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and extensive acquaintance with the the doctrines of which the author may materials of this globe. He has fure be considered the most illustrious ther shown, that certain relations ex- champion. Public attention having ist among these various materials been strongly excited on these topics, and although his own particular the- by the impugning of Dr Hution's ories, and even his views respecting creed by Professor Jameson, the con individual relations, may be occasion- test became keen; and the result has ally erroneous, yet still he is entitled been, to establish, very universally, to the high praise of having pointed the important fact, that the science of out the true mode of inquiry, and of mineralogy is only to be acquired by having given that direction to the patient labour, and that theory is as study of nature which experience has useless as contemptible, unless supshown to be decidedly good.
ported by a “ cloud of facts.” While this illustrious man was si In this state of general scientific exlently pursuing his useful career in citement, those who felt anxious to Germany, other philosophers in this render it beneficial, naturally sought country, of high talent, boldly struck for channels through which its inout general views, which, though not fluence might be judiciously directed. remarkable for accuracy, entitled their The most obvious was the establish
hors to the character of genius and ment of societies, which, while proof fancy. Dr Hutton of Edinburgh tecting and encouraging every branch took a decided lead in this matter. of natural history, would afford due He communicated his hypothetical o- support to mineralogical science in pinions to the world, first through the all its parts, whether regarded as fure medium of the Edinburgh Transac- nishing materials for the philosophic tions; and subsequently, in 1795, they inquirer, or as directing the operations were republished in a separate form of the practical mineralogist. SeveIt would be foreign to our purpose ral societies, for promoting the knowhere to criticize this ingenious theory, ledge of nature, have been long estababounding in splendid views, which, lished; yet they have been so conunfortunately, are too often unsup- fined (not indeed by their regulations, ported by facts. Had Dr Hutton but by the habits and peculiar associstudied nature, and then theorized, ations of their leading members) that his genius would, in all probability, few have ever been bold enough to inhave illustrated many difficult points; troduce topics which, if not considered but it is obvious, from his own works, innovations, would excite little or no that he has frequently reversed this general interest. Perhaps this might order of proceeding.
arise from the scope of the older socieWhile these dazzling speculations ties being too extensive. But whatallured the votaries of Hutton, the ever may have been the cause, the efpresent Professor of natural history in fects are certain. To supply this dethe university of Edinburgh first be- fect, and to rouse a certain interest in came known to the world as a scien- the neglected though highly interesttific man, by his Mineralogy of Arran ing walks of science, was an object of and Shetland, published in 1798; and importance to every one who had perafterwards, in 1601, by his Mineralogy ceived and felt the inconveniences reof the Scottish Isles. In these works sulting from the old system. Profeshe gave a flattering earnest of his ac sor Jameson (who may be considered curate views in the study of science, the founder of mineralogical science in and of his indefatigable zeal in the ato Great Britain) had contemplated the tainment of it. . His labours are be- object of this sketch soon after his refore mankind; and his success is best turn from Germany; and as the pubattested by the admiration of those lic attention had been strongly solicited who owe their scientific acquirements by his valuable works, to one departe and habits to his instruction and un ment of natural history, it was conwearied enthusiasm.
sidered a favourable opportunity to About 1804, Mr Playfair's beauti- bring together, in an organized form, ful and eloquent Illustrations of the such individuals as were desirous of Huttonian Theory were first published. extending the bounds of our natural In this work, all that eloquence, fine knowledge in general, without limite taste, and infinite ingenuity could do, ing the tendencies of its original were united to vindicate and establish founders. Accordingly, on the 12th
January 1808, Professor Jameson, contain undeniable proofs of freedom Doctors Wright, Macknight, Barclay, of discussion. and Thomson, Colonel Fullerton, The society has now existed upMessrs Anderson, Neill, and Walker wards of nine years, during which (now Sir Patrick Walker), held their period its records have been graced first meeting, and "resolved to associate with the names of all the most distinthemselves into a society for the purpose guished philosophers of Europe and of promoting the study of natural his- America ; and although unaided by tory; and in honour of the illustrious the advantages of wealth, it has silentWerner of Freyberg, to assume the ly pursued its useful career, and has, name of the Wernerian Natural His- both directly and indirectly, contritory Society.” Professor Jameson was buted most essentially to the well-doelected the first president; Doctors ing of science. Most of the active Wright, Macknight, Barclay, and members of this society are professionThomson, the vice-presidents; Mr al men, whose daily engagements cirWalker, the treasurer; and Mr Neill
, cumscribe the sphere of their scientific the secretary. Honorary and other utility ; yet, notwithstanding this and members were elected ; and among the other disadvantages, they have explorfirst of the former, the society has the ed a large portion of country-have honour of enumerating the illustrious contributed several valuable papers, names of Werner, Sir Joseph Banks, which have been published, besides and Kirwan. At the same time, it others of equal importance, which will, was resolved that a charter should be in due season, appear at the bar of the applied for; and accordingly, this be- public. While the individual meming done, the Lord Provost and Ma- bers are thus co-operating in their efgistrates of Edinburgh, by virtue of forts, the society, as a body, has not authority vested in them, granted the been negligent of its more immecharter on the 10th February 1808; diate duties. One complete volume of thus solemnly incorporating the so- memoirs, containing several very vaciety.
luable papers, and one half volume, The objects of the Wernerian Nat- have been already published. The se ural History Society are sufficiently cond half of the second volume is also defined by the resolution which we ready for publication. The merits of have extracted. They are simply the these volumes are sufficiently known general promotion of every branch of to the scientific world; and as ananatural science ; at the same time, it lyses of their contents have been foris to be understood, that its fostering merly given elsewhere, it is unnecescare has, from obvious causes, hitherto sary for us to enter into such details. been chiefly bestowed on mineralogical We trust, that the part on the eve of science. Some, who are more disposed appearing will justify the expectations to cavil than to reflect, have objected excited by its predecessors. to the distinctive title assumed by the The course hitherto adopted by the founders of this society, as narrowing Wernerian Society has been unquesits scope. Werner, it is true, is chief- tionably good--though not so brilliant ly, if not exclusively, known in Britain as it might have been, had it possessed as a distinguished mineralogist. His some advantages not wholly unknown knowledge, however, extends to every to others. Upon the whole, however, branch of natural science, and is re- we are disposed to think, that a quiet garded, by those who have possessed unobtrusive career, in which solid the singular advantage of his instruc- foundations for future distinction and tion, as equally remarkable for its ac- lasting reputation are laid, is to be curacy as for its extent.
preferred to that rapid course which The honourable compliment paid to dazzles for a while, but leaves no fixed his merits, as a man of science, ought and permanent impression. When, to be considered, what it really is, indeed, we recall the circumstances as analogous to similar distinctions under which it was first established bestowed on Linnæus in this coun- when we recollect the odium which try, and on other eminent men on was attached to the very name, we the continent. The name implies no cheerfully offer the tribute so merited determination blindly to support Wer. by him, to whose intelligence, liberali, ner's peculiar views--as may be shown ty, and unwearied diligence, we owe from the published memoirs, which, all that true spirit of mineralogical
COMMUNICATION FROM COL. MUDGE.
inquiry now abroad, and which bids set up the pendulum, and the ordfair to place our country among the nance zenith sector, the workmanship first where such studies have been suc of the late celebrated Mr Ramsden. cessfully cultivated. While we thus Thus, 'while the experiments are carbestow praise where it is due, we can- rying on to ascertain the force of granot refrain from tendering our mite to vity in that quarter, the observations the Geological Society of London, will be made on proper stars near to which has done so much towards elu- the zenith, hereafter to be also obcidating the internal structure of Eng- served, in finding the amplitude of the land. Sincerely must it be wished, by whole meridional arc. The base, now every true lover of science, that these nearly completed in its measurement two societies may cordially co-operate by Captain Thomas Colby of the Royal in their common objects. Let this be Engineers, in the vicinity of Aberthe case, and we shall anxiously apply deen, will verify the sides of the trito them the spirit of the dying address angles towards the northern part of of Father Paul to his country—“Es- our arc, connecting the Orkney Islands tote perpetuæ."
with the main land. It is probable that M. Biot and myself will leave this quarter for Inverness (where the ordnance sector is now deposited) à.
bout the end of this month, and we ( Addressed to the Publisher.)
think it likely, if the weather should Edinburgh, 7th June, 1817. be fair, that our operations in the Ork. SIR,
neys will be finished early in August. M. Bior and myself are extremely When these observations shall be comobliged to you, and thank you for pleted, we shall proceed to Yarmouth, your politeness.
on the coast of Norfolk, which lies nearIn compliance with your wish to ly on the meridian of Formentera probe made acquainted with the business duced, and there we hope to be joined by which has brought us to this place, M. Arago, member of the Institute of I have the honour to inform you, that France, and one of the Commissioners in consequence of the trigonometrical of the Board of Longitude. By this survey, carried on under my direction, co-operation, having accurately ascer having been brought on so far into tained the latitude of this place, a nothe north as to admit of the descrip- table addition will be made to the tion of the longest meridional line pas- arc, running south from Formentera sing through Great Britain, M. Biot, to Dunkirk, independent of the great under the authority of both the French one running north to the Orkneys; and English Governments, is arrived for we hope that the difference of in England for the purpose of doing, longitude (being only a few degrees) in the several parts of our arc, the same will not have sufficient influence to inseries of experiments that had been terfere with the importance of this last formerly done by himself and the Com- connexion. We will repeat the experimission of the Board of Longitude, ments of the pendulum at Yarmouth, at Formentera, one of the Balearic and afterwards proceed to Blackislands in the Mediterranean, and o- down, near Weymouth, to the merither stations on the French meridian, dional limit of the English arc, where, proceeding from thence to Dunkirk. having again observed the pendu
The object of these experiments lum, and made observations with the is, to ascertain the force of gravity at zenith sector on the same stars as certain parts of our meridian, as con are to be observed in the Orkneys, nected with that of France and Spain. our united operations will close with T'he pendulum is now erecting in Messrs Biot and Arago erecting their Leith Fort, where every convenience clock at the Royal Observatory at offers itself for the experiment, and Greenwich.
It was to be always every wish has been anticipated by the expected, that whenever peace should chief engineer, Sir Howard Elphinstone. arrive, the science of France and EngWhen the operations shall be complet- land would affiliate, and by the united, we propose to proceed to Kirkwalled operations, in this particular, dein the Orkneys, and near that place, termine the magnitude and figure of or some more convenient situation, if the earth, by experiments carried on on any such can be found, we shall again a greater scale than could be done in
dividually, and with the utmost nice- vidual alluded to,which bear the ty and exactness. The whole arc, Reviewer's story out, as far as facts, from Formentera to the Orkneys, will go, and correct it where exaggeration contain nearly 22° of the earth's me seems to have led astray-I here proridian ; and thence the quadrantal pose to lay them before your readers, arc of the whole meridian, extending whom they may perhaps serve to infrom the equator to the pole, being terest or amuse. ascertained, will afford the best of David Ritchie, for such was the all possible standards of length and name of this real dwarf, lived for capacity, whenever it shall be deter- many years in a small cottage on the mined by the Legislatures of both farm of Woodhouse, parish of Mannor, countries to equalize their weights and Peeblesshire, and was very generally measures by the same common stand- known in that part of the country, by ard. The great arc deduced from the name of " Bowed Davie o the these operations will be found to pass Wud'use,' a name given to him from over a part of Spain, all France and his remarkable personal deformity, Great Britain : Belgium has already his stature being short his body thick followed the example of France, and -and his legs awkwardly bent-and has taken the standard from the same although not altogether possessed of natural source : thus, if by this parti- that spheroidal form which is given to cipation, the three nations, from their the Black Dwarf, yet evidently affordunited meridian, should agree to take ing us, in his personal appearance, an the same standard derived from it, there imperfect prototype of that mysterious seems little reason to doubt, the rest personage. He also resembled Elshie of the world, without loss of time or
in his temper, which was quite sour difficulty, would follow their example. and misanthropical. This was parti
M. Biot and myself beg to return cularly displayed in his conduct to a thanks to Mr Bain for his book on sister of his own, who resided many the variation of the compass, and with years in a neighbouring cottage, but his compliments to yourself, I have from whom he was completely estrangthe honour to remain, sir, your most ed. This cottage was erected for him obedient humble servant,
by Sir James Nasmyth, and was given
W. MUDGE. to him rent-free. It was remarkable Wm Blackwood, Esq.
for the lowness of the door, which was made proportionate to the size of the
inhabitant. The cottage was surround
BOWED DAVIE,' ed by a garden, which was cultivated THE SUPPOSED ORIGINAL of the by Davie himself, and was long the
admiration of every passenger who BLACK DWARF.'
