Billeder på siden

wardian professor in the University of Cambridge, and a sketch of the Lincolnshire Wolds, by Mr Edward Bogg; both forming valuable contributions to the history of the English Strata. The papers on foreign Geology are some Remarks upon the Structure of Barbadoes, an island in which the rocks are stated to consist principally of fossil madrepores, by Dr Skey; and On the Salt Mines of Cardona in Spain, by Dr T. S. Traill. These mines occupy the head of a small valley, about half a mile in length, the north-west side of which is bounded by a very steep ridge; the opposite boundary is lower, but both are much higher than the salt. The summits of these ridges consist of coarse yellowish-grey sandstone, charged with scales of mica; and no other rock is visible in the immediate neighbourhood, nor is any gypsum found there. The sides and bottom are formed of a thick bed of reddish brown clay, exactly resembling that of the Cheshire salt district; • from which, here and • there, large imbedded masses of rock-salt project in the man• ner of more ordinary rocks.'- On entering the valley, the. • attention is arrested by a bold cliff of a greyish white colour, • which consists of one vast mass of salt.” The great body forms a rugged precipice, between 400 and 500 feet in height, and of unknown depth; which Dr Traill supposes to be 'a mass

or bed filling up a valley.' It seems to be but little acted on by the elements. It is wrought, as an open quarry, by the Spanish government--but very languidly; and is so pure, as to be fitted for domestic use by merely grinding it to powder ;-in which state it is sold to the peasantry at the rate of 73. 6d. British, for 116 pounds avoirdupois.

The Description of a Clinometer, by Lord Webb Seymour, is an account, excellently drawn up, of a very well contrived instrument for ascertaining by one observation the range and inclination of strata ;-- which, however, it would be difficult to render intelligible without the plates. Our only doubt with respect to the practical value of this, or any similar contrivance, arises from the great irregularity of position commonly exhibited by small portions of the surfaces of rocks ; which is such as to render the sort of average afforded by a very simple apparatus, probably as just a measure of their positions as any that can be obtained. Where very precise determinations are desired, and are attainable, nothing can answer the purpose better than this beautiful instrument ; in the use of which, it may, in some cases, be necessary to attend to the magnetic inAuence of the rocks to which it is applied.

The Mineralogical papers in the volume consist of one On the Oxide of Uranium, the production of Cornwall, together with

a series of its crystalline forms, by Mr W. Phillips ;-- A Descrip. tion of a new ore of Tellurium, by Professor Esmark of Christiania ;--An Account of the Swedish Corundum, from Gellivarą ir Lapland, by Mr Swedenstierna of Stockholm, containing a short notice of the iron mines of Gellivara, where an entire mountain, about 5200 yards in length, from 2000 to 3200 in breadth, and of unknown depth, may be considered as one vast deposite of iron ore.- And On the Tremolite of Cornwall, by the late Rev. W. Gregor, whose recent death will be deplored by all who have had the happiness of his acquaintance. This paper is a very short one; but it is marked with the simplicity and correctness which have distinguished the publications, not less than the social character of that excellent man.

We shall conclude this article by mentioning, what has long appeared to us to be a great desideratum in the department of inquiry to which the volume that we have just examined relates -a good book on the Elements of Geology. The notion that we have of such a work is, that the style should be plain and popular, without departing from the precision necessary to a philosophical treatise; and the language frecd as much as possible from mere technical phraseology, by adopting the terms of the other branches of physical science, so far as they are applicable to this one. The questions to which the book should be an answer, would be, First, Is there any certain order of succession in the rock formations ?-and, Sccondly, What is the series? The analytical investigations necessary to the solution of these questions, would form, we well know, a task of no small labour, and would demand a very strict attention to the principles of correct induction. The evidence also, admissible after being thus strictly canvassed, would, upon many points, be scanty ; but this deficiency would indicate the chasms which geologists would labour to fill up. In unfolding the results obtained by this previous analysis, the author should consider the relations of each member in the series of rock formations, not as dogmas to be asserted, but as propositions to be proved ; giving at every step a detailed account of those relations, in some one instance, with a more general reference to others of clear and evident similarity ;- and these detailed examples should be taken, as far as possible, from the British Islands. A few simple plates might be added, for the purpose of illustration ; and a short introduction to each article, giving as it were the history of the several rocks, and of the points of theory connected with them, after the manner of Dr Thomson's admirable System of Chemistry, would relieve the dryness of continued

description, and convey much entertainment as well as valuable information. The total result would be a work, less amusing perhaps, but we have no doubt, far more instructive, and, in every aspect of good taste, more interesting, than any of those farragos of loose description, rambling hypothesis, and florid quotation, about mines and caverns, the ascent of mountains, and eruptions of volcanoes, which have sometimes been entitled Elements of Geology.

When we consider the progress which Chemistry and Mineralogy have recently made, and the various circumstances that combine, at present, to bring the latter study into fashion, in all parts of the British dominions,—the lectureships in Mineralogy at the two English Universities, and at the Dublin Society,--the professorship of Natural History at Edinburgh, and that more recently established in the University of Dublin,-and call to mind the qualifications of the persons who fill these several stations, we have no doubt that, in such hands, a good book of Geological Elements, would give a powerful impulse to the pursuit, and be amply productive of reputation and emolument to the parties concerned in its publication: And, from our knowledge of the various acquirements and ability of several of the Members of the Geological Society in London and at Oxford, we are convinced that such a work, from either of these quarters, would accomplish every thing that could be de sired.

