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so much wit or humour as to excuse their repetition thrice; and if they were in earnest, they were very unnecessary! However, to prevent such dreadful apprehensions, I do seriously assure you, that I have at present no such thought; and I bere give it you under my hand, that if I ever offer any thing of that nature, I will proceed in form. I will acquaint mamma in the first place, and will never plead your indulgence to my friendship as any engagement upon you to accept my love.
With this precaution, I think I may safely tell you that I do still Esteem you beyond any other person in the world of your age; and do really think, that when you are in a good humour-you are, without a compliment, one of the most agreeable creatures I know. I must further do you the justice to acknowledge that you have frequently, perhaps I may say generally, treated me with an air of tender friendship, which to a man of my temper is engaging and endearing, in a very uncommon degree, and I need not look back farther than yesterday to recollect some very agreeable instances.
• But, after all, my dear, I must add, that it is this mixture and uncertainty of temper and behaviour that perplexes me more than any thing else. There is an epigram in the Spectator, which, though not made upon your sex, so exactly expresses my sentiments, that I cannot for: bear transcribing it, and would, by all means, advise you to let your memory imbibe it :
“ In all thy numours, whether grave or mellow,
Thou’rt such a wayward, testy, pleasant fellow,
There's no existing with—nor e’en without thee.”. Therefore, my dear, I have one favour to beg of you, and all that I have already said was only intended as its introduction; and that is, that you would reflect a little upon my character in general, and upon my bebaviour to you in particular, and then come to a resolution to treat me in a constant manner. Be always kind and obliging, or always negligent and rude; and though I cannot say it is a matter of indifference which you choose, yet I am persuaded I shall, in either case, be easier.
If you can resolve upon the latter of these expedients, which yet methinks I am unwilling to suppose, my friendship is ended, but my civility will continue. I am not humble enough to make any fresh complaint either to yourself or to your mother, nor spiteful enough to attempt to injure or tease you, Nay, I have so much regard to the friendship of your excellent mother, whom I know to be most tenderly concerned for your interest as well as to the obligations of common humanity, that I will do my utmost to promote your improvement in religion and in other accomplishments as far as may be in my power. But, as to what you think of me, or the humour you are in with me, I shall be as utterly unconcerned as I am about honest Frank's being in the vapours, or the crying of Nanny Parsons when she is out of my hearing! But, if according to my firm expectation, you take this friendly admonition as kindly as I mean it ; if you make it your future care to treat me with civility and good humour, and rather to bear with any tolerable infirmity than to quarrel when I have given you no affront; in one word, if you will treat me just as you did twelve months ago, bating the article of so many kisses which I will willingly resign, I assure you, my dear, that nothing which may have past shall impair the sincerity of my tenderness and esteem. I shall then study for every opportunity of obliging you ; and treat you not with the importunity of a lover, but with the easy and endearing affection of a brother; I shall then think it my happiness, that I live in a family with so agreeable and so charming a friend, and your affection, as well as that of mamma and aunt, will add a relish to the brightest, and a comfort to the gloomiest moments of my life; and whenever we part, which will certainly be in a few years, and, probably enough, in a few months, I shall go away with a very high esteem of your character and gratitude for your kindness, and at any distant time or place shall rejoice in an opportunity of expressing the sincerity and tenderness with which I am,' &c.--pp. 105-107.
After all we do not see what the world will gain by the publication of this part of Doctor Doddridge's Correspondence, and it would have been better, perhaps, had it been left to the private perusal of his descendants, posterity having no licence to break the seal of a private letter, except when it is known to contain useful information, or some valuable instruction on points of difficulty and interest. The graver part only of the correspondence here published, comes under this head, and to this we refer our readers, as consisting of many important and edifying, as well as amusing details.
Art. VIII.--Elements of Physics, or Natural Philosophy, General and
Medical, explained independently of Technical Mathematics. Vol. II. Part I. Comprehending the subjects of Heat and Light. By Neil Arnott, M.D., of the Royal College of Physicians. pp. 320. 8vo.
London : Longman and Co. 1829. Dr. Arnott's previous volume has been so well received, that it has almost banished all the flimsy productions, called popular, which falsely pretended to strip science of its mysterious and repulsive aspect, and to exhibit it in holy-day apparel. The success of such a work shows most clearly that it is plain, but sound knowledge which the public want; and that those who previously prankt out science in meretricious gaudiness, little understood the character of English readers. In the portion of the second volume now before us, the highly-talented author comes with fresh claims to the well-deserved patronage which he has already received ; and in proportion to the importance and the great difficulty of the subjects, has he exerted himself to elucidate the most interesting facts, and to disenbarrass them of the technicalities, which are so puzzling to the uninitiated. Dr. Arnott, however, is by no means a merely useful writer; for he frequently introduces passages, eloquently written, and evincing a mind susceptible of the beauties, as well as the scientific utilities, of the objects of creation. We cannot better exemplify this, than by quoting his introductory paragraph to the subject of Light :
• The phenomena of light and vision have always been held to constitute a most interesting branch of natural science; whether in regard to the beauty of light, or its utility. The beauty is seen spread over a varied
landscape-among the beds of the flower-gardens, on the spangled meads, in the plumage of birds, in the clouds around the rising and setting sun, in the circles of the rainbow. And the utility may be judged of by the reflection, that had man been compelled to supply his wants by groping in utter and unchangeable darkness, even if originally created with all the knowledge now existing in the world, he could scarcely have secured his existence for one day. Indeed, the earth without light would have been an unfit abode even for grubs, generated and living always amidst their food. Eternal night would have been universal death. Light, then, while the beauteous garb of nature, clothing the garden and the meadow,glowing in the ruby-sparkling in the diamond, is also the absolutely necessary medium of communication between living creatures and the universe around them. The rising sun is what converts the wilderness of darkness which night covered, and which to the young mind, not yet aware of the regularity of nature's changes, is so full of horror, into a visible and lovely paradise. No wonder, then if, in early ages of the world, man has often been seen bending the knee before the glorious luminary, and worshipping it as the God of Nature. When a mariner, who has been toiling in midnight gloom and tempest, at last perceives the dawn of day, or even the rising of the moon, the waves seem to him less lofty, the wind is only half as fierce, sweet hope beams on him with the light of heaven, and brings gladness to his heart. A man, wherever placed in lignt, receives by the eye from every object around--from hill and tree, and even a single leaf,-nay, from every point in every object, and at every moment of time, a messenger of light to tell him what is there, and in what condition. Were he omnipresent, or had he the power of fitting from place to place with the speed of the wind, he could scarcely be more promptly informed. And even in many cases where distance intervenes not, light can impart at once, knowledge which, by any other conceivable means, could come only tediously, or not at all. For example, when the illuminated countenance is revealing the secret workings of the heart, the tongue would in vain try w speak, even in lofty phrases, what one smile of friendship or affection can in an instant convey ;-and had there been no light, man never could have been aware of the miniature worlds of life and activity which, even in a drop of water, the microscope discovers to him; nor could he have formed any idea of the admirable structure belonging to many minute objects. It is light, again, which gives the telegraph, by which men converse from hill to hili, or across an extent of raging sea,—and which, pouring upon the eye through the optic tube, brings intelligence of events passing in the remotest regions of space.' pp. 163–165.
The science of light, we may remark, is one of those subjects of which most people know something, though there are parts of it which can only be studied by the aid of mathematics, and other. parts of it which require some smattering of physiology, in order to comprehend them. The construction of mirrors, of microscopes, of telescopes, and all the instruments employed to assist vision, is nearly settled, and little that is new on these subjects is, perhaps, to be expected ; but some of the laws wbich regulate the propagation of light have recently been much elucidated by Arago, Biot, Brewster, and Herschel, the son of the celebrated astronomer.
We can ourselves well recollect (for the association is deeply interwoven with our feelings) how eager we were, even in boyhood, to pry into the secrets of optics. We well recollect of lighting upon an odd volume, where the science was treated with all the parade of geometry and algebra, which to us were, at that period, quite unintelligible. But even this abstruse and unknown language of mathematics did not deter us from conning over, again and again, the laws, the principles, and the facts which bore upon the history of light, or explained the appearances with which we were familiar. We were still more delighted when we read the experimental portion, and we remember well of stealing away, book in hand, to the woods, on a bright summer's day, and examining how the doctrine of shadows agreed with those of trees, and how the doctrine of reflection agreed with the pictures of waving branches in a little stream, which ran through the wood; and we tried, in every possible position, the effects of refraction in the case of a straight stick appearing to be bent or broken when partly in the water. At such an age it is, when observation begins to sharpen the young mind, and every little explanation to charm and to elevate; and the facts of philosophy to display their beautiful links of connection; and the wonders of nature to stir up the young and enthusiastic spirit of curiosity to travel onwards and onwards, in spite of every obstacle and interruption, till it surmount the most rugged ascent of the mountain-barrier; and standing triumphantly on its loftiest pinnacles, looks abroad, with a conscious pride, on the plains and valleys beneath, and exults, with a heart-bounding enthusiasm, that the earth and its fogs, its obscurities, and its ignorance, has been left far below. Then is the time to imbue the young mind with the genuine truths of nature and of philosophy, and to cheer on the spirit of enterprising research to the accomplishment of some grand discovery, or the execution of some lasting memorial of genius. Then is the time, when the character first lakes its form, and the habits and dispositions are trained up to manhood, and when the mind is indelibly stamped with the broad mark of dullness, of mediocrity, or of exalted talent. At such an age, how exceedingly valuable a work like this of Dr. Arnott's becomes, as it may furnish the first fuel to the latent fire of genius—the spark which may afterwards kindle into a brilliant blaze.
We must remark, however, that the youth who has early reached some commanding pinnacle of the mountain, is placed on a very dangerous precipice, from which he must inevitably tumble, unless he has more caution and firmness than usually falls to the lot of the young. His triumph is short lived. He for a moment, like the eagle, thinks that he can gaze on the sun ; but with this his ambition is not satisfied; he tires of the uniformity of the sun's splendour, and longs after variety. The first view of the scene spread, like a map, under his fect, of sunny fields, cheerful villages,
and plains diversified with woods, and intersected by rivers,--is delightful, because to him it is new, and has all the beauty and all the mysterious suspense which would be thrown over a view of the futurities of life, were it possible to obtain this. But the beauty, and the novelty, and the suspense, give but a momentary feeling; he soon complains of their sameness and uniformity, and bends his eye on the distant horizon, where all is confusion and all is blank. He loses all relish for his bird's-eye prospect, which was at first so delightful : his eye, with all its keenness, cannot penetrate tbrough the more distant obscurities; he descends from his elevation, to travel in pursuit of variety; he soon mingles with the inhabitants of the plain country, whose sober ambition never prompted them to climb the most humble eminence, and he is lost for ever among ordinary men,
We may, perhaps, be accused of having drawn a fanciful picture, but we have not in sooth borrowed one tint from imagination. It is wholly derived from fact and from reality. It was observed in Greece, as Aristotle has recorded ; and it is quite notorious in our own days, that when a boy appears as a prodigy, and carries off all the highest premiums at schools and academies, that his future career is never heard of; for, being satiated to cloying with bis juvenile attainments, he becomes too proud, or too indolent, ever to advance beyond himself. He first becomes stationary, and then he retrogrades, and loses ground; for his more slow coinpetitors, by their steady advances, soon come to outstrip him.
The same remark will apply to philosophy itself. When it is once brought to a certain elevation, it never goes farther; for nobody will take the trouble to perfect a system which bears the name of another, and will be more contented to be the humble disciple of Newton, or of Locke, and to learn their opinions by rote, than to stand forth as a discoverer, and bear all the opposition, and the criticism, and the controversy, which originality never fails to produce. Optics, in some of its branches, has long been held in such leading strings; but in others, it has been pursued with a manly independence, and this has been rewarded with researches which are still, indeed, in their infancy, but which promise much : we allude to the polarization of light-a subject, however, which Dr. Arnott has not yet arrived at in the part of the volume now before us; we must, therefore, follow him into some of those branches which he has so simply and perspicuously illustrated. The following we think excellent:
• It has already been explained that light, like every other influence radiating from a centre, becomes rapidly weaker as the distance from the centre increases, being, for instance, only one fourth part as intense at double distance, and in a corresponding proportion for other distances; while it is still farther weakened by the obstacle of any transparent medium through which it passes. Now the eye soon becomes sufficiently familiar with these truths to judge from them, with considerable accuracy, of the comparative distances of objects.