Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

،

that, this Writer remarks, upon just and scientific principles." Linnæus, however, it is added, is the firft, who regarding the ftamina and piftils as organs effentially necefiary to generation, and confequently the most conftant in every fpecies, has rendered their fuppofed function, and afcertained conftancy, ufeful, by making them furnish the generical and claffical characters of a plan of arrangement. It is for this reason, that the first investigators of the fexes of plants have fo generally been overlooked, and the doctrine itfe:f confidered as of modern invention. In this refpect, the Swedish botanist refembles the celebrated Harvey, who, by first demonftrating the circulation of the blood, has obtained the honour of that important difcovery, although the circulation in queftion had been suspected, and in fome inttances recognized, long before the era in which Harvey flourished.'

Our confined limits will not admit of giving any accurate and complete idea of the Linnæan fyftem, founded upon the above fexual principle, as its leading character. Many of our Readers are already, no doubt, in fome degree acquainted with it; but to others the following quotations from this work may be acceptable:

In establishing his method Linnæus has obferved the following order. The itamina or male parts ferve to difcriminate the claffes; the piftils or female parts generally difcriminate the orders which are the firft fubdivifion, and correspond to the fections of Tournefort. All the parts of fructification, and none other, are employed in diftinguishing the genera. The remaining parts of plants, particularly the ftems, leaves and roots, ferve to characterize the fpecies. Specific differences are, however, fometimes.derived from circumstances connected with the parts of fructification, when thofe circumstances are not neceffary for diftinguishing the genera.

Flowers which are fcarcely vifible, and cannot be diftinctly defcribed, occupy the twenty-fourth clafs, the laft of the method, which has therefore obtained the name of cryptogamia or the clandeftine marriage; the parts of generation being either entirely hid or obfcurely vifiole. The clafs in question contains all the fubmarine plants, mushrooms, moffes and ferns. Of flowers which are diftinctly visible, fome are hermaphrodite, that is, have the organs of the two fexes within the fame calix and petals; others are male and female, that is, have the ftamina and piftils in different flowers. Thefe laft are contained in three claffes, the twenty-firft, twenty-fecond, and twenty-third of the method. They are thus diftinguifhed. In the twenty-first clafs, the male flowers are feparated from the female upon the fame individual plant. In the twenty-fecond the flowers of different fexes are feparated from each other

U 3

upon

upon diftinct plants. In the twenty-third there is a commixture of male, female or hermaphrodite flowers upon one or more individuals. The first-mentioned clafs is termed Monoecia, which fignifies one houfe, the fructification being perfected in one and the fame plant. It is exemplified in box, mulberry, arrow-head, walnut, oak, pine, and palma-chrifti. The name Dioecia, which fignifies two houfes, is given to the twenty-fecond clafs, because the fru&tification to be perfected, requires the agency of two diftinét plants. Willow, hemp, hop, mercury, juniper, and butcher's broom afford examples of the clafs in question. The intercommunication of fexes that obtains in the twenty-third class has procured it the name of Polygamia, polygamy, or many marriages. It is exemplified in pellitory, crosswort, orach, afh, maple, and white hellebore.

The first twenty claffes contain plants with hermaphrodite flowers only. These are primarily fubdivided from the fituation of the stamina, which either ftand round the piftil, or are attached to it. One clafs only, the twentieth of the method, is occupied by hermaphrodite flowers in which the ftamina are inferted into the piftil. It is termed Gynandria, which fignifying wife-hufband, feems expreffive of the fingular union of the male and female organs within the fame covers. Paffion flower, orchis, lady's flipper, and arum furnish examples.'

Dr. Milne, after feveral other obfervations, proceeds to illuftrate the Linnæan method of arrangement as he had done others, by a familiar example, leaving the Reader to judge, from the ease or difficulty of his reference, whether facility, or the contrary be its diffinguifhing characteristic. We observe that he had pretty freely delivered his fentiments, in regard to the other fyftems that fell under his review, but as to this, he, in great measure, after laying the account before us, leaves every one to form his own judgment.

Immediately after the fixth fection follows, a fynopfis, exhibiting the eflential or ftriking characters which ferve to difcriminate genera of the fame clafs and order: like wife the fecondary characters of each genus, or those derived from the port, habit, or general appearance of the plants which compofe From the twenty-four claffes of the Linnæan method, the four which are here fpecified bear the names of Monandria, Diandria, Triandria and Tetandria.

ART. III. Memoirs of the Year Two Thousand Five Hundred. Trandated from the French, by W. Hooper, M. D. 12mo. 2 Vols. 5 s. fewed. Robinfon. 1772.

Tit

O thofe who have inquired into the hiftory of mankind, it appears obvious that their manners are always progref five, and never remain fixed at a certain point, during any con

fiderable

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fiderable time. Even the fteps of their progrefs may be afcertained with a tolerable degree of precifion, though it is no eafy tafk to follow nations from their rife to their declenfion, to collect the different afpects under which they have prefented them-. felves, and to afcertain the caufes of the changes they have undergone. To advance from weakness to ftrength, and to decline from ftrength to weaknefs, feems to be the order which nature has prefcribed to her works. Man, like other animals, helpless, at first, and feeble, attains by much care and flow degrees, the perfection and the force of which he is capable. The beft half of his days is then over, and the remainder is wafted in receding from the point he had reached. Nations alfo have their youth, their maturity, and their old age: they emerge out of barbarifm; become glorious by conqueft or by industry; and are again immerged in obfcurity.

But hiftorians and moralifts, while treating of human affairs, have too frequently confined their attention to the more hining periods in the annals of nations, and have neglected to obferve, that communities are carried to degeneracy by no lefs powerful an impulfe than to civilization. They have been led to conceive, that the ftate of refinement to which they may arrive is not confined and limited; and, in their zeal for humanity, they have fancied a condition abfolutely perfect, in which nations might be preferved. Political ftability and moral rectitude characterize this fortunate condition of men; and, though the records of hiftory offer no example to confirm their fpeculations, they feem affured of their force. They reft, however, on a merely ideal foundation, and can only be confidered as romantic and vifionary.

In this clafs of writers is the Author of the work before us. He conceives that in the year two thoufand five hundred the golden age will be realized. No oppreffions will then take place; perfection will have infufed itfelf into laws, cuftoms, and ufages; every art and science will be known and unfolded; eloquence will not plead the caufe of injuftice; the arts will not be perverted to flatter the fenfes; follies will be banished; and the paffions will fubmit to the pure lights of reafon.

Concerning the means by which thefe alterations are to be produced, he is altogether filent The wonders of the auguft and venerable year two thousand five hundred were revealed to him in a dream; and it is this dream which he lays before his readers. Nor could he have found a form in which he might with more propriety have conveyed his whimfical defcriptions. Having heated his imagination with the ideas of a fancied and unnatural perfection, he accommodates to them the arrange ments of fociety; and in the Utopian theory he has depicted, there is no circumstance fo ftriking as his total ignorance of U 4

the

the principles of human conduct. In the ftate of felicity he defcribes, if it were poffible it could exift, men would be plunged into a fullen apathy. Roufed by no objects of ambition or intereft, and not impelled to action, they would lofe their vigour and their powers. It is in fcenes of activity and enterprize that they are deftined to find fatisfaction and enjoyment, and not in the languors of indifference and repofe.

But while we cenfure this Writer as deftitute of penetration, and as unacquainted with mankind, and with hiftory, we acknowledge, with pleafure, that his imagination is vigorous and lively; that he difcovers a warm fpirit of liberty; and that his heart appears fufceptible of the fineft feelings.

From the following extracts our Readers will be enabled to form an opinion of the merits and the defects of his production: I am feven hundred and fixty years old.—I dreamt that ages had paffed fince I laid down to reft, and that I was awake. I rofe, and found a weight opprefs me to which I was not accustomed; my hands trembled, and my feet ftumbled; when I looked in the glafs, 1 could fcarce recollect my vifage; I went to bed with black hair and a forid complexion; but when I rofe, my forehead was ferrowed with wrinkles, and my hair was white; I faw two prominent bones under my eyes, and a long nofe; a colour pale and wan was fpread over all my countenance; when I attempted to walk, I was forced to fupport my felf by my cane; I did not find, however, that I had any ill rature, the too common companion of old age.

