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To the Editor of the Pocket Magazine. SIR,-I TAKE this opportunity of sending you a few cross readings, which have fallen under my notice lately. June 3, 1818.
LANGUEDOC. LAST week John Jones was indicted for stealingLord Wellington, and several other lords and gentlemen.
On Friday last W. Winn, Esq. was attacked by two -panes of glass.
Yesterday a new work was published by—a royal Bengal tyger.
Lord Wellington arrived in town this morning-on a dung-cart.
A glutton, for a triling wager, eat up-two old houses, which were just going to be pulled down.
Last night a furious beast tossed-St. Paul's, and a great many other churches.
For the Pocket Magazine. LAST Thursday the Honourable Mr. L. received, at the hymeneal altar, the hand of the beautiful and accomplished Miss D.-To the last moment he appeared perfectly resigned to his fate.
A very numerous and respectable meeting was held at the London Tavern, for the purpose of-forging a five-pound Bank of England note.
. That wonderful and sapient pig, Toby,—had a private audience of the Prince Regent at Carlton-house.
Richard Holby was executed yesterday, pursuant to his sentence, for having stolen--the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral
Bow-street.-A man was brought to this office, charged with having picked a gentleman's pocket of a fine chesnut horse, thorough bred, sixteen hands high. There were the strongest proofs of his guilt.
The following is said to be an infallible cure for the tooth-ache, viz.--the eighth edition, complete, of the works of Shakespeare, in octavo, neatly bound in calf, with gilt edges.
Wanted, a young man, who will, if his master wishes-cut his throat.
Last week a violent thunder-storm-was sentenced to be transported for life.
Yesterday an amazing shoal of herrings, in number exceeding ten thousand, were seen-walking arm-inarm in Hyde-park.
Subscriptions are most earnestly requested for a poor woman, who had the misfortune to fall down and break her leg, as she was stepping over-that noble piece of architecture, Westminster Abbey
It is strongly rumoured that Bonaparte means to invade England with—a large coal-barge, quite new.
ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF PRINTING.
BY T. ASTLE, ESQ. AS the invention, or rather the introduction, of printing into Europe, has been attended with the most beneficial advantages to mankind, some account of the origin and progress of that art inay not be unacceptable.
It has not been pretended that the art of printing books was ever practised by the Romans, and vet the names they stamped on their earthen ressels were, in effect, nothing else bat printing : and the letters on the matrices, or stamps used for making these impressions, were necessarily reversed, as printing types. Several of these matrices are extant in the British Museum, and in other places, which are cut out of, or are cast in, one solid piece of metal.
Many hundred pieces of the Roman pottery, impressed with these stamps, have been found in the sands near Reculver, in Kent, and on the eastern side of the island of Shéppey, where they are frequently dragged up by the fishermen. The art of impressing legends upon coins is nothing more than printing on metais.
It is generally allowed, that printing from wooden blocks has been practised in China for many centuries. According to the accounts of the Chinese, and of P. Jovius, Ostorius, and of several other Europeans, printing began there about the year of Christ 927, in the reign of Ming Tcoung, the second emperor under
the dynasty of Heou Thong. Several of these blocks, which are cut upon ebony, or upon wood exceedingly hard, are now in England. The Historia Sinensis of Abdallah, written in Persia, in 1317, speaks of it as an art in very common use. Our countryman, Sir John Chardin, in his travels, confirms these accounts.
Printing, then, may be considered as an Asiatic, and not a European invention.
The first printing in Europe was from wooden blocks, whereon a whole page was carved exactly in the same manner as is now practised by the Chinese, who print only on one side of their paper, because it is so thin, thai it will not bear the impression of their characters on both sides.
The early printers in Europe printed only on one side of the paper, for some time after the introduction of the art; they pasted the blank sides together, which made them appear as one leaf.
