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A mass of pencilled passages, marked in my books, Again, he asks—"What can be more beautiful than lying around my desk, by numerous dog's-ears, offer trees? Their lofty trunks, august in their simplicity, themselves for quotation, but I must limit my selections. asserting to the most inexperienced eye, their infinite I have been writing in the midst of all a New England superiority over the imitative pillars of man's pride ; autumn's glory. October in Massachusetts is the most their graceful play of wide-spreading branches; and all picturesque of all the months. The harvest is in the delicate and glorious machinery of buds, leaves, the orchards are yielding up their red and golden fruit flowers, and fruit, that, with more than magical effect, age,-the brown and polished chesnuts are falling from burst forth from naked and rigid twigs, with all the rich their husks,-the oaks are shedding their brown cupped and brilliant colors under heaven; breathing delectable acorns,—the maple, the ash, the low sumac are putting odors, púre, fresh, and animating ; pouring out spices on their brilliant coloring, the hectic glow that tells of and medicinal essences; and making music, from the speedy decline, and early death,—and, as Bryant says, softest and most melancholy undertones to the full "The melancholy days are come,--the saddest of the year!” organ-peal of the tempest. I wonder not that trees
have commanded the admiration of men, in all nations Yet why are they called “melancholy"?
and periods of the world. What is the richest country “What is there saddening in the autumn leaves ?
without trees? What barren and monotonous spot Have they that green and yellow melancholy can they not convert into a paradise ? Xerxes, in the That the sweet poet spoke of? Had he seen midst of his most ambitious enterprise, stopped his Our variegated woods, when first the frost
vast army to contemplate the beauty of a tree,” &c.: Turns into beauty all October's charms, When the storms
and so he goes on in a strain which impels the wish on Of the wild Equinox, with all its wet,
my part that Messenger articles might be extended, ad Has left the land, as the first deluge left it,
libitum, and that your readers could have the whole of With a bright bow of many colors hung,
this delicious essay spread before them. One passage Upon the forest-lops,--he had not sighed.”
more, beautiful and timely, I must transcribe. Brainard,
“It is in this month, (October,] that woods may be It is now the time of “The Hunter's Moon,” and, to pronounced most beautiful. Towards the end of it, quote this sweet poet once more,
what is called the Fading of the Leaf, (with us, The Fall,] “The moon stays longest for the hunter now,
presents a magnificent spectacle. Every species of The trees cast down their fruitage, and the blithe
tree, so beautifully varied in its general character, the And busy squirrel hoards his winter store :
silver-stemmed and pensile-branched birch, the tall While we enjoy the breeze that sweeps along smooth beech, the wide-spreading oak and chesnut, The bright blue sky above us, and that bends
each developes its own florid hue of orange, red, Magnificently all the forest's pride, Or whispers ihrough the evergreens, and asks,
brown, or yellow, which, mingling with the green of "What is there saddening in the autumn leaves ?!”
unchanged trees, or the darkness of the pine, presents
a tout ensemble rich, glowing, and splendid. Yet, fine William Howitt, the husband of Mary, that sweet as our woods are at this season, far are they exceeded poetess, in his “Book of the Seasons,” discourses with by those of America; the greater variety of trees, and all the fondness of a true naturalist, of woods. He the greater effect of climate, conspiring to render them says, " Ariosto, Tasso, Spenser, Shakspeare, and Mil- in decay gorgeous and beautiful beyond description.” ton, have sanctified them to the hearts of all genera- Before this last of my lucubrations is turned to type, tions. What a world of magnificent creations comes all this will have experienced a yet more striking swarming upon the memory as we wander in woods! change. The last leaf of the trees, the foliage of which The gallant knights and beautiful dames, the magical falls at all, will have been whirled from their branches castles and hippogriffs of the Orlando; the enchanted by the cold wintery winds, and the gigantic arms of forest, the Armida and Erminia of the Gerusalemma the forest will be bared to the howling blasts that will Liberata ; ‘Fair Una, with her milk-white lamb,' and shriek shrilly among them. The evergreens will retain all the satyrs, Archimages, the fair Florimels and false a portion of their verdure, duller, however, than the Duessas of the Faery Queene; Ariel, and Caliban, Ja- summer tinting. Holly and mountain ash will alone ques, and the motley fool in Arden, the fairy troop of keep their red berries, and some few faded leaves will the Midsummer-Night's Dream, Oberon, Titania, and cling with desperate tenacity to their brown branches. that pleasantest of all mischief-makers, ineffable Puck, May the season prove one of undiminished comfort to -the noble spirits of the immortal Comus. With such all who have accompanied me in these my woodland company, woods are to us any thing but solitudes. rambles ! May the "Christmas chimes” sounding What wisdom do we learn in the world, that they do merrily in their ears, welcome them to good cheer and not teach us better? What music do we hear like that happy fireside enjoyments: and among their chosen which bursts from the pipes of universal Pan, or comes topics of reflection, may the beauties and wonders of from some viewless source with the Æolian melodies of nature find a prominent place. May they cultivate a Faery-land? Whatever woods have been to all ages, taste, which every American should peculiarly cherish, to all descriptions of superior mind, to all the sages and as a sure source of the richest enjoyment, and the poets of the past world, they are to us. We have the highest mental and moral improvement,--the taste for varied whole of their sentiments, feelings and fancies, forest-trees. Our own Irving, of whom two worlds bequeathed as an immortal legacy, and combined and are justly proud, says truly that "there is something concentrated for our gratification and advantage --be-simple, and noble, and pure, in such a taste.” It argues sides the innumerable pleasures which modern art has a sweet and generous nature to have this strong relish thrown to the accumulated wealth of all antiquity.” for the beauties of vegetation, and this friendship for
the hardy and glorious sons of the forest. There is a fold to the sun, prepared to ensnare some other roving grandeur of thought connected with this part of rural and unfortunate adventurer. economy. It is, if I may be allowed the figure, the It is probably beyond the bounds of our philosophic heroic line of husbandry. It is worthy of liberal, and scrutiny to determine the final purpose of this singular freeborn, and aspiring men. He who plants an oak, organization. Whether it is constructed to answer looks forward to future ages, and plants for posterity. some important end in the economy of the plant itself; Nothing can be less selfish than this. He cannot ex. or made in accordance with that law of diversity which pect to sit in its shade, nor enjoy its shelter: but he is a leading principle in all the productions of nature, exults in the idea, that the acorn which he has buried are questions involving much close and accurate obserin the earth 'shall grow up into a lofty pile, and shall vation for their solution. keep on Aourishing, and increasing, and benefitting The generic name Dionæa, is derived from Dione, mankind, long after he shall have ceased to tread his one of the titles of Venus, on the account of the elepaternal fields.
