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“ belle et bonne," as he used to call her. In another part of the room are two very pretty pictures of a boy and a Madonna-looking girl, which our old Cicerone said were painted by order of Voltaire. The boy is a Savoyard, with a tattered cocked-hat, and the young woman, we were told, was “ La Blanchisseuse," and more than that deponent knew not. If it were really of the blanchisseuse, I can only say that Voltaire had a very pretty washerwoman.
The church which “ Deo erexit Voltaire” was locked, and the man who kept the keys was at work in the fields. The far-famed inscription is taken down, and there is nothing to distinguish the church except a plain pyramidical monument, very much resembling in shape that in the bed-room, which Voltaire had built for himself in case he had died at Ferney. Over a stable-door nearly adjoining, is the quaint inscription" Ostium non hostium."
We went into the garden, which is laid out in the old French taste, with a fish-pond in the middle, and arboured walks, square parterres, &c. From the terrace there is a very fine view of the Jura on one side, and of the Alps with Mont Blanc on the other. If I were inclined to moralize in analogy, I might say that such a locale is in good keeping with Voltaire's writings and genius. He was confined within what
has been termed “the trim parterre of the Gallic Muse;" but yet he had a commanding sight of free and gigantic nature. If he was in some measure in thraldom, he knew what liberty was ; if- but it is late at night, and if I get into this train, as the man says in the farce, “there is no reason why I should ever stop,”-so I shall wish myself good-night
ODE TO THE CLOSING YEAR.
Oh, why should I attempt to ring
The knell of Time in sorrowing tone,
That I should mourn its timely end,
Farewell to a departing friend !
I should in sooth be apt to say,
To thank thee for an hour's delay.”
The promise of another year.
PATENTS AND PROJECTS EXTRAORDINARY! “ Our victories only led us to farther visionary prospects ; advantage was taken of the sanguine temper which success had wrought the nation up to.". -SWIFT,
What pigmies in intellect, however gigantic in stature, were those old rebellious Carbonari, the Titans, with their clumsy expedient of piling Pelion upon Ossa, and their hopeful project of taking the skies by escalade! It is the moderns, with their diminutive bodies and Titanian intellects, piling up one discovery upon another, and bringing all matter under the dominion of mind, who have climbed up, as it were, into the heavens, detected all the laws, motions, and distances of the celestial bodies, and brought the whole system of the universe as much within the grasp of our apprehension as if it were as tangible as the planisphere upon our table, by which it is represented in epitome. Having found for our moral lever what Archimedes wanted for his material one—a basis, we have performed what he threatened, by raising the world. When Queen Elizabeth told Bacon that his house was too small for him, he replied—“It is your Majesty who have made me too big for my house;" we are all of us in the same predicament with respect to the earth wherein we dwell; the majesty of our minds has made it too narrow for our full expansion. This paltry sphere was well enough in the outset of our career, but we have penetrated into all its secrets, analysed its composition, sifted, weighed, decompounded, exhausted, used it up, and conquered it, and have nothing left, but, like so many Alexanders, to sit down and blubber for a new one. Have we not rummaged and ransacked its uttermost corners until the Row is reduced to the greatest difficulty in keeping up the annual supply of new travels ? have we not mounted above the clouds in balloons, made our descent upon the earth in parachutes, like so many Apollos with umbrellas above our heads; drawn down electric fire from heaven with. out incurring the punishment of Prometheus ; sported beneath the waves in diving bells, and constructed subaqueous edifices with as much composure as if we were Tritons running up a coral palace for Amphitrite; crawled into the very bowels of the earth to extract its riches by the assistance of Davy's wire-gauze lamp, more wonderful than Aladdin's; and sunk wells with as much perseverance as if we were digging to unkennel that fresh-water mermaid-Truth? By wielding the omnipotence of an impalpable vapour we have acquired such a dominion over matter that there is nothing too stupendous for the allsubjugating grapple of our machines, while we can impel ponderous vessels through the waves, even against wind and tide, with the velocity of a thunderbolt :- from coal and oil we have extracted a subtle gas, which being conducted for miles through subterranean darkness, or brought to our doors and retailed by the pint or half-pint, supplies at will a perpetual light ;-by means of the telegraph we can converse in a few hours with persons stationed at the distance of a whole Continent; and by the magic of writing we can not only conjure up a portrait of the minds of the ancients, by referring to their works, (so much more interesting than any copy of their bodily lineaments which might have been committed to the perishable records of paint or marble, but we can eternize our own thoughts, sentiments, almost our very voices, and
transmit them unimpaired to the latest posterity, when the evanescent frame from which they emanated shall be scattered in the air in the form of dust. Really, Mr. Editor, one's mind may be allowed to strut a little in the pride of its achievements—to parody the artists " ed io anche son’ Pittore!" by exclaiming, “ I, too, am a man!"—to look down with some contempt on its fleshly tegument as upon a scurvy companion whom it only condescends to notice from certain ties of consanguinity; and even to consider the spacious earth itself as but a larger species of prison, or cage, from which we shall ultimately escape, and take our flight to enjoy in a nobler sphere a more exalted destiny.
