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for scientific travels. Pensions were created in favour of superannuated members, or for such as had distinguished themselves by their activity.

“ Lastly, to give a further mark of the particular esteem that we accord to useful talents, and to those who cultivate them with success,' said the empress in her letters patent, we decre that the quality of academician shall communicate to all such as shall be decorated with it, and who shall not be already ennobled by their birth, the distinctions and prerogatives appertaining to the estate of personal nobility, and this in virtue of the act of their admission into this society.'

“ If we quote these words it is not to attach importance to ancient prerogatives, but to give a clear understanding of the powerful assistance which science received at a time when these prerogatives were everything in the eyes of the world.

“The academy, however, received a still higher privilege, an inestimable benefit for the learned,-I mean the liberty of the press, that mother of thought, which then appeared as a consoling phenomenon, on emerging from our long night.

“ So many combined advantages would naturally create an ambition of being an academician ; thus a noble emulation spread throughout Belgium, and it was not long before talents were seen to arise, which would have remained stupified without stimulants of such energy. Five volumes of memoirs were published by the Imperial and Royal Academy of Brussels, during its short existence; as were also many volumes of prize-memoirs. A detailed analysis of these scientific and literary works would perhaps become tiresome, but it may be interesting to examine into the useful consequences they were of to Belgium.

If we consider, for example, the physical sciences, we shall observe, that in order to judge of their advancement in a country, one may take for a standard, the height to which the study of mathematics has been carried. Mathematics is the language in which natural phenomena are expressed, and valued numerically, when they have been duly studied and reduced to their most simple elements; and in general, the difficulty which most branches of science experience in having their phenomena translated into this language, only tends to show the feeble degree of advance they have made.

In adopting a like scale we find since the date of the earliest publications of the old academy, an immense progress in Belgium. In fact, the birth of the infinitesimal calculus had, as we have already said, followed close upon the decay of science in our provinces; it had attained the most rapid growth, and that all-searching instrument, the powers of which were tried by removing, as if by enchantment, the thick veil which covered the finest secrets of the system of the world, had not even attracted the attention of Belgium. After having reduced, if one may so speak, the heavens within its dominion, the infinitesimal calculus had made the happiest excursion through the fields of physics, and attacked directly the most beautiful problems of that science, in which we were yet studying works that were quite out of date.

“The commandant of Nieuport, in the second volume of the Ancient Memoirs of the Academy, was the first to show that the higher branches of analysis had found an interpreter in Belgium: he at once accomplished the solution of many important problems with which geometers were then occupied, and his labours put him in communication with d'Alembert, Bossut, and Condorcet. Such relations not only do honour to the learned person who is the object of them, but also to the country to which he belongs.

“ So fine an example hardly found any imitators. Mr. Bournouns was the only one in the Academy, and one may say in Belgium, who occupied

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himself with researches of the higher analysis, but with much less success than the commandant of Nieuport. The ancient university of Louvain, in its course of instruction, scarcely went beyond the rule of Cardan for the resolution of equations of the third degree; and as for astronomy, it still held to the vortices of Descartes, although many of its professors began to occupy themselves with the laws of attraction. As for astronomical observation, it absolutely did not exist; it was to foreign men of science, who associated themselves with the first labours of the academy of Brussels, that the only observations really worthy of having been made in this country, are due: these have been registered in our ancient memoirs, where we meet with the names of Messieurs Pigott, the Count of Bruhl, the Baron Zach and Lalande. When this last astronomer made the circuit of Europe to visit the observatories, he did not dissemble his astonishment at not finding amongst us any traces of his favourite science. In the Austrian Netherlands, now French,' he writes, 'astronomy does not appear to have been cultivated :' he then adds, 'the only observer of this country is an English gentleman of the name of Pigott.' This learned person is indeed established among us, and he made at Louvain, Brussels, Ostend, Tournay, Luxembourg, and Hoogstraeten, various observations on the satellites of Jupiter; he also took the meridional altitudes of a great number of stars, by means of one of Bird's Quadrants, which had been intrusted to him by the Royal Society of London. These observations were undertaken with a view of co-operating in the construction of a good map of the country, which was desired by the government,-a map which at the present day is so much wanted, and which forms a blank, but little honourable it must be confessed, amidst those geodæsical labours which have been accomplished by our neighbours.

