Imatges de pàgina

the salt. There is certain evidence that this mine has been worked more than six hundred years, and how much longer is not known.

13. Formerly, the kings of Poland derived from it an annual revenue of more than three millions of florins. But when Poland was dismembered, this mine fell to the emperor, whose commissioners, by raising the price, lost a great part of the market for salt, which could be imported by the Vistula, and sold at a lower price.

14. Such a mass of rock-salt is a stupendous phenomenon in the structure of this globe. But similar masses of solid salt are found in every quarter of the earth, either in beds beneath the surface, or in mountains.. A mountain of this kind, in Spain, is five hundred feet high, and several leagues in circuit. The like are found in Asia and Africa.

15. Similar masses of salt are found in America, impregnating numerous springs of water, as at Onondaga, and in Kentucky and Louisiana. And as these beds of salt are usually at & great distance from the sea, they evince the wisdom of the Creator, who seems to have intended these inexhaustible magazines of a necessary article, to accommodate those inhabitants of the globe, who cannot be supplied with it by means of navigation.

CHAPTER XLVI. MARKET FOR MOVABLE HOUSES IN RUSSIA. 1. Among the curiosities of Moscow, is the market for the sale of houses. This is held in a large open space, in one of the suburbs, and exhibits a great variety of ready-made houses, thickly strewed upon the ground.

2. The purchaser who wants a dwelling, repairs to this spot, mentiops the number of rooms which he requires, examines the different timbers, which are numbered, and bargains for the frame which suits him. The house is sometimes paid for on the spot, and taken away by the purchaser; and sometimes the vender contracts to transport and erect the frame on the spot where it is designed to stand.

3. It may appear incredible, that a dwelling-house may be thus bought, removed, raised, and inhabited, within the space of a week; but we shall conceive it practicable, by considering that these ready-made houses are, in general, merely trunks of trees, mortised and tenoned together at the extremities, so that they are easily taken apart and transported from place to place.

4. This summary mode of building is not peculiar to the meaner hovels; but wooden edifices of large dimensions, and

handsome appearance, are occasionally formed in Russia with incredible expedition. An addition to a palace for the empress, containing a magnificent suit of apartments, was begun and finished in six weeks. At her majesty's departure, the materials were taken apart, and re-constructed into a sort of imperial villa, near Moscow.


5. The Alps, which are the highest mountains in Europe, rise to twelve and fifteen thousand feet above the level of the ocean, The highest peaks are therefore in the regions of perpetual frost, where the rays of the sun never dissolve the ice and snow, even in the midst of summer. The more elevated summits are forever clothed with a body of snow, or a mixture of snow, hail and ice.

6. On the vast tops of less elevated mountains, are extensive valleys or hollows which are filled with compact snow and ice, which are called glaciers, or fields of ice. Some of these rest on the declivities, being formed by masses of snow, precipitated from the steeper cliffs above, and sliding down, till their progress is interrupted by rocks. In some instances, these snow-slips are precipitated so suddenly as to overwhelm the cottages below, and bury men and cattle in promiscuous ruin.

7. In other cases, these fields of ice rest on valleys, or on level earth, forming vast plains of solid ice, from one hundred to five hundred feet in depth, and many miles in length and breadth. Over these the traveler may pass in safety. But on the declivities, the ice is thrown into steep precipices, or parted by fissures, which form chasms of a hideous depth, rendering a passage difficult and extremely dangerous. ' The unwary traveler, who slides into one of these, is lost beyond recovery.

8. The borders of the glacier of Montanvert, are mostly skirted with trees; towards its base, a vast arch of ice rises to near a hundred feet ; under which rushes the river Arveron with considerable force. From the appearance of the firs near this glacier, it is evident that this body of ice sometimes increases, pushing forward, and prostrating the trees; then is diminished in a course of time, and young trees spring up on the ground from which it has retired.

9. The ice and snow which are in the lower regions of the mountains, are subject to be dissolved by the heat of summer, and in some cases seen fields of corn growing within a few yards of a glacier. These masses of ice, all resting on earth which is of its natural temperature, and warmer than frost, are perpetually, though slowly, dissolving, and thus furnish perennial springs and streams. On the Alps, spring four of the largest

rivers in Europe,-the Rhine, the Rhone, the Danube, and the Po; which roll their waters to the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Euxine.


CILLASSO. 10. When the Spaniards first landed in Peru, they found the people considerably advanced in the arts of civilized life. Yet The use of iron was not known, but instead of it, the natives used tools made of copper; and instead of nails, cords were used to bind timbers together. In this state of their knowledge, the celebrated Inca, or prince, who introduced many im. provements and much order among the Peruvians, invented and executed a bridge of osiers over the river Apurimac, which is two hundred paces, or about six hundred feet wide.

11. In constructing this bridge, a twist of three pliant twigs of osier was first formed, to which was added a twist of nine twigs, and three of these were twisted into one rope of a length sufficient to stretch across the river. By means of a float, or by swimming, some persons crossed the river, carrying a line, to wbich was fastened the great rope, and by which ihey hauled the end of it to the other side of the river, where it was made fast to a rock.

12. To secure the ends of this immense band, it was fastened at one end to a huge rock in its natural state. At the other end, the Peruvians were under the necessity of bewing a column out of a solid rock. This rock was perforated, and the rope let into the holes, and made fast to beams on the other side. The better to secure these abutments, a thick wall of stone was raised against them.

13. Three of these osier ropes formed the foundation of the bridge, and two others were used, one on each side, as a railing or wall. The floor of this bridge, which was six feet wide, was formed of boards, laid across the principal ropes, with battens or cleats to prevent horses from slipping. This bridge, of astonishing art and workmanship, was so useful, as be kept in repair by a tax on the neighboring provinces, and continued for a long period of time, until after the conquest of Peru by the Spaniards.


AND.-FROM GARCILLASSO. 1. In the voyage of a Spanish fleet to America, a ship foundered in the gulf of Mexico, and one of the men, named Serra


no, saved his life by swimming to an isle, which stiff bears' hie

This isle is a barren sand, without water, wood, plants or stones. On this dismal spot he was compelled to find subsistence, or submit to perish by hunger.

2. Serrano's ingenuity soon found the means of sustaining life. On the shore he found cockles, shrimps, and other seaanimals, which he at first ate raw, for he had no fire. He then caught turtles by turning them on their backs; and cutting their flesh into slices, he dried it in the heat of the sun; using the blood for drink, until he could procure fresh water, which he did by saving the falling rain, in the shells of sea-animals.

3. His next object was to obtain fire; and this was a business of immense difficulty, for want of iron or flint. There was not a stone on the isle; but by diving in various places, be at length found two large pebbles, which he brought to an edge by rub. bing. He then scraped some threads of his shirt into lint, and with the stones he struck fire, which he enkindled with dry seaweed, and some fragments of ships which had been driven ashore. The fire he preserved by carefully sheltering it from the rain. But sti}l he was without a shed for himself; and, exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, he was often obliged to seek relief by plunging in the water.

4. In this wretched state he lived three years, in which time he felt the anguish of seeing several ships pass the isle, without being able to let them know his distress. At length another man was shipwrecked near the isle, and saved his life by swimining to land in the night. What was the astonishment of these men at meeting! Serranno was covered with hair, like a beast; his figure was frightful, and he was frightened himself at the sight of a human being. But the use of speech dispelled their fears, brought them together, and they embraced each other, with sighs and lamentations.

5. In this hopeless condition, these partners in common misery, formed an agreement to divide the labor of procuring subsistence; each taking his turn, or a certain part of the service. Yet who will believe the fact? These hopeless wretches, who had every possible need of mutual aid and comfort, and stood as it were upon the brink of the grave, could not live together in peace and amity! O man, how frail thy nature! bow feeble the powers of thy mind! how little canst thou rely on the strength of reason, or the goodness of thy principles !

6. Yes, it is too true; two men, solitary and forlorn, soon found little jealousies disturbing their harmony, and they were upon the point of fighting ! Let this fact teach us how little of our peace and security depends on reason, and how much on religion and government! Mutual hatred and resentment parted these forlorn wretches, and for a time they separated. At

length their wants impelled them to a reconciliation; and, taught by necessity to value the advantages of society, they lived together in friendship.

7. Four long years were these outcasts doomed to pick up a scanty living on this barren spot, when a ship discovered them by a smoke, and came to their relief. The last who was shipwrecked died on his voyage to Spain; but Serrano lived to reach his native country. Covered as he was with hair, he refused to be shaved, till he had traveled to Germany, where the emperor resided, and had exhibited himself to his prince in his savage dress. Here he recounted his adventures to the emperor, and received from him a liberal pension. He then suffered himself to be shaved; but returning to America, to enjoy his pension, he soon died at Panama.


BULL-FIGHTS 'IN SPAIN-BARBAKOUS ! 1. Among the remains of barbarism in Europe, is the practice of fighting bulls for public amusement. On certain days, a sort of theater is erected in the open air, with seats and boxes for the accommodation of a great multitude of spectators, arranged round a spacious plain, where the combat is to be exhibited. The bulls intended for the combat, are selected and fed for the purpose, as horses are for the races in this country.

2. When the time of exhibition has arrived, the champions who are to engage the bulls, first appear, and walk in a kind of procession round the square ; then iwo officers on horseback, dressed in wigs and black robes, gravely advance to the presi. dent of the combat, to ask for an order to begin, and the signal is immediately given.

3. A bull is suddenly turned out of an inclosure, and received with loud acclarations by the populace. At first he is attacked by the horsemen, dressed in the ancient Spanish manner, and armed with lances. With these they wound and proyoke him,-he sometimes attempts to escape,-the horsemen pursue and goad him, till, grown furious, he turns and fiercely repels their attacks.

4. When the bull flies or falls without much opposition, he is hissed, like a bad player on a stage : when he boldly returns to the charge, and threatens the horse or his rider with instant death, the spectators redouble their shouts. The utmost joy is expressed when the enraged animal gores a horse, and compels his rider to seek safety by flight. 5. Sometimes great dogs are let loose upon the bull: these

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