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they thought it vain to oppose it. Even the declaration of the Irish House of Commons, in the year 1641, relative to the queries which maintained the independence of Ireland, is scarcely an objection ; because it was made in imitation of the encroachments of the Eng. lish House of Commons. It was suggested by the embarrassment of affairs in England, and was aimed against the authority of the King, rather than that of parliament. The same legislators, who wished to be held the affertors of the liberties of their country, hesitated not to acknowledge virtually the fupremacy of the Commons of England, by supplicating from that body a redress of their grievances.

• What reflections the preceding narrative will fuggest to persons of different characters, and in different interests, I presume not to conjecture. One remark, however, will occur to every reader, that the policy of England, with regard to Ireland, for the laft hundred years, has gradually become more liberal, as commercial and political knowledge have been advanced and extended ; but that all the examples of national generosity, which this period can exhibit, dire appear, when compared with the magnitude of late acts and refolutions, which are to extend to Ireland the advantages of a free trade. One step only remains, perhaps, to secure the future prosperity and happinefs of the two kingdoms, to extend the benefits of the British conftitution over the British Ines.'

The above extract affords a fufficient specimen of the Author's style, which is fimple, perspicuous, and manly. His eloquence, we must however acknowledge, is of the auftere kind; he endeavours rather to inform the understanding than to please the fancy; the harshness of his periods too often of fends the ear; and his performance would have been more agreeable and more popular, if he had thewn less disdain of the graces of composition.

I s. 6 d.


Art. IX. Considerations or the Eficacy of Electricity, in removing

Female Obstructions; to which are annexed Cases and Remarks.
By John Birch, Surgeon. 8vo.

Cadell. 1779.
Work which announces, on probable grounds, a certaix

remedy for any one disorder with which the human fpecies is afflicted-especially the weaker and better half of it-we consider as deserving particular respect; and we take pleasure in extending the knowledge of such a remedy, to the faculty, and the public at large. Such a one, we are here affured, is electricity, when properly directed, in the removal of certain female obstructions. Its efficacy, however, is by no means limited to this particular species of obstruction; though the Author has chosen, in the present pamphlet, to confine his observations to this fingle class; because the cases have been numerous, and the success uniform.'

The happy effects produced by electricity, in the cure of diseases, of which, we are told, every day has furnilhed fresh proofs, for two or three years past, was, says the Author,


the fortunate discovery of my friend, Mr. Partington; and the credit which it has obtained in practice, since that period, has awakened the attention of the public in this metropolis.I was induced to accompany him in his inquiries, from the fuccess which followed his judicious application of it, in some recent cases of surgery which I sent to him. But, cautious of being misguided by false appearances, I proceeded slowly, and doubted much; till experience taught me, that when I was unsuccessful, it oftener proceeded from want of judgment in the application, than from want of power in the remedy,'- The Author afterwards informs us, that a collection of cases, and a view of the prefent state of Medical Electricity, is preparing for the press, by Mr. Partington; and will be published as soon as that gentleman's avocations will permit.

When we reviewed Dr. Priestley's History of Electricity *, we took particular notice of the uncertainty which, at that time, attended the medical administration of the electric Auid ; by which, even then, some indubitable and extraordinary cures had been performed : though repeated failures had likewise attended the application of it in other instances. We then observed, that one, and that too a principal, cause of this uncertainty, was the difficulty of directing the course of the electric fluid through those particular parts, where its action would be beneficial. By an attention to this capital circumstance (and by means of some particular contrivances, as we conjecture ; - for the Author appears very reserved on this head) we apprehend he has been enabled to reduce his electrical method of cure to that degree of certainty, in the removal of female obstructions, which he professes to have attained to, by a skilful application of the electric shock;' fo as never get to have failed in one instance.?

The Author, apologising for his seeming invasion of the pbysician's province, by assuming the cure of a disease which has hitherto naturally fallen under the care of the physician, observes, that his mode of cure is strictly chirurgical ;-being an operation performed by the hand, with the assistance of inftruments ;' adding, that anatomical skill is necessary to direct it with propriety and success.'

We with, however, that Mr. Birch had been somewhat more particular, with respect to his modus operandi ;-—using the phrase, not in its common or medical acceptation, but in its chirurgical, or rather in its new anatomico-electrical sense. We here meet with no particular directions on this avowedly very esential part of the subject. In the first case here related, the Author only observes, that no relief was obtained, during a whole fortnight, by drawing sparks from the stomach and feet of the patient ; or • See Monthly Review, vol. xxxvii. Dec. 1767, p. 449.

by passing shocks from the hands and the vertebræ of the neck to the feet: because the electric matter seemed to act only, without any good or bad effect, on the external muscles.' He, therefore, considering the obstruction as being probably seated only in the vessels of the uterus, concluded, that the shock Thould be passed, if not confined, to the direction of those vefsels :' and observes, that the effect was quick and falutary. He speaks likewise of placing his directors in such a manner, as to convey the electric matter through every part of the uterus.'-—But hoc opus, hic labor eft! The reader naturally wishes to know how this is to be done; or whether the Author is in poffeffion of any method, not generally known, of rendering the electrical fluid more manageable, and obsequious to the defigns of the medical electrician.

For the seven cases related in this pamphlet, which the Author has selected from many other successful trials, we must refer the faculty to the performance itself. They certainly exhibit the medical powers of electricity in a very advantageous point of view.



PLAN d' un Traité sur l'Aurore Boreale, pour servir de Suite à

Celui de M. de MÁIRAN, &c. i. e. The Plan of a Treatise on the Aurora Borealis, designed as a Supplement to that of M de Maran, on the fame Subject. By J. H. VAN SWINDEN, Profeffor of Philosophy at Franeker, Member of several Academies, and Correspondent Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. We have had more than once occasion to mention Profefior Van Swinden, with the high esteem that is due to his unremitting industry, his judicious and well directed labours in the advancement of natural knowledge, and the fagacity and precision that accompany his uncommon modesty, in the conclusions he draws from his observations and researches. The interesting work he has, at present, undertaken, and of which we have the plan now before us, will undoubtedly give him a new title to the attention and gratitude of both connoisseurs and diletanti in natural philofophy.

Every one acquainted with matters relative to this science, knows the excellent treatise of M. de Mairan on the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Light, which is universally allowed to be a masterpiece of industry, sagacity, and genius. But as five and twenty years have passed since the last edition of that work was published, many discoveries have been made during that period, which open new views of this curious subject, and are adapted to carry our knowledge of it several steps farther toward the true theory of this remarkable phenomenon.

M. VÁN SWINDEN, during the space of eight years, has observed above 200 of these meteors, composed accurate and circumstantial descriptions of each, compared them with the motions of the magnetic needle, the different states and modifications of the atmosphere, and with the observations of the same phenomenon, made, during the same period, in other places, by learned men, whose accounts he has collected with care. This collection of his own observations and reasonings, and those of other eminent men, relative to the Aurora Borealis, he has resolved to communicate to the Public; and as the creatise of M. de MAIRAN 'contains the theory, the principles, the combinations, and details, that must be the bafis of all welldirected researches on the subject in question, our ingenious P Tor proposes to employ his materials in such a manner, that they will serve as a Supplement to the excellent work of the French Philosopher.

M. de MAIRAN's work contains two parts. ist, The Historical and Physicaland 2dly, The Systematic. The former is the principal object of M. VAN Swinden's illustrations and researches :- the latter he means only to treat occasionally, as M. de MAIRAN has pretty nearly laid all that can possibly be offered for the illustration and fupport of his system. The Zodiacal Light, and the Aurora Borealis, are the two important objects that compose the physical part of his work; the first of these he treats mathematically, astronomically, and physically; and as it is a part of M. Van Swinden's plan, to complete the list of observations that have been made on the Zodiacal Light, he entreats the learned, in all countries, to communicate to him any obfervations they may have made upon that subject. It is well known, that M. D'ALEMBERT + has proposed objections against the Zodiacal Light, considered as the solar atmosphere, to which it is difficult to give a solid and satisfactory answer: nevertheless, as this light follows invariably the course of the fun, M. Van Swinden thinks, that it must depend, in some way or other, on that luminous body; and this consideration is fufficient to justify those who adopt the system of M. DE MAIRAN.

In order to shew our readers the extent and importance of the learned labours of M. Van SWINDEN, on this curious subject, it will be necessary to mention (as he has done in the plan before us) the effential parts that compofe M. DE MAIRAN's treatise on the Aurora Borealis : These are, 1. An explanation

+ Opufcules, vol. vi, p. 333.

of the phenomena.-2. A chronological list of these meteors.3. The immediate consequences deduced from facts, and the relations which the different phenomena bear to each other. 4. The influence of the Aurora Borealis upon certain phenomena, and that also which certain agents may have upon it.5. An examination of the causes which have been assigned to this meteor.-6. The doubts and conjectures to which the discussion of what relates to the Aurora Borealis may give rise.

New observations and discoveries have enabled M. VAN SWINDEN to make interesting additions to each of these articles, and the observations and discoveries he has found in the later works of learned men in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Holland, have been carefully attended to in the execution of his plan. He does not give us here a summary of his additions. He, however, tells us, that the most important observations, among those which he has made or collected, relate to the phenomena of the Aurora Borealis,--to the filence, which, according to M. DE MAIRAN, reigns in all the parts and periods of this phenomenon, - or to the noise, which other observers have heard during its appearance,--and, finally, to the Aurora Boreales, (or rather Australes) which are formed near the antarctic pole, whose existence M. VAN SWINDEN proposes to demonftrate by new observations.

2. With respect to the chronological list of these meteors, our Author's additions to, and improvement of, M. DE MAIran's excellent table (which goes as far as the year 1751, and contains 1441 of the phenomena in question) will be very considerable. He proposes, first, to continue the table down to the year 1778, or still farther,-to complete it by an account of several of these meteors that appeared before the year 1752, but are not mentioned by M. DE MAIRAN,-to rectify the errors that this celebrated philosopher has fallen into by imagining, that the dates in Frobes's table (which he follows) were formed on the old ftile, and reducing them to the new,--and to give the chronological table, a more exact, instructive, and convenient form, than it has in DE MAIRAN's work.

3. The third article of that learned work, which contains consequences deduced from facts, and the relations which the different phenomena bear to each other, will also be enriched with many improvements from the observations and additions of Profeffor VAN Swinden. There will be relative to the great height of the Aurora Borealis (which we shall henceforth call the Northern Light) in the atmosphere,--to the interruptions and returns that prevent its permanent appearance, even in the places that lie nearest to the pole,-and to the correspondence that there is between its appearances and that of the Zodiacal Light. Under these articles, our learned Professor proposes,


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