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EJsay on Flattery.
It is this weakness that the flatterer is'always sure to attack, knowing the part by tubicb bi h mist easily beset, an the side of his 'vanity.
No wonder thtt he is liberal of his praises, which cost him nothing, provided he can serve by it any private advantage.
But adulation, instead of gaining the affections, will rather excite the contempt of the wife and prudent: they will look upon it as an indignity offered to their understandings, and resent it accordingly.
True merit consists in our not being conscious of it cursives. Vanity eclipses the lustre of our virtues. Jt is the sure mark, the distinguishing characteristic of real desert, to be as desirous to shun applause, as assiduous to deserve it.
Vanity is a frailty too incident to human nature; whatever praises, whatever encomiums are past upon us, we are apt to think it is no more than the just tribute of our merit and deserts.
"Praising, as it is commonly managed, (an eminent writer remarks) is nothing else but a trial of skill upon a man, how many good things we can possibly fay of him. All the treasuries of oratory are ransacked —all the fine things that ever were said are heaped together for his fake; and no matter whether it belongs to them or not, so that there be but enough us it,"
To give honour where honour is due, to give every one the just tribute of their deserts, may be thought pardonable, as it is consistent with truth; but there is a nicety to be observed, so to temper the expression and sentiment, as not to offend modesty, nor incur the imputation of flattery.
Delicacy'requires, that even the
truth should sometimes be disguised, and not always appear in its naked, open colours, especially when the person is witness to his own praises, or when it is immediately addrest to him.
A discerning person may easily distinguish between flattery and dissimulation, truth and sincerity.
The one is varnished over with all . the flowers of rhetoiict all the ornaments of eloquence and false colourings that human cunning can invent, or specious artifices put together, like the heathen orator Tertullus, using all the dexterity of address, all the enticing woids of man's wisdom.
On the other hand, it is the property of truth and sincerity to stand forth to view, without any studied disguises, unadorned by any specious colourings, divested of all external ornaments, and needs no beauty to set it off to advantage.
The clergy most certainly ought to guard not only against flattery itself, but against eveiy thing that has the most remote resemblance to it. They, whose duty it is rightly to "divide the word of truth," ought not to have mens persons in admiration, or give flattering titles. It is beneath the dignity of the pulpit to descend to any thing that is adulatory, in the last degree. Nothing of that kind should find admission there, where the praises of God, and him only, is the proper theme.
Happy it is for us, that we have a prince on the throne, who hath so early exprtfl bis dij'pleajure against the sycophants that surround it; who is so well able to diflinguifli between that counsel, uhich is given out of private interest, and that which a spirit of patriotism suggests.
It is not the person who glosies 4 G 2 - over 59* Natural History of
over false council by fair speeches, it is not those that Jpeaksmooth things and utter Jueiis, it is not the cunning, the designing hypocrite, the inveigling, the insinuating dissembler;—--no, it is he who is most sincere in his adnce, who hath the welfare of his country most in view, and Jfeaicth the truth from his heart; such an one hath the royal ear. Like that being (whom be hath learnt to know, and resolved to imitate, and
the Baobab Tret. British
whom he always sets before him) he fays, '* Give me thy heart." He desires nothing else, for every thing besides is rain and empty.
It is the Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile, and fpeaketh forth the words of truth and soberness—'til such an one only that the king delightetb to honour.
1 am, Gentlemen, your's, Sic.
E» W ATKINSON.
Chart P. Kent.
NATURAL HISTORY rf the BAOBAB TREE.
THE Baobab, a tree of a new genus which grows in Senegal, may be justly reputed the largest vegetable production in nature, its vast magnitude being a more singular and remarkable phenomenon than all the histories of botany, or perhaps of the world have yet produced.
The real name of this tree is baobab ; the Oualofs, natives of the country, call it goui, and its fruit boui; and the French know it by the name of calabassier, or calibashtree, and call its fruit pain-de-singe, or monkey's bread.
The baobab cannot grow out of a very hot climate; it delights in a
from the roots to the branches; but he had seen several seventy-five and seventy-eight feet round, that is from twenty-five to twenty-seven feet in diameter. The first branches extend almost horizontally; aod being very thick and about sixty feet in length, their own weight bends down their extremities to the ground; the center branches rife perpendicularly, but so as to make a shelving, and the tree being thus regularly rounded, its trunk is absolutely hidden, and it appears as an hemispherical mass of verdure, of about 120, 130, or 140 feet ifl diameter.
The roots of the Baobab are an
sandy and moist soil, especially if swerable to its size in all respects: to
this foil is free from stones that might hurt its roots; for the least scratch they receive is soon followed by a caries communicating itself to the trunk of the tree, and causing it infallibly to perish.
The trunk of this singular tree is not very high: M. Adanson, (who had lately communicated It is observations on the Baobab to the French * academicians) saw hardly any exceeding twelve or fifteen feet,
the branches above, there is a correspondent number of radical branches below. That of the middle forms a pivot that strikes very deep into the earth, but the rest spread towards the surface. M. Adanson bad seen one laid open by a current of water, in the extent of upwards 110 feet; and it was easy to judge by iti bulk, that what still remained under ground, was at least forty or fifty seet long; and yet this tree,
* Primed in their memoirs for the year :i/6r.
Mag: Natural Hi/b/J 'f tbt Batbab Treti £g j
compared with others, was but pf self into a great number of bodies^ 594 Natural History of the Baobab Tru. Britiih
The bark of the trunk is greyish, smooth, and, as it were, .unctuous to the touch: stripping it off,, the inside appears of a green, pricked, with red:; the thickness is. about eight or nine lines. The. bark of the younger branches is green and thinly disseminated with hairs: the wood of the tree is very loft and white. , .
The leaves are about five inches long and two broad, and pointed at both extremities, pretty thick, of a sprightly green on the upper fide, and pale underneath; and adhering three, five, or seven, but most commonly seven, in the manner of a fan, on a common pedicle, much like those of the chesnut-tree: they only grow on the young branches, whereon the pedicles are alternately placed. The blossoms or flowers are in proportion to the tree, not yielding in magnitude to the largest we know of. They form, when still in the bud, a globe of about three inches diameter; and when blown, arc four inches long and six broad. After the falling of the petals and the stamina, the ovarium, as it ripens, becomes an oblong fruit, pointed at both extremities, fifteen or eighteen feet long, and five or six broad, cloathed with a kind of greenilh down, under which is found a ligneous, hard, almost black rind or peel, and marked with twelve or fourteen furrows, dividing it lengthwife into ribs. This fruit hangs from the tree by a pedicle of about two feet in lengih, and contains a kind of pulp or whitish substance, spungy, and full of somilh water. The pulp seems to make but one mass, when the fruit is nc-w; but, jo drying, shrinks and divides of it
with several facets, each containing a brown shining feed, nearly of the figure of .a kidney bean, five IjneS in Jength, and three in breadth ; and] the pulp that surrounds, then^ :x$ easily reduced into a powder, brought hither from the Levant, and known, for a lotig time, by the very impror per name of Terra Sigillata of Lemnos.
M. Adan'son believes that the Baobab may be naturally classed with the malvacecus plants that have but one calix. This tree cannot be transplanted peither when it begins, to rife, nor when it is ten years oldf as its root would almost infallibly perish. The best plant is that which is from six months to two years old 3 branches sometimes take from a slipj but they frequently fail ; and the progress even of those that do is always slower than that of the plant rising from the seed. Besides the caries that attacks the trunk of the tree when its roots are hurt, it is also subject to another malady, more rare indeed, but not less fatal to it. This is a kind of mouldiness that gets into the whole ligneous body, and which without changing the texture of its fibres, softens it to the degree of its having no more consistence than the ordinary pith of trees j then it becomes incapable of resisting the ordinary blasts of winds, and this monstrous trunk is broke down by the least storm.
The real country of the Baobab is Africa, and particularly the western coast of that part which extends from the Niger to the kingdom of Benin. It is not found in the catalogues of the Asiatic plants, nor in those of America ; yet might be actually in some of the .climates of thosi: two parts of the world, which,
resemgrow there spontaneously.
resemble the part of Africa that pro- there perfectly, and become real duces it; but the tree does not mummies, without any other pre
The Baobab, as all the other plants of the malvaceous tribe, has an emollient virtue, capable of maintaining in the body an abundant transpiration, and of opposing the too great heat of the blood. The negroes dry its leaves in the shade, and reduce them into a powder they call lalo, which they mix with their aliments, not for giving them a relish, for the lalo has scarce any taste, but for obtaining the just mentioned effect. M. Adanson himself experienced the same virtue ; and the decoction of these leaves preserved him and a French officer, who confined himself to this regimen, from the heat of urine and hot fevers which usually attack foreigners at Senegal during the month of September, and which raged still more furiously in 1751, than they had for several years past. The fresh or newly gathered fruit of this tree is not less useful than its leaves; its pulp is eaten, which is subacid and agreeable enough; and in mixing its juice with water and a little sugar, a liquor is made, attended with the best effects in all hot affections, and in putrid or pestilential fevers; lastly, when the fruit is spoiled, the negroes make an excellent soap of it, by burning it, and mixing its astics with the oil of the palm tree that begins to grow rancid.
