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opinions of the inhabitants, as these were connected with their civil and ecclesiastical institutions.
In his introduction, Mr. D’Alton arrays in irresistible force the authorities which support the great historical assertion, that Ireland was, at a period of high antiquity, colonized by the Phænicians, and that they maintained with that island a long intercourse. The very best and safest antiquaries who have touched upon the bistory of Ireland, come to a similar conclusion. Indeed we should think it impossible that a doubt of the truth of this assertion should be allowed to remain in the mind of any intelligent inquirer, who has marked the resemblance between Eastern and Irish legends, and the identity of familiar expressions between the inhabitants of two so very remote parts of the earth. In the remainder of this Essay, our author has adopted the arrangement employed by Dr. Henry in his History of Great Britain ; he has made four principal divisions of the time to which his work must be confined, and these again are each subdivided into six sections, each of which has its peculiar subject : thus the first and second treat of the social and political history of Ireland, its government, legislation, &c.; the two next sections are employed on the morals, religion, and intellectual progress of the country ; and then the state of the arts, of commerce, with the habits and manners of the people, occupy the two last.
It would be an injustice to the author of this very elaborate performance to select, for particular observation, any one of the multitudinous topics which he has so learnedly and ingeniously illustrated. We have been very much struck with the novel and often satisfactory manner in which he disposes of some much litigated questions of antiquity—that of the round towers, for instance-throwing a degree of light upon them which puts even the most successful of his predecessors out of the pale of competition with him. We presume that no one who desires to be acquainted with ancient Irish history, will hesitate to become conversant with this volume.
Art. XVII.-Cuba ; or, the Policy of England, Mexico, and Spain,
with regard to that Island. By an Englishman. 8vo. pp. 22. London:
J. Ridgway. 1830. The object of the author of this well-written pamphlet is to direct the public attention to a point of foreign policy, which, though lost sight of amidst discussions of a more captivating nature, is not on that account less important to the true interests of Great Britain. The commercial classes in this country have had just reason to complain of the embarrassments which have for some time, if not interrupted entirely, certainly rendered extremely inconvenient our mercantile intercourse with Mexico. These embarrassments altogether arise from the unsettled condition in which the latter country is placed, owing to the peculiar attitude of menace and vengeance, which the King of Spain perseveres in upholding against Mexico alone of all his revolted Colonies in the west. His Majesty of the Two Spains avails himself of the proximity of Cuba, to maintain in that island a constant force to be ready to pour down on the Mexicans at any moment he thinks
proper. That under the most favourable circumstances, Ferdinand can ever succeed in making the slightest impression on the Mexican terri
tory, no reasonable man believes; why then is he allowed. to keep the unfortunate Mexicans in hot water so constantly, as that they are obliged to turn their ports into places of strength, and their ships of commerce into the engines of security for the coast? Remonstrance has been tried with the Court of Madrid, but in vain. A remedy for the evil has been, our author states, proposed, namely, that Cuba should be laid hold of by Mexico and Colombia jointly, and thus the means of annoyance by the King of Spain would be effectually removed. The objection to the accomplishment of such an enterprise, this pamphlet declares, lies in the dissent of England only, and the purpose of the author is to shew the impolicy and rolly of our continuing this course longer.
Art. XVIII.-An Authentic Account of Mr. Canning's Policy with
respect to the Constitutional Charter of Portugal, in Reply to " 06servations on the Papers laid before Parliament.” 8vo. London:
J. Hatchard and Son. 1830. There is no doubt, we understand, that this pamphlet comes directly from the pen of Lady Canning herself; and for a political combatant so unaccustomed, as her Ladyship must be, to public controversy, it shows wonderful dexterity in the use of some of the most effective weapons that are employed in that species of encounter. The present Ministry is rather roughly handled, if we may use such an expression in reference to a lady ; the invective, however, having the disadvantage of being poured forth without any sufficient reason, at least appearing, to justify it. The merits of the dispute lie within a small compass. Lady Canning admits that the late foreign Secretary was neither the author nor suggester of the Portuguese Constitution, yet she urges that the circumstances attending its institution were such as to involve England in its support. The Charter, she says, was brought over by a British Minister from Brazil; the Cabinet of this country took upon itself the responsibility of Şir C. Stuart's act, and doing so, “it was bound in honour to give the Portuguese Charter every moral support and countenance that was possible, consistently with the principles of policy on which it had declared it should act. Further, since many of the supporters of the Constitution in Portugal were led, in their confidence of British protection, to support that Constitution, it was incumbent on our Government to stretch a point in favour of the Constitutional party, to avoid being taxed with its betrayal.' Of such an argument as this, all that we shall say is, that we firmly believe, were Mr. Canning now happily alive, he would be the last man in the country to avail himself of it. That Statesman meant neutrality, or he did not, when he professed it. If he did not mean it, his words, and his manner of uttering them in Parliament, (for of the latter we happen to be able to speak personally,) constituted as gross a delusion as ever was practised, even on the House of Commons. But if, as we feel assured, Mr. Canning was actuated by a deliberate sense of the impropriety of any
interference on our part in the internal concerns of Portugal, then it was impossible for him consistently with his avowed policy, to yield an iota of that moral succour of which Lady Canning speaks. “ Of all the systems,” says Lord Aberdeen, in the Parliamentary debate of the 23d ult., with that mixture
of good feeling and good sense which characterises him, “ of all the systems that might have been adopted, that which alone was perfectly indefensible, was to lay down a course of neutrality in the first instance, and afterwards to interpret that course according to our opinions, our feelings, or our interests."-(Hear, hear.)
It is related by Lady Canding, that the last words on politics spoken by the deceased statesman were to this effect— I have laboured hard to raise the country to its present elevated condition; two years of the Duke of Wellington's administration will undo what I have accomplished, and sink her to a degraded state :" and then her ladyship triumphantly says, 'the two years are now expired, and has not the prophecy been fulfilled ? Let us suppose it to be so; how, we ask, could the country have been better off under Mr. Canning? for we see but little difference in the policy, foreign or domestic, pursued by the Duke of Wellington from that of which Mr. Canning chalked the outline. But in our turn, we may be permitted to inquire if Mr. Canning still held the reins of government, would the country be even in so good a condition as she is at present ? It will not be denied that the settlement of the Irish question was one which Mr. Canning had at heart, and that principally because he believed it to be indispensable, not merely to the tranquillity, but to the safety of the empire. Could Mr. Canning bave carried that measure? Impossible, we say, for it is only now that we can pretend to a full knowledge of the gigantic obstacles which stood in the
of success, and which called for the full measure of those abilities that could be found only in the modern political Hannibal. If, however, the spirit of exaggeration be ever entitled to lenient criticism, it is when indulged in the pionis office of defending the memory of one who, when living, was dear to us.
Art. XIX.- Two Essays on the Geography of Ancient Asia ; intended
partly to illustrate the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Anabasis of Xenophon. By the Rev. John Williams. 8vo. pp. 325. London:
John Murray. 1830. The first of these Essays was partly read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and thongh relating to a monarch so renowned as Alexander the Great, it possesses, at least to our imagination, far less interest than the second and more enlarged disquisition on the Retreat of the Ten Thousand—that celebrated march, every step of which is imprinted on the memory of the classic student. We hardly know which most to admire, the vast learning or the ingenuity with which Mr. Williams illustrates the progress of the glorious band of Greeks, whom Xenophon conducted from the banks of the Euphrates to the Euxine Sea, and subsequently to their own country. We always thought that the difficulties which opposed the thorough and easy understanding of Xenophon's text, arose from the extraordinary changes which have taken place in the physical state of the country, between the river and the sea just mentioned, since the era of Cyrus. That seasons have varied the time of their approach and their maturity since those early times, there cannot be the least doubt; it is also very much a matter of certainty, that soils have suffered very considerable alterations as to their power of production; but what is beyond all ques.
tion, is the fate which some of the most celebrated streams of antiquity have undergone during the lapse of ages. If any body were to say, that Palmyra could have been adequately supplied with water from such of the neighbouring sources, as those to which access could now be had, he would be laughed at for the stupendous folly of his assertion. And yet it is not to be denied, that the Tadmor was found a sufficient reservoir of water for the uses of the luxurious city, insignificant as that stream now appears to the traveller. In countries like those of Mesopotamia, Armenia, and the adjacent provinces, the surface was peculiarly subject to change; the total neglect of cultivation allowed a wild irregularity of growth to cover the face of nature, while the accumulation of sand, driven by the tempest, was every year rendering doubtful the localities of particular spots. · Add to this, the vagueness with which ancient geography fixed the site of cities and the sources of rivers, and we shall have ample means of explaining the discrepancies between the itinerary records of antiquity, and the information which we have of the modern state of the same countries.
The judgment, ability, and indefatigable research of Mr. Williams, have done a vast deal for the easy illustration of one of the most delightful works of the Greek classics; and sincerely do we hope, that his ambition may induce, and his other avocations allow, the Reverend author to undertake a project, of all others the most desirable at this moment the ancient geography of the whole of Asia. If Mr. Williams fail to succeed in such a task, we utterly despair of ever seeing it accomplished.
Art. XX.-A Short Account of Experiments made in Italy, &c. for
Preserving Human Life and Property from Destruction by Fire.
By Chev. Aldini. 8vo. pp. 24. London : P. Rolandi. 1830. The author of this pamphlet is a venerable personage of opulence and station in his country- Italy. He has, after great labour and, we believe, expense, --certainly after a very extended application of his time,-framed an apparatus, which, as far as we can venture to form an opinion upon such a subject, is likely to prove of the deepest importance to society in general, but in an especial manner to the inhabitants of this crowded metropolis. The Chevalier being the nephew of the celebrated Galvani, and professing, himself, the most disinterested views, it is not surprizing that in this land of liberality and enterprize he should have obtained a great deal of encouragement. Several public bodies have investigated his invention, and approved of it; and the Chevalier, we believe, indulges the hope, that the Government will, ere long, entertain a proposal from him for its immediate practical application.
The Chevalier informs us, that being very anxious to find out some method by which flame could be effectually resisted, with the view of enabling persons more speedily and conveniently to extinguish fires, thought of a covering of armour, constructed in the ancient fashion. The weight of the armour proved a great impediment to the operations of the fire-men, and the author was induced to substitute a coat of mail, composed of the wire gauze, which, in the case of the Davy lamp, is so well known to be impenetrable to flame. But here again the inventor was met by a formidable difficulty; the wire gauze kept out the flame, but it did not exclude the heat, and the consequence was, that this improved protector was next to useless. To look out for some substance that would exclude heat as well as flame, became the care of the Chevalier, and this material he was fortunate enough to detect in the amianthus.
Amianthus is a variety of the mineral asbestos, and having the singular properties of flexibility and elasticity, is capable of being converted into tbreads, and consequently wrought into a tissue. The manufacture was well known amongst the Romans in ancient times, being used by them in numerous articles of domestic convenience as well as of costume. Veios of amianthus are to be found in several countries on the continent, and in some places in England and Scotland.
In order to bend and twist the cords of amianthus, the action of steam is requisite; but these cords, which may be made to any size, are particularly strong. The tissue, however, is found to be rather too expensive, and the Chevalier is engaged in experiments, the object of which is to find out some chemical compound capable of giving properties resembling those of asbestos, to a cheaper description of cloth. At present, he finds that cloth, dipped in a solution of alum, answers the purpose to a certain extent. With cloth so prepared he invests the body, arms, and legs of the fireman, while the covering for the head, hands, and feet is made of asbestos; the spaces for the nose, eyes, and mouth in the asbestos cap are protected by wire gauze. So much for the inner dress. The second or outer coat, which completes the apparatus, consists of a metallic net work, made of iron, the intervals between the threads being about 1-25th of an inch. The whole dress is comparatively light, and, having abundant joints, offers no impediment to the freest motions of the fireman. Mr. Faraday, of the Royal Institution, has furnished the following description of one of the Chevalier's experiments :
• The third experiment was with the complete apparatus. Two rows of faggots, mingled with straw, were arranged vertically against bars of iron, so as to form a passage between thirty feet long, and six feet wide.
Four such arragements were made, differing in the proportion of wood and straw, and one was with straw alone. Fire was then applied to one of these double piles; and a fireman, invested in the defensive clothing, and guarded by the shield, entered between the double hedge of flames, and traversed the alley several times. The flames rose ten feet in height, and joined over his head. Each passage was made slowly, and occupied from twelve to fifteen seconds; they were repeated six or eight times, and even oftener, in succession, and the firemen were exposed to the almost constant action of the flames for the period of a minute and a half, or two minutes, and even more.
When the course was made between the double range of faggots without straw, the fireman carried a kind of pannier on his back, prepared in such a way as to be fire-proof, in which was placed a child, with its head covered by an asbestos bonnet, and additionally protected by the wiregauze shield.'-—pp. 22, 23.
The worthy Chevalier, in the simplicity of his soul, counts on the most ardent support of the insurance companies. He knows but little of the policy of those to whose patronage he thus looks up. If a security from the depredations of fire could once be established, the occupation of the companies is gone.