If we are already prone to leap out of our materiality in the vainglorious aspirations of the spirit
, what shall restrain us within the bounds of moderation when all the improvements now projecting shall have received their full accomplishment, and the new patents for which applications have been made shall have been practically developed ? The company for realizing Dr. Darwin's suggestion of moderating the burning ardours of the torrid zone, by towing a large portion of the icebergs from the northern to the southern latitudes, is already in a considerable state of forwardness, and the shares are selling at a handsome premium. From this most ingenious process a double advantage will be derived :— first, in so tempering the rigour of the arctic circle, by withdrawing the frozen barrier in which it is immured, that the Esquimaux may be enabled to crawl, for three whole months of the year, out of the holes in which they live, without having their noses nipped off by the scissors of Boreas ; while the Laplanders may turn the woolly side of the skins in which they are clothed, outwards instead of inwards, to the great comfort of the inhabitants of the country, and the paramount discomfort of the inhabitants of the fleece-videlicet, the fieas. (Such are the terms set forth in the application to Parliament for a charter.)—Secondly, by effecting such a modification of the torrid temperature that the negroes who now produce wool upon their heads and the sheep hair, may effect an exchange, to the manifest advantage of both parties, and the obvious increase of British commerce. It is calculated that the natives of the great Desert will shortly be enabled to purchase ice-creams at three cowries the glass, and to grow blackberries, sloes, and crab-apples, where the soil now produces nothing but figs, melons, and pomegranates ; while, if we cannot realize the much-ridiculed notion of
washing the blackamoor white, we may reasonably hope to cool him down to a bronze heat, or perhaps ultimately refrigerate him to a bright mahogany. Many subsidiary benefits will result from this grand undertaking. It is notorious that we have sent two expeditions to the North Pole, at a great risk of human life and a prodigious consumption of time and coals, for the purpose of making the notable discovery that a certain under-secretary was wrong in all his positions and anticipations; but if the opposing mountains of ice be fairly hauled away to be hung up to dry upon the equinoctial line, or rather to undergo their annual liquefaction, like the blood of St. Januarius, it is presumable that our next Discovery ships will be enabled to proceed without opposition to the loadstone axletree which is supposed to protrude from the sea at the North Pole, carry a specimen of it through Baffin's Bay to the sea of Kamschatka, and so make a short voyage home by the new cut across the Isthmus of Darien. A second and not less important advantage will be the great impulse given to our manufactures from the number of steam-engines that must necessarily be employed in removing and towing such immense masses. Perkins's apparatus will be used, and by navigating the vessels by Carbonari from the neighbourhood of Mount Vesuvius, who are accustomed to coals and explosions, it is calculated that a pressure of fifteen hundred atmospheres to the square inch may be safely experimented, at which charge an engine of the smallest dimensions will attain such a prodigious concentration of power, as to drag an iceberg of a mile in circumference, supposing the requisite impulsion and velocity can be communicated to it, at the rate of twenty miles an hour. As the whole of the shares are not yet sold, a few subscribers may still be taken in upon application at the proper office.
A second undertaking, not less gigantic in its conception or beneficial in its object, has been suggested by the following portion of an ancient Milesian astronomical hymn, entitled “ Langolee.'
“ Long life to the moon, for a noble sweet creature,
That serves us with lamplight each night in the dark;
Wants no light at all, as you all may remark ;-
Och! it's true as I'm now singing Langolee !" This valuable hint is likely to be realized by an ingenious application of Dr. Black's theory of latent heat. It is well known that all bodies contain a certain portion of caloric, which they give out by pressure ;, almost every substance becomes warm by friction, cold metals may be hammered till they are hot, and we have now a familiar illustration of this principle in the new instantaneous-light machines, which produce fire by simple pressure of the atmosphere. Independently of the quantity of this subtle element with which the moon, in common with all matter, is pervaded, she must have absorbed, almost to saturation, the ardent rays of the sun which have been playing upon her surface for such a succession of ages, and we have thus an immense reservoir of quiescent moonshine ready to be reconverted into active sunshine, if adequate means can be found for its expression. To effect this purpose it is proposed to raise in patent balloons a sufficient number of hydraulic presses to compel the moon to give out caloric in the proportions that may be required. From accurate calculations it appears that a sufficient quantity may be easily procured to double the attraction of that planet upon the ocean, and of course to enable ships to work double tides-an incalculable benefit to our commerce. By converging the rays into a focus, and directing them to particular ponds and lakes, their temperature may be raised to the boiling point, or 21% of Fahrenheit, which will effect an important saving in the making of tea and all culinary processes, to say nothing of the improvement of the general health by such extensive and natural warm baths. From the known influence of this luminary upon lunatics, some unfavourable symptoms may at first be manifested by our amateur actors, craniolo,
gists, writers of Visions of Judgment, followers of Joanna Southcote, believers in Prince Hohenlohe's miracles, March hares, and holders of Spanish, Poyais, and Columbian Stock; but on the other hand, the additional heat will enable us to grow at least double the quantity of cabbage, an important solace to artisans in general, but more particularly to our tailors. Compensation must of course be made to our writers of Sonnets to the Moon, who will be cut short of their whole fourteen lines if they cannot apostrophise her as pale Cynthia, and dissert upon her chaste ray and mild lustre; but this expense will be more than repaid by the treasures that will doubtless be discovered in that repertory of all lost things, from the wits of Orlando down to the wit of Don Juan. The Lord of the lantern and bush, who has so long stood in his own light, will be let down by a parachute and exhibited at Bullock's in Piccadilly, as the Man out of the Moon, from which it is expected to procure a sufficient revenue to raise the wind for the balloons.
Many ingenious mechanicians entertain serious doubts as to the feasibility of the third scheme, for which patents have been taken out, though I cannot myself see any scientific grounds for their misgivings. Volcanoes are now universally admitted to owe their projectile power to steam. Water from the surface of the earth, or from some of the caverns of the deep, comes in contact with the subterranean fires, producing such an instantaneous expansion of vapour that in its efforts to escape, it tears open the surface and carries all before it, thus forming a natural steam-engine. Hitherto its tremendous power, being left to its own irregular energies, has either ended in smoke, or produced terror, havock, and destruction, by desolating plains and overwhelming cities. It is high time to stop these mischievous pranks, and avail ourselves of that stupendous engine which Nature herself has built, and offers us ready made and for nothing, even supplying an inexhaustible reservoir of fuel without one shilling expense. It is proposed to fix an apparatus over the crater of Vesuvius, so as to convert the mountain into a regular steam-engine, turning a river into one of the smaller orifices to generate the vapour in any quantities, and of course providing safety-valves for its escape after a certain pressure, which, as the mountain itself forms the boiler, may be carried to many thousand atmospheres upon the square inch. The direction of this incalculable power, which will give the shareholders the command of the whole world, is a matter for future consideration; but it is proposed in the first instance to make Vesuvius instrumental to the complete excavation of Herculaneum and Pompeii, which seems but fair, as it was the sole cause of their destruction, and to project all the excavated rubbish into the Hellespont, so as to stop the passage of the Dardanelles to the Turkish fleet, and thus operate a favourable diversion for the Greeks. The projector is decidedly of opinion that by this enormous engine he can, if necessary, stop the diurnal motion of the earth upon it axis--an invaluable security to our Asiatic possessions, as in the event of a mutiny or revolution in that quarter we could keep them in the dark for six months, and so ruin them in the cost of candles; or renew the days of Phaëton, by scorching them in the sun until they allowed us to rule the roast.
A certain theorist has suggested that we might even raise the earth nearer to the sun, provided it was previously lightened by