[ocr errors]

Art. V. The Identity of Junius with a distinguished Living

Character established. 8vo. pp. 373. London, Taylor &

Hesse, 1816.
A Supplement to Junius Identified: Consisting of fac-similes of

Handwriting and other Illustrations. 8vo. pp. 36. Taylor &
Hesse, 1817.

The question respecting the author of Junius's Letters, is

thought, we believe, by philosophers, to be one of more curiosity than importance. We are very far from pretending that the happiness of mankind is materially interested in its determination; or that it involves any great and fundamental scientific truths. But it must be viewed as a point of literary history; and, among discussions of this description, it ranks very bigh. After all, are there many points of civil or military history really more interesting to persons living in the present times? Is the


guilt of Queen Mary—the character of Richard III.-or the story of the Man in the Iron Mask, very nearly connected with the welfare of the existing generation ? Indeed, we would rather caution, even the most profound of philosophers, against making too nice an inquiry into the practical importance of scientific truths; for assuredly there are numberless propositions, of which the curiosity is more easily descried than the utility, in all the branches of science, and especially in the severer ones— the professors of which are the most prone to deride an inquiry like that about Junius. That the community has long taken an extraordinary interest in this question; that a great and universal curiosity has been felt to know who wrote the Letters; seems quite sufficient to justify a good deal of pains in the research, and satisfaction in the discovery. He who should find out the longitude would, no doubt, more substantially benefit the world; yet we dare to assert, that, for one who really profited by the discovery, a thousand would derive nothing be yond the mere gratification of curiosity; and the inventor's fame would depend chiefly on their voice. Is any man much the better for knowing how the alkalies are composed ? In his circumstances, no one-but, in his scientific capacity, every one who regards the gratification of a learned curiosity. Let us not be too curious in settling the relative importance of litere ary labour, or even of scientific pursuits. It is a good thing to find out the truth, at all events; and the pleasure of knowing what was before unknown, forms, perhaps in all cases, the greater proportion of the value derived from the inquiry.

During the last two or three years, a number of tracts have appeared upon this much agitated question. One ascribes the Letters to Glover, the author of Leonidas; another, to some obscure person, whose name we have forgotten. By far the most ridiculous, however, is a series of letters, to show that Junius was none other than the late Duke of Portland,-upon the sole ground that the letters betray an interest in the famous question respecting the honour of Inglewood Forest, which occupied at that time every man who talked or wrote upon politicks, and without the shadow of proof that his Grace ever wrote a sentence, either elegant or forcible, in his life. We ought perhaps to observe, that a more absurd doctrine than even this, was once seriously maintained; for some one was found to contend, in a printed book, that Delolme was Junius,-his pretensions to the name being grounded, probably, upon the admitted facts of his being a foreigner, an extremely feeble writer, and one unconscionably ignorant of most constitutional points; and of his having, for the


first time, come to England the winter that Junius began his Letters. *

To urge any thing against such claims as these, would be wasting the time of the reader. But it may be well to remind him, before proceeding further, that the various hypotheses, which have ascribed the Letters to men of great genius and fame-to Lord Chatham, Dunning, # Burke,-as well as those which have given them to inferior persons, but of considerable talents, Hamilton, Boyd, and others,—are now deservedly exploded. The publication of Woodfall, some years ago, seems to have set this matter at rest; and to have shown that there were insurmountable reasons, founded upon external evidence, against believing that any of those personages was Junius. We are half inclined to think, however, that the real author is at length detected; and we shall proceed to lay before the reader the grounds of this opinion. The merit of the discovery, if the truth is indeed found out, belongs entirely to the author of the work before ys. Sir Philip Francis had never, as far as we know, been suspected. The book is written in a way abundantly creditable to the author; especially if, as we suspect, he is not a professed literary man. It does not certainly make the most of the evidence; it is somewhat too prolix; frequently dwells upon trifles; and is not always very distinct in its statements.' But it contains every thing necessary for determining the question ; and is written without affectation. That it proves Sir Philip to be Junius, we will not affirm ; but this we can safely assert, that

* Other Letters, indeed, of the same author, had been published under different signatures, two years before this time. The praise of Delolme's superficial book, contained in the Preface to Junius, is only a new example of the rashness with which men engaged in controversy will bestow commendations upon a work containing doctrines of which they wish to avail themselves. Burke's praises of Vattel may be given as another instance; and they have greatly added to the undue reputation enjoyed by that popular work.

# The legal expressions sometimes used by Junius, where he is not discussing any point of law, have been held by many as an evidence of his belonging to the learned profession, notwithstanding his own repeated denial. Thus, savouring of the realty,' &c. But in some cases he uses law language with a degree of inaccuracy which we should never have found in one of his habits of distinct and correct thinking, had he been a lawyer. Thus, in the Dedication, he makes a confusion between the quantity and the species of an estate; where he says, that the Legislature is the trustee, not the owner ; the fee-simple is in the people."

« ForrigeFortsæt »