Page images

infancy; freedom from hard labour; habitual exercise of the muscles; their preference of animal to vegetable food; their eating little at a time ; and the smallness of their stature, Their longevity he principally attributes to the extreme purity of the air and water; the use of food thoroughly dressed, and cold ; temperate meals ; deficiency of spirituous liquors ; their endurance of cold from childhood ; and their tranquillity of mind. The free and bracing air of elevated situations appears to have been as congenial with the author's own constitution, as with that of Saussure ; and we have reason to believe that it would prove equally exhilirating to most individuals : but it's is wholly

unphilosophical to allege that the air on high mountains ought to be more dense than in the valleys.

In the course of a tedious and painful ascent over the lofty mountains which separate the low grounds of Norway from Lapland, the author experienced all the gradations of temperature; his clothes being wetted through with perspiration at the commencement of the journey, and frozen stiff with cold on the higher regions. In order to reach a Laplander's cabin, in descending, he was obliged to slide on his back down a steep hill, with the rapidity of an arrow ; avoiding with difficulty the snow-torrents, which frequently threatened to overwhelm him.

Most of the Laplanders, it is observed, have blear eyes; owing, it is presumed, to piercing winds, reflection of the light from the snow, fogs, smoke, and the severity of the cold :but it is rather ludicrous to insinuate that the name of their country may be derived from lippus ; though its deduction from the Swedish lappa, to patch, in allusion to the motley state of their garments, is perhaps equally fanciful.

Of the details respecting the rude and simple domestic economy of the Lapland mountaineers, we purposely pass many in silence, both because they are little calculated to interest the generality of readers, and because they include references to the engraved outlines of articles of furniture, utensils, &c. Notices relative to the nosology of these hyperborean regions are not liable to the same exceptions; and the few of this description, which are dispersed through the narrative, may well merit the attention of the medical student. We can scarcely believe, however, that the inoculated small-pox should be remarkably fatal : for what parents would deliberately subject their children to almost certain destruction ? - Coughs are of very rare occurrence; and stone and gout are entirely un.. known. Phthisical cases sometimes occur ; and pleurisies are abundant, especially in the spring and autumn ; while lumbago is most prevalent during the summer. Swelled necks, or goîtres, are frequent ; and disorders in the stomach are not

uncommon :

uncommon: but the writer did not hear of a single instance of jaundice. Chilblains are not more usual than in other places.

The Alpine Laplanders are represented as more honest, and more good-natured, than those who inhabit the wood-lands because the latter, while they have acquired greater polish from their occasional intercourse with the inhabitants of towns, have at the same time learned more cunning and deceit, and are in general very knavish.

On the 23d of July, Linné took leave of the Alpine districts, and returned, by water, towards Lulea. On the 28th, de encountered danger in a new form :

• Several days ago the forests had been set on fire by lightning, and the flames raged at this time with great violence, owing to the drought of the season. In many different places, perhaps in nine or ten that came under my notice, the devastation extended several ' miles' distance. I traversed a space three quarters of a mile in extent which was entirely burnt, so that Flora, instead of appearing in her gay and verdant attire, was in deep sable, a spectacle more abhorrent to my feelings than to see her clad in the white livery of winter, for this, though it destroys the herbage, leaves the roots in safety, which the fire does not. The fire was nearly extinguished in most of the spots we visited, except in ant-hills, and dry trunks of trees. After we had travelled about half a quarter of a mile across one of these scenes of desolation, the wind began to blow with rather more force than it had done, upon which a sudden noise arose in the half-burnt forest, such as I can only compare to what may be imagined among a large army attacked by an enemy. We knew not. whither to turn our steps. The smoke would not suffer us to remain where we were, nor durst we turn back. It seemed besť to hasten forward, in hopes of speedily reaching the outskirts of the wood but in this we were disappointed. We ran as fast as we could, in order to avoid being crushed by the falling trees, some of which threatened us every minute. Sometimes the fall of a huge trunk was so sudden, that we stood aghast, not knowing whither to turn to escape destruction, and throwing ourselves entirely on the protection of Providence. In one instance a large tree fell exactly be tween me and my guide, who walked not more than a fathom from me, but, thanks to God! we both escaped in safety. We were not a little rejoiced when this perilous adventure terminated, for we had felt all the while like a couple of outlaws, in momentary fear of surprise.'

