Page images

The flesh of the fish was esteemed a delicacy by the ancients, and when eaten was served up with its own liquor, which by boiling with the addition of nitre is changed from black to red. Formerly it was, as well as with the eggs, imagined to possess numerous medicinal properties. Tooth powder is sometimes made from the bone, and it is also used by artisans for casting small articles. This fish is the natural food of the spermaceti whale, and parts of its beak are frequently found in ambergris.


A native of China; an evergreen shrub, which grows to the height of five or six feet; the leaves are the only valuable part; and when the plant is three or four years old, they are picked separately, and very carefully dried by heat and air; these infused in water make a beverage now very common in Europe. It grows from seed, upon almost uncultivated ground, and was first introduced among the higher circles in Europe in 1660, when it was sold at 60s. per lb. In China it is from ls. 8d. to 2s. per lb. Although a variety of names and prices are given to what appear to be different sorts, they are supposed to be the production of one kind of plant, this difference arising from the age, drying, and season in which they are gathered. From the jealous disposition of the inhabitants of China, however, little can with accuracy be ascertained, as they preserve with caution all knowledge relative to their own country from the exploring eye of the traveller.- When tea was commended by her Majesty, Queen Charlotte, Waller addressed the following lines to her:

Venus her myrtle, Phæbus has his bays;
Tea both excels, which she vouchsafes to praise.
The best of Queens, and best of herbs, we owe
To that bold nation which the way did show
To the fair region where the sun does rise,
Whose rich productions we so justly prize.
The Muse's friend-tea does our fancy aid,
Repress those vapours which the head invade,
And keeps that palace of the soul serene-
Fit on her birth-day to salute a Queen.


A transparent resinous juice, which flows, either naturally or by incision, from the bark of various species of the pine, larch, and fir trees. There are several kinds of Turpentine, the genuine or that from Scio and Cypress, is obtained from the Tere. binthus or Pistachia tree, common in Cypress, France, and Spain. It is of a white colour, bordering on green, of a fragrant smell, and as regards taste, bitter and pungent. The Venice Turpentine is extracted from the larch tree, and procured in the greatest quantities in France and Switzerland, from the month of May to September, when it is collected in troughs placed at the foot of the tree, under incisions made by people employed, who empty the receivers every morning and evening. When it first flows from the tree it is clear, and of a yellowish white; but it assumes a citron colour and thiekens with age; it possesses a strong smell, and a hot unpleasant taste. The Strasburg Turpentine is imported from Germany, and produced from the silver fir. The consistence of it is between the former kinds—it is of a green hue and fragrant smell. The common Turpentine is extracted from different sorts of pine, particularly the spruce fir, from which tree pitch is drawn. Considerable quantities of this kind are prepared in Great Britain, and the deficiency to supply the markets is imported from America, the Baltic, &c. Each kind yields by distillation an essential oil, which is very inflammable, and of a strong smell. Turpentine is used by painters, varnishers, and farriers, frequently in the preparation of gin, and in medicine. (See Resin.)


A species of fossil, found in many parts of England, in Spain, Bohemia, &c. There are three varieties. The earthy Talc, the Venetian or Common, and the Indurated Talc. It possesses a smooth and bright appearance, and the masses are composed of thin plates, which easily separate with the point of a knife. It is used in preparing compositions for earthen vessels, and combined with alkalies, it is fusible in a strong heat, and forms a transparent glass; also for making silver sand, for sprinkling on writing, and by the Chinese it is manufactured into various ornamental articles.

TOW (See Hemp).


The lightest and most fasible of all metals, but the heaviest of ores, of a greyish white colour, a strong disagreeable taste, and emits by friction a peculiar odour; it is very malleable, and unites with other metallic substances. It is a constituent in bronze and bell metal, and thin plates of iron immersed in melted Tin become coated, and are then called Block-tin or Latten, from which are manufactured capisters, and a variety of culinary articles. It is one of the four imperfect metals, and is obtained chiefly from Cornwall, where it is often found in a native state, but more frequently united with a portion of arsenic, sulphur, and iron. Tin is not so much distributed as many other minerals, and in this kingdom it has only been found in Cornwall and Devonshire, and it is considered as one of the oldest metals, being discovered only in the primitive rocks, granite, and elay slate. It will not associate with lead or cal. careous spar. Melted Tin is applied in various ways for tinning and covering other substances; looking glasses are tinned with thin plates, beaten to the proper size of the glass, and fastened on by means of quicksilver.


A mild nutritious food, obtained from the root of a native shrub of South America, which grows to the height of six or seven feet, with a knotted stem, broad leaves, and rose-coloured blossoms. The roots after gathering are washed, and the thick rind removed, when the heart, which is a pulpy mass, is passed frequently between cylinders, and turned by a mill till the juice is expressed, which is poisonous. The dry pulp, consisting of farina and vegetable, is then thoroughly dried over a slow tire, and in this state may be preserved for months. The farina freed from the fibrous part is the Tapioca of the shops. A portion of the dry pulp is worked in the hand until a white cream appears on the surface,

« PreviousContinue »