Billeder på siden

published by Mr. WINGRAVE, as advertifed in your magazine for December laft. At Aberdeen, where, by the way, the mathematics, owing to a fortunate concurrence of circumstances, ftill maintain their reputation as an effential branch of philofophy, they are taught in an able and popular manner by the profeffors of the King's College, and by Dr. HAMILTON of the Marefchall, a man of great ability, and author of a very excellent treatise on arithmetic and merchandize. In the different public schools and academies, I am informed, the mathematics are taught in an eafy and popular manner, adapted to the object of thefe inftitutions, excepting, perhaps, in the mathematical fchool of Dumfries, where they are treated more profoundly, under the direction of the ingenious and diligent Mr. WHITE.

When I am on the fubject of the public teachers of the mathematics this country has lately produced, in juftice to merit long neglected, I cannot overlook one of profeffor VILANT's affiftants, Mr. JOHN WEST, now Rector of St. Thomas's in the Eaft, Jamaica, a man of great worth and ingenuity, and author of " Elements of Mathematics," published at Edinburgh, fourteen or fifteen years ago, comprehending new elements of geometry, conics, menfuration, and fpherics. Whether from the puerile jealoufy which fubfifts among literary men, or another caufe, I will not pronounce, but this work (which has lately fallen into my hands) has attracted little attention in this part of the inland; and, in the other, it feems to have been buried as foon as it appeared; being fuppofed, by a strange mistake, only a re-publication of another work, written 30 or 40 years ago, by a gentleman of the fame name. The work, to which I would at prefent direct the public attention, is the fruit of Mr. WEST's labours at St. Andrews, under his conftituent Mr. VILANT, and certainly does much credit, both to the author himself, and to him by whom he was employed as a fubftitute. Though only a pretty large 8vo. it comprizes every thing that is moft valuable in various productions, that can be procured only at great expence. The arrangement is clear and judicious, and the language difplays more correctness and tafte than we ufually find in works of that kind. The demonftrations are geometrical; many of them new, and all concife and elegant. They have indeed been cenfured as too concife; -but it cannot be doubted, that a concife text book (and fuch only it was defigned to be), in the hands of an able commenta

tor, poffeffes many advantages; and, in this refpect, Mr. WEST follows the example of his judicious conftituent in his Elements of Mathematical Analyfis, as well as that of other public lecturers of the first reputation. By way of appen dixes to the different parts of the work, he has fubjoined a variety of ufeiul exercises in theory and practice, extremely convenient for the teacher, and well adapted to meature the proficiency, and whet the ingenuity of the fcholar. Dr. HUTTON of Woolwich, and other writers obferve the fame plan, with diftinguished fuccefs. Befide new demonftrations, his Elements of Geometry contain feveral ufeful propofitions, that are not found in the common books on the fubject, except the excellent geometry of Mr. THOMAS SIMPSON, which has guided his views in fome parts of the work. The conics, in which he has rejected the too frequent use of the circle, are a great improvement on the method of Dr. ROBERT SIMPSON, and although definitions of these conics, which are independent of the cone, do not prefent the fhortest and most pleasant road to many of their moft ufeful properties, nor open, fo eafily as could be wished, the most general views of the subject; yet, the elements, as laid down by Mr. WEST, are exceedingly neat and perfpicuous. A few of the demonftrations, as far as known to me, are new and ingenious, particularly his demonftration of this property, "that the parallel to a tangent, is an ordinate to the diameter at the point of contact." In his plane trigonometry, likewife, he has given, as it appears to me, a new and pretty demonftration of the compound analogy, for finding an angle of a triangle when the three fides are given. The Neperian rules, alfo, in fpherical trigonometry are well exhibited, after the manner of Mr. MAUDUIT. It is needless to multiply inftances of his judgment and ingenuity, as a flight perufal of the work itself will furnish them in abundance. Upon the whole, I cannot hesitate to recommend it as one of the ableft elementary works in geometry this ifland has produced; and if the above very general notice contribute to make it better known, my principal object in troubling you with this letter will be fully attained. I am, Sir,

Your very humble Servant, Edinburgh, And conftant Reader, March, 15, 1799. INDAGATOR.

P. S. I am informed by one of his particular friends, that he is preparing for the prefs an important work on nautical aftronomy.


[blocks in formation]

To great men,


"Their grateful country!" HIS dedicatory infcription, which anΤΗ nounces the exalted deftination of that magnificent temple, is in the highest degree impreffive, and fpeaks in forcible accents to the foul of every man of fenfibility. But alas! the pleating impreffion we feel on reading it, is weakened and almoft obliterated by the galling remembrance that we have feen the confecration of that temple profaned by the corpfe of the infamous Marat repofing near the hongured remains of Rouffeau. May the guardian genius of France for ever hence

forth avert a fimilar inftance of national

blindness! May the republican fenate, in awarding the honours of the Pantheon, never lofe fight of the genuine idea of true greatnefs, of real civic merit, to which alone that monument is appropriated, and of which the memory is fo deeply graven in its infcription


"To great men, "Their grateful country!" That gigantic edifice, begun about forty years ago, on the plans of Soufflot, for a deftination widely different from that which the revolution has affigned to it, was a church dedicated to St. Geneviève, the patroncis of Paris. It is not yet finished and the works undertaken under the direction of Antony Quatremere, in order to accommodate it to its new deftination, proceed flowly, and will yet require Several years before it is fully completed. In fetting afide the plan of the original architect, pains are taken to make the recent alterations accord, as far as is praccable, with what he had already built. The molt material of thofe alterations are as follow:

The Attic, fupported by twenty-two Buted columns of the Corinthian order, above the portico, was filled with a myftical baffo-rilievo, by Couttou, reprefenting the triumph of Faith. This has been

removed; and The Country*, diftributing civic crowns to Virtue and Genius, is the fubject of the new baffo-rilievo by MOITE, which is in unifon with the import of the beautiful infcription on the portico.

Under the magnificent periftyle of the noble parvis, two lateral doors have been walled up. Two great tablets, destined to bear infcriptions derived from legendary lore, have been pulled down, together with the analogous baffo-rilievos; and their places have been fupplied by two groups and two ftatues of coloffal fize, with fine baffo-rilievos fuited to the new plan. The infcription "French Pantheon, third year of Liberty," will be canceled arifed to the new name of this monument; when the public ear is fufficiently familiand the date of its foundation will alone be fuffered to remain, as on the ancient temples. The four statues, which are at prefent but of plafter, but which will be fucceeded by marble ones, are, as well as the baffo-rilievos and infcriptions, too interefting to be paffed over unnoticed.

Ballo-rilievos over the grand gate of the temple, by Baichot :-The Declaration of the Rights of Man: Nature, holding the table of the law expofed to view; near her, Liberty and Equality.

Group, by Chaudet: Public inftruction Minerva, arrayed in the long robe of peace, with her right hand extended pretents a crown to a young man, who clings to the goddess.

Baffo-rilievos above the group, by Lefueur: To a crowd of parents, accompanied by their children, the country prefents the Inftitutrefs diftributing public inftruction. Infcription over this group: “Instruction is neceffary for all: Society owes it alike to all her members." This group is perfectly conceived, and well executed. The drapery of Minerva is beautiful.

Group on the oppofite fide of the parvis, by Mallon :-Dying for one's country. A female figure, reprefenting The Country, fupports a naked and wounded warrior, who dying leans on his buckler, covered with a lion's fkin. Her looks, attentively fixed on him, are expreffive of maternal tenderness.

Baffo-rilievos, by Chaudet:-The Genius of Glory fuftains a foldier who falls expiring at the altar of The Country, on which he depofits his fword. Infcription:

*I wish that fome good writer would furnish the English language with an expreffion equal to LA patrie-patria-H aтPIS. which we might ufe abfolutely, as in French, Latin,

and Greek.

