows: "Rubia peregrina. Hedges near Exeter, Plymouth, Sidmouth, Dunfter." Turner and Sowerby. "Wild Madder, near Exmouth, plentifully. High Road from Exeter to Newton. W. In the Wafte called the Torrs, between Puflinch Bridge and Yealmton. Y. On the rocks near the bridge at Bideford, and all along the hedges on both fides of the way between Weftleigh 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 alfo 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, ftones, and driftfands." Polwhele. Crambe maritima. Sidmouth cliffs, in inacceffible places." Turner and Sowerby. "Sea-Cole, or Colewort. This delicious vegetable grows on the fands by Slapton, and has been thence tranf-. planted 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. Polwhele. "Vicia Sylvatica. Cliffs near Ilfracombe." Turner and Sowerby. "Woodvetch, Lindridge, and the neighbourhood." Polwhele. It is fatisfactory to obferve the coincidence between these writers, with refpect 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 Hiftory of the Helvetic Confederacy.
(Concluded from Vol. VII. P. 382..)
FTER reading the following inftance of the vile treachery and cruelty difplayed by Charles, Duke of Bur
gundy, to a brave and unfufpicious people, we fhall be prepared to derive fatisfaction and pleasure from the account of his difgraceful defeat.
"Charles was too impatient to wait for the return of fpring. He quitted Befançon on the fixth of February; and on the twelfth appeared before Orbe, and spread a numerous hoft all over the adjacent country. The Confederates loft no time in affembling their forces. They met from all quarters: Berne and Friburg fent garrisons to Iverdun and Granfon; 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 ftorm, but had not as yet made any impreffion upon the caftle. The Confede rates, 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 fome time longer. Charles, exafperated at the delay, opposed to his progrefs by fo infignificant an obftacle, had recourfe to treachery. He fent into the garrifon an emiffary, to acquaint them that the Confederates were in the utmoft difcord, that the Burgundians had taken and burnt Friburg, and that Berne was on the point of fharing the fame fate; and likewife to admonish them to accept of their free difmiffal, which the Duke was willing to allow them, if they would immediately furrender. The garrifon hinted at the example of Brie; but the emiffary vindicated his mafter by fpecious pretences, and folemn affeverations, and pofitively declared that no harm should befall them, if they repofed full confidence in the Duke's honour and magnanimity.
"Thus influenced they furrendered, and marched out on the 27th of February but fcarce had they paffed the gates when they were feized, bound, and led through the camp among the fcoffs 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 fucceeding 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, whilft it drew upon the perfidious duke the execration of his foes, did by no means add to the love of thofe who were willing to befriend him.
"The Swifs army, meanwhile, which now confifted 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 fkirmishing with the Burgundian out-pofts, and encoun tered a battery which they could not filence. The report of the artillery brought the Duke inftantly out of his intrenched camp. His van, confifting of ten thousand .Lombards and Savoyards, was led by ` Anthony and Baldwin, two baftards of Burgundy, and the Prince of Orange; he headed the main body himfelf; and the rear he entrusted
to John Duke of Cleves. The ground was very uneven, and fo in terfected by torrents and ravines, as wholly to preclude the ufe of heavy cannon. The banners of Schwitz and Thun formed the 'van of the confederate army, and took an advantageous poft on an eminence. They were foon joined by thofe of Berne and Friburg. As they approached the enemy, they, according to their ufual practice, fell on their knees to implore a bleffing from on high. The Burgundians, imagining this detachment to be the whole of the army, miftook their act of devotion for an offer of furrender. Their first attack difcovered their error; they were repulfed with loss; and their leaders, perceiving how unfavourable the fpot was for military evolutions, ordered their ranks to retreat, in order to allure the Con. federates to a more advantageous ground. At this inftant came forward more of the confederate banners, and the feigned retreat of the Burgundians was foon converted into a real flight; they fell back upon their main body, and threw it into the utmost confufion. 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 feized the whole; they gave way on all fides; and not even trusting to the fecurity their ftrong camp might have afforded, fled in all directions.
Thus did the Confederates, in a few hours, and with the lofs 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 fcarce an inftance in hiftory. Here they found abund ance of ammunition and provifions; 120 pieces of ordnance; most of them culverines; 400 magnificent tents, fome of filk lined with velvet and embroidered with gold and pearls; 600 richly decorated flags. In the Duke's tent they found the largest diamond at that time known to exift; a precious jewel called the three brethren; a fword fet with seven great diamonds, feven rubies, and fifty pearls ; his plate, faid to have been upwards of four hundred pounds in weight; great ftores of rich carpets and tapeftry; his golden feal, and the whole of his chancery. The nobles, who vied with each other in fumptuous attire and equipage, loft all their effects; nor could the many merchants, and upwards of 3000 women, who attended the camp, fave any of their property. The lofs in men did not exceed 2000, but it would have been greater had the Swifs had any cavalry. The Duke estimated his own lofs at one million of florins, and the whole booty is faid to have amounted to thrice that value. But the greatest lofs of all was the lofs of reputation. The name of Charles no longer ftruck 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 deferted him even Jolantha wavered in her fidelity, and fuffered her brother-in-law, the Count of Breffe, to feize on twenty thoufand crowns which Charles had entrusted to one of his nobles for the purpofe of levying recruits in Savoy and the neighbouring provinces."