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Psalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times in the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when every body else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing. "I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation. This John Matthews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all the circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see any thing ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character make his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish his good qualities.
"As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir till Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side; and every now and then inquires how such a one's wife or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent.
"The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers well, he has ordered a Bible to be given to him next day for his encouragement, and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk's place; and, that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
"The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differences and contentions that arise between the parson and the 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is always preaching at the 'squire, and the 'squire, to be revenged on the parson, never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants atheists and tithe-stealers, while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them, in almost every sermon, that he is a better man than his patron. In short, matters are come to such an extremity, that the 'squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half-year; and the parson threatens him, if he does not mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole congregation.
"Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate as of a man of learning; and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it."
The quiet humour of this pleasant description furnishes in itself a tolerable example of the state of opinion in the reign of Queen Anne-our Augustan age, as it has often been called. It shows the cold and worldly aspect which the most solemn institutions presented to the eye of the conventional moralist. There is something much higher in the association of Christians in public worship than even the good of meeting together with "best faces and cleanliest habits." Sunday is to be observed for something better than " clearing away the rust of the week," and "putting both sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms." But for too long a period this has been very much the orthodox notion of Sunday and Sunday duties; and the real purpose of public worship, that of calling forth the spiritual and unworldly tendencies of our nature, to the exclusion of the ambition and vanity of every-day life, is only beginning
yet to be generally felt in town or village. We lost for two or three centuries the zealous spirit which made the cathedral and the church a refuge from the hard and irritating cares which belong to a life of struggle and vexation; which there lifted us up to a calm and earnest reliance on the protection of the great Father of all; which made all men equal in their capacity for partaking of this elevation of spirit; which for awhile excluded the distinctions that belong to transitory things alone. The solemn responses, the soul-uttering chants, the assembling together in temples venerable for their antiquity and impressive in their beauty, gave a loftier tone to the mind of the most uninformed than belongs to the discussion of parish politics "after sermon or before the bell rings." A reform of somewhat too sweeping character changed the feelings of the people. Religion came either to be looked at as a severe thing or as a formal thing; and then followed what Addison has painted too truly in the conclusion of his paper, "the differences and contentions between the parson and the 'squire." In this respect we may earnestly hope that the description of the Essayist is wholly obsolete.
[The work from which this is transcribed is entitled 'Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy, General and Medical, explained independently of Technical Mathematics.' Of this book the first volume was published some twenty years ago, and has passed through several editions. A portion only of the second volume has appeared. When we consider that this excellent book can only be completed at the rare intervals of leisure in a most arduous professional life-that at the moments when the physician is not removing or mitigating the sufferings of individuals, he is labouring for the great benefit of all by such noble inventions as the Hydrostatic Bed-we can only hope that the well-earned repose which wise men look to in the evening of their day, will give opportunity for perfecting one of the books best calculated to advance the education of the people that the world has seen. When our admirable friend Dr. Arnott has put the last labour to his Elements of Physics,' it will remain for him to add one more claim to our gratitude by making the book cheap.]
Galileo had found that water would rise under the piston of a pump to a height only of about thirty-four feet. His pupil Torricelli, conceiving the happy thought, that the weight of the atmosphere might be the cause of the ascent, concluded that mercury, which is about thirteen times heavier than water, should only rise under the same influence to a thirteenth of the elevation :-he tried and found that this was so, and the mercurial barometer was invented. To afford further evidence that the weight of the atmosphere was the cause of the phenomenon, he afterwards carried the tube of mercury to the tops of buildings and of mountains, and found that it fell always in exact proportion to the portion of the atmosphere left below it; and he found that water-pumps in different situations varied as to sucking power, according to the same law.
It was soon afterwards discovered, by careful observation of the mercurial barometer, that even when remaining in the same place, it did not always stand at the same elevation; in other words, that the weight of atmosphere over any particular part of the earth was constantly fluctuating; a truth which, without the barometer, could never have been suspected. The observation of the instrument being carried still farther, it was found, that in serene dry weather the mercury generally stood high, and that before and during storms and rain it fell :-the instrument therefore might serve as a prophet of the weather, becoming a precious monitor to the husbandman or the sailor.
The reasons why the barometer falls before wind and rain will be better understood a few pages hence; but we may remark here, that when water which has been suspended in the atmosphere, and has formed a part of it, separates as rain, the weight and bulk of the mass are diminished: and that wind must occur when a sudden condensation of aeriform matter, in any situation, disturbs the equilibrium of the air, for the air around will rush towards the situation of diminished pressure.
To the husbandman the barometer is of considerable use, by aiding and correcting the prognostics of the weather which he draws from local signs familiar to him; but its great use as a weather-glass seems to be to the mariner, who roams over the whole ocean, and is often under skies and climates altogether new to him. The watchful captain of the present day, trusting to this extraordinary monitor, is frequently enabled to take in sail and to make ready for the storm, where, in former times, the dreadful visitation would have fallen upon him unprepared.-The marine barometer has not yet been in general use for many years, and the author was one of a numerous crew who probably owed their preservation to its almost miraculous warning. It was in a southern latitude. The sun had just set with placid appearance, closing a beautiful afternoon, and the usual mirth of the evening watch was proceeding, when the captain's order came to prepare with all haste for a storm. The barometer had begun to fall with appalling rapidity. As yet, the oldest sailors had not perceived even a threatening in the sky, and were surprised at the extent and hurry of the preparations; but the required measures were not completed, when a more awful hurricane burst upon them than the most experienced had ever braved. Nothing could withstand it; the sails already furled and closely bound to the yards, were riven away in tatters: even the bare yards and masts were in great part disabled; and at one time the whole rigging had nearly fallen by the board. Such, for a few hours, was the mingled roar of the hurricane above, of the waves around, and of the incessant peals of thunder, that no human voice could be heard, and, amidst the general consternation, even the trumpet sounded in vain. In that awful night, but for the little tube of mercury which had given warning, neither the strength of the noble ship, nor the skill and energies of the commander, could have saved one man to tell the tale. On the following morning the wind was again at rest, but the ship lay upon the yet heaving waves, an unsightly wreck.
The marine barometer differs from that used on shore, in having its tube contracted in one place to a very narrow bore, so as to prevent that sudden rising and falling of the mercury, which every motion of the ship would else occasion.
Civilized Europe is now familiar with the barometer and its uses, and therefore, that Europeans may conceive the first feelings connected with it, they almost require to witness the astonishment or incredulity with which people of other parts still regard it. A Chinese, once conversing on the subject with the author, could only imagine of the barometer, that it was a gift of miraculous nature, which the God of Christians gave them in pity, to direct them in the long and perilous voyages which they undertook to unknown seas.
A barometer is of great use to persons employed about those mines in which hydrogen gas, or fire-damp, is generated and exists in the crevices. When the atmosphere becomes unusually light, the hydrogen, being relieved from a part of the pressure which ordinarily confines it to its holes and lurking places, expands or issues forth to where it may meet the lamp of the miner, and explode to his destruction. In heavy states of the atmosphere, on the contrary, it is pressed back to its hiding places, and the miner advances with safety.
We see from this that any reservoir or vessel containing air would itself answer as a barometer if the only opening to it were through a long tubular neck, containing a close sliding plug, for then according to the weight and pressure of the external air the density of that in the cavity would vary, and all changes would be marked by the position of the moveable plug. A beautiful barometer has really been made on this principle by using a vessel of glass, with a long slender neck, in which a globule of mercury is the moveable plug.
The state of the atmosphere, as to weight, differs so much at different times in the same situation, as to produce a range of about three inches in the height of the
HALF-HOURS WITH THE BEST AUTHORS.
mercurial barometer, that is to say, from twenty-eight to thirty-one inches. occasion of the great Lisbon earthquake, however, the mercury fell so far in the barometers, even in Britain, as to disappear from that portion at the top usually left uncovered for observation. The uncovered part of a barometer is commonly of five or six inches in length, with a divided scale attached to it, on which the figures 28, 29. &c., indicate the number of inches from the surface of the mercury at the bottom to the respective divisions:-on the lower part of the scale the words wind and rain are generally written, meaning that, when the mercury sinks to them, wind and rain are to be expected; and on the upper part, dry and fine appear, for a corresponding reason; but we have to recollect, that it is not the absolute height of the mercury which indicates the existing or coming weather, but the recent change in its height ::-a falling barometer usually telling of wind and rain; a rising one of serene and dry weather.
The barometer answers another important purpose, besides that of a weather-glass -in enabling us to ascertain readily the height of mountains, or of any situation to which it can be carried.
As the mercurial column in the barometer is always an exact indication of the tension or pressure produced in the air around it by the weight of air above its level, being indeed, as explained in the foregoing paragraphs, of the same weight as a column of the air of equal base with itself, and reaching from it to the top of the atmosphere-the mercury must fall when the instrument is carried from any lower to any higher situation, and the degree of falling must always tell exactly how much air has been left below. For instance, if thirty inches barometrical height mark the whole atmospheric pressure at the surface of the ocean, and if the instrument be found, when carried to some other situation, to stand at only twenty inches, it proves that one-third of the atmosphere exists below the level of the new situation. If our atmospheric ocean were of as uniform density all the way up as our watery oceans, a certain weight of air thus left behind in ascending would mark every where a change of level nearly equal, and the ascertaining any height by the barometer would become one of the most simple of calculations :—the air at the surface of the earth being about twelve thousand times lighter than its bulk of mercury, an inch rise or fall of the barometer would mark every where a rise or fall in the atmosphere of twelve thousand inches or one thousand feet. But owing to the elasticity of air, which causes it to increase in volume as it escapes from pressure, the atmosphere is rarer in proportion as we ascend, so that to leave a given weight of it behind, the ascent must be greater, the higher the situation where the experiment is made; the rule therefore of one inch of mercury for a thousand feet, holds only for rough estimates near the surface of the earth. The precise calculation, however, for any case, is still very easy; and a good barometer, with a thermometer attached, and with tables, or an algebraical formula expressing all the influencing circumstances, enables us to ascertain elevations much more easily, and in many cases more correctly, than by trigonometrical survey.
