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at her door. Had a Dutchess of Modena arrived in London, she would not have been treated with so much respect. concourse of people was very great at her palace near Bucking

ham gate.

Fame, in the mean time, was not idle ; but entertained the public with the beauty of her fine tail, her long ears and speckled skin; and, as her apartments were not well disposed for the reception of a numerous company, her portrait was drawn and fold to the public, to satisfy the curiosity of those who could not approach her person.

Wilkes made still more noise than the Ass; it is true that in any kind of rumour in England, the male always has the preference to the female. His confinement in the Tower, gave rise to a multitude of political arguments and profound differtations: and his discharge from that prison made more noise here than the entry of the Grand Turk at Constantinople. But, alas ! of how short duration are the glories of this sublunary world. The Ghost was put in the pillory. The talk about the Ass foon subsided, and Wilkes made his escape to France, in order to avoid the fate of the Ghost."

Our Readers may possibly gather from this short specimen, some idea of our Author's manner of writing. Indeed the quaintness and affectation in his stile, are to be matched only by the fuperficiality equally remarkable in his observations. And yet this very assuming Writer passes judgment on every thing he fees and knows; or rather, on every thing he does not fee or know; for it is easy to discover that his information about facts and characters, is chicfy culled out of romances and News-papers, or picked up from mere coffee-house conversation. He writes, it must be confefied, with vivacity and spirit; but there is a wide difference between being pert and shrewd ; and gravity is not more often mistaken for wisdom than vivacity for wit. To make a figure at once as a politician, a philofopher, a physician, a mathematician, a musician, a moralilt, an historian, a critic, a satyrist, and indeed almost every thing else, requires very different talents to those of which the Author of these letters seems to be possessed. It is easy for a man of letters with a sprightly turn, and a moderate share of knowlege and genius, to run galloping, through five or fix volumes ; scattering about indifcriminate remarks on popular topics, and such common-place observations as are every where to be met with. His manner of adopting them, however, will betray to the discerning Rea, der what share of them must be imputed to his own fund of experience and reflection. That we may not be thought to cast undeserved censure on this work, we shall give a specimen or

two

two more of it, wherein the Writer, or his Mandarin, takes upon him some of the various characters enumerated above. In letter 55. vol. v. the Mandarin Cham-pi-pi thus figures as a politician:

« The ambition of petty Princes makes its appearance now too late in the world. The greater powers of Europe are established irrevocably. It is impoffible to annihilate them. It is possible indeed to make head against them for a few years ; to gain some few victories over them; but this is all. They infenfibly recover their loss, and their natural superiority always prevails in the end. France hath received several checks dur. ing the late war; but it is still an immense empire. The house of Austria, in like manner, hath met with ill-fuccefs; but this hath not diminished its original power'; its resources are still superiour to those of the enemy who had the advantage over it. A few years peace, will restore to these bodies all their former vigour; they may be harassed but they cannot be fubdued.

The trophies of George and Frederic have made a great noise. I am unwilling here to tarnish their glory ; but it is certain they owe it all to the unwieldiness of the Houses of Bourbon and of Austria, whose greatness would have over-whelmed both the former by its own weight, if their respective adminiftrations had not prevented the activity of their natural powers.

England and Prussia reap no more honour by their late successes over them, than a man in health would do in taking ada vantage of another who might be fick. Although I, a Chinese, tremble for the fate of these two little states, when I reflect that the least variation in the arrangement of second causes might totally reverse it, and that it is in the power of two little animals, less than fix foot high, to overthrow their whole system of grandeur. Let but an able minister appear at the head of affairs in France; and England would instantly drop into its former state of mediocrity. Let but a superiour genius appear in the council , Vienna, and the King of Prussia is at once annihilated.” Well said ! Monsieur Mandarin : what a pity it is, for the honour of France, that this Writer himself is not placed at the head of the French administration !

In chapters 82, 83, et seq. of the same volume, this fagacious Mandarin takes upon him the philosopher and mathematician; for doubtless such we must suppose the cenfor, who charges the philosophers and mathematicians with ignorance and absurdity, and attempts to ridicule their noblest investigations and discoveries,

66 Sounc

“ Some philosophers pretend that light is propagated fucceffively; and have calculated the precise time in which a ray of light palies from the fun to the earth ; and this they know more exactly than the time in which a courier would arrive from Paris in London. It is at present a determined point in physics, that a ray of light moves an hundred and thirty thousand Jeagues in a second. Sound, does not move so quick as light, but about fix hundred thousand times flower; making at most not above three hundred leagues in an hour, and then the way must be very clear and free from all interruption. It is pretended that in the Northern parts it moves slower than in the South ; doubtless on account of the cold which prevails in the former."

All this may, in our author's opinion, be very witty and farcastical, yet we cannot conceive what he aims at, by this ludicrous method of treating scientific subjects ; which there is great reason to presume he but superficially understands. . That there is absurdity enough in our physical systems, and in the European manner of cultivating the sciences, is very true, but our Author does not appear to know where it lies. If ridicule be not, strictly speaking, a test of truth, it is certainly an excellent weapon to be used against falsehood; but its edge is too keen to be brandished in Sport, by the wanton or unskilful, without their hurting themselves much more than they can do any object on which they chuse to employ it. At every false ftroke it jars the hand of the striker; and, as it is two-edged, long, and perfe&tly elastic, it frequently rebounds on him with fuch force as to incapacitate him for using it again.

