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Eleventh Month.---2 to 4. Nearly calm: dripping mists, with alternate obscurity, by Cirrostratus, and sunshine. 5. A slight shower at night. 7. A gale at S.W.: showers by night. 8. Squally several showers in the day. 9. Windy, fine, with Cumulus, Cirrus, and Cirrostratus. 10. Misty morning: Cirrus, Cirrostratus: fair day: windy at night. 11. Fine morning: then quickly overcast and wet, a.m. 12. Red sun-rise: then Cirrostratus, speedily general: cloudy till evening windy at night. 13. Fine morning, with Cirrostratus: fair day: rather windy night. 14. Much Cirrostratus in the morning: rain by half past nine: fair evening. 15. Wet, gloomy morning: calm and lighter, mid-day: p.m. the wind went to W., and blew strong clear night. 16. Coloured Cirri with Cirrostratus at sun-rise: misty: steady breeze, with some appearance of distant rain: cloudy evening. 17. Fair: somewhat windy night. 18. Fair: snow fell within a few miles of us: evening twilight luminous and orange-coloured. 19. Cirrocumulus, Cirrus, and Cirrostratus: abundant dew on the grass all day very fine sky. 20. Very misty, a. m.: the trees drip much: fine, p.m. with dew and large Cirri. 21. Cloudy: rather windy little or no dew this morning: Cirrostratus, Cumulus: the wind to N. at night. 22. Fair: Cirri in lofty bars, stretching N., and S., followed by Cirrocumulus, and a group of clouds among the smoke of the city. 23. Fine, clear morning: grey sky after. 24. Cirrostratus, with Cirrus, at sun-rise: a little light rain, p.m.: lunar corona, followed by a large faint halo. 25. Hoar frost a steady gale through the day, with an appearance of Nimbi in the NW: rain after sun-set. 26-28. Fair: somewhat windy, with Cirrostratus, &c. 29. The hygrometer stood at 78° till noon and a little rain fell, a.m. and at night: the bees came out in considerable numbers, continuing about the hive. 30. Overcast, windy: the maximum temp. at nine, a. m. or rather, the whole 24 hours warm alike.

Twelfth Month.---1. A wet day.

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Mean of the period...... 47-11

Mean of the hygrometer, 76°. Rain, 2 inches. Evaporation, 1.02 inchided as follows: to the 9th, 0-27; to the 15th, 0-40; the 23d, 0-23; to the end, 0-12.

Tottenham, Twelfth Month, 18, 1817.

L. HOWARD.

ANNALS

OF

PHILOSOPHY.

FEBRUARY, 1818.

ARTICLE I.

Biographical Account of Lord Stanhope.

CHARLES STANHOPE, third Earl Stanhope, was born in the year 1753. His grandfather, the first Earl Stanhope, was eminently distinguished both for his military and his political talents; his father, the second Earl, although less known in a public capacity, was likewise a man of ability, and particularly directed his attention to the study of the mathematics, in which he made considerable proficiency. The two first Earls Stanhope were both of them warmly attached to the Whig party, and on all occasions, both as members of the legislature and of the community at large, uniformly supported what is generally termed the liberal side of all political questions. The subject of our memoir was sent very young to Eton College, but at the age of ten was removed from it, in order to accompany his father's family to Geneva, who took up their residence for some time in that city, in consequence of the delicate health of the eldest son, who died shortly after, and thus left Charles to assume the title of Viscount Mahon, and to support the hereditary dignity of the family. They continued at Geneva for ten years, so that the late Earl passed in that city the period of life which is the most important for the formation of the character, and for the acquisition of those habits which must tend, in a great degree, to determine the future pursuits of the individual. His education was conducted under the inspection of M. le Sage, a man of considerable ingenuity, who is known as the author of a theory of gravity, as well as of various tracts on different t onnected

with mineralogy, chemistry, and the other departments of natural VOL. XI. N° II. F

philosophy. During his residence in Switzerland, the young nobleman made a considerable advance in his scientific pursuits, especially in those branches to which he afterwards so sedulously devoted himself. While he was still in Geneva, and of course before he was twenty years of age, he actually obtained a prize from the Society of Arts and Sciences at Stockholm, for the best essay on the structure of the pendulum: it was written in French, and was published among the Transactions of the Society. It appears, however, that the other objects which we conceive to be essential to complete the education of a man of rank, were not neglected, and that he even distinguished himself for his dexterity and adroitness in various athletic accomplishments, such as horsemanship, and the military exercises.

He may be considered as having almost inherited from his father and grandfather a peculiar set of political opinions, and those would be fostered by the mode of his education, and the associations which he would form by his residence at Geneva. He accordingly acquired a decided attachment to all those principles and measures which he supposed to be favourable to the liberty of the subject, in opposition to the privileges or encroachments, as he conceived them to be, of the aristocracy and monarchy. By most persons he was considered as carrying his notions of liberty to a very extravagant or even dangerous length; so that in the latter part of his life he was deserted by all his political associates, and, in his capacity as a member of the legislature, was not unfrequently left without a single individual to support his measures. Justice, however, requires that while we lament or condemn his rashness and impetuosity, we applaud his honesty and integrity. It does not appear that in any single instance he was swayed either by the gross motives of selfinterest, or even by the more pardonable object of ambition. He seems always to have been influenced by a sense of duty, and, although mistaken in his judgment, he acted from conviction. He first appeared on the theatre of politics as a candidate for Westminster, in which he was unsuccessful; but he was returned for the borough of Wycombe, and continued a member of the Lower House until, upon the death of his father in 1786, he took his seat as a Peer of the realm. He was extremely assiduous in the discharge of his parliamentary duties during a great part of his life; and even those who are the most disposed to differ from him in his general views and system, must admit that, on various occasions, he either introduced or actively supported measures of undoubted utility. During his latter years he retired, in a great measure, from his attendance on parliament, probably irritated by the general opposition which he experienced, an opposition which he ascribed to the increasing prejudices of his antagonists, but which, at least in an equal degree, originated in the greater warmth with which he supported his opinions, and the more objectionable tendency of the opinions themselves.

But although Lord Stanhope was most known by his contemporaries as a politician, his reputation with posterity will depend more upon his talents as a philosopher, and it is indeed solely on this ground that he becomes an object of our attention. He appears indeed to have been no less assiduous in his endeavours to promote the progress of useful knowledge of all descriptions, than he was in his schemes of patriotism; and in both of them we may observe the influence of the same cast of character, and the same direction of his mental energies. He seldom entered into any speculations or experiments respecting abstract science, but generally confined his attention to the improvement of some of the mechanical arts, or to some inventions of direct or immediate practical utility. It may indeed be questioned whether any single individual among his contemporaries expended more time and money in the prosecution of his experiments on various topics of the above description; and in many of them there can be no doubt that his object was entirely and purely disinterested. Perhaps the only work which can be regarded of a strictly scientific nature, which was published by Lord Stanhope, was his treatise on electricity, in which he treats of the elements of the science, and endeavours to establish some new principles in the mode of action of the electric fluid. In this work he endeavours to prove the existence, and to explain the effect, of what he styles the returning stroke, by which he understands an electrical action, induced at a considerable distance from the principal discharge, depending upon the tendency of the fluid to equalize itself in all bodies; and on this account, after the thunder-cloud has deposited upon some part of the earth's surface its superabundant quantity of electricity, a neighbouring part of the surface becomes electrified with respect to another cloud that is contiguous to it, and of course a shock takes place of the opposite nature to the primary one, but sometimes scarcely less injurious in its effects. Some accidents from lightning have occurred since the publication of this hypothesis, which are the best accounted for by it, and which indeed could not be very easily explained upon any other principle. One of the most remarkable of these was a fatal accident that occurred in Scotland, of which an account is given by Mr. Brydone in the Phil. Trans. for 1779; and we have another very singular occurrence that took place near Manchester, narrated in the Memoirs of the Philosophical Society of that place, by Mr. Nicholson, of Liverpool. In his treatise on electricity, the great object of practical utility is not neglected; the best method of preserving buildings from the effects of lightning is minutely considered, and a set of exact directions are laid down for accomplishing this object; a point which was at that time the more important, as a considerable difference of opinion then prevailed respecting it, and a very warm controversy existed, in which, unfortunately, a question of science was involved in personal or political con

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siderations. Lord Stanhope embraced the philosophical side of the question, and this has ultimately prevailed.

One of the objects of great practical utility to which his Lord ship devoted much attention was the means of preserving buildings from fire. He endeavoured to accomplish this object by employing the simple and well-known principle that combustion can never take place where the air is excluded, even although the fire may act powerfully upon the surface of the combustible body. To illustrate his principle, and at the same time to put his method to the test of very ample experiment, he erected wooden houses of considerable size, rendered fire-proof according to his method, and, after filling the lower chamber with a collection of very inflammable materials, he set fire to it, and, although they burned with great fury, the flames were not able to penetrate into the upper chamber. At one of these experiments a great number of persons of distinction were present; and, during the burning of the combustible substances, sat without inconvenience in the upper apartment, partaking of a collation in which ice formed a prominent ingredient. An account of these experiments was published in the Phil. Trans. for 1778.

Another object which engrossed a considerable share of Lord Stanhope's attention was the employment of steam for the propulsion of vessels. For a period of 20 years he continued his experiments on this object, and is said to have expended very large sums of money in the prosecution of them. He is understood to have constructed two or three different kinds of apparatus which were adequate to the purpose; but in his expectation of accomplishing something that was still more perfect, he hesitated in making them public, and thus lost, in a great measure, the honour of the invention. Mr. Fulton, with less science, but with more decision, has immortalized himself by a discovery which, in its ultimate consequences, may prove, perhaps, one of the most important, even in this age of discovery. It is indeed well known that Lord Stanhope and Mr. Fulton were at one period in the habit of frequently meeting and conversing on topics connected with the improvement of the mechanical arts, and that of steam-vessels in particular. Probably no documents exist which can enable us to decide upon the share which each of them had in this invention, or to whom the priority of discovery belongs.

Besides these, which may be regarded as among Lord Stanhope's most important pursuits, he published a pamphlet on preventing frauds on the gold coin, and afterwards on Banknotes, proceeding, in both instances, upon the obvious principle of employing very skilful workmen, whose performances could not be imitated by those who engage in attempts at forgery. He constructed a very ingenious and effective" arithmetical machine," which, by the mere revolution of a handle, was capable of working any sum in the four fundamental operations of addition,

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