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Therts is also a professorship of practical astronomy in the University of Edinburgh, but we are not aware that any lectures are delivered there on that science. Some private gentlemen of Glasgow had the spirit a few years since to expend ,£6000 in erecting a building, and in purchasing instruments for astronomical purposes; but these have since been sold by public auction, and there are now no lectures delivered on astronomy in the College! We mention the extraordinary failure of so laudable a project, in the hope of awakening the public spirit of a city at once the seat of an ancient and flourishing university, and in the enjoyment of commercial prosperity unexampled in Scotland. We shall next proceed to the chief provincial institutions devoted to other branches of philosophical inquiry. The first cabinet of natural curiosities formed in England was that of Sir John Tredescant, in the reign of Charles I., which contained many rare and valuable objects, and was farther enriched by his successor; and having become afterwards the property of Mr. Elias Ashmole, was by him bequeathed to the University of Oxford. There it has remained for more than a century and a half, and the scythe of Time has, during that period, unfortunately been more active than the liberality of succeeding donors. The ravages committed by insect plunderers, the Ptinus fur and his predatory associates, on the specimens preserved in some of the zoological departments, were long regarded by the learned sons of Alma Mater with a degree of resignation which every collector in natural history will often have occasion to envy. The University has been indebted, for the arrangement and enlargement of this museum, to the present keeper, Mr. Duncan; and we trust that his liberal exertions will not be unseconded, and that amidst the, now numerous, provincial establishments of this class, the Ashmolean Museum will not much longer be permitted to hold the first rank in antiquity, and the lowest in importance. The improved disposition of the age to cultivate physical science has been sensibly felt in the University of Oxford,and the lec-» tures on Geology and Mineralogy, on Comparative Anatomy, Natural Philosophy and Chemistry, have been more fully attended than formerly. The funds of the Radcliffe Library have been exclusively expended in the purchase of valuable and expensive works on natural history and physical science; and the extensive collections formed by Dr. Buckland, the present professor of mineralogy and geology, deserve commendation, as being rich in many branches of geology—and as to the fossil organic remains of the alluvial strata, unrivalled by any in Europe. Until the removal of the Botanic Garden from its present unfavourable situation, where it is subject to occasional floods from
the the river, we can scarcely hope that it will ever rival the gardens of Kew, Edinburgh, Liverpool, or Glasgow. It enjoyed great celebrity in the days of one of its ancient professors, Dillenius; and surely no effort should be spared to revive its former reputation. The Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, instituted in 1781, was the first example, in one of our provinces, of a large association of private individuals for the purpose of contributing funds for the publication of literary and scientific memoirs. We have prefixed to this article the title of the last volume of their Transactions, nine volumes of which are now completed, because they are of higher merit than those of any other provincial institution, and are surpassed by few of our metropolitan societies. Those who are aware of the limited sale of scientific works, even of profound research, and who know the consequent reluctance of publishers to undertake the publication of them at their own risk, even when proceeding from authors of acknowledged talents, will be able to appreciate the claims of Manchester to our gratitude in providing funds for so meritorious an object, and will regret with us, that forty years elapsed before any other town or county had the spirit to follow the example. Dr. Percival, who promoted actively the incorporation of the Manchester Society, and contributed so many valuable communications on various subjects to its Transactions, was conscious of the facility with which ample funds can always be raised for any great national object in this country, and the result of the experiment justified his most sanguine hopes. The volumes composing the first and second series of these memoirs are almost equally divided between literary and scientific articles. Many of the former are written with great originality and elegance; but we shall not dwell on their merits, because literature stands much less in need of this description of patronage than the experimental sciences; and these essays would probably have appeared before the public, and perhaps in works of more general circulation, had no provincial institutions ever existed in the country. But the philosophical and chemical papers, by Mr. Dalton, Mr. Henry, and others, in the Manchester Memoirs, which have given rise to a series of interesting experiments both here and on the continent, and have led the way to important discoveries, might perhaps have remained to this day unpublished— had not the Manchester Society lent their liberal assistance, and honoured and encouraged the authors with distinguished marks of their esteem. We wish not to be understood to express an opinion that communications relating to the mathematical and physical sciences should exclusively enjoy the patronage of the provincial
L 4 institutions; institutions; all subjects, such as statistics for instance,which are important, but cannot be popular, deserve their particular attention. We learn with satisfaction (January, 18'26) that a considerable sum has been lately subscribed in Manchester for forming a Museum of the Fine Arts and Natural History, and that progress has already been made in this desirable undertaking. The Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, instituted in 1814, have edited two volumes of Transactions of considerable merit. We have placed the titles of these also at the head of the present Article, but our limits forbid our entering into a particular examination of their contents. They relate to a district inexhaustibly rich in all the varied treasures of the mineral kingdom, and singularly adapted, both from natural structure and artificial excavations, for the study of subterranean phenomena. The attention of the scientific world may be particularly directed to the essay of Mr. Carne, in the last volume of these Transactions,' on the relative Age of the Veins of Cornwall.' The first volume contains also some valuable notices on the same subject. The history and phenomena of these veins are of the highest interest, whether considered in an economical point of view, or with relation to geologicalspeculation, and the revolutions of the earth's surface. Mr. Carne has combined in his investigation, the practical knowledge of the miner with enlarged scientific views. The construction of a geological map of Cornwall is in the contemplation of this society; and their museum at Penzance is already richly stored with specimens of the rocks and minerals of that county. The Liverpool Royal Institution was also founded in 1814, and has received a charter of incorporation. It is instituted to promote literature, science and the fine arts; and the sum of .