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Earthquakes. Two smart shocks of an earthquake were felt in Weston, Massachusetts, between the hours of two and five o'clock, in the morning of the 15th Feb. 1816, supposed to be much more violent and of longer duration, than that of last winter. They were accompanied by the same undulatory motion and noise, which characterize the earthquakes of this part of the world. We have anxiously sought in some of the papers for some accounts of these phenomena, expecting to ascertain their extent and comparative violence in other parts. As no notice appears to have been taken of them in the public papers, it is presumed they were confined to this vicinity. At the time of the earthquakes, the air was calm and intensely cold. Many were awakened from sleep by the motion of their houses, or by the peculiar noise attending it. On the day following, fissures or cracks were discovered in the earth, extending to a great distance, and branching in various directions. Some of these cracks were ascertained to be several feet deep, and were it not for the extreme hardness of the earth, their depth might have been more accurately ascertained.
The writer has not been able to learn if such appearances are ever produced by extreme cold, and is therefore at a loss to determine, whether these extensive cracks are the causes or the consequences of the earthquakes. It is hoped that some person, more experienced in such phenomena, will communicate his observations to the public. If they answer no other important purpose, they may serve to amuse the curious in geology.--Weston, Feb. 19.
[The above Earthquakes were noticed at Sudbury and Framingham. At the former place the ground opened as at Weston. An earthquake was felt at Framingham and Sudbury about four months since, at ten o'clock in the morning.]
Retreat for the Insane. At the present time, when a considerable degree of interest is excited respecting the treatment of insane persons, and when the government of our country has made it a subject of legislation, it is presumed that any account of existing institutions,
which may throw light on the method of treating this deplorable class of our fellow-creatures, may be desirable.
The 19th report of the institution established at York in the year, 1796, for the reception of Insane Persons of the Society of Friends, and which is under their control, will, we doubt not, be acceptable to our readers.
“ In concluding the 19th report of the state of the Retreat, the directors can hardly refrain from expressing the feelings of gratitude and satisfaction, with which they contemplate the prosperous state of this institution; the benefits which have resulted from it, to the immediate objects of its care, and the stimulus which its example has given to the improvement of establishments for similar purposes.
“Fourteen patients have been admitted since last year. In the same period, ten have been discharged, recovered, and three in an improved state. Two patients have died, one aged about 80, and the other 78 years.
“There are now 63 patients under care, viz. 25 men and 38 women,
of whom 4 men and 7 women are at the appendage. " From the opening of the Retreat to the end of the year 1814, 177 patients were admitted, of whom 100 had been dis. ordered more than 12 months. Of these latter cases, which are generally denominated incurable, 26 have been happily restored to society; and of the 77 recent cases, 59 have been so restored.
“ It is also worthy of remark, as affording satisfactory evidence of the good management of the institution, and of the importance of early attention to cases of insanity, that of the 16 recent cases admitted in the last three years, 15 have already been discharged recovered.
“ The directors cannot but attribute, under the divine blessing, much of the prosperity and success of this institution to the openness with which its affairs have been conducted; the uniform interest for its welfare evinced by its patrons and managers; and, in an eminent degree, to the conscientious and judicious discharge of the arduous duties, by the persons who have, for so many years, had the immediate superintendence and management of the establishment.
“ A steady attention to these causes of success, they trust will long support the character and usefulness of the Retreat,
and insure a continuance of that liberality by which it has hitherto been supported."
Many judicious remarks, as regards the peculiar mode of treatment, resorted to in the above institution, may be collected from a volume lately published by S. Tuke, entitled, “Description of the Retreat,” &c.—London Times, Aug. 1815.
Royal Society of London. This society have just published the first part of its Transactions for 1815, and the following are its contents:
Additional Observations on the optical Properties and Structure of heated Glass and unannealed Glass Drops; by Dr. Brewster.
Description of a new Instrument for performing mechanically the Involution and Evolution of Numbers; by Dr. Roget.
Experiments on the Depolarization of Light as exhibited by various Mineral, Animal, and Vegetable Bodies, with a Reference of the Phenomena to the general Principles of Polarization; by Dr. Brewster.
On an ebbing and flowing Stream discovered by boring in the Harbour of Bridlington; by Dr. Storer.
On the Effects of simple Pressure in producing that Species of Crystallization which forms two oppositely polarized Images, and exhibits the complementary Colours by polarized Light; by Dr. Brewster.
Experiments made with a View to ascertain the Principle on which the Action of the Heart depends, and the Relation which subsists between that Organ and the Nervous System; by Dr. Philip
Experiments to ascertain the Influence of the Spinal Marrow on the Action of the Heart in Fishes; by Mr. William Clift.
Some Experiments and Observations on the Colours used in Painting by the Ancients; by Sir Humphrey Davy.
On the Laws which regulate the Polarization of Light by Reflection from transparent Bodies; by Dr. Brewster.
On the 25th of May, a paper by Dr. Parry was read to the Society, on the Nature and Cause of the Pulse. Dr. Parry took a review of the different theories which have been proposed to account for the phenomenon of pulsation, observing that the greater part of physiologists had contented themselves with the opinion of Haller, that pulsation was occasioned by the diastole and systole of the heart. His view, however, of the question, is much simpler; on examining different arteries where they were exposed to no obstruction or pressure, he found that they had no pulse: by pressing the finger on an artery over a soft part of the body, which yielded sufficiently to the pressure, no pulse was manifested; but, whenever an artery was pressed over a solid part, then a pulse was immediately found. He repeated these operations several times, and uniformly found the same effects. Hence he concludes, that the pulse is nothing more than the re-action or impetus of the blood to maintain its regular motion. The arteries appear only as canals through which the blood flows in an uniform and continuous current; diminish the diameter of the canals, and a pulse is immediately perceived. At every junction of a vein with an artery, the internal diameter of the latter is diminished, and hence a pulse always appears. This Dr. Parry thinks fully adequate to account for all the modifications of the pulse.
J. G. Children, Esq. submitted to the Society, a description of his very large galvanic battery, each plate of which consisted of thirty-two square feet, and related the effects of a great number of experiments made with it in producing intense heat, in melting metals, &c. One experiment was on iron. He and Mr. Pepys took a piece of soft iron, made a cavity in it to hold some diamond powder, and then submitted it to the action of the galvanic battery; when the iron was instantly converted into blister steel, and the diamond entirely disappeared, This experiment, the author concluded, was quite satisfactory to prove that the diamond contains nothing but pure carbon.
London Monthly Magazine, Aug. 1815.
The Philosophical Transactions for 1815, Part II. have appear
ed, and contain the following papers. On some Phenomena of Colours, exhibited by thin plates; by John Knox, Esq.
Some further Observations on the Current that often prevails to the westward of the Scilly Islands; by James Rennell, Esq. F. R.S.
Some Experiments on a solid Compound of Iodine and Oxygen, and on its Chemical Agencies; by Sir H. Davy, L.L. D. F. R. S.
On the Actions of the Acids on Salts, usually called Hyperoxymyriates, and on the Gases produced from them; by Sir Humphrey Davy.
Further Analytical Experiments relative to the constitution of the prussic, of the ferruretted chyazic, and of the sulphuret. ted chyazic acids: and to that of their salts; together with the application of the atomic theory to the analyses of these bodies; by Robert Porrett, Jun. Esq.
On the Nature and Combinations of a newly discovered Vegetable Acid: with observations on the malic acid, and suggestions on the state in which acids may have previously existed in vegetables; by M. Donovan, Esq.
On the structure of the Organs of Respiration in Animals, which appear to hold an intermediate place between those of the Class Pisces and the Class Vermes, and in two genera of the last mentioned class; by Sir Everard Home, Bart. V.P.R.S.
On the mode of generation of the Lamprey and Myxine; by Sir Everard Home, Bart. V. P. R. S.
On the multiplication of Images, and the Colours which accompany them in some specimens of calcareous spar; by David Brewster, L. L. D. F. R. S. Lond. and Edin.
A series of Observations of the Satellites of the Georgian Planet, including a passage through the node of their orbits; with an introductory account of the telescopic apparatus that has been used on this occasion: and a final exposition of some calculated particulars deduced from the observations; by William Herschel, L. L. D.F.R.S.