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ALMANAC OF NATURE-FEBRUARY, 1850.
these with unerring precision. The tom-tit is Far to the north, and calls his ruffian blasts; | very carnivorous in its habits, and in trosty His blasts obey, and quit the howling hill,
weather, when insects are scarce, he comes to The shattered forest, and the ravaged vale;
the kitchen door to look out for any stray And softer gales succeed.
pieces of animal food which may have been
thrown out by the cook. The nuthatch and FEBRUARY brings the first few buds of hope, as the woodpecker have similar habits. Black. tokens of the time of flowers, of sunshine, and birds begin to build in this month ; and the of song. Though Winter yet reigns supreme, rich swelling note of the male bird is now so his snowy locks get more hoary and grizzled, loud in the morning that the woods ring again and as he strides with trembling and tottering with his echoes. The first migrating birds steps across the ice-bound earth, he sees here which return to us in Spring are the marsh and there a bud or a flower, and his thin lips
titmouse and the stone curlew, and their sharp Quiver with anger, and his heart becomes pa- | piping notes may be heard in marshy places ralysed with fear. When he lies down to rest, before the middle of the month. Imthe blades of young grass tickle him like mense flocks of wood-pigeons are seen in the springing wires, and his life is filled with
woods towards the close of the month. The torture and desponding gloom. And soon,
bird is indigenous to this country, but migrates very soon, must he lie dowa to die; and then
in winter to the southern counties, and betakes will the earth leap and bound with a lusty and | itself to the woods in order to roost upon the impassioned joy. In every field and river-side highest trees, preferring those of the ash, we may now learn a lesson of progress, TheThey usually begin to pair in February ; broad earth is busy in weaving her garment of and then commence their architectural lagreen, that she inay bedeck herself as a bride I bour, The nest is about as slovenly as it is when the woods brim over with echoes, f joy possible to conceive ; being forinel of a few ous songs. The rooks begin to build their loose sticks, clumsily bundled together. They citadels up among the branches ; fighting, prefer to build in pine or fir trees. and quarrelling, and scramblin, and wooing, The few flowers that appear in this month and loving. all by turns ; losing no time from are dear to all, both on account of their chaste morning until night. In one field they follow beauty, and the many homely associations with the heels of the ploughman, in another the which they are linked. By the second we k of footsteps of the sower; here they sail along the month the snow-drop is to be found in the river, and pounce upon worms and insects plenty. It was formerly called fair maid of on the banks; and there they forage in odd | February. It was also called our lady of Febnooks and corners for beams and rafters for | ruary, because it was always in flower by the their castles in the air. They fill the sky with 2nd of the month, on which day the festival one unceasing, dreamy “caw" from dawn till of the Purification of the Virgin takes place. nightfall. Now, too, the carrion crow and the This day is otherwise called Candlemas Day, starling and the chaffinch has each begun to and was anciently of great importance in rethink of wife and children, and like prudent ference to the weathe sires, first build and furnish their homes. In Towards the middle of the month the cloththe first attempts at song which the birds of-gold crocus appears, with its petals of a deep make in this month, their notes are very weak golden colour, striped with reddish brown. and faltering in tone, as though the efforts | Then follow the pink hepatica and the mezewere attended with difficulty. They seem to reon, the catkins of the hazel, and by the 22nd be labouring at a song, and only getting part the daisy has taken a new dress, and has put of it, as if some great physical impediment on a new show of blossoms. The green hellehad to be surmounted. This is particularly bore and the creeping cowfoot also come into the case with the chaffinch, which generally flower. And as the month wanes on, the utters its first feeble notes in the first week of little bids push their way upward to the light, February, but does not attain its full song till and when they catch the first glimpse of Spring some weeks afterwards. The blue titmouse or sunshine, they take new heart, and expand and tom-tit, may be seen very busy during this grow with renewed vigour, until they cover the month in pecking off the trees all those buds ground with their green beauty, and make the which are infested with insects, and selecting l air holy with the perfume of their flowers.
The planet Mercury is an evening star at the beginning, and a morning star at the end of the month; he is in the constellation Capricornus till the fifth, on which day he enters into Aquarius. The planet Venus is very near the Sun during the whole of this month, rising and setting with him, and is therefore unfavourably situated for observrtion. The planet Mars is in the constellation Taurus, and is visible almost throughout the night; on the 16th he touches the Milky Way. The planet Jupiter is in the constellation Virgo till the 11th, when he passes into Leo: he is visible throughout the night. The planet Saturn is in the constellation Cetus, and is an evening star through the month. F | The dis.of Sun fr. Earth this dy.is 93,643,000 mls > F | 15 | Hedge Sparrow sings. SI! The Moon in Virgo. Coltsfoot flowers.
S 16 Moles burrow deeply. Oniscus asellus app. Su 31 Leaves of Honeysuckle appear.
17 Ground Ivy in leaf. Jungermannia fructify. + Moon in Libra. Dandelion Al.
Moon near Aries. Buds of early Speed well. Pleiades south at Gh. 33m. p.m.
Mn.in Tau. Tointit, Skylark, and Thrush ging. Rooks begin to build
3 W The melody of the woods begins in earnest. Th! Storm Cock sings. Hepatica and Mezereon A. 3
Moon in Orion, crossing the Milky Way. 8 Moon in Saggittarius. Primrose fl.
P | Moon in Gemini. Flocks of Wood Pigeons. 9 Marsh marigold, Gold crocus, Archangel fl.
Blackbirds make rich echoes in the woods. 10 Moon in Capricornus. Green Hellebore app.
24 Mn. in Cancer. Leaves of crimson Cranesbill. 11 Groundsel and creeping Crowfoot fi.
25 Gooseberry bushes foliąte. Elm trees f. T | 12 | Eclipse Sun, invis. in Europe. Mn. in Aquarius.
Mogu in Leo. Caterpillars app. Sirius south W 13 First notes of Chaffinch.
1:27 Ground Beetle (Carahus) App. sh. 14m. p.ra. Thl 14 | Leaves of tiye-fipgered Cinquefoil appear. Thi M u.in Virgo. Butchers brooi Ruscus aculeatuse
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
Seary men, and re- way to get a gonotter and to be true to our
wide field before us, and all that appertains to Answers to Correspondents, &c.
the public good falls within our legitimate pro
vince, and we are fully sensible of the great Editor's Address :-16, Hardinge-street, Islington. difficulty of doing justice to so many impor
tant subjects in so small a space. In our last number we gave some extracts
J. P. says, “I would advise you to make from several letters which had reached us,
more noise with your Periodical. Tell the cocgratulating us on our intentions, and
people that there is no Journal like it ; that it wishing us success. We would gladly do so
would, if extensively circulated, be the mightiagain on the present occasion, but the com.
est opponent of wrong in the nation ; that it is munications we have received being so nu
the duty of reformers to support it, and that merous, and their contents so flattering to
you want a circulation of 100,000 monthly." ourselves and our book, that we shall forego
We do not agree with our friend in the princithe pleasure of making a selection of extracts
ple, and consequently cannot agree with him from them. We can only say that we did not
in the policy of such a mode of procedure, dare to expect so many ardent wishes for
We certainly should have no objection to a success, and so much praise, neither can
circulation of 100,000 monthly, and we cannot we now think we are entitled to them. We
help thinking that much good would result have received communications from ministers,
therefrom, but we do object to puffing and exmagistrates, members of parliament, leaders
aggerated statements. We think that the best of popular movements, literary men, and re
way to get a good circulation is to present the formers from almost every part of the empire,
public with good matter, and to be true to our thanking us for our attemps to promote the
professions. We would much rather win our public good, congratulating us on our first
way to the hearts of the people by fair and number, its contents, the manner in which it is
legitimate means, than stoop to less worthy turned out of hand, and promising us their co
ones, even if we were sure of getting a good operation in future. In return for so many
circulation thereby. We have faith in our thanks, suggestions, and congratulations, we
principles and in the public. most cordially thank our numerous corres
Dr. Harrison Black, Exeter, is kindly thanked pondents. It will be our earnest endeavour
for his valuable suggestions. We have ourselves while pleasing them, to do our best to ad
thought on the great advantages which would revance the work to which we have committed
sult from an association similar to the one he proourselves.
