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A PLAGUE OF ANTS. The people of the island of St. Helena are in great trouble. About fourteen years ago a ship, from Fernando Po, bringiug a cargo of lumber, brought also a lot of white ants, which have multiplied and spread to such an extent that the whole town is being gradually destroyed by their ravages. They invest a house, and in an incredibly short space of time, the frames, posts, in short all the woodwork of the house, is reduced to a mere shell. The ants are indefatigable workers; night and day a low monotonous clicking sound can be constantly heard, testifying to their sleepless industry. They do not attack the outside of a timber, nor do they ever expose themselves to daylight for a moment. Between one of their haunts and another, should the route cross an open space, they build a perfectly-arched covering, and under it constantly pass and repass. They eat out the inside of a timber, and perhaps the first intimation that one obtains of any defect in an apparently sound beam is its crushing and coming down. Among other buildings that have suffered is that of our Consul, Mr. CAROLL. Nearly one-balf of the building has been destroyed. Not only wood, but books, paper, clothes, leather, in short anything softer tban iron, furnishes the ants with food.
The people are becoming very much alarmed, and the town has offered a reward of $5,000 to any one who can find an exterminator. Wood has been smeared with various substances, but it made no difference, it is the inside not the out they are after. The black ant seems to do more toward suppressing them than anything else, as the latter eats the white ants, but unfortunately the wbite outnumber the black on the island, thousands to
Teak and yellow pine are the only woods that resist them at all; the former is too hard, and the latter is too sticky for them. Their implement is auger-shaped, and the resin chokes it up.
The people have begun to use iron houses. An iron church, done up in boxes, lately arrived there from England.
BOTANICAL GARDEN OF MAURITIUS.
A correspondent of the Boston Traveller thus describes the Botanical Garden of Mauritius :
At length we found the Botanical Garden-a grand forest rather than a garden, and in territory a good sized farm, instead of a small plot of ground merely sufficient for a few vegetables and flowers; for the Botanical Garden of Mauritius covers not less than forty acres. I entered the gateway; I walked the magnificent avenues; and, stretching my eye along as far as it could reach, stood silent, amazed, and wondering, in the unknown, unimagined, and undescribed wilderness of vegetable and floral glory before me. To study it, to comprehend it, to describe it, was altogether out of the question ; and I could only wander here and there as fancy and accident directed, and gaze, and admire, and enjoy, and when weary, sit down upon some grassy mound, or by the side of the bank of a little lake, or under the shadow of some magnificent palm. Wide gravelled roads run from one end to the other, crossed by others at right angles, while walks are opened here and there bordered with flowers and overshadowed by trees—while bizarre pathways steal around the lakes
and into the wilderness of trees and shrubbery, which it was almost perilous to follow. Small artificial lakes are constructed with adınirable taste by letting on the water of a brook which runs through the grounds, and tiny islands again are constructed in the lakes, trees shooting up from bank and centre, and giving all the appearance of nature. The principal roads, or walks rather, for carriages and horses are not permitted to enter, are lined by tall and graceful palms, planted at regular distances, which, as seen from end to end, resemble the rows of pillars in an apcient church, or an old heathen temple. Nothing could be grander, while there was added all the freshness of life and the truth of nature. In some of the walks, whose width was most ample, the luxuriant branches, spreading out forty or 6fty feet high from the naked trunks, reached across the way, and intertwining twigs and foliage made a vast and beautiful arch, which no art can equal. The sun could not penetrate it, the heat in vain sought to pour itself upon the earth; it was midnight beneath at noon, and cool and moist within the burning tropics. Such flowers, so large and so fragrant, and of such tints and colors! I plucked soine, and carefully preserved them, and yet they have faded and all their glory is gone. Such shrubbery, all covered and bending with flowers! Then " the traveller's tree” was pointed out, of which I had never read, or else had forgotten, which a kind and wise Providence had provided for this burning climate, and which with a small gash gushes out with delicious water. And there is the dragon tree, which sends out blood by a light incision in the bark, and you feel guilty as though you had killed a human being.
I cannot describe what I saw in this surpassing garden. I wandered and gazed, I walked and I sat ; I mused and was stupefied in turn; I was a dumb worshipper, and yet never lifted up my heart in truer devotion than under the arches of this grand temple, and amidst the living though silent fellow-worshippers which crowded it. At length, wearied but not satisfied, we turned our reluctant feet homeward, the gates of the garden turning upon us, with something of the same feeling with which Adam and Eve quit Paradise.
AMERICAN ARMY RIFLES.
The rifle-muskets in our regular army have their grooves with a twist of one turn in six feet, and decreasing in depth from breech to muzzle. This makes the cartridge a little stiff to leave the muzzle, but its shooting is more accurate on this account. The ball has three grooves around the cylindrical part and no wedge or capsule is used inside. The weight of the ball is 730 grains; the charge of powder is 70 grains. The barrel of the rifle-musket is 40 inches long, and entire, with bayonet, 73.85 inches. The army rifle (not the rifled musket) is 33 inches long; with bayonet the weapon is 71.8 inches long. The total weight of the riflemusket is 9.90 pounds; that of the rifle with bayonet, 12.98 pounds.
The United States' rifles are fired without patches. The rifles and riflemuskets of our army compare favorably with those of the Europeans. They are like those of England ; the latter were adopted from American models.
COINS AND MEVALS. The amount realized from the sale which was made by BANGS, MERwin & Co., New York, of coins and medals, the last week of May, was $2,200. In speaking of this sale, the Journal of Commerce says: Among the colonial and early national pieces sold, the prominent specimen was the Washington half dollar of 1792, which brought ninety dollars! This extravagant price for a coin of which more specimens are known than of some other Washington coins, was due to a furor which has for a long time raged among collectors for the possession of specimens to be used
crown pieces ” in fancy or show collections. The next important piece sold was the Lord Baltimore shilling, which brought 832 50. It was in splendid condition, and the price was not esteemed too high by collectors. This was one of a series of coins proposed by Lord Baltimore in 1661, and which obtained some circulation in Maryland. There were three silver coins, a shilling, sixpence, and groat. There was also a copper halfpenny struck, of which but one specimen is extant, and which was sold in England a few years ago, at auction, for $:362.
A Baltimore threepence, known as the Standish Barry threepence, very rare, and the history quite undecided, brought $22. The Annapolis coins, a set of three, offered for sale as a full set for the first time in America, although frequently sold separately, brought $40, for the lot. A very high price, not likely to be repeated. The shilling is very frequently sold, the oiher pieces, sixpence and threepence, being more rare. The coins were issued by one CHALMERS, as a private coinage, at Annapolis, in 1738.
Persons who are not collectors do not understand the rules which control the prices of mint specimens. We may remark, as explanatory of the list of prices we give below, that proof coins are struck from the first or master die, engraved by the hands of the engraver. Other dies are made by impressions in steel from this die, and of course are not fully equal to it. In some years the mint has made a master die, but nerer issued coins, the only specimens being the proofs from the master die. This is the case with the dollars of 1851, 1852, and some others of the specimens named below. Proof specimens are highly prized by collectors for their beauty, and being rare, bring high prices. We note the rates at which some of these were sold and also some uncirculated specimens: 1851, Dollar, proof, $27.
1800, Dime, fine, $8 87. 1852, Dollar, proof, $27.
1804, Dime, fine, $9. 1854, Dollar, proof, $8 75.
1809, Dime, very fine, $8 12. 1854, Dollar, very fine, not proof, $5 87. 1825, Dime, proof, $8. 1857, Dollar, proof, $3 50.
1794, Half Dime, uncirculated, $6 50. 1858, Dollar, proof, $9 25.
1796, Half Dime, fine, $4 75. 1858, Set of proof silver coing, $13. 1801, Half Dime, $4. 1838, Dollar, proof, $27 50.
1803, Half Dime, $4 75. 1797, Half Dollar, not proof, $14 12. 1805, Jalf Dime, $6 75. 1796, Quarter Dollar, not proof, $4. 1793, Liberty Cap Vent, very fine, $16 50. 1811, Quarter Dollar, uncirculated, $3 87. 1793, Link Cent, very fine, $16 50. 1820, Quarter Dollar, uncirculated, $6. 1893, Cents, other specimens, $7; $3 50. 1821, Quarter Dollar, uncirculated, $3 50. 1794, Cent, uncirculated, $6. 1822, Quarter Dollar, very fine, $5 12. 1795, Cent, uncirculated, thick die, $5 25; 1824, Quarter Dollar, very fine, $5 12. same year, thin die, $8. 1797, Dime, with 16 stars, $5 62.
