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marrying, which provides a proġeny contemporary with the progenitors.

We will hear this writer on the poor-laws, which are bis second chief topic.

* Mr. Malthus devotes two chapters to the subject of Poor Laws, and more particularly those of England. “ The first obvious tendency of the English poor laws," says the author, “is to increase population, without increasing the food for its support. A poor man,” he continues, “ may marry without any prospect of being able to support a family without parish assistance. They may be said therefore to create the poor which they maintain ; and as the provisions of the country must, in consequence of the increased population, be distributed to every man in smaller proportions, it is evident, that the labour of those who are not supported by parish assistance, will purchase a smaller quantity of provisions than before, and consequently more of them must be driven to apply to parish assistance.” The premises of this argument are just, and furnish much important matter of inquiry. But the conclusion does not appear to me by any means sound or satisfactory. Such a self-increasing system, proceeding in the geometrical series described by the author, must long ago have swallowed up at least nine-tenths of the population of this country. The second objection to the poor laws of England, adduced by Mr. Malthus, is, that " the quantity of provisions consumed in workhouses upon a part of society that cannot be considered as the most valuable part, diminishes the shares that would otherwise belong to more industrious and more worthy members, and thus forces more to become dependent.” The inference drawn in this latter argument is precisely the same as in the former, and liable to the same objection, reduce tio ad absurdum. But the position itself indicates very narrow views of policy; for the greater part of those who are subsisted in parish workhouses are the old, the infirm, and the absolutely indigent, who must be maintained by some funds, either drawn directly from their poor relations, which would increase the very evil complained of by Mr. Malthus, or from the wealthier part of society, by regular contributions. But I shall not dwell upon the futility of the latter position. Thus far the author's doctrine appears to be just, that the parish workhouses of England do in a very great measure create their own poor. The easy and universal access to those cha. rities tends to diminish the influence of moral restraint; they act as a bounty upon marriage, and weaken the spring to exertion and parsimony. They may be said therefore, with justice, to encourage those very marriages which they are obliged to support; and the production of those very children which they are obliged to maintiin; and it is only because the sources of poor-law revenue are limited, that the numbers supported by it have limits also. But the operation of these laws is worse than nugatory, it is positively bad; and in the author's sentiments I entirely agree, that they di. rectly tend to encourage idleness, to reward want, and to cherish a spirit of prodigality and dependence. Mr. Malthus may therefore

be justly of opinion, that, as they at present stand, nothing short of entire abolition can ever remove the evils which originate in them. But I am very far from coinciding with him in opinion, that the poor in a flourishing, and more especially in a commercial country, should be left altogether to nature and chance for subsistence in all the vicissitudes of life and of fortune.

• It may, I think, be demonstrated, that provisionary laws, for the relief of the poor, under very strict limitations, are very important objects of political legislation. And in a manufacturing country, where the demand for labour is always very precarious, where the wages of labour are perpetually varying, and where a full complement of inhabitants renders these variations dreadful instruments of misery, the duty of provision is decided and imperious. And this provision ought to be either legislative or parochial. If the af. fair be left to private and spontaneous charity, the contribution will be either too great or too little; it must of necessity be variable in its amount; precarious in the supply; and, generally speaking, il applied. Private benefactors are neither willing nor able to make the proper enquiries, nor to observe the due medium between libe rality and profusion, between satisfying the absolute demands and gratifying the inclinations of those whom they relieve. The funds for the assistance of the poor, must be levied upon the rich, accord. ing to a certain rate; and distributed by appropriate persons. And let us not despair of being able to establish parochial or other fixed institutions, for the relief of certain classes of indigent poor, upon principles neither remote from our conceptions, nor far removed from our abilities to comprehend.' P. 50.

What our author says of workhouses is, in a great degree, true. They qught, certainly, to receive only single persons ; the sexes should be separated from each other; the children should be separated from adults. The married poor should always be relieved at their own houses: it is impossible to rear a family with the slightest regard for cleanliness, deeency, or moral order, which is exposed every winter to be steeped in the contaminating atmosphere of a workhouse. The first account in history of an institution for the relief of the poor is that which Herodotus gives of the " Table of the Sun.' A public dinner was provided by the priesthood, of which the necessitous were allowed to partake. This is not merely the earliest, but the wisest form of relief. To dwell separately is essential to morality ; but to feed the poor together at a pube lic table is cheaper than to distribute aliment. Every parish should have its prytaneum ; where, in scasons of distress, the poor might be fed at the public charge. A Rumford kitchen could be put up in the vestry, and the table spread in the church-aisle.

ART. IV.--Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of

London. For the Year 1803. Part I, 410. 135. sewed,

G. and W. Nicol. 1803. · WHILE authors speak with peculiar complacency, and sometimes with an ill-concealed triumph, of the gigantic energy of the French directory, who united three excellent societies into one peculiarly languid in its exertions, and not · highly interesting in its publications, we may hold up, in opposition, with a conscious dignity, the labours of the Royal Society. Without any pecuniary support from government, without titles, distinctions, or pensions, the members and contributors, volunteers in the cause of science, suffer no year to pass without exertions highly honourable to their active energy. If it be contended that the volumes are unequal in interest or execution, the charge may be admitted; for where is the philosopher at every moment equally acute and penetrating; where the author at all times able to relate his observations with equal spirit and propriety? The mind, like the body, has its periods of excitement; nor will the strongest exertions enable it, at all times, to equal the demands. In every volume, however, we meet with papers of interest and importance; and there are few of them in which we do not find most valuable additions to our scientific knowledge. The most distinguishing feature of this part of the work is Mr. Hatchett's paper on the various alloys, &c. of gold. We unust, however, follow the articles in their order.

