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of Sciences. Ample proof was also given of the deep interest which his works excited among the philosophers of Italy. It appeared even that he was in correspondence with Galileo, so that this great man might be partly indebted to Bacon for the skill with which he conducted his inquiries into nature. Mr Napier concluded with the testimony of eminent German writers in the latter end of the seventeenth century, particularly Morhof, Puffendorff, and Boerhaave.

March 16.- Professor Leslie read a paper on certain cold impressions transmitted from the higher atmosphere, with the description of an instrument for measuring them, to which he gives the name of Ethrioscope. By the help of this truly ingenious instrument, we are enabled to discover the relative temperature of those remote and elevated regions of the atmosphere which are inaccessible to direct observations. The Ethrioscope, collecting the cold pulses which shoot downward from the sky, indicates thus a much lower temperature than that of the air by which it is surrounded. The effect would be reversed if it were carried to a considerable height above the earth, and collected the warm pulses which are sent from below. It is needless to enlarge on the benefits which may result from such an instrument to the science of meteorology. Mr Leslie exhibited it to the Society in three forms, differing in size and structure; but it would be impossible, without the aid of plates, to convey any adequate idea of this beautiful invention.

April 6.—Professor Playfair read part of a biographical account of the author of the Naval Tactics.

In this essay, which excited the greatest interest in the Society, Mr Playfair observed, that Mr Clerk belonged to a class of active and vigorous minds, which extend their thoughts and inventions beyond their regular and professional sphere. Mr Clerk, however, though not a seaman, was led by circumstances, at an early period of life, to take a voyage on board a ship of war, and was even present at the great fight near Gibraltar. His situation then as a spectator, and not an actor, might be favourable to the habit of reflecting on the mode

See the article Climate, in Supplemen to Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. III. p. 198-200.

in which naval affairs were conducted. After coming home, he gradually matured his well known system of naval tactics. Mr Playfair observed, that no plan was then known by which one fleet could bring another to action without great disadvantage. It was impossible that the whole could be brought into line opposite to the enemy, without some part being first exposed to an unequal combat and considerable loss. All these disadvantages were obviated, and, in case of superior valour, a complete victory secured, by the plan of bearing down upon the enemy's centre, and breaking his line. Admiral Rodney, well known as the first who put this grand manœuvre in practice, universally declared himself indebted for the knowledge of it to Mr Clerk. To other testimonies, Mr Playfair could add that of Lord Haddington, who saw this illustrious veteran, at an advanced age, when he was unable to stir from his sofa. Even then he loudly professed his obligations to the Naval Tactics, and cried out, with charasteristic enthusiasm," John Clerk for ever!" Lord Howe, when a copy of the work was sent to him, wrote, that he admired the ingenuity of the writer, but that he would follow the old system. In fact, however, before the 22d of June, he must have changed his opinion;for he followed the plan of the Naval Tactics, and thereby gained a complete triumph. It was by acting upon the same system, that Lords St Vincent, Duncan, and Nelson, gained that series of victories which rendered their names immortal. In short, this system might justly be consi dered as the main instrument which raised the naval glory of Britain to such an unrivalled height. Mr Playfair then adverted, in terms of deep and eloquent regret, to the circumstance,-that no tribute of national gratitude had been paid to merit so transcendent. Whatever might be the cause, it could little affect Mr Clerk, to whom the proud consciousness of having conferred so signal a benefit on his native country, must have afforded higher satisfaction than could be derived from any adventitious distinction. It could not but be viewed in a different light, however, when considered as affecting the character of the nation and its rulers, for whom the bestowing of honours and rewards upon great public benefactors, must always be numbered as one of the most important and imperious duties.

LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE.

