The narrator describes having been shipwrecked with 'Lord K—' in an
immense but unknown country. The inhabitants sent them to the capital,
'Polaslos', together with several chests of clothes and hats which had been on
the ship, and for which the almost naked inhabitants could see no use. The 'men
of science' of Polaslia were summoned to inspect the shipwrecked people and the
chests of clothes. They conjectured, from the diversity of hats, that the heads
and brains of Europeans were very diverse in form. The narrator observes: 'This
was sufficient to convince me in what errors the method of analogy may
sometimes lead us' (9). Similar conclusions about Europeans were drawn from the
shoes, some of which were sent to the city museum as evidence. 'A thick volume
soon appeared, describing this species of animal [the European], with all his
varities; and another on the tails that grew at the ends of the feet. The
last-mentioned work produced a powerful sensation; and to pacify the ladies of
Polaslia, a public notice appeared, stating that among the strangers who
had recently arrived, there was not a single foot with a tail' (10).
Section: State of Society and Manners
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 33–37.
Description of Philadelphia, Its Public Buildings, Books, Library,
Theatre, Hospital, Poor House, Society, Manners, Costume and Amusements of its
Inhabitants; From Unpublished Travels in the Two Louisianas. This Extract has
been Expressly Sent by the Author to the Proprietor of This Magazine
Relates that a statue of
DSB CloseView the register entry >> stands in front of the
public libraryPhiladelphia. public library
CloseView the register entry >>, 'to
whom it seems to be peculiarly dedicated', and observes: 'No person can be
ignorant of the obligations which natural philosophy owes to him' (34). Gives
an account of the
CloseView the register entry >>, and particularly of the care
of the mentally ill patients. Recounts that one of the physicians attributes
the large number of the latter, in comparison with Europe, to 'the abuse of
spiritous liquors'. Reports the repeated 'ravages' of yellow fever in
Philadelphia, and the steps taken to prevent recurrence. (35) Reflects that,
while no one in America 'is sufficiently free from employment to give himself
wholly to letters or the sciences', Philadelphia is a city which 'contains,
more than any other, persons who cultivate them, and whose society is extremely
interesting, when these subjects are discussed' (36).
As in every 'great city', the gardens of Paris constitute one of the main
public recreations. The
des PlantesJardin des Plantes, Paris CloseView the register entry >> 'is the National Botanical Nursery' of France, and is
'a complete epitome of the vegetable world'. 'In this Garden stands the
National Museum of Natural
History;Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris CloseView the register entry >> also the Public Menagerie, containing a complete
collection of wild beasts, and other curious living animals'. (39) The
establishment is lavishly funded by the government and, 'like all other
national extablishments, is freely open to the public' (40).
Observes that botany has long been neglected in Britain, but that it is now
'cultivated with considerable success', and that 'the management of the
Flower-Garden, is thought necessary to complete the education of the
fashionable female'. The essay is not intended 'to go into the more abstruse
parts of the science, but to give some precepts easily retained, and highly
useful to the lovers of Botany'.
Section: Poetry, Original and Select
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 50.
A Learned Lady, Visited in her Study by Oberon, King of the
'What saw he there? no silken robes, / But quadrants, telescopes, and
globes, / In learn'd confusion pil'd, / And pickled toads, and ponderous books,
/ And pot-hooks, diagrams, and crooks— / The Elfin monarch smil'd'. The
lady is found in a reverie studying Greek; Oberon charges her with having a
bloodshot eye and inky lips as a result of her studies, but she is unrepentant.
He concludes: 'Why shall the gloomy mists of pride / Extinguish beauty's beam?
/ Ah why, why cause the female mind, / For every native sweet design'd, / With
pedant's weeds to teem!'.
Records the display of a marble bust of
LavaterLavater, Johann Kaspar
CBD CloseView the register entry >> at the 'annual exhibition of the production of arts' at
Zurich in May 1805. The bust was intended to be 'placed on the monument which
his countrymen intend to erect to his honour'.
Reid 1806Reid, John 1806.
'Report of the Diseases in the Public and Private Practice of One of the
Physicians of the Finsbury Dispensary, From the 20th of December to the 20th of
January', Medical and Physical Journal, 15, 193–95
CloseView the register entry >>
'Dr. J. ReidReid, John
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> observes
in the last
Medical JournalMedical and Physical Journal
London Medical and Physical Journal
Medical Quarterly Review
British and Foreign Medical Review or Quarterly Journal of
Practical Medicine and Surgery
British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review
British and Foreign Medical Review and Quarterly Journal of
Practical Medicine and Surgery
Directory CloseView the register entry >>,
that "The slightest nervous affection is a degree of insanity—from
its nascent state, to its more full and perfect growth, the progress is so
gradual as scarcely to be perceived. The shade of melancholy slowly and
solemnly advances over the surface of the mind, until at length it produces a
total eclipse of the understanding"'.
Gives details of rainfall in the preceding month and in preceding years for
comparative purposes. Another report concerns a bat considered to have lain 'in
a torpid state' in a vault for more than thirty-two years (56).
Education, Amusement, Imagination, Feeling, Reasoning, Superstition,
Ancient Authorities, Supernaturalism
Observes: 'To disguise the asperity of instruction by the more enticing mask
of amusement, is a mode of condescension which the world expects from those who
wish either to disseminate knowledge or to purchase fame'. Notes that
allegorical imagery has often been used to express natural phenomena, as with
the 'qualities of air, of fire, of water, of earth, their combination and
effects', and that 'moral and natural philosophy' were thus taught. Regrets the
tendency to rest content with such 'fictions', to forget their morals, and to
pass them from generation to generation and even make them into 'idols'. Traces
heathenism to such idolatry, giving as an example reactions to the 'enormous
edifices of Egypt, built probably for the purposes of science'. (69) Considers,
therefore, that 'that mythology which is now thought trivial [...] had its
commencement in the highest chambers of literature'. Notes that only when they
are taken from classical literature are the ancient fables now found to provide
acceptable materials for poetry, and observes: 'These illustrious authors have
indeed become the common place book of the universe; and we have as just a
right to make a liberal use of their contents, as to make transcriptions from
that other great common place book, the volume of Nature'. Cites
DSB CloseView the register entry >>Botanic GardenDarwin,
Erasmus 1789–91. The Botanic Garden: A Poem, in Two Parts.
Part I. Containing The Economy of Vegetation. Part II. The Loves of the Plants.
With Philosophical Notes, 2 vols, London: J. Johnson
CloseView the register entry >>
as evidence that 'all the known supernatural machinery may with propriety and
effect be used or alluded to in the same work', noting the presence in the work
of 'the elementary beings of the Rosi-crucian Philosophy' and illustrations
'drawn promiscuously from ethics or from holy writ'. (70)
'Buffon has shown in his natural history that a man may sometimes unite a
great extent of learning with a splendid imagination, and an acute sense of
feeling with the delightful art of painting' (92). Also praises his literary
style and eloquence.
The narrator, 'an infirm old man', writes to his niece Matilda that he has
obtained much pleasure from his many years investigating 'that part of truth in
which alone it is permitted to man to arrive at any degree of certainty',
namely 'mathematical science'. He considers this the proper exercise of human
reason, and contrasts it with metaphysics and taste, objects to which reason
cannot properly be applied. In geometry and its allied sciences he has found
'indubitable truth; it is by them that we want no other testimonies to convince
us of the order and harmony of the universe, of the certainty of the Great
First Cause, and even of the nature of infinity itself'. The 'attentive'
education and love of truth that his niece has received, which 'elevates' her
understanding 'above the feeble curiosity, so characteristic of the
inconsiderate part' of her sex, warrants him 'in venturing to make some branch
of the mathematics' the subject of his epistles. (105) He introduces a poem 'On
Perspective' by a gentleman of his acquaintance (identified in a footnote as
Thomas NobleNoble, Thomas
WBI CloseView the register entry >>,
author of a recent work on perspective (Noble 1805Noble, Thomas
1805. Practical Perspective Exemplified in Landscapes, London: Edward
CloseView the register entry >>)) which portrays perspective as the
'loveliest child', a daughter, of male geometry (106). He defines some of the
terms used in discussing perspective. On the subject of optics he refers the
reader to 'the works of
Mrs. BryanBryan, Margaret
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> of
Blackheath, who has condescended to open the gates of science to the most
uninformed, and by elegance of diction, and all the ornaments of polished
literature, has rendered irresistibly attractive, that entrance to knowledge,
which was before so forbidden and uncouth' (107).
The narrator relates how, at a Christmas house party in Languedoc, when the
youthful company were telling each other stories of 'the marvellous, ghosts and
apparitions', a young Italian lady called Valeria introduced her story by
calling herself a ghost. She related how, having been refused permission to
marry her lover Octavian, she was deceived into marrying a cousin. Discovering
the deceit immediately after the wedding, she fainted and became delirious,
'the disease rapidly encreased, and after a paroxysm of sixty hours' she
expired (131). She was placed in the family vault, but Octavian having obtained
access to the vault and kissing her, felt her breathe. He warmed her in his
embrace and took her to his house where a physician 'answered for [her] life'
(132). Appearing to her parents and husband as a ghost, she caused the former
to repent their actions, and the latter to relinquish his claim.
Observes that 'exercise, temperance, and cheerfulness are the three points
on which we ought more particularly to insist as they are the regulators of
health the most proper for that kind of sleep which is attended with the best
dreams' (133–34). Proposes the need to consider 'the atmosphere of the
place in which we sleep', noting that 'the air, which being received into the
lungs is there digested as food is in the stomach, and being reduced to the
minutest particles filtres [sic] through the pores to the blood, which it
proceeds to vivify'. Draws an analogy between the temperature equilibrium of a
heated vessel of boiling water in contact with open air and the health of a
living body placed in an atmosphere in which 'the putrescent particles can be
expelled from the domain of life'. (134) On the basis of the miasmatic theory
of contagion advises sleeping in a well-ventilated room. Describes in humoral
language the different states of the brains of different kinds of dreamers.
'Exercise is necessary, but the constitution of women is adapted only to
moderate exercise [...]. Excessive labour reduces and deforms the organs,
destroying by repeated compressions that cellular substance which contributes
to the beauty of their contours and their colours'. Observes that the best kind
of exercise for 'women of a middling condition' is that found in 'useful and
indispensable occupations'. Argues against walking on the grounds that it only
involves the lower parts of the body, rendering the course of the humours
'irregular and their distribution unequal'. Considers the dangers of the
thoughts that come to the mind during a walk, whether 'extravagant' or relating
to the exercise itself. 'BagliviBaglivi, Georgius
DSB CloseView the register entry >> said, that by thinking too much about
digestion, it is impossible to digest at all. The same observation may be
applied to the other vital or animal functions; we disturb them by thinking
incessantly of them'. The best exercise is 'actual labour', especially when it
maintains 'a just equilibrium between the mental and physical powers'.
Observes, satirically, that the signs of tranquil satisfaction exhibited
('according to the elements of physiology') by the slanderer can only evince
innocent intention. 'I appeal for the truth of this to the doctrine of
Dr. GallGall, Franz Joseph
DSB CloseView the register entry >>'. Claims
that, were it otherwise, it would be betrayed in his face. (145) Compares the
use of slander in the 'social body' to the use of 'specifics' in medicine,
observing that they must be administered with a 'degree of skill' (146).
Having given a general outline of the Linnaean system in the preceding
letter, the writer now introduces some individual specimens and describes their
structure and taxonomy. Suggests observing plants encountered on walks, noting:
'That kind of study is pleasant and easy, and if you sometimes deceive
yourself, it is without danger and without remorse' (159). Moralizes on the
perfection of divine design seen in all natural objects. Reflects that 'Nature
has in the distribution of her boundless garden, appointed an end to the
courses of her children', and gives some botanical examples (160).
The narrator is pleased that his niece approves the subject of his letters,
and observes: 'if I can soften that seeming ruggidness, which its technical
terms and the abstract references of its general principles have given it, and
at the same time keep your mind alive to the beauty of those simple truths on
which it is founded, I may indeed promise you the liveliest gratification in
the pursuit'. The 'plain elementary truths of nature' are often disregarded,
but by deduction they can explain astonishing or even apparently supernatural
occurrences. The narrator relates that this observation is a response to his
niece's comment 'that the beginning of
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>EuclidSimson, Robert
1756. The Elements of Euclid, viz. The First Six Books Together with the
Eleventh and Twelfth. In this Edition, the Errors, by which Theon, or Others,
have Long Ago Vitiated these Books, are Corrected, and some of Euclid's
Demonstrations are Restored, Glasgow: Robert and Andrew Foulis
CloseView the register entry >>, into which some time
since, you casually turned, appeared to be learned trifling'. The letter
provides an account of the theory of perspective, with the promise of the 'more
pleasing practical part' in the next letter. (161)
Section: La Belle Assemblée. Fashions for May, 1806
Having introduced the anatomical subject of the discourse, the narrator
declares: 'I will not distress your eyes with the disgusting spectacle of an
amphitheatre; I will not wound your ears with those hard technical words, which
it was useless labour to go so far to seek, for the purpose of rendering them
so difficult to the tongue and so disagreeable to the ear'. The narrator
describes the public dissection of 'the heart of a young and beautiful woman'
by a professor of anatomy. There is found no 'correspondence between the heart
and tongue of the deceased'. (173) Other such anatomical peculiarities are
described. The heart 'floated habitually in a limpid and cold liquid,
containing a soft substance'. The professor collected some of this in a tube,
and found it behaved like mercury in a thermometer, rising and falling as young
fops or men of sense were brought near to it. A physician friend of the
narrator assured him that 'all young women are so many thermometers, or rather
frivolimeters of that kind'. (174)
Mental Illness, Medical Treatment, Nomenclature, Physiology
Describes comic humour in quasi-medical terms. 'An enquiry into the nature
of this powerful antidote against melancholy, will not perhaps be displeasing
to those who, tormented by its black vapours, may stand in need of such
assistance. A celebrated physician of the mind, who, by this remedy, has
affected many miraculous cures, shall be my guide. The English call this
antidote humour.' (177) Quotes from one of
Ben Jonson'sJonson, Benjamin ('Ben Johnson')
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> comedies a
passage on the theory of humours.
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 184–89.
Parental Resentment Exemplified; or, A Biographical Sketch
Describes the cave dwellings of troglodytes near the Castle of Paulmy. The
mineral veins in the rocks are divine 'hieroglyphics'. Discusses the origin of
the rocks, fossils, and minerals; the origin of the flint veins 'is an enigma
which the sagacity of geologists has in vain attempted to explain'. The rocks
appear to be of recent marine formation, but the contrast with the nearby
castle gives rise to the exclamation: 'What a long series of human events this
single view compresses into a space so small for nature!'. (204)
The narrator recommends her friend to peruse 'the
Nature"Saint-Pierre, Jaques Henri Bernardin
de Studies of Nature, trans. by Henry Hunter, 5 vols, London:
CloseView the register entry >> by
PierreSaint Pierre, Jacques Henri Bernardin de
CBD CloseView the register entry >>' observing: 'It is from that work that I have derived the
greatest part of my knowledge, and it will teach you how to make observations'
(208). She describes the anatomy and taxonomy of further plants, remarking:
'The learned will laugh, perhaps, at my description; but tell me, my dear
Eugenia, whether my explanations are plain, and I faithfully describe what my
eyes consider and study'. Recommends the first three volumes of
DSB CloseView the register entry >>Spectacle de la
Antoine 1732–51. Le spectacle de la nature; ou, entretiens
sur les particularités de l'histoire naturelle, qui ont paru les plus
propres à rendre les jeunes-gens curieux, et à leur former
l'esprit, 8 vols, Paris: La veuve Estienne, and Jean Desaint
CloseView the register entry >> as containing 'some simple practical elementary observations
on the charms of natural history'. (209) She concludes: 'Yesterday part of the
flowers I had gathered drooped while I held them. It was truly affecting, those
poor little plants slumbered in the hand that had severed them from life'
Section: La Belle Assemblée. Fashions for June, 1806
Gender, Mathematics, Education, Class, Public Health,
The editor replies to letters from correspondents complaining about the
'enormous length of our fashionable women's trains'. 'If we were to calculate
the extent of the fashionable promenades by the space which one of our
élégantes occupies in walking there, it would be
absolutely necessary to call in the aid of a little practical geometry, and we
are afraid, in consequence of this, some of our beaux would be compelled
to return to their studies, and attend a course of lectures in that science.
