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We present the following from an esteemed contributor. It may prove of interest to the scientific reader :
TO DR. ANDERSON, PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS IN COLUMBIA COLLEGE, NEW-YORK. My Dear Sir : In the progress of a work which I am preparing for the press, it falls in with my plan to discuss the subject of a vacuum and a plenum, with which the schools have been so long perplexed. Now, beside the argument derived from motion, which seems to me very strong, if not conclusive, there is one stated by Sir Isaac Newton, in his Principia, which would set the question entirely at resi, could it be relieved from some slight difficulties that present themselves, and cast a shade of doubt over the whole course of reasoning. Sir Isaac, in Book 11., Section v1., and Proposition XXIV., of his Principia, says: 'By experiments made with the greatest accuracy, I have always found the quantity of matter in bodies to be proportioned to their weight.' These experiments, it appears, were made with pendulums, vibrating in fluids of different densities, and would be perfectly conclusive, were it not for the following considerations, which throw our minds into some embarrassment. If Newton had proved that the quantity of matter in bodies is proportioned to their weight, of course, there being so much more matter in a square foot of iron than of cork, there must be more vacant spaces in the cork than in the iron. But Newton's reasoning upon this subject is liable to this exception. May not the materia subtilis of Descartes, or his subtile matter, be Ro thin as to render any pendulums which could be used, insensible of its action? That there is such a thin ether pervading the material world, is proved by many facts; but particularly by an experiment made by Newlon himself. That philosopher found that animals would die, and light be immediately extinguished, in an exhausted receiver; yet, if a thermometer was placed in it, the mercury would rise and fall according to the changes of temperature in the circumambient air. Hence he justly concluded, that after the air was extracted from the receiver, there must remain in it a still more aërial Auid, which, as a medium, conveyed heat to the thermometer, and affected the mercury within the tube. May not this thin ether be supposed to pervade all the different Auids in which the pendulums of Newton moved, without any sensible effect upon them, when he was niaking his experiments in demonstration of a vacuum ? Or, in other words, is there any course of reasoning by which a vacuum may be proved, that is liable to no exception, drawn from the infinitesimal minuteness in the particles of matter?
THE CHINESE. — We have a peculiar kind of pleasure, whenever there chances an arrival from the celestial empire, in looking over the doings of the rulers of that country, as manifested in their numerous edicts and special orders. We'barbarians' are greatly misled in the opinions we form of the Chinese character from the figures sitting in idealess abstraction on porcelain and tea-chests, or standing at full length as acting cologne-bottles. The Chinese are not the men we take them for, and they are not remiss of late in their endeavors to convince' foreign traders of the erroneous impressions extant concerning them. The public officers are remarkable for a certain unvarnished delivery of their sentiments. They indulge in no bastard sentimentalities, ventire no dim postulates, and sport no inept sentences nor gingerly terms. One of the recent 'special orders' complains that the outside barbarians' have sent divers Christian missionaries into China, with engraved books, setting forth and enforcing the 'creed of their chief, named Jesus. They are ordered to desist altogether; and six months are given them to withdraw from the empire. If after that period they are found in the imperial kingdom, they are to be severely punished. 'Let the guilty tremble fearfully hereat! Another despatch protests against the acts of sundry English
'barbarian-traders' who, in opposition to certain prohibitions of the celestial dynasty, have, 'in the midst of the vast expanse of the great ocean,' received ships at anchor, and clandestinely stored up opium –'conduct which is most detestable. This is on record -- a prepared report' — and the owners of these receiving-vessels are ordered 'instantly to make them all spread their sails, and return at once to their countries.' If they do not immediately sail away,' they are to be forcibly expelled. 'A special order. Respect this.' Foreign traders, remonstrating against grievances connected with the tariff of duties on imported goods, are informed that the tariff has been approved by the great emperor, and 'is to be reverently and forever obeyed and followed.' How could the outside barbarians presume to hope they would be changed ? "The requests are flimsy and absurd, and not to be allowed.' Such is a brief sketch of the latest news from the imperial kingdom; and our readers must content themselves with these imperfect records, until we receive regular advices from our American correspondent at Canton, who will doubtless become a great favorite with the celestial rulers, and be privileged early to receive all important or interesting intelligence. These are the expectations. Rejoice considerably hereat !
LEGAL PLEASANTRIES. — They originate more than half the current wit of the day, in the Great West. There is a racy freshness, moreover, about the pleasantries of that region, that is quite delightful. From a late Missouri journal we have clipped the following anecdote of an eminent legal gentleman of that state. If it be as new to the reader as to us, we will guarantee his favorable suffrages : 'Being once opposed to Mr. S-late member of congress, he remarked as follows to the jury, upon a point of disagreement between them : 'Here my brother S and I differ. Now this is very natural. Men seldom see things in the same light; and they may disagree in opinion upon the simplest principles of the law, and that very honestly; while, at the same time, neither can see any earthly reason why they should. And this is merely because they look at different sides of the subject, and do not view it in all its bearings. Suppose, for illustration, a man should come in here, and boldly assert that my brother S's head (here he laid his hand very familiarly upon the large chuckle-head of his opponent) is a squash! I, on the other hand, should maintain, and perhaps with equal confidence, that it is a head. Now, here would be a difference – undoubtedly an honest difference - of opinion. We might argue about it till doomsday, ard never agree. You often see men arguing upon subjects as empty and trifling as this! But a third person coming in, and looking at the neck and shoulders that support it, would say at once, that I had reason on my side; for if it was not a head, it at least occupied the place of one, and stood where a head ought to be. All this was uttered in the gravest and most solemn manner imaginable, and the effect was irresistibly ludicrous.'
`ELEMENTS OF CHEMISTRY : Illustrated by more than one hundred Engravings on Wood. Designed for the use of Schools and Academies By L. D. GALE, M. D., Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, in the University of the City of New-York, and Lecturer on Chemistry. The study of Chemistry, one of the most important and practically useful of the sciences, is in this little volume rendered particularly attractive to young persons, by numerous illustrations and entertaining experiments. The fundamental principles of the science are stated in a perspicuous, comprehensive, and at the same time forcible style, admirably adapted to its purpose. The first edition, as we learn, was very soon exhausted: the present issue is materially improved, and is very neatly printed. New-York: WILEY AND PUTxam.
LITERARY RECORD, "What CONSTITUTES AN ORATOR ? — Some attentive friend in Ohio has transmitted us a small pamphlet, entitled 'An Address delivered by Rev. L. L. HAMLINE, A. M., of the Ohio Conference, before the Jefferson and Union Literary Societies of Augusta College, August, 1836.' It is ably written, and in its views of the qualities necessary to form a successful orator, is sound and discriminating. We subjoin an extract, enforcing the importance of familiarity with the power of language :
"Language may be considered the tool of his trade. By this he works up the mate. rials of though, and prepares them for the public mind. He must therefore ascertain the structure, the force, and the most effectual use of this instrument. There are two ways to do it. One is by reading. There are many productions of the pen which display must forcibly the power of words, in their various combinations of taste and beauty. By a critical perusal of these writings, one may learn what the power of language is, and by what construction it acquires the utmosi harmony and strength.
“And here, we conceive, is the value of Roman and Grecian literature. The ancient classics are said to contain an inimitable beauty and fire, which cannot be infused into their translations, nor exhibited in modern composition. If this be so, then let the orator (if possible) approach them, and inspire his genius with their utmost charms and ardors. But let him not overlook the beauties of our vernacular classics, in his enthusiastic devotion to those of buried tongues. Let him study our own orators and poets with at least half the zeal of his soul, and let him learn to admire them. Should he, in his juvenile admiration of Homer and Virgil, or Demosthenes and Cicero, learn to despise Milton and Burke; should he come to believe that the beauties of song and the charms of eloquence are exotics of other climes, which cannot grow upon our poor soil, his classic lore will prove his misfortune. It will serve merely to expose mental weaknesses, which otherwise might have remained concealed. We should wander through fields of ancient literature, as Peter of Russia visited other kingdoms; nol blindly to admire every thing foreign, but to examine impartially, select what is excellent, and transfer it to enrich and embellish our own domains."
