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The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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War, as fatal to liberty, Madison's view of, 154.
Wigham, Elizabeth, testimony concerning, 173.
War, with observations from Barclay, 191. 197.
Water baptism, 198. 205. 213. 221.
Water cave of Bolonchen, 253.
Wheeler, Joshua, 255.
Whale, 291.
" Walks in London and its neighbourhood," by Old

Humphrey, 307.
Weekday meetings, 318.
Worship, 320.
Water, value of, 337.
Worldly spirit, 351.
War prayer, 403.
War principles, 411.

Yearly Meeting, the approaching, 23L
Yearly Meeting, our late, 246.
Yearly Meetmg, 254.
Youth and marriage, 264.




NO. 1.



Price two dollar i per annum, payable in advance.

Subscriptions and Payments received by




For " The Friend."

In a late number of " The Friend," I met
with an account of the vegetable compass of
the western prairies. To me the account
was new and interesting ; and though the po-
larity of the leaves of this plant is rather a
.strange circumstance, I have little doubt it
may be true. Having spent a short time in
examining the botany of those prairies my-
self, I was struck with the great variety of
plants found there, and with the novelty of
many, and the remarkable habits of some of
them. In Eaton's Manual of Botany for
North America, a work in general use, but
few of these are described ; and I have met
with no account of them to interest the general
reader. As my own knowledge on this sub-
ject is but scanty, I write rather for the pur-
pose of receiving than of giving information.
Should this article meet the eye of any one
who is familiar with the beauties and wonders
which store these fields of nature, I would
suggest to him that he possesses a fund of
information which might interest many read-
ers of " The Friend." What little knowledge
I did gather respecting them, increased my
admiration of the wisdom and goodness of the
Creator, who, in the plants ditfused through-
out these sections of our country, has supplied
a train of human wants, particularly expe-
rienced in the same localities.

The high grass which covers the prairies
has been, and in some places still is, much
infested with rattle-snakes. The poison from
the fang of the raltle'snake is said to be mor-
tal, when lodged in human flesh ; but a cer-
tain plant abounds there, which I was assured
by many persons, was infallible in arresting
its deadly progress, and effecting a complete
cure. Either the root or top is effectual ;
scarcely an acre of those parts of Illinois and
Iowa, visited by the writer, was without it ;
and the application is so simple that it can be
used under almost all circumstances. The
appearance of the plant is so peculiar, that it
is readily recognized after being once seen ;
but for the same reason, it is difficult to des-
cribe it by a comparison with any other plant
that is commonly known. In general appear-

ance it resembles the teasel (Dipsacus fullo-
num). It appears to be a perennial plant, and
attains the height of about two feet. From
its well known efficacy it is called " Rattle-
snake's Master," by the inhabitants where it

On the low lands of the prairies there is a
species of sun-flower (or helianthus) growing
to the height of six or seven feet. The flow-
ers, which are large, grow from all sides of
the stalk, like those of the holly-hock. (Al-
thaea rosea). As I was travelling towards
the west one morning, I observed a piece of
low land before me quite yellow, with the
flowers of this plant, which was then in full
bloom. When I had p;issed the place where
they grew, on looking back, there were very
few flowers to be seen. From the well known
habit of the "common sun-flower" (H. annuus)
with which I believed this to be of the same
genus, I thought it likely that as these flow-
ers then had their disks to the sun, they would
continue to follow him as he passed the me-
ridian, and sunk in the western sky. But in
this I was disappointed. Toward evening I
again noticed a group of the same flowers, but
found them still turned to the east. This was
the last time I observed them ; and I have never
been able to get any further light upon the
subject. If it be true, as I suppose, it to be,
that the flowers of this plant open almost in-
variably to the east, it would supply to the

vegetable compass" its only deficiency that
of distinguishing north from south. (It might
not show the point with sufficient precision to
make a complete compass itself.) The flow-
ers themselves could thus serve as an assist-
ant to the " vegetable compass," only during
a short season of the year, but if the pedicles
remain bent when the flowers have left them,
they must continue to show the general direc-
tion of the east, until the stalks are consumed
by the autumnal fires, or completely broken
oflT and scattered by the storms of winter.
Further researches among the plants found
here might discover habits, which, in connec-
tion with those already known, would at all
times furnish to the traveller on these mono-
tonous plains a guide as infallible as that
which directs the mariner over the pathless