It was, again, the ancient academicians of Brussels, who contributed to spread in Belgium with the greater ardour the novel and brilliant discoveries of the physical sciences; nor were they rendered less useful by the applicability of their knowledge to the study of our own country, with which they were occupied with the greatest zeal; and it is that which makes the collections of our memoirs so precious to the learned, who may wish to study our provinces in a scientific and literary point of view. Amongst the members who most distinguished themselves in the physical sciences, must be mentioned the Abbés Mann, de Needham, de Witry, and Dr. Godart. The first of these in particular was remarkable for the diversity of his works; it is true they must not be considered, even with reference to science, as being very profound, but ingenious views, and sometimes the most happy conceptions are there found. Thus this learned man has well hit upon the relations which exist between the appearances of the aurora borealis, the movements of the magnetic needle, and the quantities of atmospheric electricity, affinities which have so much engaged, in these latter times, the attention of the most distinguished natural philosophers. He had likewise formed very correct notions on the method that should be pursued in the study of meteorology, a science in which but little advance has been made in our time, notwithstanding all the labours that had been undertaken in order to accelerate its progress.

“The Palatinate Meteorological Society had just been organized at Manheim, and addressed itself to the principal learned bodies in Europe, to ask their co-operation in the vast system of combined observations which it proposed to execute; it also addressed itself to the Academy of Brussels, and the Abbé Mann was selected to answer the appeal of the learned Germans. He acquitted himself honourably of his mission; and even now his observations are consulted with profit, and cited in most treatises on natural philosophy. Many other members of the academy occupied themselves equally with meteorology; and the learned professor Van Swinden, enriched our ancient collections by a memoir containing his observations made in 1778. It is to these collections that we must refer, to become acquainted with our earliest documents upon the temperature, the variations of atmospheric pressure, and everything relating to our climate. It is also there that we find the only three observations on the declination of the magnetic needle, which have ever been made in our country, even to the present time. Chemistry was not neglected, but it encountered many difficulties before it was enabled to assume, among the sciences, the important rank which it at present occupies. M. de. Bennie undertook to analyze the different soils around Antwerp, with a view of finding some method of improving our heaths. Many other members also wrote on questions of chemistry of general utility, and especially those relating to our agricultural industry and to our mineral waters.

“ A spirit of observation is among the qualities which distinguish the Belgian people, thus natural science has always possessed for them a powerful attraction: it is sufficient to cite the names of some of our predecessors to show that it was not neglected in the ancient Academy. It is necessary to observe here that the greater part of the memoirs which were published on natural science, concerned Belgium; for the good of the country has always been, with the Academy, the central point towards which all their researches tended. It is also to be remarked, that the members have rarely attempted general theories and the more abstruse questions of science; they have limited themselves to more modest labours,—they endeavoured to collect useful materials, leaving to more enterprising architects the care of construction.

“It is to this epoch that we must refer the earliest researches on the geological constitution of our provinces, and on their fossils : these inquiries have latterly taken the happiest turn, and the present Academy, in the judgment of the most able geologists, may present them among its most honourable titles. One of our learned members, who has taken an active part in these labours, is about to make their importance more justly appreciated than I should be able to do.

Physical geography and rural economy were also properly attended to. Among the questions which were treated, the most advantageous means were equally sought for clearing the heaths of our Ardennes: the former state of maritime Flanders was examined, the successive changes which had been produced there, and whatever related to the tides along our coasts.

Again; the Abbé de Nelis and the Marquis du Chasteler, who united varied knowledge with an elevated mind, treated many subjects which have since found an important place in political economy, a science, whose name bearing the stamp of novelty, has not even yet obtained an easy access into all minds. The question to know whether, in a fertile and wellpeopled country, large farms are useful or hurtful to the state in general, was treated by the Marquis du Chasteler and the Abbé Mann, in connexion with a discussion which had arisen between this latter savant and the English economists. The reasons of our academicians were set forth in a very striking manner, which even now possess great interest, particularly to Belgians, because the subject is treated in a point of view especially applicable to them. The Abbé Mann, who, nearly alone among our academicians, had an inclination to touch upon questions of a general tendency, did not draw back from one of the most difficult, which forms as it were the basis of social science, and which has demanded the concurrence of the cleverest modern political writers, before it could be regarded in its true point of view; I speak of the question of population. It is true that he did not really attack the difficulty; for, with the pastor Meuret, regarding the increase of the population as an

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incontestable good, he only occupied himself with indicating the means of attaining it.

“If I have spoken of this labour, it is to show that the importance of the political and moral sciences had been understood by the ancient Academy of Brussels, and to explain at the same time what opinion still prevailed here on a leading question, in so populous a country as ours.”

Report on the Progress and actual State of Geology, and the Sciences

connected with it, in Belgium. “In requesting for the public session of this day, a report on the progress and actual state in Belgium of geology, and the sciences connected with it, the Academy desires to acknowledge and to show to the country, that part of the debt which has already been paid to these sciences, and also that which is yet due to them.

“ In giving myself up to the inquiries which this work demanded, I have obtained such satisfactory results as have rendered the task which had been imposed upon me as pleasant as it is honourable. Many others might have fulfilled it with more talent, but none, I venture to say, with more sincerity and gratification.

