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from its extremities, will resist, notwithstanding its elasticity, and when it does give way, it is with a jerk.
• Such would be the effect on the spine if it stood upright, one bone perpendicular to another, for then, the weight would bear equally, and the spine would yield neither to one side nor another; and, consequently, there would be a resistance from the pressure on all sides being balanced. We, therefore, see the great advantage resulting from the human spine being in the form of an italic ; it is prepared to yield in the direction of its curves, the pressure is of necessity more upon one side of the column than on the other, and its elasticity is immediately in operation without a jerk. It yields, recoils, and so forms the most perfect spring, admirably calculated to carry the head without jar, or injury of any kind.
« The most unhappy illustration of all this is the condition of old age; the tables of the skull are then consolidated, and the spine is rigid ; and if an old man should fall with his head upon the carpet, the blow, which would be of no consequence to the elastic frame of a child, is to him fatal ; and the rigidity of the spine makes every step he takes vibrate to the interior of the head, and jar on the brain.'
The third chapter thus beautifully opens :
• That the bones, which form the interior of animal bodies, should have the most perfect shape, combining strength and lightness, ought not to surprise us when we find this in the lowest vegetable production.
• In the sixteenth century, an unfortunate man, who taught medicine, philosophy, and theology, was accused of atheistical opinions, and condemned to have his tongue cut out, and suffer death. When brought from his cell before the Inquisition, he was asked if he believed in God. Picking up a straw which had stuck to his garments, · If,' said he, there was nothing else in nature to teach me the existence of a Deity, even this straw would be sufficient !'
* A reed, or a quill, or a bone, prove that strength is given with the least possible expense of materials. The long bones of animals are, for the most part, hollow cylinders, filled up with the lightest substance, marrow; and in birds the object is attained by means (if we may be permitted to say so) still more artificial. It must have been observed, that the breast-bone of a fowl extends along the whole body, and that the body is very large compared with the weight; this is for the purpose of rendering the creature specifically lighter and more buoyant in the air; and that it may have a surface for the attachment of muscles, equal to the exertion of raising it on the wing. This combination of lightness with the increase of volume, is gained by air-cells extending through the body, and communicating by tubes between the lungs and cavities of the bones. By this means, the bones, although large and strong to withstand the operation of powerful muscles upon them, are much lighter than those of quadrupeds.'
Let these few extracts suffice for the object of directing the reader's attention to the original Treatise, a perusal of which will amply repay him, whether he be a man of science, or a novice. We have been prevented, by want of figures, from giving any specimen of the scientific portions of the work. These must be enjoyed by a recourse to the Treatise itself.
We cannot, however, dismiss this subject, without expressing our delight at the perfect success of the Society's great design of covering, as it were, the country with knowledge, even as the waters cover the sea. Here lies an instance before us, worth a thousand arguments, to prove the practicability of this scheme, and the triumphant removal of all the obstacles that were expected to oppose its execution. The work we are contemplating, is profoundly scientific, and yet perfectly popular; any attentive reader may follow, and comprehend, and remember its contents. The treatise appears at its regular time, each month having seen two published. Then its cheapness exceeds all former experience. Compare it with Mr Paxton's edition of Paley. Three of his pages go into one of the Library; consequently, his two volumes can be printed in five of the treatises, and a little more-or, allowing for the figures, in six. His book costs four-and-twenty shillings; the six treatises would cost threeor they are eight times cheaper. The figures in the Animal Mechanics are beautiful; the drawing is very spirited and fine, indced evidently by a master's hand, and far superior to the figures of Mr Paxton—the engraving, though in wood, is full as good. There are about thirty of these figures—so there would be 180 for three shillings. Mr Paxton's thirty-seven plates contain 123, reckoning every single thing a separate figure, though sometimes four or five would go into the space of one; but even counting them all, there are half as many more in the Library. The page of Mr Paxton, too, contains a good deal more than the ordinary sized octavo page; for we have cited one book in this article, one hundred and forty of whose pages go into the space of the sixpenny treatise lying before us! To all this let it be added, that these treatises are published periodically; * a circumstance which, in every other case, makes the volume dearer instead of cheaper-and it will surely be allowed, that never difficulty was more completely removed than the one of price, which was at first expected to be a fatal impediment in the way of this grand design of Universal Knowledge. The circulation of the Library, accordingly, proceeds rapidly increasing. Al
• Even page for page, the Library is far cheaper, independent of its superior quantity of matter. A number of the treatises equal to Mr Paley's book, that is 16, would cost only eight shillings, that is a third, and would contain 480, instead of 123 drawings.
