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MR DALTON, Profeffor of Mathematics and Natural Philofophy Manchester, in an Effay on the Variation of the Barometer, advances an hypothefis, which is engenious and fomewhat new.

From fome obfervations on the barometer, at different elevations above the fea, he concludes that the height of the atmosphere does not perpetually vary with the height of the column of quickfilver, but that the variation of the barometer depends on a change in the density of the lower strata of air. This change Mr D. fuppofes to arife from the influx of warm air containing much water, and therefore as is well known being lighter, into a body of cold and dry air; by which means, part of the cold air is difplaced, and the warm air diffused among the remainder; hence the weight of the column is diminished, its elasticity and bulk continuing the fame: the reverse happens when dry air mixes with warm air, containing much water.-On this principle, the author explains, with confiderable address, the range of the barometer in different climates and feasons as will appear from the following fpecimen :

"The barometer is often low in winter, when a strong and warm S. or SW. wind blows; the annual extremes at Kendal for thefe 5 years have always been in January; the lowest was in January 1789, about 2 weeks after the above mentioned high extreme; it was accompanied with a strong S. or SW. wind, and heavy rain; the temperature of the air at the time was not high, being about 37°, but the reafon was no doubt because one half of the ground was covered with fnow; it was therefore probably warmer before. Now the reason why the low extreme fhould have at that time, as well as at many others, foon fucceeded the high extreme, feems explicable as follows: the extreme and long-continued cold preceding, must have reduced the grofs part of the atmosphere unusually low, and condensed an extraordinary quantity of dry air into the lower regions; this air was fucceeded by a warm and vapoury current coming from the torrid zone, before the higher regions, the mutations of which in temperature and density are flow, had time to acquire the heat, quantity of matter, and elevation confequent to fuch a change below; these two circumftances meeting, namely, a low atmosphere, and the greatest part of it conftituted of light vapoury air, occafioned the preffure upon the earth's furface to be fo much reduced. Hence then, it fhould feem, we ought never to expect an extraordidary fall of the barometer, unless when an extraordinary rife has preceded, or at least a long and fevere froft; this, I think, is a fair induction from the foregoing principles; how far it is corroborated by paft obfervations, befides those just mentioned, I have not been able to learn."


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For JANUARRY 1796.




DAM SMITH, Author of the Inquiry into the Nature and Caufes of the Wealth of Nations, was the fon of Adam Smith, comptroller of the customs at Kirkaldy, and of Margaret Douglas, daughter of Mr Douglas of Strathenry. He was born at Kirkaldy on the 5th of June 1723. An accident which happened to him, when he was about three years old, is too interesting to be omitted in the account of fo valuable a life. He had been carried by his mother to Strathenry, on a visit to his uncle Mr Douglas, and was one day amusing himself alone at the door of the houfe, when he was ftolen by a party of that fet of va grants who are known in Scotland by the name of tinkers. Luckily he was foon miffed by his uncle, who, hearing that fome vagrants had paffed, purfued them with what affiftance he could find, till be overtook them in Leflie wood, and was the happy inftrument of preferving to the world, a genius which was deftined, not only to extend the boundaries of fcience, but to enlighten and reform the commercial policy of Europe.

his earliest

Mr Smith received the first rudiments of his educution at the school of Kirkaldy. Among the companions of years, he foon attracted notice, by his paffion for books, and by the extraordinary powers of his memoTy. The weakness of his bodily confitution prevented him from partaking in their more active amufements; but he was much beloved by them on account of his temper, which, though warm, was, to an uncommon degree,


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friendly and generous. Even then he was remarkable for thofe habits which remained with him through life, of fpeaking to himfelf when alone, and of abfence in company.

From the grammar fchool of Kirkaldy, he was fent, in 1737, to the univerfity of Glafgow; there he remained till 1740, when he went to Baliol College, Oxford, as an exhibitioner on Snells' foundation. At that university, his favourite purfuits were mathematics and natural philofophy. Thefe, however, were certainly not the sciences in which he was formed to excel; nor did they long divert him from pursuits more congenial to his mind. The study of human nature in all its branches, more particularly of the political hiftory of mankind, opened a boundless field to his curiofity and ambition; and while it afforded fcope to all the various powers of his verfatile and comprehenfive genius, gratified his ruling paffion, of contributing to the happiness and improvement of fociety. To this study, diverfified at his leisure hours by the less fevere occupations of polite literature, he feems to have devoted himself, almost entirely, from the time of his removal to Oxford; but he still retained, even in advanced years, a recollection of his early acquifitions, which not only added to the fplendour of his converfation, but enabled him to exemplify fome of his favourite theories concerning the natural progrefs of the mind in the inveftigation of truth, by the history of thofe fciences in which the connection and fucceffion of difcoveries may be traced with the greatest advantage. After


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refidence at Oxford of seven years, he returned to Kirkaldy, and lived two years with his mother, engaged in ftudy, but without any fixed plan for his future life. He had been originally def tined for the church of England; but not finding the ecclefiaftical profeffion fuitable to his tafte, he chofe to confult, in this inftance, his own inclination, in preference to the wifhes of his friends; and abandoning, at once, all the fchemes which their prudence had formed for him, he refolved to return to his own country, and to limit his ambition to the uncertain profpect of obtaining, in time, fome one of thofe moderate preferments to which literary attainments lead in Scotland.

In the year 1748, he fixed his refidence at Edinburgh, and, during that and the following year, read lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres, under the patronage of Lord Kaimes. About this time, he contracted acquaintance with many eminent men, particularly with Mr David Hume, which afterwards grew into friendship; a friendship founded, on both fides, on the admiration of genius, and the love of fimplicity; and which forms an interefting circumftance in the history of each of thofe eminent men, from the ambition which both have fhown to record it to pofterity.

In 1751, he was elected Profeffor of logic in the university of Glasgow; and the year following, he was removed to the Profefforfhip of moral philofophy in the fame univerfity. In this fituation he remained thirteen years; a period he ufed frequently to look back to, as the most useful and happy of his life. It was indeed a fituation in which he was eminently fitted to excel, and in which the daily labours of his profeffion were conftantly recalling his attention to his favourite purfuits, and familiarizing his mind to thofe important fpeculations he was afterwards to communicate to the world.

Sentiments," and in the "Wealth of Nations."

There was no fituation in which the abilities of Mr Smith appeared to greater advantage than as a profeffor. In delivering his lectures, he trusted almoft entirely to extemporary elocution. His manner, though not graceful, was plain and unaffected; and as he seemed to be always interested in the subject, he never failed to intereft his hearers. His reputation as a profeffor, was accordingly raised very high, and a multitude of ftudents, from a great distance, reforted to the university, merely upon his account. Thofe branches of fcience which he taught became fashionable at this place and even the fmall peculiarities in his pronunciation, or manner of speaking, became frequently the objects of imitation.

While Mr Smith was thus diftin-. guishing himself by his zeal and ability as a public teacher, he was gradually laying the foundation of a more extenfive reputation, by preparing for the prefs his fyftem of morals. The firft edition of this work appeared in 1759, under the title of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," a work too well known, and too juftly estimated, to require either illuftration or praise here. In the fame volume with the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Mr Smith published a differtation "On the Origin of Languages, and on the different Genius of thofe which are Original and Compounded." It is an Effay of great ingenuity, and on which the author himfelf fet a high value; but, in a general review of his publications, it deferves our attention lefs, on account of the opinions that it contains, an as a specimen of a particular fort of inquiry, which may be traced in all Mr Smith's works, whether moral, political, or literary.

Of Mr Smith's lectures, while a profeffer at Glafgow, no part has been preferved, excepting what he himself published in "The Theory of Moral

After the publication of the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Mr Smith remained four years at Glasgow, difcharging his official duties with unabated vigour, and with increasing reputation. Towards the end of 1768, Mr Smith


received an invitation from Mr Charles Townshend, to accompany the Duke of Buccleugh on his travels; and the liberal terms in which the propofal was made to him, added to the ftrong defire he had of vifiting the continent of Europe, induced him to refign his of fice at Glasgow. With the connections which he was led to form, in confequence of this change in his fituation, he had great reason to be fatisfied, and he always fpoke of it with pleasure and gratitude. To the public, it was not, perhaps, a change equally fortunate, as it interrupted that ftudious leifure for which nature seems to have deftined him, and in which alone he could have hoped to accomplish thofe literary projects which had flattered the ambition of his youthful genius.


The alteration, however, which from this period took place in his habits, was not without its advantages. He had hitherto lived chiefly within the walls of an university; and although, to a mind like his, the obfervation of human nature on the smallest scale is fufficient to convey a tolerably just conception of what paffes on the great theatre of the world, yet it is not to be doubted, that the variety of scenes through which he afterwards paffed, must have enriched his mind with many new ideas, and corrected many of thofe mifapprehenfions of life and manners, which the first defcriptions of them can fcarcely fail to convey. But whatever were the lights which his travels afforded him, as a ftudent of human nature, they were probably useful to him in a still higher degree, in enabling him to perfect that fyftem of political economy, which it was now the leading object of his ftudies to prepare for the public. After leaving Glafgow, Mr Smith joined the Duke of Buccleugh at London, early in the year 1764; and fet out with him T for the Continent, in the month of March following.

In their first vifit to Paris, the Duke of Buccleugh and Mr Smith employed only ten or twelve days; after which they proceeded to Thouloufe, where VOL. LVIII,

they fixed their refidence for eighteen months, and where, in addition to the pleasure of an agreeable fociety, Mr Smith had an opportunity of extending his information concerning the internal policy of France, by the intimacy in which he lived with fome of the principal perfons of the parliament.

From Thouloufe they went, by a pretty extenfive tour, through the fouth of France to Geneva, where they paffed two months. About Christmas 1765 they returned to Paris, and remained there till October following. The fociety in which Mr Smith paffed these ten months, may be conceived by the advantages he enjoyed in confequence of the recommendations of Mr Hume. Turgot, Quefnai, Necker, d'Alembert, Helvetius, Marmontel, Madame Riccoboni, were among the number of his acquaintances; and fome of them he continued ever after to reckon among his friends.

It is much to be regretted, that he preferved no journal of this very interefting period of his hiftory; and fuch was his averfion to write letters, that scarcely any memorial of it exifts in his correfpondence with his friends. The extent and accuracy of his memory, in which he was equalled by few, made it of little confequence to himself, to record in writing what he heard or faw; and from his anxiety before his death to deftroy all the papers to deftroy all the papers in his poffeffion, he feems to have wifhed, that no materials fhould remain for his biographers, but what were furnished by the lasting monuments of his genius, and the exemplary worth of his private life.

In October 1766, he returned to London with his noble pupil, whofe impreffions of the fatisfaction he received from their tour, may be conceived from the following paragraph of a letter written by his Grace to Profeffor Stewart: "We returned to London, after having fpent near three years together, without the flightest difagreement or coolnefs; on my part, with every advantage that could be expected from the fociety of fuch a man. We contipued


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