What an alteration would not this make in the beau-monde? The simpering
fops would become geometricians, their minds bent on calculation'. Suggests
that trains are 'hurtful to public salubrity', since they raise 'clouds of dust
of an evening in St. James's and the Green Park', causing lung disease.
Two of the women seduced and deserted in a pregnant condition by the
anti-hero become insane. One is admitted to a 'public receptacle for lunatics'
(239), the other becomes a patient of the 'justly celebrated Dr.
Describes how, after dinner, the intellect is only 'to be set going by the
assistance of copious libations'. Likens diners at a party to sea creatures,
observing: 'as naturalists tell us, certain sea-monsters that have been basking
on the shore, are unable to extricate themselves from the mire in which they
have been wallowing, till the tide comes up and floats them again'. (245)
Relates a conversation describing 'women of sense' as self-confident, in
which an unamed Duke retorted: 'Oh! intolerable, madam: my dear madam, if you
go on defining the animal, you positively will throw the gout into my stomach'
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 256–58.
Principle and Sentiment: T. N.'s Enquiry Concerning Principle and
Sentiment Briefly Considered
Written in response to a letter prompted by L C's earlier article, 'The
Distinction between Principle and Sentiment'. States: 'Too often in the study
of the mind we omit the study of man, and represent the object of our enquiry
as a being superior to himself. Too often in delineating the character of man,
his endowments and his capabilities, we represent him rather as what he ought
to be than what he really is' (256). Later observes: 'To the mind nothing is
naturally right or wrong until it obtains an accidental, a revealed, or
acquired power of reasoning, comparing, and judging' (257). In conclusion,
suggests that 'Principles are truths than which nothing can be more strong,
nothing more useful, nothing more perfect, nothing more satisfactory. The
emanations of science can neither add to, nor diminish ought [sic] of their
intrinsic value' (258).
Observes that the art of printing has the consequence that 'not a ray of
genius emanates from the human soul which may not be caught, as it were, in
prismatic glass, and reflected at once in innumerable directions'. Continues:
'the source of this admirable invention [...] has, like the fountains of the
Nile, for a sucession of ages, defied the endeavours of every adventurer who
has attempted, by tracing its current, to ascend its primary stream'. (258)
Asserts that printing 'first became known in Europe about the year 1440', and
that, while 'it is true that in China the art of printing has certainly been
known from the year 930', it 'is a totally different science from the European
system' (259). Outlines several contested accounts of the invention of
CosterCoster, Laurens Jansz
WBI CloseView the register entry >> (referred to as 'Lawrence John Koster'),
GutenbergGutenberg, Johann (Johannes Gensfleisch)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> (referred to as 'John Guttenburg'), and
Johann FustFust, Johann
CBD CloseView the register entry >> (referred
to as 'John Fust', and as 'Faustus' or 'Dr. Faustus') (259–60). In
mistakenly referring to Fust as Dr Faustus observes: 'We are told of his
compacts with the devil, and his skill in magic'. Enquires: 'what is the cause
of this popular belief in his necromancy? Why this: A number of copies were
produced of Bibles printed by him [...] in a space of time in which they could
not have been finished by the ordinary mode of manuscript' (261). Relates how
printing came to England and outlines the career of
William CaxtonCaxton, William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>.
Outlines the life of a middle-class Indian from cradle to marriage.
Describes childbirth as an experience 'which Indian women bear far better than
those of Europe, and which is rendered less painful by the climate' (265).
Introduces further botanical specimens and describes their structure,
taxonomy, and in some cases their habitat. Observes: 'Nature shortens
distances; in the fields we gather the same flowers, we inhale the same
perfumes, we listen to the same concert, and our souls, in the same atmosphere,
can render homage to the great creator of the universe' (268).
Introduces the two Sicilies as 'the seat of tremendous volcanos' which
'have been agitated in all ages by political convulsions still more dangerous
than those of nature'. Describes
Emperor Frederick IIFrederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
CBE CloseView the register entry >> as 'the
founder of the school of Salerno, who patronised the sciences and successfully
cultivated them himself'. (286) Lists the later monarchs of the two Sicilies
and relates that
RobertRobert of Anjou, King of Naples ('the wise')
CBE CloseView the register entry >> of Naples as encouraging 'the study of sound philosophy,
mathematics, astronomy, medicine, caused
DSB CloseView the register entry >> to be
translated into Latin, and collected the most valuable works in his library'.
Asserts that 'about this period
Flavio GioiaGioia, Flavio
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, a
native of Amalfi, reflected honour on the Neapolitan nation by his invention,
or rather improvement, of the mariner's compass, that guide which paved the way
to the discovery of a new world' (287).
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 294–98.
The Golden Mirror; or, The Kings of Sheshian: A True History Translated
from the Sheshianese
Reflects that, when a man ceases to love a woman, 'The prism of the
imagination is broken, and the ray of beauty, which once shone with such lovely
colours, being no longer refracted by this magic crystal, now presents to the
disenchanted eye nothing but a lurid and monotonous light' (298). Attempts to
define the nature of beauty through the medium of colour, form, and
Asks: 'How is it possible that a female can be an Atheist? [...] The
feeblest creature in nature, even on the verge of death, or the loss of her
charms, who shall sustain this being who smiles and expires, if her hopes
extend not beyond an ephemeral existence?' (300). Pictures the miserable end of
the 'infidel wife'—chiefly the loss of her husband and of the affection
of her children. Concludes by stating: 'When the Atheist, at the term of his
career, discovers the delusions of a false philosophy, when annihilation, like
an appalling meteor, begins to appear above the horizon, he would fain return
to God' (301).
Extols the virtues of early rising, stating that it is absolutely necessary
'to those who follow the paths of business, or the toilsome tracts of science'.
Later reports that '[e]arly rising is generally allowed by medical men to
invigorate the faculties, and to remove the dullness which too often attends
even fashionable life'. (313)
The correspondent confesses to being one of 'the rich, the idle, and the
gay' who migrate to the coast in the summer months 'in order to enjoy the
fancied advantages of sea-bathing' (318). Gives an account of Cromer and
environs. Reports that parts of the now submerged 'Ancient Cromer' or 'Shipden'
can still be observed. Continues: 'it is certain [...] that those who have made
experiments at soundings in this spot, have had every reason to conclude that
the bottom of the sea, for the circumference of half a mile or more, was one
perfect stratum of stone or brick [...]. It is these scattered ruins of the old
town, in the sea, which are said to make the coast of Cromer so extremely
dangerous for shipping'. (319)
Reports that the 'library of the Indian rajahs [...] would require a hundred
camels to remove'. Continues: 'A rajah, a friend of learning, requested a
scientific man to select the substance of every book, and to compile a more
portable library: he accordingly made extracts, forming not more than ten
camels' loads. Another King thinking it still too voluminous, commissioned a
Bramin to make further abridgements, and he reduced the whole library to four
maxims'. Lists the four maxims, the third of which is: 'The only means of
preserving health, that most precious blessing, is to eat when the appetite
requires, and to give over before it is completely satisfied'. (327)
Describes the poet
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> as having 'introduced among us a species of poetry peculiarly
his own.' Continues: 'He is the father of the English amatory ode; if he has
not actually given birth to it, he has given it a beauty and order which it
before wanted. It perhaps existed before him, but it existed as a wild flower
scattered in the waste of miscellaneous literature, and in want of cultivation,
with half its natural beauty and fragrance; Mr. Moore has transplanted it into
his garden, and under his nurturing hands we behold its natural luxuriance.'
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 351–53.
Curious Research into the Natural History of Grasshoppers
Observes: 'BuffonBuffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc,
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, whose
penetration and philosophy few things escaped, and whose chief delight was to
discover something agreeable and romantic in every part of creation, has dwelt
very lightly upon the history of Grasshoppers'. Asserts that, contrary
to received opinion, the grasshopper is a 'reptile' that is as 'full of venom
and malignity as of noise and vivacity; its ravages though not so frequent,
have been more extensive and pernicious than those of the caterpillar or
locust'. (351) Describes at length the habitat, anatomy, behaviour, and
migration of the grasshoppers of Cyprus.
Discusses developments in understanding the links between logic and grammar
in Germany. Asserts: 'it is impossible to analyse thought without analysing the
signs by which it is represented'. Observes that German scholars 'reckon
MoritzMoritz, Karl Philipp
WBI CloseView the register entry >>, professor at Berlin, among their
best grammarians, who, in his grammar for the ladies, and his works of
psychology, analyses, with as much taste as precision, the signs of
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 361–63.
Anecdotes of Supernatural Appearances: Observations on the Danger of
Perusing Anecdotes of Supernatural Appearances
Warns that uneducated women are adversely affected by the publication of
anecdotes on supernatural appearances even though, '[i]n this enlightened age,
when the high rank many of the sex hold in the walks of literature, proclaims
the extent of their mental powers, and clearly demonstrates the fallacy of that
prejudice which once considered the female understanding incapable of attaining
the heights of science' (361). Argues that 'from the prognostications of the
physician we sometimes recover, but a dream, the vision of a heated, or
diseased imagination, unmans every faculty of the soul, and death feels his
power anticipated' (362). Describes how a practical joke involving the
reappearance of a supposedly dead acquaintance resulted in the victim suffering
a 'severe illness which immediately attacked him, and the melancholy depression
of spirits which ensued [...] continued until his death.—If it did not
hasten that event, it embittered some portion of his existence; and life, with
the blessings of health and good spirits, are too valuable to be trifled with'
Ancient Authorities, Geology, Chemistry, Transport,
Observes that 'it has been represented as a wonder, that Hannibal had (to
use the expression of some authors) dissovled the Alps with vinegar'. Suggests
that this 'wonder' can be 'reduced to a very simple process'. Relates that,
after an avalanche, 'Hannibal had a great fire kindled around the rock; and
that when it was heated he had a great quantity of vinegar poured upon it,
which insinuating itself into the veins of the rock (opened by the heat and
calcined), softened it, and faciliated the means of breaking it easily'.
Reports that the road leading from Foix to Devernajon was more recently built
by the same process.
Describes a woman who attempted to resist her secret affectionate feelings
for a man; however, 'so violent were her struggles that her health became
seriously affected by them'. After being seen by several physicians she was
then sent away to 'try whether change of air would not be of service to her'.
(364) On receiving the gentleman's hand in marriage the shock was so great that
she 'instantly expired' (365).
Libraries, Institutions, Archaeology, Ethnography, Race, Religion,
Education, Medical Treatment, Medical Practitioners
Reports: 'The most copious library in Indostan is that if the university of
Benares'. Relates that, while the contents of these libraries have in the past
been a closely guarded secret, having only been accessed by the Bramins, the
latter 'are now a days more communicative; and the
society of CalcuttaAsiatic Society [of Bengal], Calcutta CloseView the register entry >> which has consulted the monuments of India,
both sacred and profane, has at length drawn aside the veil that concealed the
superstition and manners of the Hindoos'. (372) Describes the apparent lack of
educational literature in a middle-class Indian family. Comments: 'Most of the
disorders of Europe are known in India; but medicine is a profession abandoned
to those who have no other resource [...] greater confidence being placed in
the goodness of the Gods than in the skill of men' (373).
The subtitle reads: 'Thoughts on the Figure and Formation of the Earth,
Subterraneous Fires and its Effects, the Deluge, and Origin of Mountains,
Continents, &c.; fromWhiehurst'sWhitehurst, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >> [sic]
Enquiry into the Original
State of the EarthWhitehurst,
John 1792. An Inquiry into the Original State and Formation of
the Earth, 3d ed., London: W. Bent
CloseView the register entry >>,MacquerMacquer, Pierre (Pierre Joseph)
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, the celebrated
Chymist, and the lateMr.
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, whose untimely fate will be ever deplored by the
Literati'. Describes the formation of the earth from a 'fluid mass' to its
present 'oblate spheroidical form' (375). Suggests that the 'sameness of
quality which prevails in strata of different denominations' may also be
ascribed to the laws of attraction that originally consolidated the matter of
the earth into the atmosphere and oceans. Argues that 'the Mosaic account of
the sun being created, or becoming visible on the fourth day of the creation'
might be confirmed by the inference that the formation of the atmosphere led to
the increasing intensity of heat and light from the sun. Gives an account of
'primitive islands' being raised from the sea. (376) Advances a theory that the
convulsive action of the vast amount of steam produced when 'subterraneous
fires' came into contact with the sea, was responsible for 'the deluge' and the
formation of 'the Alps, the Andes, the Pyranean mountains &c.' (377). As a
result of this action the primitive islands 'in all probability' became 'the
bottom of the andiluvian sea; and the bottom of the andiluvian sea being more
elevated, was converted into the post-deluvian mountains, continents, &c.
This conjecture is remarkably confirmed by the vast numbers of fossile [sic]
shells, and other marine exuvid, found embedded near the tops of mountains, and
the interior parts of continents'. Comments that not only should these
phenomena not be ascribed to a universal flood but that 'the mountains and
continents were not primary productions; but of a very distant period of time
from the creation of the world'. (378) Gives evidence to support these
assertions by detailing the production of steam accompanying various volcanic
eruptions and earthquakes, including Vesuvius in 1631, Ætna in 1755, and
the Lisbon earthquake in 1755. Points out that the 'powerful and extensive
effects of steam' are well known to metallurgists, citing
Cramer'sCramer, Johann Andreas
DSB CloseView the register entry >>Elements of the Art of Assaying
Andreas 1741. Elements of the Art of Assaying Metals, in Two
Parts, the First Containing the Theory, the Second the Practice of the Said
Art: The Whole Deduced from the True Properties and Nature of Fossils,
Confirmed by the Most Accurate and Unquestionable Experiments, Explained in a
Natural Order, and with the Utmost Clearnes, London: T. Woodward and C.
CloseView the register entry >> (379).
'Care's an obtrusive craz'd physician / Who visits folks of high condition,
/ And doses them with bitters; / Claps causticks on the tend'rest sores, / And
won't be turn'd from great men's doors / By footmen or beef-eaters'.
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 382.
The Flatting Mill, An Illustration, Written by William Cowper, Esq. (Not
Inserted in His Work)
Matilda encourages Caroline to seek out a suitable man, commenting 'and then
if (as is sometimes the case) an attractive external will lead such to
investigate and acknowledge those amiable qualities which are (with all her
vanities) the property of my friend, I shall be happy in contributing my part,
to render that external not only the magnet that attracts, but the loadstone
which points out the sphere of merit' (389).
Describes the history, ingredients, and process of production of perfumes.
Includes descriptions of the cultivation and habitat of various species of
plant. When describing the 'Balsam of Mecca', explains that 'A flask of this
balsam is preserved in the "Garden of Plants" [Jardin des
PlantesJardin des Plantes, Paris CloseView the register entry >>] in Paris, as a rarity of unattainable price' (404).
Reports that 'Musk is produced from an animal which is very common in Tibet
[...]. This animal is of the species of hedgehog, but it has two tusks like a
boar, and is covered in quills like a porcupine'. Continues: 'Naturalists and
Travelers are not agreed to the existence of the civet in Asia; this animal
which resembles a large cat, is common in Sengal [...] and on the coast of
Introduces a short love story by describing Africa as abounding with evil,
stating that '[n]o country produces so many poisonous plants, wild beasts, and
venomous reptiles'. Continues: 'In the midst of these disgusting horrors,
amongst those sanguinary monsters, of whom some sell their children, and others
eat their captives, there is sometimes a natural justice found, real virtue,
constancy in torments, and a generous contempt of death. Such examples, however
rare, are sufficient to interest us for those degraded beings, to remind us
that they are men'. (417)
The extract explores evidence for divine design from the anatomy, senses,
and instincts of humans. Chateaubriand states that '[v]arious authors, and
DSB CloseView the register entry >> in particular, have proved that the bounds within which
our senses are confined, are the very limits that are best adapted to them, and
that we should be exposed to a great number of inconveniences and dangers, were
these senses more or less enlarged' (426).
Describes the structure, taxonomy, and in some cases habitat of the German
woundwort and a number of varieties of nasturtium. Writes in reference to the
woundwort that 'B. de Saint PierreSaint Pierre, Jacques Henri Bernardin de
CBD CloseView the register entry >>
thinks that the flutings are as many channels to facilitate watering the root'
(429). Observes that 'lightenings' can be observed on the nasturtium leaf at
nightfall or dawn and reports: 'Mademoiselle Linnaeus CloseView the register entry >> was the first
who made this observation' (430).
Outlines theories of mechanics, the nature and properties of matter, and
gravity. Observes: 'Gold-beaters afford us the means of demonstrating the
minute diversibility [sic] of matter; they can spread a grain of gold into a
leaf containing fifty square inches; which leaf may be readily divided into
500,000 parts, each of which is visible to the naked eye. The natural divisions
of matter are, however, far more suprizingly [sic] minute: there are more
animals in the melt of a single cod-fish than men on the whole earth' (432). A
footnote explains: 'It is said that a single grain of sand is larger than four
million of these animals; yet each of them possesses a heart, stomach, bowels,
muscles, tendons, nerves, glands, veins, &c. It has been calculated that a
particle of blood of one of these animalcula, is as much smaller than a globe
one-tenth of an inch in diameter, as that globe is smaller than the whole
earth' (432). Also states: 'The attraction of matter has been exemplified in
five different ways, which philosophers have called the attraction of cohesion,
of gravitation, of combination, of electricity, and the magnetic attraction'
(432). Provides an account of gravitation and cohesion, including a footnote on
'capillary attraction' in plants and animals.
Recounts the author's 'experiments and observations' on the 'singing of
birds', 'which were chiefly intended to determine, whether birds had any innate
ideas of the notes, or song, which is supposed to be peculiar to each species'
(462). Asserts that this is 'a subject which has never before been
scientifically treated' (459). Describes the singing habits, rearing,
behaviour, and habitat of a number of different bird species. Reports: 'I
procured a cock nightingale, a cock and hen blackbird, a cock and hen rook, a
cock linnet, as also a cock and hen chaffinch, which that very eminent
Mr HunterHunter, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, some years
since, was so obliging as to dissect for me, and begged that he would
particularly attend to the state of the organs in the different birds, which
might be supposed to contribute to singing' (463). Later relates the results of
these comparative dissections.
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 465–68.
New Dictionary; or, A key to the Beau Monde: Accurately Copied from Real
Defines the different spheres of the beau-monde as: good company, bad
company, and nobodies. States: 'The Beau-monde, like the chance world of
DescartesDescartes, René Du Perron
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, is composed of a certain
number of circles' (466).
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 471.
Observations on the Nature and Generation of Oysters
Describes the lifecycle, development, and reproduction of oysters. States:
'In viewing them attentively by the microscope, a milky humour is discovered,
which may be called semen, or sperm of oysters, and of all other testaceous
fish'. Later reports: 'On account of them having no progressive motion,
DSB CloseView the register entry >> gave them the
name of aquatic plants'. (471)
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 472–74.
Original Description of Buenos Ayres: Manners of the Inhabitants, and
Other Circumstances of Importance to the Military and Trading World
Describes the peculiar 'dexterity and science' of the garden irrigation
system used in Buenos Aires. Also reports: 'The water of this river is clear as
crystal [...] but its coldness, when drank [sic], brings on dysenteries and
other dangerous diseases; the most fatal complaint, however, and one that never
fails to attack Europeans,—I say never, for I never knew an instance of
an entire escape from it, is what I call black fever; I believe it has no name
in the Materia Medica of England or Europe, and being the only disease
known there, it is called simply the fever'. (474)
Describes the city of London in 1769 as giving 'an equal chance to every
trade and profession; it is a place where the meanest of employments may become
the source of wealth; and where chimney sweepers, old-clothes-men,
hair-dressers, tailors, and quacks, sometimes acquire affluence, and frequently
enjoy the privileges of being ranked in the class of gentlemen' (481). Later
observes: 'London is also a place very advantageous to the student in his
pursuits of various branches of science; where, by attending on different
Professors, conversing with men of genius, learning, and experience, consulting
libraries, visiting museums, exhibitions, &c. he may enjoy the means of
making the most desirable progress in his studies, if he have sufficient
resolution to escape the dangerous dissipations of the place' (482).
Gives descriptions of various kitchen implements, ingredients, and methods
of preservation. States: 'Vegatables soon sour, and corrode metals and glazed
red ware, by which a strong poison is produced. Vinegar by its acidity does the
same, the glazing being of lead or arsenic' (486).
Mr. BeyerBeyer, Mr (manufacturer of electrical conductors, of 33 Rue de Clichy, Paris)
BA1/1/9c/2 CloseView the register entry >>, to whom France
owes the construction of the principal conductors (Para-ton-nerres) in
that empire, possesses one of the completest collections of electrical machines
in Paris, in la Rue de Clichy, No. 33. His magnificent battery, of sixty
feet in circumference, kills an ox in a second of time. It is powerful enough
to kill an elephant. An infinitely lesser shock kills the largest species of
game, such as deer or hares; and a still slighter, all sorts of volatiles, as
turkies [sic], geese, &c. As soon as the animal is put to death by these
means, the flesh acquires a degree of tenderness which is really wonderful.
There is no time to be lost in passing it from the electrical machine to the
The narrator asserts that 'according to the ancient historians, each
individual part of the human body had its respective physician, so that the
ear-doctors, eye-doctors, tooth-doctors, clyster-doctors, foot-doctors, &c.
stoutly defended their own domain and territorial jurisdiction on the
superficies of the human body, against the encroachments of their colleagues'
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 531–33.
On Novels and Romances, with a Cursory Review of the Literary Ladies of
Great-Britain. Extract of a Letter from a German Lady to Her Friend
Bryan 1797Bryan, Margaret
1797. A Compendious System of Astronomy, in a Course of Familiar Lectures;
in which the Principles of that Science are Clearly Elucidated, so as to be
Intelligible to Those who have not Studied the Mathematics. Also
Trigonometrical and Celestial Problems, with a Key to the Ephemeris, and a
Vocabulary of the Terms of Science Used in the Lectures; which Latter are
Explained Agreeably to their Application in them, London: Leigh and Sotheby
and G. Kearsley
CloseView the register entry >>
Relates that 'Mrs
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> has lately published a course of astronomy for the use of
young persons; and if we may judge of the author by the easy and perspicuous
succession of her ideas, and the portrait which graces the head of her work,
she must be extremely amiable' (533).
Begins: 'Among the many sciences which tend to improve the mind, and elevate
our conceptions, there is none, perhaps, more eminently useful than the study
of geography'. Whilst other authors 'consider it in too limited sense;
imagining that a bare enumeration of the manners, amusements, disposition, and
genius, of several nations, is sufficient to form a perfect system of
geography' this essay is written to 'treat more amply that part of geography
which considers the earth as a planet, which demonstrates the principles of
motion, and describes, explicitly, its internal formation, and external
appearance, and to explain, with precision, such parts of natural philosophy as
are requisite to a perfect knowledge of geography'. (539)
States: 'DescartesDescartes, René Du Perron
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, pursuant to the principle of
explaining all the actions of beasts by the laws of mechanism, pretended that
they were but mere machines, or pure automatons; but in this age of extensive
improvement and general information, our reason seems to run counter to such
sentiment, and even to banish it from society' (568).
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 570–71.
The Account Stated Between the Eighteenth Century and Nineteenth.
Fragment from Lichtenberg
States: 'All are vain of something, and think they possess some gift, some
talent, some quality, which gives them a superiority over their neighbours
[...]. Thus doth the man of science prefer the acquistion of solid knowledge to
the superficial frothiness of a wit, the wit considers the man of science as
little better than a drudge employed in the collection of materials for himself
to play with; while the man of sober sense, considers the one as a pedant, and
the other as a coxcomb, where they are not employed in the investigation of
useful knowledge, or in putting vice and folly out of counternance. The
historian, the geometrician, &c. value themselves for being in pursuit of
facts solely: the speculative philosopher regards these facts merely as the
footsteps of investigation, and finds his superiority in the use which he makes
of them' (585).
La Belle Assemblée, 1 (1806), 588–90.
Sketches of Buxton: In a Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend
Gives a description of Sourther, the largest cavern in Iceland. States: 'The
sides, or partitions of the cavern, produce the greatest effect, as they are
covered with a sort of varnish in horizontal squares, separated by borders
in-relief. This varnish is formed of a very fine vitreous, but opaque matter:
in some parts it is black, but it is generally of a greenish colour, and
similar to that employed in the manufactories of earthenware. This varnish as
well as the stalactites just mentioned, affords a certain proof of the
operation of subterraneous fires, and that the lava, in a state of fusion, has
passed, like a rivulet through this channel, while it began to cool on the
sides and top of the cavern. The flux of lava must have given to the cavern its
present form; while the same fusion must have covered the sides of the cavern
with a metallic alkaline varnish, by melting the interior crust of the cavern
in those parts where the heat was strongest. The same cause must also have
produced the stalactites.' (591)
Richard 1806. Memoirs of Richard Cumberland, Written by Himself.
Containing an Account of his Life and Writings, Interspersed with Anecdotes and
Characters of Several of the Most Distinguished Persons of his Time, with whom
He Has Had Intercourse and Connexion, London: Lackington, Allen, &
CloseView the register entry >>