« AnteriorContinua »
the idea of change, by the changed attention of the mind, in conceiving those different places successfully. This is the most simple idea of motion, abstracting the consideration of time, which is only required in order to determine velocity; therefore, in the present case, where the consideration that is made of motion may be restricted to direction, the conception of time is not essential as is that of number.'
It is surpriGing to hear a metaphysician talk of the conception of time not being essential to motion, when fucceffion is, a part of the idea.- What is the idea of succession without that of time?
Dr. Hutton next considers gravity as known from its effects, as a pressing and a moving power, and as a power directing projectiles. He afterwards pursues this principle to the planetary spheres, and examines its influence, reasoning sometimes accurately, sometimes erroneously, or obscurely. It is not necessary to pursue his reasoning, either from the importance of the conclusion or the application. The former is only, that gravitation is general, not praved to be an universal property : the latter we fhall soon see. . The third Differtation is an investigation of the principles of volume in material things, and heat and cold are first exam ined with respect to the conditions in which these sensations are felt, and to certain appearances with which they are necessarily connected, with a view of forming a theory of heat and cold. On this subjcct, our author falls into the errors of Muschenbroeck, and various authors of the seventeenth centu. ry, who contended, with great eagerness, that the sensation and effects of cold conveyed an idea of properties as positive as those of heat: of course cold could not be considered as a privation of heat only. The facts, adduced by Muschenbroeck, have been repeatedly' answered, and our author's reasoning is merely sophiftical,
Cohesion, as a physical principle, requires to be investigated; but, under Dr. Hutton's auspices, it is investigated with too, obvious a bias. He thinks it, like gravitation, a general, but pot an universal principle: it seems too, in his opinion, to be fubjected to the same or similar laws ; in other words, to be the same principle exerted between the smaller particles, as fubfifts in gravitating bodies between the larger masses. Our author's experiment in proof of this position we shall select, and in part abridge:
"A fluid body, having its spherical figure retained by the power of cohesion, may be considered as urged, by gravitation, to the center of the earth, equally in all its parts. If, thereiore, this spherica! body, tending to the center of the earth, shali le reshed in this din
rection by a plane to which the fluid shall have no cohesion, then, here will be exibited a proper opposition of cohesion and gravitation, as two powers acring with different intentions or directions. Tor, by the ore power, every particle of the fluid body is made to tend dirty towards the center of the earth ; whereas, by the oil, all ticiesarticles are made to tend towards a common center, and referve a spherical form. But, as this moving or prefling fprere meets avit's an immoveable or resisting plane, the gravitating jower of the body mus tend to change the splerical figure of the fluid, fo fur too roser uf cohehen will permit. Here, then, each of those tuo noving powers will have its proper influence on the fgire of the lives; and, 1) far as this figure is a thing fufficiently pirce; cible, it will atiord us an opportunity of measuring the effects of those two powers, and knowing their comparative intensities.'
We are thus referred to experience, for the decision of that quertion, with regard to the cohering power ; and we are now to conpare a lots of mercury, and an equal volume of water, rafting upon a fians to which ihey do not cohere. The question is, how far these to buities incllapier to be flattenei, cither on the one hand, in
ventily is their f itie gravities, that is, the mercury fiteen times more than the water, or, on the other, equally, the mercury being no more flattened than the water.
• The nicans we have to try this question are very easy ; for,'hav. in poured water and mercury upon a plane to which they do not colore, (whether from the nature of the substance of which the plure is composed, or by interposing dust betwixt the fluid and the pare), we have but to measure the height above the plane at which tlie Catrading fluid remains.
According to the theory, this height of the bodies above the planc ihould be citer, on the one hand, in proportion to their fpecific giatries lavcriuly, cr, on tie ocier, equal in the two different tuid. In the one cafe, gravitation and cohesion would be powers diftin diy difcrent; in the other, again, they wouid be the fame. Hirre, then, we have two diftinét objects in our view ; for we have both to try the juinness of cur theory, and to learn the law of nature. But the even" inav be different from what we have fupposed in the ticory, for the heights of the tiro bodies may be ncither in proportion to the specific gravities, nor equal. In that case, what fixal ire conclude i ith regard to the law of nature, ivhich is the object of currurit.'
Tliere i, it seems, a perceptible difference between the heigha-s of the two iluids, but by no means in proportion to the ipecific gravities; and confequently cohesion and gravitation are supposed to be the same principle. The experiment, however, is far from being conclulive, and the reasoning is equaily
amienable. It is impossible, for instance, to make the former des cifive, lince, if the "Auids are equal in bulk, it fails froin the difference of the specific grayities: if in weight, the buiks, ceteris paribus, must occafion a difference in the result. Proferfor Robinson's calculation, which we have little doubt from other views of being just, gives a very different conclufion. , 'I am indebted to profesior Robinson for a very valuable chfervation in relation to this subject. By calculating, according to the law of gravitation, the size which a sphere of water should be of, in order to preserve the particles of water from falling, from its under surface, to the earth, he found that this should be about nine feet diameter. But we know, that, in the finallest sphericle of 12ter, the particles cohere. It would therefore from this appear, that the power of cohesion is a power of greater intensity than that of gravitation, contrary to what I have now endeavoured to demons itrate.'
The third chapter,' on the principles of volume in bodies,' commences with the following very exceptionable powion, · probable only on the idea of cohesion and gravitation being the same principles :
• Heat being considered as a principle of expansion in bodies, and this species of matter being in its nature transferable, as acting upon separating principles, gravitating matter must be considered as being the fixed or permanent fubitance of bodies, and as acting in the opposite direction to that of heat, or as tending to diminish the volun.e of bodies.' .
This antagonizing power of heat to gravitation is, however, adduced to explain the incompresibility of bodies, the determined bulks of given bodies, and electricity. In our ideas of matter too, we are told, that we must throw aside volumy or determined extension; for power and action, or more timply motion, is alone necessary to give the proper idea of matter.-Some vague trifling ideas on the effects of heat, as influencing the volume of bodies, conclude this Differtation.
Some apology may be necessary for infiiting so long on a, work, which appears to deserve so little of our attention. Yet, as we have said, the subject requires a new examination ; as it is a bulky, and apparently an important support of the dying cause of phlogiston; as Dr. Hutton, in his own circle, is of some consequence, we have been led farther than weine tended. Not, however, to weary our readers with a dull fube ject, we fhall take an opportunity of returning to this work in anothier Number.
sa of the Acond, while talk for writers auficient
We are lo tens of that (neeringe epithet of
Curiosities of Literature. Vol. II. By 1. D'ljraeli. 8vo.
75. Boards. Murray. 1793. THE success of the author's first volume has encouraged
him to produce a second, which probably may lead to a third; as it will be no very difficult task for a laborious reader, who turns over the pages only of such writers as are al.. most forgotien, or of manuscripts that are not of sufficient importance to merit publication, to collect Curiosities of Literature, till the ignorant shall cease to wonder, and the curious shall be completely gratified. Of the prefent volume it is sufficient to say, that it is at leaft equally entertaining with the former.
We muft add, however, that we do not perceive much intrir:sic importance in the materials that compofe this volume, Some of them may justly enough be called Curiosities; but they are the mere cockle-shells of Literature. They consist chiefly of the follies, superstitions, blunders, and quarrels of palt ages. We except, with pleasure, some choice morsels of Criticism and History, as well as many Biographical Anecdotes.
We are sorry to discover, in some parts of this work, a few flight indications of that sneering infidelity, which after times, perhaps, will distinguish by the epithet of Gibbonian. For instance, relating some extraordinary anecdote of superstitious ignorance, our author characterizes it by the expression of * pious stupidity.' Should this, however, be only a filly affeca tation of language (which we hope it is), we would whisper in his ear, that 'pious' is not the proper epithet of Itupidity; and as to any thing like irony or ridicule on such subjects, we should condemn it in the feverest terms, even were we Freethinkers ourfelves; not only as exhibiting a depraved taste, but as a base and insidious mode of conveying sentiments ada verfe to religion
We shall extract a few of the most entertaining articles for the amusement of our readers :
• Grammarians --The ancients understood by the title of gram, marian, a scholar very different from those whom the moderns dis. tinguish by this name. By grammarian (observe the learned authors of the Literary History of France) they described a man versed in literature, who knew to write or speak, not only with correctness of language, but with skill and elegance. A grammarian, and a fcholar who taught polite literature, were synonymously expressed : it is for this reason Ausonius gives indifferently the titles of gram. marian and philologist, or lovers of erudition. In the fourth cenfury, the college of Bourdeaux bore so splendid a reputation for the number of its grammarians, that the learned of foreign countries.
crouded there to seek for employment ; insomuch that the other towns of Gaul, and even those of Rome and Constantinople, were desirous of having its professors, or at least some of its scholars, to teach amongst them. By what appears in Ausonius, the college was common to Christians and Pagans ; the fair sex alío fitquently took public lessons there.
No grammarian or professor of polite literature was ever known, however, to accumulate a fortune ; so much did their fate resemble that of the literary men of the present age!—The following anecdote will serve as an instance:
• Ursulus, a celebrated grammarian, taught grammar at Treves, under the reign of Valentinian the First. The schools were then in a flourishing state. The court was generally held there ; which circumstance attracted the most able professors, and great numbers of scholars. Ausonius followed it in the character of preceptor to the young Gratian (afterwards emperor). He was long united in friendship with Ursulus, and by what appears in the epiftles of the latter, was always desirous of rendering him service. It had long been a custom with the emperors, at the commencement of the year, to bestow money, or other presents, on those whom they honoured with their notice. The professors who had the care of infiructing youth generally partook of this liberality; more particularly those who were near the court. It happened, one year, that Ursulus was forgotten in the distribution that was made of the largeffes of the emperor ; on which occasion he had recourse to his good friend Aufonius. The perplexed manner in which Ausonius explains himself on the number of crowns which he obtained for Ursulus, has embarrassed very much the learned. Yet, upon the whole, all his studied expresfions do not signify any thing more than the number of twelve! Yet this man devoted fix hours of every day to the instruction of youth in literature.'
ly those wias forgoteror , che per
Dutch Theatre:-. The celebrated Vondel; whom, as Marchand observes, the Dutch regard as their Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, has a strange defective taste. The greater part of his tragedies is drawn from the Scriptures; all badly chosen and unhappily executed. For instance, in his Deliverance of the Children of Israel, what must a man of taste suffer, when he observes that one of his principal characters, is the Divinity? In his Jerusalem Destroyed we are extremely shocked and disgusted, with the long and tedious oration of the angel Gabriel, who proves theologically, arid his proofs extend through nine closely-printed pages in quarto, that this destruction had been predicted by the prophets. And in the Lucifer of the same author, che fubject is grossly scandalised by this haughty fpirit becoming stupidly in love with Eve, and it is for her he causes the rebellion of the evil angels, and the fall of our first parents. Poor Vondel kept a fier's shop, which he left to the