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983 Observations on Light.


"+ “ As, ou a sunny bank, a tender lamb, of January last, before a PhilosophiLurks in safe shelter from the winds of March,

cal Society, now existing in one of the Screened by its parent, so that little mound Lies guarded by its neighbour;-the small heap principal towns in the kingdom. As Speaks for itself;-an infant there doth rest; The sheltering billock is the mother's grave;d the Society, at which strangers are

it was read at one of those sittings of if inild discourse, and mannors that conferr'd A natural dignity on humblest rank;

present, both the matter and style of if gladsome spirits and henignant looks,

it are easy and popular. If you think That for a face not beautifal did more Than beauty for the fairest face can do; it will meet the taste of your numerous And if religious tenderness of heart,

readers, it is humbly at your service. Grieving for sin, and penitential tears Shed when the clouds had gather'd and distain'd

AMICUS SCIENTIÆ. The spotless ether of a maiden life ;If these may make a kallow'd spot of earth More holy in the sight of God or man; Then, on that mould a sanctity shall brood,

Philosophy, next to religion, is the Till the stars sicken at the day of doom !”

distinguished honour and happiness Let me likewise refer him to the of mankind. The researches and inconclusion of the Poem, called the vestigations of philosophy, are an “ Cumberland Beggar,” and there he employment worthy of the human will see whether the writer of it does mind; worthy of its noblest grasp, not display a head and heart worthy and acutest penetration. It is philoof the patronage of the people of sophy, especially as refined, and imEngland, in this enlightened age. proved, and elevated by the discove** Then let him pass,-a blessing on his head !

ries of modern science, which forms And long as he can wander let him breathe the great boast and ornament of sociThe freshness of the valleys; let his blood Struggle with frosty air and winter snows;

ety, the zest, and charm, and elegance And let the charter'd wind that sweeps the of the most rational intercourse and heath

conversation. If there be a person Beat his grey locks against his withered face, Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness

who has no taste at all for philosophie Gives the last human interest to his heart. inquiry, I should say of that person, May bever house, misnamed of industry, Make him a captive !--for that pent-up din,

that he is come into the world out of Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air, due time; that he has mistaken his Be his the natural silence of old age!

stars; and that the planetary conjuneLet him be free of mountain solitudes; And have around him, whether heard or not, tion, to which he belongs, occurred The pleasant melody of woodland birds.- some centuries ago. Few are his pleasures; if I eyes have now Been doom'd so long to settle on the earth,

In the whole circle of science, perThat not without some effort they behold haps there is not a subject more deThe countenance of the horizontal sun, Rising or setting, let the light at least

serving of inquiry, than that of Light; Find à free entrance to their languid orbs, and perhaps I may add, that there And let him, where and when he will sit down

are few subjects, whose investigation Peneath the trees, or by the grassy bank Of bighway side, and with the little birds

is so calculated to interest and please

. Share his chance-gather'd meal; and, finally, The information I wish to communiAs in the eye of nature he has lived,

cate on this subject, professes to be So in the eye of nature let him die!"

rather comprehensive and general

, I conclude these remarks, by quoting than abstruse and scientific; rather two stanzas from Bernard Barton's adapted to a popular assembly,

than Address to Wordsworth, in which I to lead on the researches of the expemost cordially agree :

rienced philosopher. " Continue still to cultivate

Men of science have been greatly In thy sequester'd solitude, Those high conceptions that await

divided, as to the nature of Light; the The musings of the wise and good;

substance by which objects are renConceptions lofty, pure, and bright,

dered visible unto us. The two preWhich fill thy soul with heavenly light.

vailing opinions may be denominated Betake thee to thy groves and fields, Thy rocky vales, and mountains bare,

the Cartesian and Newtonian. AC And give us all that nature yields cording to the former of these, light is

Of manners, feelings, kabits there; Please and instruct the present age,

an extremely rare, and subtil, and And live in history's latest page !"

elastic fluid, pervading all nature, all Acton-Place.

M. M. the space in the planetary system, and

the mighty range of the fixed stars. OBSERVATIONS ON LIGHT.

According to this hypothesis, when MR. EDITOR.

vision is produced, i. e. when we see,

this elastic fluid is put in motion, by Sir,-The following paper on the sub- the action of some luminous body, and ject of Light, was read in the month | its undulating impulses, falling upon


Observations on Light.


the retina, the nerve expanded on the in the deeper chamber of the eye. In back part of the eye to receive those an extended landscape, what an imimpulses, the sensation of light is the mense number and variety of objects result. That sound, however harmo- enter into the view; hills, valleys, nious, or however terrible, is nothing rivers, woods, fields, villages, animals, inore than undulations of the air, act- clouds, &c. Yet light from every one ing upon the car, is a fact well of those objects, is transmitted to, and known; and of this experimental ana- actually falls upon the retina of the logy, the Cartesian philosophers have eye: the picture can be shown there; availed themselves to very great ad- the picture of a landscape, of five or vantage.

six square leagues, with all the objects The Newtonian theory, however, is which enter into it, discriminated in that which most obtains in the scien- their magnitudes, positions, figures, tific world; and is said to be that colours; such a picture lies delineated which more perfectly reconciles itself on a space a quarter of an inch in with the facts, and experiments, and diameter: How exquisite the colours ! laws, of optics. According to this how delicate the pencil! how quick theory, light consists of particles of the execution! how matchless the matter of inconceivable minuteness, artist employed in the production of projected from luminous bodies, with such a painting ! a velocity as inconceivable; and vision The velocity with which light travels, is produced, when these projected is not less wonderful, than the minuteparticles strike upon the retina of the ness of its particles. No experiments eye. It would not comport with the on the velocity of light, which are conbrevity and design of this paper, to fined to objects on the surface of our enter into the reasonings and experi- own globe, can, I believe, give any ments by which this theory has been other result than that its transmission so ably supported; but, from the little is instantaneous. But astronomers I understand of the subject, I think it have discovered, that in crossing the is evident, that, while the balance of regions of the planetary system, light argument' appears in favour of the is not instantaneous, but requires time. Newtonian scheme, it must be con- By observations made upon the eclipfessed, that the subtile element of light ses of Jupiter's satellites, it appears, is as yet but little understood. There that when the earth is in that point of are not wanting some very plausible its orbit nearest to Jupiter, those eclipreasons, to support the conjecture, ses occur, orrather become visible to us, that latent caloric, and the electric several minutes sooner than when the fluid, and light, are one and the same earth is in that point of its orbit, the substance in different states and modes farthest from Jupiter. From this, and of operation ; a substance diffused to similar modes of calculation, it is an extent, and possessed of powers, found, that light proceeds with a veloand answering purposes in nature, city amounting to near two hundred which even the prying research of thousand miles in one second of time! modern philosophy has not yet disco- A cannon ball travelling at the greatest, vered.

rate any gun ould give it, would Whether we rank ourselves among require twenty-five years to come from the Newtonians, or Cartesians ; whe- the Sun to our globe-a particle of ther we suppose vision to be effected light performs that journey in seven by the vibrations of an elastic fluid, minutes ! or the striking of particles propelled In the velocity of light is found a from the luminous, or reflected from reason for its minuteness, and in its the opaque body; we must be equally minuteness a reason for its velocity. lost in admiration, of the surprising Were light only as dense as the air, rarity, and minuteness, and delicacy, in coming from the Sun it would form of that agent which is employed. It a blast, which must sweep the solar is well known that before an object can system, and carry the planets to a disbecome visible to us, a ray, or pencil, tance, “ where thought can't follow, or impulse of light, must be transmit- and bold fancy dies.” And on the ted from that object, and act upon other hand, if, with its present rarity, the surprisingly delicate and sensitive it were to proceed at no greater rate membrane which is spread out to than the swiftest wind; for aught I receive the images of things, situate know, it would require all the light No. 33.-Vol. III,



Answer to a Query on Departed Spirits. 988 the sun can give, to illuminate a single not in reality different; but the diffetown. Who it is, that has adjusted rence lies, not in colours inhering in the velocity of light to its density, or those substances, but in the various its density to its velocity, and the arrangement of the particles of matter visual tablet in the eye to both,-our composing their surface, reflecting the reason and our heart will not hesitate various rays of light. There have to say. The fool, indeed, “hath said been instances of blind persons, who in his heart, that there is no God.” have served ribbons in a mercer's Why hath he said so? Because he is a shop, and distinguished their colours, fool!

to a surprising accuracy, with their It was reserved for the immortal fingers. But what did those persons Newton to discover, that light is not feel? the colour of the ribbons ? Assusimple, but compounded. A stream of redly not!-they felt the different surlight, flowing from a luminous, or re- faces of them, and determined by the flected from an opake substance, is roughness or smoothness, hardness or called a ray of light : this ray appears softness, of those surfaces. Colour to the eye to be white, and a collection does not come in at the finger-ends, of such rays to any extent, appears but at the eye. the same.

But by innumerable expe- The reflection of light is a subject riments, it has been demonstrated, that which has much exercised the reasonthis ray of light, which to the eye ings of optical philosophers; princiappears white,

is actually a compound pally to account for it. At first it was of seven other rays, none of which are supposed that the particles actually white. A ray of light when divided by fall upon and touch the reflecting the prism, gives the seven primitive body, and so rebound from it. But it colours; red, orange, yellow, green, is now believed, that reflected light blue, indigo, and violet; none of does, by no means, come in actual which, by any power of refraction yet contact with the object which reflects discovered, can be further divided. it; but at a given distance, a distance These seven rays, mixed and com- indeed imperceptible to our senses, pounded, form the absence of all co- meets with a power of repulsion, by lour, or white. This may be illustrat- which it is driven back, altered in its ed by a very easy experiment: if a course, but not, I believe, diminished circular piece of board, with the seven in its velocity. Allowing that a repulprimitive colours painted upon it, be sive power is the cause of the reflection turned round its centre with great velo- of light; why is it that a polished soreity, it will appear perfectly white. face reflects so much more powerfully

The discovery of the composition, than a rough one? why is it, that or what in optics is termed the diffe- while some rays are reflected, others rent refrangibility of light, has produ- are transmitted or absorbed ? and ced a total revolution in the philosophy why is it that light is reflected at all?– of colour. It is only in accommoda- these are questions which have much tion to ordinary conception, and the perplexed philosophers; and into established modes of speech, that a which I cannot presume to enter. phil opher says of one thing that it

(To be concluded in our next.) red, and of another that it is blue; the fact is, that neither blue, nor red, nor yellow, nor any other colour, is in the Answer to a Query on Departed Spirits. objects we view, but in the light;, that the exclusion of all light is the exclusion of all colour;—that the rose

SIR,—In answer to the Query, (col

. is red, because it absorbs the rays 863) Have the spirits of the dead made which are orange, yellow, green, and perfect any knowledge of what passes blue, and reflects the red ray ;-that on in this world ? I submit the followthe primrose is yellow, because it ab- ing remarks. sorbs the red, orange, blue, and other

Your's, respectfully,

SPRIGG. rays, and reflects the yellow;--and the violet is violet, because it absorbs all but the ray to which it has given I consider the affirmative idea to be name, and which it reflects. It is not neither scriptural nor philosophical; meant to be said, that substances though there are many, who, having which appear of different colours are lost their godly friends, have rather

upon them.



On Soundness of Mind.

990 been disposed to wish, that their we behold the fields and meadows, friends might know what is taking covered with a profusion of flowers, place among their connections on and perceive the surface of the earth earth, that they might carry on a kind teeming with vegetation, and, in those of mental converse with them. But beauties of nature, not behold our we little think how new, how strange, Great Creator who formed them; for how absorbing, must the things of the • In fruitful fields his bounty grows, eternal state be, to those entering And runs in every rill;

Is it possible that the Each tinted leaf, and flower that blows, heaven-bound pilgrim, who bas been Displays his matchless skill.” conducted by the Shepherd of the flock Sir, I remain your constant reader, through the valley that lies between,

and admirer, who approaches the gate of heaven,

J. H. B. and realizes the end of his faith, could

Southwell, Aug. 16, 1821. be attracted by the trifling scenes on earth? Can the soul present with the Lord, ever look off from him, to converse with those below ? No: it is best to suppose, that spirits departed have

( Continued from col. 828.) no concern about the trifles passing here.

MR. EDITOR. The soul reaping the sad reward of

Sir,—The simple act of memory and its unrighteousness, may desire to look out of its burning lake towards to differ in man and animals. There

perception,does not appear materially the earth again, but its intense pain will not grant permission; whereas, would induce us to suppose, that, if

are many interesting facts, which those who die in the Lord rest from these faculties are identical in their their labours; while of all it may

nature, the endowments of the latter said, as to this world,

are more excellent than the former. “ Their memory and their sense is gone, This supposition is founded on the Alike unknowing and unknown.

observation, that many of the organs Their hatred and their love is lost,

of sense in some animals, are more Their envy buried in the dust; They have no share in all that's done,

susceptible of impression than they Beneath the circuit of the sun."

are in man; and every one must have noticed their wonderful recollection

of tracks which they have traversed. A BOTANICAL INFOR- horse, for instance, having travelled

40 miles on a road, where he had never been before, would, on his

second journey, after the lapse of MR. EDITOR.

several years, demonstrate by his Sir,—The monthly “ Catalogue of all actions, ihat he perfectly recollected really British plants, as they come into the former route. flower,” with which you have favoured In exploring the various phenomena us in the present volume of the Impe- of memory, we meet with two occurrial Magazine, is highly pleasing to rences that have hitherto proved inexmyself, and, I make no doubt, is like- plicable : 1st, Many of the transactions wise so to many others. As the year of our early years, appear to be wholly is drawing towards a close, when this obliterated from the recollection; they article must terminate, I should be have never been presented to the greatly obligéd if any of your Botani- mind, as the subject of our thoughts, cal correspondents would favour us, but after the lapse of several years, during the ensuing, year, with the they have been accidently revived by Elements or Principles of Botany, our being placed in the situation through the medium of your Magazine, which originally gave them birth. to which publication I have been a 2dly, A person in a state of comparasubscriber from its commencement. tive childhood, has been known to This pleasing science, which now be- learn a language, which, through disgins to be cultivated by the youth of use in mature years, has been forgotboth sexes, is well calculated to fur- ten, so that when it has been spoken nish us with instruction ; for how can by others, it has not been understood;





To Remove Warts.


yet, during the delirium of fever, &c. | absent; yet, under this acknowledged the former and forgotten language has inability, mankind have framed a been revived, and spoken with fluen- language, expressive of these powers, cy:--but after a restoration to health, and of their operations. The different no traces of its recollection remained. terms employed, have originated in the

That man is pre-eminent, in the numberless hypotheses which have prerange of creation, is very evident, and, vailed on this subject. Language is figuon a deliberate survey, it will be rative, etymology and authority are the found, that this pre-eminence arises, only two modes to which we can rein a great measure, from his exclusive sort for the definite meani of words. possession of the powers of speech, Language is the circulating medium and the use of the hand.

of our thoughts, furnishing the terms · Man is capable of transmitting his which designate the objects of percepacquirements to posterity, and of tion. communicating his ideas, for the in- There is no faculty of the human struction of his fellow-creatures : but, mind of more importance than will or the acquirements of the brute creation volition. There are voluntary and perish with them : they do not enjoy involuntary actions, both of the body the appropriate organs for communi- and the mind: in the infant we discating instruction.

cern a necessity for mental advance. Speech is generally acquired by the ment, before it can direct any of the ear, and the sound communicated motions of its body; in this state, volithrough that again, is imitated by the tion would be superfluous; voluntary voice, which is the proper modification exertions are the result of experience. of sound in the cavity of the mouth | The will, when not perverted, is geneand nostrils. But had man been fur- , rally, if not always, guided by reason. nished merely with the powers of

The direction of the several organs speech, without the means of record of sense, to the examination of an ing either his actions or his reflections, object, is an act of the mind which is although he might have retained the called attention. The soundest mind names of Homer, Virgil, Milton, New- may be attributed to him who posseston, &c. &c. he must have remained ses the most enduring control over nearly ignorant of their genius, and the organs of sense, in order to exahe would not have been much the mine objects accurately, and thereby wiser for the improvements which to acquire a full and complete percepthey made. This contrivance, above tion of them. That memory is the all other blessings, has transmitted, best, which can voluntarily, and imin the sacred volume, the command-mediately, produce that which has n:ents of the living God.

been committed to its custody; and The anatomy of the hand, has not that reflection is the most perfect, been so miputely investigated, as to which is exclusively occupied with demonstrate the origin of its innume- the subject of consideration. The will rable actions. The organ of touch to act, is governed and directed by resides at the end of the fingers; but reason, the highest of our attainments

. no perception, from whatever organ of The will of man is as free as his expesense it may be derived, can be com- rience dictates; and his reason urges municated to another except through to action. the medium of language. Though the

Your's, respectfully, hand is, strictly speaking, the servant

Leo. LEDBROOK, of the mind, yet we must admit, that Wolverhampton, Septr. 12, 1821, without it we should have been strangers to “ the cloud-cap'd towers,” &c. &c. and to very many of the conveniences which we enjoy.

It is probable, that we shall never fully know the nature and operations TAKE the nitrate of silver, (lunar of our intellectual faculties; or, at caustic) and dipping the end of the least, that we shall not be able to caustic' in a little water, rub it over comprehend the manner in which we these troublesome excrescences, and perceive the objects that surround us ; after a few times using they will disneither shall we be able to explain appear. This process is quite simple llow we recollect them when they are and harmless. The muriate of amnio


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