OCR Interpretation

Orleans independent standard. [volume] (Irasburgh, Vt.) 1856-1871, January 25, 1856, Image 1

Image and text provided by University of Vermont

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84022548/1856-01-25/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

itcrarn Selections.
-I From the LonJon Times.
I The common idea of Newton is very
aue. In writing to the earliest of bis
bio?rapliers, Tope expressed a desire to
have some " memoirs and character of
Kim n a nrivate man." The desire
mfcht still be expressed. We have no
intimacy with Newton. Few persons, if
asked to describe the character of the
man, could say no more than this that
he was exceedingly absent, and that he
was imperturbable almost to insipidity,
perhaps quoting as an illustration of the
latter characteristic the apocryphal story
of the philosopher and his Httle dog " Dia-1
mond." This is not much, and jet the
half of it is incorrect. Thy eotempora
ries of Newton describe him a anything
but hnpertnrable on certain occasion?.
Locke declared thai he was "a nice man
to deal with," but "a littte too apt to raise
in himself suspicions where there is no
ground." Fiam-teed always " found him
insidious, ambitious, and excessively cov
etous of prai.-e and impatient of contra
diction." Whiston describes him as equally im
minent, and of the mo t fearful, cautious.
aaJ suspicions temper that ever he knew, j
D'Alembert gives the French idea of him
when he says : ' In England people wen
content with Newton's being the greatest
genius of his age ; in France one would j
have also wished him to be amiable." Ill
Newton was really uiiamiublc, it was
chiefly a negative unan;:-.b'.lily. lie was
Unsocial, lie was reserved, he v. asul-ent,
lie was silent ; in the course of live years
his secretary. Ilumprey Newton, never
saw him laugh but once, and that once it
is impossible to comprehend why ; worst
of all to a Frenchman, he had none of the
i eraees could not, like Fontenelle, begin
j a treatise on astronomy by saluting a lady
.nr. 1 comparing the beauty of day to a
blonde and the beauty of night to a bru
- nette. The only qualities in Newton
that were positively iinainiable were his
suspicious temper and his impatience of
contradiction. All else was negative
. Ilka c 'uJ -' :.u . l.
exception of his piety and his veracity.
He was good because he was passioidess ;
and he was not lovcable, because he was
void of emotion.
' Bishop Burnet says that N'ewt bad
. . ,i i We can
the whitest soul he ever kn
-v. .i ton was utterly
well believe it so. J
, unworldliness ot the
unworldly, and .
J j content to pace about his
man who ' .
. . and Ins trim Lttie garden from
Mia1: .
,.jnng to night, save when he turned
out for half an hour to see if any body
would listen to him as Lucasian Professor,
tEust have nither astonished the bustling,
courtly Scotch bishop. Then he was
pure rts a child ; his niece tells us that he
broke an acquaintance of the greatest in
timacy with Vhrani because the Italian
uicmw to.u li.ia some loose storv ot a
. j
shop Burnet's remark, however, I
it much more string-nt sense j
nun. Bis!
is true in
than this in a much m jre stringent sense
than, perhaps, lie ever contemplated.
Newton had the whitest rail he ever
knew, sirqdy because his emotional na
ture was tile ?heet of white paper which
the netaphvsicians cf that period were!.i ., " ,
- ! tllOU-'Il Wltil Some rlilinnnr ihn in or
Continually ! --liking about. i
' Sir David Brevier has done his best
to prove the contrary. He even fancies
that he has discovered Sir Isaac in love.
Sir Isaac hi love! it is incredible it is
impossible. Fancy the sedate Lucasian j
Frofes.-or addressing Lady Norris like
one of those fops called " pretty fellows,"
whom Steele shortly afterwards satirized
in tLe Tutler. " Can you resolve to wear
a widow's habit perpetually ?" he writes.
" Whether your Ladyship should go con
' etantly in the melancholy dress of a wid
ow, or flourish once more among the la
xlies," that is the question, and that is
.the style of courtship which Sir David,
with his eyes open and all his brilliant
optical reputation, attributes to a philoso
pher whose soul was fixed on one idea
the increase of gravity inversely as the
square of the distance. Sir Isaac, we
make bold to say, never had a thought of
, in comparison with Newton, Uncle
Toby's behavior to the AVidow Wadman
was the extreme of gallantry and licen
tiousness. It must be remembered that
-Newton was a god, and Alexander the
. Great used to say that two he might
.have said three things reminded him
- that he was a mortal, and not a god
love, sleep, and food. These three things
- proved the divinity of Sir Isaac, for he
never spent a thought on love, took very
little sleep, and as for his dinner,he nev-
er eared for it and often never ate it. 'He
kept neither dog nor cat in his chamber,"
says Humphrey Newton, " which made
well for the old woman, his bed-maker,
she faring much the better for it, for in a
morning she has sometimes found both
dinner and supper scarcely tasted of, which
the old woman has very pleasantly and
mumpingly gone away with."
While speaking of food, wc niay men
tion, in passing, as a set-off to the nega
tions of Newton's animal and emotional
nature, his one physical enjoyment. He
liked fruit, and could eat anj quantity of
it. As a boy, we find him in his account-books
spending his money on cher
ries, tarts, and marmalade. This latter
taste seems to have grown with him, for
he was always very fond of a small roast
ed quince for supper, lie was as fond of
orange peel as Dr. Johnson, and used to
take it boiled in water for his breakfast
instead of tea. Apples, too, appear to
have been a favorite fruit of his ; one of
his letters exhibits' hiiu longing after ci
der, and making great endeavors to se
cure some grafts of the genuine " red
streaks." Perhaps it was one of those
favored " red streaks" that falling from
the tree suggested the system of the world
the universality of the law of gravita
tion. Other enjoyments Newton had none
which were not purely intellectual. Even
as a boy he never joined in the games
and amusements ot bis companions. e
find him making dials, and water-clocks,
and wind-mills; and on the day of the
great storm of 1 G58, when Cromwell was
drawing his last breath in Whitehall, and
Goodwin stood by his bedside, assuring
him that his soul was safe, and Bates
went soft and sad from room to room ;
and the trees in St. James's Park were
uprooted by the tempest, Newton, in his
sixteenth year was jumping about in the
gale to measure the force of the wind;
In more advanced years his amusements
were still more severe; When weary of
his other studies, the differential calculus
and the irregularities of the moon, he
u refreshed himself with chronology and
all the dry details of lustrums, Olympi
ads, and the expedition of the Argonauts.
T-VitVi aifh nlpjusiires it will not be sur
prising that we return to npe,4
say that his asthetical nature was utterly
blank- He had a perfect horror of poet
ry, and would have echoed the sentiment
of his friend Barrow, that it is an ingen
ious kind of nonsense." He showed his
regard for sculptor when he said of his
friend, the Earl of Pembroke, that he was
" a lover of stone dolls." And his opinion
of painting expressed in an anecdote which
we do not profess to comprehend, but
which, according to the interpretation
suggested by Sir David Brewster, implies
that he considered pictures nothing but
As we look farther into Newton's char
acter, we find everywhere the sairie ab
sence of color, the same whiteness that
.(jj, uurnei observed.
,p. c;men of it ;s presented
atlvk.0 t0 his young friend,
Bishop Burnet observed. One curious
in a letter of
Francis As
ton, who was about to set out on his
" If you are affronted," wrote the phi
losopher, " it is better in a forraine count
ry to pass it by in silence, or with a jest,
, ' - . , '
uuii icitu-u; ior m me nrst case your
credit's ne'er the worse when you return
into England, and come into other com
pany that have not heard of the quarrell.
But, in the second case, you may beare
the marks of the quai-rell while you live,
if you outlive it at all." Here is a lily
liver with a vengeance dissuading his
youug frieud from a quarrel on the ground,
not of high Christian principle, but of un
manly fear. If the truth must be spoken,
Newton was a coward. It is the most
amazing thing to read how frightened he
was to face the public. He could never
bear publicity. This was partly the re
sult of a timid disposition which made him
shrink from criticism, but partly also it
was the result of a self-absorbed and un
sociable nature that was all in all to itself,
and felt no need of human sympathy.
When, shortly after writing the above
letter to Frrncis Aston, he was asked for
permission to publish one of his papers
in the Philosophical Transactions, he
gave his consent, on condition that his
name should be withheld.
" For I see not," he writes, " what
there is desirable in public esteem, were
I able to acquire it and maintain it. It
would, perhaps, increase my acquaintance
the thing which I chiefly study to de
cline." This appalling self-absorption is
without a parallel in the history of the
uuman inmd. After having been em
broiled ia a trifling optical discussion with
a uuicn physician of the name of Linus,
INTo More Oomproiixiso witli
he writes as follows to one of his friends ;
u I see I have made myself a slave to
philosophy ; but if I get free of Mr. Linus'
business I will resolutely bid adieu to it
eternally, excepting what I do for my
private satisfaction, or leave to come out
me." That sentence represents Sir Isaac
to the life. All his pursuits were for his
own private satisfaction ; he shunned man
kind ; and there is not one of his discov
eries that would ever have been published
if it had not been dragged into the light
by his friends, while he looked on, fret-
tlno- and muttering at the intrusion. Of
him it may be said with truth, w hat was
never truly said of Milton, " His soul was
like a star, and dwelt apart."
Dwelling thus apart, and viewing with
singular apathy all that men most prize
in public esteem and private sympathy,
it was natural th?.t Newton thould look
with stoical contempt on all the objects of
human ambition. Love he needed not ;
honor he sought not ; above all things he
despised wealth. Master of the mint,
money had no charms for him. Specu
lum metal, for his reflecting telescope,
was to him the most precious of metal.
The bursting of a soap bubble, when pur
suing his experiments on color, gave him
more concern than the loss of 20,000 on
the bursting of the South Sea Bubble.
His indifference wasextended to his latest
biographer, who has not condescended to
hint at the less. Sir Isaac thought more
of a lens and a prism than of all the in
gots at the Mint and all the diamonds in
Amsterdam. He parted with his money
freely so freely, indeed, that his biogra
phers have regarded it as a proof of sin
gular generosity. It was nothing of the
kind ; it was no more generosity than is
the act of the poor savage who gives
awav inestimable treasures for a glass
bead or a little bit of mirror.
What cared he for wealth ? He had
no interest in human life , he had no sub
lunary pleasures which money could pur
chase, except pippins and red streaks.
He gave it away to anybody who asked
for it. In one of his absent fits he had
his pocket picked of more than 3,000,
and suspected a nephew of the celebrated
William Whiston ; he made no efforts to
-- " 1 -il- li'll n rt CTclr(fl
how much he had lost, only replied ; "Too
much." He was so far imposed upon
that he paid 4,000 for an estate in Wilt
shire worth only the half of that sum ; he
was told that he might vacate his bargain
in equity, and he declined the trouble.
" I have seen," says honest Humphrey
Newton, I have seen a small pasteboard
box in his study set against the open win
dow, no less, as one might suppose, than
1,000 guineas in it, crowded edgeways,
whether this was suspicion or careless
ness I can not say ; perhaps to try the fi
delity of those about him."
It was certainly carelessness J but poor
Humphrey (how vividly he remembers
it all !) felt sorely tempted when he saw,
"as one might suppose" for he was too
honest to count them "no less than 1,000
guineas' '-crowded edgeways," and it was
a help to bis fidelity to believe that the
trial was intended by his master his
master, to whom, when at the head of the
Mint, a duchess all in vain offered a bribe
of G,000. At one period of his life Sir
Isaac gave some study to alchemy, and
we might suppose, from one of the sen
tences in the letter to Francis Aston,
from which we have already quoted that
he had thought of transmutation as a
means of money-making. He recom
mends his young friend to inquire on the
Continent about transmutation, these
" being the most luciferous, and many
times luciferous experiments, too, in phi
losophy." This letter, however, it must be re
membered, was not written long before
his circumstances were such as to give
him some anxiety, and he was glad to
escape his weekly payments as a member
of the Royal Society. If ever he thought
of money-making, it was only to pay his
frugal buttery book and buy putty for his
lenses and oranges for his sister. He
gave away his money without concern ;
he was even offensive in his liberality,
and quarreled with persons who refused
his purse. Think of Sir Isaac taking a
handful of guineas at random out of his
pocket and offering it as a fee to a physi
cian like Cheselden !
