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rable sire; to a dissipated husband's shall I feel your pleasures, and be raising a hideous storm amidst his released from all the ills and all the peaceful family, and driving them, crimes which stain our mother by extravagance, to despair, wretch- earth ?” edness, and death? If he knew aught of traffic; its cares, its frauds, its disappointments, and its dangers ? If he ever saw a being formed for immortality toiling from morn till For the Literary Magazine. eve, from year to year, from youth to age, to call a little clay and a
ON COMETS. thousand cares his own? I would ask him, if, in his orb, thousands of
Written in 1756. beings are formed in fierce battalions, each one armed with an in- THE Newtonian philosophy and strument of death; disciplined in the observations of modern astronosavage manners; nursed in all the mers have given sufficient reason brutal rices ; led to the field of to conclude that comets are not only slaughter; aiming the deadly wea- solid and durable bodies, but also pon at the vitals of an unknown revolve round the sun in very eccencompany of his fellow-creatures; tric ellipses, and, consequently, reexpiring amidst the rage of mur- turn within our system, and become derous anger? If he has ever seen visible to us at stated and regular the worshippers of the Deity, in his periods. Yet what those precise world, pursue each other with infer. periods are, has been determined nah rancour, lighting up fires round only as to three of them, with any the bodies of the conscientious, and great degree of probability, viz., the pursuing them with anathemas and comet which appeared last in the the terrors of civil justice, for a dif- year 1680, and is expected again ference of sentiment on the mode of about the year 2255; that which exercising their religious services ? appeared in 1661, and is expected If he hath ever seen the felons’den in 1789; and that which appeared the gloomy gibbet, and the wretched in 1682, and is expected in 1758. exit of ignorance and vice? If he The first of these, that in 1680, ever saw the savage murderer leap was the comet which, more than from the thicket, and embrue his any other, both acquired the most hands in the blood of the lonely, un- astonishing degree of heat by its suspecting, unoffending traveller? amazing approximation to the sun, The child taking away the life of and threatened the earth with the the father ; the mother butchering nearest appulse. This was so near her child ? If he ever visited a the sun at its perihelion, that its disslave ship, or the regions of an in- tance from his surface was but a quisition? If he hath ever seen the sixth part of the diameter of the sons of riot in their midnight re. sun's body, and therefore the heat vels, disease and death their com- it then received was twenty-eight panions? If he hath ever felt jea- thousand times greater than that of jousy, ambition, envy, anger, dis- summer, or two thousand times hottrust, or terror, disturbing his bo. ter than red-hot iron. Its least dis. som? If he be haunted with the tance from the annual orbit of the fear of death? Or, if his orb be earth was, according to Dr. Halley's free from all these evils? If peace computation, no more than one seand plenty, the calm of innocence, mi-diameter of the sun, or about the the joys of health, the social ties of radius of the lunar orbit; and, confriendship, the sacred bliss of fond sequently, if our globe had been in affection, prevail in all the circuit of one particular part of its path, the his tranquil world?
comet might have been as near Ilappy happy inhabitants ! when us as the moon. Upon examination
of the orbit of this comet, it was eccentricity of the ellipses of comets found so very eccentric, that a re- undoubtedly making these liable to volution through it must require more considerable irregularities, more than 500 years to complete it. The small difference, therefore, in Mention is made in history of the the intervals of the years mentioned appearance of a similar coinet, first already, is by no means a sufficient at the death of Julius Cæsar and the objection against supposing it to be celebration of the games by Augus. the same comet which was seen in tus to his honour, and at two several all of them. Its period will, consetimes afterwards; each appearance quently, be about 75 or 76 years, and at the distance 575 years from the its next return about the year 1758, preceding. And a computation of This comet is far from being in any the motion of this comet in an orbit particular degree threatening or which would require that number dangerous to our globe (if, indeed, of years for it to revolve in, was any comets at all are so), because found to agree very well with the this is not among those which either actual observations which were receive the greatest heat from the made of it. Its period therefore is sun, or approach nearest to the orbit fixed, by Dr. Halley, Mr. Whiston, of the earth. &c., at 575 years; and its return is If these comets should appear expected, with great probability, again at the periods they are expect. about the year 2255.
ed, it is easy to see what a confirThe second comet, whose period mation it will be of the truth of the is supposed to be known, is that Newtonian philosophy relating to which appeared in the year 1661, them: but, on the other hand, if any and which seems to be the same of them should not do so, it will by with that which was seen before no means be sufficient to overthrow in 1532; but the observations of it, since it cannot be imagined that it then are scarce exact enough they should preserve the same reto allow this to be determined with gularity in their periods as the placertainty. However, if this conjec. nets; because, as I have intimated ture be right, the period of this co. already, the eccentricity of their mec will be about 129 years, and its orbits must necessarily expose them next return about the year 1789. to greater alterations from the hea.
The third comet, and that whose venly bodies they may meet with in appearance is soonest to be expect. their course. Dr. Halley particu. cd, is that which was seen last in larly observes, about the comet in the year 1682. There is great rea. 1682, which is supposed to be the son to imagine this the same with soonest to revisit us, that a very that which appeared first in 1456, little increase of its velocity may though not then observed by any as even occasion a change in its orbit tronomically, and which was after from an ellipsis to a parabola, the wards taken more exact notice of in consequence of which will be, that 1531, 1607, and especially 1682. it can never return to us at all. The Every thing relating to the comets mere failure, therefore, of the reseen in these several years agree, appearance of this or any other coexcepting the little inequality of the met must not be considered as conintervals, which, however, as Dr. futing a theory built upon the same Halley observes, is no more than solid foundations as the theory of the may be well accounted for by phy- planets, answering with wonderful sical causes; as, for instance, by the accuracy the observations of astrodisturbances the comet may have somers, and accounting for them by received in its orbit from its ap- the best established physical causes. proach to other heavenly bodies, In regard to what may probably such things having been certainly be the effects of comets, or the uses known to happen with regard to the for which they are designed by the planet Saturn, and the much greater Supreme Creator and Preserver of
the Universe; however generally touch our atmosphere, or fall upon they have been apprehended the it by its own gravity, the vapours causes or forerunners of evil, there belonging to the comet, brought from are not wanting philosophers, and the most distant and different rethose among the best and most reli- gions, might, by mixing with our gious ones, who appear to consider air, produce in it an alteration very them rather as instruments of the sensible, especially by animals and beneficence of the Deity. This vegetables, and possibly prove desseems particularly to be the opinion tructive to terrestrial constitutions. of sir Isaac Newton. He conjec- And Mr. Whiston imagines, that tures, that the tails of comets are comets seem fit to cause vast mutaintended to supply the dininution of tions in the planets, particularly in moisture on our earth and the other bringing on them deluges or confia. planets, and may in a great measure grations, according as the planets furnish that most subtile and excel. pass through their atmospheres in lent part of our air which is requi- their descent or ascent to the sun. site to the life of all things : for as If these conjectures appear founded these tails are undoubtedly the va. upon the best established theory, or pours exhaled from the gross at the most certain experience, they mospheres of comets by the action must no doubt be considered as proof the sun, they will dilate as they bable: but surely, as to the pretend. ascend, and will gradually be dis. ed concurrent testimony of all ages, persed through all the planetary re- it is neither strictly universal nor gions; and therefore, in consequence uniform ; and if the mere consent of of the power of gravitation and at- many nations and centuries is to intraction, will be gathered into and duce us to the reverence and belief absorbed by any planets that may be of popular opinions, we shall be nearest to them, and stand most in obliged to receive the grossest and need of their assistance. The bodies most impious absurdities in philosoof the comets may also be as ser- phy, in religion, and even in moraviceable to our system as their tails, lity. especially the bodies of those which have the greatest approximation to the sun, since these may possibly at their perihelion move within the so For the Literary Magazine. lar atmosphere, and from its resist. ance be somewhat retarded: if so, MEMOIRS OF IMMANUEL KANT. at every revolution they will meet with a greater resistance, and be IMMANUEL KANT, the subyet more retarded, and consequently ject of the present memoir, known at length fall into the body of the and so highly esteemed on the contisun, and supply any decrease which nent for his metaphysical acuteness, may have happened in that vast was born on the 22d of April, 1724, globe of fire by the continual emis. at Konigsberg, in Prussia, near sion of light and heat for so great a the Saddle-street, in the suburbs. number of centuries.
His parents held a respectable If it still be imagined, with Dr. though not high rank in life, his faGregory, a deference due to the ther being a saddler, of the name of common suffrages of all ages to con- John George Kant, the latter, sider comets as having a pernicious though born at Memel, was origiinfluence upon our earth, such influ. nally descended from a Scots faence cannot possibly, I think, be of mily. any partial or political nature, but Kant's intellectual qualifications must be some physical disorder or were by no means of an ordinary mischief to the whole globe. For stamp. He possessed an extraordi. instance: Dr. Gregory supposes, nary faculty of retaining words, that if the tail of a comet should and representing absent things to
himself. He often cited long passages his mind. All his philosophical from ancient and modern writers, conceptions fowed from the inexparticularly his favourite poets, Ho- haustible source of his own reason. race and Virgil, Hagedorn and Bur. The facility with which he deduced ger. He could describe objects that every thing from his own reflections, he read of in books, even better gave him at length such a habitual than many who had seen them: familiarity with himself, that he thus, for example, he once gave a could not properly enter into the description, in the presence of Lon- sentiments of others. He found all doner, of Westminster bridge, ac- in his own mind which answered cording to its form and structure, his purpose, and had, therefore, no length, breadth, height, and dimen- occasion for foreign resources.' sions of all its parts, so that the En. With all this depth of reflection, glishman enquired how many years Kant was, notwithstanding, a wit, he had been in London, and whether He had frequent and sudden strokes he had dedicated himself to archiof ready wit at hand, to give a grace tecture? Upon which he was assur. and interest to his conversation, ed, that Kant had neither passed writings, and lectures. He was a the boundaries of Prussia, nor had general admirer of all that polishes been an architect. A similar ques. and beautifies the graver topics; tion was put to him by Brydone, and, in his lectures, he studied to to whom he unfolded, in con- acquire an agreeable delivery, with versation, all the relative situations an easy flow of words. His manner of Italy. By the aid of his quick of address, however, was peculiarly observation and clear conception, he well adapted to the nature of his was enabled to converse with admi- discourse. On morality he could rable accuracy on chemical experi- move his audience to tears. He ments, although he had never once knew how to give the dry subwitnessed any process in chemistry; jects of logic and pneumatics an and did not begin the theoretical easy turn, that rendered them even study till after the sixtieth year of amusing; but on metaphysics he his age. Dr. Hagen, the great che. was abstruse, and, for beginners, mist, could not forbear expressing not perfectly intelligible. He was his perfect astonishment, while con- sometimes carried, by a too great versing with Kant at dinner on the minuteness, away from the main subject, to find any one able, by subject, to which he was then forced simple reading, to make himself abruptly to return. He was also such a perfect master of a science liable to be confused by the smallest so difficult.
