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SKETCHES OF THE LINNEAN SYSTEM
OF BOTANY.No. I.
strength of Divine grace, to guard | breast twitters, the nimble wren hops against them for the time to come. Ap- from the bank to the bush, and the wagply again to the blood of sprinkling, tail jerks his body, or skims with unduwhich speakethe btter things than that lating flight from the rivulet to the pond. of Abel.” Cast yourself anew on our Botanists have discovered and deLord Jesus Christ, devoting yourself, scribed about eighty thousand species of for this year, entirely to him; resolving plants, and many more are annually to live more on him than you have added to the list; a fact which shows hitherto done, and depending on him to how widely diversified a field is preconduct you safely through whatever sented to the student for illustration and this year will bring forth. This is the research. In the midst of the ocean, man only true way of attaining to the happi- sees beyond the deck of his vessel, and ness which many are now wishing you- below the sky, only the surface of the the happiness that is pure, satisfying, “green and fruitless” waters, monotonennobling-the happiness that will never ous to the eye and wearisome to the ob
W. servation. But from the hill top, over
looking a fertile country, he can perceive a rich variety of verdure, all caused by the numberless plants which
naturally spring up in the soil, or have Waether the eye of man be directed been sown and planted by human industo the heavens or the earth, there is try. The numerous varieties of plants enough to excite his wonder and delight, which thus present themselves, whereand to call forth his thankfulness and ever the eye turns in creation, attract praise. It matters not whether the the attention of the most incurious, and mind is occupied by the vast sublimity of give exercise to the thoughts of the conrevolving spheres, or by the surpassing templative in every walk. beauty of a plant or flower since eaeh of The vegetable creation is obviously a the great and small things of creation portion of a universally concatenated bears alike this inscription, “I am the system, presenting the most striking inhandywork of God !” There is a peace- dications of the wisdom, power, and ful exhilaration of heart enjoyed by the goodness of the almighty Creator, who Christian investigator of the works of has planned and constructed the whole; creation, favourable to piety. It quick- indications which appear to be so marens the eye to perceive what is lovely vellously diversified through every part in the vegetable world; it strews the of the great sphere of human observapathway of the pilgrim to a yet fairer tion, leading to the irresistible concluworld with flowers, so that he that walks sion, that such diversity has been partly therein, sees continually before him the contrived to awaken admiration ; footprints of his heavenly Father, and charm by the display of beauty and goes on his way rejoicing in the beauties glory; to furnish continual subjects for around him, as well as in the prospects praise ; and to elevate the mind, through before him.
transitions of fear, wonder, and awe, Among the varied departments of unto grateful adoration of the Divine knowledge and science that teem with beneficence. interest, botany is one of the most pro- The holy Scriptures, by which we are lific in enjoyments. From the dawn of taught that a wise and good God is the the year to its decline ; from January to author of all the works of the visible December, there is a succession of plea- creation, call on us to trace his wisdom sures, supplied by the continual changes and goodness in those works in which that take place in plants and flowers. they inform us that he has manifested The common
observer may walk his glory. “ The heavens declare the abroad in January, wrapt up in his win- glory of God; and the firmament showeth ter clothing, without so much as sus- his handywork,” Psa. xix. 1. pecting that a field flower is above the Our blessed Saviour says,
6. Consider ground; but the quick-sighted botanist the lilies of the field, how they grow; they will discover, if the month be mild, a toil not, neither do they spin. and yet i primrose here and there, in sheltered
say unto you that even Solomon in all his situations; and the starry blossoms of glory was not arrayed like one of these." the daisy and chickweed will catch his The inference is, that it is God who eye, sprinkling his path ; while the red- so clothes the grass of the field,” the
vegetable, as well as the animal organiza- | blossom has one stamen, one pistil, and tion being full of wonders, calculated a spur ; the seed vessel has three cells, to rouse the mind, to fix our attention, and one seed. It is a strong flower, and to elevate the soul to high aspirations bearing large bunches of blossoms durtowards the great Ordainer and Sup- ing the whole summer months, from porter of the works of creation.
