« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
which are immediately appropriated to their perception. This appears from the origin of the nerves, and from their progress; as far as it can be traced, through the brain ;- from the effects of blows , of compression from extravasated fluids ; of different diseases, &c. &c. each of which may, and often does, injure one faculty, while the other is left unhurt. It is needless to produce instances; but on the whole, this general position is true, and the learned Author will not deny it, that the health of the whole mind, and the proper exercise of all its faculties, depend on an uninterrupted freedom of communication between the feveral parts of the brain; but that any individual function, or the exercise of any one faculty only, requires that portion of the brain to be free that is peculiarly adapted to it by the Author of our frame, together with the free use of those nerves that are external to the brain, and which are essential to the communica. tion of impulsions from the objects of sense.
In this lection, the Author contests the positions of Dr. Price and Mr. Harris with much good sense and plaufibility; and though he differs from that truly sagacious Physiologist, Baron Haller, in many instances in which his theory is materially con cerned, yet he frequently avails himself of that learned phyfia cian's observations, and always speaks of him with a respect due to his fingular merit.
The third section contains fome fhrewd and ingenious remarks on the properties of matter. - He thinks, the late Mr. Baxter hath thrown a very thick cloud on this subject.' In his idea, the doctrine of the vis enertiæ, so earnestly contended for by this philosopher, is indefentible, and involves in it many palpable errors and inconsistencies. He infers from the phænomena of electricity, magnetism, chemistry, and above all from the fimplest and commoneft of all appearances, viz. the communication of motion from a moving body to one at rest, that matter is poffeffed of powers incompatible with the suppofition of a vis inertiæ. His reasonings on this subject produce the following conclusions: 1. That where there is elasticity, cortazt is not necessary to the communication of motion. 2. That as we know of no bodies poffelfing perfe&t elasticity, we neither know of any perfectly hard and inelastic. 3. That (as the denseft bodies are pervaded by the matter of electricity and by heat ; and as, by abstracting their heats we can proportionably lefsen their volume) there is little reason to imagine, that the particles of bodies, even of the clofeft texture, are, properly speaking, in contact with each other ; and still less reason to presume, that in cates of the most forcible impulse, the impelling body even touches (Arialy speaking) the impelled. The sum of the whole is, that motion may be communicated without contact, and without any reĝltance from a supposed vis inertia, which is utterly in
conceivable where contact is not concerned, and scarcely conceivable in any other point of view; consequently, that some different power is necessary: such a power is that of repulsion, of the existence of which we have unequivocal proof; and without its intervention, the communication of motion from one body to another hath been esteemed by the wisest phyfiolo. gifts an inexplicable phenomenon.
In a note referring to this part of the subject, our Author takes notice of some positions of the ingenious M. de Luc, which are incompatible with his hypothesis. This respectable writer (of whose works we gave a large and particular account in our last Appendix) attempts to accommodate the difference between the Materialists and Spiritualists, by suppofing that there are certain common properties by which matter and spirit may reciprocally act on each other. Our Author is not satisfied with this solution of the difficulty, and says- If I might presume to exercife the office of a commentator on what M. de Lue hath delivered, I should explain his principles on this footing; th: matter may be refined to such a degree as to emulate the subtilty of spirit; and on the contrary, that spirit may be condensed into what approaches. very nearly to the grossness of matter; and that at these opposite extremes of their respective scales 'they meet, and assume the common properties before spoken of.”On this intricate fubject it is hazardous to risk an opinion. The Author recommends a free discussion of it: and we think the hints thrown out by a very ingenious writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for March and April on the properties of matter, well deserving attention; though we almost despair of seeing any thing on a point of such exquisite subtilty and refinement that will bring the controversy to a decisive issue.
The last section, on the gradations in the works of Nature from the different clasles of vegetables to the various species and ranks of animals and rational beings, is curious and sensible. The notes at the end of the essay discover both learning and taste, and well illustrate the several subjects discussed in the preceding sections.
On the whole, we have read these. Miscellaneous Obferva. tions' (which appear to have been written by a medical gentle man) with much pleasure : and though we do not in every respect adopt his sentiments, yet we respect his abilities, and applaud his candour.
Art. XVI. Select Tragedies of Euripides. Translated from the original Greek. 8vo.' Ós. Boards.
sent volume contains only four; the Phoenissæ, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Troades, and Orestes. It is the Translator's in1
tention, as we learn from his fenfible and well-written Preface, Mould this attempt meet with encouragement, to translate the remainder. • If, on the other hand,' says he, it should appear that I am unequal to the talk, I can lay down my pen without feeling any great mortification. In either cafe, I have the fatisfaction of reflecting, that I have spent those hours at least innocently, and with pleasure to myself, which, at my.time of life, are generally lost in a circle of folly and diffipation.'
Sensible as we are of the difficulty attendant on an undertaking so arduous as the present, and defirous as we may be of shewing every indulgence to a Writer who appears to have taken up the pen from fuch ingenuous motives; nevertheless, what we owe to the Public, in general, permits us not to be fo warm in our approbation of this performance as we could wish. In his dialogue, though the Translator sometimes preserves the characteristic fimplicity and conciseness of his original, yet he is too frequently languid and prosaic!; and in the choral
parts there is an obvious want of animation and vigour, so effential to Lyric composition. In justice to him, however, we must remark, that, as far as we have compared it with the original, his translation is faithful and close; except indeed in some of the Odes, in which he has indulged in greater latitude, though not in any unwarrantable deviations from the general scope or tendency of his original.
As a specimen of this tranflation, we fall lay before our Readers part of the first scene of the fifth act of the Troades: • TALTMY BIUS, HE CUBA,
Prepares to celebrate, but as a sepulchre
• H E C U B A.
My trefles, and with mournful obsequies
children!-this, alas! the fruit
M O N T H L Y CATALOGUE,
For JANUARY, 1781.
POLITICA L. Art. 17. A Letter to Lieutenant General Burgoyne, occafioned
by a second Edition of his State of the Expedition from Canada. 8vo. 15. Kearfly. 1780.
HE Author professes that the firft impreffion of General Bur
goyne's State of the Expedition *, &c. had efcaped his attention, but that the appearance of an 'advertisement announcing a Second edition, raised his curiosity; and the perusal of it, he gives us to understand, has provoked his indignation, at the fame time that it has produced his contempo."
The Author's great purpose, in this Letter, is to defend Lord G. Germaine, and Government in general, from the charges brought
* See Review for March 1780, p. 247 Rev. Jan, 17811