'I. The Bakerian Lecture. Observations on the Quantity of horizontal Refraction ; with a Method of measuring the Dip at Sea. By William Hyde Wollaston, M. D. F.R.S.' · Dr. Wollaston, in this paper, offers some judicious observa, tions on M. Monge's explanation of the optical phænomenon, the mirage, and explains the advantages of ascertaining the horizontal refraction, - on account of the variations in the dip of the apparent horizon, from which all observations of altitude at sea must necessarily be taken.' Accident suggested, at least, one cause of horizontal retraction, viz. a difference of temperature between the air and water.. When the latter has been warmed by a long continuance of heat, it does not soon acquire the new temperature when a change occurs; and, from the communication of its heat, there is always a stratum of warm air between the water and the superior parts of the atmosphere.

• From a review of the preceding table it will be found, upon the whole, that when the water is warmer than the air, some increase of depression of the horizon may be expected; but that its quantity will be greatly influenced, and in general diminished, by dryness of the atmosphere.

• It appears, however, that no observable regularity is deducible

from the measures above given ; but that the quantity, on some , occasions, is far different from what the states of the thermometer and hygrometer would indicate. On the 9th of September, for in"stance, the difference of temperature is only 1°, and the evaporation, to counteract this slight excess of warmth, produced as much as 3o of cold ; nevertheless, the refraction visible was full 5. In this observation I think that I could not be mistaken, as the water was at the time perfectly calm, the air uncommonly clear, and I had leisure to pay particular attention to so unforeseen an occurrence.

"This one instance appears conformable to the opinion entertained by Mr. Huddart, and by M. Monge, that, under some circumstances, the solution of water in the atmosphere canses a decrease in its refractive power ; but, on no other occasion have I been induced to draw a similar inference.' P. 7.'

. From the foregoing observations we learn, that the quantity of refraction over the surface of water may be very considerable, where the land is near enough to influence the temperature of the air. At sea, however, so great differences of temperature cannot. be expected ; and the increase of dip caused by this variation of horizontal refraction, it is to be presumed, is not so great as in the

confined course of a river ; but, if we consider that it may also be · subject to an equal diminution from an opposite cause, and that the horizon may even become apparently elevated, there can be no question that the error in nautical observations, arising from a supposition that it is invariably according to the height of the observer,

stands in need of correction. : •The remedy employed by Mr. Huddart, of taking two angles

of the sun from opposite points of the horizon at the same time, · and considering the excess of their sum above 180° as double the

dip, must without doubt be effectual; but, from causes which he assigns, it is practicable only within certain limits of zenith distance; for, where the zenith distance is small, and the changes of azimuth rapid, there is required considerable dexterity and steadiness of a single observer who attempts to turn in due time, from one observation to another; and, when it exceeds 30°, the greater angle cannot be measured with a sextant, and consequently his method is, with that instrument, of use only in low latitudes. . .

On account of the difficulty attending some of the adjustments for the back observation, he rejects that method for taking angles in general, with much reason; but he has thereby overlooked ? means of determining the din, which I am inclined to think might be employed with advantage in all latitudes, without any occasion to hurry the most inexperienced or cautious observer.

By the back observation, the whole vertical angle between any two opposite points of the horizon may be measured at once, either before or after taking an altitude. Half the excess of this angle above 180°, should of course be the dip required.

• But, if it be doubtful whether the instrument is duly adjusted, a second observation becomes necessary. The instrument must be reversed, and, if the apparent deficiency of the opposite angle from 180° be not equal to the excess before obtained, the index error

may then be corrected accordingly; and, since the want of adjustu ment, either of the glasses at right angles to the plane of the instrument, or of the line of sight parallel to it, will affect both the larger and smaller angle very nearly in an equal degree, the part of their difference will be extremely near the truth, and the errors arising from want of those adjustments may with safety be neglected. P. 9.

II. A chemical Analysis of some Calamines. By James Smitlison, Esq. F.R.S.'

M. Hauy supposed that all calamines were simple calces of zinc, without admixture, except by a small proportion of carbonat of lime; to which he attributed the effervescence occasionally observed. Mr. Sinithson has, however, shown the error of this opinion, and pointed out no inconsiderable proportion of carbonic acid and water in inany different kinds of calainine. In the electric calamine the carbonic acid is wanting, and about one half consists of quartz. .

Mr. Smithson refines perhaps too far, when he would draw conclusions from so few observations. It is iinprobable,' he thiriks, that the proximate constituent parts of bodies should be united in the very remote relations which the analyses of natural bodies seem to show.' They, on the contrary, appear, in his opinion, to be 'universally fractions of the compound of very low denominators, not exceeding 5.' Water in the calx of zinc seems to be in a state of peculiarly intimate composition, and it is called, by our author, “hydrat of zinc;' and the whole of the ingredients of this ore appear to be in a state of chemical combination. Mr. Smithson attempts to support the theory, just mentioned, by particular remarks on the proportion of the component parts of the calamines analysed in this paper.

III. Experiments on the Quantity of Gases absorbed by Water, at different 'Temperatures, and under different Pressures. By Mr. William Henry. Communicated by the Right Honourablc Sir Joseph Banks, K.B. P.R.S.'

* X. Appendix to Mr. William Henry's Paper, on the Quantity of Gases absorbed by Water, at different Temperatures, and under different Pressures.'

The combination of some of the gases with water is sufficiently known; but the affinity of several airs with water has not been generally explained. The quantity of air, also, which will combine with water under different degrees of pressure, has not been clearly ascertained. In wandering over various chemical subjects in the foreign memoirs, and the labours of the chemists on the continent, we have added many facts on this subject; and we lately observe, in the first nuus ber of the new volume of the Journal de Physique,' some interesting observations on the absorption of air by water,

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