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an important link in the chain of evidence which establishes the derivative origin of specific forms.
Prof. Gray thinks the age of the oldest living Sequoia may be about 2,000 years, and remarks: "It is probable that close to the heart of some of the living trees may be found the circle which records the year of our Saviour's nativity."
The sacred banian is familiar to every reader. Its main trunk attains a diameter of from 20 to 30 feet, and its enormous roof of foliage may shelter the inhabitants of a considerable village. The pendent branches are really roots, which, on reaching the ground, penetrate it and form trunks. These correspond with the outer layers of wood in an oak or a pine, and sustain the top, although the original trunks decay and disappear.
The dragon-tree of Orotava, on the island of Teneriffe, is a wellknown and historic tree. Twice during the present century it has been dismantled by storms. It is but 69 feet high, but is 79 feet in circumference. So slow is its growth that its diameter had scarcely changed in 400 years. Recently it bore flowers and luxuriant foliage, as it may have done before the "isles of the Western Ocean," on one of which it was growing, were a dream in the Grecian mythology.
The baobab, or monkey bread-fruit, is the last we can notice of the ancient trees. It was first described by a Venetian traveller in 1454. These trees are found, however, in nearly all portions of that country south of the Desert, everywhere an imposing feature of the landscape, and objects of regard if not of reverence by the natives. In the rainy season they are in full luxuriance, and are covered with cup-shaped flowers six inches in diameter. The trunks grow from 20 to 60 feet high, but are sometimes 100 feet in circuit at the ground. The baobabs, like most other trees, grow rapidly when young, but slowly when old. Recent estimates attribute to some of the oldest a period of 3,000 years. This is scarcely more than one-half the age assigned to them by early writers.
By the native town of Shupanga, near the Zambesi, in Eastern Africa, is a venerable baobab, beneath which is the grave of Mrs. Livingstone.
Such, briefly, are some of the great living monuments of the vegetable kingdom. In longevity they are in striking contrast with higher types of life. Fixed to a single spot, the tree is what it is because of the forces which act upon it. It is a monument of accumulated and concentrated force. Transmuted sunlight is in all its fibres, and who shall estimate the dynamic work which has been expended in its structure ?-Scientific Monthly.
THE COLDSTREAM GUARDS. AT
THE HE chateau of Hougoumont, says Mackinnon, faced the enemy without any external fence in its front. Behind it was the farmyard, protected on the left and rear by a wall, and on the right by farm-buildings. To the left of the house and yard was a garden, surrounded by a wall, and to the left of that, but adjoining, there was an orchard enclosed by a hedge and ditch. A large gate in the rear led into the yard, and through that supplies were received during the action; two other entrances to the yard were closed up. Outside of the buildings, on the right, there was a road and a high hedge. A wood in front, which stretched some distance to the right, covered this post.
The second brigade consisted of the second battalion of the Coldstreams, and the second battalion of the Third Guards under Major General Byng. The two light companies of the first brigade under Lord Saltoun occupied the orchard; the light companies of the second brigade the wood. Loop-holes were at once made in the building and garden-wall; platforms were erected, and all gates but the one in the rear barricaded. Just before the battle broke out, the duke rode through the wood of Hougoumont, saw Liutenant-Colonel Macdonald, and told him "to defend the post to the last extremity." There were Nassau and Hanoverian Jagers placed in the woods and out-buildings. At twenty minutes past ten the French moved to the attack of the chateau, covered by a tremendous fire from two hundred guns. For an hour and a half Macdonald repulsed all attacks of the tirailleurs; but about one, just as a cart of ammunition had opportunely arrived, a tremendous attack was made and the gate was forced, but closed again by Macdonald and a brave sergeant. The eight hundred Nassau men never again rallied, and our two thousand Guards had to maintain the post alone against General Foy's thirty thousand men amid burning buildings and the incessant cross-fire of artillery. The second battalion of the Coldstreams lost at Waterloo fifty-five men, while two hundred and twenty-nine were wounded.
The rector of Framlingham, in Suffolk, soon after the battle, wrote to the Duke of Wellington, stating that, in his opinion, the non-commissioned officers of the British army had, by their valorous conduct on that day, entitled themselves to some distinct marks of their country's approbation, and, therefore, he felt disposed, for one, to offer his humble tribute to their merit. In order that this might be properly applied, he requested the favor of his Grace to point out to him the non-commissioned officer whose herioc conduct appeared the most prominent, as he, the rector, meant to convey to him, in perpetuity, a freehold farm. The duke set the inquiry immediately on foot, through all the
commanding officers of the Line, and, in consequence, learnt that a sergeant of the Coldstreams, and a corporal of the First Regiment of Guards, had so distinguished themselves, that it was felt difficult to point out the most meritorious; but that there had been displayed by the sergeant an exploit arising out of fraternal affection, which he felt it a duty on this occasion to represent, namely, that near the close of the dreadful conflict, this distinguished sergeant impatiently solicited the officer commanding his company for permission to retire from the ranks for a few minutes; the latter having expressed some surprise at this request, the other said, "Your honor need not doubt of my immediate return." Permission being given him, he flew to an adjoining barn, to which the enemy, in their retreat, had set fire, and from thence bore on his shoulders his wounded brother, who, he knew, lay helpless in the midst of the flames. Having deposited him safely under a hedge, he returned to his post in time to share in the victorious pursuit of the routed enemy; we need scarcely add, that the superior merit of this gallant non-commissioned officer was thus established.