poses. And it is our intention to develop our On account of the great many papers, on a
pians in future numbers of the Public Good. variety of topics, which have been sent us, we
If such an association were established by the have not been able to insert some which we
right men, and vigorously sustained, it would intended to do. They will, however, have our be one of the most splendid and most useful earliest attention,
institutions that this or any other age could We have received several books, pamphlets,
boast of. And if our Journal is destined to do &c., to be noticed. We are unable to do any.
no other good than to show the practicability thing in the present number, but mention their
and utility of a “ Public Good Association,” names. Mother Country, by Sidney Smith; The
on such a broad and comprehensive basis as and Writings of Solomon-London: Mason,
we contemplate, we think it will be said, that Poems, by Fritz and Liolett: The Mother's Ca
we have not lived in vain. techism, by Edward and Emma Matthews
I. T., Hackney, need not be afraid that any Houlston and Stoneman. Asylum for Idiots
suggestions that he could give us would offend Office, 29, Poultry. Crime, its Causes and Cure,
us. Far from it. We should be heartily by David Maginnis-Belfast: John Henderson.
thankful for them. If we had any complaint to The Philosophy of Our Work-London: Aylott
make, it would be that we have been praised and Jones. The Ladies' Guide to the Art of
too much, and not found fault with enough. making Paper Flowers, with an Introduction
Nothing will give us more pleasure than to be by J. Shirley Hibberd-Darton and Clarke.
told of our imperfections, so that we may know The Political Franchise, a Political Tract, by
what they are, in order that they may be reEdward Swaine, London: Partridge and
moved. We shall be most happy to improve Oakey. A Voice from the Millions ; Political
any suggestions which our numerous friends Monopols ; A Word to the Masses, by a Nor
may throw out to us. wich Operative-London: Jarrold and Son,
AN ENQUIRER.--Yes, every number of the Illustratious of the Peace Principle, by G. W.
Public Good is stereotyped. We intend to do M'Cree_London: Gilpin. The Lord's Day in
so in future before we go to press. London, by J. M. Jones-Aylott and Jones.
A.C.P., Charles-street. “Body versus Soul,” Several communications have reached us shall have our attention. If it had been writexpressing a wish that THE PUBLIC GOOD was
ten in a little plainer hand, we should, before a weekly instead of a monthly publication, this time, have perused it, and been enabled to They say they do not like to wait so long for pronounce our opinion on it. All correspondso good a thing. Perhaps our correspondents ents would do well to bear in mind that com(and several of them are fair ones) may not munications written in a plain legible hand be aware that to bring out such a work as ours will stand the best chance of attention and weekly would be a serious undertaking, and insertion. that it would be altogether injudicious to do ASLAN, Manchester, has sent us a nice little 80 without the maturest consideration. Let fragment, in which he shows the propriety of our little monthly become firmly rooted and Tourists, and young gentlemen, after leaving widely extended, and we shall give the sug school, travelling over their own country ingestion regarding bringing it out more fre-l stead of the continent. Among other good quently our earnest attention. We have a l things, he says:
seekly would be altogether injuara tion. Let
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
“It would, methinks, be a fine thing, a fine laws of nature. The Divine Being ordained starting point for vur young gentlemen, after that man should have a beard. Second : It finishing their college education, to make a adds to the dignity and beauty of our appeartour of the United Kingdom, and to give to ance: both to young and old.--Third : It inthe world their diaries. It would be a fine creases our comfort, protecting our face from thing to establish an Institution for Home cold, and obviates the necessity for wearing a Wonders-its library formed of home travels, warm cravat, etc.-Fourth: The time employits select apartments arranged for the recep- ed in shaviný may be saved and employed to tion ot all its natural presentations-something another purpose. for the philosopher-the botanist--the anti G. D. -We are glad to find that you are so quarian. You say that you have plenty already; much pleased with the “Lever of Life." It have you? May be-but stay--this institution will be continued in each number of “the is for the young gentlemen of our own day to Public Good" till December next. create. You must consider for a moment that | J. S., Perth.-Hardly sufficiently polished thousands of Englishmen know very little of to meet the public eye. A person who can their own country. Young gentlemen are sent | write so well, on so good a subject, should try abroad without seeing or knowing the peculi. | again. arities of England-the United Kingdom re J. T. G., Goswell-road.--His paper on Lumains to them as a sealed book--they are sent natic Asylums is a useful one, and we hope to across the world, for what? Let us come turn it, or a portion of it, to good account in home, my friends-let us have a little more of an early number. home,then scour the world if you please, G. A. F., Gloucester.-Thanks for his paper. her fragments of every thing her sea weeds. We had made arrangements with a friend to her shells-ores-minerals-her men as well | write an article on the “Free Labour Quesas her mountains--character as well as castes. tion” before his came. Methinks something remains yet to be gathered | A Manchester Warehousman intimates that worthy the inspection of all."
it would be well if the Vegetarians had eating John W. B., who styles himself a “student houses of their own for the accommodation of in chess and astrology," says :-"Allow me
themselves and friends. We think the hint to suggest that the shopmen, &c., should
worthy of attention. establish an institution for those out of place
S. S. C, Hull.--We can only wish the “ Iowa to lodge at. It might be supported by smail
Emigration Scheme" success. Our individual weekly or monthly payments from those who
opinion is, that there is no necessity for Emiare in a berth, and managed entirely by them gration Societies at all, while so much of our selves. You are probably aware that there is land remains uncultivated, and so many of an institution for clerks." Such an institution our resources of wealth remain undeveloped. established and directed by men of business W. H, D., Gravesend.--" The Life Boat" is and wisdom, would, we think, advance the very good, and we hope to find a corner for it public good.
one day. If our poetical friends continue to J. P. Burbidge's paper on temperance is favour us with so many poetical contributions, very good indeed. We hope to find space for we shall have enough, before the end of the it in an early number
year, to bring out a volume of “Public Good . " The Child's Appeal" has poetical beauties, Poetry." and we would gladly insert it if we had space. DOMESTICUS.-We are quite of his opinion. The same applies to “The Bereaved One." We think we may with propriety, as advocates
BURNEO CHURCH MISSION.- We, too, like our and promoters of The Public Good, give that correspondent, feel indignant at the inhuman variety in our pages as to minister to the conduct of Sir James Brooke. We believe, amusement and entertainment of the domestic that when the British public are aware of all circle. We hope “fire-side fun" will suit him. the facts, they will express their abhorrence We beg to record our most heartfelt thanks of such cruel conduct.
to the many editors of town and country newsS. R. ROGERS.Your views and ours on “Real papers, who have received and noticed the Civilization,' &c., somewhat differ. Let the first number of “The Public Good," Of course world know your plans, theories, and reasons, it cannot but be gratifying to us, to know that and if they are as good as you think they are, our publication is so highly thought of, and they will find appreciators.
that so many fervent hopes are expressed for H.S., Stamford Hill. We are sorry that any its success. We also beg to thank the same allusion or illustration in “Anti-Jack-Ketch gentlemen for their kindness in sending us ism' should in any way have nffended the sen- copies of their papers which contained the sitive feelings of our correspondent. On a re- | notices. consideration of the matter, we prefer the “An Admirer of the Public Good," is sorry sentence as it now stands to the suggested that so much valuable matter was put on the improvement.
wrapper of No. 1. Our object was, and is, to TYRO.We hope he will pardon us if his keep the book as complete as possible, so that paper is not inserted. It is impossible for us at the end of the year, it may be bound into a to insert a half or a quarter of the communi- handsome volume. cations sent us.
It was our intention to have had No. 1. C. D., Kingsbridge.- We desire to thank our stamped, as we advertised, but we were prefair correspondent for her recipes of“ Dainties,” vented doing so in time by the many difficuland we should feel obliged to any other of our ties thrown in our way at the government fair friends who would send us any they may office. We had to go through the same proknow to be good ones.
cess as if the Public Good were to be a daily
ons why men paper. We hope none of our subscribers wil should not shave:-“ First: A respect for thel be put to any inconyenience in future.
INTELLECTUAL TOLL BARS.
| not put his hand. But the same gentle. INTELLECTUAL TOLL-BARS.
man could not have bought a similar book it was not long since we had a tax on
had a tax on in England without the government, bread, and there are not even wanting through the tax-gatherer, putting its allmen who would reinstitute that tax. We greedy hand into his pocket, and taking have at the present moment taxes on therefrom a considerable proportion of fight and taxes on knowledge; or rather the amount paid for the book." taxes on living in houses with windows, We look upon this tax on foreign and taxes on the mediums through which books as positively injurious to the inknowledge is communicated. There is terests of literature and international go tax on light when it is enjoyed in the communication. One reason why we have streets, or roads, or green fields; neither had so many wars between countries is is there a tax on thinking or verbally that their inhabitants did not better know communicating thought. Such would be each other; and one reason why they taxes on existence itself. The tax is on have not known each other better is on the window through which the light account of the taxes on foreign books. streams, or on the paper on which the Another serious impediment to the comthought is transcribed in words. We have munication of knowledge is the heayy tax no hesitation in calling such taxes unjust imposed on paper. The duty on paper and wicked ones. For the present we amounted in 1848 to £745,795 9s. 4d. shall only deal with taxes on knowledge, Had it not been for the duty on paper, which we have justly named intellectual, we should be able to make the Public toll-bars.
Good at least a quarter part larger than The duty on foreign books in 1848 it is for the same price. We should be amounted to £7,647 13s. 4d. A person enabled to give a sheet of double-demy, while visiting the continent might pick instead of a sheet of double-crown. This. up several favourite books, but he could we contend, is a serious consideration, and not bring them to England without pay- especially wlien we remember that class ing the usual amount of duty. A lady of our countrymen whose means are so who was a visitor at the Brussel's Peace limited that the small sum of two-pence Congress, and who went and returned with is a thing of importance. But the evil is the English and American Deputation, not in the mere tax itself. It acts inbought, while she was in Belgium, a copy juriously indirectly as well. The Liver. of Lamartine's poetry. In passing through pool Times says :the Custom House in London the book! “A paper-maker requires to have a large was detected, and taken from her just as capital locked up in paying duties, inde. if it were a bottle of Eau de Cologne, or a pendent of that sunk in his mills, machis bundle of silk handkerchiefs. Was not nery, and materials, and for this he must
have a fair return; and in addition to this the English Custom House, in this in
he is subject to a great amount of annoy. stance, a veritable intellectual toll-bar?