"It is fweet, it is glorious, to die for our country.*" The execution of this group is adequate to the dignity of the idea: the expreffion is eloquent; the effect is grand.

On the right hand of the gate, ftands a figure by Roland-The Law. This figure, in a fitting posture, with an air of command, and with the greatest serioufnefs in her expreffion and attitude, has her right hand extended, grafping a general's truncheon, while her left is placed on the tables of the law, on which are engraved thefe words: "Mankind are equal by nature, and in the eye of the law." Baffo-rilievo, by Frontin. The Country prefents the law to the people, as the expreffion of the general will. An aged fenior bends the knee before the law; a foldier fwears to defend her. Infcription: "Under the government of the law, Innocence is fecure.' On the left of the gate, Strength, a figure by Boichot, which hardly rifes above mediocrity: a Hercules in a refting attitude, his right hand leaning on a table, with thefe words, "Strength through the law." Baffo-rilievo, by Roland: The country, feated at the gate of the temple of the law, points out to Innocence the ftatue of Juftice. Inscription: "To obey the law, is to reign with her."

[ocr errors]

The majestic character of the façade of the Pantheon has been heightened by ftopping up the great windows which were in the lateral walls near the portico. They now prefent two great maffes befide the parvis which was too rich and overloaded with ornaments by Soufflot. Inftead of the lantern furmounted by a coloffal crofs, which terminated the dome, has been placed a great pedeftal deftined to fupport a ftatue of Fame, of the height of twenty feet, which Dejoux has been commiffioned to caft in bronze. This pedestal is walled in, and furrounded by an open gallery. Within the pedestal, which is of a femicircular form, a chamber is constructed, which is deftined for an obfervatory, to be ufed on particular occafions; this being one of the most elevated points in the whole city. Figure to yourself the extent and beauty of the profpect over the city and the circumjacent territory, after you have afcended four hundred and fixty steps to reach that gallery.

A falient colonnade of thirty-two columns furrounds the cupola, but does not fupport it a circumftance which gives

* The reader hardly needs to be reminded that this fentiment is from Horace, Od. iii. 2. *3. dulce et decorum eft pro patria mor.

the dome a paltry appearance. To remedy that defect, a project is 'entertained of charging that colonnade with allegoric figures of coloffal fize, representing the Virtues that lead to Fame, which is to rife in the middle of them.

No defcription can equal the grandeur and attractive beauty of the perspective of the façade, the parvis, and the dome which majestically crowns them. It is impoflible to país by this edifice without stopping to enjoy the noble coup d'œil which it prefents, and feeling the pleafing fenfations awakened by the infcription" To great men, their grateful country."

In the interior of the temple, the hand of reform is butily employed in walling up feveral ufelefs windows, and removing a redundance of ornaments, of ftuccoes, flutings, and fimilar frivolities, with which the old French architecture was overloaded. By thefe prudent alte rations they diminish that character of exceffive gaity, which forms fo strong a contraft with the grave deftination of the building: and by the production of great maffes, and the admiffion of only a moderate light from above, they seek to impart to it that fevere afpect which is best fuited to its prefent circumstances. But, notwithstanding all the pains bestowed, all the labour and the expense lavished on it,they will never be able to accomplish that object. The obftacles arifing from the original plan of the edifice, against which they have to ftruggle, are too great, and fome of them wholly infurmountable. The form of the building, which is that of a crofs furcharged with angles and projections, is inconvenient, and will never fuffer the eye freely to embrace the whole at a glance. Complaints are already heard against the very expensive alterations made within, and against the innovating projectors who carry them into execution. The directors of the works at the Pantheon are accused (I know not how far the accufation may be well grounded) of adopting thofe changes with a facility which betrays fuperficial levity and a want of found judgment. Mercier in particu lar is decidedly hoftile to the whole undertaking. I have heard him declare that the deftination of that temple is an idolatry. In the council of the five hundred, he lately exclaimed with pecvish exaggeration," That edifice is a monument of our incorrigible fickleness and frivolity. It is a difgrace to architecture. From the day when the corpfe of that deftroyer Marat entered the Pantheon, it ftems as if its fatal influence had marked


[blocks in formation]

and focial virtues.

At the bottom of the temple, where generally ftands the great altar, is to be placed on a throne a ftatue of The Country, mbracing Liberty and Equality, the profituted goddeffes of the republic: and in the vacant space beneath the cupola, is to be erected an altar furrounded by alle gorical figures, and a number of leffer for The burning of incenfe. The French arrifts have been invited to lay before the directory their plans for that principal decoration. The floor, which is ftill naked, will be paved with marble of various kinds. Criticifim, which still continues to exercile its wonted freedom in Paris, is heard in general to reproach the directors of the works that all the changes and decorations which they have undertaken, are not confonant to the character of a burial-place for great men, But that reproach is ill founded, fince the edifice is to be con. fidered as the monument of those great men whofe athes repofe in its vaults: it is moreover unjust, because no allowance is made for the difficulties which the directors have to furmount before they can accomplish thofe alterations, and because people do not wait to fee the work finished before they pronounce their opinion of it.

It is not fo eafy to give a fatisfactory answer to another question, viz. Whether this judiciously-devifed and excellent monument in honour of those men who fhall be found to have deferved well of their country, equally with fome other republican inftitutions founded with fuch hafty precipitation,- -comes up to the greatnefs of the ideas that prefent themfelves in the patriotic dreams of an incipient republic, which are yet unfamiliar to the impreffions of the prefent race of Frenchmen. The rifing generation will be able to decide this queftion; but the decifion cannot fairly be expected, until the population is entirely changed, and the future race is, by

* Pulpits and elevated ftalls, under the old régime.

an, education, fuitable to the greatness of thofe ideas, prepared to feel in their full force the impreffions which fuch a monument is capable of producing.

QUATREMERE, who has the chief direction of this building, feems to augur that happy effect, in the report which he has prefented to the directory respecting the works already completed at the Pantheon, as well as thofe that were further projected. In that piece he answers to the charge of incongruity in the alterations. "The Pantheon," fays he, "noble, at leaft, as a poetic conception, is in fact lefs the abode of death than of immortality. It is not fo much a hypogeum*, whofe grave and ferious forms fhould announce the filence of the grave, as a temple open In short, for the worship of great men. although no individual be admitted to the honours of the place till after his death, he receives them rather under the form of apotheofis and philofophic confecration, than under the emblems of mortality."

The catacombs of the pantheon, on becoming the repofitory of the ashes of Voltaire and Rouffeau, have been confecrated as a place of repose for the inaniThe afflictive mate remains of great men. idea that thofe peaceful cells have been fullied by the corpfe of Marat, fills the foul with disgust and horror. We ftill fee there the broken farcophagus that inclofed his vile carcafe, which, loaded with the maledictions of the people, was transported to a church-yard, where his detefted remains were confumed with quick-lime. The bones of Mirabeau yielded their ftation to Marat, and have been placed in a fpot on which a mark has been fet. In another corner of the fame recefs, appears an empty farcophagus, which had been destined for general Dampierre: but the decree which granted him the honours of the Pantheon, has been revoked.

The two farcophagi which contain the mortal remains of Rouffeau and Voltaire, are placed oppofite to each other in the middle of the vault. They are of wood, and covered with indifferent baffo-rilievos, but are to be hereafter fucceeded by others in black marble. On the tomb of Rouffeau, is engraved the fimple and beautiful epitaph, taken from the tomb in "The İfle of Poplars," by Ermenonville: "Here refts the man of nature and of truth." On each of the two narrow fides of the farcophagus, appears a hand of Death holding a torch, and as it were issuing

* Un hypogée, a vault, or fubterraneous building.


from the tomb. This was intended as a fyinbol--though poorly enough devifedto exprefs the idea that the philofopher has fhed light on the world after his death: a poet might have employed it with fuccefs, but it was not at all fit for the ftatuary that pair of hands ftarting from the tomb excite a difagreeable fenfation.

