Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

which they give a sketch of the plain but new system they endeavour to establish; and then comes a History of the Cosmogony, in which this system is presented to view with itill more detail, and with a pleasing aspect.

The work is divided, or may be considered as divided, into Two Paris.

The ist, under the title of Physique du Monde, or Cosmologi. cal Philosophy, treats of Celestial Space, of the Bidies that revolve in it, of Motion, Light and Heat, of the Causes of these great natural phänomena, and of the Laws by which they are governed. After having unfolded the origin, nature, and properties of these laws, in the immense extent of the solar system, our Authors Thew how they must have influenced and modified the globe we inhabit, how they determine the different states through which it passes, and how they act upon its fubftance and its productions. Ascending to the first physical cause of all the modifications of nature, to the first act of that infinice power of which nature is the efficl, they shew how that sole act of the WILL of its Author gave rise to the system of our universe, and produces all that it contains; and point out both the causes and the laws of the existence, movies, and destruction of all those beings which appear but for a moment on this terrestrial scene, though they be connected, by effential relations, with those which have existed, and with those which shall exist, and form, in their union, that eternal chain or series which we call Na. ture.

The 2d Part, not yet published (to our knowledge), is to ex. hibit the surface of France, as emerged from the bofom of the ocean. Twelve charts will represent its emerfions at twelve different epochas; and the chart, which is to contain its present furface, will be divided into 45 fheets, representing the topography of that kingdom, that ttable and permanent topography which the efforts of man cannot change, which Nature itself diversifies only by means which operate flowly, and depend upon the eternal laws, prescribed to it by its Author. This topography, alone, is a vaft undertaking. Its grese lines are the ridges of mountains and the course of rivers; and its details are interesting and immense. The Reader will find a large sketch of these details, and a general view of the whole work, in the excellenc Preliminary Discourse and i'reface, that make a confi. serable part of this sit volume, and do honour to the genius, the pen, and the heart, of M. de MariveTZ; who writes like a philofopher; whose manners feem as geotle and amiable, as his genius is bold and adventurous; and whose eloquence is picturisque and copious.

The rest of this volume is filled with an Efray on the History of the Cofmagony. Here M. de Marivetz, with candour, modefty, and the respect due to the eminent merit of great men, however erroneous their systems may have been, examines the theories of the earth given by Burnet, Whifton, Woodward, and Buffon. He investigates the theory, or rather the romantic dream, of the last of these philosophers, with a degree of patience which we think cxemplary, and refutes it with a detail of just reasoning, which we are tenipted to think superfluous. We should not be surprised to learn, that the ingenious Author of the Epochas of Nature, on reading this refutation, should smile, and lay, “ I was only joking, and wanted to make an experiment upon the influence of my reputation on the credulity of the Public.”

defu

The manner in which our Author treats the Buffonian system of refrigeration, is as folid as it is ingenious; and he proves, by the most conclusive arguments, that heat is rather progresive than retrograde in our globe. His treatment of Sir Jaac Newton is liberal and respectiul in the highest degree. He thews that this great man maintained the theory of attraction rather as a mathematician than as a natural philosopher, and used it as a method of ascertaining the quantum rather than the quare; never laying it down as a' physical cause, which he seemed rather to seek in the impulsion of an ethereal Auid: confequently the theory of attraction ftill answers its purpose, even in the opinion of our Author. He thinks, however, that the mathematical theory of the celestial motions will be as clearly and evidently deducible from the laws of the universal fluid, as from the by: pothesis of impulsion and attraction, and will furnish, moreover, to the latter, that physical certainty, which it has bitberta wanted, and which is the true basis of all our knowledge. Ata traction will still act a part; but he will not admit it as an agent, as a physical cause.

Among the new ideas we have observed in this volume, we may place that which the ingenious Author has formed of the cause of the great fissures or rents that are visible in our globe, and of the separations from each other, which the continents seem to have undergone, M. De Buffon accounts for these in his Sixth Epocha of Nature, by three bypotheses, which exhibit an afsemblage of chinerical causes, deduced from suppositions equally chimerical, as our Author proves with the clearest evi. dence. But what does he subtitute in their place? He attributes the rents and fissures in question to the rotation of the earth about its axis, and to the centrifugal force of this flexible globe, which, surpalling the force of cohesion, makes the globe Twell at the equator : for, says he, the equator cannot swell and extend itself without a solution of continuity, unlels the substance of the globe be equally ductile in all its parts ;' and he proves that thele solutions of continuity, these renţs and fora

[ocr errors]

fures, must be perpendicular to the equator, and nearly, if not exactly opposite to each other in the two hemispheres of the globe.

Our Author's notion of light and heat, which have given rise to so many dark and frigid suppositions, is also particular, in some respects. According to him, light is a modification of the fubtile fuid alone, and heat is a modification of every subItance; and they are both the effects of that primitive cause of all motion, which, by the fiat or simple act of the Creator, re, sides in the retation of the sun, who is the great agent, that immediately produces and determines all the motions of the lyftem, in the centre of which he is placed. According to this hypothesis, neither light nor heat proceed by emanation from the substance of the Sun: light arises from his rotation, and beat cannot be considered as the quality or essential property of any fubftance, but only as a modification of any given substance produced by a foreign and external cause. The intenseness of this modification is relative, and proportionable to the energy and duration of the action of the cause. In short, the rotation of the Suo about his own axis, is the only cause of all motion, light and heat.

So much for the ist volume of this extraordinary work, which certainly claims attention. It is remarkable for perspicuity boch of reasoning and expression, and though it is very far from being fuperficial, it is almost every where level to the capacity of even those who do not belong to the class of learned Readers. The stile is eloquent, perhaps rather too redundant, which may, now and then, expose the Author to the charge of tautology.' M. GOUSSIER, author of several mathematical articles of great merit, in the French Encyclopedie, has been chosen by the Baron de MARIVETZ, as his affuciate in this great work,-of which we propose to give a farther account.

F R A N C E. II. Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece. i. e Travels through Greece, represented in a series of Engravings. Chapter IX. 1782.(See our late Reviews and Appendixes).

Of the Ten Plates contained in this number, or chapter, the first represents the Temple of Auguftus at Mylala, a town about three leagues from the gulph that washes the south-west coast of Asia Minor. This town, now called Melazzo, was famous for its magnificence in ancient times. Of all the temples that difplayed the opulence and taste of its inhabitants, one only furvived the wastes of time and the barbarous superstition of the Muffulmans, not to mention the spirit of devastation that sometimes accompanied the blind zeal of certain Christians. But even this precious monument of ancient magnificence, which was dedicated to Auguftus and the divinity of Rome, has been

S4

lately

lately destroyed, and nothing remains of it but fragments, that have been employed in the construction of a mosque. The ad Piate contains the plan, and the several parts of the same temple. The 3d represents an elegant tomb, which is to be seen at a mile's diftance from Mylasa. It is constructed of white marble, has two stories, of which the lower was designed to contain the bodies or ashes of the deceafed, and forms the base of the edi. fice. The base is supported by eight columns and four pilasters of the Corinthian order, and the whole structure terminates in a pyramidical form. The four following plates contain the plan, profile, and members of the same tomb, and shew the high degree of perfection 10 which both the solid and ornamental branches of architecture were carried by the ancient Greeks. The view and elevation of one of the gates of Mylasa, with a va:iety of details relative to this object, are represented in the ihree lucceeding Plates ; and the last exhibits leveral figures of the modern inhabitants of Caria, who keep up the military fpi. sit and character of their anceftors, and offer their fervices to the highest bidder.-The Temple, Tomb, and Gate of Mylasa are, indeed, noble remains of Grecian elegance and grandeur.

II!. Infruclion pour les Bergers et pour les Proprictaires des Troupeaux. i. e. Instructions for Shepherds, and the Preprietors of Flocks. By M. DAUBENTON, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, &c. This masterly performance, which was composed by the order of government, and is the result of observations made by this celebrated natural historian and anatomist, during fourteen years, deserves to be translated into all languages, and to be in the hands of all graziers. It is written in the method of question and answer, to render it more intelligible, and to allist memory; and contains a rich treasure of instruction in evety point of consequence to the propagation, multiplication, health, strength, improvement, and perfection of the fleecy tribes., The improvement of their wool is one of the objects that is treated with peculiar care in this publication, to which are annexed two Memoirs, and extracts from four others, read by our Auinor in the Royal Academy of Sciences, and which are inserted in their collection.

M O N T H L Y CATALOGUE,

For M ARCH, 1783.

POLITICA L. Art. 16. A State of Faits: or a Sketch of the Character and

Political Conduct of the Right Honourable Charles Fox. Svo. is, 6 d. Richardson and Urquhart, &c. 1783 HIS is a very able reply to the famous ironical “ Defence of the Earl of Shelburne." The Aushor inveliigates, with great 7

severity,

T

severity, but not with vulgar abuse, 'the political character and proceedings of Mr. Fox; contrasting his principles and party maneuvres, with those of the Earl of S. whom the Author defends in reality, both as a man, a patriot, and a Minifter.We shall transcribe his concluding paragraph, which stands in no need of a comment:

• I have now gone through every part of The Defence that appears worth notice. I have extenuated nothing, nor set down augne in malice. The charges I have brought against Mr. Fox, are authenticated; and I leave the world to judge, whether he can have the leaft claim to the confidence of the Nation as a Minister, or even to elteem as an honett man.' Art. 17. A full and faithful Report of the Debates in both

Houses of Parliament, Feb. 17th and 21st, on the Articles of Peace.

2 s. 6 d. Bl.don. Art. 18. The Speech of the Right Hon. William Pitt, in the H.

of Commons, Feb. 21, 1783. 8vo. | 3. Debrett, &c. We leave these honourable and righ: honourable, and gracious and most gracious speech-makers to fpeak for themselves. Art. 19. Twenty Minutes Observations on a better mode of pro

viding for ihe Poor; in which it is rendered probable that they may be effettually relieved, in a Manner more agreeable to the general Feelings of Mankind, at the same Time that Two Millions Sterling, or more, may be annually saved to the Nation. By Richard Pew, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Edinburghi. 8vo. 18. Bew. 57330

What the Author, in his title-page, holds out to public notice, may seem, at the first glance, very extraordinary, if not visionary; but, read his pamphlet (ic will take up but twenty minutes), and you will be convinced that the Writer is a man of fober observation and found sense. We have not room to enter into the particulars of his plan, &c. and shall, therefore, content ourselves with generally recommending what he has to offer to the serious attention of the Legillatare. The fubje& is of the firft magnitude, and of the utmost importance to tbe national welfare. Art. 20. The Inadequacy of Parliamentary Representation fully

ftated : its pernicious Consequences enlarged on, and the Objections to a Reform answered. Moit earnestly addressed to every Member of Parliament and Elector in the Kingdom. 8vo. 15. 60. Kearsley,

Although this is rather a superficial production, it, however, fufficiently thews, that the idea of popular representation is far from being fulilled in the formation of our House of Commons. The Author's acquaintance with history appears to be but Night; and his inferences from the premises, scarcely deserve a better name than common place observations. All that he tells us, has been repeatedly written by far fuperior pens. Ast. 21. A Constitutional Guide to the People of England; at preJent unrepresented. With a Letter to the Right Honourable W. Pitt, on the Neceflity of his moving for the Repeal of the Seprennial Bill, previously to his proceeding on the great Question of a Reform in Parliament. And with a Direction to each Parith or

Town,

« AnteriorContinuar »