What is Marble?
A kind of stone remarkable for its hardness and firm grain, and for being susceptible of the finest polish. It is dug in great masses from pits or quarries; and is much used in ornamental buildings, and for statues, altars, tombs, chimney-pieces, &c. The word is derived from the French marbre, marble. Marble is supposed to be formed, deep within the bowels of the earth, from a loose and porous carbonate of lime, subjected to enormous heat and pressure.
Susceptible, easily admitting anything additional.
Porous, full of holes, or interstices.
Are there different sorts of this Stone?
Marbles are of many different kinds, usually named either from their color or country; some of one simple color, as white, or black; others streaked or variegated with different colors. They are classified as ancient and modern: the ancient are those found in quarries now lost or inaccessible to us, and of which there are only some wrought pieces remaining;—the modern, those from quarries still open, and out of which blocks of marble continue to be taken.
In what countries is Marble found?
The United States, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, Egypt, and many other countries, produce marbles of different colors and qualities; some more beautiful, valuable, and more highly esteemed than others, as those of Egypt, Italy, &c. Those, also, of different places in the same country frequently differ from each other in quality and appearance Of the European marbles, that of Italy is the most valuable.
What kind appears to have been held in the greatest esteem by the ancients?
A beautiful white marble, called the Parian; of which the Grecian statues were mostly made. By some, it is supposed to have taken its name from the Isle of Paros, in the Mediterranean; but by others from Parius, a famous statuary, who made it celebrated by cutting in it a statue of Venus. Parian marble is often mentioned by ancient authors.
Statues, figures of men, animals, &c., cut in stone or marble.
Statuary, one who makes statues.
Who was Venus?
The goddess of love and beauty, who was an object of adoration in the idolatrous ages, when men ignorantly knelt down and worshipped stocks and stones, which their own hands had fashioned after the likeness of things on the earth, or imaginary creations of their fancy;—or, again, the sun, moon, and stars, instead of the one and only true God. In those times, every nation had its peculiar deities, to whom were paid divine rites and honors, and to whose names costly temples were dedicated: these deities were divided into two classes, superior and inferior. Venus was one of the Grecian goddesses, supposed by them to have sprung from the froth of the sea. Kings and celebrated warriors, and sages too, after death, frequently received divine honors; as Confucius, the founder of the Chinese empire, who, after death, was worshipped by that people as a god. Romulus, the first king of Rome, likewise, was thus adored by the Romans; and many similar instances of the same species of idolatry amongst other nations might be recorded.
Deities, fabulous gods or goddesses.
Idolatrous, given to the worship of idols.
Superior, higher in rank.
Inferior, of a lower rank.
Sage, a wise man.
GOLD, SILVER, LEAD, TIN, PLATINA, SULPHUR, GEMS OR PRECIOUS STONES, AS DIAMONDS, RUBIES, EMERALDS, TURQUOIS, PEARLS, MOTHER-OR-PEARLS, AND IVORY.
What is Gold?
The purest and most precious of metals: it is sometimes found in solid masses, as in California, Peru, Hungary, &c.; in a shape resembling the branches of plants; in thin plates covering other bodies, as in Siberia; sometimes in a crystal form. It, however, generally occurs in a metallic state, and most commonly in the form of grains.
What is it called when found in a perfect metallic form?
Native gold: it is, however, seldom met with perfectly pure, being frequently alloyed with silver, copper, iron, or platina; sometimes concealed in other minerals; from which, if sufficiently abundant, it is extracted by art.
Where and in what manner is Gold generally found?
All parts of the earth afford gold; though with great difference in point of purity and abundance. It is chiefly obtained from mines. Many rivers contain gold in their sands, especially those of California and Guinea. Gold mines are of rare occurrence in Europe, but the metal is found in some of its rivers; among its mines, those of Upper Hungary are the most considerable. China and Japan are rich in this metal; many parts of Asia also possess it. Australia produces quantities of the metal. It is also found in the eastern parts and interior of Africa, where gold dust is collected in great quantities from earth deposited by the rivers. But it is in America that gold is found in the greatest abundance, particularly in the State of California, and in some parts of South America, as Brazil, Peru, Chili, &c.
Guinea, a country of Western Africa.
What are the uses of Gold?
It is used for money, jewelry, plate, &c. It is also employed in various ways in the arts.
What is the character of Gold?
Gold is so ductile and malleable, that an ounce of it may be drawn into a thread of 73 leagues in length; or beaten into 160 leaves of 9 inches square, and thin enough to be carried away by the slightest wind. It readily assumes any form that human art can bestow upon it: its color is unalterable, and the beautiful polish of which it is susceptible, renders it the best of all metals for ornamental purposes. It is indestructible by air, water, or fire. Gold is the heaviest of all metals, except platina; it is neither very elastic, nor very hard.
League, a measure of length containing three miles.
Indestructible, incapable of being destroyed.
Is not the use of Gold quite ancient?
Yes; it appears to have been very early known to the inhabitants of the world. In the 13th Chapter of Genesis, Abram is spoken of as very rich in silver and gold; and in the 2d Chapter of the same book, the "land of Hevilath" (now in the eastern part of Arabia Felix,) is pointed out as having gold. Arabia was famed for the fineness and quality of its gold. In the time of Solomon, the gold of Ophir seems to have been much esteemed, as it is recorded that the gold used in the building of the Temple was brought from that place by the merchant-vessels of Hiram, King of Tyre. Ophir is supposed to have been situated somewhere in the East Indies.
What is Silver?
A beautiful white shining metal, next to gold in value, and, like that precious substance, of great antiquity. It is found in Sweden, Norway, and the polar latitudes: when it occurs in hot climates, it is generally amidst mountains, covered with perpetual snow.
Latitude, breadth, width; in Geography, the distance of a place in degrees, north or south, from the Equator.
Where are the richest Silver Mines found?
In South America, especially among the Andes; the mines of Mexico, and those of Nevada, also, are rich in this metal. The richest and most important silver mines in Europe are those of Koenigsberg, in Norway, and of Andalusia, in Spain. With the exception of gold, silver is the most ductile of all metals: a single grain may be extended into a plate 126 inches long, and half an inch broad. It is capable of still further extension, but its tenacity is inferior even to that of iron or copper. A silver wire one-tenth of an inch thick will scarcely bear a weight of 290 pounds, whilst a gold wire of the same thickness will support nearly double that weight. Like some other metals, it is unalterable by air or moisture, but by an intense heat may be volatilized, being sometimes found in the soot of chimneys where large quantities are melted.
Volatilized, made to fly off by evaporation.
In what state is Silver usually found?
It is rarely found in a state of purity, being generally mixed with other metals, as gold, lead, &c. Masses of native silver are of no determinate form; being found sometimes in small branches, sometimes in threads, or very frequently in leaves, as in the Siberian mines. Native, or pure silver is chiefly found in the mines of Potosi. Silver was used as money in commerce 1100 years before the foundation of Rome.
Commerce, trade of one nation with another, or different persons, &c. with each other.
What is Tin?
A white metal, softer than any other excepting lead, more elastic, and more sonorous. Though tin is the lightest of all metals, its ore is, when rich, the heaviest of all metallic ores. It has both smell and taste; is less ductile than some harder metals, though it may be beaten into very thin leaves; and it fuses so quickly, that it requires a heat much less than is sufficient to make it red-hot.
Was not the use of Tin very early known?
Tin was found in Britain from the earliest ages; the Phenicians traded to Cornwall for this metal 600 years before Christ.
Where are the principal Tin Mines?
In Saxony, Cornwall, and Bohemia. Tin is also found in Spain, Sumatra, Siam, Mexico, and Chili. A few specimens have been found at Goshen, in Massachusetts.
In what state is Tin generally found?
Tin is sometimes found native or pure, but most frequently alloyed with other metals: the working of tin mines is attended with much difficulty, on account of their great depth, and the hard rocks which obstruct the progress of the miners, who are often obliged to cut through them. This metal is very useful in the making of domestic utensils, for coating the inside of copper and iron vessels, and for various other purposes.
Obstruct, to stand in the way.
What is Lead?
A coarse, heavy metal, of a bluish grey color: it is so soft and flexible, that it is easily cut with a knife, and rolled out into sheets, &c.; it is very fusible and inelastic, but less ductile and sonorous, than any other metal. Next to gold, platina, and mercury, it is the heaviest of the metals, being eleven times heavier than an equal bulk of water. This metal loses its malleability in proportion as it is heated: as soon as it melts it calcines, and greyish-colored ashes are formed on its surface; when returning from a fluid to a solid state, it is easily divided into small grains or powder, or formed into shot, &c. Lead was in common use among the ancients.
Flexible, yielding, easily bent.
Sonorous, giving sound when struck.
Where is Lead found?
In various countries; but it abounds principally in Great Britain and Spain; the lead mines of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, are among the richest in the world. Lead is a metal of great utility; it easily melts and mixes with gold, silver, and copper; hence it is employed in refining gold and silver, as it separates all the dirt and impurities from them; it is much used in building, particularly for covering gutters, pipes, &c.; lead is also used in varnishes and oil-painting, and makes the basis of the glazing of all the earthen and pottery wares.
Refining, cleansing, purifying.
Varnishes, preparations for beautifying and preserving various articles.
What is peculiar to the ore of Lead?
The ore of this metal is so poisonous, that the steam arising from the furnaces in which it is smelted infects the grass of all the neighboring places, and kills the animals which feed on it: culinary vessels lined with a mixture of tin and lead, are apt to convey pernicious qualities to the food prepared in them. There are various preparations of lead, serving for different purposes.
Culinary, adapted to the purposes of cooking.
Pernicious, hurtful, dangerous.
Ore, the mineral soil, earth, or stone dug out of the mines, which contains the metal.
What is Black Lead?
It is a kind of mineral, of a deep shining black or bluish color, soft and unctuous to the touch; it is insoluble in acids, and infusible by fire. Black lead has been found in many parts of the world, in a state of greater or less purity, but it is the English black lead which is the most esteemed.
Insoluble, incapable of dissolving.
Infusible, not capable of being melted.
Is Black Lead a proper term for this mineral?
No; because, in reality, there is not a particle of lead in it. On the spot where it is procured, it is called by two or three different names, but the most usual is Plumbago.
Where is the best Black Lead found?
The best and greatest quantity is found in England, in a mine near Keswick, in Cumberland. It is much used for pencils or crayons, for writing, drawing, &c.; for this purpose it is sawn into slips, and fitted into a groove in a strip of soft wood, as cedar, &c., over which another is placed and fastened with glue.
What is Platina?
A metallic substance, more recently discovered than the metals already described; and analogous to the perfect metals, especially gold,—many of whose properties it possesses.
Analogous, bearing a resemblance.
Whence is its name derived?
It is the diminutive of plata, silver, to which it appears very similar; platina being a silver-colored metal, in small grains.
Diminutive, a word lessening the meaning of the original.
Whence is it obtained?
Mostly from Russia, and, also from South America. Its color does not tarnish by exposure to the air, and appears to be equally permanent with that of pure gold; the metal is indestructible by fire. Platina is capable of being alloyed with all metals; is fused with difficulty, but by great labor may be rendered malleable: it is also the heaviest metal, being 21 times heavier than water.
Are there any other Metals besides those already mentioned?
In addition to the metals known and used by the ancients, the chemical science of later ages has, by decomposing other earths, added more than thirty to the number of metals, some of them more curious than useful; several of these are lighter than water. All the metals possess different and distinct properties from each other. They are divided into two classes, the malleable and the brittle metals. These last may be again divided into two others,—namely, those which are easily, and those which are with difficulty fused.
What do you mean by Metallurgy?
The art of obtaining metals from their ores, comprising the processes of assaying, refining, smelting, &c. By assaying is meant, the particular manner of examining an ore or mixed metal, according to its nature, so as to discover not only what metals and what proportions of metal may be obtained from it, but also what other mineral substances or earths may be contained in it.
What do the terms Refining and Smelting signify?
Refining is the art of rendering the metal free from all impurities. Smelting means the melting of a metal from its ore in a smelting furnace, in order to separate the metallic parts from the sulphur, arsenic, and the earthy and stony substances with which they may be combined.
What is Sulphur?
An inflammable, fossil substance, of a dry, solid, friable nature, melting with a small proportion of heat;—when fired in the open air, burning almost entirely away with a blue flame and noxious vapor. It is abundantly diffused in many places, especially where metallic minerals are found; but more particularly in those districts where subterranean fires and volcanoes exist. It is also found combined with many different substances.
Describe the nature of Sulphur, and the places where it is mostly found.
Sulphur almost pure, called native or virgin sulphur, is found in volcanoes and grottoes, in the form of transparent crystals; but the greatest quantity which exists naturally is combined with metals in ores. Sulphur is both fusible and volatile,—which qualities enable us to procure it from those minerals by the process of sublimation: it unites easily, in different degrees, with all metallic matters, excepting gold, platina, and zinc.
Sublimation, the act of bringing a solid substance into the state of vapor by heat, and condensing it again by cold.
Are not its uses very extensive?
Yes, both in the arts and in chemistry: it is well known to be a principal ingredient in the preparation of gunpowder and fire-works; it is also used for whitening wool, straw, silk, &c.; many other matters exposed to the vapors of sulphur when burning, quickly lose their color, which no other substance had been able to destroy. Sulphur is also frequently found in mineral waters.
Whence are the greatest quantities of Sulphur brought?
The largest quantities are brought from Saxony, in irregular masses, which are afterwards melted and cast into small rolls. There are about four species of sulphur; namely, the yellow native sulphur, which in its purest state is clear, and of a pale straw color, found in the gold mines of Peru; in Hungary, and some other places: the green native sulphur, which is harder than the other, is found in small crust-like masses; this sort is chiefly confined to Mount Vesuvius: and the grey native sulphur, common in Iceland and many other places. Native sulphur is also found at the coal mines, near Richmond, Virginia; in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the United States.
Which is the most rare and beautiful of all the kinds?
The red native sulphur; it is mostly of a fine glowing red, very bright and transparent; it is found, like the first-mentioned sort, in the gold mines of Peru. Common sulphur, such as is used in trade and the arts, is of a pale yellow color; and possesses a peculiar and disagreeable smell, particularly when heated or rubbed. This is mostly extracted from the metallic sulphurets, and is commonly called brimstone. It is the sort employed in making matches.
Is there not another substance also employed in the manufacture of matches?
Yes: Phosphorus, a peculiar substance, chiefly of animal origin. It is mostly procured by the decomposition of the phosphoric acid which is found in bones. It was accidentally discovered at Hamburgh, in 1669, by an alchemist named Brandt.
Alchemist, one skilled in Alchemy.
[Footnote 15: See Chapter XVIII., article Chemistry.]
What is the nature of Phosphorus?
It is a solid, inflammable substance, which burns when in contact with atmospheric air. It is used in various chemical experiments, and for making matches; for various kinds of fire-works, &c. It will combine with all metals except gold and zinc; and also with some earths. Some animals, as the glow-worm, possess very peculiar phosphorescent qualities.
Phosphorescent, having a phosphoric property, emitting peculiar light like phosphorus.
What is Arsenic?
A heavy metallic substance, very volatile, and highly inflammable; so caustic or corrosive to animals, as to become a violent poison in all its states. In its metallic state it is used in several of the arts: it is employed in the manufacture of factitious metals: it is of use to the dyer in forming some of his colors; and for that purpose is generally combined with potassa. It is used in the making of small shot, and also in the manufacture of glass, to which it gives transparency; in whitening copper; in calico printing; in the preparation of colors for the painter; and in the working of platina, and some other metals, to render them more easily fusible.
Caustic, dry, burning.
Corrosive, apt to corrode, to eat away, to penetrate.
How is the white powdered arsenic prepared?
By submitting the ore to a strong heat in a peculiar kind of furnace; this produces a dark grey powder, which is again heated in close iron vessels; this separates it from its impurities, and the arsenic is obtained in thick, solid masses; these, by exposure to the air, fall into a fine, white powder.
From what is the word Arsenic derived?
From a Greek word, signifying masculine—powerful (as a poison). Arsenic is dug out of mines in Saxony, near Goslar; in Bohemia; in England, in the Mendip Hills, in great quantities. It has so strong a corrosive quality as sometimes to burn the hands and feet of the miners; it is a deadly poison for all known animals. This poisonous mineral is not found native in its perfect form, being generally united with metallic ores.
What do you mean by Gems?
The word gem is used as a common name for all precious stones or jewels; they consist of the siliceous earths; and are much valued for their lustre, transparency, color, hardness, and rarity. There are many different kinds of precious stones, each distinguished by its peculiar character.
How are they divided?
Into the pellucid gems, which are of great lustre, and extremely hard, as the diamond; the semi-pellucid, those which are not so transparent, but yet of great beauty; those of one color, as the emerald or turquois; and those variegated or veined with different colors. Gems are sometimes found of regular shapes, with a natural polish, near the beds of rivers after great rains; these are of the pebble kind. Sometimes they are found of irregular shapes, with a rough coat, in mines and the clefts of rocks. Pearls, though not stones, are also ranked among the number of gems.
Pellucid, clear as a drop of water.
Semi-pellucid, half pellucid.
Describe the Diamond.
The diamond is a precious stone, the first in rank of all the gems, and valued for its beautiful lustre; it is the hardest of all stones, as well as the most valuable. The most esteemed are colorless. A diamond in its natural state as it comes out of the mine, and before it is cut, is called rough, because it has no brilliancy, but is covered with an earthy crust. The diamond is the Adamant of the ancients; hence the expression "hard as adamant," from its being the hardest substance in nature. The cutting of diamonds is a work of labor, and requires great skill; the polishing is performed by a mill of simple construction.
Where are they mostly found?
In yellow ochreous earths; in mines; and likewise in torrents, which have torn them from their beds. In former times, all the diamonds that were known were brought from the famous mines of Golconda, in Hindostan; the islands of Molucca and Borneo have also produced many valuable stones. The diamond mines of Golconda are now so exhausted, that they are not thought worth the expense of working; these gems are now brought chiefly from Brazil, in South America.
What is meant by Ochreous?
Consisting of ochre, a kind of earth with a rough and dusty surface, composed of fine, soft, clayey particles, which readily separate in water. There are various colored ochres, as red, yellow, blue, green, &c.; they are very useful in many of the arts.
What term is used to denote the quality of the Diamond?
In speaking of the value of diamonds, we distinguish them as "diamonds of the first water," meaning those which possess the greatest perfection and purity, which ought to be that of the clearest drop of water: when they fall short of this perfection, they are said to be "of the second or third water," and so on till the stone may be properly called a colored one.
What is the Ruby?
A beautiful gem of a red color; in its perfect state it is of great value. The ruby is often found perfectly pure and free from all spots or blemishes; but its value is much more frequently lessened by them, especially in the larger stones. It is very hard, being second only to the diamond in this respect; and is often naturally so bright and pure on the surface as to need no polishing; it is often worn in rings, &c., in its rough or native state. The color of rubies varies from the deepest to the palest red, all having more or less of a purplish tinge, which is more plainly perceived in the deeper colored specimens than in the paler ones.
