the liquor. The stopcock is then opened, and the liquor forcing up the valve at the short end, flows out. When the quantity required is drawn off, the stopcock is shut, the valve at the other end falls down, and the syphon, remaining full, can be laid aside, and when it is to be used again, nothing more is necessary than to put it into the liquor, and turn the stopcock. A syphon of this description, which Mr Hutton has empolyed for some time, was exhibited and used in presence of the meeting.

At the close of the proceedings, the President observed, that the regulations direct meetings of this kind to be held occasionally in the course of each session, and that, if conducted as the meeting had been that night, they would be productive of the greatest advantage, in bringing into notice many useful inventions, and giving publicity to improvements, by which society at large might be benefited; and he recommended to those (strangers as well as members) who might have it in their power to make such communications, to bring them forward at future meetings.

Since we acquired posssesion of the Cape, several quaggas have been sent home. About a year and a half ago, the Earl of Morton having procured one at London, sent it down to his seat of Dalmahoy in this neighbourhood. It was a male, and was then only about a year old. It throve very well in the rich pastures there, increased considerably in size, and seemed hardy, remaining abroad, without clothing, during the greater part of the year, and being stabled only during the severe weather of winter. In the house, it was fed on hay, oats, carrots, or potatoes, but did not eat much. It appeared, however, to be affected by the very inclement weather in the beginning of December last, and died after a short illness. On opening it, some of the viscera were found in an inflamed state.

The body was, with much propriety, immediately sent to the Museum of the University of Edinburgh: it has been stuffed by Mr Wilson, and forms a valuable acquisition to that excellent and improving collection,

Lord Morton has, at Dalmahoy, still another quagga, which was brought from the Cape about a year ago, in the same vessel, it is said, with a quagga in Miles's collection

Monthly Memoranda in Natural His- of wild animals now exhibiting in tory. this city. Attempts are making to break and train this last quagga. It QUA UAGGAS. The quagga is a is sometimes very refractory, and species of the Horse (Equus to bite, but is expected to become apt Quagga, Lin. Syst.), which inhabits more docile as it advances in the plains of Southern Africa, along is said that it can go at a very hard It age. with the Zebra. It was long con- trot for a considerable time without founded with this last, which it con- sweating. The French, it may be siderably resembles: even the cele remarked, found themselves baffled in brated Edwards fell into this mistake: all their attempts to domesticate and it was first ascertained to be a dis- train these animals. tinct species, by General Gordon, a Dutch officer at the Cape of Good Hope. It has since been elegantly figured by Daniels, in his Cape Views, and also in the splendid French pub. lication, entitled Le Menagerie d'His toire Naturelle.

Both these quaggas are males.There is only one female, it is believed, at present in Britain, the property of a London merchant.It is to be hoped that Lord Morton may procure this: if they could be brought to breed, it seems

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Critical Sketches of living Poetical Characters in Edinburgh.

"Know thine own worth, and reverence the Lyre." BEATTIE.

NEVER was there an age in which Poetry was cultivated with more success, never was a period in which the corruscations of genius shone with such renovated splendor. From the stately majestic march of the Epic muse, to the humbler walks of the Epigrammatist and Sonneteer, we have to boast of characters worthy of immortality but amid all this brilliancy of intellect, this poetic radiance, still we may discover a partial darkness, like the nebulae upon the disc of the sun; yet this darkness serves only to heighten the brilliancy of those glories which no passing errors may for a moment ob


If there existed in nature such a standard of discrimination, by which we might be enabled to judge the different merits of different Poets; we might, with the greatest facility, point out to our readers that standard, by which the true criterion of genius was to be estimated and ascertained. But, as no such standard does exist, every person is therefore left at liberty (like the painter in the fable) to mark those beauties more immediately in unison with his own taste.Hence it is, that one is struck with the bold enthusiasm of romantic fic tion, another with the grandeur and sublimity of nature; while a third, possessed perhaps of as sound a judgement as either of the former, is pleased to contemplate those minute, tho' beautiful portraits of domestic tenderness, sensibility, and affection, or pause with awe and admiration over the venerable picture of virtue descending in ruins to the dust. Such has been the opinion of men in all ages, such was the opinion of one, whose decision in a case of this kind we shall consider as conclusive.

Jan. 1813.

Different minds (says he,)
Incline to different objects. One pursues
The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild;
Another sighs for Harmony and Grace,
And gentlest Beauty, &c.

Not to dwell any longer at present upon this prefatory disquisition, we shall proceed to investigate the merits of those living characters who diffuse a splendor and radiance round our literary horizon, to add one trophy to the worth of exalted genius, and rescue, if possible, a few names from that unmerited oblivion to which they seem fast verging.

As the first, in the first rank, we may mention Walter Soott, from no partiality whatever, but that his genius undoubtedly entitles him to this venerable distinction; as a describer of scenes, a discriminator of characters, his efforts stand unrivalled in this arduous department. In the Lay of the Last Minstrel, the first of his poetical effusions, we meet with all that simplicity of diction, that energy of fancy, that fine spirit of romantic sublimity, which characterise those immortal strains of the Lyric Bards of antiquity. No species of writing, with which we are acquainted, can possess such a potency of charm, such a powerful appeal to the fancy, as those metrical legends, tho' founded in fiction, which preserve to us the prominent features of feudal raid and foray. No doubt, there is much extraneous matter to be found in these pages, much which the nice ear of criticism would turn from with disgust; but as in a beautiful building the most magnificent materials are made subservient to the grandeur and stability of the whole, so in Mr Scott's most trifling passages, still we recognize the hand of a master, sketching the outlines of that grand picture of feudal manners and times. As an Editor, he will still hold an elevated rank among that class of gleaners; the universal approbation bestowed

ed upon his Border Minstrelsy fully warrant this assertion, and its numberless editions bear witness to its merits.

"Marmion," his next production, possesses a more firm and decisive tone of poetry than that of the "Lay of the Last Minstrel." In the former, we are hurried irresistibly on from the description of one scene to another, with such accuracy of judgment as makes even insulated puerilities wear the resemblance of finished declama. tion. In the latter, the action is often suffered to stagnate for want of sufficient incident in the plot. In Marmion, we have scenes of the finest sensibility and affection contrasted with that gloomy superstitious horror, the natural attendant upon Monks and Cells. But the Battle Canto, in Marmion, would have insured celebrity for any poem; and had Mr S. written nothing else, still we should have recognized his claims to immortality in that single effort.

"The Lady of the Lake" is still a more finished production than either of the former. Remote alike from that wild enthusiasm of vaults and conclaves, and from that taedium and languor of unmeaning, empty form, it combines at once, all that is amiable in love and life, with martial pomp and deeds of high emprize, its denoument is happy beyond that of any poem in these our days. Still, how ever, Mr Scott has been severely reprimanded from the bar of criticism, for blending historical truth with mere empty fantastical illusion.

His "Don Roderick" hath added little to his fame, tho' some of his finest poetry is to be found in its pages. Let the Don rest, the superstructure of his fame is sufficiently broad to bear this accumulating honours of his age, with out resting any part of it upon his Toledo Rock, or Giant's Mace. With impatience, mingled high in hope, we look forward to the publication of Rokeby, and hail the merry Christmas hour, when its enlivening flow will

operate in union with "gambol and with cheer," to dispel the gloom of that solitary and uncomfortable season. Edinburgh, Dec. 11th, 1812.


(To be continued.)

Abstract of the Report of the HIGHLAND SOCIETY, on the means of introducing an uniformity of WEIGHTS


WE have great pleasure in bring

ing this Report under the notice of our readers. The Highland Society has exerted itself with unremitting diligence, to promote every measure which tended to national improvement. Nothing, however, to which they have directed their attention, can equal in magnitude the subject of the present Report. The variety of weights and measures, in different districts of the same kingdom, and even between the nearest bordering counties, has long involved in confusion and perplexity all commercial transactions. Plans of equalization have been often proposed by ingenious men, but without leading to any result. Only a society, uniting the most eminent and respected characters in the kingdom, can be expected to overcome that resistance to change which necessarily obstructs so great an innovation. We believe, however, that their attention has been drawn to it chiefly by the efforts of one individual, John Tait, Esq. who has derived the highest honour from his meritorious exertions in this department.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

"throughout the United Kingdom as "are now established in England, “and standards of Weights and Mea"sures shall be kept by those burghs "in Scotland, to whom the keeping "the standards of Weights and Mea"sures now in use there does of spe"cial right belong: all which stan"dards shall be sent down to such "respective burghs, from the stan"dards kept in the Exchequer at "Westminster, subject, nevertheless, "to such regulations as the Parlia"ment of Great Britain shall think "fit." Standards were sent down under this clause, but nothing farther was done towards introducing them into use, (except in the collection of the Revenue,) and the Scats dry measure has been subsequently acknowledged, not only by the three Supreme Courts of Session, Justiciary, and Teinds, but by the Legislature, in the act 24 Geo. II. c. 31., relative to the sale of lintseed. The Avoirdupois pound, indeed, which is the customary weight of England, is very much used in Scotland, as is also the English measure of extent, and the English dry measure is a good deal used, particularly in some of the southern counties; but the Scotch standards are still upon the same footing as before the Union. The legal standards, as fixed by an act passed by Parliamentary Commissioners in 1618, and confirmed by subsequent Parliaments, are as follow:


The Standard of weight is the French Troy stone, having 16 pounds in the stone, and 16 ounces in the pound; the smaller weights are in proportion. From some reports by Sir George Clerk Maxwell and Professor Robison, in a cause which depended in the Court of Session about 30 years ago, between William Mackie and others, and the Magistrates of Linlithgow and others, it appears that a pound of this standard contains

1618, 19th February; 1621, c. 17.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The Standard is the Stirling pint jug, which is declared to contain 3 lb. 7 oz. of the Troy weight already mentioned, of clear running water of the Water of Leith. It is kept by the burgh of Stirling ||. It is stated, in Mackay's Excise Laws, to contain 103.404 English cubic inches, and it is there mentioned, that a pint of 106 cubic inches has been estab lished by custom for ale and beer §. Dry

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »