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but nobody has arrived except the marauding traveler, eager for relics. You see they had no one to tell them about the bourne of the undiscovered country, so they are still in a state of expectancy. Kings, who in life were called "Lords of Diadems, greatly glorious," stand there in state, their royal blood replaced by Petroleum, with nothing to reign over but their own small cabinet of physiological curiosities. Priests are there, brown and plenty as herrings, in sanctified coffins, ornate with the insect deities of Egypt. Beaux of the Hyksos dynasty, repose in the remnants of trim splendor, in blessed unconsciousness that the gold on their fastidious noses is quite tarnished by the dampness of centuries. There too, are the belles of three thousand years ago; gay creatures, who coquetted with Memnon and kissed their fingers to Sesostris ; the bloom that belongs to belles has given place to a dusky bituminous hue, and they are all brunettes together; the once soft hair, is stiff and lustreless as withered grass, the armlets have corroded on their brown shiny arms, yet they still keep the look they wore in life, and continue to welcome all visitors with the expression of suave self-possession acquired by a long residence at court.
In Egypt there was no imprisonment for debt, and good securities were therefore in great demand; but both borrowers and lenders had an inexhaustible resource in the catacombs ; fast men, who lived a little beyond their income, pawned the mummies of their ancestors, and went into pledge themselves after death, for the benefit of extravagant sons. Time has hardly changed the features of many of these embalmed bodies; the outer bituminous shell is perfect, but brown and brittle as glass. Belzoni says that once, after pushing his way through a narrow passage several hundred feet long, exhausted with bis efforts, and sick with the constant contact with dead men's bones, and the dust of crumbled humanity, he ventured to sit down for a moments' rest upon a mummy, but it went crashing through with him like a bandbox.
There has been a good deal of inquiry as to the source from which the Egyptians derived such quantities of spices and bituminous substances as were necessarily used in embalming; their own country may have furnished a large amount of the former, but of the latter there appears as yet, no trace in Egypt. They may have received them from the shores of the Dead Sea, or perhaps, from the distant region of Bakno, on the borders of the Caspian sea, whose springs of Petroleum are among the most profuse in the world; even the hollows of the surface there, are full of oil, and the shallowest excavation becomes a perpetual fountain. It is, however, more probable that the Egyptians were supplied from the Island of Zante, on the west coast of Greece, of whose wonderful oil springs we have a record more than two thousand years old. Herodotus himself visited them, and afterwards described their wonders. This island, too, is supposeil to have furbished the ingredients for the notable Greek Fire, a compound invented by a Syrian, in the seventh century, and used in the defence of Constantinople during two siegts against it, by the Saracens. The horrors of this missile, in those early times, can hardly be conceived by men accustomed to the thunder and lightning of modern warfare, or by women, who live through one Fourth of July celebration annually. Sometimes the mixture was rolled into fire-balls
, and projected through copper tubes ; oftener, bands of flax were dipped in it, wound about arrows and javelins, and discharged flaming. The scimitar of the Saracen might flash through and through the burbing mass, without stopping its course, and the lumbering, mediæval
battering-ra 18 were helpless to resist the fiery fiying dragon, that came bissing thro 'gh the air above them. The Saracens looked upon it as an invention of he Evil one, if indeed, it was not a veritable discharge of live imps, and whole phalanxes of heroes quailed and fled at the sight of it. The secret of its composition was long kept inviolable, transmitted from father to son as an heirloom, or sold to princes at a great price, but it is now considered to have been a simple compound of bitumen, pitch and sulphur.
There is another place as famous for its profuse supplies of Petroleum and Naptha, as Zante or Bakoo. Like them too, its age is unknown, its origin goes back beyond the beginning of bistory, and the earliest accounts of it speak as if it had always existed. This is in Birmah, in the Rangoon district. Five hundred and twenty wells, sunk in beds of sandy clay and clarey slate, yield every year more than four hundred thousand hogsheads of oil. The huge supply has not only employed hundreds of persons in collecting and refining it, but bas given rise to a race and a city of potters. The neighboring town of Rainanghong is chiefly inhabited by them; the soil atfords the greatest facilities for their trade, and the oil demands an enormous quantity of vessels. The city is helted and buttressed with great pyramids of earthen jars, waiting to be filled, and large boats are always coming up the Irrawaddy, stowing in and carrying away fat cargoes of the pots of oil. All through Birnah and many other parts of India, it has been used for centuries for purposes of illumination, as well as for medicine, and for rendering timber weather proof.
In the north of Italy, Amiano and other places have long furnished a profusion of Naptha, and the cities of Genoa and Parma are lighted with it. South of Vesuvius, a spring of Petroleum bub Jes up through the sea, and it is, indeed, very generally found floating on the water near volcanoes, or about volcanic islands. In the Island of Trinidad, in the West Indies, Petroleum exhibits a strange freak. Besides exuding from rocks and springs, in the usual way, it has formed a lake between two and three miles in circumference; warın and liquid in the centre, where it is always slowly boiling, but thickening as it recedes from this point, till at th emargin it is cold and solid. Persons may walk upon it at pleasure, when the weather is cool, and when it is hot, they bave the opportunity of learning by experience how flies feel in molasses. Masses of bitumen are scattered over the ground in the vicinity of the Lake, and stand out among the f Jiage like rocks of brilliant jet. It has been said by some travelers, that this Lake of Tar, as the inhabitants call it, is underlaid by a bed of coal; an assertion not to be received without further and mo e scientific examination, es this would render it a peculiar exception to all otler localities producing Petroleum in any quantity.
In our own land before its colonization, and perhaps before its discovery by Columbus, the Indians of the Six Nations enjoyed the knowledge and the use of many oil springs about the sources of the Alleghany river. They seem to bave collected it chiefly from the surface and banks of two streams, both of which afterwards received the name of Oil Creek; one being in Alleghany County, New York, and the other being in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Along the borders of the latter, there may still be seen the remains of ancient pits, which must have been Jugly them to catch the exuding Petroleum ; and occasionally a notched pole is found in them, by which they probably went up and down into the pit, as votehed poles pass for ladders among savages
everywhere. The Indians employed the oil for medical purposes and in many of their religious ceremonies, but the chief use of the Petroleum was in mixing the rude paints with which they adorned themselves for peace, or made themselves a shade more bideous for war. It was HUMBOLDT, we believe, who found the South American Indians so charmed with the garb of civilization, that they would willingly have adopted it, except for an early prejudice against clothes. They did what seemed to them more advisable, imitated it. One young man was so delighted with the Sunday suit of a sailor, that he immediately bad himself painted blue from the neck to the waist, and white from the waist to the ankles, to represent Jack's blue jacket and duck trowsers. Another of more martial inclinations, was captivated by an officer's uniform. It was comparatively easy to paint the coat and pantaloons, but when it came to the double row of military buttops, that was labor indeed. Fortunately, the artist was the young man's mother, and she, pati :nt and proud where her motherliness was concerned, as all women are, toiled on with tireless perseverance, till the toilet was completed, and the happy dandy strutted off, nude as nature and gay as a peacock.
The native air of the Six Nations forced them to wear something thicker than a coat of paint, so they were obliged to limit their adornings to their arms, face, and legs, which they striped, barred, dotted, or daubed, according to taste. Petroleum is frightful to smell, but one must suffer to be handsome, even in the wilderness, so they painted away and didn't mind the odor. After the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Georgia was bordered by a broken line of settlements, and after the French had stretched their chain of sixty forts across the country, from Montreal to New Orleans, colonists, both French and English, began to appear in the wilderness, and the Indians sold the Petroleurn to the new settlers as a specific for rheumatism and various other affections. The white people called it Seneca oil, after the tribe who chiefly used it as an article of barter, and considered it a rare and very etficacious remedy. From this period we have more accurate knowledge of the modes of securing and using the oil. An olden record tells us, that the popular method of collecting it, was to throw a log across one of the oil-producing streams, to stop the flow of the floating mass upon the surface; when it had accumulated sufficiently they sopped their blankets in it, wrung them out, and sopped thein again, till the oil was exhausted. More than a hundred years ago, at the time of the French and Indian war, the commandant of Fort Du Quesne (which stood precisely where Pittsburg now stands,) wrote a letter to MONTCALM, the general of the French troops in Canada, giving a very interesting account of a great Indian assembly on the banks of Oil Creek. At night, after their harangues and wild war-dances, when the darkness was thickest, they set fire to the sheet of oil upon the surface of the creek, and yelled and danced upon its edges. The bills were black around, the sky sombre and starless ; the blaze went up in vast sheets and tongues of fire, iningled with swarthy volumes of smoke, and the whole scene was like a startling glimpse into a world of flames and torment, peopled by howling demons.
The early settlers soon learned the localities of the rock oil from the Indians, and collected it themselves in small quantities; the principal spring on Oil Creek, has furnished a yearly supply for medical purposes, never exceeding twenty barrels. It seems not to have occurred to the good people wbo gathered it, that the quantity might be increased by digging
deeper pits, or the quality improved by distillation. For years they, and others, hovered on the very verge of the great discovery, fairly stumbling over it, but never seeing it. In Ohio, as early as 1818, in boring for salt water, a vein of oil was struck which rushed up so violently, accompanied with jets of gas, that the salt-making bad to be stopped. A gentleman of Ohio, recounting the fact some years later, in the Journal of Science, said that the oil was already much used for the lamps of workshops, and prophesied a brilliant future for it. Still, no one seems to have taken the idea Later yet, in 1845, in boring for salt upon the Alleghany, about forty miles above Pittsburg, the rock oil was struck again; but it was only looked upon as a medicine, and sold in ounce bottles at a high price.
It is a strange fact that attention was first directed to the commercial value of Petroleum by the progress of science in another direction. The distillation of bituminous coal and shales had been growing more and more extensive, and successful for years, and the apparent identity of the oil produced from them, with the rock ol, prompted experiments to determine whether the natural oil would not furnish as many and as useful products as the artificial.
One of the springs on Oil Creek was purchased on speculation in 1854, and the oil was tested and reported on, but nothing farther seems to have been done till 1858, when two New Haven gentlemen resolved to continue the search, and one of them, Col. Drake, removed to Titusville, and began his arrangements for boring into the rock below the bed of the creek. The process was new and slow, and it was not till August 26th, 1859, that the first oil well struck the Petroleum at the depth of seventy feet. A small pump was introduced, which pumped four hundred gallons a day; this was exchanged for a large one, which furnished one thousand gallons daily; then a steam-engine was applied, and the supply still continued uninterrupted for weeks. Business immediately turned over a new leaf, in Venango County and thereabouts ; land rose like a feather, and prices went up out of sight. Every one was going to be rich the day after tomorrow, or as soon as he could get his shaft down. The narrow strips of meadow land on either side of the stream were perforated with wells, and the derricks for working the drills, stood up in the yards and gardens of the villages, as thick as masts in a harbor. French Creek, and a part of the Allegheny river, were found nearly as productive as Oil Creek, and in a little more than a year, two thousand wells had been suuk. Many delays were met with at first, from the caving in of the sandy, clayey soil, and from meeting with quicksands. To avoid these difficulties, and the trouble of timbering the sides, an ingenious method was invented. Iron pipes, from four to six inches across, were driven through the earth to the rock, and the drills were worked through them; when the oil was reached, the pipe guided its egress, or could be furnished with a stop.cock to regulate its flow. The wells varied in depth from sixty feet to six hundred feet; the Einpire spring was of the latter depth, with a hoso leading from it to a reservoir three hundred feet higher, and the pressure of the gas which issued with the oil, forced it up the whole nine bundred feet. The most profuse vein, the Phillips, yielded three thousand barrels daily, and the others varied from fifty to five hundred harrels. When one became exhausted, the supply was often renewed by drilling a little deeper. In Ohio, not far from the Pennsylvania border, the people had noticed a strong taste of oil in the water of the vicinity, and this, after the success of the wells in Venango County, induced
them to make a similar attempt. Petroleum was reached at the depth of fifty feet, and within six months after this, there had been seven hundred wells sunk. Ritchie and Wirt Counties, in Virginia, have also been found to produce good oil. The first attempt of the kind in New York was made about a year and a half ago, in Alleghany County, near a famous pool which had always been known as the Oil Spring; but before the iron pipe could be driven down to the rock, the oil, mingled with water, rushed up like a fountain. The jets of gas which accompany the Petroleum are often very profuse and very continued, and in Chatauque County they bave been secured and made use of to light the town of Fredonia, and the lighthouse in Portland Harbor on Lake Erie. The Canada oil district has surpassed all the others in the immense amounts it has produced, as well as in the quality of its products. Its greater weight gives it a higher value than that of other districts, as the heavy oils are more valuable for distillation. The wells are situated in low, swampy land, about thirty miles south-east of Port Sarnia on the St. Clair river, and not more than fifty miles from Detroit. It is said that there is already more American than British moneys invested there, and more Michigan inen than Canadians, at work. In some of the localities the surface is found to be covered with a stratum of hardened asphaltum two feet in thickness; in others, the ground is submerged to the depth of several inches with the surplus oil from the great wells. The roads, the wharves, the depots, the warehouses everywhere within reach of the great oil regions of Canada or Pennsylvania, have been blocked up, and filled to fullness, with the vast amounts of oil waiting for transportation; the wells on Oil Creek alone are estimated to yield nine hundred thousand barrels a year; the Enniskillen wells are still more productive; the Obio and New York wells yield less, yet still large amounts. The extent of this mighty ocean of oil may be better understood, when we remember that the entire product of our whale fishery in one of its most prolific years, was not quite four bundred and thirty thousand barrels of sperm and whale oil together.
The source of these vast supplies of oil has been much discussed, and there are still some points in their history which remain obscure. We trace their remote origin to the great forests of antiquity, whose shrubs were trees, and whose trees were giants; we know their greatness by the casts of their mighty trunks, and the silhouettes of their huge leaves, which we find in our coal mines. Submerged and subjected to certain strange agencies, the vast, rank forest turned slowly into coal. Such a change involves a separation of carbon and hydrogen, sometimes as gas, sometimes as oil, or as both combined. Gravity would force the fluid to seek the lowest level it could find, through every crack and fissure, which accounts for its being found not only below but often remote from the coal deposits. Under other circumstances, the pressure of water from beneath, or the volatile nature of the gas which accompanies the oil, force it up, into the highest attainable level, thus bringing it often into strata above the coal measures. Just how, or when, or why, these wonderful transitions took place may never be definitely known; for in the vast crucible beneath our feet, where fierce fires are always raging, each change is directed by the hand of an Almighty chemist, with faultless wisdom, and in ways often past finding out.
It may be safely predicted that the Petroleum will have an immense effect upon the arts and industries of the world; already, in its infancy, it