We must do this Writer the justice, nevertheless, to own that, in treating of common and popular topics, the sprightliness of his manner is agreeable; and, if he had been careful to have laughed only in the right place, we might sometimes, perhaps, have laughed with him.

Contemplations de la Nature. Par C, Bonnet. Contemplations on the Works of Nature. 8vo. 2 Volumes,

Imported by Becket and de Hondt,

T
HE character of Mr. Bonnet, both as a Naturalist and

a Philosopher, is already known to the Public, from his Ellay on the Faculties of the Mind, and his Confiderations on

the

the Organization of Bodies* It is on these works, also, we presume our Author would chuse to rest his reputation; as the present consists chiefly of juvenile reflections and observations on subjects of natural history, and the wonderful oeconomy discoverable in the various Phenomena of the Univerfe. It is great pity that Writers are fo apt to be misled by their friends, against their better judgment, to the publication of performances they would otherwife commit to the flames.

When Mr. Bonnet assured us, with regard to his analysis, that it was published at the pressing solicitations of his acquaintance, hackney'd, as the pretence was by others, we made no objection to the reality of the motive; but, when he makes the like excuse for the present publication, we do not think it „admissible.. To prevent our doubting the truth of it, indeed, he mentions the name of the very friend I, who stopt him when he he was actually going to burn his manuscript. We do not take upon us to say, the public would have suffered no lors if such intervention had not happened; but we are quite of Mr. Bonnet's private opinion, that his reputation may possibly. suffer some lofs from so crude, not to say puerile, a performance. Not that we would be understood to censure the specimen, here exhibited of this Writer's talents for physical observation ; but we can by no means approve of the examples he hath given of his sagacity in reasoning on those observations. The like objection hath been made to his other works; of which he complains in his preface to that before us ; charging the objectors with inattention to what he hath advanced. If, among the criticisms of which he complains, however, he hath a view to the flight animadversions we have påfled on his writings, he is mistaken, if he thinks we have any obje&tion to systematical reasoning, or even to the substitution of ingenious hypotheses, if advanced merely as hypotheses. What we object to, is inconclufive reasoning, and we are sorry to find men so extremely capable of making just observations, so greatly bewildered, as they frequently are, in drawing conclusions from their observations. Nor do we think it any good excuse for the insertion of such inconclusive reasonings, to say, that they are given as mere conjedtures. We are not insensible, that acute observers are often bad speculatists, and vice versa ; but we would have philosophers,

* See Review Vol. xxvi, page 503. and Vol. xxviii, page 524.

† Mr. Bennel, Minister of Geneva ; whom our Author files, un ami éclairé et judicieux. The gentleman may merit these epithets for ought we know, but we coubt much whether Mr. Bonnet thought him a better judge of this particular fubject than himself.' And yet he confesses this performance to be much inferior to his other works

at

at least, poslefs some small share of self-knowledge, and be cone, tent to thine in their proper sphere. That there are Critics, who have too slightly perused and too readily censured Mr. Bonnet, may possibly be true; but he may impute their want of judgment, in a great degree, probably, to his own. For, to what purpose are mere speculations added to exact observations, unless to amuse and mislead the reader, who cannot distinguish the point at which experiment ends and conjecture begins. We admire the ingenuity, the fagacity, the indefatigable industry of à Lyonet, who can discover to us, by anatomy, four thousand muscles in the body of a caterpillar.' We can juftly admire, also, with the discoveries of many other ingenious naturalists, the judicious remarks and observations of our Author, when his fa. gacity is employed on proper objects : but we cannot admit of his treating the first cause, the eternal reason, the word incarnate, ccleftial hierarchies, angels, human souls, animals, reptiles, zoophytes, polypuses and vegetables, as if they were all fubjects of natural history, and equally objects of phyfical animadverfion.

In chapters first and second of the fifth part of this work, treating of the several relations between terrestrial objects, we have the following passages.

Chap. I. Preliminary Reflection. « We have seen that a connection and relation prevails throughout all the parts of the universe: but we have only taken a view of this pregnant truth at a distance. Let us at present approach it nearer, and give our attention to the most interesting particulars. We shall not take notice of that majestic harmony which, in ballancing the planets, animates the heavens. We will lay aside also the profound and mysterious influence of universal attraction, the laws of motion, and the different mechanic powers diffused throughout the universe. Let us observe those relations, whose effects are connected with ideas more common or less complicated."

CHAP. II. Of the Union of Souls with organized Bodies. « This union is the source of the most fertile and the moft wonderful harmony in nature. A substance without extension, without folidity, without figure, is united to a fubstance, poffeffed of extension, solidity, and figure. A substance which thinks and has in itself a principle of action, is united to a subfance which is unthinking, and in its own nature indifferent to motion or rest. From this surprising union arises a reciprocal conimerce between the two substances, a sort of action and of reaction, which constitutes the life of organized-animated beings.

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