Foundation of a New Observatory in Edinburgh. On the 25th April, according to previous intimation, the members of the Astronomical Institution assembled at the Observatory on the Calton Hill, where they were joined by the Lord Provost and Magistrates, the only persons not proprietors who were invited to attend upon this occasion. The day being exceedingly cold, Professor Playfair, the President of the Institution, having been for some time indisposed, was afraid to venture out, and therefore the duty to be performed devolved on Sir George S. Mackenzie, Bart. the VicePresident. The usual donatives to posterity being prepared, and inclosed in two glass bottles, hermetically sealed, they were deposited by the Vice-President in the hollow of the stone. The cover being placed with the usual solemnities, and the blessing of the Almighty, the Great Architect of the universe, implored for the success of the undertaking,-a hearty cheer concluded the ceremony. The bottles contained copies of each of the Edinburgh newspapers, an alınanack for this year, with the current coins of the country, together with a platinum plate, on one side of which was engraved the following inscription, with the names of the office-bearers, and on the reverse an alphabetical list of all the proprietors.

SPECULAE

Ad siderum cursus aliaque coclestia Contemplanda Sumptibus suis extruendae Primum lapidem poncndum curarunt Institutionis Astronomica Edinensis

Sodales;

VII. Cal. maj. aerae Christianae an. MDCCCXVIII, Georgio Tertio an. LVIII. regnante, Period. Julian. 155CDXXXI. Gulielmo Henrico Playfair architecto : Ne diutius Urbi clarissimae Scientiam omnium pulcherrimam atque amplissimam excolendi facultas decsset. Translation. On the 25th of April, in the year 1818 of the Christian era, the 58th of the reign of George the Third, and the 6531st of the Julian Period, the foundation stone of an Observatory was laid by the Astronomical Institution of Edinburgh, to be built at its own expence, according to a plan given by William Henry Playfair, architect, in order that a great city, renowned for learning and knowledge, might no longer be without the means of cultivating the most sublime and most perfect of the sciences.

At five o'clock, the members repaired to Oman's, where a party, consisting of fifty gentlemen, sat down to an elegant dinner, Professor Playfair in the chair, supported by the Lord Provost and Lord Gray, with the Honourable Captain Napier, Sir John Hay, Sir William Forbes, Sir M. Shaw Stewart,-Sir George Mackenzie and Mr Thomas Allan, Croupiers. After dinner, the healths of the royal family being drank, the President proposed as a toast, the Astronomical Institution of Edinburgh, and may the Observatory be as permanent as the rock upon which it is founded, and as the science to which it is dedicated; after which, Sir George Mackenzie proposed Professor Playfair, their distinguished President.

Mr PLAYFAIR, in rising to return thanks to the company for the honour they had done him, expressed his great regret, that the state of his health had deprived him of the gratification of seeing the foundation stone laid of a building which he had long entertained the most anxious desire to see erected, in order that a stain, which had long sullied the character of Edinburgh, as a seat of science, might be wiped away. For many years of his life, the hopes of such an event seemed to be so remote, he might almost say so improbable, that he considered it as a case of a perfectly forlorn nature; it could well be believed, therefore, how sincerely he participated in the satisfaction which all present must feel in meeting together to celebrate so desirable an event as the actual commencement of this undertaking. Few people knew how painfully disgraceful the want of this es tablishment had been to those connected with the scientific duties of this place, in illustration of which, he had only to mension an anecdote which occurred some time ago. About ten or twelve years since, a frigate had been fitted out at Copenhagen, destined on a voyage of discovery. From some accidental circumstance, she had been obliged to set sail before her chronometers and watches were adjusted, so as to be able to keep the proper time; the port of Leith being but little out of their way, they proposed to touch there, in order to repair the omission, never doubting that any difficulty could exist at such a seat of learning, in ascertaining the true time; they were woefully deceived, however, for nobody at Edinburgh could tell them what o'clock it was, neither chronometers nor transit instruments being to be found in the place. They were consequently obliged to proceed to some port in England, probably with serious inconvenience from delay, in order

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to have that apparently very simple ques. tion resolved.

It might be thought, perhaps, that, in consequence of the great discoveries which have been made in astronomy, the field is fully occupied, and that little remained to be done; let it be remembered, however, that, within the memory of many then present, at least within his own, no less than five new planets had been dis. covered-new worlds in fact, unknown to former astronomers. Herschel, besides, had discovered several double and triple stars, with various nebulæ, and other astronomical phenomena, that it was impossible for him to enumerate. It would be better, therefore, to consider the wide expanse of Heaven as a field in itself inexhaustible, even if we had nothing to expect from the improvement of our means, and from the ingenuity of artists, in providing instruments, which would enable us to observe with more precision and effect.

The situation of Edinburgh as the site of an Observatory was peculiar and promi. nent; for, together with all the advantages that every other Observatory enjoys, its situation is particularly well adapted for the determination of the great problem of refraction, so eminently important, not only in the theory of astronomy, but for the improvement of nautical science.

In looking around him, it gave him peculiar satisfaction to find himself supported by so numerous and so respectable a company, particularly when he reflected upon the rise and progress of this institution, which, like many others of the same kind, had originated in the exertions of a few private individuals. Of these, the name which he recollects first to have heard mentioned, he has great pleasure in treasuring in his memory-it is that of a gentleman who has eminently distinguished himself, not only by his philanthropy, but by his uncommon exertions in behalf of a great variety of scientific bodies, and to whom we owe the foundation of a library, which, even here, in Edinburgh, does honour to the city to this gentleman the Astronomical Institution is chiefly indebted for its foundation; he need scarcely tell the meeting that it is to Mr Bonar, their Treasurer, to whom he alluded. Thus the first idea of an association for astronomical and other scientific purposes, seems to have originated with Mr Bonar and his friends. Sir George Mackenzie soon became ac quainted with the suggestion; he saw its Full value; from the beginning he had had an Opportunity of observing the uncommon assiduity and successful exertions of this genleman; and it is to his zeal, activity, and perseverance, more than to those of any ther individual, that we owe the estalishment and form of the institution as

= now exists. He would therefore beg

VOL. 11.

leave to propose first the health of the Vice-President, and afterwards that of the Treasurer.

Sir GEORGE MACKENZIE returned thanks for the very flattering notice which had been taken of his exertions by the President, and assured the meeting, that, if a sincere and active zeal could promote the objects of the institution, his exertions should never be found wanting in its support.

After the health of the Lord Provost and Magistrates had been given from the chair, Mr Playfair proposed the health of Mr Pillans, through whose able instruction they might look forward with confidence for a succession of men to fulfil those duties which now fell to the lot of the mem bers of this institution.

Mr PILLANS, in acknowledging the distinguished honour done him, said it was impossible not to feel it more deeply, when he thought of the eminent individual with whom it originated. Laudari a laudato viro. He felt it at that moment to be not only a high gratification and a rich reward, but a most powerful incentive to continue in the cheerful performance of an arduous duty. Warmly interested, like every Scotsman, in the glory of his country, he rejoiced in the event which they were met here to celebrate; and was confident that, under the management of the able men who more immediately superintended it, the Observatory would speedily produce an accession of fame to our native city. And though it is as much out of his power as it is out of his province to introduce his pupils to the arcana of astronomy, it shall never cease to be an object of his ambition, by a simple exposition of its elementary truths, and by employing the means of illustration and excitement which this institution will afford him, to diffuse among the youth of his country, at a time of life when the mind is most susceptible of lasting impressions, such a taste for that sublime and difficult science as may enable some of them to claim kindred with those

"Felices animi, quibus hæc cognoscere primis, Inque domos superas scandere cura fuit;" and to have their names enrolled among the men who

"Admovere oculis distantia sidera nostris, Altheraque ingenio supposuere suo."

A great variety of toasts, suitable to the occasion, were given by the President and other members; and the company, after passing the evening with much satisfaction, separated with the most cheering anticipations of soon witnessing a brilliant increase to the scientific celebrity of our northern capital.

In other countries, scientific establishments partake of public patronage, and Observatories, in general, have been usual.

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ly the peculiar objects of munificence among Princes. Here, unaided by any public grant, and without the means even of compensating the valuable time bestowed by the observer, this institution is rising so rapidly in the estimation of the public, that, it is hoped, the private subscriptions of individuals will soon remove all difficulties, and that the innate love of science among our countrymen will soon enable the institution to place its establishment on as respectable a footing as any in Europe.

