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merce ever has sunk, and must ever sink, for commerce and despotism never inhabit the same region.” The unfortunate, because weak and ill judging House of Stuart, by various encroachments on the liberties of the people, provoked them to violence and fury, and drove then, in madness and rage, to acts on their side as subversive of public prosperity and private happiness as any of which they complained: and liberty, carried beyond its due bounds, and prerogative here depressed too low, the conftitution was overturned for a time: and when it appeared to be restored under Charles II. and James II. that appearance was but of short duration, and the balance only inclined the other way. The fulsome and numerous addresses which had poured in, from every quarter to the last of these mistaken and deluded princes, having led him to a belief that the voice of the people was really in his favour, he rafhly rushed on his own destruction. The eyes of the nation being opened, the most eager and warm of these addressers saw their error, and stopped short on the edge of the gulph into which they had nearly plunged themselves and their country, and joined their hearts and hands with the rest of the nation to bring about the revolu
The attempts to shake the conftitution fixed on the basis of the revolution were frustrated. The blessings which flowed from that event met a severe check, our author obferves, in 1762. Attempts have been made, he affirms, for twenty two years past, to incline the balance of the constitution strongly to one fide; this has been productive of the long list of evils by which we are all both in our aggregate capacity and as individuals, at this time moft heavily and grievously oppressed.-In proving that national prosperity has risen or fallen in the ratio of the preservation of the balance of prerogative and liberty, Alfred severely arraigns that secret influence which has guided the present reign, the late peace, and the conduct, particularly with regard to finance, of the present Ministry.
This pamplet is written with great liveliness, and bears evident marks of the genius of the author, (Mr. Burke) to whom it is generally ascribed.
ART. XVI. Hiftoire Naturelle des Mineraux. Par M. le Comte de
Buffon. 2 tom. .410. Paris, 17854
Buffon's Natural History of Minerals.
[Concluded from our Review for January.) S we have already endeavoured to gratify the public and arrangements, as they appear in the first volume ; we Thall pass more haftily over the present volume as well as those which may be published in future, noticing only the more remarkable opinions and deviations from the doctrines, which seem to be generally received. The titles of the articles which we are now to consider, occur in the following order; bitumen, martial pyrites, volcanic substances, sulphur, falts, vitriolic acid and vitriols, liquor flicum, alum, other combinations of the vitriolic acid, acid of vegetables and animals, alkalis and their combinations, sea salt, nitre, fal amoniac, borax, iron, gold.
All bitumens have one common origin ; and that has been already assigned under the article coal. The liquid forts are diftilled from the solid by subterraneous fire. In ambergrease there is a mixture of some animal substance, with bitumen.
Martial pyrites is a substance of secondary formation. It does not contain sulphur completely formed, but only its elements. It was produced by the combination of acid first with the fixed fire of vegetables and animals, and then with carth containing a large portion of iron.
The fire of volcanos arose from the ascension of martial pyrites, and is maintained by the burning of coal; foflile' wood, &c. In his enumeration of the products of volcanos, we do not find that the Author's fancy has rambled very widely from the ordinary track of writers.
Sulphur is said to derive its origin from the combustion of pyrites and bitumens. It is also produced viâ humidâ whereever the vitriolic acid meets with the spoils of organized bodies. In the account of its nature and properties, M. Buffon follows the chymifts, excepting where he reprobates the term phlogiston.
In the history of salts, M. Buffon considers fixed air as the primitive and universal acid. By uniting with the priENG. REV, Vol. V. 1785.
mordial glasses, it acquired both mass and strength, and became vitriolic acid : by uniting with metallic substances, it acquired ftill more mass and strength, and became the arsenical acid. Many ages afterwards it combined with calcareous earth, and formed marine acid. Next, the same universal acid united with the principles of organized bodies and was changed, by fermentation, into the animal and vegetable acids, and in consequence of the putrefaction of their remains, into nitrous acid. The alkalis also are tlie progeny of fixed air, because it may be extracted from them. Why did not he, when he was in fo fair a train, attribute the origin of calcareous and argillaceous earths as well as magnesia, to the fame fource? It is strange that the Author when he blames Stahl in this very section, for bringing forward a supposition deftitute of proof and contrary to all the phænomena, could not perceive how juftly and how often it might be applied to himself. The aerial acid, we are further told, is the principle of rapidity and odour : it is to the taste and smell what light and colours are to the
eye: it is, excepting fire, the only agent in nature.
Solubility in water is said not to be an effential property of falts, because if the mother-ley be loaded with unituous matter (matiere gralle) the water cannot dissolve the salt.
In the two succeeding sections, the Author repeats his notions concerning the compofition of vitriolic acid, and the converfion of fint into clay.
He contends at some length that the bafts of alumn is not pure clay, but clay with an admixture of chalk and mud.
