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mitted and reported many other similar try: it may be propagated by parting the tales concerning the extraordinary powers roots in autumn. They should have a moist and virtues of this bird; but it is needless to soil, and a shady situation. recite them. Its flesh has the odour of musk, ALCHORNEA, in botany, a genus of and is nnpalatable. Plate II. Aves, fig. 4. the Monadelphia Octandria class and order,
ALCHEMY, that branch of chemistry of which there is but a single species. Male, which had for its principal objects the trans- calyx three, tive-leaved; corolla none : fe. mutation of all the metals into gold; the male, calyx five-toothed; corolla none; panacea, or universal remedy for all diseases; styles two-parted, and the alkaliest, or universal menstruum. ALCOHOL, a term applied by chemists Those who pursued these delusive projects to the purely spirituous part of liquors that gradımlly assumed the form of a sect, under have undergone the vinous fermentation. the name of Alchemists, a term made up of It is in all cases the product of the sacchathe word chemist, and the Arabian article rine principle, and is formed by the succes. al as a prefix. The alchemists laid it down sive processes of vinous fermentation and as a first principle, that all metals are com- distillation. Various kinds of ardent spirits posed of the same ingredients, or that the are known in commerce, as brandy, rum, substances at least which compose gold &c.; but they differ in colour, taste, smell, exist in all metals, and are capable of being &c. The spirituous part, however, is the obtained from them. The great object of same in each, and may be procured in its their researches was to convert the baser purest state by a second distillation, which metals into gold. The substance which pro- is termed rectification. See DistiLLATION, duced this property they called lapis philo- FERMENTATION, and RECTIFICATION. Alsophorum, “ the philosophers' stone;" and cohol is procured most largely in this coun. many of them boasted that they were in try from a fermented grain-liquor; but in possession of that grand instrument. The France and other wine countries, the spirit alchemists were established in the west of is obtained from the distillation of wine, Europe as early as the ninth century; but hence the term spirit of wine. See BRANbetween the eleventh and fifteenth alchemy Dy. Alcohol is a colourless, transparent was in its most flourishing state. The prin- liquor, appearing to the eye like pure cipal alchemists were Albertus Magnus, water. It possesses a peculiar penetrating Roger Bacon, Arnoldus de Villa Nova, smell, distinct from the proper odour of the Raymond Lully, and the two Isaacs of distilled spirit from which it is procured. Holland.
To the taste it is excessively hot and burnALCHIMILLA, or ALCHEMILLA, ladies' ing; but without any peculiar flavour. From mantle, in botany, a genus of the Tetrandria its lightness, the bubbles which are formed Monogynia class of plants, the calyx of which by shaking subside almost instantaneously, is a single-leafed perianthium: there is no which is one method of judging of its purity. corolla, nor any pericarpium; the cup finally Alcohol may be volatilized by the heat of becomes a capsule, containing a single ellip- the hand. It is converted into vapour at tical and compressed seed. There are four the temperature of 55° of Fahrenheit, and species. A. vulgaris, common ladies' mantle, it boils at 165o. It has never been frozen or beanfoot, is frequent in meadows and by any degree of cold, natural or artificial, pastures in England. It is perennial, and and on this account it has been much used flowers in June and July. Horses, sheep, in the construction of thermometers. Alcoand goats eat it. The great richness of the hol mixes with water in all proportions, and milk in the celebrated dairies of the Alps during the mixture heat is extricated, which is attributed to the plenty of this plant, and is sensible to the hand. At the same time that of the rib-wort plantain. The plant is there is a mutual penetration of the parts, astringent, and in Gothland and other so that the bulk of the two liquors when places a tincture of its leaves is given in mixed is less than when separate: consespasmodic and convulsive cases. A. alpina, quently the specific gravity of the mixture cinquefoil, or alpine ladies' mantle, grows is greater than the mean specific gravity of naturally in the North of England, North ' the two liquors taken apart. Alcohol is Wales, and in the Highlands of Scotland. supposed to consist of It is a native of the northern parts of Eu
Carbon........... 28.53 rope, and is admitted into the gardens on
7.87 account of its elegance. The A. pentaphyl
Water....... 63.6 lea grows naturally on the Alps, and is found in the botanical gardens in this coun
Its uses are many and important: it is institution, enforced by the consideration of employed as a solvent for those resinous rewards and punishmeuts, both temporal and gums which form the basis of numerous eternal, and to bring all to the obedience of varnishes : it is employed also as the basis Mahomet, as the prophet and ambassador of of artificial cordials and liquors, to which a God, who was to establish the true religion flavour and additional taste are given by on earth, and be acknowledged chief ponparticular admixtures : it serves as a solvent tiff in spiritual matters. The chief point for the more active parts of vegetables, un- therefore inculcated in the Alcoran is the der the form of tinctures. The antiseptic unity of God, to restore which, the prophet power of alcohol renders it particularly confessed was the chief end of his mission. valuable in preserving particular parts of The rest is taken up in prescribing necessary the body as anatomical preparations. The laws and directions, frequent admonitions steady and uniform heat which it gives to moral and divine virtues, the worship and during combustion, makes it a valuable reverence of the Supreme Being, and resigmaterial for burning in lamps.
nation to his will. ALCORAN, or ALKORAN, the name of a As to the book itself, as it now stands, it book held equally sacred among the Maho- is divided into 114 Suras, or chapters, which metans as the bible is among Christians. are again divided into smaller portions or
The word aleorun properly signifies read- verses. But besides these divisions, Maho. ing; a title given it by way of eminence, metan writers farther divide it into 60 equal just as we call the Old and New Testament portions, called hiz, or hazah; each of which Scriptures.
they subdivide into four parts. That Mahomet was the author of the Al After the title at the head of each chapter, coran is allowed both by Christians and except the ninth, is pretixed the formula, the Mahometans themselves; only the latter “ In the name of the most merciful God," are fully persuaded that it was revealed to called by the Mahometans Bismallah, wherehim by the ministry of the angel Gabriel; with they constantly begin all their books whereas the former, with more reason, think and writings, as the distinguishing mark of it all his own invention, assisted by one Ser- their religion. gius, a Christian monk. The Alcoran is held Twenty-nine of the chapters of the Alconot only of divine original, but eternal and ran have this further peculiarity, that there uncreated, remaining, as some express it, in are certain letters of the alphabet prefixed the very essence of God. The first trans- to them. In some a single letter; in others, eript lias been from everlasting by God's two or more. These letters are supposed, throne, written on a table of vast bigness, in by the true believers, to conceal divers prowhich are also recorded the divine decrees, found mysteries, the understanding whereof past and future. A copy from this table, in has been communicated to no man, their one volume, on paper, was sent down to the prophet excepted. Yet some have prelowest heaven, in the month of Ramadan, on tended to find their meaning, by supposing the night of power. From whence it was
the letters to stand for so many words, exdelivered out to Mahomet by parcels, some pressing the names, attributes, and works of at Mecca, and some at Medina. Though he God; others explain these letters from the had the consolation of seeing the whole once organ made use of in their pronunciation; a year, and in the last part of his life twice. others from their value in numbers. Ten new chapters were delivered entire, the There are seven principal editions of the greater part only in separate periods, which Koran, two at Medina, one at Mecca, one were written down from time to time by the at Cufa, one at Bassora, one in Syria, and prophet's amanuensis, in this or that part, of the common or vulgate edition. The first this or the other chapter, as he directed. contains 6000 verses; the second and fifth, The first parcel that was revealed, was the 6214; the third, 6219; the fourth, 6236; five first verses of the ninety-sixth chapter, the sixth, 6226; and the last, 6225; but the which the prophet received in a cave of number of words and letters is the same in Mount Harah, near Mecca.
all, viz. 77,639 words, and 323,015 letters. The general aim of the Alcoran was, to The Alcoran is allowed to be written with unite the professors of the three different the utmost elegance and purity of language, religions then followed in Arabia, Idolaters, in the dialect of the Koreishites, the most Jews, and Christians, in the knowledge and noble and polite of all the Arabians, but worship of one God, under the sanction of with some mixture of other dialects. It is certain laws, and the outward signs of cere- the standard of the Arabic tongue, and as monies, partly of ancient, and partly of novel the orthodox believe, and are taught by the
book itself, inimitable by any human pen; rous hydræ. There are 28 species. From and therefore insisted on as a permanent some experiments made by Mr. Hatchett, miracle, greater than that of raising the and related by him in the Phil. Trans. on dead, and alone sufficient to convince the several of the species of alcyonium he was led world of its divine original; and to this mi- to conclude, that they were all composed of racle did Mahomet himself chiefly appeal, a soft, flexible, membranaceous substance, for the confirmation of his mission, publicly slightly bardened by carbonate, mixed with challenging the most eloquent schoolmen in a small portion of phospate of lime. Arabia, to produce a single chapter com ALDEBARAN, in astronomy, a star of parable to it. A late ingenious and candid the first magnitude, called in English the writer, who is a very good judge, allows the Bull's eye, as making the eye of the constelstyle of the Alcoran to be generally beautiful lation Taurus. and fluent, especially where it imitates the ALDER-tree, the English name of a geprophetic manner, and scripture phrase; nus of trees, called by botanists alnus. See concise, and often obscure ; adorned with ALNUS. bold figures, after the eastern taste; enli ALDERMAN, in the British policy, a vened with florid and sententious expres. magistrate subordinate to the mayor of a sions ; and, in many places, especially where city, or town-corporate. the majesty and attributes of God are des. The number of these magistrates is not cribed, sublime and magnificent.
limited, but is more or less according to the To the pomp and harmony of expression magnitude of the place. In London they some ascribe all the force and effect of the are twenty-six; each having one of the wards Alcoran ; which they consider as a sort of of the city committed to his care. Their music, equally fitted to ravish and amaze, office is for life; so that when one of them with other species of that art. In this Ma- dies or resigns, a ward-mote is called, who homet succeeded so well, and so strangely return two persons, one of whom the lord captivated the minds of his audience, that mayor and aldermen choose to supply the several of his opponents thought it the effect vacancy. of witchcraft and enchantment, i he him
ALBROVANDA, in botany, a genus of self complains.
the Pentantria Pentagynia class and order, So numerous are the commentaries on the of which there is only one species, viz. the Alcoran, that a catalogue of their bare titles A. vesiculosa, found in marshes in Italy would make a volume: we have a very ele- and India, with bladders like utricularia, but gant translation of it into English by Mr. in bunches. Sale; who has added a preliminary discourse, ALE-conner, an officer in London, who with other occasional notes, which the cu- inspects the measures of public houses. They rioas may consult on this head.
are four in number, and chosen by the comAmong Mahometans this book is held in mon-hall of the city. the greatest reverence and esteem. The Ale-houses, no licence to be granted to Mussulmen dare not touch it without being any person unless he produce a certificate first washed, or legally purified ; to prevent of his good character, under the hands of the which an inscription is put on the cover or clergyman, churchwardens, &c. Penalties Label: “Let none touch it but they who for selling without a licence, unless at fairs, are clean," It is read with great care and 408. for the first offence, 41. for the second : respect. They swear by it, take omens
no person can sell wine to be drank at his from it on all weighty occasions, carry it own house, who has not an ale licence. with them to war, write sentences of it on ALE-silver, a tax paid yearly to the lord their banners,adorn it with gold and precious mayor of London, by all who sell ale within stones, and do not suffer it to be in the pos- the city. session of any who hold a different religion. ALECTRA, in botany, a genus of the
ALCYON, in natural history, a name Didynamia Angiosperma class and order, of given to the kingsfisher. See Alcedo.
