Imágenes de páginas


minutest as well as the most grand, that fills the soul while it occupies the mind. We can hardly, however, expect that,' as a preparation for travel alone, the study of nature will often be begun. How can one, who has been insensible to its value as giving him access to the inexhaustible storehouse of facts for the meditations of the philosopher, of images for the fancy of the poet, of illustrations to the moralist, be expected to look to it as promising a new source of pleasure for a summer's ramble or a winter's relaxation ?

There is, too, one objection to making this preliminary study of nature, for a voyage or journey undertaken for the recovery of one's health. There would be some danger,- a chance, at least, - of its making the whole work of preparation nugatory, by healing the disease for which the journey was proposed as a

If one set himself seriously to the work, - what with climbing hills and threading woods, strolling along river-banks and sea-beaches, penetrating forests to watch shy animals in their quiet haunts, anticipating the dawn, perhaps, to catch birds on their roosts, and see the first flowers open to the light, - especially if he were blessed with the luxury of a garden, and should undertake to transplant and cultivate, in order to study at will new plants, - there would be great danger that, amid all this business of preparation, he should unexpectedly find himself well. We should scarcely, therefore, undertake to recommend the study of nature, to the consumptive or dyspeptic or nervous, as a preparation for more profitable, judicious, and delightful journeying. To the fortunate man of leisure and independence, who, with predetermined will, should propose to travel for the purpose of seeing and enjoying, --- to get wider knowledge of the infinitely diversified scheme of the creation, - loftier views of God's works and providence, - there might indeed be recommended some preparation of this kind, as most pleasant in the making and most fruitful in the use.

The description of the fruits of Cuba was minuted down during a two months' residence in that island by one, who, notwithstanding a true love of nature, had, by sedulous devotion to the ever wearing labors of the ministry, trenched too severely upon a constitution already twice before, when he had not as yet learnt to look upon the study of his Father's handiwork as a relief from care and a refreshment after mental exhaustion, weakened and almost broken up by intense application to his duties. Familiar with the productions of his native land, he found himself, in Cuba, surrounded by those which had the charm of novelty, alike to the eye and taste. Grateful for cool shade and refreshing food, he took note of the trees and fruits that furnished them.

[ocr errors]

On his return he completed his descriptions and read them, at different times, at the meetings of the Boston Society of Natural History. From a much larger number relating to the productions of the island, he consented to have a few, giving an account of the most valuable and characteristic fruits, published in the Transactions of the Society. In this little extract from the second volume of their Journal, we have the description of a large number of tropical fruits, given in the most unpretending manner, alphabetically, and yet under their botanical names, with references to their natural orders and affinities, and much of what is, in reality, though not in appearance, strictly scientific, and interesting to a mere naturalist.

We should be glad, if our limits allowed, to quote many of these descriptions, some of fruits already familiar, and others making familiar fruits before little known. We will at least give a part of the description of the Cocoa-nut tree:

“It is unnecessary to describe the ripe nut, because every child has seen and eaten of it

. But it is worth a voyage to the West Indies, or some other tropical part of the world, to see this fruit hanging on its own graceful and glorious tree.

“ The trunk of the cocoa rises to a height of fifty or sixty, and sometimes even ninety feet, of nearly a uniform thickness. It differs from that of the Royal Palm, (Oreodoxa regia) in always being bent or inclined, in never having a swell, and in being marked, along its whole extent, with deep notches or rings, which are the scars left by the fallen leaves, never obliterated, and so rough and deep that the tree can generally be ascended by their aid. At the summit of this trunk is a waving tuft of dark green, glossy, pinnate leaves, from ten to twenty feet in length, like gigantic plumes; and just under this tuft are suspended the nuts, in long bunches, of all ages and sizes. The trunk easily supports their weight, for though slender, it is very tough and strong, being composed of hard fibres closely compacted together. When the sea or the land breeze is passing through a group of these trees, and the light is glancing from the leaves which are all alive and trembling with joy, and the nuts are clattering on their stalks almost articulately, it is something to contemplate by the hour, and to be repeated by the memory through a life-time.” — pp. 20, 21.

It is not possible to read the book, without a longing and mouthwatering for some of these tropical delicacies. We were almost ready to repine that we could not be ill enough to have a voyage to Cuba indispensable to us. Indeed we should be quite willing, if it were not so particularly inconvenient to leave our review ings and teachings so long, to be a little out of health for two or three months, so we might but sit under those same trees and eat those bountiful good things.

It is a trick not unknown amongst book-makers, to relieve occasionally the tediousness of their own prosings by choice bits of poetry from approved authors. If the writer of the “ Fruits " did not assure us it was for his own gratification and not ours that he did it, we should suspect him of a something just the reverse of this, in setting in contrast his own rich and poetical prose, with the dulness and prosaicalness of Dr. Grainger's Sugar Cane, with extracts from which he sometimes regales us.

