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Art. VI. Familiar Esays on interesting Subjects. Small 8vo. 35.
fewed. Leigh and Sotheby. 1787. THESE entertaining and improving Essays are declared, in
the Preface, to be the work of the Rector of an obscure village : and it were to be withed that every village had a resident pastor equally able, and, what is of no less importance, equally well disposed, to form the minds of his parishioners to the various duties of humanity:
The subjects here confidered are, Method- Meanness, contrafted with Ingenuoufnefs«The present fashionable Mode of educating young Ladies - Second Thoughts are best — The Blessing of a contented Mind
- Emulation in Youth-Domestic Happiness-On the Causes of the Depopulation of the Country--On Exercise, and Temperance-On Humanity to Animals.
We shall produce the greatest part of the last of these Essays, which we are persuaded the benevolent author will cheerfully allow us to exhibit by way of specimen; as it may be read with profit in many families where the subject is deemed too trifling to deserve attention, and may prompt some to think, who never thought before :
• It is of the first consequence, in training up the youth of both sexes, that they be early inspired with humanity, and particularly that its principles be implanted strongly in their yet tender hearts, to guard them against inflicting wanton pain on those animals, which use or accident may occasionally put into their power.
• How many dispositions have been formed to cruelty, from being permitted to tear off the wings of Aies, whipping cats and dogs, or iying a string to the leg of a bird, and twirling it round till the thigh is torn from the bleeding body! How highly neceffary is it for pa.. rents to watch with anxious care over their offspring, and strenuously to oppose such habits as thefe (though they often arise from mere childish imitations, rather than from a bad heart), and to stifle in the birth every with and desire to inflict torture, or even give unneceffary pain !
• I have seen one instance to the contrary. It was of an amiable young lady, with whom such care was taken to keep her sensibility awake, that she was in a continual agitation, by those unavoidable accidents which animals experience; but this so rarely happens, that the danger lies on the other side, and there is little fear of such a quality being carried too far. This tendency to cruelty, so direful in its effects to young minds," grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength," till, by the time boys arrive at manhood, they have lost all those sensitive perceptions, which do honour to human nature. Young master must have a little horse to side, and a favorite spaniel to accompany him; these alternately commit, what he terms faults, and, because they are his, he is to chastise them as he thinks proper. If the young gentleman is heir to a good estate, the domestics look up to him as their future master, and, not daring
to displease him, he is foon initiated by the servants into the “art of
" Whilft the poor worm, which we tread upon,
• There is another species of inhumanity, which all ranks, except the poor and indigent, stand accused of :- this is the custom of travelling post. How have I seen the trembling chaise-horse panting for breath, every limb shattered by the hardness of the road, come reeking into the inn-yard, and nearly expiring under the extreme exertion to which he has been driven ! his fides bleeding with the spurs or lashes of the unfeeling post-boys! every muscle and cendon quivering with convulfive agony! In vain is he offered food; his mouth is parched with thirst and duft, he refuses fuftenance, water he is denied, because it would probably put an end to his existence, and he is preserved for future and conftant torment. But there must be some great cause, a stranger would fay, some very good reason, why horses have been driven so unmercifully. On the contrary, is is the constant custom of those, who by their situations can afford ii, to tip the poftilion an extraordinary gratuity, for which fum he would, at any time, flog his horses, who must suffer in proportion, till they nearly expire under the torture. Inhuman custom ! barbarous politeness! dreadful effect of polished manners! I have myself no doubt, that we must inevitably hereafter give an account of the expenditure of our time, and the motives upon which we acted, and that those who thus unfeelingly indulge themselves in such procedures toward the brutal creation, when no cause of moment demands such exertions, will be called upon to answer for those merciless lashes, and for those excruciating pangs, wantonly inflicted upon the uncomplaining animals, by whom they are so swiftly drawn.
· "These poor creatures, alas ! experience no advantage from the prohibition contained in the fourth commandment; but, by the force of all-ruling fashion, are doomed to suffer more on that day than on any other. But shall not this double breach'of the laws of Heaven and humanity meet with double retribution, in the future difpenfation of rewards and punishments ? While the gentleman turns with horror from the brutal carmen, inficting unmerited punishment on his faithful horses, let him reflect, that he is himself more culpable in the practice above-mentioned, because his education ought to have inculcated better principles.
• Let not these reflections be called too strong, or too severe the cause of humanity (the cause of every thinking and confiderate man) demands it. So various, so complicated are the evils under which the domestic animals suffer by the hand of man, that no expression can be too forcible to rescue them from the cruelties under which they so often languish.'
The aim of the Essayist, to stem the current of vice and folly, is highly laudable. But, while a moral author gratifies his own humane wishes by instructive writing, and kindred minds read and approve, vice and folly go on regardless of any but them selves, having neither leisure nor inclination for books: vice will not listen to counsel, and folly cannot receive conviction ; so that reformation can only catch up ftraggling individuals, in ficuations peculiarly favourable for it. As for instance, where a tender-hearted mother of a family may, by the aid of a wellwritten effay, soften the disposition of an unthinking fon or
husband ; or where instruction takes a retrograde course, as it fometimes may, by a sensible child happening
to have finer feel. ings than the parent.
ART. VII. Tables of the apparent Places of the Comet of 1661, whose
Return is expected in 1789. To which is added a new Method of using the Reticule Rhomboid. By Sir Henry Englefield, Bart. F. R. S. and F. A. S. 460. 2 s. 6d. Elmfley. 1788.
PIEN, the Imperial astronomer, observed a comet, and
traced its path from O&. 2d, to Nov. 20th, 1532. Fracaftor, a phyfician at Verona, observed the fame comet, from Sept. 22d to Dec. 4th, in the same year. Hevelius observed a comet in the months of February and March 1661. Dr. Halley, in consequence of the discoveries of his friend and master, Sir Isaac Newton, applied himself to calculate the orbits of all those comets of which sufficient observations had been recorded. In doing this he found many of them fimilar, and befizated not to pronounce those, whose elements were almost coincident, to be only one comet, observed at its several returns to its peribelion. Thus he found the elements of the comets of 1456, 1531, 1607 and 1682 to agree so perfe&tly with each other, that he concluded them to be one and the fame, and predicted its return in the year 1759. Halley, however, only announced the return of the comet on a general view of the system; Clairault reduced it to an accurate calculation, and gave the last decisive proof of the truth of the doctrine of universal attraction.
An equal fimilarity in the elements of the comets of 1532 and 1661, deduced from the observations of Apien, Fracastor, and Hevelios, induced Halley to predict its return in 1789. The difficulties however of accurately calculating its places, or even of ascertaining the true time of its perihelion, are much greater than those with which the celebrated Clairault encountered. This comet, in receding from its last perihelion, approached near to Jupiter and Saturn, when it passed their orbits; it is probable also that it pafled not far from Herschell's planet; the influence of bese large bodies must have been very confiderable: and it is impoflible to know whether other bodies, yet undiscovered, might not disturb this come in the remote parts of its orbit. All the calculations, therefore, will be liable to errors which astronomers must despair of correcting.
Sir Henry Englefield, in the work before us, has given the places of the comet on fifteen different suppositions of its arrival at its perihelion, from August 25th, 1788, to August 12th, 1789. In each fuppofition, the apparent longitude and latitude is given for every 8th day, from 96 days before, to g6 days after, the perihelion. The method in which Sir Henry has constructed
the tables is mechanical, viz. from the proje&tion of the comet's orbit on the plane of the Ecliptic; but, without the drawing which accompanies the pamphlet, we cannot give an account either of the projection, or of the method of computing from it the places of the comet. We can only say, that it is ingeniously contrived, and neatly executed ; and will be found tolerably accurate, at least as accurate as fine pointed compasses and good scales can make it.
The description of the method of taking the right ascension and declination of the heavenly bodies, with the reticule rhomboid of Dr. Bradley, without placing the instrument in the plane of the Equator, would be totally unintelligible without the figures: it is worthy the attention of the practical astronomer.
ART. VIII. PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS of the Royal Society.
Vol. LXXVIII. For the Year 1788. Part I. concluded; from p. 249.
PHILOSOPHICAL PAPER S. Of the Methods of manifesting the Presence, and ascertaining the
Quality, of small Quantities of natural and artificial Ele&ricity. By Mr. Tiberius Cavallo, F.R.S.
R. Cavallo juftly observes, that our knowlege of electricity
goes very little, if at all, beyond the superficial part of it'; that those who are now willing to distinguish themselves in this branch of philosophy, ought to examine the electrical power, not so much in its accumulated as in its incipient state ; that its first origin, or very beginning, ought to be investigated; as it is afterwards very easy to understand its increase, and to comprehend how a great quantity may be accumulated by repeated additions of the smallest portions.
He accordingly gives an account of the different methods that have been contrived for ascertaining small quantities of the elec, tric power, pointing out their respective advantages and defects. He considers more particularly the two ingenious improvements made by Mr. Bennet, to one of which, the electrometer, we think he hardly does justice. Its advantages, he says, are a greater degree of sensibility, and a more easy construction :' its disadvantages, ' first, that the instrument is not portable ; and, secondly, that even when not carried about, it is apt to be spoiled very easily :' but we can affirm from our own experience of it, that it is portable, and not more liable to be spoiled than is naturally to be expected in so delicate an instrument : we are well assured that it has been carried from Derbyshire to London and York, without injury,