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Art. IV, The Modern Antique, or the Muse in the costume of Queen
Anne, 8vo. pp. 316. Price 12s. Pople, 1813. BY this time, we have no doubt, the author is heartily ashamed
of his Modern Antique' and has not seldom exclaimed non erit emisso reditus tibi.' Such an insult, yet in perfect modesty, has been seldom offered to the public as in this flimsy volume. At p. 113, we meet with the following lines ;
• What if in youthful hour, ambitious, led
They're not for an impartial stranger fitWe can now only wish that the remonstrance had proved successful.
The book begins with four grand dithyrambic odes “for music.' We suppose that they were written at school, at that time when a boy's head is filled with all the phantasmagoria of Olympus and Lempriere's Dictionary. The first ode is a quarrel between Minerva and-Hayden : and in that for St. Cecilia's Day, the Furies are introduced into the tent of the king of Israel.
Mark the contracted brow of Saul,
And sallied in and out the porch.'
It's chiefest mark
Which warms, as 'twere sublimes the soul,
Ev'n to a point which gather'd sense;'
After the odes comes the port-folio,' containing such delectable morsels as the following.
The Flowret in June.
So is man in his prime;
E'en so short is his time.
Fall away in the Sun ;
See, he drops, and life's done!'
And to a true admirer charms in all :
And still herself a fair original !'
A Duett between Swain and Nature.
Mark the stag, oh how fleet ;
Rural scene, bliss complete.'
'Tis distress in the flock;
You distinguish to die.
Thus instill'd in our thought;
Nature. Urge not mine and their fault:
Reason thee should exalt;
In the guilt of thy spoil.'
Art. V. An Inquiry into the Changes induced on Atmospheric Air, þy
the Germination of Seeds, the Vegetation of Plants, and the Respiration of Animals. By Daniel Ellis. 8vo. pp. 246. price
9s. Murray. Art. VI. Farther Inquiries into the Changes induced on Atmospheric
Air, by the Germination of Seeds, the Vegetation of Plants, and the Respiration of Animals. By Daniel Ellis. 8vo. pp. 375.
price 9s. Murray. THIS
IS is one of the most elaborate and complete treatises
which we have ever seen on any individual branch of physiological science. The relations of the various orders of animated nature, to the atmosphere in which they live, curious and important as the subject confessedly is, have not perhaps been made a leading object of research, until it began to be perceived that the science of chemistry might be made to contribute materially to their elucidation. Accordingly, nearly all our information upon it has arisen out of the labours of the eminent individuals who have devoted themselves to the cultivation of this delightful science. The facts which have been thus accumulated, now form a considerable mass of knowledge : and had Mr. Ellis merely arranged and methodised these facts, he would have performed an acceptable service. He has however done much more than this. He has questioned nature herself; and has cleared up several dubious points, and confirmed others (not perhaps strictly uncertain, though not before ascertained with all the precision of which they were capable), by ingenious and careful experiments.
In experiments, however, conducted on a machine so complicated and delicate as that of man and the inferior animals, from which sources of error might arise perfectly unforeseen, and quite beyond the immediate control of the operator, and against which the slow instruction of experience alone, could enable him to guard; it might be expectedthat appearances and anomalies would occur, of which the precise nature and bearing could only be determined by repeated observation and more enlarged experience. Unfortunately for the progress of physiology, from observations in theinselves crude and imperfect, deductions have been made, and hypotheses formed, the only ten'dency and effect of which has been to confuse and obscure a şubjeet necessarily perplexed and intricate, and requiring the most rigid and cantious procedure, to its successful developement. The theories thus liasiily forined at the very commencement of these inquiries, and before any number of facts had been accumulated sufficient to form the basis of legitimate induction, have continued to embarrass them to the present time; and it is not the least valuable service which Mr. Ellis has conferred on this branch of physiology, that he lias exainined these parts of his subject with a propriety and correctness of reasoning, supported when necessary by an appeal to experiment and analogy, which has simplified it considerably, and freed it from numerous difficulties, originating in careless observation, or inconclusive reasoning, and not unfrequently in that proneness to generalize without sufficient data, which has contributed more than any other single cause to the retardation of human knowledge
In carrying on this very extensive and interesting investigation, Mr. Ellis has adopted that arrangement most naturally suggested by the subject, and perhaps on the whole best calculated to develope the important changes which are constantly produced by the various tribes of animated nature, on the atmosphere by which they are surrounded; for to this single object his inquiries are chiefly limited in the volumes now under our consideration. He first notices the changes inluced on the air by the germination of seeds, and afterwards directs his attention to those effected by the perfect plants. He next examines the phenomena of respiration in the more simple orders of animals, such as insects, worms, fishes, and the amphibia; and, after reviewing in succession the respiration of birds and quadrupeds, he proceeds to that of man. He afterwards enters into the consideration of the source of the carbon, which is constantly exhaled both by animals and vegetables, as long as the functions of life continue to be performed : and, finally, takes a review of the phenomena which arise from the changes thus induced on the air by the grand function of vegetable and animal life. This inquiry relates therefore so far, to the changes induced on the cir; but at the close of the second volume, Mr. E. announces his intention of prosecuting the subject at a future opportunity, and of inquiring into the reciprocal effects which are produced on the living system of vegetables and animals; or, as he expresses himself, of attempting to trace all the observed effects, which succeed to the exercise of the respiratory function in plants and animals, to the agency of that subtile or calorific matter, which is universally liberateil by the changes induced on the air during the continuance of this living process.'
Of an inquiry so large and extensive, we can only attempt to introduce a very general view to the notice of our readers : and if it should induce such of them as take an interest in these pursuits, to study the work for themselves, we can venture to assure them they will derive from the perusal no small degree of solid instruction and rational pleasure.
In the germination of seeds, there are three agents, the presence of which is indispensably necessary. These are water, heat, and air. The absence of any of these is alike fatal to the commencement or continuance of the process.
When a seed is first brought into contact with water, it swells, and its radicle soon begins to be unfolded. This enlargement of bulk is independent of the presence of air, taking place equally well in water that has been deprived of its air, as completely as possible, by boiling, as in that which has not. It is the effect, therefore, of the mere imbibition of moisture, and the apparent developement of the seed is simply a consequence of its increased magnitude which gives greater distinctness to all its parts. While seeds are undergoing this change of volume, they exert a force which Boyle found by experiment to be capable of counteracting a considerable degree of pressure, and a very admirable provision is thus made for the commencement of vegetation in the strongest and least favourable soils. The inoisture which is thus absorbed appears to gain admission in the first instance through the pores of the external coat, and afterwards to be taken up by the proper vessels of the cotyledons, which, by the use of any coloured liquid, may be rendered distinctly visible. With respect to the temperature necessary to germination, it varies considerably; since most seeds have a particular season most favourable to their growth, and this depends of course on the temperature of each .No seed however will or below the freezing temperature of water, although a very low temperature does not necessarily destroy the vitality of the seed, nor injure its future germination ; and hence seeds remain exposed to the severe colds of winter, and yet grow freely in the succeeding spring. When however the seed has been brought into a favourable state by the agency of these means, the immediate presence of air becomes necessary; for Boyle found that seeds do not germinate in the exhausted receiver of an airpump, though they may be duly supplied with moisture and at a temperature sufficiently favourable. It was reserved for Scheele however to determine by actual experiment the changes which the air suffered by the process.
It is almost superfluous to observe, that the atmosphere which we breathe is a mixture, or, as some suppose, a compound of two different kinds of air, remarkably dissimilar in their properties, and, in their immediate agency on living beings, producing effects