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uame of which is sulphate of copper, being a that these two gases are the only materials compound of sulphuric acid and copper. On of which water is made up or entirely the inside of this is a sort of shelf full of holes composed. I have here (D), upon which I have placed a number a glass tube which conof pieces of the substance just alluded to, tains a mixture of these with a view to keep the solution as strong two gases, oxygen and as possible. Within this again is a hydrogen, and which has cylinder of porous material which con- two pieces of wire which tains a mixture consisting of one part of go through the sides, and oil of vitriol, and seven of water. In the whose points nearly meet centre of this is a rod of zinc (C), sup- in the hollow part inside. ported in the smaller cylinder by the cross In the curve of the tube piece (I). The instrument is fitted up with (c) there is some water, caps and screws (E and F), to connect the which has been previwires (G and H) along which the current of ously measured exactly, electricity passes from the battery. If the and which is placed there to prevent the gas end of these wires (G and H) be brought in the hollow part at a being mixed with air. together a spark will be seen to pass between If I now connect the wires of the battery their points; or if they are held in the with the wires which pass through the hands" (previously wetted), the peculiar gases, an explosion will take place, and the effects of a continuous current of electricity oxygen and hydrogen will have united again will be felt. Why this effect is produced in the form of water. If quicksilver is would occupy more time to explain than placed in the tube the experiment is still We can afford just now, and the subject more striking. As, however, the explosion will therefore be reserved till another is violent, the experiment is fraught with opportunity presents itself for me to talk some danger. to you about it.
There are other methods for decomposing To make the phenomenon of the decom- water which are more easily practised than position of water very evident, several of that which I have described to you, and these batteries should be connected toge- which I will now show you how to perform. ther
. The wires connecting the two ends Let an ordinary half-pint bottle be of the batteries should also be waxed over rather more than half filled with water, and their whole extent, except about an inch at drop some pieces of zinc or iron turnings the points, so that when they are plunged in into it; then pour in about an ounce of the water which is to be decomposed, a tum- sulphuric acid, or vitriol. A bubbling and Wler
, or other glass receiver, may catch all the hissing will immediately commence, and a bubbles that rise.
If this arrangement is quantity of hydrogen will escape. If a made, and the wires plunged into pure cork with a small tube passing through it Water, a stream of gas will rise in bubbles be fitted to the neck, the stream of gas may from each wire where it is uncovered by the be lighted, and will be found to burn with Wax. These bubbles are produced by the a very pale blue flame; and if the tube rewires from any good battery, but unless the presented in Fig. 1 be held over it, water stream of galvanic electricity is powerful, will be found to result. Here let us stop the gases are not produced in sufficient to inquire how these metallic fragments, quantity for examination. The gases from and the vitriol, have the power to separate each wire having been collected, let us pro- the component parts of the water and to ceed to test them separately. A taper set the hydrogen free. It appears that sulplunged into the first burns with increased phuric acid, or vitriol, has a great affinity, brightness ; but in the second, is imme- or attraction, for zinc and iron, and longs diately extinguished, though the gas itself to unite with either of them; but the acid at the moment takes fire itself. The first, cannot unite with them in their pure metalwe may be pretty sure, is oxygen, as the lic state, they must be first combined with great supporter of combustion ; and the oxygen, and become o:cides of iron (rust), latter, being an inflammable gas, is our new or oxides of zinc. In the case before us, acquaintance-hydrogen.
then, the iron or zinc desiring to unite Perhaps you still are in doubt, however, I with the sulphuric acid robs the water of
its oxygen, leaving the other part, hydro-fire-damp of coal-mines owes its desgen, to escape, while sulphate of iron, or tructive powers; and to the same cause is sulphate of zinc, is formed in the bottle. due the accidents which occur when the
Another method of decomposing water is ordinary coal gas escapes into cellars, and by passing the steam from a kettle through becomes mixed with the air, in which it a gun barrel full of iron-filings made red- finds oxygen. Hydrogen alone has no hot in a chafer, or portable furnace. In explosive propensities, unless it finds some this experiment the oxygen of the steam oxygen with which to come in contact and (vapour of water) is attracted and absorbed unite; and in like manner the carburetted by the heated iron, and pure hydrogen hydrogen, which is used to illuminate our passes out at the other end of the gun streets, would have never produced the barrel, where it may be collected and accidents recorded, in its pure state. burned. In the burning, the hydrogen electric spark passed through pure hydroagain combines with the oxygen of the air, gen does not ignite it. and water is again produced.
