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1. ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA- propose to give of works of this nature,
SUPPLEMENT. Vol. II. Part I. our plan and limits admit of no retroAmong the many distinctions by spect beyond the last published Numwhich our northern metropolis is ber. of Mr Stewart's dissertation, known in the literary world, it is not therefore, we shall only say, that we the least honourable, that the first agree with some distinguished critics Encyclopædia in point of celebrity, if in considering it as the most splendid not of time, published in Britain, of his works, and as combining a numwas projected and executed in Edin- ber of qualities which place the author burgh. On the plan of the Encyclo- at the head of the elegant writers of pædia Britannica, important improve philosophy in our language. ments have no doubt been made in The order which Mr Playfair folother similar works ; but it was even lows in his discourse, is very properly from the first a most valuable reposi- determined by a regard to the subsertory of knowledge, and many of the viency of one science to the progress of leading articles in science and litera- another, and the consequent priority ture were executed with an ability of the former in the course of regular which has never been surpassed. Sci- study. He first traces, therefore, the ence, however, is unceasing in her pro- progress of the pure mathematics, one gress; and is found, in the course of a of the two principal instruments which few years, to have left far behind, the have been applied to the advancement fields in which her votaries had for- of natural science. As the other inmerly accompanied her with all the strument is experience, the principles delight of discovery. The records of of the inductive method, or that branch her advancement given in Encyclopæ- of logic which teaches the application dias soon become defective; and the of experiment and observation to the deficiency must be supplied either by interpretation of nature, form, of course, new editions, or by supplemental ar- the second object of his enquiry. He ticles. The proprietors of the Britan- next proceeds to treat of natural phinica, though they have repeatedly losophy, under the divisions of mechanbeen called upon, by an extended sale, ics, astronomy, and optics. Under the to renew the editions of their work, general denomination of mechanics he have generally chosen to give, in the includes the theory of motion, as apform of supplements, the additional plied not only to solids, but to fluids, information which the progress of sci- both incompressible and elastic. Optics ence required. The Supplement which he places after astronomy, because the is now going on, has attracted much of discoveries in mechanics, he observes, the public attention by the pomp of have much less affected the progress of its announcement, and has deserved the former of these sciences than of it, so far as published, by the splen- the latter. A sixth division succeeds, dour of its execution.
containing the laws of the three unThree Parts of it have already ap- known substances, if, indeed, they may peared : the first preceded by a disser- be called substances,-heat, electricity, tation exhibiting a general view of the and magnetism. As we intend hereafter progress of metaphysical, ethical, and to give, in another part of our work, a political philosophy, by Professor Du- pretty full analysis of this dissertation, gald Stewart; and the third, which written by a correspondent, we shall begins the second volume, by a simi- content ourselves at present with this lar dissertation on the history of the general outline of Mr Playfair's plan. mathematical and physical sciences, În the object which he modestly proby Professor Playfair. These disser- poses to himself,—to treat his subjects tations are extremely valuable ; and with clearness and precision,-Mr Playdid the Supplement contain nothing fair has completely succeeded. No aumore, we should have considered it as thor, indeed, with whom we are aca very precious donation to the literary quainted, excels him in luminous arworld. In the short sketch wbich we rangement, or in perspicuous expres
sion. At all times perfectly master of between one and two degrees in breadth his subject, he conveys his ideas to that, in a subsequent voyage, he had his readers with a clearness, an ease, circumnavigated New Holland-and and elegant simplicity, which render that, in a still later voyage, he had made his works, in our opinion, models of many important discoveries. It was philosophical composition.
known that, after losing his ship, he Of the other articles in this part of the had set sail for England with his paSupplement, the first is AUSTRALASIA. pers, plans, and charts of discovery, A vague idea had long prevailed among when he was most shamefully detainEuropean geographers, that an immense ed at the Isle of France; and that, in continent existed beyond the limits of spite of an order for his liberation, discovery in the south, and extended procured in consequence of an applieven to the pole. To this imaginary cation by the Royal Society of Loncontinent they gave the name of Terra don to the National Institute of Paris, Australis Incognita. Though later re- the governor refused to permit him to searches have proved that there is no depart. When the article in the Supsuch continent, or at least that it can plement was written, it could be stated, only be of a moderate size, and en- that after a captivity of seven years, closed by impenetrable barriers of ice, he had at length arrived in England yet in the three great oceans in the in 1810, and published, in 1814, his south of the globe, there have been discoveries in two volumes, accomdiscovered almost innumerable islands, panied with an atlas of charts, which which demanded, of course, some sys- may be held forth as models in mari. tematic arrangement. With this view, time surveying. Captain Flinders has the President de Brosses proposed that completed the survey in detail of the the lands and islands in the Austral coasts of New Holland, with the exworld should be divided into three ception of the west and northwest portions, those in the Indian ocean, coasts, which he was prevented from and in the south of Asia, to be named exploring by the loss of his ship. It is Australasia ; those in the two Pacifics, to be hoped, that the local government Polynesia, from the number of islands; of New South Wales will take an earand those in the Atlantic, to the south ly opportunity of completing the surof Cape Horn, and the Cape of Good vey in which Flinders was so unforHope, Magellanica. Under the name tunately interrupted. In this article, of Australasia, the writer of this arti- too, are recorded the still more recent, cle comprehends-1. Notasia, or New and no less interesting discoveries, Holland-2. Van Diemen's Land-3. made in the interior of this vast island Papua, or New Guinea—4. New Bri- by Mr Evans and Governor Mactain, New Ireland, and neighbouring quarrie. The country, according to islands--5. Solomon's Islands—6. New their accounts, was in all respects de Hebrides-7. New Caledonia--8. New lightful, still improving as they peneZealand, and isles to the southward- trated westward, and holding out the 9. Kerguelen's Islands, or Islands of most inviting prospects to future coDesolation-10. St Paul and Amster- lonists. Little more is added, in this dam-11. Numerous reefs and islets article, to the information which we of coral scattered over the Australasian already possessed respecting the islands sea. After this enumeration, the three of Australasia, excepting the discovery last particulars of which have seldom of a few islets to the south and southbeen classed by geographers under the west of Lord Auckland's group. name of Australasia, though they are The next article in the Supplement so classed with evident propriety, the is Austria, a new account of which author proceeds to give a pretty full was rendered indispensably necessary, account of each of them, in the by the recent events in which that order in which they are named. One empire bore so conspicuous a share. It considerable advantage this article begins with a very rapid sketch of the possesses in consequence of its being recent history of Austria, and to the so lately published. When the corres- account of the same events given in ponding article in the Edinburgh En- the corresponding article in the Edincyclopædia was written, it was known burgh Encyclopædia, it has to add that Captain Flinders had ascertained this unexpected and wonderful cirVan Diemen's Land to be a large island cumstance, that in consequence of the separated from New Holland by a strait downfal of Napoleon, Austria is now restored to more than her former trespass at will on a weaker neighbour. splendour. At the commencement of The ancients had certainly some idea the French revolution, the Austrian of such a political equipoise ; but whedominions contained a population of ther that idea was merely speculative, 25,000,000,-as confirmed by the Con- or whether it influenced their political gress of Vienna, their population is conduct, is a question which has di27,926,000.—This mighty empire in- vided some of our ablest writers. Mr cludes, at present, Bohemia, Moravia, Hume maintains, that the authority Austrian Silesia, Lower Austria, Up- of this system was scarcely less extenper Austria, Salzburg and Berchstol- sive in ancient than in modern Eugaden ; Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, rope; while Mr Brougham affirms, Friuli, and I'rieste; Galicia, Bukowine, that in this department of politics, the Hungary, Transylvania, Sclavonia, ancients displayed nothing beyond a Croatia, Venetian States, Istria, Dal- speculative knowledge. The truth matia, Tyrol, Lombardy, and other seems to lie between these assertions. acquisitions in Italy. The power of The great principle of preserving a this empire is less than we might ex- due balance of power, is to be traced pect from its extent of population, in many of the transactions of the owing, as is judiciously observed, to Grecian states; but that principle was the wint of that consonance of nation- never so regular in its operation, nor al manners, and that congeniality of so authoritative in its influence, as it national feeling, which are essential to has become among the modern nations ease in governing, and which have of Europe. It was in Italy, divided long formed the strength of France into a number of small states and comand Britain.
monwealths, that this principle first The next article of considerable assumed the appearance of system. length is BAKING, leaving which to Early in the fifteenth century, we see the consideration of bakers and phy- the balance of power becoming an obsicians, we pass on to a very intelli- ject of constant concern among these gent paper on the Balance of Power states--and about the close of that -We regret that the author has not century, these ideas began to extend developed more fully the clear and en- to other quarters, and to influence the lightened views which he entertains on operations of mightier kingdoms. The this important subject, particularly as beneficial effects of such a system are it is a subject not generally treated of insufficiently obvious. It checked the works of a similar nature. The policy frequency of wars-it was a barrier of balancing the power of one state against the strong, and a bulwark to against another, was never pursued the weak. We heartily concur with but in modern Europe—nor was it till the author of this article, in reprobatthe commencement of the sixteenth ing and lamenting the fatal violation century, that the European states be- of this salutary principle in the partigan to be formed into one grand fede- tion of Poland-which presented the ral league, to be the guardians of each alarming example of a deliberate, unother's interests. The ultimate inten- checked conspiracy against the indetion of this system of policy was, to se- pendent existence of an unoffending cure every state in the full possession country. With regard to the interest of all its rights, by checking the first of Great Britain in the balancing sysencroachments of ambition, watching tem, it is very justly remarked, that the movements of foreign powers, and our commerce and our colonies render uniting their respective force in sup- it absurd to talk of our being insulatport of the weak against the strong. ed as an empire, because Britain is an It was no part of this system to equa- island ; and that we could not always lize the powers of the states compos- be as secure, and as free from uneasy ing the grand community-which is apprehension, in a state of total insulaas impracticable as to preserve an equa- tion from foreign connexions, as with lity of property among the individual friends or confederates to employ or members of a nation. The question oppose a formidable enemy on his own is not what amount of power above a- confines. We accord, likewise, in the nother any state possesses, provided observation, that it is often proper to that power is fairly acquired, but whe- watch and to warn, to use the influther any state possesses its power in ence of our remonstrances and counsuch circumstances, as to enable it to sels, without having recourse, except in urgent cases, to the extremity of 1810, are given with more precision in arms.
the Edinburgh Encyclopædia ; but the Of the Baltic a very full, and we author of this article has the advanare inclined to believe, a very correct tage of having written six years later, account is given, under the different and can therefore state, that the loan heads of general description, extent, of £3,000,000, with which, in condepth, level of its waters with those of sideration of the renewal of its charthe ocean, tides, superior and inferior ter, the bank agreed to accommodate currents, saltness, temperature, winds, government for six years without infisheries, coasts, canals, and commerce. terest, and which was afterwards conThe plan of the article is faulty, in tinued during the war at an interest of embracing too much information, and, 3 per cent., was discharged in the year of course, occupying a space out of all 1814 ; that the additional £3,000,000, due proportion with the rest of the which, in 1808, the directors, in work. Under the head of coasts, in consideration of the immense profit particular, the author enters into a accruing from the use of the pubdetailed account of towns which he lic money, agreed to lend to governshould have merely enumerated leav- ment without interest, until six months ing a fuller description of them to be after the conclusion of a definitive given either under their respective treaty of peace, was continued to the names, or under the names of the public till the 5th of April 1816; that, countries in which they are situated. according to an arrangement then The same observation will apply to his made, the bank was allowed to add to account of the rivers which fall into its capital £2,910,600; and in return, the Baltic, and the canals which com- the loan of £3,000,000 was continued, municate with it. With these excep- at an interest of 3 per cent. In 1746, tions, we think the article very satis- the advances to government, which factory.
form the undivided capital of the bank, The next article which claims our amounted to £11,686,800 ; they now attention is BANKING.
amount to £20,686,800. The increase plaining, in a very satisfactory man- of its circulation has been amazingly ner, the purpose for which banks rapid. By the report laid before Parwere originally established, and their liament lately, it appears, that in 1718 general utility, the author proceeds the total amount of Bank of England to notice some of the recent trans- notes in circulation was £1,829,930; actions of the Bank of England, and in April 1816 it was £26,594,360. to describe the effects produced by Never at any former period have the so powerful an engine on the circula- affairs of this bank been in so flourishtion and commerce of the country. ing a state as at present. A principal Most of our readers, perhaps, know, cause of that prosperity is the imthat this bank, the most important in mense amount of the national debtthe world, whether we consider its £830,000,000; for the management wealth, or the amazing extent of its of which the bank receives £340 per transactions, was established, by a char- million for the first L600,000,000, and ter of William and Mary, in July 1694. £300 per million on the excess above It was projected by William Paterson, £600,000,000. It has likewise an ala a native of Dumfriesshire, who is said lowance of £800 per million on the to have taken the bank of St George, whole amount of every loan of which in Genoa, for his model ; and who was it receives the payment ; on every lotassisted in arranging his plan bytery contract it is allowed.£1000 ; and Michael Godfrey, a gentleman of great it has the use of all the public money consideration in London. The charter committed to its charge, besides several was granted for the term of twelve other allowances of less importance. years; and the corporation was deter- But for the other sources of its wealth, minable on a year's notice. The ori- and the general detail of its business, ginal capital, lodged by the proprietors we must refer our readers to the arin the Exchequer, was £1,200,000, ticle itself, which will be found equally for which they received 8 per cent. in- clear in its statements and accurate in terest, and were allowed, by govern- its information. The topics which it ment, £4000 additional in name of embraces, besides those to which we house expenses. The detail of the have already adverteil
, are the “altransactions of the bank, to the year vantages resulting from the use
paper in place of specie ; country maxim of ancient philosophy, that nam banks in Britain ; system of banking ture abhors a vacuum ; and to this in Britain ; mode of settling the daily abhorrence were ascribed all the eftransactions of the banks in London ; fects which result from atmospherical disadvantages incident to a currency pressure. An incident, apparently trie of paper ; policy to be adopted by the vial, first led to the refutation of that Bank of England in a disordered state absurd opinion. Some artisans in the of the circulation ; dangers to which service of the Grand Duke of Tus banks of circulation are exposed ; in- cany, having been employed to conterruption of credit in 1793 and 1797; struct a sucking pump for a very deep suspension of cash payments by the well, were surprised to find, that in Bank of England, and reasons for con spite of all their care in constructing tinuing that suspension; chartered the pump, they could not raise the banks of Scotland * ; Bank of Ireland; water higher than 32 feet. For an and Bank of France.'
explanation of this perplexing fact they Of the article on BANKS FOR SAVE applied to Galileo, whose ingenuity had INGS we forbear to say any thing at already prepared a complete revolution present, as the merits of that article in science. Galileo had, by some inhave already been adverted to in our teresting experiments, obtained a tolformer Number, and we believe the erably correct notion of the weight of subject will soon be resumed.
air ; but the horror of a vacuum was In the account of the BARBARY an established principle, which he had STATES, which our limits allow us not the boldness to question ; and he merely to mention, there is some re- endeavoured to explain this seeming cent and curious information, particu- anomaly, by supposing the influence larly with regard to the condition of of the horror to be confined within Christian slaves.
certain limits, not exceeding the press To the article BAROMÉTER our at ure of a column of water 32 feet in tention must be more particularly die height. He was dissatisfied with his rected. The able writer of this article, own explanation ; instituted an exbeginning with a concise and elegant periment which brought him almost summary of the opinions of the ancients within sight of the truth ; and comconcerning the system of the material municating his doubts and his conworld, and showing how the mutual jectures to his disciple Toricelli, led opposition of the academicians and pe- him into the tract of more successful ripatetics discouraged the application experiment. of mathematical reasoning in physical The celebrated experiment of Toriresearch, then proceeds to trace the pro- celli, and the still more decisive expew gress of experimental science from the riments of Pascal, one of the finest and wild but beneficial projects of the al- most original geniuses that France ever chemists, through the more sober and produced, at length exploded, though regular steps which have raised her to not without a violent struggle, the long her present commanding elevation. received maxim of the abhorrence of a In this enlightened survey, he is led vacuum ; and proved, with the evito mention some of the most curious dence of demonstration, the pressure and instructive facts in the history of of the atmosphere." On the whole," knowledge and of the human mind. says the author of a well written article It is well known how much, after the on the same subject, in the Edinburgh restoration of letters, a reverence for Encyclopædia, " the history of this reantiquity, and particularly for the tew search affords a signal instance of the nets of Aristotle, repressed the ardour slow and gradual progress of human of philosophical adventure. It was a knowledge. Galileo proved that the air
was possessed of weight; Toricelli
conjectured that this fluid caused the • There are at present in our metropolis ascent of water in pumps, as well as three banks incorporated by charter ; name. ly, the Bank of Scotland, established by act which bears his name; and Pasca!
the suspension of mercury in the tube, of Parliament in 1695; the Royal Bank of Scotland, established by royal charter in converted this conjecture into a de1727 ; and the British Linen Company, monstration."-We have been led so originally incorporated in 1746, with a ca. far beyond our limits, by the interestpital of £100,000, for the encouragement ing nature of these facts, that we of the linen manufacture.
can barely mention the other subjects