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1799.]
Observations on the Laocoon.

351 them; they repose upon and in them- be found before in this position; and, in selves, and they are the first and dearest a little time after, every part should be objects of sculpture. But in the beauti- obliged to quit that position; it is by ful mythic circle of art, in which these this means that the work will be always isolated and self-subsisting natures animateıl for millions of 1pectators. placed and in repose, there are finaller cir- To leize well the attention of the Laocles, where the different figures are con coon, let us place ourselves before the ceived and executed in relation with otliers : groupe with our eyes shut, and at the neeach of the Muses, for example, with their ceflary distance ; let us open and fut conductor Apollo, is conceived and exe- them alternately, and we shall see all the cuted separately, but it becoines yet much marble in motion ; we shall be afraid to more interesting in the complete and varied find the groupe changed, when we open choir of the nine sisters. When art passes our eyes again. I would readily fay, as to the impassioned fignificative, it may the groupe is now exposed, it is a fath of moreover act in the same manner; or it lightning fixed, a wave petrified at the presents to us a circle of figures which initant when it is approaching the shore. passion puts into a mutual relation, as We see the same effect when we see the Niobe with her children, perfécuted by groupe at night, by the light of flamApollo and Diana; or it Thews us the beaux. fame work, the movement at the same The artist has very wisely represented time with its cause. We need only men- the three figures in graduated situations, tian here the young man full of grace, and which differ from each other. The who is drawing a thorn from his foot, eldest son is only interlaced at his extrethe wrestlers, two groups of fawns and mities, the other is more fo ; it is espenymphs at Dresden, and the animated pecially the chest, that the serpent has group of Laocoon.

already interlaced ; he endeavotirs to deIt is with reason that so great stress is liver himself by the motion of his right laid on sculpture, because it strips man of arm; with his left hand, he softly reevery thing which is not effential to him. moves the head of the ferpent, to prevent It is thus, that in this admirable groupe, it from clasping his breast once more ; Laocoon is only a fimple name; the artist the serpent is on the point of Niding inhave taken froin him his priesthood, all derneath his hand; but it does not bite. that is national and Trojan in him, all The father, on the contrary, would employ the poetical and mythological accessories; force to deliver himself, as well as his all in fact that mythology has made of iwo children, from the embraces ; le him is done away; he is only now a gripes one of the two ferpents, who being father with his two sons, menaced with now irritated, bites him in the haunch. death by the bite of two ferpents. Neither To explain the position of the father, are these animals sent by the gods, but both in general, and according to all the only natural serpents, potent enough to parts of the body, it appears to me reabe the destruction of many men; neither sonable to suppose that the momentaneous their form nor their action Mew that they sensation of the wouud is the principal are extraordinary creatures sent by the cause of the whole movement. The fergods, to exercise the divine vengeance. pent has not bit, but he bites, and he Conformably to their nature, they ap. bites in the soft and delicate parts of the proach by sliding on the surface of the body, above, and a little behind the earth, they inlace and fold round their haunch. The position of the restored victims, and one of them only bites after head has never well expressed the taille having been irritated. If I had to explain bite ; happily, the traces of the jaws have this groupe, and if I were anacquainted been preserved in the posterior part of the with every other explication, I thould statue, if these very important traces have call it a tragic idyll. A father sleeps at not been lost in the actual transportation of the fide of his two sons, they are inlaced this monument. The serpent inflicts a by ewo serpents, and at the instant of wound on the unhappy Laocoon, precisely waking, they strive to extricate themselves in the part in which man is very sensible from this living cord.

to every irritation, and, even where the This work of art is, above all, ex- flightest tickling, causes that motion tremely important by the representation which we fee produced here by the wound: of the moment of the action. When in the body flies towards the opposite side, and fact a work ought to move before the retires; the shoulder presies downwards, eyes, a fugitive moment should be pitched the chest is thrust forward, and the lead upon ; no part of the whole ought to inclines on the side which has been iuuch.