“ The study of the mineral kingdom has been long neglected in Belgium, at which there is much reason to be surprised, when it is remarked, that it is, in proportion to its extent, one of the richest countries on the globe in mineral substances; that the most precious of all, pit-coal and iron-ore are not only spread there with astonishing profusion, but known and worked from so distant a period, that the most diligent investigators of our archives cannot yet determine the limit beyond which the discovery must be dated.

“ Notwithstanding, the working and treatment of mineral riches, though less difficult formerly than at present, already demanded considerable knowledge, which really did exist in those of our provinces where these kinds of labour were pursued; and both in Belgium and Germany the miners practically cultivated mineralogy and geology, much before Werner had studied, with them, the composition of the terrestrial crust, which they dug with so much courage and talent. But we worked and treated our minerals as we cultivate useful vegetables, in our fields and in our green-houses, that is to say, with an art and a success which have never been contested, studying nature unceasingly, in those of her productions from which we could extract use; seeking and discovering the means by which we might procure them in the greatest abundance; in a word, lways observing, but reading little, writing still less, and leaving to others the empty pleasure of imagining systems.

“ This manner of studying natural science has been sufficient for the industrious wants of the epoch over which we are now casting a rapid glance; but from the end of the last century it could no longer satisfy the man of taste, curious to know all the beauties of nature, or the philosopher, eager to seize some one of the laws which preside over this admirable assemblage of things. The moment was come for the Belgians, as well as for all educated people, to collect, describe, and class all the productions of their soil. They began then to arrange some collections; and some among them wishing that their successors should enjoy the fruit of their labours, have made known the results in writings, which all form a part of the Memoirs of the Ancient Academy of Brussels, and which are now read with interest,—an honour for the former Belgians, who, in rushing on the career of geology, have drawn their fellow-countrymen along with them.

“ M. Robert de Limberg was the first who leaped the barrier. He presented, in 1770, to the Academy, the numerous observations which he had collected around Theux, his native town; he afterwards extended his researches upon more distant points, and gave an account of them in a memoir that he read four years after.

“In 1778, M. de Launay read his memoir upon the origin of the animal and vegetable fossils of the Belgian provinces, preceded by a discourse upon the theory of the earth.

“ In three memoirs presented successively in 1777, 1779, and 1785, the Abbé de Vitry opened his mineralogical and paleonthological researches in Tournay and the Austrian Hainault.

“ M. de Burtin produced, in 1784, his Oryctography of the Environs of Brussels. In this work, very remarkable for the epoch at which it was written, the author makes known the minerals which he has found in a circle of five miles round Brussels, describes and represents upon the thirtytwo plates, which accompany the text, a part of those remains of marine animals accumulated in such abundance in the sands, and in the hardest rocks of the land which he has so well studied, establishes that the greater part of these animals cannot be related to those ecies which are at present alive; that only some of them are analogous to those found in the torrid zone; that they have been lodged at the bottom of a sea which covered these fields, wliere now rich harvests abound; and that they have been buried tranquilly in the spot where they lived. He deduced from these facts, at present admitted by all naturalists, very judicious consequences upon the theory of the earth.

“ The mineralogical observations from Brussels, by Wavre, to Court Saint Etienne, that the same author has presented, the same year, to the Academy, bear equally the stamp of true talent.

“ If, during the twenty-five years which have followed the publication of M. Burtin's work, there has not appeared any geological work, which can be compared to his, the cause must undoubtedly be sought for in the political situation in which the country has been.-Who does not indeed know that calm and stability are as necessary for scientific studies, as for the speculations of commerce and industry? We do not therefore find, in the archives of geology relative to Belgium during this period of a quarter of a century, anything except a few small pieces of that veteran of Belgian geologists, M. Dethier, who has pointed out to the attention of naturalists the presence of extinct volcanoes in the Eifel, a country, now so celebrated in the records of science, and of which a part then belonged to our provinces; some interesting remarks, by M. Baillet, upon the alum-mines of the province of Liege; on the total slip of a mountain of freestone, in the same province; upon the lead mines of Vedrin, of Dourbes, of Vierve, of Treigne (a province of Namur) and upon that of Sirault, (a province of Hainault) upon the mine of calamine of the Vieille-Montagne and upon the arsenical pyrites of Enghien ; two memoirs on the mines of pit-coal of the province of Hainault have yet been published during the period of which we are now speaking, the one by the prefect of the department, the other by M. Gendebien; but considerations upon industry and commerce occupy more space than geological researches. It is also just to notice the publication, at Brussels, during this same period, of the systematic distribution of the productions of the mineral kingdom, presented by M. Launay, to the Academic Session of the 4th of June, 1788, of the Mineralogy of the Ancients, published afterwards by the same author, and of the Essay upon the Study of Mineralogy, by Rozin.

“ Towards the end of 1808, M. D’Omalins, who had already published some remarks upon the minerals and the rocks of Belgium, brought out

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