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Observations on the Natural History of the Ostrich.


In the parched deserts of Africa, where it , conquests and feats of a more gentle naresides, and where it runs with precipita- ture, puts them on, as the most irresistible tion on the approach of an invader, it can ornament of his person. rarely become an object of close examina The spoils of the ostrich being thus tion. The race of these birds, though valuable as articles of commerce, the huntextremely ancient, still remains pure, and ing of that bird is one of the most serious almost solitary. Like the elephant among employments of the Arabs, who train their the quadrupeds, the ostrich constitutes a | fleetest horses for the purpose. Although genus offering few or no varieties, and is | the ostrich be far swifter than the best perfectly distinguished by characters equally courser, yet by hunters on horseback he is striking and permanent. It is peculiar to commonly taken ; and it is said, of all the Africa, to the neighbouring islands, and to | varieties of the chase, this is the most diffithose parts of Asia that lie in the vicinity cult and laborious. The Arab, when of the African continent. It is seldom | mounted, still keeps the ostrich in view, found beyond the distance of thirty-five but without pushing him so closely as to degrees from the equator; and, as it is in make his escape to the mountains, yet at capable of flight, it must, like the quadru the same time so as to prevent him from peds of these latitudes, have always been taking food. This is the more readily done, confined to the ancient continent. It pre as the bird takes its course in a wavering fers for its residence those mountains and and circuitous direction, which is greatly parched deserts that are never refreshed shortened by the hunters, who come up with rain, a circumstance which tends to behind, and, relieving each other by turns, corroborate the report of the Arabs, that thus keep him still running. After two or these birds never drink. Vast flocks of three days of fatigue and famine, he becomes them are seen in these barren and solitary exhausted, and the hunters fall upon him regions. At a distance they are said to by striking him upon the head with cudgels, appear like an army of cavalry, and often that his blood may not tarnish the lustre of alarm the caravans that are travelling

his white feathers. When all possibility of through them

escape is cut off, the ostrich hides his head, Among some nations, the eggs, the blood, in the vain expectation, that the whole and the flesh, have been eagerly sought as body will then be concealed from his articles of food. Whole people have ob- | pursuers. tained the appellation of Struthophagi, from Ostriches, though inhabitants of the detheir partiality for this food. The Romans serts, and possessed of prodigious strength, considered the flesh of the ostrich as a | are, especially if taken young, neither so delicacy; and the imperial beast and glut fierce, nor difficult to tame, as might be ton Heliogabalus, is said to have had six expected. The inhabitants of Dara and hundred of them slaughtered in one day, Libya render them domestic, like herds of in order that he might have the brains cattle, with scarcely any other means than served up as a dish to pamper his appetite. constantly accustoming them to the sight At present, the inhabitants of Numidia and society of man; to receive from him tame and breed them, to live upon their their food, and to be treated with gentleness. flesh, and sell their feathers. Their eggs Besides the use of their feathers, ostriches, are said to contain as much food as thirty in their domestic state, are said to be of those of a common hen. The beauty of mounted, and rode upon in the same manthe plumage of this bird, particularly of the ner as horses. It is asserted by Adanson, long feathers that compose the wings and that at the factory of Padore, he had himthe tail, is the chief reason why man has self two ostriches, that ran faster than a been so active in pursuing him into the race-horse, with a negro each on their backs. deserts, at so much expense and labour. Though these birds may be so tamed, that The Arabs, who make a trade of killing they will suffer themselves to be driven in these birds, formerly converted their skins flocks to and from their stalls, and even to into a kind of buckler. The ancients used be mounted like horses, yet their stupidity their plumes as ornaments for their helmets. is such, that they can never be taught to The ladies in the East make them still an obey the hand of the rider, to comprehend ornament in their dress, and they are not the meaning of his commands, or to subunfrequently used in this country for the mit to his will. From this intractable same purpose. In Turkey, the janizary disposition, there is reason to apprehend, who has signalized himself by some mili- that man will never be able to avail himself tary achievement, is allowed to assume of the strength and swiftness of the ostrich, them as a decoration to his turban; and as he has availed himself of those qualities the sultan, in the seraglio, when meditating of the horse. The voracity of this bird far


Opening of the Nile.


exceeds that of any animal whatever; for with infinite gaiety and pleasure, and utterit will devour every thing it meets with, ing loud exclamations of joy, affording an stones, wood, brass, iron, or leather, as amusing contrast to the passionless dereadily as it will grain and fruit, which, in its meanor, and tranquil features, of their native wilds, are probably its principal food. Moslem oppressors.

