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published, relative to the reigns of Henry IV. Lewis XIII. and the wars of the Fronde, with observations on each article. These observations alone are a sufficient proof of the concise eloquence, the accurate judgment, and the candid impartiality of this excellent Author: they are sensible, elegant, and mafterly, and discover the niceft touch in appreciating the merit of historical publications.
XIII. Memoire sur un Para-Tremblement de Terre et un Para-Volcan.
A Memoir concerning a Counter-Earthquake and a Counter Vol. cano (by which the Author means a Method of preventing these Convulsions in the Bowels of the Earth). By M. BERTHOLON DE ST. LAZARF, Member of the Royal Academies of Montpellier, Beziers, Lyons, Marseilles, Dijon, &c.
HIS learned academician, after an eloquent description
of the horrors that accompany earthquakes and volcanos, gives an historical list of these tremendous phenomena, from the feparation of Ofla and Mount Olympus, to the present times; and indeed their number is so great in all parts of the world, as to justify that emphatic saying of an ancient writer, that we walk upon the carcaffes of cities, and inhabit only the ruins of our globe. The destruction of twelve cities of Afia, at once, by an earthquake, as the fact is related by Seneca, Straho, and Tacitus, filis the Reader with astonishment; and the frequency of carthquakes in our days is adapted to excite apprehension and terror. It is more peculiarly adapted to excite the inquiries of natural philosophers into the means of preventing these drcadful explosions, or of avoiding their fatal effects. Such is the object of the Memoir before us, whose ingenious Author flatters himself with having fucceeded in this inquiry. His ideas on this subject are as follows:
He considers earthquakes as electrical phenomena ; and this he proposes to prove and illustrate in a separate differtation, though it be an hypothesis already adopted by the most eminent observers of nature. An carthquake is no more (as Pliny observed long ago) than fubterraneous thunder; and when we confider the extent of the shock of the earthquake that destroyed the Asiatic cities, and of that which some years ago laid Lisbon in ruins ;-when we reflect how the deep moving power must have been below the furface of the earth, to affcet such a confiderable part of that surface, and what an enormous mass of folid matter was set in motion by these dreadful earthquakes, we shall perhaps be engaged to think, that the clectrical com motion alone can operate at such distances, and produce such astonilhing effects. This, at least, is the conclufion to which
our Author designs 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 mass of our globe, and pervades its bowels, that produces earthquakes. If the electrical fluid be superabundant, as may happen from a variety of causes, its current, by the laws of motion peculiar to fluids, is carried towards those places where it is in a smaller quantity, and thus sometimes it will pass from the internal parts of the globe into the atmosphere. In such a case, if the equilibrium is re-established with facility, the current produces no other effect than what our Author calls ascending thunder ; but if confiderable and multiplied obstacles oppose this re-establishment, the consequence then is an earthquake, whose 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 obstacles that are to be surmounted. If the electrical furnace is large and deep enough, so as to give rise to the formation of a conduit or issue, a volcano will be produced, whole 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 investigated the cause of the evil, our Author thinks it not difficult to find out a preservative or remedy ;as it is the electrical matter which causes this evil, he proceeds in his method of preventing or removing its fatal consequences, upon the same principles that have been followed in preventing the pernicious effects of thunder-storms. Long, or rather enormous metal-conductors, sunk as deep as poffible into the earth, and having both their extremities armed with several divergenc sharp points (verticilles), are the essential parts of our Author's method. The inferior points, considerably dispersed and lengthened, in order to render their influence more extensive, will draw out from the interior parts of the earth, the superabundant electrical or fulminating matter, which being transmitted along the metallic substance or conductor, will be discharged into the air of the atmosphere under the form of tuffs (aigrettes), by the divergent points at the superior extremity of Ihe conductor. Our Author enters into a long detail in describing the construction, and pointing out the effects, of this preservative against earthquakes and volcanos: he acknowledges, that his method must be attended with considerable expence, as a great number of these 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 as this expence may be, provinces laid waste, cities over turned, and thousands of their inhabitants buried in their ruins, testify how indispensably necessary it is, at least, in certain parts of the globe ; besides, it is the business of princes and sovereign states, and not of particular perfons. We refer our Readers to the Memois itself for a more circumstantial account of our Author's method ; where also they will find a chronological history of the earthquakes' and volcanos, that have produced havock and desolation in
countries, This Memoir is published in the Journal de Physique of the Abbé Rosier, for the month of August 1779.
ART. XIV. Recherches sur le Commerce, ou Idées relatives aux Interêts des Peuples
de l'Europe.- Inquiries concerning Commerce, containing Ideas relative to the Interests of the European Nasions. Vol. II. Part I. Amsterdam. 1779.
E mentioned the first Volume of this work with the
high esteem to which it has so just a title *, as it difcovers, in its Author, a moft extensive knowledge of the subject of commerce, and large and philosophical views with respect to its connection with the interests of humanity.
