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tampering with the rights of the people, and changing the order of proceedings in courts of justice. Even where no temporary or party motive has prevailed, the judges and law-officers of the Crown have not been idle in the invention of crimes; and one statute, passed in 1803, created somewhere about a dozen new felonies, while it converted a felony into a misdemeanor. In such a state of things, to set up a cry about innovation, and meet solid arguments in favour of a measure, with the observation that it is a change of the former law, seems a method of proceeding hardly consistent with good faith. It would be far better to state it at once as an objection, that the proposed amendment of the law, is in favour of the rights of the subject; tends to promote free discussion, and to check publick abuses; and all this without vesting any patronage in the government, by the creation of new places, or conferring additional powers upon the Judges, by extending their discretion. This objection would be as intelligible, and much more consistent; and it would certainly be an honest one. In the mean time, we are content to leave the reasonings contained in these pages to the decision of the enlighted cultivators of juridical science, who will never be scared by a mere clamour; and we take leave of the subject for the present, in confident expectation, that, sooner or later, these reasonings will produce a practical effect.

ART. VII. Introduzione alla Geologia, di Scipione Breislak, Amministratore ed Ispettore de' Nitri e delle Polveri del Regno d'Italia. 2 tom. 8vo. Milano. 1811.

WE lately laid before our readers a short analysis of the valuable work of M. Brocchi on the Mineralogy of the A

There have been instances even of changes in the law of libel, to make it somewhat more consonant to common sense. Thus, the niceties of the old authorities are now disregarded; and the rule of taking every thing in miliorem sensum was deservedly put down by Lord C. King, in Rex v. Mathews, 9 St. Tr. 710. The greatest change in this branch of the law, however, was not a very great improvement, namely, allowing the truth to be pleaded in bar of the civil action. Formerly, as appears from a dictum of Lord Hard. wicke in 1735, (in Rex v. Robarts, B. R. Trin. 8 Geo. 2.), the truth could only be given in mitigation of damages, and under the general issue; the method proposed at present, with the addition of a notice to the plaintiff.

pennines. Since that time we have had occasion to take up the present work, written by another man of science of the same country; who, while he differs greatly from M. Brocchi in the tenor of his theoretical opinions, is equally commendable for the zeal and industry which he has uniformly manifested in the cause of science. In the 7th Number of our Journal, we reviewed a former work by M. Breislak, entitled, Voyage Physique et Lithologique dans la Campanie; and, on the whole, found much reason to be satisfied with the accurate and scientific information he afforded us, as to the volcanic mineralogy of that remarkable region. Since this period, we have in a great degree lost sight of his labours; and we now hail him as a friend, reappearing after a long absence. It is true, indeed, that the volumes before us were published in Italy five years ago, and that a French translation of them, by M. Bernard, was printed at Paris in 1813; but it is only lately that we have received the original Italian work; and we believe that it is yet but very partially known to the scientific men of this country.

Indeed, it may be remarked, that an acquaintance with the state of science, literature, and the arts, in modern Italy, is only just beginning to revive amongst us, after the long and sullen period of war that has recently come to an end. During the last twenty years, we have received from that fine country little more than the bulletins of battles and sieges; and the rapidly changing history of dynasties and governments overthrown or restored. Even these, too, have generally reached us through the medium of France; and the Italians have not even been allowed to convey to posterity the narrative of the events which have agitated their native land. Almost all the notices we have procured during this interval, as to the state of science in Italy, have come to us through the same channel; and but for the occasional labours of a zealous academician, or the more splendid results which attended these researches in the new science of Voltaic electricity, it might have been thought that all such knowledge was verging to extinction, in the country which once produced a Galileo. The singular interest which was excited by the publication of Eustace's Travels, was in some degree a proof of the long previous interruption in the intercourse between England and Italy. For though the work of that excellent and lamented man certainly contains many marks of true taste and amiable feeling, a part of its success must be attributed to the novelty of the subject at the time, and to the avidity with which, after our long separation from them, we turned again to the glowing pictures of Italy-of her scenery, ruins, and works of art-of her population, manners, and literature,

VOL. XXVII. NO. 53.

K

The course of events has at length allowed us to see these things with our own eyes; and, during the last year or two, the tide of migration has been setting southwards, with a force proportioned to the previous restraint. The English have long been peculiarly the nation of travellers; and to the causes which formerly gave them this impulse, have recently been added others, not less decided in their influence. The motive of economy is the most important of these, and one that belongs especially to the present time. That of fashion is certainly as effective as it used to be; possibly more so that of idleness and ennui embraces perhaps the same proportion of the community as heretofore. But to these causes we think we may fairly add, a greater degree of information in English society at large; a more active and enlightened spirit of curiosity; and a taste for what is beautiful in nature and art, more extensively diffused than it was half a century ago. We trust that we are not carrying these terms of panegyric too far; and that the modern race of our travellers in Italy, as well as elsewhere, will justify the expectation we have formed, and which we now venture to express. We certainly do not look for a volume of new discoveries from that country; but there is much yet to be told by an intelligent observer, of what relates to its natural history; the present moral and intellectual state of its population; and the influence which recent events have had in changing or modifying their condition. We should rejoice to see any work which might accomplish these objects; and we are quite certain, that there are many among our travelled countrymen perfectly qualified to produce it.

But to return to the work before us.-We learn from the title-page, that at the time of its publication Breislak was resident in Milan, as director of the public manufactory of nitre for the kingdom of Italy. This kingdom now exists no longer; but the Regno Lombardo-Veneto has become a partial substitute for it, in the most modern distribution of Italy; and we are well satisfied to hear that the Austrian government, to which the new kingdom appertains, has allowed him to retain the si tuation he before held in this country. We confess it to be an object of interest with us, that Milan, the capital of the north of Italy, should preserve, as far as possible, the advantages it had acquired during the last twelve years, even amidst the op pressions and burdens of unceasing war. Rendered the seat of government for a territory peopled by six millions of native ItaTians, and receiving the impulse of new national institutions, and of great public works, it rose above the calamities of the time, and made rapid progress in all that constitutes the greatness and dignity of a metropolis. It would scem that science

more especially, was beginning to derive encouragement from the aids afforded to it; and the information we have collected from recent travellers in this part of Italy convinces us, that it was here we were to look for the serious revival of such studies among the Italians. The names of Volta, Moscati, Oriani, Cæsaris, Breislak, Brocchi, Pini, Rasori, with several others which have reached us by report, may be considered as belonging almost exclusively to Milan, and in the department of science alone. Two excellent observatories, three rich and extensive. mineralogical collections, (one the property of Breislak himself), a school of mines, an academy, together with several other scientific institutions, gave impulse and vigour to the progress of these pursuits. New periodical works were set on foot; * and the constant intercourse with France afforded facilities of very great importance to the savans of the north of Italy. It is true, that these circumstances were not exclusively the creation of the period to which we have referred; but they certainly derived a new character from the political state of Lombardy during that time, and held out a fairer augury than heretofore, of the advancement and future prosperity of the Italian people.

We cannot venture, from our present information, to speak very decidedly as to the effects of the recent changes in the north of Italy, on the condition of things just described. We feel ourselves compelled, however, to surmise unfavourably on the subject. The changes made have all been such as to impair the unity of national character, which was rapidly growing among this people. The title of kingdom, indeed, is preserved; but its boundaries are contracted on every side, and scarcely more than three mil lions of people are now placed under the shelter of this name. In all that concerns the internal government, and the administration of justice, we understand that the influence of the native population is diminished; and the fetters of a provincial

* We have received the names of the following periodical works, among others more academic in their characters, which belong particularly to the north of Italy.

Collezione d'Opuscoli Scientifici e Letterarie:

Il Giornale di Giurisprudenza Universale.

Giornale della Società Medico-Chirurgica di Parma.

Annali di Medicina Straniera.

Giornale Enciclopedico.

Memorie della Società Medica d' Emulazione.

Lo Spettatore ossia Varietà Istoriche, Letterarie, Critiche, &c: Bibliotheca Italiana, ossia Giornale di Letteratura, Scienze, ed Arti.

system imposed again upon those, who had, or fancied they had, acquired some degree of national independence. Names, too, have a sovereign influence, not only with individuals, but with communities of people. The title of kingdom of Italy acted as a talisman on Italian feelings that of the LombardVenetian kingdom' is a poor and paltry coinage, which will scarcely pass into the currency of language; and, if it excite any feelings or remembrances at all, must obviously lead to those which are hostile to the present system of things.

We must again, however, recal ourselves from this digression, to the work of M. Breislak. The geological question between the advocates for fire and water, which has excited, and continues to excite so much active controversy in Germany, France and England, has been carried into Italy also; and our author may be considered as the most zealous champion of the Plutonic cause in the latter country. His researches have led him through various districts of volcanic country; and not only his opinions, but his manner of controversy also, appears to have taken something of its character from this source. Even in the preface to his work, he commences his attack on the system and doctrine of Werner, in terms which may not perhaps be deemed perfectly courteous by the advocates of the school of Freyberg.

Alcuni principi assai vaghi ed incerti di quella scuola, molte idee indeterminate, come lo è il più o meno, il poco o molto, una nomenclatura misteriosa, priva d'ogni significato ragionevole, quanto aspra alla pronunzia, altrettanto difficile a ritenersi dalla memoria, molte decisioni assolute, appoggiate solo all'autorità, mancanti d'argomenti validi, e fondate al più sopra qualche osservazione isolata, contradetta da altre moltissime che si dissimulano, formano un corpo di dottrina che sembra fatto per allontanare dallo studio della geologia quelli che amano di ragionare. Questra dottrina, propagata da cento penne, altre buone ed altre cattive, è già penetrata in Francia ed in Inghilterra, ed ora cerca d'insinuarsi ancora in Italia. E necessario dunque che gl'Italiani siano prevenuti ond'essere guardinghi e cauti sopra la medesima, e che si avvezzino a riconoscere ciò che v' è di buono, che certamente è molto, nella mineralogia ed anche nella geologia di osservazione, abbandonando per à ciò che v' è di strano e di assurdo nella parte sistematica.'

While admitting, in part, the justice of many of these expressions, we cannot forbear smiling at the sericusly moral tone with which M. Breislak cautions his countrymen against the sinful and dangerous heresy of the Geognosy, which is seeking to make its way amongst them. We are obliged too to remark, that in his uniform eagerness to contradict the tenets of this school, and to establish the sacred cause of fire, he very often deviates from the course implied in the title of his work,

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