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& the fortunate discovery of my friend, Mr. Partington; and the credit which it has obtained in practice, since that period, has awakened the attention of the public in this metropolis.I was induced to accompany him in his inquiries, from the fuccess which followed his judicious application of it, in some recent cases of surgery which I sent to him. But, cautious of being misguided by false appearances, I proceeded flowly, and doubted much; till experience taught me, that when I was unsuccessful, it oftener proceeded from want of judgment in the application, than from want of power in the remedy.'—The Author afterwards informs us, that a collection of cases, and a view of the present state of Medical Electricity, is preparing for the press, by Mr. Partington; and will be published as soon as that gentleman's avocations will permit.

When we reviewed Dr. Priestley's History of Electricity *, we took particular notice of the uncertainty which, at that time, attended the medical administration of the electric fluid ; by which, even then, some indubitable and extraordinary cures had been performed : though repeated failures had likewise attended the application of it in other instances. We then observed, that one, and that too a principal, cause of this uncertainty, was the difficulty of directing the course of the electric fuid through those particular parts, where its action would be beneficial. By an attention to this capital circumstance (and by means of some particular contrivances, as we conjecture ;– for the Author appears very reserved on this head) we apprehend he has been enabled to reduce his electrical method of cure to that degree of certainty, in the removal of female obstructions, which he profefles to have attained to, by a skilful application of the electric fhock;' so as never yet to have failed in one instance.'

The Author, apologising for his seeming invasion of the physician's province, by assuming the cure of a disease which has hitherto naturally fallen under the care of the physician, observes, that his mode of cure is strictly chirurgical ;-being 6 an operation performed by the hand, with the assistance of inftruments ;' adding, that anatomical skill is necessary to direct it with propriety and success.'

We wish, however, that Mr. Birch had been somewhat more particular, with respect to his modus operandi ;-using the phrase, not in its common or medical acceptation, but in its chirurgical, or rather in its new anatomico-electrical sense. We here meet with no particular directions on this avowedly very essential part of the subject. In the first case here related, the Author only observes, that no relief was obtained, during a whole fortnight, by drawing sparks from the stomach and feet of the patient; or See Monthly Review, vol. xxxvii. Dec. 1767. p. 449.

by passing shocks from the hands' and the vertebræ of the neck to the feet : because the electric matter seemed to act only, without any good or bad effect, on the external muscles.' He, therefore, considering the obstruction as being probably feated only in the vefsels of the uterus, concluded, that the shock fhould be passed, if not confined, to the direction of those veffels :' and obferves, that the effect was quick and falutary. He speaks likewise of placing his directors in such a manner, as to convey the ele&ric matter through every part of the uterus.'-But boc opus, hic labor eft! The reader naturally wishes to know how this is to be done; or whether the Author is in poffeffion of any method, not generally known, of rendering the electrical fluid more manageable, and obsequious to the designs of the medical electrician.

For the seven cases related in this pamphlet, which the Author has selected from many other successful trials, we must refer the faculty to the performance itself. They certainly exhibit the medical powers of electricity in a very advantageous point of view.

FOREIGN LITERATURE.

(By our CorresPONDENTS.)
FRANCE,

AR T. X.
PLAN d'un Traité sur l'Aurore Boreale, pour servir de Suite à

Celui de M. de MAIRAN, &c. i. e. The Plan of a Treatise on the Aurora Borealis, designed as a Supplement to that of M. de Mairan, on the fame Subject. By J. H. VAN SWINDEN, Professor of Philosophy at Franeker, Member of several Academies, and Correspondent Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris. " We have had more than once occafion to mention Profeffor VAN SWINDEN, with the high esteem that is due to his unremitting industry, his judicious and well directed labours in the advancement of natural knowledge, and the fagacity and precision that accompany his uncommon modesty, in the conclufions he draws from his observations and researches. The interesting work he has, at present, undertaken, and of which we have the plan now before us, will undoubtedly give him a new title to the attention and gratitude of both connoisseurs and diletanti in natural philosophy.

Every one acquainted with matters relative to this science, knows the excellent treatise of M. de Mairan on the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Light, which is universally allowed to be a masterpiece of industry, fagacity, and genius. But as five and twenty years have passed since the last edition of that work was published, many discoveries have been made during that period,

which open new views of this curious subject, and are adapted to carry our knowledge of it several steps farther toward the true theory of this remarkable phenomenon.

M. VÁN Swinden, dựring the space of eight years, has observed above 200 of these, meteors, composed accurate and circumstantial descriptions of each, compared them with the motions of the magnetic needle, the different states and modifi. cations of the atmosphere, and with the observations of the fame phenomenon, made, during the same period, in other places, by learned men, whose accounts he has collected with care. This colle&tion of his own observations and reasonings, and those of other eminent men, relative to the Aurora Borealis, he has resolved to communicate to the Public; and as the creatise of M. de MAIRAN contains the theory, the principles, the combinations, and details, that must be the basis of all welldirected researches on the subject in question, our ingenious Profeffor proposes to employ his materials in such a manner, that they will serve as a Supplement to the excellent work of the French Philosopher.

