Page images
PDF
EPUB

mensuration of the height by the barometer. Quicksilver was: not, at that time, purged of air, by boiling in the tube; and a very little air remaining, would expand greatly at that elevation, and proportionally depress the mercury. The place where the shells are found cannot, when the requisite deduction is made, be more than 3200 feet above the level of the sea. The second position is proved, by petrified wood being traced with the shells; and La Pérouse, who found shells on Mont Perdu, at the height, it is said, of nearly 10,000 feet, found with them also the petrified bones of marine animals.

• III. An Essay on the Declivities of Mountains. By Rie chard Kirwan, Esq; LL.D. F.R. S, and P.R.I.A.' .

This is a very curious paper. The western sides of moun. tains are, in general, the steepest, when the mountain runs cast and west, and the southern, of those that run north and south. These particulars our author explains very minutely, from the double motion of the ocean; viz. that from east to west, the present course of the tides; and the other from north to south. .As, from its extent, we cannot enter into the detail, our objections to this second direction of the currents must be reserved till some future opportunity. We have often suggested, in this journal, that the direction of the bays, and inland seas, seems rather to show a motion from the equator to either pole; and this motion, combined with, or in opposition to, that of the tides, will, we think, explain all the varieties met with more satisfactorily than our author's system. The whole of this essay is particularly ingenious and scientific.

i IV. Of Chymical and Mineralogical Nomenclature, By Richard Kirwan, Esq; LL.D.F.R.S. and'P.R.I. A.'

Mr. Kirwan's remarks are chiefly designed as a defence of his own nomenclature, and a reply to the objections offered by the French chemists to his changes. We fully agree with him in one point, that the changes have been too general and too rash. Like brother Jack, in tearing off the lace, they have injured the cloth; and, to be as unlike that rogue Peter as possible, they have assumed a new garb, which requires years to study. When learnt, another lesson will remain; viz. to re-acquire the language which they have thus supplanted; or the works of Stahl, Beecher, and Boyle, with all the chemists of the old school, must be renounced. We have already noticed this subject, however, in our review of the new edition of the Edinburgh Phara. macopoeia, which has lately reached us; where Herod is outHeroded, and reform is carried to its highest pitch-almost, indeed, to the confines of confusion. Mr. Kirwan's remarks are highly proper; and, but that they would lead us too far, might be the subjects of some particular observations. But while we admit the merit of these remarks, and, in general, of Mr. Kirwan's improvements of the nomenclature, we may be Crit. Rev. Vol. 38. August, 1803.

2 E

allowed to question their expediency; and, while the French school of chemistry, with its language, retains its power, it may perhaps be better to err with this establishment, than to be right alone. To be generally intelligible, we should use common language.

IV. A Description of a reflecting Level or an artificial Horizon for taking Altitudes of the celestial Bodies, &c. on Land by Hadley's Quadrant, with some Remarks on different Levels. By the Rev. James Little.

The principle of our author's improvement is the adaptation of an artificial level to Hadley's quadrant, to take altitudes on. land. In using it at sea, the water affords the level. The instrument is ingeniously contrived, and promises to be highly ůseful. It is impossible to convey an adequate idea of it without the plate. "OVI. On the Naturalization of Plants. By John Templeton, A.L.S. Communicated by the Bishop of Cloafert.' .

Our author gives some highly-proper and judicious directions respecting the method of naturalising plants to soils and temperatures different from their own. These we cannot abridge; but may remark-what our author has perhaps not so fully insisted on as he mightthat plants may be rendered capable of sustaining considerable degrees of cold. Cold alone is seldom very dangerous ; but the bad effects arise from cold succeeding a moist or rainy period. We have seen geraniums bear the winter without shelter,' by only covering the earth around with a perforated board, to admit the rain but sparingly. Mr. Templeton has not, however, wholly omitted this part of the subject; and we shall select what he has said respecting climate.

· The laurustinus is one of those plants that were introduced to Ire. Íand before green-houses were known, consequently planted in the open ground, and experience shews that it is seldom hurt by frost. By it we find that some plants, which to appearance are not fitted for our climate, do yet outlive our winters; and that, without a knowJedge of their native stations, we may sometimes suppose plants to be tender which are really hardy : thus the laurustinus is unhurt by frost in Ireland until the cold exceeds that of its own climate. The buddlea globosa and fuschia coccinea are other instances of plants, that without a knowledge of their native climate, Chili, we would not suppose capable of being naturalized to ours. Yet is the buddiea seldom injured by our cold, and the fuschia, although killed to the ground by the winter's cold, sends forth abundance of shoots which attain the height of three feet in summer, and are decorated with its elegant flowers, which are larger and much more brilliant than ever they are when confined in a house.

• And there is little doubt but [that] many plants of Chili, and even 'those which grow within the tropics, when found near the elevation of perpetual frost, would bear the cold of Spitzbergen; for on the tops of mountains are found the plants of the plains of more northern lati. tudes. Thus is the salix herbacea of Lapland and Spitzbergen found

on the tops of Mourne mountains at about the elevation of 2,500 feet, On the Serra of Madeira, latitude 32', 38', and eļevated 5,162 feet, is found the erica arborea, of the neighbourhood of Genoa, latitude 44", 25'. Therefore as the temperature which prevails at the elevation of 5,162 feet, in latitude 32', is found nearly to correspond with that of 51° north: the erica arborea, which grows at that elevation in latitude 32', will find a climate suited to its nature in latitude 51°, But as the before mentioned plants have a considerable range of latiţude, it may be cultivated farther north when the soil and situation are favourable. At James Holmes's, esq. on the eastern shore of Carrick fergus Bay, four miles north of Belfast, there is a plant in the greatest vi. gour at the present time (July 1799) which has now stood uninjured three as severe winters as Ireland ever experienced, viz. 1794, 5, 1797, 8, and 1798, 9, P. 124.

• VII. Description of an Apparatus for impregnating Wag ter and other Substances strongly with carbonic acid Gas. By the Reverend Gilbert Austin, M.R.I. Ą.'

This union is effected by compression, by means of a piston, which combines a much larger portion of fixed air with the water, than in the usual method. Some force is always requia site, for very little air unites with water, from affinity; but, in Nooth’s machine, the only power employed is the force of the air issuing through the capillary tubes.

• VIII. Analysis of Turf Ashes. By Lord Tullamore, M.R.I. A. Communicated in a Letter to the Revesend Doctor Elrington.

It was, we believe, generally known that turf-ashes did not produce kali, or soda, in a pure state ; and we once encouns tered some unexpected opposition, from offering this as an objection to an author's remark. Lord Tullamore found the white peat exhibited no separate alkali, but sulphat of soda only: the red ashes contained muriat of soda. In Mr. Jamieson's experi: ments, the salt appeared to be sulphat of magnesia.

" IX. A Memoir of the Mines of Glan, the Royalty of Richard Martin, Esq; By Monsieur Subrine, Engineer to the King of France.

This memoir contains a very minute description of different strata ; but it cannot be easily followed in an abridgement; and the observations are chiefly of local importance.

• X. Remarks on some sceptical Positions in Mr. Hume's Enquiry concerning the Human Understanding and his Trea, tise of Human Nature. By Richard Kirwan, Esq; LL.D, F.R.S, and P.R.I.A.

The singular skepticism displayed in Mr. Hume's metaphy sical works has long engaged the attention of numerous philog sophers; and, in more than one tract, he has been completely refuted. Mr. Kirwan, with whom we do not always coincide on metaphysical subjects, reasons in this article with singular

force and perspicuity. . The opinions of Mr. Hume, which he. attacks, are the following:- .

• 1°. That beings of any kind may start into existence without the intervention of any efficient cause:

. 2°. That the connexion between phænomena and their supposed causes can in no case whatsoever be traced by reason, but in all cases is inferred merely from experience :

• 3o., That inferences from experience are themselves unsupported by any solid reason, for that none can be assigned for expecting similar effects from similar causes, but the mere custom or habit of seeing them conjoined:

64°. That belief is not an act of judgment, but a particular species of sentiment or feeling:

• Lastly, That fallacious as all experimental reasoning may be, yet the violations of the laws of nature (the existence of which laws can be known and inferred only from experience) cannot be rendered credible in any case by any human testimony whatsoever.' P. 158.

In the refutation of the treatise On Miracles,' a work which Mr. Hume contemplated with peculiar complacency, Mr. Kirwan follows him step by step : the most prominent passages, the hinges on which the whole hangs, and which are consequently often repeated, he replies to in the following very satisfactory manner:

"19. A constant fallacy lurks in our author's application of the term erperience; sometimes he applies it to our own past or actual experience of which we have a metaphysical certainty : sometimes to that of others only, and not our own, of which we can have at most only a moral certainty; and sometimes he denotes by it a mere con. formity to past experience, either of our own or of others, which is often attended with physical or moral certainty, and often with bare probability : these different senses he dexterously shifts and employs as best suits his purpose.

20. The radical error that pervades the whole of this essay, and is indeed the corner stone on which his whole theory must rest, even if the equivocal use of the term experience had been avoided, consists in ascribing the same immutability to the laws by which corporeal nature is governed, as to those which are inherent in the nature of moral agents. Knowledge of the former is conveyed to us chiefly by expe. rience; that of the latter arises partly from experience, but being homogeneous with, and analogous to our own feelings, parıly also from consciousness: the former are clearly discerned to proceed from the power and wisdom of the author of nature, which experience itself shews us not to require their absolute immutability in all possible circumstances. Thus no law has ever been considered less mutable than that of the descent of bodies when unsupported, yet exceptions to it have at last occurred, not only throngh the now well known, but hitherto inexplicable, powers of magnetism and electricity, but also in the adherence of the hardest polished bodies to each other; and to what degree, on what occasions, and in what circumstances the most reneral laws of nature may still be found to vary, or to have varied,

we are profoundly ignorant. But with regard to the laws that originate in the nature, and are essential to the constitution of rational agents, particularly of the human kind, the case is very different ; though they also often restrict, qualify, or modify each other to a surprising degree, yet the extent, to which, in consequence of these modifications, the apparent anomalies of human conduct can reach as long as men retain the use of their reason, is perfectly known, and aberration beyond this limit being inconsistent with rational nature must be deemed impossible.

• If therefore the laws of physical and those of moral nature be in any case so opposed to each other, that both cannot be reconciled, but one or other must be deemed to have been infringed, it is easy to discover which of them, the one being absolutely, the others only hypothetically inviolable, namely, in certain known circumstances.' P. 176.

• XI. Synoptical View of the State of the Weather in Dublin in the Year 1800. By Richard Kirwan, Esq; LL.D.F.R.S. and P.R.I.A.'

The highest point of the barometer, 30.66, was observed on the seventh of July and the ninth of October, the wind, at each time, in different parts of the south-west quarter. The lowest point was 29.7 on the eighth of November, wind variable, E. S. and N. W. The mean of the year was 29.978: the there niometer was from 81° 5' to 23°; the mean 47.819: the mean of April 45.65; the rain, 23.567. The rainy days were 197; of which, snow fell on ten. April and June were the most rainy months, July and August the dryest. The prevalent winds were from the west in the year 1801, the barometer, when at its highest point, rose to 30.76 on the seventh of April, wind west: at its lowest, it was 28.80, the twentysixth of September, wind north; the mean 30.032. The thermometer was from 75° to 23°; the mean 29.278 : the heat of April 45.205. The rainy days were 175. The months in which least rain fell were April, June, and August, in which last there was none. The other months, particularly July, were very wet: the quantity of rain, however, was only 21.9653. The prevalent winds were westerly. Thunder and lightning occurred in July and October.

• XII. Observations on Calp. By the Honourable George Knox, M.R.1.A.

Calp is the black quarry-stone of Dublin, resembling in its properties argillaceous earth. A hundred parts, however, contain 68 of carbonate of lime, 18 of silex, 7 of argil, 3 of carbon and bitumen, 2 of oxyd of iron, I of water. This is, nevertheless, scarcely consistent with what is said in the first part of the article, that it does not burn to lime. Calp is found under successive strata of limestone; and the latter seems to degenerate imperceptibly into it. Most of the limestone in this neighbourhood presents sulphurated hydrogen. The Lucan waters con

« PreviousContinue »