Where are Rubies found?
They are mostly found in gold mines. We have the true rubies only from the East. The Isle of Ceylon has long been celebrated for these gems; they are found in a river which descends from the mountains; they are brighter and more beautiful than those obtained in other parts, but are very rare. Some crystals are frequently found tinged with the true color of the ruby, but these want its lustre and hardness.
Describe the Emerald.
It is a precious stone of a beautiful transparent green color, and, when in a state of perfection, nearly equal to the ruby in hardness. The finest and best are found in America, especially among the mountains of Peru; they are also obtained from a few places in the East. These gems are often counterfeited, as are most of the precious stones, there being even false diamonds; the genuine may be known by their extreme hardness and brilliancy.
Counterfeited, imitated with a view to defraud.
Genuine, true, real.
What is the Turquois?
A beautiful blue stone; it is one of the softest of the gems, and some varieties are often used for seals, as they admit of being engraved upon. The turquois is easily imitated, and that often so perfectly as to render it very difficult to distinguish the counterfeit from the true gem.
In what countries are they found?
The Oriental Turquois comes from Persia, the Indies, and some parts of Turkey; the turquois is also found in various parts of Europe, as Germany, Spain, and France.
What is Engraving?
The art of cutting metals or precious stones, and representing thereon figures, letters, and devices; the term is, however, more particularly applied to the art of producing figures or designs on metal, &c., for the purpose of being subsequently printed on paper. The ancients are well known to have excelled in engraving on precious stones; many specimens have been preserved, which surpass anything of the kind produced by the moderns. This art is frequently alluded to in the Bible. Engraving on wood, according to some authors, was introduced into Europe from China by Venetian merchants; it is certain the art was practised in eastern and northern Italy as early as the thirteenth century. The invention of copper-plate engraving has been ascribed to a goldsmith of Florence, about the year 1460.
Device, that which is formed by design.
Design, a representation of a thing by an outline; a sketch.
Describe Wood Engraving.
The subject is drawn on a block of box or pear-tree wood with a black-lead pencil, or with a pen and Indian ink; the wood is then cut away, so as to leave the lines which have been drawn, as raised parts. The ink is next applied, and by pressing damp paper upon the block, the impressions are obtained. Albert Durer, a celebrated painter of Germany, brought the art of engraving on wood and metal, and taking off impressions on paper, &c., to great perfection.
How is engraving on copper, steel, &c., performed?
This sort of engraving is performed with a sharp-pointed instrument called a graver, by means of which figures, landscapes, &c., are traced upon a flat surface of the metal: the lines are then filled with ink or a similar composition, and the paper pressed on the plate. When taken off, an exact copy of the plate is impressed upon its surface.
What is Lithography?
A species of engraving on stone, from which impressions can be taken much more expeditiously and economically than from metal. The process depends upon the following principles:—First, the facility with which calcareous stones imbibe water; second, the power of oily substances to repel water. When drawings are executed upon the stone with crayons composed of oily materials, and the surface of the stone is washed over with water, the moisture is imbibed by the stone, but repelled from the engraving; and when the ink, which also contains oily substances, is applied, it adheres only to the drawing, and not to the other portions of the stone. The block is then passed through a press, and the impressions are taken off; as many as 70,000 perfect copies have been obtained from a single stone.
Expeditiously, with celerity or dispatch.
Economically, with economy; with frugality.
You describe Pearls as being ranked among the number of Gems, although they are not Stones; what kind of substance are they?
Pearls are excrescences found in the shells of a large species of oyster, which are supposed to be produced by a disease of the fish. The best pearls are generally taken from the most fleshy part of the oyster, near the hinge of the shell, but inferior kinds are found in all parts of the fish, and adhering to the shells. Pearls, from many allusions made to them in the Old Testament, were not only known to the ancients, but were regarded by them as costly and precious gems.
How do they get the Oysters which contain them?
By diving under water and picking the oysters from the large beds at the bottom of the sea; or the rocks to which they adhere. The divers cast all the oysters they take into their boats, and carry them ashore, where they deposit them in heaps; they are then left till they become putrid, this being necessary in order to remove the pearls easily from the rough matter by which they are surrounded.
What sea produces the best and greatest number of Pearls?
The finest and greatest quantities are obtained off the coast of Ceylon; the pearl oyster is also found in the seas of the East Indies; in those of America, and in some parts of the European seas; but these last are much inferior. The Oriental pearls are the finest on account of their size, color, and beauty, being of a silvery white; while the Occidental pearls are smaller, and frequently tinged with a yellow or blackish hue.
Tinged, slightly colored.
Does not the Pearl Oyster produce a substance called Mother-of-Pearl?
No; the beautiful substance so much used for inlaying boxes, and for ornamental knife-handles, &c., is produced from the shell, not of the pearl oyster, but of another sea-fish of the oyster kind.
What is Inlaying?
The art of ornamenting a plain surface of wood, or other material, with thin slices or leaves of a finer wood, of a different kind; as mahogany inlaid with ebony, &c., or with ivory, and other substances. There are two kinds of inlaying; one, of the more ordinary sort, which consists only of compartments of different kinds of wood, inlaid with one another; the other, requiring greater skill, represents flowers, birds, and other figures. The thin plates of wood or other substance, being sawed into slips, and cut into the required forms, are carefully joined, and afterwards strongly glued down on the block of wood, &c., intended to be thus ornamented.
Compartment, a division, a separate part.
What is Ebony?
A hard, black-colored wood, growing in the countries of the Levant, &c.; there are, however, several black woods of different kinds which are also called ebony.
What is Ivory?
The tooth or tusk of the Elephant, which grows on each side of his trunk; it is somewhat like a horn in shape. Ivory is much esteemed for its beautiful white color, polish, and fine grain when wrought. It has been used from the remotest ages of antiquity; in the Scriptures we read of Solomon's ivory throne, and also of "vessels of ivory," and "beds of ivory:" by which it appears to have been a chief article of luxury, as well as of trade.
Remotest, most distant.
Of what countries is the Elephant an inhabitant?
Of many parts of Asia and Africa. The elephant is the largest quadruped now in existence; it is extremely sagacious, docile and friendly: in the countries where they live they are trained to useful labor, and by their great strength are enabled to perform tasks which a man or horse could not accomplish: among the native princes they were, and even still are, used in war: with them the inhabitants are able to hunt and destroy the lion, tiger, and other beasts of prey. With their long trunk, or proboscis, they can perform almost everything which man can with his hands.
Quadruped, an animal with four feet.
STARCH, ARROW-ROOT, TAPIOCA, ISINGLASS, CAVIARE, THE VINE, WINE, GIN, RUM, BRANDY, VINEGAR, INDIGO, GAMBOGE, LOGWOOD, TAR, PITCH, CAMPHOR, MUSK, MYRRH, FRANKINCENSE, AND TURPENTINE.
What is Starch?
A white, powdery sediment procured from the bottom of vessels in which flour or meal has been steeped in water. Pure starch is of a fine white color, without taste or smell; it will not dissolve in cold water, but with warm forms a jelly, in which form it is generally used; it is made by crushing, soaking, and fermenting the grains of the cereals, and then washing in pure water; the water is then evaporated, leaving behind the starch.
Sediment, matter subsided to the bottom of liquors.
For what is Starch used?
To stiffen linen after washing; to make hair powder; and for other purposes in the arts.
From what vegetables is Starch obtained?
All farinaceous vegetable substances afford it, as the potato, horse-chestnut, &c. Starch being the nutritive part of the vegetable, forms an excellent food for invalids, and constitutes the principal part of arrow-root, tapioca, &c.; the different flavor of these substances being derived from the mixture of a small portion of foreign matter peculiar to the plants which yield them. Starch is procured from potatoes by crushing them to powder, and then proceeding as in the manufacture of wheat starch.
What is Arrow-root?
The starch obtained from the root of an American plant by pulverization. It is often adulterated with potato starch, and the latter is even sold instead of it, for the two kinds resemble each other so closely that they can hardly be distinguished.
Pulverization, the act of reducing to powder.
Adulterated, corrupted by foreign mixture.
What is Tapioca?
Tapioca is another kind of starch, obtained from the root of the manioc plant, which is cultivated in most hot climates, in Asia, Africa, and America. A flour is also prepared from it, which is used for making bread. It is particularly cultivated in the tropical parts of America, and in the West India islands, where it forms a very important article of food for the Negro population.
Negro, a name given to the black inhabitants of Africa and their descendants.
Population, inhabitants of a place or country.
What is Isinglass?
One of the purest and finest of animal glues. It is the produce of several kinds of fish, but especially of the sturgeon, which inhabits the seas of Northern Europe and America.
From what part of the fish is it prepared?
From the air-bladder, and certain parts of the entrails; these are taken out while fresh, cut open, washed, and exposed to the air a short time to stiffen; the outside skin is then taken off, and the remaining part formed into rolls, fastened together with pegs, and hung up to dry. The isinglass is then separated into threads of different sizes, or formed into flakes. Immense quantities are annually prepared in this manner in Russia.
What are its uses?
Dissolving readily in water or milk, it yields a mild nutriment for the sick, and enters into the composition of many delicacies for the table, such as jellies, &c. It is mixed with gum to give lustre to silk and satin; it is also used in making court plaster, and for clarifying various liquors. Gelatine, now much used on account of its being less expensive, is a similar preparation, but of an inferior quality.
What else does the Sturgeon supply?
