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Catechism of Familiar Things; Their History, and the Events Which Led to Their Discovery, A

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<SPAN name="CHAPTER_XVI" id="CHAPTER_XVI"></SPAN>CHAPTER XVI.</h2> <h3><span class="smcap">Bricks, Mortar, Granite, Slate, Limestone, or Calcareous Rocks, Steel, Earths, Volcanoes, and Earthquakes.</span> </h3> <p><b>Of what are Bricks composed?</b></p> <p>Of clay, dried by the heat of the sun, or burnt in kilns; their color varies with the different degrees of heat to which they are subjected in burning. In the East, bricks were baked in the sun; the Romans used them crude, only laying them to dry in the air for a long space of time.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Crude</i>, in the rough, unbaked state, just as they were formed.</p></div> <p><b>How long have Bricks been in use for building?</b></p> <p>Bricks appear to have been in use at a very remote period of antiquity, both from the account of them in the Holy Scriptures, and from the remains of them which have been found; the Tower of Babel and the walls of Babylon were built of them. They were in early use among the Egyptians, as appears from the history of the Jews before their deliverance by Moses. In the book of Exodus, we are told that this captive people were compelled to make bricks for that nation. The Romans, under their first kings, built with massive square stones; but towards the end of the Republic they began to use brick, borrowing the practice from the Greeks; and the greatest and most durable buildings of the succeeding Emperors were composed of them, as the Pantheon, &amp;c.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Massive</i>, bulky and heavy.</p></div> <p><b>By whom was the Tower of Babel erected, and why?</b></p> <p>By the descendants of Noe's three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth; they were extremely numerous, and dwelt in the land of Sennaar; becoming ambitious of distinguishing themselves, they set about building a tower whose summit might <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_145" id="Page_145"></SPAN>[145]</span>reach to heaven. Sennaar was the original name of the country about Babylon.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Descendants</i>, those descended from a particular person or family.</p></div> <p><b>What remarkable event followed their foolish pride?</b></p> <p>The Almighty suddenly frustrated their purpose by confusing their language and causing them all to express their words by different sounds; hence arose the numbers of different languages spoken by the nations of the earth; and thus what they imagined would be a monument of glory, was made an awful memento of their pride and folly.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Frustrated</i>, prevented.</p> <p><i>Monument</i>, anything by which the memory of persons or things is preserved.</p> <p><i>Memento</i>, a hint to awaken the memory of anything; that which reminds.</p></div> <p><b>What good effect did this event produce?</b></p> <p>God, who at all times can bring good out of evil, by this means caused the other parts of the earth to be peopled; for this visitation having effectually broken up their scheme, they emigrated in parties, and dispersed themselves over different parts of the world.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Scheme</i>, plan, intention.</p> <p><i>Emigrated</i>, removed from one country to another.</p> <p><i>Dispersed</i>, separated.</p></div> <p><b>Where was Babylon?</b></p> <p>This celebrated city, so often mentioned in Holy Writ, (and remarkable for the minuteness with which its destruction was foretold by the Prophets,) was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, and situated on the river Euphrates. After the destruction of Nineve, the ancient capital of this empire, Babylon became the most famous city of the East.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Minuteness</i>, particularity.</p></div> <p><b>What is meant by the Assyrian Empire?</b></p> <p>The country of Assyria, in Asia.</p> <p><b>For what was this city particularly celebrated?</b></p> <p>For its hanging gardens, palaces, temples, and walls, the latter of which are said to have been three hundred and fifty <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_146" id="Page_146"></SPAN>[146]</span>feet high, and so broad that six chariots could go abreast upon them. The city was so strongly fortified, both by nature and art, as to be thought impregnable.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Fortified</i>, defended.</p> <p><i>Impregnable</i>, incapable of being taken or destroyed by an enemy.</p></div> <p><b>By whom was it destroyed, and when?</b></p> <p>By Cyrus, 538 years before the birth of Christ, just fifty years after Nabuchodonosor had destroyed the city of Jerusalem and its temple.</p> <p><b>Who was Cyrus?</b></p> <p>The founder of the Persian Empire.</p> <p><b>Who was Nabuchodonosor?</b></p> <p>The King of Babylon.</p> <p><b>What was the Pantheon?</b></p> <p>A temple of a circular form which was dedicated to all the Gods, or all the Saints. That of all others the most celebrated, is the Pantheon of ancient Rome, and its remains are the most perfect amongst the wonders of that city at the present day.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Circular</i>, having the form of a circle, round.</p></div> <p><b>By whom was it built?