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fity of both parties fubfided, and the year after their differences were adjusted.
Of the great contempt in which this Prince held the fciences, our Author gives us an inftance or two, in the neglect, or rather the infults he used to put on the Philofophical Society, inftituted by Frederic the firft: of the rife, decay, and restoration of which our Author gives us a concife relation. The Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin, was founded and endowed by Frederic the firft; the celebrated Leibnitz, one of the greatest geniuses that ever exifted, forming the plan, and laying down the ftatutes. Accordingly he was appointed Prefident, which office he bore till his decease. Among other emoluments which Mr. Leibnitz procured for this fociety, was an actual privilege of compofing and vending almanacks throughout the states of his Pruffian Majefty: from which article alone was raised fo confiderable a fund, as not only to defray the occafional expences of the fociety, but to pay to the principal Members, refiding at Berlin, very honourable penfions. By degrees the academy ac quired a very fine library, and cabinet of natural curiofities; in the mean time the King, at his own expence, erecting for them, an aftronomical Obfervatory, and other buildings neceffary to their inftitution. At the inftance of Mr. Leibnitz, an aftronomical theatre was annexed alfo to the academy: that great man feeming, in this ftep, to be endowed with the gift of prophecy; this expenfive appendage alone preferving the inftitution from being totally diffolved in the fucceeding reign. Till the death of Frederic the first, the Memoirs of this fociety ufed to be regularly published under the title of Mifcellanea Berolinenfa: but when his fucceffor came to the throne, things took a different turn. Almost all the revenues of the ftate were employed in military affairs: this Monarch having a paffion for the profeffion of arms, and as great a contempt for letters. Add to this, that he entertained befide a fixed averfion to most of the establishments of his father. The funds of the fociety were not, indeed, entirely applied to purposes foreign to their original institution, because this military Prince conceived the anatomical theatre indifpenfibly neceffary to the Surgeons of his army. The literary fociety, however, fubfifted only by favour of anatomy; his Majefty fettling penfions on his buffoons, to be paid out of the funds of the academy; one of them obtaining, at the fame time, the title of Vice-prefident.
It is not to be wondered at, that fuch inftances of neglect and contempt fhould abate the zeal of the feveral Members for the advancement of letters, or that learned foreigners should exprefs no inclination to obtain places in a fociety whofe Protector turned it into ridicule. Hence its tranfactions appeared
but feldom, and irregularly; the labours of the Mufes degenerating into the fports and folly of buffoonery. Thus the King propofed nothing to its confideration, except now and then a fubject of pleafantry; which the Members of this learned body generally replied to in as frivolous a ftrain. Among other things of this kind, his Majefty required of them, "to explain the physical caute why two glaffes filled with champaign, and ftruck one against another, do not yield fo thrill and clear a found as when they are filled with any other wine; their collifion yielding always, in this cafe, a very dull and heavy tone?" The Academicians answered, that not being accuftomed to drink champaign, it was neceffary for them to make experiments to ascertain the fact. In confequence of this reply, the King sent them a dozen bottles, to convince them of the reality of the phenomenon. The philofophers drank the wine, but neither confirmed the fact, nor folved the problem. In this ftate of indolence and declination the academy continued till the year 1740, when his prefent Majefty afcended the throne: who, being the pupil and favourite of the Mufes, it was very natural for him to become their protector. This he became effectually, by new modelling the fociety, inviting a number of the first men in Europe to his court, and establishing the academy on its prefent refpectable footing.
We have feveral letters in this collection dated from London, in the years 1741 and 1742; giving an account of the manners and cuftoms of the English. They are too trite and infignificant, however, to deferve particular attention. Indeed, the greatest merit of thefe Letters, confifts in the portraits which they prefent, of the character and manners of his prefent Majefty of Pruffia, and his royal brothers; which, tho' a little heightened by the flattering pencil of the Courtier, for which circumftance the Reader muft make a proper allowance, are as natural as they feem just and faithful to the originals.
Of our Author's talents for the familiar ftrain of epiftolary writing, we fhall give a fhort fpecimen in the following letter to his fifter, on his marriage.
To my Sifter, De Brombfen, at Lubeck. Potsdam, July 1, 1748. WELL, my dear fifter, I am at last married, as well as you. Nor could you yourself be more canonically wedded, tho' to one of the greater Canons of the imperial chapter of Lubeck. I am, indeed, an hufband, a very husband, tho' not in the manner of George Dandin, I thank heaven, as yet. I ftayed three weeks after the confummation of my nuptials at
Halle, in order to compleat my recovery from the dangerous illnefs which attacked me at Leipfig. I was even obliged to behave to my wife, for fome time after our marriage, as the righteous ought to do with regard to the good things of this world; that is to fay, as if they had them not in poffeffion. At length, however, we arrived fafely at Berlin, where I left my fpoufe, in very handsome apartments that had been provided for us, 'and in the company of two Ladies, who lodge in the fame houfe, and are much my friends. For my own part, I was under the neceflity of returning to Potsdam, to pay my duty to his Majefty; who received me with his ufual marks of goodness, and loaded me with favours. I have the honour to dine and fup with him every day, at Sans-fouci, and understand that I am to accompany him in his excurfions during the fummer. By thefe means, you fee, my dear fifter, that I am not engaged in a dull, fcene of matrimonial uniformity; which is frequently the cafe when two people live conftantly together, like two turtles in a cage. On the contrary, every thort interval of abfence will give my wife the charms of novelty, while being compelled to hufband our pleasures with oeconomy, they ftand the chance of lafting the longer. Toward autumn, however, I propose to spend some weeks at Berlin, in order to take poffeffion of a magnificent hotel which I have lately purchased. It is fituated in that noble street called the Wilhelms-Strafze, and hath hitherto been occupied by his Excellency Count Keyferlink, the Ruffian Minister. It is a noble building, almoft new, hath two large wings, and a pavilion at the end of each; with four courtyards, ftabling for twenty horfes, coach-houses, &c. The apart ments, to the number of forty, are spacious, regular, and convenient. It hath alfo an extenfive garden, walled round, but not yet planted; tho' the labourers are employed in levelling and improving the ground. In the mean time, I amufe myself with sketching out a defign, which I hope to fee put into execu tion about the month of October next.
"Excufe me, dear fifter, for entertaining you with topics of fo trifling and domestic a nature: but, as I am fenfible how much you intereft yourself in every thing that concerneth your brother, I flatter myself that the minuteft circumftances which contribute to my ease or fatisfaction, cannot be disagreeable to you. Another time I will endeavour to entertain you with matters of greater importance.". -Matters of greater importance alfo, oblige us here to difmifs thefe Letters.
This, of the remainder.
Confiderations fur les Corps organifes, Où l'on Traite de leur Origine, de leur Développement, de leur Reproduction, &c. & où l'on a raffemble en Abrégé tout ce que l'Hiftoire Naturelle offre de plus certain et de plus intereffant fur ce Sujet. Par C. Bonnet, des Academies d'Angleterre, de Suede, de l'Inftitut de Bologne, Correspondant de l'Acad. Royale des Sciences, &c. That is, Confiderations on organifed Bodies, their Origin, Developement, Reproduction, &c. Including an Abftract of the most certain and interefting Difcoveries in this Branch of Natural Hiftory. 8vo. 2 vols. Printed for Rey at Amfterdam, 1762.
F all the various arcana of nature, none appear to be fo far removed from the inquifitive and prying eyes of curious mortals, as the generation and propagation of animals and vegetables. The modification of organised bodies is fo extremely complicated, and the affiftance which anatomical experiments afford us, fo little, that many ages may probably yet elapfe ere we are enabled to form any rational theory of generation. Some ingenious hypothefes, indeed, relating to the animal fyftem, have been lately ftarted by Mr. Maupertuis, Mr. de Buffon, and others; they are all, however, equally liable to fo many objections, that we do not find either of them give the general fatisfaction required. It appears to us that our Phyfiologifts all want a leading clue to direct them through the labyrinth, in which they are involved by a multiplicity of myfterious facts. Our fenfes are liable to deception as well as our imagination; and it requires the greateft precision both of fenfibility and underftanding, to profit by phyfical experiments. At prefent almost every different phenomenon appears to be confidered as a diftin&t myftery; whereas nothing is more probable than that the knowlege of a few leading characters, might enable us to decypher many pages in the book of Nature, which are now totally unintelligible. The misfortune is, that most of our natural philofophers begin at the wrong end of their ftudies; catching the eel of Science by the tail, as the Satyrift expreffes it; fo that it is no wonder if it flips through the fingers. Thus inftead of inveftigating the nature of the fimpleft bodies, such as the modification and cohefion of the parts of foffile fubftances, and thence rifing by degrees to the more compound bodies of the vegetable and animal kingdom, they boldly fet out with the nature and properties of the human foul*; defcending from the height of imaginary fcience where they meet with no obftructions, to 7--7
• Thus our ingenious Author published fome time ago his Analyfis of the Faculties of the Scul. See Review, Vol. XXVII. p 503.
founder at last amidst the fimpleft doubts and difficulties of real knowlege.
Philofophy, fays Mr. Bonnet, having difcovered the impoffi bility of her giving a mechanical explication of the formation of organised bodies, hath very luckily imagined that they must have originally exifted in miniature under the form of germes or organical corpufcles. But may we not afk our Author, by what means, and when, philofophy made the difcovery of this impoffibility? Is the fcience of mechanics carried to its greatest perfeétion? Or, are even its phyfical principles fo much as known? Who then can take upon them to fay, there is a fingle pheno menon in nature, that will not admit of a mechanical explication? To this we may add, that philosophy hath no bufinefs to form conjectures, which ferve only to remove a difficulty a degree or two back, without obviating it. It is no difgrace to philofophy, to leave things unexplained, which it has not had the means or the time to inveftigate; but it is highly unphilofophical for men to fupply the want of experiment by conjecture, and fubftitute the vagaries of the imagination for the truths of fcience. When Phyfiologifts have once explained the causes of attraction, of cohefion, of the vis inertia of foffile bodies, and have given a rationale of the laws of motion; it will then be time enough for them to take upon them to say, whether the formation of organized bodies may, or may not be mechanically explained.
But though we hold the feveral fyftems of generation mentioned by our Author, to be in a great degree vifionary, as we do all immechanical theories in phyfics; yet we cannot deny him the commendations, which are juftly due to his industry and ingenuity; in collecting, and comparing together, the very best of thofe obfervations, both theoretical and experimental, which have been made on this nice and perplexing fubject. Hence, though we cannot recommend this performance as a treatife of philofophy, we esteem it as an excellent and interefting production in natural hiftory. We fhall juft give our Readers, therefore, a general sketch of its contents.
In the first eight chapters, which, we are told, are juvenile productions, and are extracted from a larger work, our Author treats of the pre-existence of the germes of organifed bodies, their growth and nutrition; remarking particularly on the generation of monsters, and the multiplication of the polypus and other infects. He confiders next the microfcopical obfervations that have been made on the femen mafculinum of feveral animals, and analizes Mr. Buffon's new fyftem of organica! moleculæ.
In chapter the ninth, he recapitulates the discoveries of Mr.