The negroes make still a very singular use of this monstrous tree. We have said that it was subject to a caries, which often hollows its trunk; they enlarge those cavities, and make a fort of chamber?, where they hang the dead bodies of those they are not willing to grant the honours of burial to; these bodies dry
paration. The greatest number of the bodies so dried is of the Guiriots : these people may be compared to the ancient bard5 and jugglers, so famous among our ancestors. They are poets and musicians, and have a kind of inspection over feasts and dances. Their number is always pretty considerable at the courts of the negro kings, whom they divert and flatter to an extravagant degree in their poetical compositions. This kind of superiority of talents makes them dreaded by the negroes during their life; they attribute it to something supernatural: but, instead of making, as the ancient Greeks, their poets the children of the gods, they regard them, on the contrary, as sorcerers, and ministers of the devil, and believe in that quality they should draw down malediction on the earth, or even on the waters which might receive their bodies; it is therefore that they hide and dry them in the hollow trunks of the Baobab.
Homer relates, that Ulysses hid made for himself at Ithaca, a compleat bedstead of the trunk of an olive tree, supported on its roots, about which he had afterwards built a chamber. Jf this prince had in the precinct of his palace a Baobab tree, he might have extended the singularity still farther, and procured himself a chamber and alt its furniture cut in the fame piece of wood.
The Baobab was never described properly, either as to leaves, fruit, or flowers, before M. Adanson ; ard as Senegal is now one of our possessions on the coast of Africa, the produce of this tree may in a grsat measure become an imporiantobjtct of our commerce.
THEssxth book of the Eneid has 'always been a favourite with me1, for she noble sentiments of morality and the inimitable strain of poetry which run thro'it. I frequently reitl it with the most transporting pleasure, and after finishing if, I cannot but' look down very much upon the degenerate state of poetry among the moderns : for the strong nervous thorrght and natural expression, they 'have substituted pretty conceit, quaint phrases, turns, strokes, and 1 know not what, tending to a general depravity of taste amongus. Filled withthesc thoughts, I lately retired to rest, when queen Mab immediately appeared to me, and from the mixture of ideas fluctuating in my mind, (he dressed up the following scene to my imagination.
I thought (he commanded me to set out on a journey through th^ head of a modern writer, which I instantly agreed to, and the god.lcss accordingly took me in her chariot. In a sliort time we arrived ar rhe apartment; where the bard l.ir, sicklied over' wfth the pile cast of thought. At rtl' 'first approach to wards the intellects nl regions, a terrible effluvium, proceeding," as Shakespear has it, " from the heatoppress ci brain," struck my sens-s; but I wa< soon diverted from that uneasy station by a personage who offered to be my guide : from a conscious simper, a careless disposition of his person, and the tenor of his discourse, I knew him to be Vanity, tfhd accepted the compliment. Our
way was through a thick skull, of which we at once took possession, aud plunged into the abyss.
At our first entrance a confused ncise assailed our ears, and we were instantly beset by a number of phantoms placed round the portal. The god Somnus lay stretched at full length, diffusing round hirri vapours and insensibility; a group of wild dreams and reveries hovered over him, and below flowed the river of Animal Spirits, dull, flow, and lazy. Numbers were gathered round the banks, begging a passage into this gloomy world; but the Charon of the place, a torpid decrepid fellow, known there by the name of Perception, gave a few of them a tardy admittance, and to the greater part he was entirely deaf. Amon« those whom he rejected, I perceived a train, which I took for the Nine Muses, but was informed they never had attempted to pass that way; and, upon a nearer view, 1 found they were the amiable band of moral virtues who seemed to be extremely dejected at meeting with a repulse from any human being. They gave me to understand, that it is now become fashionable to discard them every where, at which I expressed my uneasiness, begged a more intimate acquaintance with them, and advanced towards the boatman, Perception, who with the help of his spectacles at Icngih descried me, and teceived me into his care.
The river had ap,re.".t many turnings anil.windings (for ductile dullness