Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

PHYSIOLOGY. Art. 15.-A System of Physiological Botany. By the

Reo. P. Keith, F. L. S. Illustrated by nine Engravings. London, Baldwin, 1816. 2 vols. 8vo. Pp. 478518.

[ocr errors]

or disquinanki nomor, iate pros and teridiana ha

An introductory disquisition enters on the incipient stage when the attention of mankind was engaged in the study of vegetable productions, and from our first parents the reverend author descends to their immediate progeny, to Noah, to the fabulous periods of Greek history, and to the records of our sacred volumes. The dawn and meridian of phytological inquiry is next disclosed under Thales, Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and others, and continued to its decline. Its transference to Italy, its fate during the dark ages, and its revival with the revival of letters, is then adverted to, with its advancement to the close of the 17th century. After this unusual research on physiological subjects, we have the great founder of the present system brought under our observation in these terms:

“ In this peculiar crisis of botanical perplexity, when specimens were every day multiplying in the hands of collectors, and herbariums devoid of arrangement, and the science in danger of relapsing again into an absolute chaos; a great and elevated genius arose destined to restore order,-who, surveying the immense mass of muterials with a sagacity and penetration unparalleled in botanical research, and seizing, as if by intution, the grand traits of character calculated to form the ground-work of a philosophical division, detected the clue by which he was to extricate himself from the intricacies of the labyrinth, and rear the superstructure of a legitimate method; so that the touch of his skilful hand was no sooner applied to the work, than the trees, as if moved by the music of Orpheus, arranged themselves around him. This great and illustrious naturalist was the celebrated Linnæus, founder of the sexual system, and prince of all botanists, who, deducing his rules of method from the most incontrovertible principles, and establishing the laws of generic and specific distinction, and even rules of legitimate definition, introduced into the study of botany a simplicity of system, a perspicuity of arrangement, and a precision of language, which have elevated it to the high rank it now holds in the scale of human knowledge, as well as allured to the study of the science men of the most distinguished abilities, and excited that ardour for botanical investigation which characterizes the present age.” (p. 23.)

The author ascribes to Dr. Priestley the merit of being the first who brought pneumatic chemistry to the aid of botany;* and this discovery, under the happy auspices of In-genhour, Senebier, Sanssure, and others, has more contributed to elucidate the phenomena of vegetables than all the other expedients of investigation; so that our author justly concludes," that our knowledge of the physiology of vegetables may now be regarded as resting upon the foundation of a body of the most incontrovertible facts, and assuming a degree of importance inferior only to that of the physiology of animals.”

It appeared to Mr. Keith that there was still required, after all the prior works, some production that would serve the purpose, not merely of a brief and rapid sketch to assist the recollection of the adept, but one which would supply a clear and copious introduction, to facilitate the stu. dies of the novice, by presenting to him, first, such an elementary view of the vegetable kingdom in general as should be directly preparatory to physiological research ; and, secondly, such a view of the process of vegetation as should render the rationale of the preceding phenomena, introductory to that of the following, and should not necessarily require any previous knowledge of the subject.

The reverend author has endeavoured, and very successfully, to provide a work to answer such a desirable purpose; and with that design, the first volume is applied to the external and internal structure and the primary principles of vegetables, while the second is devoted exclusively to the phenomena of vegetable life. The last involves the process by which “ the vegetable substance is ultimately reduced to the primary and unorganized principles of which it was originally composed, and rendered capable of mingling again with the soil or atmosphere, or of entering into the composition of new vegetable bodies.”

• We apprehend that the discoveries of Lavoisier on the same subject were contemporaneous; but this circumstance does not at all diminish the inventive merit of either.

ART. 16.-An Historical, Philosophical, and Practical Es.

say on the Human Hair ; containing a full and copious Description of its Growlh, Analysis of its various Properties, the Causes of its various Colours, &c. By ALEX. ANDER ROWLAND, Jun. London, Sherwood, 1816. 8vo. Pp. 111.

The theme of this work is either the Macassar Oil, or Essence of Tyre, and in it we have abundance both of verse and prose, from heathens and christians, philosophers and divines. Whatever the utility of Mr. Rowland's discoveries, we bald-pated critics may console ourselves that, if Absalon by his flowing locks gained the hearts of Israel, by the same he lost his life. Although the learned author deprecates criticism, we may, perhaps, modestly recommend to him a little correction of his motto. The words of the lyric bard are

“Scribendi rectè sapere est, et principium et fons.”

POLITICAL ECONOMY. Art. 17.-Letters on the Evils of Impressment, with an

Outline of a Plan for doing them away ; on which depend the Wealth, Prosperity, and Consequence of Great Britain. By Thos. URQUHARt. Second Edition. London, Rich

ardson, 1816. 8vo. Pp. 100. We are often indebted to private wrongs for public improvements; and perhaps, as much as we can expect in human life is, that private feelings should be so intimately blended with public sensibility, that the co-operation of both should conduce to the general good. The attention of this gentleman, who was educated as a mercantile seaman, seems to have been most strongly excited in favour of his companions in the maritime service, by an insult offered to him, and an injury sustained when, in 1808, accompanied by his wife, he was assailed by a press-gang. It was admitted by Admiral Sir C. Pole, in his speech in parliament on the 11th of April last, that it would be better to man the British navy without coercion; but that it became necessary, as the preference was given to the merchant service. Mr. Urquhart so far concurs, that, with the pre. sent ideas of seamen, no mode of raising men for the navy, without the impress, can be immediately adopted; but, as he contemplates the removal of this compulsion, he suggests the expedients which may be resorted to, to prevent the aversion at present entertained to the navy. Among the measures for this purpose, he recommends, that the officers should practise more gentleness and humanity; that the men impressed, on returning home, should be allowed to visit the port to which they belong; that the gangs for the impress should not be the refuse of mankind; and that, after a certain period of service, mariners should be no longer liable to compulsion. The author insists, that the salvation of the navy requires that a new scheme should be adopted, from which coercion is excluded; and he employs plausible, and, we think, convincing arguments, in support of this his favourite position.

Art. 18. - West India Sketches, drawn from Authentic

Sources. No. 1. Punishment of the Maroons of Dema- . rara, from Pinckhard's Notes on the West Indies. London,

Ellerton, 8vo. Pp. 8. Art. 19.Remarks on the Insurrection in Barbadoes, and

the Bill for the Registration of Slaves. London, Ellerton, 8vo. Pp. 15.

The object of the first of these pamphlets is professedly to exhibit the impression on the mind of an intelligent and disinterested spectator, (at first evidently prejudiced in favour of West India manners,) as to the real nature and effects of colonial bondage, and to introduce to the reader a few facts, to enable him to form his own judgment on the subject.

On the second pamphlet, we refer to our publication of the last month, in which the merits of the bill for the registration of slaves are fully examined. The proper design of these pages is to shew, that the late insurrection in Barbadoes should make no change in the system to be adopted as to that bill; and to explain, that the representation of the planters, which assigned the discussions in parliament on the situation of the negroes as the cause of these commotions, is either unfounded or, if otherwise, that such discussions have only become known among the slaves by the voluntary acts of the planters themselves.

ART. 20.- Report of the Committee for Investigating the

Causes of the alarming Increase of Juvenile Delinquency in the Metropolis. London, Dove, 1816, 8vo. Pp. 32.

The committee referred to, originated in some inquiries conducted, twelve months since, by a few benevolent individuals, who were alarmed and aflicted at the increase of juvenile delinquency. In the report are first stated the difficulties the committee had to encounter; and these are followed by a list of the principal obstructions to the utility of their labours. Among theni, are three subjects that will, we trust, at an early period, undergo legislative disquisition : the severity of the criminal code, the defective state of the police, and the existing system of prison discipline. An appendix is subjoined, consisting of a few cases of children from eight years upwards, in order to give a gene. ral idea of the characters that devolve under the notice of the society.

SPORTS. Art. 21.-Instructions to Young Sportsmen on the Choice,

Care, and Management of Guns ; Hints for the Preservation of Game; Directions for Shooting Wild Fowl, &c. with a concise Abridgment of the principal Game Laws. By P. Hawker, Esq. The Second Edition, with explanatory Plates, considerably enlarged and improved. Lon

don, R. Hunter, 1816, 8vo. Pp. 324. MR. HAWKER writes like a professed sportsman, not only in the style of his composition, but in the comprehensive reach of his information; and as far as we can pretend to understand a subject so remote from our general pursuits, the work appears to us a most useful manual for gentlemen engaged in the amusements of the field.

We, perhaps, have too much considered the natural history of birds and quadrupeds, especially the canine species, as the foundation of the knowledge of sportsmen in the im, mediate subject of their art; and those who look for ingenious illustration in this department of physiology, will not acquire the intelligence they seek from this production : but we think nothing that is generally considered as practically useful will be found to be omitted. The author does not even neglect to console the disappointed sportsman, when he is unsuccessful in his pursuit ; and the terms in which he

Crit. Rev. Vol. IV. August, 1816. 2 E

« ElőzőTovább »