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we cannot help lamenting the neglect of the inechanical philo, fophy of the last century, which leems to be in great danges of being banished from physical enquiries. Our present race of reasoners, however, should recollect that although Bacon, as a naturalist, first recommended experimental philosophy, its establishment was owing to a Newton, whose reasoning was in general ftriâly mathematical and mechanical. They fhould reflect, also, that if natural phenomena are not accounted for mathematically and mechanically, they are in fact not accounted for at all. The having recourse to chemical princi. ples, however satisfactory among chemists, appears to the generality of readers as little better than the having recourse to occult qualities; whose effects we may admit, but of whole inodus operandi we are totally ignorant.--Not that, were these effects and their admitted causes properly defined and ascertained, the affair would be very important, if it did not tend to divert the ingenious enquirer froin pursuing the genuins track of phyfical investigation. Some gentlemen,” says Mr. Henly, '“ have supposed that the electric matter is the cause of the cohesion of the particles of bodies." A supposition, which if the electric matter be, as he suspects, his experiments, he says, seem to prove.- Again, he observes, after Dr. Priestley, that it is probable, “ elettric light comes from the electric matter itself: that this being a modification of phlogiston, it is probable that all light is a modification of phlogiston also: and that prior to his deductions from ele&rical phenomena, it was pretty evident that light and phlogiston are the same thing in different forms or states."—What wretched jargon is all this, for philosophers ! Is it possible that Dr. Priestley or Mr. Henly can be ignorant that, with respect to the phenomena of the material universe, different forms frequently constitute different ibings?
--Do they doubt, when they talk of material principles, that all matter is homogeneous ? Or that the most perinanent of chemical principles differ otherwise than as different modifications of the fanie matter ?-Can any thing be more absurd than their pertinaciously infifting that almost every phehomenon in nature is a body or substance fui generis; when we every moment see them appear, disappear, and their mateBials become reciprocally convertible. Would any body but a wsdern philosopher, indeed, have patience to hear of light's exfing in darkness, fire in ice, &c. being told at the same time Eat light and fire are material substances? This writer might well be at a loss to answer the question
What is electricity?" if it were necessary to declare it a ly like air or water, Electricity he considers as a fluid, and
properly characterized by the term's electricity, eleElric fluid, or electric matter. What a strange mode of charalierizing a phenomenon by giving it merely a name!-Is the electric light, the electric fire, the electric shock, the electric wind, the electric attraction, the electric repulsion, &c. &c.—are, we say, all the electric phenomena the same material fluid ? Would it not be absurd to call the air, sOUND, and yet without the air there would be no such phenomenon as found.-Has modern chemistry totally destroyed the ancient difference between substance and accident, matter and motion ?-Mr. Henly talks of the ele&ric fluid being the cause of the cohesion of particles of bodies. In what manner can he posibly conceive this cause to produce such an effect ?- It is really a pity that gentlemen, who appear desirous of drawing philosophical conclusions from physical experiments, do not attend more to mechanics and matheinatics than is at present the fashion. A little more logic, also, to enable thein to distinguish more nicely and to abide more closely by their distinctions, would be of no disservice to them. We are sorry to see that, for want of this, many of our practical experimentalists, and those who stand high in the rank of science, make frequently a poor figure in drawing theoretical conclufions.
K. (To be Continued.)
Archaeologia : or Misiellaneous Tracts relating to Antiquity, pub
lished by the Society of Antiquaries of London. 4to. Vol. IV. il. is. in Sheets.
(Continued from Vol. V. Page 434.) That individuals should impose on their contemporaries, and obtain an unmerited reputation for erudition or science, is not to be wondered at; but that a whole nation should, for ages, possess the fame of pre-eminence, in knowledge and wisdom, without its being justly founded, is somewhat extraordinary. Yet fuch seems to have been the case with the ancient Egyptians; whose superiority in the arts and sciences is denied, and their real pretensions investigated, in the nineteenth article of the yolume before us. It has been already observed that a hint, to this purpose, was given in a posthumous work of the Jate very ingenious Robert Wood, Esq. The subject appears, however, to liave been long since treated at large, by that celebrated naturalist Dr. John Woodward, in the discourse now first-published.
“ Egypt, says our author, is a country assuredly very happy, fending forth all things useful to human life in great plenty and perfection; and
this too without much labour or culture, the Nile, in its yearly inundations, depofing a flime upon it that renders it fruittul beyond measure; so that the inhabitants have scarcely any thing more to do than only to, scatter a little grain upon the land, and, without further trouble, they have a return in great abandance. It is hardly credible what vast numbers of people have been supported in this country in great plenty and luxury, and it was inhabited very early. The Egyptians, indeed, were here much in the fame itate, that mankind were before the universal deluge. Their country was vastly productive, and with little or no labour
or toil. In truth, the confequences and effects in both cases were much the same; and the Egyptians were not perhaps inferior in vice and immorality to the unhappy people of the ages before that disinal catastrophe. But this fruitfulness of their country allowed them time and leifure for thought and study, for improvement of science and arts. While their neighbours, on every side, were at great pains upon their muca more barren foils, and their time taken up in making provision for the fupport of life, the Egyptians had little or nothing of chat fort to do. This gave them a mighty advantage over the countries all round; and it is not to be wondered that they had the start of them as to science, and had very anciently a great reputation for their superiority in learning. But we shall have a truer and more certain idea of the learning of those times, when we know of what size this was, that was fo much admired by all the neighbour nations. For I cannot aslent to the common opinion that there was ever really any confiderable learning ainong the Egyptians. It might indeed be thought such by the Cyrenians, Arabians, and the inhabitants of the other barren countries round about, where the people had enough to do to procure meat and cloaths, and had little leisure to attend to study or the improvement of the mind. And the great plenty, luxury, and opulency, that strangers, the Greeks, and others, faw in Egypt, made them imagine there was somewhat very extraordinary in the thing, and that the Egyptians were maiters' of lome mighty knowledge, by means of which, they were intitled to that superiority and those advantages over all their neighbours; whereas in reality they were all owing wholly to the goodness of their country. Then they had a very high opinion of their own nation, and the vanity to think the rest of mankind besides very weak, illiterate, and meer children, in comparison of themselves. They were the most oftentatious, boasting people in the universe, and every body was forward enough to imagine there could not be all that outcry without something at the bottom very confiderable to warrant it.
“ But what most favoured the opinion of their learning were the Hieroglyphic figures that appeared on their obelisks, their pyramids, and other monuments, on every lide. They talked of wondrous matters that were couched under those representations ; in which they could not be contradicted by the Greeks, who travelled into those parts, or other foreigners, who knew little or nothing of the meaning of thein. They might gaze and admire, but must be much in the dark as to what they imported, the sculpture being not only rude, but done in a man. ner much different from that of Greece. As to the Egyptians, they only carried on a vain amusement, and aimed meerly at the aggrandiz. ing and extolling the riches, the power, and the wisdom of their own
dation, having little regard to fact. This is evident from the very ac. counts they gave of these things. The Hieroglyphicks upon the obeIlks were the most considerable; and some of them interpreted these as ferting forth matters of religion ; others of philosophy and nature; others of history, and the riches, pozver, victories, and actions of their princes, The very obelisk which these last take upon them to interpret, I mean that of Rameses, is at this day in being; and, after all, the gravings upon it apparently set forth only fomething of their religion, and the facred animals. Among the relt, there are, in the several parts of this pillar, representations of above fifty owls, and almost double that number of serpents. What these could ever possibly denote of victories, riches, and power, it will, I believe, be no easy thing to find, what ever the vain-glorious humour of the Egyptian prieits might prompt them to give out; but it is known to every body in how much veneration thote animals were had, and how great a figure they made in the religion of the Egyptians. It will be thought perhaps strange by those who are less conversant with these things, that there should be fo great numbers of these, and other animals, upon the same pillar: but it is what is very common in all these works, in the obelisks, the canopi, and other idols, the shrouds and swathes of the mumies, and other re. mains of that nation. The design was partly to express their great devotion to those creatures, and partly to make a fhew in their gravings or paintings. It was not unusual with them to exhibit great numbers of the fame animals all together, and all figured in the very same manner; by which they could design nothing but meer few and ornament, such as it was. The obelisks, the gravings of which are very much alike in all, commonly exhibit, towards the top, one of their chief deities, generally Ofiris; with the figure of a priest before him, kneeling, and making some oblation. This is usually represented in the same form precisely, on all the four sides of the obelisk. For the reit beneath, there is usually expressed a great number and variety of the facred animals, e.gr. the Lion, Apis, Mnevis, Hawk, Ibis, Crocodile, Scarabæus, and several others; but all set forth in the most disor. derly, wild, and unskillful manner that can well be imagined. In fine, whoever shall consider the sculpture upon the Mensa Iliaca, upon the obelisks, and other like monunents, and the painting upon the Throids and bandages of the mumies, will plainly discover that they only represent the Egyptian deities, Ofiris, Ilis, Horus, Apis, and the rest; the rites and solemnities of their worship; the utentils and instruments used in their facrifices; their religious pomps ard procession; and the sacred animals. These, with here and there a rude (crawl, accordiog to the fancy of the Deligner, to fill up a vacancy, and the exorcisms and charins
the shrouds of the mumies, are the main things that are set forth in that valt variety of the Egyptian works, that have been brought to light by the diligence and curiosity of this and the laft age; and it is plain froin the accounts of the ancients, those that are perithed and destroyed were of the like fort. So that any one who shall go about to make a symbolical conttruction of these, as Diod. Siculus, Plutarch, Clement Alexandrinus, the author under the name of Horus Apollo, and some other of the Ancients have done, to pass by the voluminous and fanciful works of J. Pierius N. Cauflinus, F. Kircher,
And some later writers, may, with full as much reason, make the like interpretation of ihe 'Arayle Du and Ballo-Relievos of the ancient Greeks 2. Romans, or the Ibitioiy-paintings of Raphael, M. Angelo, Rubens, M. Le Brunt. view of the things themielves will looo Mew any one that the deliga of skele Egyptian fculptures and pictures #s chiefly to give an historical jepretenia.ion of the religious cuitoms of that nation. Nor can it be thought tiranye there Mhould be such numbers of theles to any one who knows how infinitely fuperftitious the Egyptians were Pore all other jseople. But then this way of exprellion was redious, difficuli, and much inferior to that which now obtains in China. For though this was originally the faine with the Egyptian, set the Chinelë rendered it by degrees much more practicable and expeditious, At first they made uic of only a few of the out-lines of the drawing to represent any thing by: Afterwards they reduced these to characteros designing them to denote words. At length they hit upon a method of making a connexion of them, by somewhat that aniwered to the particles of Ipeech. Thus by degrees they found out a way of ferting forth a language, and this was truly symbolical. But that was an '
ad. Fance far beyond what the Egyptians had any prospect of. And yet, with all that improvement, this inethod talls rar short of that of letters; it carries-on learning very flowly, as will appear hereatter when I come to speak of the stare ot it in China. And I think it is by this time pretty plain, thai, ftripe of its varnish and amulement, the Egyptian method of propagating and delivering knowledge down, was vastly more defective than even the Chinese.
"'I know well that the Egyptians, in their wonted boasting manner; and pretences to things of which they were never really maiiers, bragged they had letters. This we learn from Herodotus. But there is not in hiitory, nor any of all their numerous monuments yet remaining, so much as a lingle instance of any one leiter, till the an. tient Greeks came amongst them. For want of these, how highly foever they might boait, they had no records of their nation, Their kings, or the tranfactions amongti them. Nothing but a mere loose tradition. This is the reason that their antient hiitory is so tabulouse and so much in the dark, beyond that of alınott all other nations ; and that we know little or nothing of them, with any certainty, till after the Greeks came among thein.
6. As linie is there to be laid for the sense and virtue of the Egypinns. I believe there can be not any one tinyle instance produced of either in all their whole ftory. It they had any, they would have shewn it when their country was the hardest pretied, when it was attacked by foreign enemies, and heir lives, liberties, their families, their country, and every thing that was dear to them, was at stake; as on occasion of the delcent of Cambyses, of the Greeks, of the Roinans. The Egyptians, on these great urgent occafiun, far from concerting measures for the defence of themtelves and their country, acted ever father like men wild and distracted than pollefled of any thought or realon, so that they fell an ealy prey to any invader. Cambyies took Pelufium, the very key of Egypt, by putting cats, dogs, sheep in the front of the army. The Egyptians immediately laying dowu their arms, and choosing rathert give up their whole country to their urter enemy, Vol. VI.