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interesting as science. A comic spirit can hardly help laughing while it is being enacted; and it is not easy to describe it to the absent without being ridiculous, or at least without exciting his sense of the ludi

It is only its great scientific value that saves it. The narrative given by the Evangelist, of the beginning of miracles which Jesus did, presents a wondrous contrast to this scientific experimenting. It is Hyperion to a Satyr. The multitude of merry guests, the oriental pair, the governor of the feast, the busy serving-men and handmaidens, the silent figure of the Great Teacher standing aside in thought, his disciples hanging on his lips, his mother waiting on his eye, the waterpots of stone before, and glimpses of the hills of Judah beyond, make a noble spectacle for the imagination to consider. There was no selection of the guests, there was no exception of them, there was no fantastic process of any kind; every one was welcome to taste of the strange vintage, servants and all beheld the wonder, and Christ himself believed and knew the water to be wine.

“ Look here, upon this picture and on this !" There is no further argument necessary in this connection. Those who explain the marriage scene by Mesmerism do, preliminarily, accept the accredited version of that scene as fact. It is enough, therefore, to show that Mesmerism and the miracle being both assumed as true, they are two totally different things. They belong to different sorts or classes of phenomerfon altogether. Even for such interpreters as reject the idea of supernaturalism, they fall into two kinds of fact, at least as different from one another as chemistry is from astronomy, or as the properties of dead matter from those of living beings.

NAPOLEON CROSSING THE ALPS.

(The following sonnet was written after visiting Paul de Laroche's wonderful painting of “Napoleon Crossing the Alps," at present exhibiting in Hill's, Prince's Street, Edinburgh, and which has attracted such a vast number of admirers. ]

SONNET.

Beautiful demon! in thy soar sublime,
Through dazzling desolation to destroy:
Those fascinating, fearful eyes decoy
Thy myriad minions on through curse and crime,
To build for Thee a tower to reach to heaven !
Hail to the artist's triumph, which has given
The thrilling vision to the Alpine snow;
And bid the eternal hills for ever glow
With war's dire meteor-chief.

A mightier King
Laughs at proud Lucifer's audacious Aight-
Already, in His far Omniscient sight,
Sees him in other snows with prostrate wing,
Beholds him chain'd to yon volcanic Isle,
The vulture preying on his pride the while.

X. X.

156

NATIONAL INSTITUTE: CORRESPONDENCE.

To the Editor of the Palladium.

Edinburgh, 13th January, 1851. SIR, I am happy indeed to learn that you have now taken up in right earnest the subject of a National Institute for the advancement of British science, literature, and art. As you have opened the pages of the PALLADIUM for the discussion of this most important question, and have invited your readers to communicate their ideas on the subject, it may be excuseable in me to offer a few remarks, even although my object shall only be to show the gratification I feel at the prospect of science, ere long, assuming in this country the high national rank which it justly holds in France, and deriving from the national purse a support in some measure commensurate with its importance. At a time when the great truth is rooting so firmly in the mind of the British people, that the quiet triumphs of peace, not the glittering trophies of war, constitute the true glory and greatness of a nation—at a time, too, when the public mind has been stirred into a keen sense of the importance of universal enlightenment—one would think that the claims of science and literature for national support should be readily perceived and acknowledged. In a country like ours it seems quite anomalous that no national provision should be made for the progress of knowledge; and the fact is by no means very creditable to us.

I think it has been already remarked, or at least indicated, in the PALLADIUM, that the present advanced condition of science in Britain is almost mainly the result of private enterprise and private wealth; and certainly it must be admitted (however derogatory the fact may be to our national glory and liberality), that many of those brilliant discoveries which have contributed to the welfare of the nation, have been the result of the patient and painfully persevering researches of men who, entirely unknown to fortune, and in some cases only known to à posthumous fame, have wasted the best years of their life in their arduous, unencouraged labours, with often the barest necessaries for the support of life. In manifold instances, the labourer in the field of scientific inquiry is surrounded by all the cares and harassing affairs of business, so ungenial to the devoted student, and in such cases the opportunities for scientific labour are necessarily few and isolated. This may be said of a very large proportion of the scientific men of our country; the annals of British science teem with the names of distinguished men, whose active professional duties have allowed only brief intervals of leisure for scientific investigations. Instances indeed occur where the devoted student sacrifices the comforts of social and domestic life for the sake of science, although it is a maxim not unworthy even of a philosopher, that “

one must mind what one makes one's bread by.If splendid results are sometimes arrived at by inquirers under such circumstances (and history's page speaks loudly to the fact), how much more successful might we reasonably expect the labours of the same men to prove, were they steadily pursued without interruption, and

aided by the important advantages which might be afforded by a National Institute. True, indeed, is Professor Playfair's remark (and pointedly was it quoted by Sir David Brewster, in his eloquent address to the British Association last year):—"To detach a number of ingenious men from every thing but scientific pursuits; to deliver them alike from the embarrassments of poverty or the temptations of wealth ; to give them a place and station in society the most respectable and independent, is to remove every impediment, and to add every stimulus to exertion.” The additional impulse which would be thus given to the progress of knowledge is incalculable, and the result is to be fervently wished by every follower of science. It may be said that such a position as that indicated, of exclusive devotion to science, is already occupied by a large and important class of learned men in this country-the Professors of our Universities. It must, however, be borne in mind, that even theirs is not in all, or even many, respects a favourable posi-' tion for scientific research. The legitimate duties of our Professors are to teach the principles of science to our youth; and the arduous labours of the class-room often leave little leisure for original investigations and discoveries.

I will not venture to extend my remarks on the present occasion in regard to the importance of a British Institute in raising our rank among the nations; but one fact I may be allowed to remark upon, viz., that in many departments of science, it is exactly those obscure subjects, which are most in want of elucidation, that offer the fewest points of attraction to the student, and are at the same time invested with difficulties the most formidable. For instance, our knowledge of some of the lowest or simplest tribes of organic beings is exceedingly unsatisfactory, and forms a most important desideratum to science, as a complete knowledge of the structure and physiology of these tribes is essential to the elucidation of those of a higher order. Yet no inducement is held out to the student to enter upon such a course of investigation; on the contrary, it is girt about with doubt and difficulty. But even should the naturalist spend a laborious lifetime in the study of such a subject, he finds, when he comes to publish the result of his investigations, that, while his labours are duly appreciated by a select few fellow-students, capable of discriminating, the want of any general appreciation is exhibited in the painful fact of his purse being called upon to provide for the great bulk of the expenses of printing his book. It is such researches—having for their object the elucidation of the obscure and hidden mysteries of Nature-that really tend to the advancement of science, and extend her dominion; yet the reception which such labours receive at the hand of the reading public, is proverbially uniform, and presents a strong argument for the establishment of an Institution such as that which you now propose; and, at the same time, opens up a field of usefulness which might well be occupied by one of its branches. The Ray Society has done something of late years to rescue from oblivion valuable observations and discoveries in Natural History, which would otherwise have been wholly lost to science; but it must be confessed that the exertions of this Societydepending entirely, as they do, upon the private support of naturalists themselves—fall far short of providing even the means of publication to the most perserering and most successful of our scientific labourers. Even the very existence of such a Society—whose sole object is declared to be the publication of original researches in Natural History, which no respectable bookseller can be found to publish at his own risk—is an extraordinary fact, and one that proclaims loudly the neglect which science receives at the hand of a nation, whose greatness is in no inconsiderable measure due to the trophies which her philosophers have cast at her feet.

I earnestly wish you God-speed in this good cause. With one at your right hand, who has the subject so much and so devoutly at heart, as the illustrious Brewster, there is little fear of your ultimate success; and I confidently trust that your labours may ere long be rewarded by the establishment in our land of a National Institute of Science, Literature, and Art.-I am, Sir, yours respectfully,

G. LAWSON.

THE COMING CAMPAIGN.

