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cussions as to the legal division of time. We care not a straw for the lunar hopes of a mortgagor about to discover the reality of a mortuum vadium, or the devout attention with which the endorser of a promissory note regards the customary indulgence of the calendar, to those poor devils who expect a protest as the reward of their friendship. These we leave to the acute and learned exposition of the “gens togatalla that race of profound and elaborate discriminators, between tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee!
We mean to philosophize a little on the subject of chronolo. gy, and if the printer's devil mistakes + for -- or " for', we wash our hands of the errors, and consign them to the Erratak of the next Atlantic.
The Romans, before the reformation of the calendar by Julius Cæsar, divided their months into kalends, nones, and ides, and the ancient Greeks had also their Olympiads and Epochas.
The Arabians, however, were the inventors of almanacs, and the word itself comes from their two words, al manack, to count.
The first European almanac maker was the celebrated Re gio Montanus, who published the first almanac in 1474. The time of different nations has been kept in different ways; al. ways having reference, however, to astronomical appearances in the heavens; and being measured by them. Tbe time of the apparent motion of the sun round the earth was called a day, and the time of the moon's motion round the earth, was called a month ; and this was used by the Jews, Greeks and Romans, till the time of Julius Cæsar. To understand the subject, it is well tirst to know the difference in artronomical time. An astronomical month is the time in wbich the moon performs a complete revolution round the heavens, and is synodical or periodical :-synodical having reference to that portion of time elapsing between two successive new moons, or between two successive conjunctions of the moon with the sun, and is equal to 29 d. 12 h. 44 m. 3 s. 11. Periodical, that taken up in leaving and reaching the same point again in the heavens, being 27d. 7 h. 43 m. 4 s. 7. On the other hand, the solar month is that portion of time in which the sun moves through one sign of the ecliptic, equal on an average to 30d.10 h. 29. m 5s. To this latter, the civil month formed for the purposes of civil life is made to correspond as nearly as possible.
The earth was also found to make its annual revolutions round the sun in unequal divisions of time--in 365 days, 5 h. 43 m. 54 s., and therefore it was impossible, from the fractions of its time, to make a corresponding division that should always be in place, and give at every part of the revolution its right name, in its right place. Various methods were resorted to by all the intelligent nations of the earth to rectify the confusion arising in dates and seasons from the want of uniformity. The honour of the true discovery of the solar year, it is believ-' ed, belongs justly to the Thebans. The Jews, in order to remedy the defects of their calendar, for the number of days in their months was only 354, interpolated every third year, in what was called the Embolimic year, a month of 30 days called Ve-adar, between their sixth and seventh months, Adar and Nisan, answering to our seasons from January to February, and February to March. For if this calculation was not made to equate the difference of time between the luni-solar and the solar year, differing by five days and a quarter, the seasons would have rapidly deviated from the months by which they were designated. In the short space of thirty-four years the winter would have happened in the summer months ; and to provide for this, certain intercalations of days were made at proper intervals. Romulus so altered the calendar, that by correct intercalations, he came within 4 h. 28 m. 20 s. of the true time, while the future regulation of the calendar was left to the care of the priests. These, however, were so inattentive, that in the time of Julius Cæsar, the civil year had receded from the solar year no less than ninety days. With the advice of Sosigines, (before Christ forty-six years,) he undertook the reformation of the calendar. In order to save the ninety days lost, he formed a year of 355+90=445 days or 15 months, and this year, called the year of confusion, (as it most unhappily was,) ended on the day preceding the first of January, B. C. 46. The year was then made to consist of 365 days, and the excess of six hours, which happened every year, was once in four years taken into account, and made a day. And this intercalary day was added to the twenty-fourth of February, and from that day, being called sextilis, the sixth before the kalends of March, the year was called bissextile. This, though very simple, was not found altogether correct ; as it supposed the solar year to be 365 days 6 hours, instead of 365 days, 5 h. 48 m. 45. s., the difference being exactly 11 m. 141 s.; which amounted in one hundred and thirty years to a whole day. At the famous council of Nice, which met in the year 325, consisting of three hundred and eighteen bishops, the vernal equinox, which in Cæsar's time was on the 25th of March, had receded four days to the 21st, where it was fixed by the council.
The necessity of a reformation in the calendar became more and more apparent; but it was not until the close of the 16th century, that Pope Gregory 13th effected a complete reformation.
After a general invitation to Rome of all the philosophers and mathematicians of the day, and after constant attention to it for 10 years, the plan of the two brothers, Aloisius and Antoninus Lilius of Verona, was adopted and sent to every catholic Academy in Europe. In 1577, and March, 1582, the ancient calendar was abrogated by a brief from the pope, and the new one called by his name, substituted in its stead. In this last year, 1582, the vernal equinox had receded since the year 325, ten whole days, and bappened on the 11th, instead of the 21st March : to bring it back, therefore, ten days were taken from the month of October; 1582. The calendar thus reformed, was immediately adopted in Spain, Portugal, and part of Italy. France did not fall into the general arrangement until December. The German Catholic states adopted it in 1583, but the protestants, actuated by a most unworthy jealousy, did not adopt it till 1700. In England, time was reckoned by the old style, till 22d May, 1751, when an act of parliament was passed, calling the 3d September the 14th.
Denmark and Sweden adopted it in 1753; the Russians alone continuing to reckon by the old style.
By omitting, according to the Gregorian amendment, the bissextile year, at the end of every century of years, not divisible by four, the difference between the solar and civil time will not amount to a day, in less than 5000 years. If ever that era arrives, that slight alteration will rectify the calendar.
We have now, we believe, explained the subject as far as we understand it ourselves, and beyond that, maugre the example of the Quarterly, we must not be expected to proceed. Our readers are therefore spared any farther anxiety on the subject. We hold this to be the moral of our lesson, and the conclusion of the matter, that 6 time and tide wait for no man.??
The treatise we have just reviewed helps more than any thing else to make us sensible of the truth. Time, that equalizer of things temporal ; that “ builder up and puller down” of hope; that friend, that enemy of man, receives after all its best commentary from poor Richard. Without it what remembrancer would annually point out to us our certain and progressive decline. When we look back at the past, all our life, all our actions, all our conduct lie in a parenthetical space, over which even memory has placed no sentinel. The almanac, however, still holds out its silent and impressive lesson. In its prognostications of the future, we see how brief is the portion allotted to man. Its eclipses show us the fate of the brightest vi.
sions ; its phases prove that all things gradually lose their brightness, and part little by little with all that was splendid and shining. Its divisions of the year are the monitors of departed joys; each rising and setting admonishes us of our fate. There the seasons dance their rounds; and the smiles of autumn are promised to the cares of spring; and the gentle breeze of summér succeeds the snows of winter. In short, an almanac is the text-book of life, and the never-ceasing demand for its compendious truths, is a fair illustration of its value and importance. To the scholar it says, trim thou thy lamp ere its flame set in darkness : to the soldier, be thou ready to take off thy helmet, and lay down thy sword-to the lover of pleasure
Lusisti satis, edisti satis atque bibisti
NOTES ON A VOYAGE TO CARACCAS,
It cannot fail to strike every stranger who visits Caraccas, with surprise, that the government should never have paid itself the compliment of erecting for its own use an edifice worthy of its dignity and pride, and commensurate with the riches and extent of the kingdom (happily so no more) of Venezuela. Private houses, rented at the public expense, have served equally as “palaces"* for the intendants, as halls for the courts of justice, and as hospitals for the infirm and the lazars. The Contaduria, or treasury, forms the only exception; but it has nothing to boast of in point of splendour or of elegance. It is somewhat curious, that the royal administration, which, in the other kingdoms of Spanish America, has prided itself in the magnificence of its public buildings, should have so very far departed from its usual feeling in this province, which if not so rich as her neighbours in the possession of mines, excels them all in the fertility of her soil, the richness of her productions, and the mildness and benignity of her climate. The city of Caraccas, more especially, situated in one of the most romantic valleys in the world, and ever prosperous in her commerce and her agriculture, deserved some demonstration of munificence
* I observed, with some regret, that the Colombians coutinue to denominate the residence of the governors, however mean or humble in appearance, by the odious name of “ palacio," oh! reform it altogether.
on the part of the government; but as if envious of the fate which awaited the royal dynasty, it never bestowed it.
The College is situated on the south side of the great public square, and is a clumsy heavy building, resembling the convents in its general structure and appearance, and having, like them, its chapel, its cloisters, and its gardens. The number of students at present is by no means so extensive as formerly. Thus when Depons was at Caraccas the total amount was four hundred and sixty-six, of whom two hundred and two were in the lower classes, one hundred and forty in pbilosophy, thirtysix in theology, fifty-five in the canon and civil law, eleven in physic, and twenty-two " at the school for singing by note !"
At present there are not one hundred and fifty students altogether. The cause is but too obvious. Yet who would suppose, that the barbarous, bloody, exterminating policy of the mother country had been the principle agent in the reduction of the number? All the principal youth, of both sexes, who had any pretensions to education, and by that means were likely to
prove useful aids to the cause of liberty and independence, weré inhumanly butchered by the detestable Boves, Morales, and their cruel associates, whose very names are a blot to the pages
which record them. There is not a family of consequence in Caraccas that does not mourn over the loss of some one or more of its hopeful members, thus ruthlessly immolated, with the idle hope of arresting the progress of the revolution. Vain hope !- Where now are Boves, Morales, and their blood-stained hosts, that were hired to subdue the oppressed Creole, and, if possible, to exterminate him from the face of the earth? They are rotting beneath the soil, over which he treads in triumph, and in the possession of his rights.
If the number of students has diminished, that of professors has not suffered the same inconvenience. The revenues of the college are too attractive not to draw ready substitutes in place of the former incumbents, qualifications being entirely out of the question. Independently of the teachers of the schools for reading, writing and rhetoric, there are two professors of philosophy, four of theology, viz. two for the scholastic, one for the moral, and one for the explanatory department; one professor of civil law; one of the canon law; and one of medicine. From this formidable list we would be inclined to believe, that education must have been, before the impediments from the civil war at least, very ample and liberal. No opinion can be more erroneous. The most important item in education with the Spaniards, is the inculcation of a blind attachment to certain external observances of religion, and a