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colony on the isthmus of Darien ; and founded a settlement to which they gave the name of New Edinburgh. For a while there was the most flattering prospect of their success ; but through the jealousy of the Spaniards and the shameful partiality of king William, they were completely disappointed of their hopes, ruined in their circumstances, and in a most cruel manner left to perish ; insomuch that of twelve hundred brave and enterprising men, only thirty returned to Scotland.
DARK DAYS. The reverend Mr. Sterling gives an account (as published in the Philosophical Transactions, in England) of a darkness of six or eight hours at Detroit, in North America, on the 19th of October, 1762, in which the sun appeared as red as blood, and thrice its usual size ; some rain falling, covered white paper with dark drops, like sulphur or dirt, which burnt like wet gun-powder, and the air had a very sulphureous smell. He supposes this to have been emitted from some distant earthquake or volcano. Dr. Darwin adds, that a dry fog (somewhat similar to the appearance at Detroit) covered most parts of Europe, for many weeks, in the summer of 1780, which was supposed to have had a volcanic origin, as it succeeded the violent eruption of Mount Hecla. It is remarkable that the same year which Dr. Darwin mentions, that is, on the 19th of May, in the afternoon, 1780, a surprising darkness overspread New-England. For several days preceding this darkness, the sun appeared from morning to night, unusually large, and nearly of the colour of blood; and this was its appearance during the forenoon of the me. morable 19th of May. Early in the afternoon, the sun was totally obscured, and all objects had a yellowish or brassy hue. The darkness increased gradually till about three or four o'clock, when the fowls went to roost, candles were necessarily lighted in dwelling houses, and it seemed to be night. During the progress of this wonderful fog, some scattering drops of rain fell, attended, as it was then said, with a blackish powder that tinged the substances which were touched
DAYS. The names of the days of the week are thought to have originated as follows: Sunday was so called, because it was dedicated to the sun; and Monday took its name from its being dedicated to the moon, that is, to the goddess Diana. Tuesday, according to Johnson, is derived from Tuv, the Saxon name of Mars. Wednesday is derived from Wodin, or Odin, who was worshipped in Germany and ancient Denmark. Thursday is derived from the word Thor, which was the Saxon name of Jupiter, or Jove. Friday is derived from the Saxon word Frigedag, which is supposed to have been the Venus of the ancient Saxons. Saturday has taken its name from Saeter, a Saxon Idol.
DEAF PERSONS. In 1764, Mr. Thomas Braidwood, of Edinburgh, undertook the difficult task of instructing the deaf and dumb to speak. Beginning with one pupil, and encouraged by success, he afterwards taught a considerable number to speak distinctly, to read and write, and to understand arithmetic, and the principles of morality and religion. The same curious and highly interesting art has been successfully practised, on a different plan in Germany, and France ; but by none with so great success, as by the Abbe L'Epee, of Paris. He had instructed upwards of one thousand deaf and dumb persons, before he was succeeded by his pupil, M. Sicard. A regular institution for this kind of instruction was established in London, in 1792, under the care of Mr. Watson, a pupil of Mr. Braidwood.... Miller.
DEER, an animal that is very common in some parts of the United States. According to the description of doctor Williams, his horns are slender, round, projecting forwards, and bent into a curve, with branches or shoots on the interior side. These branches do not commence until the deer is three years old ; and by this circumstance the hunters compute their age.
These horns are cast every spring; the new ones in the course of the year will grow two feet in length, and weigh from two to four pounds. In the spring the deer sheds his hair, and appears of a light' red; this colour gradually grows darker until autumn, when it becomes a
pale brown; and remains thus through the winter. They are always in motion, and leap over the highest fences with ease. The fawns are red, most beautifully spotted with white; they are easily tamed. The American natives have a curious method of deceiving these animals. Perouse says, “ he saw an Indian at (California)with a stag's head fixed on his own, walk on all fours, as if he were brousing the grass, and he played his pantomime to such perfection, that our hunters would have fired at him at thirty paces, had they not been prevented. In this manner they approach herds of deer within a very small distance, and kill them with a flight of arrows."
DELAWARE, one of the United States of America ; situated between · 38° 30' and 40° north latitude ; extending ninety-two miles in length, and twenty four in breadth ; bounded by the river and bay of the same name, by the Atlantic ocean, by Maryland, and Pennsylvania. . This state appears to have derived its name from Lord Delawar who completed the settlement of Virginia. The Dutch and Swedes settled therein at a very early period.... Winteryotham.
DEL CANE, a grotto remarkable for its noxious vapors. This grotto lies within four miles of Naples, and is near a large lake of clear and wholesome water, and surrounded with a country, which for natural beauty and fertility, resembles a Paradise ; yet is in a manner uninhabited, by reason of the deadly vapors that proceed from this cavern. If a dog be held in it to a certain depth, he loses all sensation, in the space of four or five minutes; taken out, and dipped in the lake, he quickly recovers....Goldsmith,
DELHI, the nominal capital of all Hindostan, and was the actual capital during the greatest part of the time since the Mahometan conquest. In 1738, when Nadir Shah invaded Hindostan, he entered Delhi, and dreadful were the massacres, and famine that followed. One hundred thousand of the inhabitants perished by the sword in one day ; and plunder to the amount of sixty-two millions sterling, was said to have been collected by the conqueror.....Morse.
DELTA, a part of Lower Egypt; taking its name from its triangular figure, or resemblance to the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet ; formed by the Nile's dividing itself into two great branches, and situated be. tween those branches of the river and the Mediterranean sea ; extending a hundred and thirty miles in length, and seventy in breadth. Never does it rain in the Del. ta in summer, (although it is a country extremely fruitful) and but rarely in the winter. In Égypt, besides the quantity of water that the earth imbibes at the inundation, the dews which fall in the summer nights suffice for vegetation. Though the water-melons which grow there have frequently nothing under them but a dry dust, yet their leaves are always fresh... Russell, Volney.
DENMARK, a northern kingdom of Europe; situated between fifty-four and fifty-eight degrees of north latitude ; extending about two hundred and forty miles in length, and two hundred and fourteen in breadth; bounded by the Baltic sea, by the ocean, and by Germany. Copenhagen, which stands on the island of Zealand, is its capital. The whole population of Denmark Proper is about two million and nineteen thousand. The first account we have of its being a kingdom, is in 714. In the early part of the eleventh century, Canute king of Denmark got possession of the English crown, and transmitted it to his successors; who, however, did not enjoy it long, being driven from the throne of England by the Saxons.
DEW, a light, thin, transparent vapor, that rises after the sun has descended below the horizon, and then comes down in small globules upon vegetables, which imbibe it through the orifices of their vessels. The formation of this precious substance, which is the most invigorating cordial to plants, has been a mystery in the chemical process of nature; having never been explained in a manner that was e atirely satisfactory. Dew is more penetrating than rain, and will soak leather much sooner. May dew, or that which falls in the month of May, is of a yellowish colour, and has the property of giving linen and wax beautiful white. In some countries, as in Egypt and Palestine, where it seldom rains,
dews are very copious, and in a manner supply the de. ficiency of rain. Hence it was that Isaac, in blessing his eldest son, omitted not to assign him the dew of heaven as an important part of his worldly portion ; and David's beautiful apostrophe to the mountains of Gilboa, where Saul and Jonathan fell in battle, implied, that withholding the dew of heaven was considered as one of the greatest curses that could befal a land. “ Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew,” &c.
DIAMOND, a precious gem. The diamond is the hardest of all bodies, and can be wrought only by itself; it has a great transparency, and is the brightest of stones; it occasions a stronger refraction of light than any other substance; it separates colours more, and for this reason it shines so eminently, particularly in the sunshine, or even by candle light. From an experiment made in the latter part of the last century, by some of the most celebrated chymists in Europe, the conclusion was, that when diamond is burnt, the whole product is carbonic acid gas ; that a given weight of diamond yields just as much carbonic acid gas as the same weight of charcoal; and that diamond and charcoal are both composed of the very same substance, or rather diamond is a compound of carbon. Hence the difference of colour, hardness, specific gravity, and electrical properties, between common charcoal and the precious stone called diamond...,Brisson, Thompson.
DIANA, a heathen goddess by whom was meant the moon, or rather an inferior divinity that presided over or inhabited it Diana was a favorite divinity of the ancient Grecians, who, in some instances, performed worship to her with the most cruel and barbarous rites. On the annual celebration of a festival, instituted by Lycurgus, in honor of Diana Orthia, all the Sparian boys were whipped until the blood ran down upon the altar of that cruel goddess. And this flagellation was performed in presence of the magistrates of the city, and under the eye of fathers and mothers; who, instead of compassionating their children, ready to expire from the severity of the lashes, to which they frequently fell martyrs, exhorted them to suffer patiently the discipline