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seldom quitting its hole till the utmost extremity..... Goldsmith.
AIR, that colourless, transparent, compressible, elastic fluid, which every where surrounds our globe to a certain height; and gravitating towards its centre, is carried along with it, and partakes of all its motions, both annual and diurnal. We not only derive from the air the breath of life, but it is also the medium of sight and sound ; insomuch that without it we could neither see nor hear. The vast body of air that encompasses our globe is generally called atmosphere, and has been computed to be about forty-eight miles in height, and about eight hundred times lighter than water.' The weight of the column of air that presses on the superfi. ces of the body of a middle-sized person, is computed to be, at a medium, thirty-nine thousand and nine hun. dred pounds. The difference of the weight of the air, which our bodies sustain at one time more than another, has been proved to be equal to about three thousand and nine hundred pounds, between the greatest and the least pressure. Our bodies would be instantly crushed and destroyed by the weight of the atmosphere, if its pressure were not equal, or nearly equal, on every part of their superfices. The atmosphere is a heterogeneous body. Besides ten thousand different steams from minerals, vegetables and animals, which are constantly ascending and mixing with the atmosphere, the ærial body itself is of a compound nature, consisting of three different species of air ; namely, of vital air, of azotic air, and of fixed, or carbonic air. The common proportion of vital air, called oxygen, is, in the atmosphere, about one fourth ; that of azote about five eighths; and that of carbonic nearly one sixteenth. We cannot breathe without a proportion' of oxygen, or vital air; both the other species of air being unfit for respiration. Of the three original species of air, the carbonic is the heaviest, and next in gravity is the oxygen. The specific gravity of azote compared with that of common atmospheric air, has been found to be as nine hundred and forty-two to a thousand..... Willich, Quincy, Rutherford.
AJACIO, an extraordinary tree, that grows on the shores of the Antilles islands. According to Labat and du Tetre, it grows to such a prodigious size, that out of one log of it they make a boat capable of carrying so many as forty men. This tree is also the only one, of those shores, which is never attacked by the sea worin, an insect so formidable to every other species of timber which floats in those seas, that it de. vours whole squadrons in a very little time, and occasions the necessity of sheathing the bottoms of the vessels with copper..... St. Pierre.
ALEPPO, the capital of the Turkish province of Syria; situated in the vast plain which extends from the river Orontes to the Euphrates; it possesses the advantage of a rich and fruitful soil, and also that of a stream of fresh water, which never dries. Aleppo is not exceeded in extent by any city in Turkey, except Constantinople, and Cairo, and perhaps Smyrna; it is in itself one of the most agreeable cities in Syria, and is, perhaps, the clearfest and best built of any in the Turkish empire. This city is the emporium of Armenia and the Diarbeck, that is, of the ancient Mesopotamia, between the river Tigris and the Euphrates. It sends caravans to Bagdad, and into Persia ; and communicates with the Persian gulph and India, by Basra ; with Egypt and Mecca, by Damascus; and with Eu. Tope, by Alexandretta. The inhabitants are Christians and Turks, and are, with reason, esteemed the most civilized in all Turkey; the European merchants no where enjoy so much liberty, or are treated with so much respect...... Volney.
ALGIERS, one of the states of Barbary in Africa ; extending six hundred miles in length; bordering on Tunis, on the Mediterranean, on Mount Atlas, and on Morocco. The air is temperate; the land towards the north is fertile in corn; the vallies are full of fruit; the melons have an exquisite taste ; the stems of the vines are so large that a man can hardly grasp them with his arms; and the bunches of grapes are a foot and a half long. The city of Algiers, which is the capital of this country, is a strong town, built on the declivity of a
mountain, and is in the form of an amphitheatre next the harbor; insomuch that the houses rising one above another, make a very fine appearance from the sea. The climate is delightful ; extreme heat is not common ; seldom is frost seen ; the earth is covered with almost perpetual verdure. The Christian slaves in Algiers were formerly computed at four thousand ; lately they amounted to no more than twelve hundred..... Morse.
ALLEGANY, a vast range of mountains, running north-easterly and south-westerly, nearly parallel with the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, and extending from Georgia to the river Hudson, about nine hundred miles in length. This range, as to its principal ridges, is called the back bone of the United States. The immense territory lying between the Allegany, the Missisippi, and the lakes, was formerly claimed by the French; who, in order to enforce their claims, erected a chain of forts to command that whole territory. To one of those forts, George Washington, while yet a youth and scarcely arrived to manhood, was sent by the governor of Virginia, on an important embassy ; an embassy, the duties of which he discharged with remarkable ability and prudence, and at the imminent hazard of his life. Had the French gained their point, they would have encircled the Anglo-American colonies, from Nova-Scotia to the Missisippi, as with a vast belt.
ALLIGATOR, or American crocodile, a formidable species of animals, which are seen in great multitudes in several of the rivers of Georgia and the Floridas.The alligator, when full grown, is of prodigious strength, activity, and swiftness in the water. Some grow from twenty to twenty-three feet in length; their body is as large as that of a horse, and nearly resembles a lizard. Their scales, when the animal is alive, are impenetrable even to a rifle ball, except about their head, and just behind their fore legs, where only they are vulnerable. The head resembles, at a distance, a great chump of wood floating about upon the water; the mouth of a very large one opens about three feet in width, displaying two rows of very long, thick, strong teeth, which are as
white as the finest polished ivory. When they clap their jaws together it causes a surprising noise, and may be heard at a great distance. They have a loud and terri. ble roar, which most resembles very heavy distant thunder; and when hundreds of them are roaring together, it seems as if the earth itself were agitated. These river monsters are often seen lying in great numbers upon the banks, where they seize hogs and other animals, which go to the river to drink. They sometimes attack small boats with such fury, as to put the lives of the boatmen in great jeopardy......Bariram.
ALPS, the highest mountains in Europe, being about two miles in perpendicular height; dividing Italy from France, Swisserland and Germany : they have but few passes,
and those difficult of access. The prospect from many parts of this enormous range of mountains is extremely romantic. One of the most celebrated is the Grande Chartreuse, on the top of which a monastery was founded in 1080, and continues to the present time.The distance from a little village at the bottom of this mountain to its top, is six miles. Along this course the road runs winding up, for the most part not six feet broad. On one hand is the rock, with woods of pine trees hanging overhead, and on the other a prodigious precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a deep torrent. The highest peak in the Alpine range, is called Blanc, or White, because its summit is always covered with snow: it is situated in the duchy of Savoy, which duchy is now called Mont Blanc by the French, who seized it in 1792, and made it an 84th department of France. · M. de Sassure measured Mont Blanc, in the year 1784, and found its altitude to be fif. teen thousand six hundred and sixty-two feet above the level of the sea : its top seems to reach and even pierce the highest region of the clouds..... Walker.
AMAZON, a river in South America, which has its source among the Andes, in Peru ; whence running eastward, it pours into the ocean, directly at the equator. This largest of all rivers is, at its mouth, one huncred and fifty miles broad, and fifteen hundred miles from its mouth, is thirty or forty fathoms deep. It
runs at least three thousand miles ; receives in its course near two hundred other rivers, many of which are five or six hundred leagues in length ; and, in pouring itself into the ocean, repels its waters to the distance of many leagues from the land..... Walker.
AMAZONIA, a large country in South America, fourteen hundred miles in length, and nine hundred in breadth ; situated between the equator and 20° south latitude; bounded north by Terra Firma and Guiana ; east by Brazil; south by Paraguay, and west by Peru. This country was first traversed in 1580, by Francisco Orellana, who coming from Peru, sailed down the great river, to the Atlantic Ocean. Observing companies of women in arms on its banks, he called the country Amazonia, or the land of the Amazons, and gave the name of Amazon to the river, which had formerly been called Maragnon. The soil is very rich and fertile ; the trees, fields, and plants, are verdant all the year round. The rivers and lakes are infested with crocodiles, alligators, and serpents. Their banks are inhabited by different tribes of Indians, governed by petty sovereigns, distinguished from their subjects by coronets of beautiful feathers. The Indians of this country are of a good stature, and have comely features ; and are said to have a taste for painting and sculpture, and to be ingenious in learning the mechanic arts. The Spaniards have made many attempts to settle in Amazonia, but their designs have been rendered abortive.....Morse, Walker.
AMERICA, a vast continent, discovered by Christopher Columbus, in 1491; but took its name from Ame. ricus Vesputius, a Florentine, who, a few years after the discovery of this continent, having accompanied Ojeda, a Spanish adventurer hither, and drawing up an amus. ing history of his voyage, insinuated therein that he was the first discoverer. The American continent is nearly ten thousand miles from north to south, and its average breadth from east to west is computed to be from eighteen hundred to two thousand miles. It has the loftiest mountains and the largest rivers in the known world; it embraces every variety of climate, and yields almost every kind of production that may be found on any part