May till September; and occasionally, in In a former volume of the Visitor, a mild seasons, it may be seen in bloom in brief view was given of the orders of the winter in the cottage gardens around Natural System of Botany, illustrated London, so that the botanical student by descriptions of plants which are may readily meet with a specimen to ilclassed in these orders. In the papers lustrate the first Linnean class. In the headed, “The Botanist,” in a subsequent Natural system, it comes under Valerivolume, was given an outline of the anee, and, indeed, was formerly called Linnean Classification. It is now pro- red valerian, (Valeriana rubra.) posed to illustrate this classification by If the student live near the sea coast, descriptive sketches of some of the more he may obtain another illustration of this common plants which may be met with, class and order in the glasswort, (Salieither growing wild, or cultivated in the cornia,) of which there are four species gardens of Britain. Out of eighty common on our shores, easily known by thousand species of known plants, four their fleshy cylindrical jointed leaves, or five thousand of which are natives, which have a saltish taste, and are hence it would be impossible to attempt an most relished by cattle, and are greedily enumeration; and therefore the proposed devoured by them. The flowers are sketches will be limited to a few of the small and 'inconspicuous from being plants most commonly to be met with, without petals, and only appear in that the
may be furnished autumn, from August to September. with an easy guide to his preliminary In one of the species (S. radicanus) studies in this delightful science.
there are two stamens, an irregularity which may give the student a little trou
ble, if not aware of the circumstance. In this class are arranged such plants The glassworts are important in the as have only one stamen,
as the term manufacture of barilla, or in pure carMonandria means. It is divided into bonate of soda, so extensively used two orders. 1. Monogynia, containing in bleaching, and in the manufacture of plants which have only one pistil, as soap. The barilla is chiefly made on the spur flower, (Centranthus ;) glasswort, shores of the Mediterranean, where these (Salicornia ;) and marestail, (Hippu- plants abound. On our own coasts, the ris.) 2. Digynia, containing plants quantity grown is not sufficient to supply with two pistils, as water starwort, enough of the raw material for preparing (Callitriche ;) and strawberry blite, barilla, though we manufacture the simi(Blitum.)
lar article of kelp, by burning seaweed. The only very common plant of this Some years ago it was proposed to cultifirst class is the red-spur flower, (Cen- vate, to some extent, these and other tranthus ruber,) which may be found in plants employed in making barilla in the almost every garden, of various shades South of France, and one plantation of red, crimson, pink, scarlet, and some- of them was made at a short distance times nearly white, or rather yellowish from the sea coast, a line of low hills white. It is not originally a native of cutting off the fields from the sea breeze. Britain, but of the South of Europe ; When the plants, thus cultivated, howbut since it has been introduced into our ever, were burned in the usual way, it was gardens, it has spread about in many found that they contained hardly any places, and may occasionally be seen barilla, the sea breeze, it would appear, growing on old walls and waste places, being indispensable for that purpose. particularly in Cornwall and the South of Besides preparing barilla, one species Ireland, the seeds being furnished with a of glasswort, called marsh samphire, (S. sort of down, which causes them to float nerbacea,) is pickled in salt and vinegar, on the winds.
like common samphire, (Crithmum maThe leaves of the red-spur flower are ritimum,) for culinary purposes ; but it entire, spear shaped, rather smooth has little flavour of its own, and wants and succulent; the upper ones being the aromatic quality characteristic of the sometimes toothed on the edges. The common samphire.
petals, and only a one-leafed calyx, and The plants which are arranged in this à pistil. The flowers were first disclass have “two stamens,'
as the name covered by M. Erhart, at Hanover, in Diandria implies. The class is arranged 1779. Dr. Adams, an English botanist, in three orders. 1. Monogynia, with devoted himself, for years, to discover one pistil, as privet, lilac, jasmine, this flower, and took so keen an interest speedwell, slipperwort, rosemary, and in the pursuit, that he was laughed at by sage. 2. Digynia, with two pistils, as his friends; but he died without making sweet-scented vernal grass. 3. Trigy- the discovery. nia, with three pistils, as the pepper The garden sage (Salvia officinalis) plants.
belongs to this class and order, and may The student need never be at a loss be seen in every garden, though it does for illustrations of at least the first order not always blossom ; and in some garof this class, as it contains many plants dens a botanist might watch, as Dr. which he may meet with in every gar- Adams did, for the blossom of the den, and in every walk in the field. The Lemna for twenty years, without success. speedwell (Veronica) alone contains up- The blossom of the sage, when it does wards of twenty species, natives of appear, is reddish crimson, and in disBritain, besides several exotic species, tant whirls on the stem at the base of the some of which are very common in gar- | leaves. The flower cup (calyx) is purdens. They may be met with on the plish and notched, and the corolla is highest Alpine mountains, (V. alpina,) gaping, tubular, and two-lipped. Several and in every running spring, (V. bec. plants of this genus, such as the splendid cabunga,) in the driest field, (V. agres- sage, (S. splendens,) with fine scarlet tis,) the tops of old walls, (V. arvensis) flowers, are not uncommon in gardens. on hedge banks, (V. chamadrys,) in A
A new species, (S. portens,) from marshes, (V. sentellata,) in gardens, Mexico, has recently been introduced, (V. hederacea,) on heaths, (V. officin- with very large flowers of a splendid alis,) and in woods, (V. hirsuta.) The ultramarine blue colour, which, when flowers are of various shades of blue, once seen, is not likely to be forgotten. and from having only two stamens and The sweet-scented vernal grass (Anone pistil, cannot be readily confounded thoxanthum adoratum) is arranged in with any other sort of plants. The ger- the second order of this class, and is mander speedwell is not unusually called common in
every meadow. When dried, forget-me-not, though this is not the it is this which imparts the exquisite genuine plant, so called, which grows in scent to meadow hay. ponds and ditches, and is the Myosetis And here we may do well to observe palustris of botanists.
the bountiful provision so mercifully The forget-me-not is often used as made for human enjoyment.
We not a pretty device in reference to an ab- only derive pleasure from what is agreesent friend : it would be well if it also able to the sight, the smell, the hearing, led our thoughts to our almighty Friend the taste, and the feeling, but also from above. In this sense, to the rist the associations and remembrances with botanist, every flower of the garden and which they are connected. Thus the scent the field should be a true forget-me-not. of hay seldom fails in taking us back to
A very common plant, belonging to scenes of a joyous kind, where the fothis class and order, is the smaller duck- liage of trees, the singing of birds, and weed, (Lemna minor,) which may be sunshine and pure air, and health and seen floating in dense green sheets on the industry, were mingled with light-hearted surface of ponds and other stagnant peasantry, wide spread fields, and loaded pieces of water, sending down long wains. The scent of new mown hay thread-like roots to the mud at the bot- imparts a sensation of happiness, and tom. The leaves or fronds are about a ought also to call forth a grateful emofourth of an inch long, inversely, egg tion of the heart to the Giver of all good, oblong, sawtoothed, and flat, being thick who has so abundantly scattered abroad and rather firm in substance. There are the sources of joy. To a well informed three other species distinguished by the and well regulated mind, creation is different sizes and forms of the leaves. audible. Not only does the deep utter
The blossom of this plant is not on “his voice," and lift “ up his hands on any stem, as in other plants ; but placed high,” Hab. iii. 10, but the plants and on the edge of the leaf, there being no flowers of the field, commune one with
OLD HUMPHREY TO THE YOUNG LADIES
another, and eloquently descant on the changed the world is to what it was, and goodness of God.
how differently young folks used to act The flowers of the sweet-scented ver- fifty summers ago to what they do now. nal grass, which appear in May, are in And you know, too, that while old men form of a greenish spire, becoming are thus occupied, young people try their yellowish as the seeds ripen in June and best to look grave, for which laudable July. It does not succeed well when effort they consider themselves at liberty, sown by itself, unmixed with other the moment they are left alone, to ingrasses.
J. R. dulge in a good-humoured titter at the
old gentleman's odd thoughts, odd words, or odd appearance.
If you do not know all this, I do.
Well, you may laugh at me as long OF AN EXTENSIVE ESTABLISHMENT.
and as loudly as you please, provided it MY UNKNOWN Young Friends-How be a good-natured laugh, and provided shall I address you whom I have never also, that you will try to remember any seen, and, most likely, never shall see, little piece of advice I may give, which having no knowledge of your tastes, may be likely to do you good. your habits, or your dispositions ? Flat- Not yet have I forgotten my school ter you, I will not; for thereby should I days. My schoolmaster was ill-informprove myself to be your enemy: judge ed, hasty, and unreasonably severe; but you with severity, I dare not; for by so my schoolmistress was considerate and doing I should condemn myself. It has very kind. She used to stand at one end been whispered to me that you read my of the school, and address us in an affecpapers, and thus a desire has arisen in tionate manner. I was then young; and my heart to say a few words to you. now, though so many years have been
Youth is usually cheerful, and I dare added to my days, I have not forgotten say that you are so; but if I write lightly, her soft musical voice, nor the lessons of I may offend the sedate ; and should I instruction she endeavoured to impress express myself very gravely, the cheer- on our minds. ful will have no fellowship with me;
Now, thus will it be with some of you they will say, “We thought the old in future years ! when he who now adgentleman wore a smile on his face, and dresses you may be, through mercy, in a a blooming bouquet in his bosom; but better world, you will recall your youthinstead of this, he writes as though he ful days, assemble your schoolfellow's had been gathering crabs, drinking a once more together in your thoughts, draught of vinegar, and dipping his pen and live over again your present pursuits. in mingled wormwood and gall."
