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He was born in 1726, in the parish of Hackney.
High Water, Morn. III. 23 m.—Aft. III. 47 m.
The weather, according to Francis Mogre, is about this time changeable, with rain or snow.
Anniversary Chronology.—On this day, 1733, died at Hackney, Dr. Bernard Mandeville, author of the " Fable of the Bees," and other works, more ingenious than useful. Mandeville's works are the great arsenal, whence the fallacious arguments against the utility of universal education are usually drawn.
1766. Expired at Bath, James Quin, the well-known actor. He instructed the late king in the pronunciation of his mother tongue,,for which he received a pension during his life."
1793. Louis XVI., king of the French, was beheaded ai Paris!
Retirement is often attended with as many troubles and perplexities as the most active life. . An envious neighbour, a woman of whom one is a little jealous, the necessity of meeting at our table a person we do not like, will keep one in a constant State of misery and irritation, and is far more vexing and wearying than the incessant calls of the most active vocation. j
. BIG BOOKS. .,
The practice of making big books is certainly on the decline: writers do not spread their thoughts through numerous and bulky folios as in the days of Prynne. The substitution of fact for theory, of the experimental, for imaginative philosophy, has been fatal to voluminous authorship. Thoughts or short essays will contain all that is new which even powerful minds can communicate on most subjects. Great books can only be compilations: Smith might have compressed all that is original in the" Wealth of Nations" into 50 pages, and Malthus all the original matter of his work on population into much less.
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London: Printed by A. APPLEGATH, Stamford Street, for THOMAS BOYS, No. 7, Ludgate Hill, to whom all Commu nications (free of expense) arc requested to be addressed ; and sold also by all Booksellers, Newsmen, and Venders in Town and Country.—Published every Saturday.
One of the ancient mansions that embellish the Cornish confines, is a part of the demesnes of Ordulph, called the great duke of Devon, in the Saxon and Norman times. The ducal dwelling is situated in the park, about half a mile from Launceston, though the enclosure extends a considerable way into the parish of Black Torrington, in Devonshire. The present house was originally built by the celebrated sir Francis Drake, during the reign of queen Elizabeth, who sold it to sir William Morrice. It afterwards came into the Bedford family, and ultimately to the dukes of Northumberland, who have occasionally occupied it.
This house is not remarkable for its architecture ; but is very advantageously situated, being surrounded by a well wooded park, commanding very extensive views of the finest parts of the adjacent country.
How nobly does this venerable wood,
The armour of the great duke of Ordulph, was for several centuries hung up in the parish church of the village of Werrington.
"0 how fortunate would it have been for the church of God, and how many mischiefs would have been prevented, had the aspects and qualities of the heavenly bodies been predicted by learned men, and been known to the prince* and prelates of those times! There would ;not then have been so great a slaughter of Christians, nor would so many wretched souls have been sent to hell lM — Roger Bacon's Opus Majus, p. 253.
Thus exclaims the immortal Roger Bacon; and astronger proof of the un
*. i' [ limited'faith, which ia the early ages was put in astrology, cannot be adduced. Tree as we are from the shackles of prejudice, it appears almost impossible to conceive, that any human being could be found so credulous, as to believe, that among the stars of heaven were visibly written the uncontroulable destinies of mankind; and therefore we have usually been accustomed to consider astrology, rather as a superstition of the vulgar, than is a general matter of belief. The words we have just quoted prove directly the reverse ; for Bacon was perhaps the most learned philosopher of his age; and, besides, we have historical authority for affirming, that at the same time itreceived" an equally implicit credence in the palace and in the cottage. At the birth of a prince, or a grandee, the most learned men in the nation were employed in casting his nativity; and instances even occur of a whole people being elated with joy, and plunged into- grief, according to the results which the astrologers predicted from a calculation of their horoscopes.
When we bestow, however, more mature consideration on this subject, astrology will be found a much more natural and pardonable error than at first sight it appears, The human mind, if properly trained, is capable of yielding its belief almost to any thing, but that more especially, if, by it, we propose to compass any end we may have in view. Now,we have implanted in our nature an instinctive desire to pry into futurity; and any project which promises to gratify this passion, is sure to arrest the attention, and subsequently to gain the willing belief of mankind. Conscious that we of ourselves possess no power adequate to draw aside the veil which divides futurity from the present, when any one exclaims that he is able to pass this mysteiicus boundary, we are much more ready to listen to the tale of wonders he unfolds, than to extinguish our hopes of gratification, by questioning the probability of his story. If we should appear to have overrated the intensity of this principle of onr nature, and the force with which it acts, we have only to appeal to the auguries of the Romans, by which were decided, from the appearance of the entrails of an animal, questions on which often their very existence as a people ultimately depended. If human reason could confide in the grossnessof a superstition such as this, who will not believe that it flowed from, a principle of our nature, to repose belief in a study which led to the same results, but dignified with the imposing decorations of science, and raised above the comprehension of men,.
by a gibberisfh mysterious and unintelligible: History records many instances of perverted reason, much more difficult to reconcile with our nature than this, and that too without departing from the annals of philosophic research. Did not a philosopher of old suppose the universe to be encompassed with an immense zone of fire, enclosed in a sort of tube, of which the sun is a portion visible to us, through an aperture like the hole of a flute, and which hole, by being stopped, produces an eclipse! Did not even the renowned Kepler maintain comets to be huge animals swimming round the sun, like fishes, by the help of fihs, and that the air engendered them "by an animal faculty? Every reader is capable of finishing- this catalogue from his own experience; but if we were disposed to show from one individual instance, that the speculations of astrology are even as science itself, when compared with other vagaries of human reason, we would only place the studies of astrologers, side by side with the atrocities which mark the times when witchcraft was believed as firmly as revelation.
The invention of astrology is generally ascribed to the Chaldeans, though many, among whom is La Place, derive it from the Egyptian priesthood. It is on all hands conceded, however, that it is of eastern origin, and it is equally certain that in those unclouded climes, which gave birth to astronomy, it made an integral part of that sublime science. We are told, that when the early astronomers were intent on tracing the paths and periods of the heavenly bodies, they discovered " constant and settled relations of analogy" between them and things below; and hence were led to conclude these to be the pares,—the destinies so much talked of, which preside at our birth, and dispose? of our future state. "The laws therefore of this relation being ascertained by a series of observations, and the share each planet has therein ; by knowing the precise time of any person's nativity, they were enabled, from their knowledge in astronomy, to erect a scheme, or horoscope, of the situation of the planets at this point of time; and hence, by considering their degrees of power and influence, and how each was either strengthened or tempered by some other, to compute what must be the result thereof." Such were the arguments (if arguments they may be called) on which astrologers founded their science, and they were found sufficiently powerful to bow the neck of human reason.
In Europe, France appears always to have been the strong hold of astrology, and a sketch of its condition in that country,
"is quite sufficient to show in what light it was viewed at the same period over all the rest of Europe. Whether it was that the genius of the people was such as to incline them to yield a more implicit coniidence in its predictions, or that the physicians, with whom principally lay the study of astrology in those days, were more learned, and better fitted to give it an air of demonstration, by coupling it with scientific observations, is uncertain, but the fact is indubitable, that it was fostered by the French monarchs with .equal care as physic, astronomy, and the other useful sciences.
The French historians tell us, that in the time of Catherine de Medicis, astror logy was so much in vogue that the most inconsiderable thing was not to be done without consulting the stars; and during the reignsof Henry III. and IV. of France, the predictions of astrology were the common theme of court conversation. Charles the Wise, however, was the greatest and most munificent patron of the study. He caused all the books which had any relatioK to it to be collected and translated; and moreover, founded a college for the study of physic and astrology, in favour of Gervase Chretien, a great adept in these sciences. As a proof how deep into the heart of this monarch a conviction of the truth of astrology had sunk, his] last moments were embittered by a prediction, that the dauphin " would have much to do in his youth, and would escape great dangers and adventures." The great novelist of the north has not let this trait of French history escape his observation, and in Quentin Durward has shown us, that a belief in astrology may work as powerfully on the human intellect as devotion itself.
The decline of astrology may, perhaps, be dated from the time that the Ptolemean system, with which it was interwoven, began to be exploded. The eyes of men were then opened to the fact, that astrologers, in their infallible predictions, had been proceeding on a very fallible basis; and probably, also, the same impetus which overthrew the Aristotelian philosophy, may have spent some part of its force in overturning the ruins of astrology. At all events, from that period it ceases to attract our attention in history, and, as a" system, may be said to be thereafter virtually no more; yet that same spirit, which originally gave it birth, has succeeded in cherishing to this day some of its embers ; for at this moment there are many in the lower ranks whose faith in such matters is not thrown into the shade, even by that of Charles the Wise himself.
PAROCHIAL PSALMODY IV THE
Pep.haps there is not a better criterion .of the advances which this nation has made towards refinement within the last half century, than the general diffusion, among the middling classes of society, of a knowledge of the principles and practice of music. Our royal academy of music is but a recently formed institution, but we have long had, at our national theatres and concerts, some of the first performers in Europe, both native and foreign. No expense is spared to engage a favourite performer; and crowded houses—while they amply repay the most exorbitant professional salaries—give ad7 ditional proofs of an increasing musical taste in the people.
Compared with these facts, the present state of our parochial psalmody furnishes a curious and striking anomaly: that the highest and noblest branch of the science, the devotional part of it, should be left to an indifferently paid organist, and a few uninstructed charity children, must astonish every one who has thought on the subject, and awaken inquiry as to the causes of this extraordinary phenomenon. In endeavouring to account for it, it may be necessary to look back to the time when the present church ritual was introduced. When the mass of the Roman church was abolished, (a service abounding in music,) the first reformers saw how superior in attraction that service was rendered by its exquisite music; they therefore appointed part of the new ritual to be " said or sung," and the psalms weie pointed for chanting; directions were also placed in the rubric when the "anthem" was to be performed; and how far these directions, when acted upon, improve the church service, may still be seen in our cathedrals. But when Puritanism swept away, like a flood, all the "pomp and circumstance]" of devotion, anthems and chants shared the fate of better things: nothing that' "savoured of popish idolatry " could be tolerated, and the " lifting up a godly psalm" was all that could be permitted to the faithful in the way of musical devotion.
The Restoration brought back with it the old liturgy, but the modifications and alterations destroyed the better part of the melody; it is true "Thomas Sternhold, John Hopkins, and others," were still in their former station, redolent with " eke" and " also," but the puritanical party was too strong to permit a nearer approach to "papistry " in the form of a regularchoir. So it continued till the new version of Brady and Tate appeared, backed by a royal order, to sing it in preference to the old; and a few years afterwards bishop Porteus made the wretched state of parochial psalmody the | subject of an excellent charge, which appears to have produced very little, if any, effect.
That so much apathy should prevail on the interior attractions of places of worship, seems hardly reconcilable with the present lively zeal manifested, not only in favour of building new churches, but their external embellishment.
It is to be hoped that ere long some public-spirited individuals will take up the matter, that some means may be adopted to remove, very speedily, what may justly be termed—a national disgrace.
%tbitio anIi &nalj'sts.
A BRIEF NiSRATIVE OF AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO REACH REPULSE BAY THROUGH SIR THOMAS ROWE's WELCOME, IN HIS MAJESTY'S SHIP GRIPER. BY CAPTAIN G. F. LYON, R. N. LONDON,
8vo. pp. 198.
Nature can hardly be accused of reserve in laying open her treasures, and apparently those objects are only placed beyond our reach, the possession of which would neither add materially to the stock of useful, information, nor the sources of human enjoyment. Truths, we find, the most generally useful, are the most simple and attainable—food, the most wholesome and necessary, is most diffused and abundant—and no insurmountable barrier opposes our access to countries, the productions of which are particularly necessary and valuable. It is only mysteries, the solution of which would probably disappoint expectations, or, like the famed apples of the East, resolve into dust and bitterness—and bleak,inhospitable regions, that baffle human curiosity and enterprise. The Polar Circle falls strictly under this description; it seems an unfinished part sf nature's work, which she is determined, by barriers of ice, of darkness, and desolation, to shroud from the prying scrutiny of Man.
We do not, however, rank among those who find fault with our late northern expeditions, thinking them comparatively useless, and fraught only with toil and danger to the intrepid and indefatigable adventurers. Remarkable facts in science have already resulted from exploratory voyages in the Arctic regions; and although we have now learnt enough to be convinced, that a north-west passage into the Indian seas can never be valuable to the purposes .of commercial navigation,
yet it is assuredly worthy'the ambition df the first maritime power in the world to make the trifling sacrifice the object requires, to ascertain the geography of these unknown countries, and put at rest this long-disputed problem in nautical science. What we complain of is, that this great geographical inquiry is not pursued on a more extended scale; we'have a numerous navy—brave and skilful officers—all unemployed, and why should we not at once fit out a dozen, or even a score expeditions, to explore every inlet, bay, gulf, and opening, that offers the least chance of success. The expense would be inconsiderable, and certainly not worth mentioning m these piping times of peace and prosperity.
Captain John Dundas Cochrane, the celebrated pedestrian tourist, has recently thrown out ideas on this subject not unworthy of attention. He proposes an attempt should be made from the west instead of the east, to circumnavigate the North American continent. An expedition sailing from Kamtschatka, and attempting a north-east passage by Behring's Straits, would possess peculiar advantages. It ;is now certain that Cape Prince of Wales, in Behring's Straits, is a part of the continent of America, as are also Cape Lisburne and Icy Cape: with a knowledge of this fact, an expedition from the westward would always have the consolation of knowing that they were coasting along continental land, where relief, in most cases, would be at hand ; whereas, from the eastward, such is the perplexity arising from a series of straits, gulfs, inlets, channels, and sounds, that the most skilful navigator does not know where to " prick for a passage."
The prosecution of a voyage by Behring's Straits is still more strongly recommended by the circumstance, that we know of a half-way house, as Melville Island may be called, and an outlet from the Polar Sea into Baffin's Bay, Why not let a ship push for Melville Island from Behring's Straits 1 If she succeeded, although she was obliged to return the same way, the task would be accomplished —the geography of the question would be settled, and nothing would remain to be done in a maritime view of the case.
But the most unanswerable argument in favour of north-east expedition from Asia, arises from a consideration of the known course of the currents. Every expedition which has been sent from this country up Baffin's Bay and Davis's Straits, as also that under captain Franklin, has noticed the perpetual currents setting from the Polar basin into Baffin's Bay; captains Ross and Parry found them upon the first, as did the latter on his two