BLTC Press Titles


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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)


A philosophical and political history of the settlements and trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies

by Raynal (Guillaume-Thomas-François, abbé)

Excerpt:

and would secure all the advantages of it by her numerous fleets. Perhaps, by having the empire of all the feast she might aspire to the supremacy of both worlds. But it is not in the destiny of any single nation to attain to such a pitch of greatness. Is then extent of dominion so flattering an object, when conquests are made only to be lost again? Let the Romans speak! Does it constitute power, to possess such a share of the globe, that some part shall always be enlightened by the rays of the fun, if while we reign in one world we are to languish in obscurity in the other? Let the Spaniards answer!

The English will be harjpy if they can preserve, by the means of culture and navigation, an empire, which must ever be found too extensive, when it cannot be maintained without bloodshed. But as this is the price which ambition must always pay for the success of its enterprises, it is by commerce alone that conquests can become valuable to a maritime power. Never did war procure for any conqueror a territory more improveable by human industry than that of the northern continent of America. Although the land in general be so low near the sea, that in many parts it is scarce distinguishable from the top of the mainmast, even aster anchoring in fourteen fathom, yet the coast is very easy of access, because the depth diminishes insensiby as you advance. From this circumstance, it is easy to determine exactly by the line the distance of the main land. Beside this, the mariner has another sign, which is the appearance of trees, that, seeming to rise out of the sea, form an inchanting object to his view upon a shore, which presents roads and harbours without number, for the reception and preservation of shipping.

The productions of the earth arise in great abundance from a soil newly cleared; but, on the other hand, they are a long time before they come to maturity. Many plants are even so late in flower, that the winter prevents their ripening; while, on our continent, both the fruit and the feed of them are gathered in a more northern latitude. What can be the cause of this phenomenon? Before the arrival of the Europeans, the North Americans, living upon the produce of their hunting and sishery, left their lands totally uncultivated. The whole country was covered with woods and thickets. Under the shade of these forests grew a multitude of plants. The leaves, which sell every winter from the trees, formed a bed three or four inches thick. Besore the damps had quite rotted this species of manure, the summer came on; and nature, lest entirely to herself, continued heaping incessantly upon each other these effects of her sertility. The plants buried under wet leaves, through which they with difficulty made their way in a long course of time, became accustomed to a long vegetation. The force of culture has not yet been able to subdue the habit sixed and consirmed by ages, nor have the dispositions of nature given way to the influence of art. But this climate, so long unknown or neglected by mankind, presents them with advantages which supply the desects and ill consequences of that omission.

It produces almost all the trees that Trees peculiar tt, are natives of our climate. It has also North America.. others peculiar to itself, among which are the sugar maple, and the candleburry myrtle.

The latter, thus named on account of its produce, is a branching tortuous shrub, rather irregular, and which delights in a moist foil. It is .therefore seldom found at any distance from the sea, or from large rivers. Its leaves, alternately disposed, are narrow, e.itire, or denticulated, . and always covered with small gilded points, which are almost imperceptible. It bears male and semale flowers,. upon two different plants. The sirst bears a bezil, every scale of which bears six stamina, the second, disposed alike on young sprigs, have,"instead of stamina, an ovary, surmounted with styles, which becomes a very small, hard, and lpherical, shell, which is covered with a granulated, white, and unctuaus, substance. These-, fruits, which together appear like a bunch of grapes, are gathered at the end of the autumn, and thrown into boiling water. The substance with which they are covered detaches itself, i swims at the top, and is skimmed off. As soon as this . is grown cold, it is commonly of a dirty green colour..

To purify it, it is boiled a second time, when it becomes transparent, and acquires an .agreeable green colour.

This substance, which in quality and consistence is a medium between tallow and wax, supplied the place of both to the sirst Europeans who landed in this country. The dearness of it has occasioned it to be less used, in proportion as the numbersof domestic animals hath increased. Nevertheless, as it burns flower than tallow, is less subject to melt, and has not that disagreeable smell, it is still preferred, wherever it can be procured at a moderate price. If it be mixed with a fourth part of tallow, it burns much better; but this is not its only property. It serves to make excellent soap and plasters for wounds: it is even employed for the purpose of sealing letters. The sugar maple merits no less attention than the candleburry myrtle, as may be conceived from its name.


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