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PRE FACE.
P R E F A E.

TH

HE most pleasing employment in the conduct of a miscellaneous

publication, is to procure such literary pieces as are calcu. . lated to afford both pleasure and improvement; to depict those traits of exemplary character that tend to excite ingenuous minds to virtuous emulation ; and to record such transactions as may exhibit man in the molt ennobling views. While we continue to attend to these important objeéts, it is with extreme concern that we perceive the painful necessity of ftill devoting no small portion of our miscellany to the narration of events, from which Humanity must turn with horror. Principles, just and good abftractedly considered, but carried to absurd and mischievous extremes, have been productive of calamities, distinguished by more than common varieties of woe. A country, which fo lately displayed all the elegancies of polished life, and the conciliating manners that heighten the pleasures of social intercourse, now exhibits such scenes of cruelty and desolation, as recall to memory the moft savage and ferocious times.

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In our last periodical address, we considered the events of the year 1792 as of the most awful kind. But the year which has just expired appears to have furpafied even that eventful period in acts of atrocity and horror. We had just seen a mild and beneficent fovereign brought to a public trial: we now behold him conducted to the scaffold, and

a executed with circumstances of indignity, that bespeak not the justice of an august national tribunal, but the contemptible triumph of little minds, devoid of every dignified fentiment and of all virtuous sympathy. We behold his unhappy confort conducted, a few months after, to the same fatal spot; and, what seems more wonderful fill, many of the most conspicuous characters in the revolution, those, moreover, who had gloried in having voted for the death of their sovereign, exhibiting, on that very scaffold, the triumph of a faction, which, in the plenitude of its power, seems to bid defiance to the most venerable principles; which, blending caprice with violence, makes no distinction between the degrading absurdities of fuperftition and the ennobling worship of a pure and rational religion; and which, with the fame facility that it destroys a calendar, contributing merely to the greater convenience of commercial intercourse, would eradicate those divine principles, which, pointing to happier scenes, have in all ages been productive of the most foothing consolations in calamity, and the happieit sources of true enjoyment in frosperity.

To our own country, the dreadful state of anarchy to which France is now reduced; the despotism under which the groans, unknown to the most arbitrary periods of her history; and the blood literally streaming in her cities; may afford the most falutary lessons. It may teach us, that 'admitting the reality of some existing grievances, there are lawful modes of redress, in proper times and circumstances, that will preclude the dangerous resort to expedients, by which the unprincip.ed and ambitious may rise into notice and power, while the good and virtuous are involved, by the arts and crimes of a faclion, in unexpecied and inevitable ruin. It may inculcate the abfurdity of expecting an ablolute freedom from defect in inftitutions, which, however excellent, must still partake of that imperfection inseparable from whatever is of human construction ; fatisfied, that that government, after all, is fufficierı perfect, in which, comparatively, few real grieva ices are felt; every member of the community has the moit ampie security for ine enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and the social rights of man, and that true liberty and equality which result from thein, exist not in impracticable or mischievous theory, but in kind equal rule, the government of Jaws.'

These sentiments, we hope, are not incompatible with the most ardent withes for the restoration of peace, for the diffusion of universal happiness, and that our hostile neighbours may soon find how effential are the sanctions of Religion and Law, to the p:eservation of that Liberty for which they profess to contend. In the mean time, it will be our duty, in the conduct of this Miscellany, not to listen to the emotions of indignation, or to the violence of declamation, but to relate, with candour and discrimination, the various events that occur, and to present the best discussion of the political measures that may be adopted in this country, by that accurate and impartial account of the proceedings in parliament by which we have hitherto been distinguished; attending, moreover, with unremitting affiduity, to the various sources of miscellaneous literature that may contribute to the entertainment of our readers, and preserve to the Universal Magazine its wonted dis. tinction as the Repository of Knowledge and Pleasure.

THE

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THOUGHTS on the ASTRONOMICAL Discoveries of the Ancients:

Illustrative of a beautiful Frontispiece, representing URANIA, the Muse of Astronomy.

Yon heavenly orbs, the glad abodes of life
Effufive kindled by His breath divine
Through endless forms of being, all inhale
From Him their portion of the vital flame,
In measure such, that, from the wide complex
Of co-exiftent orders, one might rise,
One order, all involving and intire.

