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and the sales of marble, during the same period, amounted to about 11,000 dollars. In Rhode Island it is found snow white, of a fine grain, translucid, and perfectly resembles the Carrara marble.
Gypsum, or plaster stone, is found in Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut. It is very abundant in several parts of the State of New York, particularly in Onondago and Madison counties; also in the vicinity of Cayuga lake, whence, in 1812, 6000 tons of it were exported to Pensylvania. In many parts of the United States, it has been found an important article of manure in the cultivation of grasses, roots and grain.
Rock salt has not hitherto been discovered; but there are numerous salt springs. These sometimes flow naturally; but are more frequently formed by sinking wells in those places where the salt is known to exist, as in certain marshes and in salt licks, so called from having been formerly the resort of wild animals to lick the clay impregnated with the salt. These springs are chiefly found in the country westward of the Alleghany mountains, near the rivers which flow into the Ohio. They occur also in the State of New York, near the Onondago and Cayuga lakes, associated with the great gypsum formation already noticed. This brine is strong, and yields about 300,000 bushels of salt annually. The whole quantity of salt annually obtained from saline springs in the United States, exceeds 600,000 bushels.
Nitrate of potash, or saltpetre, is met with in considerable abundance. Mr Cleaveland gives the following description of the situations where it is principally obtained.
The calcareous caverns which abound in the State of Kentucky, furnish large quantities of nitre. The earths which exist in these caverns, and which contain both the nitrate of potash and the nitrate of lime, are lixiviated; and the lixivium is then made to pass through wood ashes, by the alkali of which the nitrate of lime is decomposed. * After due evaporation, the nitre is permitted to crystallize. One of the most remarkable of these caverns is in Madison county, on Crooked Creek, about sixty miles SE. from Lexington. This cavern extends entirely through a hill, and affords a convenient passage for horses and waggons. Its length is 646 yards, its breadth is generally about 40 feet, and its average height about 10 feet. One bushel of the earth in this cavern commonly yields from one to two pounds of nitre; and the same salt has been found to exist at the depth of 15 feet: even the clay is impregnated with nitrate of lime.
* It appears that two bushels of ashes, made by burning the dry wood in hollow trees, contain as much alkali as eighteen bushels of ashes obtained from the oak, '
Kentucky also furnishes nitre under a very different form, and constituting what is there called the rock ore, which is in fact a sandstone richly impregnated with nitrate of potash. These, sandstones are generally situated at the head of narrow valleys which traverse the sides of steep hills. They rest on calcareous strata, and sometimes present a front from 60 to 100 feet high. When broken into small fragments, and thrown into boiling water, the stone soon falls into sand, one bushel of which, by lixiviation and crystallization, frequently yields 10 lib. and sometimes more than 20 lib. of nitrate of potash. The nitre obtained from these rocks contains little or no nitrate of lime, and is said to be superior for the manufacture of gunpowder to that extracted from the afore-mentioned earths. '
Masses of native nitre, nearly pure, and weighing several pounds, are sometimes found in the fissures of these sandstones, or among detached fragments. Indeed, it is said that these masses of native nitre sometimes weigh several hundred pounds. Similar caverns occur in Tennessee, and in some parts of Virginia and Maryland.'
With the exception of the red oxide of zinc, and the native magnesia, the discovery of which by Dr Bruce we noticed in our account of his Mineralogical Journal, no simple minerals have hitherto been discovered in the United States that were riot already known to exist in other parts of the world. There are some of the simple minerals, however, which are found in a state of great perfection, such as the cyanité, green tourmaline and rubellite, melanite, precious serpentine, garnet and beryll. A mass of native iron has recently been found near Red River in Louisiana. The form is irregular; its length being three feet four inches, and its greatest breadth two feet four inches its weight exceeds 3000 lib. Its surface is covered with a blackish crust, and is deeply indented. It is very malleable and compact; but is unequally hard, some parts being easily cut by a chisel, while others have nearly the hardness of steel. Its specific gravity is 7.40. It contains nickel, and is less easily oxidated than purified iron. This is rendered particularly interesting, by its containing in its interior octahedral crystals, which may be easily cut by a knife, and are striated like magnetic iron. The largest crystal is more than half an inch in length.
We look forward with great hopes to the active exertions of our Transatlantic brethren in this interesting field of scientific inquiry; and we shall expect to see the great outline they have traced, filled up by those detailed examinations of particular districts, where the nature and mutual relations of the different rocks have been diligently and accurately studied. The country occupied by the Granite deserves particular attention, from the fun
VOL. XXX. No. 60.
damental point of theory connected with the history of this rock: -whether, in those situations where it appears to be the lowest rock, there is any evidence of its having been formed subsequently to the strata that cover it;-if any veins are seen to proceed from the great body of the granite, and to penetrate with numerous ramifications the superincumbent rocks, as has been observed in most situations where granite occurs. The great alluvial formation will doubtless afford many valuable illustrations of the changes which the surface of our globe has undergone, from the animal remains with which it is said to abound; and we trust that this important subject of inquiry will be investigated with the attention it deserves. We should be glad to hear of the establishment of a Geological Society, to excite the zeal, and unite the labours of the Geologists of America, and to be the organ of communication between them and the rest of the Scientific World.
ART. V. 1. Voyage of H. M. Ship Alceste along the Coast of Corea, to the island of Lerchew; with an Account of her subsequent Shipwreck. By JOHN M'LEOD, Surgeon of the Alceste. Second Edition. London, J. Murray, 1818.
