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During the reign of Don Alonzo many great improvements were effected, and much scientific wealth added of inestimable value. That age may well be considered as the dawn of a new day, which would be succeeded by the bright refulgence of the planet of science, which is rapidly rising, though we doubt whether it will soon reach its meridian of glory. Had all the wise men who were collected together in those days in Seville and in Toledo possessed at their command all the resources and means which the middle ages produced, astronomy would most undoubtedly have made prodigious strides. The useful and advantageous application of astronomy to geography and the art of navigation is due, in France, Italy, and Portugal, to the use of these Tables. The union between physics and mechanism, the obvious and natural connection of these sciences with mathematics and astronomy, prepared the astounding events which took place in the last years of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth, and which proved of signal benefit to the welfare of the human race. I refer to the wonderful discoveries of the New World, and the first voyage of circumnavigation of the globe which was effected in that memorable age. Columbus, stepping beyond the limits of the genius of the ancients, destroys at one blow the system of Ptolemy, Tycho-Brahe, and other geographers, and confirms the Copernican theory. Magallanes, by a practical demonstration, firmly establishes the fact of the earth being a globe. By the side of Columbus rises the glorious form of Queen Isabella to claim a great portion of glory which belongs to the discovery of tropical America, a project which had been despised in Italy, in England, and in Portugal. And while wise men were engaged in the study of the heavenly spheres, these two men of extraordinary genius and energy, each great in his way, departed from these shores, and one of them from this very city of Seville, to open a way in the science of observation, a wide field of wealth, and new and extensive dominions to Spain. To the reigning monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, is due the high and merited renown of being the founders of our University. Two events in history will ever render the name of Isabella respected throughout all ages--the conquest of Granada, and the discovery of the New World. The one places the laurel wreath of a triumphant warrior upon her brow, for she, with invincible persistency, effected the complete expulsion of the Arab domination, unfurling the Castillian flag on the heights of the Alhambra of Granada. The other shed over her a more durable glory, far more beautiful and useful to the human race, and also far more worthy of Catholic monarchs—scientific renown and glory. And perchance the importance of these discoveries in the physical as well as in the intellectual world was not valued at its highest until our days, in which we are truly appreciating their immense advantages.

Let us now take a survey of our times, which are not so ungrateful as is generally supposed.

At the commencement of this century notable efforts were made to preserve in Seville her ancient renown of love of arts and letters. Various events-revolutions followed by violent reactions, incessant disquietude, and other evils-were powerless to prevent the free expansion of Andalusian genius fostered by the teaching of distinguished masters. These classes were attended by choice intellects, for, without noise or show, they bore fruit in producing the Pachecos, the Bravo Murillos, the Valdegamas, and many others who have become the pride and glory of

this University. Scientific education was less brilliantly carried out, although there were not wanting some whose efforts in that direction were fruitful in sowing the seeds which are now springing up into hopeful plants. In the reign of Carlos III. a chair of mathematics was founded under the protection and vigilance of the Economic Society. As its professor was elected Don Pedro Henry, better known for his gift of imparting knowledge than for his writings. His public lectures were well attended, thus proving that the Andalusians were prepared for this study. Don José Rebollo carried to Madrid the light of the sciences; his expositions became as renowned as his works, which are written with a captivating clearness and great command of language. Don José Isidoro Morales, humanist, theologian, and deep mathematician, obtained equal laurels with the classic translator of “La Croix.” Don Alberto Trista, after gaining a great reputation for learning in San Telmo, Bilboa, and in the Central University, returned to his native place to establish the study of mathematics. His works, his researches, his indefatigable labours as professor, are the greatest pride of the school to which he belonged, and which now respectfully guards his remains. His conversation was always instructive, whether at home or abroad, ever breathing an enthusiastic love for the study of the heavenly bodies, and a deep appreciation of the great minds who discovered and made manifest the laws of the universe. “Do not allow,” he would say, “ their immortal works to slumber in the dust of libraries; they were not written to adorn those shelves, but to be read and studied and meditated upon; in them you will find the divine light that illumines the intellect." The cultivation of the sciences in our University was the charm of his declining days. In consequence of the reforms effected in 1845, by his former disciple the Marquis of Pidal, he lived to see established in all the Universities of the kingdom, the study of the exact sciences, and of physical and natural science, and to witness the improvements which more particularly took place in our own University. Laboratories were established, collections brought together, a botanical garden planted, and varied apparatus erected, all which solaced his last moments, and on witnessing all this he roused his failing energies, and in a deeply touching manner exclaimed, “Now I can die happily."

How far we have profited by the labours and experience of our predecessors must be left for a subsequent letter, as I already fear that this is one over long, however concisely I have endeavoured to trace the progress of the University.

CURRENT LITERATURE.

Flowers and their Unbidden Guests. fiction. In the life of the tiniest By Dr. A. Kerner, Professor of flower there is material for a couple Botany in the University of Inns- of three - volume novels. Dr. bruck, with a prefatory Letter by Kerner has only chosen a single Charles Darwin. London : C. phase of its bright and varied Kegan Paul and Co.

existence—that of the modes in Dr. Kerner has chosen to couch which it treats visitors whom it his botanical records in a form so does not want, and the ingenuity alluring as to attract the merest which it exercises in devising proamateur. Even to one who is tection against them when they ignorant of the language of botan- belong to the obtrusive class for ists, there is so much that is charm- whom “Not at home is not ing in this essay that he will be enough; and perhaps these untempted to take the trouble of dis- bidden guests may be forgiven for covering the inner meanings of the pertinacity which gives the some of the technicalities, or else flower so much trouble: for they perhaps he will more rashly swal- well know that the flower is always low them blindly, like pills in a at home, and that her table is spoonful of jam. In any case he spread with sweetness. cannot but have gained a wider There are two prefaces to this insight into the marvels of nature book which somewhat enlighten from the pages of this little volume. as to its position in botanic Nature is recognised as an artist ;

literature.

Mr. Darwin, in the the poets find such sympathy and first of these, welcomes Kerner's inspiration in her as to lead them

essay as opening out “a highly to suspect her of being the great- original and curious field of reest poet of them all. It has been search.” The editor, Dr. Ogle, left to the men of science to show tells us, in the second, that "the her to us as an inimitable and subject is new, though a branch of most fascinating romancist. Mr. the tree planted by Mr. Darwin.” Ruskin has repeated to us a few of He then relates some observathe romantic tales he has heard tions of his own which he had from her ; his pictures of crystal made during a holiday in Italy; life overflow with interest. The but before another heavenly bodies thrill us by the brought opportunity for element of romance which colours making further investigations this their great movements and mys- essay of Kerner's appeared, “renterious life; and, passing from dering all further evidence unlarge to small, throughout nature necessary.” It is impossible to we find the same fascination, when- help quoting one from Dr. Kerever a clear-sighted student will ner's collection of plant sketches. pause to enlighten us about these

“ Gardeners are well acquainted truths which are stranger than with a simple method of keeping

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off ants and woodlice from such small; still, it is quite sufficient to plants as are exposed to their debar wingless insects from access attacks when growing in a garden, to the flowers. ... though perfectly protected against tians grow in places where at the them in the natural wild condition period of blossoming there is very They place the pots, in which the abundant dew on rainless days, and plants to be protected are grown, the leaves project horizontally, with on other pots turned upside down, their concavities turned upwards, and these latter are put in a basin just like so many buckets set out filled with water

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on purpose to catch it. Thus the plants are thus placed as it were water required to fill the basal leaf upon an island ... Not a few receptacles is never wanting ; and flowers when growing wild are most no single occasion when I perfectly protected against creeping examined such a gentian did I fail insects by a similar method. In to find water encircling the stem at some

of the Bromeliaceae the base of each internode." ... the rigid leaves are set in This seems a very simple contrirosettes, and are more or less con- vance, and so does that of plants cave on their upper surface. Now which contain milky juice. When each leaf is in such close contact the ant attempts to pay an unwel. with the two above it by the come visit to such a plant he is margins of its concavity as to very soon glued down; and the acform a funnel-shaped receptacle ; count of his struggles is so dramatic and in these receptacles rain and as to excite one's sympathies. But dew not only collect, but are re- these are not so interesting as the tained for a considerable period. detailed accounts of which the In other species there is but one book is full, of more delicate obserrosette, formed by the collective vations of the various manners of radical leaves. This forms a large floral self-defence against unbidden central basin, which will retain and unwelcome guests. any water that gets into it. The peduncle of the inflorescence The Fairy Land of Science. Ву springs from the centre of this Arabella B. Buckley. Stanford. basin, and is thus surrounded 1878. with water at its base. Thus the Among the numerous gift books flowers of these plants, which are for young people that appear at as a rule gaudy-coloured, nectar- this time of the year, very few iferous, and dependent on the indeed will be found to equal Miss visits of flying insects, are set as it Buckley's beautiful little volume were upon an isolating stool; and in genuine interest and permanent wingless creeping insects, if they value. It may be said to bear a would get at them, must either somewhat similar relation to the cross over the water of one of the scientific treatise that the connumerous small funnels, or over the scientious historical novel does to large central basin of the radical the formal history, combining a rosette, a task which they will light and attractive style with naturally not undertake.

thorough accuracy in all the facts “I have also noticed collections of and theories it expounds. water above the connate bases of Here, as in her former work on the opposite leaves in the large gen- the History of Science, the tians of the Alps. .

authoress shows that she possesses tity of water in the sheaths formed the rare faculty of making difficult by the leaves is in this case only things easy to be understood, and

The quan:

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of giving a living interest to every- and

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must have gone on, never, thing she touches ; while at the never resting, through the reigns same time she knows where to of George I., George II., and the draw the line, and does not attempt long reign of George III. ; then to deal with those more recondite through those of George IV., branches of science which William IV., and Victoria, whirlonly be mastered by hard studying on day and night at express and experiment. The style of the speed; and at last, to-day, you work is well indicated by the happy would have reached the sun!" choice of subjects for the several Every child who has travelled chapters : Sunbeams and the work by railway, and has watched the they do; The Aerial Ocean in which

express trains rushing past the we live; A Drop of Water on its stations, will be able, by this Travels; The two great Sculptors, forcible illustration, to obtain some Water and Ice ; the Voices of real idea of the enormous distance Nature, and how we hear them; of the sun, because it is here The Life of a Primrose; the history measured in terms of the swiftest of a Piece of Coal; Bees in the motion he can actually see, feel, Hive ; Bees and Flowers ;-and all and appreciate. The size of the these are not treated vaguely and sun is rendered intelligible by sketchily, as is so frequently the means of a diagram showing the case when it is attempted to make disc of the sun almost filling the science amusing and poetical, but page, and a row of one hundred thoroughly, so far as they go, and six earths stretching across it, every step in the exposition of the each represented by a minute black subject being made clear by means dot. And, still further to impress of familiar illustration and ex. this important fact of size and periment, aided by excellent

excellent bulk, we have another illustration: diagrams and picturesque wood- “One of the best ways to form cuts. To show how these various an idea of the whole size of the subjects are treated, let us take sun is to imagine it to be hollow, the first, and perhaps the most like an air-ball, and then see how difficult of them, on

“ Sunbeams many earths it would take to fill it. and the work they do," and show You would hardly believe that how our author contrives to make it would take one million three it both intelligible and interesting. hundred and thirty-one thousand

The general effects of sun-rays globes the size of world and the causes of day and night squeezed together. Just think, if are first picturesquely sketched, a huge giant could travel all over and then we have the distance the the universe and gather worlds, all sun is from us (ninety-one millions as big as ours, and were first to of miles) thus illustrated :

make a heap of merely ten such “ The figures are so enormous worlds, how huge it would be ! that you cannot really grasp them. Then he must have a hundred But imagine yourself in an express such heaps of ten to make a thoutrain, travelling at the tremendous sand worlds ; and then he must rate of sixty miles an hour, and collect again a thousand times that never stopping.

At that rate, if thousand to make a million, and you wished to arrive at the sun to- when he had stuffed them all into day, you would have been obliged the sun-ball he would still only to start 171 years ago. That is, have filled three-quarters of it!" you must have set off in the early The quantity of light and heat part of the reign of Queen Anne; emitted by the sun are each illus

our

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