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amusing work, View of the Society and Manners, &c., expresses his surprise at the liberty of speech which he witnessed in the coffeehouses of Berlin, regarding the king and his government.
It is by no means an unequivocal proof of the goodness of heart which is generally attributed to Frederick, that when every state almost of Europe, as if impelled by a simultaneous movement, determined on the expulsion of the Jesuits from their dominions, he received them with open arms, and maintained the establishments of those who had been already domiciled in his dominions. The language upon this delicate subject, of a man who had no particular feelings to bias his mind on the score of religion, who looked with an unprejudiced and an equal eye upon all the varieties of Christian professors, deserves our deepest attention.
““ Why,” said he, “ have the powers of Europe abolished these depositaries of the lore of Rome and Athens--these excellent professors of the humanities, and perhaps, I might add, of humanity; those late reverend fathers ? Education will lose by this. But as my brothers, the Catholic kings, and most Christian, and most faithful, and apostolic kings, have all driven them out, I, who am most heretic, collect as many of them as I can; and perhaps sone day they will pay court to me to get some of them. I keep up the race.
It is a blot upon the memory of Frederick, that he not only consented to, but participated in the first plunder of Poland. It is only justice, however, to state, that the portion of the partitioned kingdom which fell to his share, was sunk into the most abject condition, and that he used every means in his power to raise its inhabitants to a state of comparative plenty, civilization, and happiness.
But the end of Frederick's career now drew nigh. Although he would not credit it, bis physicians declared that he was affected with dropsy, which would prove fatal to his life. He sent for Zimmermann, who prescribed according to the best of his judgment, but whose advice and assistance were altogether counteracted by the vicious determination on which Frederick uniformly acted, to eat and drink as he chose. At the most precarious moment he insisted on a meal of eel pie, or some such dish, served up with prodigious quantities of pepper, and other indigestible materials. A few days only before his death, he commenced his dinner with a large quantity of soup, spiced to excess; this was followed by a huge quantity of beef, dressed in wine and spirits; he next partook of the Italian polenta, which is made of Turkey wheat and Parmesan cheese, is seasoned with garlick and hot spices, and is then fried in butter until a thick crust is formed upon it. Upon these strata the goodly king was not loath to build a superstructure in his stomach, consisting of an enormous plate of eel pie, which was served up so hot, that one of the persons present declared that it looked as if it had been “ baked in hell." On the 17th of August, 1786, Frederick expired, and up nearly to that day he contrived to transact, with exemplary diligence, the public business. There is but
too much reason to credit the representation of Zimmermann, that the king died a disbeliever, not merely in Christianity, but even in the immortality of the soul. If this be the case, it is only another proof of the influence which early impressions, long nurtured, will exert over the amiable and useful instincts of our nature.
Art. XI.—Mechanism of the Heavens. By Mrs. Somerville. 8vo.
pp. 621. London : Murray. 1831. There are some incidental circumstances associated with the publication before us, which very forcibly attract our interest. In the first place, it was undertaken at the instance of the present Lord Chancellor, whose judgment and acuteness in estimating the capabilities of others, cannot be very easily deceived: in the next place, this work, which treats exclusively of one of the highest and most complicated departments of science, is the production of a lady, whose laborious and protracted devotion to the intricacies of mathematical calculation, has not interfered with the discharge of those ordinary duties, which her position in society imposes upon her. In the literary and scientific circles of this and other countries, the name of Mrs. Somerville is pronounced with those expressions of respect and admiration, which her singular ability and attainments deserve. She has given no inconsiderable number of proofs that, in her person at least, the sex of which she is the ornament, labours nost unjustly under a prejudice which would assign a superior intellect to man, and would proscribe the female race from those pursuits that demand an unusual extent or number of mental faculties. The literary annals of most civilized countries, contain the names of women who have rendered themselves distinguished by great erudition. In our own country we have numerous examples of females obtaining, by superior talents and industry, a degree of acquaintance with the learned languages, such as is but rarely witnessed amongst the members of the other sex. only during the last year that the daugter of Parkhurst, the compiler of the Hebrew and Greek dictionaries, died. For several years after the death of her father, she exclusively superintended the reprinting of these learned works; and it is entirely owing to her extensive acquaintance with both those languages, that the dictionaries alluded to merit the praise of unusual accuracy. The family by which the patent of King's printer in Ireland has been held for many years, are indebted for the privilege to the classical attainments possessed by one of its female members. Constantia Grierson, under the pressure of the direst poverty, contrived to make such a progress in the knowledge of Greek and Latin, as to be able to put forth, with learned notes and comments, an edition of Terence. This she dedicated to Lord Carteret, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who, in consequence of the merits which the work displayed, but with a disregard for the public good, which would be wondered
at in any other climate in the world, conferred upon the said Constantia, in conjunction with others of her family, the valuable prerogative of printing for bis Majesty. These cases, however, exemplify a capability in the female sex, of overcoming obstacles of minor importance, compared with those which have been subdued by women in other departments of knowledge. One of the most distinguished mathematicians of the last age, was Maria Gaetana Agnesi, of whom the late Baron Maseres has left us an excellent account. This young lady, who was a native of Milan, drew upon her the attention of philosophers, together with the most powerful patronage, and she has euriched the stores of mathematical lore, with works that shed a lustre on the age and the country in which she lived.
The education of females, especially in this country, is founded upon the presumption, that the sciences and they are altogether unsuited. This may be one reason why so few of the sex become eminent in any of the various walks of literature. But there is another cause, to which the result just stated must likewise be ascribed. In the higher ranks of life, numerous attractions influence the tastes and wishes of females—and it too often happens, that these attractions lead to any thing rather than the ends of solid improvement. Wonderfully endowed, indeed, with rare qualities must that lady be who, relinquishing the ease of domestic life, or indifferent to the tempting excitements of fashion, yields up her mind to the tedious and repulsive discipline that the study of mathematics at first requires, in the hope of ultimately attaining that nobler enjoyment, which a more perfect acquaintance with the science is sure to give.
Nothing however that Mrs. Somerville has hitherto produced, places more conspicuously before our eyes, the vast progress which she has made in the most abstruse and difficult branches of geometry, or the power which she possesses of perspicuous and ingenious explanation, than the volnme now before us. In a preliminary dissertation of some seventy pages, the author copiously and clearly defines the nature of the subject, physical astronomy, which she professes to investigate. She admits that a complete acquaintance with this science cannot be expected to be attained, except by those who come to the study of it, prepared with an adequate knowledge of the higher branches of mathematics, as well as of mechanics. Still, though to such alone the whole beauty of the results is exposed, others may, without much difficulty or labour, go so far as to be able to appreciate the progress and the triumphs of the philosophers whom they cannot follow. Mrs. Somerville presents us with a general view of the motions of the heavenly bodies, and of the laws by which these motions are governed. Independently of the sublime delight which an exact knowledge of the mechanism of the heavens is capable of producing in the mind, she traces the effect of such knowledge in
many important improvements in the physical condition of the inhabitants of this earth. Astronomy has furnished invariable standards for accurately measuring duration, distance, magnitude, and velocity. Its application to chronology, as remarked by La Place, is perhaps the most interesting use, which hitherto has been made of that science. It has been observed, for instance, that the twelve signs of the Zodiac have been placed, according to the motions of the sun, amongst a series of figures, represented on the ceiling of a portico in the ruins of Tentyris, in Egypt. The position of these signs furnished the means of ascertaining the date of the building of the portico. The first figure represented the Lion, that being no doubt the constellation in which the particular year commenced. But we know from other sources, that the summer solstice was also the beginning of the Egyptian agricultural year. So that we may conclude, that at the period when these hieroglyphics were painted on the portico, the summer solstice occurred in the constellation of the Lion. Now a knowledge of the laws of the motion of the planets will enable the astronomer at once to determine, by a reference to the place where the solstice now happens, the number of years which must have passed since the solstice took place in the constellation of the Lion; or, in other words, pretty nearly the year when the temple, of which the portico is a part, was built.* A less equivocal advantage is derived from astronomical knowledge, in the adjustment of a conimon standard for weighing and measuring.
• The form of the earth,' observes the author, “furnishes a standard of weights and measures for the ordinary purposes of life, as well as for the determination of the masses and distances of the heavenly bodies. The length of the pendulum vibrating seconds in the latitude of London forms the standard of the British measure of extension. Its length oscillating in vacuo at the tenperature of 62° of Fahrenheit, and reduced to the level of the sea, was determined by Captain Kater, in parts of the imperial standard yard, to be 39,1387 inches, The weight of a cubic inch of water at the temperature of 62° Fahrenheit, barometer 30, was also determined in parts of the imperial troy pound, whence a standard both of weight and capacity is deduced. The French have adopted the metre for their unit of linear measure, which is the ten millionth part of that quadrant of the meridian passing through Formentera and Greenwich, the middle of which is nearly in the forty-fifth degree of latitude. Should the national standards of the two countries be lost in the vicissitudes of human affairs, both may be recovered, since they are derived from natural standards presumed to be invariable. The length of the pendulum would be found again with more facility than the metre ; but as no measure is mathe
* It will be observed that we are here merely abridging the statements of the author, and that we do so with a full recollection of the doubts thrown on the theory advanced by Mrs. Somerville, on the authority of La Place, by the learned and acute Cuvier, in his Researches on Fossil Osteology, which we recommend the learned reader to peruse.
matically exact, an error in the original standard may at length become sensible in measuring a great extent, whereas the error that must necessarily arise in measuring the quadrant of the meridian is rendered totally insensible by subdivision in taking its ten millionth part. The French have adopted the decimal division not only in time, but in their degrees, weights, and measures, which affords very great facility in computation. It has not been adopted by any other people; though nothing is more desirable than than that all nations should concur in using the same division and standards, not only on account of the convenience, but as affording a more definite idea of quantity. It is singular that the decimal division of the day, of degrees, weights, and measures, was employed in China 4000 years ago; and that at the time Ibn Junius made his observations at Cairo, about the year 1000, the Arabians were in the habit of employing the vibrations of the pendulum in their astronomical observations.'--pp. xlix, I.
In another place, Mrs. Somerville remarks
• In adverting to the peculiarities in the form and nature of the earth and planets, it is impossible to pass in silence the magnetism of the earth, the director of the mariner's compass, and his guide through the ocean. This property probably arises from metallic iron in the interior of the earth, or from the circulation of currents of electricity round it: its influence extends over every part of its surface, but its accumulation and deficiency determine the two poles of this great magnet, which are by no means the same as the poles of the earth's rotation. In consequence of their attraction and repuision, a needle freely suspended, whether it be magnetic or not, only remains in equilibrio when in the magnetic meridian, that is, in the plane which passes through the north and south magnetic poles. There are places where the maguetic meridian coincides with the terrestrial meridian; in these a magnetic needle freely suspended, points to the true north, but if it be carried successively to different places on the earth's surface, its direction will deviate sometimes to the east and sometimes to the west of north. Lines drawn on the globe through all the places where the needle points due north and south, are called lines of no variation, and are extremely complicated. The direction of the needle is not even constant in the same place, but changes in a few years, according to a law not yet deterinined. In 1657, the line of no variation passed through London. In the year 1819, Captain Parry, in his voyage to discover the north-west passage round America, sailed directly over the magnetic pole; and in 1824, Captain Lyon, when on an expedition for the same purpose, found that the variation of the compass was 37° 30' west, and that the magnetic pole was then situate in 60° 26' 51" north latitude, and in 80° 51' 25" west longitude. It appears however from later researches that the law of terrestrial magnetism is of comsiderable complication, and the existence of more than one magnetic pole in either hemisphere has been rendered highly probable. The needle is also subject to diurnal variations; in our latitudes it moves slowly westward from about three in. the morning till two, and returns to its former position in the evening.
• A needle suspended so as only to be moveable in the vertical plane, dips or becomes more and more inclined to the horizon the nearer it is brought to the magnetic pole. Captain Lyon found that the dip in the latitude and longitude mentioned was 86° 52'. What properties the