trifies. One day, in particular, he But the most prominent feature discovered a remarkable embarin Kant's intellectual character, was rassment, and confessed afterwards, the accuracy with which he analys that one of the audience who had a ed the most complex ideas. Nothing coat with a button wanting had been escaped the scrutiny of his intellec- the cause of his discomposure, from tual eye. Whatever was perceivable the involuntary attraction of his eyes to others in the moral and physical and mind to the defective quarter. world became manifest to hiin. He W e must not forget to view Kant discovered, therefore, so easily, the in another relation, which does hoincongruities of other men's senti. nour to his heart: this was, his ments, and traced, with unspeaka. warm and steady attachment as a ble precision, their errors to the true friend. Professor Rhunken was the source. He had likewise an asto. bosom friend of his youth. This nishing faculty of unfolding the friendship was the offspring of conmost abstruse principles, and digest- genial sentiment, and lasted till the ing singular and individual senti. death of the former. Theodore ments into a systematic order. Gottlob von Hippel, secretary at Herein consisted the originality of war to his Prussian majesty in Kom nigsberg, a man well known for his was otherwise quite perfect. His literary performances, lived many face when young must have been years in the closest intercourse with handsome; he had a fresh colour, Kant; as also the generals Brunet, and fine large blue eyes, which von Mayer, von Losson. With were as expressive of goodness as Lambert, Sulzer, and Garve, he talent. held a very interesting literary conrespondence. His nearest and dearest friend, however, was one Green, an English merchant, re For the Literary Magazine. siding at Konigsberg. Their friend. ship was occasioned by the following BULL-FEASTS IN SPAIN. singular occurrence : Kant was expatiating once, in a coffee-house, (Extracted from a Journal kept by during the American war, with some a Traveller in that Country.) warmth, in favour of the Americans, and against the English, when a I CANNOT but conceive it an man suddenly started up, and de- egregious error in those travellers, clared himself offended by the reflec. who have attributed bull-feasts, or tions thrown on his country, and de- amphitheatrical entertainments, in manded honourable satisfaction. Spain, to the Moors, and stiled them Kant, undisturbed by this strange the barbarous relict of their customs. mode of attack, continued to give a It was not till long after the chriscool, but striking illustration of his tian æra, that Gibraltar was first own sentiments, in particular re. conquered by Tarick, the famous ference to the case of the Englishman. leader of the African adventurers : His impressive manner of reasoning, but this practice can be traced to combined with his good-nature, had epochs long before that period from such an effect on Mr. Green (for which we now date; of consequence, that was the name of the gentleman), if it is an exotic custom, they must that he acknowledged the impro- owe its origin to the conquest of the priety of his own conduct, and soli. Romans, or the imitation of their eited Kant's pardon, which was im. European neighbours. It cannot be mediately granted. Green attended denied that the Spaniards retain ta Kant to his house ; and from that this day many remains of Moorish hour, a friendship was commenced, customs and manners; and it which terminated only with the would, perhaps, be more to their death of the former. 'Mr. Green credit if they retained more ; for if was a whimsical, but well-informed we may judge from the monuments inan, possessed of many excellent the latter have left behind them, qualites of the head and heart. they possessed the most valuable Kant found in him so much solid in- ideas of architecture, tilling, draintellect, that he never published any ing, watering, and laying-out thing without first submitting to his grounds; which once made the now judgment.
rude plains of Grenada a perfect Kant was of a remarkable slender garden, and beautified them beyond and delicate make; and his body our most romantic ideas of an Elywas covered with so little flesh, that sium ; but amidst all their splendour his clothes could never be made to and dreams of dear-bought happi. fit, but by artificial means. His ness amidst the gaities of a Boba. nervous and muscular system was dil's reign, they did not practise no less tender. He was five feet fighting bulls; for their entertainhigh ; but his head was large in ments consisted of hunting, feats of proportion to the rest of his body. the sword, club, and lance, wrest. He had a fat breast, that bent al. ling, &c., at which their jealous dismost inwards; and his right shoul- positions did not suffer their women der projected rather out. His form often to be present, the very soul of