« EelmineJätka »
Public Encouragement of Science.
laws of terrestrial magnetism, and thus led to the discovery of the southern polar continent. It urged on the Admiralty the prosecution of the tidal observations, which that department has since fully carried out. It recommended the establishment, in the British Museum, of the Conchological Collection, exhibiting present and extinct species, which has now become an object of the greatest interest.
THE EDINBURGH NATIONAL GALLERY.
The building, of which we have just begun the foundation,* is a temple to be erected to the Fine Arts, which have so important an influence upon the development of the mind and feeling of a people, and which are so generally taken as the type of the degree and character of that development, that it is on the fragments of works of art, come down to us from bygone nations, that we are wont to form our estimate of the state of their civilization, manners, customs, and religion.
* The Edinburgh National Gallery.
Let us hope that the impulse given to the culture of the Fine Arts in this country, and the daily increasing attention bestowed upon it by the people at large, will not only tend to refine and elevate the national tastes, but will also lead to the production of works, which, if left behind us as memorials of our age, will give to after generations an adequate idea of our advanced state of civilization.
It must be an additional source of gratification to me to find that part of the funds rendered available for the support of this undertaking should be the ancient grant which, at the union of the two kingdoms, was secured towards the encouragement of the fisheries and manufactures of Scotland, as it affords a most pleasing proof that those important branches of industry have arrived at that state of manhood and prosperity, when, no longer requiring the aid of a fostering government, they can maintain themselves independently, relying upon their own vigour and The Edinburgh National Gallery.
activity, and can now in their turn lend assistance and support to their younger and weaker sisters, the Fine Arts.
The history of this grant exhibits to us the picture of a most healthy national progress; the ruder arts connected with the necessaries of life, first gaining strength; then education and science supervening and directing further exertions : and lastly, the arts which only adorn life becoming longed for by a prosperous and educated people.
May nothing disturb this progress, and may, by God's blessing, that peace and prosperity be preserved to the nation which will insure to it a long continuance of moral and intellectual enjoyment.
THE CITY OF ABERDEEN AND THE STUDY
OF PHILOSOPHY. THE Poet, in his works of fiction, has to choose, and anxiously to weigh, where to lay his scene, knowing that, like the Painter, he is thus laying in the background of his picture, which will give tone and colour to the whole. The stern and dry reality of life is governed by the same laws, and we are here* living, feeling, and thinking, under the influence of the local impressions of this northern seaport. The choice appears to be a good one. The travelling philosophers have to come far, but in approaching the Highlands of Scotland they meet nature in its wild and primitive form, and nature is the object of their studies. The geologist will not find many novelties in yonder mountains, because he will stand there on the bare backbone of the globe; but the primary rocks, which stand out in their nakedness, exhibit the grandeur and beauty of their peculiar form, and in the splendid quarries of this neighbourhood are seen to peculiar advantage the closeness and hardness of their mass, and their inexhaustible supply for the use of man, made available by the application of new mechanical powers. On this primitive soil the botanist and zoologist will be attracted only by a limited range
City of Aberdeen and Study of Philosophy. 65 of plants and animals, but they are the very species which the extension of agriculture and increase of population are gradually driving out of many parts of the country. On those blue hills the red deer, in vast herds, holds undisturbed dominion over the wide heathery forest, until the sportsman, fatigued and unstrung by the busy life of the bustling town, invades the moor, to regain health and vigour by measuring his strength with that of the antlered monarch of the hill. But, notwithstanding all his efforts to overcome an antagonist possessed of such superiority of power, swiftness, caution, and keenness of all the senses, the sportsman would find himself baffled, had not Science supplied him with the telescope and those terrible weapons which seem daily to progress in the precision with which they carry the deadly bullet, mocking distance, to the mark.
In return for the help which Science has afforded him, the sportsman can supply the naturalist with many facts which he alone has opportunity of observing, and which may assist the solution of some interesting problems sug