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The whole of this work is divided into fix chapters.
Chapter first, contains the theory of artificial electricity, deduced from the circulation of the electric fire in an ordinary apparatus. This apparatus he describes. It consists, he says, of one electrical substance, which he calls isolante, and two conducting subftances, ftiled by him deferenti. His isolante is a glass cylinder, which he prefers to a globe. His first deferente for prime conductor) is a tin tube twelve feet long and one foot in diameter. This through the whole of his work he ftiles la catena. His other deferente substance, is what answers in our machines to a cushion that is not insolated, but in his apparatus is the body of a man who holds his hands upon the cylinder, by the revolution of which the fire is transferred from him to the prime conductor. By this it will appear, that the Italian artists have not as yet arrived at the same perfection in conftructing electrical machines as ours have.
The Author begins by laying down some general principles or axioms.
ist, That every body is possessed of electrical matter.
2dly, When this matter is diftributed in an equal proportion it remains in equilibrium, and makes no impreflion on our organs.
3dły, But when it is forced to occupy a smaller fpace than is natural to it, or when this equilibrium is destroyed, it then exerts itself to expand on all fides, till the equilibrium is restored.
Artificial electricity he defines to be the science of the effects. which electrical fire produces when it is excited by art: and natural electricity the knowledge of these effects, when it is excited by nature.
It is impoflable to give any tolerable account of this work, without a number of engravings to illustrate the variety of experiments it contains. However, as we are considerably before the Italians in the science of electricity, the greatest part of these are already to be found in the works of Dr. Franklin, Dr. Priestley, and others of our great electricians; to whom the Author constantly refers, in almost every page of his book.
The second chapter contains the theory of electric bodies, with regard to the charging and discharging them.
In the third he treats of the electric atmofphere, which he terms elettricita premente.
The fourth gives an account of the scintilla, or electric fpark, which he calls elettricita viva,
In the fifth he treats of the different methods of exciting electricity.
The last chapter is divided into two parts. • The subject of the first part is the motion of the electric Ruid in the deferenti or conducting subkances,
That of the second, the motion of the fame Aluid in the isolanti, or electric substances.
Each of these chapters are subdivided into a number of arti cles; and, in the course of the work, the Author introduces a great variety of curious experiments, which although many of them are already known, yet as he has arranged them so as to reflect a mutual light on each other, it is probable, that, in the hands of skilful electricians, his work will tend greatly to promote the knowledge of that science.
The Author's character for candour and ingenuity has long been established. It were greatly to be withed that he were a little more concise, and would guard against repetitions. For altho' his work contains much matter, yet it certainly might have been communicated in fewer words. His language too, is often obscure, and without the plates would have been unintelligible. This, indeed, was almoft'unavoidable, from the variety of words and phrases which he has been obliged to adapt, and sometimes to invent, for the explanation of the different pheno, mena of this new science.'
AR T. XVIII. Traduction du 34, 3583 36 Livres de lline, &c.-A Translation of
the 34th, 35th, and 30th Books of the Elder Pliny; with Notes, by M. Falconet, one of the Professors of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in France, and Honorary Member of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts at Petersburgh. To which are added, Reflections on. Sculpture, first printed in 1701. 8vo. Amfterdam. Rey. 1772. HEY who are possefled of a taste for the writings of the
antients, joined to a love for the finc Aris, will receive the present partial translation of Pliny with pleasure. It is intended to convey a just interpretation of what that venerable ancient has written on the subjects of ftatuary and painting :- this task too is executed by an artist of eminence, competently versed in classical literature; and accordingly, sufficiently able to explain his Author's sense in the easy passages; and betrer qualified, in consequence of his practical knowledge of the art, to throw light on many of the obscure parts, than the mere scholar, who is greatly his superior in the knowledge of the ancient languages. Such nearly are the Translator's own ideas, and they must ia general, that is, with the proper and obvious modifications, be acknowledged to be just.
He who writes upon a subject, our Translator very properly observes, which he does not understand, whatever may be his genius and acquirements on other subjects, exposes himself to the danger of writing nonsense, and he writes nonsense accordingly. This, it seems, was the case of Pliny, whose
knowledge knowledge, according to M. Falconet, in the arts of painting and sculpture, was very superficial. The Translator gives several striking proofs of the justice of this charge, as well as many instances of his want of exactness, and of huperbolic, indiícriminate and contradictory commendations bestowed by him on different artists and performances. · The notes attending this translation are numerous and well written. In several of these, the Author very freely criticises many modern connoisseurs and writers on the subject of the fine arts; and, among the rest, we find ourselves animadverted upon, with regard to the very juft strictures we threw out upon Dr. King's description of the Author's equeftrian ftatue of Peter the Great *; and with respect to which we have inothing to retract.
ART. XIX. Syftime Social ; ou Principes naturels de la Morale et de la "olitique; avéc
un examen de l' influence du Gouvernment fur les Mæurs. - The social System, or the natural Principles of Morality and Politics; with an Examination of the Influence of Government upon Manners.
