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ed the famous arithmetical machine which bears his name, and by which, through the instrumentality of a mechanical movement, somewhat similar to a watch, any numerical calculation might be performed. The main difficulty in arithmetic lies in finding the mode of arriving at the desired result. This must ever be a purely mental operation; but the object of this instrument was, that in all those numerical operations where the course to be pursued was fixed and certain, a mechanical process might relieve the mind from the monotonous and wearisome labor of the mere detail of calculation. Pascal's invention succeeded; but it was found too cumbrous for general use.
Cruelty of confining Birds.-WILLIAM HOWITT.
There are none of our customs which more mark our selfishness than that of keeping singing birds in perpetual confinement, making the pleasure of our ears their misfortune; and that sweet gift, which God has given them, wherewith to make themselves happy, and the country delightful, the curse of their lives. If we were contented, however, with taking and rearing young ones, which never knew the actual blessing of liberty, or of propagating them in cages or aviaries, the evil would not be so enormous. But the practice of seizing singing birds, which have always enjoyed the freedom of the earth and air, in summer, when they are busy with the pleasant cares of their nests, or young broods, and subjecting them to a close prison, is detestable-doubly detestable in the case of migratory birds. They have not merely the common love of liberty, but the instinct of migration to struggle with; and it may be safely asserted, that out of every ten nightingales so caught, nine pine away and die. Yet the capture of nightingales is very extensively practised. The bird-catchers declare them to be the most easily taken of all birds; and scarcely can one of these glorious songsters alight in a copse or a thicket, but these kidnappers are upon it. Some of these men assure me that the female birds arrive about ten days later than the males, whose songs give notice of their retreats, on hearing which the females alight; therefore, when nightingales first appear, the bird-catchers are almost sure of taking only males, birds which, being the singers, are the only ones they want. The nightingale, a bird which God has created to fly from land to land, to crown the pleasantness of spring with the most delicious music, or a lark, which he has made to soar, in the rapture of its heart, up to heaven's gates, “cribbed, cabined and confined" in a narrow cage by man, is one of the most melancholy objects on earth. Let those who have hearts for it keep them, and listen to them with what pleasure they may; for my part, while I am myself sensible of the charms of freedom, and of the delights of the summer fields, I shall continue to prefer the “wood notes wild ” of liberty, to a captive's wail.
Career of Mohammed.—JAMES MONTGOMERY.
AMONG the innumerable millions of those who have lived and died in this world of change and mortality, if we were to fix on one, whose existence, opinions and actions, in their results, have more extensively influenced the destinies of a larger proportion of their fellow creatures than those of any other, we should name the false prophet of Mecca. There have been warriors, legislators and fanatics, who, in their circle, have equalled and even excelled him in prowess, policy and extravagance; but not one can be brought into entire competition with Mohammed,
for the spread and permanence of his fame, either as conqueror, lawgiver or impostor.
His empire, institutes and superstition have been rooted and perpetuated over so vast a proportion of the world, that the tail of his elborarch (the beast which carried him on his miraculous journey to Paradise), like that of the dragon in the Apocalypse, may be said to have drawn after him a third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them down to the earth. Interpreting these stars, agreeably to the hieroglyphic language of prophecy, as signifying kings and their kingdoms, states and their people, this has been literally the case for twelve centuries,--a longer date than that of any single empire, ancient or modern. In this view, Mohammed may be called the greatest and most extraordinary man that ever had being on earth.
The former part of this impostor's life, compared with the latter, presents one of the most striking contrasts that can be found even in the fictions of poetry. According to the generally received accounts, he was the posthumous son of his father, early left an orphan by his mother, and adopted by an uncle, who, being too poor to provide for his wants, sold him into bondage at sixteen years of age. Then, however, he grew into such favor with his master, that he was intrusted by him with many valuable mercantile enterprises—and into such favor with his mistress, that, on the decease of her husband, she conferred on her slave her person and her wealth. Had one of the numberless deaths that lie in ambush, day and night, around the path of man, and to which, from the ill fortune of his childhood, and the misery of his circumstances till he had passed maturity, Mohammed was more imminently exposed than it is the chance (so to speak) of most people,—had one of those deaths cut him off, in some unexpected moment, it is impossible to imagine what would have been the actual religious and political condition of many of the richest provinces of Asia, Africa and Europe, during the ages upon
ages, in which his successors—as true to his religion, as that religion is true to the worst passions of human nature -have followed him in his track of blood ; carrying the sword and the Koran from the heart of Arabia to the extremes of east and west of the ancient continent. What has been the condition of those most magnificent, and, from sacred and classic associations, those most venerable countries of the globe, is well known, and need not be particularized here.
The Neglected Child.—THOMAS H. BAILEY.
I NEVER was a favorite;
My mother never smiled
That blessed her fairer child ;
While fondled on her knee;
There was no kiss for me!
And yet I strove to please, with all
My little store of sense ;
Can rarely give offence;
A cold, ungentle check,
In tears upon her neck.
How blessed are the beautiful !
Love watches o'er their birth;
I learned to know thy worth,
For even there I often felt
Forsaken and forlorn, And wished for others wished it too
I never had been born.
I'm sure I was affectionate,
But in my sister's face
A smile or an embrace ;
The pressure children prize,
They spoke not in my eyes.
But, oh! that heart too keenly felt
The anguish of neglect;
With gems and roses decked ;
When wantonly reproved, I envied her the privilege
Of being so beloved.
But soon a time of triumph came
A time of sorrow too-
Her venomed mantle threw:
Now wore the hue of death; And former friends shrank fearfully
From her infectious breath.
'Twas then, unwearied, day and night,
I watched beside her bed, And fearlessly upon my breast
I píllowed her poor head.