Page images

learned and active body of professors, than can be found in any other country. They manifest a zeal and interest, which animate their pupils and excite them to ardent study and close research. Every lecture continues precisely an hour. The professor reads, or expounds a text book, and the students have their port folios before them, in which they take elaborate notes, and mark the references of the professor to other authors for illustration. They peruse these notes between the times of lecturing, consult the authors referred to, and make themselves familiar with the subject.

We think the following abstract may be acceptable to some of our readers, as it gives an accurate view of the course of instruction, which has been pursued during the past season at Göttingen. We have translated it from the Catalogus Prælectionum,' published there in April 1817.

DEPARTMENT OF THEOLOGY. Professor Planck lectures on the first part of ecclesiastical history; and history of dogmaticks.-Staeudlin on moral theology; and dogmatick theology in relation to its history.-Pott on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; grammar of the Hebrew language.

LAW. Böhmer on ecclesiastical law; institutes of the civil law.-Meister on the system of Pandects; criminal law.-Hugo on the history and antiquities of Roman law; literary history of law; universal law in use; institutes of the Roman law in use. Bauer on the institutes of civil law; law of nature; feudal law ; criminal law; criminal process and art of defending criminals.Heise on German law; principles of the Roman law respecting inheritance and ambassadors; commercial law.-Eichhorn on the history of Germany; publick law of those states which are united in the German league.-Bergmann on ecclesiastical law; theory of civil process.

MEDICINE. Blumenbach on physiology; and natural history. Stromeyer on special pathology; and the art of healing diseases.-Osiander on obstetricks; and forensick medicine.-Himly on nosology and the art of healing; clinical medicine.-Schrader on botany; economical botany; medical botany.-Langenbeck on the first part of surgery; diseases of the eye; clinical surgery.-F. Stromeyer on theoretick and experimental chemistry; chemical analysis; practical chemistry; pharmacy,

PHILOSOPHY. Eichhorn on the Epistles of the New Testament; pentateuch; elements of the Syriack language.-Reuss on universal history of literature.-Tychsen on the Acts of the Apostles and the book of John; book of Psalms; elements of the

Arabick language.Mitscherlich on Roman literature; style of Horace, his Epistles and Art of Poetry; Theocritus.-Heeren on geography and ethnography; history of modern Europe and its colonies ; ancient history-Sartorius on the statisticks of the principal kingdoms in Europe; general politicks.-Bouterwek on inetaphysicks in relation to divinity; general practical philosophy and ethicks; general history of philosophy.-Mayer on modes of measuring angles; experimental philosophy.-Schulze on logick, and psychology.-Thibaut on the pure mathematicks; differential and integral calculus; introduction to practical geometry.Gauss on the elements of theoretical astronomy; practical astronomy and the construction and use of instruments.-Hausmann on geognosy; crystallography; mineralogy; technology.-Fiorillo on the history of the fine arts with practical illustrations.-Harding on the elements of astronomy; various methods of ascertaining time and geographical positions.-Benecke on the elements of the English language; and the modern literature of Germany and England.-Bunsen on physical geography; elements of the Spanish and Italian languages.-Welcker on philology; history of ancient art; Clouds and Frogs of Aristophanes.-Dissen on philology, illustrated by the satires of Persius; Cicero de oratore; the Greek syntax, with explanations of the metres of the ancient poets.

Besides those here enumerated, seven professors give what are called extraordinary lectures on different subjects in the four departments. The languages and literature of all the polite nations in Europe are taught, as well as dancing, horsemanship, and the military art.

Poison Tree of Java.-THE literary and scientifick world has rarely been more grossly imposed upon, than by the account of the Pohon Oopas, or, as it is commonly written, the Bohon Upas, published in Holland in 1780. The history and origin of this celebrated forgery are still a mystery. The account came out under the name of one Foersch, a surgeon in the Dutch East India Company's service, and was published in the different publick journals in almost all the languages in Europe. This account, as it relates to the situation of the poison tree, its desolating effects on the country around, the mode of punishing criminals by sending them on the fatal errand of procuring its gums, and the description of the poison, has been proved to be palpably false. It has even been doubted lately, whether a tree possessing poisonous qualities of any description actually existed in Java. We have been told by gentlemen of respectability and intelligence, who have been in various parts of the island, and have made very

[ocr errors]

particular inquiries of the natives, as well as of Europeans residing there, that they were never able to obtain any knowledge of such a tree. It appears from later discoveries, however, that a tree, which produces a powerful poison, is found on the eastern extremity of the island. Dr. Horsfield, who made a tour through the island for the purpose of inquiries into its botany and natural history, wrote a letter to Lieutenant Governour Raffles, which was published in the Batavian Transactions for 1814, and afterward in the Annals of Philosophy, in which he gives an account of the tree, the manner of procuring the poison, and the results of a series of experiments, which he made with it on a great number of living animals.

He found the tree only on the eastern extremity of the island, and not very abundantly even there. It is called Antshar by the natives. The trunk grows smooth and straight till it arrives to the height of from sixty to eighty feet, when branches spring out horizontally and form a sort of hemispherical crown. When punctured, the bark emits copiously a sort of milky juice, which by a kind of preparation is converted into a deadly poison. A wound inflicted by an instrument dipped in this substance causes almost instant death. Many of the animals, which were wounded by a slight prick only in the skin, died within eight minutes, others continued fifteen, and scarcely one lived more than half an hour. It is used by the natives of Macassar and the neighbouring islands to poison their arrows. Rumphius, as related in his works, witnessed the effect of these arrows in the attack of the natives of Macassar on Amboina, about the year 1650. Dr. Horsfield found that the juice, as it came from the tree, produced effects nearly as fatal on small animals, as that, which had gone through a preparation by the natives. The tree has no bad effects on the atmosphere around it. Vegetation is healthful and luxuriant even at its roots; and the ivy sometimes runs up its trunk.

Canal across the Isthmus of Cape Cod.-THIS important enterprize is now a subject of publick attention, and some hopes are entertained that it may be carried into effect. It has been contemplated at different times for about a hundred and fifty years. It was particularly agitated under the auspices of the enlightened Governour Bowdoin in 1776, when a survey and estimate were made by Mr. Machin, a skilful English engineer, afterwards employed by General Washington in the army. In 1791 the consideration of it was resumed at the instigation of some publick spirited merchants of Boston, when a survey and plan were made by Judge Winthrop of Cambridge, and a survey, map of the ground on a large scale, and estimate by Mr. Hills, a skilful engineer. In


1801, a survey and estimate were made by Mr. Batchelor. Mr. Machin, Judge Winthrop and Mr. Batchelor agree in almost every point, with respect to the plan of the work, and where Mr. Hills differs from them, which is, in making the southern entrance of the canal in Buttermilk, instead of Buzzard's Bay, he is evidently The estimates of these different persons, taking into view the value of money at the time they were made, do not essentially vary. The expense of a canal for vessels drawing twelve feet of water, with piers to form an artificial harbour in Barnstable Bay, is estimated at about 400,000 dollars. Its importance in respect to the West India trade of Massachusetts; to the immensely important and rapidly increasing coasting trade of the United States; and its obvious and most essential utility in time of war, make it altogether more extensively interesting, than any other similar improvement in the United States. There are fewer obstacles in the way of its execution, and more facilities than ever attended any work of equal magnitude. Its value to the publick, under two great heads, first humanity, by the saving of many lives and much suffering; secondly, property, by a great diminution of risk, and prevention of losses, can hardly be estimated. Since it was last contemplated, many improvements have taken place, such as the certainty of clearing away sand at its mouth, the use of steam tow boats to save horses, and towing path &c. &c. which will greatly facilitate its execution. No statement of facts has yet been laid before the publick, on which to ground a satisfactory opinion of the advantages likely to result from the construction of this canal, or the profits that would probably accrue to those who might invest their property in it. A committee has been appointed to investigate the subject, and their report will probably supply the requisite information.

Day's Mathematicks-FOUR parts of this course have been published. They comprehend Algebra, Plane Trigonometry, Geometry applied to the mensuration of superficies and solids, Navigation and Surveying, including the mensuration of heights and distances. These treatises are intended to be very elementary,to introduce the student, by gradual and easy steps, to the first principles of these branches. The difficulty which has attended the use of books, that have been adopted from abroad, is, that they suppose too much in the learner. They are designed for such as have already been initiated in these studies; whereas, with us mathematicks hitherto can scarcely be said to have made a part of the early instruction of those, who are destined for a publick education. The consequence is, that it has been attended with more difficulty and less success, than is fairly to be as

cribed to the nature of the study. Mr. Day has guarded against this evil. He has adapted his course of mathematicks to the state of information of the student, at the time of his matriculation, and he makes him acquainted with as much of the several branches of which he treats, as it has been thought best to require at the colleges in this country. In many respects indeed he has very judiciously enlarged upon the plan, which has generally been adopted. He explains the construction of the tables of natural sines &c. and introduces the learner to some of the more important and interesting cases of the application of algebra to geometry and trigonometry. The materials of this work are thought to be well selected and well arranged. The style is neat and perspicuous, and what is no common praise in publications of this kind in this country, the printing is accurate and well executed. These treatises have most of them been proved and found to answer the purpose intended by the author. They may be regarded as a valuable acquisition to the scanty stock of elementary books on the exact sciences. The author's plan embraced, in addition to the above, Conick Sections, Sphericks and Fluxions. It is hoped that his labours will not be long interrupted, by his elevation to the office of President of the college, which owes so much to his services.

Introduction to Algebra-AN introduction to arithmetick and algebra, comprehending the fundamental rules, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, Involution and Evolution, Proportion, Arithmetical and Geometrical Progression &c, considered with reference to numbers and to algebraick symbols, together with a solution of the more simple algebraick questions, selected from the Algebra of Euler, is now in the University Press, and will soon be published.

This work contains the mathematicks required for admission to the University at Cambridge, by a regulation published in the last number of the North American Review, and will be used in the examination of candidates for admission.

Translation of Laplace's Mécanique Céleste.-WE understand, that this great work, which has been the admiration of the first mathematicians abroad, is now rendered into English by the Hon. Mr. Bowditch, with very copious notes and illustrations; and we have no doubt from the rare talents of the translator, his familiar acquaintance with the subject, his habits of accuracy and deep research, that he has executed the task in a manner that would, if known, do him very great credit. We earnestly hope, that this valuable treasure will not long be withheld from the publick-that

« PreviousContinue »