Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

" For the many and almost universal uses of these trees, both sea and land will plead. They make our best masts, sheathing, scaffoldpoles, &c., heretofore the whole vessel. • It is pretty,' saith Pliny, to consider that those trees, which are so much sought after for shipping, should most delight in the highest mountains, as if they fled from the sea on purpose, and were afraid to descend into the waters. With Fir we make all intestine works, as wainscot, floors, pales, balks, laths, boxes, and cases for musical instruments in generalnay, the ribs and sides of that enormous stratagem, the so famous Trojan Horse, were made of this material, if the Poet mistakes not

• The ribs with deal they fit:' there being no material more obedient and ready to bend for such works. In Holland, they receive their best masts out of Norway, and even as far as Muscovy, which are best esteemed, as consisting of long fibres without knots, but deal boards from the first; and though Fir rots quickly in salt water, it does not so soon perish in fresh; nor do they yet refuse it in merchant ships, especially the upper parts of them, because of its lightness. The true pine was very highly commended by the ancients for naval architecture, as not so easily decaying; and we read that Trajan caused vessels to be built both of the true and spurious kind, well piloted and overlaid with lead, which, perhaps, might hint our modern sheathing with metal at present. Fir is exceedingly smooth to polish on, and therefore does well under gilding work, and takes black equally with the Pear-tree. Both Fir and Pine succeed well in carving, as for capitals, festoons, nay, statues, especially being gilded, because of the easiness of the grain to work, and take the tool every way. And he that shall examine it nearly, will find that famous image of the Virgin at Loretto, reported to be carved by the hands of St. Luke, to be made of Fir, as the grain easily discovers it. It is excellent for beams and other timber work in houses, being both light and exceeding strong, and therefore of very good use for bars and bolts of doors, as well as for doors themselves, and for beams of coaches--a board of an inch and a half thick will carry the body of a coach with great ease, by reason of a natural spring which it has, not easily violated. You shall find that of old they used it for carts and other carriages, also for piles to superstruct on in boggy grounds. Most of Venice and Amsterdam is built upon them, with so excessive charge, that the foundation of their houses, as some report, cost aş much as what is erected on them, there being driven in no fewer than 13,659 great masts of this timber under the new Stadt-house of Amsterdam. In a word, not only here and there a house, but whole towns and great cities are and have been built of F'ir only; not that alone in the north, as Moscow, where the streets are paved with it, (the bodies of the trees lying prostrate, one by one, in the manner of a raft,) but the renowned city of Constantinople, and nearer home, Thoulouse, in France, was, within little more than a hundred years, most of Fir, which is now wholly marble and brick, after eight hundred houses had been burnt, as often happens at Constantinople-a place where no accident, even of this devouring nature, will at all move them to rebuild with more asting materials. To conclude with the uses of Fir: we have most of our polashes of this wood, together with our torch or funebral

a

staves; nay, and of old, spears of it, if we may credit Virgil's Amazonian Combat:

• She prest A long Fir spear through his exposed breast.'-Æneid. Also of the Pine are made boxes and barrels for dry goods; and it is cloven into shingles for the covering of houses in some places. In sum, they are plantations which exceedingly improve the air by their odoriferous and balsamic emissions, and for ornament create a perpetual spring where they are plentifully propagated. It is moreover to be understood that the Fir, and most coniferous trees, yield concretes, lachrymæ, turpentine, rosins, hard, naval or stone, and liquid pitch, and tar used for remedies against arthritic and pulmonic affections. These the Chirurgeon uses in plaister, and they are applied to mechanic and other innumerable purposes."--EVELYN.

“ Tar is made out of that sort of Pine tree, from which naturally turpentine extilleth; and which at its first flowing out is liquid and clear; but being hardened by the air, either on the tree or wberever it falls, is not unlike the Burgundy pitch; and we call them Pitch Pines, out of which this gummy substance exudes. Of tar, by boiling it to a sufficient height, pitch is made; and in some places where rosin is plentiful, a fit proportion of that may be dissolved in the tar whilst it is boiling, and this mixture is soonest converted into pitch. From the deep-wounded bark of the Larch, exudes the purest of our shop turpentines.”—Evelyn.

“This substance (turpentine) flows at first without incision; when it has done dropping, the poor people who wait on the Fir-woods, make incisions, at about two or three feet from the ground, into the trunks of the trees, and into these they fix narrow troughs, about twenty inches long. The end of these troughs is hollowed, like a ladle; and in the middle is a small hole bored, for the turpentine to run into a receiver, which is placed below it. As the balsam runs from the trees, it passes along the sloping gutter or trough to the ladle, and from thence runs through the hole to the receiver. The people who gather it, visit the trees morning and evening from the end of May to September, to collect the turpentine out of the receiver. When it flows out of the tree, the turpentine is clear, and of a yellowish white; but as it grows older, it thickens, and becomes of a citron colour. It is procured in great abundance in the neighbourhood of Lyons, and in the valley of St. Martin's, near Lụcerne, in Switzerland."--HUNTER.

“The finest Fir-trees appear in the most mountainous parts of Scotland, in glens or on sides of hills, generally lying in a northerly aspect, and the soil of a hard gravelly consistence, being the natural produce of these places. The winged seeds are scattered in quantities by the wind, from the cones of the adjacent trees, which expand in April and May with the heat of the sun; these seedlings when young rise extremely close together, which makes them grow straight, and free from branches of any size, to the height of fifty or sixty feet before. they acquire the diameter of a foot.”—HUNTER.

“The inhabitants of the north of Europe make bread from the Scotch Fir in the following manner. They choose a tree whose trunk is even, for these contain the least rosin, and strip off the bark in spring, hen it separates most readily. This they first dry gently in

1

[ocr errors]

the shade; then in a greater heat; and reduce it to powder. With this powder they mix a small quantity of corn meal, and with water knead it into bread. This they eat, not only in years of scarcity, but at other times, from an apprehension that disuse might render it disagreeable to them."-WITHERING.

LETTERS TO A YOUNG LADY

ON LEAVING SCHOOL.

LETTER THE ELEVENTH,

You do well, dear M., to remind me there are other books than those that issue from the press, from which good or evil may be learned. In some sense they are of more powerful influence than the others : those areclosed and harmless till we open them—these lie ever open before our eyes, and whether we will or not, we must peruse then-though with how much care to imbibe the good and leave the evil, may yet depend upon ourselves. Few persons can, and none, I believe, ought to avoid such intercourse with others as circumstance gives natural occasion to, independently of that which they may deliberately seek. Yet from intercourse with each other, whether casual or of choice, it cannot be denied that much injury to our minds may arise. That “evil communication corrupts good manners," is a divine precept often enough repeated; and where all is evil, the danger of corruption is every where. By intercourse with each other our worst passions are called forth, our worst prejudices confirmed, our worst principles imbibed. In these ever open books we read the flattery that exalts, the selfishness that debases, and the false maxims that mislead us. We learn in them, not seldom, the evil that is not written there, by making a wrong use of what we read : and sometimes even that which is good in another's character, has an ill effect on ours—as I have observed in early life, two VOL. V.

ጊ Z

« AnteriorContinuar »