The season at which the ostrich lays her After some time, we crossed to the oppoeggs varies very much with the temperature site shore: the scene was here much more of the climate. Those north of the equa | interesting; ranks of people were closely tor begin to lay their eggs in the beginning seated on the shelving banks of the Nile, of July, while such as inhabit the south of and behind them was a long line of persons Africa defer it till the end of December. selling various articles of fruit and eatables. Climate and situation have also a great A little to the left, amidst widely scattered influence on their manner of incubation. groups of trees, stood several tents, and In the torrid zone, the ostrich is contented temporary coffee-houses, canopied over, and with depositing her eggs in a mass of sand, lighted with lamps. Perpetually moving seemingly 'scraped together with her feet. over this scene, which (both shores and There they are sufficiently heated by the river, and groups of palms) was illuminated warmth of the sun, and need no incuba. | by the most brilliant moonlight, were seen tion of the female only for a little time Albanian soldiers in their national costume, during the night. But although the ostrich Nubians from the burning clime of farther be but little engaged in hatching her eggs, Egypt, Mamelukes, Arabs, and Turks. At she displays, by continually watching for a number of small sheds, each of which the preservation of her progeny, all the had its light, or small fire, you might have solicitude of a tender mother. In propor- meat, fish, &c. ready dressed. We entered tion to the coldness of the climate, the one of the coffee-houses, or large tents, to ostrich hatches with more assiduity; and it the top of which a row of lamps was susis only in the warm regions, where there is pended ; and, the front being open, we no danger of her eggs being chilled, that could sip the refreshing beverage, and still she leaves them by day, a circumstance enjoy the animated spectacle around. from which she very early incurred the Being much fatigued, I wrapped my reproach of being destitute of parental affec cloak round me, and slept for a couple of tion. So far, however, is this from being hours upon a rush mat on the floor, so true, that she constantly watches for their soundly as to hear nothing of a loud and preservation, so long as they remain in a desperate quarrel between soine Arabs and helpless state, which is always a longer or Albanians in the same tent; but there was shorter period, according to the climate. | little cause for uneasiness in any situation, Neither the size of the eggs of these birds, while my faithful Michelle was near-he nor the time necessary for hatching them, knew so well the manners of these people, nor the number of the young, is exactly and possessed such perfect presence of ascertained.

mind. The night was wearing fast away, and, leaving the tent, we again joined the

various parties in the shade, or on the OPENING OF THE NILE.

shore; some feasting and dancing, others The sixteenth of August was the day fixed buried in sleep. The other side of the for the celebrated cutting of the bank of the beautiful river, which shone like glass in Nile; a time of great rejoicing with the the splendid light, still presented a gay apEgyptians, the inundation being now at its pearance ; lights moving to and fro amidst height. It is the custom for a vast number the trees-boats pushing off with newof people, of different nations, to assemble, comers--and sounds of gaiety, with the and pass the night near the appointed spot. firing of musketry, being still heard. We resolved to go and mingle among At last day broke, and soon after, the them, not doubting that something highly report of a cannon announced that the interesting would occur. We arrived at event so ardently wished for, was at hand. the place about eight at night, it being dis- We proceeded to the spot, around which tant a few miles from the city; there was immense crowds were rapidly gathering. firing of cannon, illuminations, in their way, The high and shelving banks of the canal, and exhibitions of fireworks. The shores into which the Nile was to be admitted, of the Nile, for a long way down from were crowded with spectators. We obBoulac, were covered with groups of peo- tained an excellent situation for observing ple, some seated beneath the large spread the ceremony, by fortunately meeting with ing sycamores, smoking; others gathered Osmin, a Scotch renegade, but a highly around parties of Arabs, who were dancing | respectable man, and the confidential

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Philo-Judæan Society.

