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we werewhich God forbid!—to engage in
another war, it would be the old story of the
Crimea in eighteen hundred and fifty-four
and fifty-five over again. We do not appear
to me, to be one iota more advanced in the
very first principles of military organisation
than we were ten years ago. It is but
a month ago since a Royal Commission, with a
noble duke at its head, was gravely ordered
to inquire whether promoting officers because
they are rich, and preventing those who are
poor from rising in the army, is, or is not, of
advantage to the service!


Curious and remarkable facts, not so
fallacious as Pitt thought them when applied
to social subjects, have been gathered by
naturalists and travellers about the way in
which vegetation is continued and extended.
Nature multiplies her stock of plants most
commonly by seeds. Many which the
gardener propagates only by cuttings and layers
in their free state follow the usual method;
some, like the lily of the valley, extend their
dominion by creepers under the soil; others,
like the verbena, by throwing out long shoots
which produce roots at their joints. There
is also, as most of our readers know, the
singular mode of increase adopted by the
Indian fig-tree. When sufficiently grown
the branches let down fibres, which swing
about freely in the breeze until they reach
the ground, where they take root, and grow
into thick pillars, which support the  branches
in their further growth. An Armenian
merchant at Madras is said to have had one
of these trees in his garden with thirty-eight
stems firmly rooted in the ground, some of
them nearly four feet thick and from thirty
to fifty feet in height. So

                           daughters grow
          About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade.

Some of the aged fig-trees of India, are said
to cover as much as two acres of ground by
the simple extension of branches, and
regiments of soldiers have taken refuge under
the shadow of a single tree.

In a seed, the mysterious origin of growth
is a little morsel which, in its earliest hours
of expansion, feeds upon the rest and greater
portion of the seed ; until it has shot forth
a rootlet to gather for it nourishment out of
the soil. Some seeds are very delicate, and
will not live unless nursed in the warm
bosom of the earth soon after separation from
the mother plant. The germs of coffee,
roses, laurels, and myrtles must be sown
soon after gathering; and acorns brought from
America are sown on board ship to
save their life. Even hardy seeds generally
seem to find in the ground the safest place
of deposit. The self-sown mignonette, and
many other garden flowers, come up much
stronger in due season than the mignonette
we take so much pains to sow, as we think,
at the right time and in the proper way.
Many garden beds would bring forth flowers
in abundance if let alone, after having been
once stocked with plants.

Of the greater number of seeds, it is to be
said, however, that they are hardy and
tenacious of life to a miracle. Gérardin
speaks of a bag of seed of the sensitive plant
brought to the Jardin des Plantes upwards
of sixty years ago, which even now supplies
good plants whenever it is used. Horne, the
eminent naturalist, says that he found grains
of corn which had been thrashed a hundred
and forty years before, in possession of their
living powers. Still more remarkable cases
have been mentioned by others. M. Thouin
sowed seeds of the climbing mimosa which
he found under the roots of an old chesnut at
Paris, and they germinated. Dr. Lindley
speaks of finding raspberry seeds in a barrow,
in company with a skeleton, with which coins
of Hadrian's reign had been buried, yet this
seed, which the testimony of the money
proved to be sixteen hundred years old, had
not lost its vitality. No doubt invariable
temperature, freedom from damp, and the
absence of the vital element of the air, was
the cause of such extraordinary preservation
in a dormant state. Under ordinary circumstances
seeds have to put up with much
rough treatment and exposure. Many are
lost, and for such losses the supply leaves
ample margin. The majestic Araucaria of
Patagonia bears at the tips of its branches
twenty or thirty fruits of one tree, and each
fruit contains about three hundred kernels.
Except by scattered families of the savage
natives who are mainly supported by these
fruits alone, and prize them so much as to
forego political quarrels that they may be
gathered, the country of the Araucaria is
almost untrodden by man, and left to itself
it has formed, according to the interesting
account of Dr. Poeppig, immense forests,
extending north and south for eight hundred
miles. One of our own thistles is so prolific,
that a single plant would by the second year
be the progenitor of about five hundred and
eighty millions of plants, if all the seeds were
to strike root.

Some waste of material arises from the
changeableness of seasons, or the
unsuitableness of the spot upon which the seed
happens to fall. Great is the care take
in bringing the seed to perfection, the
most beautiful flower and delicious fruit
are merely ministers to the necessities of the
seed, and the microscope especially shows
that the whole strength and powers of the
plant are devoted to this one great object of
perpetuation; but this exceeding care appears
to end with the perfection of the germ. Some
few tribes of plants are exceptions to this
rule. The ivy-leaved toad-flax, the sow-
bread or cyclamen, the subterraneous clover,
and some others, carefully bury their seeds.
The pretty cyclamencommon at gardeners'

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