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published, relative to the reigns of Henry IV. Lewis XIII. and the wars of the Fronde, with obfervations on each article. Thefe obfervations alone are a fufficient proof of the concife eloquence, the accurate judgment, and the candid impartiality of this excellent Author: they are fenfible, elegant, and mafterly, and difcover the niceft touch in appreciating the merit of hiftorical publications.
Memoire fur un Para-Tremblement de Terre et un Para-Volcan.— A Memoir concerning a Counter-Earthquake and a Counter Volcano (by which the Author means a Method of preventing these Convulfions in the Bowels of the Earth). By M. BERTHOLON DE ST. LAZARE, Member of the Royal Academies of Montpellier, Beziers, Lyons, Marfeilles, Dijon, &c.
HIS learned academician, after an eloquent defcription of the horrors that accompany earthquakes and volcanos, gives an hiftorical lift of thefe tremendous phenomena, from the feparation of Offa and Mount Olympus, to the prefent times; and indeed their number is fo great in all parts of the world, as to justify that emphatic faying of an ancient writer, that we walk upon the carcaffes of cities, and inhabit only the ruins of our globe. The deftruction of twelve cities of Afia, at once, by an earthquake, as the fact is related by Seneca, Strabo, and Tacitus, fills the Reader with aftonishment; and the frequency of earthquakes in our days is adapted to excite apprehenfion and terror. It is more peculiarly adapted to excite the inquiries of natural philofophers into the means of preventing thefe dreadful explosions, or of avoiding their fatal effects. Such is the object of the Memoir before us, whofe ingenious Author flatters himself with having fucceeded in this inquiry. His ideas on this fubject are as follows:
He confiders earthquakes as electrical phenomena; and this he propofes to prove and illuftrate in a feparate differtation, though it be an hypothefis already adopted by the moft eminent obfervers of nature. An earthquake is no more (as Pliny obferved long ago) than fubterraneous thunder; and when we confider the extent of the fhock of the earthquake that deftroyed the Afiatic cities, and of that which fome years ago laid Lisbon in ruins ;-when we reflect how the deep moving power must have been below the furface of the earth, to affect such a confiderable part of that surface, and what an enormous mass of folid matter was fet in motion by thefe dreadful earthquakes, we shall perhaps be engaged to think, that the electrical com motion alone can operate at fuch diftances, and produce fuch aftonishing effects. This, at leaft, is the conclufion to which
our Author defigns to lead us up by calculations and reasonings, for which we refer the Reader to the Memoir itself.
It is, therefore, according to our Author, the interruption of the equilibrium between the electrical matter which is diffused in the atmosphere, and that which belongs to the mafs of our globe, and pervades its bowels, that produces earthquakes. If the electrical fluid be fuperabundant, as may happen from a variety of caufes, its current, by the laws of motion peculiar to fluids, is carried towards thofe places where it is in a smaller quantity; and thus fometimes it will pafs from the internal parts of the globe into the atmosphere. In fuch a cafe, if the equilibrium is re-established with facility, the current produces no other effect than what our Author calls afcending thunder; but if confiderable and multiplied obftacles oppofe this re-eftablishment, the confequence then is an earthquake, whofe violence and extent are in exact proportion to the degree of the interruption of the equilibrium-the depth of the furnace of the electrical matter-and the obftacles that are to be furmounted. If the electrical furnace is large and deep enough, fo as to give rife to the formation of a conduit or iffue, a volcano will be produced, whose fucceffive eruptions are no more in reality, fays our Author, than electrical repulfions of the matters contained in the bowels of the earth.
Having thus inveftigated the caufe of the evil, our Author thinks it not difficult to find out a prefervative or remedy ;as it is the electrical matter which caufes this evil, he proceeds in his method of preventing or removing its fatal confequences, upon the fame principles that have been followed in preventing the pernicious effects of thunder-ftorms. Long, or rather enormous metal-conductors, funk as deep as poffible into the earth, and having both their extremities armed with feveral divergent fharp points (verticilles), are the effential parts of our Author's method. The inferior points, confiderably difperfed and lengthened, in order to render their influence more extenfive, will draw out from the interior parts of the earth, the fuperabundant electrical or fulminating matter, which being tranfmitted along the metallic fubftance or conductor, will be discharged into the air of the atmosphere under the form of tuffs (aigrettes), by the divergent points at the fuperior extremity of the conductor. Our Author enters into a long detail in de fcribing the conftruction, and pointing out the effects, of this prefervative againft earthquakes and volcanos: he acknowledges, that his method. must be attended with confiderable expence, as a great nuniber of thefe enormous electrical rods or conductors will be required; for the number must be proportioned to the permanent quantity of electrical matter in the district that is to be preserved, and to the extent of that district, But great
great as this expence may be, provinces laid waste, cities overturned, and thousands of their inhabitants buried in their ruins, teftify how indifpenfably neceffary it is, at leaft, in certain parts of the globe; befides, it is the bufinefs of princes and fovereign ftates, and not of particular perfons. We refer our Readers to the Memoir itself for a more circumftantial account of our Author's method; where alfo they will find a chronological hiftory of the earthquakes. and volcanos, that have produced havock and defolation in many countries. This Memoir is published in the Journal de Phyfique of the Abbé Rofier, for the month of August 1779.
Recherches fur le Commerce, ou Idies relatives aux Interêts des Peuples de l'Europe. Inquiries concerning Commerce, containing Ideas relative to the Interefts of the European Nations. Vol. II. Part I, Amfterdam.
E mentioned the firft Volume of this Work with the high efteem to which it has fo juft a title, as it difcovers, in its Author, a most extenfive knowledge of the fubject of commerce, and large and philofophical views with respect to its connection with the interefts of humanity.
The ingenious Author fhewed, in his firft Volume, in oppofition to the affertion of Mr. Hume, that the great quantity of gold and filver that has been poured into Europe fince the difcovery of America, and the variations confequent upon this that have taken place in the value of money, have been really detrimental to fociety in general. He obferved, moreover, that this evil has been confiderably increased by paper-circulation and credit; he promifed to fhew this at length in a fubfequent Volume, and he fulfils his engagement, in a masterly manner, in that now before us; at leaft in part: for of the three Parts into which this fecond Volume is divided, we have only the firft in this publication; and we cannot disguise a fentiment of uneafinefs, which we really feel, at receiving this precious Work piece-meal, and, as it were, difmembered. When an eminent artift uncovers the contour of one fide of his ftatue, we are impatient to fee the whole.
Be that as it may, what we fee pleafes us much, and gives us a full perfuafion, that the rest will answer our utmost expectations.
The firft Part, then, of this fecond Volume contains fome difcuffions and ideas relative to modern banks and paper-credit in general. Thefe difcuffions, which are not exempt from
See in our Review for July 1778, the first article of Foreign
digreffions, are comprehended in feven Chapters. The first treats of Banks in general; the second exhibits a Compendious biftorical view of the commerce of the Netherlands, and particularly of Holland, until the epocha of the erection of the Bank of Amfterdam; the third treats of the Bank of Amfterdam; the fourth contains a compendious history of the trade of England from the time of Julius Cæfar to the epocha of the death of Henry III. in 1272; in the fifth the fame hiftory is continued, till the establishment of. the Bank of England; the fixth treats of the Bank of England; the seventh and laft is defigned to give us an idea of the advantages and difadvantages that Banks may occafion in the focieties where they are erected.
The fecond and fourth Chapters are more inftructive to the Reader than neceffary to the main purpose of the Author, as they contain several hiftorical details that have not a direct reference to the fubject of commerce. The firft, third, and fixth Chapters, that relate to banks in general, and to the banks of Amfterdam and London in particular, and the seventh, that treats of the advantages and disadvantages of banks, are the refult of long and laborious researches, and contain inftructive views of these important inftruments of commerce.
All the different banks, fays our ingenious Author, may be reduced to two kinds: they are either mere inactive depofitories, the value of whofe contents circulates in the public,-or they are commercial depofitories, which augment by trade the ftock, whofe value circulates on the wings of paper-credit. The Bank of Amfterdam is of the firft kind: it carries on no immediate commerce of its own: far from being the occafion of any prejudice to individuals, it furnishes them with a place where they may depofit their cash with the most perfect fecurity. By the manner in which payments are made in bank-money among the merchants, the operations of commerce are executed with the greateft facility and expedition. The time and trouble that counting and tranfporting money must cost are faved, and the perfon that has depofited his property in the bank has nothing to fear from thieves or bankrupts,
But befides the utility of this establishment with respect to merchants and other private perfons, there are feveral advantages refulting from it to the whole community: 1ft, The treasure of fuch a repofitory does not circulate all at once, either in commerce or in the community. 2dly, A repofitory alfo of this kind dif concerts, or renders fruitless, feveral operations of particular cashiers, bankers, and stock-jobbers. There is another advantage, which ought fcarcely to be mentioned, because it is a matter of the utmoft delicacy, and that is, the refource that may be furnished by a bank, in fuch a period of extremity and danger as may justify the employment of this facred depofitum.
The Bank of Amfterdam being a mere depofitory, it is this circumftance that conftitutes its capital. For this capital it pays no interest; on the contrary, the falaries of its officers are paid by the moderate charges to which the persons who have their property in the bank are fubject, when they transfer that property, renew their titles in the registers, and on other occafions of a like nature. The other profits of the bank are derived from its eftimation of the gold and filver depofited, the value at which they are received, and the fums advanced upon thefe depofits. Thus the bank acquires a revenue that places it above the want of any fupply from government.
The cafe is not the fame, fays our Author, with the Bank of England. The principal object of the Bank of Amfterdam, which was erected in the year 160, was to establish mutual confidence among traders, to maintain the credit of the Dutch commerce with foreign nations, and to accelerate its operaThe Bank of England, which dates its origin from year 1694, was defigned to enable government to fill up, with facility, the fubfcriptions to a loan, which circumstances required. At King William's acceffion to the throne, the national debt amounted to about a million Sterling; but the high intereft of money, and the great quantity of ipecie that was thut up in the coffers of a small number of individuals, rendered it diffi. cult to raise supplies; it therefore became neceffary to look out for an expedient that might, at the fame time, facilitate the loan, and reduce intereft to a lower rate. The capital that was to form the fund of the Bank of England, was not to be a mere depofit, but an object of circulation, defigned to give vigour to the circulation of fpecie, and to produce confidence in all the operations of government relative to the finances. The capital of this Bank was a loan, to which many individuals fubfcribed with avidity, from the allurement of a high intereft. Foreigners, and perfons that carried on no trade, were permitted to place their money in the Bank, whose capital circulating both in reality and in reprefentation, increased in activity and value, and thus occationed a reduction of intereft, which produced great advantages to government, by the savings that refulted from it.
When the fubfcribers completed the payment of 1,200,000l. in confideration of an annuity or intereft of 100,000l. this fum was thrown into the exchequer, to fupport the expences of the war, and the Bank procured elsewhere the funds which it wanted. It employed the fame ways and means which the bankers had formerly done at the exchange, with this difference, however, that the bankers had, in their own property, funds to fupport their credit, and carry on their operations; whereas