</b></p> <p>By Agrippa, the Consul of Rome, twenty-five years before Christ; it was dedicated by him to Jupiter: the name Pantheon was given on account of the great number of statues of the Gods ranged in niches all round it; and because it was built in a circular form to represent heaven, the residence of the Gods. It was afterwards converted into a church by Pope Boniface IV, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and all the Martyrs, under the title of "Our Lady of the Rotunda." Agrippa likewise built the Pantheon at Athens, which was but little inferior to that of Rome. The Greek Christians afterwards converted it into a church, dedicating it to the Blessed Virgin; but the Turks, when they subdued Greece, changed it into a mosque.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Dedicated</i>, appropriated to a particular person, or to a sacred use.</p> <p><i>Residence</i>, dwelling, habitation.</p> <p><i>Martyr</i>, one who is put to death for the cause of religion.</p> <p><i>Mosque</i>, a Mahommedan temple.</p></div> <p class="center"><ANTIMG src="images/image_21.jpg" alt="A SLATE QUARRY." width="363" height="611" /><br /> <span class="caption">A SLATE QUARRY.</span></p> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_147" id="Page_147"></SPAN>[147]</span> <b>What is understood by a Consul?</b></p> <p>The chief magistrate of the Roman republic or commonwealth. After the Romans had expelled their kings, they were governed by two Consuls; these were established in the year of Rome 245. The Consuls were the head of the senate; they commanded the armies of the republic, and judged all the differences between the citizens: they held their office for the space of a year; at the end of which time, new ones were elected. Consuls were even continued under the Emperors after the republic was destroyed; but it was then little more than an honorary title, and at last was totally abolished.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Expelled</i>, turned out.</p> <p><i>Abolished</i>, annulled, made void.</p></div> <p><b>To what is the term Consul applied at the present time?</b></p> <p>To an officer established by a commission from a king or state, to reside in foreign countries of any considerable trade, to facilitate and despatch business, protect the merchants of the state, &amp;c.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Commission</i>, a trust imposed, command, authority.</p> <p><i>Facilitate</i>, to render easy.</p></div> <p><b>What is meant by a Senate?</b></p> <p>An assembly or council of senators, that is, of the principal inhabitants of a state, who have a share in the government.</p> <p><b>What is the government of the United States?</b></p> <p>It is one of limited and definite powers, defined by a written constitution.</p> <p><b>How are the legislative powers, granted to the government, vested?</b></p> <p>In a Congress, consisting of a Senate of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof; and a House of Representatives, consisting of one or more members from each state, elected by the people in equal electoral districts.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Legislative</i>, giving or enacting laws</p></div> <p><b>How are our laws made?</b></p> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_148" id="Page_148"></SPAN>[148]</span></p> <p>Bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, on receiving the sanction of the President, become laws; or, if vetoed by the President, may be passed by two-thirds of both Houses.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Vetoed</i>, withheld assent to.</p></div> <p><b>Who was Jupiter?</b></p> <p>The principal deity of the Pagan world.</p> <p><b>What is used to cement bricks firmly together?</b></p> <p>Mortar; a composition of lime, sand, gravel, &amp;c., mixed up with water; the ancients had a kind of mortar so very hard and binding, that, even to this day, it is next to impossible to separate the parts of some of their buildings.</p> <p><b>What is Granite?</b></p> <p>A rock which has been formed by the union of three different minerals in a state of fusion; these, on cooling, have crystallized and become distinct from each other in the mass. It is remarkable for the beauty of its colors, its hardness and durability. There are granites of many different colors, as red or rose-colored, grey, green, variegated, &amp;c.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Fusion</i>, a melted state.</p> <p><i>Mass</i>, a body, a lump.</p></div> <p><b>What form does it bear?</b></p> <p>Granite does not, generally, form one extensive mass, but remains in separate and large fragments, rudely compacted together; besides the three minerals of which it is composed, particles of other stones, or metallic earths, are often accidentally mixed with it. It is called granite from its granulous structure.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Compacted</i>, joined together.</p> <p><i>Granulous</i>, consisting of small grains.</p></div> <p><b>Where is Granite found?</b></p> <p>Granite occurs in all the larger mountain ranges, and in isolated masses in every country; not being a stratified rock, and being excessively hard, it is difficult to get it out in manageable masses. In Arabia Petr&aelig;a, the whole country abounds in masses of different granites.</p><p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_149" id="Page_149"></SPAN>[149]</span></p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Isolated</i>, alone, separated, detached.