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thor's course of travelling, his descriptions, and his reasoning, clear to the untravelled reader.
Art. VI. A Lecture on Muscular Motion, read at the Royal So
ciety, the 13th and 20th of November 1788. By Gilbert Blane, M.D. F.RS. 460. pp. 57.
25. 6. Murray. The lecture founded by Dr. Croone somewhat resembles the
bow of Ulyfies; it has afforded opportunities to several to try their strength, while the bow still remains unbent.
After remarking the extensive influence of muscular power in the animal economy, the present author goes on to consider the properties of a muscle in its dead state. The most striking of these, he observes, is its regular organization of parallel fibres. His ideas on this subject feem, to us, rather specious than convincing :
• This regular fibrous fructure of muscles, may be compared to the crystallitation of salts, and other regular forms which inanimate bodies assume, when palling to a solid form from a state of solucion or fusion. Every species of matter has a mode of aggregation peculiar to itself, when irs particles are at liberty to attract each other according to chat tendency which has been called their polarity. Those who first conceived this idea, seemed to have proceeded on the supposition of the ultimate particles of matter being folid bodies, infinitely hard, having their different fides endowed with different powers of attraction and repulsion, so as to give various configurations to the parts of matter, when concreting into a Solid form. There is another and later idea * of polarity, founded on the hypothesis of the ultimate particles of matter being combinations of attracting and repelling points, which when brought much within the natural limits of these powers, produce unequal degrees of attraction and repullion at equal distances from their common centre, thereby defining what may be called the Thape of the pare ticles, and constituting polarity. In whatever manner we conceive this to take place, some such circumstance seems universal, and perhaps necessary to all the varieties of folid matter; and there is in some instances a difference in the appearance and other proper: ries of the same substance, after passing from a fluid to a solid form, according as its particles have been at liberty to follow more or less freely the tendency of their polarity in the act of concretion. This may be illustrated by the freezing of water, and the cryftal. lisation of salts, which are more or less regular or confused, according to the circumstances in which they have taken place. The fame may be exemplified in metals and other substances; for it is well known, that the properties of iron and glass, in point of cohesion and elasticity, are very much affected by the quickness or Nownels with which they pass from a state of fusion to a state of so
• * See Dr. Blagden's Experiments on the cooling of water below jis freezing poins, Phil. Trans. vol. lxxviii. p. 143."
lidity. It is probably in some circumstance of this kind that muscles differ from other soft animal matter. We cannot trace by inspection the manner in which the Avid nutritious matter is applied in forming solid parts ; but as muscles are composed of parts so regalarly figured and endowed with contractility, it seems probable that there is some proviĝon made by Nature, whereby the particles follow the exact impulse of their polarity, and constitute a more exquiste structure than in other parts of the body.'
A muscle is next considered in its living state, and the nature of its contractile power or motion is investigated. The conclufion which is drawn from the author's reasoning on this head is, that it seems most agreeable to the analogy of nature, to refer muscular motion to an original law of animated matter, whereby its particles are endowed with an attractive power for which no cause can be assigned, any more than for gravitation, cohesion, or chemical affinity.- This doctrine is attempted to be proved by experiments, thewing the increased power of cohesion in muscular fibres under contraction; as likewise the increased hardnefs in a muscle in that state, while its density and temperature remain the same.
The Doctor next offers his theory of muscular contraction :
. It was formerly mentioned,' he observes, that the regular structure of solid bodies depended on the polarity and shape of their integrant parts. Now all bodies, except such as are spbæri. cal, must have a long and a Mort axis; and let us imagine the fibres of muscles to be composed of fphæroidal particles; we may then conceive relaxation to consist in their being disposed with their long axis in the line of the fibres, and contraction to confift in their short axis being disposed more or less in that direction. This will not only account for the decurtation, and uniform dengity, but for the lateral swell, and also for the increased hardness and cohefion ; for though the particles do not approach or recede, as in bodies fimply elastic, yet their power of attraction will be increased by their centres being brought nearer, and by being applied to each other by more oblate furfaces. This hypothefis accords with what has been before proved, concerning the unchangeable denfity; for what is loft in one dimension, is gained in another; and the caufe for there being no increase of temperature, depends probably on the same circumstance by which the denfity is preserved unaltered.'
This account of muscular motion, it is added, does not ac. count for the operation of the ftimuli: it still remains a ques. tion, by what efficient power this contraction is excited ; and
By being applied I do not mean that they are actually in coze tad; for it is evident, from the effect of heat in expanding bodies, and of cold in condensing them, that there can be no such thing as contact of the ultimate particles of matter, even on the fuppofition that these consist of impenetrable bodies infinitely hard.'
it is a question which the author professes himself unable to explain. He is contented, therefore, with endeavouring to enumerate the various stimuli. These he divides into internal and external ;-under each of which heads we meet with many important observations, and curious disquisitions. The nature of instinct is investigated, and particular attention is paid to + two of the most curious and important instincts, Habit and IMITATION. Some remarks are also added on that property in muscles, which preserves them in a state of constant tenlion.
The lecture closes with an inquiry into the action of muscles, confidered merely as mechanical powers.
We have given a fort view of the contents of Dr. Blane's lecture, which we recommend to the perufal of our readers. They will find the incidental remarks and reasonings valuable and interesting, though the main question continues involved in its ancient obscurity. His theory of muscular contraction is, in our minds, totally unsatisfactory; and the mode of operation, by which the natural causes excite contraction, is not investigated. On the first head, he has done little ; on the lecond, he has attempted nothing.
*** For our account of Dr. Fordyce's Lecture on this subject, see Review, vol. Ixxix. p. 246.
Art. VII. The Lounger's Common place Book; or Alphabetical
Anecdotes. Being a Biographic, Literary, Political, and Satiri. cal Vade Mecum, which he who runs may read. To be conti
nued occasionally. 8vo. pp. 171. 6s. Boards. Kerby. 1792. WE
e have heard it currently observed, that few people are
handsome enough to appear in their nightcaps; a prudent author ought, perhaps, to be equally cautious of exposing his thoughts in the déshabille of his commonplace book. book may be characterized as a kind of flut’s hole, where an author lays up all his fag-ends of reading, and shreds of reflection, till he finds occafion to fort and patch them together for particular purposes :--but to have the whole contents poured forth at once, without the calls of time and occafinn, is treating us as auctioneers do at the close of a tale of household goods; when, if we want a warming-pan, we are encumbered with its companions, a pair of bellows, a cheese-toaster, and a cinder-fieve. Such a lot is the Lounger's Common-placebook, which the writer offers as a help for an idle or a forgetful man, who lolls his mornings on fofas, in Hyde-Park, the coffee-house, the fruit-shop, or St. James's Street :' to such men, indeed, a common place book, even in its rudest form, may not be unacceptable.
. These anecdotes are chiefly biographical and characteristical, as well of the living as of the dead, who are all treated with equal freedom. The author often adds some pertinent reflections: but his range is extenfive, and we are frequently drawn afide from one subject to another very unexpectedly ; though his remarks, with some exceptions, are made with sense and acuteness. To give an idea of the company here grouped together, we may specify Messrs. Pitt, Fox, and Burke, Malfaniello, Cardinal de Retz, Mary Squires the gipsey, Wesley the Methodist, Dr. Dodd, Rhynwick Williams the monster, Lord Chesterfield, Stephen Duck, and Bruce the traveller; with some obscure names that the writer has chosen to celebrate! As our readers will doubtless with for a specimen of this Commonplace book, we shall extract two or three articles:
• CHATEAUNEUF, Mr. keeper of the seals in the tumultuous mi. pority of Lewis the Thirteenth.
• But it is not for keeping seals, or keeping a king's conscience, that he is mentioned.
• At the age of nine he was introduced to a French bishop, wha said he would give him an orange if he would tell him where God js. “My lord, I will give you two if you will tell me where he is BOI," replied the boy. He had hardly read the sublime scepticism of Lucretius:
“ Jupiter eft quodcunque vides quocunque moveris."
