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paid by them as Conveners, to these competitions. The Meeting remitted the Essays for which premiums had been voted last year to their Committee on publications, in order that they may be published with previous approved papers in a 4th volume of the Society's transactions.

Mr Macdonald the Treasurer, now stated to the Society the situation of its Funds, its Income, and Expenditure last year, an accurate state of which had been prepared by Mr Wilson, the Society's Auditor of Accounts. The Meeting was gratified to find, from the improved state of their funds, that they were enabled gradually to increase the sum allowed annually for promoting the objects of the institution by Premiums, and which was voted accordingly. The Meeting at same time expressed their acknowledgments to Mr Wilson, the Auditor, for the perspicuous and correct view of the Society's Funds brought forward by him, on the table.

Mr Tait, Convener of the Committee, appointed for carrying through an Equalization and Uniformity of Weights and Measures in Scotland, stated, that in consequence of the resolution of the General Meeting in July last, the original report of the Committee then approved, had been transmitted to all the Counties in Scotland; and communicated to the Convention of Royal Burghs; that almost the whole of the Counties had already approved of the Society's having taken up this important object, and in order to co-operate with the Society,.had requested landed gentlemen of their number to attend to its progress at Edinburgh. That in No. vember last, these Gentlemen from the several Counties, and some Members of Royal Burghs, had a

Meeting with the Society's Committee, when a set of suggestions, as to the proper mode of proceedings drawn up by that Committee, was submitted to consideration. A General Committee was then named for prosecuting the object of an Equalization of Weights and Measures, which had since communicated with the Chambers of Commerce of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Merchant Company of Leith, and received the sentiments of these Commercial Bodies. That as there were various points connected with the subject, which required investigation, these had been referred to several Sub-Committees, and Professor Playfair, of Edinburgh, had handsomely agreed to give his aid as to the best mode of constructing and checking the standards. That when these Sub-Committees had completed their inquiries, it was proposed to make up one General Report, which if ready, it would be proper to circulate to the Counties, previous to 30th of April, and to other Public Bodies who have an interest in this matter.

The Meeting unanimously approved of the steps hitherto taken in the business, and recommended to the Committee to continue their exertions, until the desirable object of an Equalization of Weights and Measures shall be carried into effect; and authorised the Committee, when the report is ready, to circulate it to the Counties and Public Bodies for Consideration.

The Society, on considering the report of a Committee, upon the merits of an enlarged Treatise on the origin, qualities, and cultivation of Moss Earth, with directions. for converting it into Manure, recently published by Mr William Aiton, Strathaven, Ayrshire, dedicated by permission to the Society, voted a sum of Thirty Guineas to Mr

Mr Aiton, for a few copies of the work; and resolved to recommend it to the attention of Members of this Society and the Public, as containing much useful and practical information.

(To be continued.)

Memoirs of the Progress of Manufactures, Chemistry, Science, and the Fine Arts.


HE Comet which has been visible this year, is (says the Moniteur) one of the most remarkable which has ever been observed. None has ever been so long visible, and, consequently, none has ever afforded such certain means of information with respect to its orbit. Accordingly, since the end of March last, when it was first perceived by M. Flauguergues, in the South of France, its course has been regularly traced; nor shall we lose sight of it till the month of January 1812. Its train, which occupies a space of 12 degrees, exhibits several curious phenomena. It is not immediately connected with the comet, as if it were an emanation from it, but forms, at a distance from the nucleus, a wide belt, the lower part of which girds, without coming in contract with it, much in the same manner as the ring of Saturn; and this belt extends itself in two long Juminous faces, one of which is usually rectilineal, while the other, at about the third of its length, shoots forth its rays with a slight curve like the branch of a palmtree; nevertheless, this configura tion is subject to change. It has been observed that the space between the body of the comet and its train is occasionally filled, and of the two faces, that which is generalJy rectilineal sometimes arches its rays, while those of the other assume the form of right lines. Fin

ally, rays, or, as it were, plumes, of ignited matter, have been seen to issue from the lower extremities of the faces or flakes, and again unite. Professor Harding has also observed and delineated, with care, the. present comet under its various aspects, and his design will appear in one of the succeeding numbers of the "Geographical and Astronomical Correspondence," edited at the Observatory of Gotha. They will shew that, when the comet first appeared, and was yet at a distance from the sun, the two flakes of its train were separated so as to form a right angle; but, as that distance decreased, they approached each other till they became parallel. As to the nucleus, or the comet itself, it has been found impossible, as yet, even with the aid of the best telescopes, to make observations on its disk, as on that of a solid body and of determinate circumference. There could be discerned only a vague circular mass, more luminous than the train, particularly towards the centre; but the verge of which was doubtful, furnishing, to the eye, no determined circumference. The mass is, without doubt, composed of a very subtile substance, as is, probably, that of all comets. This hypothesis receives support from the fact, that one of these stars, of very considerable magnitude, in 1770, passed and re-passed through the very middle of the satellites of Jupiter, without occasioning among them the slightest disorder. There is every reason to believe, that the nucleus of the present comet is nothing more than a union of vapours of very little density, so little perhaps as to be transparent. Such a body might, very possibly, be an incipident world, just passed its gaseous state, and which is to derive solidity from the precipitation and condensation of the matter surrounding it. The successive observation of

of some comets, in which it may be possible to distinguish the different stages of chaos, and progressive formation, can alone furnish any knowledge with respect to this point. According to M. Starck, an astronomer at Augsburgh, the comet was, October 16, at the distance of 32 millions of geographical miles (15 to a degree) from the earth: this is the nearest approach of these two celestial bodies. The tail of the comet was 800,000 miles in length, and the diameter of the nucleus about 860 miles.

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On the road from Chaumont to Paris, a new carriage is set up, which is moved and directed by mechanism, and acts at the pleasure of the traveller.

Monthly Memoranda in Natural History.


Jan. 1812. D part of the month, a pretty intense frost prevailed, and the lovers of skaiting and curling, enjoyed these pastimes, on the lakes of Duddingston and Lochend, for about a fortnight. The mercury in the thermometer, however, was never observed to fall lower than 8 or 9 degrees below the freezing point. On the 14th a thaw commenced, which continued for about a week. The christmas rose immediately shewed its flowers; and, owing chiefly to the mild weather which had preceded the frost, the buds of honeysuckle, horse-chesnut, and some other trees and shrubs, began prematurely to expand. This thaw was again succeeded by frost and slight snow-showers.

Small flocks of Fieldfures have occasionally been observed; but these winter visitants of our neighbourhood have not this season been

so numerous as when severe snow storms take place.

A Water Rail, (Rallus aquaticus), which is a rare bird here, was lately shot in a moist meadow at Comely Bank, near Edinburgh, and sent to Mr Wilson, College. This active collector, and excellent preserver of birds and quadrupeds, lately received, from Inverness, a capital specimen of the true Wild Cat with a strong brindled fur, which inhabits most of the natural forests of Scotland. Its length, from the point of the nose to the tip of the tail, was 3 feet 9 inches; from the nose to the root of the tail, 2 feet 4 inches; the girth of the thickest part of the body, was 1 foot 8 inches; the height of the animal, 1 foot 3 inches. It weighed 11 lbs. English. It was a male. Some have been killed in our remote woods, which weighed several pounds more, and measured fully feet the of the nose to


end of the tail.

The Wild Cat, when of this size, is by far the most formidable beast of prey which now

inhabits Scotland.


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pina 1649.' The title of the chapter is Woman is more wicked than man.' He then enters upon a systematical proof of this proposition. The following translation will be found to contain the essence of this polite and interesting discussion.

"In proof of the foresaid proposition, I could produce many important reasons, did I not think that the female sex would be offended with me, whose friendship and benevolence I wish to gain, rather than their resentment. I prefer, therefore, a profound silence upon this subject. The philosopher, however, proves the truth of this theorem by experience; and the following demonstration may perhaps be satisfactory. Reason does not rule the appetite of women equally with that of men, wherefore they are more easily overcome, and impelled to the passions of the mind than males. They are therefore more active in contriving crimes; yet through the deficiency of strength, they can less accomplish those mischiefs which they meditate. Conscious therefore, of weakness, they dissemble the venom, which they hold in their mind; lamenting they lay their snares, and often shed tears of grief, because they cannot cruelly execute what they have wickedly planned."

The author then observes, that he could say much more, but that he cannot think of entirely forfeiting the favour of the female sex.


