Sidor som bilder

firmly-rooted principles, which may well be considered as immutable.

Without following our author, whose pride as a Frenchman and zeal as a chemist led him into an elaborate exposition of this important revolution in the science, we must hasten to notice the mournful and violent end of this great and good man. Lavoisier was a farmer general — the whole class was condemned upon a most trivial and ridiculous complaint — arrests were made — the chemist, whose faithful and conscientious discharge of his duties was only equalled by his ardor in the cause of science, no sooner saw his colleagues in difficulty than he surrendered himself and suffered with them. The applications in his favor, based upon the services rendered to France and to the world, were treated with bitter contempt.

Dumas denies that he solicited a reprieve until a certain experiment upon which he was engaged could he completed. He also disproves the absurd story of a deputation sent to crown Lavoisier in prison the day before his death, properly pronouncing such a proceeding as a miserable farce, which would have been as ill-timed as it proves to be

The lively sketches of character which occupy the earlier portion of the work before us, are succeeded by a summary of the opinions of other chemists, and a clear exposition of the theoretical investigations of the author, into which he carries the reader with as much ease as if he but introduced a new memoir of one of the alchemists. It would be impossible to give an idea of these peculiar views, without entering into particulars foreign to our present purpose and occupying more time than the most patient reader would bestow.

The recent discoveries in organic chemistry, by which Dumas has obtained his reputation, as one of the most distinguished philosophers of the day, have thrown new light upon the whole science. The bare enumeration of these discoveries would occupy a goodly volume, independent of any discussion of their theory. Such subjects can scarcely be made intelligible in any abstract however carefully prepared, and being of but little interest to any but chemists, we must conclude by recommending such of our readers as are attached to the pursuit of this delightful science to the perusal of the work itself.


Art. VIII.— The right of the United States of America to the

Northeastern Boundary claimed by them. Principally extracted from the statements laid before the King of the Netherlands, and revised by ALBERT GALLATIN, with an Appendix and eight maps. New York: 1840.

Ar the present period of the world, when all Christendom has enjoyed, with unimportant exceptions, a continuous peace of a quarter of a century, and when those principles of Political Economy, which teach that every nation is benefited by the prosperity of every other with which it maintains commercial relations, are recognised as a rule of conduct, it is not for a moment to be tolerated that the tranquillity of the world should be disturbed by those unessential matters which in by-gone times might have been deemed legitimate grounds for engaging in long and bloody wars. Among the subjects, however, with reference to which a proud and independent people may well be sensitive, we cannot but regard every attempt to encroach on their territorial domain. While we would repudiate any suggestion to infringe on the just rights of our neighbors, we feel bound to leave no means untried to transmit unimpaired to our posterity the inheritance that we have derived from our ancestors. The title-deeds of our national patrimony cannot, therefore, be an uninteresting topic to any who justly appreciate the distinction of American citizens; while ignorance of them in persons in high public trusts may lead to the most disastrous results, as we shall see in the sequel that on occasions not very remote it was but too likely to have done. Regarding a plain narrative of facts, provided it can obtain access to the attention of those enlightened ministers to whom the determination of the controversy, on the part of Her Britannic Majesty, appropriately belongs, as alone sufficient to avert the calamily of a hostile collision, already more than once menaced, with that power with which of all others we are most intimately connected, and to lead to a final settlement of the points at issue, the country cannot too highly appreciate their obligations to the venerable diplomatist who, in opposing unanswerable demonstration to the random conjectures and falsified facts of that amphibious being, the soi-disant United States Geologist-British Commissioner,* has given, in the most emphatic manner, the sanction of his authority in every form to the right of the United States to the boundary on their northeastern frontier as claimed by them.

In looking through our public annals, we shall find that no small portion of our negotiations with foreign powers have had reference to our territorial boundaries. Besides the questions growing out of the partition of the empire between us and our transatlantic brethren when the United States separated from Great Britain, (more than one of which, after being submitted to commissions established under the treaty of Ghent, is still unsettled,) we have had discussions with that power as to the limits of our subsequent acquisitions. With Spain, before the treaty of Louisiana, as well as with her and the new states of Mexico and Texas since the occurrence of that event, which has so materially augmented our territorial claims, our diplomacy has been frequently brought into action. We have been obliged to investigate the subject of boundaries with the Russian autocrat, and our statute-book contains a convention of delimitation with a power the supposed distance of whose dominions, a few years since, would have precluded the idea of any possible contact.

Nor is it at all surprising that doubts as to limits should exist, when we take into consideration the origin of the European establishments in America, not only the very conflicting pretensions of different powers, founded on occupation, priority of discovery, and treaty stipulations, but the inaccurate definition of boundaries in grants, emanating even from the same sovereign, as to territory wholly or in a great degree unexplored. At the epoch of the revolution, the limited population of the colonies was principally confined to the seaboard. With the exception of the line between the provinces of New York and Quebec, along the 45th degree of north latitude, from the Connecticut to the St. Lawrence, and which it is contended was by the treaty of Ghent subjected to a new survey, no portion of the exterior limits of the colonies recognised as the United States of America by the treaty of 1783 had been practically marked out. In one

* It is understood that Mr. Featherstonhaugh, the author of the late report presented to the British Parliament, who is an Englishman by birth, but for 30 years a resident, if not a citizen, of this country, passed direct from the service of the United States, by whom he had been employed in making some explorations in our western territories, under the direction of the War Department, to that of

Great Britain.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »