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• If, by the moon, througla silent groves ye go,
'Midst scenes which Nature forms for love,
Where does her restless fancy rove?
Fears she, for foundering barks, the storm?
O no! she sighs, so fair a form
The widow's shed, the labourer's door,
Forget her lover for the poor,
Quick draw thee to her generous breast
With firmer clasp; then, if possess'd
Art. X.-Synoptic Tables of Chemistry, intended to serve as a Sum
mary of the Lectures delivered on that Science in the Public Schools at Paris. By A. F. Fourcroy, Member of the National Institute of France, &c. Translated from the original French, by William Nicholson. Atlas Folio. Cadell and Davies. Il. Is. Boards. 1801.
CHEMISTRY was for a series of ages an unconnected mass of experiments and facts, without any union but the very loose one of Natural History, or of the more obvious properties of different bodies. In the hands of Stahl, assisted by the celebrated principle of Becher's phlogiston, it began to assume the form of a science. In the bold philosophical outline offered to his pupils by Dr. Cullen, it obtained a still more scientific form, which was greatly improved by Dr. Black, assisted in some measure by his new definition of chemistry. It was however supposed that the facts were too numerous, and still not sufficiently connected by any principle to enable chemistry to be resolved into general doctrines, till the publication of the Philosophy of Chemistry by our author. In this, as he justly observes in the preface to the Tables, individual substances or their properties are scarcely mentioned, but as examples of a class, or at least a genus ; yet, perhaps, with the pervading principle of phlogiston, admitted by Trommsdorf in his late Manual as a term only, the Philosophy of Chemistry in the hands of Dr. Black was not greatly inferior to that we have received from the present author. It is not indeed contended that the facts are equally numerous or important; but if principles be properly established, they will extend to new discoveries, whatever may be their amount. Thus, if we present clear and distinct ideas of earths, it is of little consequence whether we be merely acquainted with the four kinds formerly understood, or add the barytes, strontian, glucine, zircone, and agustine, of modern writers.
As chemistry has however advanced so far, that we are enabled to give with advantage the abstract of its doctrines in the general view of a philosophical system, so the facts are ascertained with such clearness and discrimination that they can be arranged in the most convenient form-that of tables. The work before us is therefore most properly considered as a continuation of the Philosophy of Chemistry; and, together, they afford a complete abstract of the science. We say complete, chiefly with a view to the time of their publication ; for a science so rapidly advancing can never be detailed perfectly, but at the moment of its publication.' Some of these deficiencies we shall notice as we proceed ; and we could have wished that Mr. Nicholson had stepped beyond his task of a translator, to have supplied the most obvious defects. M. Fourcroy's own account of his work we shall select.
- In the Philosophy of Chemistry my aim was to present, in the form of axioms, and as primitive and fundamental truths, the most general facts of the science, the most extended phænomena ;—those which, in their vast totality, embrace the events that befal all natural bodies, considered with regard to their alterations and mutual energies. In that work it was my intention to offer, to the contemplation of studious men, the first abstract elements of chemistry ; and it is nearly independent of each individual or particular body that those philosophical and elementary notions were conceived and drawn up. They can be applied only to the classes, or, at most, to the genera of bodies; and though in some instances they are applied to certain particular substances, yet, in such cases, the substance itself is considered as representing an entire class of bodies, and as possessing an influence, with regard to the proper knowledge of its habi. tudes, upon the knowledge of those of many other bodies.
· The Tables which I now present to the world, as forming the true continuation of the Philosophy of Chemistry, are constructed in another manner and directed to another object. They contain the properties of bodies in particular; they present the applications of general principles, or of the philosophy of the science, to the study of the productions of nature and of art. They present the de velopment of these principles as to what may be termed the individual chemistry of bodies; and though the number of tables amounts to only twelve, they will be sufficient to direct the student through the
whole chain of chemical phænomena which are observed in all the substances comprehended under the dominion of nature.' P. 3.
I have confined them to the number of twelve, that I might present a more condensed sketch, and, ia some measure, render more, permanent the basis of the methodical division which I have adopted for the study of the chemical properties of bodies. Though I have presented the chief individual properties and the most striking specific characters of each, I have been more particularly desirous of exhibiting the relations of those properties, and the comparisons which may be established between them in a word, the relative disposition of those bodies, their classification from their properties, the possibility of exhibiting these, and delineating their general history, by the methodical exposition of their nature and attractions ;--these are the views which have dictated the present Tables. P. 3.
The language of these passages is peculiarly harsh in many parts, and almost unintelligible. It is the great fault of the author; and perhaps Mr. Nicholson had done better to have given the idea in his own words. Which in their vast totality embrace the events which befal all natural bodies,' &c. would then have been, 'Which completely comprehend all the states in which natural bodies are found, either in consequence of their mutual actions, or other causes:' - et sic de cæteris.
