Imatges de pÓgina

not a specimen is to be seen. The Hypericum humifusum, again, we observe in considerable abundance on the stratified side, while on the other we do not meet with it, and the same remark I have made in similar situations elsewhere. It may be curious also to observe that the Primula elatior (rather a variety of Primula vulgaris) as well as the common cowslip, though abundant among the rocks on the graywacke side, are not met with among those of the opposite side— a remark which holds good in other parts of the district comprehended in the following Flora."

"Two additional remarks shall conclude our notice of St. Abbs. To the most trivial observer it must be evident that originally St. Abbs head has been an island of the sea, similar to the Bass in the Frith of Forth or to the Rock of Ailsa in the Frith of Clyde, it being quite clear that the sea at one time has flowed through the narrow valley, but has gradually been excluded by the debris falling from each side, which has thus elevated its bottom at either end, and united at length St. Abbs to the mainland."

"The other remark relates to the probable origin of that great mass of trap-rocks, which forms this lofty promontory. It is impossible, we conceive, for any man who knows any thing about rocks at all to remark the singular position of the graywacke at the little inlet already mentioned, where the two sides of the valley approach nearest the land, almost without taking into account any of the other appearances equally conclusive, (although not quite so evident), without coming at once to the conclusion, that some prodigious violence must have been necessary to cause the present very singular and distorted aspect of these strata, that this violence must have proceeded from beneath,— that these rocks in this manner must have been projected in a liquid form, as lavas,-and that thus St. Abbs is neither more nor less than an extinct volcano."

The number of Phenogamous plants, included in the present Flora, is far from contemptible, inasmuch as there have been found, within the prescribed limits, 680 distinct species, exclusive of a considerable number which have become naturalized in Berwickshire and North Durham. Mr. Thompson, in his " Catalogue of Plants growing in the vicinity of Berwick" published in 1807, has enumerated 466 species including a few varieties-just 214 less than are included in the present work. Now, even taking into consideration the facts that Mr. T. was almost the only Botanist in the neighbourhood at the time-and that the catalogue was summed up by his own unaided exertions, and moreover allowing that a few of those omitted are so minute as almost to elude the most vigilant research-we still cannot help thinking that Mr. Thompson's examination of the district had been neither so varied nor so careful as to have warranted him to publish a catalogue of its vegetable productions. But Fedia olitaria, Scabiosa columbaria, Lamium incisum, Pedicularis sylvatica, Hieracium sylvaticum and paludosum, Senecio viscosus, Orchis conopsea and maculata, and some of the Salices are among the most glaring of his omissions, as most of them grow within half a mile of the town in considerable profusion.

In the class Cryptogamia, in the second volume, there are described

6 species of Equisetaceæ, 19 Ferns, 4 Lycopodineæ, 129 Mosses, 30 Liverworts, 81 Lichens, 338 Fungi and 133 Algæ, making in all 737 Cryptogamic Species.

After giving the character by which the plant is known, and the places where it grows, the Doctor has in most instances introduced some appropriate remarks, either on its peculiarities in structure, or its use in medicine, agriculture and the arts. We subjoin the following

On Menyanthes Trifoliata, page 56, vol. I.

"This is perhaps the most beautiful of our native plants-equal,” in the opinion of Mr. Curtis, "to the Kalmias, the Rhododendrons and the Ericas of Foreign climates which are purchased at an extravagant price, and kept up with much pains and expense, while this delicate native which might be procured without any expense, and cultivated without any trouble, blossoms unseen, and wastes its beauty on the desert air." An infusion of the root and leaves is much used by the common people in this neighbourhood in dyspeptic complaints. Formerly its virtues were highly extolled by many medical practititioners, and though now little used, it is apparently fully equal in strength to other bitters, and may hereafter lessen our dependance on foreign drugs. In West Bothland, in times of scarcity, the roots are ground and mixed with the corn to make bread, "qui admodum est amarus et detestabilis," while in other districts of Lapland and Norway they are given to domestic cattle which devour them fresh, notwithstanding their bitterness."

On Trifolium Pratense, page 163, vol. I.

"The Cow grass' of Farmers-who seem very unwilling to allow that their "Purple Clover" can be a variety produced by cultivation, as is generally supposed by Botanists, seeing that the former is perennial while the latter is biennial only, and their agricultural properties are very different. This however is very good for cattle and very noisome to witches. And in the days when there were witches in the land, the leaf was worn by knight and peasant as a potent charm against their wiles; and we can even trace this belief in its magic virtue in some not unobserved customs. Hast thou never sought and deemed thyself fortunate in finding a four-leaved clover?"

But woe to the wight who meets the green knight,
Except on his faulchion arm

Spell-proof he bear, like the brave St. Clair,


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For then shall fly his gifted eye

Delusions false and dim,

And each unbless'd shade shall stand pourtrayed
In ghostly form and limb.'

On Hypnum Commutatum, page 32. vol. II.

"In the Muscologia Britannica the leaves are described and delineated as rather strongly serrated. They appear to me to be entire or nearly so, as Smith says they are. It is a beautiful species and grows in large matted tufts of a very dark green on the surface, but always stained underneath with a dusky-yellow. The petrified moss so abun

dant in this neighbourhood is a tuft of H. Commutatum incrusted and solidified by a deposition of lime from the water in which it grows. It delights to hang over the precipitous point of dripping rocks or of small cascades, whose waters strain themselves through the dense and plumy foliage as through a sponge. Leyden must have had it in view when he wrote of the "listless shepherd"

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The few extracts which we have just given, though perhaps not the best that might have been selected, are sufficient to shew the interesting and, in many instances, highly spirited observations which diversify and lighten the volumes, and which, if glanced at while the plant is under examination, will serve to impress its form and structure on the memory much better than any lengthy descriptive detail. The passages from the poets often connected with these, in their variety and applicability, display an acquaintance with our bards not unworthy of the poet-laureate himself. But while we thus withhold not our mite of praise and publicly express our admiration of the man who, engaged in the arduous duties of a laborious profession, has contributed so much to the illustration of the Botany of Berwickshire, our duty as an impartial reviewer compels us to notice one passage wherein the purity of a sentence is somewhat wantonly sacrificed to his partiality for the Muse.

We allude to that which concludes the introduction where "Nature's works," instead of comprehending the wide and extensive range of creation which they usually and properly embrace, imply here only a portion by no means the most important, and "which," says the Doctor, "when I see them spread out in my Herbarium, what are they but proofs

"That man immured in cities still retains
His inborn, inextinguishable thirst
For rural scenes, compensating his loss
By supplemental shifts, the best he may."

There is here an evident straining to secure the aid of the Poesy by hook or by crook, and certainly we have no desire to be extra-fastidious, seeing that every mortal has his hobby. While discharging a small measure of innocuous bile, we may add, that several grammatical errors occur in the Latin extract from Symeon of Durham. The extract in question relates to the state of the Fern Island, previously to the settlement of St. Cuthbert on its bleak and barren surface, and may be found in a note appended to the 325th page of the second volume. We make this reference, merely because we are at a loss whether to attribute the mistakes to the pious monk himself, or to the source whence our Author derives the quotation, or to the typographer of the publication.

Is Primside Loch in Berwickshire, or is it within the prescribed limits of the Flora? We believe not; and if so, the addition of the Cicula Virosa in the Appendix is hardly warrantable.

In the first volume of the Flora, the Tragopogon pratense is described with the calycine segments considerably longer than the corolla. It has been since ascertained by Dr. Hooker, whose attention was first directed to the plant by Mr. Thomson of Eccles, to be the Tragopogon major of Jacquin's Flora Austriaca. It has long been suspected to be a species distinct from the T. pratense, and indeed it seems probable that this last plant is far from being so common in Britain as has been imagined, having been mistaken for the T. major. We mention not this to detract from the merit of its discoverer, but rather to caution Botanists against considering every one to be the same species as that to which it is nearest allied among the British plants.

