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comes down only to the end of the sixteenth century; whereas this will reach to the end of the eighteenth century, and will likewise contain more specimens from the stock of sterling olup etry. A work of this kind, executed by such a pen, has long been a desideratum in our literature; but is peculiarly desirable in this country, where every one is so engaged in the hurry or business as to have little of the quiet leisure necessary to extensive and critical research; and when also the collections of rare books and old authors are so scarce, as to afford but little access to those remote fountains of elegant literature.
E.J. Coale, of saltimore, has in press Demetrius, a Russian romance.
A new poem has appeared in England, from the pen of Robert Southey, entitled Roderick, we Last of the Goths. It is expected shortly to be republished in this country
REPORT OF THE PROGRESS OF CAYMISTRY.
[From the Monthly Magazine for November.] Mr. Brande, the ingenious successor of Sir Humphrey Davy in the chymical chair at the Royal institution, has read before the Royal society a second paper on the state in which al ohol, or pure ardent spirit, exists in fermented liquors. It has been usually supposed that alcohol was a product of the process of distillation, and the experiments of Mr. B. have been instituted with a view to ascertain the correctness or incorrectness o: this opinion. He had previously concluded that any new arrangement of the ultimate elements of wine, which could occasion the formation of alcohol, would constantly be attended with other marks of decomposition, and that carbon would be deposited, or carbonic acid evolved; neither of which circumstances does actually take place. He has succeeded in showing that alcohol may be separated from wine without the intervention of heat, and that the same proportion may be thus procured as that yielded by distillation. His plan is as follows He first separates the colouring matter and the acid of the wine, by means of a concentrated solution of sub. acetate of lead, and then, by sub-carbonate of potash, he finally disengages from it the alcohol. He answers the assertion, that a mixture of alcohol and water, in the same proportion in which it exists in wine, is much more intoxicating than the same quan. tity of wine itself, by proving that the union is incomplete ; and he states also, that he acid and extractive matter blunt very much the real strength of the wine. Mr. B. therefore, again concludes, that the whole quantity of alcohol which is found after distillation, had actually pre-existed in the fermented liquor operated on.
Mr. Gay-Lussac has now demonstrated that there are only three different oxides of iron which are perfectly distinct from each other; and that the various colours which some of them assume arise from their different states of aggregation The first oxide, which is white, and which is obtained whenever iron decomposes water by means of an acid, the acid not furnishing the oxygen by being itself also decomposed, consists of 100 parts of iron, and 28 of oxygen. The second oxide which is produced by burning iron in oxygen, or in atmospheric air, at a very elevated temperature, or where water is decomposed by iron without the auxiliary presence of an eid, contains 38 per cent. of oxygen. This second oxide, when in a mass, is of a blackish gray colour, and when precipitated, is of a deep browu, but when very minutely divided, it is green. It is also very magnetic. The third, the red oxide, is composed of 100 parts of iron and 49 parts of oxygen. In a natural state the white oxide does not exist, except in combination with carbonic acid,
The celebrated hypothesis of Sir Humphrey Davy, which assures that muriatic acid is a compound of chlorine and hydrogen, and not a compound, as has hitherio been supposed, of oxygen and some unknown base, is still unsanctioned by the opinions of many of our first chymists. Among these, professor Berzelius, of Stockholm, says, although it is difficult, experimentally, to demonstrate the incorrectness of Sir Humphrey's hypothesis, that, according to the very luminous doctrine of definite pro portions, which was first given to the chymical world some years ago, by the celebra. ted Vr. Dalton, of Manchester, and of the truth of whichir Humphres himself, *with e ery o her scientific chymist, entertains no doubt, there are many combinations of muriatic acid, which, if explained according to Davy's hypothesis, are quite inconsistent with well-ascertained chymical proportions. At any rate, he at least thinks that all the facts at present known concerning mariatic acid and its combinations, may be equally well explained upon our old opinions.
THE LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OF
213 252 307
This distinguished society has just published the second volume of its second series, containing, among others, the following papers :
An account of some Experiments to ascertain whether the Force of Steam be in proportion to the generating Heut, by John Sharpe, Esq.-Mr. Sharpe's experimcuts have ascertamed two things : . I hat water heats equably, or in the same time (supposing the heating cause the same) from 120 deg, up to he highest temperature that it can reach without boil.ng, (and that temperature depends upon the pressure.) Suppose, for exampie, that it is heated 10 deg. or from 120 deg. to 1,30 deg. in three minuies ; it will be heated from 271) deg. to 280 deg in the same time. This is a very curious fact, and not easily explained, unless the thermometer is an inaccurate mea surer of heat ? ¢ hat six ounces of steam of 212 deg. condensed into water, give out as much heat a sıx ounces of steam at the temperature 275 deg ; but the second six ounces coine over in a much shorter period han the first. Sherefore the density of steam at 212 deg is 150 times greater than at 32 deg ; and its density at 52 deg. is twice as great as at 2 2 deg. Hence we have the specific gravity of steam at different temperatures as follows:
2.7584 This explains the elasticity of steam in a satisfactory manner, and brings it under the same law as common air, and all the other elastic fluids.
On Respiration and Animal Heat, by John Dalton, Esq — The phenoinena of respiration described by vir. Dalton in this paper, are as follows:--A portion of the oxyge: of the air inspired disappears, and is replaced by an equal balk of carbonic acid gas lhe air expired is saturated with moisture, and its temperature is raised to about 98 deg. so that respiration is the source of animal heat.
On the Meusure of Moving Force, by Mr. Peter Ewurt.-t question has long been agitated, whether mechanical force is to be measured by the mass multiplied into the velocity, or into he square of the velocity. The last of these opinions was adopted by Hooke and Huygens, in consequence of their observations on the mo. tions of pendelums. It was also adopted by Smeaton, in consequence of his experi ments on he mechanical action of water. Mr Ewart supports the opinion of Smeaton with great force of reasoning. The essay is remarkable for the extensive knowledge of the subject which the author displays, and for the great perspicuity of his reasoning, which is the consequence of this extensive knowledge. He gives a num. her of examples, which be considers as inconsistent with the common notion, discusses these examples, and gives us a very full history of the opinions of mechanical writers on the subject
On the Theories of the Ercitement of Galvanic Electricity, by William Henry, M. D F R. S. &c.—Sir Humphrey Davy has given a theory of the galvanic ener. gy, in which he conceives, that when the battery is composed of copper, zine, and solution of common salt, the zinc becomes positive, and the copper negative; therefore the zinc attracts the oxygen and acid, which are negative ; and the copper, the hydrogen and alkali, which are positive. But this equilibrium is immediately de. stroyed by the formation of muriate ot'zinc, and the evolution of hydrogen gas Hence the action of the zinc and copper is again repeated, and this goes on as long as the chymical action continues. Dr. Henry is also of opinion, that the primary excitement of electricity is owing to the chymical changes; but he coneeives it to be essential to the activity of the battery, that one set of elernents of the fluid should have no affinity for one of the metals "Thus, in the preceding example, the oxygen and the acid combine with the zinc; but the hydrogen and alkali, having no affinity for the cop. per, deposite a portion of their electricity on it, and thus the accumulation proceeds. ile accounts for the evolution of the two constituents of a substance decomposed by the battery at the two poles, though at a distance from each other, by supposing a series of intermediate decompositions to go on Suppose water to be the substance decomposed, we may conceive a series of particles of water arranged between the two poles. An atom of oxygen gas escapes at the positive pole. The hydrogen previously combined with this atom, unites with the oxygen of the next particle of water; and this successive decomposition goes on till it reaches the negative pole, when the atom of hydrogen remaining, makes it escape in the form of gas.
Essays on the Sources of the Pleasures received from Literary
Compositions, second edition, 8vo. pp. 390.
WHOEVER has had occasion to think much upon metaphysical subjects, knows the difficulty of expressing such thoughts to others. This arises frequently, no doubt, from a want of precision in the thoughts themselves, but frequently likewise froin the deficiency of language. Languages were formed when men were hunters, fishers, warriors, husbandmen, any thing but metaphysicians; and, as might therefore be expected, they furnish words for every thing rather than the faculties and operations of the mind, its properties, and the ways in which it is affected. When philosophers arose, who wished to turn the attention of their followers to such like subjects, they had no words to express themselves by, and were, therefore, reduced to the alternative of either inventing new words, or employing old ones in new senses. may judge from the present state of languages, they chose the VOL. III. Ner Series.
latter method, and finding, or fancying, some similarity between certain operations of body and mind, made use of the words which had been set apart for the former to express the latter. Thus, guiding themselves by analogies more or less whimsical, they spoke of apprehension, and comprehension, and conception, of taste and feeling, of weakness of mind and strength of judgment, of subtle reasonings, of sublime notions, and obscure arguments -pressing in this manner substantial forms into the world of shadows.
What uncertainty must arise from this accommodation of old words to new meanings is sufficiently evident. The word was familiar to the ear, and it was forgotten that it was used in an uncommon sense; the name was known, and so the necessary introduction of a definition was dispensed with. Thus, some have suffered themselves to be imposed upon; and soine, it is to be feared, have been dishonest enough to impose upon others. We shrewdly suspect that, if some honest person would but take the trouble of expunging from Mr. Hume's metaphysical works a few magical words, and substituting for them others of a less familiar sound, some of his essays would wear a much less imposing shape than they do at present.
But if this inconvenience has been felt in the severer metaphysics, a study which only philosophers approach, who, by explaining their meaning, might tie down their words to a definite signification, in the metaphysics of taste it is much more to be dreaded. · Here every one thinks himself a judge; every one has his feelings, and his taste, and his notions of what is beautiful, and grand, and pathetic; and as each man uses words in his own sense, the night-scenes in Macbeth, with some, are very pretty, and “Fluttering spread thy purple pinion” is highly sublime ;till every thing is confusion worse confounded.” Hence, strange theories, contradictory opinions. One man uses words in the vague sense of the multitude; another mounts up to their etymon to get at their true meaning; and both are equally in the wrong. In venturing our opinion upon subjects such as those of which the work before us treats, we shall endeavour to use no word of the meaning of which we have not formed ourselves, and cannot give to our readers, a definite notion.
The first of these essays is “On the Improvement of Taste.” By taste we would be understood to mean sensibility with respect to every thing that addresses itself to the imagination. That a diversity of tastes exists it would be ridiculous to go about to prove; and, in speaking of the improvement of taste, it is evident that we suppose some tastes to be better than others. A previous question, then, proposes itself at the very outset. How is it to be proved that one taste is better than another? or, in short,
what is meant by a good taste? and what by a bad one? What is the standard of taste? This, as it appears to us, the essayist should have made his first consideration. The answer which we would give to such a question is simply this ;—that taste is the best by means of which its possessor receives the greatest pleasure. We may talk of nature, and of criticism, and so forth; but there is an appeal from all these; and by the pleasure received must the excellency of taste be ultimately measured. There are objects around us calculated to give a pleasure which we have powers calculated to receive; taste is the carrier; and surely that taste is the best, that sensibility is the best regulated, which brings in the greatest quantity of pleasure.
It should seem, then, at first sight, that there is no standard of taste, and that, as we every day see people receiving apparently equal pleasure from very different objects, their taste must be equally good. But if it can be shown that there are certain principles, according to which nature has ordained that the sensibilities of men in general should be affected; and if, moreover, adequate and true causes may be assigned of certain anomalies in taste which are to be found in individuals, or nations at largecauses which prevent them from receiving the greatest possible pleasure from certain objects, and therefore from arriving at the perfection of taste ;-it may then be considered as sufficiently made out, that there is a standard, judging by which any given taste may be pronounced good or bad. Now, as to the first part of this proof the pointing out of the general principles, according to which nature acts upon the imagination and feelings, it is the business of every work on the belles-lettres, and of that before us, among the rest, to detect and point them out: and it is to the second part that the author confines himself in the first essaythrough which we shall now accompany him.
A person's taste may be bad, then, that is, may not communicate to his imagination such feelings as it is calculated to receive, from mere ignorance of excellency in the fine arts. A ballad-singer's voice, in the streets of London, or an anthem in a village church, is heard with pleasure, instead of contempt, by him who has never had the advantage of hearing better singing. To us they are “screaming wretchedness.” The cycles and epicycles of the ancient astronomers, no doubt, appeared sublime to those who had never known the simplicity of the Newtonian system. To us they are mere intricacy and confusion.
Again, inattention produces the same effect as ignorance. There are certain obvious beauties and curious faults, which catch the attention, and engage the admiration, of beholders, who will not take the trouble to think. There are multitudes more, we have no doubt, of the gazers in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey,