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Subject is treated of more at length, and the quantity of the Parallax more fully ascertained. By James Short, A. M. and F. R. S.
In this paper Mr. Short observes, that there is in the Memoirs of the Royal Academy at Paris, a Memoir by Mr. Pingré, who went to the island of Rodrigues, and observed there the transit of Venus; in which Memoir Mr. Pingré endeavours to thew, that the sun's parallax, from the observation of the late transit, was = 10", both by the observed durations, the least distance of the centers, and by the internal contact at the egress; and seems to think, there must be some mistake in Mr. Mason's observation at the Cape of Good Hope, particularly with regard to the difference of longitude between Mr. Mason's observatory and Paris; because, by comparing the observation of Mr. Mafon at the Cape with the European observations, he finds the parallax of the fun to be between 8 and 9', and consequently different from the result of his own observations at Rodrigues compared with the same places. But Mr. Short has, in this paper, shewn, beyond all doubt, both from observations made on this side the Equinoctial Line, and from Mr. Pingré's own observations properly connected, that the sun's parallax is be- tween 8 and 9". In short, this elaborate paper contains the result of all the observations made on the late transit of Venus, and consequently the sun's parallax is here determined to as great a degree of accuracy, as those observations will admit of.
For, by taking the mean of a hundred and fixteen comparisons of the internal contacts observed at places to the north of the Line only, the sun's parallax is = 8,565.
From the mean of twenty-one comparisons of the internal contacts, with that at the Cape, the sun's parallax appears to be = 8,56.
The mean of twenty-one comparisons of the internal contacts with that at Rodrignes, gives the sun's parallax = 8,57
The mean of the comparisons of the total durations, thew the sun's parallax to be = 8,61.
The mean of the apparent least distance of the centers, como pared with that measured at Rodrigues, gives the sun's parallax = 8,56.
The mean of the apparent least distances of the centers, by computations from the total durations compared together, gives the sun's parallax = 8,53.
The mean of these fix means, gives the sun's parallax = 8,556. And if we reje& the mean arising from the comparisons of
the total durations, which is the least certain, the mean of the other five means, gives the sun's parallax = 8,557.
It, therefore, incontestibly follows, that the sun's parallax, as far as can be determined from the observations made on the late tranfit of Venus, is 8", 56. Art. 52. An Esay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of
Chances. By the late Rev. Mr. Bayes, F.R.S. Communicated by Mr. Price, in a Letter to John Canton, M. A. F. R. S.
The question here folved, is of the utmost importance, as it will form a solid foundation for all our reasonings concerning paft facts, and what is likely to happen hereafter. The problem is this:
• Given the number of times in which an unknown event has happened and failed: required the chance that the probability of its happening in a single trial lies somewhere between any two degrees of probability that can be desired.'
As we have not room to follow this able Mathematician thro' the laborious task of solving this interesting problem, we shall only observe, that the subject is pursued in a very conspicuous manner, and highly merits the attention of Mathematicians. Art. 55. A Discourse on the Parallax of the Sun. By the Rev.
Thomas Hornsby, M. A. Savilian Profeflor of Astronomy in the University of Oxford, and F.R.S.
After giving an historical account of the methods used by the moft able Astronomers for determining the fun's parallax, and the result of these methods, which made it 9',92, before the late tranfit of Venus; Mr. Hornsby proceeds to deduce the parallax from the various obfervations made in different parts of the world on that phenomenon; and from a result of a comparison of the best observations made in places whose longitudes are as accurately ascertained as the present state of Astronomy will permit, the sun's parallax on the day of the transit, appears to be 8”,692; but in this comparison the observations made by Mr. Pingré at Rodrigues are rejected.
The Profeffor then compares the above observations with those made by Mr. Pingré at Rodrigues, and the mean of those comparisons gives the sun's parallax = 99,732. • And in this quantity of the sun's parallax, adds Mr. Hornsby, we muft either acquiefce, or remain as ignorant of the true quantity of it, as we were before, till we can have recourse to the next tranfit, on June 3, 1769, when the planet Venus will again pass over she sun's difc, having something more than 10 minutes of north
fatitude; and will be so favourably circumstanced, that if the
errors in observing each contact, do not exceed 4 or 5", the quantity of the sun's parallax may be determined within less than one hundredth part of the whole.'
As the difference of these two results are owing wholly to the observations made in places to the north of the Equinoctial, compared with those made by Mr. Pingré, at the island of Rodrigues, it will follow, that if there should be an error in the latter, the parallax itself will alfo be erroneous, and the difference resulting from the above comparisons, will be likewise more or less, according to the nature and tendency of this error. Mr. Short, in a paper already' mentioned in this article, observes, that in the memoir of Mr. Pingré, the time of the internal contact at the egress at Rodrigues, is set down at oh. 36 min. 49 sec. But in the same volume there is an account of Mr. Pingré's observation, sent to the Royal Academy before his arrival in Europe, and the time of the internal contact is therein set down at o h. 34 min. 47 sec. Also in a letter from him to the Royal Society, on his arrival at Lisbon, dated the 6th of March, 1762, and inserted in the Philofophical Transactions, vol. LII. Part I. the time of the internal contact at oh. 34 min. 47 sec. true time. This is also repeated in another letter to the Royal Society, dated the 14th of March, 1762. If therefore we take o h. 34 min. 47 sec. for the true time, which, from several powerful reasons urged by Mr. Short, seems to be the real truth, we shall find that the result of the comparison will give the fun's parallax = 8”,62, agreeing very well
with that resulting from those made on the north side of the Equinoctial, compared with the observations made by Mr. Mason at the Cape of Good Hope. Art. 56. A Discourse on the Locus for three and four Lines,
celebrated among the ancient Geometers. By Henry Pemberton, M.D. F.R.S. Lond. et R. A. Berol. S. In a Letter to the Reverend Thomas Birch, D. D. Secretary to the Royal Society.
This is one of the moft curious and elegant papers we ever remember to have seen on this interesting subject, the very nature of which will not admit of any abridgınent, without a number of figures: suffice it, therefore, in this place, that we recommend it to the perusal of those who are desirous of being acquainted with these subjects; and we will venture to promise, they will not think the time they employ in perusing it, Spen: in vain.
The Origin of Language and Nations, hieroglifically, etymologically,
and topographically defined and fixed, after the Method of an English, Celtic, Greek, and Latin English Lexicon. Together with an historical Preface, an hieroglyfical Definition of Characters, a Celtic general Grammar, and various other Matters of Antiquity, treated in a Method entirely new. By Rowland' Jones, Esq; of the Inner Temple. 8vo. 1os. 6 d. bound. Dodley.
E look upon the work before us, to be as fingular a
production as most our age and country have produced. At the fame time also, we are obliged to confess, that we are not fufficiently versed in the Celtic, ancient Phrygian or Welch language, to determine the merit of this very laborious perform
We mult, therefore, content ourselves with giving some account of the Author's general design, and a specimen of its execution.
With regard to the former, we cannot define it better, perhaps, than in the words of the Author; wherein he intimates the advantages he presumes it may be of to mankind; submitting it to the public in general, whether the illustrating, defining, and fixing the ancient language, origin, and antiquities of the prisocial Cumbri, the gallant Galli, and the primæval Celtes, with natural precision, will not accumulate honour, glory, and dignity upon the Cumbri-Galli-Celtes, aid the operations of the human understanding, and tend towards the advancement of learning in general, or, at least, to the restoration of of ancient knowlege. Our Author farther hopes also, that as the confusion of language was productive of great disorders, disputes, and disunion amongst mankind, this attempt to restore their ancient language, may be the means of reconciling and uniting them. This is, indeed, a circumstance more devoutly to be withed than hoped for. It must be confeffed, however, it would be a fine bone for the Critics, if the Web should, after all, turn out to have been the first, and prove to be the last, of human languages, agreeable to the preconceptions of the retrospective and anticipative views of Mr. Rowland Jones. How would our Philosophers and Philologists be confounded also, to find that they have been racking their brains to discover an universal language, when they had, all the while, one in their hands that they were unable to read !
There is something very curious, we cannot say quite so fatisfactory, in our Author's Celtic Grammar, and his observations on the formation and mcaning of letters; our Readers, kowever, will probably be more entertained, and full as much
improved, by what he advances on the origin of speech in general.
• As in the course of this work, says he, I have shewn the original plan, and construction of human speech, to be intelligent, regular, and rational, as the nature and qualities of substances, modes and relations of general subjects, are represented by general signs, either figuratively or orderly, as the respective invifible qualities center in hieroglyfical objects, and those again abstracted and divided by circumstantial negative or privative particles, agreeable to the order of nature, in its formation out of the first elements, I shall here only observe in general, that it has been the opinion of the wiselt part of mankind, that Adam was furnished with a scheme of language by God himself; that this seems to be implied by that passage of Scripture, wherein God is said to have brought the beasts and birds before Adam, to see, or perhaps to oversee, what he would call them, and by Adam's giving names to the several parts of nature, agreeable to the property and qualities thereof, and as the Deity appears to have made use of a form of speech, previous to the formation of Adam, in giving names to the several parts of the creation, which indeed seem to comprehend the genera of human speech, and as man is said to have been made after God's own image, and in his own likeness, I think that language ought not to be considered as mere arbitrary founds, or any thing less than a part, at least, of that living soul, which God is said to have breathed into man; and though the organs of parrots and other birds, are capable of articulate founds, they utter them only when they are taught, and that without any conception of what they express ; else their progress in language would have advanced, so far as was necessary for their own preservation and conveniency; nor can the fagacity of the owl, whose optics are adapted to see best in the dark, or the instinct of other brute animals, wherein they ape human nature, be any objection to the divine origin of language; neither is it conceivable that the human soul, a portion of the universal spirit, could of itself modify or frame absti act ideas, or their signs, or those of mixed modes and relations, without a previous modification or interposition of the Deity; and those primary signs transmitted from Adam amongst his posterity, and preserved at all times in fome corner of the world, whereby such as once lost their language at Babel, might again recover a rational scheme of speech. It is also remarkable, that man of all animals in the expression of joy and admiration makes use of the o, which fignifies eternity; but other animals seem to found the letter a, signifying the earth; man also is upright, with his countenance towards hea. ven; but beasts look downwards upon the earth, as if their ut