As I went out, I faw a public place,, which to me was unknown; they had juft erected a pyramidical column, which attracted the regard of the curious. I advanced towards it, and read diftinctly, The year of grace MMD.; the characters were engraved on marble, in letters of gold. At first, I imagined that my eyes deceived me, or rather, that it was an error of the artist's; but I had fcarce made the reflection, when the furprize became ftill greater; for, directing my looks towards two or three edicts of the fovereign fixed to the wall, which I have always been curious to read, I faw the fame date, MMD. fairly printed on all of them. Ha! i faid to myself, I am then become old indeed, without perceiving it. What! have I flept feven hundred and thirty-two years * ?

All things were changed; all thofe places that were fo well known to me prefented a different face, and appeared to be recently embellished; i loft myfelf amidst grand and beautiful streets, that were built in frait lines; I entered a fpacious fquare, formed by the terminations of four ftreets, where there reigned fuch perfect order, that I found not the least embarraffment, nor heard any of thofe confufed and whimfical cries that formerly rent my ears; I faw no carriages ready to crush me; the gouty might have walked there commodiously; the city had an animated afpect, but without trouble or confufion.

This work was begun in 1768.'

I was

[ocr errors]

I was fo amazed, that I did not at firft obferve the paffengers flop and regard me from head to foot with the utmost aftonishment. They fhrugged the fhoulder and fmiled, as we ufe to do, when we meet a mask; in fact, my drefs might well appear original and grotefque, when compared with theirs.

A citizen (whom I after found to be a man of learning) approached me, and faid politely, but with a fixed gravity, "Good old man, to what purpofe is this difguife? Do you intend to remind us of the ridiculous customs of a whimsical age? We have no inclination to imitate them. Lay afide this idle frolic." What mean you? I replied; I am not difguifed; I wear the fame dress that I wore yesterday; it is your columns and your edicts that counterfeit. You feem to acknowledge another fovereign than Lewis the XVth. I know not what is your defign; but I efteem it dangerous; and fo I tell you mafquerades of this fort are not to be countenanced; men mut not carry their folly to fuch extent. You are, however, very free impoftors for you cannot imagine that any thing can convince a man against the evidence of his own mind.

Whether he thought that I was delirious, or that my great age made me dote, or whatever other suspicion he might have, he asked me in what year I was born. In 1740, I replied." Indeed! why then you are feven hundred and fixty years of age. We fhould be aftonished at nothing," he faid to the crowd that furrounded me; “Enoch and Elias are not yet dead; Mathufalem and fome others have lived nine hundred years; Nicolas Flamel traverses the earth like a wandering Jew; and perhaps this gentleman has found the immortal elixir, or the philofopher's itone." On pronouncing the laft words he fmiled; and every one preffed toward me with a very particular complacency and refpect. They feemed all eager to interrogate me; but difcretion held them mute; they contented themfelves with faying, in a low voice," A man of the age of Lewis XV. Oh! what a curiofity!".

The Hall of Audience.

-My infatiable curiofity, that would leave nothing unfeen, carried me into the center of the city. I faw a great multitude, compofed of each fex, and of every age, that flocked with precipitation toward a portal that was magnificently decorated. I heard from different parts, "Let us make hafte! our good king has, perhaps, already mounted his throne; we fhall fcarce fee him afcend it today."-I followed the crowd, but was much astonished to find that there were no ferocious guards to beat back the thronging people.

I

came to a moft fpacious hall, fupported by many columns; I advanced, and at lait came near to the monarch's throne. No; it is impoffible to conceive an idea of royal majefty more pleafing, more auguft, more graceful and engaging. I was melted, even to tears. I faw no thundering Jupiter, no terrible apparatus, no inftruments of vengeance. Four figures of white marble, representing Fortitude, Temperance, Juftice, and Clemency, fupported a plain armed chair of white ivory, which was elevated merely to extend the voice. The chair was crowned with a canopy, fupported by a hand, the arm of which feemed to come out of the vaulted roof, On each fide of the throne there were two tables; on one fide was

engraved

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »