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natural curiosities in Guiana. It is not found in the country of Macoushi. Those Indians tell you that it grows to the south-west of them, in the wilds which extend betwixt them and the Rio Negro. The reed must grow to an amazing length, as the part the Indians use is from ten to eleven feet long, and no tapering can be perceived in it, one end-being as thick as the other. It is of a bright yellow colour, perfectly smooth both inside and out. It grows hollow; nor is there the least appearance of a knot or joint throughout the whole extent. The natives call it ourah. This, of itself, is too slender to answer the end of a blow-pipe; but there is a species of palma, larger and stronger, and common in Guiana, and this the Indians make use of as a case, in which they put the ourah. It is brown, susceptible of a fine polish, and appears as if it had joints five or six inches from each other. It is called samourah, and the pulp inside is easily extracted, by steeping it for a few days in water. Thus the ourah and samourah, one within the other, form the blow-pipe of Guiana. The end which is applied to the mouth is tied round with a sınall silk-grass cord, to prevent its splitting; and the other end, which is apt to strike against the ground, is secured by the seed of the acuero fruit, cut horizontally through the middle, with a hole made in the end, through which is put the extremity of the blow-pipe. It is fastened on with string on the outside, and the inside is filled up with wild bees-wax. The arrow is from nine to ten inches long. It is made out of the leaf of a species of palm-tree, called coucourite, hard and brittle, and pointed as sharp as a needle. About an inch of the pointed end is poisoned with the wourali. The other end is burnt, to make it still harder, and wild cotton is put round it for about an inch and a half. It requires considerable practice to put on this cotton well. It must just be large enough to fit the hollow of the tube, and taper off to nothing downwards. They tie it on with a thread of the silk grass, to prevent its slipping off the
“ The Indians have shown ingenuity in making a quirer to hold the arrows. It will contain from five to six hundred.
With a quiver of poisoned arrows slung over his shoulder, and with his blow-pipe in his hand, in the same position as a soldier carries his musket, see the Macoushi Indian advancing towards the forest in quest of powises, maroudis, waracabas, and other feathered game.
“ These generally sit high up in the tall and tufted trees, but still are not out of the Indian's reach; for his blowpipe, at its greatest elevation, will send an arrow 300 feet. Silent as midnight he steals under them, and so cautiously does he tread the ground, that the fallen leaves rustle not beneath his feet. His ears are open to the least sound, while his eye, keen as that of the lynx, is employed in finding out the game in the thickest shade. Often he imitates their cry, and decoys them from tree to tree, till they are within range of his tube. Then taking a poisoned arrow from his quiver, he puts it in the blow-pipe, and collects his breath for the fatal puff. About two feet from the end through which he blows, there are fastened two teeth of the acouri, and these serve him for a sight. Silent and swift the arrow flies, and seldom fails to pierce the object at which it. is sent. Sometimes the wounded bird remains in the same tree where it was shot, and in three minutes falls down at the Indian's feet. Should he take wing, his flight is of short duration, and the Indian, following the direction he has gone, is sure to find him dead. It is natural to imagine that, when a slight wound only is inflicted, the game will make its escape. Far otherwise ; the woorali poison almost instantaneously mixes with blood or water, so that if you wet your finger, and dash it along the poisoned arrow in the quickest manner possible, you are sure to carry off some of the poison. Though three minutes generally elapse before the convulsions come on in the wounded bird, still a stupor evidently takes place sooner, and this stupor manifests itself by an apparent unwillingness in the bird to move.
“ The Indian, on his return home, carefully suspends his blow-pipe from the top of his spiral roof; seldom placing it in an oblique position, lest it should receive a cast.” Waterton's Wanderings in South America, p. 58.
NOTE 10. p. 212.
If a cone, or sugar-loaf, be cut through in certain directions, we shall obtain certain figures which are termed conic sections ; thus, if we cut through the sugar-loaf in a direction parallel to its base, or bottom, the outline or edge of the loaf where it is cut will be a circle. If the cut is made so as to slant, and not be parallel to the base of the loaf, the outline is an ellipse, provided the cut goes quite through the sides of the loaf all round; but if it goes slanting, and parallel to the line of the loaf's side, the outline is a parabola, a conic section, or curve, to which this note more immediately relates. This curve is distinguished by characteristic properties, every point of it bearing a certain fixed relation to a certain point within it, as the circle does to its centre.
Note 11. p. 219.
During the dreadful earthquake of Lisbon, bands of wretches took advantage of the general consternation to commit the most atrocious acts of robbery and murder. In fact a considerable part of the city was destroyed by incendiaries, who, during the disaster, set fire to the houses, that they might pillage them with greater impunity.
NOTE 12. p. 220.
Soils consist of a mixture of different finely divided earthy matter, with animal or vegetable substances in a state of decomposition. In order, therefore, to form a just idea of their nature, it is necessary to conceive different rocks decomposed, or ground into parts and powder of different degrees of fineness; some of their soluble parts dissolved by water, and that water adhering to the mass, and the whole mixed with larger or smaller quantities of the remains of vegetables and animals, in different stages of decay. Hence it will follow, that certain rocks will give origin to particular soils; thus poor and hungry soils, such as are produced from the decomposition of granite and sandstone, remain very often for ages with only a thin covering of vegetation; while soils from the decomposition of limestone, chalk, and basalt, are often clothed by nature with the perennial grasses; and afford, when ploughed up, a rich bed of vegetation for every species of cultivated plant. In adverting to this subject, Dr. Buckland, in his inaugural lecture, very justly observes, that it furnishes an instance of relation between the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, and of the adaptation of one to the other, which always implies design in the surest manner; for had not the surface of the earth been thus prepared for their reception, where would have been the use of all that admirable system of organization bestowed upon vegetables? And it is no small proof of design in the arrangement of the materials that compose the surface of our earth, that whereas the primitive and granitic rocks are least calculated to afford a fertile soil, they are for the most part made to constitute the mountain districts of the world, which, from their elevation and irregularities, would otherwise be but ill adapted for human habitation; whilst the lower and more temperate regions are usually composed of derivative or secondary strata, in which the compound nature of their ingredients qualifies them to be of the greatest utility to mankind by their subserviency to the purposes of luxuriant vegetation.
No doubt, then, can exist as to the important connection between the geological structure of a country, and its degree of fertility; but the subject has not received the attention which it merits. Geological memoirs abound with hints and scattered notices, but we believe that, with the exception we are about to notice, there does not exist any memoir which professes to describe the different rocks