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gance; and we are glad to find, in the work of an antiquary, this mortal blow aimed at one of its choicest heroes :
• William Caxton, who first introduced printing into England, has no doubt been instrumental in preserving many things which other. wise would have been lost. But he was but an illiterate man, of small judgment, by which means he printed nothing but mean and frivolous things. His works are valuable for little else than as being early performances in the art of printing, and as wrought off by him.' (P. 136.)
Yet, Heaven and Mr. Heber only know what these golden volumes would fetch, under the vacillating nod of that Jupiter Tonans, a book-auctioneer.
The phrase under the Rose, as implying secresy, has often been the subject of conjectural derivation, and Dr. Pegge has introduced it with this explanation :
• To speak a thing under the Rose, and under the Rose be it spoken, are phrases of some difficulty, though the sense of them be well enough understood : they mean secretly ; but the query is, how they come to imply that. The clergyman wears a rose in his hat; and in confession what is spoken in his ear is in effect under the Rose, and is to be kept secret, as being under the seal of confession.'
The allusion has also been attributed to the distinction be-
Harpocrati, Matris dona, dicavit Amor s.
Conviva ut sub ea dicta tacenda sciar."
Though Dr. Pegge's, talent certainly was not that of pulpit
eloquence, he seems not to have been insensible to the proi priety of some of its requisitions He says, ths French expres
*sions precher la passion, and precher les paques, are very instructive ; for though the English divines, when they please, are as good preachers as the French, yet they are often too negligent in this case, and will mount the pulpit upon a festival, without taking sufficient notice of the occasion.' p. 12. –The silly declamations, which have been reiterated against the clergy by inconsiderate soi-disant reformers, are powerfully combated in this judicious observation:
People seem to envy clergymen their station, and seem to grudge that they are to be treated like gentlemen. They should consider that many of them would be gentlemen otherwise ; and that many again, should they put those fortunes expended in their education to frade, would by that means be gentlemen by that time they grew towards thirty : and lastly, that many of even those brought up liy mere charity, being men of parts, for otherwise one must think they would never be sent upon this footing to the University, would soon make their ways into the world, and become gentlemen. But education, in other cases, makes us gentlemen. An officer is a gentleman, by being an officer, so a counsellor, a physician, &c. p. 445.
To be impartial, we transcribe, for the consideration of the curious collectors, something like an apology for pursuits which have occasionally proved susceptible of the wicked ridicule of the man of wit: : To men in general, who are perpetually asking, of whát significance is that medal, that picture, or that admired specimen of remote antiquity, the proper answer is, Every thing serves to some purpose, though they may not be sensible of it; and at any rate they are proper amusements for those who have leisure and capacity to attend to them, and have no occasion to be always thinking of the proq fitable ; but consider them as what they are, the embellishments of Kfe.' (p. 36.) - Matthew Duane used to say when he gave five guineas extraordinary for a rare and valuable coin, he could get five guineas at any time, but could not every day meet with such a curio, sity. This is a good hint to gentlemen of fortune, collectors of medals, or scarce books, to be alert, and not to let slip'a favourable' opportunity.' p.429
The heirs and executors of a curious collector may not deem this argument quite so convincing as he himself is willing to believe it, particularly when he is one of those of whom the sàtirist says,
“ His daughter starves, -but' Cleopatra's * safe!"-Young. The following statement of the origin of the names of some of our trades is curious and correct :
The names of several of our trades are now become obscure, as to the reason of their appellation, by means of the Synecdoche, or the A famous status,
putting the whole for a part ; for what were formerly general namer of trades, are at this day appropriated to particular branches of business. A Stationer is now one that sells writing-paper, pens, &c. but formerly meant any one that kept a station, or shop, A Mercer now is one that sells silks and stuffs, but formerly was any merchant. A Grocer is one that sells sugars, fruit, &c., but formerly implied any large dealer.' p. 155.
Our modern Bacchanalians, whose feats are recorded by the bottle, and who insist on an equality in their rival combats, will find some ingenuity in the invention among our ancestors of their Peg-tankards, of which a few may occasionally be still found in Derbyshire :
• They have in the inside a row of eight pins one above another, from top to bottom; the tankards hold i wo quarts, so that there is a gill of ale, i.e. half a pint of Winchester measure, between each pin. The first person that drank was to empty the tankard to the first peg, or pin; the second was to empty to the next pin, &c. by which means the pins were so many measures to the compotators, making them all drink alike, or the same quantity; and as the distance. of the pins was such as to contain a large draught of kquor, tbe company would be very liable by this method to get drunk, especially when, if they drank short of the pin, or beyond it, they were obliged to drink again. In Archbishop Anselm's canons, made in the Council at London in 1102, Priests are enjoined not to go to drinking bouts, nor to drink to pegs. The words are “ UI Presbyteri non cant ad potationes, nec AD Pinnas bibant.” (Wilkins, Vol. I. p.382.) This shews the antiquity of this invention, which at least was as old as the Conquest.' p. 183.
In the course of much writing, Dr. Pegge discovered (what many writers, were they to write till Doomsday, would not discover,) that it is a very difficult thing to write a good book ; for as an ignorant man, on the one hand, cannot write well on his subject, it is very hard for a man that knows his subject well to do it; it is as hard for him to descend to the plain and trite things which are to be laid down, and to write for the ignorant, as for the unskilful man to write for the learned, and vice versa, besides the difficulty of perspicuity of expression which belongs to both. p. 443.
Such are some specimens of the miscellaneous contents of this volume. We hope, however, that these may be the last Centuries which we shall have to review. That the ingenious author was hard run, to make up his tale and hundred-weight, appears from such articles as the following: Bread the staff of life, Ezek. xiv. 13:'- Horns, long esteemed the badge of cuckoldom. Strype's Annals, Vol. II. p. 519.-"We see Asses about a great house; too often emblematical of those within 1 Here, to our surprise, the learned compiler has not
given any authority; we hesitate to surmise any thing about a great house, but we must censure his asses, as being too personal.* Squirts old (Contin. Bedæ, ii. 23) particularly as an unluckiness in boys.' - Old Squirts may be as great an unluckiness' for some Men, particularly when they are of a writingkind. In truth, the latter Centuries bear too evident marks of the extraordinary senility of the writer, by a profusion of these pithy “ Crumbs of Comfort.” Pegge did not resemble that octogenaire of wit, Fontenelle, who to his last year was still a wit, and, like the thorn of Glastonbury, which was said to flower at Christmas, blossomed even in the winter of his life. . .
The Index to this work is the most elaborate that we ever saw; it would of itself make a volume, and perhaps more valuable than the book to which it refers.
Art. XI. An Examination of M. La Place's Theory of Capillary
Action. 8vo. 28. De Boffe. 1809.
TEW persons read M. La Place's investigations, fewer underI stand them, and still fewer have ventured to subject them to critical examination. Yet, as we live in a fault-finding generation, we marvel that the propensity to censure has been so temperately indulged with regard to this author ; because, even if the blame were erroneous, the chances would be amazingly against a detection of its fallacy. • Fortunately for our love of ease and want of leisure, the author of this little tractate does not attack the formidable line of M. La Place's Analytical Formulæ, but merely assails one or two plain and approachable positions :— those fundamental propositions, indeed, which M. Haüy has regarded as not too abstruse for insertion in his Elementary Treatise on Physics. The substance of these, with the hypothesis and general method of La Place's reasoning, we shall now lay before our readers.
This able French philosopher first takes a fluid mass, with a plane surface, and investigates the action of the fluid on an infinitely slender column perpendicular to the surface. By a very simple mode and ingenious process, he finds that the action of the fluid urges this column to descend: but the column does not descend (or is not depressed) below the surface of the Auid; for if we conceive this slender column to be one branch of a syphon or canal, the corresponding parallel branch will be urged downwards precisely as the first is so impelled ; and consequently, from the canal principle, equilibrium would
ensue, and neither column would be depressed below the level of the fluid.
From this proposition, considered as insulated, no results will follow : but it is preliminary and subservient to another that ensues relative to the alteration in the action of the fluid, when the surface of this fluid at one extremity of one branch of the imaginary canal, from being plane, becomes curved. This alteration is estimated in the proposition in which the action of a meniscus of the fluid on the slender column is considered. If the meniscus be convex upwards, then it urges the column upwards : if, therefore, we remove the meniscus, a diminution of the action upwards takes place, and consequently the slender column is more urged downwards than it was when the surface was plane; or, in other words, the slender column is no longer urged downwards, but really descends : for, in the second branch of the canal, no alteration in the form of the surface of the fluid occurs, but the surface remains as in the first proposition, plane. The contrary result will happen, (that is, the column will be less urged downwards,) if a meniscus of fluid be added.
The above proposition (which is to be found in Haüy as well as in La Place) contains a method, and certainly an ingenious method, of estimating the alteration in the action of the fluid when it becomes curved at its surface; and it consists in adding or in subtracting a meniscus ; yet so miraculously does the author now before us misconceive the nature and drift of La Place's reasoning, that he does not perceive of what use the consideration of the meniscus is. He cuts off from one column a portion, not a meniscus, but separated by a plane parallel to the surface ; and he proves, as he says, of the whole mass, that which M. Haüy shewed of the meniscus. It is quite astonishing he should not have seen (continues the author) that this reasoning is equally applicable to the whole as to a part. What limits it to a meniscus ?' &c. The answer to be given to this query is, that nothing limits the reasoning to a meniscus, except the necessity of considering the action of a meniscus. If M. Haüy or M. La Place had considered, as the present author does, the action of the whole mass, they would have employed a method totally useless and insufficient. They took a road that led them shortly to the truth of which they were in search : but, if they had been guided by conceptions as vague and uncertain as those of their examiner, they would to this time have been wandering in error.
It is attempted in this little tract to introduce M. Haüy as contradicting himself; and, as proving, in two succeeding propositions, first that the flạid-mass urges the slender column