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than even the societies of London. We shall first consider separately the establishments for promoting astronomical science. The Observatory of Oxford came next after the royal foundation at Greenwich already mentioned. It was begun in 1772, from funds bequeathed by Dr. Radcliffe, and observations have been regufarly registered there ever since its completion. The superior accuracy obtained by the comparison of independent corresponding observations, and the necessity of multiplying the positions of observers in a country where changes in the state of the atmosphere are so frequent, constitute sufficient grounds for desiring the foundation of observatories at all our universities. But they may also be appropriated to the instruction of academical students, as they afford opportunities for the delivery of lectures illustrating the practical application of mathematics to astronomy, and may add a powerful stimulus and zest to the prosecution of mathematical studies in general. We cannot mention the excellence of the Radcliffe Observatory, and the costliness and beauty of the instruments, without remembering with regret the scanty attendance of students on the astronomical lectures at Oxford. We have already declared our opinion of the superior advantages of tuition by private lectures, the system at present adopted in our universities;* but consistently with this plan, and without wishing that the cultivation of physical science should constitute a leading branch of the regular education of our academical youth, we feel satisfied that public lectures may be introduced with propriety, as accessary to other studies, wherever the exhibition of philosophical instruments and experiments, or specimens of natural history, is required.
The Observatory of Dublin was begun in 1783, but many years elapsed before it was completed. The instruments are now considered as equal to those of Greenwich. Scarcely a year for the last fifteen has elapsed in which the Transactions of the Royal Society, and of the Royal Irish Academy, have not been enriched with valuable memoirs from the eminent astronomer at the head of this institution. The lectures on astronomy delivered by Dr. Brinkley have also been of eminent utility.
An observatory was erected at Armagh, and endowed, in 1793, by the late primate of Ireland, Lord Rokeby, who munificently provided funds out of his private property for the maintenance of an astronomer and one assistant. We may refer our readers to the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, and to the Philosophical Transactions of 1806, for proofs of the utility of this institution. The valuable instruments now constructing at the expense of the present primate, and his recent judicious choice of
*Quarterly Review, No. LXV. p. 265.
an astronomer, will soon enable this observatory to rank amongst the first in Europe. To the above we are happy to add the Observatory lately erected at Cambridge, inferior to none in the beauty and appositeness of the building, the expenses of which, as well as of the instruments, have been defrayed partly by the funds of the University, and partly by a subscription among the members. The favourite studies of the University are admirably calculated to ensure the success of the establishment.
Private observatories have multiplied so remarkably in England since the commencement of the last reign that we cannot attempt an enumeration of them. They afford evidence of the diffusion of scientific taste amongst the wealthier classes in the country, and many of them have produced lasting monuments of their successful labours. The observations made, for example, on double stars, at Mr. South's private observatory, by himself and Mr. Hershell, published in the Philosophical Transactions, * obtained immediately Lalande's medal from the French Institutema circumstance equally honourable to the French and to this country.
It is evident from such facts, and from the liberal grants voted of late years by parliament to the Observatory of Greenwich, that exertion on the part of the people, and of the government, in promoting astronomical inquiries, has, during the last half-century, been accelerated by a progressive impulse. The expeditions fitted out at the expense of government during the last reign, for the express purpose of observing the transit of Venus at the remotest parts of the globe, were worthy of the country wherein that beautiful and important phenomenon was first predicted and observed by Horrox. These have been munificently followed up by the establishment of a Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, which, together with the East India Com pany's Observatory at Madras, will supply the most useful corresponding operations, from whence an extensive classification of the stars of the southern hemisphere will undoubtedly result.
It is remarkable that no public observatory, where observations are regularly registered, exists at present in Scotland. That of the Calton Hill, at Edinburgh, is unprovided with instruments, the whole funds having been exhausted on architectural embellishments. The building is certainly entitled to admiration; but this is not the only instance in the recent history of the philosophical institutions of Great Britain in which the whole, or too large a proportion, of the resources raised expressly for scientific purposes have been consumed in the construction of ornamental edifices,
There 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 raré and valuable objects, and was farther enriched by his successór; 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. Unt til the removal of the Botanic Garden from its present unfa“ vourable situation, where it is subject to occasional floods from
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 unpublishedhad 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
institutions; all subjects, such as statistics for instance, which are important, but cannot be popular, deserve their particular attention. We learn with satisfaction (January, 1826) 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 geological speculation, 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 Ægina, 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