gance and delicacy of its flowers, and its peculiar facul“Indeed, it is the nature of such occupations to lift ty of ensnaring—a trait of character chargeable upon the thoughts above mere worldliness. As the leaves of the ancient goddess, and not unfrequently attended with trees are said to absorb all noxious qualities of the air, a similar train of fatal and heartbound consequences. and breathe forth a purer atmosphere, so, it seems to me, as if they drew from us all sordid and angry passions, ILEX VOMITORIA, OR SOUTH-SEA-TEA. and breathed forth peace and philanthropy. There is
The popular designation of this species of Holly is a serene and settled majesty in woodland scenery that Yaupon or Yopon, a name of Indian origin. It is also enters into the soul, and dilates, and elevates it, and sometimes called Cassena. As not only our colonial, fills it with noble inclinations."
but even our botanical history is indebted for much of its Indulgent reader, farewell !
J. F. O.
originality and peculiar interest, to the aborigines of our Newburyport, Oct. 7th, 1838.
country, we will briefly trace the Indian source of authority for the use of the favorite Yopon. “The savages of Carolina,” says Lawson, an old author of
much credit, “ have this tea in veneration above all the BOTANICAL NOTICES OF INTERESTING plants they are acquainted withal, and tell you the disPLANTS.
covery thereof was by an infirm Indian, that labored DIONEA MUSIPULA, OR VENUS: FLY-TRAP.
under the burden of many rugged distempers, and
could not be cured by all their doctors; so, one day, he This vegetable curiosity, of which we propose to give fell asleep, and dreamt that if he took a decoction of a short description, is peculiar to the southern states the tree that grew at his head, he would certainly be It grows in great abundance around Wilmington, N.C.; cured; upon which he awoke, and saw the Yaupon or extending as far north as Newbern, and from the mouth Cassena Tree, which was not there when he fell asleep! of the Cape Fear nearly to Fayetteville. Hitherto the He followed the direction of his dream, and became observations of botanists have pointed out but few lo- perfectly well in a short time.” This traditional origin, calities. Elliott says, on the authority of Gen. Pinckney, the intelligent reader will recognise as an ingenious spethat it grows in South Carolina on the lower tributaries cimen of Indian sagacity, to secure venerated sanction of the Santee. Audubon also found it in Florida of for the use of a favorite article. In another amusing enormous size. It is therefore probable that it inhabits relic of the last century, (Brickell's “Natural History of the savannahs more or less abundantly, from the latter North Carolina,") the author says, “it is the plant place to Newbern.
whereof the tea is made, so much in request among The leaf, which is the only curious part, is radical, both the Indians and christians.” It is still used by the and spreads upon the ground, or at a little elevation christians” or whites wherever it grows, and is said to above it. It is composed of a petiole or stem with broad make, if well cured, a very pleasant beverage_prefermargins, from two to four inches long, several of which red by many even to the beloved tea” of China, and surround the parent stalk. To the extremity of this you know—de gustibus non disputandum. stem is articulated a thick, circular leaf, fringed around
A BACKWOODSMAN BOTANIST. on its edges with somewhat rigid ciliae, or long hairs like eye-lashes. From either side or hemisphere of the leaf, which is a little concave within, proceed three or BAPTIST VINCENT LAVALL-an Inquiry. four delicate, hair-like organs, interlacing with each
Mr. White,- In the year 1909, the schooner Otter, Capt. Niles, other. These are arranged in such an order that an on a voyage for furs from England, to the western coast of Ame. insect can hardly traverse its surface without interfer- rica, was lost below the mouth of Columbia river, and all on ing with the sensitive rights of one of these faithful sen- were on shore hunting, owed the preservation of their lives to tinels, which instantly causes the two portions of the travel to the United States on foot, crossing the Rocky Moun: leaf to suddenly collapse, and enclose the little intruder tains and descending the Red River. Lavall's MS. account of with a force surpassing its efforts to escape. The irri- would prove interesting at this period, when attention is becomtability of the leaf, resides only in these capillary pro-ing directed to the possessions of the United States on the Pacific cesses; as it may be touched in any other part without Mr. Lavall is still living, and as your Messenger circulates er: perceptible effects. The little prisoner is not immedi-tensively through the south western states, in one of which it is ately crushed and destroyed, as is sometimes supp sed, the fiuest medium for inquiring if he is still alive, and if not, the but is held in “durance vile” until it ceases to stiggle; time and place of his decease ; which inquiry ii is hoped ibat after which the two portions of the leaf gradually un- Philadelphia, 1939.
Yours respectfully, D.