« PreviousContinue »
metal, so as to form potash, which unites with the acid, and the violet vapour flies off. When muriatic acid is used, a substance resembling the compound of chlorine and the new body is formed. With the binary compound this acid forms the peculiar acid formerly described, as resulting from the union of the substance and hydrogen.
The French chemists having discovered a highly fulminating compound, on exposing the substance to ammonia, our author endeavours to show, by two experiments, which however are not quite decisive, that the hydrogen of the ammonia is in part driven off, while the azote belonging to that part unites with the substance. It must, however, be observed, that in other bodies, which, like this, are known to explode on the lowest degrees of heat, or even on the least friction being applied, derive that property from the presence of azote. The experimental part of this paper concludes with some trials, (admitted by the ingenious author not to be satisfactory), in order to ascertain the proportion in which the substance unites with hydrogen, so as to form an acid, as compared with the proportion in which other substances unite with oxygen, chlorine, &c. to form other acids. He also gives some rather loose approximations to the specific gravity of the new acid which it forms. Such inquiries, if not accurate, are really worth nothing:-the whole question is with regard to numbers and proportions; and it is far better to wait a little longer, than to put up with the wrong numbers in the mean time.
This paper then states several inferences, drawn from the experiments, chiefly as to their detailed results: but as we have already given the results, rather than the steps of the experi ments, we need not recapitulate these. We acknowledge ourselves still somewhat inclined to hesitate about the only general infer: ences to which the author points, viz. that the substance is quite simple, and separate from all others, as well as new. There does certainly appear to be a strong analogy, or rather resem blance to, and connexion with, muriatic acid. It is strange that this similarity in character should meet us so constantly,breaking out as it were at every turn of the investigation, both in the qualities of the body itself, and its different compounds with other bodies. We cannot help still suspecting, that a more intimate connexion will be discovered.
Sir Humphry Davy is always (and, if we rightly remember, has always, from his first essays, been) a dillettanti in nomenclature, Above a page of this tract is devoted to naming the substance and its compounds. The author is not indeed the discoverer; but he seems to claim the right of naming (one of the few perquisites of the philosopher's trade), as the importer of the disco
very. The French chemists have called the substance ione, from, viola,-and its acid hydroionic acid. Sir Humphry is apprehensive that in English this word would lead to confusion when compounded, because it would form such doubtful adjectives as Ionic and Ionian; and therefore he will have a d inserted, to avoid all confusion between geography or architecture, and chemistry!-that is to say, we presume, lest a person talking of Ionic particles should be supposed to mean fragments of the Ionic order; or, when mentioning Ionian salts, or Ionian solution, should peradventure be thought to speak of the Ionian Sea! It is lamentable to think that the poor. French are still in great danger from this ambiguity; for our author must surely have learnt at the Louvre, that Ionique and Ionien, are the French for what we call Ionic and Ionian. We must allow, indeed, that he has asked but little when he begs for a d; and moreover, he deduces his title legitimately from the Greek on, violaceus,-whence he would say iodine. He then disports him pleasingly in various compounds; and propounds a method of using the vowels as a kind of artificial memory to aid in classing the combinations.
ART. XIII. Reflections on the Present State of Affairs on the Continent, as connected with the Question of a General and Permanent Peace. Svo. London. 1814.
WE certainly do not propose, in the two little pages that are left of this Number, to enter at all upon the great and comprehensive subject announced in the title we have transcribed; but we cannot come again before the Public, without saying one word upon that branch of it which not only touches the peace and happiness of a great part of Europe more nearly than any other;-but involves-more than they have yet been involved in the whole history of her connexion with the Continent-the honour and the ultimate interests of this country.
At the approaching Congress of Vienna, the fate of POLANDa great part of which is actually left without any legitimate government in the mean time--will necessarily be decided :—as far as the resolutions of the powers there assembled are able to decide it: And England, a leading party in that Assembly, must, for the first time, take an active, deliberate, and solemn part in the decision! There never was an occasion on which it was so important to herself, and to the whole civilized world-we may even say to mankind at large--that she should take her pait wisely, and well.
We shall say nothing of the manifest injustice of the subversion of this antient and interesting State-nothing of the degradation, and actual and complicated misery, to which it has reduced every one of its inhabitants; But it is impossible that we should ever cease to speak of the tremendous evils which have been generated by the example-and which must continue to be generated while that example is allowed to remain. The fabric of European polity has just escaped from that dreadful concussion which it so lately sustained from the torrent of French conquest and usurpation : And now, when the owners and the architects are assembled, in anxious consultation, to ascertain what damage it has suffered, and how it may be most effectually repaired, it is impossible that our eyes should not be turned to that fearful and gaping breach, in the very keystone of the arch, which was made by the partition of Poland! We live now in the days of retribution and atonement. Domineering ambition has at length been cast down in the pride of its havoc. Nations have banded together in the name of Justice and in that name have conquered-and a new and a happier order of things seems to be beginning, with the restoration of national indepen dence, and the proscription of all systems of oppression. The avowed principle of the grand confederacy, which has so recently delivered the world, was, that all should be united for the protection of all-that the independence of each state should be secured by the combination of its neighbours--and that henceforward they alone should be put in jeopardy who attempted to violate that mutual paction of defence by which all were defended. Is it not natural, in such a moment, to look for the restoration of Poland? Or shall we see no restorations but those that are accomplished by force ?-and shall those by whom that force was used, and who have claimed and obtained such unexampled glory for the ends they professed to have in view in the use of it, give the lie to their professions by their conduct ?-And while, with an air of generous detestation, they wrest all his usurpations from the vanquished foe, quietly retain for themselves possessions as foully usurped, and only to be retained through still greater crimes and sufferings? Shall they
Who smote the foremost man of all this world
And sell the mighty space of their large honours
What a scene of triumph must such a consummation afford to those who make audacious mocks at the profes-ions of Sovereigns, and insolently represent all established governments as essentially
false and oppressive!—what a fatal mortification to those who had dared to hope well of human nature-and to look forward to the rise of a higher and a firmer structure of society, founded upon a more generous and enlightened loyalty to Princes no longer the victims of jealousy and suspicion, but willing to trust both their glory and their security to the gratitude and affection of their people!-On the other hand, what a noble proof would this spontaneous and heroic act of Justice afford of the sincerity of those professions, under which so much has been already done, and so much held out to the world-what a solid and delightful assurance of the actual progress which this age has made in happiness and virtue-and how vast an encouragement to all who, in public or in private life, wait only for high example to decide for liberality! What a glorious contrast too would it furnish to those schemes of selfish and unrelenting ambition under which the world has so lately suffered, and how great and salutary a discredit would it throw on all those acts of unprincipled aggression which have hitherto received but too general a sanction from the proceedings of powerful governments! What never dying honour, finally, and what incalculable additions of substantial influence and power would be gained by the Illustrious Individuals who should thus seal their high professions by a solemn sacrifice of all unjust acquisitions-and, nobly treading back the erroneous steps of their predecessors, should freely restore to an injured and generous nation, the independence of which they have been despoiled! The time is now come, we are persuaded, when such an expiation is likely to be made-for the time is come when it is not only wished for, but expected. In this country, at least, the sentiments which we have just been attempting to express, are universal;-and, in a matter where we have no partial or peculiar interest, the impression and the voice of this country, may fairly be taken for those of enlightened Europe in general.
It is not, however, for the sake of again expressing those sentiments, nor merely for that of calling the public attention to them at this critical moment, that we have been induced to close our present publication with this mention of Poland. It is chiefly for the purpose of urging upon the people, and consequently upon the government of England, the important consideration that they have never yet given any positive or direct sanction to the subversion of that unhappy state-and that they are now called upon for the first time to express their sentiments with regard to it:-that the moment is now come when they must either redeem, or incalculably aggravate, the sin of their original neutrality or passive acquicscence in that flagitious pro
ceeding; and either dishonour themselves by a spontaneous and solemn accession to the greatest successful crime which stains the annals of the world,-or expiate the guilt of their first neglect by a vigorous attempt to redress the mighty wrong which was then inflicted,--not on Poland only, but on the general cause of national independence in every quarter of the world. Circumstances, we think, are now eminently favourable for the accomplishment of this great work; not only from the general posture of the great drama of European affairs, and the character of the leading Actors, but from the situation of the different parties who are immediately concerned in the project.
The consummation of this memorable outrage-the actual subversion and annihilation of a state which long ranked as the fourth in the European commonwealth, did not take place till late in 1795-more than three years after January 1792-the period to which it is the professed object of the great powers allied against Bonaparte to bring back the condition of all those countries which had been ruined or overthrown in the disorders which succeeded each other after that period. The destruction of Poland, therefore, is a more recent event than the destruction of the French monarchy,-and is coeval with the destruction of Dutch independence; both which have been restored without the least surmise that the claim for such restoration had become obsolete by the lapse of time, or that the intermediate state of things had become the settled and habitual one of either country. In point of fact, it will not be disputed that Poland has manifested her impatience and suffering under this new state of things, far more violently and constantly than either France or Holland and there are even circumstances in her recent history, that would render its continuance still more cruel and intolerable. Though the kingdom of Poland was suppressed in 1795, the nation was again restored to something of a separate existence, by the erection of the Grand Dutchy of Warsaw in 1807; and the national pride and patriotic feelings of its ardent population have, ever since that time, been in some measure gratified by this partial restitution, and at once soothed and inflamed by perpetual hopes and promises of a more complete emancipation. It is now generally understood, that by the secret articles of the treaty, concluded between Bonaparte and the Emperor of Austria in March 1812, provisions were made for the restoration of the kingdom of Poland-and compensations adjusted for the cessions which were consequently to be demanded of Austria. It was by this lure that Bonaparte attached to himself those brave and illustrious Poles, whose valour gilded and retarded his final struggle for dominion; and whose unextinguishable love for the