8vo. 3 Vols. Paris. 1773. TH HIS, work is said to come from the pen of the Author of
Systéme de la Nature t, (see the Appendix to volume xlil. of our Review) and indeed this is highly probable. The same atheistic principles, the same diffuse and declamatory manner of writing, the same want of order and precision, the fame fpirit of railing at priests and priestcraft, the same gro's misreprefentation of the Christian system appears in both productions, together with the most outrageous blasphemy. But while we think ourselves obliged to mention this, in justice to our Readers, and to the cause of truth and virtue, we cannot help acknowledging in justice to the Author, whoever he is, that a love of liberty, of virtue, and of mankind, breathes through the whole of his performance, with an utter abhorrence of every species of tyranny, both civil and ecclefiaftical. He appears to have a very extensive knowledge of history, and to be well acquainted with the manners of the age we live in, of which he draws some very just and striking pictures. What we chiefly lament is, that while he is an advocate for virtue, and seems warmly and earnestly to recommend the practice of social duties, he endeavours to weaken, or rather uiterly to subvert the only sure and folid foundations of them. A system of morality that
See Monthly Review, vol. xl. Feb. i 09, page 1 22. N. B. The Author's note mistakenly refers to January for this article. + Published under the fi@litious name of Mirabaud,
excludes the very idea of deity, is surely a very absurd and rose mantic system ! 'The man who believes that a supremely wise, and good Being presides over the whole of nature, directing and superintending all events; that he is accountable to this Being for his conduct, and that he will be rewarded or punished in a future state according to his behaviour in the present, has certainly motives to the practice of every moral and social duty, infinitely superior to any that can pollibly be supposed to influ. ence the man who denies the existence of fuch a Being. Whoever has carefully studied human natare, and attentively examined the springs and motives of human actions, will, we are persuaded, readily allow that no principles are capable of infpiring such noble and generous sentiments, or of raising the human character to such a degree of perfe&ion, as those that are derived from religion : nor can any principles possibly enable a man to bear up under the various distresses and calamities to which the lot of humanity is subject, with such firmness, fortitude and patience, as religious principles. For the truth of this we may safely appeal to every competent and unprejudiced judge of the subject. In a word, to separate religion from morality is to destroy both.
That religion has too frequently been represented in such colours as conceal its native beauty and genuine cbárms, - is a melancholy truth; nor can it be denied, that the general conduct of those whose business it has been to teach and defend it, has, in every age and every country, reflected dishonour on themselves and on the cause of religion. It is equally true, however, that many of this class of men have been the brighteft ornaments of human nature, persons of distinguitbed abilities and integrity, of exemplary virtue both in public and private life, active and diligent in promoting every valuable intereft of society; nor is it less certain, that their superior virtue and usefulness has been principally owing to the infuence of religious principles upon their minds. Had the Author of the syftem before us duly considered this, he would have spoke of religion in very different terms, and would never have represented its minifters, as he always does, without any distinction, as the most inhuman, unlociable, and deteftable of all men. How conlistent such conduct is with candor, or with justice, which he makes the foundation of all virtues, we leave to himself, and to his Readers to determine.
His work is divided into three parts, in the first of which he treats of the natural principles of morality ; in the second, of the natural principles of politics; and, in the third, of the influence of government upon manners, or the causes and remedies of corruption. Each part is subdivided into chapters, in which he gives us his sentiments upon many very curious and inipore
tant subjects ; his manner of treating them is loose and superficial; he seldom advances any thing new; but many of his observations are extremely jutt, pertinent, and striking; his manner is lively and animated, and his stile easy and perspicuous.
As a specimen of his sentiments, and in order to justify the censure we have passed upon his Syfem, we shall lay before our Readers part of what he advances in the third chapter of his first volume, wherein he treats of Christian morality.
In order to render men better, says he, we must lead them to the search of truth, make them cultivate their reason, place experiments before their eyes, thew them the dangerous effects of vice, and make them feel the advantages of virtue. Such is the object of morality. In order to render them more happy, we muft make their interests the faine, unite them in the cloreft bonds of society, invite and oblige them to do good and to abftain from evil. This is the object of every government, which is only the power of a society placed in the hands of one or more citizens, with a view to oblige every member to practise the rules of morality.
Morality is the art of living happily with our fellow crea. tures. Virtue consists in rendering ourselves happy by making others happy
Every person acknowledges the usefulness of morality; and yet its true principles seem ftill involved in such darkness as the moft piercing eyes can scarce penetrate. Every man extols the advantages of virtue, though there is very little agreement with relation to the ideas that ought to be formed concerning it: to the generality of mankind it is a vague, empty term, which they admire, without being able to annex any determinate sense to it. Whence can this ignorance and uncertainty arise in regard to objects, which all men allow to be both important and neces. sary? To what must we impute the little knowledge we have of our duty, after all the profound researches and invefatigable labours of so many fages, who have made man, and the relations wherein he stands to his fellow creatures, the objects of their ftudy? On the one hand, theology, by its obscure and often contradictory notions, has thrown palpable darkness over a branch of science, the most plain, the most easy, the most intel. ligible, and the most capable of demonstration. Civil policy, on the other hand, far from lending its aid to morality, contradies it every moment, and renders its principles and maxims - totally useless : boih visible and invisible powers see:n to hare combined in order to turn the heart of man from the pursuit of those objects which are most essential and necesary to his hape piness in the present life, APP Rev. Vol. xlvii.