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suppose, the supposition is excusable, because they are not to be found where one would first and most naturally seek for them."
The eulogy of the Edinburgh populace is finished by the most solemn assurance, on the part of the author, supported by a regular series of historical facts, that the said populace compose the most tremendous mob that is any where to be met with on the face of the earth. They conspire with a degree of secrecy which puts to the blush the antiquated affair of the gunpowder plot, as well as the more modern triumphs of our English radicalism; whilst, in regard to the execution, they break heads and windows in a style so truly scientific and philosophical, that the police look on, as if they were witnessing an experiment in the Institute, and the dragoons are struck into the profoundest awe by the learned exhibition of so much constitutional knowledge. Every shout indicates that the fellows are deeply read in Adam Smith, that they have disputed with Malthus, and written articles in the Edinburgh Review; and every crash of lamps and window-glass proves to a demonstration, that the rioters have just risen from Euclid, refreshed their ima ginations with the Mechanique Celeste of La Place, and studied the laws of projectiles in the volumes of Newton. Is it any longer surprising that the modern Athens should be esteemed one of the wonders of the world, when her inhabitants combine in their characters the widely different talents of mobbing their magistrates, burning down houses, breaking windows, murdering watchmen, and solving mathematical problems! But to do the people justice, we think it right to oppose our experience to that of the reporter, and declare, that the mechanics of Edinburgh, generally speaking, are very like their brethren in other towns; having no de cided superiority either in conducting mobs or in pursuing philosophical inquiries. At all events, they have sense enough to discover, that an author who writes about them, like the one now before us, is either very silly or very ignorant; that he either knows them not at all, or has determined, for some reason of his own, to say that which is
In all second-rate places and persons there is usually a good deal of pretence, and sometimes a large portion of self-complacency. Edinburgh, it cannot be denied, has her share of these qualities; still we should hope, she cannot be quite so bad, as not to justify her friends in questioning the likeness which is given of her in the following description, with which we conclude our critique.
The Athens boasts of herself as a model of elegance and of taste: I found her a compound of squalour and vulgarity. She boasts of her philosophy; I found it pursuing thistledown over the wilderness. She boasts of her literary spirit; I found her literature a mere disjointed skeleton, or rather the cast-skin of a toothless serpent. She boasts of her public spirit; I found almost every man pursuing his own petty interests, by the most sinister and contemptible means; and, perchance, the most noisy of her patriots standing openmouthed, if so that the very smallest fragment of place or pension might drop into them. She boasts of the encou ragement that she has given to genius: I looked into the record, and I found that every man of genius, who had depended upon her patronage, had been debauched and starved. She boasts of the purity of her manners: I found the one sex engaged in slander as a trade, and the other in low sensuality as a profession. Under those findings—and they required not to be sought,-I had no alternative for my judgment. When she redeems herself from them, and becomes in reality even something like what she would call herself in name, let her then make comparisons with the Gem of ancient Greece."
ART. VII.-1. The Elements of Hydrostatics: with their Application to the Solution of Problems. Designed for the use of Students in the University. By Miles Bland, B.D. F.R.S. F.A.S. Rector of Lilley, Herts, and late Fellow and Tutor of St. John's Coll. Camb. 1 vol. 8vo. 2.-An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics. Designed for Students in the University. By W. Whewell, M.A. F.R.S. Fellow of Trinity Coll. Camb. 1 vol. 8vo.
3-A Treatise on Dynamics. By W. Whewell, M. A: F.R.S. 1 vol. 8vo. Cambridge, Deighton. 1824.
Ir has been a charge often reiterated against our universities, by northern calumniators and ignorant political economists, that they are content to grow old and fat in the errors and prejudices of former ages, and never manifest any of that spirit of improvement so rigorously and continually exerted in all other places and all other institutions, and which forms the characteristic boast of modern times.
One instance among many which might be adduced of the falsehood of such representations, may be found in the slightest glance at the progressive improvement in mathe
matical studies, and in mathematical writers, which the University of Cambridge has been regularly displaying since the days of Newton. And of this improvement the works just named form part of series of eminent examples. To say any thing here of the importance of these studies in general, and of the particular value of the two branches of mechanics and hydrostatics, as relating to the objects of academical instruction we conceive will be unnecessary. To those who are in any degree acquainted with the sort of intellectual exercise best fitted for promoting the ends of an university education, and of eliciting the faculties, and strengthening the powers of the mind, little need be said in favour of that system, to the efficiency of which the elementary works now before us are intended to contribute.
The progress of discovery in mechanics and hydrostatics, appears in the present age to have arrived at that state of perfection, at which the whole may be combined into a system without much apprehension that any new developement of fundamental truths will compel us to pull it to pieces, and frame another upon new principles. We shall be the better able to judge of the value to be assigned to a system so compiled, if we cast our eyes over the progressive advance in these sciences which former ages have manifested.
Some of the grand principles of mechanical forces were elicited by the profound genius of Archimedes: but, from his time down to a comparatively very recent age, it is remarkable what very little progress was made. It may be safely said, that nothing of importance was added to our knowledge on these subjects till the time of Galileo. The first work of that distinguished philosopher appeared in 1592, and in it he has given the general principle of the mechanical powers. To him we are indebted for many subsequent investigations of considerable importance respecting the theory of motion. He observed the equal velocities of falling bodies when the resistance of. the air is taken away. He pointed out the isochronism of the pendulum. He determined the parabolic path of projectiles and the laws of falling bodies. Toricelli, his pupil, added to his researches some new truths respecting the centre of gravity of a system of bodies and Des Cartes paved the way for the investigation of motion in an orbit, by considering all motion to be naturally rectilinear, and that any deflection from that direction must be owing to some force constantly acting on the body "from a central point, and urging it to move in a curve to which its rectilinear motion would be a tangent.
Huyghens, in 1669, laid down the laws of collision and the
principles of the pendulum: but it was reserved for Newton to push these researches into yet more hidden regions. In the Principia, considered as a mechanical work, we find this grand distinction, that here, for the first time, the introduction of infinitesimal quantities enables us to trace mechanical effects to their nascent state, and thus deduce many conclusions which could not have been attained by any other method. Here a transition was made from the consideration of forces acting at stated intervals to that of forces acting continually; and from forces constant in quantity and direction to those which converge to a point, and vary as any function of the distance from that point. Hence was the grand system of dynamics deduced.
The Essay of John Bernoulli, in 1724, on the Communication of Motion, gave rise to the controversy which was so long supported by the arguments of several first-rate mathematicians on either side, respecting what was termed the vis viva and the vis mortua,-a controversy which it is now universally agreed arose solely from the two parties using different terms to mean the same thing; but like many other controversies, it was the means of eliciting many researches of great value. The names of Maclaurin, Jurin, Bernoulli and S'Gravesande, are among those whose labours were most conspicuous during this period; and from the great principles which had now been laid down, it was a more easy task to deduce the further truths of the science, as well as its practical applications. Of the latter, it will be unnecessary here to speak, as they have little connexion with an elementary treatise professedly devoted to the theory of the science. The discoveries of Newton and Leibnitz paved the way for all the more extended and refined investigations which have characterized the more modern age of D'Alembert, La Grange and La Place. The application of the fluxionary or differential calculus to the principles of mechanics, already laid down, enabled those distinguished philosophers to investigate the most refined theorems, and solve the most abstruse problems, which required equations to express the nature of the gradual changes which the supposed conditions would produce. This was in fact precisely the province of the differential calculus, and to this purpose it was most profoundly and assiduously applied. To enumerate the names or particularize the labours of the distinguished mechanicians of the last and the present century would far exceed our limits. We must only briefly advert to the systematic form in which the principles of the science were now drawn up by several eminent persons. The Mécanique
Analytique of La Grange has been justly regarded as the most complete standard work on the subject, not to mention several of inferior reputation. In England various treatises, which it is unnecessary here to enumerate, have from time to time appeared. Those by Keill, Gregory, &c. were well known, and justly appreciated. For academical instruction, the work of Dr. Wood is, in clearness and precision, one of the best that our own, or, we believe, any other country has produced. Our continental neighbours have meanwhile been assiduously employed In composing elementary and systematic treatises of a more extensive and elaborate description; and it must be owned, that some more extended system was much wanted by students in this country. The works of M. M. Prony, Poisson, &c. are characterized by all the usual elegance, joined with an excessive diffuseness of writing, which may be considered in some measure characteristic of their nation. English students have of late years imbibed very much of their spirit and taste; a sort of spirit and taste which we think is in many respects deserving the severest animadversions of the critic, while in others it must claim a considerable share of praise. But they have perhaps hitherto been driven by necessity to adopt these foreign instructions, and therefore the proper way to introduce a more correct taste, and check the progress of foreign affectation, would be to provide a good and extensive work in our own language; which should embrace the modern improvements of the French school, and retain the solid qualifications of an English character. This desirable object we conceive to be in a high degree attained in the works on Mechanics, now before us; but these remarks, and the view here sketched of the progress of mechanical science, will also apply to other branches. Very similar in its origin, its progress, and present state, is the kindred science of hydrostatics, which is in fact only mechanics transferred from solid bodies to liquids. The one may in fact be considered as a branch of the other, and their progress has been nearly similar. The observations we have made on the present supply of treatises on the one subject, will, with little alteration, apply to the other also; and the works mentioned together in the title of this article, are very similar both in design and execution. Their authors are both alike men of considerable celebrity and experience in the pursuits of academical tuition; and if to the author of the Mechanics we cannot but justly give the praise of higher distinction in the regions of original philosophic investigation, and as a contributor to the progress of scientific discovery, we must