At Tornea, we are introduced to crowds of blear-eyed and blinded Finlanders, who either lose or impair their sight. by obstinately living among smoke. To cure them of this inveterate propensity, no gentle admonition is proposed. If I had the management of these Finlanders, I would tie them up to the wall, and give them fifteen pair of lashes a piece till they


made chimneys to their tents, especially as they have 'such plenty of fire-wood.'

In spring, many of the cattle about this place fall a sacrifice to the eagerness with which they devour the radical leaves of Cicuta virosa, being the only green food then within their reach ; though even one woman might, it should seem, in the course of a month, eradicate every plant of this deleterious species. — In the neighbouring Alps, cold is brought by a south wind, and mild weather comes from the north ; circumstances which favour the conjecture that open sea and a comparatively low temperature may exist at the pole.

Proceeding through East Bothnia, and by the island of Aland, districts which appear to have supplied few observations of much consequence, although the town of Abo is included in this portion of the journey, our distinguished naturalist arrived safe at Upsal, about one o'clock in the afternoon of the roth of October, closing his varied and instructive recital with this pious apostrophe : “to the Maker and Preserver of all things, be praise, honour, and glory for ever!'

To the Tour are subjoined a few cursory remarks on the Phoca bitulina, or Common Seal ; of which it is asserted that twe varieties exist, though others, we believe, have been since distinctly ascertained. We have reason to doubt the assertion that the female produces only one at a birth, because the Cornish fishermen have frequently observed two sucking the dam.

The Appendix to these volumes consists of the abstract of the journal to which we alluded in the commencement of our report, and of a very valuable extract from Dr. Wahlenberg's

Observations made with a view to determine the height of the Lapland, Alps, translated from the Swedish by the late Mr. Dryander, and the last communication which Dr. Smith ever received from this excellent and learned pupil to the work of his master.' - In eight short sections, Dr. Wahlenberg, with singular acuteness of observation, characterizes so many separate lines, or stages of elevation. Of these, the first is denoted by the disappearance of the spruce-fir, Convallaria bifolia, Arundo Phragmites, Lysimachia thyrsiflora, &c. It is the true station of Tussilago nivea, and the last abode of the beaver, pike, and perch. The commencement of this boundary is 3200 feet below the line of perpetual srow, and its mean temperature is about 371 of Fahrenheit's therinometer. The second line is marked by the dwarfish aspect of the Scotch-firs, the paucity of bears, the infrequency of the gwiniad and grayling, and the appearance of Phaca Alpina, &c. The upper limit of this zone, where the Scotch-firs cease to vegetate, is 2800 feet below permanent snow; and the mean temperature



nearly corresponds to 361. The third is distinguished by dwarf and stunted forests, consisting only of birch, which have their utmost boundary at 2000 feet below the line of snow. The Charr is not found at a greater height; and, a little higher up, all fishing ceases. — The fourth, which extends to within 1400 feet of the line of perpetual snow, exhibits a little brushwood, consisting of the glaucous willow, or dwarf birch, a few juniper bushes, and a profusion of Arbutus Alpina, Andromeda cærulea, and-polifolia, Trientalis Europæa, &c. Beyond it, the berries of Rubus chamcemorus do not ripen ; nor does the glutton (Mustela Gulo) ascend higher. - The peculiar feature of the fifth is recognized in the rather brown than green Azalea procumbens and-Lapponica. The dwarf birch occupies its drier situations, but creeps entirely on the ground. The only berries, however, which ripen at this degree of elevation, are those of Empetrum nigrum ; but these are twice as large as what grow in the woodlands, and better flavoured. The upper boundary of this zone is 8oo feet below the line of perpetual snow. The Laplanders scarcely ever fix their tents higher up, as the pasture for their rein-deer ceases a very


above this point. The mean temperature is about + po of Celsius (34 of Fahrenheit).' --- The sixth stage, reaching to 200 feet beneath the limits of almost uninterrupted snow, comprizes patches of snow which never melt, with bare intervals, which produce a few dark shrubby plants; and green precipices which are embellished with the azure tints of Gentiana tenella and nivalis, and Campanula uniflora, accompanied by the yellow Draba Alpina : .

• 7. Beyond it perpetual snow begins to cover the greatest part of the ground, and we soon arrive at a point where only a few dark spots are here and there to be seen. This takes place on the Alps of Quickjock at the elevation of 4100 feet above the sea ; but nearer the highest ridge, and particularly on the Norway side of that ridge, at 31c0 feet. Some few plants, with succulent leaves, are thinly scattered over the spongy brown surface of the ground, where the reflected heat is strongest. quite up to the line of uninterrupted snow. These are Saxifraga stellaris, rivularis and oppositifolia, Ranunculus nivalis and glacialis, Rumex digynus, Juncus curvatus* and Silene cenulis. The mean temperature at the boundary of perpetual snow is + 0,94 of Celsius, ( 321 of Fahrenheit.)

* 8. Above the line of perpetual snov, the cold is occasionally so much diminished, that a few plants of Ranunculus glacialis, and viber similar ones, may now and then be found, in tlie cleiis of some dark rock rising through the salov. This happens even to the height of 500 feet above that line. Further up the snow 13 vóry rar-ly mois. tened. Yet some umbilicated Lichens (Gyropure, i seo, • * We know not what species the author i:.tends by ihis name.'


in the crevices of perpendicular rocks, even to the height of 2000 feet above the line of perpetual snow. These are the utmost limits of all vegetation, where the mean temperature seems to be + 1,°1 of. Chelsius (30 of Fahrenheit.) The Snow Bunting, Emberiza niva. lis, is the only living being that visits this elevated spot.'

Although the preceding notices and extracts can convey to our readers only a very inadequate idea of the quantity of minute detail which has been pressed into this interesting diary, they may serve to furnish exemplifications of its nature and spirit. Whoever peruses the entire document, with candour and attention, will be induced to regard it as the unaided and unpremeditated production of a student of medicine, in his twenty-fifth year, labouring under the daily privation of many comforts, and braving cold, tempest, and danger, in the eager prosecution of natural science. In this itinerary, we perceive no traces of that vanity for which its author was subsequently too much distinguished. In the register of his life, for example, his tone of boasting egotism is in some instances truly nauseous : yet he seldom vaunts of more than he really accomplished, and never, we believe, of more than he himself fancied to be true, for his love of veracity was strong and predominant; and we have only to regret that such an exalted character could stoop to record the topics of his own celebrity. — After all, if vanity were never found but when it was accompanied by such pretensions, who would not almost forget that it was a weakness?

Art. II. The Dramatic Works of John Ford. With an Intro. duction and Explanatory Notes, by Henry Weber, Esq. 2 Vols.

8vo. 11. 108. Boards.' Longman and Co., Miller, &c. 1811. THE "He lapse of ages, generally speaking, affords the securest

pledge of impartiality in the historian : but its effects on the disposition of the critic are very different, and often directly the reverse. Without referring to the common and obvious instance of classical pedantry, it will be sufficient for our present purpose to glance at the auction-room, and take the most transient survey of the victims to the fashionable distemper of Bibliomania. Even those who are yet untainted with the prevailing phrenzy, and who are still unable to restrain their laughter when they observe the eagerness of contention for a few torn and mouldy pages of some silly romance or stupid treatise on the Art of Chiromancy, may easily imagine how soon the natural curiosity to know, or desire to possess, something that is not known or not possessed by the generality of the world, will (if not balanced by a more than ordinary


« PreviousContinue »