The weight of the whole atmospherical ocean surrounding the earth being equal to that of a watery ocean of thirty-four feet deep, or of a covering of mercury of thirty inches, and the air found at the surface of the earth being eight hundred and forty times lighter than water, if the same density existed all the way up, the atmosphere would be 34 times 840, or about 28,000 feet high, which is equal to five miles and a half. On account of the greater rarity, however, in the superior From the known laws of regions, it really extends to a height of nearly fifty miles. aerial elasticity, we can deduce what is found to hold in fact, that one half of all the A person, air constituting our atmosphere exists within three miles and a half from the earth's surface; that is to say, under the level of the summit of Mount Blanc.
unaccustomed to calculation, would suppose the air to be more equally distributed through the fifty miles than this rule indicates, as he might at first also suppose a tube of two feet diameter to hold only twice as much as a tube of one foot, although in reality it holds four times as much.
In carrying a barometer from the level of the Thames to the top of St. Paul's Church in London, or of Hampstead hill, the mercury falls about half an inch, marking an ascent of about five hundred feet. On Mount Blanc it falls to half of the entire barometric height, marking an elevation of fifteen thousand feet; and in Du Luc's famous balloon ascent it fell to below twelve inches, indicating an elevation of twenty-one thousand feet, the greatest to which man has ever ascended from the surface of his earthly habitation.
The extreme rarity of the air on high mountains must of course affect animals. A person breathing on the summit of Mount Blanc, although expanding his chest as much as usual, really takes in at each inspiration only half as much air as he does below-exhibiting a contrast to a man in the diving-bell, who at thirty-four feet under water is breathing air of double density, at sixty-eight feet of triple, and so on. It is known that travellers, and even their practised guides, often fall down suddenly as if struck by lightning, when approaching lofty summits, on account chiefly of the thinness of the air which they are breathing, and some minutes elapse before they recover. In the elevated plains of South America, the inhabitants have larger chests than the inhabitants of lower regions-another admirable instance of the animal frame adapting itself to the circumstances in which it is placed. It appears from all this, that although our atmosphere be fifty miles high, it is so thin beyond three miles and a half, that mountain ridges of greater elevation are nearly as effectual barriers between nations of men, as islands or rocky ridges in the sea are between the finny tribes inhabiting the opposite coasts.
[GEORGE HERBERT, the fifth brother of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was born in 1593; he died in 1632. His character as a minister was full of Christian graces. He belonged to the same class of clergymen as Hooker;-devoted to pastoral duties,-enthusiastic in his reverence for the offices of the Church. His religious poetry used to be neglected for its quaintness; but the present age has restored it to its proper rank amongst the writers who have left us gems which antiquity cannot rust. The poem which we give has a peculiar interest in being his death-bed song, as we learn from the following narrative of Isaac Walton :
"In this time of his decay, he was often visited and prayed for by all the clergy that lived near to him, especially by his friends the Bishop and Prebends of the Cathedral Church in Salisbury; but by none more devoutly than his wife, his three nieces (then a part of his family), and Mr. Woodnot, who were the sad witnesses of his daily decay; to whom he would often speak to this purpose: 'I now look back upon the pleasures of my life past, and see the content I have taken in beauty, in wit, in music, and pleasant conversation, are now all past by me, like a dream, or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all become dead to me, or I to them; and I see that as my father and generation hath done before me, so I also shall now suddenly (with Job) make my bed also in the dark; and I praise God I am prepared for it; and I praise him that I am not to learn patience, now I stand in such need of it; and that I have practised mortification, and endeavoured to die daily, that I might not die eternally; and my hope is, that I shall shortly leave this Valley of Tears, and be free from all fevers and pain; and, which will be a more happy condition, I shall be free from sin, and all the temptations and anxieties that attend it; and this being past, I shall dwell in the new Jerusalem, dwell there with men made perfect, dwell where these eyes shall see my Master and Saviour Jesus and with him see my dear Mother and all my relations and friends. But I must die, or not come to that happy place: and this is my content, that I am going daily towards it, and that every day which I have lived hath taken a part of my appointed time from me,