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XXVI. On the Impropriety of allowing a Bounty to encourage the Exportation of Corn, &c. By Mr. Jofeph Wimpey.
XXVII. On the Natural History of the Cow, fo far as it relates to its giving Milk; particularly for the Ufe of Man. By Charles White, Efq. F. R. S.
We cannot enlarge on these articles: indeed many of them are very infignificant. From this cenfure we must except Mr. Wimpey's paper on the impropriety of bounties, and Dr. Falconer's, to which we have already paid our tribute of acknowledgment. Mr White's facts, on the regeneration of animal fubftances, are apparently curious; but truth and fiction are so intimately blended in thefe tales, fo much must be detracted and placed to the account of ignorance, inattention, or a fondness for the marvellous, that we know not where to reft. It was a proper paper to introduce converfation, but the most improper for publication. We ought alfo to remark, that Mr. Kershaw's knowledge feems to be embellished by the moft engaging modefty; and that, in a more ample field, we fhould expect much information from his labours.
XXVIII. On the Natural Hiftory and Origin of Magnefian Earth, particularly as connected with thofe of Sea Salt, and of Nitre; with Obfervations on fome of the Chemical Pro perties of that Earth, which have been, hitherto, either unknown or undetermined. By Thomas Henry, F. R. S.-This effay is the most clear and scientific of the whole collection; and, of course, it deferves the greatest share of our attention. Mr. Henry thinks that the fea was originally created falt, but that this falt is conftantly renewed, fince we know it is difperfed by ftorms in fpray, or more imperceptibly carried off by evaporation. As nitre is fupplied from putrid vegetables by the air, fo fea falt may be produced by the fame causes in the fea. So far is conjecture; but it is very probable, and ftrongly fupported by analogy, and particularly by a fact mentioned in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy, that fea falt is always found in the nitre beds. When Mr. Henry proceeds, we fear that his foundations are not equally established. With the fea falt, he obferves, there is alfo an earthy falt produced, viz. the bitter purging falt, with a bafis of magnesia, which feems to arife from the fame principles. The opinion is not new: we meet with hints of this kind in many of the modern French chemifts; though, in no work, has it been drawn out to any extent. We find magnesia where we meet with equivocal traces of water, and none of any vegetating or animated matter. The primitive rock, the granite, is compofed of quartz, fchoerl, feldt-fpath, and mica. The compofition has been long fince afcertained by Ferber, Pallas, and
other naturalifts; we need not tell Mr. Henry, that magnesia is in large proportions, both in the fchoerl and mica. It is obferved by Faujas de St. Fond, and indeed the observation is fo near the furface, as to require little more than inspection, that this ought not to be called a primitive rock, fince each of its component parts rather deferve that title. But we may even go farther. We have diftinctly feen pieces of granite of a very different kind from the mafs of granite in which it is inclosed; and it forms a compound of as close a texture as the different parts of which the ftone is originally compofed ; fo that it seems as if granite had originally exifted previous to the shock which, by a fudden convulfion, joined particles of fo oppofite a quality. Magnefia then originally existed anterior to animation, or, at least, was placed beyond the reach of animated beings; for, in these primeval ftones, we meet neither with their impreffions or exuviæ. We cannot penetrate the obfcurity of high antiquity, to explain the fudden formation of this ftone. It most probably was not effected by fire: its appearance is that of a folution, rapidly cryftallized; an ope ration fo fudden and powerful, as to preclude any regular figures, and prevent the connection of any water. The ap pearance and specific gravity of the ftone are fufficient proofs of this pofition; but we are again involved in difficulties. If it arofe originally from water, the quantity in which it was diffolved must be immenfe; and the abstraction of it very rapid; at the fame time it is furprifing, that animals and vegetables which, in our minds, are always connected with water, should not have been left behind. But, whatever becomes of thefe difficulties, we are at leaft certain of the existence of magnefia, independent of the caufes to which Mr. Henry has attributed it.
The paper concludes with fome remarks on the chemical qualities of magnefia. One paffage feems to clear a difficulty which we felt, during the difpute on this fubject, between our author and Dr. Glafs. It seems at a certain period of the calcination, magnefia fometimes feems fharp and pungent to the tafte, without imparting any of thefe qualities to water. If we mistake not, at that time, this circumftance was attributed to the magnesia being contaminated with calcareous earth. Magnefia, if perfectly pure, is, we find, unchangeable by fire, foluble in diluted acids, and more fo when the calcination has been long continued than when it is imperfect.
The other volume we fhall confider at a future oppor tunity.
Obfervations on a late Publication, intituled, Thoughts on Executive Juftice to which is added, a Letter containing Remarks on the fame Work. Small 8vo. 2s. 6d. Cadell.
F the earnestness of the ftyle' in which the Thoughts were delivered, had gained the writer fome converts,' there certainly were not wanting arguments whofe force had a fimilar effect; and, though many attacks had been made on the Thoughts, even from the bench, yet they have hitherto been vaguely declamatory, or affectedly benevolent. It certainly was not the writer's aim, in publishing that work, to become the advocate of cruelty; nor when we, hurried along by the ftyle and the reafoning, perhaps, with a little too much rapidity, thought the work deferved attention, was there the flighteft fufpicion of the measure becoming ultimately fanguinary, As it was not left to our decifion, it was enough for us to remark, that the work was of too much confequence to be difregarded or defpifed; we are happy to find the prefent obferver of the fame opinion, and that it has shared the attention of those well qualified to elucidate this interesting subject *. The observations before us are written with great force, much knowledge of the subject, and confiderable elegance. The author is an antagonist, with whom to contend is fame; and we have the greateft expectations of very falutary effects, from the liberal enquiry which we have reason to believe will follow.