The ingenious Author shewed, in his first Volume, in oppofition to the aflertion of Mr. Hume, that the great quantity of gold and silver that has been poured into Europe since the discovery of America, and the variations consequent upon this that have taken place in the value of money, have been really detrimental to society in general. He observed, moreover, that this evil has been considerably increased by paper-circulation and credit;-he promised to shew this at length in a subsequent Volume, and he fulfils his engagement, in a masterly manner, in that now before us; at least in part: for of the three Parts into which this second Volume is divided, we have only the first in this publication; and we cannot disguise a sentiment of uneasiness, which we really feel, at receiving this precious Work piece-meal, and, as it were, dismembered. When an eminent artist uncovers the contour of one side of his statue, we are impatient to see the whole.
Be that as it may, what we see pleases us much, and gives us a full persuasion, that the rest will answer our utmost expectations.
The first Part, then, of this fecond Volume contains some discusions and ideas relative to modern banks and paper-credit in general. These discussions, which are not cxempt from
• See in our Review for July 1778, the first article of Foreiga Literature.
digressione digressions, are comprehended in seven Chapters. The first treats of Banks in general; the second exhibits a Compendious historical view of the commerce of the Netherlands, and particularly of Holland, until the epocha of the erection of the Bank of Amfipro dam; the third treats of the Bank of Amsterdam; the fourth contains a compendious history of the trade of England from the time of Julius Cæfar to the epocka of the death of Henry III. in 1272; in the fifth the same history is continued, till the establishment of the Bank of England; the fixth treats of the Bank of England'; the seventh and last is designed to give us an idea of the advantages and disadvantages that Banks may occasion in the societies where they are erected.
The second and fourth Chapters are more instructive to the Reader than neceffary to the main purpose of the Author, as they contain several historical details that have not a direct reference to the subject of commerce. The first, third, and sixth Chapters, that relate to banks in general, and to the banks of Amsterdam and London in particular, and the seventh, that treats of the advantages and disadvantages of banks, are the result of long and laborious researches, and contain instructive views of these important instruments of commerce.
All the different banks, fays our ingenious Author, may be reduced to two kinds: they are either mere inactive depositories, the value of whose contents circulates in the public,- or they are commercial depositories, which augment by trade the stock, whose value circulates on the wings of paper-credit. The Bank of Amsterdam is of the first kind : it carries on no immediate commerce of its own : far from being the occasion of any prejudice to individuals, it furnilhes them with a place where they may deposit their cash with the most perfect security. By the manner in which payments are made in bank-money among the merchants, the operations of commerce are executed with the greatest facility and expedition. The time and trouble that counting and transporting money must cost are saved, and the person that has deposited his property in the bank has nothing to fear from thieves or bankrupts.
But besides the utility of this eltablishment with respect to merchants and other private persons, there are several advantages resulting from it to the whole community: ift, The treasure of such a repository does not circulate all at once, either in commerce or in the community. 2dly, A repository also of this kind dirconcerts, or renders fruitless, several operations of particular cashiers, bankers, and stock-jobbers. There is another advantage, which ought scarcely to be mentioned, because it is a matter of the utmost delicacy, and that is, the resource that may be furnished by a bank, in such a period of extremity and danger as may justify the employment of this sacred depositum.
The Bank of Amsterdam being a mere depository, it is this circumstance that constitutes its capital. For this capital it pays no interest; on the contrary, the salaries of its officers are paid by the moderate charges to which the persons who have their property in the bank are subject, when they transfer that property, renew their titles in the registers, and on other occasions of a like nature. The other profits of the bank are derived from its estimation of the gold and silver deposited, the value at which they are received, and the sums advanced upon these deposits. Thus the bank acquires a revenue that places it above the want of any supply from government.
The case is not the same, says our Author, with the Bank of England. The principal object of the Bank of Amsterdam, which was erected in the year 1609, was to establish mutual confidence among traders, to maintain the credit of the Dutch commerce with foreign nations, and to accelerate its operations. The Bank of England, which dates its origin from the year 1694, was designed to enable government to fill up, with facility, the subscriptions to a loan, which circumstances required. At King William's acceflion to the throne, the national debt amounted to about a million Sterling; but the high interest of money, and the great quantity of specie that was Thut up in the coffers of a small number of individuals, rendered it difficult to raise fupplies; it therefore became necessary to look out for an expedient that might, at the same time, facilitate the loan, and reduce interest to a lower rate. The capital that was to form the fund of the Bank of England, was not to be a mere deposit, but an object of circulation, designed to give vigour to the circulation of specie, 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 subscribed with avidity, from the allurement of a high interest. Foreigners, and persons that carried on no trade, were permitted to place their money in the Bank, whose capital circulating both in reality and in representation, increased in activity and value, and thus occasioned a reduction of interest, which produced great advantages to government, by the savings that resulted from it.
When the subscribers completed the payment of 1,200,cool. in consideration of an annuity or interest of 100,000l, this sum was thrown into the exchequer, to support the expences of the war, and the Bank procured elsewhere the funds which it wanted. It employed the same 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 support their credit, and carry on their operations; whereas