£26,000 has been raised for its support. It possesses casts of many of the Elgin marbles, presented by his Majesty, as also those of JEgina, and the Phigalean frieze. Triennial exhibitions of the works of native artists have been opened there. Lectures have been delivered on a great variety of subjects, and a literary and philosophical society is connected with the institution. A museum was begun in 1819, but we regret that here, as very generally in England, zoology has not received a due share of attention. The foreign commerce of this town has increased so as to rival, within the last few years, that of London itself, and so active is the intercourse with various and distant regions, and particularly with North and South America, that the institution might soon form, without incurring great expense, a collection of preserved specimens from the animal kingdom, and a gallery of comparative anatomy of the highest utility and interest. The proprietors of the botanic garden of this town have set an example well worthy of imitation in this respect, as they have fully availed themselves of the advantages of their position. This garden is supported by voluntary contributions, and it cannot therefore be regarded (like those of Kew and Edinburgh) as a permanent national institution. Yet we believe it contains, at present, a greater number of living plants than either, and is perhaps without a rival in regard to variety and rarity of species, unless we ought to except the garden of Glasgow. We may take this opportunity of remarking, that the botanic gardens of Great Britain are supposed to contain between 14 and 15,000 living species of plants, and are the richest in the world. The principal foreign establishments are supplied with their rarest plants from this country. The gardens of Lee and Kennedy at Hammersmith, and of Loddiges at Hackney, are on so extensive a scale, that they may be considered as national monuments of the taste of the English people; and they deserve mention, also, as having been rendered exceedingly useful to science through the liberal spirit of the proprietors. On entering the principal appartment at Mr. Loddiges, the visitor finds himself suddenly transported into a grove of palms, flourishing in all their native luxuriance, many of them of full size, and clothed with foliage unbroken by exposure to the winds and the thunder-shower—in many cases, in fact, more splendid than they are often to be met with in their native climate. So large an assemblage of tropical plants and trees of full growth was never before seen at such a distance from the equinoctial regions. ■ • ■
The institution of the Philosophical Society of Cambridge in 1819, affords a decisive proof of the more enlightened views now entertained by that university respecting scientific pursuits. About twelve years since, we remember a work then just published, entitled ' Memoirs of the Analytical Society,' evidently the production of young men, whose enthusiastic attachment to abstract mathematics promised, under skilful guidance, still more valuable fruits. But consisting only of the junior members of the university, the society was neglected, or discouraged, and soon appeared to be forgotten. From this germ, however, sprang the present institution, some of the most active members of the Analytical Society having afterwards acquired sufficient influence to form, on a more enlarged plan, an association which the university itself was at length prevailed upon to support. The first volume of their Transactions, printed at the expense of the University, contains a collection of papers highly creditable to the contributors, and to their Alma Mater.
'The Bristol Institution for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and the Arts,' has prospered greatly in its first efforts. A building was erected in 1820, at the expense of ^11,000, and
contains contains a spacious theatre, in which lectures on science and literature are delivered. It is also provided with a laboratory; an apparatus-room in which a considerable number of philosophical instruments are already assembled; reading rooms; and a museum, which, as appears by the last report of February, 1825, has been enriched by many important donations chiefly relating to geology, and can also boast an excellent mineralogical collection purchased by means of a spirited subscription. Antiquities and the fine arts have not been neglected, and Mr. Cockerell, the architect of the building, has presented a complete series of casts of the statues which once ornamented the pediments of the temple of Jupiter Panhellenius at JEgina, of which no duplicates exist at present in London. They are of peculiar interest in the history of sculpture, as illustrating a state of the art intermediate between that of Egypt and the more perfect productions of Greece. One measure, adopted by this institution, deserves particular notice, and will, we hope, be extensively imitated. They have devoted their principal room to the exhibition alternately of the productions of artists resident at Bristol, and of paintings by the old masters. The latter are liberally supplied for the time by the proprietors of rich collections in the neighbourhood, and their first exhibitions, in 1824 and 1825, would have done honour to the metropolis: we understand that similar exhibitions have been recently made at Edinburgh and Carlisle with equal success. Although it is somewhat irrelevant to the immediate object of the present Article, we cannot refrain from remarking how much advantage the taste of our native artists, and of the public, would derive from frequent access to such exhibitions, where the treasures of remote mansions, often uninhabited by the proprietors for the greater part of the year, would be brought to light and admired. The innumerable works of art of the highest merit scattered over Great Britain, in the seats of our nobility and gentry, so far exceed those of every other country, except Italy, that foreigners, aware of our wealth in this respect, are accustomed to wonder by what possible means these treasures are so successfully concealed from view. The possessors of works of art would not be found reluctant to afford this gratification to the public. Those who feel and appreciate their real excellence, are, in the immense majority of cases, men of liberal views; while such as prize them merely as objects of ostentation, would eagerly embrace such opportunities whether of gratifying their vanity, or of acquiring influence and popularity.