We must leave the intentions of every author to him who only knows the heart, and shall commence our observations on the jarring opinions of the two combatants, with the remarks and obfervations on the Penal Laws. The first author thinks them excellent; his antagonist, that they are a mass of inconfiftent laws, which are severe where they should be mild, and mild where they fhould be fevere; and which have, for the most part, been the fruits of no regular defign, but of fudden and angry fits of capricious legiflators.' If the want of a regular defign were an objection, we should find a fimilar one even against the British conftitution, which is certainly compofed of ' jarring and inconfiftent materials,' from the fruits of fudden fits of encroaching parties. Yet, together, it is the world's great wonder,' kept entire by the concurring veneration of every party, untouched even by jarring factions, or, if touched, the unhallowed hand is immediately withdrawn. Somewhat of our author's accufation may be allowed against the penal
The Thoughts on Executive Juftice' were reviewed in our fifty-ninth volume, page 319; and the Appendix to it, in page 478. An Answer to It was reviewed in the fixtieth volume, page 160.
laws, in their prefent ftate; but it is carried too far. If plough-tackle in the field, or cloth in the tenters, have intrinfically a certain worth; yet they fhould be fenced by penalties, in a much greater proportion to their worth, because the one cannot be easily removed, and the other is prepared for the packer by the morning air. The fame reafoning will apply to the horse and the ox; nor was the reply of the judge, on this account, improper: Friend,' fays he, you are not hanged for ftealing this horfe, but that horses may not be ffolen. Some other reafons ought to be alledged to leffen the mafs of abfurdity, which the Obferver seems to have detected in our penal laws; yet he has fhown fufficient intricacy to require explanation, and sufficient injuftice to be corrected.
In his attempts to combat the author of the Thoughts on other grounds, he is more fuccessful. What he fays on the fubject of alleviating punishment, deferves attention: if there are but few fimilar inftances, they will certainly lessen the force of his antagonist's objections.
The writer has taken pains to collect together a great variety of inftances of villains having abufed the royal mercy; and he does not feem to have found one folitary inftance of a man's having been reclaimed by pardon, and faved from an ig nominious death to become a ufeful and worthy member of fociety. Nor would it be very furprising if he knew of no fuch inftance; becaufe, in the hiftory of the vulgar, as well as of the great, it is the daring and the profligate who make the moft confpicuous figure. The crimes of the highwayman and of the conqueror, of Cæfar and of Cartouche, command the notice of mankind; while no regard is paid to the virtues of the peaceful patriot, or of the induftrious mechanic, who never Яtep out of the
“Secretum iter, et fallentis femita vita.”
The reformed thief, who fincerely refolves to atone for his paft crimes by his industry, and by the regular performance of all his focial duties, from the moment he forms that refolution ceafes to attract the public atttention. It does not follow, therefore, because the writer has found no fuch inftance, that many do not exist. One has lately appeared, where one would laft have fought for it, even at the Old Bailey. In the year 1782, a man was convicted of a robbery, and was condemned to die; but, as there appeared in his cafe fome favourable circumftances, his fentence was mitigated, and he was fent for feven years to work upon the Thames. In laft May, however, he was again arraigned at the bar of the court for having been found at large before the term of his punishment had expired, and was again condemned to die. And, what the writer of the Thoughts will probably exclaim, can be faid in favour of so incorrigible a villain?The facts proved upon his trial, and
which are thefe: the moment he had efcaped from the lighter, he addreffed himself to a watchmaker, whom he entreated to teach him his business: the request was granted; and the fugitive applied himself to his new trade with fuch indefatigable affiduity, that in a few weeks he gained fufficient to fupport himself; and from that time, till the moment he was taken, he had employed himself in fuch unremitting labour, that he had not tirred out of his room for eight months together.'
The Obferver attacks him alfo in his other pofitions. If the punishment certainly followed the offence, offences would be lefs numerous; but, adds our author, we can never attain this certainty. Evidence will be fometimes circumstantial, and fometimes deficient: the offender, like the gamefter, will continue to play with the odds against him, till he falls into the pit prepared for him. Yet it cannot be denied, if conviction was not alleviated by many circumftances, and if punishment always followed it, the laws would be a greater source of terror, and more effectual, in their first great object, that of preventing crimes. It would then only remain a question, whether this approximation to fecurity would be adequately com→ penfated by more numerous fufferers; and this question must ultimately revert to the original one. We gain, therefore, nothing by fhifting our pofition: what follows is, however, more pointed and pertinent.
The fyftem fo earnestly recommended has been tried, tried in this very country, and tried without the leaft fuccefs; for, in the cafes of forgery, and robbing the mail, the law has been always executed with the utmost severity, that the most unfeel. ing rigourists could with, ministers being even afraid to pardon fuch offenders, on account of the clamours of trading people, governed by fordid paffions, and by the rage of interest; and yet thofe crimes were never more frequent in England than they have been during the last twenty years. From this experience we may, I think, fairly conclude, that the measure, if adopted, could not be efficacious: let us, in the next place, fee how far it would be just or legal.'
Much may be alledged in oppofition to this argument; for, within the period limited, the fituation of the kingdom, in every refpect, has led more strongly, has held out a greater temptation to these crimes than in former ages; and it must ftill remain to be examined, whether the number of culprits has borne an adequate proportion. In our opinion, however, this argument is a very weighty one, and deferves great regard, as it is a partial trial of the fuggefted plan.
The Obferver next examines the authorities of Plato and Cicero, Montefquieu and Beccaria, which were adduced in the Thoughts. From the paffages referred to, it is pretty