which there is a single species only, viz. A. ALCYONIUM, in natural history, a ge- capensis, a native of the Cape of Good hus of Zoophytes, the characters of which Hope; found in grassy places near rivers; are, that the animal grows in the form of a flowering in November and December. plant; the stem or root is fixed, fleshy, ge ALEMBERT (JOHN LE Rond D') an latinous, spongy, or coriaceous, with a cel- emineut French mathematician and philoso lular epidermis, penetrated with stellated pher, and one of the brightest ornaments pores, and shooting out tentaculated ovipa- of the 18th century. He was perpetual
secretary to the French Academy of him one day,“ be any thing but a philosopher Sciences, and a member of most of the phi- -and what is a philosopher?-a fool, who losophical academies and societies of Europe. toils and plagues himself all his life, that
D'Alembert was born at Paris, the 16th people may talk of him when he is dead.” of November 1717, and derived the name As D'Alembert's fortune did not far exof John le Rond, from that of the church ceed the demands of necessity, his friends near which, after his birth, he was exposed advised him to think of some profession that as a foundling. But his father, Destouches might enable him to increase it. He accordCanon, informed of this circumstance, listen- ingly turned his views to the law, and took ing to the voice of nature and duty, took his degrees in that faculty, which he soon measures for the proper education of his after abandoned, and applied himself to the child, and for his future subsistence in a study of medicine. Geometry, however, was state of ease and independence. His mo always drawing him back to his former pur. ther, it is said, was a lady of rank, the cele suits; so that after many ineffectual strug. brated Mademoiselle Tencin, sister to car gles to resist its attractions, he renounced dinal Tencin, archbishop of Lyons.
all views of a lucrative profession, and gave He received his first education among the himself up entirely to mathematics and Jansenists, in the College of the Four Na- poverty. In the year 1741 he was admitted tions, where he gave early signs of genius a member of the Academy of Sciences; for and capacity. In the first year of his philo. which distinguished literary promotion, at sophical studies, he composed a Commentary so early an age (24), he had prepared the on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, way by correcting the errors of the “Analyse The Jansenists considered this production Demontrée” of Reyneau, which was highly as an omen that portended to the party of esteemed in France in the line of analytics Port-Royal, a restoration to some part of He afterwards set himself to examine, with their former splendor, and hoped to find one attention and assiduity, what must be the day in d'Alembert a second Pascal. To motion and path of a body, which passes render the resemblance more complete, from one fluid into another denser fluid, in they engaged their pupil in the study of the a direction oblique to the surface between mathematics ; but they soon perceived that the two fluids. Two years after his election bis growing attachment to this science was to a place in the academy, he published his likely to disappoint the hopes they had “ Treatise on Dynamics." The new prine formed with respect to his future destina- ciple developed in this treatise consisted in tion: they therefore endeavoured to divert establishing an equality, at each instant, behim from the pursuit; but their endeavours tween the changes that the motion of a body were fruitless.
has undergone, and the forces or powers On his quitting the college, finding him- which liave been employed to produce them; self alone, and unconnected in the world, he or, to express the same thing otherwise, in sought an asylum in the house of his nurse, separating into two parts the action of the who was the wife of a glazier. He hoped moving powers, and considering the one as that his fortune, though not ample, would producing alone the motion of the body, in enlarge the subsistence, and better the con. the second instant, and the other as employdition of her family, which was the only one ed to destroy that which it had in the first. that he could consider as his own. It was So early as the year 1744, D'Alembert had here, therefore, that he fixed his residence, applied this principle to the theory of the resolving to apply himself entirely to the equilibrium, and the motion of fluids : and study of geometry. And here he lived, all the problems before resolved in physics, during the space of 30 years, with the became in some measure its corollaries. The greatest simplicity, discovering the augmen- discovery of this new principle was followed tation of his means only by increasing dis- by that of a new calculus, the first essays of plays of his beneficence, concealing his which were published in a “ Discourse on growing reputation and celebrity from these the General Theory of the Winds;" to this honest people, and making their plain and the prize-medal was adjudged by the Acauncouth manners the subject of good-natur- demy of Berlin, in the year 1746, which ed pleasantry and philosophical observation. proved a new and brilliant addition to the His good nurse perceived his ardent activity; fame of D'Alembert. This new calculus of heard him mentioned as the writer of many “ Partial Differences” he applied, the year books; and beheld him with a kind of following, to the problem of vibrating chords, compassion : “You will never," said she to the resolution of which, as well as the theory
of the oscillations of the air, and the propa- haps one of the most capital productions the gation of sound, had been but imperfectly philosophy of the age can boast of: giveu by the mathematicians who preceded Some time after this, D'Alembert publishahim; and these were his masters or his rivals. ed his “Philosophical, Historical, and Phi. In the year 1749 he furnished a method of lological Miscellanies.” These were follow. applying his principle to the motion of any ed by the “ Memoirs of Christiana, Queen of body of a given figure. He also resolved Sweden;" in which D'Alembert shewed that the problem of the precession of the equi- he was acquainted with the natural rights of noses; determining its quantity, and ex- mankind, and was bold enough to assert plaining the phenomenon of the nutation them. His“Essay on the Intercourse of Wen of the terrestrial axis discovered by Dr. of Letters with Persons high in Rank and Bradley.