ance and inconvenience in carrying on his And we ask is it worthy of England, who
business, all of which ultimately falls on the professes to be the patron of learning and
consumers of paper. The 1 d. per lb, is the friend of civilization, to permit the
therefore only a small portion of the addiexistence of such a thing for the paltry | tional cost of paper to the public, though it sum of £7.647 133. 70. annually? Ano- | is all that the government gets. In addither instance came under our notice last tion to this there is interest for the paper, year. A gentleman, with whom we visited makers' extra capital, and loss by cumbrous Paris, bought, while in that city, a book and vexatious proceedings, perpetuated by printed in English, by an English author. the jealousy of the Excise.” When he showed us the book on our way
The evidence of Mr. Robert Chambers home, we said to him, “ Why buy an and Mr. Charles Knight is sufficient to English book in Paris ?” He said, “Be- | satisfy any one of the very injurious effects cause I could buy it cheaper there; the of this duty on paper. Mr. R. Chambers French pay no duty on paper.” This says that he and his brother are prevented gentleman was more fortunate than the publishing a great many things that they lady. He kept the book in his pocket, otherwise would do for the benefit of the into which the governmental official did people had it not been for this pressing
impost. Their Miscellany, “ which had vernment might refer to ascertain whether the extensive circulation of 80,000 weekly, the securities we named were equal to the vas abandoned on account of their inabi- required responsibilities. We had to give lity to pay the paper-duty.” They paid no the names, occupations, and addresses of the less a sum than £6,220 duty on that one the proprietor, publisher, and printer of publication; and they pay £3,000 a-year | the Public Good. The government un on their other publications. Mr. Charles dertook to write to the references, and we Knight states that he paid £28,500 of were requested to call again in a day or duty on the paper used in the Penny two; which we did not fail to do. We Cyclopædia.
then found, to our surprise and disapThe present government profess to be pointment, that the references had not favourable to the education of the people. been sufficiently explicit in their state- ML Let them take off the duty on paper, ments. They stated that they believed which is a great embargo on education, the persons chosen were possessed of its and thereby shew that they are sincere sufficient property to be securities for the spa in their professions. Sir Henry Parnell sums mentioned. They should have stated L calls paper“the raw material of every kind that they knew such things. We then ples of science and art, and of all social improve had to go over all the ground again. We ment.” Where would England and Europe got fresh references, and gave in their be at the present moment if there were names, &c., to Somerset House. After 10 paper ? Who can estimate the ad- the consumption of more time, we at lastele vantages which the use of paper has con succeeded in fulfilling the demanded re- i tim ferred on the world? Yet this, of all quirements. The next step was to get ople things in the world, is taxed. It is bad all the parties at Somerset House at the inst enough to tax our tea, our sugar, and same time. The proprietor, printer, pub- lep other articles of general consumption, and lisher, and securities met at the same especially when we know that the pro- time, and made the necessary declara- f ceeds of taxatiou are extravagantly ex- | tions. We then had to meet again in the end pended; but it is infinitely worse to know another place at another time to make that paper, which is one of the chief in- other declarations. At last, after much struments of education and mutual com- inconvenience, and the payment of £2 25., munication between man and man, is the business was got through with. We taxed and raised in price by a govern- have had to get what is called a “ distinct ment which professes to be the friend of tive die," for which we paid 15s. We delika liberty, education, and progress. Let the have not mentioned a half of the incon- Pigt people say that this intellectual toll-bar veniences we were put to so that we might shall be removed, and it will speedily get a few hundred stamped copies of the disappear.
Public Good for the accommodation of Bir There is another intellectual toll-bar subscribers. which is carefully guarded by govern But the difficulties and annoyances i mental officials, of more serious injury | attending getting the stamped copies are still, and that is the penny stamp on nothing when compared to the disad takisto newspapers. The taxation amounted in vantages resulting from the penuy stampit this way in 1848 to £360,273. We in connexion with newspapers. There 50 will first state the difficulty attending on was no necessity that we should get getting the stamp, and the disadvantages stamped edition, as ours is not a proarising from it. For the convenience of fessed newspaper. Every copy of every day a number of our subscribers, we decided newspaper must be stamped. on having a stamped edition of the If the stamp duty were repealed an Public Good. We went to Somerset | impulse would immediately be given to House, and were told that we must get | education and mental improvement. two persons who would secure us to the New journals would spring into existence government for £400, to protect it in in London, and other parts of the country. case of libel, and two other securities for | Every large town would have its da. £200 each for the advertisement duty. | newspaper, and such large towns as Bits We had to give the name, address, and mingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, occupations of persons to whom the go- would in all likelihood have three, or