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civilized land. Yet we every where found a disposition to oblige which could have arisen only from the wish to relieve the wants, inducing to make drafts on the civility so freely tendered.
Rude and unpolished as are the inhabitants of the Chaudiere, they possess an intuitive and native sense of politeness, affording the stranger equal pleasure and surprise. A single instance will illustrate the habitual manner of expression. Having entered into a treaty for a conveyance to a neighboring village, and being already apprised of the just price, we demurred to the first demand as excessive. The answer to our remonstrance, when rendered into English, was as follows, “We cannot well afford to go at this time for this sum; but if it will be an accommodation to you we will receive less :" a response containing an argument sợ convincing, that for the honor of our country we could not further exercise our New England propensity.
So primitive and simple are the manners of those with whom we were visitants, that it required no laborious stretch of imagination to overstep the distance separating us from the sunny land of France, and roll back the years between the present period and the age of her glory, the reign of the fourteenth Lewis, truly called the Magnificent, and to fancy ourselves quietly seated among the vine covered hills and green vallies of the land of their ancestors, in the period when the royal patron of genius and learning held the sceptre with a firmer grasp and wore the crown with a higher dignity, than the successors whose hands have since borne the rod of command and whose brows have been bound with the emblem of power in that realm of crime and blood. More than two centuries have gone by since the possession of Canada by the French ; yet they have worked few changes among the population. The customs transported thither by the first emigrants have been transmitted as heir-looms from father to son, through races, whose blood has been but slightly, if at all adulterated, and are now the same we find described in the worm-eaten, and mouldered volumes of the early voyagers. Possessing little enterprize, cultivating a fertile soil freely furnishing the necessaries of life, having few wants, and placed beyond the contagious influence of luxury, they hold firmly the usages and precepts delivered to them. One generation treads in the footsteps of its predecessors, and resolutely resists innova. tion, in whatever form it appears, whether of improvement or deterioration.
THE CORAL ISLANDS. The corals are objects which, from their beauty and singularity, are well known even to those who have never paid any attention to natural history.
Each coral, whatever it be, is a solid calcareous structure, somewhat resembling a vegetable in the general progress and increase of its parts, inhabited by numerous similar animals, which are precisely the same for each individual coral, but different in the different species. Each of these corals may thus be conceived to form a colony, and the inhabitants are disposed in minute cells, where they reside and carry on the operation of extending their habitations. In these operations, however independently each seems to act in the production of its own cell, or in the extension of its own immediate neighborhood, the whole are regulated by some common mysterious principle, by which they all concur towards the production of a structure that would rather seem to have been directed by one mind. Now nothing very analogous to this takes place in the animal creation, except in the case of the gregarious insects that form a common habitation for breeding; such as the bees and the ants. In these there is a possibility of personal communication; and that there is such, is proved by the accurate researches of many naturalists. No such communication can take place among the coral animals, because each is fixed aud rooted in its cell, of which it forms a part. It may be considered, indeed, that the whole of the colony are parts of the structure which they inhabit, just as flowers are of a plant.
To take the inhabitant of the madrepore as an example of the animal itself, it may be considered as formed of three parts, the shell, the head, a centre, and the feet, or hands. The latter are very numerous, and are divided, split at the extremities, while they surround the body of the animal in the form of a circle. Each of these feet or hands embraces a lamella of the star of the madrepore, so that they serve both for the construction of the cell, and for fixing the animal in it. The pedicle, or single part of the hand, appears to be a muscular body, and is fixed in a cylindrical tuhe, which is properly the body of the animal. Within this is a stellated body, which.is supposed to be the head, quick in its motions; while the rays seem to be the tentacula by which it feeds itself.
Nearly all the islands that lie on the south side of the equator, between New Holland and the western coast of America, derive
either the whole, or a great part of their structure, from these animals. The whole of that sea, and, indeed, of some others, abounds in coral rocks and reefs, which are in a state of daily and rapid increase, and which are probably destined, at some future day, to elevate themselves to the level of the water; to become the seats of vegetation ; in process of time the habitations of man; and ultimately, perhaps, to produce scarcely less than a continent in this extensive ocean.
Among other places, these reels abound particularly between New Holland, New Caledonia, and New Guinea; and they are well known to exist in great abundance in the seas of the Indian Archipelago, as at Chagos, Juan de Nova, Cosmoledo, Assumption, Cocos, Amirante, and the Laccadive and Maldive islands. They are also numerous in the east side of the Gulf of Florida, and it is well known that they form a daily increasing impediment to the navigation of the Red Sea.
The extent of these reefs and islands is an object of great curiosity and surprise, when we consider the apparent feebleness of the means by which they are produced, and the minuteness of the agents. An instance or two of this will suffice for our present purpose. One of the Tonga islands, the Tongataboo of Cook, is an irregular oval of twenty leagues in circumference, while its elevation above the level of the water reaches to ten feet. The soundings from which the thickness of this bed of rock might be estimated have not been given, but they are known to be deep in all this sea, and may safely be taken at not less than a hundred fathoms, so that the whole forms what may be considered an enormous stratum of organic limestone. But the largest which appears to have been ascertained, is the great reef on the east coast of New Holland, which extends unbroken for a length of 350 miles; forming, together with others that are more or less separated from it and from each other, a nearly continuous line of 1000 miles or more in length, with a breadth varying from twenty to fifty miles. Before such a mountain of limestone as this, even the Appenine shrinks in comparison ; and that such a mass should have been produced by such insignificant means, is a just subject of admiration to philosophical minds, and of wonder to those which have not considered the indefinite powers of units in endless addition.
When the groups are circular, there are some peculiarities in them, as well as in the result, which are worthy of notice. A number of detached rocks and islands are first observed, forming a chain which becomes gradually united in different places, so as to hold out the prospect of its some day becoming continuous. All round this, on the outside, the water is deep and the walls vertical, but within, it is found to shoal in different places, so as to convey the idea of a large platform, surrounded by an elevated margin, with a depression in the middle. In the smaller circles, when this process is completed, the reefs represent a circular basin. This basin continues salt, and is a receptacle for sea-water for some time, during which it continues to grow shallower, as the animals within it continue their operations upwards. But as the water shoals, and the rains fall into it, it at length becomes freshened, so that the animals die, and the operation of filling it up ceases.
Thus it becomes a fresh water lake, and forms that receptacle which is so common a feature in all the flat islands of those seas.
Of whatever size the circle may be, but particularly if large, the islands begin first to collect on the outside, or ridge of the reef, while, within it, projecting parts or banks are scattered in different places. The reef, or dam, to windward, under the protection of which the whole mass extends, is produced by the fragments of the corals. Whenever they have arrived at the surface of high watermark, they cease to grow any longer, as the animal cannot live out of the water. But at low water, the reef is of course above the sea. Thus its force breaks off the upper parts, and washes them onwards to leeward, where they collect; while the animals, still working upwards on the windward side, keep up a constant supply of materials, destined to the same end. Thus, a bank of dead matter, or of fragments and sand produced by the wear of the corals. is formed on the top of the living rock, and cemented by the solvent power of the water, or the carbonate of lime. In this manner it is raised above the level of the high water-mark, and kept smooth by the surf' which continually sweeps over it, until it is raised even beyond its reach. The sand and fragments consolidate in time, so as to produce regular strata ; and fragments of these, forming large blocks of stone, are frequently piled up upon the reef, and farther onwards, till a large extent of surface thus becomes consolidated by the aid of more sand and fragments, and sometimes by that of other shells also, into a solid mass of land. The same process going on in the interior parts where the projecting banks are, all these at length extend and unite ; so that islands of any magnitude may, in this manner, at length be produced. Occasionally the lakes before
mentioned are also filled up by the growth and decomposition of vegetables, becoming at first marshy spots, and at length dry land.
The remainder of the operation is, to clothe these islands with soil and vegetation. This is the work of time, yet it is more rapid than would be expected. The first foundation of it is laid by the sand which the sea produces from the destruction of the corals, and by the sea plants which take root and grow upon it. Sea birds, finding a place to settle in, add something; and at length the seeds of various plants floating about the ocean are arrested, and begin to grow, when a vegetable covering succeeds. Among these plants, the most conspicuous are the Scævola, Pandanus, Cerbera, Morinda, Hernandia, and others, which first begin to grow on the outer bank, where their seeds are first arrested, and at length spread over the whole. Last of all comes man, and the island forms a part of the inhabited world.
SELECTED FROM THE LONDON MAGAZINE.
ORIGINAL LETTERS OF DR. FRANKLIN, HITHERTO UNPUBLISHED.
TO HIS MOTHER.
Philadelphia, Sept. 17, 1749. Hond Mother,-We received your kind Letter by this Post, and are glad to hear you still continue to enjoy such a share of Health. Cousin Josiah and his Spouse arrived here hearty and well last Saturday noon ; I met them the Evening before at Trenton, 30 miles off and accompany'd them to Town. They went into their own House on Monday and I believe will do very well for he seems hent on Industry and she appears a discreet notable young woman. My Wife has been to see them every Day, calling in as she passes by, and I suspect has fallen in Love with our new Cousin, for she entertains me a deal when she comes home with what Cousin Sally does and what Cousin Sally says and what a good contriver she is and the like.
I believe it might be of service to me in the matter of getting in my debts, if I were to make a voyage to London ; but I have not yet determined on it in my own mind, and think I am grown almost too lazy to undertake it.com
The Indians are gone homewards, loaded with presents; in a week or two the Treaty with them will be printed and I will send you ope.
My Love to Brother and sister Mecom and to all enquiring Friends. I am your dutiful Son