Page images



OROMANES, in pagan mythology, the Good Frinciple of the ancient Persians, which they held to be a supreme, eternal, and independent being, who created light and darkness. The Evil Principle of the Persians was Arimanus, who, they believed, derived his origin from darkness; and though opposed in every thing to the purposes of Oromanes, yet, in spite of himself, ministers continually to his glory; and that thence the mixture of good and evil is derived. This contest they supposed would last to the end of the world; when the light would be separated from darkness, and the rightcous and the wicked recompensed according to their deserts.... Millot.

ORKA, a plant that is cultivated in the West-Indies as a substitute for coffee. The seeds are to be drilled in rows, three feet apart, and a foot and a half in the rows. The green pods are fit for culinary purposes, chiefly in soups; for which when they begin to harden, they become unsuitable. An acre will produce about fifteen hundred pounds of seed, or Orka Coffee ; which some of the West-India planters prefer to the common coffee. It has been tried by way of experiment, in NewJersey, particularly by Mr. Boudinot; and is said to have surpassed expectation....Bordley.

ORLEANS, an ancient city of France, signalised for the following event. In the year 1430, this city was besieged by an English army, under the command of the Duke of Bedford. When it was on the point of sur. rendering to the besiegers, a country girl, whose name was Joan d'Arc, seized with an unaccountable enthusiasm, flew to its relief. She entered the city of Orleans, arrayed in a military garb, and displaying a consecrated standard ; and her presence and conduct so animated the garrison and dispirited the English, that the lat. ter were obliged to raise the siege of that city, after being driven from their entrenchments, and defeated in several desperate attacks. Joan was soon after taken prisoner; and the Duke of Bedford ordered her to be tried by an ecclesiastical court, for impiety, idolatry, and magic. She was found guilty by her ignorant or iniquitous judges; and this admirable heroine was cru



of Aristides

ORONOKO....OSTRACISM. elly delivered over alive to the flames; and expiated by the punishment of fire, the signal services which she had rendered her prince and native country.

ORONOKO, a vast river of South America, said to be nearly fourteen hundred miles in length, including its wanderings, and which discharges its waters into the Atlantic Ocean, almost opposite to the island of 1 rini. dad; constantly maintaining, by the flood poured forth from its mouth, a dreadful conflict with the tide of the

This river annually rises and fails ; in its narrowest part, rising to the prodigious height of one hundred and twenty feet: but where its bed is very wide, its rise is proportionally less. Travellers have reported that the native Indians, on the banks of the Oronoko, during the inundation, traverse the country in all directions in their canoes, picking the fruits from the topmost branches at their ease; and that some of them have acquired the habit of dwelling on the tops of trees. .... St. Pierre.

OSTRACISM, a law in the republic of Athens, which required the banishment of any citizen when six thousand of the people should vote for his expulsion ; the whole number of voters in the republic being about twenty thousand. Each voter wrote the name of the citizen that was to be banished, on a shell, called Ostrakon, in Greek; and, after all the shells were deposited together according to law, they were counted by persons appointed for that purpose. Envy, jealousy, and intrigue, caused the banishment of several of the most excellent and illustrious citizens of Athens, and such even as had been the defenders and saviours of the republic; among whom was Aristides, a most excellent patriot, statesman and general. It happened at the time when this great man and incorruptible patriot was marked as the victim of popu'ar jealousy, that an illiterate peasant who was unacquainted with his person, presen him with a shell, desiring him to write the name

What injury (said the noble Grecian to him) has Aristides done you? None at all (replied the peasant) but I am tired of hearing him incessantly called the just. Aristides, without revealing him

upon it.



self, took the fatal shell, wrote on it his own name, and gave it back to the peasant, to be carried to the general repository. He received his sentence of banishment for ten years, with resignation ; saying at setting out on his exile, I pray the gods may not suffer the Atheni. ans to have cause to remember Aristides.

OSTRICH, a native of the hot regions of Africa, and is the largest of all birds, except the Contour of America. It is commonly seven feet high from the top of the head to the ground; from the back only four feet. Its egg weighs more than fifteen pounds. It seems formed to live in burning deserts ; and no substance is too coarse for its food, or too hard for its digestion. The ostrich cannot fly; his wings are too small to bear up his body, but they assist him greatly in running, and no animal runs so swiftly. This is a most stupid bird, and, like the gull, is easily taken by stratagem. The Arabs sometimes clothe themselves for war with the ostrich's skin, which is thick and firm, and they eat its flesh and eggs: its feathers are in great demand.... Goldsmith. It is affirmed by Vaillant, that the ostrich separates her eggs, lays three before her, and sits on the rest, and after hatching, that she feeds her young with the contents of the three eggs aforementioned.

OTAHEITEE, one of the Society Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about ninety miles in circumference : it was thrice visited by Captain Cooke. Here grow the bread-fruit trees, palms, cocoanut trees, mulberries, bananas, sugar-canes, &c. The people have mild features and a pleasing countenance. They are about the largest size of the Europeans, of a clear olive or brunette complexion, with fine black hair and eyes. No language seeincd easier to acquire than theirs; ev. ery harsh and hissing consonant being banished from it, and almost every word ending in a vowel. They wear a piece of cloth around their middle, of their own manufacture, and another wrapped about the head, in various picturesque shapes, like a turban. The women, who are accounted very handsome, wear a piece of cloth, with a hole in the middle, through which they pass their heads, so that one part of the garment hapgs

[blocks in formation]

down behind, and the other before, to the knees; a fine white cloth, like muslin, passes over this, in various el. egant turns round the body, a little below the breast, forming a kind of tunic, of which one turn sometimes falls gracefully across the shouklers. Their cloth is made of the fibrous bark of the mulberry tree, which is beaten with a kind of mallet ; and a sort of glue is employed to make the pieces of bark cohere together. Some of these pieces are two or three yards wide, and fifty yards long ; and are commonly coloured red and yellow: the red is exceedingly beautiful, and of a brighter and more delicate colour than any known in Europe. It is remarkable, that these ingenious artists had not invented any method of boiling water; and had no idea that water could be made hot. Their agility in swimming, diving, and climbing trees, is astonishing ; and their general honesty and confidence in each other appear in this, that their houses are left entirely open, without either doors or bars. Nothing so much excited the curiosity and astonishment of the people of Otaheitee, as seeing Captain Cooke and his men riding on horseback. This was to them a novel sight; and it was thought that it conveyed to them a better idea of the greatness of other nations, than all the novelties that the European vessels had carried among them. It is a painful idea, that this people, so gentle, so hospitable, and, in other respects humane, should be so under the influence of a detestable superstition as to offer up, and that frequently, sacrifices of human flesh....Cooke's Voy. ages, Foster. See MORAI.

OTTER, an animal of great activity and fierceness. When it is full grown it is four or five feet long, with sharp and strong teeth, short legs, and membranes in his feet; and fitted either for running or swimming. The otter has generally been ranked among the amphibious animals which can live, either in the air or water; but he is not properly an amphibious animal ; for he cannot live without respiration any more than land animals. The fierceness and strength of the old otters are such, that a dog can seldom overcome them; and when they cannot escape, they will attack the hunter with great rage. The colour of this animal is black,




and its fur is much esteemed. Formerly they abounded in the creeks and rivers which empty into lake Champlain; for which reason one of them bears the name of Otter creek ; but the animal is now become scarce.... Williams.

[ocr errors]


QURANG QU'TANG, an animal of the monkey kind, which, in looks, nearly approaches to the human

It walks erect; its height is from three to seven feet. In general, however, its stature is less than that of a man ; but its strength and agility much greater. “ I have seen it (says Mr. Buffon) give its hand to shew the company to the door. I have seen it sit at table, unfold its napkin, wipe its lips, make use of the spoon

and fork to carry the victuals to its mouth, pour out its drink into a glass, touch the glasses when invited, take a cup and saucer, and lay them on the table, put in sugar, pour out its tea, leave it to cool before drinking; and all this, without any other instigation than the signs or the command of its master, and often of its own accord." In their wild state they live in tropical climates, particular. Ly in the island of Borneo ; they attack even the ele. phant, which they beat with their clubs, and oblige him to leave that part of the forest which they inhabit.... Goldsmith.

OWHYHEE, the largest of the Sandwich islands; situated in the Pacific Ocean, in about 23 degrees north latitude. It was here Captain James Cooke, the celebrated circumnavigator, fell a victim to the sudden fury of the natives, February 21, 1779. During their first visit the 'natives used the English with remarkable hospitality and kindness; but on their return, a short time afternyards, it was plainly visible that the countenances and behavior of these islanders were changed. On the fatal day, Captain Cooke went ashore, with a lieutenant and' nine marines. 5.1 unhappy incident occurring, that provoked the Owhyheeans, they were instantly cląd in their war mats, and armed with spears and stones. They rushed on with dreadful shouts and yells, regardless of the effect of the fire-arms. Four of the marines fell a sacrifice to their fury; and three others, together with the lieutenant, were dangerously wounded

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »