Слике страница

As it will be my business, proceeds Mr. Bryant, to abridge history of every thing superfluous and foreign, I'shall be obliged to set aside many ancient lawgivers, and princes, who were fupposed to have formed republics, and to have founded kingdoms. I cannot acquiesce in the stale legends of Deucalion of Theffaly, of Inachus, of Argos, and Agialeus of Sicyon : nor in the long line of princes, who are derived from them. The supposed heroes of the first ages in every country are equally fabulous. No such conquests were ever archieved, as are ascribed to Ofiris, Dionusus, and Sefoftris. The histories of Hercules, and Perseus, are equally void of truth. I am convinced, and hope I shall satisfactorily prove, that Cadmus never brought letters to Greece ; and that no such person existed as the Grecians have described. What I have said about Seloftris and Ofiris, will be repeated about Ninus, and Semiramis, two personages, as ideal as the former. There never were such expeditions undertaken, nor conquests made, as are attributed to these princes : nor were any such empires constituted, as are supposed to have been established by them.' I make as little account of the histories of Saturn, Janus, Pelops, Atlas, Dardanus, Minos of Crete, and Zoroatter of Bactria. Yet something mysterious, and of moment, is concealed under these various characters : and the investigation of this latent truth will be the principal part of my inquiry. In respect to Greece, I can afford credence to very few events, which were antecedent to the olympiads. I cannot give the least assent to the ftory of Phryxus, and the golden Aeece. It seems to me plain beyond doubt, that there were no such persons as the Grecian Argonauts ; and that the expedition of Jason to Colchis was a fable.'

It is the design of our Author, after having cleared his way, to proceed to the sources from whence the Grecians drew their mythology and history; and to give an account of the Titans, and Titanic war, with the history of the Cuthites and ancient Babylonians. This will be accompanied by the Gentile history of the deluge, the migration of mankind from Shinar, and the disperfion from Babel. The whole will be crowned with an account of ancient Egypt; wherein many circumstances of high consequence in chronology will be stated. Many surprizing proofs will be brought in confirmation of the Mosaic account : and it will be found, from repeated evidence, that every thing, which the divine historian has transmitted, is most afsuredly true. It will be found that the deluge was the grand epocha of every ancient kingdom.-Under whatever title be may come, the first king in all countries will appear to be Noah.– This circumstance will be discernible even in the annals of the Egyptians : and though their chronology has been supposed to have reached be


Hh 4

[ocr errors]

yond that of any nation, yet it coincides very happily with the the accounts given by Moses.

In the prosecution of his system, Mr. Bryant does not mean to amuse the reader with doubtful and solitary extracts; but to collet all that can be obtained upon the subje&t, and to thew the universal scope of writers. He proposes to compare sacred history with profane, and to prove the general aslent of mankind to the wonderful events recorded. His purpose is not to lay science in ruins ; but instead of desolating, to build up, and to rectify what time has impaired : to divest mythology of every foreign and unmeaning ornament, and to display the truth in its native simplicity: to fhew, that all the rites and mysteries of the Gentiles were only so many memorials of their principal ancestors ; and of the great occurrences, to which they had been witnesses. Among these memorials, the chief were the ruin of mankind by a flood; and the renewal of įhe world in one family. Their fymbolical representations, and the ancient hymns in their temples, all related to the history of the first ages, and to the same events which are recorded by Moses.

Before our Author can arrive at this eflential part of his enquiries, he must give an account of the rites and customs of ancient Hellas; and of those people whom he terms Amonians, A great deal, he tells us, will be said of their religion and rites; and also of their towers, temples, and puratheia, where their worship was performed. The mistakes, likewise, of the Greeks in respect to ancient terms, which they ftrangely peryerted, will be exhibited in many instances; and much true history will be ascertained from a detection of this peculiar milapplication. As the Amonians betook themselves to regions widely separated, we fhall find, says Mr. Bryant, in every place, where they settled, the same worfhip and ceremonies, and the same history of their ancestors. There will, also, appear a great similitude in the names of their cities and temples; so that we may be affured, that the whole was the operation of one and the same people. The learned Bochart saw this; and taking for granted that the people were Phenicians, he at, tempted to interpret these names by the Hebrew language; of which he supposed the Phenician to have been a dialect. His design was certainly very ingenious, and carried on with a wonderful display of learning. He failed however; and of the nature of his failure, I shall be obliged to take notice.' Bo. chart's etymologies, in the opinion of the able writer before us, have not the least analogy to support them.

That the reader may see plainly our Author's method of Analysis, and the basis of his etymological enquiries, he gives a list of some Amonian terins, which occur in the mythology of Greece, and in the histories of other nations. Moft ancient names, he thinks, have been composed out of these elements; and that they may again be resolved into the same principles, by an easy and fair evolution.


In fhort, it has been Mr. Bryant's purpose throughout, to give a new turn to ancient history, and to place it upon a surer foundation.- We must look, says he, upon ancient mythology as being yet in a chaotic state; where the mind of man bas been wearied with roaming over the crude confiftence, without ever finding out one spot where it could repose with safety, Hence has arisen the demand, te sw, which has been repeated for ages. It is my hope, and my presumption, that such a place of appulse may be found; where we may take our ftand; and from whence we may have a full view of the mighty ex, panse before us : from whence also we may descry the original design, and order, of all those objects, which, by length of time, and their own remoteness, have been rendered so con. fused and uncertain.'

Such is the scheme laid down by this writer : thus various and important are the things which he proposes to carry into execution. His promises are so mighty, that, we must confess, we should esteem it very philofophical to retain a strong ineredulity with regard to the accomplishment of them, were not our hopes raised by the Author's extraordinary learning, and great ingenuity. The account we have given of his plan muft have entertained and furprized our readers; and it cannot fail of having excited their curiosity. This curiosity we fall en, deavour to gratify, in one or two subsequent articles, as far as the limits of our journal, and the progress hitherto made by Mr. Bryant in his design, will admit.

[ocr errors][merged small]



Part 1.
PAPERS relating to ZOOLOGY.
Art. I. An Account of the Discovery of the Manner of making

Isinglass in Russia; with a particular Description of its Manu.
fallure in England, from the Produce of British Fisheries. By.
Humphry Jackson, Efq; F. R. S.
N our distribution of the remaining contents of the present

volume of the Philosophical Transactions, we deservedly give the first place to the interesting and useful discovery made by the ingenious Author of this article, and here communicated without reserve to the Public. Though isinglass forms a very effential article of our foreign imports, and is employed, in very confiderable quantities, in many of our arts and manufactures, the true nature of this substance, and the method of preparing it, have hitherto been totally misunderstood. By writers of the best au



thority it has, we believe, universally been represented as procured by boiling the skin, tails, sounds, or finewy parts of certain fit in water ; by which means a glutinous substance is said to be extracted from them, which is afterwards infpiffated and reduced to a solid form by heat.

In the repeated attempts made by the Author to procure ifinglass by following these instructions, he found himself conItantly disappointed : glue, not isinglass, was the result of every process. Nor was a journey which he made into Ruffia productive of any discovery; but steadily persevering in this inquiry, he at length not only found out the true nature of this fubftance, and the method of manufacturing it, but likewise discovered a matter plentifully procurable in the Britifh fisheries, which has been found, by ample experience, to answer similar purposes.' Accordingly, in consequence of the Author's success in this investigation, upwards of forty tons of British isinglass, we are told, have been since manufactured and consumed ; and the price of that commodity has been very considerably reduced.

On the whole, it appears that ifinglass is actually nothing more than certain membranous parts of fishes, which undergo no other previous preparation than that of being well cleaned, and afterwards exposed to stiffen a little in the air ; so as to be made capable of being formed into rolls, and twisted into the forms in which we receive them ;-that a fibrous texture is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of this drug i-that no artificial heat is necessary to the production of it; neither are those parts of the fish, which constirute it, dissolved for this purpose. They may, indeed, as well as ifinglass already formed, be Piffolved in boiling water ; but the produce will be a glue, Bra substance which becomes brittle in drying, and snaps short asunder. By such solution, its organization, or the continuity of its fibres would be for ever destroyed ; and it would lose those peculiar qualities for which it is employed in many of the arts and manufactures ;—particularly in the brewery, where an imperfect solution of isinglass, called fining, postesses a peculiar property of clarifying malt liquors; while the same quantity of glue, dissolved in the same menftruum, and added to turbid beer, increases both its muddiness and tenacity. According to the Author's rationale of this process, the fining is not effected by any eležtive attraction, such as frequently occurs in chemical de compofitions, but by the formation of masles composed of the filaments of the ifinglass, combined with the feculencies of the beer, which descend in their combined state to the bɔttom, in consequence of their increased bulk, and greater specific gravity.

In the 18th Article, Mr. J. R. Forster circumftantially defcribes fome curious filles sent to the Royal Society by the Hudson's Bay Company.


[ocr errors]

BOTANY. Art. 15. New Observations upon Vegetation. By M. Mustel, of

the Academy of Sciences at Rouen. The ingenious Dr. Hales, who threw so much light on the principles of vegetation by his curious statical experiments, has satisfactorily shewn that there is no circulation of the sap in vegetables, analogous to that of the blood in animals ; though the Author of this article imputes to bim a contrary opinion ; mised, probably, by his observation, that the sap sometimes moves forward from the trunk to the branches, and occasionally recedes towards the trunk, in consequence of the alternate changes of heat and cold, and the vicissitudes of dry and moist weather ; as the Reader will find on consulting his first volume of Statical Essays, page 142, &c. 3d edition. Such was the idea, as we have formerly observed *, that some of the antienis entertained of the motion of the blood; making it consist of a Aux and reflux, like that of the tide, in the same vefsels.

The observations made by M. Mustel not only shew that there is no circulation of the fap in vegetables, but present us likewise with some curious phenomena relative to vegetation; some of which, however, have been before observed, in the practice of leading the branches of certain trees into a hot-house. Having placed several shrubs in pots near the windows of his hot-house, some within the house, and others on the outside, he passed a single branch of each through separate holes made in the panes of glass : so that the trunks which were in the open air had a branch within the hot-house, and those that grew within the house had a single branch exposed to the external air. Some dwarf apple trees, and rose bushes, were likewise subjected to the fame experiment, which was attended with the following consequences.

Within a week after this disposition, which was made in the middle of January, all the branches in the hot house began to disclose their buds. In less than a fortnight they were furnished with leaves, and towards the end of February they had put forth shoots of a confiderable length, which presented the young flowers. In short, the internal branches, as we shall call them, of the apple tree and the role bulhes, exhibited the same appearances as are usual in May. At the same time, the bodies of these trees and shrubs were exposed to an intense frost, which killed some of their external branches ; so that there was not the least sign of vegetation on the outside, while the single branches on the inside were daily putting forth leaves, thots, and buds. In the beginning of May, the internal branch of the apple tree in particular bore fruit of the size of a nutmeg; while on the * Şee Appendix to our 35th yolume, 1766, page 5;1, & feq.


« ПретходнаНастави »