Years after the battle, the Reverend Mr. Norcross, the abovementioned rector of Framlingham, willed the sum of five hundred pounds to the bravest man in England. The Duke of Wellington, applied to upon the subject by the executors, at first, from delicacy, declined to answer their question; but in a few days sent for them, when he stated that, upon considering their request, he had determined to afford them all the assistance in his power. The duke then said: "It is generally thought that the battle of Waterloo was one of the greatest battles ever fought; such is not my opinion, but I say nothing upon that head. The success of the battle of Waterloo turned upon the closing of the gates of Hougoumont. These gates were closed in the most courageous manner at the very nick of time by the effort of Sir James Macdonald. I cannot help thinking, therefore, that Sir James is the man to whom you should give the five hundred pounds."
Sir James Macdonald, when applied to, listened to the story of the executors, expressed his thanks to the great hero for the award, but said: I cannot claim all the merit due to the closing of the gates of Hougoumont; for Sergeant John Graham, of the Coldstreams, who saw with me the importance of the step, rushed forward and together we shut the gates. What I should therefore propose is, that the sergeant and myself divide the legacy between The executors, delighted with the proposal, adopted it at once, and Sergeant Graham was rewarded with his share of the five hundred pounds.
THE ORIGIN AND EARLY PROGRESS OF LIVERPOOL.
IN Picton's Memorials of Liverpool we find much quaint and
useful information. The history of the port, which is the history of the town, of Liverpool, may be said to have begun with the formation of the harbor itself. As the Roman geographers make no mention of that estuary, it is assumed with much probability that, in the Roman times, "the broad sheet of water from the Sloyne up to Runcorn was still a freshwater lake, the overflow of which found its way to the sea by a comparatively small outlet through low marshy lands, and that either by the subsidence of the coast line, or from some other natural cause, the sea broke in and formed the present narrow portion of the estuary. If this were so, as there would be no harbor, the insignificant stream might well be overlooked by the Roman geographers." The incursion of the sea which determined the future of Liverpool may thus very likely have been about contemporaneous with the cessation of the Roman dominion over Britain and the period of the English conquest. In any case, the earliest mention of the river Mersey itself falls as late as the reign of Ethelred the Unready, though there are traces in the names of Low and Brownlow hills of settlements belonging to a much earlier, i. e. pagan, date. But the real founder of the borough and port of Liverpool was King John, who, after confirming his father's grant of Liverpool and other lands to Henry Fitzwarine before his own accession to the throne, after his accession exchanged Liverpool, and himself entered into possession of it, at the same time,causing the first so-called "charter" constituting the borough to be executed (1207). Under Henry III. the borough was incorporated, and received a charter proper, granting to its burgesses a mercatorial guild with a hanse and other liberties; and this appears to be the time of the origin of its so-called "common" seal.
The privileges of the Royal charters were freely violated under the Plantagenets by Edmund Earl of Lancaster and his successors, who treated the freedom of the borough with lordly contempt, and levied the tolls on their own behalf; but Liverpool was of sufficient importance to be represented in that Parliament of Edward I., from which, as is well known, the continuity of our present Parliamentary system properly dates. Its population was then probably under a thousand, and it was still a quite insignificant port. The Scottish wars of the next reigns interfered with its progress; yet its traders were forced to contribute both money and ships for the needs of Edward III. Nor was its prosperity advanced in the reign of Henry IV. (when we meet with the first mention of a connexion between the Stanley family and Liverpool), or in those of his successors; and, partaking in the general decay of national
progress during the wars of the Roses, it seems even to have suffered a diminution of population. The accession of Henry VII. brought to Liverpool, which he of course appropriated together with the rest of the possessions of the Duchy of Lancaster, little but a characteristic, though in this case futile, attempt at royal extortion; and the economical changes of the reign of his successor could not but, so far as they affected Liverpool at all, affect it disastrously. Thus in 1544 Liverpool is included in the list of decayed towns set forth in an Act of Parliament, and Leland, whose Itinerary was composed about the same time, describes it very briefly, though not altogether hopelessly, thus :—
Lyrpole, alias Lyverpoole, a pavid Towne, hath but a chapel, Walton a iii miles off, not far from the Se is a Paroche church. The King hath a Castelet there, and the Erle of Darbe a Stone Howse there. Irisch Marchauntes cum much thither, as to a good Haven.
"In the margin he remarks: At Lyrpole is a smaule costomepayid that causeth marchantes to resorte.' Again :-'Good Marchandis at Lyrpole, moch Irisch yarn that Manchester men do by ther." The latter part of Henry VIII.'s time is also noteworthy in the annals of Liverpool as having first placed in the hands of the Molyneaux family, whose time-honored connexion with the town is all but coeval with its existence, the lease of the Crown rights, and as having restored to the borough the right of sending representatives to Parliament, which had been suspended for more than two centuries.
The evil days of Edward VI. and of his successor dragged on; the plague decimated-perhaps more than decimated-the thin population of the decaying, but still promising town; and, finally, in 1561, a hurricane destroyed the breakwater of the old haven. But, at the very lowest of their fortunes, the burgesses gave proof of the spirit which must be native to the place. Mr. Mayor (his name was Robert Corbett) called together the whole town, to resolve on the construction of a new haven; "of his own free will gave a pistole of gold towards the beginning, which that day was good and current all England through for 58. 10d., although after, in a few days, it was not so; but by proclamation in London, by the Queen's Majesty, was prohibited and not current. Also, the same day, Mr. Sekerston did give, also the rest of the congregation did give, so that in the whole was gathered that present day the whole sum of 138. 9d. current," with which sum the work was begun by these brave men. Corbett and Sekerston are justly remembered for their services to their native town; and the latter boldly brought its grievances before Queen Elizabeth herself, praying her to "relieve us like a mother." His saying, "save me and mine, and the good town of Liverpool and theirs, and then let the nobles kill whom they please," may not savour of a very advanced species of patriotism; but patriotism, like charity, begins at home, and the spirit of Sekerston's prayer is that which has made small