ed. As afterwards in the feet, which are and a similar, sudden, and pathetic para enfolded by the ferpent, and in the arms sage in the most elevated sentė, is an opwhich struggle, we yet see the remains of position of which we have no idea, if we the situation or preceding action, where have not seen it. In this case, it is thereresults combined action of efforts and fore evident that the intellectual man acts of fight, of suffering and of activity, of as well as the physical man. When in a tention and of relaxation, which perhaps like passage there still remain evident would not be possible under any other con traces of the preceding state, there relults dition. We are lost in admiration at the a subject the most elegant for the arts of wisdom of the artist, when we try to ap- design; this is the case of the Laocoon, ply the bite to any other place; the where the efforts and the sufferings are whole gesture, the whole movement would united at the saine moment. It is thus be changed, and nevertheless we cannot that Eurydice, who is bitten in the heel imagine it more proper ; it is therefore a by a serpent on which she has trod, at the principal merit in the artist to have pre instant when she is crossing a neadow, sented us with a sensible effect, and allo to and is returning, satisfied with the flowhave mewn us the tensible cause of it. ers she has gathered, would be a very pa

repeat it,—the point of the bite deter- thetic ftatue, if the artist could express mines the actual movement of the mem the double state of satisfaction with bers; the flight of the inferior part of the which she walked, and of the pain which body, its contraction, the chest which arrests her steps ; not only by the flowers advances, the shoulder which descends, which are falling, but further by the dithe movement of the head, and even all rection of all her members, and the unthe features of the countenance, are, in dulation of the folds. my opinion, decided by this momentane When we have seized, in this sense, the ous, painful, and unexpected irritation. principal figure, we may cast a free and

But, far be it from me to wish to di- sure glance on the proportions, the gradavide the unity of human nature, to wish tions, and the opposition of all the parts

of to deny the action of the intellectual force the entire work. of this man of a form so excellent, to The subject chosen is one of the hapoverlook the sufferings and the efforts of pielt that can be imagined. Men struga great nature. Methinks I also see the gling with dangerous animals, and moreinquietude, the fear, the terror, the pater- over with animals which act, not as pownal affection, moving in those veins, erful masses, but as divided forces, which twelling in that heart, wrinkling that do not menace on one side alone, which do front. "I readily admit that the artist has not require a concentrated resistance, but represented, at the fame time, the most which, according to their extended orga. elevated degree, both of corporal suffer nization, are capable of paralysing more ings, and of intellectual sufferings ; but I or less, three men without wounding would not have us to be transported too them. This mode of paralysing, joined feelingly at the monument itself, at the to the great movement, already spreads impressions which the monument makes over the ensemble, a certain degree of reupon us, especially, as we do not see the pofe and unity. The artift has been able effect of the poison, in a body which has to indicate, by degrees, the effects of the just been seized by the teeth of the serpent, serpents; one only infolds, the other is as w edo not see the agony in a sound, beau irritated, and wounds his adversary. The tiful body, which makes efforts, and three personages are also chosen with which is but just hurt. Let me be per- much wisdom: a robuit and well-made mitted to make an observation here, man, who has already passed the age of which is of considerable importance for the greatest energy, and who is less capable the arts of design ; the greatest pathetic of supporting grief and suffering. Let us expression which they can reprelent, de substitute for him, in imagination, a pends on the passage from one stage to young man, lively and robust, and the another. Let us view a lively infant, groupe will lose all its value! With who runs,

leaps, and amuses himself, with him suffer two young persons, who, in all the pleafure and energy possible, who proportion to him, are very small. They afterwards has been suddenly struck hard are, moreover, two beings susceptible of hy one of his comrades, or who has been the sentiment of pain. wounded either physically or morally : , this new sensation is communicated to all

[For the conclusion of this admirable ar. his members like an electrical Mock;

ticle, fee page 399.)

1799.] Experiments made with Ivory-black and Diamonds.

353 To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. to their whiteness, they nevertheless be. SIR,

come white, the air is increased in

quanMScen of the fubftances which have tity, and this increase is inflammable air.

For these experiments I find ivory-black, air, gain an addition of weight in the pro- which is the coal of ivory, used by paincess; in consequence of which, it has been ters, more convenient than the bones I taken for granted by the antiphlogistians, made use of before. To prepare this subthat nothing is emitted from them ; but stance for the experiments, I fill an earthen that they only imbibe the dephlogisticated tube with it, and closing it with clay, air, which is one constituent part of the at- expose it a considerable tiine, at least a mosphere, leaving the other part, which quarter of an hour, to the greatest heat they call azote, unaltered. It was, there- of a smith's fire, which will expel from it fore, desirable to find some substance which every thing that is volatile ; fo that no would not gain any weight in the process, heat that I can apply to it afterwards will and yet have the fame effect in phlogisti- affect it, except by means of some other cating air; for, the dephlogisticated air, substance, with which that which constinot uniting with the substance exposed to tutes its blackness has an affinity, and it, must necessarily form some other com with which it can combine, bination.

Heating a quantity of ivory-black preThis end was, in some measure, an- pared in this manner, in 6 ounce meafwered by feel, which containing, ac- fures, of atmospherical air, there was no cording to the common hypothesis, inore sensible change produced in its quantity ;, phlogiston than iron, would, I thought, but, on examining it, I found in it one part with more hy'the application of heat, ounce measure of fixed air, and the reand receive less addition ; and this I found mainder completely phlogisticated, which to be the case. But it was more com- is in the proportion of 84 parts in 100; pletely answered by black bones, which, whereas the antiphlogistians say, that a without gaining any thing by the appli- portion of atmospherical air contains only cation of heat in any circumstances, be 73 parts of phlogisticated air. It is evicome white in the process. If this be dent, also, that both these substances, viz. done in conmon air, as it cannot imbibe fixed air and phlogisticated air consist of the dephlogisticated air, which disappears, the fame principles, viz. dephlogisticated this air is disposed of two different ways : air and phlogiston. for, one part of it contributes to form fixed The

very different proportions in which air, and another part forms an union with atmospherical air is diminished in different something einitted from the bones, and processes, is a proof that in some of thein makes an addition to the phlogisticated air; there must be a generation of phlogisticated and accordingly there is more of it found air. When air is diminished by iron filings after this process with the black bones and sulphur, moistened with water, the prothan with iron, and many other substances portion of phlogisticated air is that which which receive an addition of weight in Mr. Lavoisier states, viz. 73 parts in 100. the process. Whence, I ask, can come this But when I made the mixture without any addition of phlogisticated air, but from an water, I found that 110 measures were union of phlogiston emitted from the bones in fix days recuced only to 90, completely and the dephlogisticated air in the atmos- phl. gisticated, which is in the proportion pherical air exposed to thein ? Conlequent- of 81.8 in 100. Again, 140 ounce mealy, phlogisticated air, or azote, is not a fim- fures were, by the fame dry iron filings ple substance, as the antiphlogistians main- and sulphur, reduced to 113, which is in tain, but a compound. Also, whence can the proportion of 80.6 in 100. But some come the fixed air procured in the same pro- moiiture getting to this mixture the third cess, but from a different combination of time that it was used, 155 ounce meathe same principles, and not, as they say, fures of air were reduced by it to 116, from carbone, which is a substance of ve which is in the proportion of 74 in 1co. getable origin, and has no place here. By the low burning of phosphorus, 60

That the thing which constitutes the ounce measures of atmospherical air were blackness of the bones is the fame with reduced to 48, at another timne to 48į; that which has always been called phlo- and so ounce measures were reduced to gilton, is evident from its forming inflam- 4.0, which is in the proportion of 80.8 mable air, if there be water to supply it of phlogisticated air in 100. But by rewith a basis. For I now find, that if they peatedly firing the phofphorus with a be heated in phlogisticated air, which can burning lens, 100 ounce measures were renot by parting with any thing contribute duced to 89, completely phlogisticated. MONTHLY MAG. No. XLV.

Z z

That

I.

I

are

That the diamond is a combustible sub- partial, and attentive to every fact that I stance has been long known; but not have stared, I may have overlooked some having heard of its being burned in at- important circumftances relating to them, mospherical, or any other kind of air, I and have reasoned inconclulively froin them. had long withed to do it; and being sup I flaimable air is sometimes proplied by a friend with two linall ones, I cured when one metal is precipitated by treated them in this manner, and found another in its metailic state. This is a that near 90 parts in 100 of the air in fact that is very easily explained on the which they were burned was completely fiippolition that the metal precipitated does phlogisticated; and the quantity not being not require so much phlogiston as that fenfibly changed, the remainder was fixed which was diffolved ; whereas the doctrine air, which is an effect similar to that of of the decomposition of water cannot, as heating charcoal of copper in air. The far as I fee, account for the fact, at least diamonds being very finall, and the quan- in an ealy and natural way. tity of air in which they were burned be When zinc is used to precipitate lead ing fall in proportion, I will not vouch from a solution of sugar of lead, infiammafor much exactness in the relult. When ble air is procured ; and according to the I get larger diamonds I will endeavour to phlogistic theory it ought to be to, since make the experiment in a more satisfac. lead contains much lel's phlogiston than tory manner. Both the diamonds weigh- zinc; so that when the former is revived ed only 3-10ths of a grain, and they lost by means of the latter, is able to furin the process 15-100 of a grain. The nish more than is requisite for the purpose. air in which they were burned was žths But if this infiammable air come from of an ounce mealure.

the decompofition of the water, the oxygen, Jos. PRIESTLEY. which must be developed at the same time, To the Editor of the Monihli Magazine.

ought to be found either in the water, or in

what remains of the zinc. For it will not SIR,

be pretended to be in the lead that is revived; subject of the phlogistic theory, and I

And yet, when I examine this water, I now fend it. You will find it to confift find it entirely free from acidity, and that of miscellaneous articles, some of more it yields air much less pure than that of and others of less importance to the deci- the atmosphere. fion of the question that is išow before the

Iron, I also find, will yield more inpublic. All the letters that I have sent flammable air by folution in acids than you relate principally to original and re

zinc; and a saturated solution of iron in the cent experiments, to which I have given marine acid yields inflammable air by the a good part of the leisure of the last tum- folution of zinc. mer, and I do not propose to do any thing

2. In tome of the preceding letters I more on the subject till I hear from the gave an account of the production of ingreat authors and advocates of the theory Hammable air from zinc by means of steam, that I combat in France; and as we have similar to that by which the same kind of not now any intercourfe with that country, air is procured from iron. In this case it will probably be a considerable time the iron receives a great addition to its before that can be done.

weight, which the antiphlogistians say, I am glad, however, to find several arises from the oxygen corresponding to able advocates of the system in this coun

the hydrogen of the inflammable air, both try; and some of them, I am confident, coming from the decomposition of the will do themselves honour by their can

But as the zinc gains no weight clour, as well as their ability. I am

in this process, the result of the experipretty certain, that if due attention be

ment appears to me to be favourable to given to the subject, the controverly will the phlogistic theory, according to which be decided to general fatisfaction in a very the inflammable air comes from the metal. few years. And whenever I see reason

This being an experiment of some conto think that my opponents have advanced sequence, I have lately repeated it, and it all that they can in answer to what I have inay be worth while to recite some of the done and written, I shall give an account particulars of it. Having put an ounce of the impression that their observations of zinc into an earthen tube, to which I Thall have made on my mind, frecly ac; gave a red heat, I made a iteam pafs over knowledging any mistakes into which I it till I had procured about 300 ounce may have fallen.

measures of inflammable air ; after which But with my best endeavours to be im. I found the greatest part of the zinc re

duced

water.

1799.] Dr. Priestley on the Doctrine of Phlogiston.

355 duced to a dark coloured semitransparent both fixed air and phlogisticated air, from glass, adhering pretty closely to the tube. the lame elemenis, viz. dephlogilticated I was able, however, to separate them; and inflammable air, or phlogiston ; and I am confident that the calx did not whereas the antiphlogistians tay that fixed weigh more than the metal had done, air can only be produced by the union of whereas, computing from the proportion carbone, or charcoal, with pure air; and of 85 parts of oxygen to 15 of hydrogen that phlogisticated air is a simple' sub(into which it is laid that water is reiol- stance, called by them azote. I shall, vable)it will be found that it ought to have however, mention a few more observations gained about 100 grains. Since then this which I think support what I have ad. great proportion of oxygen is not found, 'vanced on this subject. either in the calx, or in the water (for Having made much use of a mixture of this also I examined) where will the an- iron filings and sulphur, for the purpose tiphlogistians say that we are to look for of phlogisticating air, I have always had it? For since the water, they say, is de a large quantity which had been long composed to furnish the inflammable air, expoted to the atmosphere, from which it it must be somewhere.

is allowed that it attracts nothing besides 3. I have also repeated the experiment of dephlogisticated air. Of this mixture, the revival of red precipitate in inflamma. then quite dry and brown, 31 vunces exble air over mercury ; observing particu- poled to heat in an earthen tube gave 120 larly that there was neither fixed air, nor

ounce measures of air, of which about any sensible quantity of watır produced, one tenth was fixed air, and the rest almost though much inflaminable air disappeared. wholly phlogisticated. Both thele kinds

This air, therefore, must have entered of air, theretere, must consist of dephlo. into the mercury that was revived, and gisticated air from the atmosphere, and did not unite with any thing that was ex- Tomething contained in the iron or fulpelled from the precipitate.

phur, both of which are maintained to be 4. It is said by the antiphlogistians, fimple substances. There remained a black that spirit of nitre never becoines coloured powder Itrongly attracted by the magnet. by imbibing any thing, but always in 6. In general, iron filings and fulphur consequence of giving out oxygen. -I immersed in mercury or water, or placed think, however, that the contrary is in a vacuum, yield inflammable air; but in proved by its decompusing nitrous air. some cases (though I do not know the But the same effect is produced, though reason of the difference) this mixture has not in so remarkable a manner, by means yielded phlogisticated air. Having placed of inflammable air.. I put a quantity of a pot containing this mixture in a vacuum, dephlogisticated spirit of nitre into a phial I found, after fome days, that it had yielded with a ground glais stopper with inflam- ounce measures of air : and examining mable air on its surface; and in another it I found it to be completely phlogistisimilar phial atmospherical air' was con cated. I then put the fame mixture under fined with it. Both of these phials I water, and placing it near the fire, it gave covered with water in inverted glais jars, an ounce measure more, all phlogi.ticated. to prevent their having any communica At another time, two ounce measures of tion with the atmosphere. After long ex- air was yielded by a mixture of this kind, posure in these circumstances, that which and being examined long after it was had the common air on its surface” never formed, it was found to be wholly phloacquired any colour, or only a very little, gisticated. It might, however, have been from the effect of light transmitted through infiammable air which had undergone that two glasses with water between them; but change. that on the surface of which the infiam 7. From a quantity of calx of lead, mable air was incumbent, acquired colour part grey and part yellow, in a glass tube, very foon. I also found, on repeating the I got about its bulk of almoit pure fixed experiment, that a part of the inflammable air; and the refiduum extinguished a air had been imbibed by the acid. To candle. Where could be the carbone in make this experiment, a phial filleż with this cale! the acid must be introduced into a jar of 8. A solution of copper in volatile inflammable air, and part of it being alkali, gave phlogisticated air with the poured out, the stopper must be put into it marine acid ; and it will not be easy to in that situation. Other precautions say where this azote existed before the must be used which a little experience will process. teach.

9. It is generally thought that the 5. I cannot help thinking that many fixed air contained in fallen lime has been of my experiments prove the generation of attracted from the atmosphere, in which

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