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NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The following articles, which we have been under the necessity of postponing, shall, if possible, appear in our next:- Car-Rock Stone Beacon'“On the study of some branches of Natural History'— Attack upon Bergenop-Zoom'--' Danger of Early Attachments, a Tale;'-Continuations of the View-Hunter--Greek Tragedy-and Scottish Gypsies ;-Reviews of 'Grenfell's Speech'-of the ‘Life of William Hutton'-of Miss Edgeworth's Comic Dramas'-and of Colman’s ‘ Eccentricities for Edinburgh.'
The communications upon ‘The Origin and Descent of the Gael'- Etymology of the Alphabet'—- Isle of Man'- Dangers of Good Fortune'- Origin of the Gypsies' — Story of Colonel M Gregor' - Valley of the Voice of Fear,' and a number of poetical pieces, are under consideration.
Besides the paper by Candidus,' noticed in our last, we have received various communications upon Dr Spurzheim's system or rather upon the controversies to which it has given rise. Two of these now before us are ably written, but nevertheless inadmissible. They are opposite in their views of the subject, but equally objectionable on account of frequent and invidious personal reflections. We have no objection to insert another paper on Craniology, but only on condition that the subject be treated exclusively upon its own merits, -as a philosophical discussion, and not as a party quarrel.
We have just received a valuable communication, entitled, On sitting be low the Salt, and the Stewarts of Allanton.' This able vindication of that ancient family was too late for our present Number, but it shall occupy a prominent place in our next.
From the press of materials requiring immediate attention, and the length of our Review branch, we have been obliged to leave over, till next month, the very excellent paper (already in types) entitled “ Cursory Remarks on Music,' and likewise our Select Extracts and Antiquarian Repertory.
Notices from England, of Works preparing for Publication, &c. for inser tion in this Work, are requested to be given in to our London Publishers before the last day of each month.
A Second Edition of No I. is put to press, and will be ready in a few days. No IV, will be published in Edinburgh on the 21st of July, and in London
on the 1st of August.
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE WERNERIAN
NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF
to this view, it will be well to illustrate its truth, and to trace the insensible though progressive influence that
has been exercised on the minds of To determine the utility of Natural many, by one enlightened, zealous, History, it is scarcely necessary to do and persevering individual. more than to enumerate its various The state of mineralogical knowbranches, by which it will be seen in ledge, within the last forty years, was its most convincing form. In truth the confessedly low in every part of the correctness of this opinion requires no world, as it consisted of little more proof, since the general attention which than an acquaintance with the more has, within a few years, been excited valuable substances, and of a catalogue to the study of every department of of localities. On the continent of Eunatural knowledge, must have render, rope, the first steps towards improveed every illustration that can be offered ment were made; while, in our country, perfectly familiar to our readers. This though so rich in its mineral treasures, being the admitted fact, the impor- scarcely a work appeared, with the extance of all attempts to facilitate such ception of Williams' Mineral Kingstudies, to excite ardour, and to sti- dom, and Price's Cornwall, that conmulate exertion, will be fully appre- tained accurate observations. Yet in ciated. Under the influence of this the midst of this most deplorable ige conviction, we make no apology for norance of the works of nature, her submitting to the public the following most secret mysteries were resolved sketch of the rise, progress, and pre- with a boldness and temerity scarcely sent state of the Wernerian Natural to be surpassed by the flights of ParaHistory Society of Edinburgh, as well celsus, or of Arnoldus de Villa Nova. as a few general observations on that It would be a fruitless and unprofitbranch of natural history, to which able task to give even a sketch of these some of its most distinguished mem- whimsical, though often ingenious, bers have hitherto devoted their ta- fancies. lents. The history of this society is, The individual to whom mineralin fact, so intimately blended with the ogy is most deeply indebted, is the progress of mineralogical science in well known Werner of Freyberg. He Great Britain, as to make it impossi- has taught the vast importance of acble to notice the one and neglect the curate observation, and patient invesother. To this society, we, without tig on. He has shown, that in this hesitation, refer not only a large share science, as in every other, facts should of the enthusiasm that has been kin- not be made to bend to hypothesis ; dled, but some of the most interesting but that every man who wishes to obobservations on the internal structure tain accurate 'views, should begin his of Great Britain that have yet been career unfettered by theory,—and that presented to the world. In addition the result must be a more accurate and extensive acquaintance with the the doctrines of which the author may materials of this globe. He has fur- be considered the most illustrious ther shown, that certain relations ex- champion. Public attention having ist among these various materials, been strongly excited on these topics, and although his own particular the- by the impugning of Dr Hutton's ories, and even his views respecting creed by Professor Jameson the conindividual relations, may be occasion- test became keen; and the result has ally erroneous, yet still he is entitled been, to establish, very universally, to the high praise of having pointed the important fact, that the science of out the true mode of inquiry, and of mineralogy is only to be acquired by having given that direction to the patient labour, and that theory is as study of nature which experience has useless as contemptible, unless supshown to be decidedly good.
ported by a “cloud of facts.” While this illustrious man was si- In this state of general scientific exlently pursuing his useful career in citement, those who felt anxious to Germany, other philosophers in this render it beneficial, naturally sought country, of high talent, boldly struck for channels through which its inout general views, which, though not fluence might be judiciously directed. remarkable for accuracy, entitled their The most obvious was the establishauthors to the character of genius and ment of societies, which, while proof fancy: Dr Hutton of Edinburgh tecting and encouraging every branch took a decided lead in this matter. of natural history, would afford due He communicated his hypothetical o- support to mineralogical science in pinions to the world, first through the all its parts, whether regarded as furmedium of the Edinburgh Transac- nishing materials for the philosophic tions, and subsequently in 1795, they inquirer, or as directing the operations were republished in a separate form. of the practical mineralogist. SeveIt would be foreign to our purpose ral societies, for promoting the knowhere to criticise this ingenious theory, ledge of nature, have been long estababounding in splendid views, which, lished; yet they have been so conunfortunately, are too often unsup- fined (not indeed by their regulations, ported by facts. Had Dr Hutton but by the habits and peculiar assostudied nature, and then theorized, ciations of their leading members) that his genius would, in all probability, few have ever been bold enough to inhave illustrated many difficult points; troduce topics which, if not considered but it is obvious, from his own works, innovations, would excite little or no that he has frequently reversed this general interest. Perhaps this might order of proceeding.
arise from the scope of the older socieWhile these dazzling speculations ties being too extensive. But whatallured the votaries of Hutton, the ever may have been the cause, the efpresent Professor of natural history in fects are certain. To supply this dethe university of Edinburgh first be- fect, and to rouse a certain interest in came known to the world as a scien- the neglected though highly interesttific man, by his Mineralogy of Arran ing walks of science, was an object of and Shetland, published in 1798, and importance to every one who had perafterwards in 1801, by his Mineralogy ceived and felt the inconveniencies reof the Scottish Isles. In these works sulting from the old system. Proteshe gave a flattering earnest of his ac- sor Jameson (who may be considered curate views in the study of science, the founder of mineralogical science in and of his indefatigable zeal in the at- Great Britain) had contemplated the tainment of it. His labours are be object of this sketch soon after his refore mankind; and his success is best turn from Germany; and as the pubattested by the admiration of those lic attention had been strongly solicited who owe their scientific acquirements by his valuable works, to one departand habits to his instruction and un- ment of natural history it was conwearied enthusiasm.
sidered a favourable opportunity to About 1804, Mr Playfair's beauti- bring together, in an organized form, ful and eloquent Illustrations of the such individuals as were desirous of Huttonian Theory were first published. extending the bounds of our natural In this work, all that eloquence, fine knowledge in general, without limittaste, and infinite ingenuity, could do, ing the tendencies of its original were united to vindicate and establish founders. Accordingly, on the 12th
January 1808, Professor Jameson, contain undeniable proofs of freedom Doctors Wright, Macknight, Barclay, of discussion. and Thomson, Colonel Fullarton, The society has now existed up. Messrs Anderson, Neill, and Walker wards of nine years, during which (now Sir Patrick Walker), held their period its records have been graced first meeting, and "resolved to associate with the names of all the most disthemselves into a society for the purpose tinguished philosophers of Europe and of promoting the study of natural his- America ; and although unaided by tory ; and in honour of the illustrious the advantages of wealth, it has silentWerner of Freyberg, to assume the name ly pursued its useful career, and has, of the Wernerian Natural History So- both directly and indirectly, contriciety.” Professor Jameson was elected buted most essentially to the well-dothe first president; Doctors Wright, ing of science. Most of the active Macknight, Barclay, and Thomson, members of this society are professionthe vice-presidents ; Mr Walker, the al men, whose daily engagements cirtreasurer; and Mr Neill, the secretary. cumscribe the sphere of their scientific Honorary and other members were utility; yet, notwithstanding this and elected and among the first of the other disadvantages, they have explorformer, the society has the honour of ed a large portion of country, -have enumerating the illustrious names of contributed several valuable papers, Werner, Sir Joseph Banks, and Kir- which have been published, besides wan. At the same time, it was re- others of equal importance, which will, solved that a charter should be ap- in due season, appear at the bar of the plied for; and accordingly, this being public. While the individual memdone, the Lord Provost and Magis- bers are thus co-operating in their eftrates of Edinburgh, by virtue of au- forts, the society, as a body, has not thority vested in them, granted the been negligent of its more immecharter on the 10th February 1808; diate duties. One complete volume of thus solemnly incorporating the so- memoirs, containing several very valciety.
uable papers, and one half volume, The objects of the Wernerian Nat- have been already published. The seural History Society are sufficiently cond half of the second volume is also defined by the resolution which we ready for publication. The merits of have extracted. They are simply the these volumes are sufficiently known general promotion of every branch of to the scientific world ; and as ananatural science; at the same time, it lyses of their contents have been is to be understood, that its fostering formerly given elsewhere, it is unnecare has, from obvious causes, hitherto cessary for us to enter into such details. been chiefly bestowed on mineralogical We trust, that the part on the eve of science. Some, who are more disposed appearing, will justify the expectations to cavil than to reflect, have objected excited by its predecessors. to the distinctive title assumed by the The course hitherto adopted by the founders of this society, as narrowing Wernerian Society has been unquesits scope. Werner, it is true, is chief- tionably good-though not so brilliant ly, if not exclusively, known in Britain as it might have been, had it possessed as a distinguished mineralogist. His some advantages not wholly unknown knowledge, however, extends to every to others. Upon the whole, however, branch of natural science, and is re- we are disposed to think that a quiet garded, by those who have possessed unobtrusive career, in which solid the singular advantage of his instruc- foundations, for future distinction and tion, as equally remarkable for its ac- lasting reputation, are laid, is to be curacy as for its extent.
preferred to that rapid course which The honourable compliment paid to dazzles for a while, but leaves no fixed his merits, as a man of science, ought and permanent impression. When, to be considered, what it really is, indeed, we recall the circumstances as analogous to similar distinctions under which it was first established, bestowed on Linnæus in this coun- when we recollect the odium which try, and on other eminent men on was attached to the very name, we the continent. The name implies no cheerfully offer the tribute so merited determination blindly to support Wer- by him, to whose intelligence, liberaliner's peculiar views--as may be shown ty, and unwearied diligence, we owe from the published memoirs, which all that true spirit of mineralogical inquiry now abroad, and which bids set up the pendulum, and the ordfair to place our country among the nance zenith sector, the workmanship first where such studies have been suc- of the late celebrated Mr Ramsden. cessfully cultivated. While we thus bes- Thus, while the experiments are cartow praise where it is due, we cannot rying on to ascertain the force of grarefrain from tendering our mite to the vity in that quarter, the observations Geological Society of London, which will be made on proper stars near to has done so much towards elucidating the zenith, hereafter to be also obthe internal structure of England. served, in finding the amplitude of the Sincerely must it be wished, by every whole meridional arc. The base, now true lover of science, that these two nearly completed in its measurement societies may cordially co-operate in by Captain Thomas Colby of the Royal their common objects. Let this be Engineers, in the vicinity of Aberthe case, and we shall anxiously apply deen, will verify the sides of the trito them the spirit of the dying address angles towards the northern part of of Father Paul to his country—“Es- our arc, connecting the Orkney Islands tote perpetuæ."
with the main land. It is probable that M. Biot and myself will leave
this quarter for Inverness (where the COMMUNICATION FROM COL. MUDGE. ordnance sector is now deposited) a( Addressed to the Publisher.)
bout the end of this month, and we
think it likely, if the weather should Edinburgh, 7th June 1817. be fair, that our operations in the OrkSIR,
neys will be finished early in August, M. Biot and myself are extremely When these observations shall be comobliged to you, and thank you for pleted, we shall proceed to Yarmouth, your politeness.
on the coast of Norfolk, which lies near In compliance with your wish to ly on the meridian of Formentera probe made acquainted with the business duced, and there we hope to be joined by which has brought us to this place, M. Arago, member of the Institute of I have the honour to inform you, that France, and one of the Commissioners in consequence of the trigonometrical of the Board of Longitude. By this survey, carried on under my direction, co-operation, having accurately ascerhaving been brought on so far into tained the latitude of this place, a nothe north as to admit of the descrip- table addition will be made to the tion of the longest meridional line pas- arc, running south from Formentera sing through Great Britain, M. Biot, to Dunkirk, independent of the great under the authority of both the French one, running north to the Orkneys; and English Governments, is arrived for we hope that the difference of in England for the purpose of doing, longitude (being only a few degrees) in the several parts of our arc, the same will not have sufficient influence to inseries of experiments that had been terfere with the importance of this last formerly done by himself and the Com- connexion. We will repeat the experimission of the Board of Longitude, ments of the pendulum at Yarmouth, at Formentera, one of the Balearic and afterwards proceed to Blackislands in the Mediterranean, and o- down, near Weymouth, to the mether stations, on the French meridian, ridional limit of the English arc, where, proceeding from thence to Dunkirk. having again observed the pendu
The object of these experiments lum, and made observations with the is, to ascertain the force of gravity at zenith sector, on the same stars as certain parts of our meridian, as con- are to be observed in the Orkneys, nected with that of France and Spain. our united operations will close with The pendulum is now erecting in Messrs Biot and Arago erecting their Leith Fort, where every convenience clock at the Royal Observatory at offers itself for the experiment, and Greenwich.
It was to be always every wish has been anticipated by the expected, that whenever peace should chief engineer,Sir Howard Elphinstone. arrive, the science of France and EngWhen the operations shall be complet- land would affiliate, and by the unit, ed, we propose to proceed to Kirkwalled operations, in this particular, dein the Orkneys, and near that place, termine the magnitude and figure of or some more convenient situation, if the earth, by experiments carried on on any such can be found, we shall again a greater scale than could be done in