On the other hand, wherever we see a This experiment will be made more in- flame, we may be sure that hydrogen is teresting if all the materials are weighed therein, combining with oxygen, and that exactly before the boiling is commenced, water is being produced just as it is by which will enable the operator to discover the candle or gas-light. In each of these if any loss or destruction of matter has instances there is a double union going on taken place. When such an examination | The oil of the lamp, and the tallow of the is inade, it is found that some of the water candle, and the gas from coal, contain has vanished, and that in consequence, the hydrogen and carbon. While the hydrogen vessel containing it weighs less than it makes the flame, by uniting with the oxygen did before. Whither has it flown ? On of the atmosphere to form water, the carbon, weighing the gun-barrel, an increase of as I before explained, unites with the same weight is detected, proving that something gas to form carbonic acid. The particles has been added to its contents; and upon of carbon become white with heat in the emptying out the iron turnings, which otherwise colourless flame of hydrogen, and were put in so bright and clean, we find thus endow it with illuminating power. that a brown coating has destroyed their We have thus demonstrated that water metallic lustre, and increased their heavi- is composed entirely of two gases—hydro
If this extra weight be added to gen and oxygen; and that this very fluid the weight of the hydrogen which has which is used to extinguish flame is propassed off
, it will be found to make up a duced by that which it is so frequently sum equal to the weight of water missed used to destroy. from the kettle or boiler. By chemical Hydrogen is quite colourless, transparent analysis the brown coating upon the iron as the air, but fourteen times as light; it shavings could be proved to be composed is therefore peculiarly adapted for floating of the metal united with oxygen in the heavy weights in the atmosphere when form of oxide, which is the name used to confined in a bag called a balloon. It describe the results of all such unions of does not support combustion, though it the gas with metals. If, moreover, the is itself highly combustible-a burning oxygen could be liberated from the iron, spark immersed in it is immediately exand made to unite with the hydrogen which tinguished. has passed over, the exact quantity of water Next to oxygen, hydrogen may be rewhich has been missed from the kettle garded as the most important constituent would be reproduced.
of the earth. It takes its name from two This union of oxygen and hydrogen may Greek words, the former signifying “water," be effected by pressure, but the gases, in and the latter " to produce.” It is evolved uniting, produce a violent explosion, and from the earth by volcanoes, and formis therefore the experiment should never be various combinations, among which may performed except with instruments con- be mentioned ammonia, the essential principle structed to allow of this sudden expan- of the common smelling salts. It is said sion of the contents. To this explosive to be breathed out by certain plants, of the property of a mixture of these gases, the fungus or mushroom class. But most im
scribe storms as
portant of all the phenomena connected wife with a countenance yellow as gold, with it, is its strong affinity for oxygen, eyes of almond shape, mouth like a Tartar and the formation of water, of which bow, and nose that wooed the heavens with hydrogen--light as it is---constitutes more its upturned point. Moreover, her feet were than a tenth part by weight.
small as those of a three years' child, and As it does not support combustion, you she walked with the tottering step that is the will be prepared to hear that it cannot sup- model of celestial grace. Fortune smiled port respiration, which is the same pheno- on Whampo Whang! What more could he menon in a different mode. Nevertheless, desire ? A yilla, opium, strong tea, pork, though hydrogen does not support life, it and a wife-all the elements of a Chinacan, unlike carbonic acid, be breathed for a man's delight-he possessed; but the few seconds. If we speak while the chest Father of Evil, in the form of a friend, is thus filled with the gas, a remarkable tempted him once more to speculation. alteration is perceived in the tone of the Still I would not believe it! voice, which becomes softer, shriller, and
true, nevertheless. Another When wind instruments mail brought me a letter from my friend at are played with it their tones are affected in Canton, who told me the whole truth of a similar manner.
the story. Attend to it, reader, for, this The ancients believed that all things time, my tale has a moral. It may not were composed of fire, air, earth, and water; be a new one—but it is a moral still:and these they named “the four elements,” | When you have enough, don't covet more. an expression still used by poets, who de- That is-Let well alone.
Whampo Whang had a friend called "Frightful struggles of the elements."