* Quantum ad probationem hujus præfatæ propositionis attinet, multa rationum momenta in medium afferre potuissem, nisi sexum fæmineum mihi offensum fore arbitrarer, cujus potius amicitiam & benevolentiam exopto,.quam offensam, altum ergo malo hac de re silentium. Philosophus tamen hoc theorema probat experientia, ex his quæ educantur domi ant

Singular mode of Painting

A Danish artist, named Cornelius Ketel, invented the singular prac tice of painting with the hand alone. After having used the pencil for twenty years, like the rest of his profession, he quitted that instrument, and used his fingers. That he might have no witness of his first essays in this style, he began with his own portrait, and succeeded. Not satisfied with this display of address, he proceeded to paint with the fingers of his left hand, and at last with his two thumbs. Upon this subject, Descamps well remarks: We can paint better with the pencil, than with the feet or the hands; why then abandon a practice more secure and easy. The aim of an artist is to do the best possible; he ought therefore to prefer the method of doing well with ease, to that of doing ill with difficulty.'

malibus, and ex relatione Pastorum, tun etiam Venatorum. Sed hæc non satis sunt ad probandum id quod scripsit de fæminis in universum. Neque in particulari. Eorum forsan poterit hæc esse demonstratio. Ratio non aquæ dominatur mulierum appetitui arque hominum, quare facilius vincuntur & feruntur ad passiones animį quam masculi, sunt ergo facinorum magis excogitatrices & peculantiores, quod mi

nus rationis fræno cohibeantur, defectu tamen roboris & virium minus exequuntur

ea, quæ meditantur mala: Conscia itaque debilitatis dissimulant venenum, quod animo continent, & insidias instruunt dum plorant, lachrymasque aliquando fundunt præ mærore, quem concipiunt, ex eo quod tiose decreuerimt. exequi non possint crudelitur, quæ flagi

Plura non dicam, ni crabrones in me irritari velim, mulierumque omni favore destitui, quarum naturam at crasin Aristotel sequentibus rationibus nobis aperuit.


Observations on Life and Manners.
From the Italian.

(Continued from last vol. p. 891.)


HERE is not a word in the vocabulary, which slips more from the tongue than friendship; every one says the whole day: "I am a good friend-few possess such friends as I do-such a man is truly my friend;" oh! what a warmth of friendship he has in his heart; so that to hear the sweetness and the ardour with which friendly professions issue from his mouth, one would imagine, that friends dropped down on all sides. In other quarters, one hears continual lamentations. This man complains of having been deserted by one whom he had believed to be another self, the next of having been betrayed by another to whom he had given his whole heart; nothing is heard but, alas the race of good friends is over; now they are no longer to be found. The name indeed remains, but the substance is vanished.' I myself have a thousand times in my life said, what I hear from all others, and have complained as much as any one of this calamity. I cannot say, whether or not I was in the right; but certainly I was wrong in believing, when young particularly, that a few kind words, a cordial address, a cheerful countenance, were marks of friendship. To know what are really such, requires a profound study, a very long experience, a wonderful prudence, and an examination of various circumstances. The heart of the youth, eager, impetuous, and wholly absorbed in his desires, has not time to make many reflections; he throws himself into every pursuit, as it were, headlong, and is swallowed up in the vast sea of the world. Once plunged into it, he must manage his head and feet as well as he can, January 1812.

and must either, with the help of God, reach the bank, or be drowned. If experienced men call to him from the shore: "Ho! where are you going? Do not do this;" he esteems them pedants, who interfere idly in his concerns; all that they may say goes for nothing. At length, he himself having grown old, goes to the shore to cry to others, where he is listened to in the same manner that he had listened to those before him; so that it may be said, that the world is composed of two sorts of people, one of whom are constantly straining their lungs to bawl out instruction to the rest; while the others turn a deaf ear, and let them cry on.


Why are you not to day, what you were yesterday, and why will you not be to-morrow, what you are to day? Thus might we address certain men, whose humour varies from hour to hour, or rather from minute to minute, so that to converse with them for several years is always, as it were, to know them for the first time. And what appears to me strange is that, to themselves, they always appear to be the very same. If to day for example, one of these persons is tranquil, and speaks of his own disposition, you will hear him say: As for me, there is nothing I hate more than change in any one thing. Peace delights me, and I attempt to preserve it in my heart, as the most precious treasure which the world contains, I believe him, and the more, because I see a good visage, hear polite words, and all is done with a good grace: next day I go up to him, I salute him cordially, and enter into frank conversation; I find him a serpent. Thus one day you will find him drowned in love, and exalting his mistress to the skies; the next day, he cannot en


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