We have not said anything of the con
troversies which brought Newton into
contact with his fellow-men, and put his
manliness to the test ; and we must leave
it to others to adjust all the microscopic
details of authorship and copyright which
these controversies involve. But it is
impossible to pass without reprehension
the unfairness with which Newton treated
his opponents lluygens and Hooke, Ltib-
neitz and Flamsteed. It is a just retri
bution that Newton's corpuscular theory
of light has succumbed before the undula
tory theory defended by lluygens and
Hooke ; that his law of double refraction
has been displaced by that of Huygen's ;
that his theory of the inflexion of light
has been forgotten for Ilooke's ; and that
his method of fluxion;, which raised the
greatest din of all, has been supplanted
by the deferential calculus of Leibnitz.
For one thing in these controversies we
may be proud of Newton. His jealousy
was absurd, all generosity was forgotten ;
but he never descended to the atrocious
frauds which disgraced his opponents,
Bernoulli, Leibnitz, and Wolf.
Such was Newton as a man. Glorious
in his intellect, with a Hy rather intel
lectual than devotional, he was a stoic
without the merit of a stoic, for he had no
feelings to contend with. It is very sad
dening to find that the two most splendid
names which science can boast of belong
to men so deficient in their moral natures
as Lord Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton.
In the former we find a positive moral
obliquity, which would awaken pity were
it not joined to so majestic an intellect
that it excites terror and despair of human
nature. In the latter we find simply a
vacuum iron intellect on every side sur
rounding and maintaining the tremendous
gap within. We have no desire to mor
alize on the fact. We have simply en
deavored to give a faithful representation
of Newton's character, believing that no
possible good can result from the fulsome
flatteries which are heaped on his name.
When the cotemporariesof Newton hailed
him as a god, they declared, in very bril
liant phrase, that he was not a man.
Towards the fall of tke year 1775
Gen. Washington and staff visited Chel
sea on horseback to view t'ae features of
the land thereabouts. They went from
the camp in Cambridge, through Med-
ford and Maiden, and stopped by the way
for rest and refreshment at the residence
of Mr. John Dexter, situated in Maiden
by the brook, just before you enter the
central village on the north side of the
old road leading fvo" Iedford. This
house was fifteen rods from the street,
and distinguished for Its convenience and
the beauty of its situatioa, having many
stately elm trees growing by the roadside
near, and was thus well calculated to
tempt a troop of weary horsemen on a
summer's day to dismount, to enjoy the
coolness of the shadi and the hospitali
ties of the mansion. Here Washincrton
and his suite alighted, and after hitching
their horses under the trees, entered the
house by invitation of Mr. Dexter and
partook of refreshments. When the
party came out to renount their horses,
one of the gentlemen accidentally knock
ed off a stone from one of the walls which
ran along from the house to the street
outside of the rows of trees. Washing
ton remarked to him that he had better
replace the stone. The officer, having
remounted, replied, "No, I will leave that
for somebody else to do." Washington
then went quietly and replaced the stone
himself, saying, as he did so, "I always
make it my rule, wlien visiting a place,
to leave things in as good order as I find
This incident was related to us by Cap
lain Richard Dexter, who was a witness
of the facts related, and at the time about
nineteen years of age. Bunker Hill Au
rora. CSf" A Virginia Postmaster has been
inquiring of the Department the meaning
of the little "picture stuck cn the letters ;"
and another official, in Iowa, desired the
Department to sustain him in a decision
he had recently made against a " fellow"
who insisted that 1 them pictures of
Washington, on the letters, paid the pos
tage." An editor in Iowa has become so
hollow from depending upon the printing
business alone tor bread, that he projoses
to sell himself for stove pipe.
CaJ Let misfortuuo do her worst,
if s he bring not the conciouness of crime
or dishonor to her aid, her victim may
defy her.
Maeuiage. When sacrifices were of
fered to Juno, who presided over mar
riage, the gall of the victim was thrown
behind the altar, to bhow that no such
thing ought to exist among married per
6 A frozen heart is precisely upon a
par with a frozen potato, and one is worth
just about as much as the other.
Oln v oiy.
To those who have given but little at
tention to the subject, even in our own
day, with all the aids of modern science,
the prediction of an eclipse seems suffi
ciently mysterious and unintelligible.
How, then) it was possible; thousands of
years ago, to accomplish this same great
object, without any just views of the
structure of the system, seems utterly in
credible. Follow me, then, while I at
tempt to reveal the reasoning which led
to the prediction cf the first eclipse of
the sun, the most daring prophecy ever
made by human genius. Follow, in im
agination, this bold interrogator of the
skies to his solitary mountain summit
withdrawn from the world surrounded
by his mysterious circles, there to watch
and ponder through the long nights of
many, many years. But hope cheers
him on, and smooths his rugged pathway.
Dark and deep as is the problem, he
ternly grapples with it, and resolves
never to give over till victory crcwn3 his
He has already remarked that the
moon s track in the heavens; crossed the
sun's and that this point of crossing was
in some way immediately connected with
the coming of the dread eclipse. He
determines to watch and learn whether
he moon, in each successive revolution-,
crossed the sun's path at a different point.
If the sun in his annual revolution could
leave behind him a track of fire, marking j
his journey among the stars, it is found
that this same track was followed from
year to year, and from century to centu
ry, with undeviating precision. But it
was soon discovered that it was far differ
ent with the moon. In case she, too,
could leave behind her a silver thread of
light, sweeping round the heavens, in
completing one revolution, this thread
would not join, but would wind around
among the stars in each revolution, cross
ing the sun's fiery track at a point west
of the previous crossing. These points
of crossing were called the moon's nodes.
At each revolution, the node occurred
further west, until, after a cycle of about
nineteen years, it had circulated ia the
oinw flimtinn entirely around the eclip
tic. Long and patiently did the astrono
mer watch and wait ; each eclipse is du
ly observed, and its attendant circum
stances are recorded, when, at last, the
darkness begins to give way, and a ray of
light breaks upon his mind. He finds
that no eclipse of the sun ever occurs, un
less the new moon is in the act of cross
ing the sun's track. Here was a jrrand
discovery. lie holds the key which he
believes will unlock the dread mystery ;
and now, with redoubled energy, he re
solves to thrust it into the wards, and
drive back the bolts.
To predict an eclipse of the sun, he
must sreep fprward from new moon to
new moon, until he finds some new moon
which should occur while the moon was
in tne act ot cros;cg trom one 8;de to
the other of the sun's track. This cer
tainly was invisible. He knew the ex
act period from new moon to new mcon,
and from one crossing of the ecliptic to
another. With eager eyes he seizes the
moon's places in the heavens, and her age,
and rapidly computes where she crosses
at her next change. He finds the new
moon occurring far from the sun's track ;
he looks around another revolution ; the j tors are stii! our masters, in science and
place of the new moon falls closer to the j its applications the order of precedence
sun's path, and the next year closer, un- is reversed, HHd our own age has been
til, reaching forward with piercing intei- more prolific and amazing than the ag
lectual vigor, he at last finds a new moon ! gregate of all the ages which have cone
which occurs precisely at the computed
time of the passage across the son's track.
Ilere he makes a stand, and on the day
of the occurrence of that new moon, he
announces to the startled inhabitants of
the world, that the sun shall expire in
dark eclipse. Bold prediction 1 Myste
rious prophet ! With what scoin rnu-.t
the unthinking world have received this
solemn declaration ? I low slowly do the
moons roll away, and with what intense
anxiety does the stern philosopher await
the coming of that day w hich should
crown him with victory, or da.Ji him to
the ground in ruin or disgrace ! Time to
him tnoves on leaden wings ; day ufter
day, and, at bust, hour after hour, roll
heavily. The last night is gone the
moon lias disappeared from his eager
riyp iti tier niiiiroiich to t!i sim. mio Hie
y y - i l 1
dawn of the eventful day breaks iu beau
ty on the slumbering world.
This daring man, stem in his faith,
climbs ulone to his rocky home, ami greets
the sun as be rises and mounts the heav-
ens, scattering brightness and glory in
Ids path. Beneath him w spread out the
populous city, already teeming with life
and activity. The busy morning hum
rises on the still air, and roaches the
watching place of the solitary astrono
mer. The thousands below him, uncon
scious of his intense nnxiety, joyously
pursue their rounds of bisine3 their cy
cles of amusements. The sun slowly
climbs the heavens, round and bright,
and full orbed.
The tenant of the mountain, too, al
most begins to waver in the sternness of
his faith, as the morning hours roll away.
But the time of his triumph, long delay
ed, at length begins to dawn a pale and
sickly hue creeps over the face of nature.
The sun has reached its highest point,
but his splendor is dimmed; his light is important element of civilization. Ar
fceble. At last it comes ! Blackness is Jthtir Tonr, who traehd iu Lancashire
eating away his round disc ; onward, with England, iu 1770, has incidentally pvea
slow but steady pace, the dark veil moves, an account of the state of cne of tin';
Ua jker th--MiW.W nights ; the'g'or.m j road' at that time, and his f!eserip
deepens : the ghastly hue of death cov
ers the universe ; the last ray is gone,
and horror reigns. A wail of terror fills
the murky air ; the clangor of brazen
trumpets resounds; an agony ot. despair
dashes the stricken millions to the ground,
while that lone man, erect on his rocky
summit, with arms outstretched to heav
en, pours forth the grateful gushing of
his heart to God, who had crowned his ef-
forts with triumphant victory.
Search the records of our race, and
point me, it you can, to a scene more
grand, more beautiful. It is, to me, the
proudest victory that genius ever wc.i.
It was the conquering of Nature, of Ig
norance, of Superstition, of Terror, all at
a single uiow, ana tnac mow strucK ey a
sinjrle man. And now, do you demand
the name cf this wonderful man ? Alas
what a lesson of the instability cf earthly
fame are we taught in this simple recital.
He who had raised himself immeasura
bly above his race, who must have been
regarded by his fellows as little less than
a godj ffho had inscribed his fame on the
very heavens, and had written it in the
sun, with a "pen of iron, and the point of
a diamond ;" even this one has perished
from the earth ; name, age, country, all
are swept into oblivion ; but the proud
achievement stands. The monument
reared to his honor stands ; and although
the touch of Time has effaced the Ictter-
irg of his name, it is powerless, and can-
not destroy the fruits of Lis victory.
A thousand years roll by ; the astron-
omer stands on the watch-tower of Bab
ylon, and writes for posterity the records
of an eclipse ; this record escapes de
struction, and is safely wafted down the
stream of time. A thousand years roll
away; the old astronomer, surrounded
by the Uerce but wondering Arabs, again
writes and marks the day which witness
es the sun's decay. A thousand years
roll heavily away ; once mere the astron
omer writes, from amidst the gay throiig
that crow ds the capital of Europe. Kee
oru is compared wun record, date with rcil tLflt wlicn Franklin, in 17.",4, pro
date, revolution with revolution, the past jccted a plan of union for these colonics,
and the present together; another strug- j w;!n Philadelphia as the m-tropolis, he
gle commences ; another triumph is won. L;lve as a reason for this part of the phn.
Little did the Babylonian dream that he j that Philr.delp hia was situated about half
was observing for one, who, after a hq.se j way between the two extremes, and
of three thousand years, should rest upon
this very record the successful solution of
one of Nature's darkest mysteries.
A recent writer in the Xorth Ameri
can Review calks attention to the curious
ulai m:e m me nue arts and m
speculative thought, our remotest ances-
j before us. "It is not likely," he observes,
"that the world will ever see a more pcr-
; feet poet than Homer, a grander states-
man than Pericles, a sublimer or more
lu'"'"luu'sl" rl"vT w.an i K.U., a
. . 1-1 1 f, .
.cuipior rquai 10 i niuias, a painter supe
rior to Raphael Certain it is, that the
lapse of twenty, or five-and-twenty cen
turies, has given birth to none who have
surpassed them, and to few who have ap
proached them." But in the practical
arts of life, all this is reversed. "Take
two points only, the mo-t obvious and the
nio.-t signal locomotion and the trans
mission of intelligence. At the earliest
period of authentic history, men traveled
as fast as in the year 183. Ninirodgot
over the ground at the rate of ten or
lui. to ri,i'..a ... !.,,, V.,..,.T . I I
.... r..cf.. 1u-m I i w ia
' h 't-1' " . " i ' hi i . . u . . i i t -
we raided the maximum of speed from
ten miles to seventy. The first rij tl.-ou-!
sand years did nothing, or next to nothing
the next six years did everything j
reached the limits of possible achievement
' w this direction ; for no one imagine that
any greater speed is attainable, or would
J he bearable."