Its roe furnishes the delicacy called Caviare, which is in fact merely that part of the fish separated from the membranes and washed in vinegar and white wine, and dried in the air. It is then well salted, and packed up in barrels ready for sale. This is the method of preparing it in Russia, where large quantities of it are consumed. It is largely exported to Italy, where it is highly esteemed. It is unwholesome, and at present the demand for it, except in Russia and Italy, is very limited. The best is dry and of a brown color, and is eaten with lemon juice on bread.
To what other uses is the fruit of the Vine applied besides drying it for raisins, as described in the sixth chapter?
The well-known plant, called the Vine, has been an object of culture from the earliest ages of the world, for the sake of the fermented liquor obtained from its fruit; soon after the flood, Noe, who appears to have been the first "husbandman," is mentioned as having "planted a vineyard," and drank of the juice of the grape; in all those countries where it flourishes, it is inseparably connected with their religious rites, and wine, like corn, formed one of the principal articles which they offered on their altars to the gods whom they worshipped.
Husbandman, one who cultivates the fruits of the earth.
Altar, the place where sacrifices were anciently offered to some deity.
What countries produce the best Wines?
The wines of France are generally admitted to be the finest; the principal ones are Champagne, Burgundy, and Claret. Of each of these, there are several varieties, celebrated for their peculiar flavor; they are generally named after the places where they are made. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Sicily, Greece, and California, also produce their various sorts of wine, each esteemed in its kind.
May Wine be extracted from other vegetable bodies?
The word is appropriated in a more particular manner to the fermented juice of the grape; but nearly all vegetable productions may be made to afford wine. That produced from Apples is called Cider; that from Pears, Perry. A kind of wine, called Mead, is prepared from honey and water.
Appropriated, applied to.
What is Honey?
A sweet vegetable juice, collected from the flowers of various plants by the bees.
What Honey was reckoned by the ancients the best in the world?
The honey of Hybla, on the east coast of Sicily, and of Hymettus, a mountain of Greece, near Athens.
What other fluid is drawn from Wine?
Spirits; by this term is understood, a volatile fluid called spirits of wine, or alcohol, obtained by distillation from wine, beer, and all fermented liquors. It is colorless, and of a strong penetrating taste and smell. It is of great use in chemistry; in dyeing to prepare the stuff for receiving colors; and in many of the arts.
What is the vessel called which is used in Distilling?
A Still. It is a vessel so formed as to collect the vapor, which is the spirit, or alcohol, separated from the liquid from which it is drawn. This liquid product is itself returned to the still; and the same process is several times repeated, till the alcohol or spirit is sufficiently strong and pure. There are three principal spirits used in this country, as gin, rum, and brandy.
Product, thing produced.
What is Gin?
A spirit procured from raw barley, oats, and malt, mixed together in certain proportions: there are several varieties of this spirit, all obtained from grain. The peculiar flavor of gin is given by infusing a few hops and some of the berries of the juniper fir.
What is Malt?
Malt is barley prepared by being steeped in water and fermented, and then dried in a kiln. It is used for making beer, &c.
Of what are Hops the produce?
Of a graceful climbing plant, the blossoms of which are used in making beer, to preserve it and improve its flavor.
What is Rum?
A spirit obtained from molasses, the fluid which drains from sugar while it is crystallizing.
What is Brandy?
A spirit distilled from any wine; but the best is procured from weak French wines, which are unfit for exportation. Brandy, from whatever wine it has been obtained, is at first colorless; different methods are employed to give it the color by which it is distinguished.
Exportation, the act of sending articles from one country to another.
What is Vinegar?
An agreeable, acid, penetrating liquor, prepared from wine, beer, &c. To make vinegar, the wine or beer is made to undergo a second fermentation, called the acid or acetous fermentation; the first which the vegetable juice had to undergo, in order to convert it into wine or beer, being called the vinous fermentation. Vinegar is of great use in cookery and medicine; the word is derived from the French for wine, vin, and aigre, sour. The ancients had several kinds of vinegar, which they used as drinks; but it is most likely that these vinegars were different from that so called among us, and were more probably a kind of wine.
What materials are used for the dyeing and coloring of our manufactures?
There are many mineral and vegetable earths which furnish mankind with different colors for beautifying their various manufactures, and assisting them in the arts, &c. Some species of insects also come to their aid, as for instance, the cochineals; these insects are killed by the application of heat, and thus form the drug used for giving red colors, especially crimson and scarlet, and for making carmine. The beautiful and permanent blue called Indigo, is the produce of a small shrub, two or three feet in height.
From what part is the Dye obtained?
From the leaves; the color is produced by soaking them some hours in water, in large vessels constructed for the purpose; the sediment of the blue liquor drawn from them is afterwards dried and sold in the form of small grains For the painter, they are mixed with oil, or diluted and made up into small cakes with gum water.
In what countries is Indigo cultivated?
It is native in both Indies, and in South America, where its cultivation affords employment to many of the inhabitants. It also grows wild in parts of Palestine, and is much cultivated both in Syria and Egypt. It once formed one of the staples of the Southern States, but has in a great measure given way to the cultivation of cotton.
Has Indigo been long known?
The culture and preparation of indigo were known to the Oriental nations long before it was introduced into Europe. The inhabitants of ancient Britain painted their bodies with the blue dye which they obtained from woad, a plant which grows wild in France and along the shores of the Baltic, and which greatly resembles indigo in all its properties, except its brilliancy of color.
What is Gamboge?
The concrete resinous juice of a species of gum-tree, growing in Cambodia, and other parts of the Indies. It is brought over in large cakes or rolls of a yellowish brown color outside, and inside of a deep yellow or orange, which changes to a pale bright yellow on being moistened.
What are the uses of Gamboge?
Dissolved in water, it forms a beautiful and useful color for the painter. It is also used in medicine. Gamboge is soluble in either water or spirits of wine. Mixed with a blue color, it forms green, in various shades according to the different proportions of the ingredients.
What is Logwood?
The wood of a tree which grows in parts of America and the West Indies. It is imported in great quantities, and employed in dyeing purple and the finest blacks.
What is Tar?
A coarse, resinous liquor issuing from the wood and bark of pine or fir-trees; it is in fact the oily juices of the sap thickened and colored by the heat of the sun or by age; it is extracted for use by burning the wood of the trees under a heavy covering of turf or earth; the tar exudes during the slow combustion, and is collected into a cavity dug in the ground for the purpose. Tar is exported in great quantities from Norway, Sweden, and our Southern States.
What are its uses?
It is applied to the sides of ships and boats and their rigging, to preserve them from the effects of the weather; it is used instead of paint for palings, &c.; and sometimes also in medicine. A kind, called mineral tar, is also drawn from coal by the process of distillation. Mineral tar is also found native in some parts of the earth.
What is Pitch?
A kind of juice or gum, likewise drawn from unctuous woods, chiefly those of the pine and fir; it is used for nearly the same purposes as tar in shipping, medicine, and various other arts. Pitch is properly a juice of the wild pine, or pitch tree; it is of a glossy black color, dry brittle, and less bitter and pungent than the liquid tar.
What is Camphor?
A vegetable substance, chiefly procured from a kind of laurel, (Laurus Camphora,) growing in Borneo, Japan, and many East Indian islands; it is also produced from other plants and shrubs, though in very small quantities.
How, and from what part of the tree is it taken?
All parts of the tree are impregnated with camphor; but it is principally extracted from the roots and trunk, by distillation; it is white, and of a crystal form: its odor is extremely fragrant. In this state it is called rough camphor, and is thus exported. The Greeks and Romans do not appear to have been acquainted with this valuable drug; and we are indebted to the Arabians for a knowledge of it.
What are the properties and uses of Camphor?
It is a firm, dry, crystal matter, with a hot, sharp, aromatic taste. It is highly odorous, and so inflammable as to burn and preserve its flame in water; it totally vanishes or evaporates in the open air, and in Spirits of Wine it entirely dissolves. Camphor has various uses—as in fire-works, &c.; it is an excellent preservative of animal and vegetable bodies, as it resists worms and other insects. In the courts of Eastern princes it is burnt at night with wax. Its principal use with us is in medicine.
Preservative, a preventive of decay.
What is Musk?
A dry, friable substance of a dark color, taken from a little bag under the belly of a small animal called the Thibet Musk, which is a native of the Indies, Tonquin, and China. It inhabits the woods and forests, where the natives hunt it down. Musk is so strong a perfume as to be agreeable only in the smallest quantities, or when mingled with some other scent; it is used in perfumery, &c.
Is there not another Animal which produces a similar scent?
Yes; an animal of Arabian origin produces an odoriferous substance called Civet, from which it takes its name of Civet Cat; there are several species of this animal which produce it, but it is from the Civet Cat that it is most commonly taken. Civets are found in all the warm parts of Asia and Africa, in Madagascar, and the East Indian Islands. It was formerly in high esteem, but is at present very little used, except to increase the power of other perfumes.
What is Myrrh?
A kind of gum-resin, issuing from the trunk of a tree growing in Arabia, Egypt, and Abyssinia; it flows either naturally, or by incision; and is sent to us in small lumps of a reddish brown or yellow color. Its smell is strong, but not disagreeable. Our myrrh is the same drug that was used by the ancients under the above name. Its chief use now is in medicine. The ancient Egyptians employed it as an ingredient in the embalming of dead bodies.
Embalming, preserving the bodies of the dead from decaying or putrefying, by impregnating them with aromatics and other substances which resist putrefaction.
Where is Abyssinia?
Abyssinia is a large kingdom situated in Eastern Africa.
What is Frankincense?
