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EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY,
FOR MAY, 1810.
Description of a SILVER CHAIN found on the Line of the Caledonian Canal.
THIS Chain, of pure silver, was
found, in the course of last year, by the workmen employed in digging the Caledonian Canal. It is now in the possession of the Honourable Barons of Exchequer, and is conceived to be an object of considerable curiosity. We were anxious, therefore, to preserve a drawing of it; which we have been enabled to gratify our readers with, through the polite attention of Sir G. Mackenzie, Bart., who has not only supplied us with the engraved plate, but also with the following extract, from a communication made by him on the subject to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
"The chain was found at the depth of two feet, among gravel. The grooved link, which has not reached Edinburgh with the chain. The single ring at one end is 2 inches and one tenth in diameter. The rings at the other end, 2.8 inches in diameter. The thickness of the rings at the end is .45 of an inch; that of the others. 4. The whole chain weighs 92oz. 12dwts. It was reported that a ball of silver was
found with the chain; but it has not been recovered. Sir George is of opinion, from the general appearance of the chain, that it has been used for ornament, and that it probably had suspended a lamp in some Roman Catholic Church, whence it had been stolen during the ferment excited by John Knox, and buried. Perhaps it had been concealed by the rightful owners; and, owing to some accident befalling the posses sor, had lain concealed till dug up in the line of the Canal."
Description of Ancient Roman Medals, found in the Parish of West Calder.
BESIDES the chain described in
the preceding article, we are able, this month, to present to the public some other antiquities, which appeared to us worthy of their notice. They consist of some ancient Roman Silver Medals, which, about the end of last month, were found in the peat earth cast out of the bottom of a deep moss ditch at Crosswood Hill, (the property of Andrew Steele, Esq. W. S.), in the
parish of West Calder, in the county of Edinburgh. These Mr Steele has been so obliging as to commupicate to us. They are in great preservation. It is probable, as there was a Roman Camp in the neighbourhood, that these coins had belonged to some one of the Roman officers stationed there, perhaps in the time of the emperor Marcus Au relius Antoninus, as one of the medals bears his name, and others have the names of the Empress Faustina, his wife, and of his predecessors, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, and Pius.
From the circumstances in which these coins were found, it is proba
ble they were dropt on the surface Biographical Account of the late Dr of the ground upwards of sixteen hundred years ago. That the ground was then covered with a growing wood, is obvious, from the branches of birch trees (that have still their form and bark entire) in which the coins were enveloped Even the peat bog into which this wood is now converted (the Romans, while in possession of this country, having commonly burnt down, or otherwise destroyed the woods) still bears the general name of Colinshaw, i. e. the herd's wood. The medals were lying five feet beneath the present surface; and the solid peat earth formed above the remains of the wood, and composed of half decayed sphagnum, and other moss plants, must have taken all the above mentioned number of years to increase five feet in thick
The medals which we have caused
DR ADAM was born, in 1741, near Rafford, in the county of Moray. His parents were farmers, and persons of highly respectable characters; but it is only necessary to consider what farmers were at that time, and in that country, in ever attained to eminence, it could order to see, that if young Adan only be by his personal efforts. There was a grammar-school in the place which he attended; but still the imperfections of that institution were such as to make every thing which the young scholar acquired there almost entirely his own acquisition. Such was the proficiency which he made under every disadthe plan of sending him to study at vantage, that his friends conceived the University of Edinburgh; and to this they were encouraged by Mr Watson, then minister of the Canongate, who was related to his mother. removed in 1758. Here his unwea To that metropolis, accordingly, he ried and successful industry soon brought him into notice; and three years after he was elected, on a comparative trial, to the importan: situation of master of Watson's hospital. The high character which he now attained soon paved his way
to that situation in which he was destined to act so long a distinguished part. Mr Matheson, rector of the High School, being disabled by illness from teaching his class, selected Mr Adam, young as he was, to supply his place. The new teacher performed his part during the rest of Mr Matheson's life in a manner which gave universal satisfaction; and upon the death of that gentleinan, which took place in 1769, the Magistrates, considering the approved manner in which Mr Adam had taught the class, and his general putation for classical learning, coneived him, notwithstanding his age, which was only twenty-eight, to be the most proper person for supplying the place of Mr Matheson. From that time till his death, during the long period of forty years, he performed the duties of that important station with unvarying zeal and fidelity. Strongly impressed with the importance of his public duties, the ambition of fulfilling them in the most superior manner, became his ruling passion. The whole powers of his mind were dedicated with unremitting exertion to this favourite pursuit, and the labours of a most aborious life devoted to its attainment. After the most animated activity, during the hours of teaching, to render his pupils good scholars, and inspire them with the knowledge and admiration of Greek and Roman excellence, the remainder of his time was rigidly devoted to the preparation of works of great labour, which appeared to him wanting for facilitating the attainments of the youth, and exciting a relish for the study of letters. And though very sus'ceptible of pleasure from the society of friends, and though the fatigue of great exertions required from him, as from other men, some interval of repose, the former was ever considered by him as an indulgence, which it became him to sacrifice;
and the latter as a want, which was to be abridged as much as nature would permit: In short, he had imbibed the principles and fervour of the ancients whom he studied, and a Stoic as to all personal indulgence, he was an enthusiast as to the importance of his undertakings, and a zealot for their accomplishment. In this way, by the concentration and perseverance of his efforts, he was able to produce works of first-rate utility and merit; and which, though neither distinguished by much originality of thought, nor refined by the nicer touches of discriminating taste, afford a lesson and an example to mankind, of what may be achieved by resolution and well-directed industry.
His first work was his Latin Grammar, which was calculated to supersede both the Rudiments and Grammarof Ruddiman. The universal use and estimation, however, of these works, rendered it difficult to procure the adoption of the new substitute in the High School. Nicoll, a man of strong powers, but of coarse manners and habits, and jealous of the pre-eminence of Adam, took the lead in this opposition. The question was referred to a committee, consisting of the Professor of Flumanity, (then Dr George Stewart,) and several other persons of learning, and the decision was given in favour of Ruddiman. Whether habit and prejudice might not have had weight in this determination, we shall not inquire. Certain it is, that Dr Adam's Grammar has passed through numerous editions, and has come into very extensive use throughout the High School, though not as a principal, yet as an auxiliary. He then published his Antiquities, and his Classical Biography; useful works, the general reception of which sufficiently shews the value set upon them by the public. His Summary of History and Geography contained
ed a vast mass of information, somewhat crowded and indigested perLaps, but still affording honourable proots of unwearied diligence. His last publication was his Latin Dictionary, which, however, formed only a specimen of one on a much more extended scale, on which he had been for many years occupied. The plan was ingenious and useful. After every word was arranged, in alphabetical order, all the phrases and idiomatical forms of expression in which it assumes a peculiar signification, which could not have been discovered from the mere knowledge of its general meaning. These forms of expression compose one of the . principal difficulties which obstruct the progress of the student; and the present appears to us the best contrivance of any that we have yet met with for removing them. It is to be.
should not have lived to publish it on a more complete and uniform plan. At present the arrangement is somewhat whimsical; as the illustrations become continually fuller and fuller as the volume approaches to its close, and the last letters of the alphabet occupy a space extremely disproportionate to that occupied by the first.
In the loss of such a valuable man, therefore, however abundant may be the source of regret which an intelligent public must feel, to his pupils and friends, (and the latter character belonged to all the worthy among the former,) that loss will be felt in much more interesting aspects. His kindness, his humanity, his candour, his impartial justice, his warm applause of virtue and merit, his honest indignation at meanness and vice, and the deep and paramount interest he displayed for their improvement, rendered him for life dear to his scholars. And those persons who knew more particularly his private worth, his zealous rectitude, the steadiness of his attachments, and liberality; even approximating to
Biographical Account of M. Bitaubé
HIS elegant writer was born at Konigsberg, of a family of French refugees, who had been obliged to leave their native country by the edict of Nantz. His early studies rendered him intimately acquainted both with scripture and with the writings of the Greek poets. To this last study he devoted himself with the utmost enthusiasm. Eager to return to the country of his ancestors, he hoped to accomplish this object by distinguishing himself in the world of letters. The work by which he sought this distinction was of a very daring character. He resolved to tread in the footsteps of Madame Dacier, by attempting a new translation of Homer. He published first an abridgment of the Iliad, which obtained such a favourable reception as enabled him to return to Paris. There, in 1780, he published an entire translation of the Iliad; and, afterwards, a translation of the Odyssey. Both these works experienced the most flattering reception. This encouraged him to undertake an original work. A dişpute was then agitated, whether epic poems can with propriety be translated
founded on the adventures of an innkeeper's son. It had required alt the genius of Goethe to struggle against the meanness of the subject; it is not surprising, therefore, that M. Bitaubé's prose translation totally failed, and that it was the least successful of all his works. He soon after removed from the class of literature and the fine arts to that of history, and devoted himself assiduously to its duties. His happiness, however, received a fatal blow from the loss of his wife, a most respectable and amiable woman, to whom he had been united upwards of fifty years. It was easy to foresee that M. Bitaubé would not long survive this dreadful separation. He sunk under it; and, in less than a month, followed his beloved wife to the grave. He died on the 22d of November, 1808.
lated into prose. M. Bitaubé, in support of his own practice, was naturally led to support the affirmative of this question; and thence passed by an easy transition to the defence of original poems in prose. In illustration of his principles, he produced his" Poem of Joseph," founded on a well-known part of scripture history. There is no story more affecting than that of Joseph; and the fine and pathetic manner in which it is related in the sacred writings, surpasses every other style of narrative. It was a bold attempt to enter on ground already so occupied. The reception of the work, however, not only among his own countrymen, but among foreigners, and particularly in this country, and the numerous editions through which it has passed, fully proves that the author has overcome every obstacle.
M. Bitaubé's next attempt was of a bolder cast. He undertook to celebrate the praises of Liberty, in the persons of William Prince of Orange, and other heroes, who, in the sixteenth century, raised Holland to independence. This poem appeared, in 1796, under the auspices of the French Revolution. He had suffered severely during the earlier periods, from tyranny exercised under the name of that liberty which he now celebrated. He had been imprisoned; had for some time been separated from his wife, whom he tenderly loved; and had been deprived of his pension from the Court of Prussia. His freedom and his pension were now restored to him; he became a member of the National Institute, and returned to the possession of all those enjoyments of which the tempest of the Revolution had deprived him. In this situation he translated a poem of Goethe's entitled "Herman and Dorothea,"
Memoirs of the Progress of Manufac tures, Chemistry, Science, and the Fine Arts.
THE HE following details, relative to the coal-gas light, one of the greatest improvements of which modern times can boast, are taken from an in teresting Memoir read before the Philosophical Society of Glasgow, by Mr Richard Gillespie, by whose public spirit, and at whose works, this great experiment of permanently lighting an extensive manufactory by gas, was first undertaken in Scotland. The apparatus, made by Bolton and Watt, was fitted up at Anderston the latter end of last summer, in this manner at the beginning of November. Since that time some great improvements have been made; and the whole now constitutes a very pleasing exhibition →→→ Two iron retorts, of a semi-cylindrical form, each capable of containing about one cwt. of coal, yield at every charge 750