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394

VERMONT.... VESUVIUS.

ern part of its orbit, it shines in the evening after the sun sets, and is called the Evening Star. This primary planet has one moon. In some parts of the globe, and particularly in the island of Jamaica, the planet Venus in a manner supplies the light of the moon in her absence. This planet appears there like a little moon, and glitters with so refulgent a beam as to cast a shade from trees, buildings, and other objects ; making full amends for the short stay and abrupt departure of the twilight... Bowditch, Bryan Edwards.

VERMONT, (Green Mount,] one of the United States of America. It is altogether an inland country ; surrounded by the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New-York and the province of Canada ; that part of the state of Vermont which is nearest to the sea coast, being at the distance of seventy or eighty miles from any part of the ocean. The length of the state from the southern to the northern boundary is about one hundred and fifty-seven miles, and the mean width from east to west, is about sixty-five miles. It takes its name from the range of mountains, called Green Mountains, which run through it. Among these mountains, all the streams and rivers of Vermont have their origin: most of them have an easterly direction, and empty into Connecticut river; some run westerly, and discharge themselves into lake Champlain : two or three, running in the same direction, fall into Hudson's river....Williams.

VESUVIUS, a famous volcano of Italy, six miles cast of the city of Naples. The first eruption on historical record, attended with a terrible earthquake, was in the year 79; when its lava overwhelmed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the ruins of which were discovered in the 17th century, sixty feet below the surface. It is said that at the time of this eruption and earthquake, the sun was totally eclipsed. There have been many eruptions of this mountain since that time; one of which, in 1158, destroyed four thousand people and a large tract of land. One of the most terrible eruptions of Vesuvius happened in 1779 ; when it was at. tended with many violent shocks of earthquakes, and

VIENNA.... VINE.

395

with a prodigious loss of lives. Vesuvius is about three thousand and nine hundred feet above the level of the sea : its declivity towards the

sea,

is
every

where planted with vines and fruit-trees; and its neighborhood is covered with populous towns and villages, built upon the surface of the lava which overwhelmed the former inhabitants.

VIENNA, the capital of the German empire, situated at the place where the river Wien falls into the Danube. In the year 1683, Vienna was besieged by an army of Turks consisting of fifty thousand Janizaries, thirty thousand Spahis, and two hundred thousand common soldiers. The whole German empire was thrown into consternation. The siege lasted from July till September ; but at the moment when the besieged expected an assault, as a breach in the wall had been made, John Sobieski, king of Poland, descended from the mountain of Calemberg, with an army of sixty-four thousand men. He suddenly attacked and routed the Turkish army, which fled with such terror and precipitation, that they left behind them their tents, artillery and baggage.... Russell.

VINE, the plant that produces the grape which yields wine, and which, dried in the sun or in ovens, becomes raisins: it is propogated from layers or cuttings. The yine is more affected by the difference of soils than any other fruit tree. From some soils it derives a flavor which no culture or management can equal, upon others. Thus, the Muscadine grape, of the Cape of Good Hope, succeeds perfectly only on a particular spot of ground; and degenerates when it is transplanted to even but a small distance. The vine flourishes only in temperate climates ; too much heat as well as too much cold de. stroys it. In countries where the principal cultivation is that of the vine, individuals become richer, bụt the people generally are poorer than in other agricultural countries; because the management of a vineyard requires a great capital, which but few possess. Adam Smith informs us that the inhabitants of the wine countries, particularly the Spaniards, the Italians, and the inhabitants of the southern provinces of France, are the most

396

VIRGINIA.... VOLCANOS,

temperate people in Europe. Where wine is as plenty and cheap as cider is with us, the people as seldom intoxicate themselves with it.

VIRGINIA, one of the United States of America ; lying between 36° 30' and 40° 30' north latitude ; extending four hundred and forty-six miles in length, and two hundred and twenty-four in breadth ; bounded by Maryland, part of Pennsylvania, and Ohio river, Kentucky, North-Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean : it is divided into 82 counties. After several unsuccessful attempts, Virginia was settled permanently, in the year 1610; being the oldest of the English colonies in Amer. ica. In about ten years after the permanent settlement of this colony, the Virginia company in England were constrained by the arbitrary orders of James I. to send to Virginia, at their own expense, one hundred dissolute persons, convicted of crimes, who should be delivered to them by the knight Marshal. The contamination, disgrace, and disorders, occasioned by sending shipments of convicts from time to time, to this infant colony, Mr. Stith, an early historian of the colony, thus bewailed: “I cannot but remark (said he) how early that custom arose of transporting loose and dissolute persons to Virginia ; it hath laid one of the finest countries in America, under the unjust scandal of being another Siberia, fit only for the reception of malefactors, and the vilest of the people.” Richmond, lying on the north side of James river, is the seat of government; and Norfolk, situated on the east side of Elizabeth river, is the first town in point of commerce.

VOLCANOS, burning mountains. Newton ascribed the origin of Volcanos, and their support, to caverns of sulphur inclosed in the bowels of the earth. To this it is objected, that Vesuvius alone, which has burned almost continually for more than seventeen hundred years, would have consumed a mass of sulphur larger than the whole kingdom of Naples where it stands. A more modern theory is, that a supply for keeping up volcanos is not in the earth, but in the sea ; that it is furnished by the oils, the bitumens, and the nitres of vegetables and animals, which the rains and the rivers convey off from

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every quarter into the ocean, where the dissolution of all bodies is completed by its lixivial water; that nature purifies the waters by the fires of volcanos, as it purifies the air by those of thunder; that as thunder storms are more common in hot countries, so in these likewise, volcanos are multiplied, and for the same reason. port of this theory it is alledged, first, that the saltness of the sea does not preserve its water from putrefaction, as is vulgarly believed; but it is liable in hot countries, to putridity; and therefore needs some powerful engine of nature to prevent its corrupting. Secondly, there is not a single volcano in the interior of continents, unless it be in the vicinity of some great lake, such as that of Mexico. They are situated, for the most part, in islands, at the extremity, or at the confluence of the currents of the sea, and in the counter tide of their waters. Thirdly, another proof that they owe their support to the sea is, that, in their eruptions, they frequently vomit out torrents of salt water.... St. Pierre.

W. Wales, a principality in the west of England ; extending one hundred and eighty miles in length, and eighty in breadth ; bordering on the north and west upon the Irish Sea, and St. George's Channel. It is the country to which the ancient Britons fled, at the time of the Saxon invasion. They are now called Welsh, and continue to preserve their own language, which has a strong affinity with the Attic or Phenician. Wales was subdued by Edward I. of England, in 1282; and David their prince, falling into the hands of Edward, was barbarously hanged by his orders, who also caused the Welsh bards to be massacred. In 1284, the

queen of England happening to be brought to bed of a son at Carnarvon, Edward styled him the Prince of Wales, which title the heir apparent to the British crown has borne ever since. The Welsh lay claim to the discovery of some part of North America, as early as the year 1170, by Madoc their prince.

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398 WALNUT TREE.... WAR BELTS.... WATER

WALNUT TREE, a valuable tree, which, in its seyeral varieties, is a native of the United States of America. The walnut is valuable for fuel, for timber and for fruit. Its wood has been often employed in the manufacture of household furniture; but being very brittle, it is at present superceded by mahogany and other for eign timber. Nevertheless, it is highly prized by joiners and cabinet-makers, for tables, gun-stocks, and other light articles; as it is beautifully veined, and admits of a fine polish. The fruit of the walnut tree, is used at two periods of its growth, namely, when green, for pickling, and in a ripe state, at the desert. According to Bartram, the Creek Indians store up the shell bark hickory or walnuts, sometimes to the amount of an hundred bushels to a family. They pound them to pieces, and then cast them into boiling water; which, after passing through fine strainers, preserves the most oily part of the liquid : this they call by a name which signifies hickory milk. It is as sweet and rich as fresh cream, and is an ingredient in most of their cookery, especially homony and corn cakes.

WAR BELTS. The Indian war belts are mostly black wampum, painted red. They also use for the purpose of notifying war, a number of sticks, about six inches long, very slender, and painted red. These belts and sticks they send from tribe to tribe, as a declaration of hostilities. Likewise an axe, or hatchet, painted on the belt, always imports war; the taking it up, being a declaration of war; and the burying it a token of peace. .... Sir Wm. Johnson.

WATER, a substance that was believed by the ancients to be one of the four elements of which every other body is composed. The opinion that it is a simple substance seems generally to have prevailed until the year 1781, wlien Mr. Henry Cavendish, of Great Bria iain, discovered by several experiments, that it is a compound, and formed by the union of oxygen and hydrogen. Subsequent experiments have fully confirmed this theo. ry , insomuch that, during the last fifteen or twenty years, the composition of water has been generally considered as one of the best established facts in chymistry.

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