Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

year 1786, and entitled Diversions of Purley, the author has been thought by some grammarians, to have done more to explain the whole theory of language than any, or than all his predecessors. The leading doctrine of Mr. Tooke is, that there are only two necessary parts of speech, namely, the noun and the verb, and that all other words, whether adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, &c. are to be considered as corruptions or alterations of these two ; and of course, that the latter classes of words instead of being in themselves mere unmeaning sounds might be traced to a distinct and sensible signification....Fry, Miller. The English language, which, a little more than two centuries ago, was confined to the British island, will in all probability, within a century hence, be spoken by more than a hundred million people. Nor is it a little remarkable, that the greatest portion of civil liberty enjoyed in the world at the present day, is to be found amongst those who speak the English as their mother tongue. It is the language of free

men.

EUXINE, or Black Sca, a sea about six hundred miles in length, which forms a part of the boundary between Europe and Asia, and communicates with the Mediterranean by the strait of Constantinople. It receives the Danube and Nieper; and the produce of land is exceedingly plenty and cheap in the countries which border upon these and other large rivers that empty into the Euxine. Mr. Towson, in his account of Hungary, which lies on the Danube, says, “ Wherever I went, I was led into cellars full of wine, and into granaries full of corn, and I was shown pastures full of cattle. If I felicitated the owners on their rich stores, I heard one common complaint, " the want of a market." 'The Ukraine, which lies oi the banks of the Nieper, and is inhabited by the Cossucs, is one of the cheapest countries in the world: wheat is said to sell there from one shilling to two shillings sterling a bushel. If any revolution should open the strait of Constantinople, so that the productions of the countries on the Danube and the Nieper might rush from the Euxine through this strait into the Mediterranean, and thence into all the western parts of Europe ; should such an event happen,

EVAPORATION....FELLAHS..

125

its plain consequence would be the loss of the European markets to the people of the United States of America ; where labor is three-fold higher and land produce three-fold dearer, than in the countries aforementioned.

EVAPORATION, “ the conversion of fluids, principally water, into vapor, which is specifically lighter than the atmosphere.” Evaporation is constantly taking place, not only from the surface of the ocean, but from that of the earth, and even from the leaves of trees and vegetables. By means of this great and marvellous che. mical process, the whole vegetable kingdon is supplied with the necessary nourishment of dew and rain ; the water which is thus raised, descending again in dews and showers, is absorbed, by the vegetable tribes. Dr. Williams, making his calculations from actual experiments, computed, that from one acre of land well covered with large trees, three thousand eight hundred and seventy-five gallons of water are thrown off and dispersed in the atmosphere, in the space of twelve hours, in the summer season. Also, from experiments on the emission of air, he calculated, that fourtcen thousand seven hundred and seventy-four gallons of air, are thrown off in twelve hours, from one acre of land, thus covered with trees.

[ocr errors]

FELLAIS, the miserable peasants of Egypt. Vol

66

ney says, I have seen them pass whole days in drawing water from the Nile, exposed naked to a sun which would kill us. Those who are valets to the Mamlouks, or military officers of Egypt, continually follow their masters. In town, or in the country, and amid all the dangers of war, they accompany them every where, and always on foot; they will run before or after their horses for days together; and when they are fatigued, tie themselves to the tails of their masters' horses, rather than be left behind."

126 FETICHE....FINGER OFFERING....FIRE.

FETICHE, a remarkable kind of snake, which is made an object of religious worship, in Whydah, a kingdom of Africa. This snake has a large, round, beautiful head, a short, pointed tongue, resembling a dart, and a sharp, short tail. It is slow and solemn in its pace, except when it seizes on its prey, when it is quick and rapid. It is tame and familiar; the natives and Europeans handling and playing with them, without dread or apprehension of danger. When the English first settled in Whydah, a sailor just arrived, fonnd one of these snakes in the magazine belonging to the factory, and killing it threw it on the bank. The negroes, filled with

rage and terror at the murder of one of their gods, assembled all the inhabitants of the province, and massacred the factors to a man; consuming their bodies and goods in the fire they had set to their warehouse.... Ialker,

FINGER OFFERING. When the people of the Friendly Islands (in the Pacific Ocean) are afflicted with any dangerous disorder which they apprehend may bring them to the grave, they cut off the Ilttle fin. ger; supposing that this would be accepted as a kind of propitiatory sacrifice sufficiently efficacious to procure their recovery. There is scarcely one to ten among them who is not thus mutilated, in one hand or the other ; and many

have made an oblation of both their little fingers....Cooke's Voyage.

