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founded on our experience of the present order of things cannot apply to what took place before that order was established. But, if by Geology is meant an attempt to trace the laws of those changes to which minerals are subject, the changes which they have undergone and are still about to undergo, we see no necessity for its conclusions being illusory and chimerical. Though we observe minerals only for an instant, or a portion of time that is quite evanescent, compared with the great cycles in which the series of their changes must revolve, yet we may discover such characters as ascertain important facts in the history of those changes. The preliminary investigation is no doubt that which Cuvier points out,--the relative situation of the different kinds of minerals, and in general the accurate description of their present condition. But this philosopher does not seem to be aware, that there is in the very research concerning the present state of minerals as much danger from theory, and from hasty generalisation, as in the conclusions that geologists have drawn concerning the past or future fortunes of the world. The language in which Werner and his school describe the facts concerning the mineral kingdom is full of theory, and of theory as unsupported and as remote from experience, as any thing to be met with in the Cartesian vortices. The knowledge of the great facts therefore concerning the relative position of mineral bodies, though it has made considerable progress, yet, in our opinion, as far as the observations of the Wernerian school are concerned, is not in that high road to perfection which this learned and eloquent reporter appears to imagine. The force that is every day applied to make the new observations


with the old, and to assimilate the structure of the whole world to that of Saxony and Bohemia, is much more likely to produce retrogradation than advancement.

Our author then passes rapidly over the improvements in physiology, comparative anatomy, and natural history, and touches on the practical sciences of medicine and agriculture; under the former of which, he particularly mentions vaccination, and the destruction of contagion by fumigation. He goes on to the improvements in the mechanical arts, particularly that of the stereotype printing, valuable from the cheapness with which it may be executed; and thereby promising to carry the works of genius into the cottage of the peasant. We shall only take notice of the conclusion of his report.

• Your Imperial Majesty has commanded this class to propose the means that seem to it best calculated for maintaining among those who cultivate the sciences, that emulation by which they are at present animated ; for directing their efforts to the most important objects, and for securing to them successors of equal zeal and ability.

. Without

• Without wishing to anticipate the measures which the wisdom of your Majesty is preparing for the public education, we will take the liberty, in our extended report, of submitting some ideas on the regulation of the first or popular instruction in the physical sciences, and for spreading more efectually, among the people, the knowledge connected with husbandry and the useful arts.

We have also proposed that your Majesty should ordain the drawing up of a new system of physical existences. Science demands this work; our coun. try is that in which it can be most easily executed; and it would be desirable to see the name of Napoléon, which is alırady placed at the head of so many great monuments, so many wise laws, and so many usclul institutions, decorating the title-page of a fundamental work in science. Of all the establishments formed, and of all the labours undertaken by the command of Alexander, Aristotle's His. tory of Animals is the onl; one which now remains, an everlasting testimony of the love of that great prince for natural knowledge. A word from your Majesty can create a work which shall as much surpass that of Aristotle in extent, as your actions surpass in splendour those of the Macedonian conqueror.' The answer of the Emperor is very

short. • MM. the Presidents, Secretaries, and Deputies of the First

Class of the Institute• I was desirous to hear you on the progress of the human mind in these later times, in order that what you should have to say to me might be heard by all nations, and might shut the mouths of those detractors from the present age, who represent knowledge as retrograde, only because they wish for its extinction.

· I was also willing to be informed of what remained for me to do to encourage your labours, that I might console myself for not being able otherwise to contribute to their success. The welfare of my people, and the glory of my throne, are equally interested in the prosperity of the sciences. • My minister of the interior will make a report on your

demands. You may constantly rely on the effects of my protection.

Though we aimnit that Delambre and Cuvier have done well; the first, in recommending a school for instruction in the higher parts of the mathematics, and an extension of those geodetical iperations from which so much benefit has already resuited ; and the second, in recommending some further care of the popular i istruction in agriculture and the arts, as well as a new and lundamental work on natural history, in its most extensive sense :-though we are not disposed to quarrel with the high compliment contained in the prediction, that this work would i ot farther surpass the natural history of Aristotle, than the achievements of Napoleon have exceeded those of Alexander; yet we are well üware that there are other improvements still more important, and more imperiously called for, which the spirit of Philosophy


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would demand, if her real and unbiassed sentiments could be conveyed to the ears of Napoleon. Cease,' she would say, • from the fatal and endless pursuit of military aggrandisement. Give peace to Europe, for your victories enable you to do so; and let the moderation and liberality of the terms insure its continuance. Restore that intercourse and mutual confidence among the nations which are essential to their happiness, no less than to the advancement of knowiedge ; and let their prosperity be considered as one of the means of promoting the welfare of your own people. The sciences will then flourish spontaneously, and will require no protection but that which secures their tranquillity and independence, and you yourself will have the felicity; more sin gular than 'all that you have yet experienced, of adding to the titles of Hero and Conqueror, that of the Father of your people.” • The National Institute of France is divided into four classes. The first, is that of the mathematical and physical sciences; the second, that of the French language and literature; the third, has for its object history and antient literature; the fourth, the fine

The two reports that we have considered, and which make the principal part of the book before us, are from the first class. The three others are of inferior interest; and besides, the length to which our review has already extended precludes our entermg on them particularly. In the report from the third class, on the subject of history and antient literature, speculative philosophy scems, in a certain degree, to be included; and we find, accord: ingly, some notice taken of the revolutions which that philosophy has undergone in Germany and elsewhere. The Ecole d'Ecosse, as the author of the report (M. Lévesque) is pleased to call it; is also made honourable inention of.' As no sect of philosophers is knowr in Scotland by a name which we owe to the politeness of our neighbours, we should have been at some loss to distinguish what system was understood by this phrase, if we had not befor met with it in the Histoire Comparée t'es Systemes de Philosophie, bị M. Degerando, where we find this title applied to a succession of philosophers which begins with Dr Hutcheson of Glasgow; comprehends in it Reid, Fergusson, &c.; and at present terminates in Professor Dugald Stewart, to whose writings, as Degerando remarks, Reid's philosophy owes its fullest developinent; and the greatest share of its celebrity with foreign nations. Sometimes, when the same author speaks inore loosely, he appears to include, in the Scoirish school, almost all the philosophers that have flourAshed in that conntry since the time of Hutcheson, whether they fuave supported or combated the philosophy of Locke. In this tray be includes Lord Kames, David Hume, Adam Smith, &c.; Farming a succession of envinent men, of which, in so short a period, and in so narrow a country, there are but few examples in the history of letters.



On the whole, throughout these reports we find great liberality with regard to foreign nations; and if more room is occupied by French improvements and discoveries than by any other, this may be in reality a just allotment; or it may in part be an effect of that perspective which, in intellectual, as in visible objects, represents the nearest as the largest, so as sometimes to deceive the justest eye, and the most impartial judgment.

In one instance we think that this fairness is a little departed from, when it is said, that no nation has cultivated historical composition so much as the French, nor produced so great a number of historians that deserve to be quoted. It was to a Frenchman,' the report adds, that Italy owed the first history of Rome, written by a modern ; and it was a Frenchman who first made the English acquainted with the history of their own country.

Those, however, who have studied history in the best school, will not be very apt to admit, that the dull and unphilosophical narrative of Rapin could bring an Englishman acquainted, as he ought to be, with the history of his country. Whatever the French themselves suppose, it is not the opinion of strangers that they excel in historical composition. For our part, we hope that we are not altogether deceived by national partiality when we say, that we do not know three modern historians, of any country, that can be compared with three of which this island boasts, Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon. They are historians whom no age but such a one as the present could produce: it is in vain to look for any thing antient to be opposed to them. It is only among future generations that riyals to them can be found.

One remark has struck us forcibly, in looking over the second and third reports, that no mention is made of the works on political economy, commerce, statistics and the like, that in different parts of Europe have, within these few years, increased the mass of knowledge on all these subjects. Works on legislation are mentioned; but no enumeration is subjoined. We do not observe that Malthus's Essay on Population is any where taken notice of. All this looks as if there were a class of subjects, and one too of the highest importance to society, that is at present interdicted in France. This is weak policy, and unworthy of a great monarch. The subjects prohibited will be only so much me more forcibly imprinted on the minds of the people. They will be like the statues which the jealousy of a Roman emperor excluded from a procession in which they had a right to appear--

Præfulgebant Cassius atque Brutus,--eo ipso quod elhigies eorum , con visebantur.'

B 4


But whatever be the case with this branch of knowledge, it is but fair to state, that the physical and mathematical sciences, and many parts of literature, have been cultivated in France and in the rest of Europe, to great effect, during the last nineteen years, notwithstanding the agitation and distress which have every where prevailed. We are certainly not of the number to whom the Emperor alludes, who pretend that science is retrograde, because they wish it to be extinguished. We rejoice to think that it cannot be extinguished ; and that this is a revolution which no individual is sufficiently powerful to effect. Indeed, we have reason to think, that those branches of knowledge that are least favoured by the Emperor, and to which his protection is not extended, are at this moment studied in France with great assiduity.

pp. 454.

ART. II. The Columbiad: a Poem. By Joel Barlow.

4to. Philadelphia, 1807. Reprinted for Phillips, London. 8vo.


pp. 420.

As s epic poetry has often been the earliest, as well as the most

precious production of national genius, we ought not, perhaps, to be surprised at this goodly firstling of the infant Muse of America. The truth however is, that though the American government be new, the people is in all respecis as old as the people of England; and their want of literature is to be ascribed, not to the immaturity of their progress in civilization, but to the nature of the occupations in which they are gencrally engaged. These federal republicans, in short, bear no sort of resemblance to the Greeks of the days of Homer, or the Italians of the age of Dante; but are very much such people, we suppose, as the mocern traders of Manchester, Liverpool, or Glasgow. They have all a little Larin whipped into them in their youth; and read Shakespeare, Pope and Milton, as well as bad English novels, in their days of courtship and leisure. They are just as likely to write epic poems, therefore, as the inhabitants of our trading towns at home; and are entitled to no more admiration when they succeed, and to no more indulgence when they fail, than would be due, on a similar occasion, to any of those industrious persons.

Be this, however, as it may, Mr Barlow, we are afraid, will not be the Homer of his country; and will never take his place among the enduring poets either of the old or of the new world. The faults which obviously cut him off from this high destiny,


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