</p> <p><i>Stratified</i>, consisting of strata or beds.</p></div> <p><b>What mode is usually employed in this country in obtaining it?</b></p> <p>Blasting, or blowing up with gunpowder; the force of which detaches pieces from the rock, which are hewn roughly into forms on the spot by a small pickaxe. Granite is also quarried by cutting a deep line some yards long, and placing strong iron wedges at equal distances along this line; these wedges are struck in succession with heavy hammers, till the mass splits down. Another method of detaching masses of rock, is by driving wooden wedges into a deep artificial or natural crack, or fissure; the wedges are then wet, and, in consequence of swelling, burst the rock asunder.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Quarried</i>, from <i>to quarry</i>, a term used for the getting of stone from a quarry, or place where stones are dug from the earth, or detached from a large mass of rock.</p> <p><i>Detach</i>, to separate.</p></div> <p><b>For what is this Rock used?</b></p> <p>On account of its great hardness, it is used for large public structures, as bridges, churches, &amp;c. The ancient temples and other buildings in Egypt, Asia, and Italy, were built of different colored granites, especially the beautiful Oriental red granite.</p> <p><b>What is Slate?</b></p> <p>The common name for a bluish fossil stone, very soft when dug out of the quarry, and easily cut or split into thin plates,&mdash;a property which renders it invaluable for a variety of purposes.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Invaluable</i>, extremely valuable.</p></div> <p><b>For what is it used?</b></p> <p>Slate has superseded the use of lead for covering roofs, even of the largest buildings; being lighter and more durable, it is preferable to tile: it is also employed for slabs to form cisterns, shelves for dairies, and other purposes, on account of its strength, coolness, and the ease with which it can be cleaned; the latter <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_150" id="Page_150"></SPAN>[150]</span>quality renders it also of great value in the business of education, as a cheap substitute for paper. The ancients were unacquainted with the use of slate.</p> <p><b>What other kinds of stone are used in building?</b></p> <p>Limestone, or the calcareous rocks of the geologist: of these there are many varieties. Those which are easily cut and polished are termed marbles, and are used in sculpture and in ornamental architecture. The coarser marbles are used for the common purposes of building.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Calcareous</i>, partaking of the nature of calx or lime,&mdash;a term employed to describe chalk, marble, and all other combinations of lime with carbonic acid.</p> <p><i>Geologist</i>, one who studies the science of Geology.</p></div> <p><b>Of what do Calcareous Earths or Stones consist?</b></p> <p>Calcareous earths, stones, or rocks consist of lime, or pure calcareous earth, carbonic acid, and water.</p> <p><b>What is Quick-Lime?</b></p> <p>Limestone deprived of its carbonic acid and water by being subjected to an intense heat in a kiln.</p> <p><b>How are these Stones wrought?</b></p> <p>To whatever purpose the stones are to be applied, the larger blocks obtained from the quarry must be cut into smaller and more manageable pieces by sawing: the saw used is a long blade of steel, without teeth, fixed in a heavy wooden frame. These huge saws are worked by one or two men who sit in boxes to shelter them from the weather; water is caused to drip constantly into the cut, to facilitate the motion of the saw, and keep it cool, so as to prevent it from losing its temper.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Huge</i>, very large.</p> <p><i>Temper</i>, hardness; in speaking of metals it signifies the state to which they are reduced, especially with regard to their hardness.</p></div> <p><b>What is Steel?</b></p> <p>Iron combined with a small portion of carbon; its chemical name is <i>Carburet of Iron</i>. It is not so malleable as iron in its ordinary state; but is much harder, more elastic, and susceptible of a higher polish. Of this material are manufactured knives, <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_151" id="Page_151"></SPAN>[151]</span>swords, and all kinds of cutting instruments and edge tools, used for domestic purposes and in the arts, from the ponderous pit-saw to the finest lancet. Good steel is much more ductile than iron; and a finer wire may be drawn from it than from any other metal. The excellence of edge-tools depends upon their temper.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Ponderous</i>, heavy.</p></div> <p><b>You say that a Geologist is one who studies Geology: what is meant by this term?</b></p> <p>A science which enables us to read, in the simple language of nature, the changes which have taken place on the surface of the earth, in its structure and mineral constitution. It describes the different materials and the strata of which the crust of the earth is composed, and investigates the causes of its physical features.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Simple</i>, easily read.</p></div> <p><b>What are Strata?</b></p> <p>Layers of rocks and other substances of which the whole earth seems to be composed. These rocks are found lying one above another in regular order; beneath them are the <i>unstratified</i> rocks, which seem to form the basis or foundations upon which the others have been deposited. The various layers seem to have been formed during progressive stages of vegetable and animal organization. These rocks and strata are divided into five classes or formations.