1796, Fillet Head Cent, uncirculated, 87 50. 1798, Dime, very fine, $13 50.
1797, Cent, uncirculated, $5 75.
1. The Pearl of Orr's Island, a Story of the Coast of Maine. By Mrs. HARRIET
BEECHZR Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," “ The Minister's Wooing,” etc.
2. Agnes of Sorrento. By the same. Boston: TICKNOR & FIELDS. 1862. For sale
by SHELDON & Co., New York.
These beautiful twin-volumes, uniform in binding and execution, are issued simultaneously by the publishers. Of their contents it is hardly necessary to speak. To eulogize Mrs. Stowe, is like trying to throw a lustre on the violet, or add another hue unto the rainbow. Her fascinations as an authoress are felt in thousands of homes throughout our entire country, and it is enough for her many readers to know that her books are ready for perusal. Some among them will prefer one, and some the other, according to their own personal culture and inclinations, and it is difficult to tell which of them will eventually win the palm of superiority. The first is a lovely story of simple people of our own time, and our own land; the second is a gallery of glowing pictures of Italian life and scenery, three hundred years ago. If one is a Pearl, perfect in its simplicity and purity, the other is an Opal, full of orange and purple tints that flash and change in varied and endless beauty. Beauties, Selected from the Writings of Thomas de Quincey, author of “ Confessions
of an English Opium Eater," etc. Boston: TICKNOR & FIELDS. 1862. For sale by D. APPLETON & Co, New York, 443 and 445 Broadway.
DE QUINCEY, charming as an essayist and critic, and deeply interesting as a man, from the strange influences which overshadowed his life, has written more than twenty volumes. The most popular of them, his “ Confessions of an English Opium Eater," is probably familiar to our readers. From this uncommon book in a great measure, and from the other volumes in part, these selections are chosen with great judgment and discrimination. All the facts relating to his early life are placed together first; then follow his “ Dreams," 'Narratives,” “ Essays,” “ Critiques," and Detached Gems."
DE QUINCEY is better in everything, than in his narratives; there he fails; one could hardly believe that the same pen wrote them, which upon other topics could charm mankind by its eloquent enthusiasm, or stir their hearts by the subtlest pathos. There seems to be something in the composition of a good essayist which spoils him for story-telling. Lamb never wrote so miserably as in his deplorable tale of “ Rosamund Gray,” which would be utterly stupid, if it were not so rasping. Essayists know that their digressions are far more agreeable than their varratives, so they shut them out rigorously, for fear of ar eclipse. The result is, a bald statement of facts, in the style of the Bankrupt Gazette, too gloomy to be amusing, too stiff to be powerful, and too cold to be pathetic. If DE QUINCEY had held to his mission and not wasted his strength in narrative, we might have had another leaf of " Joan of Arc,” or of the wonderful “ Confessions," one more glimpse into dreamland, or another breath of the Suspiria.” VOL. XLVI. —NO. VI,
Union Speeches delivered in England during the present American War. By GEORGE
Young America in Wall Street," " Young America on Slavery,” etc, etc. FBED-
Mr. Train has roused the Lion and the Unicorn to the last extent of wrath; they
Schools. 12mo. 192 pages. 75 cents. By WILLIAM E. WORTAEN. New York:
The value of Mechanical Science is so universally admitted, that we gladly welcome
29 Cliff street, New York. Two sizes, $1 and $1 25.
We have received one of Van Anden's Presses, and can testify that it does its work well It is of a convenient size and form, and must, we think, become popular. Messrs. Hannau & Co. tell us that they will mail a Press to any address, (postage paid,) on receipt of the price.
Speech of Hon. A. T. Galt, Minister of Finance of Canada, on introducing Budget of
1862, together with Statistical and Financial Statements of great value. A Series of Letters relating to the Industrial Interests of California, by an old resi
dent. From J. W. OSBORNE, Oak Knoll, Napa, California. These letters contain much that is extremely interesting and valuable.