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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
For JULY 1815.
Description of MINTO HOUSE. THIS elegant mansion is situated in the parish of Minto, and county of Roxburgh.
sessed of taste, learning, and geniustotally unbiassed by the vox populidict the decisions of our most celeand venturing thus hardily to contrabrated critics. Q.
Its situation is on a rising lawn, on the west bank of the river Teviot, Edinburgh, 5th July, 1815.
from which there is a most beautiful and extensive prospect over the adjacent country, and along the delightful yale of the Teviot, for several miles.
Only a small part of the former building remains, to which the present handsome edifice has been lately attached, from a plan by that eminent architect, Mr Elliot.
At a short distance to the north of the house, a series of romantic rocks, completely covered with the most luxuriant trees and shrubs, rise precipitously from the vale of the Teviot, which are intersected by enchanting walks, cut in the solid rock. S.
Criticism on Young's Night Thoughts.
TO THE EDITOR.
This visionary poet
"Makes sweet religion A rhapsody of words."
-I wonder not that his son Lorenzo was an infidel. The " " Dr great Young, as they call him, is prodigiously great in the outre style; and yet he is admired by the multitude of readers, commonly titled by modern authors "the respectable public!"
In my opinion, our celebrated enthusiast of this country, the Reverend Mr Ralph Erskine, in his Riddles,
Ralph Erskine was born at Roxburgh, 1682, and educated at Edinburgh. He was minister of Dunfermline, Fifeshire, 1711, and was deposed 1734, for joining the seceHis works were published in 2 vols. fol. consisting of a political treatise, gospel sonnets, and above 200 sermons."
THE following remarks on Dr ders. He died 1751, aged 69.
Young's Night Thoughts were written by the late Lord Gardenstone. His Lordship was certainly prejudiced against the "Poet of the Night," yet I think it will not be unacceptable to your readers to see the opinion of one, indubitably pos
Lempriere's Universal Biography.
I have never had an opportunity of seeing this reverend gentleman's works; but from the enumeration of his productions, I imagine that he was the author of the "Riddles" mentioned in the text.
"Procrastination is the thief of time! "What can awake thee, unawak'd by this, Expended Deity on human weal? Night 4. 1. 195.
"Oh love of gold! Thou meanest of amours! 1. 349. "Are passions, then, the pagans of the soul? "Reason alone baptis'd? alone ordain'd "To touch things sacred?
"On such a theme 'tis impious to be calm; "Passion is reason; transport temper here! I. 629. "Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout.— "Lorenzo! hast thou ever weigh'd a sigh? "Or studied the philosophy of tears? Night 5. 1. 516. "Death's dreadful advent is the mark of man, "And every thought that misses it is blind. "Revere thyself; and yet thyself despise ! Night 6. 1. 128. "Man's misery declares him born for bliss; "His anxious heart asserts the truth I sing, "And gives the sceptic in his head the lie. Night 7. 1. 160. Man's heart eats all things, and is hungry still; "More, more! the glutton cries.
Ibid. 1. 123. "The world's all title page, there's no contents; "The world's all face; the man who shews his heart
"Is hooted for his nudities, and scorn'd. Night 8. 1. 333,
"Lorenzo! "This is the most indulgence can afford, Thy wisdom all can do, but make thee wise; "Nor think this censure is severe on thee; "Satan, thy master, I dare call a dunce! Ibid. 1. 1414. "When pain can't bless, heaven quits us in despair. Night 9. 1. 497.
After all, and as some apology to the numerous admirers of Dr Young, I allow that there are strokes and passages of genuine poetry to be found, though thinly scattered, among the wild effusions of this long and laboured poem. I refer in particular to the first five lines of Night First, and to the thirteen first lines of Night Fourth. For the sake of justice to our author, the two passages shall be inserted at full length.
"Tir'd nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep! "He, like the world, his ready visit pays "Where fortune smiles: the wretched he forsakes;
"Swift on his downy pinions, flies from woe, "And lights on beds unsullied by a tear.
From this the writer runs wild, and continues, with very slight and transient lucid intervals, to the end of the poem.
rock is here whinstone or green-
Almost immediately below the spot now alluded to, and in contact with the greenstone, is a thin bed of siliceous limestone; below this is a bed of slate-clay; and then, still proceed. ing downwards, a thick bed of sandstone. These have long been partially visible; but of late the sandstone has been worked to some extent for building-stones; and in the course of the quarrying operations, a very excellent section of the beds of rock has been produced.
MONTHLY MEMORANDA IN NATURAL
July. DIFFERENT appearances in
the rocks which compose Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Craigs have been founded on supporting certain doctrines connected with the Huttonian Theory of the Earth. In the midst of the trap tuff which constitutes the middle part of the hill, an insulated piece of siliceous sandstone occurs, in a highly-inclined position. It is conceived by the Huttonians that this trap-tuff is analogous to a brecciated lava, and that the piece of sandstone is a fragment which has been forced from the rocks below, and carried into its present situation by the tuff when in a state of fusion*
At the south-east extremity of the perpendicular face of rock which constitutes Salisbury Craig, and not far from the new powder-magazine, similar appearances were brought to light in the course of quarrying stones for the roads. The supposed involving
Illustrations of the IIuttonian Theory,
In this section is well displayvery ed the "basaltic rock resting on arenacious or marly strata," and these at the line of junction, resembling kind of petrosilex, or even jasper*," appearances which have furnished an argument to the Huttonians, which we do not here mean to controvert, as a more interesting phenomenon claims attention.
At the north-western extremity of the section, some small branched veins are to be observed passing diagonally, from the bed of siliceous limestone (the marly strata), through the bed of slate-clay, down to the great bed of sandstone. The bed of slate-clay is of a bluish-grey colour, and resembles a band or ribbon stretched along the quarry by passing the eye along this band to the N. W. termination, the small veins, being of a different colour, are readily seen. They a mineral consist of sandstone-of which all parties have regarded as originally formed in the humid way, 66 no indiand which certainly gives cation of having ever possessed fluidity"
Illustrations &c. p. 300.
dity" from fusion. The exposed situation and the crumbling and perishable nature of the rock in which it is situated, render it probable that this appearance will soon be swept away. But we understand that a correct sketch has been made of it; and this notice may perhaps induce some of the geologists of Edinburgh to visit the spot while every thing remains entire.
According to the views of Wernerians, there is nothing very remarkable in finding partial layers of sand. stone, either inclined or horizontal, in the midst of beds of greenstone or trap-tuff, which they consider as stratified rocks, and of contemporaneous formation with the sandstone. In point of fact, beds of greenstone and of sandstone alternate several times in Salisbury Craigs, although these alternations are not readily perceived, on account of the extensive talus. It is, however, rather difficult to imagine how a Plutonist can account for veins of sandstone (which he admits to be a stratified rock) traversing sandstone itself, as in the quarries at Albany Street; or, as in this case, traversing slate-clay or argillaceous shistus, another stratified rock. N. Canonmills, July 29. 1815.
MEMOIRS OF THE PROGRESS OF MANUFACTURES, CHEMISTRY, SCIENCE, AND THE FINE ARTS.
IN the Second Report of the Commissioners on the Bogs of Ireland, it is stated that three distinct growths of timber, covered by three distinct masses of bog, are discovered on examination. But whether these morasses were at first formed by the destruction of whole forests, or merely by the stagnation of water in places where its current was choked by the fall of a few trees, and by ac
• Illustrations, p. 26. Scots Magazine for May 1815.
cumulations of branches and leaves, carried down from the surrounding hills, is a question. Professor Davy is of opinion, that in many places where forests had grown undisturbed, the trees on the outside of the woods grew stronger than the rest, from their exposure to the air and sun; and that, when mankind attempted to establish themselves near these forests, they cut down the large trees on their borders, which opened the internal part, where the trees were weak and slender, to the influence of the wind, which, as is commonly to be seen in such circumstances, had immediate power to sweep down the whole of the internal part of the forest. The large timber obstructed the passage of vegetable recrement, and of earth falling toward the rivers; the weak timber in the internal part of the forest, after it had fallen, soon decayed, and became the food of future vegetation. Mr Kirwan observes, that wherever trees are found in bogs, though the wood may be perfectly sound, the bark of the timber has uniformly disappeared, and the decomposition of this bark forms a considerable part of the nutritive substance of morasses: notwithstanding this circumstance, tanning is not to be obtained in analysing bogs; their antiseptic quality is however indisputable, for animal and vegetable substances are frequently found at a great depth in bogs, without their seeming to have suffered any decay: these substances cannot have been deposited in them at a very remote period, because their form and texture is such as were common a few centuries ago. In 1786 there were found, 17 feet win's district, a woollen coat of coarse, below the surface of a bog in Mr Kir. but even, network, exactly in the form of what is now called a Spencer. A razor, with a wooden handle, some iron heads of arrows, and large wooden bowls, some only half made, were also found, with the remains of turn
ing-tools; these were obviously the wreck of a workshop, which was probably situate on the borders of a foest. The coat was presented by him to the Antiquarian Society. These circumstances countenance the supposition that the encroachments of men upon forests destroyed the first barriers against the force of the wind, and that afterwards, according to Sir H. Davy's suggestion, the trees of weaker growth, which had not room to expand, or air and sunshine to promote their increase, soon gave way to the elements.
There has lately been discovered, in the vast territories of the governments of Koliwan and of Tobolsk, a quantity of ancient Tartar monuments, among the tombs of a former people. These articles consist of metal vases, coins, jewels, &c. many of them are adorned with human figures and hieroglyphics.
In the county of Sutherland, in Scotland, a pit of coal was discovered about two or three years ago, contrary to the opinion of many who supposed that no coal was to be found north of the Tay. This coal has been wrought to a considerable extent, but time has shown that it seems to possess one property peculiar to itself. The refuse coal, of which a large quantity had been left to accumulate near the mouth of the pit, after having been exposed to the air for a considerable time, took fire of its own accord, and continued in a state of combustion till the whole was consumed. At present they have ceased to work the pit, partly on account of this peculiar property of the coal, but chiefly that they may have time to clear away the refuse on the surface. They do not despair of opening the pit again, and of discovering a mode of preventing the deflagration and, preparatory to the recommencement of working it, they are sinking shafts in the direction in which they intend to proceed.
In the state of PENSYLVANIA, west of the Allegany mountains, there are about 200,000 inhabitants; 101 Presbyterian churches, and 57 ministers; two Methodist circuits, in which are employed 12 itinerant preachers. In the state of OHIO, containing a population of more than 330,000, there are 78 Presbyterian or Congregational churches, and 49 ministers; between 20 and 30 Methodist preachers, employed in different circuits; 10 or 12 Baptist societies; several societies of Friends or Quakers; considerable numbers of a sect called New Lights; a few Halcyons; a few Swedenburghers; and many Univer salists and Deists.In the state of VIRGINIA,