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THE MARBLE CURIOSITY.

To the Editor of the Pennsylvansa Inquirer.

SIR: Much has been written and much more has been said upon the subject of my marble slab; but nothing has transpired that has given satisfaction to my mind.That the characters are Hebrew, is now generally admit

There is nothing particularly worthy of remark in re-ted by the learned in that language. It would seem that ference to the bill of mortality for the month of April. The general amount of disease prevailing in the City and Liberties, is rather under than above the average of the years immediately preceding. With the exception of the Scarlet Fever and Measles, which prevail to a limited extent, and a few cases of Small Pox, our city remains free from the presence of any epidemic. Catarròs, Pleurisies and Rheumatisms, are generally very prevalent at this season of the year-being produced not only by the wet and variable weather with which it is accompanied, but, also, by the imprudence of most individuals in changing too soon their winter for summer cloathing.

Deaths in APRIL, from 1807 to 1830.
(Both inclusive.)

they must have been either placed where they are now found since the stone was taken out of the quarry and cut,-or have been engraved upon the rock at some ancient period of time, and have been buried in it by the gradual accumulation of its particles, or they are fossil remains in the natural formation of the rock,-or they are a lusus naturæ, a mere freak of nature, the effect of chance. Now, let us examine each of these in their order. Have the letters been put there since the slab was sawed? If so, by whom, and with what motive? The foreman who attended the sawing, is a young man of excellent character, and he is willing to make an oath that they were discovered by him as soon as the pieces were separated, and he immediately called several respectable persons to witness the phenomenon. The testimony of two or three gentlemen is already before the public. He had no motive to practice a deception, -the block did not belong to him. Mr. Ramsey, the former owner, is a gentleman of the first respectability, esteemed by all who know him. He presented it to me. Besides, an examination of the slab convinced Mr.. Strickland and Mr. Peal, and would convince any com342 petent person, that there is no mark of a tool nor any recent mark of art whatever having been used: the surface of the indentation as well as that of the letters is semi-vitrified. It cannot therefore, be credited, that these letters have been put there since the block was 353 quarried and the slab cut.

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To. Years. Ad. Ch. To.
157 1819 117 97 214
130
101 231
98 224
210
290

126

124

86

177

113

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143

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91 231
190 200 390
130 145 275
178 1828 185 133 318
207 1829 173 180
236 1830 178 170 348

140

Statement of the BIRTHS in the City and Liberties of
Philadelphia, for the three first months of the
year 1830.

January, 340 Males, 300 Females.
February,
March,

283 do
286 do

297 do

313 do

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Total of Births for three months-1819. We cannot receive this as the absolute amount of Births during these months, but only so far as reports have been received at the Health Office; many Physicians, it is believed, have not furnished statements, and it is well known that numerous births annually occur, of which no reports are ever received. We may safely add at least 100 to the total amount given here, in order to obtain the proper number which have occurred.

State of the Thermometer, at the Health Office, for April.

Have the letters been engraved at some ancient period of time, and have they been buried in the rock by the gradual accumulation of the particles of matter? from their being in the form of well known characters, The first part of this proposition appears probable, -from the regular shape of the indentation,-from the position of the letters, they being nicely disposed of, at equal distances from the top and the bottom of the indentation or entablature,-from the equal and proportionable thicknesses of the letters themselves-and from their being placed at a proper distance from each other: all these, I say, would lead us to believe that they were the work of man; but here the probability of the proposition ends, for one cannot conceive how the particles of this, which is a primitive limestone, could have accumulated so as to have buried the inscription in the solid body of the rock 60 or 70 feet deep, where it was found.

Shall we get rid of the difficulties by adopting either of the other suppositions? I fear not. It does not bear the appearance of a fossil; besides, as I said before, the rock in which it was found is primitive, in which no fossil remains are ever found: no plant, leaf, shell, nor any thing of the kind have ever been discovered in a work of this character. To say that it is a lusus naturæ, is 58 giving very little information; but even this little it is

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difficult to affirm, for it implies that it was the effect of chance, that is to say, that chance composed two Hebrew characters of equal sizes!-chance made for their reception a beautifully formed entablature just large enough to receive them!-and chance disposed of them therein, in order, at equal distances from the top and bottom of the table and from each other! It may be so, but it is not easy of belief.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

P. A. BROWNE.

cause he thinks he has indentified it with the argillite of the Cohoes falls and the bank of the Hudson; but professor Dewey says that the Williamstown slate appears to him clearly to be primitive. See 2nd vol. Silliman's Journal, 248.

In page 31 of Professor Eaton's Geological Survey, published in 1824, he describes primitive argillite; and in page 62 of the same work, observes that he had long been a follower of Bakewell in placing argillite in the transition class, but that after six years' examination made along more than 200 miles of the range which To the Editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer crosses the section west of Williams College, assisted SIR-I observe that Mr. Browne, in the account he by his pupils, he discovered no petrifactions nor angives of his curious marble slab, takes it for granted thracite coal, and that he had yielded to the authority that the lime rock in which it was found is a primitive. of Professor Silliman and Col. Gibbs, (good authority) Now, I would beg leave to inquire, with a sincere de-in placing argillite in the primitive. sire to be informed upon the subject, if this is the undoubted case.

Argillite, which Mr. Eaton divides into wacke and clay slate, he places in the transition class.

"Werner" judges rightly, when he concludes that I will not dispute his position that if the lime rock If I recollect right, Mr. Browne, in his first letter, in which the slab was found reposes upon a rock (which I have not before me,) presents the following clearly transition, that the lime rock must also be transias the relics of primitive rocks found in this district, tion. Had I been endeavouring to prove that the lime commencing at Philadelphia and proceeding up the rock was primitive, by the single circumistance of its Schuylkill river, viz: gneis mica slate, hornblende, tal- reposing upon the argillite, this observation would have cose slate, primitive clay slate, and primitive lime rock. carried with it weight. But this writer, who is endeavBut upon turning to Eaton's Geological Nomenclature ouring to establish that there is no such thing as primifor North America rocks, founded upon his geological | tive argillite, has omitted to notice, that if the lime rock surveys, I find he gives a different enumeration, viz-is clearly proved to be primitive, and it reposes, congranite, mica slate, hornblende, talcose slate, granular formably, upon the argillite, that the primitive characquartz, and granular lime rock. ter of the argillite is thereby clearly established. Now I did not assert that the primitive character of the lime rock was established by the mere circumstance of its reposing upon the argillite: I say that the lime rock bears internal evidence of its primitive character, and I rely, among other things, upon its crystalline structure; upon the total absence of fossil remains; upon its colouring matter being mineral, known by its resisting the power of the blowpipe; and upon the talco-micaceous slate that occurs upon its cleavage. I appeal to "Werner" whether these are not irrefragable proofs.As regards the observation of Professor Eaton, that he does not believe that there is any such thing as primitive argillite on this globe, I would remark that in this district we have a clay slate corresponding precisely to the primitive argillite which he describes in page 31 of his valuable work, which I would be very happy to show him; confident, from what I know of his candour, that if convinced of an error, he would feel no hesitation in withdrawing the above, which was at best but a mere opinion. I am, Sir, your ob'nt. serv't,

I will also call your attention to an observation made by this geologist in page 19 of the same work, where he says "we have no primitive argilite in our district, if organic remains form the characteristic distinction: neither do I believe there is such a rock as primitive argillite on this globe."

In what I am about to add, Mr. B. and I can have no difference of opinion. If the argillite which he quotes as primitive, is clearly proved to be transition, and the lime rock in which his curiosity was found reposes upon the argillite, the lime rock must also be transition; and if the lime rock is transition, then that which has been considered Hebrew characters upon it, may be the fos sil remains of some unknown animal. Sed quere. WERNER.

To the Editor of the Pennsylvania Inquirer. Sir-I observed in your paper of Thursday last, a piece signed "Werner," in which the writer suggests, that the rock from which my marble slab was taken, may be transition, and that what has been taken for Hebrew characters, may be the fossil remains of some unknown animal. To give countenance to suggestion, reference is made to the works of Professor Amos Eaton, of Troy, N. York. In justice to this distinguished geologist, I will ask the favour of you to publish the whole passage from which "Werner" has made the ex

tract.

P. A. BROWNE.

PENNSYLVANIA CANAL.

Mr. EVANS, of the city of Philadelphia, from the Committee appointed to inquire into the state and condition of the Pennsylvania Canal, &c.-REPORT:

That from the shortness of time and the difficulty of procuring the necessary information, their report must necessarily be very incomplete. The following is a brief representation of the state of the works, according to the best information they have been able to procureDelaware Division.

"The argillite under which the granular lime rock passes near the Massachusetts line is (says Mr. Eaton) certainly the very same continuous rock which forms the Cohoes falls, and the bed and bank of the Hudson at Baker's falls to Newburgh near the Highlands. All Mr. Kennedy, the superintendent of this division, rethe intervening rocks lie in a kind of inclined trough in presents that about 50 miles of this canal is complete, the argillite. We have no primitive argillite in our dis- with the exception of a few sections that will require trict, if organic remains form the characteristic distinc- trimming-about 10 or 11 miles are more backward, tion. Neither do I believe there is such a rock as prim-and being heavy sections, will require three months to itive argillite on this globe. This is Bakewell's opinion; finish them.. though I have often changed mine, I now believe he is correct, and that the vassetting edges of the same rocks present a mere primitive appearance in all cases, and that this fact has led geologists into ruinous error."Geological Nomenclature, 1828.

It is obvious from the above passage, that Professor Eaton has pronounced the argillite near the Massachusetts' line to be transition, for no other reason than be

Of 25 locks on this canal, all are finished except four, which are not begun-one of these, the tide lock at Bristol, will be expensive and tedious.

There are nine aqueducts; three of which must be re-built, part of one of them having already fallen down, and the three are so badly founded and so unskilfully pile planked and puddled, that they will soon (probably) fall, unless they are taken down-the remainder of

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Mr. Kennedy, the intelligent superintendent of this division, appears very confident that this canal will be ready to receive the water in August.

Middletown and Clark's Ferry Division.

This canal although reported to be ready to receive the water nearly two years ago, and has been almost useless ever since, is believed to be in little better condition than it was at that time-the great defects consisted of insufficient pile planking and puddling at the aqueducts, culverts, waste wiers, &c. and in some places bad foundations for the stone work-also, in the embankments, mitre sills of the locks and in the construction of the aqueducts and waste wiers.

Although several attempts have been made to repair these defects and much has been expended on them, yet as they have been under the direction of inexperienced engineers, little or no improvement has been made, and although the water is at this moment letting into the canal, it is not believed that much reliance ean be placed on the permanency of the navigation until a radical change is made in the defective parts of the

work.

It appears that the owners of some of the grounds, are making encroachments by digging out docks and building up ware-houses on the line of the canal and its embankments which may be very injurious to the public works. By what authority this has been done, your committee have not been informed, and they are surprised that it should have been done under the eye of the board of commissioners without observation.

The dam at the head of this canal was repaired at a great expense during the last summer; but was again washed away by the late spring freshet, insomuch that when the water falls to what is called low water mark, little or no water will pass into the canal. The dam at that place must be re-built in a very different manner and of different marerials to be of any permanent advantage-although this dam was carried away whilst the board of commissioners were in session; yet with a knowledge of this fact they adjourned until the 24th of May, without taking any order for re-building it-as the season will then be so far advanced that it will be very difficult if not impracticable to procure timber for rebuilding it this season. It is doubtful whether it can be re-built until another season after the present.

Canal from Duncan's Island to Lewistown.

Mr. Petrie, the principal assistant engineer on this canal, states that it is in good order the whole distance, except three sections of about half a mile each, and those parts which are contiguous to the aqueducts, waste wiers, &c.--the first are defective from the deceitful manner in which the banks are constructed and the insufficiency of the puddling-and the latter from the water getting round the pile planking of the aqueducts, &c. and thereby washing the embankments

away.

The aqueducts, &c. are all defective from the circumstance of the trunks being too short and the pile planking being very bad.

Mr. Petrie thinks the aqueduct over the the Juniata will be completed by the last of May, when this canal will be opened for navigation.

Cannl from Lewistown to Huntingdon. Mr. Parker, the principal assistant engineer on this canal, reports that the work progres-es rapidly, and that unless something not foreseen should happen the water will be let into this canal by the first of November next. Susquehanna and West Branch canals.

303

the water was let into the Susquehanna canal, but of shallow depth only and some defects were discovered, which have all been repaired, and the water would be let in the beginning of April, and would be fit for navigation if the pile planking and puddling of the aqueducts did not fail-as this part of the work was done before he had the direction of this canal, he is ignorant of its construction or sufficiency.

This engineer says that the canal to Muncy ripples will be completed in three months.

North Branch canal.

The committee have received no information res

pecting the precise state of this canal. The acting commissioner on this division, Mr. Mitchell, promised to send a written statement of the state of the works; but this has not been done; for what reason is unknown to your committee.

Western Division.

Mr. Stevenson, the acting commissioner on this canal states, that two or three of the locks and at least one of the aqueducts on this division must be re-built-that the pile planking and puddling are in many instances very bad, and that the wooden trunks of the aqueducts were too short.

That the canals, dams, locks and aqueducts, from Pittsburg to Johnstown will be completed by the first day of September next, when this division will be fit for navigation.

The tunnel at Blairsville will require arching, as from the immense quantity of stone, gravel, &c. that is frequently falling, it is very dangerous and occasions fre quent delays; otherwise it must be abandoned.

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Mr. Rawle, the engineer on these canals states, that tons.

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mark down all the rafts and arks that he saw descending, we find that two thousand six hundred and eighty seven Rafts, and nine hundred and ninety five Arks arrived at or passed this place the present season. Many would unavoidably escape his notice from passing down the river at the other side of the island, which lies opposite this place; but upon the whole, this may be considered as correct an estimate as the case would admit of forming. Harrisburg Rep.

Report of the Bank of Pennsylvania to the Stockholders, January 30, 1830.

Mortgages, stock and other securities

54 17 0

Bills discounted,.

135 14 0

and premiums,..

124 17 1

Specie,.....

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Tons,

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1578 17 2 22 "There were four boats, each of which carried upwards of 1000 bushels of wheat, included in this amount, which puts at rest the report, that no more than 800 bushels can pass through in one boat.-Price Current.

Pennsylvania Canal.-During the past week this canal has been in excellent order, there have been from Friday the 23d, up to Thursday, the 30th April, inclusive, 29 arrivals and departures. The amount of tolls received in that period was $162 55. Har. Rep.

Susquehanna Trade. By a statement furnished us by our fellow-citizen, Mr. John Bigler, who was careful to

..$3;182,964 39

.1,230,435 90

454,893 69

Notes and amounts due from other Banks,.. 901,096 70

Real Estate, Expenses,

......

Capital Stock,.... Notes in circulation,. Due other Banks,

Due to depositors,...

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Due to the State and unpaid dividends,. Surplus fund, profit and loss, &c... Discounts received,

Total,

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2,500,000 00

1,111,665 51

.374,047 36

1,549,338 60

. 238,650 87 ..268,234 02

..20,053 17

....

$6,061,989 62

Time of declaring dividend and amount, January and July, 3 per cent, half yearly.

DIVIDENDS.-The following dividends have been declared by the undermentioned Banks and Turnpike Companies, for the last six month: Mechanics Bank,

Schuylkill,

Southwark,

Farmers and Mechanics,
Philadelphia,
Commercial,
Northern Liberties,
Penn Township,
Bank of Germantown,

Germantown and Perkiomen Turnpike
Road Company,

333333

3 per cent.

31

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24

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$2 on each share.

Frankford and Bristol Turnpike Road Company,

$2 on each share.

Chesnut Hill & Spring Hill Turnpike Road Company,

$3 on each share.

This Bank also declared an extra dividend of 10

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THE

REGISTER OF PENNSYLVANIA.

DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF EVERY KIND OF USEFUL INFORMATION RESPECTING THE STATE.

VOL. V.-NO. 20.

EDITED BY SAMUEL HAZARD.
PHILADELPHIA, MAY 15, 1830.

BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 295.)

excesses.

NO. 124

to say nothing of the inconvenience to which it would expose those at a distance who obtained accommodations-they would be unavoidably granted without any knowledge of the circumstances of the persons upon whose credit the Government would depend for re-payment. It would, in fact, be, for all useful purposes, a mere District Bank.

