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The inhabitants of Balaghan undoubtedly compute the measure of oil too high, when they say, that the deepest and richest wells yield every day between 1000 and 1500lb. It is true, they draw out, two or three times a day, some buckets full; but, according to my reckoning, the bucket does not contain more than 230lb. Thus much I am certain of, that other wells only yield from 50 to 80lb. daily. If the less abundant wells are not emptied every day, the increase of oil ought to be greater; but in the main well its daily measure ought not to exceed it; therefore that one is emptied every day; but the others are only emptied once a week. The prince of Baku has retained the sole right of selling all the oil; thus, when more is drawn in Balaghan than there is a sale for, it is sent to Baku; and as they have no convenient casks, or storehouses for it, there is a place without the city containing fifteen deep pits. In them the overplus is preserved, until it is again drawn off for sale The colour of the oil is quite black; but if poured out against the sun, it appears redish. It does not light very quick, but when once in flames, emits a clear light and much smoke. The inhabitants of that neighbourhood, and along the Caspian, use it as well in their lamps, as in flat, broad, iron pans, filled with sand, into which the oil is poured and lighted. They also paint the terrace-roofs of their houses with it, to prevent the rain from penetrating; and in summer, buffaloes are smeared all over with it, to protect them from the very dangerous horse flies and gnats.
Not far from thence, at the foot of a hill, is a well of white oil. This lights very quick, even on the water; on that account the inhabitants amuse themselves with throwing some pattmans [8lb.] of it into the bay; or, during a calm, into the channel between the small islands, and lighting it at the dusk of the evening. The gentle beating of the waves does not extinguish the flame, which spreads considerably, and the water appears to blaze. A pat man of this oil, called white naphtha, costs one rouble sixty copeeks. The middling classes use it for lamps. It is also sold to painters; and generally serves as a domestick medicine for many disorders. In gouty cases, and rheumatick pains, it is employed with great success.
Four versts east of the naphtha springs, is a place particularly remarkable; and the only one in this sandy soil. It is called Ateschjah, or Place of Fire. As soon as one approaches, a very sulphurious-smell arises. The diameter of the place exceeds something more than a verst; and from the centre, in dry weather, a strong, yellowish-blue flame is emitted, that increases in the night.
At some distance from the flame, but on the same spot, Indians, whom I before called Geber, Gueber, or fireworshippers, and other poor persons, have erected small stone houses. The space of ground, enclosed by the walls, is covered with loam a foot thick, that the flame may not break through. But where an inhabitant thinks fire necessary, he leaves incisions or holes in the floor; and when fire is wanted to boil his food or coffee, he holds a light over the opening, and immediately a flame arises, which is employed more conveniently than common wood or coal fire. The flame completely fills the opening, were it ever so large; but the narrower it is, the greater is the force and heat of the flame. From an opening of two inches it reached three feet ten inches in height, and afterwards fell down to two feet five inches. When fire is no longer necessary, the hole is pressed down, after the flame has been extinguished.
The hole in the loam floor, from which the flame rises, certainly heats, but its edges suffer no change. When the fire breaks out and burns, a sulphurious vapour is smelt, and a strong current of air continues after the
flame is extinguished. Whoever then holds his hand, for some time, over the opening, feels at first a rising warm air. At last the skin becomes warm, red and swollen, and the exhalation is perfectly similar to that of warm sulphur baths. But the fire is not merely confined to the houses; it is every where at hand.
In dark nights, the inhabitants procure light by means of that fire. In a narrow hole, bored through the loam floor, they 'fix a reed, whose inner surface must be completely coated by limewater frequently poured through it. The outer edges, below and above the opening, are covered with the same substance, and the reed stuck into the hole. When it is all dry, they apply a burning paper to the upper end, and immediately a steady flame bursts forth, almost six inches high, which serves instead of the clearest light.
The poor Indian linen-weavers who live there, as soon as it is evening, set fire to those reeds, and on both sides of the weaving stool similar ones are placed; and the workman has neither to keep up the flame, nor snuff the burning wick. Firing is also unnecessary, for the heat is so great, that the windows and doors always stand open. Besides, it is very dangerous to light a wood fire, without sufficient caution; because the whole neighbourhood might be in flames, of which melancholy accounts are related. The current of air rushing from the incisions or holes is strong. Leathern bottles and flasks are soon filled with it, and this confined air is inflammable for some time after. I saw a proof of it at the prince of Schammaghi's, who ordered a leathern bottle full to be fetched for my satisfaction; and though the messenger was obliged to make a long circuit, on account of the Lesghaes, and did not return before the fourth day, yet it was still inflammable. The Gebers, besides, assert that they send casks full of it to India, which ignite even at that distance.
The inhabitants not only use the fire for domestick purposes, but likewise for burning lime.
After digging to the depth of four or five feet in the neighbourhood, and particularly round Baku, very cold water, tasting strongly of naphtha, rises from a gravely soil; and even the loam-hole, from which a strong current of warm air burst forth at first into flames, serves no longer, as soon as they have dug to the given depth, and got water. But if the loam soil only is bored through in another part, from six to eight inches distant from the place where the water rises, the abovementioned current of inflammable air rises again immediately; and is not diminished, although the clearest water is drawn off with a reed near the rising flame. As soon as the spring is exhausted, a passage is again open for the inflammable air. The naphthataste of the water does not prevent the inhabitants of Baku from using it. It is by no means injurious to the health, and the traveller no where feels a greater appetite, than when he drinks that water.
Besides this consuming fire, there is another near Baku that does not inflame. After warm rains in autumn, if the evening is also warm, the fields round Baku stand in full flames. It often appears as if the fire rolled down from the mountains, in large masses, with incredible velocity; and frequently it remains on the same spot where it first appeared. In October and November one often sees, in clear moonlight nights, a very bright, blue light, that covers and illumines the whole western range of Baku. Most frequently the mountain Soghto-ku is covered with a similar appearance remarkably splendid, which does not extend to the plain. But if the nights are dark and warm, innumerable flames, sometimes single, sometimes in masses, cover the whole plain, and then the mountains are obscured. They often excite great alarm amongst the horses and mules of a caravan; but do
not last beyond the fourth hour of the night; and if there is a strong east wind, they are not seen at all. This fire does not burn, and if a person finds himself in the middle of the flames, no warmth is felt. The dry grass and reeds are not burnt, though the whole soil appears to be full of devouring fire. On the outside of an exhausted receiver, the fire hangs for some minutes, like a phosphorick light And although the flame on the ground is extinguished, yet glass tubes, having their air exhausted, appear for some moments strongly illuminated. It should seem that the mixture of this light is different from the species of vapour called Ignis fatuus; for this is of a dark red colour; on the contrary, the other is a whitish blue light.
Hindoos come from India [Moultan] to pay their devotions, and perform austerities of various kinds, in the presence of these natural fires.
EVERY marshal of France has, with his division of the army, a corps d'élite of 2000 riflemen, who never miss their mark at a distance of 150 paces. Should the army be concentred for a general engagement, these riflemen compose a separate corps of 16,000 men, who are formed two deep, and are posted in the place where the enemy's line is to be penetrated. This corps d'élite generally fire irregularly, but every shot brings down its man, and in a few minutes a whole line of the enemy is destroyed. When two, three, or four lines are thus disposed of, the cavalry and infantry pass through, the riflemen enter the openings in the enemy's line, and attack the corps in both flank and rear. "This system," say men of information, "will continue to conquer, till its opponents possess an equal number of equally good marksmen; for without them, if both armies were equally well commanded, success would only be the work of chance."-Beside this corps d'élite of riflemen, every marshal has, in every company, several expert marksmen, who never miss their man, whose only duty is to pick off the artillerymen and officers in front; but, above all, the commanding officer, which they are able to do at 150 paces. Beside the strong train of artillery, each marshal has, with his division, two battalions of horse artillery, to act with his corps d'élite of riflemen, who equal them in the rapidity of their manœuvres, and quickness of their fire. These battalions are very seldom separated, but are masked by cavalry and sharp shooters. Each marshal has also a corps of Voltigeurs, who are practised to climb walls, leap ditches, and are taught to vault behind the cavalry, by whom they are carried to the place of action, when they dismount, and take post in the thickets, and behind walls and hedges. In the general attack, the above mentioned corps d'élite of riflemen, mounted rangers, and horse artillery, of all the divisions of the army, are assembled for the purpose of breaking the enemy's centre, by which, in the engagements of the two last years, the fate of the day was determined.
INSTINCT OF PIGEONS.
To the Editor of the Literary Panorama.
YOU have done me the honour to insert several instances of animal sagacity, that I submitted to your opinion; but, I think that nothing on the subject can be more striking than a passage in Captain Carleton's memoirs which are lately republished. I have, therefore, transcribed it, and do my
self the pleasure of sending it to you. Pigeons, we know, are not birds of courage. We are not, therefore, to wonder that they take to flight, during an engagement, especially a general engagement of two large fleets, fought by combatants so obstinate as the English and Dutch. But it may be amusing to notice the difference of their conduct from that of the game cock, on board lord Rodney's ship, on the famous twelfth of April. This noble fellow, being by some accident loose, took his station on a coil of ropes, on the quarter deck, near to the admiral, and on the firing of every broadside, he crowed with all his might and main; as if he fully comprehended that this was an effort against the enemy, in which he concurred with all his heart. This champion is immortalized, by being painted in Gainsborough's picture of admiral lord Rodney, by whom he was highly valued :—as who would not have valued him highly? A lady who peeps over my shoulder while I write, desires I would ask, what support these facts may afford to the doctrine of pre-existence and transmigration of souls. She inclines to believe, that in some earlier stage of their existence, the pigeons had been land-lubbers; perhaps haberdashers or men-milliners; whereas the cock had been a jolly tar, a boatswain, or perhaps a captain in the royal navy, and was now doing what he considered as his duty, in attending, and cheering "his honour the admiral." Submitting this to your discretion,
I am, &c. HERMIT.