An odoriferous, aromatic gum-resin, which distils, in the heat of summer, from incisions made in the bark of the tree which produces it: notwithstanding the great use of the gum, both in ancient systems of religious worship and in modern medicine, authors have been much divided in opinion with regard to the kind of tree from which it is obtained; it is a species of turpentine tree belonging to an order of resinous and fragrant trees and shrubs inhabiting the tropical parts of the world.
For what was it formerly used?
The ancients burnt it in their temples as a perfume, and to do honor to the divinities that were worshipped in them: it appears to have been applied to the same purposes by people of all religions. Myrrh and Frankincense were reckoned by the Eastern nations amongst their most costly perfumes. We are informed by St. Matthew's Gospel in the New Testament, that the wise men who came to Bethlehem to worship our Saviour at his birth, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Many of the primitive Christians were put to death because they would not offer incense to idols. In the Catholic Church we still retain its use in many ceremonies.
Incense, perfumes burnt in religious rites, or as an offering to some deity.
What is the appearance of Frankincense?
It is generally imported in white or yellowish pieces, or drops, which possess a bitter, disagreeable taste; it is very inflammable, and burns with a strong, and pleasant odor. That brought from the Indies is inferior to that from Arabia, and inclines to a reddish color. The common frankincense is softer, more resinous, and possesses less value than the former.
What is Turpentine?
The resinous juice of many trees, as the pine, larch, fir, &c.; it is, in fact, the juice that renders them evergreen, and when in an over-abundant quantity, bursts through their bark, and oozes out. Common turpentine is that procured by incisions from the wild pine; there are several kinds of turpentine procured from various resinous trees; some are of use in medicine, and most of them in making different kinds of varnishes, for preserving and beautifying boxes, paintings, &c.
Ooze, to flow gently.
Is there not a tree more particularly designated the Turpentine Tree?
Yes, the Terebinth or Turpentine Tree of Palestine and the East. It is one of the most common forest trees of those regions, and is regarded with respect and distinction similar to that awarded to the oak in England.
What part of it produces the Gum?
The gum, or rather the resin, distils from the trunk. It is called Cyprus or Chian Turpentine, much of it being brought from the isles of Cyprus and Scio, or Chios, and is procured, by incision, about the month of July. This turpentine, owing to its superior quality, as well as its scarcity, each tree seldom yielding over two or three pounds, is very costly.
Incision, a cutting.
BRICKS, MORTAR, GRANITE, SLATE, LIMESTONE, OR CALCAREOUS ROCKS, STEEL, EARTHS, VOLCANOES, AND EARTHQUAKES.
Of what are Bricks composed?
Of clay, dried by the heat of the sun, or burnt in kilns; their color varies with the different degrees of heat to which they are subjected in burning. In the East, bricks were baked in the sun; the Romans used them crude, only laying them to dry in the air for a long space of time.
Crude, in the rough, unbaked state, just as they were formed.
How long have Bricks been in use for building?
Bricks appear to have been in use at a very remote period of antiquity, both from the account of them in the Holy Scriptures, and from the remains of them which have been found; the Tower of Babel and the walls of Babylon were built of them. They were in early use among the Egyptians, as appears from the history of the Jews before their deliverance by Moses. In the book of Exodus, we are told that this captive people were compelled to make bricks for that nation. The Romans, under their first kings, built with massive square stones; but towards the end of the Republic they began to use brick, borrowing the practice from the Greeks; and the greatest and most durable buildings of the succeeding Emperors were composed of them, as the Pantheon, &c.
Massive, bulky and heavy.
By whom was the Tower of Babel erected, and why?
By the descendants of Noe's three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth; they were extremely numerous, and dwelt in the land of Sennaar; becoming ambitious of distinguishing themselves, they set about building a tower whose summit might reach to heaven. Sennaar was the original name of the country about Babylon.
Descendants, those descended from a particular person or family.
What remarkable event followed their foolish pride?
The Almighty suddenly frustrated their purpose by confusing their language and causing them all to express their words by different sounds; hence arose the numbers of different languages spoken by the nations of the earth; and thus what they imagined would be a monument of glory, was made an awful memento of their pride and folly.
Monument, anything by which the memory of persons or things is preserved.
Memento, a hint to awaken the memory of anything; that which reminds.
What good effect did this event produce?
God, who at all times can bring good out of evil, by this means caused the other parts of the earth to be peopled; for this visitation having effectually broken up their scheme, they emigrated in parties, and dispersed themselves over different parts of the world.
Scheme, plan, intention.
Emigrated, removed from one country to another.
Where was Babylon?
This celebrated city, so often mentioned in Holy Writ, (and remarkable for the minuteness with which its destruction was foretold by the Prophets,) was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and situated on the river Euphrates. After the destruction of Nineve, the ancient capital of this empire, Babylon became the most famous city of the East.
What is meant by the Assyrian Empire?
The country of Assyria, in Asia.
For what was this city particularly celebrated?
For its hanging gardens, palaces, temples, and walls, the latter of which are said to have been three hundred and fifty feet high, and so broad that six chariots could go abreast upon them. The city was so strongly fortified, both by nature and art, as to be thought impregnable.
Impregnable, incapable of being taken or destroyed by an enemy.
By whom was it destroyed, and when?
By Cyrus, 538 years before the birth of Christ, just fifty years after Nabuchodonosor had destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple.
Who was Cyrus?
The founder of the Persian Empire.
Who was Nabuchodonosor?
The King of Babylon.
What was the Pantheon?
A temple of a circular form which was dedicated to all the Gods, or all the Saints. That of all others the most celebrated, is the Pantheon of ancient Rome, and its remains are the most perfect amongst the wonders of that city at the present day.
Circular, having the form of a circle, round.
By whom was it built?
By Agrippa, the Consul of Rome, twenty-five years before Christ; it was dedicated by him to Jupiter: the name Pantheon was given on account of the great number of statues of the Gods ranged in niches all round it; and because it was built in a circular form to represent heaven, the residence of the Gods. It was afterwards converted into a church by Pope Boniface IV, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and all the Martyrs, under the title of "Our Lady of the Rotunda." Agrippa likewise built the Pantheon at Athens, which was but little inferior to that of Rome. The Greek Christians afterwards converted it into a church, dedicating it to the Blessed Virgin; but the Turks, when they subdued Greece, changed it into a mosque.
Dedicated, appropriated to a particular person, or to a sacred use.
Residence, dwelling, habitation.
Martyr, one who is put to death for the cause of religion.
Mosque, a Mahommedan temple.
What is understood by a Consul?
The chief magistrate of the Roman republic or commonwealth. After the Romans had expelled their kings, they were governed by two Consuls; these were established in the year of Rome 245. The Consuls were the head of the senate; they commanded the armies of the republic, and judged all the differences between the citizens: they held their office for the space of a year; at the end of which time, new ones were elected. Consuls were even continued under the Emperors after the republic was destroyed; but it was then little more than an honorary title, and at last was totally abolished.
Expelled, turned out.
Abolished, annulled, made void.
To what is the term Consul applied at the present time?
To an officer established by a commission from a king or state, to reside in foreign countries of any considerable trade, to facilitate and despatch business, protect the merchants of the state, &c.
Commission, a trust imposed, command, authority.
Facilitate, to render easy.
What is meant by a Senate?
An assembly or council of senators, that is, of the principal inhabitants of a state, who have a share in the government.
What is the government of the United States?
It is one of limited and definite powers, defined by a written constitution.
How are the legislative powers, granted to the government, vested?
In a Congress, consisting of a Senate of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof; and a House of Representatives, consisting of one or more members from each state, elected by the people in equal electoral districts.
Legislative, giving or enacting laws
How are our laws made?
Bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, on receiving the sanction of the President, become laws; or, if vetoed by the President, may be passed by two-thirds of both Houses.
Vetoed, withheld assent to.
Who was Jupiter?
The principal deity of the Pagan world.
What is used to cement bricks firmly together?
Mortar; a composition of lime, sand, gravel, &c., mixed up with water; the ancients had a kind of mortar so very hard and binding, that, even to this day, it is next to impossible to separate the parts of some of their buildings.
What is Granite?
A rock which has been formed by the union of three different minerals in a state of fusion; these, on cooling, have crystallized and become distinct from each other in the mass. It is remarkable for the beauty of its colors, its hardness and durability. There are granites of many different colors, as red or rose-colored, grey, green, variegated, &c.
Fusion, a melted state.
Mass, a body, a lump.
What form does it bear?
Granite does not, generally, form one extensive mass, but remains in separate and large fragments, rudely compacted together; besides the three minerals of which it is composed, particles of other stones, or metallic earths, are often accidentally mixed with it. It is called granite from its granulous structure.
Compacted, joined together.
Granulous, consisting of small grains.
Where is Granite found?
Granite occurs in all the larger mountain ranges, and in isolated masses in every country; not being a stratified rock, and being excessively hard, it is difficult to get it out in manageable masses. In Arabia Petraea, the whole country abounds in masses of different granites.
Isolated, alone, separated, detached.
Stratified, consisting of strata or beds.
What mode is usually employed in this country in obtaining it?
Blasting, or blowing up with gunpowder; the force of which detaches pieces from the rock, which are hewn roughly into forms on the spot by a small pickaxe. Granite is also quarried by cutting a deep line some yards long, and placing strong iron wedges at equal distances along this line; these wedges are struck in succession with heavy hammers, till the mass splits down. Another method of detaching masses of rock, is by driving wooden wedges into a deep artificial or natural crack, or fissure; the wedges are then wet, and, in consequence of swelling, burst the rock asunder.
Quarried, from to quarry, a term used for the getting of stone from a quarry, or place where stones are dug from the earth, or detached from a large mass of rock.
Detach, to separate.
For what is this Rock used?
On account of its great hardness, it is used for large public structures, as bridges, churches, &c. The ancient temples and other buildings in Egypt, Asia, and Italy, were built of different colored granites, especially the beautiful Oriental red granite.
What is Slate?
The common name for a bluish fossil stone, very soft when dug out of the quarry, and easily cut or split into thin plates,—a property which renders it invaluable for a variety of purposes.
Invaluable, extremely valuable.
For what is it used?
Slate has superseded the use of lead for covering roofs, even of the largest buildings; being lighter and more durable, it is preferable to tile: it is also employed for slabs to form cisterns, shelves for dairies, and other purposes, on account of its strength, coolness, and the ease with which it can be cleaned; the latter quality renders it also of great value in the business of education, as a cheap substitute for paper. The ancients were unacquainted with the use of slate.
What other kinds of stone are used in building?
Limestone, or the calcareous rocks of the geologist: of these there are many varieties. Those which are easily cut and polished are termed marbles, and are used in sculpture and in ornamental architecture. The coarser marbles are used for the common purposes of building.
Calcareous, partaking of the nature of calx or lime,—a term employed to describe chalk, marble, and all other combinations of lime with carbonic acid.
Geologist, one who studies the science of Geology.
Of what do Calcareous Earths or Stones consist?
Calcareous earths, stones, or rocks consist of lime, or pure calcareous earth, carbonic acid, and water.
What is Quick-Lime?
Limestone deprived of its carbonic acid and water by being subjected to an intense heat in a kiln.
How are these Stones wrought?
To whatever purpose the stones are to be applied, the larger blocks obtained from the quarry must be cut into smaller and more manageable pieces by sawing: the saw used is a long blade of steel, without teeth, fixed in a heavy wooden frame. These huge saws are worked by one or two men who sit in boxes to shelter them from the weather; water is caused to drip constantly into the cut, to facilitate the motion of the saw, and keep it cool, so as to prevent it from losing its temper.
Huge, very large.
Temper, hardness; in speaking of metals it signifies the state to which they are reduced, especially with regard to their hardness.
What is Steel?
Iron combined with a small portion of carbon; its chemical name is Carburet of Iron. It is not so malleable as iron in its ordinary state; but is much harder, more elastic, and susceptible of a higher polish. Of this material are manufactured knives, swords, and all kinds of cutting instruments and edge tools, used for domestic purposes and in the arts, from the ponderous pit-saw to the finest lancet. Good steel is much more ductile than iron; and a finer wire may be drawn from it than from any other metal. The excellence of edge-tools depends upon their temper.
You say that a Geologist is one who studies Geology: what is meant by this term?
A science which enables us to read, in the simple language of nature, the changes which have taken place on the surface of the earth, in its structure and mineral constitution. It describes the different materials and the strata of which the crust of the earth is composed, and investigates the causes of its physical features.
Simple, easily read.
What are Strata?
Layers of rocks and other substances of which the whole earth seems to be composed. These rocks are found lying one above another in regular order; beneath them are the unstratified rocks, which seem to form the basis or foundations upon which the others have been deposited. The various layers seem to have been formed during progressive stages of vegetable and animal organization. These rocks and strata are divided into five classes or formations.
Progressive, moving forwards.
Organization, formation or structure of bodies.
The Primitive, or lower formations, supposed to have been formed in the chaotic state of the earth, because they have no trace of organized beings or petrifactions; they are chiefly composed of silicious and argillaceous earths, as granite, slate, &c.—Transition rocks, supposed to have been formed during the transition of the earth into a habitable state; they differ from the primitive, in containing the remains of marine animals:—the Secondary rocks, containing the remains of animals and vegetables, and consequently formed after their creation;—the Tertiary formation, composed of layers of clay, sand, gravel, and marl, and containing peculiar organic remains;—and the Alluvial formation, constituted of parts of previous rocks separated by water, &c., and deposited in beds.
Petrifaction, an animal or vegetable substance turned to stone.
Silicious, consisting of flint.
Transition, change from one state to another.
Argillaceous, clayey, consisting of clay.
Chaotic, resembling chaos, confused.
Chaos, confusion, a mingled heap; a term used in speaking of the world while yet without form; a Greek word, signifying a confused mass.
Alluvial, deposited from water.
Of what is this last compounded?
The Alluvial formation is composed of sand, gravel, loam, clay, turf, &c., and contains plants, roots, moss, bones, petrified wood, and skeletons of animals. It is distinguished from the Tertiary formation chiefly by its superior position, and by extending over regions where existing streams or other causes now in action could have produced it. Some geologists mention another formation called the Volcanic, because composed of minerals thrown from the crater of a volcano, such as pumice stones, lava, &c.
Crater, the mouth or opening of a volcano.
Petrified, hardened into stone.
You mentioned Silicious and Argillaceous Earths: is not, then, the earthy covering of our globe of one common character?
No; by earth is understood a combination of many distinct bodies. Chemists, by separating earths from each other, and from foreign matters connected with them, have discovered nine or ten primitive earths; all of these, except silex, are compounds of oxygen with metallic bases.
Chemist, one who understands the science of chemistry.
Of which of these Simple or Primitive Earths are the solid portions of the globe principally composed?
Of flint or silex, lime or calcareous earth, and clay or argil, in various degrees of combination, the greatest parts of the mountains and plains, and the whole of what we commonly understand by soil, mould, earth, &c. are composed. These, however, though forming nearly all of the solid portions of the world, are constantly mixed with foreign matters, as metals, (particularly iron,) and acids, (as carbonic acid.)
What are the properties of Silex?
Silex, or pure flint, will not dissolve in water, nor can it be melted by itself in any heat; but combined with alkalies, as soda or potash, it forms glass. It is the principal ingredient of most of the precious stones.
What are the chief uses of Silex?
It is the most durable article for the formation of roads; a necessary ingredient in earthenware, porcelain, and cements; and the principal material of glass and vitreous substances. The making of pastes or artificial gems is a branch of the art of glass-making; the basis used is a very hard and pure silex.
Basis, that part of any mixture which is the ground or base; the first principle or element of a substance.
Describe the properties of Lime.
It is of a white color, and possesses a hot, caustic taste. It forms peculiar salts with acids; changes vegetable blues to green; will not fuse; gives out a quantity of caloric when united with water; and absorbs carbonic acid when exposed to air. Lime is very useful in the arts and manufactures, in medicine, &c. The farmers use it as manure to fertilize land.
Caustic, burning, corroding: a term applied to substances which eat away and burn any thing with which they are brought in contact.
In what state is Lime found in nature?
Never native, but combined with other substances;—generally with an acid, and most plentifully with carbonic acid, as in chalk, marble, &c. It is also found in vegetables, and is the basis of animal bones; it likewise occurs in the water of the ocean, and in that of all springs and rivers. The method of procuring lime, from chalk, marble, limestone, oyster-shells, &c., has already been described in a former chapter.
What are the properties of Clay?
Argil, or pure clay, also called alumina, from its being the basis of alum, is soft to the touch, adhesive, and emits a peculiar odor when moistened;—forms a paste with water, and hardens in the fire. Its uses are so various and important, that it would have been almost impossible for man to have attained his present degree of civilization, if it had not been given him by nature in such abundance. Its uses have already been described in the arts of brick-making, pottery, &c. Besides these three principal primitive earths just described, there are seven others, having several properties in common, yet each possessing its different and specific properties, and evidently designed by nature for different purposes of utility.
Specific, belonging to its particular species.
What is a Volcano?
An opening in the surface of the earth, or in a mountain, from which are ejected smoke, flames, stones, lava, &c. Beneath the outer crust of the earth inflammable materials appear to exist, which different causes excite into combustion. Volcanoes are supposed to owe their origin to the metals and minerals which form the basis of earths and alkalies; and which, when ignited, expand,—shake the rocky foundations,—and sometimes, bursting through, produce all the destructive effects of earthquakes. They break forth under the sea, as well as the land, and throw up mountains which rise above the level of the water. During an eruption of Vesuvius, A.D. 79, three cities, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae, were overwhelmed, and lay buried beneath the matter ejected from the volcano until within a few years, when excavations were made and many relics discovered;—streets, houses, papyri, (manuscripts,) grain, fruit, bread, medicines, &c. &c., all in a remarkable state of preservation, have been found just as they were left by the terrified inhabitants at the time of the eruption!
Eruption, an issuing or breaking forth with violence.
Ejected, thrown out.
Are there many Volcanoes?
There are upwards of two hundred volcanoes upon the globe; more than one half of them are in America and Oceanica The most noted volcanoes in America are Cotopaxi (the highest in the world), near Quito; Popocatapetl, in Mexico; Cosiguina, and the Water Volcano, in Guatemala. In France, Spain, Portugal, and many other countries, there are districts which show the former existence of volcanoes, which have long been extinct; near Naples, in an area of two hundred square miles, there are sixty craters, some of them larger than Vesuvius; in one of these, the town of Cumea has stood for three thousand years.
What can you say of new islands formed by Volcanic Agency?
Many examples of new islands rising out of the sea by volcanic action are on record. Some of them are permanent, but others, after a time, disappear. Teneriffe, Iceland, Sicily, St. Helena; part of Sumatra, Java, Japan; and the Sandwich Islands, seem to have been upheaved by volcanic agency; Hawaii, the largest of the last-named group, contains an area of four thousand square miles, and rises eighteen thousand feet above the ocean.
What are Earthquakes?
Shakings or vibrations of the ground; sometimes accompanied by rents, and rockings or heavings of the surface, so as to overthrow buildings, and swallow up towns and large tracts of country. They are attended with a terrible subterranean noise, like thunder, and sometimes with an eruption of fire or water, or else of smoke or winds.
What is supposed to cause them?
An electrical action between the atmosphere and some deep sub-strata; or the sudden formation of gaseous matter beneath the surface of the earth by internal volcanic fires. Many hot countries, where much electrical disturbance takes place, are very subject to them: earthquakes almost always precede volcanic eruptions; an open volcano, also, probably diminishes the force of earthquakes, by the vent which it affords. Earthquakes, at different times, have been productive of the most terrific effects: towns and cities have been swallowed up, and thousands of people destroyed by them. The island of Jamaica is remarkable for the earthquakes which frequently happen there.
Precede, to go before.
Terrific, full of terror, dreadful.
Where is Jamaica situated?
In the West Indies,—a large group of fertile islands which lie between North and South America. Jamaica is the principal one of those which belong to the English.
ARCHITECTURE, SCULPTURE, USE OF MONEY, NAVIGATION.
What is meant by Architecture?
The art of building or erecting edifices fit for the habitation of man, to defend him from the weather, and for his domestic comfort and convenience; for devotion, trade, and other purposes, and for the use of civilized life in every capacity.
Capacity, state, condition.
Is not this an art of great antiquity?
It is almost as ancient as human society; the changes of the seasons first led men to build themselves huts or cabins, into which they might retire for shelter; in process of time, their manner of building gradually improved, and habitations were constructed of more stately forms and elegant proportions, and greater skill and variety were displayed in their ornaments Hence arose the Five Orders or manners of building.
Of what were the first huts composed?
Probably of the branches of trees driven into the ground, and covered with mud and stubble; at length, as men became more expert, they placed trunks of trees upright, and laid others across them to sustain the outer coverings; from this they took the hint of a more regular architecture, and built edifices of brick and stone; the trunks of trees which supported their dwellings gave them a notion of pillars or columns, which they afterwards erected of more durable materials. Among uncivilized tribes at this day, some reside underground, having their dirty dwellings entirely closed during the winter months; in warmer regions, their habitations are built of stakes, leaves, and turf, in the shape of a soldier's tent. In Africa, their kraals or huts are constructed in this manner, but of a circular form, with a hole at the top to let out the smoke. In many of the South Sea Islands, the natives, when first discovered, had progressed still further, having learnt to elevate the roofs on poles, and to fill in the sides of their houses with boughs or rushes, mud or sods.
Probably, most likely.
Edifice, a building.
What people are represented by the ancient writers as having brought the art of Building to a greater state of perfection?
The inhabitants of the city of Tyre, to whom Solomon had recourse for workmen to build the Temple. Isaias, in his twenty-third chapter, speaks of the Tyrians and Egyptians, as having brought it to a great degree of magnificence; as may be drawn from the various accounts handed down to us, and the remains of their obelisks, pyramids, &c.
What is an Obelisk?
A very high and slender four-sided pyramid, raised as an ornament in some public place; and frequently covered with inscriptions and hieroglyphics. This kind of monument appears to be very ancient; they were first made use of to declare to posterity the principal precepts of philosophy; to mark the hours of the day by the shadows which they cast on the ground; and, in after-times, to immortalize the actions of heroes, and perpetuate the memory of persons beloved.
[Footnote 16: See Chapter XIV.]
Inscription, something written or engraved.
Hieroglyphics, emblems by which words were implied. They were used before the invention of alphabets.
Implied, signified, denoted.
Posterity, succeeding generations, descendants.
Immortalize, to render immortal,—which means never-dying; to perpetuate the memory of anything.
What is a Pyramid?
A solid, massive edifice, rising from a square, triangular, or other base, gradually diminishing in size till it ends in a point at the top. Like the obelisk, pyramids were sometimes erected to preserve the memory of singular events, or to transmit to future ages the glory and magnificence of princes; but oftener as funeral monuments and receptacles for the dead, particularly kings.
Triangular, three-sided, having three angles.
Diminishing, growing smaller.
Receptacle, the place in which a thing is deposited.
Is it known who were the erectors of these Buildings?
No; it is a curious fact that the Egyptian pyramids, so celebrated for their size and great antiquity, should have the time of their erection and the names of their founders wrapt in such complete mystery. All the different authors who have written concerning them, disagree in their accounts of those who built them, and nothing certain is known of their history.
Founder, one who establishes or erects.
Mystery, profound secresy.
What other nations excelled in the art of Building?
The Greeks and Romans, from whom we derive it, also greatly excelled in this art. Grecian architecture was in its highest glory under Pericles. Among the Romans, it arrived at its greatest perfection under the Emperor Augustus. The five orders of ornamental architecture invented by the ancients, at different times, and on different occasions, are of Grecian and Italian origin. They are the Tuscan, the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian, and the Composite; each possessing its peculiar form and beauty, and found in all the principal buildings of the Christian world.
Christian, professing the religion of Christ; the term is applied to those who believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be the only true God and Saviour of the world.
Who was Pericles?
A celebrated Athenian statesman, orator, and general, who gained several victories over the Lacedemonians and other enemies of his country.
Are all the species of ornamental building confined to those nations already mentioned?
By no means; besides the Grecian and Roman orders, other civilized nations possess their separate styles; as the Hindoos, Chinese, Moors, &c.; and nothing can be more grand, harmonious, and picturesque, than each of these in the beautiful specimens which are to be seen in their several countries. The Saxons, also, had a simple style of architecture, distinguished by semi-circular arches, and massive plain columns; the Normans, too, invented a beautiful kind called the Gothic, distinguished by its lightness and the number of its ornaments, and by its pointed arches and pillars carved to imitate several combined together; the Gothic style is found in many old cathedrals.
Hindoos, inhabitants of Hindostan, in India.
Moors, inhabitants of Morocco, a kingdom of Barbary, in Africa.
Harmonious, corresponding in all its parts with equal beauty and elegance.
Picturesque, like a picture.
Saxons, inhabitants of Saxony, a portion of Germany.
Semi-circular, only half circular.
Describe the Five Orders of Architecture.
The Tuscan (from Tuscany,) is the most simple and devoid of ornament, and its columns or pillars are plain and massive. The Doric (from the Dorians, in Greece,) is durable and noble in appearance, having its columns plain like the Tuscan, but the upper parts more ornamental. The Ionic, (from Iona, in Greece,) is neither so plain as the Doric, nor so richly elegant as the Corinthian; but is distinguished from the first two orders by having its columns or pillars fluted instead of plain, and the upper part of them (called the capitals,) adorned by the figures of rams' horns carved on them. The Corinthian is very rich and delicate, with fluted pillars, and the tops beautifully ornamented with leaves, &c. The invention of this order is ascribed to Callimachus, a Corinthian sculptor. The Composite is compounded of the other four; it is very much like the Corinthian, and is also called the Roman or Italian order.
Devoid, free from, destitute.
What is Sculpture?
The art of cutting or carving wood, stone, and other materials; and forming of them various figures or representations of men, beasts and other objects. The term is mostly limited to carving images or statues in stone. This art is of great antiquity; the sacred writings inform us of it in many passages, as for instance in those in which are mentioned Laban's images, carried away by Rachel; the golden calf of the Israelites, &c. Sculpture as an art is probably more ancient than painting.
What country was the most highly celebrated for its sculpture?
Greece, which produced many celebrated sculptors, of whom the most eminent were Phidias, an Athenian, the great master of this art, who lived in the time of Pericles, 408 years before Christ; Lysippus, a native of Sicyon, near Corinth; and Praxiteles, a native of Magna Grecia.
What event proved fatal to this art?
The death of Alexander the Great was followed by a visible decline in all the fine arts; but the fatal blow to their existence was given by the success of the conquering Romans, who reduced Greece to a Roman province.
Was Sculpture always performed in Stone?
No; at first statues and other figures were formed of wood or baked clay, afterwards of stone, marble and metals; though these last were not brought to any degree of perfection, till about three hundred years before Christ. The Greeks were famous for their works in ivory; the great master of the art of carving statues in it was Phidias.
What progress did the Romans make in Sculpture?
Sculpture, during their early history, existed rather as a plant of foreign growth, partially cultivated by them, than as a native production of their own land. They collected, indeed, some of the most exquisite samples of Grecian sculpture, and invited to their capital the yet remaining sculptors of Greece, by whose labors not only Rome itself was embellished, but also many of the cities of Asia Minor, Spain, and Gaul, then under the Roman dominion; yet the taste for sculpture does not appear to have been cultivated in any measure corresponding with the advantages thus afforded them in the study of the best models of the art. The best works were produced by Greek artists, and chiefly Athenian, while the attempts of the Romans were unskilfully executed.
Gaul, the ancient name of France.
Did it always continue thus?
No; from the time of the Emperor Constantine, sculpture, and the rest of the fine arts, gradually revived. While inspired, perhaps, with a taste for sculpture by means of the scattered remains of Grecian art, the Roman artists drew, at the same time, from their own resources, and were by no means servile copyists of the sculptors of a former age. The first academy of the art was founded at Florence, in 1350, and at the close of the same century, sculpture was firmly established in Italy, and itinerant sculptors, not unskilful in their art, wandered from thence to Germany, France, and even to England. The most eminent master of the art was Michael Angelo, born in 1474, who was also a painter and architect; from his time, to the latter end of the last century, sculpture again gradually declined, but under Canova, a native of Possagno, in the Venetian Alps, it revived. He was born in 1757. Besides the above mentioned, were a number of others of various degrees of talent, as well as some still living.
Servile, slavish, mean.
When was the knowledge of Sculpture introduced into England?
At the time of its conquest by the Romans; but the art appears to have been very rude and imperfect. From the time of the Norman invasion, and still further in the time of the Crusades, an improvement, however, began to show itself in British sculpture. But it is probable that most of their best architectural and sculptural works were executed by foreigners, members of those societies of wandering sculptors before mentioned. Under Edward the Third, the art appears to have been much cultivated by Englishmen. It is well known that two Italian sculptors were employed in England during the sixteenth century. John of Padua, a pupil of Michael Angelo, was master of works to Henry the Eighth. In the reign of Charles the First, English sculptors flourished, although their works are of a very low order.
Invasion, hostile entrance upon the rights or possessions of another.
Architectural, belong to Architecture.
Sculptural, belonging to Sculpture.
With whom may the School of British Sculptors be considered as commencing?
With Banks, born in 1738, and Bacon, born in 1740; these were in every respect English artists. But the most eminent worker in the art which that country has yet produced, was John Flaxman, born in 1755. Our own country also may boast of sculptors of superior talents, and from the beautiful specimens of the art which have appeared, the attainment of a high degree of excellence in it is to be anticipated.
Attainment, the act of arriving at or reaching.
Anticipated, expected, foreseen.
Give me a short account of this art in Germany, France, and Spain.
In these countries, as in England and the United States, during their early history, many of the best works were executed by Italians. Germany appears to have made little progress in sculpture before the seventeenth century; since that period, it has produced sculptors of some eminence, although it is more celebrated for its writers on the art, than for artists of eminence in its practice. In France, sculptors of some talent are mentioned as early as the sixteenth century. Girardon and Puget were the most celebrated artists of this period. Spanish history gives a long list of native sculptors, from the commencement of the same century, but many of them are but little known beyond their own country. Berruguete, a pupil of Michael Angelo, appears to have founded the first regular school of the art. Paul de Cespides, and in the eighteenth century, Philip de Castro, were the most eminent among them.
When was the use of Money first introduced?
It is not known with certainty: there is, however, reason to believe that both gold and silver were very early used as money in Egypt and Asia: it was afterwards introduced into Carthage and Greece; whence it was brought to Rome; and from that city spread gradually westward, through all the Roman dominions. Before the use of money was introduced, the only means of trade was by barter, or the exchange of one commodity for another, a custom long retained by uncivilized nations. In time, however, men discovered the necessity of something which would enable them to trade with greater facility; the first mention of money is in the time of Abraham, who, we are told in the Bible, paid "four hundred sides of silver of common current money," for a burying place.
Current, generally received, passing from hand to hand.
Where was Carthage?
Carthage, now Tunis, was a commercial city, situated on the Northern Coast of Africa, which long contended for the dominion of the Mediterranean with the Romans; but, after three wars, it was taken and destroyed by the Roman general, Scipio Africanus, in the year 251 before Christ.
Commercial, carrying on commerce or trade.
Of what substances was Money usually made?
Of metals, especially the precious metals, because they possess great value in small bulk; may be kept for any length of time without loss; and their value, although not altogether invariable, yet, generally speaking, changes only by slow degrees, and is less susceptible of fluctuation than that of most other articles. At different times, and amongst various nations, however, other things, in the scarcity of metal, have been substituted for it, as shells, wood, leather, paper, or even pasteboard on extraordinary occasions.
Fluctuation, unsteadiness; a wavering.
Of what form was money generally made?
The form of money has been more various than its materials; the ancient Britons used as money, rings or bars of iron or tin; the Lacedemonians used iron bars quenched with vinegar. The money of most nations usually bore an impression peculiar to themselves, as, for instance, the sicle of the Jews was marked with the golden pot of manna on one side, and Aaron's rod on the other; other coins with the figures of animals, &c.; in shape, coins were either round, irregular, or square.
Have the terms Money and Coin the same signification?
Not exactly; by money is understood any matters, such as metal, wood, leather, glass, horn, paper, fruits, shells, &c., which have currency as a medium in commerce. Coin is a particular species always made of metal, and struck off according to a certain process called coining; it is not of equal antiquity with money. In fact, the very commodities themselves were the first moneys, that is, were current one for another by way of exchange. Coin is a piece of metal converted into money, by the impression of certain marks or figures thereon. The first coining of silver took place at Rome, two hundred and sixty-nine, and of gold, two hundred and six years before Christ: the Romans, after the commonwealth, stamped their coins with the image of the reigning emperor, which custom was followed by most civilized nations. Coins were, and are, frequently, struck in commemoration of a particular event or celebrated person.
When was the use of stamped coin introduced into Britain?
After the arrival of the Romans in that island, the natives imitated them, coining both gold and silver with the images of their kings stamped upon them; but the Romans, when they subdued the nation, suppressed also their coins, and obliged them to use their own; hence the number of Roman coins found among the relics of antiquity in that island.
Suppressed, put aside, hindered from circulation.
What does the first coined money in ancient Britain appear to have been?
Copper money; but after the arrival of the Saxons in England, scarcely any copper money was used for many centuries, nor did it become common till 1672; it was first used in Scotland and Ireland in 1340.
What is a Mint?
A place established by public authority for coining money. In the United States, the first mint was in Philadelphia; branches have been established in other parts of the Union. In most countries, the privilege of coining money is regarded as a prerogative of the sovereign power. Formerly, in Great Britain, cities, towns, and even individuals, were allowed to coin money for the convenience of trade; but now this is forbidden, except at the Mint in the Tower of London.
What is meant by Navigation?
The science or art by which the mariner is taught to conduct his ship from one place to another. Some, perhaps, will consider the formation and use of the Ark, as a first step towards the invention of this art; but it is an erroneous idea, because the direction and means for accomplishing this immense work were afforded by God, for the preservation of righteous Noe and his family. Besides, nothing is recorded of any means or of any necessity for its occupants navigating it to any particular place, or from one place to another; no intention of this sort is apparent, the ark being merely a vast shelter, rendered capable of floating on the water.
Erroneous, wrong, in error.
Apparent, manifest, made to appear.
What probably gave the first idea of Navigation?
Accident most likely showed that wood always floats; and on the fallen trunk of a tree, perhaps, some one ventured beyond his depth, away from the land. The trunk of a tree, hollowed out, for a more convenient position of the body, formed the canoe, usually found among uncivilized nations to this day. From this rude beginning, at great intervals of time, and a slow pace of improvement, the art has at length arrived at its present state of advancement.
What nation first applied this art to the purposes of Trade?
The Phenicians (especially those of Tyre, their capital city, and Sidon,) were the first who adapted it to the purposes of commerce, and constructed vessels fit to make voyages to foreign countries; the poverty and narrowness of their land, as well as their vicinity to two or three good ports, and their natural genius for traffic, urging them to seek foreign supplies. We hear of them trading to Arabia, India, Persia, Greece, Africa, Spain, and even as far as Britain.
Vicinity, nearness, neighborhood.
Traffic, Trade, commerce.
Who were the Phenicians?
The inhabitants of Phenicia, a country of Syria, in Asia.
Which was the more ancient city, Tyre or Sidon?
Sidon,—having been built, as is supposed, soon after the Flood, by Sidon, the eldest son of Chanaan. Tyre, about 25 miles to the south, was built about the year 1252 before Christ, by a colony from Sidon. The Phenicians planted numerous colonies on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and diffused, to a great extent, among their uncivilized neighbors the arts and improvements of civilized life. One of their most celebrated colonies was that founded by them on the northern coast of Africa; and it was this colony that built the famous city of Carthage.
Diffused, spread abroad, scattered.
Did not Carthage afterwards become as flourishing as the parent city of Tyre?
In time, Carthage not only equalled Tyre itself, but surpassed it,—pursuing the course the Phenicians had begun, and sending its merchant fleets through Hercules' Pillars, (now the Straits of Gibraltar,) along the western coast of Africa, and northwards, along the coast of Europe, visiting particularly Spain, Gaul, &c. They even undertook voyages, the sole object of which was to discover new countries and explore unknown seas. The Carthaginians appear to have been the first who undertook voyages solely for the sake of discoveries.
Were not both these celebrated cities destroyed?
Tyre, whose immense riches and power were the subject of many ancient histories, was destroyed by the Grecian Emperor Alexander the Great, and its navigation and commerce transferred by him to Alexandria, a new city which he meditated making his capital. Alexandria, in a short time, became the most important commercial city in the world. Thus arose navigation among the Egyptians; it was afterwards so successfully cultivated by them, that Tyre and Carthage (which last, as before mentioned, was subdued by the Romans,) were quite forgotten.
Capital, chief city or town in a state or kingdom.
Who was Alexander the Great?
The son of Philip, King of Macedonia, in Greece; he was celebrated for his great ambition, and the number of his conquests; he overturned the Persian empire, and subdued many cities and provinces in the East.
Did not Alexandria undergo the same fate as Tyre and Carthage?
Egypt was at last reduced to a Roman province, after the battle of Actium, and its trade and navigation fell into the hands of the Emperor Augustus, in whose time Alexandria was little inferior to Rome; and the magazines of the capital of the world were supplied with merchandise from the capital of Egypt. Alexandria, however, at last underwent the fate of Tyre and Carthage, being surprised by the Saracens, who overran the northern parts of Africa; and though it continued, for a while, to enjoy a considerable portion of the commerce of the Christian merchants, it afterwards remained in a languishing condition: but still, even at this day, it is a place of considerable trade.