M. DE MAIRAN's work contains two parts. ist, The Historical and Physicaland 2dly, The Systematic. The former is the principal object of M. VAN SWINDEN's illustrations and researches :—the latter he means only to treat occasionally, as M. DE MAIRAN has pretty nearly said all that can poffibly be offered for the illustration and lupport of his system. The Zodiacal Light, and the Aurora Borealis, are the two important objects that compose the physical part of his work; the first of these be treats mathematically, astronomically, and physically; and as it is a part of M. Van SWINDEN’s plan, to complete the list of observations that have been made on the Zodiacal Light, he entreats the learned, in all countries, to communicate to him any observations they may have made upon that subject. It is well known, that M. D'ALEMBERT + has proposed objections against the Zodiacal Light, considered as the solar atmosphere, to which it is difficult to give a solid and satisfactory answer: nevertheless, as this light follows invariably the course of the fun, M. VAN SWINDEN thinks, that it must depend, in some way or other, on that luminous body; and this considera, tion is sufficient to justify those who adopt the system of M. DE MAIRAN.

In order to shew our readers the extent and importance of the learned labours of M. VAN SWINDEN, on this curious subject, it will be necessary to mention (as he has done in the plan before us) the effential parts that compo!c M. DE MAIRAN'S treatise on the Aurora Borealis ; These are, I. An explanation

+ Opufcules, vol. vi, p. 333.

X4

of

of the phenomena.-2. A chronological list of these meteors. 3.

The immediate consequences deduced from facts, and the relations which the different phenomena bear to each other. 4. The influence of the Aurora Borealis upon certain phenomena, and that also which certain agents may have upon it. 5. An examination of the causes which have been assigned to this meteor.-6. The doubts and conjectures to which the discusfion of what relates to the Aurora Borealis may give rise.

New observations and discoveries have enabled M. VAN SWINDEN to make interesting additions to each of these articles, and the observations and discoveries he has found in the later works of learned men in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Holland, have been carefully attended to in the execution of his plan. He does not give us here a summary of his additions, He, however, tells us, that the most important observations, among those which he has made or collected, relate to the phenomena of the Aurora Borealis,-to the silence, which, according to M. DE MAIRAN, reigns in all the parts and periods of this phenomenon,- or to the noise, which other observers have heard during its appearance,--and, finally, to the Aurora Boreales, (or rather Australes) which are formed near the antarctic pole, whose existence M. Van Swinden proposes to demonstrate by new observations.

2. With respect to the chronological list of these meteors, our Author's additions to, and improvement of, M. DE MAIRAN's excellent table (which goes as far as the year 1751, and contains 1441 of the phenomena in question) will be very considerable. He proposes, first, to continue the table down to the year 1778, or still farther,-to complete it by an account of several of these meteors that appeared before the year 1752, but are not mentioned by M. de MAIRAN,-to rectify the errors that this celebrated philosopher has fallen into by imagining, that the dates in Frobes's table (which he follows) were formed on the old ftile, and reducing them to the new,--and ta give the chronological table, a more exact, instructive, and convenient form, than it has in DE MAIRAN's work.

3. The third article of that learned work, which contains consequences deduced from facts, and the relations which the different phenomena bear to each other, will also be enriched with many improvements from the observations and additions of Profeffor VAN Swinden. There will be relative to the great height of the Aurora Borealis (which we shall henceforth cal! the Northern Light) in the atmoiphere,-to the interruptions and returns that prevent its permanent appearance, even in the places that lie nearest to the pole,-and to the correspondence that there is between its appearances and that of the Zodiacal Light, Under these articles, our learned Professor proposes, among other things, to determine, whether the Northern Lights, seen at the same tine, in different places, are in reality, the same meteors placed at a great height, or different phenomena, merely local, and not much elevated, as is the opinion of fome modern authors who have treated this subject since M. DE MAIRAN. In this discussion, our Author will draw considerable allistance from the comparison of phenomena perceived, at the fame time, in different places, and also from three learned differtations, published by M. BERGMAN, in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sweden.

among

4. As to the influences of the Northern Light upon certain phenomena, such as magnetism, the electricity of the atmosphere, and the temperature of the atmosphere, M. VAN SWINDEN proposes to treat largely on these interesting subjects. The article of magnetism has attracted, particularly, his attention, and the observations he has made, during eight years past, on that phenomenon, will be employed with advantage in the presenç investigation. Under the article of eletricity, he will have occafion to discuss the following question, Whether the air is more charged with the electrical Auid, during the appearance or the approach of the Northern Light, than at other times? And as to the influence of this meteor on the temperature of the atmosphere, he means to inquire, whether it be true, as some observers have affirmed, that the appearance of the Northern Light is ordinarily followed by high winds; an observation that has been made by some navigators, and which Dr. Franklin * has endeavoured to explain.

5. The causes that have been supposed to produce the northern light may be reduced to five :- the vapours and exhalations of the earth, which hypothesis is now almost entirely rejected the ice and snow of the polar zone, which opinion has been revived by the learned Abbé Hell, in his Ephemerides of 1777the effluvia of magnetic particles, which was Halley's system-the zodiacal light, which is the system of De Mairan—and the ele&trical fluid, which has, since his time, put in bold pretenfions to the honour of producing the aurora borealis. All these causes our learned Professor proposes to discuss with attention, as also to consider the doubts and conjectures which may arise from these difcuffions.

We cannot here insert, for want of room, a specimen of the table, or chronological lift of the northern lights, which we find at the end of M. VAN SWINDEN's plan; but we have seen nothing of the kind to accurate, so circumstantial, and so com

For the Doctor's hypothefis, relative to the Aurora Borealis, fec his miscellaneous and philosophical pieces, lately published; or our acçount of it, in the Review for latt month, p. 207.

plete,

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