« AnteriorContinuar »
which are immediately appropriated to their perception. This appears from the origin of the nerves, and from their progress, as far as it can be traced, through the brain-from the effects of blows of compreffion from extravafated fluids; of different difeafes, &c. &c. each of which may, and often does, injure one faculty, while the other is left unhurt. It is needlefs to produce inftances; but on the whole, this general pofition is true, and the learned Author will not deny it, that the health of the whole mind, and the proper exercise of all its faculties, depend on an uninterrupted freedom of communication between the feveral parts of the brain; but that any individual function, or the exercife of any one faculty only, requires that portion of the brain to be free that is peculiarly adapted to it by the Author of our frame, together with the free use of those nerves that are external to the brain, and which are effential to the communication of impulfions from the objects of sense.
In this fection, the Author contefts the pofitions of Dr. Price and Mr. Harris with much good fenfe and plaufibility; and though he differs from that truly fagacious Phyfiologist, Baron Haller, in many inftances in which his theory is materially con cerned, yet he frequently avails himself of that learned phyfician's obfervations, and always fpeaks of him with a respect due to his fingular merit.
The third fection contains fome fhrewd and ingenious remarks on the properties of matter. He thinks, the late Mr. Baxter hath thrown a very thick cloud on this fubject.' In his idea, the doctrine of the vis enertia, fo earnestly contended for by this philofopher, is indefenfible, and involves in it many palpable errors and inconfiftencies. He infers from the phænomena of electricity, magnetism, chemistry, and above all from the fimpleft and commoneft of all appearances, viz. the communication of motion from a moving body to one at reft, that matter is poffeffed of powers incompatible with the fuppofition of a vis inertia. His reafonings on this fubject produce the following conclufions: 1. That where there is elasticity, contact is not neceffary to the communication of motion. 2. That as we know of no bodies poffeffing perfect elafticity, we neither know of any perfectly hard and inelaftic. 3. That (as the densest bodies are pervaded by the matter of electricity and by heat; and as, by abftracting their heat, we can proportionably leffen their volume) there is little reafon to imagine, that the particles of bodies, even of the clofeft texture, are, properly speaking, in contact with each other; and ftill lefs reafon to prefume, that in cafes of the moft forcible impulfe, the impelling body even touches (frifly fo fpeaking) the impelled. The fum of the whole is, that motion may be communicated without contact, and without any refiitance from a supposed vis inertia, which is utterly in
conceivable where contact is not concerned, and scarcely conceivable in any other point of view; confequently, that fome different power is neceffary: fuch a power is that of repulfion, of the existence of which we have unequivocal proof; and without its intervention, the communication of motion from one body to another hath been efteemed by the wifest phyfiologifts an inexplicable phenomenon.
In a note referring to this part of the fubject, our Author takes notice of fome pofitions of the ingenious M. de Luc, which are incompatible with his hypothefis. This refpectable writer (of whofe works we gave a large and particular account in our laft Appendix) attempts to accommodate the difference between the Materialifts and Spiritualifts, by fuppofing that there are certain common properties by which matter and spirit may reciprocally act on each other. Our Author is not fatisfied with this folution of the difficulty, and fays- If I might presume to exercife the office of a commentator on what M. de Luc hath delivered, I should explain his principles on this footing; that matter may be refined to fuch a degree as to emulate the fubtilty of fpirit; and on the contrary, that spirit may be condensed into what approaches very nearly to the grofsnefs of matter; and that at these oppofite extremes of their refpective scales they meet, and affume the common properties before spoken of.'On this intricate fubject it is hazardous to rifk an opinion. The Author recommends a free difcuffion of it: and we think the hints thrown out by a very ingenious writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for March and April on the properties of matter, well deferving attention; though we almoft defpair of feeing any thing on a point of fuch exquifite fubtilty and refinement that will bring the controverfy to a decifive iffue.
The last section, on the gradations in the works of Nature from the different claffes of vegetables to the various fpecies and ranks of animals and rational beings, is curious and fenfible. The notes at the end of the effay discover both learning and tafte, and well illuftrate the feveral fubjects difcuffed in the preceding fections.
On the whole, we have read thefe Mifcellaneous Obfervations' (which appear to have been written by a medical gentleman) with much pleafure: and though we do not in every respect adopt his fentiments, yet we refpect his abilities, and applaud his candour.
ART. XVI. Select Tragedies of Euripides. ginal Greek. 8vo. 6s. Boards.
Translated from the ori-
F the twenty tragedies of Euripides, now extant, the prefent volume contains only four; the Phoeniffe, Iphigenia in Aulis, The Troades, and Oreftes. It is the Tranflator's in
tention, as we learn from his fenfible and well-written Preface, fhould this attempt meet with encouragement, to tranflate the remainder. If, on the other hand,' fays he, it fhould appear that I am unequal to the tafk, I can lay down my pen without feeling any great mortification. In either cafe, I have the fatisfaction of reflecting, that I have spent those hours at least innocently, and with pleasure to myfelf, which, at my time of life, are generally loft in a circle of folly and diffipation.'
Senfible as we are of the difficulty attendant on an undertaking fo arduous as the prefent, and defirous as we may be of fhewing every indulgence to a Writer who appears to have taken up the pen from fuch ingenuous motives; nevertheless, what we owe to the Public, in general, permits us not to be fo warm in our approbation of this performance as we could wifh. In his dialogue, though the Tranflator fometimes preferves the characteristic fimplicity and conciseness of his original, yet he is too frequently languid and profaic; and in the choral parts there is an obvious want of animation and vigour, so effential to Lyric compofition. In juftice to him, however, we must remark, that, as far as we have compared it with the original, his tranflation is faithful and clofe; except indeed in fome of the Odes, in which he has indulged in greater latitude, though not in any unwarrantable deviations from the general (cope or tendency of his original.
As a fpecimen of this tranflation, we fhall lay before our Readers part of the firft fcene of the fifth act of the Troades: · TALTHY BIUS, HECUBA, CHORU S.
One fhip alone remains of all the proud
The empty' fhade of Hector!-mov'd with her woes,
Great Hector's fon, who perifh'd in his fall
Prepares to celebrate, but as a fepulchre
Do thou adorn the body; we, meanwhile,
Oh! far remove the variegated shield
For timid counfels than for valiant deeds,
And fear, left he might live one day to raise
Can this poor infant fill your fouls with terror?
How cruel was thy destiny!-fo foon
To feek the fhades of death!—had heaven thy life
With pious care, and offer on thy grave,
My treffes, and with mournful obfequies
To thee, not thou to me!-worn down with years,
A victim to the fears of Greece!
Moft glorious this elogium for that nation!
The gifts of fortune, never at a ftand,
Shift here and there, perplexing human wifdom,'
Art. 17. A Letter to Lieutenant General Burgoyne, occafioned by a second Edition of his State of the Expedition from Canada. 8vo. I s. Kearfly. 1780.
HE Author profeffes that the firft impreffion of General Bur
cfcaped his atten
tion, but that the appearance of an advertisement announcing`a Second edition, raifed his curiofity; and the perufal of it, he gives us to understand, has provoked his indignation, at the fame time that it has produced his contempt.*
The Author's great purpose, in this Letter, is to defend Lord G. Germaine, and Government in general, from the charges brought
* See Review for March 1780, p. 247.
REV. Jan. 1781.