Many flowers of the prairies, whose beauty
and variety are ever ready to beguile the
leisure hours of even the superficial observer,
belong to species, if not to genera, different
from any 1 have met with east of the Alle-
ghanys. Diseases also prevail there of a
character different from what are experienced
in the eastern states. From what is already
known of the medical virtues of plants in
general, and of the properties of some of
these in particular, is there not a presumption

that the plants of the prairies are capable of
supplying a remedy against all the maladies to
which man in the same climate is liable,
while, at the same time, they delight his
senses, and contribute to many of his other
wants ?

It is a beautiful idea that the Creator haa
made nothing in vain. It is pleasant to be-
lieve that every created thing has an office
assigned it in the great chain of being ; that
no plant could be blotted from existence with-
out detriment to man's enjoyment, or injury
to other creatures, whose end, like ours, is
their own happiness, and the glory of Him
who made them. Hence every new discovery
of the mutual dependence between man and
the vegetable kingdom, or between any of tf e
different orders of created things, must diffuse
a glow of delight through the mind of the
lover of nature. Every such discovery goes
to demonstrate the proposition that wisdom
and love pervade all the works of God.

B. L.

Cecil County, Md.

For " The Friend."

The Philadelphia Gazette has republished
from the last number of the London Quarterly
Review, a very pleasant article under the
above title. Besides being too long for our
convenience, some parts of the article are of a
character which might be thought somewhat
out of place in " The Friend ;" we shall there-
fore restrict ourselves to the following ex-
tract : —

" One class of plants, which, though it has
lately become most fashionable and cultivated
by an almost separate clique of nursery-men
and amateurs, cannot yet be said to rank with
florist's flowers, is that of the Orchidacae, tri-
vially known, when first introduced, by the
name of air-plants. It is scarcely more than
ten years ago that any particular attention
was bestowed upon this interesting tribe, and
there are now more genera cultivated than
there were then species known. Among all
the curiosities of botany there is nothing more
singular — we had almost said mysterious —
than the character, or, to speak more techni-
cally, ' the habit' of this extraordinary tribe.
The sensation which the first exhibition of
the butterfly-plant, [Oncidhim papilio) pro-
duced at the Chiswick Gardens must still be
remembered by many of our readers, and so
wonderful is the resemblance of the vegetable
to the insect specimen, floating upon its gos-
samer-stalk, that even now we can hardly
fancy it otherwise than a living creature, were
it not even still more like some exquisite


production of fanciful art. Their manner of
growth distinct from, though so apparently
like, our native misletoe,and other paratiitical
plants — generally reversing the common order
of nature, and tlirowing summersets with their
heels upward and head downward — one speci-
men actually sending its roots into the air,
and burying its flowers in the soil — living
almost entirely on atmospheric moisture — the
blossoms in some species sustained by so slen-
der a thread that they seem to float unsup-
ported in the air — all these things, combined
with the most exquisite contrast of the rarest
and most delicate colours in their flowers, are
not more extraordinary characteristics of their
tribe than is the circumstance that in nearly
every variety there exists a remarkable re-
semblance to some work either of animate
nature or of art. Common observation of the
pretty specimens of this genus in our own
■woods and fields has marked this in the names
given to the fly, the bee, and the spider-or-
chis ; but in the exotic orchises this mimickry
is still more strongly marked. Besides the
butterfly-plant already alluded to, there is the
dove-plant, and a host besides, so like to other
things than flowers, tiiat they seem to have
undergone a metamorphosis under the magic
wand of some transforming power.