REYNOLDS, Sir JOSHUA, president of the Royal Academy, almost against his will, and a painter, as eminent for the masterly exer: çise of bis pencil, as the candour and benevolence of his character. He has produced a train of servile imitators, who, if they would be satisfied in their efforts to attain his excelleocies, would not excite our contempt: but, when we find them copying with culpable in. duftry, and despicable exactness, his obvious errors, it reminds us of the base flaterers of Alexander the Great, who, without one pretence to that monarch's heroism in battle, and moderation in vic. tory, selected an obliquicy of one of his shoulders, as the servile object of their imitation. These puny insects of the bruth, these murderers of oil and canvass, should recollect, that nothing but the President's superiority of genius can excuse that varno mania, which has of late years so unhappily poflest him. These drivellers fhould be reminded, that in their compositions, an unwieldy mas of paint cannot disguise impotence of invention, nor an ocean of glaring varnish make us forget a total want of effect.
• I have heard long and loud complaints, that the pi&tures of Sir Jofhua, like every other earthly bleffing, are transtory, and of short duration. May I be permitied, but with due submission, to suggest an opinion on the subject. The knight is unwilling, that the unnatural made up things, the gewgaws of modern quality and fashion, that the sailow, unsociai ladness of the haughty nabob,
The character here given of Sir Jothua was writien before the death of this eminent and excellent artist,
that the unmeaning visage of city dullness, with a long list of Tharpers, horse jockies, gamblers, and buffoons, should be handed down to posterity by his immortal pencil. As an artist, and a good. natured man, he cannot, without offence, turn away any one from his door.
• Blending, therefore, on his pallet, a due proportion of politeness to others, with some regard to his own posthumous fame, to these mistaken creatures, who forget that oblivion and non-existence is their only heaven, he affords the short-lived fatisfaction of materials like themselves and their memories, temporary, glittering, and perishable. To-day in the drawing room, and to morrow in the garret, or the dungeon of the broker.
• But beauty, breathing on the canvass, and worth, which we venerate or lament, fall be handed down to after times.
• The speeches of this artist to the Royal Academicians, contain much ingenious theory, and much useful practical advice; and the potes which he communicated to his friend Mason, for that gentle. man's translation of Dufresnoy, evince much classical erudition, and prove bim to have been no superficial studier of the ancient schools.
• His ftraggle, (when among the pretenders to taste in virtú,) be. tween his judgement and his politeness, has been admirably hit of by Goldsmith, in the poem of Retaliation:
“ When they judg’d without tafte, he was till hard of hearing, But when they talk'd of their Raphaels, Corregio, and fuff,
He pulld down his trumpet, and took out his snuff.” • Russel, Tom, fellow of New College, Oxford, and author of a collection of sonnets, published since his death. Several of his juvenile compositions have been omitted by the editor of these elegant trifles, which would have done poor Ruffel no discredit. This young man, who, (to use his own words) “ brought cares on himself to drive ours away,” gave early proofs of intellectual excelleoce, and poetic tendency: this latter disposition could not escape the keen eye of Dr. Warton, who has been accused of converting Winchefter school into a hot house of rhymers. His school exercises procured him considerable applause, and when he went to the univerfity, he was considered as a youth of much hope.
• The great advantage of forming useful and splendid connec. tions, is the backneyed argument advanced in favour of a public system of education. But the views are so obvious, and the ridiculous failores of interested selfishness so frequent, chat a man who is observed in Gidiously to select for his acquaintance the rich and great alone, is instantly described as a dead shot at a yellow hammer ; from the circumstance of young noblemen having a golden tuft on their caps, with some other ornaments, and immunities, at once injurious io, and incompatible with, impartiality and good discipline.
. Can we be surprised if a young ambitious mind, like bar of Ruffel, was deluded from the rugged paths of study, by the fasci. nation of elegant society, and the golden dream of a wealthy patron. If in lome infances, he courted too affiduously the company of particular circles, it ought to be observed, that one fo able to