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M O N T H L Y REVIEW
EN LARG E D
ART. I. Histoire et Mémoires de la Société des Sciences Physiques de
Lausanne : i. e. The History and Memoirs of the Philosophical Scciety of Lausanne, Vol. III. For the Years 1787 and 1788. 40. pp. 484. Lausanne. 1790. AS
s the compilers of this volume have not introduced it by
any prefatory address, nor have given any farther account of the ftate of the society, than by informing us that, since the publication of the last volume, it has acquired four new members, we shall imitate their conciseness, and proceed to give a brief 'view of the memoirs ; in which we fall follow the classical arrangement of the table of contents, in preference to the promiscuous manner in which they follow each other in the body of the work.
GENERAL PHYSICS, On Fires, and the Means of extinguishing them. By the Abbé BERTHOLON.
This subject is important and interesting : but the Abbé has rather collected the observations and experiments made by others, than conveyed any new and original information. He ascribes the inflammability of bodies to the inflammable gas which they contain ; and which, on their decomposition by heat, is let loose, and, coming into contact with the atmosphere, is ignited, and bursts out into fame. The principal part of the memoir is devoted to a detail of the means of preventing and extinguishing fires; and here the author's chief advice, wbich is, in the construction of buildings, to employ as little App. Rev, VOL.VIII, LI
as possible of those materials which yield inflammable air their decomposition,' will be allowed to be perfe&tly juft ia theory, but will probably be little followed in practice; nor is the security resulting from brick foors likely to compensate for their inelegant appearance. He informs us, however, that M. Ango, an architect of Paris, has contrived a method of con. ftrucling a fioor with iron bars, instead of timber joists, which is even less expensive than the common mode. The wood used in building may be rendered uninfiammable by being steeped in a faline solution; and, by being prepared with alum, even canvas and paper hangings may be made to burn without fame. Many other precautions are mentioned by the Abbé, which we shall not detail, because they are universally known, and, we believe, pretty generally adopted.
After describing the inventions of Mic. Hartly and Lord Mahon, together with a preparation fimilar to that of Lord M. recommended by M. Frederic of Vienna, the Abbé gives an account of a substance, which he calls paper fione, invented by Dr. Faye, physician to the Swedish Admiralıy. Its comporition is not known: but, from a chemical analysis, it appears to confitt of two parts of an earthy bafis, and one of animal oil, mixed up with two parts of fome vegetable fubftance. Carlscrone, a hut was built of diy wood covered with this paper, which is not more than two lines in thickness; it was then filled with combustibles, which were set on fire and confumed without burning the building: the paper, which had been pasted on the boards, was reduced to a cinder, and formed a kind of incrustation which prelerved them from the effects of the flame. As this paper readily takes any colour, it may be rendered ornamental as well as useful.
In his directions for extinguihing fires, the Abbé observes that water, in which a small quantity of potath has been dissolved, is more efficacious than any other; he also recommends an engine, called the Hydraulic ventilator, invented by M. Calieli, which is worked by vanes inftead of pistons, and may be managed by one person. The advantages ascribed by our author to this machine are very confiderable: but we cannot Tuppress our aitonishment on being told that, wiin a cylinder of only three inches in diameter, it will throw up more water than the larger fire-engines : however, it certainly appears to be less expensive and more portable than the common torcing purps, and may be of use in extinguishing a fire before it has made any great progress. The utility of garden mould with wet sand, in this reped, is well known : but it can seldom be applied ;' and we dubt the efficacy of the kind of catapulta, which the author recommends for throwing it to any diftance.
The remainder of the memoir contains some very just but obvious remarks on the necessity of a regular discipline among firemen; and it concludes with a particular description of the engines, cisterns, and pipes, at the opera-house in Paris, the construction and arrangement of which the Abbé recommends to be adopted in every public theatre.
Account of a Species of Somnambulism occafioned by a Blow on the Head. By L. LEVADE, M. D.
This disorder appears to have been what Etmuller and some other medical writers call an epilepsy of the fecond degree. The patient, a lad of about nineteen years of age,
had ceived a violent blow on the temple from a brutal fellow, to whom he had been apprentice. During the paroxism, refentment of the ill treatment which he had received from his master was the prevailing imprellion on his mind, and regulated all his actions : but when the fit was over, he remembered nothing of what he had said and done in it. Dr. Levade prescribed frequent and copious bleeding, and he conceives that it was of great service; we think it fortunate that this abundant and repeated evacuation did not prevent the patient's recovery, which we racher attribute to the use of the bark, valerian, and flowers of zinc.
Report by Messrs. LEVADE, Reynier, and BERTHOUT Van Berchem Jun", commissioned by the Society to inquire into a Case of NoEtambulation.
This report was publithed in the year 1788, and an account of it was given in the 8oth volume of our Review, p. 637, to which we refer the reader.