" Remembering the countries from which
most of them come — the dank jungles of Hin-
doostan — the fathomless woods of Mexico —
the unproachable valleys of Ciiina — one might
almost fancy them the remains of the magic
influence which tradition aflirms of old to have
reigned in those wild retreats: and that, while
the diamond palaces of Sarmacand, and the
boundless cities of Guatemala, and the colossal
temples of Elephanta, have left but a ruin or
a name, these fairly creations of gnomes and
sprites, and afrets, and jinns, (if so we must
call them,) being traced on the more imper-
ishable material of nature herself, have been
handed down to us as the last vestiges of a
dynasty older and more powerful than Euro-
pean man.

" To pass from the romantic to the useful,
we cannot do a kinder deed to our manufactu-
rers than to turn their attention to tiie splen-
did works of Bateman and Dr. Lindley, dedi-
cated to this class of plants. It is well known
how contemporaneous was the cultivation of
flowers and manufactures in some of our large
cities — (at Norwich, for instance, where the
taste yet survives, and where there is a record
of a flower-show being held as early as 1687)
— the flowers which the foreign artisans
brought over with them suggesting at the
same time thoughts of years gone by and
designs for the work of the hour. Our new
schools of design might literally take a leaf
— and a flower — out of the books we have
mentioned, and improve our patterns in every
department of art by studying examples of
such exquisite beauty, variety, and novelty of
form and colour, as the tribe of orchideous
plants afibrds.

" Another class of plants, very different
from that just mentioned, to which we would
call the attention of designers, is that of the
Ferns. Tiiough loo commonly neglected by
the generality, botanists have long turned

their attention towards this extensive and ele-
gant class. These humble denizens of earth
can boast their enthusiasts and monographists,
as much as the pansy or the rose ; nor has the
exquisite tracery of their fronds escaped the
notice of the artist and the way-farer. But
kw, perhaps, even of those who have delight-
ed to watch the crozier-like germ of the
bracken bursting from the ground in spring,
and the rich umber of its maturity among the
green gorse of autumn, are aware that Brit-
ain can produce at least thirty-six distinct
species of its own, with a still greater number
of subordinate varieties; these, too, consti-
tuting but a very small fraction of the 1508
species which Sadler enumerates in his gene-
ral catalogue. Newman, in his recent work,
has figured more than eighty varieties, the
natural growth of our own isles alone, and
mentioned fourteen distinct species found in
one chasm at Ponlerwyd ! Though some of the
tail-vignettes of his volume fail in represent-
ing — as how could it be otherwise ? — the natu-
ral abandon and elegance of this most grace
ful of all plants, we would still recommend the
great variety and brauty of his larger illustra-
tions as much to the artist and manufacturer,
and embellisher, as to the fern-collector him-

" Our notice of ferns might seem rather
foreign to the subject of ornamental garden-
ing, (though we shall have something to say
of a fernery bye-and-bye,) were it not for the
opportunity it affords us of introducing, pro-
bably for the first time to many of our read-
ers, a botanical experiment, which, thougl:
for some years past, partially successful, has
but lately been brought to very great perfec-
tion for the purposes both of use and orna-
ment. We allude to the mode of conveying
and growing plants in glass-cases hermetically
sealed from all communication with the outer
air. There are few ships that now arrive
from the East Indies without carrying on deck
several cases of this description, belonging to
one or other of our chief nurserymen, filled
with orchideous plants and other new and
tender varieties from the East, which for-
mely baflled the utmost care to land them
here in a healthy state. These cases, fre-
quently furnished by the extreme liberality of
Dr. Wallich, tiie enterprising and scientific
director of the Company's gardens in the
neighbourhood of Calcutta, form on ship-
board a source of great interest to the passen-
gers of a four-months' voyage, and, after
having deposited their precious contents on
our shores, return again by the same ship,
filled with the common flowers of England,

' Tliat dwell beside our paths and homes,'
which our brethren in the East alTectionately
le by association above all the brilliant
garlands of their sunny sky.

This interchange of sweets was a few
years ago almost unattainable, the sea-air and
spray as is well known, being most injurious
to every kind of plant; but their evil effects
are now completely avoided by these air-tight
cases, which admit no exterior inlluence hut
that of light. Without entering into any deep
physiological explanation, it may be enough

to say that vegetable, unlike animal life, does
not exhaust the nutritive properties of air by
repeated inhaling and exhaustion ; so that
these plants, aided perhaps by the perl'ect
stillness of the confined atmosphere, so lavour-
able to all vegetation, continue to exist, breath-
ing, if we may so say, the same air, so long
as there is moisture enough to allow them to
deposit every night a slight dew on the glass,
which they imbibe again during the day. '1 he
soil is moistened in the first instance, but on
no account is any further water or air ad-
mitted. The strangers which we have seen
thus transmitted, being chiefly very small
portions of succulents and epiphytes, though
healthy, have shown no inchuation to flourish
or blossom in their confinement ; but it must
be remembered that the temperature on the
deck of a ship must be very much lower than
what this tribe requires, and the quantity of
wood-work which the case requires to stand
the roughness of the voyage, greatly impedes
the transmission of light. As soon as the slips
are placed in the genial temperature of the
orchideous house, they speedily shoot out into
health and beauty.

" But while this mode of conveyance an-
swers the purposes of science, a much more
beautiful adaption of the same principle is
contrived for the bed-room garden of the in-
valid. Who is there that has not some friend
or other confined by chronic disease or linger-
ing decline to a single chamber'! — one, we
will suppose, who a short while ago was
among the gayest and the most admired of a
large and happy circle, now through sickness
dependent, after her one staff" and stay, for
her minor comforts and amusements on the
visits of a few kind friends, a little worsted-
work, or a new Quarterly, and in the absence
or dulness of these, happy in the possession of
some fresh-gathered flower, and in watering
and tending a few pots of favourite plants,
which are to her as friends, and whose flour-
ishing progress under her tender care offers a
melancholy but instructive contrast to her own
decaying strength. Some mild autumn-eve-
ning her physician makes a later visit than
usual — the room is faint from the exhalations
of the flowers — the patient is not so well to-
day — he wonders that he never noticed that
mignionette and those geraniums before, or
he never should have allowed them to remain
so long — some weighty words on oxygen and
hydrogen are spoken — her poor pets are
banished forever at the word of the man of
science, and the most innocent and unfailing
of her little interests is at an end.

" By the next morning the flowers are gone,
but the patient is no better; there is less
cheerfulness than usual ; there is a listless
wandering of the eyes after something that is
not there ; and the good man is too much of
philosopher not to know how the working
of the mind will act upon the body, and too
much of a Christian not to prevent the rising
evil if he can ; he hears with a smile her ex-
pression of regret for her long-cherished
favourites, but he says not a word. In the
evening a largish box arrives, directed to the
fair patient, and superscribed, ' Keep this
side upwards — with care.' There is more


than the common interest of box-opening in
the sicii-chamber. After a little tender ham-
mering and tiresome knot-loosening, Thomp-
son has removed the lid ; — and there lies a
large oval bell-glass fixed down to a stand of
ebony, gome moist sand at the bottom, and
here and there over the whole surface, some
tiny ferns are just pushing their curious little
fronds into life, and already promise, from
their fresh and healthy appearance, to supply
in their growth and increase all the beauty
and interest of the discarded flowers, without
their injurious effects. It is so. These deli-
cate exotics, for such they are, closely sealed
down in an air-tight world of their own, flour-
ish with amazing rapidity, and, in time, pro-
duce seeds which provide a generation to
succeed them. Every day witnessing some
change, keeps the mind continually interested
in their progress, and their very restriction
from the open air, while it renders the cham-
ber wholesome to the invalid, provides at the
same time an undisturbed atmosphere, more
suited to the development of their own tender
frames. We need scarcely add, that the doc-
tor the next morning finds the wonted cheer-
ful smile restored, and though recovery may
be beyond the skill, as it is beyond the ken,
of man, he at least has the satisfaction of
knowing, that he has lightened a heart in
affliction, and gained the gratitude of a humble
spirit, in restoring, without the poison, a
pleasure that was lost."


The new edifice upon Tower Hill was com-
pleted about 1811, at an expense of about a
quarter of a million of money. This immense
sum, however, included Boulton's expensive
machinery. In the present interesting pro-
cess of coining, the ingots are first melted in
pota, when the alloy of copper is added, (to
gold, one part in twelve ; to silver, eighteen
pennyweights to a pound weight,) and the
mixed metal cast into small bars. And now
begin the operations of the stupendous machi-
nery, which is unequalled in the mint of any
other country, and is in every way a triumph
of mechanical skill. The bars, in a heated
state, are first passed through the breaking
down rollers, which, by their tremendous
crushing power, reduce them to only a third
of their former thickness, and increase them
proportionably in their length. They are
now passed through the cold rollers, which
bring them nearly to the thickness of the coin
required, when the last operation of this na-
ture is performed by the braw bench, a ma-
chine peculiar to our mint, and which secures
an extraordinary degree of accuracy and uni-
formity in the surface of the metal, and leaves
it of the exact thickness desired. The cutting
out machines now begin their work. There
are twelve of these engines in the elegant
room set apart for them, all mounted on the
same basement, and forming a circle range.
Here the bars or strips are cut to pieces of the
proper shape and weight for the coining press,
and then taken to the sizing room to be sepa-
rately weighed, as well as sounded on a cir-
cular piece of iron, to detect any flaws. The

protecting rim is next raised in the marking
room, and the pieces, after blanching and
annealing, are ready for stamping. The coin-
ing room is a magnificent looking place, with
its columns, and its great iron beams, and the
presses ranging along the solid stone base-
ment. There are eight presses, each of them
making, when required, sixty or seventy, or
even more, strokes a minute ; and as at each
stroke a blank is made a perfect coin — that is
to say, stamped on both sides, and milled at
the edge — each press will coin between four
and five thousand pieces within the hour, or
the whole eight between thirty and forty
thousand. And to accomplish these mighty
results, the attention of one little boy alone is
required, who stands in a sunken place before
the press, supplying it with blanks. — Knight's


At a recent meeting of the Academy of
Sciences in Paris, a paper was read from

De Ruolz, on the means of fixing one

metal upon another by the galvanic process.
In this paper the method was described, but
there had been no material results from prac-
tice. The learned gentlemen of the Academy,

however, strongly encouraged De Ruolz

to proceed in his investigations and experi-
ments — a perseverence which has proved
eminently successful. At the late sitting of
the Academy on the 8th of August, the cele-
brated Arago gave an analysis of a new

paper by De Ruolz, explicitly showing

the results of that gentleman's assiduous
labour toward the discovery above mention-
ed. In the first experiments, the practical
use of the discovery had gone no further than
the precipitation of pure metals. This, in-
deed, was a most important step in science,
considering to how many valuable purposes it
could be applied, but it remained to be ascer-
tained whether mixed metals might not also

be precipitated. This is what De

Ruolz has done, and as a proof, several speci-
mens covered with a precipitate of copper and
tin, in the proportions which constitute bronze,
were submitted to the Academy. The red
tints of copper, so offensive to the eye in ob-
jects of art produced by the galvanic process,
has given place to the more delicate and

pleasing appearance of bronze. De Ruolz

announces that the excessive expense required
for the precipitation of zinc, has compelled
him to abandon this method of plating ; but on
the other hand, he exhibited to the Academy
specimens of precipitated lead, which are not
attended with greater expense than if they
were to be coated by the old and less perfect
process, no matter what the thickness of the
coating in either case may be. The various
advantages of the galvanic system are fully

shown in the paper of De Ruolz, and our

readers will, we imagine, readily comprehend
that it must be a valuable improvement in
various ways. A precipitated coating must
always be more regular and uniform than one
laid on by hand. It can be made to any de-
gree of thickness, and cannot be detached
from the material to which it is applied. Iron

roofs, for instance, both as to frame work and
sheet iron, may be coated so as to resist the
action of the atmosphere, and be made to last
four times the usual time, and this without
any great augmentation of cost, for the coat-
ing may be thin, and the iron work itself, not
being exposed to atmospheric action, may be
made much lighter than it is now that bulk is
necessary, as much in order to make allow-
ance for oxidation, as for any actual wear
that, independently of oxidation, it has to un-
dergo. For domestic purposes the galvanic

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 2 of 154)