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MATERIALS IN THEIR INVISIBLE STATE. If a piece of silver be put into nitric acid, a clear and colorless liquid, it is rapidly dissolved, and vanishes from the sight. The solution of silver may be mixed with water, and, to appearance, no effect whatever is produced. Thus, in a pail of water we may dissolve and render invisible more than ten pounds' worth of silver, lead and iron; but every other metal can be treated in the same way, with similar results. When charcoal is burned, when candles are burned, when paper is burned, these substances all disappear and become invisible. In fact, every material which is visible can, by certain treatment, be rendered invisible. Matter which, in one condition, is perfectly opaque, and will not admit the least ray of light to pass through it, will, in another form, become quite transparent The cause of this wonderful effect of the condition of matter is utterly inexplainable. Philosophers do not even broach theories upon the subject, much less do they endeavor to explain it. The substances dissolved in water or burned in the air are not, however, destroyed or lost. By certain well-known means they can be recovered, and again be made visible ; some exactly in the same state as they were before their invisibility ; others, though not in the same state, can be shown in their elementary condition, and thus it can be proved that, having once existed, it never ceases to exist, although it can change its condition like the caterpillar, which becomes a chrysalis, and then a gorgeous butterfly. If a pailful of the solution of silver be cast into the stream, it is apparently lost by its dispersion in the water; but it nevertheless continues to exist. So, when à bushel of charcoal is burned in a stove, it disappears, in consequence of the gas produced, being mixed with the vast atmosphere ; but yet the charcoal is still in the air. On the brightest and sunniest day, when every object can be distinctly seen above the horizon, hundreds of tons of charcoal, in an invisible condition, pervade the air. Glass is a beautiful illustration of the transparency of a compound, which, in truth, is nothing but a mixture of the rust of three metals.
The power of matter to change its conditions, from solid capacity to limpid transparency, causes some rather puzzling phenomena. Substances increase in weight without any apparent cause ; for instance, a plant goes on increasing in weight a hundred fold for every atom that is missing from the earth in which it is growing. Now, the simple explanation of this is, that leaves of plants have the power of withdrawing the invisible charcoal from the atmosphere, and restoring it to its visible state in some shape or other. The lungs of animals and a smokeless furnace change matter from its visible to its invisible state. The gills of fishes and the leaves of plants reverse this operation, rendering invisible or gaseous matter visible. Thus the balance in nature is maintained, although the continual change has been going on long prior to the creation of the “ extinct animals.” - Piesse.
THE BOOK TRADE.
Margret Howth; A Story of Today. Boston: TICKNOR & FIELDS. For sale by D.
APPLETON AND Co.
The readers of the Atlantic Monthly will recognise this story as the one recently published in that periodical under the latter half of the present title; it is now issued in excellent style, (as we believe Messrs. TICKNOR & Fields invariably send out their publications,) on good paper, in clear type, and with an extremely neat binding.
It is a book well worth reading; full of strong thoughts and strong words, of deep insight into the hearts of men, and of true sympathy for their sorrows. Vigor and originality characterize every page, and the ability of its author is undeniable. Yet we have one or two complaints to make of its style, which is at times too powerful, and at others too vague and misty. If one desired to describe the extreme aspects of Nature in those zones where her changes are the most vehement, to contrast the quivering, withering white-heat of noon, with the fierce tornado, which twists the giant trees like tufts of feathers, and whirls the rocks from their bases, we doubt whether it would be possible to find words more wild and strong than are here used to depict the variations of the human countenance, voice or eyes. We know that faces can vary, that the voice can be widely different under different emotions, and that dark eyes, especially, have a wonderful range of their own; that they can shine with pleasure, or flash with scorn, or lower with wrath; but, to exhaust the height and depth and breadth of the English language in their behalf, seems to us a misuse of words. To clothe one's ideas in over-strong phraseology is as great a fault, although not so common a one, as to send them forth half-dressed in flimsy platitudes. If we may be allowed the somewhat plebeian similitude, it is the Frenchman's “linen breeches in winter," against the Irishwoman's blanket-shawl on the fourth of July; and, on the score of propriety, we see little to choose between them. As for the want of lucidity, it may not be patent to the majority of readers; but when an author tells us that the heroine looked out into the windless grey or the ashy damp, we are obliged to wait a full minute, before our confused mind unravels the idea that the object of contemplation was a calm fog; and when we read of a stifled red film groping in the east, it takes us at least fifty-five seconds to resolve that pink nebulosity into sunrise. Such mannerisms, however, do not seriously affect the value of the book, for it has a real and intrinsic value. Whether it will become popular we cannot predict; but popularity has ceased to be a criterion of merít, and the thorough appreciation of a few, is more to be desired than the acclamations of less cultivated masses. Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans and Lord High
Chancellor of England. Edited by JAMES SPEDDING, ROBERT LESLIE Ellis and Douglas DENON HEATH. Vol. 3. Boston: BROWN & TAGGARD. Also for sale by E. FRENCH, sole agent, New-York, 51 Nassau-street, up stairs.
We are glad to be able to announce that Messrs. BROWN & TAGGARD have issued another volume of their fine edition of Bacon's works. The excellent manner in which the publishers are executing their task has frequently been the subject of remark by us. That they will be well rewarded we cannot have a doubt; for every
private library in the land, as well as every public one, would be considered incomplete without it. The present volume contains, among other things, Bacon's Historia Vitæ et Mortis, an essay showing the greatest ingenuity and research, though all would by no means agree in the conclusions drawn. Still, how to prolong human life is an interesting study; and while the end is sought in appliances by which health is improved, or at least by which it cannot be impaired, there is certainly no wrong committed. Old age, with a constitution broken down and intellect shattered, does not to us seem desirable; and rules of life that would secure the former at the expense of both body and mind, few would care to follow. Besides, we are accustomed think that health and long life are dependent the one upon the other ; but Bacon strives to show that they are independent objects of pursuit, and herein most will disagree with him. "Some things there are," he says, "which promote the alacrity of the spirits and increase the vigor of the functions, and are of use in warding off disease, but which, nevertheless, shorten life and accelerate the decay of old age. Contrariwise, there are others which are of use in lengthening life, and yet cannot be used without endangering health; wherefore, they who employ them must obviate the inconveniences which they might else occasion by other means."
His theory is, of course, interesting and ingenious; and though we may not think the conclusions warranted, still we cannot fail to learn much, and be deeply interested in following the workings of his master intellect.
The Young Stepmother; or, A Chronicle of Mistakes. By the Author of “The Heir
of Redcliffe," “ Heartsease," &c. 2 vols. New-York: D. APPLETON AND Co.
The fertility of Miss Yonge's perennial pen amazes us; it buds, blossoms and bears fruit, with a rapidity that bids fair to rival Aaron's rod. We are forced to believe that the authoress has been following the example of the late prolific G. P. R. J., and writing several books at once, by dictation. Pitiable amanuenses ! what have they done that the lines should fall to them in such unpleasant places ? But let them not repine; there is a crook in every lot, and perhaps their own have been ameliorated by meditating upon the unusual number and variety of crooks in the lot of the Young Stepmother, whose life they have recorded. The narrative of them makes a long story;-a truly moral, highly religious (we use the word "highly" advisedly) and thoroughly unexceptionable story; if it be a dull one to our private mind, it is of no consequence. Read it, stepmothers, and learn where you err;-read it, stepchildren, and see how you are expected to turn out ;-read it, prosy people, everywhere, do, we beseech you; for it will keep you quiet a long time, and give you a faint taste of what you daily inflict upon your neighbors.
We wonder if there is not a tie of relationship between Mr. Gouga's old lady who confessed to being very fond of "the little ginyflixions of life," and Miss Yonge, who is evidently so devoted to the “little ginyflixions” of religion ? With all honor to the true spirit of piety which breathes throughout her writings, the Puritan blood within us rebels against the excessive importance attached to certain small forms and ceremonies. Aside, too, from this point of view, we feel vexed with a woman of education, refinement, Christian principle and talent, for writing so much that is commonplace. She forces us to think of the witty wretch in the Westminster Review, who was so funny and so false as to divide all religious persons into three classes,-Attitudinarians, Latitudinarians and Platitudinarians, and makes us sigh over the fact that there may be a grain of truth in the latter part of his assertion, at least.
The New American Cyclopædia. Edited by GEORGE RIPLEY and CHARLES A. DANA,
Vol. XIV. REED—SPIRE. New-York: D. APPLETON & Co., 443 and 446 Broadway, and London, 16 Little Britain.
The publishers' great enterprise is drawing to a close, and a few months more will probably see it completed. This volume, which they have just issued, rivals in interest and importance the best of its predecessors. Some of the biographical sketches, in particular, will be found unusually worthy of attention, comprising, as they do, the names of REMBRANT, Sir Joshua REYNOLDS, the RICHARDS, of England, RICHELIEU, RICHTER, ROUSSEAU, RUBENS, SCHILLER, Sir Walter Scott, SHELLY, SHERIDAN, the SIDNEYS, SAVONAROLER and hosts of others, famous in history and art. There are also biographies given of a great many living characters; among authors we find those of RUFFINI, RUSKIN, Reed, and our own SAXE; among military celebrities, our good old General Scott fills his appropriate place; while science is well represented in Professor SILLIMAN, of Yale College, the father of chemistry, and, we might almost say, of science, in this country. But it would be almost impossible to mention a tithe of the excellent things to be found in this volume.
The Earl's Heirs. By the author of “ East Lynne,” “ The Castle's Heirs,” The Mys
tery," &c., &c. Philadelphia: T. B. PETERSON & BROTHERS; New-York: FREDERICK A. BRADY, 24 Ann-street. Copies of the work will be sent to any address in the United States, free of postage, on the receipt of fifty cents, by the publishers.
The author of these works is said to be Mrs. ELLEN Wood, a lady unknown to the reading world before the publication of her last book, " East Lynne," which became quite popular in England.
Mrs. Wood has evidently more talent for the construction and development of a narrative, than for the delineation of character, and her writings, therefore, come under the title of "sensation" novels, although belonging, fortunately, to the more moderate class. In “The Earl's Heirs,” the plot is intricate, well brought out, and very interesting, and the style generally good. The characters rather lack life and individuality, with the exception of one, which is, par excellence, the character of the book. We refer to the rotund Mrs. PEPPERFLY. The chapter describing her appearance and testimony in the coroner's court is capital comedy; and her valedictory address, comprising, as it does, an epitome of her whole experience of life, its cares and its consolations, is worthy of quotation: “We all has to bear, some in our minds and some in our bodies, some in our husbands, and some in having none. There ain't nothing more soothing than a glass of gin and water, hot."
Reports of Cases in Law and Equity determined in the Supreme Court of the State of
New-York. By OLIVER L. BARBOUR, LL. D. Vol. XXXIV. Albany: W. C. LITTLE
We would call the attention of merchants to this new volume of BARBOUR's Reports. Much litigation and consequent loss can frequently be avoided by reading the decisions of our State courts, and thus informing one's self with regard to the interpretations there given to the statutes passed. The laws which our legislators enact frequently show a very different face after being handled by our learned judges. If, therefore, one would know the law under which he is living, he must not only read the statutes, but the decisions explaining them.
First Lessons in Greek: the Beginner's Companion Book to HADLEY's Grammar. By
JAMES MORRIS WInton. New-York: D. APPLETON & Co.
The author of this little book is the rector of the HOPKINS grammar-school in NewHaven. No other or better recommendation is, we think, needed with those who are acquainted with the reputation of that school, than the announcement of this simple fact. These “ Greek Lessons" are intended, as will be gathered from the title, to familiarize beginners with the capital grammar prepared by that thorough Greek scholar, Professor Hadley, of Yale College.
Report of the Commercial Relations of the United States with Foreign Nations, for
the year ending September 30th, 1860. 1 vol. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances, for the year
ending June 30th, 1861. 1 vol.
We have received these two valuable books from the Hon. J. N. GOODWIN, member of Congress from the First District of Maine. They are, as usual, full of valusble statistical and other information.
PAMPHLETS AND DOCUMENTS RECEIVED.
Report of Select Committee to House of Representatives on Harbor Defences on Great
Lakes and Rivers. Report to the Secretary of War of the Operations of the Sanitary Commission. Report Select Committee to House of Representatives on Government Contracts. From
Hon. J. N. GOODWIN,
Report of Committee of Commerce on Reciprocity Treaty with Great Britain. From
Hon. E. P. WALTON.
Tax Bill. From Hon. E. WARD,
Report of Board of Trade of Chicago. From SETH CATLIN, Esq.
Messrs. PELTON & WAGGONER.