AKENSIDE.

IT
T is worthy of observation, that where, at first, with contempt and ri.

there are many importaut truths, dicule, when discovered to the mowhich, ages ago, were taught by the derns. These truths even proved ancients, and at lait adopted by the dangerous to those who held them, as moderns, after having undergone a not Galileo, the illustrious Florentine phi

uncommon fate, that of being rejected losopher, experienced in the seven· and condemned with disdain. This teenth century, in the prison of an

has been particularly the case with Inquisition. Yet both thefe doctrines astronomy. That the earth moves are now so well established, that they round the sun, and that there are anti- meet with universal approbation. And podes, are truths that were known thus, for two centuries patt have we long ago, although received every proceeded to re-introduce the most

celebrated celebrated of the ancient opinions ; chus, writing on the subject again still affecting, however, not to know some of the philosophers of his own that we are indebted, in any riipect, age, placed the fun immoveable in to those who first muld them.

the centre of an orbit, described by The most ration:) iyilem in itself, the earth in its circuit.' And Sextus and which

agrecs

beit with the most Empiricius alio cites him as one of the accurate obiervations, is that pro- principal supporters of tnis opinion. posed, about the year 1530, by Ni- There is alio a passage in Plutarch, colaus Copernicus, a celebrated artc- by which it appears, that Cleanthes nomer of Poland, who placed the fun accutei Ariidircius or impiety, in in the centre, and supposed, all the troubling the re: ote of Veita and all p'anet , with the earth itself, to re- the Latian gods; when, in giving an volve round the sun. Hence this has account of the phenomena of the plabeen called the Copernica i system ; nets in their courses, he taught that but it is a matter of surprise how a heaven, or the firmament of the fixed system so fully and dislin lly incul- fars, was immoveable, and that the caied by the ancients, should derive earth moved in an oblique circle, reits name from a modern phi.osopher, volving, at the same time, round its Pythagoras, Philulaus, Nicetas of own axis. Syracufe, Plato, Aristarchus, and

Theophrastus, as quoted by Plumany

others among the ancients, have tarch, fays (in his History of Altroin a thou!and places expressed this nomy, which has not reached our opinion ; and Diogenes Laertius, times) that Plato, when advar.ced in Plutarch, and Stobuus,' have with years, gave up the error he had ajoptgreat precision trammitted to us their ed, of ma:ing the fun surn round the ideas. And that this system was net earth; lamenting, inat he had not received universally, at a more early placed it in the centre, but had put period, muit be atcribed entirely to the earth there, contrary to the order the force of prejudice.

of nature. Nor is it at all wonderful Pythagoras thought that the eart that Plato tould retume an opinion was a moveable body, and so far from which he had early imbibed in the being the centre of the universe, that schools of the two celebrated Pythait performed its revolutions round the goreans, Arinveis of Tarentum, and region of fire; that is, the sun, and Timeu the Locrin; as we see in St. thereby formed day and night. This Jerome's Apology for Christianity knowledge he obtained, it is said, againit Rutinus ; and in Cicero we among the Egyptians. Some impute fec, that Heraclides of Pontus, who this opinion to Philolaüs, the disciple was a Pythagorean, taught the same of Pythagoras; but it is evident, that doctrine. he had the merit only of being the That the earth is round, and inpublisher of it, and of several other habited on all sides, and, consequentopinions belo ging to that school; ly, that there are Antipodes, or peofor Eusebius expressly afirms, that he ple whof feet are directly opposite to was the first who put the system of ours, is one of the most ancient docPythagoras into writing. Pa Jolaüz trines inculcated by philosophy. Dioadded, that the earth moved in an genes Laertius fays, that Plato was oblique circle, by which, no doubt, the firii who called the inhabitants of he meant the zodiac.

the earth opposite to us, Antipodes. Aristarchus of Samos, who lived He does not mean, that Plato Wis about three hundred centuries before the first who taught this opinion, but Jesus Christ, was one of the princi; al only the first who made use of the defenders of the do:rine of the earth's term Antiļodes; for, in another place, motion. Archimedes, in his book he mentions Pythagoras 2 the firft di Arenaris, informs us,'that Ariitar- who taught it.' There is also a pal

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