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mometer at 66°, weighs 252,422 parliamentary grains ; from whence all the other weights may be derived.
• As a fummary of what has been done, I hope it may now be said, that we have attained these three objects ;
• ift. An invariable, and at all times communicable, measure of Mr. Bird's scale of length, now preserved in the house of commons; which is the fame, or agrees within an insensible quantity, with the ancient standards of the realm.
2dly. A standard weight of the fame character, with reference to Mr. Harris's Troy pound.
• 3dly. Besides the quality of their being invariable, (without detection,) and at all times communicable, these standards will have the additional property of introducing the least poffible deviation from ancient practice, or inconvenience in modern use.'
P. 174. On a comparison of Mr. Troughton's scale with a variety of others, its accuracy is firmly established. The greatest poffible error in this scale scarcely exceeds Tåso part of an inch, and the chance is nine to one that it is not fo
the mean probable error is =,00016, and it is four to one that the error does not exceed .00002. This accuracy is about three times as great as that of Mr. Bird's scales, and nearly equal to that of the divisions of our author's equatorial instrument, made by Ramsden. The following note from this paper deserves transcription.
• As I am now upon the subject of foreign measure, it may not be quite out of place to say a word on the length of the ancient Roman foot, which I am enabled to do with some precision.
• Some years ago, when I was in Italy, I had several opportunities of afcertaining the length of this measure, by actual examination of the Roman foot rules, of which I have met with nine, viz. two in the Capitol at Rome; one in the Vatican ; five in the museum at Portici, near Naples; and lastly, one in the British Museum, fent from Naples by fir William Hamilton. They were all of brass, except one half-foot, of ivory, with a joint in the middle, resembling our common box or ivory rules : and, by reference to my journal kept at that time, I find the mean result from all the nine rules, viz. by taking both the whole and the parts of each, (for they were divided into 12 inches, and also into 16ths, or digits,) gave, for the length of the old Roman foot, in English inches, correspondent to Mr. Bird's measure, = 11,6063.
• In confirmation also of this conclusion, and agreeably to the idea of Mons, de la Condamine, in the “ Journal of his Tour to Italy," I took the dimensions of several ancient buildings, viz. the interior diameter of the temple of 'Vesta ; the width of the arch of Severus ; the door of the Pantheon ; and the width of the base of the quadrilateral pyramid of Cestius, which, it is curious to observe, I found exactly 100 old Roman feet, and 125 feet high,
This I do not remember to have seen noticed by any former tra veller. The mean result of these experiments
11,617 English inches. Ditto, as before, from the rules 11,606 ditto. The mean of the two modes of determination is
11,612 ditto. I may add, that in the Capitol is a stone, of no very ancient date however, let into the wall, on which is engraven the length of several measures, from whence I took the following :
The ancient Roman foot, = 11,635 English inches.
ditto.'. P. 169. · IX. A new Method of computing the Value of a flowly converging Series, of which all the Terms are affirmative. By the Rev. John Hellins, F. R. S. and Vicar of Potter's Pury, in Northamptonshire. In a Letter to the Rev. Dr. Maskelyne, F.R. S. and Aftronomer Royal.'
This new method will greatly facilitate the labours of the astronomer. A slowly converging series may, by its affiftance, be computed to ten or twelve places of figures in a few hours; and, to fix or seven in a very thort time.
The meteorological journal of the society concludes the volume.
Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, comprising his practical Philofophy, translated from the Greek. "Illustrated by Introduktions and Notes; the Critical History of his Life; and a new Analysis of his speculative Works í by John Gillies, LL. D. &c. 2 Vols. 4t0. 21. 25. Boards. Cadell and Davies. 1797
AMONG the illustrious fages of antiquity, no one can be named whose mind took a wider range over the varied fields of knowledge than Aristotle. Under the comprehensive divifions of God, man, and nature, he has treated of almost every subject that is most interesting to his fellow-creatures, whether considered as individuals, or as members of civilised society. It may also be remarked, in honour of this profound philofopher, that he is minute as well as great; that, to the most elevated views, he adds a patience of research, and a habit of investigating every subject in its first principles, which no other writer ever displayed to such extent. In consequence of these excellencies, his works may be considered as an universal abstract of science. But various causes have tended, at different times, to obfcure his remains, or to throw over them a
false lustre, His books have been mutilated and corrupted. Theologians have in one century profcribed him, and in the next almost adored him. Sophists have endeavoured to thelter themselves under his authority, and to establish their miferable productions under the fanćtion of his name. His doctrines and his tenets have been mangled and distorted by unskil. ful translators, or misrepresented by the prejudice and ignorance of a numerous herd of commentators. He himself, indeed, on many occasions (if we can truft to the text that we now poffefs), seemed too fond of abstraction, and too much inclined to fubtilise, with superfluous disquisition, on the mere figns of things, and what can only be regarded as the implenients of science. This habit unfortunately caught the false taste of the scholastic ages, on the revival of letters; and thofe portions of his works which are now (perhaps defervedly) peglected, were the only parts that were then studied. In this respect, Plato and Aristotle have nearly experienced the same fate. It seemed high time, therefore,' says Dr. Gillies, to draw the line between those writings which still merit the most ferious attention of the modern reader, and those of which the perusal is superseded by more accurate and more complete information.'
Of the works which are here presented to the public, we cannot give a better account than by adopting the language of the translator.
The Ethics to Nicomachus and the Politics" ought never to have been disjoined, since they are considered by Aristotle himself as forming essential parts of one and the same work; which, as it was the last and principal object of his studies, is of all his performances the longest, the best connected, and incomparably the most interesting. The two treatifes combined, constitute what he calls bis practical philosophy; an epithet to which, in comparison with other works of the same kind, they will be found peculiarly entitled. In the Ethics, the reader will see a full and satisfactory delineation of the moral nature of man, and of the discipline and exercise bett adapted to its improvement. The philosopher speaks with commanding anthority to the heart and affections, through the irresistible convi&tion of the understanding. His morality is neither on the one hand too indulgent, nor on the other impracticable. His lessons are not cramped by the narrow, nor perverted by the wild spirit of system; they are clear inductions, flowing naturally and spontaneously from a copious and pure source of well-digested experience.
According to the Stagirite, men are and always have been not only moral and social, but also political animals ; in a great measure dependent for their happiness and perfection on the public inftitutions of their respective countries. The grand inquiry, there
fore, is, what are the different arrangements that have been found under given circumstances, practically most conducive to these main and ultimate purposes? This question the author endeavoured to answer in his “Politics, by a careful examination of two hun, dred systems of legislation, many of which are not any where else described ; and by proving how uniformly, even in political matters, the results of observation and experiment conspire with and confirm the deductions of an accurate and full theory. In this in. comparable work, the reader will perceive “the genuine spirit of laws” deduced from the specific and unalterable distinctions of governments; and with a small effort of attention, may discern nos only those discoveries in science, unjustly claimed by the vanity of modern writers, but many of those improvements in practice, erroneously ascribed to the fortunate events of time and chance in these latter and more enlightened ages. The fame invaluable treatise discloses the pure and perennial spring of all legitimate authority; for in Aristotle's “ Politics, and his only, government is placed on such a natural and solid foundation, as leaves neither its origin incomprehensible, nor its stability precarious : and his conclufions, had they been well weighed, must have surmounted or suppressed those erroneous and absurd doctrines which long upheld despotism on the one hand, and those equally erroneous and still wilder suppositions of convențions and compacts, which have more recently armed popular fury on the other. Vol.i. p. vi.
But Dr. Gillies does not appear before the public in the humble office of a mere translator. He will be found to be an able commentator and a very useful guide to the student who wishes to appretiate fairly the merits of the venerable Stagirite. His Analysis, or Review of the Speculative Works, is replete with erudition, and shows how little originality the metaphyficians (as they are called) of modern times have to boast : at the same tiine, the reader will be astonished at the aspersions that have been cast on this philosopher, and at the sentiments : which have been falsely attributed to him by Hobbes, Malebranche, and others. The fact is, that few writers have read Aristotle in the original; but the majority have embraced the erroneous opinions of his commentators.
We shall give a few extracts from this part of the work, which will do honour to the great original, as well as evince the learning and assiduity of Dr. Gillies.-On the Organon--
• In as few words as seemed consistent with perspicuity, I have thus endeavoured to explain the nature and design of Aristotle's Organon; a work which has often been as shamefully misrepresented, as it was long most grossly misapplied. In that scholastic jargon, which infolently usurped during many centuries the name of philosophy, fyllogisms were perverted to purposes for which their inventor declares them totally unfit, and employed on subjects in
which his uniform practice thews that he ,confidered them as alto.
Aristotle's vindication of truth, in opposition to the Skep-
On space and time-