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Progressive</i>, moving forwards.</p> <p><i>Organization</i>, formation or structure of bodies.</p></div> <p><b>Name them.</b></p> <p>The Primitive, or lower formations, supposed to have been formed in the chaotic state of the earth, because they have no trace of organized beings or petrifactions; they are chiefly composed of silicious and argillaceous earths, as granite, slate, &amp;c.&mdash;Transition rocks, supposed to have been formed during the transition of the earth into a habitable state; they differ from <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_152" id="Page_152"></SPAN>[152]</span>the primitive, in containing the remains of marine animals:&mdash;the Secondary rocks, containing the remains of animals and vegetables, and consequently formed after their creation;&mdash;the Tertiary formation, composed of layers of clay, sand, gravel, and marl, and containing peculiar organic remains;&mdash;and the Alluvial formation, constituted of parts of previous rocks separated by water, &amp;c., and deposited in beds.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Petrifaction</i>, an animal or vegetable substance turned to stone.</p> <p><i>Silicious</i>, consisting of flint.</p> <p><i>Transition</i>, change from one state to another.</p> <p><i>Argillaceous</i>, clayey, consisting of clay.</p> <p><i>Chaotic</i>, resembling chaos, confused.</p> <p><i>Chaos</i>, confusion, a mingled heap; a term used in speaking of the world while yet without form; a Greek word, signifying a confused mass.</p> <p><i>Alluvial</i>, deposited from water.</p></div> <p><b>Of what is this last compounded?</b></p> <p>The Alluvial formation is composed of sand, gravel, loam, clay, turf, &amp;c., and contains plants, roots, moss, bones, petrified wood, and skeletons of animals. It is distinguished from the Tertiary formation chiefly by its superior position, and by extending over regions where existing streams or other causes now in action could have produced it. Some geologists mention another formation called the Volcanic, because composed of minerals thrown from the crater of a volcano, such as pumice stones, lava, &amp;c.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Crater</i>, the mouth or opening of a volcano.</p> <p><i>Petrified</i>, hardened into stone.</p></div> <p><b>You mentioned Silicious and Argillaceous Earths: is not, then, the earthy covering of our globe of one common character?</b></p> <p>No; by earth is understood a combination of many distinct bodies. Chemists, by separating earths from each other, and from foreign matters connected with them, have discovered nine or ten primitive earths; all of these, except silex, are compounds of oxygen with metallic bases.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Chemist</i>, one who understands the science of chemistry.</p></div> <p><span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_153" id="Page_153"></SPAN>[153]</span></p> <p><b>Of which of these Simple or Primitive Earths are the solid portions of the globe principally composed?</b></p> <p>Of flint or silex, lime or calcareous earth, and clay or argil, in various degrees of combination, the greatest parts of the mountains and plains, and the whole of what we commonly understand by soil, mould, earth, &amp;c. are composed. These, however, though forming nearly all of the solid portions of the world, are constantly mixed with foreign matters, as metals, (particularly iron,) and acids, (as carbonic acid.)</p> <p><b>What are the properties of Silex?</b></p> <p>Silex, or pure flint, will not dissolve in water, nor can it be melted by itself in any heat; but combined with alkalies, as soda or potash, it forms glass. It is the principal ingredient of most of the precious stones.</p> <p><b>What are the chief uses of Silex?</b></p> <p>It is the most durable article for the formation of roads; a necessary ingredient in earthenware, porcelain, and cements; and the principal material of glass and vitreous substances. The making of pastes or artificial gems is a branch of the art of glass-making; the basis used is a very hard and pure silex.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Basis</i>, that part of any mixture which is the ground or base; the first principle or element of a substance.</p></div> <p><b><SPAN name="LIME" id="LIME"></SPAN>Describe the properties of Lime.</b></p> <p>It is of a white color, and possesses a hot, caustic taste. It forms peculiar salts with acids; changes vegetable blues to green; will not fuse; gives out a quantity of caloric when united with water; and absorbs carbonic acid when exposed to air. Lime is very useful in the arts and manufactures, in medicine, &amp;c. The farmers use it as manure to fertilize land.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Caustic</i>, burning, corroding: a term applied to substances which eat away and burn any thing with which they are brought in contact.</p></div> <p><b>In what state is Lime found in nature?</b></p> <p>Never native, but combined with other substances;&mdash;generally with an acid, and most plentifully with carbonic acid, as in <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_154" id="Page_154"></SPAN>[154]</span>chalk, marble, &amp;c. It is also found in vegetables, and is the basis of animal bones; it likewise occurs in the water of the ocean, and in that of all springs and rivers. The method of procuring <i>lime</i>, from chalk, marble, limestone, oyster-shells, &amp;c., has already been described in a former chapter.