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tion of the planets grows more rapid at their perihelium.-VIII. The vibrating motion of the Æther to a state of Light aits mori powerfully upon the Planetary Bodies, than does the general orbicular Motion, or circulation of that Æther : this action is not equal, or the fame upon the different Points of the enlightened Hen is bere of the Planet, because that Hemisphere is plunged in Orbs, unquale ly distant from the Sun. This is the rearon why the planers turn on their own axes, and all in the same direction. -IX. The larger a Planet is, the more the action of Light varies, en the two Oriental and Occidental halves of the enlightened Hemisphere of that Planet. This is the reason why the larger the p anets art, the greater is the rapidity of their motion round their own axes.
We must refer our Readers to the work itself for the ample illustrations, which are here given, of these nine propoñtions, and the very learned and ingenious manner in which they are adapted to facilitate the explication of the various pheno
We Tall only observe, with relpect to the eminently elastic Auid, that forms a plenum in infinite space, and acts such a capital pare in the system now before us, that our Authors will not allow it to be looked upon as an exploded hypothesis. They pretend, that no philosopher of any authority has maintained the doctrine of an absolute vecuum, or void, in nature. They allege, that the Newtonian fchool has been erroneously appealed to in favour of this doc. trine. They affirm and prove, that its immortal Head neither faid nor believed, that the interplanetary space was an absolute void, but that he considered it as filled with a fluid, emincotly elastic, eminently expannble, and four hundred and ninety thousand millions of times more elastic than the air of our at. molphere. That such a Auid should be capable of receiving and transmitting motion, is not a matter of wonder ; but that it fhould absolutely fill universal and infinite fpace, is a point that may stayger the philosophical faith of many; as a universal plenum is pretty generally looked upon as a glaring hurely in phylics. We ourselves were of this opinion, and we are not over disposed to give it up; yet there is such perspicuity, precision, and force in the arguments of M. de MARIVET2, that we are totally unable to aniwer them. We shall, therefore, leave that matter to abler hands, to whole perufal and attention we venture to recommend them.
In the second part of this volume our Authors explain the numerous plates that are designed to prove and illusrate the various branches of their doctrine relative to the celestial bodies. They also exhibit direct and geometrical proofs of the principles from which their whole theory is derived, for the facistaction of the learned part of their readers, who may not have been convinced by the more popular
(though we think very ingenious' arguments employed in the
In the explication of the fourth plate, our Authors give an
They also Chew, by a series of prof, that the true cause of the rotation of the planets, is the inequality of the impulsive force of the solar says, or æther, on the two halves of (or in the different orbs that correspond with the enlightened hemisphere of the planet.
Notwithstanding the vast knowledge of nature, the extensive learning, the logical precision, the warmth, elegance, and per1picuity of expreifion, that have already rendered this excellent work an object of general attention and esteem, it contains several opinions and novelties that w II not escape the eagle eyes of philosophical critics The banishinene of attraction from the mechanism of the universe, and particularly from the theory of the moon-the consideration of comets, as neither folid nor permanent substances, but mere luminous phænomena--the ad1
miffion of an universal Auid, composed of elaftic molecules, in direct and immediate contact-these are doctrines that cannot pass unnoticed.-Well - so much the better : --Truth, we hope, will gain by the contest. There is no lafting peace among philosophers; but it is only their wars that can ennoble and improve humanity.
ART. V. Discours sur l'Histoire, le Gouvernement, les Usages, la Literature, a les Arts, &c. i. e. Discourses on the History, Government, Cuftoms, Literature, and Arts, of several European Nations. By the Count d'ALBON, Member of many Academies. 4 Volumes in 12m0. Price 12 Livres. Paris.
1782. OUR of these discourses, whose subjects are, England,
Holland, Switzerland, and which occupy the firft, and a part of the second volume of the work now before us, were reviewed some years ago. Our lively, ingenious, and not illiterate traveller, was then treated without much ceremony, as youthful levity, and the fever of an enthusiastic partiality, had betrayed him into several egregious blunders, both of reasoning and narration, in his account of England. We, however, did justice to his capacity, parts, and literary merit; and these appear to more advantage in the present work than in his former publication. It contains five discourses, three of which relate to Italy, the fourth to Spain, and the fifth to Portugal. The whole is the fruit of ten years employed in travelling, with a keen spirit of observation ; and the high-mettled, young Author seems, in his progress, to have corrected confiderably the pertness and presumption of his tone and manner, though bere and there we find veteris veftigia flamma.
Rome and Naples are the subjects of the first of our Author's discourses concerning Italy. Much has been said by various authors of the ascendant, which papal Rome gained by the dexterity and intrigues of a fine-spun policy, and the talent which its pontiffs possessed, of bending the passions of men to the accomplishment of their ambitious purposes. Our Au. thor reje&s this account of the matter, and shews, by a long, verbose, and in a matter fo clear, we think, useless detail of arguments, that papal Rome owes nothing to its politics, but derived all its influence from the ignorance and fuperftition of the dark and barbarous ages. He observes, moreover, very justly, that the spirit of enterprize in papal Rome terminated in a mere phantom, which kept kings and princes in terror, without producing any addition of real power to its Pontiffs. These men, with the hold they had upon the minds of mankind, by the thunder of the Vatican, might have extended their empire,
by bulls and excommunications, as far as the Cæsars had enilarged their dominion by policy and arms. But, in effect, they accomplished nothing of this kind. To see them permitting the Portugueze to sail round the Cape of Good Hope, and the Spaniards to make conquefts in America, was a phenomenon that seemed to proclaim them masters of the globe ; and yet, so far was this latter from being the case, that they had neither influence nor authority, but in the public opinion. They neither aspired after universal monarchy, nor prepared the way for obtaining it; and, instead of acquiring territory, and raising formidable armies to inspire terror and overturn empires, they were satisfied with blind adulation and vain titles, and embraced a shadow of dominion, without substance or reality. Accordingly we find, that whenever Rome made any real strides towards temporal dominion, she was always repulsed with loss and disgrace, and the princes concerned, while they killed devoutly the Pontiff's toe, were efficaciously busy in tying his hands.
In process of time, both princes and their subjects began to open their eyes upon the unsubstantial nature of this imperious phantom; and the period came when Rome, instead of encroaching upon the rights of other states, was reduced to the humble and unsuccessful business of defending her own. Such is her situation at this day, considered in regard to her relations abroad.
With respect to the internal state of the Roman government, our Author observes, that the Pope might be an absolute fovereign, if he did not prefer the influence of a father before the dominion of a tyrant. It is accordingly become the reigning maxim of papal policy, to govern with a mild, moderate, and beneficent power. Notwithstanding this, the ecclefiaftical state languishes under poverty ; its cities are almoft depopulated; its fertile plains are neglected and uncultivated ; its inhabitants express, in their countenances and their raiment, affecting marks of dejection and want. • In travelling,' says our Author,
along the coafts, it is surprising to see excellent harbours deftitute of Chips, rarely frequented by strangers, never enlivened by commerce; an industrious and ingenious people, unacquainted with the useful arts, and only ftudious of excelling in the frivolous arts of mere amusement ; a beautiful country without agriculture, trade, or manufactures ; a sovereign, fatisfied indeed with a moderate income, but who, not withitanding his prudent economy, is unable to supply the wants of unhappy multitudes who implore his affiftance; a mild government, fincerely intent on the public good, and yet subjects, whose condition excites pity; opulence in some illustrious houses ; ealy or middling circumstances observable among a small number of
citizens, but the multitude a prey to all the horrors of indigence.' A dismal picture indeed! The restraints laid upon commerce, and the monopoly of grain, which has been long usurped by the Apostolic chamber, are the principal causes to which our traveller attributes all these calamities.
In the thirteen provinces, which form the ecclefiaftical ftate, or the Pope's dominions, the gentry, as well as the nobles, are exempt from all impofts, real or personal. The revenues of the sovereign do not exceed two millions of Roman crowns, which make something less than 50,000 pounds Sterling. The Datary's office is not such a rich source of gain as is generally imagined ; and our Author does not rate at above 25,000 pounds annually all the product of annates and inveftitures for the kingdom of France. He estimates the number of inhabite ants in Rome at 170,000, and the secular and regular clergy at 7000. The Romans, according to him, are obliging and affable to strangers, and remarkable
for the compaffion they thew to the unhappy. In other respects, his account of their characters and morals is not favourable. He appreciates, with judgment and taste, the men of letters and artists that have Aourished in the Roman territory; and he thinks that the arts have lost their luftre in that country by the very means that should seem adapted to maintain and perpetuate it, even the multitude of those who professionally cultivate them. There is certainly something very plausible in this refledion ; and it is but too true, that both arts and learning fuffer, when they become a trade. As long as true genius can monopolize them, they may preserve their lustre; but when the trade becomes open for every adventurer, and adulterated productions find buyers at market, the business is spoiled. This has been palpably the case with the arts in Italy. Whole swarms of painters overspred that country'; and when the profits of the trade came to be diminished, by its being dealt out among so many hands, the artists began to work for low prices, to obtain more employment, by underselling their competitors; and then what happened ? they wrought with precipitation : they neglected the study of the noble models of antiquity which they had before their eyes: they flattered the falle and capricious taste of the multitude, and thus degraded the art to gratify avarice, or answer the sharp demands of indigence.
NAP: Es is the next object that occupies our observer. Under its present degradation (fays he), it ftill bears some marks of its ancient grandeur, of which he gives a pompous and animated description. At present, all the riches of that country are ablor bed in the capital; and that capital, with all its beauty and magnificence, exhibits a motley and afflicting spectacle of Splendor and misery, After giving an historical summary of