FIRE, that subtile, invisible cause, which easily penetrates both solid and liquid matters, and renders them hot to the touch. It is also the chief agent, by which the composition and decomposition of natural bodies is generally effected; so that, without fire, the animal and vegetable kingdoms would cease to exist. Fire is universally necessary to human existence, in particular, even in the hottest climates. By means of fire alone, man guards his habitation, by night, from the ravenous beasts of prey ; drives away the insects which thirst for his blood : clears the ground of the trees and plants which cover it, and whose stems and trunks would re. sist every species of cultivation, should he find means any other way, to bring them down. In a word, in every

FIRE-BALL... FIRE-DAMP.

· 127

country, with fire he prepares his food, dissolves metals, hardens clay into brick, softens iron, and gives to all the productions of the earth, the form and combinations which his necessities require. It is a benevolent ordi.. nation of Providence, that the management of fire belongs exclusively to man; if any of the inferior animals had sagacity enough to enkindle fires, it would lead to inconceivable mischief. Here is one of the dividing lines between the human and brutal natures; the most sagacious dog, howmuchsoever he delights in the warmth of a fire, is never known to supply it with fuel.... Dom. Encyc. St. Pierre.

[ocr errors]

FIRE-BALL, a remarkable kind of meteor. Fireballs differ from lightning, and from shooting stars, in many

remarkable circumstances : as their very great bulk, being a mile and an half in diameter; their travelling a thousand miles nearly horizontally ; their throwing off sparks in their passage ; their changing colours from bright blue to dusky red ; and their leaving a train of fire behind them, continuing about a minute. Dr. Blagden has related the history of one of these meteors, or fire-balls, which was seen the 18th of August, 1783. This was computed to be between sixty and seventy miles high, and to have travelled a thousand miles, at the rate of about twenty miles in a second. This fire-ball had likewise a train of light left behind it in its passage, which varied in colour, and in some parts of its course, and gave off sparks or explosions where it had beers brightest; and a dusky red streak remained visible perhaps a minute... Darwin.

FIRE-DAMP, a white globular vapor, sometimes no bigger than a walnut, and sometimes as large as a man's head ; moving slowly near the bottom of mines, and taking fire and making an explosion when touched with a candle. Some years ago a fire-damp in one of the tin mines of Cornwall in England, being touched, as was supposed, by the light of a candle or lamp, the explosion was tremendous. A vast quantity of fire burst up out of the shaft, or passage into the mine, and arose in a compact body to the height of a hundred and twen. ty feet. The whole frame of wood work, though very

128

FIRE-FLY....FIRE-SPOU'TS.

solid, was torn up and gone ; and the miners, (eight in number) were destroyed : one was tossed high into the air, while the rest were suffocated below, and then buried in the ruins.

FIRE-FLY, a creature of the beetle kind, which is said to be about two inches long, and inhabits the West Indies and South America. The natives use them instead of candles, putting from one to three of them under a glass. Madame Merian says, that at Surinam the light of this fly was so great, that she saw sufficiently well by one of them, to paint and finish one of the figures of them in her work....Darwin.

FIRE-SPOUTS. Torrents of liquid fire have sometimes burst from the earth and overwhelmed the adjacent country, in a manner somewhat different from the common eruptions of volcanoes ; and are called FireSpouts. In 1783, three fire-spouts broke out in Iceland, in the province of Shapterfiall. Signs of the eruptions were perceived on the first of June ; the earth beginning to tremble, and a continual smoke or steam rising from it. On the eighth of June the fire became visible, and the atmosphere was filled with sand, brimstone, and ashes, in such a manner as to occasion continual darkness. The three different fire-spouts, in a short time, united into one, and rolled its billows of Alame so high as to be seen at the distance of more than two hundred miles; the whole country, for double that distance, being covered with a smoke or steam not to be described. The torrent of fire took its course first down, and then up the channel of the river Skapta, and entirely consumed or dried up its waters : at length coming to the hill, in which the river had its source, the fiery deluge rose to a prodigious height, and overflowed the village of Buland, which was situated upon the top of the hill ; consuming the houses, church, and every thing that stood in its way. It still increased, spreading itself out in length and breadth for many miles, drying up other rivers besides the Skapta, overflowing a number of villages, and converting a large tract of country into a sea of fire. It continucd its dreadful progress, in different directions, till the thirteenth of August; after which

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »