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ART. XII. A Letter to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Durhats,
containing fome Objervations on the Climate of Russia and the Northern Countries, &c. From John Glen King, D.D. F.R. S, and A. S. 400. 2 s. Dodfley. 1778.
HOUGH this publication contains very few observations
that will he new to the philosophical reader ; yet it may not be improper to extract from it the fubftance of some of the Author's remarks relating to the cold in Ruflia; the effects of which he must have had frequent opportunities of observing, during a refidence of eleven years in that country.
We learn from it that, at Petersbourg, during the winter months, Fahrenheit's thermometer usually finks from 8 to 15 or 20 degrees below o; that when it has stood at 25° below o, boiling water thrown up into the air by an engine, so as to fpread, falls down perfectly dry, formed into ice; that a pint of water in a bottle was frozen into a solid piece of ice in an hour and a quarter; and some strong ale, in an hour and a half, except about a tea-cup full of the spirituous and concentrated part of the liquor, which continues Auid in the middle of it;
that by means of their stoves, or ovens, the Russians suffer no hardships from the cold within doors; nay that, in the feverest weather, a Ruflian would think it strange to fit in a room where the cold condensed his breath sufficiently to render it visible, as it commonly does in England in frosty weather ;'and that notwithitanding the coldness of their apartments, and the confined air which is breathed in them, Petersbourg is reckoned as wholesome a place as any city in Europe.'
Among the many advantages derived from the cold, are the great ease and expedition with which travelling is performed, in fedges hod with iron, like skates; one, in particular, made for the late Empress Elizabeth, contained two complete little rooms, in one of which was a bed. The preservation of provisions is another advantage derived from the extreme cold. In the Capital, the markets contain vast stacks, or piles, consisting of whole hogs, theep, fish, and other animals, frozen. Good housewives, at the beginning of winter, kill their poultry, and keep them in tubs packed up, with a layer of fnow between them, as one would put salt to pickle pork or beef, and then take them out for use, as occafion requires: by this means they fave the nourishment of the animal leveral months.'
The principal novelty contained in this letter, is the Author's description of a singular winter-amusement of the Russians, and of which they are exceedingly fond. It consists in sliding, and descending, with astonishing velocity, down a steep hill, the little inequalities of which are filled up and smoothed, by means of freth Inow oç ice. The sensation,' says the Author,
is indeed very odd; but to myself, for I have often had the curiofity to try it, I cannot say it was agreeable; the motion is fo rapid it takes away one's breath : nor can I give an idea of it, exceps defiring you to fancy you were to fall from the top of a house with out hurting yourself, in which you would probably have some . mixture of fear and surprize.
We cannot poslibly overlook this fingular illustration, which seems to us to have a néar affinity to the lucus a non lucendo, as likewise to the ignotum per ignotius. We apprehend it to be highly probable that, among the Author's readers, the number of those who have actually partaken of the diverfion here described, is at least as great, distant as is the scene of this amusement, as of those who have experienced the mixture of fear and surprize' supposed to attend the falling from the top of a house. Among all our living acquaintance, at least, we do not recollect one that ever had a fall of this kind, or who consequently could describe the compound sensation here supposed to attend it.
The late empress Elizabeth was fo fond of this diversion, that at one of her palaces she had five artificial mounts constructed, the highest of which is full thirty feet perpendicular altitude. The carriage, containing two or four persons, and running on castors and in grooves, descends from the top of this first mount; at the bottom of which it has acquired such rapidity or momentum, as is sufficient to enable it to ascend, and go over the top of, the second mount, which is about five or six feet lower than the first. Thus ir proceeds, with an alternately accelerated and retarded motion, to the top of the fifth and last mount, from which it descends in a gentle flope, with nearly an uniform velocity, over a piece of water, into a little island. A drawing of these flying mountains, as they have been called, is prefixed to this letter.
Art. XIII. Digests of the general Highway and Turnpike Laws, with
the Schedule of Forms, as directed by Aa of Parliament, and Remarks. Also an Appendix on the Construction and Preservation of Roads. By John Scott, Esq. 8vo. 5 s. sewed. Dilly. 1778. THE perplexed and complicated state of parliamentary law
gives the highest sanction of utility to all publications of this nature, provided they are, like this, properly executed. Dr. Burn's Digest of the Poor Laws was received with the respect very justly due to it, and Mr. Scott has followed the same laudable plan, with regard to his Digest of the Road Acts; at the same time he has given additional merit to his book by his very valuable observations, setting forth, in a variety of lights, the poslible improvements which the legislature might make, in this capacity of its power.
C C 2
This ingenious Gentleman, well known to the world by his poetical reputation, and not less known in his amiable and benevolent character, seems to be a powerful rival (in point of fame) to The Man of Ross ;-a rival, who, notwithstanding, like the hero of Virgil, will open his arms for his friends, and shoot his arrow into the air.
In such an age as this, too much cannot be said in favour of a worthy and public-spirited man; for the poet's observation is certainly applicable to the times
• An age,
• When diffipation reigns, and prudence sleeps.' Dr. Burn has observed, and he has well and wifely observed, that it would be a proper object of parliamentary attention, to appoint soine person, with the mere ability of a clear head, to bring the perplexity of the statutes into a regular and lucid form. -So many have been superseded, so many altered, so many halfaltered, so many new ones have taken place, while the old ones have been suffered to remain unrepealed, that the magistrate, who is to put them in execution, muft, frequently, difquiet himself in vain' to come at the proper line of his duty:- In the matter of woodstealing, for instance, a justice of the peace may convict on the several acts of Charles the Second, George the Second, and George the Third, &c. This certainly throws too much power into his hands, and the legislature ought to have consolidated the several acts, or at once to have superseded all before the last, by a clause of repeal.-But these matters we fubmit to the superior wisdom of parliament.
The Appendix contains very sensible observations on the construction and preservation of roads; but nothing more distinguilhes this work than the humane and benevolent spirit that breathes through all the worthy Author's observations.
For the first edition of this Digest, see Review, vol. xlix. p. 498.
HOLL AN D.
l'Histoire de la Terre, et de l'Homme, &c. i.e. Letters, Phi. lossphical and Moral, concerning Mountains, the History of the Earth, and (its inhabitant) Man. Addressed to the Queen of Great Britain by J. A De Luc, a Citizen of Geneva, Reader to her Majelty, F.R.S. and Correspondent of the Royal Academies of Paris and Montpellier. 8vo. Haguc. Readers of different tastes will find entertainment and instruc
tion in these interesting Letters; the Author of which has already acquired a well established reputation in the learned world, We see here an ingenious philosopher, whose profound researches have not diminished his lively impressions of the hapa piness that is enjoyed in the humble cottage of the untutored peasant, presenting to MAJESTY the rural scenes of primitive equality, domestic love, and serene obscurity, as the true resie dence of felicity and contentment.-An aukward compliment this-will perhaps some courtly critic fay!-No, Sir, no such thing-the good man well knew to whom he was writing, and he has fallen upon an effectual method of making his court, without either departing from the fimplicity of his character, or suppressing, even for a moment, the genuine feelings of the heart.
We have never met with such a passionate lover of moun. tains as Mr. De Luc, and certainly he had grand and tremendous objects for the indulgence of this passion in the icy summits of Lutterbrun and Grindelswald: accordingly he seems to have enjoyed them with transport during his travels through a part of Switzerland, which gave occasion to the present performance,
The work contains several fragments of a treatise of cosmology, (confined to the description of our terrestrial globe) whích Mr. De Luc intended to publish, but which he despairs of being able to complete, on account of the difficulty of collecting the materials that he judged necessary to the execution of his plan. What therefore he had proposed to digest into a regular system, he has here (and in one or two more volumes yet unpublished) inserted occasionally in a series of letters, without observing that strict order and method that would be improper in an epistolary correspondence, in which entertainment and instruction must be mingled, incidents and digreffions admitted, and the traveller must describe the aspects of nature, as they are exhibited to his view, and catch the manners living as they rise.
The history of the earth is the subject of these Letters, and also the history of man, which is inseparably connected with it. They contain the fundamental principles on which a solid lyftem of cosmology can only be built, both those that are well known, as appertaining to natural philosophy in general, and those which result from particular phenomena. The main defign of our ingenious Author in these Letters is, to communicate to the Public the observations he has made; to point out the paths and methods of inquiry which he has followed, and the lights they have afforded in explaining the actual state of our globe ; and also to examine, by the cosmological principles here laid down, the respective merit of the systems which have been formed for that purpose. The execution of this design is
more especially reserved for the succeeding volumes; and we propose to give a fuller account of this publication in a future Revicw.
FRANCE. II. Entretiens fur l'Etat de la Musique Grecque, vers le milieu du IV. Siecle avant l'Ere Vulcaire : i.e. Concerning the State of Grecian Music about the Middle of the Fourth Century before the Christian Æra. Paris. 8vo. 1778. In this ingenious and elegant work, which though small in volume, contains, nevertheless, a great deal of erudition, the Author introduces a stranger, who had been at Athens in the rosth olympiad, giving an account of two conversations concerning music, which he had held with Philotimus, the difciple of Plato. The first of these conversations turns upon the theory of music and the technical part of that art, rclative to founds, intervals, concords, genufes, modes, and rythmus :--the second relates to the moral tendency of mufie, its influence upon the manners, paffions, and character of a people, and more especially its marvellous effects on the sensibility of the Greeks.
III. Nouveaux Voyages dans l'Amerique Septentrionale, Gio i.e. New Travels into North America, containing a (cllection of Letters, written on the Spot, to the Chevalier Douin, 'the Arzther's Friend, by M. Bossu, Knight of the Order of St. Lewis. 8vo, Paris. 1777. If there were as little confidence to be placed in the veracity of this French Author as in that of certain French minifters, the Travels now before us would naturally be considered as a collection of stories. There are, indeed, here some narrations, which require, in order to be believed, a degree of evidence fuperior to the authority of M. Bossu; that of a Princess of Wolffembuttle, who was married to the unworthy son of the Czar Peter the Great, is fingular and interesting in the highest degree, and deserves to be authenticated. That worthy Princess (according to our Author's recital) had endea. voured in vain, by her mild and graceful manners, and her amiable virtues, to foften the favage ferocity of her brutal busband; at three different times he attempted to poison her, but she escaped by the use of proper remedies. At length, one day the conjugal monster meeting her in one of his inhuman fits, when Ine was in the eighth month of her pregnancy, gave her repeated kicks in the belly, left her for dead, and having feafted his eyes with the horrid spectacle, retired fatisfied to one of his country-seats. Some of the friends of the unhappy Princess, and particularly the Countess of Konigsmarck, formed a plan for her deliverance. With this view they reported her death, received orders from her husband to bury her without ceremony or noise, and putting in a coffin a log of wood, for which all Europe went into mourning, they conveyed secretly the unfor