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which would induce a cautious inquirer to refuse his assent to the proposition. The powers, for instance, necessary to decompose these substances are apparently inconsistent with the difficulty of forming them. Our author found that a strong solution of potash required a considerable time to separate the acid from the alcohol. Their densities, too, as well as those of ethers which they so much resemble in their formation, are contrary to the chymical law, that compounds usually possess a specifick gravity greater than the mean specifick gravity of the bodies which enter into their composition. It may be said, and it appears more consistent with the phenomena, that the affinities which preserve the vegetable acids and alcohol in their perfect states, are broken by the mineral acid; and that, from a new arrangement of the elements of both bodies, the substances in question are formed. M. Thenard is evidently premature in his conclusions concerning these bodies, particularly as he endeavours to establish on them a general principle. The details, too, are not sufficiently ample to render his memoir complete and satisfactory; or to convince others of the justness of his opinions. From the new facts, our author conceived it probable, that acids, in general, are capable of being combined with all animal and vegetable substances. The subject of his second memoir was to ascertain how far this idea might be correct. With this intention, he states, that he very carefully examined the compound formed by passing oxymuriatick acid gas through alcohol, and the substance known by the name of artificial camphor, produced by the absorption of muriatick acid gas, by oil of turpentine. The most singular property noticed in these bodies, is the strength with which their elements are combined. The acid M. Thenard has ascertained, is not easy separated by the strongest alkaline
solutions. From his experiments, and the striking analogy existing between artificial camphor and muriatick ether, he concludes, contrary to the opinions of Gehlen, and others, who have studied the subject, and apparently with great propriety, that the artificial camphor is a compound merely of muriatick acid and oil of turpentine; and that the other substance is a similar compound of the same acid, and a body which he has not been able to obtain in an uncombined state. In support of his conjecture, he refers to the known combinations of acids with animal and vegetable substances. The facts are in his favour; yet the proofs which they afford, only strengthen an analogy, but do not establish the truth of the opinion. Our author’s observations on the combinations of tannin, are not new. Mr. Davy has noticed those combinations in a paper on tannin, published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1803; and they have since been described by Tromsdorf and Bouillon-Lagrange. M. Thenard’s opinion on the artificial tannin of Mr. Hatchett, is remarkable for its precipitancy and improbability; and is advanced with a flippancy very unworthy of the philosophical character. He considers it as a combination merely of nitrick acid and vegetable matter. Even if, by vegetable matter, he means charcoal, we are of opinion that he has distorted the fact to make it suit his hypothesis; and, though he is supported by M. Chevreul, who, it is said, in a note annexed to the volume, will find it an easy matter to determine the question, we confess, that we shall prefer Mr. Hatchett's views of the subject, till the notion of the French chymists is established by experiments and arguments of a different kind from any that we meet with in this paper. We have already exceeded our limits; but we cannot resist the pleasure of noticing, though in the most cursory manner, a valuable paper by Thenard and Gay-Lussac, on the subject of the new alkaline metals. It contains the substance of eight memoirs communicated to the national institute of France, and which treated of the nature and relations of those singular products. Mr. Davy's brilliant discovery of the metal of potash, was no sooner known in Paris, than the chymists of that capital eagerly hastened to explore a new track. The researches of Thenard and Gay-Lussac appear to have been conducted with uncommon ingenuity and success. By fusing with intense heat, in a clean gunbarrel, the caustick potash in contact with iron filings, and condensing the sublimate by the application of excessive cold at the other extremity of the barrel, they procured a quantity of the fluid metal at much less expense, and in far greater quantity than that which is obtained by the ordinary galvanick process. They were, hence, enabled to examine the combinations of this new substance on a pretty large scale. In a similar way, the metal of soda was procured. The action of these metals, among other striking effects, occasions the decomposition of ammonia and of the acid of borax. In combining their analyses, MM. Thenard and Gay-Lussac, if we may judge from this short abstract, display juster views and closer philosophical deduction, than are gene
rally met with in the writings of the mere chymists. They have established, we think, most convincingly, that the new metals are not simple substances, but really compounds of the several bases with hydrogen. To the arguments here brought forward, we would add another consideration, grounded on analogy.— Every compound must have the intermediate density of its distinct ingredients. But the specifick gravity of the alkaline metals, one of which floats on water, is far less than that of the substances from which they are derived. Does not this clearly indicate the union of their bases with some attenuated species of matter, such as hydrogen, which, by its infusion, may widely distend the primary molecules, and thus reduce the compound to a much lower density Should these metalloids be of the same nature with the ordinary metals, we can only conclude, that all metals are the compounds of certain bases with hydrogen. These bases may have not been yet exhibited, though we are familiarly acquainted with their oxyds and metalline hydrates, which would be considered as only opposite compounds. Such, indeed, is the present very loose and unsettled state of chymical principles, that we should not feel great surprise at seeing the old doctrine of fihlogiston, with some modifications, again restored to its former credit.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW,
..? Letter on the Genius and Dispositions of the French Government, including a View of the Taxation of the French Empire. By an American recently returned from Europe.
Philadelphia. Reprinted in London.
WE must all learn to love the Americans, if they send us many such pamphlets as the present. Here is a stout republican, who praises England, and declaims against France, with more zeal and intelligence than any of our own politicians; who writes better, and
shows more good learning, than most of our men of letters; displays the characteristick keenness of his countrymen, without any of their coarseness; and has all their patriotick prejudices, without their illiberality. A work of this political character was pretty sure of succeeding among us, whatever might have been its defects as a composition. It is so long since any body has praised us but ourselves, or since any one has even ventured to second our unwearied abuse of the enemy, that a warm eulogium on England, and a powerful invective against France, must have come with all the delight of surprise, from a native of that country which we have done all in our power to alienate and offend. The present publication, however, has other claims to attention. Independent of its good writing, it contains a great mass of facts, very important to be known, and very difficult to be procured; and though the author's antipathy to France is
so strong, as to breed an instinctive .
distrust of his accuracy, in matters where there was room for the operation of an unsuspected bias, yet this is in a great measure corrected by a constant uprightness of principle, and a general habit of careful reasoning. The 'scope of the work is to persuade the people of America, that their true interest lies in cultivating a cordial alliance with England, and in avoiding all close relations with her enemy. With this view, the author enters into several copious and interesting details, to show that France feels nothing but contempt and hatred for America; that she dislikes the freedom which is established in that country; and not only cares nothing about the commercial prosperity of the world, but actually regards it with jealousy and aversion. He then goes on to point out the proofs of that lawless and insatiable ambition, which looks forward to the subjugation of America as well as of Europe; and to lay open the sources of that tremendous power, which seems to justify the formation even of such gigantick projects. In order to develop this part 9f his subject, and, at the same time, to show the wretchedness and op
pression that is exercised even over the French subjects of the imperial despot, he lays before the reader a very full and curious view of the system of taxation now established in that country. He then contrasts the condition of the people of England, and the consequences of cultivating that connexion; and, admitting in the fullest degree the hostile dispositions and narrow policy of our firesent ministers (against whom it is really edifying to see men thus thronging to testify from the east and the west) he concludes, by recommending to both countries that cordial union which their common concern in the trade and the liberty of the world, so loudly calls upon them to form. We love our country, and are proud of the eminence it still maintains, and the blessings of which it is still the centre; nor could we read the following splendid and liberal testimony in its favour, without a glow of gratitude and affection to the author.
“Whatever may be the representations
of those who, with little knowledge of
facts, and still less soundness or impartiality of judgment, affect to deplore the condition of England, it is nevertheless true, that there does not exist, and never has existed elsewhere, so beautiful and perfect a model of publick and private prosperity; so magnificent, and, at the same time, so solid a fabrick of social happiness and national grandeur.. I pay this just tribute of admiration with the more pleasure, as it is to me in the light of an atonement for the errours and prejudices under which I laboured, on this subject, before I enjoyed the advantage of a personal experience. A residence of nearly two years in that country, during which period I visited and studied almost every part of it, with no other view or pursuit than that of obtaining correct information, and, I may add, with previous studies well fitted to promote my object, convinced me that I had been egregiously deceived.
“I saw no instances of individual oppression, and scarcely any individual misery, but that which belongs, under any circumstances of our being, to the infirmity of all human institutions, I witnessed no symptom of declining trade or of general discontent: on the contrary, I found there every indication of a state engaged in a rapid career of advancement. I found the arts and spirit of commercial industry at their acmé; a metropolis opulent and liberal beyond example; a cheerful peasantry, well fed and commodiously lodged; an ardent attachment to the constitution in all classes; and a full reliance on the national resources. I found the utmost activity in agricultural and manufacturing labours; in the construction of works of embellishment and utility; in enlarging and beautifying the provincial cities. I heard but few well-founded complaints of the amount, and none concerning the collection, of the taxes. The demands of the state creaté no impediment to consumption, or discouragement to industry. I could discover no instance in which they have operated to the serious distress, or ruin of individuals.”—“ The agriculture of England is confessedly superiour to that of any other part of the world; and the condition of those who are engaged in the cultivation of the soil, incontestably preferable to that of the same class in any other section of Europe. An inexhaustible source of admiration and delight is found in the unrivalled beauty, as well as richness and fruitfulness of their husbandry; the effects of which are heightened by the magnificent parks and noble mansions of the opulent proprietors; by picturesque gardens upon the largest scale, and disposed with the most exquisite taste, and by Gothick remains, no less admirable in their structure then venerable for their antiquity. The neat cottage, the substantial farm house, the splendid villa, are constantly rising to the sight, surrounded by the most choice and poetical attributes of the landscape.”—“The vision is not more delightfully recreated by the rural scenery, than the moral sense is gratified, and the understanding elevated, by the institutions of this great country. The first and continued exclamation of an American, who contemplates them with unbiased judgment, is
Salve magna Parens frugum, saturnia tellus, Magna virum. * It appears something not less than impious to desire the ruin of this people, when you view the height to which they have carried the comforts, the knowledge, and the virtue of our species; the extent and number of their foundations of charity; their skill in the mechanick arts, by the improvement of which alone they have conferred inestimable benefits on mankind;
the masculine morality, the lofty sense of independence, the sober and rational piety which are found in all classes; their impartial, decorous, and able administration of a code of laws, than which none more just and perfect has ever been in operation; their seminaries of education yielding more solid and profitable instruction than any other whatever; their eminence in literature and science; the urbanity and learning of their privileged orders; their deliberative assemblies, illustrated by so many profound statesmen and brilliant orators. It is worse than ingratitude in us not to sympathize with them in their present struggle, when we recollect that it is from them we derive the principal merit of our own character, the best of our own institutions, the sources of our highest enjoyments, and the light of freedom itself, which, if they should be destroyed, will not long shed its radiance over this country.” p. 181, 188. It is delightful to read all this; and to know that it is substantially true. We are still the freest, the most moral, most opulent, and most comfortable people of which there is any memorial; and, upon our freedom and our morality, the freedoni and happiness of the whole world never were so conspicuously dependent. If there were but any proportion between the wisdom of our rulers and the value of the stake for which they play, our position would be indeed triumphant; but it is truly appalling to think, that, in the greatest crisis of human affairs that ever? existed, we should be committed to the guidance of those, whose incapacity is in a manner admitted even by their most resolute supporters, to whom no part of the nation looks. up with respect or confidence; and who are maintained in office entirely by court favour, and by the prejudices they have excited against their probable successours. The resources of our enemy, alas ! are administered upon far other principles. There, indeed, there is neither freedom, nor comfort, nor morality; but there is a dreadful energy, and a portentous talent and activity. The ends and the means of that goveritment, are alike cruel and unhallowed; but the skill with which they are adapted to each other; the vigour with which they are pursued; and the contrivance with which they are arranged for a course of inexhaustible exertion, are calculated to inspire at once admiration and alarm. This terrible energy, indeed, is now recognised by all thinking men, in all parts of the world. It gives rise to apprehensions and precautions in Asia and America, and is no where overlooked or disregarded, but by those English statesmen who have been intrusted with the care of counteracting it. The intelligent author before us trembles for his country on the other side of the Atlantick, and earnestly exhorts her to lay aside all little jealousies and grudges, and unite for safety with England; while our more prudent and magnanimous statesmen are strengthening us for the combat, by alienating Ireland and insulting America. In a preceding number, we took occasion to lay before our readers a pretty full view of the principle and practice of the French, system of conscription; and are happy to avail ourselves of the opportunity of the present publication, to complete the picture of the gigantick resources of the enemy, by directing their attention to their arrangements of Finance. We will not be readily suspected of holding out either of these systems as a pattern for our own imitation; but it is of incalculable moment, both that the publick should possess clear notions as to the extent and the nature of their danger, and should be fully aware of the measure of that wretchedness to which they are destined, if these dangers cannot be averted. After having surveyed the chief sources of the power which is opposed to us, we may also venture, perhaps, to speculate, with some assurance, both as to its probable duration, and as to the means by which its downfal may be most securely accelerated. In her levies of money, as in her
levies of men, France will be found to have calculated everything for a system of war and conquest. In her financial operations, she is as rapacious of the people’s treasure, as in her military operations she is prodigal of their blood. No one must expect to find, in the administration of her exchequer, that cautious wisdom which relieves the pressure of taxation, by calculating and balancing, and calculating and distributing anew.-by the certainty of the impost, and by the responsibility of the government. One broad and dread
ful simplicity pervades the whole; a
simplicity regardless of the people's comforts, and of the principles of justice; but admirably adapted, by the facilities it affords to the executive power, for the rapid movements of conquest and ambition, Thus, while all without is triumph and glitter, all within is meagreness and toil | And the French people tremble and pay tribute, that their neighbours may tremble and pay tribute also. The interesting and able sketch of their fiscal arrangements, which now lies before us, is developed under three heads. 1st, The principal sources of the actual revenue of France: 2ndly, The system established for the collection of that revenue: and 3rdly, The amount of the receipts and disbursements. The sources of the revenue are enumerated under three heads. The direct taxes; the indirect taxes; and those additional imposts which do not fall precisely under either of these heads. The direct taxes are, 1. the land tax; 2. the impost upon moveables, divided into the personal, mobiliary, and sumptuary taxes; 3. the tax on doors and windows; and 4, the tax on the wages of industry, entitled, “le droit des fiatentes.”
1. The land tax is called the “cozatribution fonciere.”
“This tax,” says the author, “which has superseded the former taille and vingtiemes, must be understood, not only in its usual acceptation, but as a charge on