The Address is subdivided into appropriate heads, each of which is separately treated, in a plain and well-digested style, evincing, on the part of the writer, a due acquaintance with his theme.
PRINTING IN Oil Colors. — We have before us a copy of a beautiful volume recently imported from London by Messrs. WILEY AND PUTNAM, entitled “The Pictorial Album, or Cabinet of Paintings.' It contains eleven designs, executed in oil colors, by BAXTER, an English artist, who first introduced the art, a few years since. When it is considered that each color is put on separately, and that some of the plates must consequently pass through the press no less than twenty-two different times, the accuracy and brilliancy of the execution are truly astonishing. The landscapes in this volume, particularly the 'View of Lugano,' are charming pictures, and would not suffer in comparison with the finest oil paintings.
GOETZ VON BERLICHINGEN. - Messrs. CAREY, LEA AND BLANCHARD deserve the thanks of every lover of German literature, for the very handsome edition which they have recently issued of Goëthe's five-act drama, entitled Goetz Von Berlichingen, with the Iron Hand. Sir Walter Scott's translation, so much commended, was ac. counted very defective by the German critics. At a late period of his life, Goëthe em. ployed himself in correcting and improving this drama; and hence the present translation, which contains these emendations, comes before the English reader with added attractions.
THE AMERICAN Monthly MAGAZINE has received a valuable accession to its editorial strength, in Dr. R. M. BIRD, who will hereafter assist in conducting the work. Dr. Bird has won a high reputation as an author, and is thoroughly imbued with that national spirit, which it has been the constant aim of this Magazine to inculcate and enhance, in our country. We cordially welcome him as a co-laborer — satisfied, that in the transfer of the efforts of a valued contributor to another medium, the noble cause of American literature will still find in him an able and zealous supporter.
HENRIETTA TEMPLE. — This latest production of the younger D'lsRAELI we have not read ; but we feel bound to bring in a verdict in its favor, from certain circumstantial testimony. Accidentally falling into the hands of a lady-acquaintance, our copy was suddenly abstracted ; and from that time forward, the volumes have been on a female mission - delighting, as we learn, several of the gentler sex with its striking in. cidents and fine delineations of the master-passion. We hope to be enabled to do better justice to a second edition. Philadelphia : E. L. CAREY AND A. Hart. New-York : WILEY AND PUTNAM.
Public ARCHIVES. -- We have received a large and excellently printed pamphlet, of some seventy pages, entitled 'Remarks and Documents relating to the Preservation and Keeping of the Public Archives.' The author is Richard BARTLETT, Esq., formerly Secretary of State in New-Hampshire, and Member of the New-Hampshire Historical Society. It is an important and useful work, evincing great research on the part of the writer, and a thorough knowledge of the matter in hand.
Knowles' WORKS. — Messrs. GEORGE DEARBORN AND COMPANY have published the first of two volumes, which are to contain the select works of JAMES SHERIDAN Knowles, consisting of his most popular iales and dramatic works, with an original notice of his life and writings. The present volume contains 'Love and Authorship,' "Old Adventures,'Therese,' The Magdalen,' "The Lettre-de-Cachet,' "The Portrait, • Virginius,' William Tell,' 'The Hunchback,' and 'The Wife, a Tale of Mantua.'
TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY. — Messrs P. PRICE AND COMPANY, Chatham-square, have published a neat little volume, of some two hundred and fifty pages, entitled 'An Argument for the Truth of Christianity,' in a Series of Discourses. By 1. D. WILLIAMSON. It is polemical in its character, for which reason, in consonance with our plan, we forbear comment upon its meriis, farther than to say that it it is well written.
The ‘Young LADIES' FRIEND, by a Lady,' recently issued from the press of the American Stationers' Company, at Boston, should be in the hands of every American female, capable of reading and understanding the excellent domestic, moral, and religious lessons which it contains. The work, however, evinces a slight tendency to ultraism, which we are sorry to see. The tyranny of space prevents that enlarged notice which the volume deserves at our hands.
CLASSICAL FAMILY LIBRARY. — The last three volumes of Harper's Classical Family Library, constituting the twenty-second, twenty-third, and twenty-fourth of the series, contain Pope's translation of HOMER. Both author and translator being generally known as writers of very respectable parts, it is not deemed necessary to enlarge upon their individual meriis. The volumes are well executed.
TRAVELLER'S GUIDE. – Mr. J. DISTURNELL, Courtlandt-street, has published a useful little work, in the smallest compass, and at a small price, entitled, 'A Guide between New-York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington; containing a Description of the Principal Places on the Route, and Tables of Distances.' The work is accompanied by a new and correct map.
RHYMES FOR CHILDREN. —' Rhymes for my Children' is the title of a small volume from the press of S. COLMAN, Boston. It is written by a mother, and is well calculated, by the simplicity of its style, and the moral sentiments conveyed, to be entertainingly useful, in the hands of children. It is illustrated by pretty cuts.
* EDITORS' DRAWER.' - Correspondents are desired to exercise patience. Several articles, whose length and character point to this department, are accepted, and others are under advisement
THE ABORIGINES OF NEW-ENGLAND.
UNCAS, THE MOHEGAN. Who has not felt, while standing on the favorite spots, or wandering among the wild haunts, of the red man, mingled emotions of shame and sympathy, as he has reflected on his hapless fate ? Who that has strolled over the green hills of New-England, so often trod by the free and untutored Indian, but has felt a thrill of melancholy emotion, as the scenes of former days have flitted across his mind? Whose imagination does not bound at the recital of the romantic heroism and the wild chivalry of the fathers of the wilderness ? Alas! the fire-arms and fire-water of the pale-faces have accomplished each their deadly work ! The songs of the hunter and the harvest resound no more in the Indian wigwam
no more the calumet of peace proclaims the quietude of a numerous people!' Such were my reflections, as I stood, but the other day, by the grave of Uncas, the chief of the Mohegans, the friend of the white man, and the conqueror of Miantinomah. It was impossible to resist this natural current of thought; and the reader shall judge whether the occasion was altogether unfruitful in historical and traditionary associations.
Here the proud chieftain moved uncontrolled amid the forest and among his people. Those hills, undulating in the blue haze of the distance, and the far-spreading valley below, he beheld from the lofty promontory on which he delighted to sit, and mark the curling smokes rise from the fires of his tribe. Ou the right, the meandering Yantic, after tumbling headlong through a deep rocky fissure, and uniting its tumultuous elements in a sullen stream below, winds around the base of the mountain, and spreads out in a wide and beautiful bay. This placid sheet is studded with islands, and crowned with trees in verdant clusters, whose variegated foliage relieves and delights the eye. Thence the wandering river sweeps along the deep vale, untii, in the far distance, it unites with the Shatucket, and swells into a more rapid and wide-spread current.
Altogether, the view from the royal seat of Uncas was inconceive ably grand and beautiful. The tribes that sat under his view, on the right and on the left, extending on either side of the romantic stream as far as the
eye could reach, here rejoiced in the bounties which nature had spread before them. The warrior-chief, proud of his possessions, and exulting in the happiness which pervaded the wigwams of his nation, looked from his high empurpled throne, with all the pride of conscious security and power. This imperial spot of