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FOR THE PORT FOLIO-AMERICAN SCENERY,

THE artist who furnished us with the plate which accompanies this article, as well as that of Burlington Bay on Lake Champlain, has made an attempt, at a mode of engraving, new in this country. As an encouragement to future exertion, we have been induced to give it a place in the present number, and shall endeavour, by the superiority of our next, to atone for the deficiencies of the present.

The rapids above the celebrated Falls of Niagara, form perhaps the most terrific part of the whole of that astonishing scenery. The river, for the last half mile immediately above the cataract, descends about 58 feet, presenting to the view a broad inclined plane, or declivity of waters, surging and foaming against the rocky channel, or silently rushing down, black and gloomy, to the verge of the tremendous gulf, into which they are instantly precipitated, and when fancy hurries the beholder, forlorn, helpless, hastening to destruction; till starting to himself, as if from a hurried dream, he rejoices to find it unreal.

Notwithstanding the almost irresistible rapidity with which this torrent descends, and the inevitable destruction that would attend the slightest accident in the attempt, persons have been found, daring enough to pass from the American shore to Goat island, in the middle of the river, by means of long poles, with which they sustained themselves against the pressure of the current.

It is not easy to conceive an exploit where resolution and presence of mind, as well as muscular powers of body, are so essentially necessary to preservation; or an amusement more truly entitled to the epithet of mad fool-hardiness.

ON THE EFFECTS OF THE NITROUS OXIDE,

Which, when taken into the Lungs, produces Events the most singular and astonishing; "great Exhiliration, a rapid Flow of the most vivid Ideas, an irresistible Propensity to Laughter, and an unusal Fitness for muscular Exertion; which are in no Cases succeeded by Depression of Nervous Energy."

Spectatum admissi risum teneatis amici.-HOR.

IT has been with great justice and truth remarked, by the sagacious and profound Locke, that particular matters of fact are the undoubted foundation on which all our civil and natural knowledge rests; and that "the benefit the understanding derives from them, is to draw conclusions, which may be as standing rules of practice." The singularly curious gaseous substance, upon which we are about to submit the following remarks, is, comparatively, of very recent discovery. Its chemical properties, and relations to other gases, have been very faithfully traced by Mr. Davy, in his "Researches concerning the nitrous Oxide," or gaseous oxide of azote; and a number of very remarkable effects produced by it on the living body, in different individuals of eminence, have been also stated by him towards the conclusion of the work: still, as it is a power in a degree novel, and worthy of all the attention that can be bestowed upon it, we shall confidently hope, that the following observations will not be found impertinent, without use, or destitute of entertainment. Its medical powers have, in a number of instances, been acknowledged, and we have heard it asserted by those who have inhaled it, in the midst of rapture, that "it was the best boon the gods had lent to man." Yet there are those, who, from ignorance or heedlessness of the choicest gifts of Providence, suppose that this luxury should also be enumerated with the poisoned robe of Nessus, sent as a token of affection, but found, on experiment, to eat up the flesh and burn the vitals of him that wore it. It is attention to these novel and superior powers upon the animal system, which together with their sound and various acquirements, gives that superiority to the present race of Physicians, who are hence possessed of several rules of practice, of great importance, utterly unknown to the ablest practi

tioners in former ages, not excepting Hippocrates or Esculapius himself.

It is by all agreed who have inhaled this gaseous influence, that it has a peculiar and, at the same time, very agreeable ethereal or subvinous taste or flavour, and that this taste or flavour is even perceptible within the lungs or organs of respiration themselves, in a state of health, and that nothing can be more grateful than such perception to those who inhale the gas. Nay, farther, others have suspected, that its effects upon the human system may be coupled with a sympathetic affection of the nerves of the palate, and which may not (though we might so apprehend) be altogether impossible. They argue, that the influence of the organ of smell, when a substance which powerfully affects the olfactory nerve is applied, excites the whole nervous system, and produces in one instant a greater effect than the most potent cordials would do in a much longer time; and that the importance of exhibiting the volatile alcali in syncopes, or faintings, rests upon this foundation.

Nor must the effect of this gas upon the frame of man be entirely attributable to chemical changes: for, in organic bodies, besides matter and affinities, there are vital laws, which are incessantly modifying the action of internal agents and that of affinity. We know, for instance, that air and water are essentially subservient to the nourishment of the living animal, by the decomposition which they undergo in its organs, at the same time that warmth vivifies and animates all their springs: but, after death, the same bodies become the first agents of its decomposition; because, in order to preserve it without alteration, it should be protected from their action. The root of a living vegetable fibre, when put into water, derives nourishment from it; but when dead, and put into water, it becomes speedily decomposed. The process of making spermaceti from animal matter after death, depends upon checking the putrid fermentation by exposure to running water.

Under the operation of inhaling the nitrous oxide, we appear to feel a more than momentary bliss; to be exhilirated, not by "ideal gales," but, "redolent of joy and youth, to breathe life's second spring." Nor does sensuality preside at these or

gies, but joy. Fancy appears to present anew the most lively objects of imagination, and the remembrance alone of innocence and enjoyment. Rousseau would have been seated by the side. of his Sophia on a bank of turf in a grove enriched by a cascade, and found perhaps, in the midst of silence, a language worthy of the dignified rapture of his heart. In others, it produces a mingled emotion of merriment and amazement; but generally, if we may be allowed an expression of the divine Homer, pleasure, laughter, and joy, with the smiling hours, seem to dance around us; while sorrow, care, disgust and eveThe indery enemy of tranquillity and pleasure, are banished.

scribable ecstasy we experience at length gives place, sooner or låter (for the period in different individuals varies), to an inexpressible sensation of content, the natural consequence indeed of every object exciting ecstasy. Some adepts have assured us, that nothing can give a better idea of this kind of content and pleasure, than the difference there is between the impure and dusky light of a torch, and the clearness of that incorporeal light, in which, according to the opinion of the Oriental sages, spirits reside, as in their proper element. This internal satisfaction even shows itself outwardly, by the changes it produces in the mechanical part of our being. It rises with elasticity in our veins, it sparkles in our eyes, it spreads a smiling serenity over our countenance, it gives a vivacity to all our movements, unites and elevates every power of the soul, animates the sprightliness of the fancy and the understanding, and clothes our ideas with its own gloss and colouring.

A considerable and very grateful glow of warmth is percep tible over every part of the animal frame, after breathing the nitrous oxide. "On conçoit aussi, d'après les mêmes principes, pourquoi les affections morales gaies entretiennent, dans leur principe, ce degré de chaleur naturelle qui contribue à la santé; tandis que les affections morales tristes semblent refroidir et comme transir tout l'individu."-VAN MONS.

In attempting to investigate the principles upon which the more energetic action of the nitrous oxide rests, some have, by considering it as a most universal stimulus, compared it, or rather confounded its effects, with those produced by the grosser

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