At the conclusion of the Fungi, Dr. Johnston has described a production which, whether a vegetable or not, seems to deserve notice on account of its beauty and singularity. It was found growing on decayed branches of hazel, and at least 20 specimens were procured all precisely similar. "Originating under the bark, and escaping by some fissure in it, the slender stalk rises for about half an inch, and supports a proportionally large head which is like a glass bead or an egg in miniature. The stalk when fully exposed is about 1 inch in length, filiform, smooth and hollow, more or less flexuose at the root, and white or brownish. The head or capsule is ivory-white, sometimes tinged with pink, cernuous, ovate, smooth and glossy, tipped with a jet black lid or operculum, and so hard and compact that it almost rings when dropped on the table. It is densely cellular and contains in the centre a green oval vesicle which appears to be formed by a continuation and extension of the stalk. The vesicle is membranous and may with ease be entirely removed from the white bed in which it lies. It has no connection with the persistent lid, nor did it contain any fluid or foreign body. It has been suggested by an eminent naturalist that this production may prove to be the nidus of an insect; while another is of opinion that it is a diseased state of Bryum capillare. The latter conjecture is ingenious, but not unattended with difficulties."

There is given a description of the Veronica filiformis which was discovered by the Doctor growing in the shrubbery at Whiterigg, the second place where it has been observed in Britain, and an interesting addition to the Scottish Flora. This is illustrated by a very accurate coloured drawing, supposed to be the work of Mrs. Johnston, by whom there are also delineations of the Lathræa squamaria, Luciola sudetica, &c.

The very interesting "Sketch of the Botany of North Durham and Berwickshire from the earliest period to the present time" is excellent, when we consider the difficulties to be encountered in the investigation of the subject. The sources from which information is to be derived are so scanty, and in many cases so imperfect, that the Botany of Berwickshire through a great many centuries is involved in the greatest obscurity. But these difficulties, instead of diminishing the value of the essay, serve only to impress us with a greater respect for Dr. Johnston as a Botanical Antiquarian.

As the author of a work illustrative of the natural history of a part of Britain, he justly merits the thanks of all the friends of


science, and while such a man is within her walls, Berwick may well be pardoned a strain of exultation. Though we do not designate this publication a complete catalogue of the Cryptogamic, or even the Phenogamous plants of the district, we feel nevertheless fully confident, that seldom has a work on any subject been written by a person better qualified for the task than our author, whose profound knowledge of the science and indefatigable research are only surpassed by his extreme modesty and candour. We cannot take leave of his excellent volumes without submitting to our readers the following additional extract from page 132, Vol. II.

"Sprengel, in his Systema Vegetabilium, has described 360 species of this genus (Sphæria); and Fries, a later author, is said to have made them upwards of 500. The fact affords a very striking illustration of that variety in his works which the Creator of all has every where indulged in. All the Sphæriæ apparently serve the same end in the economy of nature, viz., of hastening the reduction of vegetable matter to its original dust; and that purpose, we may suppose, might have been effected as easily by an increase in the numbers of one, as by the creation of a multitude of species. It has, however, seemed good that it should be otherwise, and it is very probable that those little, but permanent, differences, which characterize the species, are accompanied with variations in the operation of the plants, important in their results, although to us unapparent. In the present instance we can scarcely look on this great variety as auxiliary to the beauty of the earth's surface, for, with scarcely an exception, the Sphæriæ are so diminutive as to require the practised eye of the botanist for their detection. He finds in the examination of their structure a pleasing and agreeable spectacle and so much curious design and constancy as are quite subversive of hypotheses implying spontaneous generations or formative powers of nature as necessary to account for their production. If I may judge from my own experience, it is, in fact, in these minims of nature' that we are most strongly impres sed with the conviction of the existence of a First Great Intelligent Cause, and are most ready to admit that his works are wonderful and made in wisdom."




A Fable.


(Translated from the French*.)
CESAR, a pointer-dog high rated-
But with his merit too inflated,
Besieg'd a helpless Rabbit near

Her burrow formed, half dead with fear.

• The original of this Fable may be sought for in No. 319 of the Literary Ga

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