I Sudden and recent
n.rnt in locomotion 1 been, it is difficult
to realize fully the grca:nes of the
change that has taken place. Not only
were our ancestors without th". an ar.s of
rapid transit from point to point, a centu
ry ago, but such faeilitieas they possess
ed were rendered nearly Useless, by the
want of roads. Even in Europe, with
! the exception of a few military road.;.
there were no channels of communica
tion ltcLween distant place, snve by wa
ter. Such road as thf y had were im
practicable, and the constant recurrence
of desolating wars diverted the minds of
J both princes and people from this nm-r
will answer for many other road- both of
England mid the continent. Our own
country was scarcely lrn, and of course
j.a j n) roa,s f iVny extent
I say3 . "I know not in the whole range of
language, rrm? sufficiently expressive to
describe this infernal road. Lei me most
seriously caution ail travelers who may
accidentally pror'se to travel this terri-
tc couutry, to avoid it as you would tne
devil, for a thousand to one, they wili
j tjle;r nects or r,mbs"by overthrows
or breaking down. They will meet with
ruts, which I actually measured, four feet
deep, and floating with mud only from a
wet summer. What therefore must it be
after a winter? I passed three carts bro-
,,n jown w;in:n t!
e milts ef etecia-
The time consumed bv comino!
riers over such routes is, now-a-!ay, in
credible. The postman from ft' IViik to
Edinburgh, a distance of less than forty
miles, was always a fortnight in gang
and returning. We are told that the
massacre of the Jews in London, at the
coronation of Richard the First, was not
known at Stamford, Norwich, or York,
until several months had elapsed. Even
as late as 1835, there were only seven
coaches that ran daily from the capital cf
England to that of Scotland, and until
several years within the present century,
the internal transport of nearly all the
I traiic 0f ( Jrcat irita; -as performeJ by
j wagons, at the slowest rate, and at an
enormous expense. The charse for car
riage averaged alxut thirty cents a ton,
per mile. Of course, all bulky articles
were excluded from exchange. These
articles are now carried over the sain
ground, the same d'.st incc, at the rate of
two cents per ton. The speed of the
wagons, then, did not exceed twenty-four
miles a day; steam cars now run thirty
miles the hour.
In our own country, quite fts tnaiked
changes have taken place, within the
same period. How queer it sounds, to
; u;( he conveniently reached, even from
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 18 day? !
Now, the journey uny be made in
than twice as many hours. On the Hii.
of June, 1771, John Adams made ti e
following entry in Lis diary, at Middle
town, Conn.: 'Looking into the almanac
anl st;lrtk;(. Sm.reme Court at I ,s-
whh on the 18th day of June. I thought
it was a week later, 2"th; so that 1 1 ave
only next week to go home, one hundred
and fifty miles. I must improve ctery
moment. It is twenty-five miles a day, it
I ride every day next week." Think of
such a man as John Adams being tart!ed
at the idea of Lading only a week l
travel a hundred and titty miles ! Bur
there wa3 nothing strange alxmt h in
& rz
, t;M()(e o3J8. For years aft,.r ,e
uing of the present century, the mail liu.
between New York and Albany was H
Jays. Emigrants to the Genesee Val
ley, only twenty years ago, were some
times twenty day in reaching their r.ew
purchases. There is a book still extant,
written by a Lady, within the memory of
middw-flged persons, to describe a jx-rii-ous
journey he made, from Boston to
New York. Similar in-tances might be
adduced without end, in illustration of the
surpri-ing improvements which have Ix-t u
uiaite in ilie mean ot locomotion, wllnn
1 J
Who said it. We do not know who
' naid this Good ihing : " People who sup-
Ie that a good prayer w preferred to
K0"'1 doubtfc-w imagine that God Las
"earing u.a-i eyo.ght.
j Cjf I' ls aked, how can the laboring
j man find time for self-culture? Iuwer.
- ' that an earrit j-urpoee fiii'ht time.

xml | txt