Page images



ed to about two hundred white persons, beside a number of free blacks from Nova Scotia. The native chiefs and the people have been extremely friendly; and the company's schools were regularly attended by upwards of three hundred children, who appear to have made full as much improvement as is common in European schools under similar circumstances. The rice, cotton and other articles in the company's plantations have thriven exceedingly.... Walker.

Silk was

SILK, a fine thread, spun by a worm. manufactured, from time immemorial, in China and Hindostan ; and the culture of this article was introduce ed into Italy, many centuries past. In the year 1602, Henry IV. introduced the culture and the manufacture of silk into France. During the bloody persecution of Louis XIV. of France, many of the silk manufacturers of that kingdom fled, and took refuge in England : those French refugees set up their business in London, and were the ancestors of the Spitlefields silk weavers in that city. In the year 1719, Mr. Lombe erected at Derby in England, the famous silk-throwing machine, which contains twenty-six thousand five hundred and eighty. six wheels; and in each time of its going round, twists seventy-three thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight yards of silk.

SILK-INSECT, a spinner of silk, but quite a differ. ent creature from the silk-worm. These insects resem. ble caterpillars, and are found in great numbers on the trees and in the fields of the province of Chang-Tong, in China. They are reared without any care, and they feed indiscriminately on the leaves of the mulberry and on those of other trees. They do not spin their silk, circularly and in the same manner as common silkworms, which form theirs in balls : they produce it in filaments, or long threads, which, being carried away by the winds, are caught by the trees and bushes. The Chinese collect these threads, and make a kind of stuff of them, inferior in lustre to those manufactured of common silk ; yet much esteemed in China, and sold there sometimes for more than the richest satin. This stuff is closely woven, lasts very long, washes like linen,



and, when manufactured with care, is scarce susceptible of being spotted even with oil.... Winterbotham.

SILK-WORM, the worm whose wonderful labors supply the world with silk : it is a native of China and Hindostan. This worm is hatched from yellowish eggs, the size of which is rather smaller than that of mustard seed; and which are laid by a species of white moth, resembling a butterfly. When the egg is hatched, after being exposed to a warm temperature for a few days, a small black worm bursts forth, which is very eager for food, and requires to be supplied with the most tender mulberry leaves. These will be greedily eaten for about eight days, at which period the worm is seized with a lethargic sleep, for three days; when it changes its skin. The creature now begins to eat again for five or six days, till it becomes subject to a second sickness or sleep, of a similar durationIn about thirty-two or thirty-six days, the silk-worm, after passing through several lethargic stages, attains its full growth, being from one to two inches in cool climates; in warmer countries, from three to four inches in length. The cone on which it spins is formed for covering it while it continues in the aurelia state'; and these cones properly wound off, and united together, form strong and beautiful threads of silk. It has been thought that silkworms were not brought into Europe till the beginning of the twelfth century; when Roger of Sicily, brought workmen in this manufacture from Asia Minor, after his return from his expedition to the Holy Land, and settled them in Sicily and Calabria.

SILVER, a white, shining hard metal, next in price to gold. Its proportional value to that of gold is different in different countries. In Europe the proportion between fine silver and fine gold, according to Adam Smith, is as fourteen or fifteen to one; whereas in China, and the greater part of the markets of India, it is but as ten, or at most, as twelve to one. Hence it is that silver is sent to the eastern markets, rather than gold. Thither the silver mines of America are constantly draining off, nor are their proceeds at present more than sufficient to supply that drain. The best silver mine



in the known world, is in a mountain near Potosi, a town of Peru; by reason of which, silver has been as common in that town as iron is in Europe. The mines of this mountain were accidentally discovered in the year 1545, in the following manner: An Indian, named Hualpa, one day following some deer, which made directly up the mountain, he came to a steep craggy part of it, and to help himself in climbing, seized hold of a shrub, which came up by the roots, and laid open a mass of silver ore. The American Museum recommends the following method for burnishing plate and other silver utensils. Dissolve a quantity of allum in water, so as to make a strong brine, which you must scum very carefully ; add some soap to it, and when you wish to use it, dip into it a linen rag, and rub it over your silver; which will add much to its lusture.

SIMINOLES, or Lower Crecks, a tribe of Indians inhabiting East and West Florida. They enjoy a superabundance of the necessaries of life ; contented and undisturbed, they appear as blithe and free as the birds of the air, and like them as volatile and active, tuneful and vociferous. The visage, action and deportment of a Siminole is the most striking picture of happiness in this life. Joy, contentment, love, and friendship without guile or affectation, seem inherent in them, or predominant in their vital principle ; for it leaves them but with the last breath of life. On one hand, you see among them troops of boys; some fishing, some shooting with the bow, some enjoying one kind of diversion, and some another: on the other hand are seen bevies of girls, wandering through orange-groves and over fields and meadows, gathering flowers and berries in their baskets, or lolling under the shades of flowery trees, or chasing one another in sport, and striving to paint each others faces with the juice of their berries....Bartram.

SINAI, a mountain, or range of mountains, with two remarkable peaks, the one peak called Sinai, and the other Horeb; situated in Arabia, on the peninsula, formed by the two arms of the Red Sea. This mountain is celebrated in sacred history, and is revered by Christians and Jews, and even by Mahometans. From the



top of Sinai there may be seen the valley of Raphidim, where the children of Israel murmured for water, and received a supply from the flinty rock; also mount Nebo, now called mount Catharine, where Moses died. There is a small plain on the top of this mountain, where stand a Christian church and a Turkish mosque : the winding ascent to this plain, is by fourteen thousand stone steps.

SKIN, the natural covering of animal bodies. The skin is the organ of touch or feeling; it is the channel of prespiration, the principal means which nature employs to purify the fluids ; and it is also able to absorb certain salutary particles of the surrounding atmosphere. In a curious and entertaining treatise on prespiration is an observation of the eminent Lewenhoret, who asserts, that the vessels through which perspiration is performed, are so inconceivably small that the mouths of a vast multitude of them might be covered with one grain of sand. It has been proved by exact calculation, that the most healthy individual daily and insensibly perspires upwards of three pounds weight of superfluous and impure humors ; and according to this ratio, in a city containing a hundred thousand persons, there would daily ascend fifteen tons of mephitic vapor, merely from the pores of the skin.... Willich, American Museum.

SKY-LARK, a bird common in England, loud in song, and soaring in flight. Nothing can be more pleasing than to see the lark warbling upon the wing; raising its note as it soars, until it seems lost in the immense heights above; the note continuing, the bird itself unseen ; to see it then descending with a swell as it comes from the clouds, yet sinking by degrees as it approaches its nest, the spot where all its affections are centered. The lark builds its nest upon the ground, and it is while the female is setting that the inale thus entertains her with his singing; and while he is risen to an imperceptible height, yet he still has his beloved partner in his eye, nor once loses sight of the nest either while he ascends or is descending. This harmony continues several months, beginning early in the spring on pairing.... Goldsmith.



SLAVE-TRADE, a pernicious traffic which was begun in the year, 1442, when Anthony Gonsalez, a Portuguese, took from the coast of Africa, called the Gold Coast, ten negroes, and a quantity of gold dust, with which he returned to Lisbon. In 1481, the Portuguese built a fort on the Gold Coast; and so early as the year 1502, the Spaniards began to employ a few negroes in the mines of Hispaniola. In the year 1517, the Emperor Charles V. of Spain, granted a patent to certain persons, for the supply of four thousand negroes annually, to the islands of Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, and Porto Rico. Of the English, the first who is known to have been concerned in this commerce, was John Hawkins, who was afterwards knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He got into his possession, partly by the sword, and partly by other means, three hundred negroes, and sold them in the West-Indies. Hawkins's second voyage was patronised by Queen Elizabeth, who participated in the profits : and in 1618, in the reign of James 1. the British government established a regular trade on the coast of Africa. In the year 1620, negro slaves bea gan to be imported into Virginia : a Dutch ship bringing twenty of them for sale. From this small and most unhappy beginning, the United States are now loaded with a black population of almost a million. The total import of negro slaves into all the British colonies of America and the West-Indies, in a little more than one century, that is, from 1680 to 1786, may be put át two million one hundred and twenty thousand. A celebrated French writer, about thirty or forty years ago, stated the total exportation from Africa, since the beginning of the slave-trade, at nine million of slaves. A large proportion, sometimes one third of those wretched beings, have died in the passage and in what is called the sea. soning after their arrival. Among the numerous instances of horrible barbarity exercised toward that unhappy people, the following is a well attested fact. In a late trial, at Guildhall, in London, it appeared, that a ship freighted with slaves, being reduced to a want of water, one hundred and thirty-three negroes were handcuffed and thrown into the sea ! Tire further importation of slaves to any part of the British dominions, has lately been prohibited by act of parliament....Bryan Ed. wards, et ceteri.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »