Jean J MounierMounier, Jean Joseph
WBI CloseView the register entry >>
has given a 'history' of the French Revolution rather than an 'account of its
causes' (6). 'He has stated, as the first causes of the revolution,
circumstances that really proved it to be begun; and has gone no further back
than to the earliest of its apparent effects: He has [...] contented himself
with referring the fruit to the blossom, without taking any account of the
germination of the seed, or the subterraneous windings of the root' (7).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 18–24.
Art. II. [Review of Spital Sermon, by Samuel Parr]
Parr 1801Parr, Samuel 1801.
A Spital Sermon, Preached at Christ Church, upon Easter Tuesday, April 15,
1800; To Which are Added Notes, London: J. Mawman; Cambridge: W. H. Lunn,
J. Deighton, and B. Flower; Oxford: J. Cooke, Hanwell and Parker, and R.
CloseView the register entry >>
Utilitarianism, Mental Illness, Population, Radicalism, Medical
Godwin'sGodwin, William, the elder
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> recantation of the principle 'that general utility
should be made the immediate motive to our actions', and his comments on
particular and general affections (25). Observes that, having read so far, he
had hoped 'that a radical cure had been effected' for Godwin's complaint, but
that on reading his remarks on population the 'delusion was dispelled', and he
concluded that Godwin's was a 'case for life'. Godwin's expedients for
counteracting 'the bad effects of excessive population, (so ably pointed out by
MalthusMalthus, Thomas Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >>,) are, abortion and child-murder'. In consequence, suggests
to Godwin 'the infinite importance of shaving and blistering the crown of his
head, of keeping the primæ viæ open, and of strictly
pursuing an antiphlogistic regimen. By these means, we have some times seen the
understandings of great philosophers wonderfully and rapidly improved'.
Observes that 'Amidst the acquisitions which a few years have added to the
stock of general information', scholars including botanists 'will acknowledge
important obligations to the ardour of literary research, excited in the centre
of Asia'. Considers that the learned will particularly look to the
'publications of the
Society instituted at CalcuttaAsiatic Society [of Bengal], Calcutta CloseView the register entry >> by
JonesJones, Sir William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>'. (26) Examines some of the recent findings, and notes that
'that antiquity of the astronomical observations of the Hindus has become a
subject of interesting discussion' (27).
[2 Review of Narrative of a Journey from Agra to Oujein, by
Notes that at Bruwasagar [Burwa Sagar] the Mahratta subadar 'amused himself
with philosophical experiments; he had got the plates of the
Encyclopædia, neatly copied by artists of his own; and at the age of
sixty, expressed great solicitude to obtain an instructor in the English
language, to enable him to understand the text'. Notes that Oujein (i.e.
Ujjain) defines the first meridian for Hindu astronomers. Relates
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> speculations about the cause of the burial of the ancient
city of Oujein, which he considers must have been due to an earthquake
'operating with a gentler concussion than usually attends that tremendous
[4 Review of Observations on the Theory of Walls, by William
Mathematics, Mechanics, Engineering, Military Technology
[5 Review of On the Poison of Serpents, by William Boag]
Observes that the author might have been spared the trouble of ridiculing
'the science of the Brahmins' had he read
William Jones'sJones, Sir William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
observation that the 'system of the Jyauthishicas, or mathematical astronomers'
should not be confused with 'that of the Pauranicas, or poetical fabulists;
for, to such a confusion alone must we impute the many mistakes of Europeans on
the subject of Indian science' (37).
[8 Review of Narrative of a Journey to Srinagar, by Thomas
[12 Review of On the Antiquity of the Surya Siddhanta, by John
Observes that 'Mr. BentleyBentley, John
WBI CloseView the register entry >> appears
to be a mathematician of considerable industry and merit' and that 'he has
supplied some instructive observations on the principles of the Hindu
astronomy, and on the manner in which their cycles were, or might have been
formed' (42). Critically examines Bentley's argument from astronomical texts
that the entire Sanscrit corpus is of a recent age.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 44–59.
Art. V. [Review of Travels in the Ottoman Empire, by Guillaume A
Olivier'sOlivier, Guillaume Antoine
WBI CloseView the register entry >> journey was commissioned amidst 'the horrors of the
revolutionary crisis in France', purportedly to collect information primarily
on 'Commerce, agriculture, natural history, general physics, geography, the
medical art, and even our political relations with Turkey' (44). Concludes from
Olivier's established reputation as an entomological author that this purported
intent was not a mere pretence to cover 'purposes of more questionable
tendancy' (44). In his narrative Olivier explicitly eschews amusing anecdotes
and descriptions. Discusses Olivier's account of recent hydrographical work
carried out at the request of the
NationaleInstitut Nationale, Paris CloseView the register entry >>. Discusses Olivier's account of the consequences of
polygamy on population size. Observes that 'canine madness is totally unknown
in the east', and discusses the analogy developed by Olivier between 'that
disorder and the plague, neither of which, he thinks, can be spontaneously
generated or communicated by the atmosphere' (51). Discusses Olivier's
suggested treatment for the plague. Observes of the island of Delos that, while
'every where schistose or granitical, it exhibits no trace of volcano; "nothing
that can explain, by the laws of physics, the wonders which the Greeks have
transmitted to us respecting it"' (57–58). Repeats Olivier's descriptions
of the geology of some of the other Greek islands.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 59–61.
Art. VI. [Review of Political Recollections in Egypt, by George
George 1801. Political Recollections Relative to Egypt:
Containing Observations on its Government Under the the Mamaluks; its
Geographical Position; its Intrinsic and Extrinsic Resources; its Relative
Importance to England and France; and its Dangers to England in the Possession
of France; With a Narrative of the Ever-Memorable British Campaign in the
Spring of 1801, London: T. Cadell, jun. and W. Davies
CloseView the register entry >>
Disease, Medical Treatment, Induction, Error, Chemistry,
The reviewer is fiercely critical of the work, stating that
George BaldwinBaldwin, George
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
'has suppressed every particle of information on the subjects he professes to
discuss'. As an example of this, he discusses Baldwin's 'essay on the plague'
which 'occupies a considerable portion of this publication'. Baldwin has been
led by a 'singular process of induction' to place his confidence in the topical
application of olive oil for the prevention and cure of the plague. (60) The
treatment is based on a chemical theory of disease; Baldwin supposes that the
humours of the diseased body are caused to effervesce by the presence of an
acid, which can be abstracted from the body by its affinity for oil. He
suggests the same treatment for gout. He has sought to demonstrate its efficacy
by an experiment in which the acid juice of a lemon is removed by its affinity
for olive oil.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 61–63.
Art. VII. [Review of An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of
Emigration, by Alexander Irvine]
The reviewer observes that since
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> is a clergyman well-placed to gather local information, he
had expected 'instruction on a very interesting topic in the political economy
of Scotland'. Instead, the author 'has preferred fine writing to inquiry; and
his reader, who looks for facts, will in vain peruse a tedious volume of
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 63–83.
Art. VIII. [Review of Thalaba the Destroyer, by Robert
Observes that English blank odes, sapphics, and dactylics have been
considered 'as a species of monsters, or exotics, that were not very likely to
propagate, or thrive, in so unpropitious a climate', but that
Robert SoutheySouthey, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> 'has made a vigorous
effort for their naturalization, and generously endangered his own reputation
in [sic] their behalf' (72).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 83–90.
Art. IX. [Review of Discourses on Several Subjects, by Thomas
Thomas RennellRennell, Thomas
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
'is apt to put on the appearance of a holy bully, an evangelical swaggerer, as
if he could carry his point against infidelity by big words and strong abuse,
and kick and cuff men into Christians'. Instead of expressing contempt of
infidel philosophers, who 'have power to allure from the Church great numbers
of proselytes', one should study them diligently and answer them
satisfactorily. While everybody was 'abusing and despising
Mr. GodwinGodwin, William, the elder
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>' he
continued to grow in popularity, but 'Mr. MalthusMalthus, Thomas Robert
DSB CloseView the register entry >> took the trouble of refuting him;
and we hear no more of Mr. Godwin'. (88) Criticizes Rennell's 'admiration of
the ancients', which leads him to consider 'the works of
(8th century BC)
CBD CloseView the register entry >> to be the region and
depositary [sic] of natural law and natural religion' (89). Observes that this
is ludicrous in view of Homer's often immoral polytheism.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 91–92.
Art. X. [Review of Voyage dans les departemens de la France, by
Joseph, marquis de Lavallée]
'A STATISTICAL Survey of France, in its modern divisions,
would be a work eminently calculated to attract, and to repay, the attention of
the politician, and of the public at large. The publication before us, though
it comprehend a part of the subjects now generally denominated Statistics, yet
embraces so many other topics, as to furnish but a very superficial view of
those which we consider as the most important' (91).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 94–98.
Art. XII. [Review of Reflections at the Conclusion of the War, by
Theology of Nature, Invention, Progress, Human Species, Political
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> objective in this book is to demonstrate that 'in
the general design of the universe [...] the race of man was destined to
develope the earth in all its different capabilities, and, at the same time, to
develope in itself all the faculties with the germs of which it had been
provided by nature', and that, rather than 'promoting this double development',
monarchs have always, 'either through error or depravity', been the 'scourges
of mankind' (98). Considers that Herrenschwand states some truths, but that
these are already better expounded elsewhere. These include his 'speculation
which traces man's inventions to his necessities, and shews the dependence of
his improvement on his wants; and all the reasoning that relates to the
variations of price, and the natural causes by which production and consumption
are adapted to each other'. His original remarks are 'extravagant and absurd',
such as 'that great discovery, for the sake of which the whole book seems to
have been written, which reveals the inseparable connexion between the
prosperity of a people and the profuse expenditure of their rulers' (99).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 106–08.
Art. XIV. [Review of The Utility of Country Banks
PrattPratt, Samuel Jackson
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> professes 'to instruct, as well as amuse the public; to
interest their humanity, by an account of the sufferings of the poor, and
enlighten their understandings by this profound lesson of political economy,
That scarcity is occasioned entirely by monopoly, and lately took place after
plentiful harvests' (108–09). The reviewer considers Pratt's doctrine
absurd and his poetry equally bad.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 113.
Art. XVI [Review of Anniversary Sermon of the Royal Humane Society
by William Langford]
'An incident which happened to the gentleman engaged in reviewing this
Sermon, proves, in the most striking manner, the importance of this charity for
restoring to life persons in whom the vital power is suspended. He was
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> discourse lying open before him, in the state of the most
profound sleep'. After further facetious comments on the sermon's style the
reviewer concludes: 'The charity itself is above all praise'.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 122–27.
Art. XIX. [Review of L'art de rendre les revolutions utiles, by J
RLIN CloseView the register entry >> applies his 'revolutionary science' to ancient Rome and other
situations. The reviewer observes: 'The idiosyncracy [sic] of such a
constitution [as that of Rome] certainly affords no room for analogical
inference [...] and to reason from its destiny, as to the utility of
revolutions and counter-revolutions, in general, is like judging of the
qualities of a drug, by its operation on a paralytic or an idiot' (123). Uses
further medical imagery. Bonnet's 'recipe for preventing revolution
seems to indicate a bolder practice [...] than his system of cure'. Paraphrases
Bonnet as claiming that 'The philosophy of modern times has infected the throne
itself', insofar as kings 'tacitly recognize the sovereignty of the people'.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 128–30.
Art. XX. [Review of A Thanksgiving for Plenty, by Robert
Providence, Piety, Agriculture, Miracle, Meteorology, Natural Law,
The reviewer points to inconsistencies in this sermon.
Robert NaresNares, Robert
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> writes
of visitations of providence 'for the purposes of trial, warning, and
correction'. He contends that 'it would be presumptuous and impious to
pronounce the purposes' for which God interferes, but adds that 'it has pleased
God, within these few years, to give us a most awful lesson of the vanity of
agriculture and importation without piety'. (128) Nares writes that God does
not interpose by 'positive miracle' but 'influences by means unknown to all but
himself, and directs the winds, the rain, and glorious beams of heaven to
execute his judgements, or fulfil his merciful designs' (128–29). The
reviewer observes: 'Now, either the wind, the rain, and the beams, are here
represented to act as they do in the ordinary course of nature, or they are
not: If they are, how can their operations be considered as a judgment [sic] on
sins? and if they are not, what are their extraordinary operations but positive
miracles' (129). Rejects Nares's charge of monopoly against the farmers.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 130–41.
Art. XXI. [Review of The Journal of Friedrich Horneman's
Alexander 1801. Voyages from Montreal, on the River St. Laurence,
Through the Continent of North America, to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans, in
the Years 1789 and 1793: With a Preliminary Account of the Rise, Progress, and
Present State of the Fur Trade of that Country, London: T. Cadell, jun. and
CloseView the register entry >>
Observes that, while this is an interesting volume, it 'will convey but
little important information to the Geographer, the naturalist, or the
statesman' (141). Summarizes
Mackenzie'sMackenzie, Sir Alexander
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> description of the Inuit peoples and his theory of their
racial origins; discusses the failure of the Inuit to show any 'progress in
civilization or improvement' under European influence (146). Observes that
Mackenzie 'is not a naturalist, and had no leisure for minute observations'.
Describes his observations of vegetation growing on permanently frozen ground,
and of mixed woodland being succeeded exclusively by poplars after destruction
by fire. Observes of the latter: 'Mr. Mackenzie must excuse us for not giving
implicit faith to this observation'. Describes how, after one unsuccessful
attempt to reach the Pacific coast, Mackenzie made a winter voyage to Britain
'for the express purpose of obtaining the necessary instruments and
information, and returned fully qualified to make a scientific survey of the
countries he was to traverse, and to fix his geographical positions with
accuracy and precision'. (149)
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 158–63.
Art. XXIII. [Review of The Elements of Optics, by James
Relates that, about five years before,
James WoodWood, James
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> and
Samuel VinceVince, Samuel
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>
'undertook to draw up a series of elementary works, which should comprise the
substance of the lectures usually read at
CambridgeUniversity of Cambridge
CloseView the register entry >>, upon Mathematics and
Natural Philosophy', of which series this is the sixth and last volume (158).
Addressing 'philosophical readers', the reviewer notes that the work is
concerned with the deductive part of optics to the exclusion of the
experimental, probably because the treatise has been composed primarily to
'assist the student of astronomy' (158–59). Does not entirely approve of
this plan, which is a slight to
Isaac NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >>.
However, generally approves of the execution of the work, while noticing that
some sections contain 'considerable inaccuracies; chiefly where a reference was
necessary to the merely experimental branch of the subject' (159). Briefly
describes the contents of the work. Concludes with remarks on 'the inaccuracy
with which our author has [...] alluded to some passages of Sir Isaac Newton's
Optics [sic], in which the theory of Vibrations is mentioned'. Considers this
section of Newton's work has commonly been perverted 'by ignorant theorists'
who have used his authority to build 'the most extravagant hypotheses'. (162)
Argues that Wood has failed to appreciate Newton's caution in stating the
hypothesis of an etherial medium and in distinguishing it from a strict
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 163–72.
Art. XXIV. [Review of Travels Through Sweden, Finland, and Lapland
by Joseph Acerbi]
Observes that, while the
Joseph AcerbiAcerbi, Joseph von
WBI CloseView the register entry >> did
not intend to give a statistical account of Sweden, 'we cannot imagine a more
dry statistical account tha[n] that of Gothenburg' (164). Criticizes his
personal remarks regarding academicians at Stockholm, Upsala, and elsewhere.
Considers that some of the claims made by Acerbi have been invented; for
example 'a man of talents [....] has published a demonstration of the existence
of the devil in the human body [...] that the ceremony of exorcism was
performed at the baptism of the present Prince Royal—that a gentleman of
great abilities, accomplishments, and virtue [...] firmly believes, that by the
influence of mesmerism, he can transport himself into heaven, hold converse
with his deceased relatives, and distinctly perceive their souls clothed in
white jackets'. Also criticizes a 'silly anecdote' which relates to the
president of the
Royal SocietyRoyal Society of London
CloseView the register entry >>
(Joseph BanksBanks, Sir Joseph
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>), and
is 'an exaggerated edition of a falsehood contained in the dull writings of a
contemptible satirist' (166). Criticizes as inconsistent and erroneous Acerbi's
'invectives against the government and academies of Sweden' (167). Later
criticizes Acerbi's ingratitude in telling anecdotes at the expense of those
who have aided him, as in the case of his remarks on
ThunbergThunberg, Carl Peter
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and other academicians to whom 'he afterwards informs us
[...] his work is indebted for most of the natural history which it contains'
(170). Observes that the 'figures of the insects [...] are excellent'
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 172–201.
Art. XXV. [Review of An Inquiry into the Nature and Effects of the
Paper Credit of Great Britain, by Henry Thornton]
Observes that 'the progress of commercial philosophy has been much
accelerated by the writings of practical men of business' (172). Asserts that
the personal knowledge of detail is incompatible with the habits of the
statesman or speculative enquirer, making it necessary 'that the labour of
accumulating particular facts should be separated from the more liberal task of
generalizing these into principles' (172–73). 'In England, which is the
native country of political economy, the works contributed by professional men,
form a large deposit of authenticated facts'. Considers
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> work to be particularly valuable in this regard, although
the materials are not well organized and some of the arguments are
'embarrassed'. (173) Regrets that it has not been written comprehensively in
the form of a 'general treatise' (174), and seeks to give an 'abstract of its
principal contents' (175).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 201–16.
Art. XXVI. [Review of Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the
Earth, by John Playfair]
Observes: 'The Huttonian theory of the earth, which it is the object if the
volume before us to explain and support, is not referable to either of those
classes into which geological treatises have been commonly divided. Its author
cannot be considered either as a Vulcanist purely, or a
Neptunist, since he has asserted the agency both of fire and water, in
his system' (201). Later concludes: 'The ability with which he [John PlayfairPlayfair, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>] has combined the complicated
materials of his subject, and the correct and luminous order he has observed in
the statement of a loose and analogical argument, have given a precision and
scientific unity to the system of
Dr HuttonHutton, James
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, in which
it was formerly deficient. The task, therefore, both of its advocates and its
adversaries, will be hereafter comparatively easy; since it is scarcely
possible for any question to remain, either as to the tenets it maintains, or
the arguments by which they are to be supported' (216).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 216–37.
Art. XXVII. [Review of The Crisis of the Sugar Colonies]
James] 1802. The Crisis of the Sugar Colonies; or, An Enquiry
Into the Objects and Probable Effects of the French Expedition to the West
Indies and their Connection with the Colonial Interests of the British Empire.
To which are Subjoined, Sketches of a Plan for Settling the Vacant Lands of
Trinidada. In Four Letters to the Right Hon. Henry Addington, London: J.
CloseView the register entry >>
The reviewer dislikes the anonymous author's 'predilection for circuitous
modes of expression'. Quotes his contrast between mere labour on the one hand,
and slavery on the other, which differs from it 'as widely as a nauseous drench
in the mouth of an infant, from the medicated milk of its mother'. (218)
Observes that the author tries to 'convey the idea of a white man's inferiority
to a Negro, in the warfare of the West Indies' by comparing 'the contest to
that of an aeronaut with an eagle'. Suggests that this analogy would be more
likely to be used 'to pourtray [sic] the superiority of discipline and art over
natural advantages'. (219) Gives examples of the author's more eloquent medical
imagery. The author believes 'the instinctive dread' that the slaves have of
their masters is 'a mysterious charm, which if once broken, cannot be
restored'. The reviewer observes that, even if the feeling of slaves towards
masters is instinctive rather than rational, it is no more 'anomalous and
capricious than the emotions of the maniac, who trembles at the nod of his
keeper, from some strange, ideal, and inexpressible dread—then, in a
paroxysm of his disease, shakes off this unaccountable obedience—but
soon, exhausted by the effort, returns to passive submission'. (224) The author
recommends that 'the newly acquired island of Trinidada' (231) should be used
as '"a farm of experiment", where the possibility of emancipating the negroes,
by slow and prudent means, may be safely and conveniently tried' (232).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 237–45.
Art. XXVIII. [Review of A Treatise on the Means of Purifying Infected
Air, by Louis B Guyton de Morveau]
Concludes: 'The very copious extracts which we have given, will secure us,
we trust, from the imputation of having wilfully misrepresented the facts,
opinions, and reasonings, which it contains. [...] a regard for the truth
obliges us to declare, we have found in it a much less profound discussion
of the subject, than, from the well-known talents and information of the
author, we were prepared to expect' (244).
Discusses the notion that 'the sciences' refuse 'every geographical barrier'
and considers how this relates to the communication of ideas across political
barriers (253). Questions
Charles F D
de Villers'sVillers, Charles François Dominique de
WBI CloseView the register entry >> dedication of his book to the 'National Institute of
France, as the "Tribunal invested with Supreme Jurisdiction in the Empire of
the Sciences". States that Villiers is zealous for
Immanuel Kant'sKant, Immanuel
DSB CloseView the register entry >>
fame, claiming that he 'is a mathematician, an astronomer, a chemist: in
natural history, in physics, in physiology, in history, in languages, and
literature, and in the arts; in all the details of geography, as they relate to
the exact situation of the parts of the globe, their inhabitants and
productions—everything is familiar to him'. Villers also 'contends that
the planet Herschell ought rather to have been known to astronomers
under another name; as, twenty six years before the discovery of that portion
of our system, its existence had been predicted by Kant'. (255) Gives a
detailed account of Kant's work as related by Villers.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 281–87.
Art. II. [Review of Travels in Greece and Turkey, by Charles S
Travel, Ancient Authorities, Climatology, Agriculture, Ethnology,
Race, Degeneration, Geology, Naturalists
Charles N S
Sonnini De Manoncourt'sSonnini De Manoncourt, Charles
WBI CloseView the register entry >> description of Egypt as 'the cradle of the arts and
sciences and from which the Greeks derived part of their knowledge' while
Greece was the 'cradle of graces and good taste' (282). The extract discusses
the differences in agricultural cultivation and climate between Egypt and
Greece and the effect of this on their respective national characteristics.
Sonnini describes the 'Copt, or native of Egypt' as 'lazy and slovenly,
clownish and ignorant, unfeeling and superstitious, he has no longer any
remembrance, nor even any trace remaining, of the greatness of his ancestors.
What a difference between this nation, entirely degenerated, and that which
still inhabits the beautiful countries of Greece !' (282–83). The
reviewer recounts the 'only two geological speculations in which the author has
indulged; only remarking, that neither of them is new' (284). Quotes Sonnini's
observation on the eastern Mediterranean: 'we cannot help thinking that this
extent of sea, thickly strewn with a multitude of islands has formed a
continent in times the most remote; and that a sudden irruption of the waters
of the Black sea, earthquakes, and the violent action of volcanoes, have
inundated this ancient country of Greece, and torn it into innumerable shreds.
[...] Who knows even whether it be not this part of the Mediterranean, rather
than in the ocean, that we must look for the famous Atlantis of
DSB CloseView the register entry >>? [...] The islands of the
Ægean sea are the summits of mountains, which belong to a country whose
plains have been submerged by a sudden intteruption of the waters of the Black
sea' (285). Compares Sonnini's views with
Olivier 1801, Olivier, Guillaume
Antoine 1801. Travels in the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Persia:
Undertaken by Order of the Government of France, During the First Six Years of
the Republic, London: T. N. Longman & O. Rees, and T. Cadell Jun. and
CloseView the register entry >>stating:
'they are both naturalists; and, in this department, much pleasing information
is afforded in each' (287)
Observes: 'With less learning and less originality than some of his
distinguished predecessors, it would be difficult, perhaps, to point out his
superior in soundness of judgement, or in vigilant and comprehensive sagacity.
With great strength of reasoning and power of decision, he has also united more
moderation and liberality of sentiment, than is usually to be found among
disputants; and added weight to his argument by a certain plainness and
sobriety of manner, that is infinitely better calculated to produce conviction
than the sallies of an ambitious eloquence' (287). Asserts: 'No thinking man,
we conceive, can doubt that there are marks of design in the universe, and any
enumeration of the instances in which this design is manifest, appear, at first
sight, to be both unnecessary and impossible. A single example seems altogether
as conclusive as a thousand; and he that cannot discover any trace of
contrivance in the formation of an eye, will probably retain his atheism at the
end of a whole system of physiology' (289). States that whilst there are a
number published works that 'promote pious meditation' on the subject of
natural theology, 'a work was still wanted [...] in which the evidences of a
wise and beneficent Creator might be detailed with sufficient amplitude, while
every thing was omitted that the most scrupulous of scepticism could challenge,
and in which the fallacy of every atheistical hypothesis might be distinctly
exposed' (291). Praises
William Paley'sPaley, William
DSB CloseView the register entry >>
use of Mechanical phenomena as opposed to human intelligence to support
his arguments. States: 'The unbeliever always finds his advantage in referring
to a principle of which it must be admitted that he and his antagonist are
equally ignorant [...]. To Mechanical phenomena the same evasive
reasoning cannot be applied' (296). Discusses Paley's arguments against the
assertion that the 'whole system of the universe may be explained from 'a law'
or 'the mechanism of its parts'. States that '[a] law presupposes
an agent; for it is only the mode according to which an agent proceeds; and
mechanism can produce nothing, unless there be a power to whose
operations it is subservient. The same censure is passed upon those who would
substitute such words as "principle, process, or generation," for a real
explanation of cause of any existing phenomena. The internal moulds, by which
Buffon keeps his organic particles from running into new combinations, meet
with no better treatment; and "the appetencies" of Dr Darwin are explained and
disposed of in this manner' (300–01).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 317–30.
Art. VII. [Review of The History of England, by John
States: 'The Jesuits were first expelled from France, 1594, (though
afterwards reestablished;) from Venice, in 1606; from England, 1604. Was all
that done by free-thinking philosophers ? The ablest work that was ever
published against them [...] was certainly the work of one of the most
religious men that ever existed [i.e.
Blaise PascalPascal, Blaise
DSB CloseView the register entry >>]'
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 330–45.
Art. VIII. [Review of Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte, by
Dominique V Denon]
States that the French troops, 'in passing through the desert [...,]
experienced for the first time, that optical deception which makes a burning
surface of sand assume the appearance of a lake of water. This appearance the
French have denominated mirage; the nature of it is thus explained by
DenonDenon, Dominique Vivant, baron
WBI CloseView the register entry >>—"It is an illusion produced by the mirage of
salient objects on the oblique rays of the sun, refracted by the heat of the
burning soil. [...]" This explanation, is, no doubt, completely satisfactory;
though it is rather a new notion we believe, that the rays of the sun can be
refracted by heat'. (333–34) Refers to the 'degenerate natives',
and observes: 'M. Denon assures us, that while sitting among the ruins of
Luxor, he was seriously asked by one of their Sheiks, whether it was the French
or the English that had erected these monuments ?' (342).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 345–81.
Art. IX. [Review of Politique de tous les cabinets de l'Europe, by
Louis-Philippe, comte de Ségur]
Observes that 'the refinements of modern policy, which have sprung from the
progressive improvement of the human species, [...] have, in their turn secured
that progress.' (345). Later states: 'It is true, that the dictates of feelings
not always aimable, and often outrageous, are frequently, more than any impulse
of reason, the springs which actuate the operations of [nation] states; but it
is equally true, that in all animals the passions themselves are implanted for
the wisest of purposes; that instinct is the principle to which, more than
reason, the preservation of life, and the maintenance of order in the universe,
must be ascribed' (347). Asserts that 'the number of discoveries or inventions,
which have been suddenly made in any branch of knowledge, is small indeed. All
the more important steps in the progress of the human mind may rather be termed
improvements than inventions: they are refinements upon methods formally
known—generalizations of ideas previously conceived. By how many small
and slowly following steps was the true nature of planetary motions brought to
light! By how many insensible gradations did that theory receive its
explanation from the great law of gravitation, which, constantly and
universally acting, keeps each body in its place, and preserves the arrangement
of the whole system' (352–53). In drawing an analogy between the
'balancing theory' (in relation to the European political system) and the
planetary system the reviewer states that 'the newly-discovered planets are
found to obey the same law that keeps the rest in their orbit [...] even in
this enlightened age, we have not yet succeeded in discovering the whole extent
of planetary law, or reducing certain apparent irregularities of the system to
common principles' (353). Continues: 'This is the balancing theory. It was as
much unknown to Athens and Rome, as the
DSB CloseView the register entry >> or
NewtonianNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> laws were
DSB CloseView the register entry >> and CiceroCicero, Marcus Tullius
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, who
certainly knew the effect of gravitation upon terrestrial bodies. It has
arisen, in the progress of science' (354). When discussing how 'federal power'
is impacted on by 'relative interests', draws the following analogy: 'in
considering the former we must lay out of view those deranging causes, as we
demonstrate (in Dynamics) the properties of the mechanical powers, without
taking into view the effects of friction, or the resistance of the medium in
which powers operate' (362). Continues at length to relate this 'balancing
theory' to the political history of Europe and Britain's relations with its
'natural enemies' and 'natural allies' (373).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 407–12.
Art. XII. [Review of On the Necessary Truth of Certain Conclusions
Obtained by Means of Imaginary Expressions, by Robert Woodhouse]
DSB CloseView the register entry >> defence of imaginary numbers, states: 'The drift of this
argument is not very plain. If it is only meant to say that there must be some
way or other of accounting for the paradox, that truth is produced by
unintelligable operations, or by faulty reasoning, the position will hardly be
denied. On the other hand, if it is intended to argue, that every general
method, that uniformly leads to true conclusions, must therefore be regulated
by the rules of sound logic, the inference cannot be admitted. We are of the
opinion that the imaginary arithmetic is one glaring instance of the contrary'
(408–09). The review concludes: 'the present paper will be found to
contain nothing new or interesting to geometers. It is only incumbent on us to
notice, that some just observations occur in discussing the controversy
concerning logarithms of negative numbers, towards the end of the paper. We
cannot conclude our remarks, without expressing our disapprobation of the mode
Mr Playfair'sPlayfair, John
DSB CloseView the register entry >>
method of reasoning is attacked, not openly, and by name, but indirectly,
covertly, and by insinuation' (412).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 412–21.
Art.XIII. [Review of Oupnek'hat, by Abraham H
Duperron 1801–02Anquetil-Duperron, Abraham
Hyacinthe 1801–02. Oupnek'hat, id est, Secretum tegendum:
opus ipsa in India rarissimum, continens antiquam et arcanam, seu theologicam
et philosophicam, doctrinam, équatuor sacris Indorum libris, Rak Beid,
Djedjr Beid, Sam Beid, Athrban Beid, excerptam: ad verbum, e Persico idiomate,
Samskreticis vocabulis intermixto, in Latinum conversum: dissertationibus et
annotationibus, difficiliora explanantibus, illustratum, 2 vols,
CloseView the register entry >>
Ancient Authorities, Superstition, Religion, Reason
Observes that, 'of the false religions which have successively obtained in
the world, the absurd dogmata have frequently furnished a striking contrast
with the state of science amongst their followers. [...] the massive structures
of ancient Egypt attest considerable progress in mechanics; but the wars of
Typhon and Osiris, and the obscene rites of their local deities, are an insult
to reason, and to nature. Would we profit by Grecian science, it is to
DSB CloseView the register entry >>, and not
(c. 8th century BC)
CBD CloseView the register entry >>, we must have recourse;
yet the old bard was probably the faithful historian of opinions which
prevailed more or less generally, till Europe was enlightened by the divine
rays of a religion revealed from above. The Coran [sic] relates that Mohammed
was transported into the moon; but the Khalifs who succeeded him and implicitly
believed in the pretend miracle, employed mathematicians to measure a degree of
the circle. From these observations, our reader will possibly infer, that if
Indian literature be capable of affording curious or instructive information,
it is probably not from the sacred Vedas that the stream will flow'
(413–14). Goes on to criticise
Anquetil-Duperron'sAnquetil-Duperron, Abraham Hyacinthe
WBI CloseView the register entry >> ability to translate the text of the Vedas from
either the original Sanscrit or the later Persian translations into Latin;
inserts both the original and the translated version of the preface of the
Persian translation of the Vedas.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 426–31.
Art.XV. [Review of Observations on the Two Lately Discovered Celestial
Bodies, by William Herschel]
Gives an overview of
Herschel'sHerschel, Sir William
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> observations of the recently discovered 'supposed
planets', Ceres and Pallas, 'or, as he [Herschel] calls them,
moving stars' (426). States that Herschel 'maintains, that these bodies are
neither [...] comets nor planets, but he gives them the name Asteroids' (427).
Objects to 'the unnecessary introduction of new terms into Philosophy'.
Observes: 'The science of astronomy is, beyond any other branch of the mixed
mathematics, loaded with an obscure and difficult technology. As all nations
have been observers of the heavenly bodies, so all languages have contributed
to form the nomenclature of the astronomer. [...] Knowing, as we do, the great
power of words in misleading and perplexing our ideas, we cannot allow the
unnecessary introduction of a new term to escape unnoticed. Where a new object
has been discovered, we cheerfully admit the right of the discoverer to give it
a new name; but we will not allow a needless multiplication of terms, or an
unnecessary alteration in the old classification of things, to be either
justifiable or harmless, a substitute for real discovery, or a means of
facilitating the progress of invention'. (428) Later asks: 'If a new name must
be found, why not call them by some appelation which shall in some degree, be
descriptive of, or at least consistent with, their properties? Why not, for
instance, call them Concentric Comets, or Planatary Comets, or
Cometary Planets? or, if a single term must be found, why may we not
coin such a phrase as Planetoid or Cometoid?' (430). Concludes by
stating that Herschel's theory of 'the influence of solar spots on the price of
grain' is 'hasty and erroneous' (431).
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 431–50.
Art. XVI. [Review of Principes d'économie politique, by
Nicolas F Canard]
Begins: 'As this paper contains nothing which deserves the name, either of
experiment or discovery, and as it is in fact destitute of every species of
merit, we should allowed it to pass among the multitude of those articles which
must always find admittance into the collections of a Society which is pledged
to publish two or three volumes every year. [...] But we have of late observed
in the physical world a most unaccountable predilection for vague hypothesis
daily gaining ground; and we are mortified to see that the Royal Society,
forgetful of those improvements in science to which it owes its origin, and
neglecting the precepts of its most illustrious members, is now, by the
publication of such papers, giving the countenance of its highest authority to
dangerous relaxations in the principles of physical logic' (450–51).
Thomas YoungYoung, Thomas
DSB CloseView the register entry >>
'introduced himself to the literary world, by a few desultory remarks upon the
theory which he appeared to think new, but which had been previously exposed
and refuted—the muscularity of the crystalline lens. Soon after this he
retracted his opinion; and a year or two ago he again brought it forward'
(451). Comments: 'Were we to take the trouble of refuting him, he might tell
us, My opinion is changed, and I have abandoned that hypothesis: but here is
another for you. We demand, if the world of science, which
NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> once
illuminated, is to be changable in its modes as the world of taste, which is
directed by the nod of a silly woman, or a pampered fop? Has the Royal Society
degraded its publications into bulletins of new and fasionable theories for
ladies who attend the
InstitutionRoyal Institution of Great Britain
CloseView the register entry >>?' (452). Proceeds to outline and refute Young's version
of the 'Eulerian hypothesis'.
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 457–60.
Art. XVIII. [Review of An Account of Some Cases of the Production of
Colours, by Thomas Young]
Begins: 'We are sorry to say that
Dr YoungYoung, Thomas
DSB CloseView the register entry >> is by no
means more successful in making observations and experiments, than in forming
systems. The new case of colours he claims to have discovered, has been
observed a thousand times; and he has only the merit of giving an absurd and
contradictory explanation of it' (457). Gives a critical account of Young's
observations regarding 'the coloured images which appear to surround a luminous
body, when a hair is interposed near the eye', 'the colours of mixed plates',
and the 'blue colour of the lower part of a candle flame' (457–59). Later
comments: 'we cannot conclude our review of these articles, without entreating,
for a moment, the attention of that illustrious body, which has admitted, of
late years, so many paltry and unsubstantial papers into its
TransactionsPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
CloseView the register entry >>.
Great as the services are which the Royal Society has rendered to the world and
valuable as the papers have been in every volume, (not less valuable, surely
since the accession of the present excellent president [ i.e.
Joseph BanksBanks, Sir Joseph
ODNB CloseView the register entry >>]), we
think on the benefits which it has conferred, with feelings of warmest
gratitude. We only wish that those feelings should be unmingled by any ideas of
regret, from the want of selection, to which we are adverting; and that it
should cease to give its countenance to such vain theories as those which we
find mingled, in this volume, with a vast body of important information'
Observes: 'It seems now beginning to be understood, what indeed reason and
example might have taught us long ago, that the science of medicine can only be
improved by observation and experience, by attending to the animal body, both
in health and disease, and tracing their general laws' (466). Discusses the
different meanings of 'experience', stating that the 'term has been frequently
misapplied' (467). Quotes from
HeberdenHeberden, William, the elder
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> the claim: 'the art of healing [...] has scarcely hitherto
had any guide, but the flow of experience, and has yet made no illustrious
advances by the help of reason: nor will it probably make any, till providence
thinks fit to bless mankind, by sending into the world some superior genius,
capable of contemplating the animated world with the sagacity shewn by
NewtonNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> in the
inanimate; and discovering that great principle of life, upon which its
existence depends, and by which all its functions are governed and directed'.
The reviewer comments: 'If no progress can be made in the art of healing, till
another Newton arises to proclaim that great principle of life, and
determine its laws, our expectations must surely be very hopeless. The
discovery of Newton was not the discovery of a cause, but the generalization of
a particular fact. [...] The questions concerning vitality, bear the same
relation to the study of physiology, and the practice of medicine, as the
metaphysical discussions concerning materiality, or immateriality of the soul,
to the phenomena of the mind'. (474)
Edinburgh Review, 1 (1802–03), 475–85.
Art.XXI. [Review of Elements of the Philosophy of the Mind, by
Observes: 'Whilst so much remains yet to be done for the Mathematics by all
nations; and, to take a more contracted view, while so much is wanting in this
country to render us at all fit for competition with the mathematicians of the
Continent, any such appearance of high preeminence in this line, as we have now
been contemplating, delights us—in a degree which we are not likely to be
followed by the sympathy of all our readers' (510).
[7 Review of Chemical Analysis of an Uncommon Species of Zeolite,
by Robert Kennedy]