About two years ago, one Dr Sickler, a professor of Hildburghausen, undertook to unrol and decypher the remains of ancient literature found among the ruins of Herculaneum. His overtures were attended to by the Regent, and it was agreed that the professor should come over to England, and submit his plan to a committee. The professor arrived, and submitted his scheme in all its details to a committee, consisting of the Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Grenville, Lord Colchester, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, Sir Humphrey Davy, the late Dr Burney, and William Hamilton, Esq. But, after attentive examinations, the committee, who had called to their assistance Sir William Drummond, Sir W. A'Court, Sir Charles Blagdon, and Mr Taylor Combe, came to the unanimous conclusion that Dr Sickler "had totally failed in his endeavours to satisfy them that his method of unrolling the Herculancan manuscripts is available, and such as can warrant them in recommending to his Majesty's government a further perseverance therein." The committee, however, notwithstanding his failure, recommended, in addition to his expences, a remuneration of L. 200, being a sum about equal to that which he had lost b leaving his professional duties in Germany for four months. The total amount being L.1111.—Dr Sickler's proposed system may be classed under three distinct heads :--

adopted by Dr Sickler, is too violent an operation to produce entire consecutive columns, or single layers of the papyrus; and his method of indiscriminately covering the surface of the roll with the lining, which, being attached to the roll by the liquid preparation, brings off with it, in the process of detaching, the part so lined, is very imperfect; since, in raising the layers, it it scarcely possible to observe, by the eye, whether one or more layers are about to separate from the mass,-a part of the operation, which, at Naples, is carried on with the greatest caution.

1. As to the improvement of the machine inade use of by him.

2. As to the liquid applied to the roll: and, 3. As to his mode of manipulation. To which the committee made the following objections:

1. That the machine made use of by Dr Sickler does not, in the opinion of the committee, appear to be calculated to remove any of the difficulties which have hitherto occurred in the system of unrolling the manuscripts.

2. That the liquid, from the application of which the committee were induced to hope that the separation of the layers of the papyrus would be considerably facilitated, does not, in the judgment of the commit tee, appear to possess any effective power beyond that of acting as glue for the lining of the part to be detached; and,

3. That the mode of manipulation

Blue Iron Earth.-The blue iron earth, or native Prussian blue, as it was formerly called, has been found in many parts of the continent of Europe; as also in Iceland and in Shetland; but it had never been discovered in the island of Great Britain, until it was observed by Dr Bostock, at Knots. hole, near Liverpool. On the north-east bank of the Mersey, about a mile and a half above the town, a small glen, or dingle, is formed, apparently by a fissure in the brown sandstone, which, in this place, rises up to the edge of the water; the sides of the dingle are covered with brush-wood, and at the bottom is a flat swampy pas ture. The upper stratum of the soil of the pasture is chiefly sand, mixed with a little vegetable mould; but at the depth of four or five feet, there is a body of stiff white clay, mixed with a considerable quantity of vegetable matter, consisting principally of the roots and stems of different species ef rushes, and other aquatic plants. A por tion of this clay was procured for examina tion, principally in order to ascertain how far it was likely to prove useful as a manure, when, after being exposed for soure time to the air, the vegetable fibres which it contained were found to be encrusted with a dusky blue substance, the shade of which became gradually more intense, until at length it acquired a deep indigo colour. It exhibited a pulverulent, or feathery appearance, and seemed to be at tached to the vegetable matter alone. Its chemical composition was found to agree with that indicated by Klaproth and Laugier, or to consist essentially of oxide of iron and phosphoric acid. With respect to its production, it may be ob served, that many circumstances lead to the idea, that the valley formerly occupied a small bay in the river, which was gradually filled up by the accumulation of sand and earth, either deposited by the tide, or washed down from the higher ground, and that a chalybeate spring issues from a rock at the upper part of the valley. If, therefore, we may be permitted to suppose that the remains of marine animals were mixed with the clay and sand by which the bay was filled up, we have on the spot both the constituents of the phosphate of iron.