The first table considers the generalities of the science, and its divisions, as its objects are directed to different purposes. This table we consider as unimportant, and indeed no part of the author's plan, which is to detail the particularities of the science. What relates to medical chemistry is scarcely more valuable than the rest. The second table contains the undecomposed bodies, and the same bodies when burut or united with oxygen. Light, caloric, oxygen, and azote, are of the first kind, arranged in the order of their general dispersion or abundance: the others, hydrogen, carbone, phosphorus, diamond, and metals, in that of their combustibility. Perhaps the diamond should not have been separated from carbone, as the affinity is ncarer and more natural. The burned bodies, the series of oxyds and acids, are arranged according to their affinity to the burning prina ciple and the difficulty of decomposing them. Water, in this series, is the oxyd of hydrogen. Arsenic, tungstein, molybdæna, and chrome, are the metallic acids particularly mentioned. We begin now to perceive the nature of the muriatic; but we · have only a glance of it, from being able to convert the nitrous
into the muriatic. This however occurred after the publication of these tables. If Berthollet’s discovery of gas-hydrogen sulphur, as an acidifying principle, be confirmed and on Berthol, let's accuracy we place considerable reliance--it will materially, change the whole of this table.
Earths and alkalies hold the first place in the third table. The most decidedly earthy bodies are placed first, and then those which approach to an alkaline nature ; thus, silex, alumine, glu. cine, and zircone. Magnesia and lime are sub-alkaline earths. Barytes, pot-ash, soda, strontian, and ammonia, follow. Barytes and strontian are thus taken from the earths, on account of their decided alkaline qualities. In the remainder of the third, in the fourth, and fifth tables, are the salts, classed from their most distinguished chemical qualities. The species now amount to more than one hundred. It is justly remarked, that their classification and relative disposition comprehend their most useful properties, and, with their nomenclature, furnish the greater part of their chemical history.
The sixth table exhibits the general properties of metallic substances. The seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, give an account of particular metais, under the distinct heads of physical properties,-natural history, assay and metallurgy, oxydability by air, union with combustibles, action upon water, the oxyds and the acids, action on the salifiable bases and the salts_uses. The acid metals are first mentioned; next the titanite, uranite, and cobalt. In the next table are comprised nickel, manganese, bismuth, antimony, tellurium, and mercury. In the ninth, zinc, tin, lead, and iron. In the tenth, copper, silver, gold, and platina.
The two last tables relate to vegetable and animal chemistry's but it is only an outline, and many deficiencies are observable in each. These we should point out, could we present the table in its proper form; but our remarks are so much connected with the arrangement, that they would not be otherwise understood. As the author seems aware also of their imperfections, and has promised to supply them in additional tables, any pointed animadversions would be improper.
On the whole, we think these tables highly valuable and important to the student of chemistry, and useful, as a work of reference, to the more experienced artist. Mr. Nicholson has conferred a considerable obligation on English philosophers by this translation, and if we recoilect that he might have done more, we should still be grateful that he has done so much.
Art. XI.— Bread; or, The Poor: a Poem. With Notes and
Illustrations. By Mr. Pratt, Author of Sympathy, &c. 410. 75. sewed. Longman and Rees. 1801.
· A SUDDEN revolution, the most dire, perhaps, of any in this revolutionary agc, has taken place in the state of the poor.-Progressive improvements have been made in agriculture, the benefits of which are almost entirely lost to the most numerous and useful part of the community, while individuals only have been enriched. The poor-rates have in the mean time increased, to the dissatisfaction of the rich, and nearly to the ruin of the middle classes; while the wants and miseries of the peasantry, with some few exceptions, which will be particularised, have accumulated in the proportion that plans have been formed for their relief. This argues a very wrong policy and management somewhere.- In the midst of a long and amictive illness, the author has spared no pains to trace the effects of this deep national grievance to its sources ; and he is told by those who, by their situation and circumstances, are allowed to be most competent to the subject, that he has so done in the following pages, in which, however, there is no one passage founded upon a fiction of course the poem is excluded from one of the grand privileges of poesy.
Yet, in lieu of this, the author is but too strong in facts. He has taken the country for the last and present summers, in almost every direction of the island, as well for the purposes of health as of investigation. According to his usual habits of travel, he has en. tered the field, the farm, and the cottage ; not hastily, but to pause, to inquire, and to contemplate the general plenty of the one and the general poverty of the other. He has sat himself down amongst the peasantry, not to augment their sufferings nor to foment their discords, but to discover, by diligent research and silent reflexion, what could be the causes, and what were the real effects of famine in the land.' P.i.
The poem which Mr. Pratt has produced upon this subject is divided into three parts. In the first he describes the situation of the cottage-poor previous to the causes of their decay. We are often here reminded of Goldmith, an author whom it is dangerous to follow.
• All day they toil'd; at eve new labours press'd,
A cheerful drop to thaw the gossip's tale,
Who with a thousand goblins would engage,