Speaking of magnefia, he fays, + That from its refemblance to calcareous earth, it is impossible to doubt of its being a true calcareous earth, first penetrated with vitriolic acid and theri modified by the aerial acid, and perhaps also by vegetable alkali, of which it seems to poffefs fonte properties."
The famous question concerning the impregnation of the water of the sea, is thus decided by the Author in his history of fea salt." The sea was at first simply acid, or merely acidulous ; by the union of the primitive acid with the alkalis and the other acids, it became more acid and salt: it afterwards acquired brackishness by the admixture of bitumen, and it was, ļaftly, loaded with fat and oil by the decomposition of the bodies of its inhabitants, which have, as is well known, more oit in their composition than land animals.
“ Time necessary heightened the faltness and brackishness as well as the oiliness of the fea-water, fince all the rivers
Howing into this great receptacle, are themselves impregnated with saline, bituminous, and oily particles, supplied by the earth and too fixed to rise in vapour. The quantity there fore, of the impregnating substances cannot but increase, while the quantity of water remains always the fame, for the running waters reitore as much as evaporation carries away.
“ To these causes of the increase of the faltness of the fea, may be added the confiderable quantity of salt which the waters filtering in the bofoon of the earth detach from the faline maffes, that are found in various parts, and at confiderable depths."
These mines he fuppofes to have been once falt-pits, in which successive portions of sea-water were speedily evapofated by the original heat of the globe.
He conjectures that the acid of borax, is a compound of arsenic and copper.
For the position of the metals, he accounts in the following manner. “ All the metals may be sublimed by the force of fire.-Hence when the fixed substances of the tėrreftial mass were vitrified by the primordial fire, the metals were exempt from the general vitrification, the violence of heat supporting them above the surface of the globe. They did not descend till by its diminution they were capable of remaining in a state of fusion without being sublimed anew. Copper and iron, the most infusible, first rested upon the rock of the globe, still glowing. Gold and silver, less difficult of fufion, next descended and ran into the perpendicular fiffures and the interftices, which the decrepitation of the quartz had every where opened : hence native gold and silver are found in small filaments in the quartzeous rock. Lead and tin, fusible in a much smaller heat, continued liquid long afterwards, or else were calcined, and occupied likewise the perpendicular fissures : lastly, all the metals confounded together formed the veins of the primordial ores. Mercury, which rises in a moderate heat, could only settle upon the surface of the earth a little before the descent of water and other volatile fubitances.”
Iron being the first metal that settled upon the globe, is placed by the Author in the front of metallic substances. His description of its different states may be comprized in the following propositions. The primitive rocks of iron were produced by the primitive fire, are magnetic and intimately combined with vitreous substances. The particles which the action of the elements detached from them have given rise to ochre, &c. The origin of pyrites and the \wampey ores, has been already mentioned. The fparry
ores were produced by the decomposition of pyrites, and the admixture of the 1poils of organized bodies.
The history of gold concludes the second volume. In the almaft universal dissemination of this metal, he finds a. confirmation of his ideas concerning the orginal state of the carth. He accounts for the forms in which gold is found, from the vapours that were raised by the ancient heat of the globe, and from the mechanical action of the elements, chiefly of water. He relates the chymical properties, and the use of gold in the arts. At the close of the article we have an enumeration of the principal mines, &c. in the course of which the author has introduced several eloquent and striking passages, of which the following may serve as an example. Having mentioned that eternal source of regret, the destruction of the inhabitants of the new world, by the working of the gold mines. “And yet, he observes, the infiction of this deep wound on humanity, far from procuring real wealth, has served no other purpose than that of loading mankind with a burden at once oppressive and useless. As the value of things is in proportion to the quantity of that by which they are represented, to add to the mass of the precious metals is rather hurtful than beneficial. To reduce gold and silver to a twentieth part would be to remove from commerce nineteen parts of its incumbrances, since these figns, when in great abundance, are more difficult in transporting, more expensive in working, and more tardy in circulation than in small quantities, which yet would just as well represent the value of every thing. Before the discovery of the new world, Europe possessed twenty times less gold and filver, but provisions coft twenty times less. What then has been gained by the accumulation of fresh millions? What, but the incumbrance of their weight?
“ This exceffive load would perhaps increale without end, did not avarice check its own progress by raising up impallable boundaries. However ardent the thirst of gold may have been in all ages, the same means of allaying it did not always exist, and they have diminished the more they have been used. Suppose, for instance, the quantity of precious metals, before the conquest of Mexico and Peru to have been as much less as I have just stated, the profit arising from their mines during the time requisite to increase it twofold, must have been much greater than during an equal number of years in which a second equal addition was made to it, and much greater still than the profit of subsequent times. The real benefit accruing muft then have diminished in uniform progression, allowing to each year an equal product. Should a mine capable of supplying to Europe as much gold