網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

from that traffic. It is true, that about the year i599, Andreas Libarius. a learned Physician and Philosopher, made various experiments cn the subject, at Rotheuburg on the Taubcr. But his esforts were attended with but little success till several Princes and men of rank intersered in the business. John Philip, Elector of Mentz. was the sirst, if I am not mistaken, who laid the asfair to heart. This Prince caused many mulberries to be planted, imd silk worms to be reared at Hockheim and at Wurtzburg in Frahconia. He gave annual premiums to. the chiliren of such peasants as had collected the greatest quantities of silk. Frederick, Duke of Wurtemberg Neustadt made a similar establishment at his residence. Prince Charles of Lichtenstein imitated his example: He plan'ed mulberries at Feldsberg, where so many silk worms were reared as yielded a considerable yearly prosit. Daniei Kraft, art inquisitive and diligent man, made himself famous for his success in' managing those insects; and it is to him that the city of Dresden owes its silk manufacture. Bus no person in Germany was so earnest in the business as the Court of Berlin. Frederick I. planted many mulberry trees at Potsdam, Kopenick, Spandauj and ether placs, where great qnartfities of siLv worms were '-eared and a manuracture established, the direction of which was at sirst entrusted to certain individuals but afterwr.rds .0 the Acad?my of Sciences at Berlin. Frederick William followed the footsteps of his frjfber with ?.u ai Jour and zeal truly laudable. For this purpose he ordered large plantations of mulberry, and encouraged his subjects by u ware's to makj them. He likeWise efiarblished a mavus*ct»re of ribband? at Charlottenburg, for the. niu.Ttenaii'-.e of which certain merchants advanced considerable sums.

The inhabitants of China likewise trade in silks;

B b 2 of of theirs, they even make paper, but it is so fine and thin, that it bears the ink only on one tide.

The traffic in bees and in the wax and honey which they make is very considerable. It is well known that bees are fold in hives. If no accident happens to them, they multiply so fast that each hive generally produces two swarms a year. These are two colonies sent forth to people two new hives. Suppose a man should purchase these two swarms at two florins for the first, and one florin for the second, the following year, if things succeeded well, each hive would give him two swarms which might be fold lor double of what he originally gave, while he still preserved the first two hives. If one should calculate how many swarms would be produced from the two original hives in a few years, one would lee what profit may arise from these little animals. I pass over in silence.the honey and wax which the hives would afford at the lame time, though likewise very profitable.

In the countries where locusts are eaten, they are carried regularly to market, and fold as birds are with us.

, There are insects likewise which furnish the most beautiful colours. Such is the Cochineal (Coccus Cadi) which Dyers use for dying red. 1 he Cochineal is a small worm which Mr Edward Tyson thinks is a species of Scarabæus. It is of the size of a N lentil, and something like a bug in shape. Internally it is of a scarlet red colour; it passes though its transformations very slowly. It abounds in New Spain, where it is found on every tree. The Indians gather them and put them under a fort of fig of that country, the fruit of which is full of a red coloured juice. This plant is called Kumbcha, or Tuna, and in Latin is known under the name of the O

puntia ptintia spinosa fructu sanguineo, (CaQus Opuntia.) These worms fuck the fine red fruit or this tree* and acquire its colour. When these insects have attained their natural size, the Indians make a smoke to windward os the tree, and spread a linen cloth below it covered with quick-lime. When the animals are stupisii d with lmoke, the tree is shaken to make them tall on the quick lime which instantly kills them. They are then dried in the Suh and kept for sale.

There is found both in Poland and Germany an infect (Coccus Polonicus) which yields a very fine carmine colour. This insect attaches itself to the plant called in Latin, Polygonum minus cucciferum, (Scle~ ranthus perennis.) There hang from its roots little vesicles, led internally, called by the vulgar St John's blood. When the root and vesicles of this plant are exposed to the Sun, there come out little flies whiqh may be considered as belonging to the genus of ichneumon. They have white wings, and at the hinder part they have two beards of the fame colour closely joined together. All the rest of the body of the insect resembles carmine, and accordingly it is from this animal we procure it.

It is to an insect likewise that we are indebted for the finest crimson colour. This little animal {Coccus tikis') is found in small round vesicles, of the size of a pea, which grow on the leaves of the Ilex acnlcata cocci glandiftra (£?uercus Ilex.) It is a species of very hard cak, which the celebrated Mr Rohr calls the scarlet oak. The vesicles are gathered before they open, and to prevent the little flies from getting away, these vesicles are sprinkled with vinegar. These trees are found chiefly in Spain; bnt they are said to grow likewise in England and in "different parts of Germany; as in I

the Province of Bareith in Silesia and in the forests of Saxony. It would be worth while to investigate the matter, arid to examine at the fame time the season in which these vessels are silled with flies. A greater number of these trees might then be cultivated, the insects gathered, and we might sind at home, at little expence, what we send so far, and pay so high to obtain^ 1 he peasant and his master would then be equally benesited, the one by selling the insects he had gathered, the other by the tax which might be laid on the traffic.

Besides the two kinds of plants, on which these insects are found, diligent Naturalists have discovered others, with red vessels at their roots: Undoubtedly these would likewise produce a red colour, like the others. It needs only to be tried by experiment, whether their cultivation would be worth the while.

T add, in order to sinish this article, that there is a fort of Bees in the Indies, considered by some ai winged ants, which are likewise of great use in dying. They make a sort of wax, called gum lac, which is used in dying red.

The wax made by bees has several uses, which ought not to be passed over in silence. The antients wrote upon it. They made little plates of wood, like the ieaves of our pocket-books, with a raised border all round, to prevent the wax frnm running off Melted wax was then spread on these plates, and made smooth, so that they wrote upon it with a point, nearly in the same manner as our engravers write on copper. A sew years ago I.saw an antiqui. ty of this kind, in the town-house of Arnstad. These tablets are no li nger in use, both because what was written could be easily effaced and because, paper is lo much more sit for the purpose. 1 shall say

nothing nothing of the use formerly made of wax, in defending dead bodies from putrefaction, but consine myfelf to the uses it serves in the present times. It is mixed with pitch, in order to step up chinks and crevices, through which water gets into casks. It is likewise used to prevent air and rain from getting into the wounds of trees, whether made fer engratting, pr accidentally. It was formerly used in sealing letters, and other things of that nature, and various colours were given to it. Now a days, when we are acqua-nted with a better fort of wax, common people no ledger use is; but magistrates and persons in power still impress their seals upon it, and attach them to public instruments and papers of importance. Wax was likewise antiently used in painting; any colour was given it at plealure; portraits were made pf it, which were afterwards hardened by means of sire, many works in relief were likewise sabricated of wax, and even th-' wl-rle human sigrre has been formed of it. Bur a:- that was expensive, it was only persons of distinction who could procure them. A. mong the Romans, it was thole persons only who had exercised the curule offices vho had the Right of Statues. These the Poe.s call case, because they •were of wax, In the year 17 44, I saw a Berlin, a magnisicent specimen of this in the king's cabinet. It was the portrait of his majesty, Frederic king of - Prussia. The workmanship .wa» so exquisite, and the seatures so striking, that at sirit sight one could not help laying, " there is the king." The great likewise use candles made of wax.

It is well known, that there are several animals which, like living barometers, pied'ct changes of the feasons. Insects have the fame faculty. At the approach of winter they conceal themselves, and when the grasshoppers appear, ihey announce lo us the summer. We may expect a storm or heavy rain,

« 上一頁繼續 »