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form a party on the water, and Handel was directed to prepare some music for the occasion; this gave birth to his deservedly admired, "Water-piece." It was performed, and conducted by himself unknown to his majesty, whose pleasure, on hearing it, was equal to his surprise; upon inquiring whose it was, the baron produced the composer to the king, bestowing upon him the highest approbation; and as a token for it, was pleased to add a pension of 2001. a year for life.

Handel was now settled in England upon a permanent establishment, and his reputation stood unrivalled. During the three first years of his time, he was principally engaged at the Earl of Burlington's, in Piccadilly, where he frequently met Pope. The poet one day asked his friend Arbuthnot, of whose knowledge in music he had a high opinion, What was his real opinion of Handel as a musician? Who replied, "Conceive the highest you can of his abilities, and they are far beyond any thing you can conceive." Pope nevertheless declared, that "Handel's finest. performance gave him no more pleasure than the airs of a common ballad."

The city of London was now to be treated with a union of Dryden's poetry and Handel's music, in the performance of "Alexander's Feast," which met with deserved success. About the year 1733, a tribute of respect was paid him by Mr. Tyers, proprietor of Vauxhall, who placed a marble statue of him in the gardens. His "Messiah" is said to have been first performed in, 1741, at Covent Garden, and was but coldly received. Pope, void of taste for music, and envious of the fame of Handel, vented his spleen in the following lines of his address to Dullness:


Strong in new arms, lo! giant Handel stands,
Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands:
To stir, to rouse, to shake, the soul he comes,
And Jove's own thunders follow Mars's drums;
Arrest him, empress, or you sleep no more,
She heard, and drove him to th' Hibernian shore.

Dunciad iv. 65.

About that time he embarked for Ireland, and, arriving in Dublin, was honourably received by the nobility of that city, where he performed his Messiah, for the benefit of the city priAfter an absence of nine months, he returned to London, and entertained the city with an oratorio, from Samson Agonistes. In 1751, his eyes began to be affected with a gutta serena, which sunk him into a state of despondency, and at length terminated in his total blindness. He was present at the performance of one of his oratorios, only eight days before his death,

which happened on April 24, 1759. He was interred in Westminster-Abbey, where, by his own order, and at his own expense, a monument has been erected to his memory. He lived in celibacy, and left a considerable fortune to his German rela



Description of an Alligator, from Jamaica, by G. Cumberland.

To the Editor-Sir,

AS the public, in general, seem to be of opinion, that there is a distinction between the animals called crocodiles and the alligators, which seems very doubtful, I took an opportunity, lately, of very carefully both examining and drawing one of the latter, lately brought by the ship Elizabeth, to this port, from the Black River, in the island of Jamaica; having been caught when very young by her carpenter.

This alligator is not above two feet long, and, as far as I can observe, exactly resembles those animals which have been frequently exhibited in London, (both dried and living) as crocodiles of the Nile. Inhabiting swamps and rivers, it is an animal difficult to catch, as at the least noise, being amphibious, it pops under water like a frog or water-newt; and, being generally in company with the parents, whose size renders them formidable enemies to man or beast, and who seem to prefer negro flesh to white, few persons are willing to undertake the business of ensnaring them.

This female, in warm weather, prefers being out of water for a long time; and one of its habits has shown me, why it moves the upper and not the under jaw; for, when out of the water, it reposes the head on the table, lifting up the upper mandible, and thus it remains till the mouth has flies in it, on which it instantly drops the jaw, like a trap-door, over the imprisoned sufferers. And thus, no doubt, it reposes it at the bottom of rivers to take in eels or other fishes; its temper seems gentle when not irritated, and, young as it is, it already knows its feeder; but when provoked by a cat or dog, it has already seized them. The manner in which its teeth are set, seems particularly calculated for taking and holding eels, as there are two waves in each jaw that enable it to press the prey out of a right line; the sharpness of its teeth, which are like fangs, and longest at each extremity of these waving indentures, also greatly aid its hold. In closing, there is reason to think they cross each other, but this I could not exactly

ascertain. In the fossil ones I found that always the case, and observable in that of Mr. P. Hawker, of Stroud, which, like this, is a sharp-nosed alligator. The rows of teeth above and below, consist almost generally of thirty-six in each jaw, and are white as ivory, curved a little, long and pointed. At the extremity of the nose, on the upper side, is a circular membrane, darker than the rest of the skin, and having two valves in the form of two small crescents, both of which it opens for air at the same time, though but rarely; above the eyes, which have nictating membranes, are two strong plates of bone; next comes the hinge of the upper-jaw, with four studs or scales, and behind them two plates, like shields; then the neck, after which four plates make the commencement of a process that extends to the point of the tail. The whole of what may be properly termed the tail (commencing below the anus, which is a ring of scales) consists of thirtysix joints, eighteen double-finned, and eighteen single finned above; and this rule held good with two dried animals, called crocodiles, now in Mr. Bullock's Museum.

The arms before resemble the lizard's, and have, like him, five fingers terminated with sharp claws; like him also, the division is of three inwardly and two outwards, the thumb and little finger being of the same magnitude. The hind legs are webbed strongly, and the claws strongest; in other respects the body resembles the coats of a turtle, but the arms are scaled and well defended.

Like the turtle, its belly is pale straw colour, inclining to green, quite flat, the scales polished and squared, and each scale has a mark as if it had been pinned like a tile. The hinder legs in construction are much like those of a frog, and he goes very fast by their aid. In general, when out of water, it sits with the head elevated a great deal; in the water, with it supine. It eats the guts of chickens, or any offal; its smell is rather fishy, but not very disagreeably so.

What variety there is of this tribe, I believe we are but little acquainted with; neither has it been as yet well ascertained, what is the distinction between the Gangetic, that of the Nile, and these of the West Indies. Should any of your correspondents have observed the habits of either of them, I hope they will second my endeavours, by sending their remarks to accompany these, in order that thereby we may know how to distinguish the Greek, or Asiatic, crocodile, from the American, when reposited in museums. How far this alligator of the West Indies agrees with that at the British Museum, or in what respect it accords with the fossil of Mr. C. Hawker, I shall be glad to know, as in that fossil, I have observed a process of bony rings resembling those that surround the eyes of turkies; but, as I have

[blocks in formation]

never seen an alligator skinned, it is impossible to decide as to that peculiar defence against the pressure of air or water; and, as this annular bony ring has not, I believe, been as yet described minutely, I shall conclude this paper with the particulars of its construction. It consists of seventeen scalelike bones, that, when united, form à circular iris, broader on one side than the other, four of which have double cavities, two sides of each separate scale form circular projections, while the other two sides are segments of a circle, that, when united, complete the annular boundary, whose projecting force is curved towards the light, each of about the thickness of a sheet of cartridge paper.



At Glasgow, a few weeks ago, of water in the brain, the amiable James Graham, the Scottish poet, author of the poems of the Sabbath, the Birds of Scotland, and the Georgics. Grown weary with the unprincipled turbulence of the bar, he forsook it, and accepted of a presentation to the church of England, in the neighbourhood of Durham. Here he retired, contented with the little stipend which the place afforded, hoping to regain his health in the exercise of a function so congenial to his mind. For some time past he complained much of a pain in his head, and a heavy swimming in his eyes, which rendered exertion of either body or mind painful. He went to Durham in the spring of last year, where, by his amiable disposition and powers of eloquence, he made himself beloved beyond the range of those whom he was appointed to instruct. Here he resided, making occasional excursions among the regions of poetical fancy, and faithfully discharging the duties of his pastoral office.


AT Dromore, aged 87, Dr. Percy, bishop of that diocese, an excellent prelate, and a veteran in literature. He was related to the family of the Duke of Northumberland, and was many years domestic chaplain to the late duke. By his virtues and talents, more than by his connexions, he was raised to the bishopric of Dromore, which he possessed for a long period, and the duties of which he discharged with exemplary zeal and true Christian chity. No man was ever more ready to relieve distress, to ad

minister comfort, and to interpose his kind offices whenever they were solicited. It is hardly necessary to say how much English literature has been indebted to the researches of this elegant scholar, who recovered from obscurity, and has preserved from oblivion, many beautiful remains of genius, which he gave to the world under the title of "Reliques of Ancient Poetry." In some that were mere fragments and detached stanzas, Dr. Percy supplied the deficiencies, and formed into a whole by congenial taste, feeling, and imagination. The beautiful old ballad of " A Friar of Orders Grey," upon which Goldsmith founded his interesting Poem of "The Hermit," was among the remains of antiquity, which Dr. Percy completed in this manner and he is the avowed author of the affecting song of "Oh Nannie wilt thou gang with me." For the curious anecdotes and literary information, to be found in the edition of the "Tatler," with notes, published in six octavo volumes, in the year 1786, the public are principally indebted to this prelate, who was a warm friend to literature, and a zealous patron of unprotected genius. He died at a very advanced period of life, and has left a reputation not only unbimished, but of exemplary purity and active benevolence. He was the last of the scholars of a famous school, the contemporary of Johnson, Gray, the Wartons, &c. having began his career in the literary world about the end of the last reign,



To the Editor.-Sir,

IT is proper you should call the attention of the public, the Society of Arts, and Board of Agriculture, to a vegetable production, which promises great social benefits, and towards which the speculations of merchants, the ingenuity of manufacturers, and the fostering patronage of the public, ought to be invited.

The triumph of man over nature, by prolonging his enjoyments, and active pursuits, after the setting of the sun, when all other animals retire to sleep, is a splendid proof of his original powers of combination. To complete this triumph he ought, by continued exertions, to increase his means of creating artificial light, and exhaust the stores of chemistry and natural history, till he has united all the points of perfection in its production and economy.

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