I

The English Tragic Drama is chiefly known in France through the translation of M. Le Tourneur. We understand that M. de Châteauneuf is about to publish a selection of English comedies. To judge of it by the fragments which the author has given in the French journals, published in London, his translation will be faithful as well as elegant. In his prefatory remarks, he says, I have studied the English drama for three years, and whenever I may venture to criticise it, I shall, perhaps, do so with the prejudices of a Frenchman. conceive, the reading of twenty comedies gives me a better idea of a people than a hundred volumes of travels. In comparing the comic drama of the two countries, some idea may be formed of the astonishing contrast which exists between two such near neighbours. The English language possesses a certain superiority with which no modern tongue can vie; it is that lofty energy which belongs to the genius of liberty. Should the freedom of the press not be established among us, (as our good ministers have promised,) the English language, which every one wishes to learn, on account of that liberty, will become universal on the continent, and France will thus lose the only pre-eminence which remains to her."

It is proposed to build an observatory within the precincts of Cambridge University, the expence of which is estimated at about L.10,000. A grace will be proposed to the senate for a donation of L.5000 from the University chest, and a subscription opened for raising the remainder of the sum. Application is to be made to government to appoint an observer and an assistant with adequate salaries.

The fatal accidents which occurred in consequence of the late destructive fire in the Strand, has led Mr Robinson of Nottingham to suggest that a large feather bed or hair mattress should accompany every fire engine; or two or more mattresses might be so contrived as to be made into one in the space of a minute by two expert persons. Hair deserves a preference for this purpose to other materials, both on account of its elasticity and durability; for such a mattress, if provided with a stout linen cover, and kept dry, would last for fifty years.

Mr Macwilliam states, in his Essay on Dry Rot, just published, that this disease, however injurious to others, is of great advantage to wine merchants, as it soon covers the bottles with its mouldy appearance, and consumes the external parts of the corks; so that, with a trifling operation on the bottles after they are filled, and then deposited in cellars pretty strongly affected with the dry rot, they can send out wine, as having been bottled for seven or

eight years, before it has in fact been there for so many montas. As

every fact relative to the state of the Arctic regions is now of more than usual interest, we transcribe the following postscript to the journal of the big Jemima, which sailed last summer from London to the Moravian Missions in Labrador."The captain and mate report, that, though for these three years past they have met with an unusual quantity of ice on the coast of Labrador, yet in no year since the commencement of the mission in 1769, has it appeared so dreadfully on the increase. The colour likewise of this year's ice was different from that usually seen, and the size of the ice mountains and thickness of the fields immense, with sandstone imbedded in them." As a great part of the coast of Greenland, which for centuries has been choaked up with ice, apparently immoveable, has by some revolution been cleared, perhaps this may account for the great quantity alluded to.

FRANCE. Nicholas Kephala, who com mands a Greek vessel, has had engraved here three charts of various parts of the Mediterranean, which he has frequently traversed, and himself sounded. The first represents the Greek Archipelago and the whole Strait of the Dardanelles. The second exhibits a considerable portion of the Adriatic, particularly the Ionian Islands and the coast of Albania; and the third contains that part of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Malta. This work is not only remarkable as being well executed, but as being one of the first enterprises of the kind undertaken by Greeks. Captain Kephala has dedicated his performance to the Government of the Ionian Islands, of which he is a native. He has published it, at his own expence, for the instruction of his countrymen, and causes the copies to be circulated in Grecce. He had previously published a Chart of the Black Sea, a Treatise on the Maritime Laws, and a Guide to Seamen, both in Greek; and is now engaged in a Nautical Geography, and a Treatise on Ship-building.

From the report read at the late public meeting of the Society for the Improvement of Elementary Instruction, it appears, that the number of Schools established on the new plan in France now amounts to 369, of which 339 are for boys and 30 for girls. The reason of this great disproportion is, that the principai Institution for girls was not opened till fifteen months after the Elementary School for boys. Of the 361 new schools, there are 219 in towns, and 150 in the villages. Upon the whole, the rural schools have not hitherto multiplied so rapidly as those in the towns, as it is but natural that improvements should be longer in penetrating to country places, which, moreover, pos

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