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ficent and overwhelming sentiments of wonder, awe, and adoration do they awaken? Nor is there any feature in Dr. Nichol's work more delightful than the fervent piety and sublime feelings which crown his speculations, and with which he sends them home to the heart of the reader. Let us hear what he has to say to the question -"Can the Nebular Hypothesis explain the stars?"
"Somewhat indeed remains to be fathomed, and phenomena apparently disparate may still be found in the sky; yet, short way as we have gone, every one of the grand features of the stars-facts, which but to mark, have often worthily conferred deathless fame-are seen in union and harmony the most unexpected, proceeding hand in hand from the bosom of previous night, and going through untold ages in singular companionship. Who can ascend so far up that vast chain which unites the eternal past with the fleeting present; who-to go no higher-can dwell on the idea of our sun being born from one of those dim nebulæ, order growing within him by effect of law, and the worlds he illumines and sustains, springing gradually into being-without engrossing emotions! Sometimes on contemplating this mighty progression, and thinking of the changes, visible and concealed, which must have marked the advance of an organisation so majestic; asking, too, what is man, save a transient organisation, with whose progress the education of a Spiritual Being has been for a moment connected-I confess I have been so fanciful as to doubt whether those great and good men who endowed the stars with spiritual principles, ought to be deemed mistaken-whether that orb, during its fathomless evolutions, may not have been the seat of a SPIRITUAL POTENTATE, gifted with the glorious capacity to rise in knowledge, power, and beneficence, by experience of all the vast events of which he is the centre-whether we should not look upon these Hosts of HEAVEN, as somethiug still more awful than inanimate worlds fitted to sustain a life like ours? Far as our ken has reached between us and the HIGHEST, there is still vastness and mystery: sometimes to take wing beyond terrestrial precincts, perhaps, is not wholly forbidden; provided we go with unsandalled feet, as if on holy ground.
"Apart, however, from all speculation-surely the view of an actual order whose beginnings are hid in what seems in our eye nothing less than Eternity, cannot but elevate our thoughts of that BEING, who, amid change alone, is unchangeable-whose glance reaches from the beginning to the end-and whose presence occupies all things! If uneasy feelings are suggested-and I have heard of such-by the idea of a process which may appear to substitute progress for creation, and place law in the room of providence, their origin lies in the misconception of a name. Law of itself is no substantive or independent power; no casual influence sprung of blind necessity, which carries on events of its own will, and energises without command. Separated from connection with an ARRANGER in reference to whose mind alone, and as expressive of the creative idea, it can be connected with the notion of control-law is a mere name for a long order-an order unoriginated, unupheld, unsubstantial, whose floor sounds hollow beneath the tread, and whose spaces are all void; an order hanging tremblingly over nothingness, and of
which every constituent-every thing and creature, fails not to beseech incessantly for a substance and substratum in the idea of ONE—WHO LIVETH FOR EVER!"
If this is not eloquence of a very high order expended upon one of the most stupendous themes that can engage the heart of man, and if not calculated to inculcate humility, hope, and adoration, we know not what else can be pointed out among the utterances of men which ought to do so. Having now, however, obtained a glance at the manner in which our author has treated of some of the most striking topics connected with the Architecture of the Heavens, we shall extract two or three paragraphs, taken nearly at random from text, appendix and notes. The first makes us acquainted with the powers of telescopes.
"Herschel considered that his ten-feet telescope had a space-penetrating power of 28, i. e. it could descry a star 284 times further off than the naked eye can; to one of his twenty-feet telescopes he assigned the power of 61, and to another of much better construction, the power of 96. The space-penetrating power of the forty-feet instrument he settled at 192! But as you may not have a sufficient idea of the profundities represented with these numbers, I shall convert them into more definite quantities. The depth to which the naked eye can penetrate into space, appears to extend to stars of the twelfth order of distances; i. e. it can descry a star twelve times farther away than those luminaries, which, from their superior magnitude, we suppose to be nearest us. Multiply, then, each of the foregoing numbers by twelve, and you have, as a first approximation to the independent powers of telescopes, a new series of figures, indicating how much further they can pierce than the first or nearest range of the fixed stars. In the case of the forty-feet reflector, this number is 2,304 ;which signifies that, if 2,304 stars, extended in a straight line beyond Sirius, each separated from the one before it by an interval equal to what separates the still immeasurable Sirius from the earth, the forty-feet telescope would see them all. I subjoin only one further statement: the same instrument could descry a cluster of stars, consisting of 5,000 individuals, were it situated three hundred thousand times deeper in space than Sirius probably is; or, to take a more distinct standard of comparison, were it at the remoteness of 11,765,475,948,678,678,679 miles."
But however wonderful have been the discoveries which the ingenuity of man has enabled him to make in the realms of infinite space, it does not violate probability nor the hopes of some of the most competent judges when still greater telescopic aids are anticipated. Think of a glass by means of which we may be enabled to scan the works of the inhabitants of the moon.
"In a letter addressed to me by Sir David Brewster, on occasion of our proposing to erect a new and splendidly furnished observatory in Glasgow, is the following interesting paragraph: To such an observatory, where the finest achromatic might be accompanied with a better reflecting telescope than has yet been made, it would be a leading object to
delineate with precision the hills and valleys of the moon. This planet is much within our reach; and an accurate knowledge of the phænomena it presents, and of the changes these undergo, would be a great and most interesting contribution to science. When we compare the telescope in Newton's time to that of Sir William Herschel's, we need scarcely despair of discovering the structures erected by the inhabitants of that luminary. An achromatic object-glass of the same size as the speculum of Sir William Herschel's forty-feet telescope, would certainly accomplish this; and no person can say that it is impracticable to do in glass what we have done in metal. Had I the means, I would not scruple to undertake the task of building the lens in zones and segments.' For the honour of British science, it is to be hoped that the power of accomplishing what would immortalize his age, will in some way be afforded to this distinguished philosopher."
The rational wonder and piety which the whole of Dr. Nichol's treatise forcibly and delightfully tends to inculcate receives a suitable climax in the next extract with which we conclude, perfectly satisfied as we are, that the few passages quoted by us, and the outline sketch of the whole, will, to no inconsiderable extent, increase the circulation of the work, and thereby create a more prevailing appetite for some of the grandest and most exact studies that the whole circle of the sciences can present.
"The idea of the ultimate dissolution of the solar system has usually been felt as painful, and forcibly resisted by philosophers. When Newton saw no end to the deranging effect of the common planetary perturbations, he called for the special interference of the Almighty to avert the catastrophe ; and great was the rejoicing when that recent analyst descried a memorable: power of conservations in our system's constituent phænomena; but after all, why should it be painful? Absolute permanence is visible nowhere around us, and the fact of change merely intimates, that in the exhaustless womb of the future, unevolved wonders are in store. The phænomenon referred to would simply point to the close of one mighty cycle in the history of the solar orb-the passing away of arrangments which have fulfilled their objects, that they might be transformed into new. Thus is the periodic death of a plant perhaps the essential to its prolonged life, and when the individual dies and disappears, fresh and vigorous forms spring from the elements which composed it. Mark the chrysalis ! It is the grave of the worm, but the cradle of the sunborn insect. The broken bowl will yet be healed and beautified by the potter, and a voice of joyful note will awaken, one day, even the silence of the urn!
Nay, what though all should pass? What though the close of this epoch in the history of the solar orb should be accompanied, as some by a strange fondness have imagined, by the dissolution and disappearing of all these shining spheres? Then would our universe not have failed in its functions, but only been gathered up and rolled away, their functions being complete. That gorgeous material framework wherewith the Eternal hath adorned and varied the abysses of space, is only an instrument by which the myriads of spirits borne upon its orbs may be
told of their origin, and educated for more exalted being; and a time may come when the veil can be drawn aside-when spirit shall converse directly with spirit, and the creature gaze without hindrance on the effulgent face of its Creator; but even then-no, not in that manhood or full maturity of being, will our fretted vault be forgotten, or its pure inhabitants permitted to drop away. Their reality may have passed, but their remembrance will live for ever. The warm relationships of dependent childhood are only the tenderer and the more hallowed, that the grave has enclosed and embalmed their objects; and no height of excellence, no extent of future greatness, will ever obscure the vividness of that frail but loved infancy, in which, as now, we walked upon the beauteous earth and fondly gazed upon these far-off orbs, deeming that they whisper from their bright abodes the welcome tidings of Man's immortal destiny!"
We only add that the sketches of the most illustrious astronomers which give spirit to the narrative of their discoveries, and the numerous lithographic plates which illustrate the text, are not unimportant features in the work, serving as they do to convey a complete popular treatise on the science discussed, and to make perfectly plain some of the most abstruse questions in physics.
1.-American Prosperity. By EDWARD CLIBBORN.
2.-Monetary System. By J. M. C. London: Groombridge. 1837. We cannot help thinking that much of the opposition which is now made to the best established doctrines, concerning the sources of national wealth and the means of promoting it, is owing to the tone and the manner in which these doctrines have been of late years expounded. Nothing can be more injurious to the interests of science than an exaggerated estimate, by its advocates, of the evidence on which it rests. There is a strong disposition in that perverse animal, man, to withhold even a reasonable portion of assent, when too much is demanded. Political economy is a science which requires more than almost any other that its calculations shall be corrected by experience. It is built upon inductions of facts, of a nature by no means easy to be ascertained, because they are always found in combination, and their effects are perpetually changing according as they are variously combined. Perhaps no facts relating to the transactions among mankind were ever more minutely and extensively investigated than those which regulate the value of Yet few investigations have led to more numerous and bewildering contradictions; and Parliament once pronounced an opinion upon the value of a bank-note, which is probably not now entertained by half-a-dozen sane persons in the nation. When a science, which depends on facts capable of being viewed in such
various lights, is held forth as resting upon proofs nearly approaching to demonstration, they who have not examined all its foundations are apt to include, in one general estimate of weakness, those portions which possess but doubtful strength, with others whose stability has been attested by the clearest evidence and the fullest experience.
It must be owned, likewise, that writers on political economy have not always preserved the tone and temper best suited to soften hostility or win acquiescence. On the contrary, like many other advocates for absolute freedom, they have sometimes adopted a style as contemptuous and intolerant towards their opponents as if the subjects of discussion were too clear for doubt, and as if it were little short of wickedness to dissent from their conclusions. In some of the disputes which are now carried on concerning very knotty points in the science, they find, that although men will submit to be reasoned out of their errors, they will neither be scolded nor sneered into a surrender of the most palpable absurdities.
No cause, perhaps, has tended so much to deprive the science of political economy of its due honours, among certain classes of very well-meaning persons, as the charge which has been made upon its votaries, and believed by many to be true, that they seek to exalt their favourite dogmas, to the exclusion of all other considerations in state-government. This imputation is most certainly unfounded, though it must be acknowledged that some colour is given to it by the omission of most writers on these subjects to define the limits of the science, and to qualify the propositions in which they unfold it. They are too prone to assume, as a matter of course, that their readers will consider their doctrines only with reference to the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth, and not as excluding other maxims of policy essential to the welfare and security of nations. But it unfortunately happens very generally, that the terms in which the doctrines of political economy are stated, convey an impression that the writer deems wealth the only source of human felicity, and holds it as an unimpeachable postulate, that all other veins of policy and government ought to be subservient to the increase, in the aggregate, of a nation's riches.
The history of banking and bankers would furnish materials for a most interesting work. There is no subject upon which there are extant so many contradictory theories, and which even in our times is so little understood. Some suppose a banker to be a lender of money or currency, and thus confound him with the pure capitalist; whereas the whole proper business of a banker consists in exchanging the debts of private individuals into debts between himself and the public, who receive his notes at par. Where a credit system exists, a system of exchanging debts of one kind for debts of another kind naturally arises, also as well as for exchanging