</p> <p><b>What are the properties of Clay?</b></p> <p>Argil, or pure clay, also called <i>alumina</i>, from its being the basis of alum, is soft to the touch, adhesive, and emits a peculiar odor when moistened;&mdash;forms a paste with water, and hardens in the fire. Its uses are so various and important, that it would have been almost impossible for man to have attained his present degree of civilization, if it had not been given him by nature in such abundance. Its uses have already been described in the arts of brick-making, pottery, &amp;c. Besides these three principal primitive earths just described, there are seven others, having several properties in common, yet each possessing its different and specific properties, and evidently designed by nature for different purposes of utility.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Specific</i>, belonging to its particular species.</p> <p><i>Utility</i>, usefulness.</p></div> <p><b>What is a Volcano?</b></p> <p>An opening in the surface of the earth, or in a mountain, from which are ejected smoke, flames, stones, lava, &amp;c. Beneath the outer crust of the earth inflammable materials appear to exist, which different causes excite into combustion. Volcanoes are supposed to owe their origin to the metals and minerals which form the basis of earths and alkalies; and which, when ignited, expand,&mdash;shake the rocky foundations,&mdash;and sometimes, bursting through, produce all the destructive effects of earthquakes. They break forth under the sea, as well as the land, and throw up mountains which rise above the level of the water. During an eruption of Vesuvius, A.D. 79, three cities, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabi&aelig;, were overwhelmed, and lay buried beneath the matter ejected from the volcano until within a few years, <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_155" id="Page_155"></SPAN>[155]</span>when excavations were made and many relics discovered;&mdash;streets, houses, papyri, (manuscripts,) grain, fruit, bread, medicines, &amp;c. &amp;c., all in a remarkable state of preservation, have been found just as they were left by the terrified inhabitants at the time of the eruption!</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Eruption</i>, an issuing or breaking forth with violence.</p> <p><i>Ejected</i>, thrown out.</p></div> <p><b>Are there many Volcanoes?</b></p> <p>There are upwards of two hundred volcanoes upon the globe; more than one half of them are in America and Oceanica The most noted volcanoes in America are Cotopaxi (the highest in the world), near Quito; Popocatapetl, in Mexico; Cosiguina, and the Water Volcano, in Guatemala. In France, Spain, Portugal, and many other countries, there are districts which show the former existence of volcanoes, which have long been extinct; near Naples, in an area of two hundred square miles, there are sixty craters, some of them larger than Vesuvius; in one of these, the town of Cumea has stood for three thousand years.</p> <p><b>What can you say of new islands formed by Volcanic Agency?</b></p> <p>Many examples of new islands rising out of the sea by volcanic action are on record. Some of them are permanent, but others, after a time, disappear. Teneriffe, Iceland, Sicily, St. Helena; part of Sumatra, Java, Japan; and the Sandwich Islands, seem to have been upheaved by volcanic agency; Hawaii, the largest of the last-named group, contains an area of four thousand square miles, and rises eighteen thousand feet above the ocean.</p> <p><b>What are Earthquakes?</b></p> <p>Shakings or vibrations of the ground; sometimes accompanied by rents, and rockings or heavings of the surface, so as to overthrow buildings, and swallow up towns and large tracts of country. They are attended with a terrible subterranean noise, like <span class="pagenum"><SPAN name="Page_156" id="Page_156"></SPAN>[156]</span>thunder, and sometimes with an eruption of fire or water, or else of smoke or winds.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Subterranean</i>, underground.</p></div> <p><b>What is supposed to cause them?</b></p> <p>An electrical action between the atmosphere and some deep sub-strata; or the sudden formation of gaseous matter beneath the surface of the earth by internal volcanic fires. Many hot countries, where much electrical disturbance takes place, are very subject to them: earthquakes almost always precede volcanic eruptions; an open volcano, also, probably diminishes the force of earthquakes, by the vent which it affords. Earthquakes, at different times, have been productive of the most terrific effects: towns and cities have been swallowed up, and thousands of people destroyed by them. The island of Jamaica is remarkable for the earthquakes which frequently happen there.</p> <div class="blockquot"><p><i>Precede</i>, to go before.</p> <p><i>Vent</i>, opening.</p> <p><i>Terrific</i>, full of terror, dreadful.</p></div> <p><b>Where is Jamaica situated?</b></p> <p>In the West Indies,&mdash;a large group of fertile islands which lie between North and South America. Jamaica is the principal one of those which belong to the English.</p> <hr style="width: 65%;" /> <h2>
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