The farcophagus of Voltaire is loaded on every fide with prolix infcriptions, which recount his actions and his deferts in a great profufion of words, and in a ftyle by no means fuited to monumental records.

When the whole work is completed, fepulcral lamps are to be kept burning night and day in thefe vaults, and will impart an air of greater majesty to thefe manfions of the dead.

The afhes of Descartes are preferved in the repofitory of the national monuments, in the cloister of the Auguftine friars :

The good

had ufed in the morning. Mercier was clofely preffed; and finding himself here deititute of all adventitious aid-no tribune at hand-no prefident to protect him from interruption in his difcourte-with fomething of a hesitation in his fpeech-he advanced a very feeble defence of his opinion against his powerful affailants, Le Roi, Fourcroy, Bégoin, Lacépède, Juffieu, Dolomieu, and other literary men who were in the company. If the caufe had been refumed during the circulation of the glaffes, the party of Descartes would have triumphed by a great majority: but, after a very animated though amicable difcuffion, Mercier had the laft word, repeating his favourite exclamation" No idols, no idolatry, in the republic !"

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.


form, in which wIT ever fhews

they are inclofed in a finall farcophagus Nifel, can be more entertaining than

of porphyry excellently wrought in the Egyptian ftyle, which the Count de Caylus brought from Italy, and which bears this fimple infcription- Afhes of Descartes." They were to have enjoyed the honours of the Pantheon: but in confequence of the oppofition made by Mercier, the refolution to that effect was poftponed for future confideration. The arguments of Mercier against the apotheofis of that philofopher were more ingenioufly fancied than forcibly felt or well expreffed: and Descartes loft his caufe on that occafion, only becaufe Chenier (who, pursuant to a decree of October 28, 1793, had made the motion on the 29th of May 1795) fuffered himself to be taken by furprife, and defended him with arguments ftill weaker than thofe of his opponent. But I doubt not, that, on a fecond attempt, the motion will be agreed to: for all Paris was enraged at Mercier's invective, and angry with him for his lightly-gotten victory.

At the fame time he had attacked Voltaire, and oppofed his inauguration in the Pantheon; by which conduct he completely incenfed the literati. On the day of the debate in the council of the five hundred, I dined with Mercier in company with feveral deputies and men of letters, who were more powerful adverfaries than Chenier had proved himfelf in the council. Mercier-a man of true fenfibility, eftimable in every point of view, and who may justly be confidered as one of the most virtuous members of the national reprefentation-was feverely taken to task for his invective, and explicitly challenged to produce better arguments than thofe he MONTHLY MAG. XLVI.

IRONY. The perpetual contrast between what it expreffes, and what it means; the arch ambiguity with which it puzzles liitening ignorance and fimplicity; the new poignancy with which it fharpens fatire, the more refined zeft it gives to praife; are merits, fuch as may, among the reft of its advantages, well contribute eminently to recommend it to general favour, Its happy ambiguity of purpose, in particular, has often produced effects fufficiently ludicrous and whimsical. STEELE is faid to have been deceived fo far, as not to perceive the ironical intention of that comparative criticism of the paftorals of Pope and Ambrofe Phillips, which Pope fent him, to be inferted in the Guardian, and of which the publication made Pope and Phillips ever after, mortal enemies. I myself have known a man, a voluminous author, an inexhaustible talker, a warm pretender to unequalled delicacy of feeling, and to matchlefs acutenefs of difcernment in matters of tafte; who read with raptures Johnson's character of Dick Minim, the critic, in the Idler; not as an ironical defcription of a fhallow, would-be critic; but, as affording a fyftem of rules by which any perfon might eafily make himself a mafter in genuine criticism; and as ferioutly delineating the character of the truly accomplished judge of literature. Nay, what may appear more furprifing, I found a young phyfician of my acquaintance, but the other day, diligently studying Swift's " Treatife on Polite Converfation," as a manual of politenefs and delicacy which he might copy, and of 3 L


« ForrigeFortsæt »