Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

earth moved through the firmament at the rate imagined by the Newtonians, namely, 68,000 miles an hour-500 times quicker than a hurricane !"

*

"The force which, according to Newton, causes a body, (suppose a bladder filled with water) near the surface of the earth, to fall about sixteen feet in one second of time, is that which presses the ocean to its bed that is the force of gravity. Now the power operating with that specific force upon the ocean, supposing the earth to move, is exactly crossed by another force on the equator above ninety times greater, namely the centrifugal, or rotatory motion of the earth, said to be upwards of 1500 feet in a second. Were the two forces equally balanced, the thing might appear plausible and go down tolerably well; but, as the matter is represented, nothing but a great miracle could prevent the water from flying off the surface of the earth, as it does off a potter's wheel, the moment the centrifugal motion of that wheel overbalances the gravity of the water lying upon its surface. But that is not all; we have still to notice the projectile force of the globe, which is calculated at 100,000 feet in a second; that is, 6000 times the force that presses the ocean to its bed, as aforesaid; which inconceivable velocity would, in eight minutes of time, completely separate the globe from the ocean; comparatively as a shallow plate, if filled with water, would, by a quick horizontal motion, instantly be emptied of its contents and leave them behind. Yet, under all the supposed influences of these powerful forces, operating in various directions, the ocean does not afford a single evidence of their actual existence."

The succeeding chapter is, in part, occupied with the investigation of the claim of the moderns to optical discoveries. Mr. Prescot is of opinion, that the ancients were not so ignorant of these matters as later opticians have imagined.

It is further conceived that the Newtonian maxims are impeached by the observations of Mr. Baldwin, in his aerial voyage from Chester, by the dark nature of earthly bodies, and by the evidence exhibited in the stars. At a certain elevation the earth appeared, as seen through the openings between the clouds,

"Of an obscure, greenish, or bluish hue, but the clouds were of a dazzling white. Moreover, instead of the water of the sea, rivers, ponds, and canals, appearing dark, as Cassini, above a hundred years ago, said it would, to any one, if he were placed at a great elevation above it; on the contrary, it appeared to Mr. Baldwin to be bright and shining; the pits, he said, were like spangles upon a dark ground. I recollect seeing that balloon when it penetrated the clouds; it did not appear like a luminous star, but the very reverse; and I therefore infer, that a globe of earth, at the same or any greater distance, would have had a similar dark appearance; or, rather, that at the distance of a few miles it would have totally disappeared, for want of the natural property of receiving and reflecting the beams of solar light."

The 10th Chapter is on the distances of the heavenly bodies;

and Mr. Prescot holds, that the methods proposed by astrono mers to ascertain them is inapplicable and useless. We give the following as one of his instances of objection :

"The refraction of the air, concerning which philosophers are entirely in the dark, as their own writings show,* renders this mathematical theory quite useless: besides which, may be mentioned the dif ficulty of noting the exact time of the moon's passage through the zenith; the rapid change in her declination; the unavoidable inaccuracy of instruments and time-pieces, used in making observations, and even the liability, in nice observations of this kind, to be deceived by the eye itself. These are obstacles which no human art can surmount. Besides, the moon moves through an angular space equal to what they estimate the whole parallax to be, in less than four minutes of time.”

Mr. Prescot possesses the advantage of detecting some inconsistencies in the calculations of his predecessors. Copernicus, and the astronomers of the present day, it appears, differ very widely on the point of the distance of the earth from the sun. Even Newton's computation is no great deal more than onehalf of that which is now maintained, and that of Copernicus is about th part! The following is a statement of the varieties of these astronomical opinions :

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The accurate calculation of eclipses, and the transit of Venus, have been adduced as proofs of the accuracy of the present accredited system. But our indefatigable author refers to the writings of Ptolemy; the Arabian astronomers; Tycho Brahe, and others, to shew that the science of calcu lating eclipses was known some thousand years before computations were formed upon the hypothesis of the solar system, which he contends is of no real use in such calculations.

We have thus presented an analysis of the principal and most curious parts of this volume. We pledge ourselves to neither side of the question. We intend to examine Mr.

* It would be endless to notice the different opinions respecting both the terrestrial and the astronomic refractions which are to be met with in the writings of various authors on the subject; and it would be equally useJess to notice all the tables of its quantity given by them, some of which differ very much from others.-Dr. Rees's New Cyclopadia, article Refraction.

Prescot's second book, in which, we understand, the subject is inore at large discussed; and, if we can detect any fallacy, we shall freely and fairly bring it forward; but the volume is of some magnitude, and the mathematical part will require time to investigate it. For the present, we trust, Mr. Prescot cannot complain of us. We have given him as impartial a hearing as possible. He must not expect us to be instantaneously converted. If truth be on his side, our notice will, in some degree, advance it; and, if his views be erroneous, they will sooner be detected, and the system he has attacked will be the more firmly established. We observe that the work has already acquired some share of public attention, and has been favourably mentioned by some of the periodical tribe. By one of these it is observed, that it is a fact which has greatly surprised some reflecting persons, that, during the forty years which passed from the publication of the Principia to his death, Newton never attempted to apply his own principles to the improvement of practical astronomy; nor, indeed, does it appear, that any of his friends or followers in England have ever constructed one original table from his principles !

Some of the fraternity of critics, as might be expected, have opposed the author. We think he has very needlessly provoked. censure by the manner in which he has treated the memory of Sir Isaac Newton. Were we to concede to Mr. Prescot that Sir Isaac was mistaken in his theory of gravitation, it would not justify asperity of language against him. Sir Isaac was, no doubt, sincere in his philosophical opinions. Mr. Prescot denies the orthodoxy of Newton, but he does not prove the point; and, if he did so, there would still remain enough of merit to entitle him to respect both as a man and a philosopher. We think it neither consistent with that creed in which Mr. Prescot is evidently so firm, nor with the precepts of that sacred volume to which he so frequently and earnestly appeals, nor even with the calmness of sound philosophy, so vehemently to assail, as Mr. Prescot does, the motives and the labors of other men. Yet we ascribe his feelings to a wellmeant zeal, and an earnest belief in the truth of the system he advocates, and the importance of the principles with which they are connected. Perhaps, too, the author, in the inculcation of his doctrines, may have met with uncandid and ungentle treatment, and has felt himself justified (with the pen in his hand,) to retort the ridicule and throw back the asperity with which he was provoked. We think there is, at least, enough in these speculations, to entitle the author to a fair examination of his theory, and, if it be unfounded, there will surely be no great difficulty in refuting it.

[ocr errors]

476

The Medical Student's Guide; comprising Regulations for the Examination of Students at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and at Apothecaries' Hall; Terms of the Surgical and Medical Practice of the Hospitals and Dispensaries in London; and of the various Lectures, with the Hours of Attendance; Pay of the Medical Department of the Army and Navy, and of the Hon. East India Company's Service. Also other Information interesting to the Medical Student. To which is added, a List of the most approved Elementary and Standard Medical Works.

THE title of this little book is a sufficient recommendation for it; but, in addition to that, we most earnestly recommend it to every medical student who is about to attend lectures in London, or who is preparing himself for an examination at the College of Surgeons, or at the Apothecaries' Hall; as it gives every account which is requisite respecting the laws and regulations necessary to be observed before a diploma or a certificate is obtainable.

LITERARY NOTICES.

Mr. BANKS, author of the Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England, has in the press, and nearly ready for pub. lication, a Supplemental Volume to that work, which, exclusively of much novel and interesting genealogy, will contain an Index to the three other volumes, and thereby render the whole a complete edition.

Memoirs of the Life of J. P. Kemble, esq. including a History of the Stage, from the time of Garrick to the present Period. By J. Boaden. 2 vols. 8vo.

Travels among the Arab Tribes inhabiting the Countries East of Syria and Palestine. By James Buckingham, esq. author of Travels in Palestine, &c. 4to. with Illustrations.

The Sisters of Narsfield. A Tale for
Young Women. By the author of the
Stories of Old Daniell, &c. 2 vols. 12mo.
Lasting Impressions; a Novel. By
Mrs. Joanna Carey. 3 vols. 12mo.
Fire-Side Scenes. By the author of
Bachelor and Married Man, &c. &c.
2 vols. 12mo.

Domestic Duties, or Instructions to
Young Married Ladies on the Manage-

ment of their Household, and the Regulation of their Conduct in the various Relations and Duties of Married Life. By Mrs. Frances Parkes. 1 vol. post 8vo.

The Ninth Volume of the Annual Biography and Obituary will be published on the 1st of January, 1825.

Queen Hynde; an Epic Poem. By James Hogg, author of the Queen's Wake, Poetic Mirror, Pilgrims of the Sun, &c. &c. &c, 1 vol. 8vo.

Decision; a Tale. By Mrs. Hofland, author of Integrity, Patience, &c. 1 vol. 12mo.

Conversations on Geography and Astronomy, illustrated with Plates, Wood-cuts, &c. 1 vol. 12mo.

Music and Musicians, by Dr. Busby; 3 vols. foolscap 8vo.

Sermons and Charges, by the Right Rev. Father in God Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, D.D. late Lord Bishop of Calcutta; with Memoirs of his Life. By Henry Kaye Bonney, D.D. Archdeacon of Bedford. With portrait, &c.

An Encyclopedia of Agriculture; or the Theory and Practice of the Valua tion, Transfer, Improvement, and Ma

nagement, of Landed Property; and the Cultivation and Economy of the Animal and Vegetable Productions of Agriculture, including all the latest im. provements: a general History of Agriculture in all Countries, and a statistical view of its present state, with suggestions for its future progress in the British Isles. By J. C. Loudon, F.L.S.H.S. &c. with upwards of 600 engravings on wood, by Branston.

Muscologia Britannica; containing the Mosses of Great Britain and Ireland, systematically arranged and described; with Plates illustrative of the Character of the Genera and Species. By William Jackson Hooker, F.R.S. A.S.L. &c. and Thomas Taylor, M.D. M.R.I.A. and F.L.S. &c. In 8vo. with Plates. A Tale of Paraguay. By Robert Southey, LL.D. &c. &c. 1 vol. 12mo.

An Introduction to Entomology; or Elements of the Natural History of Insects. By William Kirby, M.A. F.R.S. and L.s.; and William Spence, esq. F.L.S. 8vo. Illustrated by coloured plates, and portraits of the authors. Vols. III. and IV. to complete the work.

Specimens (selected and translated) of the Lyric Poetry of the Minessingers, of the Reign of Frederick Barbarossa, and the succeeding Emperors of the Suabian Dynasty; illustrated by similar Specimens of the Troubadours, and other contemporary Lyric Schools of Europe. With historical, critical, and biographical remarks. 1 vol. 8vo.

The Life of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan. By Thomas Moore, esq. author of Lalla Rookh. 4to.

Time's Telescope for the Year 1825.

NEW WORKS JUST PUBLISHED.

VIEWS in Australia; or New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land delineated in Fifty Views. By J. Lycett. Part I. to V. Imperial 4to. 7s., and 10s. 6d. coloured.

The Art of French Cookery. By A. Beauvilliers, Restaurateur, Paris. In 1 vol. 12mo. 7s.

Memoirs, Anecdotes, Facts, and Opinions. Collected and preserved by Letitia Matilda Hawkins. In 2 vols. post 8vo. 11.

Practical Orthography; or, The Art of teaching Spelling by Writing. By William Bearcroft, late Master of the Academy, Kirby, Moorside. 12mo.

3s. 6d.

The Life of Shakspeare. By Augus tine Skottowe. In 2 vols. 8vo. 11. 1s. The Witch Finder. A Romance. By the Author of the Lollards, Monks of Leadenhall, &c. 3 vols. 11. 1s.

Scenes and Impressions in Egypt and in Italy. By the Author of Sketches of India, and Recollections of the Peninsula. 1 vol. 8vo. 12s.

The Two Rectors. In Ten Papers. Illustrative of the Sentiments of the Two Parties in the Church of England. In one thick vol. duodecimo. 10s. 6d. boards.

An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology. By Thomas Sandwith, Surgeon. In 1 vol. 12mo. with 12 plates. 9s.

Substance of the Speech of Sir James Mackintosh, in the House of Commons, VOL. I. PART II.

June 15th, 1824, on presenting a Petition from the Merchants of London, for the recognition of the Independent States established in the countries of America, formerly subject to Spain. 8vo. 58.

Calvinism and Arminianism compared in their Principles and Tendency. By James Nichols. In Two Parts. 8vo. 11.

A Sermon on the Death of Lord Byron. By a Layman. In 8vo. 1s. sewed.

The Hermit in Edinburgh; or, Sketches of Manners and Real Characters and Scenes in the Drama of Life. 3 vols. 18s.

Greece, in 1823 and 1824; being a Series of Letters and other Documents on the Greek Revolution. By the Hon. Colonel Leicester Stanhope. 1 vol. 8vo.

The Wanderings of Lucan and Dinah : a Poetical Romance, in Ten Cantos. By M. P. Cavanagh. With a Prefatory View of the Poem, by M. M'Dermot, Esq. 8vo. 10s. 6d.

The Spirit of the Journals for 1824; with Embellishments by the Cruikshanks, Rowlandson, Lane, Findlay, Hawksworth, and Wageman. 10s. 6d.

British Galleries of Painting and Sculpture. By C. M. Westmacott. 12s., or on royal paper, 18s.

The Ionian; or, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. By Miss Renou. vols. 11. 1s.

K K

3

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »