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chiefy produced from the vegetable itself; and we want a much greater variety of experiments, than Dr. Home has made on this subject, to ascertain the source of the acids procured. by distilling peat. It may be proper to add, that every kind , of moss is not very fufceptible of the putrefactive fermentation; but we need neither to have recourse to the oil or the. acid, to accourt for the preservation of wood in such fituations. If our author repeats Dr. Percival's experiments on the liquor of dung, in the Philofophical Transactions, with suitable care, he will find that it does not militate against the general rule, that rotten vegetable matter yields no salts ; and if he examines the conititution of the air, or the belt chemical writers on the subject, he will not, with Dr. Home, ascribe the virtues of alcaline salt to a vitriolated tartar, formed by extracting an acid from the atmosphere, which scarcely ever exists in it.
- The remedies for this destructive evil, which our author recommends, are, either flooding, if possible, by a neighbouring river, or compresling by a weight of earth. Draining, combined with compression, is sometimes useful ; but alone it is never effectual, nor will it fupply properly the place, of the other method. An Efex farmer, who proposes ditches gradually deepened, and thinks that draining only succeeds, yet orders the earth dug from them to be thrown on the peat: after all, the bog is deitined only for afh. The operation of Hooding is, in our opinion, more decisive of the nature of peat bogs than a chemical analysis. The water usually con-. tained in them is absorbed by the minute cells of the matted vegetable, and is rather mechanically than chemically combined. A superabundant quantity of water destroys the plant; and, though it does not quickly advance to a state of putrefaction, yet it seems not very remarkable for an oppofite quality. Bogs of this kind are sooner covered with a vegetable mould than we can account for by the deposition of earth from water alone; and we think the now destruction of trees, in similar bogs, to be in a great measure owing to the exclusion of the air, and the uniform moisture in which they are preserved. Alternate wet and drying is most fatal to wood of every kind. The effect of pressure is certainly owing to the destruction of the vegetable, either from the weight, or by pressing out the contained water. Mr. Turner uses earth and Itones; but prefers a proportion of lime-Itone, which acts also as a proper manure.
On the whole, we would recommend this study to able chemists. Our author has furnished facts, which will mare, rially aslift them; and what he has advanced from experience,
refpe&ting the methods of reclaiming peat bogs, is very valuable. He would have been more successful in his pursuits, if he had advanced farther in chemical knowlege.
A Discourse on the Institution of a Society for enquiring into the
Hiftory, Civil and Natural, the Antiquities, Arts, Sciences, and Literature of Afa; and a Hymn to Camdeo. By Sir
William Jones. 410. Is. 6d. Payne. IF F the elegance, the learning, and the judgment of Sir
William Jones were not already known, we might be more diffuse in our commendations: it is sufficient now to obferve," that neither the Discourse on the Institution of the Asiatic' Society, nor the Charge to the Grand Jury, at Calcutta, suliy the author's former reputation. The extensive designs sketched by the bold and animated pencil of an enthusiastic admirer of Afiatic literature, may not perhaps be wholly filled up; but this is no fault:'a vaft design may terrify an individual, though a fociety, by its united efforts, may rise fupe. rior to its magnitude. How grand and ftupendous is the following plan!
• It is your design, I conceive, to take an ample space for your learned'investigations, bounding them only by the geo-, graphical limits of Afia; fo that, confidering Hindoftan as a centre, and turning your eyes in idea to the north, you have, on your right, many important kingdoms in the eastern penin fula--the ancient and wonderful empire of China, with all her Tartarian dependencies; and that of Japan, with the cluster of precious islands, in which many fingular curiosities have too long been concealed. Before you lies that prodigious chain of mountains, which formerly, perhaps, were a barrier against the violence of the fea; and beyond them, the very interesting country of Tibet, and the vast regions of Tartary, from which, as from the Trojan horfe of the poets, have issued fo many consummate warriors, whose domain has extended at least from the banks of the Hissus to the mouths of the Ganges. On your left are the beautiful and celebrated provinces of Iran or Persia'; the unmeasured, and perhaps un. measurable, deserts of Arabia'; and the once flourishing kingdom of Yemen, with the pleasant isles that the Arabs have subdued or colonized ; and farther westward, the Asiatic dominions of the Turkish sultans, whose moon seems approaching rapidly to its wane.-By this great circumference the field of your useful researches will be inclosed : but fince Egypt had unquestionably an old connexion with this country, if not wish China--fince the language and literature of the Abyssinians bear a manifest affinity to those of Asia-fince the Arabian arms prevailed along the African coast of the Me. diterranean, and even erected a powerful dynasty on the continent of Europe--you may not be displeased occafionally to follow the itreams of Asiatic learning a little beyond its natural boundary: and if it be necessary or convenient that a fort name or epithet be given to our society, in order to distinguish it in the world, that of Asiatic appears both clashcal and proper, whether we consider the place or the object of the inftitution, and preferable to Oriental, which is in truth a word merely relative, and, though commonly used in Europe, conveys no very diftinct idea.'
We indeed felt, at the introduction, how much ridicule might affect the most serious subjects. • When I was at sea last August, says our author, I perceived, by the observations of the day, that India lay before us, and Persia on our left, while a breeze from Arabia blew nearly on our stern.' Perhaps this exordium is too much ornamented : few readers will forget my Father Shandy's quotation, when my Uncle Toby thought his description real, and charitably concluded, that, if he was not the wandering Jew, he had lost his senses.
The Charge to the Grand Jury is clear, judicious, and dignified. It is the language of an interpreter, not of the perverter of the laws; of an impartial judge, not of a biaffed advocate. Laws, indeed must be necessarily general rules ; and it is the province of the judge to apply these general rules to particular cases. If they sometimes seem to injure those whom they ought to protect, it arises from a concurrence, of circumstances, which the best legislator could not prevent, because the wiseft could not foresee them.
• The use of law, says our author, as a science, is to prevent mere discretionary power, under the colour of equity ; and it is the duty of a judge to pronounce his decisions, not fimply according to his own opinion of justice and right, but according to prescribed rules. It must be hoped that his own reason generally approves those rules; but it is the judgment of the law, .not his own, which he delivers. Were judges to decide by their bare opinions of right and wrong-opinions always unknown,, often capricious, sometimes improperly biassed to what an arbitrary tribunal would men bę subject ! in how dreadful a state of slavery would they live ! -Let us be fatisfied, gentlemen, with law, which all who please may understand; and not call for equity in ips popular sense, which differs in different men, and must at beit be dark and uncertain,'
In the Hymn, which is subjoined to these orations, we perceive a furprifing connexion between the Hindù mythologs and that of Rome. Our author attributes it to the Etruscans, from whom a great part of the religion of Rome was derived, and whose fyftem had a near affinity with that of the Persians and Indians. Whatever may be its source, the resemblance is striking, and the stories are related with all the wild imagery, and luxuriant language, peculiar to the poetry of the Eart. We may reasonably expećt to enlarge our stock of poetical imagery, as well as of history, from the labours of the Asiatic Society, If well-directed, and we have no reason to doubt it, they will be enabled, in a fuperior degree, to combine the useful and the pleafing. We Mall select one stanza as a specimen of this poem, but muft premise that Krijhen is this Apollo, and Mahadeo the Jupiter of the Hindoos; the Gopia are the Eastern Muses,
. Can men refift thy pow'r, when Krishen yields,
But when thy daring arm untam’d
Told his deep dread in bursts of thunder ;
Blaz'd forth, which never muft expire.' We shall take leave of the present collection, by expressing our wishes, that this useful design may be successfully executed,
The Frogs. A Comedy. Translated from the Greek of Arifto
phanes, by C. Dunfter, 4. M. 410. 35. 64. Rivington. 17 T has been observed, that translators and commentators ge.
nerally become partizans in favour of the original author : that they exalt his merits beyond their proper pitch, and ftu. diously cast a veil over his defects. Such à mode of conduct is not to be attributed to a wilful design of milleading their reader's judgment; it is founded in nature, and originates from a better principle, the innate sensations of gratitude for the pleafure which attended their labours, whether the succeis was real or imaginary. From this good-natured error, the present writer feems not entirely free. He observes that the elegance of Aristophanes' language, the brilliancy of his wit, and the poignancy of his fatire, have been universally admired."
But Plutarch has asserted, that he wiote chiefly to please the vulgar; that he affected a style obscure and licentious; that it was sometimes pom pous, and often mean and puerile. He has pointed out many other defects, but we think with too great severity, in order to elevate the character of Menander, and Sometimes possibly from not entering thoroughly into the spirit of Aristophanes, who abounds in parodies, and often designedly blends the vulgar and sublime, to strengthen his ridicule. The author likewise tells us, that
• The design of Aristophanes in his writings was chiefly a moral one, though occasionally ill-directed and divested from its object to serve party-purposes, or gratify some personal pique or resentment. His comedies are a very bold and gene. ral satire on the misconduct of his countrymen.'
We allow the last position ; but if by ' moral design,' this gentleman means inculcating the duties of life, we have observed very few passages of that kind, but many of a contrary tendency. If those works were honoured with a place under the pillow of the great Chryfoftom,' we do not think it redounds much to the saint's credit. Though their' panegyric has been highly sounded by the learned Scaliger,' the following passage seems to thew, whatever opinion he held of their author's abilities, he entertained no very favourable one of the virtues of his heart, or benevolence of his intention. • Veteris quidem comediæ argumenta omnia sulsa, festiva, mordacia, maledica; ut quocunque verbo pronuntiato, illico capiatur occafio ad aliquid fubfannadum. - Quid alii in eâ parte valuerint, quia nihil extet, parum conftat : quantus fuerit Ariftophanes, satis ex ejus scriptis patet. Nihil ferè a quoquam dicitur, quod non ad alicujus perniciem accommoderur.' Poet. I, iii.- The principal design in most of his comedies seems to be, though various other objects of satire are occafionally pursued, to expose those demagogues of Athens to ridicule and deteftation, who were enemies to himself, or the party with which he was connected. Consequently he ought to be considered chiefly as a political writer : his abuse is of a fimilar nature, though more highly seasoned with wit, than that we now meet with in a party news-paper : it is sometimes fly and allusive, but generally gross and personal; and we doubt not the Athenians were equally as well pleased to hear their superiors traduced, as our own countrymen. It has been the cuilom to compare Foote with Aristophanes; but we think Fielding, in his political dramas, bears, on the whole, a stronger resemblance : they breathe his very spirit; have the fame characteristic wildness of plot; the same keenness and