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Entertaining Knowledge.

VOL I...

MAY, 1831

No. 12.

PASSAIC FALLS, N. J. • Few places of resort are possessed of so many de

lightful attractions as the romantic village of Paterson The handiwork of nature has been exerted in he: most picturesque models, and every variety of landscape is presented to the traveller. The fålls of the Passaic river, though of no very great magnitude, are characterized by a wildness of scenery which imparts a more than ordinary interest to the view. The peculiar location of the stream, which pours down a perpendicular abyss, and is received into a natural basin below the immense apertures in the basaltic columns which surround it, the serpentine mazes of the river above the fall, and the lake below covered with the angry foam, which sparkles with rainbow lustre as it falls—all fonspire to lend an air of enchantment, which, a the same time, impresses the mind with wonder and with awe.

In the year 1827 a foot-bridge was thrown over the principal cataract, which, notwithstanding it detracts somewhat from the native simplicity of the spot, is not without its advantages. '

The Passaic river, at Paterson, affords a water power which is second only to Niagara ; and, of all the streams that have been diverted from their natural beds for manufacturing purposes, is decidedly the most powerful and valuable. The active hand of human ingenuity has seized upon the facilities which nature offered, and converted them to its own usę.

MUSIC AS A BRANCH OF COMMON EDUCATION.' • 'n a former number of the Annals, * we stated that

Vocal Music was deemed an essential branch of commop school education in Germany and Switzerland, and enjoined as such by the governments of those countries; and gave a specimen of the music employed for this purpose.

The immediate object to be accomplished, is to per. fect one of our senses, to exercise an important set of organs, and, in short, to cultivate one of those faculties which our Creator has seen fit to give us. To neglect it, is to imply that it was unnecessary; that it is useless. It is to treat a noble gift in a manner which involves ingratitude to the Giver.

In this case also, as in others, the invariable law of Providence is, that the employment of our faculties is important to their preservation and perfection. Singing is of no small value, as a mere physical exercise of the vocal organs, which invigorates the lungs, and thus promotes the health of the whole frame. Dr. Rush observes, that it is a means of protection from the pulmonary diseases so common in our climate; and adduces as a fact, in confirmation of this opinion, that the Germans in the circle of his practice were seldom afflicted with consumption, and that he had never known but a single instance of spitting blood among them. He as. cribes this to the strength which their lungs acquire, by exercising them in vocal music, which constitutes an essential branch of their education. He had even known singing employed with success as a means of arresting the progress of pulmonary complaints.

But the ultimate objects in cultivating vocal music, are those for which it was obvious this gift was bestowed. The first and the highest is, to unite with our fellow men, in expressing our gratitude and love to our Hea. venly Father. In doing this we rouse and excite our own devotional feelings, and stir up each other to new life in the worship of God. For these purposes, God himself commanded the use of music, in the Israelitish

• See Monthly Repository, &c., for April, page 363.

church. Indeed, he has written this law on the hearts of men.' Scarcely a temple or a service has existed in the world, except among the Mahometans, in which music did not occupy an important place. In this view the subject is of great importance. The defects in our church music åre felt as well as admitted by all ; and no thorough change can take place, but in acting on the rising generation.

But it has other important uses, which are not so generally appreciated. There are periods of exhaustion, and there must be hours of relaxation and repose in the life of all, from the prince to the peasant, when we need some innocent amusement to employ and interest, without wearying, and to exclude improper occupations: and this necessity is greater in proportion as the intellect is less cultivated. There are moments of physical debility or moral discouragement, when the mind is almost incapable of operating upon itself. At such seasons, music is of great utility. It is, perhaps, the only employment which leaves the intellect wholly in repose, and on this account, is peculiarly important to liierary men. In fact, it forms the relaxation of considerable numbers of those on the continent of Eu. rope. *

The popular vocal music introduced of late years in Germany and Switzerland is peculiarly adapted to these objects. Without being trifling, it is cheering and animated. Without being directly religious, or even didactic, it presents ordinary subjects under an aspect fitted to excite the nobler feelings, to elevate the thoughts above the world, and kindle the feelings of devolion. It comprises songs on the various objects and phenomena of nature--the rising sun--the rolling Thunder-the still evening—the rich harvest and presents something applicable to every circumstance of

*A distinguished professor of the island of Sicily, on hearing .hc sad tale of the influence of study on our literary men, inquired) what were their amusements. I was only able to answer-None. He expressed his astonishment, and added, “No wonder they die of study.” He informed me that he spent a given portion of the day in practising instrumental and vocal music; and thought he could not live without the relief which they afforded his mind.

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