2. Naufrage de la Fregate la Meduse, faisant Partie de l'Expe dition du Senegal en 1816; Relation contenant les Evenements qui ont eu lieu sur le Radeau, dans le Desert de Sahara, à St Louis, et au Camp de Daccard; suivi d'un Examen sous les Rapports Agricoles de la Partie Occidentale de la Cote d' Afrique, depuis le Cap Blanc jusqu'à l'un Bouchere de la Gambie. Par ALEXANDRE CORREARD, Ingenieur-Geographe, et J. B. HENRI SAVIGNY, Ex-Chirurgien de la Marine; tous deux Naufrages du Radeau. Seconde Edition, entièrement refondue, et augmentée des Notes de MONS. BREDIF, Ingenieur des Mines; avec le Plan du Radeau, et le Portrait du Roi ZAIDE. Paris, 1818.
IN every age and every country, since the foundation of society, events have been occurring, of which, though too mimute and fugitive for the vast and rapid page of general history, we must regret that no record has been preserved. It has been said, that the true characters of men are best seen in trifles—in those little acts which require no premeditation, and are not of importance enough to call for dissimulation or restraint. Considering the greater deliberation with which Governments usually conduct their public transactions, this is at least as true of nations
as of individuals; and it is much to be regretted, therefore, that there should be so few memorials of those less formal and guarded proceedings, in which national character may be supposed most fairly to disclose itself.
It is this kind of interest, we think, that belongs to the events related in the two narratives which stand at the head of this article. Each of them contains the account of a shipwreck-the one of an English, the other of a French frigate; catastrophes so common, as to attract no permanent notice, and whose memory scarcely outlives the tempest by which they are caused. We had not, however, read many pages of these volumes, before we were struck with the different conduct of the English and French sufferers, in similar circumstances; and we thought that a plain statement of the facts might prove interesting to our readers, and call their attention to some points of Character, which, from their generality, we cannot but consider as national.
On the 17th of June 1816, the Medusa French frigate, commanded by Captain Chaumareys, and accompanied by three smaller vessels, sailed from the island of Aix for the coast of Africa, in order to take possession of some colonies which we had captured in 1808, though, as we are sneeringly told by Mons. Savigny, not by force of arms, but by treachery; and which we restored to the French, by the treaties of 1814 and 1815. The first accident she encountered, was after she had doubled Cape Finisterre-when one of the crew fell into the sea; and, from the apathy of his companions, their want of promptitude in manœuvring, together with the absence of every precaution, he was left to perish. On the tenth day of sailing, there appeared an error of thirty leagues in her reckoning. But the recollection of these accidents, which, in the British navy, would be deemed most disgraceful, is lost in the transports and exultations of one of the crew at the sight of Teneriff. There it was,' he exclaimed, that a numerous fleet, commanded by one of the bravest admirals of England, was beaten off by a handful of Frenchmen. Ah! if, at Trafalgar, our Villeneuve had not been betrayed, we would have completed what we had here begun; and who can say what might have been the consequences !
As the Medusa lay off St Cruz, a boat was sent on shore to procure some necessaries; and it was discovered, that six Frenchmen, who had formerly been detained there as prisoners of war by the Spaniards, had, since their liberation, implored in vain of every ship of their nation which touched there during eight years, to give them a passage to their native land;-and not one would receive them on board. The Medusa was as obdurate as the rest; and the six Frenchmen were again thrown, by their own coun
trymen, upon the mercy of a nation which, in the very teeth of bigotry and despotism, is one of the most noble, brave, and generous in existence.
On the 1st of July the Medusa entered the Tropics; and there, with a childish disregard to every danger, and knowing that she was surrounded by all the unseen perils of the ocean, her crew performed the ceremony usual upon such an occasion, while the vessel was running headlong on destruction. The captain presided over the disgraceful scene of merriment, and had abandoned the ship to the command of a Mons. Richefort, who had passed the ten preceding years of his life in an English prison. A few persons on board, more aware of the consequences than the rest, remonstrated, but were not attended to; and, though it was ascertained that the Medusa was on the bank of Arguin, she continued her course, and heaved the lead, without slackening sail. Every thing denoted shallow water; but Mr Richefort persisted in saying, that there were one hundred fathoms. In that very moment only six fathoms were found; and the vessel struck three times, being in about sixteen feet water, and the tide full flood. At ebb tide, there remained but twelve feet water; and, after some manoeuvres, which were perfectly of a piece with the preceding conduct of the crew and officers, all hopes of getting the ship afloat were abandoned.So much for the first act of the French tragedy. Let us now see how the English one sets off.
On the 9th of February, 1816, the Alceste, Captain Murray Maxwell, sailed from Spithead, with the British ambassador, to China, and on the 4th of March following she too, upon crossing the line, had her visit from old Neptune, to the tune of Rule Britannia; but not while she knew herself to be surrounded by danger. It was upon returning from a very beautiful and interesting voyage; in which a spirit of moderation, firmness and good faith, highly creditable to the expedition, was eminently displayed, that the Alceste met with her misfortune.
A course was now shaped,' says Mr M'Leod, to avoid the numerous rocks and shoals, not well defined, which lie in that part of the Chinese sea more immediately to the westward of the Philippines, and to the northward of Borneo; and having, by the 14th, passed the whole, and got into the usual track for the passage of either of the straits of Banco or Gaspar, it was resolved to proceed through the latter, as being more direct, and less subject to calms than the former-and considering them equally safe, from the latest surveys and directions being on board, some of them by those who had personally examined them. At day-light in the morning of the 18th, we made Gaspar Island, exactly at the time expected, and, passing it, stood in for the strait. As is customary, in approaching any coast or