Two Memoirs concerning the conparative Dilatation of Mercury and Spirits of Wine. By M. GAUSSEN. The experiments made by Micheli, and those afterward
performed by M. De Luc, for comparing the dilatation of spirits of wine with that of mercury in the thermometer, are well known to philosophers. These gentlemen discovered, not only that the progressive dilatation of spirits, from the freezing point up to the temperature of boiling water, is very different from that of mercury, but also that is increases in ratio as the Auid rises in the tube. If the interval between the above points be divided into eighty degrees, the expansion of the spiric below forty degrees is found to be less than that of the mercury; from forty to forty-five degrees of the mercurial thermometer, the dilatation of the two fluids is nearly equal : but, in the higher degrees of temperature, the expansion of the spirit is much greater than that of the mercury. LI 2
16,4 + 4,5
M. Gaussen observes that, in M. De Luc's tables, thert are some irregularities in the progreffion of the dilatation of the fpirit; these he has endeavoured to correct by comparing the several expanfions of spirits of different degrees of strength, and by taking the mean results of these experiments. The progresfion, thus obtained, agrees nearly with that which M. De Luc had deduced from calculation, and is as follows: Merc,
40°, 1 10 = 30,9 + 4° 7,9 50 = 40,1 + 5,2 45,3 15 = 7,9 + 4,2 12,1 55 = 45,3 + 5,4 50,7 20 = 12,1 + 4,3
60 = 50,7 + 5,5
56,2 20,9 56,2 + 5,7
61,9 30' = 20,9 + 4,6 25,5 70 = 61,9 + 5,9 67.8 35 = 25,5 + 4,7 30,2 75 = 67,8 + 6
73,8 40 = 30,2 t 4,9 35,1 1 80 = 73,8 + 6,7 8o. In his second memoir, M. Gaussen exhibits a comparative view of the tables of Micheli and De Luc, by reducing the former to the scale adopted by the latter of these philosophers.
ZOOLOGY. Observations relative to the Natural History of Wasps. By L. LEVADE, M.D.
Dr. LEVADE relates that, during the month of October 1788, he observed fome wasps lying in wait for flies, and that they cut off the legs and wings of those which they caught, and carried the mutilated carcases to their neft : he also savs that, toward the latter end of that month, a neft was discovered containing a great number of walps, which seemed to be in full vigour. From these facts, he concludes that the Abbé Le Pluche and M. Valmont de Bomare were mistaken in afferting, that these infects destroy their young on the approach of winter. An in. stance is here given which thews that the walp, notwithstanding its natural ferocity, is susceptible of attachment to its benefactor. Having found a small neft, with three of its cells closed up, the Doctor carried it home and placed it under a glass receiver ; in a few days, two young wafps came forth, and, as he allowed them no food except fome treacle which he offered them on the tip of his finger, they foon grew fo tame and familiar with him, that, on his raising the glass, they would instantly settle on his hand, and suffer him to take hold of them and put them again under the receiver, without attempting either to escape, or to iting him.
BOTANY. Memoir on the Origin and Formation of Mushrooms. By M. FRED. CASIMIR MEDICUS. 7
M. Medicus is of opinion that mushrooms are produced, by means of moisture and heat, from the condensed juices of vegetables, in the first stage of their decompofition; for those which are actually become putrid are unfit for this process of nature, which our author calls vegetable crystalization. He thinks that mushrooms may thus be produced, not only from any vegetable, but also from animal substances; and he maintains that the mouldiness, which is collected on meat, that has been dressed and kept in a damp place, is nothing more than a kind of mushroom. We shall not detain the reader with the unphilosophical reasoning adduced in support of this hypothesis of equivocal generation, which, in this enlightened age, will not find many advocates.
MINERALOGY. Observations tending to prove that all the Arenaceous part of Switzerland, and the Plains of the Circle of Bavaria, owe their Origin to Lakes of frejh Water. By Count RAZOUMOWSKI.
In a work, entitled The Natural History of Forat and the adjacent Countries, published by the author of this memoir, he had exprefled his opinion that all the great lakes of Switzerland once formed one vast mass of water, out of which the summit of the present mountains then rose as so many islands. The article before us contains the observations that occurred to him during a journey, which he took with a view to examine whether the appearance and strata of this country were such as to confirm his hypothesis. These particulars are here very minutely described i but, as they would not be very interesting to our readers, we shall only inform them, that the Count considers his theory as so fully confirmed, that he proceeds to ascertain the extent and boundaries of his supposed lake; of which he says the greatest length, from south-west to north-cast, must have been fifty-nine leagues, and the greatest breadth, twenty-three; he imagines, that it was bounded on the south by the mountains of Upper Faucigny near the lake of Geneva, on the north-east by the mountains of Suabia, on the west by mount Jura, and on the east by the calcareous mountains of the district of Aigle.
He also thinks that the plains of Suabia and Bavaria, comprized between the northern banks of the lake of Constance and che Danube, once formed a great bason of fresh water, which communicated with that of Switzerland.
On the Natural History of the Circle of Bavaria. By the Same.
This memoir is written with a view to support the hypothesis advanced in the former: but to those who have not a very strong predilection for geological conjectures, it will appear dry and uninteresting. The Count supposes that the great