The conclusion is evidently given in kind consideration of those of us who are obliged to stay at home, that we may not be too much dissatisfied with our condition :

“I feel that I have enjoyed a great privilege in being permitted to behold the luxuriant forms of vegetation which Providence has allotted to a tropical clime. We have in our colder region no tree which can give any idea of the wonderful grace of the cocoa-nut tree; and the oranges, hanging amid dense and glossy foliage all the year round,

· Like golden lamps in a green night,' offering to the thirsty lips their fountains of delicious and healthy liquid, are a glory with which our orchards can hardly vie. And yet, if I were asked how the fruits of Cuba compared with our own, I should say, that leaving out the pine-apple and orange, with the taste of both of which we are familiar, those fruits are inferior to our own. He who can begin the summer with strawberries (and cream,) and pass on through the varied season with his fair share of cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears, not forgetting the hedge and field fruits, blackberries, thimbleberries, gooseberries, and whortleberries, have a peck or two of shagbarks and chestnuts dropped into his basket in the frosty mornings of November, and a few barrels of good apples rolled into his cellar for winter use, has no good reason to be dissatisfied with the fruits of his own soil, or to envy the inhabitants of Cuba the enjoyment of theirs." — p. 41.

An Address, delivered at the Odeon, before the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, January 14, 1839. By FREDERICK T. GRAY. Boston: Weeks, Jordan & Co. 1839. 12mo. pp. 24. - This sensible and valuable Address has been published in compliance with a vote passed by the Managers of the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism in this city. This Society employs an agent, at whose office information is given gratuitously to the poor man or stranger as to where employment may be obtained ; by whom places are procured for the exposed and dependent female ; boys, beyond the control of their poor or widowed parents, are provided for in various ways, and a union effected among the various, benevolent Societies in the city,

by which means impostors are detected, alms bestowed with more wisdom and concert, and a vast amount of poverty and crime partially or wholly prevented. Its object we deem to be one of the highest importance, and is illustrated in this Address by statements and facts drawn from the experience and personal observation of its author, which demand the serious consideration of all those who are interested in the welfare of the poor or of

their race.

Prevention of poverty and crime is the object at which this Society aims, - an object, as it seems to us, which is more and more to be considered by the wise legislator and the true philanthropist. In past ages, and in fact, at the present time, most of our benevolent institutions and laws, in regard to this subject, have no other or higher object, than to remedy these evils after they have been permitted to debase and degrade the individual, and to disturb the well-being of society. Worse than this ; for alms-giving, in many forms, is proyed by this Address to be not even a remedy for present suffering, but rather an aggravation of the evil. Self-respect is too often broken down by it, — while intemperance, idleness, cheating, and other vices are engendered or encouraged by street beggary, and other modes of eleëmosynary relief. The proofs adduced in proof of this are at once startling and appalling.

An extract on the effect of street beggary, especially upon children, will illustrate our meaning in relation to this single point, which, as the author remarks, should lead “

every one to desist from giving alms at their doors, except to those who are known to them, - because, and we cannot but repeat it, they may by this means make whole families dependent upon charity, increase ten-fold their idle and intemperate habits, and be the unconscious means of training up children to moral ruin and destruction."

age, at

“Let me now show you the dreadful effects of street begging upon children, which this Society has it in view to prevent. Not long since, a lady in this city, in going up stairs, perceived her chamber door partly open, and on entering saw a little girl, of about twelve years of à trunk, examining its contents. Upon hearing the lady, the child instantly took up a basket she had with her, and said in reply to the inqniry; what she wanted, that she was looking for a person who she was told lived in that room. Upon visiting the mother afterwards, she expressed great surprise ; but she did not exhibit much surprise in her

But a short time elapsed before the name of this child appeared in the newspapers, as having been presented at the Police Court for stealing in a dwelling house. And this little girl was, and had been often sent out by her mother, to beg for cold victuals. The child is now at South Boston.


“A few weeks since, a little girl, with a basket on her arm, was met in the street by a gentleman, who knew the child's family well, when the following conversation took place.

«« Where are you going?' To get cold victuals. Are you going to any particular house?' 'No, - I go to any house. Where is your sister now?' 'She is at South Boston, at the House of Reformation.' 'How came she there?' «Why, she went out one day, and stole some money from a house.'

Yes, - and that sister had been sent out by its parents to beg till she learned to steal, and when she was finally sent to South Boston, then this, the younger child, was sent out to do the same, and supply this indolent family with food and money, and she will no doubt soon be with her sister at South Boston. Now, if this child could get no cold victuals, nor receive anything at houses on her applying, would she go out? And, if she returned home day after day with an empty basket and no money, would these parents send her begging? We answer, without hesitation, no. Who, then, is encouraging that child, and these parents to continue in this evil habit?

We can only say, in conclusion, that this Society has our warmest sympathy; and we trust that this address will be widely circulated, as we consider the facts which it embodies of the deepest import, in regard to one of the most difficult subjects which has engaged, at any time, the attention of the statesman, or the political economist.

The Women of England: their Social Duties, and Domestic Habits. By Mrs. Ellis, (late Sarah Stickney,) author of the Poetry of Life, etc. New York, 1839. - If the number of books, recently put forth upon the sphere and duties of woman, be a fair criterion of female improvement, then surely the women of our day are singularly in advance of their ancestors.

At least, we may regard the number of such books as a token of the increasing interest felt in female education, and may justly hope, that a sense of the need of improvement will soon bring the improvements that are needed.

This work is not, what we supposed from the title, a description of English Women, but is rather a statement of what they should be. It is the chief aim of the book to honor and recommend the domestic virtues, to exhibit woman, as the joy of the family, the angel by the bed of sickness, the light of the social circle, the exemplar of those kindly affections and refined sensibilities, of which Providence has made her so peculiarly capable. Herein, Mrs. Ellis makes decided war with two classes of pretended reformers.

First, with those champions of fashion and elegance, who have led the girls of our day to despise the good old ways of their

« AnteriorContinuar »