"I cannot here omit one thing which to some may seem trifling, though I am apt think our naturalists may have a different opinion of it, and find it afford their fancies no undiverting employment in more curious and less perilous reflections. We had on board the London, where, as I have said, I was a volunteer, a great number of pigeons, of which our commander was very fond. These, on the first firing of our cannon, dispersed, and flew away, and were seen nowhere near us during the fight. The next day it blew a brisk gale, and drove our fleet some leagues to the southward of the place where they forsook our ship; yet the day after they all returned safe aboard; not in one flock, but in small parties of four or five at a time. Some persons at that time aboard the ship, admiring at the manner of their return, and speaking of it with some surprise, sir Edward Sprage told them, that he brought those pigeons with him from the Straits; and that when, pursuant to his order, he left the Revenge man of war, to go aboard the London, all those pigeons, of their own accord, and without the trouble or care of carrying, left the Revenge likewise, and removed with the sailors on board the London, where I saw them all which many of the sailors afterwards confirmed to me. What sort of instinct this could proceed from, I leave to the curious."-Memoirs of Capt. Carleton, p. 11.
FROM THE LITERARY PANORAMA.
Investigation of certain passages of Scripture on principles not hitherto adopted.
IT may readily be granted that any tract published by an apostolick man, in the early Christian church, would be circulated among the Christians of those times, with great despatch, immediately on its publication. This is a natural and indefeasible position, since it arises from a principle in human nature itself. It is natural, too, that, in those times, it should be copied without delay in such churches as were then extant. And this first edition would be circulated to the widest extent, of course. Churches that where established afterwards were more likely to receive the second edition of such a writer's works; especially, if they had intercourse with
the town where he resided in his latter days, and drew their copies from thence, immediately. But I think we may say, that for one copy of the second edition that was circulated, there would be 20, or 50, or 100 copies of the first edition; since not only would it have the advantage of priority, but not one reader in a hundred would think of the second as different from the first. And this has led our translators to mark, as doubtful, the first quotation which I selected from the first Epistle of John, in my last; chap. ii. 23. I have no doubt on the genuineness of the addition; but possibly there may be 50 copies without it to one which contains it.
Admitting, then, the residence of St. John be at Ephesus, or any part of Asia Minor, for the last thirty years of his life, for which we have the testimony of ancient history, we may date his first epistle, early in that period or even before he came to live there. This would spread first, among the neighbouring churches in Asia Minor: secondly, eastward, to those countries which professed Christianity, Antioch, for certain: Syria, Cilicia, Pontus, Cappadocia, Galatia, Babylonia, &c. Toward these coun tries, there are caravans which go every month, or six weeks, from Asia Minor; there is a regular intercourse maintained, between Smyrna, and the internal parts of Asia Minor, and on through Tarsus to Antioch :-from Ephesus to Smyrna was easy. We have every reason to affirm, that it was the same anciently, and therefore, there was an immediate conveyance of such addresses as the apostle John published for the general use of all Christians, from Ephesus, eastward to the oriental provinces of the Roman empire, where Christianity was settled and flourished. In these churches his writings would be in request. Moreover, these churches would be the first to translate his writings into their current language, for the use of the natives of these provinces, who did not understand Greek (which, however prevalent the Greek language was, must have been many) because here was a great number of professing Christians, who desired to be acquainted
with their contents.
It is evident, therefore, that these translations, having for their basis the first edition, can be no evidences of what the apostle thought proper to add in his second edition. The Syriack version, for instance, if we suppose that to be the earliest of all, would represent the first edition, as would also, all versions made from it, and all copies made from those, at that time, received in those parts. Whereas, the Armenian version, because it is much later, would at least stand the chance of obtaining (and being made from) the second edition. The Syriack version, therefore, is no evidence against an addition. The Armenian version is an evidence for it. This version contains 1. John. v. 7.
Also, the churches in Africa were not planted till many years after those of Asia; their intercourse with Ephesus, being by sea, was irregular, and could only take place, occasionally, if it was direct. If we suppose it to be, on the subject before us, through Italy, then it was subject to the same circumstances as attended the intercourse between Ephesus and Rome. I say Rome, because we have no reason to think that there was any number of Christians, worth mentioning, in any other city of Italy. The apostle Paul, when travelling from Rhegio upward was met by brethren from Rome: which when he saw, he thanked God, and took courage. Certainly, then, he had not met with many friends in places that he passed through, and his courage had been somewhat cast down, for that reason. We find no trace of Christianity in Herculaneum, one of the cities of Italy, of the second size, which was destroyed A. D. 79, though we meet with traces of Judaism there; and in short, it must be admitted, that, compared with Asia, the western pro