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the bud, and thereby prevented them from
blossoming into waves.

This curious subject, so far as evidence is
afforded, has been but little attended to
since Franklin's time. And yet it is a good
subject for water-girt people like ourselves
to know something more about. We feel
much inclined to propound a few questions,
to induce a little thinking on the part of
those whose thoughts are worth knowing.
Do our captains and sailors at the present
day know much about this oil-wave theory?
Have their observations tended to confirm or
to invalidate the reasonings of the older
observers? Would ten pounds' worth of oil save a
thousand pounds' worth of damage to shipping
in a harbour during a particular state of the
wind? would some of our surf-lined coasts
become more easily accessible to ships' boats
by oiling them occasionallyas we would
oil one piece ot mechanism, to enable another
to slip over it smoothly? Would the efforts
of our life-boats to reach a stranded ship be
faciiitated by a keg of oil, taken out as part of
the boat's stores, and used where the surf is
heaviest? Do our fishermen ever now
throw oil upon the waves, to aid them
in determining where and how to make
their onslaught on the fish? If we dip
anything into a pond or stream from a fourpenny
piece up to anything you please, could
we render it visible, and facilitate our search
by the use of a little oil? When masons
descend by a diving-bell to engage on hydraulic
engineering work, could theylike the
Mediterranean fishersget a little additional light
into their workshops, by oiling the water's
surface? Might not a hapless wrecked ship,
sunk in water, not too deep, be attentively
and usefully espied from above, if the water's
surface were rendered smooth by oil? When
telegraph-people are laying down submarine
wires, would their labours be facilitated
by a little oil, either to render the voyage
smoother, or to render the sunken wire more
visible? All which questions we submit,
without presuming to anticipate the answer.


IT is a wise dispensation of Providence (and
which, among its dispensations, lacks
wisdom?) that a man is ordinarily so occupied
with his own immediate affairs, that he has
no leisure to consider those of his neighbours;
to bring the application closer still, that he
is generally so engrossed with the thought, or
pastime, or avocation, of the moment, that the
other transactions in which he may be implicated,
though perhaps greater and graver,
and portending sorrow and tribulation rather
than joy and content, are mercifully
permitted to be fora season out of his mind; and,
though they cannot lie wholly forgotten, are
unconsidered for the time. Thus I have heard
of a merchant knowing well of the dread fiat in
bankruptcy at that very moment being sued
out against him, yet who could dance at a
children's party, and play at games and
forfeits, and be the gayest and the loudest
laugher there: all the while his goods
absuming away from him like grease in fire.
Thus, too, he against whose name in the
calendar Justice Hempridge has written the
lamentable words, "sus. per coll." will sleep
soundly on the very morning of his execution;
though his lullaby be the breathing of the
turnkeys watching him lest he should do
himself a mischief. It was the merchant's
business just then to dance, and it is that
of poor Jack o' Newgate to sleep; and
Mercy allows the present necessity to over-
shadow and pre-occupatively overcome the
contingent emergency. Lord Clive mending
the pen a minute before he destroyed himself
with the penknife, may very probably for the
time have been absorbed in the nice task of
splitting the quill into a hair or broad nib.
It may be instanced, as proof how common
things and thoughts oft neutralize the
horror of a supreme event, that the author
of this piece, being once within the minutest
hairsbreadth of a sudden and cruel death,—
lost for a moment the prescience of destruction
in the common-place thought that the
over-coat he had on, which was not his own,
but had been borrowed from a friend, would
be torn to ribbons. The beginning of fear and
wisdom has fitted us with just that measure
of capacity to render its entire concentration
on the matter in hand, not only necessary,
but imperative. The burden is so equally
fitted to our backs, that we feel not the
equipoising panniers at our sides. Not only
for the day, but for the moment is the evil
thereof sufficient; the focus of this our
telescope of life requires such accuracy of fixature
that the present unity is the limit of our
vision; he that shifts it hath a squinting

Yonder white-headed, blue-ribboned old
Statesman; will he not stand on his poor old
gouty legs for hours in the weary night,
when he should be comfortably abed, stand
in the unwholesome atmosphere of a scientifically
ventilated hall, the butt of coughs and
"oh! ohs!" and jeers, and oft-times groans
and hootings, the mouth-piece of a faction,
the target of the rhetorical shafts of orators,
raw from the Union Debating Society, or
livid from the perusal of blue-books? Will
he not remain, anxiously debating how he
shall exculpate himself from the fierce
accusations of his honourable friend (whom he hates
as his enemy) on the opposite bench, triumphantly
chuckling when he has posed an
antagonist, and sitting down with the cheers of
a crowded house resounding in his gladdened
ears; and will not the deliberation and the
defence, the refutation and the triumph, cause
that old nobleman momentarily to forget his
gout and his post obits; the lawyers in
Lincoln's-inn; his son in the guards, who must