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Monthly Memoranda in Nalural His- In regard to the Great Sea Snake tory.
of Orkney, the smaliness of the body
in proportion to its amazing length, septia THE weather has been very
"HE weather has been very as well as the remarkable character of 1,-26. inconstant, and upon the the row of shining filaments along the whole not favourable for harvest oper- back, render the notion of its being ations. A few good days, however, the Squalus maximus of Linnæus (ehave occasionally intervened ; and the ven supposing that animal to be very reaping is all over in the low country. different from our Basking Shark) enThe hardships to which the High- tirely inadmissible. The çrạnium land
reapers this season exposed them- and upper jaw, together with the unselves, by coming to the Lothians at der jaw, are now lodged in the Unithe usual time, while the harvest was versity Museum. Correct drawings three weeks later, were most humane- have been taken of these parts. Sely relieved by gentlemen and farmers veral oblong masses of cartilage, sup. in different parts of the country, and posed to be ribs, with a fin nearly by a general subscription, and a col- complete, a number of vertebræ of lection at the church-doors at Edin- different sizes, and a collection of the burgh. Mr Nisbet of Dirlton in dorsal filaments, make up the slender Haddingtonshire, kept a public kit- catalogue of remains saved from the chen for their benefit for a fortnight. wreck of this curious inhabitant of
Nothing interesting has this month the deep. Those naturalists who occurred in the natural history de- have seen these fragments, and have partment, in this neighbourhood. The read the unaffected testimony of the wetness of the season has produced a Orkney farmers as to the appearance great crop of fungi. The grounds at of the animal when cast ashore, have Bellevue, where trees formerly grew, become completely satisfied of its bewere covered with Phallus impudicus, ing a non-descript, excepting in so far the fetid odour assailing every pas
as its existence and general appearance senger. A mushroom of uncommonly have been mentioned by Pontoppidan. large dimensions was announced in As to the Mermaid, it is unlucky the Newspapers : it was said to be that no specimens whatever have no less than 43 inches in circumfe. yet been procured. The account of rence; 9 inches in height, exclusive the recent Caithness-shire one, rests of the stalk; and it weighed 5 lb. entirely on the credibility of the wit6 oz. It grew near Paisley. If it was nesses, and on their capacity for obreally the Agaricus campestris, it was serving, and for describing what they by much the largest we have ever Of their veracity no one enterheard of.
tains a doubt. As for their opportuniSea-Snake and Mermaid. The ties, and fitness for observing and desfrequent recurrence of accounts of cribing, there may certainly be room such strange monsters appearing on for hesitation, without giving, any our coast, seems to have served only reasonable offence to the witnesto embolden scepticism. This is not ses, and without any imputation however very reasonable. Our be- on their understanding or faculties, lief and assent ought not certainly to more than on their moral honesty... be limited by any notion of our own, The witnesses were chiefly two young of what is probable or likely to oc- ladies, who had not probably been in cur in nature ; but ought to rest, ra- the habit of examining or describing ther, on the validity of the evidence, large marine animals ; whose minds, however unaccountable or improbable it may easily be supposed, were apt the phenomena may appear to us, to be fluttered, and whose imagina
tions would thus be ready to supply attention of the Public. Its superiori. deficiencies; the distance at which ty to the Martello towers seems parthey stood has been calculated at 60 ticularly deserving of notice, and in feet; the sea was running high, and order to make this more conspicuous, rising into foam all around the rock I beg leave to present you with the folno which the animal was pitched. The lowing comparative view of their account given by the ladies is howe- structure and contents, drawn from au. ver very circumstantial; and we are thentic documents. inclined pay much attention to it.
According to a statement given in They observed the creature for about parliament, and not contradicted, there an hour; and they distinguished a
has been built in England twenty. seal at some distance from it, which seven Martello towers, each of which evinces a considerable precision in has cost upwards of 20,000). These their observations. The description towers are forty feet high, with only of the head agrees very well with one gun on the top of each. They the appearance of the Angel-fish. are placed at the distance of about a or Mermaid-fish of Artedi (Squalus mile from each other. I know not if Squatina); but the minute account they are all built on a direct line; but, of the hair on the head, of the long in order to shew them as much favour arms, and fingered hands, baffles our as possible, I shall suppose that they conjectures. We repeat, however, In this case there will, within that we have no doubt whatever that the distance of twenty-seven miles, be they have fairly related the impres- only twenty-seven guns to play against sion made upon their minds by what the enemy. Moreover, from the height they saw; and they deserve 110 little of these towers, the gun could not praise for having ventured to avouch be pointed within 250 yards of their the spectacle, when they knew that base, so that when the enemy was once their testimony was to be opposed to so near the tower, he might destroy or a tide of philosophical prejudice, (if march past it, without the least resistthe expression may be used,)-a prejudice, we believe, more frequently Upon the whole, to any one who directed against the name Mermaid, impartially considers the subject, it than against the probability of the must appear, that these towers can existence of an undescribed amphi- serve only as beacons to point out to bious animal in the North Seas. We the enemy the vulnerable parts of our shall soon resume the subject. coast, and to draw his attack to these,
but not to oppose the least obstacle to Edinburgh, Sept. 28.
them, should they unhappily take the hint.
Mr Gillespie undertakes to erect a Comparative View of the Martello Revolving Battery for 10,000 l. which
is less than half the expence of a Towers, and of Mr GILLESPIE's
Instead of the so. Battery
litary gun fired from those erections, SIR,
his machine discharges eight battering
guns, and 104 for grape shot. WithI in
Number, a letter from an intelligent miles, there will be discharged 216 batcorrespondent, on the subject of Mr tering guns, and 2818 small guns for Gillespie's Impregnable Revolving Bat- grape shot. This single statement is tery; an invention which seems more enough, surely, to demonstrate its imand more to attract, as it deserves, the mense superiority.
Mr Gillespie's machine, however, Memoirs of the Progress of MANUpossesses other advantages. It involves FACTURES, CHEMISTRY, SCIENCE, , à method of directing the ball towards and the FINE ARTS. the wished-for point with infallible precision, which is not even
attempted DR Brewster; of Edinburgh, has inin the Martello towers. In the latter vented a new gnomiometrical too, the piece, after constant firing for telescope, and microscope, for measur two hours, would become so heated ing the angles of crystals by reflection, as to be altogether unfit for use, But and for ascertaining the inclination of here, the guns being fired successively, strata, and the apparent magnitude ot as the machine revolves, each is allowed" angles, when the eye is not placed at an interval to cool, while the others the vertex. are firing; and this inconvenience is The same gentleman has also inventquite obviated. The present machine, ed an instrument for determining disbesides, notwithstanding its immense tances at one station, without measursuperiority of execution, might be work. ing a base, without a portable base beed by a smaller number of men. In ing attached to the instrument, or short, there is no respect in which without knowing the magnitude of the it is not superior to the Martello object, the distance of which is to be towers.
ascertained. A long base is actually Considering the circumstances of created by the instrument, without this kingdom, which imperiously call measuring it, and the distance is obfor the use of every mode of defence tained upon a principle, which, as far as well of attack, is it not incumbent as is known, has never been employed on those who have the disposal of na- in trigonometrical instruments. val and military affairs to make strict A few years since, Messrs Fourinquiry into the merits of this inven- croy and Vauquelin remarked, that a tion, and to adopt it, if found to an-; concrete sugar, or manna, exuded from swer the above description. Can it be the receptacle of the flowers of the pondoubted, that if it had been employed tic dwarf rosebay (Rhododendron ponon the Scheldt, that expédition, in all ticum.) M. Bosc has recently observed likelihood, would have terminated in it afresh, and presented to the Nationa a way more conducive to the nation- al Institute some grains of this suba al honour and interest. Indeed Mr stance, collected from the receptacle Gillespie undertakes, by means of them, of the fruit, several of which were ato destroy any of the enemy's harbours, bout 8-10ths of a line in diameter:however strongly fortified. When Their taste and appearance do not difemployed in sieges also, they would fer perceptibly from the purest sugarrender the place to be defended al- candy ; but it is necessary to be upon most impregnable ; for while they our guard against this appearance, on committed the utmost destruction on account of the deleterious properties the assailants, they would completely suspected in the plant. This manna, cover the persons of the defenders. according to M. Bosc, is dissolved dua
I am happy to understand, that Mrring the night by the moisture of the Gillespie's invention has already drawn atmosphere, melted in the day by the the attention of several persons of dis. heat of the sun, and does not exude tinction in this city; and I flatter my- from plants of a vigorous vegetation. self, you will soon have occasion to These are the reasons why it is so selannounce his being rescued from that dom seen. Plants growing in pots, unmerited neglect with which he has and sheltered from the dew, as well as hitherto been treated. M. from the sun, are most likely to fur
nish iti The grains above-mentioned with the celerity of a bird. A subwere collected
from a plant, in which scription has been opened at Vienna, all these circumstances united. to enable the inventor to prosecute his
To the methods that have been sug- discoveries. gested for improving common alum, Baron Lutgendorf, well known for by freeing it from the iron which it bis travels, has invented a machine, by contains, M. Seguin has added a new means of which a person may exist unone founded on the different solubility der water, without fear of being of pure alum, and alum mixed with drowned. It is a kind of cuirass, iron. He dissolves sixteen parts of which allows the body to assume evecommon alum in twenty.four of water, ery possible position, and which is excrystallizes, and thus obtains fourteen pected to be extremely useful in saparts of alum, equal to the Roman, ving persons in danger of being drownand two nearly equal to that of Liege. ed. The police of Vienna have purchaThis process might be employed in the sed a considerable number of these manufacture of alum, so as to obtain machines, with the view of assisting in at first an alum worth one-third more bringing up drowned persons from the than in its impure state.
bottom of the Danube. The Phelloplastic Cabinet of M. Some works, undertaken at the Stamaty has been for some time exhi- country-house of M. Trembley, at La bited at Paris. It consists of repre- Tronches, a village situated a little to sentations in cork, of the most import- the north-east of Grenoble, have ant and curious monuments of ancient brought to light the following anter Rome, and the south of France. No- quities :- 1. Several fragments of a thing is so favorable for representing mosaic pavement, composed of irreguruins as cork; its colour and the in- lar cubes, and arranged either in the equality of its pores, heighten the il- form of a draught-board, with black lusion ; but it is very difficult to cut, and white squares, or in white and and works so delicate as Mr Stamaty's black parallel lines. The substance require infinite patience. That artist of the cubes is carbonated lime. 2. Sehas spent twenty years in executing veral water-pipes of red clay, of a sethe ar:icles which he is now exhibiting. mi-elliptical figure, regularly fitted inThey exceed forty : among which the to each other, which served to conduct great Pantheon of Agrippa, now the water into basins constructed in the Church of the Rotunda at Rome; the form of the clubs on cards, and were Tower of Pisa, with eight rows of bedded in a composition of broken lumns, inclining7one half fathoms; the tiles, lime, and ashes, without any exTriumphal Arch of Septimius Severus: terior covering. 3. Hollow bricks in that of Constantine; the Pont du Gard, the form of a parallelepipedon. Their with three rows of arches; the Maison surfaces are ornamented with diagonal Carree of Nismes, &c. &c. deserve transverse bars ; and two square holes, particular notice.
made about the middle of their length, M. Degen, a watchmaker of Vien- correspond on either side. 4. A do
has invented a machine, by which mestic lamp of red clay, without ora person may rise into the air.
It is 'nament, having underneath this informed of two parachutes, of taffeta, scription : APRIOF. The spot on which may
be folded up or extended which these were found, contains to a at pleasure ; and the person who moves considerable extent, ruins of Roman them is placed in the centre. M. De- buildings, which were examined at gen has made several public experi- some remote period. The situation ments, and rose to the height of fifty and nature of these ruins, shew that four feet, flying in various directions, the whole belonged to a Roman villa.
Statement respecting the Orphan Hos- nimously informed him, that from the pital, 14th August 1809. time of a particular event, which hap
pened in 1796, “this institution has To the Editor. SIR,
greatly declined,” it is no longer diffiIN your Magazine for April last, cult to perceive the origin to which the
you have made an extract from a whole of his representation is to be recent publication by a German Tra- traced.--The managers have no wish veller (Dr Frank) containing some un
to detract from the merits of
in handsome reflections on the Orphan dividual. At the same time, justice & Hospital of this city. As the mana- to the respectable characters who have,
gers of that institution are your fel. since the period referred to, conducted low citizens,- known to you, and the affairs of the Hospital, and indeed not wholly beneath your notice, it was justice to the Hospital itself, the internot perhaps too much for them to ex. ests of which might be injured by this pect, that before you had given cur. attack on its credit, requires that they rency to such reflections, you should lay before the public the following have taken the trouble to enquire in- statement, taken from the Hospital to their truth. Travellers are under- books, of the numbers maintained, the stood to use a licence; and if Dr Frank work done, and the improvements inwill use it without injuring others, let troduced, from 1796 to the present him avail himself of the common privi- time, from which it will be seen whe: ledge. But the licence of a Traveller ther or not Dr Frank or his informers warrants no man to say what is not, were warranted to say that this insti. to the prejudice of his neighbour. Whe- tution has greatly declined; and as your ther the licence was in this instance Magazine has been the principal vehicle used at the expence of those whom the for the circulation of his reflections in traveller attacks, or of those from this country, the
managers cannot enwhom he professes to have received tertain a doubt, that you will feel it his information, the managers are not your duty to counteract the injurious concerned to ascertain : but they do effects of them, by giving this letter not hesitate to say, that his refleetions the same publicity. on the Orphan Hospital, wherever
Average they have had their origin, are alto
Number Number gether unfounded.
of Dr Frank represents the Hospital
Children Children as particularly defective in respect of
admitted in the order, and cleanliness. It is possible, thro’ the carelessness of servants, or the
Hospital. operation of some other incidental 1796 42 110 cause, which no precaution can always
1797 34 119
1798 controul, that a house which is general
36 115 ly kept in the best order, may be found 1799 47 130 at a time in a different state. And
1800 53 140 had Dr Frank confined his reflections
1801 64 153 to the points of order and cleanliness,
1802 26 166 it might be supposed, that, by a sin
1803 35 157 gular coincidence, he had really visited
1804 42 158 the Orphan Hospital at such a time. 1805
149 But when he takes upon him to in
1806 40 128 sinuate, that many of the inhabitants of 1807 37 128 Edinburgh admitted the truth of what
1808 36 130 he states, and to assert that they una
1809 42 135 Sept. 1809.