ready, we understand, it amounts to near twenty thousand; while of the Preliminary Discourse many more have been sold, and a fine edition, illustrated with drawings, is in the press- but confined to that treatise exclusively, the principle of cheapness not allowing any difference in the prices of the others, which all readers of all ranks use alike.
It is not a trivial addition to the pleasure which these important proceedings afford, to discover, that in far distant lands, at the same time, the progress of improvement is going rapidly onward. A singular proof has just reached us. It is the first four numbers of a Newspaper, published last December, in l'an Diemen's Land, and, as we perceive, it is called after the navigator who discovered it in 1612, Tasmmia. The advertisements present a picture of the wonted bustle of trade; sales, lettings, clearings in ward and outward, freight and passage to all quarters of the world. A meeting of the inhabitants is described--its proceedings recorded, for obtaining a representative constitution, and jury trial, from the mother country. But the following article of intelligence is, above all others, interesting, and we copy it in the words of the original journal.
• MECHANICS' INSTITUTE.-A meeting of several gentlemen, favourable to the establishment of a Mechanics' Institute, in Hobart Town, took place on Tuesday evening at the British Hotel. Dr James Ross was called to the chair, supported by W. H. Hamilton, Esq. J. P.; G. W. Gunning, Esq. J. P.; W. Gellibrand, Esq. J. P.; James Scott, Esq. J. P.; Edward Lord, Esq.; J. T. Gellibrand, Esq., and several other gentlemen of respectability. The rules and regulations for the establishment of the Society were read and adopted. Above fifty individuals have become members, and there is every prospect of the institution being considerably extended; and as the object of the Society is the diffusion of useful knowledge and mechanical science, in its most extended sense, we are confident it will have the support of all classes.
• The donation of books, for the immediate establishment of a Library, was urged upon the gentlemen present, many of whom promised to contribute ; and we trust every individual favourable to such a laudable establishment, will contribute to it as far as possible.'
The reader is aware that Van Diemen's Land is the soutlier
* We have seen stated, though by able and candid critics, some objection to the title. They have not sufficiently reflected on the analogy upon which it is founded. The title of Laplace's celebrated work is, Celestial Mechanics, or, Mechanics of the learens (Mécanique C'eleste.) A literal French translation of Animal Mechanics would be, Mécanique Animalc. VOL. XLVI. NO. 92.
most point of the vast continent of New Holland, in 43. 33 south latitude, and 147° 28' east longitude-on the opposite side, therefore, of our globe. It is just half a century since our great navigator, (for it had not been visited during a hundred years after its discovery,) described the natives as having less ge• nius than even the half-animated inhabitants of Terra del • Fuego, who have not invention sufficient to make clothing,
though furnished with the materials ;' as living like fauns 6 and satyrs, in hollow trees,' barely acquainted with the use of fire, but existing on the sea-coast, without canoes, or even rafts, to attempt the water. They received every present we * made them without the least appearance of satisfaction. When • some bread was given, as soon as they understood that it was ' to be eaten, they either returned it, or threw it away without even tasting it. I had brought two pigs ashore, with a view
to leave them in the woods. The instant these came within their reach, they seized them as a dog would have done, by the ears.'-(Third Voyage, Book I., chap. 3.) The exertions of man can claim no higher praise than to have effected the revolution which has changed the face of such a country; nor can his contemplations bestow a purer gratification than to witness it. As our chiefest duty on this earth is to labour for the happiness of our fellow-creatures, so is it our best reward to witness the success of those endeavours.
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