Графични страници
PDF файл

vantage of being able with these light creatures to traverse the trackless mountains and proceed along the surface of deep ridges of snow, they are also excellent guides on the dreary way, as in the most pitchy darkness and in the most tremendous storms of snow they find out the place for which their master is bound. If the storm be so violent that, unable to

proceed, they must remain on the spot, as not unfrequently , ħappens, the dogs lie by the fide of their master, and preserve

his life by their natural warmth. They likewise give infallible notice of approaching storms, by scratching holes in the {now and endeavouring to shelter themselves in them. By these and many other good qualities; the Kamtshadale dogs by far overbalance the mischiefs they do hy their perversity; and to what other cause but the tyrannical treatment they receive from hard-hearted man, is the blame of this perversity to be ascribed? Great as their rogueries may be, they (corn comparison with the cold and selfish ingratitude which these degraded animals, chained to perpetual bondage and fripes, endure from mankind. Scarcely has the Kamilhadale dog, worn out by the weight of his bodily sufferings, arrived at a premature old age, in which he is unfit any longer to draw, thay his inexorable master exacts of him the lait surrender he is able to make-his skin; and the same cruelly treated flave, who during his short and painful life has so often imparted his animal warmth to his merciless tyrant, affords him the same service and in the same manner even after his death."

Other extracts, equally entertaining, shall be brought forward by us in our future numbers; and they will shew that our praises of this work were justly bestowed. Ruffia is in every respect'a rifing empire, and may hereafter become what Greece and Rome were in the ages of antiquity! Its history, therefore, is particularly interesting to inquisitive minds; nor can it be contem. plated with indifference by persons who feel for the future welfare of mankind. The melioration of fo large a portion of Europe is an object of delightful consideration, and the means by which this wonderful re: formation was effected are here amply detailed.

A Compen.

A Cumpendicus System of Aftronomy, in a Course of Familiar Leftures, in which the Principles of that Science are clearly elucidated, so as to be intelligible to those who have not sludied the Mathematics; also Trigonometrical and Celefiial Problems, with a Key to The Ephemeris, and a Vocabulary of the Terms of Science used in the Leétuies, which latter are explained agreeably to their Application in them. By Margaret Bryan. Second Edition. Wallis. 125. in

Boards. THE interesting science of astronomy is here ex1 plained with fingular felicity; and from an attentire perufal of this volume, we have it in our power to pronounce it a valuable acquisition to the rising generation. The diffusion of science is connected with the welfare of the human species; and to this industri. ous lady we feel high obligations.

The work is recommended by the celebrated Charles Hutton, author of the Mathematical Dictionary, a performance of immense erudition, and by which the fame of its author is fully established.

Mrs. Bryan has distributed her subject into ten lectures, many of which are of considerable length; and they are interspersed with several ingenious diagrams, by which the statements are well illustrated. It would hare been an improvement could the engraving be unfolded beyond the margin of the pages; but it is a defect common to such kind of publications.

The style is perfpicuous and animated, especially where topics are explained; but sometimes too metaphorical in the addre's to the pupils. The whole, however, displays so much ingenuity, and so much good intention in the moral reflections, that we give the production our heartiest approbation.

The Second Lecture, which embraces the History of Astronomy, is full of entertainment; we shall traní


[ocr errors]

"Our times and seasons now correspond with those fettical by the first Chriftian council, in the time of Constantine the Great, when the festivals of the church were fixed by his order, in the year of our Lord 325.

“ Having explained the calendar sufficiently for my purpose, those who wish for a farther elucidation of the subject, or mathematical definition of it, I beg leave to refer to that useful oracle, the Mathematical and Philofophical Dictionary of Dr. Charles Hutton.

“ The first seven letters of the alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) are set to the days of every week, and repeated over and over again from the beginning to the end of the year, viz. A to the ist day of the year, B to the 2d, C to the 3d, and so on till G on the 7th; then, over again, A to the 8th day, B to the gth, &c. So that the same letter falls upon the same day of every week in the year; and the letter which falls on the first Sunday, and every other Sunday after, in the same year, is called the Dominical or the Sunday letter for that year. But as the 365 days of an ordinary year contain one day over the exact 52 weeks, the Sunday letters will fall back one place every year; so that if the Sunday-letter be G for some year, it will be f the year after that, and E the second year after, &c.

As the intercalary day introduced into the calendar by Julius Cæsar, and which lill continues in use, being allowed for in February of the leap-year, might otherwise have caused some confusion, these first seven letters of the alphabet are used in the following manner: the 28th and 29th of February in the Biffextile have but one letter assigned them, so that the following Sunday goes back a letter, and so on for the rest of the year. As thus

« Suppose the dominical letter in leap-year to be C: then, after the 29th of February, the Sunday -letter will be B; and, if in leap-year the ist of January be on a Friday, the first Sunday will be on the 3d of January, therefore the dominical letter will be C; and the first Sunday, the year after, falling on the ist of January, the Sunday-letter will be A. In a common year, all the Sundays in it liave the same letter; but, in leap-year, the additional day displaces the letters; therefore, if the first day in a,common year fall on a Sunday, the next year it will happen on a Monday, and the next on a


Tuesday, and so on; and, to prevent all the letters deing displaced in a leap-year, the Sunday-letter alone is altered.

“ Having mentioned the circumitance which occafioned one of the months to be named after Julius Cæsar; in justice to the abilities of Augustus, I cannot refrain from mentioning the circumstance which procured for him the like distinc. tion, which was, his having ascertained the several elevations of the sun above the horizon at different times of the year. This he effected by means of the shadow of an obelisk II feet high, which he caused to be erected in the field of Mars, for the purpose of this observation.

6 Ptolemy's astronomy, though founded on an erroncuus system, served to give the observers of that age an idea of the apparent course of the heavenly bodies, as also to foretel patural events, and to bring geography to certain rules.

“ After the death of Ptolemy, speculative astronomy again began to decline, and at last was totally laid aside.

“ Historians inform us, that, in the first ages of Christianity, the most learned Christians were wholly occupied in the important mission of instructing nations in the revealed religion, and in repelling innovators; which, added to the frequent changes of rulers, laws, and language, kept nations in a tumult unfavourable to fcience: that, about the middle ages, the knowledge of our globe, history and eloquence were neglected; and that part alone of philosophy, which belonged to logic and metaphysics, was in vogue: that, negligent of the graces of elocution, they became rude in their manners and speech, and that their arguments were calculated rather to disgust and perplex than to convince. The latter of these arsertions we may easily conceive must have been the consequence of the former, as, by experience, we know, that to .confute without politeness and gentleness is not the way to make our tenets respected or adopted.

« It is said that these supercilious Arabian philosophers were shunned by all the world, and were considered as a public nuisance; as the doctrines they taught tended not to the service of either God or man, being subversive of all harmony and civilization.

“ Philosophy thus transformed, and Atripped of all her finc embellishments, was rescued from total degradation in 12 14, by some very few learned men, particularly by Roger Bacon, VOL. VIII.


our countryman, who, about that time, restored it to its nas tive importance, clothing it with all that could render it lovely and respectable; so that it became an object of public esteem and suffrage.

" In this century the Emperor Frederic the Second caused Ptolemy's construction of the universe to be translated from the Arabian into Latin.

“In the year 1270, Alphonso, king of Caftile, employed several learned men in the business of reforming aftronomy; and became himself an able aftronomer. Charles, furnamed the Wise, gave great encouragement to this science. Copernicus, in the 15th century, re-established the ancient Pythago. rean system, which admitted that the earth might move round the sun, by which the constitution of the heavens was' again brought to natural and certain principles.

“ It was Gallileo who chiefly introduced telescopes into the use of aftronomy, in the year 1610, and by that means discovered the satellites of Jupiter, the phases of Saturn, the mountains of the moon, the spots on the sun, and the revolution of the latter on his axis; discoveries which opened a wide field of inquiry and speculation.

“ The immortal Newton was the first who demonftrated, from physical considerations, the laws that regulate all the motions of the heavenly bodies, as well as of our earth, which fer bounds to the planets’ orbits, and determine their greateft excursions from, and nearest approach to the fun, their grand vivifying principle.

“ He taught the cause of that constant and regular proportion observed by both primary and secondary planets, in their circulation round their central bodies, and their distances com. pared with their periods : he also introduced a new theory of the moon, which accurately answers to all her irregularities, and accounts for them.

“ Doctor Halley favoured us with the astronomy of comets, and, as I before mentioned, with a catalogue of the Atars, to gether with astronomical tables.

« Mr. Flamstead, after observing the motions of all the flars for upwards of forty years, gave some curious information on that subject, with a large catalogue of them.

“ Lastly, Dr. Herschel, whose opinion of the construction of the universe I laall give in che course of these lectures, has

« ПредишнаНапред »