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that hollow space, left dry its ancient bed, which forms, at prefent, our continents.
The proofs and development of this fyftem ;-the history of the earth fince this grand revolution ;-the examination of M. BUFFON'S epochas, as far as they relate to the origin of the planets, and the refrigeration of the earth;-a curious analysis of the phenomena of heat;-a confideration of the Mofaic account of the creation and deluge, and a demonftration of their conformity with the true theory of the earth,-are the interefting fubjects that occupy the remainder of this fifth volume:-and we propose to give some account of them in a fubfequent Review.
Obfervations fur la Mufique, & principalement fur la Metaphyfique de Art.-Ouiervations concerning Mufic, and more especially the Metaphyfical Part of that Art. 8vo. Paris. 1779.
THIS is a very ingenious performance. The Author appears to be both a musician and a philofopher, and his knowledge is accompanied with evident marks of genius and taste. It deferves to be compared with the excellent treatife of Mr. HARRIS, on Mufic, Painting, and Poetry, in which that very learned and judicious writer allows to the firft but a very fmall degree of perfection, when confidered as a mimetic or imitative art, and makes its genuine charm and efficacy confift in exciting directly by founds, modified in a certain manner, a variety of affections in the mind. Our Author adopts this principle, and illuftrates it by a variety of obfervations and examples, that are curious and entertaining. He fhews, that imitation is, by no means, effential to mufic; and that it is extremely imperfect in this fine art: he confiders mufic, as a natural and univerfal language, entirely diftinct from fpeech,, that acts immediately on the fenfes, though the mind, by reflection and fancy, difcovers, in its founds, feveral relations and analogies to different objects and effects in the natural world. 'He obferves, that in the ftabat mater, which commonly paffes for a powerful expreffion of grief, there is not a fingle note that imitates the natural or inarticulate cry of paffion.
The object and effect of mufic is pleasure, and pleasure is felt by the perfon who fings, even on the most forrowful occafions. As inarticulate founds have no precife fignification, they cannot excite any ideas, but fuch as correfpond with certain fenfations and affections, and even thefe they excite in a vague and confufed manner, if they are not determined by the union of mufic with poetry, or speech. Our Author confiders at great length the four principal characters of mufic, viz. the tender-the graceful-the chearful-and the bold. He also treats Nn 3
of melody and harmony, compofition and execution, in a mafterly manner. This volume, however, is bat the first part of his work; and the fecond will certainly be defired with impatience by thofe who perufe the first.
Voyage dans les Mers de l'Inde, fait par Ordre du Roi, c. — An Account of a Voyage made in the Indian Seas, by the king's Order, on occafion of the Paffage of Venus over the Sun's Dik, the 6th of June 1761, and the 3d of June 1769. By M. LE GENTIL, Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences. Vol. 1. 4to. 707 pages, with xv Plates. Paris. 1779. Price 13 livres. 103.
HE learned and inquifitive Author of this inftructive and entertaining work did not obtain the principal end he propose to himself by this voyage to the Eaft-Indies. He arrived too late in India for the paflage of Venus, that was to take place in 161 and though, with a patience, that feems peculiar to the votaries of aftronomy, he waited till the year 1769 for another paffage, an untimely cloud, of a momentary duration, difappointed his hopes a fecond time. Thefe philofophical difafters did not, however, render his voyage fruitless. The ingenious traveller turned his attention toward other objects, that might tend to the improvement of various useful branches of knowledge. And there are, in effect, feveral obfervations. relative to natural philofophy, geography, hiftory, civil inftitutions, and manners, in the work before us, that will be read with pleasure.
This First Volume contains two parts, and a fupplement or appendix. In the first part, our Author defcribes the customs, manners, and religion of the Indians, on the coaft of Coromandel, and this defcription is accompanied with various remarks on the wars and commerce that are carried on in that part of this ftrange world. This is followed by a view of the aftronomical principles of the Brahmins. The Author fhews their conformity with the aftronomy of the ancient Chaldeans, and endeavours to throw light upon the cloudy chronology of that nation. He makes alfo feveral remarks on the confufion that reigns in the denominations frequently given to the inhabitants of the coafts of Malabar and Coromandel, and from which even the geographical maps and charts are not exempted. As to the religious ceremonies and doctrines of the Brahmins, we cannot fay that his accounts of them are mafterly. Holwel and Anquetil discover a much more accurate and more extenfive knowledge of these objects. M. LE GENTIL examines the accounts that have been given of the conquefts of the Macedonian hero in India, and places them vaftly below the exploits and victories of Gengis-Kan, Tamerlane, and Aureng-Zeb.
His account of the beauty of the Indian climate, the fertility of the foil, the voluptuous propenfity of the inhabitants, and the spirit of fenfuality, which reigns in those regions, and diffufes itself through the veins of the Europeans who frequent them, are described in vivid colours by our Author. Even the Indian fparrows do not efcape his attention; and the things he relates of thefe lafcivious animals, would heighten, with fome new and glowing tints, Buffon's lively picture of their indelicate amours. It is very fingular, that in fuch a climate, and amidst the indolence and lazinefs that nourish the fenfual · paffions, the conjugal fidelity of the Indian women (especially those of more diftinguifhed caftes or families) is fo remarkable and exemplary, as our Author reprefents it. Religion, reigning customs, nay, even certain fuperftitions, which feizing upon the paffions, have generally a firmer hold upon the mind, than the pure dictates of a rational religion, may perhaps contribute to this phenomenon. It is, nevertheless, an object of reproach to those who live under a more temperate fky, and who are furnished with fuperior means of knowledge and
From this object, our Author proceeds to the tyranny which the Moguls exercife over the voluptuous and effeminate Indians, who furpafs them in number nearly in the proportion of fifty to one. This oppreffion is rendered more grievous by the diffenfions which reign among the Mogul princes, more. efpecially fince the time that the Europeans have intermeddled in thefe diffenfions. He confiders the Europeans as more or Jefs, and fooner or later, the dupes of thefe princes, who have recourse to them for fuccour; he condemns the plan of M. Dupleix, who aimed at nothing lefs than the reduction of India. under the French dominion, as a plan of ruin and devaftation for the former, and as detrimental even to the true commercial intereft of the latter. The only way (fays he) to mafter India, would be to have a flourishing kingdom at Madagascar, which, by its proximity, would not only be empowered to conquer, but also to preferve the conqueft.-This puts us in mind of the old proverb, When the fky falls we shall catch larks.
We refer the Reader to M. LE GENTIL'S work for his account of the theology of the Indians, which is rather circumftantial, than remarkable for new difcoveries. His defcriptions of their facred edifices, illuftrated with plates, are curious. What is most curious of all is his notion, that the Egyptians are defcendants of a Chinese colony in India, which is not only turning the tables on M. Des Guignes, but alfo on the authors of the Religious Ceremonies, who affirm, that the Brahmins derived their origin from an Egyptian colony. We fhall be glad to hear, in the following part of our Author's work, upon
what records, traditions, or circumftances, he founds his conjecture, that the Egyptians originate from a Chinese colony, which traded on the coaft of Coromandel, fettled at, the place now called, Negapatnam, and carried their commercial enterprifes as far as the coafts of the Red Sea.
The aftronomical part of this volume is undoubtedly executed beft: the Author has difcovered great fagacity, induftry, and knowledge, in his inquiries concerning the ftate of aftronomy among the Indians of the coast of Coromandel. He had great difficulties to furmount in these researches, as the knowledge of that people is expreffed in verfes or allegorical fymbols, and the explication of the characters is often difficult, and doubtful, on account of the incapacity of the interpreters. The curiofity of M. LE GENTIL was excited by the accounts he had heard, at Pondicherry, of the aftronomy of the Tamoult Indians; and nothing could equal his furprise, when he faw the facility with which one of thefe Indians calculated, in his prefence, an eclipfe of the moon (which he had proposed to him) with all the preliminary elements of that phenomenon, in three quarters of an hour. It is very fingular (as our Author obferves) that notwithstanding the capacity which the Brahmins feem to have for aftronomical calculations, that fcience has not acquired among them any degree of improvement, nor made one progreffive ftep during the courfe of feventeen centuries. It is ftill more furprising, that the Brahmins do not feem to look upon it as farther improveable by obfervations and experiments. This circumftance, which takes place throughout the Eaft, has been mentioned by M. Bailli, who concluded from it, that the eastern nations were not the inventors of aftronomy,- for whoever invents, is capable of improving, and is difpofed to improve. The aftronomy of the Brahmins is confined to the following five articles,-the ufe of the gnomon; the length of the year; the preceffion of the equinoxes; the divifion of the Zodiac into twenty-seven conftellations; and the calculation of the eclipfes of the fun and moon. It appears from our Author's account of the tropical year of the Brahmins, and their calculations of the preceffion of the equinoxes, that the Indians had a more accurate knowledge of the length of the year, than that which has been transmitted to us by Ptolemy and Hipparchus; and our Author concludes from hence, that they were acquainted with the motion of preceffion, which the Greek philofophers only began to fufpect or conjecture 128 years before the Chriftian æra. M. LE GENTIL alfo fhews (and this is a difcovery, at leaft, to us) that the ages of the world, of which the Brames or Brahmins fpeak, are no more than a revolution of the heavens, or the period of the motion of the ftars in longitude, which is a period of
24,000 years, fuppofing the motion of preceffion to be 54 annually.
The aftronomical tables and obfervations, that take up the reft of this volume, are learned and curious, and contain a rich variety of materials for the improvement of that science. The Memoir concerning the conformity between the aftronomy of the modern Brahmins and that of the ancient Chaldeans, was read to the academy of fciences in the year 1777. It unfolds the refult of our Author's inquiries into the aftronomical knowledge of these two nations, and concludes the first Part of this Volume.
The fecond Part contains a great number of obfervations relative to aftronomy and natural philofophy, made principally at Pondicherry. It begins with a defcription of the Author's obfervatory, of the inftruments he used in making them, and the methods he employed to verify them. This is really a valuable collection for the aftronomers, as it not only contains accurate obfervations, but alfo the refults which they furnish, either for improving tables, or determining the longitudes of the different places in which they have been made. Our Author's ob-. fervations on the horizontal refractions on the fea-coafts, and his Table of Refractions from the horizon to the height of go degrees, are both curious and useful; fuch also are his obfervations on the fimple pendulum, and on the comet that appeared in 1769. Thefe are followed by a journal of the temperature of the climate of Pondicherry, and of the variations in the feafons, as alfo by a defcription of the environs of that place, of its foil, and the different productions of the country, together with feveral interefting experiments on the waters that are in the neighbourhood of that city. The Supplement, which terminates this volume, contains the relation of feveral fhort voyages on the Indian feas, as alfo interefting remarks on the navigation from the Manila Iflands to Pondicherry by the ftreights of Malacca, followed by a Memoir concerning the winds in general, the trade-winds, and the course that navi gators ought to hold in the voyage to India after they have doubled the Cape of Good Hope. The most experienced mariners will receive fatisfaction, perhaps inftruction, from this part of M. LE GENTIL'S Work, which must be a valuable prefent to all who have at heart, the improvement of naviga tion.