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places, hardly to be perceived; in others, very strong; and many of the radiant points extended southward of the polar star, and very brilliant. "An hour afterwards, the radiant points were less vivid, and the dark cloud seemed to break off towards the south. Perhaps, it may be worthy of remark, that a south wind generally prevails shortly after the appearance of this phenomenon.
Many persons in our streets seemed to consider this phenomenon as intended by the Supreme Disposer of events, to foreshow some heavy calamity coming upon the earth. But we are not supported by just principles of reason in forming such a conclusion; for let it be considered, that at Greenland it is seen almost every night, and was very useful to three of our countrymen who wintered there, being left at Spitzbergen in Aug. 1630, till the following year, and must be so in general to the inhabitants of that dreary region. Very frequently it is seen at Iceland, Lapland, and Siberia, and about the Shetland Isles, where the inhabitants know this phenomenon by the appellation of the
merry dancers; and how are we to ascertain to what state, or nation, such calamity is portended by this phenomenon, or when it will happen? Are those nations where it is seen so constantly to be as constantly visited ? and are they always visited when this sign appears? The fact is quite otherwise ; for at such times as this phenomenon has been most extraordinary, so as to merit the regard of historians, nothing peculiarly tragical is related in connexion with it, or, at least, historians have not noticed any such calamity, or could not find any
such to apply to it; therefore, we should regard the aurora borealis not as a token of Divine displeasure, but what it really is, one of the ordinary phenomena of nature, to be ranked with comets, meteors, mock-suns, &c. Should you think the above interesting to the readers of your journal, the insertion will much oblige, Sir, your obedient and humble servant,
Erratum. Vol. ix. p. 251, line 4, and index, for Pensey read Renney.
X. Death of Professor Bucholz. The chemical readers of the Annals of Philosophy will learn with regret the death of Christian Frederick Bucholz, an Apothecary, Doctor of Sciences, and Professor of Chemistry at Erfort, in Saxony. He died on June 8, 1818. In the Journ. de Pharm. (Oct. 1818, p. 487), where Bucholz's death is announced, he is said to have been in the 49th year of his age. But I conceive that there must be some mistake in this statement ; for the first chemical paper of Bucholz, on the mode of preparing the fusible salt of urine, was published in 1771, or 47 years ago (Chym. Abhandlung vom schmelzbare Urinsalze. In N. Hámb. Magazin, p. 58). Now we cannot suppose him to have begun to publish the results of his chemical experiments till he was at least 15 or
16 years of age. I conceive, therefore, that he must have reached at least the age of 60. His health was for many years excellent; but it was injured during the last war of Bonaparte in Germany, particularly by the siege of Erfort. His sight became very feeble during the latter years of his life : he became almost blind, which threw him into a profound melancholy. His character is represented as very amiable. He has left behind him a widow and one son, who is said to possess the abilities of the father.
Bucholz was one of the most active and accurate chemists which Germany possessed. His publications are exceedingly numerous,
and all of them stamped by the most patient industry. He was an apothecary, and devoted much of his time to the improvement of his art. He was in the habit of publishing an annual volume on the subject. He published three volumes of chemical experiments, under the title of “ Beitrage.” And a vast number of chemical papers by him are to be found in Crell's Annals, Scherer's Journal, Gehlen's Journal, Trommsdorf's Journal, and Schweigger's Journal.
XI. New Yellow Dye. A chemist in Copenhagen is said to have discovered a new brilliant yellow dye, which possesses a great deal of permanence. He cuts off the top of the common potatoe plant while in blossom, and bruises it in order to extract the juice. Cotton, or woollen cloth, steeped in this juice for 48 hours, acquires a fine, solid, durable, yellow colour. If the cloth be now put into the blue vat, a very fine green colour is obtained, which is not liable to fade. See the Journal of Toulouse, called " Ami du Roi," No. 82.
XII. New Observations on the Planet Uranus.
When Herschel ascertained in 1781 the motion of Uranus, astronomers.endeavoured to ascertain whether this planet had been already observed as a fixed star. M. Bode discovered two observations of the planet, the one in the catalogue of Flamsteed, and the other in that of Tobias Mayer. Lemonnier, on his part, ascertained that he had himself observed it three times. More lately, Messrs. Bessel and Burckhardt have found several positions of the new planet in the catalogues of Flamsteed and Bradley. In order to make the tables, which he is just going to publish as perfect as possible, M. Bouvard has had the patience to go over line by line the manuscript registers of Lemonnier, and has discovered that this astronomer had observed Uranus 12 times between Oct. 14, 1750, and Dec. 18, 1771. The disorder of these registers, which rendered the labour of M. Bouvard very disagreeable, can alone explain how Lemon
nier had not perceived that the star which he observed had a motion of its own. The following is the result of the 12 observations of that astronomer.
Mean time reckoned from midnight. Appar, riglet asceasion.
1750.-Oct. 14, ai 1963 19
Dec. 3, 16 50 16 1764.-Jan. 15, 17 12 23 1768-Dec, 27, 19
Dee, 30, 19 1769.-Jan. 15, 18 Jao. 16,
18 Jan, 20, 19 Jan. 21,
18 18 Jan, 22, 17 56 23 Jan, 23,
17 52 28 1771,-Dec. 18, 21 35
3240 30 28-2
12 37 39-0
150 1' 42.0 S. 14 53 19-0 S.
4 43 470 N. 12 15 350 12 14 55-0 N. 12 14 56-0 N. 12 14 36.3 N. 12 15 19.0 N. 12 15 31.8 N. 12 15 45.7 N. 12 16 7.5 N, 16 25 20-2 N.
XIII. New Metal discorered by M. Lampadius. Mr. Flor, Professor of Botany at Christiana, in Norway, states, in a letter, dated Nov. 28, to Dr. Müller, now in London, that M. Lampadius bas lately discovered in some English ores (the characters of which are not mentioned), a new metal, which he calls Wodanium.
The same letter also says, that vegetation continued luxuriant around Christiana until Nov. 11, and that 70 species of wild plants continued in flower; and that many of those plants which are found exclusively in the regions of ice had blossomed a second time, but had since died away, the thermometer of Reaumur being three degrees above freezing point.
XIV. Red Snow. This cúrious substance, which has so much attracted the public attention, is stated to have been found lying upon the surface of snow lodged in ravines for upwards of a hundred miles along the coast of Baffin's Bay. Considerable quantities were collected, and brought to this country in bottles, containing likewise the water of the snow upon which it had originally lain, as well as other substances apparently foreign, and having no connexion with the colouring matter. The following observations are founded upon experiments made upon minute quantities only, and are to be understood to apply to the colouring substance separated nearly from all foreign ingredients.
On opening the phial containing the substance diffused through the snow water, a very offensive odour, similar to that of putrid sea-weed, or excrement, was perceptible. After standing some time, the colouring matter slowly subsided, leaving the water colourless. When examined with a magnifier, it appeared to consist of minute particles, more or less globular, and of a brown
ish red colour. Separated and dried upon a filter, the red colour gradually disappeared, and was succeeded by a yellowish green hue. The smell also was different, and somewhat resembled train oil. It was insoluble in alcohol, caustic potash, and indeed in all other menstrua tried, even when assisted by heat. Nitric acid, assisted by heat, rendered it green; if concentrated, and in excess, this acid decomposed it entirely; and when the excess of acid was expelled by heat, a greenish yellow residuum, without the least trace of the pink hue afforded by lithic acid under similar circumstances, was obtained. Chlorine bleached it immediately.
When exposed to heat alone, it yielded a dense white smoke, which was very inflammable. The charcoal left, after incineration, afforded a very minute quantity of ashes, containing traces of lime, iron, and silex, the last two of which were probably extraneous.
From these observations, it is evident that this substance does not owe its colour and other properties to lithic acid, or oxide of iron. It seems, on the contrary, to be an organized substance ; and the most general as well as probable opinion respecting its nature appears to be, that it is a production of some cryptogamous plant. The naturalist, therefore, will probably be better enabled to explain its origin and nature than the chemist.
From the circumstance of the red colour disappearing by exposure to the air, it seems to bave undergone some change by keeping
XV. Sea Snake of America. Extracted from a letter from T. Say, Esq. of Philadelphia, to Dr. Leach :
“I have to regret that many of the scientific journals of Europe have taken serious notice of the absurd story which has originated to the eastward about the sea serpent; a story attributed here to a defective observation, connected with an extraordinary degree of fear. You have probably been informed that Capt. Rich has explained the whole business; be fitted out an expedition purposely to take this leviathan; he was successful in fastening his harpoon in what was acknowledged by all his crew to be the veritable sea serpent (and which several of them had previously seen and made oath to); but when drawn from the water, and full within the sphere of their vision, it proved to their perfect conviction that the sea serpent which fear had loomed to the gigantic length of 100 feet, was no other than a harmless Tunny (Schomber Thynnus) nine or ten feet long. Thus natural history is probably indebted to Capt. Rich for keeping from its pages an account of a second Kraken ; and a memorable instance is added to the catalogue of credulity already pregnant with warning to naturalists."
Magnetical and Meteorological Observations.
By Col. Beaufoy, F.R.S.
Latitude 51° 37' 42'' North. Longitude West in time 1' 2007".
8h 25' 240 40 17" 1 35' 24° 43' 11"
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 80
1 20 24 42 51
15 24 40 42
15 24 45 45
Owing to the shortness of the days, evening observation discontinued.