« PreviousContinue »
appears that, by employing proper precautions, particularly by conducting the solution at a low temperature, the hydrogen may be obtained in a state of considerable purity; and that the amount of the iron may be learned with at least a tolerable degree of accuracy.
Directions are next given for ascertaining the quantity of carbon contained in a specimen of iron ; which method consists in treating it with nitro-muriatic acid, and igniting the residue in a crucible : in this way the greater part of the iron will be dissolved by the acid, and the remainder will be oxidated, while the carbon is entirely consumed. Although it would seem that this kind of analysis might indicate the proportion of iron and carison with considerable minuteness, yet this does not appear to be the case ; and Messrs. Aikin state, as the result of all the experience which we possess on the subject,
that bar-iron contains a smaller quantity of carbon than the softer varieties of steel, and these again always contain less than the common and finer cast steel; that in the white, the mottled, the grey, and the black varieties of cast iron, the dose of carbon is constantly augmenting, in the last of which the proportion of carbon is probably about jo of the whole.'
Besides carbon, oxygen is found to be a very frequent constituent of the different varieties of iron ; and cast iron, in particular, seems to be highly charged with this principle. The authors ingeniously remark on this subject, that it may seem at first a paradox to maintain the co-existence of oxygen and carbon in the same metallic mass, especially considering the great heat to which it is exposed in the process of reduction, since it is an universal and uncontrovertel fact that inetallic oxyds are decomposed by carbon at a high temperature, the oxygen and carbon uniting together and being dissipated in the form of gas, the inetallic regulus remaining behind.' This apparent anomaly is explained by the consideration of the large quantity of matter on which we operate, the coarseness of the process, and the pressure of the superincumbent scoriæ. It is to the escape of this oxygen, in combination with different proportions of carbon, forming either carbonic acid or the gaseous oxyd of carbon, that the kind of fermentation depends, which was described in the operation called puddling. Steel is probably entirely free from oxygen ; and in this circumstance, together with its greater purity from extraneous substances, it principally differs from cast iron.
We have next some remarks on the action of the vitrifiable earths on iron ; on the different results that are obtained from the smelting process, according as coak or charcoal is employed ; and on the variations that exist in the visible and
other physical properties of iron, according to the proportion of carbon which it contains. The section closes with some observations on what have been called hot-short and cold-short iron, the first of which has been supposed to derive its peculiar properties from arsenic, and the latter from phosphoric acid. The present writers seem inclined to doubt the truth of these opinions, though they are supported by the most respectable authorities; and to imagine that the property of iron becoming brittle, when it is cold, may depend simply on the addition of oxygen.
Section VII. contains a correct and luminous account of the operation of the different chemical re-agents on iron, its combustion in oxygen, the action of atmospheric air and water on it, the formation of its different oxyds, its solution in carbonic acid, and the constitution of chalybeate springs. The metallic salt formed by the union of sulphuric acid and iron, -the
green vitriol of commerce,-is an important article of manufacture, and is here treated with that minuteness which the authors always bestow on subjects of this description. The salt is usually prepared from iron pyrites ; a mineral which, by exposure to the atmosphere, possesses the property of oxygenating the sulphur which it contains, and converting it into sulphuric acid, which then acts on and dissolves the iron. The process of the manufacturer consists in extracting and purifying the sulphat of iron thus spontaneously produced. With the exception of the acetite, which is used by the calicoprinters, the sulphat is the only salt of iron that is employed in the arts : but some other preparations of the metal are introduced into the Pharmacopoeia ; and we must not omit that most valuable of all artificial fluids, ink, which principally consists of the gallate of iron. The sulphurets of iron form an important class of compounds, which in course find a place in this section ; and it terminates with a description of the method of coating iron with tin, to form tinned plates, which are so extensively useful in our domestic economy.
From the abstract which we have given of this article, we think that our readers will be enabled to form an idea of the variety of useful information which is imparted in these volumes.
We may add that the artieles are generally well selected ; and that the authors have, for the most part, avoided the practice, which is so frequent in scientific dictionaries, of perpetually referring the reader from place to place, and thus, at every instant, interrupting his progress. This indeed depends very much on the manner in which dictionaries are usually manufactured ; since they are, principally a collection of de
tached fragments, taken verbatim from different sources, and often wholly unconnected with each other. These, however, are productions of a very different stamp from that which is now before us, and which may justly be regarded as an original work, though composed, in a great mcasure, as every book on general science must be, from the labours of others: because in making use of those labours the writers have exercised their own powers of judgment and selection, have brought into one focus the scattered rays of information, have compared and appreciated opposing hypotheses, and have endeavoured to reconcile such facts as appeared to be discordant.
We do not consider it as necessary to enter into a discussion: respecting the merit of the alphabetical form of arrangement. Its defects have been frequently pointed out, and cannot be denied : but it also possesses decided conveniences; and in the present condition of chemistry, as consisting of an immense body of facts, the connecting theory of which is still in an imperfect state, the technical form of a dictionary is less objecuonable than it would be in a more finished department of science,
In so extensive a production, and which embraces so great a variety of subjects, it must unavoidably happen that all its , parts are not cqually good; and perhaps scarcely any two persons would, in all instances, exactly agree in their ideas as to the space that ought to be allotted to each individual article. Although it seems to be very
far from the general manner of the present authors, to spin out their subjects to an unreasonable length, yet in a few cases they appear to us to be unnecessarily diffuse. On the other hand, we think that more might frequently have been said respecting the theories which are generally adopted, or even such as have formerly been in vogue, though now discarded. This, we are aware, does not exactly enter into the plan of the authors : but such additions would, in our opinion, have made their work more complete, without adding much to its size. Among minor defects, we may remark that we have, in one or two cases, been referred to articles which do not exist, at least in their proper order ; and we have likewise, but very rarely, discovered some slight inaccuracies in the references. As impartial judges we feel it incumbent on us to notice those circumstances which
be regarded as, in any measure, diminishing the value of these volumes : but, at the same time, we acknowlege that their merits so very far exceed their defects, that we feel reluctance in being obliged to bring the latter into notice.
ART. VI. Palmerin of England, by Francis de Moraes : corrected
by Robert Southey, fruin the original Portuguese. 12 mo. 4 Vols. ll. 85. Board.. Longman and Co. The principal testimony in favour of the romance of
Palmerin of England is the decision of the Curate of Don Quixote's village; who, on examining the library of that renowned hero, in company with Master Nicholas the Barber, ordered the whole of this chivalric class of books to be burni, except Amadis of Gaul and Palmerin of England. of the latter he speaks in rather extravagant terms, calling it a “cosa unica,” (which Smollet still more extravagantly translates into “an inestimable jewel,”) and directing a casket to be made for it, such as that which Alexander found among the spoils of Darius, and set apart in order that the works of Homer might be kept in it. If this really were its character and value in comparison with the rest of the rueful Knight's library, his mental derangement cannot be matter of surprize; since the brair of any ordinary person would much sooner be turned, than it would succeed in endeavouring to collect either tale or moral even from the adventures of Palmerin of England. We shall not, on the present occasion, attempt to give our readers any sketch of these extraordinary events į which would, indeed, be impossible without copying the book, because almost every page contains several incidents, and new circumstances and new chwacters are constantly introduced ; the story rambles unconnectedly from Knights to Giants, from Giants to Emperors, Queens, and Princesses, - from Palaces to Castles, and from Castles to Enchanted Woods, and the whole circle of crowned hends, from the Emperor of Constantinople to the Prince of Denmark and that most unhistorical personage King Fabrique of England -- nay the whole human race, and all animate and inanimate nature, are introduced in such rapid succession, that nothing but the book itself can possibly give any idea of its relations.
We acknowlege, therefore, that in our opinion the mere perusal of this production is alınost sufficient to reduce the reader to the unhappy condition of the Knight of La Mancha ; and we are by no means disposed to undertake an adventure so much in his style, as to attempt to abridge this unique and inestimable portion of his library. Those who are unread in the lore of old romances we most earnestly advise to remain. happy in their ignorance ; and those, who are in any degree acquainted with such subjects, cannot be supposed to be ignorant of this work. It is, we believe, one of the last of the family; we say family, because, like the persons in antient
Mythology, the Knights and Heroes of the Romarces are all related to each other. For instance, the heroes of the Trojan War were the descendants of those who were engaged in the Argonautic Expedition, and ancestors of those who shine in the early Roman History. In the same manner, the adventures of the Heroes of the French and Spanish Romances are connected together, every later writer tacking his hero to some one who had gone before ; till a chain of alliance is formed between all the persons in the world, and it would not be difficult to make out the pedigree from Achilles 10 Primaleon. Palmerin of England was the son of Don Duardos, (i.e. Edward) of England, by the Princess Flerida, daughter of Palmerin D'Oliva, Emperor of Constantinople. The Emperor had several other sons, (as Palmendos and Primaleon,) all most renowned heroes, whose acts have formed the subjects of several separate Romances ; composing altogether a large library of family-history. We discern also a strong family-likeness ; “ facies (quippe) omnibus una”—as we cannot better explain than in the words of Mr. Southey, in his preface ; where (speaking of a French edition of Palmerin d'Oliva) he says ;
• I recognize in this edition many of the same prints as are used in the small French edition of Amadis of Greece, p. 2. a copy of which I possess—but have not at hand to give its date In fact they did for any romance; a lady in child-bed at the beginning, - her trusty damsel going out of the door with a child in her arms, in one compartment; and in another a man riding away to expose it; a battle on horseback; a battle on foot; a battle at sea ; a knight and lady kissing ; another birth like the first ; and at last, the son kneeling for his parents' blessing when the secret is discovered.'
Mr. Southey seems to be perfectly convinced that this work is the production of Francisco de Moraes, a Portugueze, who was Treasurer to Joam 3rd., and professed in the order of Christ April 17, 1566. We own that we are not quite so well satisfied as Mr. S. appears to be with the reasonings by which he arrives at this fact; and we recollect that our worthy and intelligent friend the Curate says that this Romance was supposed to have been written by an ingcnious King of Portugal, a mistake (supposing it to be so) for which we do not observe any attempt on the part of Mr. S. to account. We think, indeed, that it is wrong for any one to be very positive, at this time of day, respecting a fact of this description, on which it appears that Cervantes was not informed. Whoever wrote it, the work was first introduced to the English reader by old Anthony Munday and Co. in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. These men appear to have manufactured translations of this