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tenanced in civilized society, and which for a time prejudiced
his memory, yet his reputation stands redeemed in a more en-
lightened age from any blemish.'' pp. 174, 175.

The other articles in the volume are brief notices of the
towns of Limerick and Wells ; various original papers in rela-
tion to the government of Maine before its purchase by Mas-
sachusetts ; two selections from the manuscripts of the late
Governor Lincoln, relating to the Indian languages, and the
Catholic Missions in Maine ; and, finally, Letters written by
Arnold during the expedition to Quebec in 1775, together
with a Journal of the same expedition, compiled by President
Allen. The following remarks on the dialect spoken by the
Norridgewock Indians (who dwelt on the upper waters of
the Kennebec) are from the Lincoln manuscripts.

'* The most remarkable property of the Norridgewock tongue
is its unbounded susceptibility of composition, which rendered
it copious and expressive. That this tribe had some rule of
formation or composition of words, not in use with us, appears
from the fact that in their long intercourse with the French
and English, they very rarely adopted words from either, and
even when they had no personal knowledge of the objects to be
represented by vocal sounds, they preserved themselves as a
distinct people with all that pertinacity with which they have
clung to their other habits of life, and retained their own dress
for thought as faithfully as they did their peculiar garb. They
formed words from domestic materials having no analogy in
sound or structure with those by which the stranger presented
his ideas and images to the ear and the mind. The Penob-
scots, in like manner to this day, have preserved the spirit of
their language, and have not suffered it to be corrupted or
changed, although -they have for centuries, nearly, been fa-
miliar with English and French. Thus they have their Indian
names for elephant, lion, and a great diversity of objects, un-
known to them, except through the medium of verbal or pic-
tured representation." p. 312.

The most distinguished Catholic Missionary in Maine, was

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1832.] Worjcs of Sir T%oma$ Browne, 227

Father Rale, who lived amoDg the Norridgewocks a great
number of years. His tragical end, occasioned by his sup-
posed hostility to the inhabitants of New England, is described
by Governor Lincoln in an interesting manner, and followed
by some very sensible remarks which show that the good
Father had more piety than sound judgment. We can only
refer our readers to the passage, — pages 336 - 339.

Many of the papers in relation to Arnold's bold and haz-
ardous expedition through the forests and morasses of Maine
into Canada, are curious and entertaining, and by some read-
ers will be preferred, doubtless, to the other materials of the
volume. They were furnished by Aaron Burr, of New
York, (formerly Vice-President,) who was in the expedi-

We cannot close our remarks without commending the
typographical beauty, and the neatness and good taste so
apparent in this very acceptable book. It affords a very
striking contrast in this respect to the homely beginnings of
the Historical Society of Massachusetts towards the close of
the last century, a society worthy of imitation in its active
and successful labors.

Art. X. — The Library of the Old English Prose Writers.
Vol. ni. — Works of Sir Thomas Browne. Cam-
bridge. Hilliard & Brown. 1831. 16mo. pp. xxxii
and 304.

Sir Thomas Browne seems to have been more generally
read and esteemed than most, or perhaps any, of the Old
English Prose Writers, as they are commonly called, which
may be ascribed partly to^is peculiar merit and partly to his
life having been written by so popular an author as Dr. John-
son. He is, indeed, a writer and thinker of rare excel-
lence, and the value of what he has left behind him, has
been proved by the admiration of those who have lived
among opinions and manners widely different from those of
his own time. When you first open his book, you perceive
at once that you are communing with a mind that has arrived
at peculiar results by peculiar processes. The stamp of
originality is upon every sentence. Nothing is taken at
second-hand, and nothing suggests obvious and familiar asso-

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228 W6rJe$ of Sir Tktmas Browne. [Maich,

eiations. The range of his mind is boundless^ and he seems
acquainted with every province of thought. There is a
nobility and grandeur in his ideas and sentiments which show
them to come from a mind accustomed to take the most
comprehensive views of things, to compare their eternal rela-
tions, and to construct the potential out of the materials of
the actual.

The principal work in this volume is called ^' The1S.eligion
of a Physician " ; but how little there is in it that is profes*
sional ! There is nothing of the smell of the gallipot upon any
page. It is the reflection of a fine and original mind, enrich-
ed with learning and observation, which has meditated pro-
foundly upon its own substance, upon its relations to Gcd,
to the universe, and to other minds, and delivers its re-
sults in a manner which shows that the author is conscious
of their value, without falling into the arrogant tone of those
philosophers who can only look straight forward, and conse-
quently imagine that there is but one road to the temple of
Truth. He stands upon a high vantage-ground and commands
an extensive horizon. He is remarkable for regarding the
essential properties of things, and not their accidental foims.
He is no Catholic, but he is willing to kneel at a mass ; he
believes that the Christian religion can sanctify an idle form.
A toad or a bear is not ugly in his eyes, " they being created
in those outward shapes which best express those actions of
their inward forms."

It would be impossible to give any thing like an analysis
of this production. It is without regular form or definite
plan, and is a picture of the author's mind, and not originally
drawn for the public eye. In his thoughts he does not seem
to be governed by the common laws of association, but he
writes down upon the spot every fancy that comes into his
head. One great charm of his productions arises from the
novelty which this peculiarity gives him. In our time a man
generally composes for some particular reason, to effect some
proposed end, which is kept in view at every period, so that
the current of his thoughts is never allowed to wander at its
" own sweet will," but is made to flow with a given velocity
and in a required direction. But Sir Thomas Browne seems
to write because his mind is full to overflowing and craves
the relief of composition.

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1880.] WorTcM of Sir Tbonuu BrotBne. 829

We make one extract from the " Religio Mediei/' as
being a fair specimen of his peculiar manner.

"My common conversation I do acknowledge aostere, my
behaviour full of rigor, sometimes not without morosity. Yet
at my devotion I love to use the civility of my knee, my hat,
and hand, with all those outward and sensible motions which
may express or promote my invisible devotion. I should vio-
late my own arm rather than a church, nor willingly deface the
name of saint or martyr. At the sight of a cross or crucifix I
can dispense with my bat, but scarce with the thought or mem-
ory of my Saviour. I cannot laugh at, but rather pity the fi-uit-
less journeys of pilgrims, or contemn the miserable condition of
friars ; for, though misplaced in circumstances, there is some-
thing in it of devotion. 1 could never hear the Ave-Mary bell
without an elevation, or think it a sufficient warrant, because
they erred in one circumstance, for me to err in all, that is, in
silence and dumb contempt; whilst therefore they directed
their devotions to her, I offered mine to God, and rectified the
errors of their prayers, by rightly ordering mine own. At a
solemn procession I have wept abundantly, while my consorts,
blind with opposition and prejudice, have fallen into an ex-
<se88 of scorn and laughter. There are questionless both in Greek,
Roman, and African churches, solemnities and ceremonies^
whereof the wiser zeals do make a Christian use, and stand
condemned by us, not as evil in themselves, but as allurements
and baits of superstition to those vulgar heads that look asquint
on the face of truth, and those unstable judgments that cannot
resist in the narrow point and centre of virtue without a reel or
stagger to the circumference.'' pp. 10, 11.

The treatise on '^ Urn-Burial" is full of rare and curious
learning, which shows that its author had studied as well as
thought. Amidst all its details of facts^ and quamt specula-
tion there is an under-current of solemn thought which pror
dupes an effect upon the ^oul, like that with which we
might listen to the echoed strains of an organ when evening
wfas deepening the obsourity of the lengthened aisles of some
i;everend cathedral.

The remainder of the volume is occupied with ^^ A Letter
Ito a Friend " in a time qf affliction, and with some extracts
from bis largest work, the " Enquiry into Vulgar Errors," of
which we hope to see more in some future volume. They
9re all strongly marked with the impress of their author's
strikingly original mind.

VOL. I. NO. III. 30

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830 Vernon— Culture of SUk. [March,

Abt. XL — 1. A Manual containing Information respect-
ing the Growth of the Mulberry Tree^ with Suitable
Directions for the Culture of Silk. In Three Parts.
By J. H. Cobb, A. M. Boston. Carter, Hendee, &
Babcock. 1831. 12mo. pp. 68.

2. Essays on American Silk, and the Best Means of ren-
dering it a Source of Individual and National Wealth ;
VfUh Directions to Farmers for Raising Silk Worms,
By John D'Homeroue, Silk Manufacturer, and Peteb
Stephen Duponoeau, Member of the American Philo-
sophical Society. Philadelphia. John Grigg. 1830.
19mo. pp. 120.

3. A Methodical Treatise on the Cultivation of the Mul-
berry Tree, on the Raising of Silk Worms, and on
Winding the Silk from the Cocoons. Abridged from
the French of M. De la B&ousse ; with Notes and an
Appendix. By William H. Vernon, of Rhode-Island.
Boston. Hilliard, Gray, & Co. 1828. 8vo. pp. 174.

The subject of the Culture of Silk is one which is attract-
ing every day an increasing public attention. Apart from the
promise held out of its importance to our country, it is a very
interesting subject in itself That a species of worms, so
remarkable among the " puny vouchers of Omnipotence,"
should be constituted in such a way that all the humors of
their body tend to produce a valuable material for human
convenience and luxury, and that in the course of a few days
they should spin and wind round their bodies an unbro-
ken thread of twelve hundred yards in length, is a subject
of admiration as well for the moralist as the lover of na-
ture. When we superadd to these considerations what hu-
man skill and contrivance have wrought out, and are told
how by the successive processes of art and machinery the most
beautiful fabrics have been perfected from the spontaneous
productions of the insect, fabrics which find their way all
over the civilized world, — an interest of a different kind is felt
in Jthe subject, such as springs from the effect of human power
and ingenuity in following out the indications of nature, and
using the gilts of Providence.

Mr. Vernon's publication has the merit of being first in the
order of time among the works before us. It is translated and

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leaa.] D'Homergm^andDuponceau-^Ckdture of Silk. flU

abridged from the tr^tise of ilL De la Brousse^ who it seems
was more of a practical man than accomplished writer, and
whose treatise required a good deal of pruning and attention
to arrangement in some particulars. The first part of the
work, on the mulberry tree, contains information sufficiently
minute concerning the different species, the rearing, preser-
vation, and healthy condition of the tree. Mr. Vernon's
translation of this part of the work is often literally followed
by Mr. Cobb, in the corresponding part of his book ; and he
acknowledges himself indebted to Mr. Vernon among others^
for considerable extracts, where they are consonant with his

The second and larger part of Mr. Vernon's book carries
us through the pi^ocess of rearing the silk-worm from the esg
till its growth is completed and its thread is fully spun ; m
which state it is called a cocoon. It is then prepared for being
stripped of its covering, by stifling the chrysalis either in
a heated oven, or by vapor from hot water, or by exposure to
a meridian sun, or by noxious fumes, each of which processes
is faithfully described. Next comes an account of the deli-
cate art of reeling or ^winding the silk from the cocoons, and
a description of the machinery for that purpose. The ac-*
commodation for the labors of these diligent msects, and the
food of which th^ are greedy devourers, are not overlooked,
nor the diseaAS to which they are subject and the remedies.
A good deal of this history is merely curious, contaming
minute particulars which are attended to in France and other
places in respect to the raising and the watchful care of silk-*
worms^ but which are disregarded in this country ; particu-
larly what relates to the temperature, which, according to the
usa^e there, is to be nicely adjusted to the different stages in
their growth.

Mr. Vernon's book is interspersed with notes and followed
by an Appendix, both containing such useful remarks as we
might e^Tpect from a gentleman of his wide reading and lite-
rary leisure ; accompanied too by the zest acquired by the
author's foreign travels ; he being withal an experienced hor-

The Essays of M. D'Homergue and Mr. Duponceau, be-
sides their intrinsic worth, excite a peculiar interest from the
circumstances of authorship. M. D'Homergue, a young
French gentleman, came to Philadelphia from France in

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IBS lyHomergue amd Jhipancemm — [Muob^

MrJj 16999 10 compBance wkh the wishes of an associatiolD
intended to promote the raising of silk-worms and the culture
at silk. He is the son of an eminent silk-mantrfacturer at
Nismes ; and though be afterwards changed his pursuit, he
was originally trained to his father's business, and became
thoroughly versed, in its various processes. Mr. Duponceau
became acquainted with him soon after his arrival, and per*
eeived that he was familiar with the history and practical
details of the culture of silk. Becoming interested in a
subject of which he had before only a superficial knowl«
edge, Mr. Duponceau was unwilling to let the opportunity
escape of giving the American public the benefit of what
eould be procured from an intelligent and welUinstructed
foreigner upon matters which had already occupied the atten*
tion of our general government. To this end he obtained
from M. D'Homergue, who was ignorant of the English lan-
guage, all the information that he deemed most important,
which he condensed and published in the '^ National 6a-
sette,'' in the form of Essays, and in M. D'Homergue's name,
together with some accessory matters ; claiming little more
for himself than the merit of communicating the knowledce
of another. (Duponceau's Preface to the Essays, pp. xiii>
xiv, xviii.)

The drcumstances which give peculiar value to these
** Essays " ate, that the author came hither posibssed of a full
knowledge of the silk business in his own country, and that
be informed himself of the state of the business in this coun-*
try under the guidance and tutelage of a distinguished citizen
and scholar, who, so far from allowing him to be misled or
imposed upon by others, assisted him in procuring and coU
latmg facts, and turning them to the best account, so as to
warn our people against rashness and over-doing, with which
they are sometimes charged as besetting sins.

The " Essays " are preceded by a well-adapted Preface^
written by Mr. Duponceau, to which we have already alluded*
They begin with an account of the qiiali^ of the American
silk that fell under M. D'Homergue's notice, and of his ex-
periments in regard to its relative Quantity, compared with
that produced by the silk-worms of Europe. He was struck
with its remarkable fineness, and with the peculiar beauty of
the silk of the white cocoons, which he found to be numerous
in this country, and which are most to be prised. la the

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IMA.} OiOiureofSiat. 9as

tfautiitj of the silk also, his experiments proved a great supe-
riority in favor of this country ; that is, taking the worms pro-
duced in Pennsylvania as an average specimen in this par-
ticular. The results of bis experiments were remarkable in
the following particulars. The American cocoons proved to
be nearly twice the weight of the European, and much more
uniform in their weight ; and of the same weight of Ameri-«
ean and of European cocoons, the American produced twice
the weight of silk. Greatest of all was M. D'Homeipie's
surprise to find that the silk*worms, which in Europe require
so much tender care to guard them against changes of tem-
perature, (the directions concerning which form no small
part of the foreign treatises upon the culture of silk,) should
in our most mutable and fickle climate be protected against
the great and sudden variations of the weather, so as to excel
to such a degree those of Europe.

** I am as yet at a loss to conceive how the American farmers
do to prevent the worms from feeling the effects of those
changes. This requires more care, attention, and sagacity
than might be believed by those who are not acquainted with
the constitution of that delicate insect. I doubt much whether
it will be credited at first in Europe, when the fact shall be
aaade known there. All I can say is, that it has excited the
astonishment of gentlemen from France, well acquainted with
the silk business, who would not have believed it if they had
not been present at my experiment." pp. 6, 7.

M. D'Homergue recurs to the subject of climate again in
another part of his book ; and endeavours to account for
what had before seemed ^o him mysterious, by stating cer-
tain facts which appear to have been overlooked by other

'' In China," he remarks, " the native country of the silk-
worm, that useful insect is born, grows, and thrives in the open
air. Like the common caterpillar it nestles upon trees, and
there winds its beautiful cocoons. — In Europe, on the con-
trary, in Italy and the south of France, notwithstanding the
boasted mildness of those climates, the egg is hatched and the
worm is raised in hot-houses with infinite trouble and care. In
the works of Dandolo and Bonafous, the most approved Euro-
pean writers on this subject, the one an Italian, the other a
Frenchman, we find the most minute directions for regulating
from day to day the heat of stoves ; and the farmer who raises

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334 D^Homergue qnd Dnponceau — [Maiftfa,

silk-worms must have the thermometer constantly in his hand,
the degrees of heat being fixed for every day of the growth of
the animal, and almost for every hour. The numerous works
on the art of raising silk-worms are in a great measure filled
with these details." p. i,5.

In this country the directions here spoken of are altoeetber
neglected. M. D'Horaergue found this to be the fact, though
the copious Manual published under the au^ority of Con-
gress embraces the minute details of foreign writers, and en*
joins the use of the thermometer as absolutely essential ; in
default of which millions of the worms must die, and many
that survive must become feeble and unproductive, and the
race must degenerate. Still, however, he found that silk-
worms were raised in various parts of the United States, and
kept in a healthy condition, and clothed with their rich cov-
ering, remarkable for the quality and quantity, without the
use. of stoves or thermometers, notwithstanding the alleged
vfcissitudes of our climate. This fact led him to examine
^the thermometrical observations published in the city of Phil-
adelphia, from which he ascertained that in the year in which
he wrote the Essays (1829) the thermometer, in the open
air, from the 22d of May to the 22d of June, had not fallen
below 69^^ of Fahrenheit, although, he adds, '^ during that
period the weather was sometimes unusually cool," * This
IS the usual season for raising the silk-worms ; and the au-
thor's experience, as well as the authority of others had
taught him, that a temperature not falliifg below the 62d
degree of Fahrenheit could not be injurious to those insects ;
so that if the meteorological observations relied upon were
any thing n^ar the truth and the average temperature of dif-
ferent years, M. D'Homergue's case is fully made out;
namely, that, " during the proper time of raising silk-worms,
the temperature is hardly ever such as ta endanger their
health ; and, unless it bc'so," he "can perceive no way to ac-
count for the success of the Anierican farmers in raising their
silk-worms, and producing such beautiful silk, without any of
those precautions respecting the degrees of heat which are

• We think there DQUst be some iuaccuracy in this statement It
would be a fact somewhat remarkable during a succession of thirty
days, even in the usual period of the greatest heat of summer, that the'
thermometer should at no time indicate a degree of temperature lower

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1833.1 Culture of Silk. 235

taken hj the silk-culturists of Europe/' Another fact that
goes to establish the favorableness of the climate of the Mid-
dle States to the silk-worm is, that while in Europe the
period from the hatching of the egg to the completion of the
cocoon is forty-five and sometimes forty-seven days, it is, in
this country, but thirty-one days.* (pp. 66-70.)

Thus does M. D'Homergue set forth the advantages en-
joyed in this country for the raising of silk-worms. The next
question is, what to do with the silk after they have com-
pleted their part of the labor. M. D'Homergue thinks we
should proceed to learn the art of winding the silk from the
cocoonSy which is as yet unknown among us, and there stop
for the present. Till we have attained this art, our exten-
siye mulberry orchards and myriads of silk-worms are little
better than playthings, perhaps even expensive ones. Hav-
ing learned this art, nothing will be wasted. It belongs to
those who possess it to distinguish the different kinds or quali-
ties of silk, which are various, so as to keep them distinct,
and see that every thing is saved for the remaining processes
and manufacture of difierent articles. Hitherto in Connecti-
cut and other parts of this country, as much has been accom-
plished in this way as could be expected from untutored
mgenuity. But it is a delicate and difficult process, requir-'
ing good machinery and much instruction and practice. We
forbear to enter upon the technical minutis pertaining to it,
which might prove iminterestins; to many of our readers ; but
we are satisfied from M. D'Homergue's statements, that,
whenever we shall advance thus far and produce raw silk
of a merchantable quality, there will be no want of a profit-
able market in silk-manufacturing countries ; and that it will
be safer for us to stop here, till we become perfect in Ibis
first step, than to attempt to grasp the whole business of the
manufacture of silk at once.

• This may be true in Philadelphia and. farther south ; or it may be
that the conclusion is drawn from too small a number of <sxamp]es. Mr.
Cobb in his Manual says, " thirty-two days intervene between the hatch-
ing and itieoeginmng of the cocoon, and I have known the period re-
tarded to sixty days.^ (Page 30.) Something is to be allowed for difier-
ence of temperature between the vicinity of Philadelphia and that of
Boston ; but the result on the whole seems to be, that like man in
this new world, these busy insects, too, are quicker and more efficient
in their operations than in European countries.

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986 Cobb — OuUnre of SUk. [Hwoli,

Mr. Cobb's '^ Manual," <^ published by direetioD of his Ek«
cellency Governor Lincoln, agreeably to a resolve of the
Commonwealth," is a very valuable production, methodical
in its arrangement, simple and perspicuous in style, con«>
taining in a small compass the most important infonaation

Online LibraryJoseph Lyon MillerAmerican monthly review → online text (page 25 of 54)