These views of the subject have brought the committee to the conclusion, that, if a Government bank should be established, it would have at least as many branches as the Bank of the United States, and probably a much greater number. Few administrations would have the firmness to resist an application to establish a branch coming from any quarter of the Union, however injudicious the location might be, upon correct principles of commerce and banking.

at places remote from the point where it is issued, and not connected with it by a regular commercial interIII.Having said thus much on the constitutionality and course, there will not exist that easy and prompt conexpediency of an incorporated National Bank, the only vertibility which is so essential to the credit of bank question which remains to be examined by the committee paper. When bank bills are confined to their approis,the expediency of establishing ‘a National Bank foun-priate sphere of circulation, a redundant issue is certainded upon the credit of the Government & its revenuesly and immediately followed by a run upon the bank for It is presumed to have been the intention of the Pres- specie. This timely admonition is as useful to the bank ident, in suggesting the inquiry as to a bank founded as it is to the community: for it enables the directors to upon the credit and revenues of the Government, to be avoid, with unfailing certainty, an excess equally injuunderstood as having allusion to a bank of discount rious to both, and which no human sagacity could antiand deposit. Such a bank, it is taken for granted, cipate or prevent, by calculation merely. Whatever, would have branches established in various parts of the therefore, in a system of bank circulation, prevents the Union, similar to those now established by the Bank of reflux of redundant issues, necessarily destroys the only the United States, and co-extensive with them. The adequate security against these injurious, and ruinous great object of furnishing a national currency could not be accomplished, with an approach to uniformity, with- But a Government Bank without branches would be out the agency of such branches; and another object, obnoxious to another objection which could not be obvisecond only in importance to the one just stated, the ated. Its loans would be confined to the District of Coextention of the commercial facilities of bank accommo-lumbia; or, if extended to the various parts of the Union dations to the different parts of the Union, could not be at all effected without such agency. If there should be simply a great central bank established at the seat of Government, without branches to connect its operations with the various points of the commerce of the Union, the promise to pay specie for its notes, whenever presented, would be almost purely nominal. Of what consequence would it be to a merchant or planter of Louisiana, or a manufacturer or farmer of Maine, that he could obtain specie for bills of the National Bank, on pre senting them at the city of Washington-a place wholly unconnected either with Louisiana or Maine by any sort of commercial intercourse, and where, consequently, these bills would never come in the regular course of trade? A promise to pay specie at a place so remote from the place of circulation, and where the bills would never come but at a great expense, and for the sole purpose of being presented for payment, would neither give credit to the notes, nor operate as an effective check upon excessive issues. Whatever credit such notes might have, at a distance from the place of issue, would not be because they were redeemable at the pleasure of the holder-for such would not be the fact; but prin-der consideration. cipally because of the ultimate responsibility.of the But the patronage resulting from the appointmentGovernment, and of their being receivable in payment the annnal appointment-of these agents, great as it of all dues to the Treasury. They would rest, there- would doubtless be,would be insignificant and harmless, fore, upon almost precisely the same basis of credit as when compared with that which would result from the the paper money of our Revolution, the assignats of dispensation of bank accommodations to the standing Revolutionary France, and the Treasury notes of the amount of at least fifty millions of dollars! The mind late war. These were receivable in discharge of debts almost instinctively shrinks from the contemplation of due to the Treasury, and Government was of course ul- an idea so ominous to the purity of the Government and timately responsible for their payment; yet the two for the liberties of the people. No government of which mer depreciated almost to nothing, and the latter, tho' the committee have any knowledge, except perhaps, bearing interest, sunk to 20 per cent. below par. But the despotism of Russia, was ever invested with a patthe notes of a central Government Bank, without branch- ronage at once so prodigious in its influence and so danes, would be subject to depreciation from a cause which gerous in its character. In the most desperate financonstitutes a conclusive objection to such an institution.cial extremities, no other European government has There would be nothing to limit excessive issues but the ever ventured upon an experiment so perilous. If the discretion and prudence of the Government or of the direc-whole patronage of the English monarchy were contion. Human wisdom has never devised any adequate security against the excessive issues, and, consequently, the depreciation of bank paper, but its actual, and easy, and prompt convertibility into specie at the pleasure of the holder. Experience has shown that, where the paper of a bank is, by any means, habitually circulated VOL. V.

39

The Bank of the United States now employs five hundred agents, in the various parts of the Union where its offices are established. From this fact some idea may be formed of the very great addition which would be made to the patronage of the Executive Government by the establishment of such a bank as the one un

centrated in the bands of the American Executive, it may be well doubted whether the public liberty would be so much endangered by it as it would by this vast pecuniary machine, which would place in the hands of every administration fifty millions of dollars, as a fund for rewarding political partizans.

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