You will then feel gratification from Again, if I write a long letter, some what you remember of the admonitions of you may accuse me of being á tire- of your kind instructors, mingled with some, garrulous, gossipping old man ; regret that you have remembered so and if I write you a short one, “Oh! | little. Oh !" you may say, “Is this his letter ? And now, to what are you looking forWhy it is not worth the trouble he has ward? Is the fair future glowing with taken to write it." So take what course rainbow hues ? Oh, what a goodly I will, my path, you see, is beset with world is this, when fancy, and hope, difficulty. However, I will now tell you and expectation have to draw its picture ! the way I shall proceed. That which
The green leaves, the fruits and flowers, comes uppermost in my mind shall be The sparkling rills and bubbling fountains, freely written in a kindly spirit, without
Fair vales, and heaven-aspiring mountains, my making it an object to be either very are all placed so conspicuously, covered gay, or very grave; very short, or very over with a bonny blue sky, and so lit long ; very wise, or in a word, very any up with sunshine, that neither the eye thing; giving you credit for sufficient nor the heart suspects that there is any good humour and kindness to put the thing like shadow beyond them; but, for best possible construction you can on my all this, my young friends, there are communication.
shadows in the world ! You know that it is the privilege of Think not that Old Humphrey is the old men to look very wise; to shake man to blight your prospects; rudely their heads at young people, and to talk to dash from your hands the cup of pleavery gravely to them, pointing out how sure; or to drive away the smile from
your faces. Rather would he put sun- with true knowledge, and to keep you shine into your bosoms than take it from evil; yea to guide you by his counaway: but he is not now writing to sel, and to bring you to glory. please you, so much as to do you good; Old Humphrey is usually cheerful as let him, then, speak the truth in sincerity the day, and he loves to throw around and kindness.
him an air of cheerfulness wherever he Mankind have been running after goes; but with all his light-heartedness, earthly happiness, from the days of old, and in the midst of all his infirmities, and they are still keeping up the chase. he considers this world as nothing withI have run after it myself as hard as my out the well-grounded hope of a better. neighbours, and have found myself as You must place him on the rack; fling far behind. If one thing more than him beneath the wheels of Juggernaut, another can assume different shapes, it yea, grind him to powder between the is the phantom we pursue that we take upper and nether mill-stone, before you for happiness.
could crush out of him the joyous hope Earthly happiness is sought by all. of everlasting life through the Saviour The sage pursues it in his books, and of sinners! And would you do it then ? reflections; the savage discerns it in This is not such a letter as I intended the wilderness; the prince views it to write; but give me credit for feeling sparkling in a crown; the peasant be- more kindness and interest in your real holds it in abundant crops of grain ; welfare than I have expressed, and bethe sailor sees it in the ocean; the lieve me to be, my unknown young soldier hears it in the stormy fight; and friends, yours in the very spirit of sinthe school-boy and school-girl hope to cerity and kindness, find it in a holiday.
OLD HUMPHREY. If I could peep into your hearts, from the youngest of you to the eldest, what a medley should I find there of visionary things laid up in store to make you The following is a Divine denunciahappy! Waxen dolls and birth-day tion delivered against Babylon: “Behold, presents; glowing hopes and pleasant I am against thee, O destroying mounholidays; young friends and old ac- tain, saith the Lord, which destroyest quaintances; joyous scenes and family all the earth : and I will stretch gatherings ; satin dresses and kid out mine hand upon thee, and roll gloves ; journeys and jubilees; sun- thee down from the rocks, and will beams and silvery clouds! I would not, make thee a burnt mountain. And they if I could, take away your enjoyment; shall not take of thee a stone for a corbut I must whisper a word or two by ner, nor a stone for foundations ; but which they may be regulated.
thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the We all love to pluck the fairest fruit, Lord,” Jer. li. 25, 26. and to gather the sweetest flowers ; but Babylon is here compared to a volput this down as a truth worthy to be cano, in terms that appear the more graven on a pillar of brass—That there apt and striking, the more minutely we are more fruits and flowers grow by consider them. Mountains were somethe way-side of the path of duty, than times used by speakers in old times as in all the wilderness of wilful inclina- a figurative representation of a people tion,
or nation, perhaps from their staWe all set a value on riches ; but bility and their importance in modiMexico is a long way off, and its gold is fying the dip and elevation of the soil, hard to gain ; the Bible, a far richer as well as for their influence in attracting source of real wealth, is at hand. I will the moisture of the air to supply the point out two texts that are worth a hun- streamlets that roll down their sides. dred Mexicos:-“God is love,” 1 John To a mind accustomed to the use of “ Christ died for the ungodly," this metaphor, the language adopted in
the verses we have cited must have Willingly would I write more; but come with a home-felt force and beauty. time presses, and I must hurry on to the A nation, viewed in reference to its end of my remarks. Though I cannot government and civil polity, seems to make
you happy, I can commend you to cast a friendly shade over its own Him who has all happiness at his dis- subjects, and is the source of all their posal. I can ask of Him to bless you earthly prosperity, as a prominent or