126 servant of Mr. Salt. The Kiaya Bey, the hardly conceive how the waters can ever chief minister of the Pacha, soon arrived reach them; but every day, after the cutwith his guards, and took his seat on the ting of the bank, it is interesting to see how summit of the opposite bank. A number silently and irresistibly space after space is of Arabs now began to dig down the dyke changed from a dreary, useless desert, into which confined the Nile, the bosom of a smiling bed of water, which brings health which was covered with a number of plea. and abundance with it. The sounds of sure-boats full of people, waiting to sail joy and festivity, of music and songs, are down the canal through the city. Already now heard all over the city, with cries of the mound was only partly demolished, “ Allah, Allah !" and thanks to the Divine when the increasing dampness, and shaking bounty for so inestimable a blessing. of the earth, induced the workmen to Carne's Letters from the East, vol. i. leave off. Several Arabs then plunged into p. 97. the stream, and, exerting all their strength to push down the remaining part, some

PHILO-JUDÆAN SOCIETY. openings were soon made, and the river broke through with irresistible violence. AMONG the missionary anniversaries we For some time it was like the rushing of a were constrained to omit reporting in our cataract.

Magazine for June last, was that of the According to custom, the Kiaya Bey

Philo-Judæan Society. This society was distributed a good sum of money, throwing established several years since, in order to it into the bed of the canal below, where a rescue the seed of Abraham from the irregreat many men and boys scrambled for it. | ligion and profanity which, alas! pervades Sereral of them had a sort of net, fastened that interesting nation, and to restore to on the top of a pole, to catch the money as them all the rights and privileges to which it fell. It was an amusing scene, as the they are entitled, as our elder brethren in water gathered fast round them, to see them the Lord: "whose are the fathers, and of struggling and groping amidst the waves for whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ the coin ; but the violence of the torrent came, who is over all, God blessed for soon bore them away; and there were some, ever. Amen." who had lingered to the last, and now The means by which these important sought to save themselves by swimming, ends are sought to be achieved are, to still buffeting the waves, and grasping at teach from house to house, and otherwise, the money showered down, and diving through the medium of missionaries and after it as it disappeared. Unfortunately tracts, and to visit at their own habitations this sport every year costs a few lives, and the indigent and distressed among this one young man was drowned this morning. people, administering relief, and earnestly The different vessels, long ere the fall had warning them to flee from the wrath to subsided, rushed into the canal, and entered come. As an auxiliary means of furthering the city, their decks crowded with all ranks, the instruction of the Hebrew population uttering loud exclamations of joy. The in London, and to induce fraternity and overflowing of the Nile is the richest blessing brotherly affection, conferences are held of heaven to the Egyptians; as it finds its between Jews and Christians, wherein the way gradually into the various parts of the leading truths of Revelation are discussed city and neighbourhood, the inhabitants dispassionately, and a portion of the sacred crowd to drink of, and wash in it, and volume is read at the beginning and at the rejoice in its progress.

close of every meeting; from which great The vast square, called the Birket, which good has already resulted. on our arrival had presented a sad and The anniversary of the Philo-Judæan dreary area, was now turned into a novel Society took place at the Crown and and beautiful scene, being covered with an Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, on the 13th expanse of water, out of the bosom of of May, 1828, the right hon. Iord viscount which arose the fine sycamore trees. On Mandeville, vice-president, in the chair. one side of this square is a palace of the After prayer, by the Rev. Hugh M'Neile, Pacha; on the opposite side is the Coptic his lordship addressed the meeting : the quarter: the palace of the chief of the report was then read; and also the report Mamelukes, of a poor appearance, with of the Ladies' Auxiliary Association, desome houses, fortifications, and ruins, forms tailing the relief afforded to distressed the rest of this square. In walking round Jewish females. A succession of ministhe city, and observing the many flat and ters afterwards "addressed the chair ; and naked parts, destitute of verdure, and en- among many other excellent things, several compassed with piles of ruins, one can | made the following observations:


The Public and State Prisons at Paraguay.


Rev. Dr. Holloway. “It is high time believe that God will restore His peothat Christians should manifest the genuine ple." spirit of Christianity towards the descend- Rev. E. Pizey. “I confess I feel an ants of Abraham; that those who are ene- | earnest desire to visit my native place, in mies to both Jews and Christians might connexion with the committee of this behold this fraternity, and acknowledge society, to endeavour to bring the GenEmmanuel, God with us, blessed for ever.” | tiles to a proper feeling in reference to the

Rev. W. Way. “From the first mo. Jews. I hope to have the happiness of ment I heard of this society, I resolved to seeing a Philo-Judæan Ladies' Association become a member thereof; as I under. | formed at Bury St. Edmund's; and I trust stand the object of it is the conversion of | I shall soon see a Philo-Judæan Society the Jews; a most laudable object, if there formed in every town and county in these is any truth in the Bible.”

kingdoms; especially in those places where Hon. I. I. Strutt, vice-president. “I the Jews have been heretofore persecuted account myself happy in being allowed to l and distressed." advocate the claims of God's ancient peo The Rev. W. Way then offered up the ple Israel; and call upon all Christians to prayers of all present, that the God of regard His declaration, “I will bless them Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God and that bless thee, and curse them that curse Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus thee."

Christ-would make one, all the families of Rev. Mr. Hunt. “I bear the strongest the earth, making no distinction between feelings of affection for the Israel of Jew and Gentile, but saving all mankind: God, and am deeply concerned for their and the meeting concluded. welfare, as regards their present comfort and their eternal salvation, and pray their

THE PUBLIC AND STATE PRISONS AT heavenly Father to restore them.”

PARAGUAY: Rev. H. M'Neile. “I am happy in this opportunity of expressing anew my cordial

(From a Work called “The Reign of Dr. Francia.”) support of the principles of the institution, | Ar Assumption there are two kinds of and while I would not relax the energies prisons, namely, the public prison and the of other societies, I affirm this to be pre state prison. The first, though it also coneminent."

tains some prisoners of state, is particularly Rev. J. Williams. “The banner of the appropriated to persons accused of, or conkingdom of Christ will shortly be dis. demned for, other crimes. The building is played, and the Jews, with every nation | a hundred feet in length, and, like all the upon earth, and every church, will yield houses in Paraguay, has only a ground obedience to Jesus, whose light will illumi floor, which is divided into eight apartnate the world.”

ments. The court attached to it contains Rev. Mr. Allen, rector of St. Paul's, about twelve thousand square feet. In each Philadelphia. “It was with no ordinary apartment are huddled together from thirty emotion I listened, when in America, toto forty prisoners, many of whom, not being the Gospel preached by a Jew, to the able to find room to lie on the floor, sleep devotion with which he pronounced the in hammocks suspended one over the other. name of Jesus, and to the attention and These forty persons remain shut up twelve satisfaction with which those around him hours out of the twenty-four, in a con. listened to his discourse; and I deem this fined apartment, without windows or aira sign of the approach of the latter day's holes, and that in a country where the heat glory.

is, for three-quarters of the year, from 22 Rev. Mr. Reichardt. “If any object to to 28 deg. of Reaumur, and under a roof the expediency of accomplishing the ob which is heated by the sun, during the day, jects of this society, I would direct them to to more than 50 degrees. From these causes, what the Lord is doing abroad, that the the perspiration of the prisoners may be mouths of all who bring objections may be seen streaming from hammock to hammock stopped. I am sure many Jews have until it reaches the floor. When to the been awakened, and are become pious effects arising from such a state as this, are Christians.”

joined those resulting from unwholesome Rev. Mr. Clementson. “I rejoice in food, and the filth and inaction of the prithe success of this society, and hope they soners, it will be evident that, were it not will go on from strength to strength, till for the great salubrity of the climate of Pathey appear before God in Zion.”

raguay, the most fatal diseases must have Rev. Mr. Orchard. “I entertain large been generated in these dens. The court hopes of the seed of Abraham, and I of the prison is covered with little huts, which

The Public and State Prisons at Paraguay.

130 simo. are occupied by prisoners awaiting their l I cannot here refrain from making hontrials, those who have been condemned for ourable mention of the gaoler of these priminor offences, and a few state prisoners. sons, named Gomez. This good-hearted They were allowed to construct these huts | man has always sought, not only by the when the apartments became over crowded. | most humane conduct, but also by the sacriHere, at least, they breathe the cool night fice of a part of his scanty salary, to alleair, but the filth is as great as in the interior viate the sufferings to which he is witness, of the prison. Some of the prisoners con and that even at the risk of incurring the fined in the court are led forth every day to Dictator's resentment. It is true, that he be employed in the public works, and have had himself, though innocent, pined for sethus an opportunity of taking exercise. veral years in these dungeons, into which Upon these occasions they are chained two | he had been thrown as a state prisoner. It by two, or else wear the grilette, which is a was after releasing him, that the Dictator thick ring of iron round the foot. The great imposed upon him the office of gaoler, majority of the remaining prisoners wear which he dared not refuse. other irons called gullos, * wbich often weigh Those confined in the public prison being twenty-five pounds, and almost incapacitate allowed to communicate with their friends, them from walking. The state supplies the and receive assistance from them, still conprisoners employed in the public works with sider themselves fortunate, when they coma little food, and some articles of clothing; pare their fate with that of the unfortunate the others maintain themselves at their own persons who occupy the state prisons. It expense, or by means of the alms which is in the different barracks that these state two or three of their body, accompanied by prisoners are placed ; they consist of cells a soldier, are allowed to collect every day or little dungeons, under ground, damp, throughout the city. Relief is sometimes and so low and contracted, that a man sent them by charitably-disposed persons, cannot stand upright except when he is or in fulfilment of vows.

under the middle of the vault. There the · We frequently visited these frightful pri- prisoners particularly marked out as obsons, either to see some sick prisoner, or to jects of the Dictator's vengeance, undergo give an opinion on some question of fo solitary confinement; others are shut up rensic medicine. There might be seen con- in cells, in parties of two and four. All founded, the Indian and the Mulatto, the are loaded with irons, and have a centinel white man and the negro, the master and continually in the same room with them. the slave: there were mingled all ranks and The door, which is left half open during ages; the guilty and the innocent; the con | the day, is closed at sun-set. They are vict and the accused; the highway robber not allowed to light candles, nor to pursue and the debtor; in fine, the assassin and | any kind of occupation whatsoever. One the patriot-and, in several instances, it hap- of these captives, whom I knew, baving pened that they were bound by the same succeeded in taming some mice that vichain. But what completes this frightful sited his prison, the centinel one day purpicture is, the ever increasing demoraliza sued them, for the purpose of killing them. tion of the great majority of the prisoners, They are not allowed to shave, or cut their and the ferocious joy which they exhibit on hair or nails. Their families are not perthe arrival of a new victim.

mitted to send them food more than twice The female prisoners, of whom there are a day, and that food must be of what fortunately but few, occupy an apartment is considered in the country the coarsest in an enclosure, divided from the principal | kind-namely, flesh-meat and manioc roots. court by a palisading. They have, how- The soldiers, to whom the food is delivered ever, more or less, an opportunity of com- at the gates of the barrack, thrust their municating with the other prisoners. | bayonets into it, to ascertain that there are

Women of a respectable rank, who have neither letters nor tools concealed in it, drawn upon themselves the anger of the and frequently they appropriate it to themDictator, are there confounded with prosti- | selves, or throw it away. When a prisoner tutes and criminals, and exposed to all the falls sick, no one is allowed to visit him, insults of the male prisoners. They are unless at the last extremity, and even then loaded with irons, an exemption from which only during the day. All night the door is is not granted even to those in a state of closed, and the dying man is abandoned pregnancy.

to his own sufferings. His irons are not

taken off, even at the approach of death. These are two rings worn round the ankles,

I saw Dr. Sabals, whom I was allowed, and united by a cross-bar. Two pair are frequent by the special favour of the Dictator, to visit I put upou a prisoner.

in the last days of his malady, die with the 122.-VOL. XI.

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