TUESDAY, the 4th instant, is the day on which the Legislature resumes its sittings; and, in connection with that interesting event, a few illustrative remarks may not be unseasonable. Occurrences which take place during the recess almost invariably give rise to the most exciting discussions, and whether these terminate in practical measures, or dissipate in mere talk, they tend to give colour and character to the session. Let us go back for examples. The fearful famine which depopulated parts of Ireland began to develop itself in 1846, and it gave character to the proceedings of the session of January, 1847: the first measures introduced were bills for suspending the corn and navigation laws. The recess of 1847 saw food not only at dearth price, but there were superadded monetary derangement and commercial failures to an almost unexampled extent. So imminent was the danger, that ministers, instead of waiting till February, 1848, for the assembling of Parliament, called it together in November—then came the cry of agricultural and colonial distress, and this, in conjunction with anarchy and assassination in Ireland, gave character to the proceedings of the session of 1849. For the session of 1850, the groan of agricultural distress again excited a large share of attention. Mr Disraeli undertook to give three knocks at the door of the House of Commons, and if the call for relief was not responded to, he was to do something of terrible import, but that something remains yet to be done.

The recess now about to close promised, at the outset, to form an erception to the general rule. From the middle of August to the end of October, there was nothing astir. Church and state, agriculture and commerce, seemed alike quiescent. The penny-a-liners a set of men whose means of existence depend upon a good harvest of agitationdeclared that their avocation was gone. About the beginning of November, however, the manna began to fall—the papal bull blazed forth -the atmosphere of opinion became surcharged; and, as an inevitable consequence, the means of giving form, and substance, and circulation to the outbursts of oratory which followed, were brought into full play. In connection with this, a curious incident may be mentioned. Just as the ebullition of anti-papal sentiment was at its height, the Bishop of London was called upon to deliver his quadrennial charge. This was to take place upon a Saturday, at St Paul's Cathedral. A trial of temper of no ordinary kind awaited the right reverend dignitary. During the week, he was called upon by a person, who represented himself as connected in some way or other with the morning daily papers, and who solicited permission to take copies of the bishop's charge, to be forwarded to the papers after it should have been delivered. The bishop consented, but with a stipulation. The charge was very long, equal to eight or nine newspaper columns. The person was to be allowed to " manifold” six copies; but, when made, they were to be delivered to the bishop, who undertook to return the copies at St Paul's Cathedral, the moment the address was delivered. Subsequently, a correspondence took place between the bishop and the conductor of one of the daily papers, on the subject of an authorised person being sent to take a copy of the manuscript. The upshot was, that persons attended, by invitation, at Fulham Palace, from three of the daily papers, to assist each other in transcribing the voluminous document. This was on the evening previous to the delivery of the charge. The bishop displayed his usual courtesy, and, in the hope that it might save the gentlemen trouble, mentioned that he had allowed copies to be taken in the earlier part of the week. “It may astonish your lordship,” said one of the gentlemen, “ to be informed, that your address is in types in the office of two of the daily newspapers." Impossible!” exclaimed his lordship, “there were only six copies taken, and they are locked up in my desk.” “I tell you the truth,” was the reply; "nay, more, I have a

proof copy' of the address in my pocket, and it is right that your lordship should be told that there is a danger of the address being published before it is delivered!" A fraud had been perpetrated. The deceiver, aided by his assistants, had taken seven copies; six were handed to the confiding bishop to “lock up," the seventh was conveyed to a printingoffice, where copies were printed, and sold to such of the daily papers as were willing to pay the price. In no instance, however, was the document published till the delivery had taken place.

Well, the Papal affair will give character to the session of 1851; and Lord John Russell may lay his account with having his performance tested by his promise. This will give zest to the debates; and the threat of the thirty-one Irish members that they shall convert the rules of debate into the means of obstructing the passing of a coercive measure, is good security against anything like haste. The meaning is, that these persons shall make motions for adjourning the house, adjourning the debate, and the like, so as to waste time and weary patience. The Protectionists, with Mr Disraeli at their head, adopted these tactics last session in reference to the Irish Franchise Bill, and succeeded in staving off for one night the discussion of that most unpalatable measure, by moving adjournment after adjournment. Any taunt, therefore, from that party, against the Irish malcontents for adopting a similar course, will elicit an awkward reminiscence. It is just the old story of “dying on the floor" over again; but, instead of one, thirty-one patriots are to expire in company.

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