came through the sequestered vale in
which it lay. It was, in fact, the There is an evident propensity in richest garden for verdure and beauty man, to confer the stamp of reality or which the surrounding country could past existence on even the most ima- display; its wall was nearly seven feet ginary characters that come before him, high-(a height uncommon in that whether from the pen of the dramatist, part of the country)—and included novelist, or incidental story-teller. Ac- some very large stones, which the cordingly, in conformity with this dwarf himself was said to have lifted. principle, I find the Quarterly Review. The late Dr Adam Ferguson, who re ers, in an article just published on sided in the neighbouring mansion of the “ Tales of my Landlord,” point. Hallyards, used sometimes to visit ing out an individı:al as the probable Davie, as an amusement, in this retired prototype and original of the Black spot; but I'never heard that any thing Dwarf-or Cannie Elshie,' of the remarkable occurred on those occasions. ingenious and far-famed novelist. Mr Walter Scott was also a frequent Now, sir, with a laudable regard to visitor of Davie's, and was said to have facts, the Reviewer has referred us held long communings with him.-So to the actual spot where this sup- far the Reviewer's account of · Bowed posed original is said to have resid, Davie' is consistent with facts; but ed. He has thus rendered inquiry I believe it may be affirmed, that he practicable; and as I happen to know was never much remarked for his insome particulars. regarding the indi- tellectual superiority; and that the
SOME ACCOUNT OF
EPISTLE OF A HIGHLAND CHIEF.
history of his mysterious appearance, clene wy! his shelle, and gave yt back;
OATH OF BREAD AND SALT. A little garden he had wrought, 'Twas there, through life, his way he
MR EDITOR, fought.”
You have already furnished your June 6, 1817.
J. A. readers with two learned dissertations
on the expression of “ Sitting below
out wishing to divert them from this
the very edifying questions of P. F.in our • Antiquarian Repertory,' by a very
may I request, from some of your anworthy gentleman, who had állowed him- tiquarian correspondents, information self to be bronzed by a facetious correspon
on an ancient practice, which bears dent. We insert it, however, as a curiosity some affinity to that which has enin its kind.]
gaged their attention. In the Records (“ Probable date about 1702.”)
of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, Sept. DEAR JAMES,-Yt is a grete losse 20, 1586, the following account is that ye plee is takin this turne, forr given of an oath required from Scots ye Min? * ! gang of certy his alone,
merchants trading to the Baltic, when but I wull se mysell richtit iff ye wulí they passed the Sound :not, on that poore sillie callont which
" Čertan merchantis passing to Dankens not his bettirs. What forr wull sing out ane quhen they accompted for the
skerne, and cuming neir elsinnure, chus. ye nivir com doon in the vacins tull se us a-butt ye heelans is sore changitt be depositioun of ane othe in forme follow,
payment of the toill of the goods. And that syn ye sa yem. Yt is amashing hooing, viz. Thei present and offer breid and ye are changyt forr ye warse.
salt to the deponer of the othe, whereon he at dener on Satirday at ye Duke's, and layis his hand, and deponis his conscience, yt is a sore changet' hous. I mynd in and sweiris." my youļ whan I was a younge litil
i I shall be glad to learn the origin callont, I dynt on a day at ye Duke's and precise meaning of this rite, and wy! meny nobillities, and ithers of a the extent to which it prevailed. Prodegris; and behynt ilk chair or stul, vided I obtain satisfaction on these as we hadde yem, was a red-leggit heads, I am not very anxious to know loone, wyt: a clapadhut shelle; and all whether the bread was presented on a ye dyshes was timmer; and whan I platter, and the salt in a vat; and if was dune I pitet my dysh our my so, of what materials these were comshouther to the ladie, and he scartet yt posed, &c. &c.;-but your, corres
pondents, notwithstanding, may comSir Ewan seems to have been engaged municate their own information in in some lawsuit, wherein the law of death. their own way.--I am, yours, &c. . bed was concerned. The letter is to his
Y, Z. counsel.
+ I believe this is the large rock-mussel. Query-Was this Mr Campbell's fee ?