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Art.XXI.—Encyclopedic dcs Gens du Monde, Repertoire Univeracl des Sciences, des Letlres et des Arts; avec des Notices, #c. Par Une Society de Savans, &c. Vol. I. Paris: TreutteletWttrtz. 1833.
The number of encyclopaedias now publishing in almost every capital of Europe, may be regarded as a demonstration of the existence of a very general taste for such a form of conveying useful information. One thing is at all events perfectly obvious in the midst of these numerous contributions to literature, that the last encyclopaedia wheresoever published, will most likely be the best, inasmuch as it will be sure to adopt all that is good in its predecessors, whilst of necessity it must add something good of its own. The part before us, the commencement of an important undertaking, possesses all the advantages of this auspicious relation, and for completeness of materials and accuracy of execution stands pre-eminently above all former encyclopaedias. The object of this work is to exhibit the present state of science, and to diffuse instruction among the various classes of society, presenting to every individual, whatever be his relation either in his domestic, his civil, or social character, ample information respecting all subjects about which he may be naturally interested. The work has for its model the justly celebrated German production—the Conversations Lexicon—of which many thousands have already been sold, as it has been bought in for the permanent use of families throughout the German dominions. But the principle of the plan only has been adopted in the present work, because it was found that the political circumstances of Italy did not allow that freedom and impartiality of expression which truth required, and against the introduction of which no obstacles
any longer existed happily in France. Under the very different circumstances of the two countries, a book which was suitable to the state of one, could not by any means be expected to satisfy the intelligent portion of the other, and thus it became necessary on the part of the French Savants to compose an entirely new work on the plan which, on a less favourable scale, had already succeeded. For our parts we must say that we have seen in no language a work more copious, better selected, more scientific, or more accurate than the present one, and regarding its cheapness, the convenience of its shape, and its mechanical structure, we are induced to recommend it as the best standard work of universal information to which families can have access in the present day.
Art.xxii.—Observations on Impedim ments of Speech, with some Remarks on their Successful Treatment, in a Letter addressed to T. J. Pettigrew, Esq. By Richard Cull. London: 1833.
This little work is a well written essay on a point of medical treatment, which appears to have been hitherto but very imperfectly understood. Mr. Cull recapitulates the details of the anatomical and physiological peculiarities belonging to the parts which are destined to be employed in producing the voice, and he labours to show that the impediments which, in the human subject, so frequently interfere with the natural power of these organs, arise from mal-actions or malformations of these parts. On the facts which anatomy and physiology thus display, the author has constructed a plan of treatment, which has at least the attribute of rationality about it. At all events, the work is highly calculated to break down the system of secresy, and its twin brother quackery, which have been so long made the instruments of unmerited gain to one class, and of mischief and disappointment to another.
Art. XXIII. A Letter to D. 0. P. Okeden, Esq., together with an Inquiry into the merits of his Poor Laws Report, as Assistant Commissioner. By the Rev.HAREY Fare Yeatman, L. L. B. acting Magistrate for Dorset and Somerset. 1 vol. Sherborne: Toll. 1833.
The gentleman to whom this letter was addressed appears to have lately fulfilled the office of assistant commissioner for a certain district in the county of Dorset, to inquire into, and report upon the practical operation of the poor law system. The report which Mr. Okeden sent in having been sent forth to the world in the recent publications of the House of Commons, it excited some surprize amongst the native country gentlemen of the district, and on this the reverend author of the letter thought it necessary to issue a public remonstrance against the statements contained in the official report. Mr. Yeatman has been a magistrate for twenty years in the locality of Sturminster Newton division, and he declares himself forcibly, but most painfully, impressed with the opinion that the manner in which Mr. O. collected the evidence for his report, was neither so open nor so accessible as it should have been, and in the next place, that the evidence so taken by him was utterly insufficient for the purpose of showing the practical operation of the poor law system within the aforesaid division. The reverend writer proceeds at con
siderable length and by a detailed
reference to facts recorded on the parochial books, to justify his accusations by the most irresistible evidence. This first letter of Mr. Yeatman provoked a reply from Mr. Okeden, and this was succeeded by a rejoinder from the assailant, who certainly appears to have succeeded in fixing on Mr. Okeden the coldblooded sentiment which is contained in the following words :— "that no relief whatever ought to be afforded to the able-bodied man, and that if he and his family could not subsist upon their wages, they might lie down and die by the road side!!" Gracious God! a magistrate of England to utter such barbarity !—But we must not enter into the controversy, as we could not give it with a proper degree of justice to both parties in the space which is left at our disposal for this notice. We strenuously recommend this able and kind-hearted effusion to general attention.
Art. XXIV.—The Encpclopeedia of Romance, conducted by the Rev. Henry Martineau. No. 1. London: Henderson. 1833.
This is the first number of a work of a very peculiar kind even in these days of wonders. Its object appears to present to the general reader a series of narratives, chiefly intended, by the boldness and romantic character of the plots and incidents, to raise the curiosity and fix the attention of the reader.
In this number will be found two complete tales, and a considerable portion of a third. A glance at the pages will show that they are written with a power of expression, and a force of description, which are rarely to be met with in volumes of far greater pretensions. We strongly
recommend the public to make a trial of one of the numbers, and should he do so, we are quite sure that he will find in them a source of exceedingly pleasant entertainment, if not an abundant fund of useful knowledge. We perceive that the completion of the first volume of this admirable little work is to appear this day. From a specimen which we have seen, we entertain the most favourable expectations of its success.
Art. XXV.—The Mother's Oracle for the Health and proper Rearing of Infancy. In two Parts. London: Henderson. 1833.
We always set our face against those books which affect to be substitutes in families for the advice of a skilful physician, because, in most instances, particularly when published without a name, these works tend to deceive mothers, and induce them to take measures which may compromise the life of the infant. In the same proportion as we fear the bad productions which are offered as family guides, do we, on the other hand, feel disposed to countenance those which present the evidences of sound judgment and scientific knowledge, particularly when we find that the instructions which they contain are clear and definite, and are not capable of being wrongly interpreted. The work is divided into two parts; in the first we have
ample directions, blended occasionally, when necessary, with very satisfactory explanations, as to the manner in which we should perform certain operations; and also respecting the attention which we should pay to certain incidental symptoms that make their appearance in the infant. These points consist of washing and dressing the infant; the choice of the atmosphere where it should be fixed; particular cautions being given, under this head, on the points of the temperature and purity of the iiir. Next, the food of the child, the consideration of which includes the account of the natural secretion, the mother's milk; then the process of bringing up by hand; next the stage of weaning; and, lastly, the whole progress of teething. The rules given on the subjects of food for advanced children, their sleep, their cleanliness, as obtained through the medium of the bath, and exercise, are all admirably just, and most intelligibly expressed.
In the second part, the treatment of the disorders incident to children form the exclusive subject of remark, as it includes an account of the symptoms and treatment of those disorders. As long as the indisposition of children is confined to a light attack, we should recommend a strict attention to what is here prescribed; but in all acute disorders, such as croup, nothing should satisfy the mother but calling in a good doctor.
Ingenious Fire Alarm.—At the top of a wooden tower attached to the state-house in the city cf Philadelphia, in America, is a bell, which has been ingeniously converted into an engine of considerable value. When a fire occurs in any part of the city, the tolling of the bell indicates instantly the quarter in which the calamity occurs. There is one toll to indicate the north, there are two for the south, three for the east, and four for the west. The practical utility, the ingenuity, and, above all, the economy which are found combined in this appropriation of public property will, we trust, make some impression in this country, even though we should leave ourselves to the charge cf borrowing a good idea from the Yankees.
• Marriage in India.—In one of the collectorates under the Bengal presidency, exists a community called Koonbies, being the principal Hindoo cultivators of the soil. They celebrate their marriages only at stated periods; and every marriage in the caste throughout Goojerat takes place on one particular day, which is fixed by an edict issued by the chiefs of the tribe. The intervals between the successive days on which the marriages take place, never exceed twelve years each, but they are never less than ten years. Children of a year, and even of a month old, are often united, but do not come together until they attain maturity. Polygamy without limitation is allowed.
Virginia Boats.—The natives of Virginia have a strange method of
making boats. They select a large and lofty tree, which they surround with a fire just above the roots, taking care to smother any flame which may arise, as it would injure the trunk. When the bottom part of the tree is nearly consumed, the trunk is easily made to fall, and when it lies on the ground, its branches and upper part are again burned away. The trunk is then elevated on props which are forked, the natives scrape away the bark by means of large shells, and after that by burning and scraping still, they scoop out a deep hollow in a longitudinal direction.
Australian Colonies.—A very brief experience has now shown that England may soon expect to be capable of being exclusively supplied with fine wool from the Australian Colonies. The climate and soil of those distant regions have been found peculiarly suited to the growth of the above article -, and what is very remarkable is, that we can obtain it from Australia at a considerably cheaper rate than we are now able to procure wool from Spain and Germany. The gross charges on the latter are from Ad. to 4f d. per lb.—those on the Colonial wool amount to no more than Sfrf.
The Aquatic Spider.—A property of these araneides is the capacity of constructing for themselves in the bosom of the water a kind of aerial mansion, a true diving bell, where they can respire freely, live in safety, and which serves as a cradle for their family. This may be compared to a diving bell, not only because it has the same destination. but the same form—namely, that of a cap, or that of one half of the shell of a pigeon's egg. It is entirely filled with air, perfectly close, the under part excepted, where there is a tolerably large aperture giving an entrance and exit to the animal. Its walls are slender, and composed of a tissue of white silk, strong and close, a great number of irregular threads fix it to the stems of plants or other bodies. Sometimes the upper part is out of the water, but most generally it remains entirely immersed. Its inhabitant is thus environed with air; she remains there quietly, the head usually down—a situation which permits her to see more easily what passes, to watch her prey, and to escape from the least danger. Degeer has seen her with her head upwards, and the feet applied against the body.
Mortuary Houses.—In several cities and towns in Germany and Prussia, there are institutions or offices of inspection, where persons, thought to be dead, are deposited for a week, to ascertain the decomposition of the body, and, consequently, the impossibility of a revival. The Mortuary House, however, is no uncomfortable residence. Warmed by stoves, the apartment is always kept in a moderate state of temperature; the windows, hung with curtains, diffuse a gloomy light; but the floor, which is shining with wax, would grace the scene of a wedding ball. There are about twelve beds, placed in a row, as in a dormitory in a boarding school. Near the room, as at the Morgue, in Paris, a person is constantly watching to see whether there be any sign of Ufe among the bodies deposited there. He is surrounded with every thing necessary to assist in recalling animation. Precaution has been carried so far as to tie a bell-string to the right foot of each corpse—by which
means the guardian, even when in bed, is instantly apprised of the least movement of any one reviving. Houses of this kind have existes for the last forty years in the stated of the Germanic Confederation.
The Excise.—This impost was begun on the 11th of September, 1643, by the Long Parliament, and eight commissioners of excise were appointed, and they were to choose their own officers, viz. their register, collectors, clerks, and subordinates. These were to take an oath before the Speaker of either house, and were to have authority in all parts of the city of London, and for twelve miles round. In 1645, a comptroller was necessary; in 1G94, brewers to make a true entry; then came guagers—then security was demanded for the excise—then every housekeeper was to pay excise who brewed his own. Then justices sent assessors to inspect housekeepers, who assessed what drink was spent in each family! In 1651, this was found troublesome, and repealed. Then Charles II.imposed one shilling and three pence upon every barrel above six shiUings in value; brewers to make weekly entries—innkeepers monthly--and fine pounds penalty for obstructing the gauger or assessor. The king also took all the appointments into his own hands, and it has ever since been held distinct from all the other branches of the revenue.
Travelling.—Prynne has preserved a register of the time allowed to members of parliament for travelling from Lancashire to certain places, when the parliaments were held in those cities; from which it appears, that two and sometimes three days were allowed for travelling to York, four days to Coventry, and five or six to London, in ordinary seasons; but in a snow or "foul weather," eight days was the maximum allowance for travelling from hence to a parliament sitting at Westminster. It may be presumed, that these ho