The European blocks were carved upon beech, peartree, and other soft woods, which soon failed, and the letters frequently hroke. This put them upon the method of repairing the block, by carving new letters, and placing them in; which necessity seems to have suggested the hint of moveable types of metal. These were not so liable to break as the soft European woods, which had been before used. One great and obvious advantage of moveable types was, that by separating them they would serve for any other work : whereas the blocks of wood served only for one work. Though the use of moveable metal types was a fortunate discovery, yet they derived their origin rather from the imperfection or unfitness of our woods for printingblocks, than from any great ingenuity of those who first used them. In short, necessity, the mother of all arts, introduced moveable types.
It has been a matter of contest who first practised the art of printing in Europe. Faust, or Furst, of Mentz; Gutenberg, of Strasburg; and Coster, of Haerlem, have each their advocates. The pretensions in favour of Fust seem to be the best supported; but we shall not trespass upon the patience of our readers by entering into a discussion of this matter, because such a discussion would, in our opinion, he of little im
portance, it having been generally agreed, that printing was not practised till after the middle of the fifteenth century, although prints from blocks of wood are traced as far back as the year 1423.
It seems probable, that the art of printing might have been introduced into Europe by some European who had travelled into China, and had seen some of their printing tablets, as it is known that several Europeans had been everland to China before this time; and what strengthens this probability is, that the Europeans first printed on one side of the paper only, in the same manner as the Chinese do at present. But however this may be, the progress of the art was as follows:
First, pictures from blocks of wood, without text. Secondly, pictures, with text. Thirdly, whole pages of text, cut on blocks of wood : sometimes for the explanation of prints which accompanied them. And, fourthly, moveable types.
No. 6.—THE AURORA BOREALIS. THIS phenomenon is seen in its most brilliant state in high northern and soutbern latitudes. Dr. Barry thus describes the appearance of it on the coast of Orkney: " Here,” says he, “ the
avs he. " the northern lights happily appear, both more frequently, and with greater splendour, than in most other regions : for during the harvest, winter, and spring months, they arise almost every unclouded night, and often shine with the most magnificent brilliancy. The light of the moon at her quadratures, sometimes, on such occasions, scarcely equals them, in illuminating the friths and the islands. Between the setting of the sun and the close of the twilight, they commonly make their first appearance. in the north, issuing, for the most part, from behind the clouds, like a fountain of pale light, the form of which is undefined, and continue in this state a little above the horizon, sometimes only for a short period, and at other times for the space of several hours, with:
out any motion that can be discovered. They form themselves one while into an arch, the height of which is about thirty degrees, and its breadth about sixty, and the pilars on which it is supported several times broader than the rainbow; and so long as they retain this shape, they are without any sensible motion. At another time they extend further over the heavens, rise much higher, assume a greater variety of shapes, and discover a dusky hue, with a motion that is slow, but perceptible. Very often they exhibit an appearance quite different, and spread themselves over the whole heavens, diffusing every where a surprising degree of light, and exhibiting the most beautiful phenomena.
Their motion, in this case, is in various directions, extremely swift, and, as it were, in separate columns, resembling somewhat the evolutions of a great army. Their lowest extremities are distinctly defined, and deeply tinged with the colours of the rainbow; but their upper ones are tapering, but fainter. In several places, at once, they kindle into a blaze, dart along in almost all directions, for some seconds of time, and then, as if by the strength of their exertions they had spent their force, they are extinguished in a moment, leaving a brown track in the sky behind them. Neai the place where they disappeared, in a short time, they flash out anew, and with equal rapidity trace the same path in similar motions, and again expire in the same manner. This they often continue for several hours together, to the great satisfaction and amusement of the spectators on land, and the advantage of the mariner, when they gradually die away, and leave through the whole heavens a colour resembling that of brass. If the night be uncommonly still, and their motion very rapid, a wbizzing noise has been thought to have been distinctly heard from them at various intervals. This beautiful corruscation, which has never yet been satisfactorily explained, is said to have appeared much seldomer eighty or ninety years ago than it does at present. It appears now, however, very often, and seems to occupy that space in the heavens which is between tbe region of the clouds and the summit of the atmosphere, as the clouds in motion never fail to eclipse it; and as it cannot be seen from two places