« AnteriorContinuar »
DOMESTIC LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
The New-York Historical Society have published a second volume of Collections, comprising four discourses delivered on the anniversary days of their institution, respectively by Dr. Hugh Williamson, Dewitt Cimton, Esq. Gouverneur Morris, Esq. and Dr. Mitchill; an account of De La Salle's expeditions and discoveries in North America, and an extract of a translation of the history of New Sweedland, in North America. The first discourse, by Dr. Williamson, is a general dissertation on the uses and importance of history; that of Mr. Clinton contains an elaborate and comprehensive view of the history and character of the Five Nations," the Romans of the west.” Mr. Morris's is a brilliant, but rather immethodical, series of remarks on various points of our political history, and speculations on the formation of our national character. The last, by Dr. Mitchill, is a minute history of American botany, drawn up in chronological order. As a collection of facts it is every thing which could be desired on this subject; considered as a discourse, its plan is not so judicious. To the volume is annexed a very particular and well arranged catalogue of the books, tracts, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, &c. in the library of the society.
It may, perhaps, be questioned by some, whether the contents of the present volume exactly correspond with the title of the work, from an idea that it should wholly consist of such rare and curious pieces of history as are only to be discovered by the most assiduous researches of the antiquary,
“ Pick'd from the worm holes of long vanish'd days,
As it appears, however, from the address of the society to the public, annexed to their constitution and by-laws, that it will be their business to seek for and procure such valuable manuscripts, papers, and documents relative to the history of our country as may be in the possession of individuals, and as such individuals have been solicited to favour the society with such articles, it ought to be inferred that the meagerness of the present volume is not owing to any want of attention or industry on the part of the publishers. The catalogue of the books, &c, though we think not in its proper place, thus tacked to the volume, exhibits evidence of the successful exertions of the institution in procuring, in so short a period, a collection so valuable and comprehensive, and, at the same time, by its minute description and methodical arrangement, reflects the highest credit on the judgment and skill of the Rev. Mr. Alden, the compiler.
The list of the members prefixed to the volume appears to occupy too much space; no less than nine broad pages being taken up with the insertion of about 270 names. When it is considered, however, that it was the plan of the publishing committee to make every member
“ Shine in the dignity of F. R. S"
and that a learned society, lately established, which has done a great deal already towards the propagation of letters, has conferred its degrees on
many members of the Historical Society, and enables them, as Dr. Pangloss might say, to add to their names the decorative adjunct of F. L. P. Š. N. Y., it might, perhaps, have been viewed as an omission of due respect, to have appeared in public without these new badges of honourable distinction. Some allowance, of paper at least, should be made on this account. Besides, the society boasts, in its list of members, of several learned gentlemen whose names have long shone in the firmament of literature with a train of titles at the end of them as long as the tail of a comet, and it would not have been altogether decorous to lop them of their fair proportions, and degrade them from these well-earned honours to the simple appellation of Dr. or Esquire.
A second edition has been published in Boston of a work by Mr. Lustaphieve, the Russian consul, entitled "Reflections, Notes, and Original Anecdotes illustrating the character of Peter the Great, to which is added a tragedy in five acts, entitled Alexis the Czarewitz." The first part of the work consists of a very lofty, florid, and not ineloquent eulogium on the genius and character of Peter, and the notes and anecdotes subjoined are, for the most part, curious and interesting. The tragedy, though consisting of five acts, is very brief, the characters few, and the incidents simple. The subject is the death of the czar's profligate and rebellious son, Alexis, who, having been tried and condemned by a judicial tribunal, is pardoned by his father, but at too late an hour to save his life. The purpose of the piece is to vindicate Peter from the imputation of having poisoned Alexis, and the notes accompanying it are calculated to show that he was not capable of perpetrating a deed so monstrous and unnatural. The tragedy, we think, has no peculiar merit, and is deficient in many of those points that are necessary for producing dramatic effect. It is in blank verse, and though by no means harmonious, yet, considered as the composition of a foreigner, it discovers a great familiarity with our language, and a pretty intimate acquaintance with the style of the English dramatic writers in that species of verse. If it were not for the particular purpose of introducing the interesting matter contained in the notes, which occupy three fourths of the volume, there is no manner of doubt but that the tragedy Inight have been altogether dispensed with; and, indeed, it would seem that the author intended the one merely as the vehicle for the other.
Proposals have been lately issued in Boston for the publication of a monthly magazine, to be entitled the New-England Magazine. It is to be conducted by the late editors of the Cambridge Repository, a quarterly miscellany now discontinued, and will be in most respects similar to that publication. The Cambridge Repository contained a mixture of theological controversy and sacred criticism, with literary and critical articles. Its theology, which it defended with ability, and with very great learning, was that of Dr. Priestly, or at least very nearly so.
Much talent was displayed in the literary part, and some of the original poetry had very great merit. We have, however, understood that its circulation was extremely limited. Whether this was caused by any radical defect of its plan, or by the unpopularity of any of its doctrines, we cannot undertake to decide ; it certainly was not to be attributed to the want either of talents or learning.
The New-York Literary and Philosophical Society have in the press
the first half volume of their transactions. We have understood that it is to contain the constitution, laws, &c. of the society, the address delivered by the president, Mr. Clinton, upon the opening of the society, and several philosophical papers by Drs. Williamson, Mitchill, and Hosack.
Mr. Samuel R. Brown has lately published a small volume under the title of Campaigns of the Western Army, comprising sketches of the campaigns of Hull and Harrison, a minute account of the action on Lake Erie, military anecdotes, notices of abuses in the army, a plan of a military settlement, and a view of the lake coast from Sandusky to Detroit.
SCIENTIFIC AND LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
From late British Publications.
Mr. Westall's exhibition of 312 of his own paintings and drawings in PallMall, has been a favourite rendezvous of all lovers of art in London. No other living artist could have presented so great a variety of performances in the superior branches of art, and few have displayed so much perfection in each. Whether we contemplate the richness of the design and colouring of his history, the delicacy and natural tints of his landscape, the spirit and ingenuity of his rustie life, or the accurate delineation of character in his portraits, we are alike filled with wonder at the genius and versatile powers of this gentleman. Those who paid their tribute of applause to the genius of Gainsborough and Wilson, in the adjoining exhibition of the British Gallery, will not be less delighted in the contemplation of the transcendent works of the living Westall, who,
without being inferior to either of them, is the founder of a school of his own, distinguished for classic taste and for the highest powers of execution.
The French chemists propose calling iode gas, from iúdns, violaceous, or violaceous gas. Its properties are singular; combined with hydrogen, with phosphorus, and with oxymuriate of silver, it forms a peculiar acid; it is a sin ple or uncompounded gas, at a suitable temperature a permanently elastic fluid, hut heavier than any known gas, 100 cubic inches weighing 95.5 grains; it is a non-conductor of electri. city, experiences no change exposed to the action of the voltaic battery with char., coal, is not inflammable, and does not support combustion. As a simple substance it bas many analogies with oxygen, chlorine, and the alkalies; like oxygen, it rapidly unites with the metals; mercury, tin, lead, zinc, and iron, are converted by it, in a moderate temperature, into salts of orange, yellow, and brown tints, which are soluble in spirits, ether, and water, and form beautiful pigments, and most probably may be equally serviceable in the dye-house. Exposed to a moderate cold it condenses into solid plumbago-coloured crystals. Combined with hydrogen, it forms what the French call hydroionic gas. Like the alkalies, it unites with oxygen, from which it can be expelled by heat. The existence of this substance confirms the opinion that acidity and alkalescence do not depend on any specific principle, but on certain modifications of matter.
Dr. Crichton conceives that there is a continual waste of vitality during life, and, therefore, that a regular supply is necessary. He thinks that this vitality is furnished by the food, and believes that the food contains particles endowed with vitality, and that this vitality is neither destroyed by the destruction of the organic texture, nor by the heat to which the food is exposed. He made decoctions of chamomile, feverfew, nutgalls, &c. in distilled water, put the decoctions into glass jars inverted over distilled mercury, and introduced into them oxygen gas obtained from black oxyde of manganese. Numerous confervas made their appearance in these decoctions, and considerable portions of the gas were absorbed. From these experiments he concludes that there re two kinds of particles of matter, namely, organic particles and inorganic particles; and that the vitality of the first is not destroyed by 352
SCIENTIFIC AND LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
boiling water. In general, he found that vegetation commenced soonest when the decoction of tlowers is used, and latest when that of roots.
A method has been discovered by Mr. Turner, near Vauxhall, of fabricating very elegant and splendid embellishments for ball rooms, supper-rooms, pillars, temples, &c. by a composition, to which the Society for the Encouragement of Arts have attached the name v. Iinitative Scenite Granite. It is capable of being applied either on wainscotting or bire walls, or on walls aiready papered, and while it may be made to resemble the most beautiful marble or granite, particularly when assisted by lights, its charge does not exceed that of other ornamental painting or papering
The Rev. G. S. Faber so well known in the literary world by his various works ou the prophecies, has nearly finished for the press a work intended to form three 4to volumes, under the title of the Origin of Pagan Idolatry, ascertained from historical testimony and circumstantial evidence. It is announced by subscription.
The Rev. John Owen, gratuitous secretary to the British and Foreign Bible Society, propo-es to publish, by subscription, in two vols. 8vo. The History of the Origin, Progress, and Present State of that Institution.
Mr. Sinine, a native of Russia, and author of the interesting account of the death of the lamented Moreau, has in the press a work entitled Sketches in Russia, containing fifteen engravings, chiefly illustrative of scenery and manners, including portraits of the "mperor lexander, and the empress, from paintings very recently executed, and accompanied with original descriptions and anecdotes.
Mr. Sharon Turner is printing the first volume of his History of England. This will extend from the Roman conquest to the reign of Edward the Third, and comprise also the literary history of England during the same period. It is composed, like his Histry of the Anglo-Saxons, from original and authentic documents, and will be published in December.
voyage to the Isle of Elba, from the French of Mr. Arsenne Thiebaut de Berneand is in the press. It embraces a general view, not only of the geography and geology, hut also of the natural history antiquities, topography, agriculture, and commerce, and of the manners and habits of the population. It will be accompa. nied by an accurate map, laid down from actual observation; and is, in every parti. cular, calculated to gratify the public curiosity concerning an island to which recent events have given such extraordinary interest.
The Ballantynes of Edinburgh have nearly completed Mr. Soathey's poem of Roderick, the Last of the Goths.
Method of preserving vaccine matter. The invention of Mr. Forman, an in. genious manufacturer upon the Wear, near Sunderland. It is in the form of a small glass ball with a tube issuing from it, very similar to a cracker, as it is called, which mischievous boys put into candles to cause an explosion. The pustule from which the virus is to be taken being punctured by a lancet in the usual manner, the small ball or bulb is to be heated at a candle so as to rarity the air within it, and after it is sufficiently warmed the end of the little tube is to be inserted where the lancet had made the puncture, and the virus will immediately be taken up, so as to fill the bulb. The end of the tube is now to be hermetically sealed by means of a common blow-pipe at the flame of the candle, which is a very simple process; and thus the virus may be preserved for any length of time, and sent to any distance. If for im. mediate use, the tube peed not be sealed, but may be secured in any convenient manner. Any requisite number of these balls may be employed, and it is proper to remark that the virus is never heated much above blood heat.
Travels in the Interior of Brasil, particularly in the Gold and
Diamond Districts of that Country, by authority of the Prince Regent of Portugal; including a voyee to the Rio de la Plata, and an historical sketch of the Revolution of Buenos Ayres. Illustrated with engravings. by John Mawe, author of “ The Mineralogy of Derbyshire." 4to.
(From the Monthly Review.)
Almost all narratives of travels are interesting, either as conveying amusement to the general reader, or as affording instruction to the man of science and the philosopher. In course, their interest will vary with the novelty or the importance of the district described, and with the intelligence and the enterprise of the traveller; but temporary circumstances often confer additional zest on the pursuit after information respecting particular regions. The country of Brazil may be said to possess at present a share of this contingent importance, in aid of its own natural recommendations as an object of curiosity, and of the consideration that the knowledge which we have hitherto gained of its interior is very imperfect. We are glad, therefore, to announce the volume before us, which in some respects
Vol. IV. New Series. 45