« הקודםהמשך »
The mountainous parts of these islands are peopled with fayages, who seem to be ancient inhabitants of the country, and the resemblance of whose language with that of Malabar, renders it probable that they came originally from that part of India. Their manner of living is merely animal; and they have no fixed habitations. "Virginity is regarded among them as infamous; and certain women were officially appointed to use the proper methods of removing this reproach. But ihe inhabitants of the plain are more civilized: they are initiated into the mysteries of the Spanish religion, and the monks whip the women, and the virgins, in presence of their husbands and fathers, when they absent themselves from mass. The ghostly fathers have frequent opportunities of exercising this fingular, and not over decent mode of discipline; for though these Indians go with pleasure, and even with a kind of zeal, to church on the great festivals ; yet they have no propensity to hear the daily mass, and they must be whipped in to matins and vespers. This · whipping business is not practised at Manilla; it only takes
place in those provinces where the monks have a despotic ascendant. The governor of the Phillippines, who resides in that city, is a check upon their authority; and this governor, though his place is held in subordination to the viceroy of Mexico, is more absolute than any other chief of the Spanish settlements. His distance from his superiors is a natural cause of his absolute dominion, during the eight years that he remains in power.
The number of convents at Manilla is highly detrimental to population, and the discipline of the monks seems to have produced no good effect on the morals of the people, which are more corrupt and licentious in that city than in almost any os her part of India. There is, indeed, says our Author, a court of Inquisition at Manilla, but corruption of morals is not exposed to the censure of that tribunal. .
Before we leave these islands, we must mention a remarkable · difference observed by M. Le GENTIL, between the Spanish women in that country, and the Indian females. The former are handsome, and well-fhaped, in their early youth; but, as soon as they have passed the age of seventeen, they undergo a fingular metamorphosis. Their bellies fwell to an enormous size; their breasts hang“ down almost to their knees; their countenance changes, and their features grow large ; in Mort, they become highly deformed. The latter, on the contrary, preserve, for a long time, the delicacy of their features, and the elegance of their shape. " · The observations of our Author on the island of Madagascar are numerous and important. He describes amply its great fertility, the rich variety of its productions, its excellent pastures,
and its advantageous situation for commerce. He blames the French greatly for having abandoned their settlement at Fort Dauphin in that isand, whose bay affords such an excellent station for shipping, and whose vallies, lakes, and rivers, furnih -fuch abundance of provision both for the wants of life, and the
demands of luxury, He thews how a commercial fettlement · might be formed there anew with facility, and points out clearly the manifold advantages with which it would be attended. This article is treated at great length.
The human species at Maidagascar has not exactly the same aspect in all the parts of the island. Though all the islanders are more or less black, they differ considerably in bodily conftitution; those on the western coast have short and curled hair, and are strong and vigorous, Those who occupy the centre of the country have long and Aat hair, features of a European caft, and their women are handsome; but this race, though much more fagacious and dextrous than the Cæffers, are feeble in make, and incapable of bearing hard labour. Our Author mentions a colony of Arabs, which several centuries ago formed a settlement in the province of Anosli, and divided it into twenty-two districts, governed each by a despotic Arabian chief, called Boandrian, or descendant of Abraham ; he observes that in this part of the illand, there is the least virtue, industry, and valour, because there, alone, there is no liberty..
It is very remarkable, that this judicious traveller and observer, denjęs positively the existence of a race of pygmies, which, according to the circumstantial relation of the celebrated botanist, Commerson, inhabit the mountains of Madagascar, and are called Quimos. This relation, which is contained in a letter written from Madagascar by M. Commerson to M. de la Lande, is inserted in the supplement to M. Bougainville's voyage. Our Author declares that, during a residence of six years, partly at Madagascar, and partly at the isle of France, he never heard a word mentioned of those pretended pygmies. He affirms, that there is neither at Fori Dauphin, nor in the other parts of the island which he vificed, any tradition that mentions them, or a general persuasion (as M. Commerson alleges) of their existence.
Upon the whole, M. LE GENTIL gives a much more favourable account of the character of the inhabitants of this great island, than some preceding writers have done. He was even astonilhed, he says, to meet with such kind and hospitable treatment from them, considering the barbarity and injustice with which the French behaved to these islanders, until the intolerable weight of their oppressive yoke excited their just re. sentment, and ended by the expulsion of their tyrants.
This volume concludes with a part of the correspondence bətween M. LE GENTIL and M. Nux, of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. In these letters our Author gives extracts from his journals, relative to natural history in general, and to the navigation of the Indian seas in particular. These are fol. lowed by additions to the observations on astronomical refractions in the torrid zone, that were inserted in the ist volume; and this article is terminated by new remarks on the improbable phenomenon observed by the Hollanders at Nova Zembla, in 1597. The astronomical observations which our Author made in the Philippine Inands, and at Madagascar, are placed at the end of his accounts of these countries; and his observations on the inclination of the magnetic needle conclude his last letter to M. Nux, which is the 7th in the correlpendence here published.
II. Recherches Chymigues fur l'Etain, faites et publiées par Ordre du Gouvernement, i. e. Chymical Inquries concerning Tin, made and published by Order of Government. By M. BAYEN, First Apothecary to the King's Camps and Armies, and M. CHALARD, President of the College of Pharmacy. 8vo. Paris. 1781. This is a work of the first merit, and it is adapted to dispel the painful apprehensions of danger from the use of tin and pewter utensils, which some late publications have occasioned. The first question discussed by these very ingenious and accurate investigators, is,--May vessels of tin be used without danger in house-keeping ? The discovery of arsenic in the metal under confideration, made by Henckel, and afterwards confirmed by Margraf, alarmed government, and gave rise to the experiments and researches contained in this work. These experiments, which have been carried on with uncommon precision and accuracy, are not susceptible of abridgment or analyfis; but their result relative to the question above proposed, deserves to be related.
There exists a pure tin, unmixed with any foreign or heterogeneous lusitance : but there is also a cin which is mixed with a very small quantity of arsenical matter. The danger that may attend the use of this metal must be confined to the latter ; but how (mall this danger is, will appear from the following results of the experiments of these learned chymists. The sin, in which they found an arsenical substance, did not contain above one grain in the ounce, or sía; often they only met wich it in the proportion of list, but sometimes in that of toi; so that taking there three terms in a inean proportion, the mass of sin imported from England into France may be confidered as containing siz of arsenic, which quantity is not a liccle diminished by the mixture that is made of the tin of
a grain, 'no From hence it falx, but always.. is
India with that of England. But laying aside all fractions, and giving arsenical matter in tin the largest proportion, even that of 377, or a grain in the ounce, our Authors observe, that this dangerous substance, whatever its quantity may be, is never united with tin, under the form of a calx, but always under that of a semi-metal. From hence it follows, that an ounce of tin contains a grain, not of arsenic, but of its regulus, and that this grain of regulus is dispersed through all the parts of an ounce of tin in such a manner, that each of the 576 grains, of which the ounce is composed, may be ideally subdivided into -576 parts, which, all considered separately, contain regulus of arsenic in the proportion of 31s of their little mass. It is well known, that the regulus of arsenic, though a dangerous sube stance, is however much less so than arsenic itself.
After ascertaining these facts by the most accurate experi. ments, it remained to enquire, how far wrought tin, containing -518 of the regulus of arsenic, might be noxious in its effects on the animal oeconomy? A series of experiments was made upon different animals to determine this important question. Our indefatigable Authors melted tin with the regulus of arsenic in different proportions, and placed it in vessels, where they boiled meat for dogs; in one of these experiments che arsenical sub-ítance occupied in a pound of the mixture; or, in other words, was in the proportion of nine grains to the ounce, which is nine çimes greater than the proportion, in which it is
found in English tin. The tin, thus mixed, was placed in a .vessel where food was not only dressed, but was left standing
for some time; nay more, 16 grains of the fine filings of this tin were mixed with the aliments; and nevertheless no pernici. ous consequence resulted from the use of them. Our Authors go ftill farther, they maintaini and prove that arsenic, united with tin, is deprived of some of its qualities, and particularly of that which renders it so dangerous to the animal oeconomy.
But another question of equal importance is resolved here, viz. How far the metals and semi-metals, that are usually mixed with tin, to give it more folidity and consistence, may contribute to render its use dangerous ? The common practice is to mix with 97 pounds of tin, two pounds and a half of copper and one pound of bismuth. : Our Authors prove, by several experiments and · arguments, the innocence of this mixture, and, among others, from this confideration, that the copper cannot change into yerdigrease as long as it is mixed with tin in the proportion of zo or even as.. :, Another important article in this excellent work is the detection of the pernicious fraud of the pewterers, who, to make up the loss they suffer by the almost general use thar is now made of earthen-ware, mix with the tin a considerable quan
tity of lead, the most pernicious of all the metals that can be employed in the kitchen or at the table. A very interesting account of this matter is bere given, and also of others, which we cannot enumerate ; but which render this publication un. commonly worthy of attention.
III. Recherches sur les Vegetaux Nourissans, &c. i, e. Inquiries concerning nutritive vegetables, which, in times of scarcity, may supply the place of ordinary food ; together with new observations on the culture of potatoes. By M. PARMENTIER, who poffefes a number of literary titles and pharmaceutical employments. 8vo. 599 pages. Paris. 1781.-In the year 1772
M. PARMENTIER composed a Prize Memoir concerning nutri'rive Vegetables, which was crowned by the Academy of Berançon. This judicious and useful Memoir was well received by the public, as all the oeconomical dietetic and pharmaceutic productions of this good citizen have been. Several things in it, however, stood in need of farther development and illustration; some objections, alleged againft what he had said, relative to the culture and use of potatoes, required answers; and * new materials and views occurred to our Author, that seemed adapted to give a farther degree of perfection to his memoir.
These circumstances gave rise to the work before us, which is * worthy of the extensive knowledge, rare talents, and public spirit of M. PARMENTIER, and is divided into XXXII. ar
ticles. In the eleven first, he treats of nourishment in ge'neral, of its composition, of nutritive matter, of reasoning, of
light, solid, and coarfe food, of farinaceous substances, of the glutinous matter of wheat, and lastly, of Aower, confidered as that part of farinaceous bodies which is essentially nutritive. The use of potatoes, their mixture with the meal or flour of different grains, the bread which may be made of them alone, as also the pulse, leaven, paste, sea-biscuit, gruels, • salep and sago, that may be obtained from these vegetables, are the subjects treated in the seven following ones. The remain. ing 14 articles contain an inftructive account of the farinace. ous seeds and roots from whence starch may be extracted; of roots in general; of nutritive and mucilaginous roots; of the vegetable substances that may supply the place of the plants of the kitchen-garden; of the uncultivated vegetables, whose roots contain fine flour, or may be used wholly or in part for food; of nutritive tablets and powders ; of the advantages of vegetable above animal food; of the precautions that ought to be employed in times of scarcity, and the means that may be used to prevent it. We have here also, ample answers to all the objections that have been made to our Author's observations on the culture and use of potatoes, and to the different preparations of this root, which he has proposed for public utility.
in times of Ice here also, ample Author's observ