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act of despotic power on the part of the King, not so hard to understand as to justify.


Lastly, there are the school-books of King Wilhelm IV., from which it appears somehow that in his youth he enjoyed no exemption from schoolwork; from seven to twelve A.M., and from two to five P.M., King Friedrich Wilhelm IV., of Prussia, learned how to do as much harm to his kingdom, unconsciously, and with the best intentions, as any prince to whom its destinies have ever been committed.




MAN is either condemned to physical as well as moral short-sightedness, and, to avoid passing through life a dim observer, compelled to wear spectacles; or to grow old-sighted, and mount them to read his newspaper or see satisfactorily his dinner. There is but one remedy for mal-formation or consumption of the eyes, and that is, spectacles. In view of this, it is evident that what distinguishes man from the rest of creation is the inevitable spectacles. When, therefore, the terminology of zoology shall be reformed, we suggest that man be entitled the spectacled animal. We trust the suggestion, being both original and valuable, will meet the eyes of some of the learned members of the Convention of Science, and receive the consideration which is due to it at the next meeting of that distinguished body. Let some humble Tittlebatian attend to it.

Spectacles being then a distinctive feature of the genus homo, we propose to say something about them, promising not to be as lengthy as Lord Monboddo was upon the subject of caudal appendages.

We premise that the origin of the indispensable glass is a subject of speculation. Tradition says, the children of Israel, during their wanderings, set fire to a forest which grew upon a hill-side, and that the nitre and silica which chanced to be present were fused together and ran down the hill in the form of glass. Thus the mode in which glass might be made was discovered. It is admitted, we believe, that Moses was not a professor of geology. Being learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, perhaps he was an emeritus in chemistry. If so, he knew that such elements as nitre and silica could not be fused by the ignition of an Arabian forest, which could not have equalled a good-sized bon-fire. The old fable of sailors finding glass in the fire which they had kindled on the sea-shore, may be disposed of in the same way. Both stories are as reliable as the first notes of a war-telegram. The truth probably is, that glass was suggested by the vitreous schlag attendant upon the smelting of the metallic ores. Doubtless, it is as ancient as that process. Glass was discovered among the relics of Nineveh. Glass-blowing is depicted in the paintings of Beni Hassan; and glass is found adorning the persons of those re

spectacle mummied ladies who flirted in the salons of Thebes, and died, perhaps disconsolate, long before.

'Antiquity appears to have begun.' Job, too, who unquestionably wrote before the Exodus, in chapter twenty-eighth, seventeenth verse, refers to glass. The words rendered in the Anglican version, 'gold and crystal,' are believed by Carey to be a hendiadys for golden glass — a superb species, which the Egyptians made by 'introducing gold between two surfaces of glass'— and which he thinks suggested the comparison in Revelation, twenty-first chapter, twenty-first verse, where the street of the 'holy Jerusalem' is said to be 'of pure gold, like as it were transparent glass.' The Persians, also, had glass upon their festal-boards in the days when the laws of the Medes and Persians altered not.

Egypt, as long as she was living Egypt, maintained great celebrity for her manufactures of glass. Tyre and Sidon at one time competed with, but probably never rivalled her in the art. Rome had glass-works, though she imported her finest glass from Egypt. Among the ruins of Herculaneum, even a pane of glass was found, showing that the ancient Italians knew of it in that form, though when they used any thing, they used mica for their windows. One of the finest specimens of glass extant is the Barberini or Portland Vase, which was discovered in the tomb of Alexander Severus, who died A.D. 285.

That glass has been known from a very early date, history sufficiently. shows. That its origin may be traced to the smelting of ores, science demonstrates. We may add, that the use of it in some form has always been attendant upon civilization throughout the world.

But when was glass employed as a component of spectacles to aid deficient or declining vision? Brutus says of Coriolanus: All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights are spectacled to see him.' This must be considered one of Shakspeare's convenient anachronisms. It is quite as likely that the Romans used spectacles as that Coriolanus was persuaded by his mother and wife to spare ungrateful Rome. The latter fable has gone out with Romulus and Remus. Layard found a lens at Nineveh. Doubtless this form of glass was known to the ancients. Perhaps they used it for magnifying purposes. Every one has heard of Archimedes' burning-glasses, with which he attempted to destroy the Roman fleet. The story may be added to that of Coriolanus and kindred fancies. That the ancients invented spectacles, we cannot believe, at least, history does not lead us to infer it. Beside, how could such an invention have been lost? Necessary knowledge, that which pertains to the arts and sciences, appears ever to have been preserved. Only the superfluous seems to have faded away. Such is necessarily a law of progress and civilization.

We presume that near-sightedness was very rare among the ancients, and even infrequent among the people of the middle ages. We regard it as a modern, and unhappily an increasing evil. But man, at no period of the world, has been free from that flattening of the eye, consequent upon advancing years. Old-sightedness began with Adam. Of course, when the life of man was long in the world, the eyes were longer preserved by the laws of

nature. Those laws evidently underwent changes as it pleased God to shorten the days of man. It must not be forgotten, that until the introduction of printed books, there was but very little reading done; consequently, people did not feel the inconvenience of declining vision as much as they who enjoy the luxury of a daily paper. One case of old-sightedness is mentioned in the Bible. It is that of Jacob, Genesis, chapter forty-eighth, tenth verse: 'Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see.' As it is manifest that the old man was not blind, as his father Isaac was in the latter years of his life, the dimness which rendered his vision indistinct, must have been merely old-sightedness.

Most great inventors, who have especially benefited mankind, have acquired immortality by the association of their names with the offspring of their genius. Thus, the telescope recals Galileo; the watch, Peter Hele; the clock, Huyghens, the steam-engine, Watt; the steam-boat, Fulton; spinning-jennies, Arkwright; and cotton-gins, Whitney. But the name of him who redeemed the sense of sight, who opened a world to thousands of the young, and the pages of Scripture to myriads of the old, remains unrecorded. History has not 'spoken his praise; no chronicler has kept his 'honor from corruption.' It is true that Roger Bacon, the learned friar, who died in 1292, is believed to have been in the habit of using convex glasses to read with; and it is known that Alexander di Spiner of Pisa, who lived at the same period, and who likewise assisted his vision in the same way, gave all the information he had upon the subject to the public. Which, or if either, was the inventor of spectacles we cannot say. Jordan di Rialto, in a sermon probably preached in Pisa in the early part of the fourteenth century, remarks that the use of glasses had not been known twenty years. Dr. Clark thinks that a knowledge of concave glasses followed soon after that of convex. It is highly probable. To the Abbe Francis Maurolycus, however, is due the credit of laying down exact rules for the construction and use of glasses to aid defective sight. Maurolycus, who flourished at Messina in the last half of the sixteenth century, was distinguished for his skill as a geometrician. He contributed more than any one of his time to the advancement of mathematical science. Certainly, as the publisher of the laws of vision, he deserves to be remembered as a benefactor of his race.

Great has been the improvement, in modern times, in spectacles, both with respect to glasses and frames. The former, which were once ungainly, and composed of common material, are now seen in various shapes, of the nicest proportions, and made of the finest glass. Pebbles, as they are technically called, are esteemed the most, inasmuch as they are purer, less easily scratched, less easily affected by changes of temperature in the atmosphere, and cooler to the eye than glass. Pebbles are transparent rock-crystals. The glass commonly used for spectacles is what is termed plate-glass. Great care is taken to adjust accurately the proportions of silicate of soda and lime, of which it is composed. It is manifest that the lens, whether it is of crystal or of glass, must be mathematically accurate in the measure of its convexity or concavity, as the case may be. The prevalence of spectacles has rendered the manufacture of lenses quite an extensive business. 'In a single village in Europe,' says Dr.

Clark, 'two hundred and thirty thousand pairs are made annually.' The mode is as follows: 'The lens is gradually rounded into shape, either by hand or machinery, and then smoothed down with emery-powder.' Though there is a variety of lenses, generally they may be ranged under the two heads of concave and convex. Periscopic glasses are concave on the inside and convex on the out. This construction is thought by some to be an improvement for nearsighted people.

Frames have kept pace with glasses. The rude iron of the gaffer has become almost historical, and can only be found in some old farm-house; and silver is seldom seen, except on the nose of some ancient, unchangeable Quakeress. Gold now adorns the countenances of all classes and of all ages, the grave, the gay, the old-sighted and the near-sighted. Gold is the dignified, the respectable, the fashionable frame; steel, the intellectual; tortoise-shell, the philosophical; springs, the perfection of art and of style. Springs dangle gracefully over the ample waistcoat of the elderly gentleman, and contend pleasantly with the guard which ornaments the broidered vest of the man about town. They facilitate conversation and illustrate an anecdote; they can be mounted for the recognition of an acquaintance or the deciphering of a telegram; and they can be dropped at the precise moment when sight should be judiciously kept in abeyance. Springs are professional, springs are literary, springs are comme il faut. Spectacles culminate in springs.

A word to those who wear spectacles: First, to the near-sighted. Let the frames be light, but firm enough to prevent all vibration. Use a just power, rather below than above the mark of perfect sight. Wear glasses only to see, never to read with. Indeed, dispense with them as much as circumstances will permit. Ladies who wear their glasses infrequently have healthier eyes generally than gentlemen who ever appear with spectacles on nose.

Second, to the old-sighted. Postpone not the use of glasses from motives of vanity. Injured vanity may possibly be healed, injured eyes may not. Every oculist knows that straining the eyes is much more detrimental to them than using glasses.

To all we would say for all either are, or must become, unless they die, spectacled — it is a good rule to do with the eyes as you should not do with children-humor them. Never fatigue the eyes; never read while riding, or while walking—we know of a case which terminated in sudden death — or by a waning or too brilliant light. It is folly to hazard so delicate and so invaluable a sense. Remember, nature never forgives an injury. The law of exact justice is the only law she knows. It is wicked, therefore, to offend her. When we reflect upon the extreme delicacy of the eyes, the constant use, the too frequent abuse they sustain, it is wonderful that they are so long-suffering. Yet they are not equal to charity; they will not endure all things; they cannot be too carefully guarded; they cannot be too kindly treated. There is an abuse which neither the oculist nor spectacles can remedy. Think of the piteous appeal of Arthur, and be not less merciful than Hubert.

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