Phi-Phing. He was a little sharp man,
whose eyes blinked at the rate of three to The first-named of these, viz. fire, is an
a second. Having read many books, and action, not a substance, while the others are written some moral poems, he passed for a composed of two or more component elements.” Nevertheless, while we per- by means which I shall not investigate,
genius, especially as he made much money ceive the errors of the past, and rejoice in since it might be impertinent. But, being the increased knowledge which we have the luxurious, he spent his dollars faster than opportunity of possessing, let us not be he earned them; and one morning sat in a too confident in our wisdom, since, perad: cake-shop-owing a large bill to the cook venture, we may find that our ignorance is with an overwhelming debt on his head, quite as ridiculous, and more inexcusable but without a home to go to. Then he bethan that of our ancestors.
thought himself of Whampo Whang, whom, in prosperity, he had despised, be
cause he would not speculate. There was WHAMPO WHANG IN little in common between the two worthies, CALIFORNIA.*
except that each possessed on his head the
bump-national in China--of cheating. A SKETCH OF LIFE IN THE GOLD REGIONS. So Phi-Phing set off in search of
I would not believe it! He had narrow- Whampo Whang, and was courteously rey escaped death among the Borneo pirates ; ceived by him. Seated, pipe in hand, over he had passed through many perils-tossed a tray of dried fruits, they discussed various by storms, driven by winds, and captured topics, and the poetical speculator at length by buccaneers; he had fought great sea- approached the subject next his heart. He battles, been imprisoned in the river-haunt knew very well that his friend possessed of a freebooter, and by lucky chance re- much cash, and the question most interestgaining home, had settled down peace-ing to him just now was—by what means, fully in Ting-Tang Villa. There he had fair or foul, he could transfer some of surrounded himself with all the luxuries Whampo Whang's dollars into the coffers
He smoked opium, he drank of Phi-Phing. He proposed various strong tea, he eat fat pork, and possessed a schemes, in which he insinuated his own
talents should be set against the capital of * See vol. ii. p. 9.
his partner-an equal bargain, but not so
very preposterous, since it is a common wise man; therefore, I doubt the truth of practice in civilized lands. I have heard these maxims, and still believe in some inany such propositions; and here the constancy, good faith, and affection. rearler may thank me for a little advice. But why digress? Whampo Whang When you meet a plausible gentleman who and Phi-Phing were bound for California proposes a scheme entirely for your benefit, in the junk “ Defier of Storms,” and ten make him a civil bow and turn your back. thousand miles of ocean lay before them. Elegantly expressed, he is a humbug! Of all that voyage I have not heard one
To buy an estate, and cultivate tea on circumstance, and if I had, I could not the slope of some sunny mountain, was pause to tell it. Let us then set ourselves one of Phi-Phing's proposals; but Whampo down at San Francisco—where the two Whang heard it coldly, never pricking up friends paid three hundred dollars for a his ears once until a name was mentioned week's lodging at the hotel—and stored which caused his pig-tail visibly to wag, their cargo of tea, spirits, and dried prothe blush to redden in his cheeks, and his visions. The “ Defier of Storms" then eyes to blink with alarming rapidity. departed, and despite her valiant name, was Grasping his friend by the hand, he con- engulphed by waves, five hundred miles at signed himself to the company of owls for sea. The adventurers at once resolved to never thinking of the thing before. Forth- proceed to the diggings with the portable with the two adventurers arranged a plan house brought from Hong Kong, and estaof operations.
blishing themselves on the banks of some The sun had scarcely set thirty times golden-sanded river, commence operations. from that day, before Ting-Tang villa was It was some time before two servants could in the hands of a retired tea-planter, Mrs. be hired, for over every door was written, Whampo Whang in a small dwelling on “Gone to the Diggins.” The town was as a the outskirts of the town, and the mer- city of the plague; deserted silent ships chant with his friend lolling in the cabin of swung in a desolate harbour, grass grew in an enormous junk, just spreading her lateen the streets, and tall, gaunt houses stood sail for the golden coast of California. tenantless on the beach. But a continual From a time beyond man's memory, emi- stream of traffic poured from certain gration was interdicted to the inhabitants groups, along certain highways; and within of the Celestial empire, and, with the ex- a few mornings of their arrival, Whampo ception of those occasional swarms that Whang and his companion found themfloated over the seas, and settled down selves in a capacious waggon, with a tent, among the Indian islands, the children of the portable house, and their stores, on the China lived, died, and were buried in the way to the valley where gold was plentiland where their cradles were rocked. But ful as dust. Scenes the most novel met when the golden rivers of the Sacramento their sight, as wending their way over a were discovered, even ancient customs landscape of ever-varying fertility, rich bent and broke under the rule of Mammon; with the hues of beauty, perfumed with the for, whatever may be said of sacred hearths breath of flowers, and teeming with the and homes, and indissoluble ties and bonds activity of life, they approached the great to bind for ever, I believe in few of them valley, where, under the expanding roof of especially in China. Set up a golden heaven, a hundred thousand votaries bent rock amid the waters of the remotest sea, before the shrine of the great god-Gold. and, like the loadstone, it will attract men In one spot might be seen, on a level from all the quarters of the world; from sward shaded by trees, a party of amateur domestic hearths, from happy homes, from diggers engaged in preparations for a meal. forefathers' graves, from children's cradles, Before the door of the tent, groups were from wives' bosoms—from kindred, friends, busy round the blazing fire, over which, in and native land; and when the new idol iron pans and pots, huge masses of pork rises in the heart, the old one will die were hissing in oceans of their own fai, out of memory, as the affection of to-day with tin pails-used in common as kettles is blotted out by the love of to-morrow. I and gold-washing machines-full of boil. This is the philosopher's creed; but I had ing water, and open coffee-pots, foaming rather be a deluded dupe, than a cynical with rich brown froth. Crowds of men gathered round these comfortable scenes of sounds proclaimed awaking life. Coffee, preparation. Among them convicts, re- pork, and pilot bread, were devoured; tents leased, or escaped, from New South Wales, were struck, waggons and boats were in were remarkable for their hideous counte- motion ; and seizing axes, spades, shovels, nances, and disorderly demeanour. With crow-bars, with every implement at hand, flaming red caps bound about with white the gold-seekers, snatching a hurried meal, cloaths, greasy shirts of the same colour, rushed furiously to work, to dig, scrape, huge loose belts of leather, and most for- wash, sift, and search for gold;-gold! the midable sheath-knives, they danced around great hardener of nature, the soother of the fires, shouting, yelling, singing demo- sorrows, the idol of all hearts, and the obniacal songs, and playing all the antics ject of all hopes ! characteristic of humanity under its inost Whampo Whang and Phi-Phing gazed degraded forms-drunken and criminal. on these scenes, and the merchant looked
All over the valley had arisen multitudes curiously into his friend's face. There he of bushy bowers, calico-frame houses, read encouragement and in a short time tents, wooden sheds, indescribable erections found himself behind a broad counter in of poles and canvas, and every kind of front of the little portable house which temporary dwelling that the ingenuity of they had brought from Hong Kong. Many the diggers could devise. Many hundreds of their countrymen were busy in the lived in old waggons: some modern dis- valley erecting dwellings for the gold huntciples of Diogenes slept in tubs and ers, and receiving for their labour paybarrels! others had scooped for themselves ment at the most imperial rate. They reholes in the earth, or formed hovels of turf solved also to sell, at imperial prices, the and clay; whilst thousands of shelterless provisions they had stored up within the wretches were fain to be content with the house, with knives, pistols, powder, perwarmth of a blanket under the open sky. cussion-caps, guns, tobacco, leathern pantaAll day long the toilers swarmed in every loons, shirts, and tin utensils for goldquarter of the valley. The bright wind- washing, which they had purchased from a ing river was peopled along its banks with | Yankee dealer at San Francisco. The men of all classes, descriptions, and cha- man was not sober when he sold the things, racters. There were merchants, gentlemen, but so much the better for our Chinamen, lawyers, thieves, parsons, doctors, poets, who, with the praiseworthy view of punishplayers
, beggars, bankrupts, editors, wri- ing his intemperance, cheated him out of ters, printers, tradesmen, pedagogues, half their ordinary value, and drank to inpainters, lords, and vagabonds---swarming toxication to celebrate the achievement. in tumultuous crowds, some in groups, If ever a shop throve, it was that consome scattered, some solitary, but all with cern of Whampo Whang, and his friend faces bent to the earth. Some washed the Phi-Phing! They sold their goods at sand in pails, cullenders, rocking-machines, prices which no extortionate Jew in famine and sieves; some delved, some hunted time ever dreamed of demanding; and nuamong the hollows and ravines. When merous little bags of gold dust, with heaps night came, and the dusky shadows crept of shining dollars, testified to their ingeover the valley, a thousand twinkling lights nuity. When a customer came, he would shone in all directions ; a thousand bivouac untie a leathern pouch, and demand perfires were lit, the toilers threw by their haps a bottle of brandy. The scales was tools
, songs and gaiety prevailed, the forthwith produced, an ounce of the fine flames glared brightly, the evening meals grains weighed, and the change effected to were eaten, and then, each seeking his own mutual satisfaction. With other things it shed, all lay down to rest, and gradually was the same; but spirits, provisions, and the spirit of sleep fell upon all that mighty bowie-knives, sold most freely. The food multitude, and silence creeping over the was to feed upon, the liquor was to revel scenes, darkness closed around—as the in, and the weapon was to enact the usual slumberers, wafted into the world of dreams, last scene in a Californian bacchanalian forgot the toil of day in the balmy rest of feast, when several wretches generally fell night.
upon each other, to satisfy with blood the Morning dawned. Ten thousand mingled passions excited by ardent drink. Several