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This mountain, one of the most furious volcanos in the world, is situated ou the southern side of Iceland, a large island in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. It was visited, in 1772, by Dr. Van Troil, a Swedish gentleman, along with Sir Joseph Banks, Dr. Solander and Dr. James Lind, of Edinburgh. On their first landing they found a tract of land sixty or seventy miles in extent entirely ruined by lava, which appeared to have been in the highest state of liquifaction. Having undertaken a journey to the top of the mountain, they travelled three hundred or three hundred and sixty English miles over an uninterrupted tract of lava and had, at length the pleasure of being the first who had arrived at the summit of the mountain.
Hecla, according to the accounts of these gentlemen, is situated in the southern part of the island, about four miles from the seacoast, and is divided into three parts at the top, the middle point being the highest ; and, according to an exact observation with Ramsden's barometer, is five thousand feet above the level of the sea. They were obliged to quit their horses at the first opening from which the fire had burst. They decribe this as a place with lofty glazed walls and glazed cliffs, unlike any thing which they had ever seen before.
10 290 A little higher up they found a large quantity of grit and stones'; and still farther on, another opening, which, though not deep, descended lower than that of the highest point. Here they imagined they plainly discerned the effects of boiling water; and, not far off, the mountain began to be covered with snow, excepting some spots which were bare. The reason of this difference they perceived to be the hot vapour ascending from the mountain. As they ascended higher they found these spots became larger ; and about two hundred yards below the summit, a hole about a yard and a half in diameter was observed, whence issued so hot a steam, that they could not measure the degree of heat with the thermometer. The cold now began to be very intense. Fahrenheit's thermometer which, at the foot of the mountain, was at 54, now fell to 24 ; the wind also became so violent, that they were sometimes obliged to lie down for fear of being blown into the most dreadful precipices. On the very summit they experienced, at the same time, a high degree of heat and cold; for, in the air, Fahrenheit's thermometer stood constantly at 24, but when set on the ground
it rose to 153 ; the barometer stood 22. 247. Though they were very much inclined to remain here for some time, it could by no means be done safely ; for' which reason they were obliged to descend very quickly.
The mountain seems to be made up, not of lava, but of sand, grit, and ashes ; which are thrown up with the stones, partly discoloured, and partly melted by the fire. Several sorts of pumice-stones were found on it, among which was one with some sulphur. Sometimes the pumice was so much burnt, that it was as light as tow. Its form and colour were sometimes very fine; but at the same time, so soft, that it was difficult to remove it from one plaee to another. The common lava was found both in large pieces and small; as likewise a quantity of black jasper burned at the extremities, and resembling trees and branches. Some slate of a strong red colour was observed among the stones thrown out by the volcano. In one place the lava had taken the form of chimney-stacks half broken dowu. As they descended the mountain they observed three openings. In one, every thing looked as red as brick ; from another, the lava had flowed in a stream about fifty yards broad, and which, after proceeding for some distance, had divided into three, large branches. Further on they perceived an opening, at the bottom of which was a mountain in the form of a sugar-loaf ,in throwing up of which the fire appeared to have exhausted itself.
We have already observed, that our travellers were the first who ascended to the top of this mountain. The reason that no one before them had ever done so was partly founded in superstition, and partly the steepness and difficulty of the ascent, which was greatly facilitated by an irruption in 1766. Most kinds of lava found in other volcanic countries, are to be met with about Hecla, or other Iceland volcanoes : as the grey, dark, perforated kind, similar to the Derbyshire loadstone ; the Iceland agute, pumex vitreus both the niger and viridis. Some have conjectured this to be the lapis obsideanus of the ancients, which they formed into statues.
The lava is seldom found near the openings whence the irruptions proceed, but rather loose grit and ashes ; and the greater part of the Icelandic mountains consist of this matter; which, when it is grown cold, generally takes an arched form. The upper crust frequently grows hard and solid, whilst the melted matter beneath it continues liquid. This forms great cavities, the walls of which, bed,and roof, are of lava, and where great quantities of stalactite lava are found. There are a vast number of these caves in the island, some of which are very large, and are made use of by the inhabitants for sheltering the cattle. The largest in the island is five hundred and thirty-four feet long, and from fifty to fifty-four in breadth, and between thirty-four and thirtysix in height--there are some prodigious clefts left by the irruptions, the largest of which are called Almeneggaa, near the water of Tingalla, in the south-western part of the island. It is one hundred and five feet broad and very long. The direction of the chasm itself is from north to south. Its western wall, from which the other has been perpendicularly divided, is one hundred and seven feet six inches each in height, and consist of many strata, of abont ten inches each in height, of lava grown cold at different times. The eastern wall is only forty-five feet four inches in height, and that part of it which is directly opposite the highest part of the other side is no more than thirty-six feet five inches high.
A Mr. John Chimelecki having read in Kirchner's Annals a conjecture that the subterraneous caves and passages in Podolia had a comunication with those below Kiow, resolved to examine a site in Czorikow, to discover any traces of subterraneous caves in that direction. A cavity in the alabaster rocks, overgrown with
grass and weeds, was found to be an opening made by art, which had, however, been choked up with earth and rubbish. When the workmen had cleared away the earth before the entrance, a mephetic vaponr issued from the opening, which so affected them, that they fell senseless to the grown; but being removed into a pure atmosphere, soon recovered. On the following day, Mr. Chimelecki returned with the town clerk and six resolute peasants, provided with swords, pistols, torches, and candles, and descended himself into the cave, well armed, and with a lighted torch and tinder-box. Having hold of a rope three hundred fathoms, he crept through the entrance, which is about ten yards long, in subterraneous excavation, which resembled a spacious and lofty oval hall, hewn in alabaster, and had a very pleasing effect. Here he rested for some time, and then called to his companions who were waiting at the entrance, and who after persuasion followed him.--On further examining the cave, they discovered several passages of various sizes connected with each other, all curiously hewn out in alabaster, and covering a large extent. But whether these passages extended to a great distance--whether they had an issue on the surface or not, were questions which they could not resolve, as they had got to the end of their line, and would not venture to proceed without a clue. After remaining there four hours, they were obliged to retreat by the pressure of the long confined air, which almost extinguished their torches and impeded their breath. The results of their examination are as follow :- All the subterraneous vaults, appeared to be formed partly by nature, and partly by art : they contain several halls or rather spacious vaults, the walls and roofs of which are of pure alabaster. They communicate by means of several passages running in different directions and of various breadths, some of them large enough for a coach and horses to turn in. One of these caves has a near resemblance to a kitchen, for they found upon the hearth, raised of several layers of alabaster, fragments of charcoal and remains of a kind of wood (fresnia, summer cherry,) which is not a native of the country, near the excavation. In some places they discovered human skulls, which crumbled into dust on being touched. They likewise found a silver coin, of about the size of a sixpence, on which, but with much difficulty, the name of Hadrianus is to be deciphered. They also saw several earthen vessels, resembling modern dishes, but did not touch them.
WAR AND COMMERCE.
It is estimated that more than a million of bushels of human and inhuman bones were imported last year from the Continent of Europe, into the port of Hull. The neighbourhood of Leipsic, Austerlitz, Waterloo, and of all places where, during the late bloody war, the principal battles were fought, have been swept alike of the bones of the hero and of the horse which he rode. Thus collected from every quarter, tbey have been shipped to the port of Hull, and thence forwarded to Yorkshire bone-grinders, who have erected steam-engines and powerful machinery for the
purpose of reducing them to a granulary state. In this condition they are sent chiefly to Doncaster, to the largest agricultural markets in that part of the country, and are there sold to the farmers to manure their lands. The oily substance gradually evolving as the bone calcines, makes a more substantial manure than almost any other substance-particulary human bones. It is now ascertained beyond a doubt, by actual experiment, upon an exstensive scale, that a dead soldier is a most valuable article of commerce ; and for aught known to the contrary, good farmers of Yorkshire are, in a great measure, indebted to the bones of their children for their daily bread. It is certainly a singular fact, that Great Britain should have sent out such multitudes of soldiers to fight the battles of this country upon the Continent of Europe, and should then import their bones as an article of commerce to fatten her soil. Dr. Darwin, in his book on the Principles of Agriculture, laments that our bodies when dead, should be buried, deep in earth, instead of adding to the fertility of the, soil, and thereby increasing the mass of enjoyments of the living. The Yorkshire bone-grinders, however, seem determined that all shall not be lost.
Mr. Editor, Punning is not confined to Great Britain nor Ireland ; I have lately received the following from a Correspondent in Americathey turn entirely upon etymoligies, and may perhaps excite some of your ingenious Correspondents to try their hands upon the etymoligies of persons and things nearer home.
I am, Sir, your's, December 9, 1822.
When the seamen on board the ship of Christopher Columbus, after a series of fatigues, came in sight of St. Salvador, they burst out in exuberant mirth and jollity. « The lads are in