« AnteriorContinuar »
zealous because rational followers of one whose example both encouraged and enabled his successors to make further progress. How unlike the blind devotion to a master which for so many ages of the modern world paralysed the energies of the human mind!
“ Had we still paid that homage to a name
Had been admired by none but savage eyes.” Nor let it be imagined that the feelings of wonder excited by contemplating the achievements of this great man are in any degree whatever the result of national partiality, and confined to the country which glories in having given him birth. The language which expresses her veneration is equalled, perhaps exceeded, by that in which other nations give utterance to theirs; not merely by the general voice, but by the well-considered and well-informed judgment of the masters of science. Leibnitz, when asked at the royal table in Berlin his opinion of Newton, said that, “taking mathematicians from the beginning of the world to the time when Newton lived, what he had done was much the better half.” “The Principia will ever remain a monument of the profound genius which revealed to us the greatest law of the universe," are the words of Laplace. “That work stands preëminent above all the other productions of the human mind.” “The discovery of that simple and general law, by the greatness and the variety of the objects which it embraces, confers honor upon the intellect of man.” Lagrange, we are told by D'Alembert, was wont to describe Newton as the greatest genius that ever existed, but to add “how fortunate he was also, because there can only once be found a system of the universe to establish.” “Never," says the father of the Institute of France-one filling a high place among the most eminent of its members—"Never,” says M. Biot, “ was the supremacy of intellect so justly established and so fully confessed. In mathematical and in experimental science without an equal and without an example, combining the genius for both in its highest degree.” The Principia he terms the greatest work ever pro. duced by the mind of man, adding, in the words of Halley, “that a nearer approach to the Divine nature has not been permitted to mortals.” “In first giving to the world Newton's method of fluxions,” says Fontenelle, “Leibnitz did like Prometheus—he stole fire from Heaven to bestow it upon men.” “Does Newton,” L'Hôpital asked, “sleep and wake like other men? I figure him to myself as a celestial genius, entirely disengaged from matter."
To so renowned a benefactor of the world, thus exalted to the loftiest place by the common consent of all men-one whose life, without the intermission of an hour, was passed in the search after truths the most important, and at whose hands the human race had received only good, never evil—it is befitting that no memorial should have been raised by nations which erect statues to the tyrants and conquerors, the scourges of mankind.
* * * * But that his own countrymen justly proud of having lived in his time, should have left this duty to their successors, after a century and a half of professed veneration and lip homage, may well be deemed strange. The inscription upon the cathedral, masterpiece of his celebrated friend's architecture, may possibly be applied in defence of this neglect: “If you seek for a monument, look around." "If you seek for a monument, lift up your eyes to the heavens, which show forth his fame." Nor, when we recollect the Greek orator's exclamation, “The whole earth is the monument of illustrious men," can we stop short of declaring that the whole universe is Newton's. Yet in raising the statue which preserves his likeness, near the place of his birth, on the spot where his prodigious faculties were unfolded and trained, we at once gratify our honest pride as citizens of the same state, and humbly testify our grateful sense of the Divine goodness which deigned to bestow upon our race one so marvellously gifted to comprehend the works of Infinite Wisdom, and so piously resolved to make all his study of them the source of religious contemplations, both philosophical and sublime.
ART. IX.- Description of a new Mineral Species from Chili; by
FREDERICK FIELD. (From a letter to J. D. DANA, dated Guyacana, Coquimbo, Chili, September 6, 1858).
I SEND you a specimen of a mineral from the Cordilleras of Chili, which appears to me highly interesting. It consists entirely of copper, arsenic and sulphur, having the following composition: Copper,
. . . . . 48.50
99.46 and consequently has the following formula: 3Cu,S+AsSg, and may be considered as a tribasic sulpharseniate of copper, like the artificial tribasic sulpharseniate of potassium, in which that metal is replaced by Cu, Hardness 3:5–4. Sp. gr. 4:39.
You will see it resembles Tennantite in which the arsenic takes the place of the iron; a specimen of Tennantite having the following value: Cu 48.2, As 12:5, Fe 9:0, S 31:14. I have proposed the name "Guayacanite" for this new species, as the mineral was first brought to the large copper smelting works of Guayacana.
ART. X.-Geographical Notices. No. V.
RECENT SURVEYS OF THE AMOOR RIVER.—The opening of the Chinese Empire, the negotiation of a commercial treaty with Japan, and the spread of the Russian dominion over the Amoor region and Manchooria, in respect to which intelligence has recently been received, are events which combine to give peculiar interest and importance to our meagre knowledge of Eastern Asia.
The proceedings in China and Japan have attracted universal attention. The advances of Russia, however, in developing the resources of its legitimate territory and in acquiring new domains, have been conducted in a manner so quiet as to escape general attention and elude the opposition of diplomatic vigilance. Siberia has been so little known, and so much depreciated by the world at large, that the accession of some thousands of square miles to its territory has passed almost unnoticed. But it will not be many years before the Russian policy on the Amoor river will be appreciated as it deserves, and already the demand has become urgent in this country for definite knowledge in respect to a region with which American relations are likely to grow continually more intimate.
To satisfy in part such inquiries, the Government at Washington has lately published (Wash. 67 pp., 8vo) a "Report of Explorations on the Amoor river," which were made last year by Mr. P. McD. Collins, an American citizen, who received from the President, in 1856, an appointment, without a post, as “ United States Commercial Agent for the Amoor river," and who travelled over land from the Baltic to the Pacific, endeavoring to ascertain what relations might be established with advantage between our own country and the possessions of Russia in Eastern Asia.
The official rank of Mr. Collins gave him opportunities of intercourse with Gen. Mouravieff, the Governor of Eastern Siberia, and with many other dignitaries, from whom he gathered some important facts in respect to the Russian policy in that region. In addition to these, he states his own observations made on a hurried tour through a region of vast extent and varied resources. His report accordingly will be valuable to those who are interested in political changes, and to American merchants, but the circumstances under which it was prepared were by no means favorable to the collection of scientific materials. Three hastily constructed maps, (without the indications of latitude and longitude,) appended to the volume, add almost nothing to our knowledge.
Mr. Collins crossed the Urals at Ecatherinberg, and then proceeded by Tumen, Omsk and Tomsk to Irkootsk, where he remained a month. He then visited Kyatcha and Mai-mat-tschin, neighboring towns,—the former Russian, the latter Chinese, in which the chief exchanges of the two empires are effected. After returning to Irkootsk, he went on to Chetah, visited the celebrated mines of Nerchinsk and then proceeded to Chilkah, from which place, in a small row-boat, with two or three companions, beside a crew of five men, he followed the Amoor to its mouth. This river voyage of about 2600 miles he made in fifty two days.
The impressions of Mr. Collins are favorable in every respect to the introduction of American commerce. The river is said to be navigable by steamboats from the junction of the Schilka and Argoon to its mouth. The neighboring country is thickly settled, various articles of export, especially furs and hides, are abundant, and manufactured goods are in demand. Many of Mr. Collins's incidental remarks in respect to agriculture and mining are of an interesting character, but his report must be looked at as a collection of " Observations" rather than as the result of “Explorations.” Coming as it does from an American it may serve to draw attention to the much more elaborate and satisfactory investigations which have been conducted during the last few years under the direction of the Russian government.
Before proceeding to enumerate the more important of these expeditions and their several characteristics we stop to inquire the occasion of the impulse lately given to Siberian explora
The immense capacity of Russia for producing raw materials has long demanded freer communication between the interior and the coast, both in the east and in the west, than has hitherto been enjoyed. The complete control by the Czar of the Amoor river would have almost as much influence on the development of Siberian resources as the control of the Dardanelles on the prosperity of Russia proper. Let the navigation of the stream be made easy, and a few lines of railway established, and the empire of Russia will be as open as any country to the trade of China, Japan, the East Indies and America.
Taking advantage of the unsettled condition of the country around the Amoor, Russia has been for some years quietly pushing her out-posts farther and farther into the proper dominions of China. Precisely what has been her progress and what are now the claims of her “manifest destiny," can only be learned in the cabinet of St. Petersburg. This much is evident. By the treaty of Russia with China in 1689,* after the well known defeat
* Of. Petermann on the Amur Stream. Geogr. Mittheil, 1856. p. 472.
charts ofRof the Chithe junctionuotains, leavinwatershed on the be
at Albasin, and also by the treaty of 1727, the boundary be. tween the two empires was the Northern watershed of the Amoor river on the Stanovoi mountains, leaving the entire basin of the river, east of the junction of the Schilka and Argoon in possession of the Chinese. It was so delineated on the official charts of Russia. In 1844-5, von Middendorf, under instructions from the Imp. Acad. of Sciences in St. Petersburgh, proceeded to determine on the spot the exact boundary line. He reported that the Chinese did not claim as far north as the watershed, but only as far on the left bank of the Amoor as the tributaries were navigable for small boats. Without further ceremony, so far as it appears, some fifty thousand square versts on the south of the Stanovoi summits were accordingly indicated on the charts as belonging to Russian dominion.
The Crimean war caused the removal of large bodies of troops; often under highly intelligent officers, quite to the Pacific coast, for the defence of such Russian possessions as were threatened by the allied fleets. About that time not less than five Russian forts were “provisionally" established on the Amoor, between Ust-Strelotschnaja and the mouth of the Sungari. Nicolaieff, at the mouth of the Amoor river, was fortified, and even so far south (on the right bank of the Amoor) as De Castries bay the Russian flag was raised and a fort erected. The actual possession of the Amoor was thus completed. By recent advices it appears that Russia, in addition to a commercial treaty like that of the other powers, has obtained a treaty conceding to it all of the Amoor territory which had thus been occupied. What are the exact limits of this concession we are not yet informed.
There can be no question that Russia will employ to its own advantage the aggrandizements thus made, but whether its next advances will be in China, or Japan or the English possessions in India the future will reveal. It will not be forgotten that Russia was the first power which watched the movements of Com. Perry in Japan, nor on the other hand that Japan has long been suspicious of its Muscovite neighbor, having even dispatched a special agent to the Amoor river to discover if possible the ulterior purpose of the movements in that region.*
The considerations which we have now presented sufficiently explain the recent energy which Russia has displayed in the explorations of the Amoor. So many scientific investigators have now visited that country that we may anticipate at an early day vast accessions to our knowledge of Eastern Asia. Already the outlines which have been communicated to the world, and which may be found for the most part in the comprehensive “Mittheil. ungen" of Dr. Petermann, are sufficient to awaken a profound
* Perry's Japan. i. 32.