Office," wounded the former to the quick, as In 1752, D'Alembert published a treatise it exposed to the eyes of the public the ignoon the “Resistance of Fluids,” to which he miny of those servile chains which they gave the modest title of an " Essay;” though feared to shake off, or were proud to wear. it contains a multitude of original ideas and A lady of the court hearing one day the new observations. About the same time he author accused of having exaggerated the published, in the Memoirs of the Academy despotism of the great, and the submission of Berlin, “ Researches concerning the In- they require, answered slyly, “ If he had tegral Calculus,” which is greatly indebted consulted me, I would have told him still to him for the rapid progress it has made in more of the matter.” the present century.
D'Alembert gave elegant specimens of his While the studies of D'Alembert were con- literary abilities in his translations of some fined to mere mathematics, he was little select pieces of Tacitus. But these occupaknown or celebrated in his native country. tions did not divert him from his mathematiHis connections were limited to a small so cal studies: for about the same time he enciety of select friends. But his cheerful con- riched the Encyclopédie with a multitude of Fersation, his smart and lively sallies, a bap- excellent articles in that line, and composed py method at telling a story, a singular mix. his “Researches on several Important Points tare of malice of speech with goodness of of the System of the World,” in which he heart, and of delicacy of wit with simplicity carried to a higher degree of perfection the of manners, rendering him a pleasing and solution of the problem concerning the perinteresting companion, his company began turbations of the planets, that had several to be much sought after in the fashionable years before been presented to the Acadecircles. His reputation at length made its my. In 1759 he published his “ Elements way to the throne, and rendered him the of Philosophy :" a work much extolled as object of royal attention and beneficence. remarkable for its precision and perspicuity. The consequence was a pension from govern. The resentment that was kindled (and the ment, which he owed to the friendship of disputes that followed it) by the article count D'Argenson.
GENEVA, inserted in the Encyclopédie, are But the tranquillity of D'Alembert was well known. D'Alembert did not leave abated when his fame grew more extensive, this field of controversy with flying colours. and when it was known beyond the circle of Voltaire was an auxiliary in the contest: but his friends, that a fine and enlightened taste as he had no reputation to lose, in point of for literature and philosophy accompanied candour and decency; and as he weakened his mathematical genius. Our author's eu- the blows of his enemies, by throwing both logist ascribes to envy, detraction, &c. all them and the spectators into fits of laughter, the opposition and censure that D'Alembert the issue of the war gave him little uneasimet with on account of the famous Ency- ness. It fell more heavily on D'Alembert; clopédie, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, and exposed him, even at home, to much in conjunction with Diderot. None surely contradiction and opposition. It was on this will refuse the well-deserved tribute of ap- occasion that the late King of Prussia offered plause to the eminent displays of genius, him an honourable asylum at his court, and judgment, and true literary taste, with which the office of president of his academy: and D'Alembert has enriched that great work. the king was not offended at D'Alembert's Among others, the Preliminary Discourse refusal of these distinctions, but cultivated he has prefixed to it, concerning the rise, an intimate friendship with him during the progress, connections, and affinities of all rest of his life. He had refused, some time the branches of human knowledge, is per- before this, a proposal made by the Empress VOL. I.