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we must confess that the new hypotheses with which they are abundantly stored by no means diminish their dulness.
The sun is regarded by Dr. J. as the primary cause of the colour of the human skin.
But we have made but little progress,' continues he, in our enquiry, if we say it is the sun which produces the colour of the skin. How does it operate? It does not turn marble black. There is nothing in itself which communicates colour. It does not soil or blacken, like the foul air of a Highland cottage. It bleaches the dead fibres of vegetables, which from being brown become white. It must therefore exert some other influence on the living body than that which it exerts on the dead. What is that influence? The sun performs an important part in the production of colour, but other agents are necessary; moisture is necessary. Every summer does not equally alter our complexions; in one we become browner than in another. Is it the hottest to which we are indebted for the deepest shade? No; but that which is the wettest. Children play uncovered with far less change in their complexions, while the sun shines without a cloud, than they do when their faces are occasionally wet with rain.' p. 188..
In order to account for the different effects produced by the heat of the sun and that of a culinary fire, two sections are introduced on the sun's influence. Whether these prove that the experiments of Count Rumford require to be reconsidered; and that the term caloric, which the French chemists have, with so much assiduity, imposed upon science, must be erased, as conveying an erroneous sentiment,' we will not presume to decide; but we are perfectly convinced, that the chapters in question stand in very great need of reconsideration, and that their erasure would be far from diminishing the intrinsic value of the work. If the heat of the sun ever naturally produced the temperature of 300 degrees of Fahrenheit's thermometer, it is very probable that a little friction or an accidental spark would kindle a flame, in matter so circumstanced, and spread devastation through a country, as easily as if the heat had been produced by an ordinary fire. And if a log of wood, exposed to 200 degrees of Fahrenheit from an artificial fire, would be converted into charcoal, as Dr. J. asserts; the reason why the sun's heat has never yet effected the same, may rather more reasonably be thought owing to the impossibility of exposing wood for any length of time to such a solar temperature, than to the sun being a fire which burns not.' The exploded bypothesis of the separation of the rays of heat and light by the prism, enables him to surmount the difficulty of accounting for the combustion of substances by means of a burning glass; but why the rays of the sun should burn, when refracted, while they prevent fire when reflected, we are at a loss to discover, yet this is evidently implied in the assertions, that the solar rays, in order to communicate heat, must be obstructed by
an opaque body and reflected,' and the greater the heat of the sun, the less is the danger of fire.' We willingly allow that the rays of the sun produce effects, particularly on organic beings, not to be imitated by artificial fire; and will even believe, that the effect upon the vessels, which secrete the rete mucosum, belongs to this class: but Dr, J, must excuse us from concluding, on this account, that there is a plurality of species in the genus Heat, whatever varieties may exist.. The immediate cause of the colour of the hair, the eyes, the skin, and the blood, is supposed to be iron; and the rays of the sun are supposed to call it forth, by means of moisture as a kind of mordant. The Negro colour, the Doctor contends, is the most perfect, because capable of enduring all climates, though particularly adapted to the torrid Zone. And since the want of a skin, properly formed for the climate, is the source of numberless maladies and inconveniences, he exhorts new settlers in America to ensure a covering of suitable texture to their families, by marrying people of colour.
Observations on the colour of the original inhabitants of America, none of whom are black, and that of the inhabitants of high northern latitudes, conclude the discussion; and the volume closes with a just tribute to those illustrious men who have been chiefly instrumental in procuring the abolition of the slave trade. We purposely omitted mentioning, during the course of our remarks, a subordinate aim which Dr. J. has in view in this publication: to call the attention of parents to those means by which the beauty and strength of their offspring may be improved.' In reference to this subject, frequent observations relating to physical education are interspersed through his work; and occasionally severe strictures are passed, on the modes which now prevail. Some are rather extravagant, but many are certainly judicious, and they uniformly evince a sincere desire of benefiting mankind in general. We select two specimens.
In the education of children, advice is given, excellent for its wisdom, and excellent also for the style and manner in which it is communicated: it is an appeal to the understanding, to keep the passions in subjection; the force of the truth, and the excellency of the advice, are felt and acknowledged, and the little ones, in a transport of pleasure, pronounce in favor of virtue. But no steps are taken that the body shall co-operate with the mind; and until this is done eminence cannot be gained; and, I believe, in most instances, the voice of reason and of conscience will be hushed by the swell of passion. It is in vain to recommend chastity, and at the same time suffer indolence, and allow full and luxurious living; the plainest food is fittest for youth, both as it regards the health and the character. It is in vain to expect a
sweetness of disposition, if a churl is made the only companion. It is in vain to advise the governing of any passion, if care be not taken that it be not inflamed. We pay too little respect to our youth, even as their advisers; and we are shamefully culpable in not recommending such a plan of living as shall render the observance of the advice that is given less difficult. pp. 108.-109.
• The true end of education is, to stock the memory with proper sentiments, and to induce proper habits; it is to form the mind to thoughtfulness, and to supply those materials which will make life a blessing. An immediate harvest can never be procured; yet we expect it in education; our children must come from school matured; but the farmer waits the growth of the blade, and anticipates the quality of the crop from the nature of the seed. We expect too much of our children, and therefore we set a value on that which appears to be something, and is in many cases worse than nothing. Education anticipates the future I ask not for the progress that was made in this branch of literature or in the other; I ask not for the excellency of the dancer,-I ask for the man; and by him I judge of the care of the parents, and the skill of the preceptor. Great imitative faculties are not a pledge of a sound understanding, but rather the reverse. Boys button on the buskin and tread the stage, and the crowd gaze and applaud. The circumstance ought not to surprise; destroy the native diffidence and modesty of children, and a little preparation will qualify any of them for players. The newspapers inform us, at least once a year, that the children of some of the first families of the state, in one of the first schools of the state, acted a play, and that they performed very well: no person doubts the information, but what is the result? Are not the youths, who cut the greatest figure on such occasions, more likely to grow up into coxcombs rather than mature into men ? p. 148.
Before we dismiss this volume, we are obliged to pronounce a very severe censure on the unpardonable carelessness with which it is written. Such blunders as these, that species of man, which embrace the brute and is, &c.' (p. 12), The commission of crimes pervert the judgement.' (p. 12), trices' for matrices (p. 17.), Huay' for Hauy repeatedly; 'standart' for standard more than once; some of these at least may be charitably ascribed to the press. But there is a vast quantity of errors in composition, which necessarily attach to the author; the first paragraph of § 7, affords a glaring instance. One example will shew that his remarkable inattention is not confined to words merely; the meridian of London is 52 degrees! We wish our author and his cause well we can applaud his ingenuity, if not his logic or his style; and respect his intentions, if not rejoice in his success: we have received both entertainment and instruction from his book, but we must recommend to him, in case a second edition should be called for, to prune away redundancies and supply deficiencies, with a judicious but not timorous hand.
Art. X. Memoirs of an American Lady: With Sketches of Manners and Scenery, in America, as they existed previous to the Revolution. By the Author of Letters from the Mountains,' &c. &c. 12mo. 2 vols. pp. 322, 344. Price 10s. 6d. boards. Longman and Co., and Mrs. H. Cook. 1808.
IN common hands, the undertaking to write an account of the dame of a country squire, who lived, half a century since, a couple of hundred miles more or less up the Hudson river, and to do this after the writer has been forty years an entire stranger to the place and the person, and notwithstanding she was perhaps hardly twelve years old at the time of finally quitting them, would have seemed a rather forlorn literary project. The present writer, however, was advised to such an undertaking by her friends; and, in executing it, has produced one of the most interesting books that we have seen for a good while past. A brief notice of the materials composing it, will explain how such a quality could be imparted to such a book, even without any severe labour on the part of the writer. The most enviable perhaps of all qualifications for making interesting books, is to have actually visited scenes little known, and seen, with an observant and reflective mind, uncommon objects and transactions.
The author is well aware that the great distance of time since she quitted America, and the very early period of life at which her observations were made, will not be favourable to the credit of accuracy in her narratives and delineations, especially when it is added that she has not the aid of any written memorials. Under such circumstances, any moderate degree of truth, in the sketches, would imply an extraordinary prematurity of thought and tenacity of memory. But these advantages will be amply and confidently attributed to the writer, by every one that observes the nice shades in her pictures, and the minute facts in some parts of her record: while her character will give the assurance of an uniform concern to preserve truth of representation. After saying thus much, it is fair to observe, that a certain fallacy of colouring is quite inevitable in such a work. It is familiar to every one's knowledge that there is a double deception in recollecting, in advanced life, the scenes and events of childhood; they presented a deceptive appearance at the time, to a mind opening to the delights of existence, exulting in the joys of novelty, surprize, affection, and hope, and too ignorant, and too eagerly welcoming a crowd of new ideas, to have learnt to compare, to discriminate, and to suspect; and again, in the recollections in later life, a second imposition
passes on the mind, in that fond sympathy with one's former self, that momentary recovery of juvenile being, by which the delights and the astonishments of the early period are represented as more exquisite and profound than they were actually felt. This deception operates, in a still greater degree, in the recollections of a person who was removed from the scenes and objects of early interest at the very period of the utmost prevalence and enthusiasm of that interest, and who, having never seen them since, did not gradually lose the emphasis of the feeling by familiarity with its objects. To have grown forty years older in the habitual acquaintance with things and persons that delighted or awed us at the age of ten or twelve, or of similar things and persons, would have given a vastly different character to the remembered aspects which those objects presented to us in our youth, from that character with which they would be recailed to our imagination as the enchanting forms of a vision, which in the early morning of our life was shut up from our view for ever. In this latter case, the retrospections of a mind like that of Mrs. Grant inevitably turn in some degree into poetry; and in the work before us it could not depend on her will, or her most conscientious veracity, to avoid a certain fulness of embellishment, especially in delineating the characters of her early friends and neighbours, for which her pencil might not have found colours quite so rich, if her residence had permanently continued, and this work had been written, in the state of Vermont. At the same time we must say, that there are so many lines firmly drawn, and so many things true to general nature in the representation of particulars differing strangely in specific modification from what we have been accustomed to witness, that every reader will be satisfied of the substantial fidelity of the whole of this very interesting and original series of delineations.
Notwithstanding the new and striking views of nature and human society unfolded in the book, one of the most interesting portions of its contents is the account, intermingled with them, of the author's early life and feelings. Her father was a Scotch subaltern officer, in a regiment that served many years in America, in the old times of the wars between the British settlements and the French and Indians of Canada. He was accompanied by his wife and daughter, at a time when the latter was too young to retain any remembrance of her native country; and he was stationed a good while about Albany, 170 miles north of New Yoik, and at Fort Oswego on lake Ontario. At Albany they were introduced to Mrs. Schuyler, the widow of Colonel