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incumbent of the title and estate of Weybridge died in two years after the marriage, and the parson's daughter was at last saluted as Lady Weybridge.
We profess, in what we have now given of the substance of this excellent novel, to have confined ourselves to a mere outline of the story. It would have been quite impossible for us to have noticed the various episodes and by-scenes which are scattered through the narrative, and which conduce so well to promote the interest of the tale. The beauty of the style, the just keeping of the characters, the grouping of the latter, and, indeed, the whole management of the plot, bespeak the ability and experience of the author, and are enough to induce us to wish that he may more frequently repeat his appearance on a stage of which he is so great and so useful an ornament. In recommending this work to the perusal of all classes, we should more particularly inculcate the benefits which it is capable of affording in the way of example for our guidance in the ordinary concerns of life. We see into what an ocean of troubles a wavering disposition was able to drag a young man of honourable and virtuous instincts; in Mrs. Harbottle we have a terrible warning to the married female how she permits herself to form friendships with any but her husband ; whilst, in other respects, the conduct of the latter lady, as well as that of Miss Lovell, incontestably prove how much more politic, than any other less innocent course, is a firm and unbending devotion to good faith, probity, and morality.
Art. VI. 1. Report of the First and Second Meetings of the British Asso
ciation for the Advancement of Science; at York in 1831, and at Oxford in 1832: including its Proceedings, Recommenda
tions, and Transactions. I vol. 8vo. London : Murray. 1833. 2. An Introduction to Geology; intended to convey a Practical
Knowledge of the Science, and comprising the most important recent Discoveries ; with Explanations of the Facts and Phenomena, which serve to confirm or invalidate various Geological Theories. By Robert BAKEWELL. Fourth Edition. 8vo.
London : Longman, Rees, &c. 1833. 3. The Geology of the South-east of England. By GIDEON
Mantell, Esq., F.R.S., Fellow of the Royal College of Sur
geons, &c., &c. 8vo. London: Longman, Rees, & Co. 1833. There never was a period in the literary history of this country, when so large a number of works was contributed to the public stock on the great themes of natural science, as are poured forth in succession in the present day. We hail the circumstance as a signal of the great progress which the moral faculties are making in the career of improvement ; for it is only by directing the intellectual powers of man to the true objects which ought to engage them, that we can expect his mind to be secured against meaner and mischievous occupations. The first of the works on our list is a volume in which are collected the first fruits which have been gathered by a new assocciation, of whose labours we cannot speak in too high terms. In this volume we find an account of the objects of the new association, and its rules; after which follow a series of records, detailing its practical operations or transactions. We shall pass by the portion which merely relates to the meetings held at York and Oxford, as being already familiar to the public, and attend to what we deem the most important part--that containing numerous reports from the leading men in the various branches of science, presenting a view of the actual state of its most important branches.
The first of the reports is that on astronomy, furnished by Professor Airy, of Cambridge. Many portions of this document are by far too technical to admit of the least hope that we could render them intelligible to our readers; but there are a few passages in the report which may very worthily occupy our attention for a short period. In considering the grave question, what has England done of late as a contributor to astronomy? the learned gentleman replies in a two-fold manner. He states, first, that in those parts of astronomy which depend principally on the assistance of governments or powerful bodies, requiring only method and judgment, with very little science in the persons employed, we have done much; whilst in those parts which depend exclusively on individuals, but little has been accomplished. In the second place, observes the professor, our principal progress has been made in the instrumental and mechanical parts, and in the lowest branches of astronomy; whilst nothing whatever has been contributed by us to the higher branches of that science. Mr. Airy proceeds to dwell on the details, which serve to prove his first proposition; and asserts, that we have contributed more than the rest of the world to furnish the materials whereby the figure of the earth is best ascertained. Nothing that has been done in any other country can compete with the arcs of meridian and parallel in England; the great arc of meridian in India ; and the liberal scale of the pendulum expeditions undertaken by Kater, Foster, Sabine, &c. Our chronometers have attained the first place in the advance to perfection, and this improvement is entirely due to the patronage of government; besides which a sum is appropriated to the maintenance of observatories by England, which no other government would be willing to allow. In Cambridge, a splendid observatory has been erected at the private expense of the university. All this is the result of the spirit of public bodies; but then what is the amount of all that indi. viduals have done towards the improvement of astronomy? Very little, indeed, replies Mr. Airy; for though we have taken a promi.
nent part in discussing the theories of refraction and aberration, we have, at the same time, neglected the past state of the heavens, or making that state subservient to the investigation of what might be their future condition. Again, although we make discoveries and come to new conclusions, we are too indolent to reduce them, and thus the reduction of Bradley's observations was abandoned to a foreigner; the formation of tables of the sun and moon, the theory of which was distinctly laid down in England, likewise became the prey of individuals of another country; and even those observations which do not require more than moderate instruments, as the discovery of a comet, or the tracing of small planets, have not been much attended to. To this melancholy conclusion Professor Airy seems to have great pleasure in mentioning one case of exception, in which an original discovery in astronomy was made in the present century by an Englishman. This was the practical prediction of the phases of double stars, by Sir John Herschell.
With respect to the statement of Professor Airy, already noticed, relative to our progress in the instrumental and mechanical parts of astronomy, he cites some instances as illustrations of the truth of this assertion. The observations in the observatories of England are conducted with greater regularity and steadiness of plan than in any other country. Hence is it, that the Greenwich observations have, during the last century, maintained such authority over the scientific world; and hence it is, that the credit of that authority is now higher than ever.
One remarkable difference between this country and others, in a scientific point of view, consists of the diversity which is to be perceived between the spirit with which the proceedings are conducted in each. An observer in England, when he has made his observation, sits down quietly, persuaded that nothing more remains for him to do. He, in fact, may be compared to the miner, who digs up the ore in its native state, and leaves to those who wish to have the task, the power of turning the best part of the ore to a useful purpose. But a very different course obtains on the continent, particularly in France and Italy. When an observation is made in either of those countries, it is considered as an incumbrance until it is fairly smelted; so that the only way in which an inventive philosopher abroad can make himself worthy of fame, is not only by the discovery of a new fact, but by the exhibition of valuable results, as a consequence of that discovery. Before dismissing this part of the subject of his report, the learned professor notices some very curious incidents in the lives of living astronomers, which are full of encouragement to aspiring students in that science. He tells us, that the most celebrated of these men obtained distinction during the period when they were in the inferior departments of the observatories. Encke was an assistant at Seaberg when he first became famous ; in the same way, and in the same character, VOL. II. (1833) no. III.
did the following astronomers earn their reputation-Bessal, Walbeck, and Argelander.
The learned professor declares, that he is not one of those who have joined in the cry of the “Decline of Science in England." On the contrary, he thinks that, at least so far as astronomy is concerned, a rapid advance has been recently, and continues to be made. That there was a decline in this country some thirty or forty years ago, the professor entertains no doubt, nor does he mean to deny that even still we are very much behind the philosophers of the continent in almost all the important branches of science. Still a very rapid progress has been lately made in England; and in physical astronomy alone, more has been done here within the last five years, than had been accomplished in the century before. This improved state of things has been produced, not only by the numerous additions made by Englishmen to the conclusions drawn from observation, but from the greater diffusion of a knowledge of the science in this country.
A very able report on the recent progress and present state of meteorology is furnished to this volume by Mr. Forbes. The author explains the true objects of this science, and seems to think that the little that has been done towards its improvement in this country, is to be attributed to the mis-direction of the studies of those who have engaged in it. The basis of meteorology rests on several branches of physics, some of which are but very imperfectly known. Heat, for example, which is the great principle, as it were, of meteorology, does not receive that consideration, in reference to the subject just mentioned, which its great importance demands. Mr. Foster then proceeds to review the labours of foreigners in the various branches coming under the comprehensive title of heat-as, for example, the discoveries respecting the specific heats of substances by MM. Duling and Petit, and of gases by de la Roache, Berard, de la Rive, and Marcet. Upon the subject of thermometers, the author of the report informs us, that nothing in the way of improving the self-registering ones has been lately done; but he adds, that a very interesting discovery has been made by Signor Libri, of Florence, respecting the early histoy of the thermometer, In 1829, a number of the original alcoholic thermometers, made under the direction of the Academia del Cimento, was found and enabled the signor to restore the true scale of these early struments, so as afford a direct comparison with those of mode , times. The scale was divided into 50 degrees : the zero corresponded to -150 of Reaumur, the 50th degree with 440 Reaumur, and it stood at 1340 in melting ice. From this last fact it must be concluded, that no sensible change had taken place in the freezing point of those instruments during the lapse of two whole centuries. It appears, likewise, that some registers belonging to the same period have been discovered, and prove to have been kept by Raineri, a pupil of Galileo, and which have served to prove that no sensible
change has taken place in the climate of Florence during the whole of that long period, although the contrary was firmly maintained.
The next papers are those on radiant heat, by Professor Powell, and on thermo-electricity, by Professor Cumming. Both are much too technical to admit of being rendered familiar to unscientific readers. The same description applies to Dr. Brewster's report on optics, which, however, contains many important facts and suggestions in a science which the author has so largely contributed to improve.
The “ Report on Mineralogy,” by Professor Whewell, enters into an elaborate investigation of the state of that science in England, as compared with its progress in other countries. Of late, the professor thinks, that mineralogy has received a decided check in England, and that it is by no means to be considered as a popular science amongst us: that is to say, a science in which some striking improvements, calculated to arrest the attention of the general community, have been effected. The reason of the backwardness in the cultivation of mineralogy may be found in the disappointment of the great promises which it was represented as offering of valuable assistance in the pursuit of geology and chemistry. But these promises have not been fulfilled. Werner led the world to believe, that this science could be made the vestibule, as it were, to the profoundest mysteries of geology ; but the geologist now finds that conchology, zoology, botany, with hydrography, and general physics, are just as important auxiliaries as mineralogy can possibly be, in the examination of the strata of the earth. A similar failure has taken place in the promised subsidies of mineralogy to chemistry; and the extent of the failure may be learned when we state, that there are, at this moment, very few minerals of which the chemical composition is not doubtful, and scarcely a single species of which the rule and limits are known, or in which two different analyses, taken at random, might not lead to different formulæ. Then there is no system of classification which has obtained amongst mineralogists any thing like a general consent; and, indeed, no system has yet been proposed which is not objectionable, even on the confession of its author, on the score of gross anomalies.
The “ Report on Chemistry,” drawn up by Mr. Johnston, is a most able and elaborate paper, in which will be found a complete and very satisfactory account of the most recent improvements in this science, in all its departments. But the objection to any attempt at making this report the subject of our remarks is, as in so many other instances, the too great technicality with which it is treated.
The only other report contained in this volume which we shall notice, is that on Geology, by the Rev. W.D. Conybeare, and this we have reserved, for the purpose of making it a medium of transition to the two other works on our list, which are exclusively